PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

SICK, SICK, SICK…but very funny

The PopCult Bookshelf

Gag On This: The Scrofulous Cartoons of Charles Rodrigues
GagOnThis-FC11By Charles Rodrigues
ISBN-13: 978-1606998564

First of all, we have to look at the full title of this book: Gag On This: The Scrofulous Cartoons of Charles Rodrigues.  It may seem, at first, like an odd choice of words for a book filled with cartoons.

“Scrofulous” has two definitions at the Merriam-Webster website:

a :  having a diseased run-down appearance
b :  morally contaminated <scrofulous characters…so quick to smear — John Garrity>

While you might find it odd to have a word generally associated with tuberculosis of the lymph nodes being used to describe a collection of cartoons, when you look at Rodrigues’ work, it’s actually damned-near the perfect word for the job.

This book is a collection of gag cartoons by Charles Rodrigues that were originally published in The National Lampoon in the 1970s and 1980s. Given the sick sense of humor that Rodrigues displayed, and the Lampoon’s counter-culture “no sacred cows” bent, it’s no surprise that these cartoons test the boundaries of good taste.

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The 2015 HESS Truck is a Fire Engine!

The PopCult Toybox


Last month I told you about how this year the famous HESS Christmas truck would be announce in late October. Well, the time has come and this year’s truck is a beauty. It’s a Fire Engine Platform Truck carrying a ladder-equipped SUV.

The 2015 Hess Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue will be available for sale online starting Sunday, November 1 at www.hesstoytruck.com for $30.99 with free standard shipping and 5 Energizer batteries included.

The ultra-rare Silver Edition
The ultra-rare Silver Edition

100 lucky customers will find a Silver Edition Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue when they open their 2015 Hess Toy Truck package.

Inside they’ll find an individually numbered Silver Edition Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue , and instructions on how they can obtain a regular edition for free.It’s sort of like the “Golden Ticket” in Willy Wonka, only it’s Silver…and it’s a Fire Truck.

Two cool trucks for the price of one!
Two cool trucks for the price of one!

The Hess Toy Truck has been a holiday tradition since 1964, and is one of the longest running toy brands on the market. This year’s Hess Toy is a red Fire Truck with oversized tires, swiveling chrome-detailed fire hose nozzles, LED lights including a high-powered pivoting LED searchlight, a slide-out ramp and 4 realistic sound effects. The accompanying Ladder Rescue features a rotating extension ladder with a movable nozzle and push-activated friction motor. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one.

Midweek Stuff To Do 10-21

Cool events happening in the middle of the week, some of them free,  for your enjoyment.



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hasil_explaining_webRFCv3 #39

Opening Track: John Inghram’s Slugfest  “The Gospel”

This week the Radio Free Charleston podcast brings you a little more than half an hour of great local and regional music, then we smack you right upside the head with a double dose of psychobilly madness as we revisit two star of our previous second-hour themes, The Amazing Delores and Hasil Adkins. We kick off the show with a fresh-out-of-the-oven track from John Inghram’s Slugfest, who will play at the afterparty of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Saturday at The Empty Glass.

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, in fact, things are happening right now–big things, but we can’t talk about them now. .

You can listen to the show in this widget [HERE] or if that’s not working or turning into a widget like it’s supposed to, right click on it and save it as a download, or open it in a new window to listen, or you could just click over to Voices of Appalachia. We’re trying to cover all our bases here.

Our playlist this week:

Under Social “Away”
Tape Age “The Hanged Man”
Todd Rundgren “Global Nation”
Superfetch “Quirky Bubbles”

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Ryan Kennedy on The RFC MINI SHOW

Ryan 02This week The RFC MINI SHOW brings you a performance by guitar master, Ryan Kennedy, recorded live at Third Eye Cabaret last August. Kennedy performs the theme from the movie “Black Orpheus” by Louis Bonfi, and two pieces by Antonio Lauro, “Tatiana” and “Natalia.”

In addition to his solo work, Ryan also plays with the Bob Thompson Unit (Thompson will be inducted in the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame this weekend), The Hepcats, Terra Firma Ensemble, John Inghram’s Slugfest and The Mountain Stage Band. He’s also in demand as a guest on performances and recordings by other artists. Watch the show and you’ll see why, although this is an acoustic guitar set, Ryan can also shred a bit on the electric guitar.

As busy as he is, it’s surprising that Ryan doesn’t have a website so that we can keep up with him. However, he’s so busy that keeping the website updated would be a full-time job. I’m not sure when his next gig is, but I’m pretty sure that the Mountain Stage Band will be the house band for The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame this Saturday. You can read all about it HERE.


Today’s art is a digital painting based on a photo from last night’s session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. The theme was “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” The models were Luna L’Enfant and Elle X. And evening was a lot of fun. The next Dr. Sketchy’s session is scheduled for November 15 at WVSU EDC (AKA DigiSo), with the theme and models yet to be confirmed. As always, click to enlarge, and look for more from this session next week.

Check PopCult later Monday for The RFC MINI SHOW starring Ryan Kennedy.

Sunday Evening Video: ELP Live In Montreal, 1977

elp01A little more than a week ago, the nominees for induction into the 2016 class of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced. What was remarkable about this year’s batch of nomininees was that YES, one of the biggest progressive rock groups in history, was nominated.

