PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

16002886_1222775217759883_1834996258610124691_nYou don’t usually think of a Toy Convention having much in the way of music, but JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention has been blessed with music from Radio Cult, The Possum Kingdom Ramblers and Sassparilla, The Singing Gorilla, among other musical surprises.

Radio Cult is the official house band of JoeLanta, and at their Saturday-night show they’ll bring up attendees and organizers like David Lane, Mike Gardner and E. J. White to perform with the band. Last year we even had Mel Larch and Lee Harrah share the stage with them. Heck, we even did an RFC MINI SHOW with Radio Cult a couple of years ago, see…

The Possum Kingdom Ramblers (who may include a member of Radio Cult or two) actually perform on the floor of the convention as it’s going on. Whereas Sassparilla sings anywhere he wants to. If you got a problem with that, take it up with the singing alien gorilla.

The music is just one thing that makes JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention a unique experience. Keep reading PopCult to find out more.





Okay, so perhaps I’m a little laser-focussed on GI Joe this week. Anyway, our art to start the week is a digital painting based on a photo taken in my living room, of a GI Joe, aided by a couple of Minions, guarding the “cool kids” section of the bookshelf, with titles by folks like Kim Dietch, Harvey Pekar, Chester Brown and Larry Marder.

Click to enlarge, and check out more posts coming your way later today in PopCult.

17103532_1270106779693393_4558053785204891063_nIt’s Sunday, and Sunday is when they show The Walking Dead on AMC, so today we talk about The Walking Dead Panel at JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention.

Because The Walking Dead is filmed in Atlanta, and a lot of folks who work on the show are toy collectors (really), every year since we’ve been attending, there has been a Walking Dead panel at JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention. For the past couple of years that panel has been co-moderated by master model-maker and dioramist, Mike Gardner, and TWD expert and Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch. This year they’re going to be joined by noted walkers from the show, Skip Barlett and Don Teems.

Below the graphic, check out the video of Don’s previous appearance on the panel from 2015, and check PopCult every day for more info on JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention.


joelanta-logo-2017Big Surprise, right? You know I’ve been talking about JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention for days already, and promise to continue doing so for the next week or more, so it shouldn’t come as any shock that I’m going to bring you some of the videos that I’ve made in previous years.

Right now, in descending order, we’re going to bring you the wrap-up shows for 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, with our most recent clip up at the top of this post. This video not only shows you how cool the show was last year, but it also has the dates of this year’s show and plugs the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum exhibit in Stone Mountain. You’ll hear more about that later this week. Also, you’ll get to hear me mispronounce the word “diorama” all through the video. It’s a bad habit I picked up from a college professor and never quite shook.

These are your videos today. More are coming as we continue our countdown to JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention.

17022221_10154831196910700_8957460196140131185_nIn just one week your PopCulteer, along with thousands of other toy collectors, will be at the Marriott Century Center in Atlanta Georgia for JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention. It’s not all about GI Joe, though. There are plenty of other toys. Panels will be devoted to Marx Action Figures, Monster Toys, Transformers and more. Dealers will have just about every vintage toy you could imagine, from Voltron to Stretch Armstrong to Monster High and beyond.

That’s in addition to panels devoted to GI Joes from around the world, collecting and repairing them. Of course the enigmatic Defenders of Bulletman (seen at the head of this post in logo form) will be on hand too.

The folks at the Earth Station One podcast will devote their panel to MEGO. You may remember that your PopCulteer was a regular attendee of MEGOMEET back when it took place at the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling. MEGOMEET moved on to Skokie, Illinois, where they will wrap up their three-year stint this year. Collectors who couldn’t travel that far North will get to capture a little of the MEGO magic at this panel.

