PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Terra Climber

71dpkgt7tzl-_sl1500_Mattel has revived the beloved TYCO brand name with a really cool remote control vehicle that moves like nothing you’ve ever seen. We saw this at Toy Fair for the first time, and there’s no wonder why it’s one of the hot toys this holiday season. Check out the video above to see Terra Climber in action.

Terra Climber is the first remote control vehicle that can actually climb stairs. We shot this video in the Mattel showroom and it is a remarkable demonstration. Terra Climber is in stores now for under a hundred bucks, and as low as $78 online.

giftguide-graphic-008In addition to being just a cool all around remote control toy, Terra Climber is useful for people who live in split level homes that want to herd cats. Pet owners can even try to balance bowls of food on Terra Climber so that they can deliver a meal to their loving pet.

This is a great gift for kids of any age. There’s so much play value here that adults may not want to share it with their children. Kids never know how to play with cool stuff like this the right way anyway.

Terra Climber is available anywhere remote control toys are sold.


giftguide-graphic-008Our next item in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide is a limited edition, so you’ll have to act fast in order to get one in time for the holidays. This is the perfect gift for the Aqua Cadet on your list, it’s a special watch designed by Vannen for The Aquabats! You remember The Aquabats, right? They’re super-hero New Wave/Ska musicians who fight evil and make great music. I’ve been writing about them here in PopCult for over a decade.

Let’s look at the PR:

30900_400x400Attention homies: did you know if you wear The Aquabats Power Watch every day, it’ll make your super powers 9% stronger? What’s that? You don’t have The Aquabats Power Watch!? Lucky you, a fresh batch from Vannen is now available for purchase.

The Aquabats Power Watch features Lil’ Bat silkscreened on the dial, grey index markings on the crystal, and super engravings on the back casing and crown. This initial offering of The Aquabats Power Watch is limited to just 200 pieces. And if you’re super lucky, you might even get a Power Watch sleeve, signed by The Aquabats!

This initial offering of The Aquabats Power Watch is limited to 200 pieces and will ship out immediately. But when the first 200 pieces sell out, we’ll switch over to taking pre-orders for the next batch of Power Watches shipping the second week of November.

What are you waiting for? You know someone on your gift list needs this, and it’s been made in very limited quantities. Act now before the Floating Eye of Death snaeks up on you! It’s only sixty bucks, from the Aquabats’ merch store.


Monday Morning Art: Layers



We kick off this week in PopCult with an abstract digital painting of mine, actually a variation on an earlier work, that I like enough that I may eventually paint a room in these colors. You can click to enlarge it.

Remember, we are in the midst of the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide, and over at The AIR, we’re just blasting off with a week of holiday marathon programming. Today you can tune in at 7 AM for ten hours of progressive rock with the Prognosis marathon, hosted by Herman Linte, who will also provide a themed Gift Guide entry today. At 5 PM get ready for seven hours of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy, hosted by Lee Harrah, and at midnight settle in for an overnight shower of That Conversation with Patrick Felton, as Patrick interviews local artsy types.

You can listen in on this cool little embedded player, because I haven’t had time to figure out how make an app yet…

Sunday Evening Videos: Uni Revisted


Tonight we’re diving back into ancient times to re-present a few cool videos by one of my MySpace friends, Uni And Her Ukelele, and first up  it’s her performing the song “La La Happy, Too” with the Ding! String Trio, filmed at Aunt Daisy’s Boathouse in Titahi Bay, New Zealand.

I first posted these videos almost eight years ago, which is why I refer to Uni as a “MySpace Friend.” I thought it might be cool to remind folks of her legendary Ukulele prowess and let you know that she’s released a few albums since I originally posted this. I think I first discovered Uni via The Aquabats.

Uni is Heather Marie Ellison.Uni and her Ukelele began it’s life in 2004 as an outlet for an already accomplished singer to self publish and perform original work independently. Since that time Uni has released three full albums, numerous E.P’s, collaborations and a covers album ranging from lo -fi indie pop to melodic strings to rock. Uni’s sound has been described as eclectic, infectious pop and not your usual Ukulele fare.

After the jump, we’ll look at a couple of Uni’s other songs.

