PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Krome

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We kick off this week with a new abstract. I was playing with textures again, and tried to come up with a glossy look, like last week this was created using geometric effects. I decided to give it a dumb name. Click to enlarge.

Later today, the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide continues. Be sure to check out all our unique gift suggestions.

air-logo-b-0001Also remember that you can tune in and hear cool stuff on our internet radio station, The AIR.

You can listen at the website, or on this familiar little embedded player…

We’re in rerun mode this week, except for a new episode of The Real with Mark Wolfe (he talks with Jerry Walters Tuesday at 7 PM). Your PopCulteer is still a little preoccupied with the 2018 PopCult Gift Guide, and everybody needs some time off for Thanksgiving, so we’ll be bringing you the best of our recent shows until Thursday when we start a special holiday marathon of The Bat (Poop) Crazy Show. The weekend will see the start of our holiday programming. Check the schedule here:

2017 PopCult Gift Guide: SHOLDIT

For our first Sunday pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide we are combining this post with Sunday Evening Videos, and revisiting one of last year’s picks with new designs. Last year in a post guest written by Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, we recommended SHOLDIT, a scarf that has a compartment for small items you want to keep close to your person. This year we have a video that shows off some of the new styles and sizes…

This is a very handy accessory, and I’ve had plenty of chances to see it in action during my travels with Mel. It allows her to travel without carrying a gigantic purse that knocks people over and creates havoc. They even have a neck gaiter for men now…

gg-sholditThere are a variety of styles and sizes of all of their items, and you can find them (with some on sale at bargain prices) at their website.   We will now quote liberally from last year’s recommendation, written by Mel Larch…

Keeping your cash, credit cards, and ID or passport safe from thieves is certainly a concern for any traveler. Ever since I had my wallet stolen on a trip to New York in my college days, I’ve always been on the lookout for products to protect those valuable items. There are a wide variety of products out there which serve this purpose, but my personal favorite is the SHOLDIT scarf.

This take on the popular “infinity” scarf features a hidden zippered pocket that allows you to safely and securely carry those small valuables while traveling, attending sporting events or concerts, or any time you don’t want to carry a larger bag or handbag. Available in a wide selection of colors and designs, it’s a stylish travel accessory for women and men.

I bought my first SHOLDIT almost two years ago and since then, have traveled to both New York and Chicago using nothing but my SHOLDIT to carry my valuables. If you’re looking for a way to travel light, protect your cash and credit cards, and look good while doing it, the SHOLDIT is the way to go.

SHOLDIT is the perfect gift for any traveller on your shopping list, male or female. It turns life into a hands-free experience. You can find it at the SHOLDIT website, and at Amazon.

2017 PopCult gift Guide: BMC Toys WWII Playsets

gg-bmc-01BMC Toys was founded by Bill McMaster in 1991 and began producing original historically-themed plastic soldier playsets shortly thereafter. He was inspired by the classic Marx Toys of his youth and used his experience as a Toys-R-Us purchasing agent to become an entrepreneur and bring this classic style of toy to a whole new generation. Bill operated BMC Toys until he unexpectedly passed away in 2014. VictoryBuy worked with Bill’s family and together they found all the elements needed to continue production of the BMC Toys product line. There are still several BMC Toys figure sets and vehicles available, and our next recommendation in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is three of the sets inspired by great battles of World War II

From the BMC Toys AMERICAN HERO COLLECTOR SERIES, part of the greatest invasion in military history: D-DAY UTAH BEACH is a 40 piece plastic army men playset which includes 14 American GIs in olive drab, 10 German Soldiers in gray, 2 mortars, 12 Czech Hedgehogs, German Pillbox Bunker with mounted Flak 37 Gun, and a Higgins Boat LCVP Landing Craft. This set features character figures of Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt Jr., Sergeant Harrison Summers, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and working ramp on the landing craft.

