PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Image4We have a great show this week with music from The Company Stores, Jake The Restaurant and Farnsworth, plus we have a 120 second Art Show featuring Michael McKowen’s “The World of the Willing,” a movie trailer for Austin Susman’s “Killer Catfish of the Kanawha,” and a promo spot for ShockaCon 4.  This week marks ten years of PopCult, and since Radio Free Charleston is a huge part of this blog, we wanted to deliver a special show.

We open the show with a teaser clip for Austin Susman’s “Killer Catfish of the Kanawha,” a pointed satire of last year’s water crisis, which also provided the title shirt for this episode of the show. “Killer Catfish” is set to debut on YouTube on September 1.

Image9We shot our host segments in front of Rebecca Recco’s “Power” mural, which can be found on Lewis Street, along the back of the Plaza East Shopping Center, between Appalachian Power Park and The Haunted Barn. We’ve been friends and fans of Rebecca for years, and it was cool to have such a colorful backdrop for our host bits.

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scape 2015-09

We kick off our tenth anniversary week here at PopCult with another of our ten-year-long series of variations on an abstract painting that I first posted in the early days of this blog. I forget what the heck it was supposed to signify originally, but I’ve done over three hundred variations of it, the vast majority of which I have refrained from posting here. You are welcome, and you may click this one to enlarge it.

Check PopCult later Monday morning for the 211th episode of Radio Free Charleston, with The Company Stores, Farnsworth, Jake The Restaurant and more.

Sunday Evening Video: Tales of the Rat Fink

rfToday, we gather to praise a king among rats, the brainchild of custom-car legend, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Rat Fink. Ron Mann has been producing pop culture since 1978, and Tales of the Rat Fink is one of his finest. Mann’s tribute to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth will appeal to anyone who recalls the glory days of hot rods and custom cars.

Roth pioneered customizing in the late ’50s, taking his cue from the legendary Von Dutch, eventually becoming the first hot-rodder to sculpt custom cars out of fiberglass, the first to airbrush custom “monster” designs on T-shirts, and the inventor of Rat Fink.

MV5BMTIyODQzNTU1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTEyOTYzMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Rat Fink was the “anti-Mickey Mouse” adopted as the drooling mascot of rodders, surfers, model-building hobbyists and assorted misfits throughout the ’60s. Millions of kids wore the shirts, or slapped Rat Fink stickers everywhere in sight.

For this film, Mann paired up with Mike Roberts, whose animation brings Rat Fink to life in a fittingly “gross” manner.  John Goodman narrates as the voice of the late Roth, looking back at his creations.   Ann-Margret, the Smothers Brothers, Jay Leno, Brian Wilson, Stone Cold Steve Austin and others lend their voices to custom cars that “talk” with flashing headlights. Mann’s tribute perfectly portrays Ed Roth’s legacy as the creator of Rat Fink and the leader of a pop-culture rebellion.

You can purchase this documentary on DVD, which includes tons of bonus features.

RFC Flashback: Episode 109

This week we flash back almost exactly five years to our third “Show Without Words.” This is episode 109 of Radio Free Charleston, “Shazam shirt,” and our host segments are done comic-book style.

Our music for this episode came from David Synn and D.T. Stephenson, who coincidentally teamed up to form a short-lived band after they agreed to became part of this show. We also have RFC faves, Blue Million, ripping through an instrumental blues jam during a sound check at Bruno’s (now known as “Sully’s”).

Our animation was courtesy of Frank Panucci and we also featured the oldest surviving Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie. Plus there’s a quick, photographic tour of LiveMix Studio, our longtime production partner, since departed from this world.

Since we’re about to launch into a nostalgic look at the first ten years of PopCult, I thought it’d be fun to check out what we were doing at the half-way mark. Read the original production notes HERE.

11892006_10153090697508657_5940669323947301831_nThe PopCulteer
August 21, 2015

We’ve got a few short items and plugs this week, then a bunch of Stuff To Do. Read on and you’ll find out why next week is a big deal here at PopCult.


Jake Fertig is a local artist, animator and filmmaker who you may remember from his great contributions to Radio Free Charleston over the last couple of years. His political satires, aimed squarely at our home state of West Virginia, have been both hilarious and heart-breaking. Now he’s working on a feature-length animated film, Coal Republic, and he has an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund it.

Here’s what Jake has to say about the project…

And here’s where you can go to help make this film become a reality…


The RFC MINI SHOW this week featured the debut perfomance of Chuck Biel’s Jazz Lab One. Read more about it HERE and watch the show right here…

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Frazetta Covers The Creeps

The PopCult Bookshelf

The Creeps #3
written and drawn by various creators
published by Warrant Publishing

A few months ago I told you about the first two issues of The Creeps, a great new black-and-white horror anthology magazine-sized comic book. They were a great throwback to the classic Warren Magazines, Creepy and Eerie, using some of the original artists and writers and featuring cover art from some of the classic artists of the Warren era.

Their third issue is another terrific journey through a forgotten form of comics. The cover artist is none other than the late Frank Frazetta, who was THE definitive Warren cover painter. Interior art and story is provided by a mix of Warren veterans like Neal Adams, Rich Buckler, Roger McKenzie, and Alan Weiss with newcomers Artie Godwin, Alex Williamson and Mikael Bergkvist and others.

With the page count increased since the first issue, and the creators finding their footing, this third issue of The Creeps is the best yet. The stories are solid and the art is nearly up to the old Warren standards.