Keep checking PopCult. We have a lot more to tell you about with JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention.


rfc3901montageEpisode 39 of Radio Free Charleston, “Go Van Gogh Shirt” comes to us from March, 2008, and it’s a nostalgia-soaked trip down memory lane.  And you can take the word “trip” any way you want.  The music is from an archival video that I found while rooting around in the “gem closet” here at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor.  It’s from November 1990, recorded live at The Empty Glass.  We called that night “Shooting Fyssh In A Glass” because I was going to videotape the band, Strawfyssh.  They were opening for Three Bodies, and until I checked the tape I’d forgotten that I had also taped Three Bodies doing their sound-check that night.  So I had both bands on tape.

No, of course, since this show is nine years old, it’s doubly-nostalgic.

I hosted this show from the Empty Glass of 2008, during Happy Hour.  It was a bit loud, as the Glass tends to be, and there are parts of the show where the audio on the host segments is questionable, but the show is still packed with musical goodness. Okay, let’s be honest. The audio for the host segments is horrendous. It was this show that convinced your host to start using a microphone, rather than relying on the word of his cameraman that “It sounded okay.”

There is also a surreal guest appearance by none other than Charleston’s Mayor, in a segment that has to be seen to be believed, and which, considering events that occurred after this show first debuted, has taken on a twisted and bizarre character..  There’s also an animated short by me, just so that the entire show doesn’t degenerate into ruminations on “the olden days.”

This was one of the shows where I was burdened with a production assistant who…didn’t work out. We actually had two assistants during this time that proved to be more of a detriment than a help to our show. They were quickly “future endeavored,” never to be heard from again. You can read the original production notes HERE.

PopCult Note: We have been presenting these classic episodes of Radio Free Charleston in the order in which they premiered, but next week we are going to skip one, then come back to it a couple of weeks later, for reasons that should be obvious.

ej-rudy-martenWe are only 8 days away from when the public can rush in and enjoy the spectacle that is JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention. Previously I mentioned EJ’s Lobby Swap. Let me tell you about that today.

A JoeLanta tradition dating back well before I was able to attend my first JoeLanta in 2013, EJ’s Lobby Swap is the brainchild of E.J. White, an Atlanta-based kitbasher and customizer and one of the folks who helps make JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention happen.

E. J. thought it would be a good idea, as a bonus for folks who purchase the special attendance packages, to have some time before the show opens for everyone to gather in the lobby at the Marriott Century Center (our gracious host for JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention) to socialize, catch up and trade toys in a relaxed atmosphere. That’s E.J. in the photo at the head of this post next to (L-R) yours truly and JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention’s Marten Jallad.

joelanta-logo-2017It’s a load of fun, and for the last few years E.J. has even come up with a cool ultra-limited edition Lobby Swap figure. You can see this year’s below. It’s just one of the cool things that happens at JoeLanta that makes it more than just a toy show.

By the way, E.J. White has been battling some health issues of late, and there is a GoFundMe page set up to help him out. He’s one of the nicest guys in a hobby filled with nice people, and if you’ve met him, you might want to head to this link and give him a hand. He’s certainly done more than his fair share for the hobby.

In past years EJ’s Lobby Swap has happened on Friday, right after early registration for the special package holders. This year they’re going to try it on Thursday, but rumor has it that a spontaneous additional Lobby Swap might happen Friday night, too. Don’t tell anyone. It’s not official. Keep watching PopCult for more of our countdown.



rc002The PopCulteer
March 3
, 2017

Here at PopCult central we are back from one adventure and preparing to embark on another, but we have a ton of odd little items to address and report, so let’s go!

About Those Medical Tests

I’m talking about the ones that kept me from attending Toy Fair this year. Well, the results are in. I still have Myasthenia Gravis (which was no shock), but I will soon be exiting the land of prednisone. Prednisone is a marvelous drug, pretty much the best medicine for my condition, but it also comes with a full regiment of nasty side effects that Your PopCulteer will be perfectly happy to put in his rear-view mirror.

As I am weaning off of that medicine, I will be attending to one of those side effects, and that will require another brief sabbatical from the world of editing video. So after I return from JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention and produce the videos of that wonderful event, I will be going back on the video shop track for a month or two.

