PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

RADIO FREE CHARLESTON IS BACK!

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

This is a big one: The first episode of Radio Free Charleston, the video program. I’m still proud of it…

More than sixteen years after office politics killed Radio Free Charleston, my greatest creation has returned! You can go to this page, click on the little TV, and see the new video webcast of RFC.

Yes, it’s a video show, but we’re calling it “Radio Free Charleston.” I wanted to keep the name, even though technology has caught up to my original vision. RFC will bring you the best music, experimental film and video, and comedy from the Charleston area’s most daring performers and artists. It’ll all be wrapped up in a tight little ten-or-fifteen minute package. I’ll be hosting RFC from various locations around town.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

This was my first article where I got really excited about new toys of the George Barris Batmobile. As you may know, over the years many people tried to pass off bogus, crappy, Batmobiles, instead of making toys based on the one true Batmobile, designed by George Barris, which Jesus spoke of fondly in the Bible. I have tons of these now.

12197_1000x1000Short entry this week, because our cool toy is not official yet, rumors have been circulating for a couple of weeks, but reliable sources tell me that Mattel has coughed up enough money to end the feud between DC Comics and master car designer George Barris, and has secured the master toy license to produce the famous Batmobile from the 1960’s Batman TV show. This car has been in legal limbo for years, as it was ruled that Barris owned the design, but not the name or the bat-insignia. There haven’t been any legally-licensed toys of this most famous version of the Caped Crusaders car for over twenty years.

3317819239_948672e1f2Now we’ll finally get the full gamut–Hot Wheels, 1/18 scale desktop toys, remote-control versions and maybe (though this is a pipe dream) a version scaled for Barbie that we can steal and use for Captain Action! And it’ll be the real Batmobile, not that ugly thing from the 1989 movie that looked like a Goth sex toy, or the ‘roided up SUV from Batman Begins. This is the real deal–the coolest car ever built!

It won’t be a done deal until the official announcement is made, reportedly at the San Diego Comic Con next weekend, but things are looking good for fans of the coolest car in the world. This is a big deal for us aging nerds, trust me. The Batmobile ROCKS!

You can read about the second coolest car in the world here.

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Before I actually revived Radio Free Charleston as a video show, it was still very much on my mind. When I started posting songs from my archives I was able to reconnect with my old friends from the radio days. In this case, I’d recently reconnected with my old friend, Brian Young, and that led to the full-blown revival of RFC. This was posted in late March, 2006, shortly before the first taping session for RFC.

Three Bodies
Three Bodies

I’m delving into the Radio Free Charleston archives for this one, sort of. Actually, this song was recorded a few months after RFC was strangled in its crib, but it’s by Three Bodies, one of the most popular local bands that I played on my old radio show. Three Bodies consisted of Kris Cormandy on guitar, Brian Lucas on bass, and Brian Young on drums. All three were frequent guests on Radio Free Charleston, and good friends of mine. In June 1990, I was asked to lend my ears to the Bodies as they entered Pat Arnold’s recording studio above Gorby’s to cut four songs for a demo tape. Spencer Elliott was also on hand, as we co-produced the songs with the band.

My main contribution was on the day before, when the Bodies took over The Empty Glass to rehearse. It was a criminally hot June afternoon, and while I listened and offered suggestions, the guys repeatedly tore through the four songs they intended to record–for more than six hours. The songs were pretty much worked out by the end of the day. My only real suggestion that made it to tape was the song arrangement I’m going to post here next week. The song I’m posting today was Spencer’s baby. He came up with the piano intro and arranged the song on the spot. It was the standout of the four tunes.

I did the illustration above for a flyer advertising a performance by the band. I recall drawing it using duotone Craftint while sitting on the porch of Spencer’s bohemian hangout, across the street from Asbury United Methodist Church. I colorized it in the computer just a few minutes before writing this.

Three Bodies went their separate ways later in 1990. Spencer went on to form Mother Nang with Brian Young, before jetting off to become a world-class litigator. Lately, however, he and Brian have teamed up with Dan Jordan to form Whistlepunk, who you can check out here. It’s great that the old local scene from the RFC days isn’t totally dead.

So, here’s our song of the week ,Gardens of Hope “Gardens Of Hope.” It’s a particularly relevant plea for peace these days. Click the song title to listen, or right click and save, to download. Next week I’ll post the song that I helped arrange.

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

From December, 2005, this was my first “editorial” type essay about what’s right and wrong in Charleston. For the record, I still hate the idea of Kanawha Boulevard being carved up.

I’m going to kick off PopCult’s RANT WEEK with the big one–the Charleston Riverfront Development plan, and a few things that need to be pointed out about it.

The recent burst of irrational exuberance over the proposed riverfront redevelopment plan put forth by Sasaki Associates seems a bit familiar to me. It reminds me of the classic episode of The Simpsons, where a slick out-of-towner convinces the citizens of Springfield that, in order to revitalize their city, they need a Monorail. I find it hard to believe that, in a city where a “user fee” had to be imposed to meet the basic needs of the police department and do street repair, people can seriously consider pouring millions of dollars into enhancing the riverbank. This riverbank is a place that the people of Charleston have spent decades demonstrating that they are not willing to even cross the street to visit.