All pieces are about 1:32nd scale and made from fairly stiff, very durable, polypropylene plastic with medium detail and very little flashing. Figures stand up to 2.45 inches tall. The bunker measures 7.62 x 2.75 x 3.1 inches tall, not including the gun which measures 5 inches long. The landing craft boat measures 12.8 x 3.9 x 3.25 inches tall.

Packaged in a shoe box size retail box with and recommended for ages 5 and up. This 2017 release includes all new sticker sheets and box art. You can oder it from VictoryBuy for just under $25.00.

Also from the BMC Toys AMERICAN HERO COLLECTOR SERIES, the greatest invasion in military history: The D-DAY INVASION OF NORMANDY is a much larger, 114 piece plastic army men playset that contains 59 soldier figures. The troops include 24 American GIs in olive drab, 23 German Soldiers in gray, and 12 British Tommies in tan. The figures feature Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt Jr., Brigadier Lord Lovat, Sergeant Harrison Summers, and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. The set also includes 2 Higgins Boat LCVP Landing Craft with working ramps, 3 German Pillbox Bunkers with mounted Flak 37 Guns, and a Bombed French Farmhouse with removable partial roof. Atlantic wall accessories include 3 Barbed Wire Fence sections, 12 Sandbag Stacks, 12 Dragon’s Teeth Tank Traps, 12 Czech Hedgehogs, and 4 mortars.

gg-bmc-02Figures stand up to 2.45 inches tall. The bunker measures 7.62 x 2.75 x 3.1 inches tall, not including the gun which measures 5 inches long. The landing craft boat measures 12.8 x 3.9 x 3.25 inches tall. The farm house measures 8 x 5.75 x 7.25 inches tall and features battle damage and snap together assembly.

Packaged in an a tray style storage box that features the history of D-Day and biographies of the four character figures. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Adult assembly recommended for farm house.

This 2017 release features an improved farm house with  reinforced walls in light tan ABS plastic, new flags and rocks, and all new package art and sticker sheets. VictoryBuy offers this huge playset for just under $75.

gg-bmc-03From the BMC Toys AMERICAN HERO COLLECTOR SERIES, the fierce battle that included the most iconic moment from the Pacific War theater: The BATTLE OF IWO JIMA is a 60 piece plastic army men playset contains 24 United Stated Marines in sage green, 24 Japanese Soldiers in butternut tan, and features 6 Marines raising the American flag. The set also includes a dark green M4 Sherman Tank with a turret that rotates, gray LVT-2 Amtrac Amphibious Vehicle with 3 machine guns, 2 flags with bases, 2 small rock formations. and a large Mount Suribachi. The mountain features beach landing areas and a removable top that conceals a warren of hidden enemy bunkers.

Figures stand up to 2.45 inches tall. The Sherman Tank measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches tall, and the Amtrak measures 9.2 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches tall. The mountain measures 19 x 15.5 x 5.5 inches high. This playset was adapted from the original SANDS OF IWO JIMA fine metal and polystone miniature designs and is officially licensed by King & Country.

Packaged in an a tray style storage box that features the history of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Recommended for ages 5 and up. The 2017 release features a new American flag, Japanese flag, small rock formations, and all new package art and sticker sheets. This is another huge playset that VictoryBuy offers for just under $75.

Some of the older PopCult readers will remember the large Marx playsets like this from back in the day. This is a great way to recapture that fun and introduce your kids, or grandkids, to the hours of enjoyment that can be had recreating historical battles, or pitting the Army Men against Godzilla or other plastic monsters.

Crazy Like A Fox – The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later
gg-pillmanby Liam O’Rourke
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1976541247
$16,99

For our first weekend pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide we turn to the world of wrestling for a book about one of the pioneers of the modern-day practice of employing powerful mindgames into his character, the late Brian Pillman. I have not yet had the chance to read this book, but I’m recommending it based on the subject matter. Let’s go to the press release:

Crazy Like A Fox – The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later is now available to purchase from Amazon

The 318 page book offers the most in-depth analysis of Brian’s entire personal and professional life, with unheard details of his football and wrestling careers complimented by exclusive interviews with close friends, colleagues and reporters, including members the Pillman family, Dave Meltzer, Kim Wood, Bruce Hart, Raven, Shane Douglas, Jim Cornette, Mark Madden, Mark Coleman, Les Thatcher, Alex Marvez, Mike Johnson and many more.

