PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Christkindlmarket Chicago

img_8992Our photo essay journeys finally take us to the Windy City, where today we look at photos of Chicago’s Christkindlmarket, in the tradition of the German town fairs of the holiday season, this Christkindlmarket is set up in the historic Daley Plaza, in the shadow of the famous Picasso sculpture. This pop-up market runs from before Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, every year.

Mel and I first visited Christkindlmarket last year over Thanksgiving, and we fell in love with the bustle, the glass ornaments and Germanic trinkets, plus the hot cocoa and apple cider and we also fell in love with the pretzels. There’s something about eating a hot pretzel (I get mine stuffed with spinach and feta) in 35 degree weather that’s almost orgasmic.

Again, we’re having some technical bugs this week here in PopCult, so every picture will not have a caption. So just look at the photos and drink in the atmosphere of a Chicago holiday tradition.

The PopCult photo essays are a bit behind schedule due to our internet-based printer’s gremlins, so you can expect us to play catch up and run more of these through the end of the year.  Stay tuned next week for essays devoted to a cool thrift store in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Rotofugi in Chicago and our chance encounter with both the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and the Planter’s Nutmobile.

This all happens in the shadow of the Picasso.

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Georgia Mercantile Company

gm001Our photo essays documenting the recent travels of Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer  continue as we visit a cool store in Senoia, Georgia, that’s just relocated to a new spot on Main Street, right in the middle of everything. Established in 2012, the Georgia Mercantile Company provides locally made, locally grown, locally produced gifts, foods, art, and more.They specialize in Georgia-based gifts including jams, jellies, sauces, rubs, books, art, stationary, postcards, shirts, and more.

Originally, Georgia Mercanitle Company was the host of the Georgia Tour Company, the folks who handle the fun and informative Walking Dead Walking Tour in Senoia. With both companies growing, the “general store” moved up the street while the tour stayed behind in their old location. It’s a fun, friendly atmosphere and in the new location, though there is a little zombie-related stuff for sale, the focus is more on their other fine products. So I thought I’d bring you a few photos of what they have to offer.

Their products can be also ordered through their online store, and you can check them out on Facebook. Ongoing technical issues here at the blog mean limited captions again, but you can still take in the wonderfulness, and shot them a Facebook message if you see anything you’d like to order.

Old school penny candy is just one of the treats in store at General Mercanile Company

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The PopCult Christmas Treat: 2010 and 2014 with RFC

rfc-xmas-logoOur cavalcade of Christmas Video continues all week long. Tonight we look at Radio Free Charleston’s 116th episode, “Christmas With CYAC,”  was a last-minute substitution for a show where all of the tapings fell through.  The original plan was that this episode of the show would feature songs from two local favorites, plus a song or two from the 2010 Contemporary Youth Arts Company production of the original rock opera, “Mary.” with everything being tied together with host segments shot the Monday before Christmas while caroling with Dan and Penny Kehde and the gang from CYAC.

The taping for the other songs didn’t happen (through no fault of the artists) and I was left with the possibility of skipping the holiday show this year, when it occurred to me that I could record some of the Christmas carols, toss in some of the tunes from “Mary” and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

In 2014 we brought you holiday music sung by lovely female voices. You will hear Melanie Larch accompanied by Mark Scarpelli, Marium Bria, Lady D-Doris Fields and The Laser Beams, plus we had an epic cartoon about the war on Christmas by Jacob Fertig. This became one of our most beoved holiday episodes.

img_8889The dioramas at Joelanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention embody the true spirit of convention’s beneficiary, The Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum. This a proposed space dedicated to preserving the artistry and celebrating the educational value of creative play. The museum is still looking for a permanent home, but at the moment, and running until late March, the Historic Train Depot in Stone Mountain Georgia is playing host to a temporary exhibit (actually three different exhibits, changing with the seasons).

On our last full day in Georgia your PopCulteer and his wife made the drive over to Stone Mountain to see the exhibit and also to visit with our friends, Marten Jallad and E. J. White, of JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention fame.

The exhibit, in a nicely-lit room at the Train Depot, consists of a great collection of vintage toys as well as some of the impressive giant dioramas that were on display at JoeLanta in previous years. You will see the work of master dioramists like Mike Gardner, Steve Bugg and Bryan Tatum who contribute every year to the expansive coolness of JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention.

The Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum is dedicated to Cody Martin Lane, an avid collector and member of the Atlanta GI Joe Collectors Club, who passed away 2007, after a long battle with a degenerative neurological disorder called CIDP.  He was 17 years old.

12294919_939284719442269_8471567765054815079_nCody collected many types of action figures, from Civil War heroes to Lord of the Rings characters to, of course, GI Joes.  He was particularly fond of the dioramas designed and built by the Joe Club members.  After his passing, the Atlanta GI Joe Club decided to create a museum in honor of Cody’s favorite art form: the diorama.

The eventual goal of Joelanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention is to help open a Toy and Diorama Museum in   Atlanta GA dedicated to the artform that Cody loved. The exhibit at Stone Mountain is open most Fridays and Saturdays until March 31, 2017. For more information visit the Stone Mountain or JoeLanta websites.

PopCult apologies, but due to technical issues, most of the following photos will appear without captions. Still, we hope they give you a good idea of how much fun this temporary exhibit is, and how cool the proposed permanent museum will be.




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The PopCult Christmas Treat: Revisiting 2009 and 2012

rfc-xmas-logoWe’re going to continue to bring you Christmas treats from the Radio Free Charleston vaults all week long as we march to the celebration of the Nativity this Sunday. Next up is our 2009 Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston. Being a Christmas show, there was only one thing we could call this edition of RFC–”Terry Funk Shirt.”

