PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Local Spotlight: Art Emporium

Local Spotlight: Art Emporium

A Downtown Charleston fixture, nestled on the corner of Quarrier and Hale Streets, Art Emporium is a go-to location for art, art supplies, small and cool physical objects and all your framing needs.

In addition to notepads, calendars gift cards, paperweights and other cool gift ideas, at next week’s Black Friday Artwalk Art Emporium will play host to a new exhibt, The Art of Brian Zickafoose.

On November 23rd from 3:00-8:00 PM at Art Emporium in Downtown Charleston, WV hosts a special art reception with sacred artist, Brian C. Zickafoose. The Psychedelic Country exhibit will run at Art Emporium from November 13 – December 14.

The works to be featured at this show are an exploration of light and depth. There are several new landscapes that focus on the magic of famous West Virginia destinations. This exhibit will also featuring a dozen new tiny original paintings called, PSY-Matics, which are an exploration of how light is expressed through sound. Viewers can expect a world of eye-candy and painterly wonder.

Several other area artists sell their work through Art Emporium, and if you can’t figure out what gift to give, you can purchase a gift certificate and shift the burden onto the artistic-minded person on your holiday shopping list.

Art Emporium is located at 823 Quarrier Street in Charleston, and they’re open Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM. I would expect them to have some extended hours through the holidays. Check their website and Facebook page for more details.

PopCult Note: Due to pressing outside deadlines, The PopCulteer will be taking this week off, but will return on Black Friday. The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide will continue with Big Ticket Day on Saturday and Sunday.


The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy: A Collection of High-Seas Stories from Comics’ Most Daring Sailor
edited and compiled by Craig Yoe
Dead Reckoning
ISBN-13: 978-1682473238
$29.99 (discounted at Amazon)

Next up in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is a great gift for fans of golden age comics and proud Navy Vets alike. It’s another great archeological comics presentation from historian, Craig Yoe, The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy.

Don Winslow of the Navy originated as a comic strip, but crossed mediums into movie serials and radio shows, before landing in the pages of Fawcett Comics (the home of the original Captain Marvel) in 1943. This book is a collection of the best stories from the Fawcett Comics run of Don Winslow of the Navy, which became one of the most popular comic books running during and after World War II.

Edited by Craig Yoe, the selected stories are digitally remastered and contextualized with Yoe’s historical research. Preceding the full, colorful tales is a detailed introduction on the creation of the adventurous Don Winslow, including the context for some of the racially and culturally insensitive material in the original comics. This was during wartime, and those were different times. The easily offended might not be the best target audience for this book. For fans of rollicking adventure comics, this is fun stuff.

Don Winslow served to foster recruitment and entertain Navy personnel and the general public alike during World War II and beyond. Winslow fights the Axis and supervillains like The Snake and the attractive, but deadly, Singapore Sal.

Don Winslow of the Navy presents twenty top-notch comic book stories from the peak days of comic book readership, and it also works as a great cultural artifact. You ought to be able to order The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy: A Collection of High-Seas Stories from Comics’ Most Daring Sailor from any bookseller by using the ISBN code, or save a few bucks by visiting Amazon.

The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley

Today’s first choice for The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is a perfect gift for any fan of classic 1980s comedy shows, SCTV and Saturday Night Live. It’s the obscure but acclaimed live action/animated series, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, and you can get the entire series of 13 episodes from Warner Archives.

The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley was a 1988 animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera starring Martin Short’s Ed Grimley as well as other characters and actors from Second City’s SCTV. Martin Short’s immortal creation Ed Grimley, the nicest nerd to ever slick up a top knot, began life during Short’s Second City days and followed him onto Saturday Night Live. As Short’s comedy career took off, so too did the fame of his creation, and Ed eventually “graduated” from late night to early morning.

Short provides the voice for Ed, and is joined by a coterie of comedy compatriots including fellow SCTV alums Joe Flaherty, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, venerated voice vet Frank Welker, and the titanically talented Jonathan Winters.

Ed lives with his goldfish – Moby – and a clever rat named Sheldon while sharing screen time with a mix of or original characters and SCTV favorites.

Episodes feature Ed Grimley’s bizarre adventures interspersed with science lessons from The Amazing Gustav Brothers, Roger and Emil, and a live-action segment with a “scary story” presented as a show-within-a-show by Grimley’s favorite television host, SCTV’s Count Floyd (played by SCTV cast member Joe Flaherty).

This was a high-water mark for the latter days of Hanna-Barbera, and one of the last great Saturday Morning kids shows before the networks abandoned the idea of programming for kids following the advent of cable.

This 2-Disc Collection presents all 13 of Ed’s amazing animated antic adventures – Totally Decent! Tuna casserole awaits! Order it from Warner Archives. It’s only thirty bucks, a mere pittance, I must say.