An alpha male with a beta body, looking to thrive in worlds where beta males with alpha bodies are the primary requirement.

He was a complex paradox, a walking contradiction. He lived more in 35 years than most do in a lifetime, the product of an arduous infanthood. His overachievement is awe-inspiring. Tales of his conflicts and conquests became the stuff of legend. His borderline genius and tragic demise made him an icon shrouded in mystique.
He was Brian Pillman, and two decades later the most comprehensive look at one of professional wrestling’s most fascinating stories has been compiled.

Discover previously unheard details of his upbringing, the incredible story behind chasing an NFL roster spot and his introduction to pro wrestling in the crazy Stampede circuit. Revel at his trials and tribulations in WCW and the WWF, walking the fine line between the cusp of superstardom and political turmoil. Reflect in the most detailed, inside breakdown of his Loose Cannon gambit ever produced, the scam that turned him into the talk of the business, before fatally drowning in personal tragedy and addiction.

With exclusive interviews with some of Brian’s closest friends and family, Crazy Like A Fox is a must-read for Pillman fans, and a breathtaking look at the bizarre world of wrestling to boot.

This is the perfect gift for the intense “smart mark” professional wrestling fan on your holiday shopping list. Available at Amazon, usually for a little less than the list price.

universesThis is the first episode of Radio Free Charleston that was produced and posted independently of the Charleston Gazette. When it first went live in August, 2009, it was posted directly to MySpace. Unfortunately, posting video to MySpace turned out to be a more temporary situation than anybody thought, and so this episode was MIA for a few years until I could remaster it and upload it to YouTube.

This RFC extravaganza features music by two bands who are no longer with us, Universes (pictured) and OVADA. We captured both bands at The Empty Glass, and we also toss in a snippet of The Contemporary Youth Arts Company’s 2008 production, Jack The Ripper, featuring Ryan Hardiman and the now Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch.

Our title shirt was from the band, Joy Division. Our location was on the East End of Charleston, and our “Fake Rudy” at the end was the one I was asked not to use when the show was hosted on the Gazette servers. The original production notes can be found HERE.

gg-batf-01Our final pick for this day of the 2012 PopCult Gift Guide is a throwback to a toy like your PopCulteer used to play with in his childhood. The Back to the Future Electric Slot Car Race Set is a traditional HO-scale slot car race set that lets you recreate scenes from one of the most beloved movies of the 1980s. Let’s check the catalog description:

Who out there doesn’t long to take just one gigawatt blasting’ spin in the awesome Back to the Future Time Machine? With this Back to the Future Electric Slot Car Race Set, you can relive all of the g-force excitement of time travel. Race around the huge 20-foot track with Marty McFly’s DeLorean Time Machine and Biff Tannen’s 1946 Ford in one of the 2 exclusive X-Traction slot cars included in this set. Great Scott a race-set this exciting could only be invented by those mad scientists at Auto World! The 20 feet of track features multiple curves and a time loop. Clock Tower cardboard building and road signs included.

X-Traction cars are reinventions of the 1970s AFX racing slot cars, with improved engineering, but old-school play value. The controllers are pistol-grip style controllers like the original sets, and the cars handle spectacularly. And those cars are really nice replicas of the cars from the movie, so it’s perfect for kids, adults who grew up with slot cars and for die-hard fans of Back To The Future. This is the most affordable Delorean that you’ll ever find.