This extra-long episode is packed with music from Molly Means, Joseph Hale, Todd Burge, and Melanie Larch with The Diablo Blues Band. There’s also some classic animation from the British studio Halas and Batchelor, plus a news flash about a visit from Saint Sputnik.

Joseph and Todd’s songs were recorded at The Boulevard Tavern. We returned to the Tavern for the 2012  Christmas show, with two festive songs from The Bob Thompson Unit. You can see RFC 194 below. The show also has a great holiday tune from Frenchy and the Punk and animation from Jake Fertig.

Remember that you can stay in the holiday spirit all week long on The AIR.

bal-landau-eugene-murphy-jr-interview-2015We’ve loaded our little internet radio station to the hilt with special Christmas programming, including an hour-long edition of The Third Shift that premieres Friday at 9 PM, with special guest, Eugene Landau Murphy.

Listen to the AIR website, or unwrap this peppermint-flavored embedded radio player right here…

Contining our tour of shooting locations of The Walking Dead…

We made it to Grantville on Thanksgiving Day, when all the businesses were closed for the holiday and the town had a really cool, eerie vibe to it. Being nearly deserted, we really got the feel of the “Clear” episode of The Walking Dead, from season three, that was shot largely in Grantville. Because we went to Grantville on a holiday, we couldn’t indulge in the Grantville Walking Dead Tour.

Meanwhile, in Grantville, this old train depot was transformed into a restaurant, where Michonne and Carl went to find a phot of his mother.


The Grantville Walking Dead Tours start here…unless you show up on Thanksgiving.

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twd001We’ve shown you around Senoia Georgia in a photo essay this week, but we didn’t just spend our Thanksgiving week in that area just for the ample pleasantness of the place. We wanted to see some of the shooting locations of The Walking Dead. In previous visits we’d seen most of the cool locations in Senoia, proper, like the wall at Alexandria you see at the right, but this time we had plenty of opportunity to make trips to Haralson and Grantville.

In this photo essay we’re going to share some of the scenery we took in. Now, we did not go on any of the organized tours. We want to save some fun for future visits.

The day before Thanksgiving we drove down the road a bit from Senoia to Haralson, where we checked out Cherokee Rose Retail, a pretty expansive zombie-themed gift shop that is the home of Walkin’ Dead Tours and Events and The Esco Paranormal Tour. It’s a great place to visit if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead.

This won’t be our last visit, but we did get a few cool images to share.

Another shot of the wall in Senoia.

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The PopCult Christmas Treat: Reheated RFC

Our week-long lead-up to Christmas continues with two classic Christmas episodes of Radio Free Charleston:

rfcxmascollageAbove it’s our first Radio Free Charleston Christmas show, episode eleven from 2006, with music from Clownhole and Melanie Larch and lots of animation and weird stuff, hosted from the original location of The Purple Moon.

Below it’s Christmas 2012, hosted from the Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, with music from The Charleston Gay Mens Chorale, the cast of MARY, Prank Monkey and the duo of Pepper Fandango and Lee Harrah. There’s also animation and a holiday message from Razor Sharp Studios.

xmas-air-logoYou can also bask in the holiday spirit over on our internet radio station, The AIR, as we bombard you with holiday music from now until a couple of days after Christmas. Check out the most bizarre mix of holiday music ever gathered in once place, plus all kinds of great themed shows:You can hear local Christmas music on Radio Free Charleston; Progressive Yule toons on Prognosis; New Wave XMas on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat; Swinging Big Band jams on The Swing Shift and holiday showtunes on Curtain Call. On top of that we have The AIR XMAS Mess, with an insane assortment of the wildest holiday music ever.

Check it out at The AIR website, or on this neatly-wrapped little embedded radio present…

Lovely Senoia

senoia-001As part of this week’s barrage of photo essays from your PopCulteer’s two recent trips, today we’re going to look at some of the sights of Senoia, Georgia. This was our main destination for our Thanksgiving trip.

Mrs. PopCulteer just loves it here and it is wild that such a lovely, peaceful quintessential Southern town is also a primary filming location for much of the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead.

One of the reasons we went down there was to sight-see shooting locations for the show, but we also just enjoy hanging out in Senoia on its own. The town is filled with beautiful homes, cool places to shop and great places to eat, and the gazebo at the end of Main Street is just a nice, relaxing place to sit and watch the world go by.

We even met a few expatriate West Virginians there. I have to say I did not expect to be sitting in a pizza place in Senoia talking about DiCarlo’s Pizza in Wheeling with our waitress.

In this essay we’re just going to look at some of the sights of Senoia. Our next photo essay will take us to some cool shooting locations for The Walking Dead.

A shot from Main Street, with the famous water tower looming over 48 Main Street, a cool buiding that’s part mall/part office building and is also the home of The Woodbury Shoppe, the official Walking Dead Store.

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The PopCult Christmas Treat: The Laser Beams

Image5All week long, leading up to the holiday, we’re going to bring you a Christmas video treat from the Radio Free Charleston vaults. Tonight we have a special Christmas edition of The RFC MINI SHOW starring The Laser Beams, recorded at their Charleston Holiday Show early in December, last year. You will hear the band perform “Run, Run, Rudolph,” plus two original tunes, “The Krampus Song” and “I Built A Snowman.”

The original plan was for the band to release a Christmas EP in time for the holiday, but the hectic pace of planning shows in three cities meant that we will have to wait for the proper release of the holiday tunes.  This was a blast, and sadly I have not heard of any special Christmas shows by the Laser Beams this year, though admittedly, your PopCulteer has been somewhat out of the loop of late.

Anyway, please enjoy this last-minute holiday treat from The Laser Beams and Radio Free Charleston. Check back tomorrow evening for another Chrimmasy treat from RFC.