This is NOT because the street is too wide. It’s because riverbanks aren’t necessarily nice places to pass the time. You see, they tend to slope sharply, ending up in the water. Flat ground is usually one prerequisite for a pleasant recreational area and the riverbank doesn’t have much of that. In addition, the river is not exactly such a wonderful place. For much of the year, the Kanawha’s appearance and odor can best be summed up using scatalogical terminology.

Riverfront parks are great for people who love the water. That might just be as much as ten percent of the population. Can Charleston really afford to spend millions of dollars so that, on maybe four or five quiet evenings each year, a handul of people will say, “Gee, this is nice”? The whole idea of a Green Ribbon sounds nice, until you realize just how few Charlestonians will actually use it. Is it going to be worth the cost? The quality of life in Charleston could be raised higher if the city would spend some money to lure a large grocery store to the East End. I can’t quite grasp the cost-versus-benefit of the riverfront plan.

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Art Blogging

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

This is the very first piece of digital art posted in PopCult. It’s not really very good.

It’s called “Out the window”.

Later, Rudy

Buy an E Bow on Ebay

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Our very first post, from August 28, 2005, would make for a clever Facebook status, if it weren’t ten years old…

Then write emo songs. Maybe you can get Brian Eno to produce your album.

coloeinf 009The PopCulteer
August 27, 2015

Good lord, it just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. To verify it, I read Bill Lynch’s piece on PopCult in the Gazette-Mail this morning, and it’s true.

Friday, August 28, marks the tenth anniversary of PopCult. It just seems like yesterday when Douglas Imbrogno offered me the chance to write a blog for The Gazz.com, the multi-media entertainment section of The Charleston Gazette. I’d been writing for Doug and the Gazette since the early nineties, partnering with my now-wife, Melanie Larch on “Animated Discussions,” the only regularly-scheduled animation column running in a daily newspaper at the time.

By 2005, “Animated Discussions” had mainly just become a column where we reviewed the latest animated feature films, and that was the year that The Gazette had decided to stop using local movie reviewers. Our last hurrah was our first cover feature for the Gazz, a detailed review of the Wallace and Gromit movie, “Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

PopCult is pretty close now to what I’d intended it to be: A blog that covers cool stuff like comics, toys, local music, art, film, events and theater, with the occasional rant tossed in to keep things interesting. In fact, “Cool Stuff” was my original name for the blog. Doug thought that “Radio Free Charleston” might be a better name, but I wanted to keep that for my own little evil media mini-empire. “PopCult” was the compromise, and I have to say it’s rather grown on me.

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Image1RFCv3 #36

This week the theme for both hours of the Radio Free Charleston Podcast is ‘Ten years of Popcult.” We’re going to bring you two hours of music that was featured in The PopCult Blog, RFC’s home base, to mark the tenth anniversary of PopCult on August 28. All of the music in this show was featured in PopCult, either as part of Radio Free Charleston, as stand-alone songs or videos or is music that we reviewed.

NAR log 003You will hear the stories behind these songs and some hints at why they were included in this show.  Also included is some music that was was created especially for PopCult by RFC host, Rudy Panucci.

For the time being, Radio Free Charleston V3 is operating as a podcast, hosted at Voices of Appalachia.  We hope to get the streaming service back online soon.

You can listen to the show in this widget HERE or look us up over in the VOA archives.

The Playlist:

Opening track: The Panucci Brothers  Dancing Midget Spider-man Fantasia

Whistlepunk–“Vampire Love Song”
The Sleeping Dons–“Story of the Coyote People”
Stephen Beckner–“Falling Star”
Eduardo Canelon–“Y Musica Canelon”

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Stikbot Animates Social Media

zing-stikbot-TST614--700x700The PopCult Toybox

An exciting new concept has hit toy stores this week, and I have mixed feelings about it. Stikbot is a cool idea–an action figure that’s tailor-made for stop-motion animation. However, it’s practically necessary to have a smartphone to play with it to its fullest extent. There’s also a heavy element of social media in the marketing, which means that they’re either going to forego the younger audience, or that we’ve given up on the idea of keeping children off of social media.

imagessb1The toymaker, Zing, has previously been known for their outdoor active play toys, so this is a whole new arena for them. It’s an action figure, with suckers on its hands and feet, designed for stop-motion animation. These are translucent little guys with simple features who should appeal to the Minecraft crowd, but also attract fans of older toy lines like Micronauts.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, all the software (and hardware) that’s required for this is smartphone-based. The slant of the marketing is for you to make short video clips that you then upload and share with your friends. On the plus side, they may sell millions of the “Studio” sets, because folks will buy them just to get the inexpensive iPhone tripod.

20150820102317ENPRN259710-Zings-Innovative-Tech-Toy-Stikbot-90-1440066197MR

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Midweek Stuff To Do

There are cool things happening in town in the middle of this week, while your PopCulteer is busy celebrating his first wedding anniversary. Check this stuff out to keep out of trouble.

Wednesday

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gROOVE hEAVY cANDY

Thursday

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