PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The Wonderful World of Cheap, Cheesy Playthings

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The PopCult Bookshelf 

Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings
by Brian Heiler
Plaid Stallions
ISBN 13: 978-0-99169-220-C
$19.95

I love this book.

Let me explain. I am a toy collector. For my entire life, I have been attracted to the bright, shiny plastic objects in their colorful packages. I have a particular fondness for rack toys, the kinds of cheap-o toys that you find in drug stores, groceries and other odd places. I enjoy the mystery of the obscure manufacturers, the bizarre television tie-ins and the charm of the cheapness.

Basically, this book had me at the title.

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The PopCult Toybox

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The Sad Case of Iron Man and the Big Clone Trooper 

A few weeks back I told you about Hasbro’s new 12″ action figure line, which will encompass Marvel, Star Wars and GI Joe. These are inexpensive figures, aimed at kids, but produced in a scale that appeals mainly to adult collectors.

I got my hands on a couple of these gems, just so I could tell you how bad they are. I chose Iron Man and a Star Wars Clone Trooper. Initial reaction is that these things have very clever packaging. The size is almost exactly the same as a vintage GI Joe “coffin box.” What’s most clever is that the box is one piece of cardboard, folded into a box. The figures are held in place by two pieces of paper twine (there are some additional small pieces of cardboard to reinforce the tie-down holes. Rather than glue, the box is held together with a single piece of tape on one side.

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Above you see an interview with your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci, conducted by The Outlaw Rockstar. himself, Stephen Hensley. This took place at Kanwha Players Theater right after the February 8 Wayward Girls School of Burlesque Valentine’s show. It’s a fun interview, and buried within it is a scoop about radio Free Charleston’s 200th episode.

After the jump you can see Stephen’s interviews with the Wayward Girls, which may be NSFW, due to some footage of the Burlesque dancing. All these videos were edited by Scott Gregg and filmed by Zachary Whetzell and Scott Gregg (with Zachery editing the Cat Schrodinger video).

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The Bard, The Good and the Fugly

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The PopCulteer
February 22, 2013

We’ve got a lot of scattershot times this week, so let’s kick it off, shall we?

Richard III

The Alban Art and Conference Center production of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” opens this weekend, and you should all go see it, probably more than once so you can wring all the Shakespeare out of it.

The production stars Jeff Bukovinksy as the slouchy monarch, and a cast of very talented local actors including Jessica Smith as Queen Elizabeth and Olivia Morris as Lady Anne. With the talents of Adam Bryan, John Johnson IV, William Rouse, Josh, Fix, Chris Terpening, Mandy Petry, John Halstead, Norman Clerc, Nikki Williams, Ethan Lyvers, Kelly West, Aaron Shepard, Brooke Hirst, Jadon Batista, Kyle Casto, Lauren Casto and Asa Lyvers. Last but not least, my fiancee, Melanie Larch as Queen Margaret.

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The PopCult Bookshelf 

It’s all Cool Comics in this week’s PopCult Bookshelf

The High Ways #1 and #2
written and drawn by John Byrne
Four-issue Series
IDW Publishing
$3.99 each

I’ve been a fan of John Byrne since his days at Charlton Comics almost forty years ago. He’s spent time as a “hot” artist, and in the 1980s was such a sought-after talent that DC Comics hired him away from Marvel to revamp their Superman titles.

In the years since, Byrne has fallen out of favor with the “Big Two” publishers. A series of feuds and changing editorial tastes drove him to places where his talents are better appreciated, with IDW being his home for some time now. This is good for folks who still enjoy reading comics, because Byrne, even when I’ve disagreed with elements of his treatment of established characters, has always been a top-notch story-teller.

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The PopCult Toybox

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Part two of our 2013 New York International Toy Fair coverage

We’re going to wrap up our coverage of the news from the New York International Toy Fair 2013 this week, but this is far from a complete rundown. Rather than bury you under tons of detailed announcements for toys that won’t be seen in stores for months, we’re just going to hit the highlights and then tell you about the new stuff when you can actually go out and buy it…or avoid it. This week we’ll look ahead at what the year will bring in LEGO, Monster High, and several action figure lines.

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Our title shirt, “The Venture Bunch”

Up above you should see this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston, which features music from Undersocial, Science of the Mind, and Cat Schrodinger with Pepper Fandango, plus we have random and directionless animation.

Our host segments were recorded on Main Street in St. Albans, right in front of The Alban Arts and Conference Center, where, starting Friday February 22, you can see Radio Free Charleston Big Shot, Melanie Larch, as Queen Margaret in William Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” which stars Jeff Bukovinsky as the bent Monarch as well as a cast of very talented performers bringing the Bard’s words to life. The play runs through March 3, with 8 PM performances on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 PM Matinees on Sundays.

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We kick off this week with a digital painting of alien waterlillies. Sometimes a dude jus’ gotta paint flowers. Click the image to see a bigger version.

And get ready for Radio Free Charleston 180, with Science of the Mind, Undersocial and Cat Schrodinger, plus more mind-hurting weirdness. It will be here in PopCult by morning.

Sunday Evening Video: Star Trek Bloopers

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A timeless classic that I can’t believe I haven’t posted here yet, it’s the blooper reel from Star Trek: The Original series. Vintage 1960s snafus from where no man has gone before.

Hard to believe, but for years the only way you could see these was to go to a Star Trek convention and find the “unofficial” screening room. It was like porn for nerds.