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Coming To Comic Shops Later This Year…

Diamond Select Toys, the folks who distribute goodies to comic book stores, Toys R Us and other outlets, have announced the following cool toys and 260RZ_oDm5IzyZtZuT6KqEwXZGnK9As3m5kShAFGzkAthings which are available for pre-order. These are expected by the end of the year, with some showing up before Christmas. Here’s what they told us about these goodies:

Aliens Warrior Alien Ceramic Cookie Jar

A Diamond Select Toys Release! Cookie thieves mostly come out at night, mostly, so make sure your cookies are safe with this detailed ceramic cookie jar in the shape of a ferocious Alien Warrior from the sci-fi classic Aliens! Even if it doesn’t instantly send thieves running from the room, no one will dare lift the jar’s removable skullcap to get at the sweet, sweet cookies inside – there are way too many nasty things inside a xenomorph to take the risk! This approximately 12” tall cookie jar comes packaged in a full-color box. Sculpted by Paul Harding!  (SRP: $44.99)

Batman The Animated Series Batmobile Vinyl Bank

YphHjURXJQ9pviRJNsYj6RQZ5C6nFtmYD4w7UQswsnsA Diamond Select Toys release! Where does Batman get those wonderful toys? He saves up for them! In fact, if Batman used a piggy bank, it would probably be in the shape of the classic, streamlined Batmobile as seen in Batman: The Animated Series. This approximately 12” long vinyl bank looks like it just drove off the streets of animated Gotham City, and has a coin slot in the top and an access door underneath so you can save up for that grappling hook you’ve had your eye on. Packaged in a clear polybag. (SRP: $29.99)

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R.I.P. Yvonne Craig

An Yvonne Craig montage, taken from The Women of Star Trek Facebook page
An Yvonne Craig montage, taken from The Women of Star Trek Facebook page

News broke late last night that Yvonne Craig, who made her mark on two iconic pop culture TV classics in the 1960s, lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. Craig was most famous for playing Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl, on the third season of the Batman TV show.  She just signed a deal to have toys made using her likeness in 2013, and the first of those just started showing up in toy stores this summer.

Yvonne Craig played Marta, the green-skinned dancing girl and asylum inmate, in the Star Trek (The Original Series) episode, “Whom Gods Destroy.” Marta assisted Garth of Izar in his attempt to take over a colony on Elba II.

Craig was a warm and friendly presence at pop culture conventions and will be greatly missed by all who met her. She passed away Monday, surrounded by family. You can read her full obituary HERE and a message from her family HERE. She was the subject of Monday Morning Art back in December, 2011.

Two Years Ago Today

header teaser 001August 18, 2013.

That’s when I began posting fresh content every day here in PopCult– Seven days a week, sometimes twice a day.

This is actually post number 1,001 since we began our “fresh content everyday” trip. That’s actually give-or-take a couple. Two posts have been temporarily removed to prevent a nuisance lawsuit from a crackpot with deep pockets, but for the most part, the past two years have shown what a single-author blog can be, if you find a single-author who’s stubborn enough to stick with it.

I’m not really making a big deal about this because next week will be all about making a big deal out of our tenth anniversary. PopCult began life as a “Gazzblog” on August 28, 2005.  It does not seem like it’s been ten years already.

We plan to have some great new content, and on August 28, we will repost one classic PopCult post every hour, on the hour.

I don’t know if it’ll happen in time for our anniversary, but PopCult will be undergoing some cosmetic changes soon as a result of the merger of The Charleston Gazette with The Charleston Daily Mail. We really haven’t had a major new graphic look since PopCult debuted in 2005, so we’re looking forward to it, and we hope they use the cover image we’ve been working on for the last couple of days.

We hope to have new episodes of the Radio Free Charleston and ShockaCon Horror Show podcasts ready for you later today or tomorrow. The delay is all on me this week. I’m running behind, but working on them.

Chuck Biel’s Jazz Lab One on The RFC MINI SHOW

L-R Chuck Biel, Joey Lafferty, Will Taylor
L-R Chuck Biel, Joey Lafferty, Will Taylor

Recorded live at The Empty Glass, this week we hear from Chuck Biel’s Jazz Lab One. This talented line up of Chuck’s students showed off their mind-blowing chops while tearing through progressive jazz. We’ll hear the band performing the tune, “Sea Journey.”

L-R Sean Casey, Dylan Daal, Chuck Biel
L-R Shawn Casey, Dillon Gaal, Chuck Biel

Chuck Biel’s Jazz lab One includes:

Guitar – Dillon Gaal. – Dillon is one of the newest and brightest young players to enter the scene for some time. Heavily influenced by everything, this intellectual guitarist pays homage to the music he plays.

Bass – Joey Lafferty – Joey is unquestionably one of the most solid Bass players in the region. His work with Trielement and others is a testament to his skill and resolve as a musician.

Keyboards – Shawn Casey – Sean is a music Scholar, Composer and our local “Frank Zappa” expert. Sean plays many instruments and holds a degree in Theater Arts.

STAFF MEMBERS for Jazz lab One are Will Taylor on Keyboards & Voice , and Instructor/Producer Chuck Biel on Drums.

If you enjoy this, keep checking back for more from Radio Free Charleston. We’re hoping to capture Chuck’s Zygote Collective soon, which is the maestro with and EDM spin.