If you know anything about the Rock and Roll HOF, you know that it is governed under the somewhat dictatorial iron first of Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, and a man who hates progressive rock so much that, given the chance to either eliminate cancer or progressive rock from the world forever, would be hard-pressed to make a decision. Wenner is rumored to hold veto power over inductees of the Hall of Fame so that he can exclude any artist that he doesn’t like, regardless of how deserving they are.

YES was nominated this year because of the Hall’s policy of throwing a bone to deserving musicians that Wenner doesn’t care for by not nominating them until a key member of the group, or a solo performer, dies. Earlier this year Chris Squire, the founding member and bass player for YES, succumbed to Leukemia. That’s the only reason YES was nominated, even though they should have been inducted in the inaugural class. If Chris Squire of YES gets in posthumously, it will put him in the company of George Harrison and Frank Zappa.

Which brings us to Emerson, Lake and Palmer…this is a band that Wenner holds in even deeper contempt. A prog-rock supergroup, this band sold out arenas and moved millions of albums back in the 1970s when Wenner’s chosen list of critic’s darlings couldn’t get arrested. YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Genesis were the “Big Three” of progressive rock back in the 1970s.While none of these bands could catch a critical break from Rolling Stone, all of them sold millions of records and concert tickets. ELP may have been the most-hated band in the closed clique of rock critics of the day.

And so, tonight we bring you ELP, in all their bombastic glory, with a full orchestra no less, at their peak in 1977 performing live in Montreal. This is our extended middle finger flung in the direction of Mr. Wenner and his circle of conservative, angry old white guys who hate progressive rock. Enjoy!


RFC Flashback To More Halloween

Continuing our look at Radio Free Charleston’s ghosts of Halloweens past, we go back to two years where we simply shot our Halloween shows at ShockaCon, West Virginia’s premiere horror/sci fi convention. I’m telling you, it worked out great with tons of cool stuff and performances by HarraH, The Nanker Phelge, The Renfields, The Big Bad, Foz Rotton, The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque and more. One year I even interviewed people, which I hardly ever do on RFC.

If it seems like a bit of a rip-off because I just posted these as a flashback last month…just remember that getting disappointed by what you get at Halloween is one of those life lessons that prepares you for adulthood.  Everybody else got a fresh flashback, and you got a rock.

Next week we’ll bring you last year’s epic, all-star Halloween extravaganza, and if the plan comes to fruition, we’ll follow it up a week from Monday with this year’s Halloween show. But for now, check out these goodies…


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Way Too Much Stuff To Do This Weekend

Img_50410The PopCulteer
October 16, 2015

Your Popculteer is buried under paying work this week, so we’re doing a shortened PopCulteer. Yes, that means that it’s all STUFF TO DO.

Before we get into our weekly mini-podcast, I want to single out one event, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School happens again this Sunday at 6 PM at DigiSo (AKA WVSU EDC) on Kanawha Boulevard near Patrick Street.

The theme this month is Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and the models are Luna L’Enfant (see at the top right of this post) and Cat Schrodinger (below left).

Img_7214Dr. Sketchy’s is a BYOB life-drawing and photography event, open to ages eighteen and up (drinking only for twenty-one and up). Artists bring their own supplies, photographers should be mindful of blocking the line-of-sight of others and muralists need to bring their own walls.

Ten bucks gets you in to this cool art-making event.


You can listen to The STUFF TO DO podcast on this little widget [HERE] and find out about a bunch of cool stuff you can get into this weekend.

If you require a visual aid, here are some graphics…


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New Charlton Arrow and Steve Ditko’s Weird Comics

The PopCult Bookshelf

Char 001It’s been a few months since we’ve checked in with our friends behind the Charlton Neo movement and they’ve got two great new print volumes currently available.  In case you haven’t been reading PopCult for the last year and a half or so, the Charlton Neo movement is a revival of sorts of Charlton Comics, the loveable, perennial also-ran of the comic book world that published their last comic in 1986.

This revival all began with The Charlton Arrow, a Facebook page which became an anthology comic book, and now Charlton Neo has expanded into a full line of comic books including Westerns, Romance, Hot Rods, and other cool, less-explored comic book genres.  You can help support Charlton Neo by contributing to their Patreon site, where for as little as one dollar a month you can gain access to Pix-C, a growing assortment of very high quality weekly web comics.  But this week, we’re going to look at their two latest print releases.

The Charlton Arrow #4
12072728_903140216432343_6801481860581362796_nWritten and Drawn by Various
Published by Charlton Neo
Available from Amazon and Mort Todd.com

The latest issue of The Charlton Arrow, the flagship title of the Charlton Neo movement, includes a terrific mix of great stories.

The book leads off with “Day of Decision,” a story that combines the stars of three Charlton humor strips, “Li’l Tomboy,” “Li’l Genius,” and “Rock and Rollo.”  Believe it or not, this funny kids comic is actually filled with existential angst, kind of. We are then treated to a text story starring “Sue and Sally Smith, The Flying Nurses,” written by Larry Wilson with a really cool illustration by Mark Wheatley

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