PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Culture Overload, and How To Love It

The PopCulteer
February 15, 2013

It’s another one of those weekends here in Charleston where everything is happening at the same time. This weekend is jam-packed with enough stuff to entertain a city ten times our size.

We will hit the highlights and try to give a guide to the choices available this week without bumming you out too much about all the stuff you’ll have to miss.

But first, at right and below, we have a mini-photo essay on the Scratch show at Bluegrass Kitchen that we told you about last week. You can still head over to BGK to check out the tattoo photography of Mark Wolfe and the enviromental lucite sculpture of Nik Botkin. The exhibit will be up through the end of March, and you can get some great food while you’re checking out the cool art and photograhy.

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Pulp Captain Action and New Space: 1999

The PopCult Bookshelf 

Captain Action-Riddle of the Glowing Men
by Jim Beard
Airship 27 Hangar
ISBN 9780615671383
Available from Createspace.com

“Captain Action-Riddle of the Glowing Men” is a nostalgic bit of manna from heaven. First of all, it stars Captain Action, the classic Super-hero action figure from the 1960s. Second, it’s a pulp novel, a throwback to the days of The Shadow and Doc Savage. Third, it’s a briskly-paced cold war-style spy thriller, packed with action and clever dialogue.

Jim Beard has crafted a tale that combines elements of action-packed movie serials with James Bond-style espionage and super-hero action and the end result is a fun short novel that entertains throughout and would make a hell of a movie. Beard tells this tale with a style that pays tribute to the almost B-movie qualities of the classic pulp novels, only with the pithy dialogue of a modern action movie and more than a few in-jokes that pay tribute to Captain Action’s origins as a classic action figure who could change into other super heroes with rubber masks and outfits.

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The PopCult Toybox

Okay, so we do care about the New York International Toy Fair, just a little

As promised, we are going to spend this edition of the PopCult Toybox looking, in random order, at some of the new toys unveiled last weekend at The New York International Toy Fair. Actually, there was way too much stuff to cover in one post, so this cursory overview of toys in our future will be split into two or three installments.

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Monday Morning Art: Flyboy Revisited

Today’s art is a new digital painting based on a 23-year-old sketch I did of a guy with some sort of spiked-footed flying contraption. I’ve run other versions of it as Monday Morning Art before, but can’t remember what I called them. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Video: Forty Nine Years and One Day Ago

The PopCulteer
February 8, 2013

“Hey Mabel, Give Me A Black Label”

The West Virginia Film, Arts and Activist communities lost one of the good guys last weekend, as Bob Gates passed away following surgery.

I got to pal around with Bob back in the Charleston Playhouse days more than twenty years ago, and he was just a sweet, affable, supportive guy who would always be there to lend a hand or helpful word. He was also a hell of a filmmaker, and a friend to the environment. Whether he was making his own films, helping out as a crewmember on others or running super-titles for the WVSO Opera productions, Bob was always the reliable, go-to guy.

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Mars Attacks Archived and Aw Yeah Comics! Kickstarted

The PopCult Bookshelf 

Mars Attacks
by The Topps Company Inc.
Foreword by Len Brown
Afterword by Zina Saunders
Abrams ComicArts
ISBN 978-1-4197-0409-3
$19.99

Mars Attacks is familiar to most folks today as the 1996 Tim Burton movie, but long before it was a movie, Mars Attacks was a legendary gore-fest of a trading card set. Released in 1962, this beautifully lurid B-Movie on cardboard thrilled kids and disgusted adults with its retelling of “The War of the Worlds” only with Earth getting hammered a bit more by bug-eyed little green Martians. Banned on schoolyards, it became the stuff of legend, and is one of the most sought-after non-sport trading card lines of all time.

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The PopCult ToyBox

The 2013 New York International Toy Fair Is Next Week, And Nobody Cares 

The New York International Toy Fair begins this coming weekend and sadly, what used to be the most important event in the toy industry has become somewhat irrelevant. Business is no longer done the way it was years ago. Manufacturers are in near constant contact with retailers and there are so many fewer retailers now that the idea of a huge expo is really an artifact of a bygone era.

However, in terms of hype and PR, the New York International Toy Fair does still serve a purpose. With any luck, toymakers can manage to grab a few seconds of precious airtime on the major networks’ morning shows or garner some additional coverage on cable.The lightening fast dispersal of information in the internet age has taken the bloom off the rose for traditional media, who are less inclined to report on “news” that everyone’s already heard, so airtime is more precious than ever.

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In the RFC lving room, wearing the CameraBot 6000 shirt.

We have a star-studded episode of Radio Free Charleston for you this week with music videos from Byzantine and Radiohead, plus a performance from The Third Eye Cabaret. The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque stars in animated form in our Radiohead video and we also have animation from Andrew of Hellblinki! Host segments were shot in the living room at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor, and our show’s title shirt is “CameraBot 600” by the artist, Zomboy.

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This weeek’s art is a digital painting that is a frame-grab from the music video for Radiohead’s “Nude” (Frank panucci Remix), featuring the Wayward Girls School of Burlesque, which you can see later today on episode 179 of Radio Free Charleston. Today’s image is of the school’s headmistress, Penny Maple

You can see The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque in the flesh at their Valentines Day show on February 8 at Kanawha Players at 9:30 and on Valentines day itself, February 14, The Wayward Girls will be at The Empty Glass as part of the annual Empty Glass Anti-Valentine party. There will be live music and all sorts of cool goodies at both shows.

Check back later today for RFC 179, with Byzantine, Radiohead, and music from The Third Eye Cabaret, plus animation by Andrew from Hellblinki. And click on the image to see it larger.