This set can be found in some hobby shops, or it can ordered from Amazon, or directly from AutoWorld. If you order it from AutoWorld, be advised that it qualifies for free shipping, and if you order over $150 (meaning one penny more than this set), you can get fifteen percent off with the code “holiday15” until November 23. They have tons of cool stuff, including many cars that are compatible with this set, so feel free to splurge.

At over a hundred bucks, it may seem a bit pricey, but the joy of slot car racing is worth it.

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gg-gastankOur next pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is a DVD (you can also find a CD of the music, but you’ll want to watch all the fun), called “Gastank,” featuring Rick Wakeman and a horde of Britain’s finest rock musicians, jamming to their heart’s content. This is the perfect gift for the classic rock lover on your holiday shopping list.

Gastank was a television show that aired between 1982–1983 on Channel 4 in the UK. Hosted by Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton the show featured a mix of interviews with 1970s musicians and impromptu performances where the guest artist would join Rick and his house band in playing re-arranged versions of their classic songs, or entirely new pieces created for the show.

The format is very informal with the setting likened to a bar where Wakeman would interview the guest over a drink or two followed by their performance in front of a small studio audience sitting in groups at tables. Wakeman would frequently cite the show as an opportunity for musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to work together. During its run, the show featured guests as diverse as:- Rick Parfitt, Ian Paice, Steve Hackett, Maggie Bell, Roy Wood, Andy Fairweather Low, John Entwistle, Godley and Creme, Suzy Quatro, Donovan, The Strawbs, Eric Burdon, Chris Farlowe, Frankie Millar, Phil Lynott, Alvin Lee, and many others.

Released earlier this year for the first time on DVD,  all of the episodes of Gastank are available for the first time in the United States ever, and also for the first time since they were initially aired in the UK. Rick Wakeman explains in the liner notes, “For many years, many of you have been asking us to release this material from the show I presented with Tony Ashton back in the early 80’s. Gastank was an opportunity for iconic musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to perform live together. I hope it brings back memories and for those not around when the programmes went out, enjoy some unique performances.”

The show is a blast, with musicians having fun, talking shop and playing the music they love. The easiest way to order it is through Amazon, where the price tends to fluctuate, but is always a bargain for two DVD’s packed full of every episode of the show.

gg-85-north85 North: A Short Story Collection  
by Bobby Nash
Falstaff Books, LLC
ISBN-13: 978-1946926289
$ 9.99

Our next pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is 85 North, a genre-hopping collection of short stories that spins tales of many types, all of them somewhat bizarre, written by Bobby Nash. This is the perfect gift for anybody who enjoys reading offbeat and unusual fiction.

I met Bobby Nash at JoeLanta/ToyLanta, where he was a contributor to the Needless Things podcast/panel, and I was struck by how engaging and hilarious his stories of playing with his childhood toys were. It was no surprise to find out that he was a talented writer. He is, in fact, an award-winning author of novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a number of publishers and production companies. He is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers and he occasionally acts in movies and television shows.

Nash was named Best Author in the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards. Rick Ruby, a character co-created by Bobby and author Sean Taylor also picked up a Pulp Ark Award for Best New Pulp Character of 2013. Bobby has also been nominated for the 2014 New Pulp Awards and Pulp Factory Awards for his work. In 2015, Bobby’s novel, Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt won a Paranormal Literary Award in the 2015 Paranormal Awards. He is an accomplished raconteur and a writer of many cool things.

The latest cool thing that he has written is 85 North, and  I’m just going to swipe his description and drop it here:

ROAD TRIP!

There are many roads along life’s highway, paths taken or not. You come to a crossroad. Do you turn left? Do you turn right? And can you live with the consequences of that decision?

85 North is a collection of tales from Award-Winning Author Bobby Nash that heads off the beaten path into roads not yet discovered. From superheroes to robots, 85 North is full of tales of action and adventure for the modern world and beyond.

Buckle up.