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giftguide-graphic-008Everybody eats, so you know you can’t go wrong with the gift of food. Since this is a traditional time of feasting, our gift suggestions are all for local restaurants. Actually, our suggestion is ALL our locally-owned restaurants. Most of our suggested restaurants offer gift certificates. Even if they don’t, you can still take your giftee out and treat them not only to a great meal, but also to the pleasure of your company.

Charleston is blessed with a wide variety of great, independent eateries. Take that into account when choosing one for the gift-giving experience. You have a lot of great options. Contact info can be found in the links with the names on our list.

With more than a year under their belt, The Olive Tree Cafe and Catering, are already a reliable favorite on the Charleston culinary scene. Their tasty Mediterrean fare is top-notch and the service is quick and friendly. They offer up great salads and sandwiches, and their shawarma is the stuff of legend. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 7 PM. It’s a casual dining atmosphere and they have lots of other deli goodies for sale.

Their Facebook desciption says, “An old world Philadelphia style deli with authentic Mediterranean delicacies, specialty sandwiches, cheeses, gourmet retail & more! Eat in or take away. ” Located at 333, Second Avenue in South Charleston.

Other newer restaurants you might want to consider are The Block and Bricks & Barrels. And of course, there are all the old favorites. You can buy gift cards or certificates for Bluegrass Kitchen, Tricky Fish, Starling’s Coffee and Provisions, Leonoro’s, Mi Cocini De Amor, Pies & Pints, Lola’s, Bridge Road Bistro, Adelphia, Fazio’s, Mayberry’s and Taste of Asia. These are the stores that we know off the top of our heads offer gift certificates or cards. You might want to ask around to see if your favorite local restaurant also offers gift certificates. If they do, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments section, and be advised that we will be taking a closer look at some other local restaurants later in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide.

PC 9 16 airAll week long on The AIR, we will be running marathons of our most popular programs as a way to introduce them to new audiences and allow their fans to binge-listen to their favorites. This is in no way a cheap stunt to allow your PopCulteer to schedule re-runs for a week in advance so that he can get out of town and not have to worry about it.

Listen on this player, or at the website…

Sunday, you can hear Six Degress of Separation, the in-depth interview show featuring local musicians, recorded at The Empty Glass and hosted by Jason “Roadblock” Robinson and Tim Dorsey,  from Noon until 8 PM. At 8 PM, tune in for four hours of The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. Overnight you can listen in shock and amazement as Word Association with Lee & Rudy goes into overdrive.

Monday you’ll be treated to marathons of Prognosis, hosted by Herman Linte, Harrah’s Hard & Heavy and That Conversation with Patrick Felton. Tuesday sees Radio Free Charleston bring you local music from 7 AM until 3 Pm. At 3 PM The Swing Shift takes over until Midnight before giving way to The Booster Pack, with Chase Henderson and Terry Bartley.

Wednesday you can hear every episode to date of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum, beginning at 9 AM. Mel Larch takes over at 3 PM with nine hurs of show tunes on Curtain Call. At Midnight, The Gibby Hunters go nuts.

Thursday being Thanksgiving, we’re treating you to a full day of Radio Free Charleston and Radio Free Charleston International, all mixed together from 7 AM to 1 AM. The overnight shift before Black Friday is filled with The Mystery Hour.

Black Friday is a comedy smorgasboard, with Laugh Applachia, The Comedy Hour, The Goon Show and a brand-new episode of our new program, The Third Shift, running all day long.

Saturday, starting at 12 AM, you will be able to indulge in 24 hours of New Wave music with the Sydney’s Big Electric Cat marathon. Next Sunday you can tune in at 11 AM for a replay of our Halloween marathon presentation of Book One of The Stand, by Stephen King.

All this will be going on while we juggle posts with the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide, so pay attention folks. It’s going to be crazy here.

JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Convention 2016

joelanta-logWe have a special treat for PopCult readers tonight. Every March, for the last few years, I’ve traveled to Atlanta for JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention. It’s always a wonderful time and I always rush back to share video with my readers. However, this year after returning and posting a few videos, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis and began treatment which affected my eyesight so severely that I was not able to handle editing video for nearly eight months. Making matters worse, this happened to me before I got our big JoeLanta wrap-up video finished.

