PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Maido: A Gaijin’s Guide to Japanese Gestures and Culture
51tyxpxeyql-_sx331_bo1204203200_by Christy Colon Hasegawa
ISBN-13: 978-0764352676

This is the perfect gift for that person on your list who is obsessed with Japanese culture. With the rise of Anime, Manga and Kawai, lots of people are falling in love with the ways of the Nipponese people. Maido: A Gaijin’s Guide to Japanese Gestures and Culture is a great way to further break down the cultural barriers.

Maido (my-dough, not to be confused with that childhood favorite, Play-Doh) describes the most common Japanese gestures and defines their meanings and the cultural contexts that surround them. Japanese gestures are a world of their own, much the way the language and country are. In the Kansai region of Japan, people often use the term Maido as a greeting in business and sales, and as a send-off to a business’s best customers as if to say, “come again” or “thank you.”

giftguide-graphic-008In this case, Maido is welcoming you to a world in which you don’t offend every Japanese person you meet. By learning a few simple gestures you can avoid making intercultural slip-ups and win the respect of locals. And who knows―maybe the next time you walk into the local izakaya (watering hole), you may be lucky enough to hear someone saying, “Maido! Maido!” to you.

Maido: A Gaijin’s Guide to Japanese Gestures and Culture can be ordered from Amazon, or from any local bookstore by using the ISBN code above.

giftguide-graphic-008Our next pick in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide is exclusive to PledgeMusic, so you’ll want to order early because there’s less than two weeks left to get in on this deal. For the first time on DVD the Lon Chaney silent movie Phantom of the Opera, with a newly-remixed Rick Wakeman Soundtrack that was originally composed in 1988, will be sold together in a variety of special packages. There are different magnitudes of awesomeness available with this set, ranging from a simple unsigned CD/DVD package to several deluxe signed, boxed items, vinyl versions and related merchandise.

largeThe legendary 1925 Lon Chaney film is brought to life with a specially-commissioned Rick Wakeman soundtrack. This is the first time this version of the film has been issued on DVD, as such the images have been fully restored and the sound track lovingly remastered.

The DVD also has several bonus features, including a Rick Wakeman commentary; an introduction by Christopher Lee; the featurette, Rick and the Phantom; plus the original trailer.

The soundtrack double CD is the original Rick Wakeman unedited soundtrack and contains the original mixes of the songs which are different to what eventually appeared on his album Phantom Power.

Visit PledgeMusic for more details, and do it quick! Most of these items will ship in time for Christmas.

noel-slideNoel Shuffle is a Christmas challenge that connects family and friends through continuous play of shuffling gingerbread characters to create words. This is a fun Christmas game that doubles as a decoration and comes with a cute little storybook too.

This cool holiday toy is a book with four small plush gingerbread men (and women) who have letters on their chests that spell out “NOEL” It’s a lot of fun and in the video, Jane E. Rogers, the creator of the book and game, tells us all about its origins.

The Noel Shuffle is a holiday family challenge which stemmed from the author herself, and brings out the playful dynamics of the holiday spirit.

giftguide-graphic-008Growing up in the quaint town of Elizabethton, Tennessee, author, Jane E. Rogers, often found herself doing craft projects with the help of her creative mother, Patsy. Fast forward time and Jane was now a mother herself. Jane and her mother were hard at work with their scissors, paint, and glue guns as they began to mold that year’s Christmas project into perfection. What started out as elves, eventually turned into festive wooden block Gingerbread people, which spelled out “Noel.” These decorative blocks were thought to be just another ordinary holiday decoration to bring seasonal flare to Jane’s family room; that is until…

One day, Jane, noticed the Gingerbread characters that read, “Noel” had been changed to, “Leon.” Paying little attention to it, Jane simply rearranged the letters to again read, Noel. Not much time had passed before she crossed paths with the gingerbread characters that once more read, “Leon.” This time, she knew something was up and looked at her 7 year old son, Josh, who was standing by with a mischievous smile on his face. The gingerbread blocks continually see-sawed from Noel to Leon and suddenly a Christmas tradition gained traction.

As the family grew, so did the tradition, it was an understanding that come Christmas time, you were either Team Noel or Team Leon in the author’s household. As family and friends came and went during the holiday season, they would often ask why these holiday decorations might have read, “Leon?” After a brief explanation, they found themselves amused and joining a side to play along. All this fun would result in guests asking how they could obtain a set of gingerbread people for their own home. Jane crafted and gave away many gingerbread decorative sets over the past 20 years.

