PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Year-ending Randomosity

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The PopCulteer
December 31, 2010

As the year 2010 careens head-first into the brick wall of history, Your PopCulteer takes a moment to pause and reflect and present a random assembly of unrelated items, masquerading as a year-end column.

IFC Killed, Replaced With A Basic Cable Channel

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The Independent Film Channel has been transformed. After studying how to make the plucky cable channel more successful, the folks in charge have decided that the major obstacle in their quest for profitability was those darned Independent films.

Starting earlier this month, IFC began interrupting their programming with commercials. Soon they will begin censoring their movies so they can attract more advertisers. However, they plan to drastically reduce the number of movies they show anyway. The plan is to cram the channel’s schedule with reruns of old sitcoms and a few new, cheaply-produced, comedy programs.Art house flicks will be shunted aside to The Sundance Channel, in favor of more mainstream fare and recycled reruns.

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Cool Comics Of 2010

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This week we’re going to take a quick look back at some of the highlights of 2010 in the world of comic books and graphic novels.

Ongoing Superhero Book Of The Year: Incorruptible

This second title set in the same universe as his previous book “Irredeemable,” Mark Waid’s newer creation tells the flip side of the story. In “Irredeemable” (a cool comic pick here) Waid relates the story of what happens when the most beloved good guy superhero in the world goes nuts and starts killing millions of people indiscriminately.

“Incorruptible” shows what happens when one of the worst bad guys in the universe, faced with a world terrorized by a madman, becomes a crusader for the forces of good. Max Damage, the most infamous super-powered villain of that same world where “Irredeemable” is set, has a change of purpose. Accompanied by his female, teen aged sidekick, “Jailbait,” Damage sets out to on the path of truth and righteousness. Since his power is that he becomes stronger and more invulnerable the longer he’s awake, he now has to balance his desire to do good with the mental strain of sleep deprivation.

The latest year of “Incorruptible” has veered into political commentary and has delved into the personal relationships that get shaken up when the baddest bad guy in the world suddenly becomes a good guy.

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Monday Morning Art: Fishnet Fantasy

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Today’s post-holiday art blast is a digital painting inspired by the photography of Wolfgang Parker.  Parker is a Punk-Swing pioneer from Columbus who is also a comic book author and an accomplished photographer.  This painting is inspired by some of the work posted at his not-safe-for-work erotic photography blog, “On Top Of The Sheets.” Click it to see a larger image.

Sunday Evening Videos: Mike Batt

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I’ve been a big fan of musician/producer/Svengali, Mike Batt, ever since I stumbled across a couple of his albums in the quarter bin at Budget Tapes & Records on Capital Street about 30 years ago.  Budget would always have extra promo copies of brand-new albums that they’d sell for cheap, knowing that people like me would gamble on them, and then spread the word on how good the music was.

Picking up Batt’s music is one of the best gambles I made. He made a fan for life with his “Zero Zero” and “Six Days In Berlin” albums. The music was a blend of beautifully-orchestrated neo-classical music with New Wave overtones and unconventional instrumentation. Since then I’ve discovered Batt to be a skilled and versatile master songwriter, and more recently as the man behind Dramatico Records.

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Special Christmas Gift Returns

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We hope you checked out and enjoyed Radio Free Charleston 116, our 2010 Christmas episode, posted earlier this week.  Today we’re going to bring you the previous four RFC Christmas shows as a last minute way to stuff your stocking.  Up above, you see last year’s big holiday special, with music from Melanie Larch, with the Diablo Blues Band, Joseph Hale, Todd Burge and Molly Means from the CYAC production of “Mary.”

After the jump you’ll get to see three more Christmas shows, with music from 69 Fingers, Clownhole, Mountain Laurel Ensemble, and more from Molly Means and Melanie Larch. You’ll also get to see The Android Family, Talking Christmas Trees and other disturbing Christmas treats! Happy Holidays, folks!

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A Holiday Bonus ArtWalk And Weekend Shows

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The PopCulteer
December 23, 2010

A Bonus ArtWalk

Last week’s ArtWalk was truncated by the horrid Winter weather, so this week they’re doing it again! Today, in this early PopCulteer, we’re bringing you a look at some of the cool stuff you can see–and purchase as last-minute gifts. This special holiday bonus ArtWalk takes place tonight from 5 PM to 8 PM, downtown.

In addition to the galleries pictures, you can also do the ArtWalk at Chet Lowther Studio, Gallery Eleven, Good News Mountaineer Garage Gallery and Stray Dog Antiques. We regret that we didn’t make it to those fine galleries to take photos this month.

Without further ado, here’s a sneak peek at the cool things you’ll find on display at ArtWalk.  For more photos from Art Emporium and The Purple Moon, check last week’s PopCulteer.

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Cool Comics: Happy Returns

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Our cool comics this week revive a couple of iconic highlights from my childhood.  One was a classic comic book, the other a much-loved toy robot line.

First up we have “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents,” DC Comics’ revival of the classic 1960s mash-up of superheroes and secret agents. Two issues into the revival, writer Nick Spencer is still laying the groundwork for the team.  New characters are being introduced, the back-story is being unveiled and Spencer is doing this while maintaining a high level of action.   He’s got a winning mix.  This early in the story he’s managed to keep enough of the original flavor of the series to please longtime fans, but he’s updated it with contemporary storytelling and plot twists.

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The Christmas Show That Almost Wasn’t

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Up at the top of this post you see Radio Free Charleston’s 116th episode, “Christmas With CYAC.”  This was almost the year without an RFC Christmas show, but after a production schedule bedeviled by weather woes and other intrusions of life, I decided to call an audible.

The original plan was that this episode of the show would feature songs from two local favorites, plus a song or two from the CYAC production of the original rock opera, “Mary.” with everything being tied together with host segments shot the Monday before Christmas while caroling with Dan and Penny Kehde and the gang from CYAC.

The taping for the other songs didn’t happen (through no fault of the artists) and I was left with the possibility of skipping the holiday show this year, when it occurred to me that I could record some of the Christmas carols, toss in some of the tunes from “Mary” and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

And so I did. Many thanks to Dan and Penny and all the good and talented folk of The Contemporary Youth Arts Company and the many drivers who didn’t mow us down, “Death Race 2000” style when they had the chance. Without these folks coming to the rescue, we would not have had a holiday show this year.

That’s pretty much all we have to say about this special episode of Radio Free Charleston. Check PopCult on Thursday for a special preview of the Holiday ArtWalk. Oh…be sure to stick around for the whole show. You’ll get a very special Christmas treat, some would even say it’s a “Blizzard.”