Long story short–my treatment has been very successful, and the week before last I was cleared to resume video editing. For the last eight months this unfinished project has been weighing heavily on my mind. I am thrilled to be able to present it to you right now, especially because I’m heading down to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and wanted to clear this very important job off my desk before I took a vacation. Now I can rest a bit and turn my attention to producing the first new video episode of Radio Free Charleston since January.

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giftguide-graphic-008One week from today it’s Small Business Saturday, and we’re going to once again shine the PopCult Gift Guide spotlight on local merchants. You should get out and support our local stores. 100% of every dollar spent with a local retailer stays relatively local. There are the folks who have cool stuff and gift certificates. If we missed any, please feel free to give ’em a plug in the comments section. Don’t forget to check out Oddbird Gift Emporium, whom we told you about yesterday.

So shop local and purchase gift certificates from cool area merchants like Art Emporium,Collage, Stray Dog Antiques, The Purple Moon, Taylor Books, Sullivan’s Records, Budget Tapes & Records, and Kid Country Toys and Eclectics, and the other Bridge Road shops.

If you want to treat your loved one to some professional tender loving care, we can recommend Amy Williams Wellness, Bliss Spa and Boutique or Neu Asthetic. If your chosen gifting target is a reader, visit Woodland Press for an enormous selection of books by local authors.

The main thing is to get out there and shop local. I know it’s convenient to click away, and lord knows I’ve included tons of online-only items in the Gift Guide, but the local touch means so much more, and you make your immediate world a better place.

Radio Free Charleston’s 23rd episode was a major departure. Delayed more than a month from its intended debut due to the death of my aunt, this episode featured the reunion of The Feast Of Stephen, who hadn’t played together in 14 years when we managed to corral them all in the studio on May 12, 2007. It was a magic night as Bob Miller, Joey Fabulous, John Radcliff, Dan Jordan, Tommy Medvick and Fred Tyler came together to play music for the sheer joy of it. The energy at LiveMix Studio that night was amazing, and I still rank this show among my best work.

This show has become bittersweet to watch after the death of Tommy Medvick in 2015, but it’s a testament to his charm and winning personality that he is still able to make us smile.

This was a four-camera shoot, with Jerry Fugate joining me on handheld, in addition to our two stationary cameras. Melanie was busy with tech week for the WVSO production of “Carmen.” There were good times.Original production notes are HERE.

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Oddbird Gift Emporium

giftguide-graphic-008One of the coolest new shops in Downtown Charleston is Oddbird Gift Emporium, located at the corner of Capitol and Lee Streets, right across from the Lee Street Triangle.

Owned and operated by local arts maven, Naomi Bays, Oddbird offers a collection of quirky, fun gifts for the home, office, beauty, baby, garden and everywhere in between.

Open six days a week, Oddbird Gift Emporium has a good number of items made right here in the Mountain State.

14993305_1007550006040465_264656979996721174_nThe All things West By God Virginia holiday tree features Old World Christmas and handmade ornaments that originate right here. Oddbird also carries the clothing lines, Mata Traders and Kavu. and has a really cool assortment of gift wrap paper, and they’ll do the wrapping for you if, like your PopCulteer, you are unable to wrap a package that doesn’t look like it contains something toxic.

14883673_1001506766644789_2623561060365945792_oAside from the clothing and ornamets, Oddbird Gift Emporium is loaded with cool housewares, knicknacks, cooking items, custom-made soaps and candles and more. One really cool item is a maneki neko-inspired teapot. You’ll also find art prints, pottery, dinnerware, mugs and tons of other neat things.

You’ll even find printed towels, aprons and umbrellas. Best of all, instead of wracking your brain trying to pick out the perfect gift from this awesome collection of unique giftery, you can simply purchase of gift certificate from Oddbird Gift Emporium and shift the burden of labor onto the lucky receipient on your holiday shopping list.

Oddbird Gift Emporium is open six days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from  10:30 AM to 6:00 PM; Friday from 10:30 AM to 7:00 PM; Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and Sunday from Noon to 4:00 PM. You will find this shop at 247 Capitol St (right across from the Lee Street Triangle) and you can call (304) 344-2473 or email oddbirdgifts@gmail.com, for details on purchasing gift certificates.