In 2013, Jane felt compelled to share their family’s holiday challenge by writing a children’s book that brings the gingerbread characters to life and teaches wholesome family values along the way. After investing countless hours, Jane’s prayers were answered and her hard work paid off. Jane was given the opportunity to manufacture the gingerbread people into plush characters and publish her children’s story book. Illustrator, Scott Oatman took Jane’s vision and sketched it onto the pages just as crafty as the projects Jane had once designed with her mother. This whimsical package set, containing 4 plush gingerbread people and book entitled NOEL SHUFFLE made it’s debut at the 2016 New York Toy Fair, which is where we interviewed Jane in the above video..

It’s a toy, a game, a book and a Christmas decoration. Check their website and Facebook page for information on how you can get your own set and start your own spell-checking family tradition. .

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Scarpelli & Kehde’s MARY

giftguide-graphic-008A Charleston tradition, Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde’s rock opera, MARY, opens the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll have six chances to see the 20th production put on by Charleston Youth Arts Company. Above you can see a sampling of previous productions.

Scarpelli and Kehde’s rock opera MARY follows the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, during the final 9 months before the birth of Christ. A driving score and vibrant young talent brings the story to life on the stage of the WVSU Capitol Center, 123 Summers Street, Charleston. Accompanied by a large orchestra and chorus, MARY has become a seasonal tradition in the greater Kanawha Valley.

mary artThis is an experience, a wonderful gift of music and theater that is perfect for the person on your list who isn’t just interested in material things. Tickets are $8.00 Students and $15.00 Adults.  Available at the door or by calling 342-6522 for reservations.

You can see Scarpelli and Kehde’s MARY at 8 PM November 25 and 26, and December 1, 2 and 3. And there is a 2 PM matinee Sunday, November 27.

This is our local pick for today in the PopCult Gift Guide, but it’s a world-class show that really has to be seen in person to be appreciated. CYAC is pulling out all the stops for this 20th production and theater lovers, music lovers as well as followers of the Christian faith should make it a point to attend, and it’s such a special show that it makes a perfect gift.

51n8tndkcdlThe World of Edena
by Moebius
Dark Horse Books
ISBN-13: 978-1506702162

This PopCult Gift Guide pick is for the connoisseur of fine French comics. The World of Edena is a huge new collection of stories from the late master of sequential storytelling, Jean “Moebius” Girard. Some of the stories in this huge (344 page) collection have been published in the US before, but not all of them, and never with this previously-unpublished translations by the late Kim Thompson. This is part of an ongoing project to put the work of Moebius back in print–with some material in English for the first time!

Stel and Atan are interstellar investigators trying to find a lost space station and its crew. When they discover the mythical paradise planet Edena, their lives are changed forever. The long out-of-print Edena Cycle from Moebius gets a deluxe hardcover treatment! Moebius’s World of Edena story arc is comprised of five chapters–Upon a Star, Gardens of Edena, The Goddess, Stel, and Sra–which are all collected here.

giftguide-graphic-008A storyboard artist and designer (Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, among many others) as well as comic book master, Moebius’s work has influenced creators in countless fields.While French artist Jean Giraud was already a well-known comic artist with his hard-boiled western series Blueberry, he built an entire second career under the pen name Moebius beginning in 1963 with a series of short stories. In later years, Moebius would become world famous for his science-fiction, artistic, and erotic art. He is admired for his many collaborations with Alejandro Jodorowsky such as the wordless comics fantasy, Arzach.

This book is a treasure in the sincerest sense of the word. The World of Edena  can be ordered from any local bookstore by using the ISBN code above, but Amazon offers it at a substantial discount.

Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever
81p1jkiisslby Frank Conniff
Pothouse 90 Press
ISBN-13: 978-0692751978

If you have a fan of MST3K on your holiday shopping list, this hilarious, brisk read is the perfect gift, pearls of wisdom directly from TV’s Frank, Frank Conniff.

In 1990, Frank Conniff joined the staff of Mystery Science Theater 3000. First he was hired as a writer, then he was called upon to play TV’s Frank, the bumbling yet lovable Mad Scientist henchman in Deep 13. And then he was given the sacred duty of finding the films that would be riffed on the show. Thus, because of his actions, the world now knows of Manos: The Hands of Fate, Monster A-Go-Go, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Teenagers From Outer Space, and many other cheesy movies that the world would just as soon not know about.

giftguide-graphic-008In these essays, TV’s Frank focuses on twenty-five of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 films he found and riffed with his fellow MST3K writers and cast mates. Learn the story of how a comedian who was lucky enough to work on beloved Peabody Award winning TV show was transformed into a comedian who was lucky enough to work on a beloved Peabody Award winning TV show. It’s a story that will stay with you for the rest of your life, if you happen to die just as you finish reading the book.