It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

You can order a physical copy of 85 North from Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble, or if you’ve figured out how to wrap an eBook, it’s available from about a million places that are all listed on his website, which is well worth visiting, because chances are your giftee will get hooked and need more books by him.

gg-atv-01Last year I reviewed a new line of 12″ action figures that was exclusive to Toys ‘R’ Us. Sentinel 1 consisted of four guys, Bandit, Shadow, Wolf and Barracuda, which were decently made psuedo-military figures for the price (ten bucks, with frequent sales making them even cheaper) and had lots of potential as a toy for kids and also for customizers. The clothes were molded-on (except for vests and headgear), but they were a pretty cool entry-level toy for adult collectors who want to brainwash their children or grandchildren into like the original GI Joe.

This year they have expanded the line by adding a new figure who comes with the first vehicle in the line, and that is our next pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide. The True Heroes 12 Inch Mudslide Figure and ATV Playset is available exclusively from Toys’R’Us. It’s a fully equipped vehicle with a hidden cannon, rugged wheels and a weapon rack.The figure has 11 points of articulation, and wears a removable helmet and vest. The vest and weapon snap on to the ATV so he can speed away onto his next mission.

The figure’s name is “Mudslide,” and Mudlside wears a removable helmet and vest. This has great play value for kids who still have enough imagination to play with real toys, and it’s a good gift for the adult collector who may not realize that the market for 12″ action figures is staging a bit of a comeback.

Even if you hate the figure, the ATV is perfect for GI Joe, Action Man, Captain Action or Johnny West. You could even repaint it in space colors for Captain Lazer. Best of all, the entire set is only twenty bucks, and you might luck out and encounter a sale or special as Christmas approaches.

The True Heroes 12 Inch Mudslide Figure and ATV Playset can be found at Toys ‘R’ Us stores and on their website, and it’s not a bad value for the price.

ggbbvd-01Our next offering in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is a CD/DVD combo that came out eleven years ago. I didn’t get it until this year, and it’s still great, and not too pricey, so I’m including it in the gift guide. After 10 years & 1400 shows, BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY LIVE was the band’s first ever live concert CD/DVD. This package features 16 BBVD favorites (and one extra on video),plus cool bonus features. This is a retro-Swing goldmine. Lead singer, Scotty Morris, is in fine voice, and the band is red-hot.

The tunes (mostly originals, with a few Swing standards sprinkled in) are fantastic slabs of hot swing, designed to make you dance and twirl and maybe bang your head on stuff if you aren’t careful. The sound quality is top-flight and the video work is a blast. The DVD was filmed using just two hand-held cameras and a camera on a crane for over-the-crowd shots. The spirit of the band shines through, lighting up the stage with their sheer excitment and musical mastery.

The DVD bonus is a short film done by a member of the group about how the group was formed. It gives an intimate portrait of the band’s early years. This band lit up one of the last Sternwheel Regattas, and it’d be fantastic to see them turn up in Charleston again sometime soon (Are you listening, Clay Center?).

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was one of the pioneer Swing Revival bands of the 90s, and they’re still going strong. This is the perfect gift for any Swing music afficianado on your gift list, or just anybody who likes great live music in general.

ggbbvd-02If you have a die-hard BBVD fan on your shopping list, they may not know that the band released a brand-new album early last summer. Louie! Louie! Louie! is a terrific celebration of jazz legends Louie Armstrong, Louie Jordan and Louie Prima. Produced by founder and lead singer Scotty Morris, the album is a stunning tribute to three guys named “Louie” who changed the face of American music. On their eleventh album (their third for iconic label Savoy Jazz) the band is sharper than ever as they pay homage to their jazz heroes.

You ought to be able to order both the live CD/DVD and the new album from any record store, or head on over to Amazon for BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY LIVE  and Louie! Louie! Louie! Tell ’em the guy who hosts The Swing Shift sent you.

Then explain to ’em that The Swing Shift is the Swing Music show hosted by your PopCulteer that can be heard Tuesdays at 3 PM and all night long Sundays and Thursdays at Midnight on The AIR.

You might also have to explain what The AIR is.