PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

CD Review: Some Forgotten Color

a1540076039_10The PopCulteer
August 22, 2014

This week we are going to review a new CD by an old friend. Spencer Elliott is holding a CD release party for his solo acoustic guitar debut Saturday night at Bluegrass Kitchen, and I’ve got an advance copy to tell you about.

First of all, it’s disclaimer time: Spencer and I have been friends for twenty-five years. I first met him at The Charleston Playhouse, where I met many of my life-long friends and companions. We’ve known each other a long time. He consoled me when the Radio Free Charleston radio show was cancelled. I loaned him my Les Paul for an extended time. We co-produced demos for Three Bodies. I was there for the birth of Mother Nang, and Spencer, as a member of Whistlepunk, was the first musical guest on the video version of Radio Free Charleston.

So we go back quite a ways. Rather than giving me a bias, I have a unique perspective on Spencer’s solo debut.

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The Latest from Los Bros.

The PopCult Bookshelf

This week the PopCult Bookshelf looks at two recent releases by Los Bros Hernandez, the two genius storytellers who have brought us Love and Rockets since 1981. These books have been on the top of my “must-read” stack for months, so I must apologize for just getting around to these now.

ff4b476228f814a1e13a86e5fa4c4788Maria M., Book One
by Gilbert Hernandez
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN-13: 978-1606997192
$22.99

This is the fourth in Gilbrt Hernandez’ series of graphic novel “adaptations” of the fictional B-movies in which his character Rosabella “Fritz” Martinez stars in stories published in Love and Rockets. Maria M. Book One is a departure in that it’s the first of two parts and it’s an adaptation of a movie that, in Love and Rockets, was based on a “true” story that was presented in the classic Poison River storyline.

Maria M. is the story of the character who was the mother of Fritz, who then starred in the movie of her mother’s life, and that movie is adapted here.

Anybody order a big plate of meta?

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Stuff To Do Thursday: Giant Robots at ArtWalk

Giants Promo

ArtWalk is Thursday, from 5 to 8 PM Downtown, and all the galleries will have cool new exhibits up for all of you to see. However, the one that most appeals to me is Josh Martin’s GIANTS at Taylor Books Annex Gallery. This exhibit and installation depicts giant robots, and as such, pretty much wins the title “coolest art show of the year” by default. Check out a little sample…

"Triumphant" is one of the signature images for this show
“Triumphant” is one of the signature images for this show
"Titan" is seven feet tall, and is part of a thirty-five foot long installation
“Titan” is seven feet tall, and is part of a thirty-five foot long installation

Joseph Hale

josephI am shocked, stunned and deeply saddened by the death of Joseph Hale. Words are not coming easily to me right now. I will simply link to an eloquent post by Todd Burge, and bring you an episode of Radio Free Charleston that features Joseph’s music. We had Joseph on the show many times as a solo artist and a member of the band, OVADA.  2014 has been a rough year as far as deaths go. This one is particularly hard to take.

In this episode of RFC, you can see Joseph performing two songs with OVADA.

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Tin Toy Robots are one of the coolest things on the planet. There’s simply no denying it. The Schylling Toy Company is still producing affordable recreations of the cool toy robots of the 1950s and 60s, and they’ve even come up with some cool new twists on the format, so we’re going to catch up with what they’ve been up to. Many of these robots can be ordered through their website, or locally through Kid Country Toys.

66e39218ce13a39b1063da6bc321c236First up we have a nearly-exact replica of the 1950’s all-time favorite Robby the Robot. This Chrome version of their “Planet Robot” walks with a sparking action behind his red cello face shield. He’s propelled with a wind-up motor, so you don’t have to worry about batteries.

Robby is packaged in a nicely-illustrated fantasy box. The Robot measures 8.5” tall, which makes him the ideal size for folks who are into MEGO figures. This version is a little pricier than the non-chrome version, but that version is painted red, instead of Robby’s usual black color, so this one looks better. Expect to pay around forty bucks.