In all seriousness, Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever is a load of fun and offers a great look inside the labyrnthine creative processes that were at work during the creation of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This book can be ordered from Amazon, or from any local bookstore by using the ISBN code above.

giftguide-graphic-008One of the cool toys we saw at Toy Fair this year was Lionel Mega Tracks, a three-dimensional road racing set. Just in time for the holidays, you can find this cool new toy online and at select brick and mortar retailers. The suggested price is just under a hundred dollars for the basic set, and there are several stunt packs available as add-ons.

Get ready for high-speed action with Lionel Mega Tracks, the flexible rail system that lets you create extreme racetracks anywhere. Build the track your way: attach TwisTrack to almost any surface, then customize your creation with a quick twist or turn of the track. Rocket straight up a wall or speed through a gravity-defying corkscrew – no matter how extreme the stunt!


The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Star Trek

giftguide-graphic-0082016 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and there’s a ton of merchandise out there commemorating this event. We’re going to look at just a few items for the Trekker, Trekkie or Trek-head on your holiday shopping list.

First up, we have a really cool item that we saw at Toy Fair, the Star Trek U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-A RC from Air Hogs. This real flying model comes complete with a celebratory 50th Anniversary display stand, and is a limited edition RC spaceship, perfect for collectors and enthusiasts alike.Check out our video here…

81klww9cbcl-_sl1500_Made with Trekkies in mind, the Air Hogs Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise RC features an authentic replica design with details that are sure to impress even the biggest fans! Plus this U.S.S. Enterprise Remote Control spaceship has real lights and 10 authentic Star Trek sounds, including a phaser sound effect!

You should be able to find this at any store that sells Air Hogs, but again, Amazon has a pretty sweet deal on it right now.

Continue reading…

giftguide-graphic-008Our first video entry in the guide thie year is a terrific home edition of the Craig Ferguson-hosted TV Game Show, Celebrity Name Game, it’s perfect for our 2016 PopCult Gift Guide Picks.

Now you can play the fabulously fun game, just like they do on TV! Celebrity Name Game is a blast: You get the names of celebrities, characters, famous places, etc., and you make up clues to get your team to guess the names! Like, if you had the name Craig Ferguson, you might say, “funny guy, tall, wears some wild suits when he hosts Celebrity Name Game!”

91donfy4akl-_sl1500_Just don’t forget to hurry; it’s a race against the clock to see how many points you can get! The included electronic timer creates some audio fun while you play! It’s a great party game for 4 or more players ages 13 and up. Includes 150 2-Sided Cards, Score Chips, Score Pad, Electronic Timer and Rules.

Watch as Kevin Pauley and Amanda Lilly take on Jeremy Ambler and Penny Maple in a quick demo game recorded at The 2016 Mountain State Pop Expo.

Celebrity Name Game Home Edition is made by Playmonster, available from online retailers and toy, game and department stores nationwide.

Mitch O’Connell Tattoos Volume Two: 251 Designs, Bigger and Better!
61lyjfw78xlby Mitch O’Connell
Last Gasp
ISBN-13: 978-0867198188

An art book with a slight twist, Mitch O’Connell Tattoos Volume Two: 251 Designs, Bigger and Better!, is a collection of Mitch’s striking tattoo designs, collected in a handy format, perfectly for oogling and adoring.

This is a sequel to Mitch O’Connell’s first bestselling collection of tattoo designs. You’ll find over 251 full color tattoo designs by “The Prince of Pop Art,” “The Godfather of Lowbrow,” and “The Best in the Biz,” Mitch O’Connell.

If you’re not familiar with the internationally-revered M.O’C, think the old-school art of Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy mixed with a wink of lowbrow pop art. The masses have been clamoring for the follow-up to the highly-acclaimed, glowingly-reviewed and best-selling book of tattoo designs, Mitch O’Connell Tattoos Volume One.

giftguide-graphic-008This collection is full of everything you could possibly think of if you’re looking to get tattooed, perfect for every tattoo shop for your clients and staff to pursue, and a great addition to every art lovers library! If you like Pin-Ups, Horror, Wolves, Sexy Pin-Ups, Devils, Monsters, Clowns, Really Sexy Pin-ups, Tiki, Rock-a-billy, Zombies, Retro and Really REALLY Sexy Pin-ups, you’re sure to LOVE Mitch O’Connell Tattoos Volume Two.

Mitch is an old friend from way back in my comic book days and it’s cool to see him ascend as one of the most sought-after illustrators in the country. His “Trump, They Live” T-shirt design was one of the most bootlegged images of 2016. Even if you never intend to get a tattoo yourself, you’ll find something cool to enjoy in this nifty little art book.

This book can be ordered from Amazon, or from any local bookstore by using the ISBN code above.