After that matter is taken care of, Radio Free Charleston will return in all its video glory, just in time to make the eleventh anniversary of its first episode. Before that, though, a “lost” episode will likely pop up when you least expect it. This is one for which we shot the host segments almost a year ago in Senoia, Georgia.

But Enough About Me

Continue reading…

df7a3e_891ff9045c0a446099699e0bd08baaaaa224mv2In a mere 9 days the public can pour in and experience the wonder that is JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention. Yesterday I mentioned the Commander’s Package. If that got you curious…too bad. This year’s Commander’s Packages are already sold out. Sorry I didn’t warn you earlier.

To explain, and also to swipe some copy from the JoeLanta website so I don’t have to type so much, here’s their description: “The Commanders Package” is a package that can be purchased in advance that includes an exclusive custom figure, outfit and box, adult size T shirt, show pin as well as activities starting on Friday 10th and activities on Saturday night 11th.”

Now, this particular package also gets you into the special package-holder-only events like EJ’s Lobby Swap (more on that tomorrow), The Radio Cult concert, the Film Festival, a field trip, access to the “State of the Hobby” panel, early admission to the dealer’s floor and for the first time this year, a special preview of the dealers the night before the show opens to the public. There are some packages that will get you into some of these events, but the big package is sold out.

If you are a true toy collector, then the item that stands out on that list is the exclusive custom figure, which is the big attraction for the Commander’s Package. This year it’s a Cave Explorer, Limited to 100 pieces, this figure will include a vintage flocked head, a cool spelunking outfit and tons of neat accessories. Below you see two GI Joes wearing the exclusive outfits and showing off their Adventure Team coolness.

Check PopCult every day because we’re going to tell you all about JoeLanta and the Great Atlanta Toy Convention all the way up to, during and after it happens.


RFCI BowieThursday brings us Radio Free Charleston International and a ton more cool stuff on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Highlights Thursday on The AIR include a tribute to David Bowie on Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM, followed immediately by this week’s all-instrumental edition of Radio Free Charleston, the area’s only regularly-scheduled local music radio program. Just for kicks we’ll throw in some Unknown Hinson and an overnight dose of Swing.

In a show that we originally ran back in July 2016, and which has been out of rotation since August, we bring you two hours of the music of David Bowie, performed by him and others, on RFC International:

David Bowie  “Ashes To Ashes”
Rick Wakeman  “Life On Mars”
Nirvana “The Man Who Sold The World”
Frankie Goes To Hollywood  “Suffragette City”
Mike Garson  “Space Oddity”
Cuddly Toys  “Madman”
Nosferatu  “Starman”
Spiders From Mars  “Moonage Daydream”
Waltari  “Look Back In Anger”
Adrian Belew with DB  “Pretty Pink Rose”
Queen with DB  “Under Pressure”
Iggy Pop with DB  “Funtime”
Reeves Gabriel with DB  “You’ve Been Around”
Bauhaus  “Ziggy Stardust”
Tin Machine  “Sacrifice Yourself”
David Bowie  “John, I’m Only Dancing”
Ava Cherry and the Astronettes  “I Am Divine”
Wreckage  “Heroes”
Dana Gillispie  “Andy Warhol”
The Polyamorous Affair  “Cat People”
The Mission UK  “After All”
Mystique  “Drive In Saturday Night”
Duran Duran  “Boys Keep Swinging”
The Erin Orchestra  “Be My Wife”
Graham Blvd  “Changes”
Carla Bruni  “Absolute Beginners”
Mick Karn  “Ashes To Ashes”
We Have Band  “Let’s Dance”
Gene Loves Jezabel  “All The Young Dudes”
Rick Wakeman  “Space Oddity”

That’s followed by this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 5 PM, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at 6 PM and a primetime lineup of The Swing Shift and Curtain Call.

At 10 PM Live From The Empty Glass brings you Unknown Hinson and Low Cut Connie, recorded live at Charleston’s premiere dive-bar music venue, the World Famous Empty Glass. Then the night owls can jitterbug the night away with our weekly marathon of The Swing Shift at 1 AM.

Tune in to The AIR. You don’t know what you’re missing.