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The RFC MINI SHOW with C2J2

Image3This week The RFC MINI SHOW digs up a gem from the Radio Free Charleston vault–It’s the progressive Jazz quartet, C2J2, recorded at The Empty Glass in April, 2011. C2J2 was Chris Hudson on Drums, Josh Cannon on Electric Guitar, Chris Mickel on Tenor Sax and Jamie Skeen on Electric Bass. Following a line up change, the band still performs around Charleston as Ignition.

One reason for reviving this lost classic is that C2J2 will appear on The Empty Glass 30th Anniversary Live collection. They will not be part of the vinyl project, but they will be represented on CD and via digital download (and everyone who buys the vinyl will get a digital download, too).

There’s about four weeks left in the IndieGoGo campaign for the Empty Glass Live vinyl, and if you are a supporter of live, local music, you should check out the crowdfunding page and kick in a few bucks on the project.

Our host segment was shot right outside The Empty Glass on Elizabeth Street in Charleston shortly after a taping session for two new bands that you will see on The RFC MINI SHOW in the coming weeks, Elephant in the Room and Super Heavy Duty.

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This week’s art is a quick colored pencil sketch based on a photo from last night’s The Fifth Element themed edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.  This drawing features Luna L’Enfant as Leeloo. Next week you’ll see more from last night’s Dr. Sketchy session. Click to enlarge.

Later Monday morning check back for The RFC MINI SHOW with the progressive Jazz of C2J2. Also, we gotta take a moment to for some self back-pattery. This is the 527th post in PopCult since August 18, 2013. We have managed to bring you at least one fresh post every day for more than a year now. You’re going to hear a lot about numbers in this blog in the coming weeks.

Sunday Evening Videos: Toni Basil and DEVO

ToniBasilWOMNearly everybody knows the legendary dancer/choreographer Toni Basil from her international hit song, “Mickey,” but what many people don’t remember is that her big hit song and video were part of an entire video album, Word of Mouth. This was released in 1982, decades before Beyonce had the idea to do it.

Another fact that not many folks are aware of is that Basil was in a relationship with Gerald Casale of DEVO at the time, and PopCult’s favorite spud boys backed up Ms. Basil on several cuts from the album, like the one above, and the few tucked away on the other side of the jump.

Folks who pay attention to such things may well recognize the presence of Shabadoo of The Lockers and Spaz Attack, from several early DEVO videos, among the back up dancers in these clips.

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RFC Flashback: Episode 56

RFC 56 “DEVObama Shirt” from RFC Archives on Myspace.

montageEpisode 56 of Radio Free Charleston, “DEVOBAMA Shirt” is back online for your enjoyment. This episode features searing hot rock from Dog Soldier, a really cool music video from The Button Flies, encore animation from Frank Panucci, and a trailer for the film “The Bride & The Grooms,” which was written and directed by Charleston native, Butch Maier. Harmonica Master, Ko, shows up in the end credits.

The namesake shirt for this show was a commemorative shirt for a concert in Akron to raise money for the guy that big business didn’t want in as much as the other guy. It had a DEVO Energy Dome in the logo. This was November, 2008, before the Koch Brothers started pouring real money into their smear campaigns.

Suicide, and Stuff To Do

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-23183012-2000-1330The PopCulteer
August 15, 2014

Some weeks The PopCulteer just pours out of me, and some weeks it doesn’t. This week was a tricky one. We got off to a lousy start with the suicide of of Robin Williams and I really thought it would be sort of fatuous to dedicate a blog post to that topic. But here it is.

I was a fan of Robin Williams from before he appeared on Mork and Mindy, and I really enjoyed some of his movie appearances, like The Fisher King and Awakenings. He also made a lot of movies that I would have been happier not to experience, like Patch Adams.

But while I generally enjoyed his work, I wasn’t quite as gobsmacked by his death as many people have been. I’d read and seen many interviews where he talked at length about his depression and other mental issues, so it just wasn’t much of a shock to me. When the news broke that he died, I assumed it was either a suicide or overdose.

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