PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

We Lost One Of The Good Ones

The PopCulteer
February 11, 2011

Dave’s Not Here

Charleston’s creative community lost one of its most positive forces this week. Dave Russell, a local filmmaker and supporter of the music, art and theater scenes in town, passed away little more than a week after suddenly falling ill.

Dave was a great guy in every sense of the word. He was always warm, smiling and receptive. He knew his way around a camera and proved it with his work at Razor Sharp Productions. I had the pleasure of working alongside Dave on a documentary shoot, and it was a load of fun.

It’s sad to see such a wonderful guy leave us at such a young age. Dave turned 40 last week in the hospital. He leaves behind two teen-aged daughters and scores of very saddened friends.

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PopCult Programming Note

Cool Comics this week will run on Saturday, so that we don’t bump the latest episode of RFC too far down the blog.  Check back this weekend for Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman.  Until then, scroll down a tiny bit and watch RFC 118!

A Fantastic Variety Of Music On RFC 118

Radio free Charleston jumps back into the swing of things with episode 118, “Not Kool Shirt,” featuring music from Fox Elipsus and White Chapel District, plus a preview of the latest show from the Contemporary Youth Arts Company. That’s it right up there at the top of this post!

“Norman Rockwell’s An American Love Story” opens Thursday at 8 PM at The WVSU Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St., in Charleston.  This is a brand new original work with words by Dan Kehde and music by Mark Scarpelli.

A follow up to a previous CYAC show, “Norman Rockwell’s American Paradise,” this new show tells a sweet love story (just in time for Valentine’s Day) with scenes based on different Norman Rockwell paintings. You can see a song from “American Paradise” on RFC 66.

The song we feature this week is a solo performance by Sarah Schleiss, accompanied on piano by Mark Scarpelli.

Next week you’ll get to see the full cast performing a beautiful song, with parts sung in Italian.

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Today’s little artistic appetizer is a digital painting called “Distraction.”  It’s an exercise in color composition and using a semi-abstract representation of the hooman bean form.

As always, click the image to see a bigger version.  Come back to PopCult late Monday/Early Tuesday for episode 118 of Radio Free Charleston, with music from White Chapel District, Fox Elipsus and The Contemporary Youth Arts Company.

The Life-cycle Of The North American Cable Channel

The PopCulteer
February 4, 2011

Recently I wrote about how IFC, the Independent Film Channel,  changed their focus. They’re dumping most of their cutting-edge indie films, adding tons of comedy shows and, worst of all, they are inserting commercials into their movies and TV shows, disrupting the flow and heading 180 degrees away from what seemed to be their core mission: bringing independent film into the homes of the average American.

Of course, the main reason for this is so they can make more money. In the short term, they’ll run off all their loyal fans, but in the long run, it may wind up with IFC becoming a much more profitable entity.

This is sort of the norm for cable channels. They start out great, serving a niche audience and building a great word-of-mouth reputation. Then, once they’ve established themselves and gotten on a lot of cable systems, they change course, aim for the lowest common denominator, and go for the big advertising money.

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Cool Comics: Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” In Comics

For the first time, a work by Ayn Rand has been adapted into comic-strip form.  “Anthem,” based on the controversial philosopher and novelist’s 1938 novella has been turned into a graphic novel.  Adapted by Charles Santino and drawn by Joe Staton. I’ve got to say, it’s quite an improvement over the original.

Santino has taken Rand’s cautionary tale about a future that is highly unlikely to ever happen and turned it into a great little post-apocalyptic adventure tale. Rand’s histrionic idea of a society that condemns individuality works quite well without her preachy prose dragging down the plot.

“Anthem” tells the story of Equality7-2521, a street sweeper who lives in the dark ages of the future. A future where all decisions are made by committee and individualism has been outlawed. Yes, it’s the kind of world that Glenn Beck might dream up if he eats too much spicy food, then falls asleep reading about Obama’s healthcare bill.

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