Pulling Gifts Out of Uranus

Today’s final pick in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide comes straight out of Uranus.

Uranus Missouri, that is. See, down in Uranus, for some reason, the folks found themselves to be the butt of many a joke, and rather than feel sad and wallow in pity, they decided to pick themselves up, and put their money where their Uranus is. They got in on the joke, and created a tourist attraction along the historic Route 66, and now you can take the joy of Uranus and spread it among all your friends.

The gift giving potential is tremendous. You can find T Shirts, Mugs, Magnets, Tin signs, shot glasses, canned goods and more, all emblazoned with greetings from Uranus.

You can even treat yourself to fresh fudge, direct from the famous fudge factory in Uranus.

And now, if you want to keep up with all the happenings so that you can stick your head right up Uranus and be informed, you can subscribe to the brand-new newspaper, The Uranus Examiner. You can keep up with all the news about the world’s largest belt buckle and the Sideshow Museum, along with all poop on what’s happening at the fudge factory.

I’m sure you all have someone on your holiday shopping list who would get a swift kick out of gifts from Uranus. Get off your butt and visit the website for the bottom line on all the cool stuff going on in Uranus!

Ann Magnuson: “The Sun Don’t Care”

Next up in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is a downloadable single, but since I don’t usually like to suggest downloads as gifts, I’m including this because it also has an option where you can get actual objects to wrap, plus it’s pretty darned nifty.

Ann Magnuson’s new song “The Sun Don’t Care” draws on her West Virginia roots to deliver an Appalachian-inspired spiritual ballad for today’s troubled times.

Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, Ann Magnuson is an actress, writer, musician and artist who is probably best known as the front woman for the band Bongwater. Currently appearing on Season 3 of the Amazon Prime series “The Man in the High Castle”, she guest-curated the critically acclaimed Club 57 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, and was recently inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. She’s also been an inspiration to me and is a personal hero.

The music video for “The Sun Don’t Care” features original folk art sculptures of The Sun that Magnuson created as well as homemade dolls crocheted by her Grandma Magnuson. The video also incorporates family home movies shot by Ann’s father during her West Virginia childhood. But, the literal star of the video is our Sun, particularly as seen in public domain footage created by NASA. While Magnuson does appear briefly, her avatar in the video is Arzetta, a doll created (with others) by Grandma Magnuson in 1950s West Virginia.

You can see the video below, and order the download HERE, but you will also find some other cool options. For fifteen dollars you can get THE SUN DON’T CARE EMBROIDERED PATCH, a 4″x 3″ Embroidered iron-on patch based on the original art for THE SUN DON’T CARE by Ann Magnuson. In addtion to the patch you also get unlimited streaming of “The Sun Don’t Care” via the free Bandcamp app, plus a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

This is a cool stocking stuffer–an actual personally designed by a famous actress. But that’s not all…

You can also pick The Sunshine Bag. It’s a special THE SUN DON”T CARE GOODIE BAG that contains: 2 Downloads of “The Sun Don’t Care”; 2 embroidered patches; One Double-Arzetta Dream Girl sticker; a Lyric sheet with personalized art; and a Sun charm, all in an optimistic gold organza bag full of shiny stuff. Plus it includes unlimited streaming of The Sun Don’t Care via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. It’s thirty bucks, which is a bit of a bargain. That’s also available on Ann’s Bandcamp page. This is a great gift for any fan of Ann’s, and I know there are plenty of them out there.

UPDATE: Mention PopCult when you order and Ann says, “I’ll add a Dream Girl download card and Jobriath Medley download sticker to any order that comes through your blog!! Maybe some other fun surprises too!”

Check out the video for “The Sun Don’t Care” here…

A Minyen Yidn (un andere zakhn)
by Trina Robbins and various artists
Bedside Press
ISBN 9780993997051

The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is not just for Christmas, but offers up gift suggestions for all the seasonal holidays. Today we’ve got a great pick for Hanukkah, particularly day three (December 4 this year) when the tradition is to give a book. This is appropriate for teens and up.  I reviewed this book earlier this year, but felt it was too good a gift idea to leave out of the guide.  I’ve been a fan of Trina Robbins comix since I was probably too young to be reading them. A pioneering underground cartoonist and comics historian, Robbins has always brought a strong sense of storytelling to her work. In last year’s PopCult Gift Guide I recommended both her autobiography and a collection of some of her best work.

In her autobiography she talks about a book her father, Max B. Perlson, wrote that was published in Yiddish in 1938, A Minyen Yidn (un andere zakhn), which translates roughly as “A Bunch of Jews (and other stuff)” was thought lost, until her daughter tracked down a new edition, and eventually an original printing. After having it translated from Yiddish, Robbins realized that it would make for some great comic book stories.

A Minyen Yidn (un andere zakhn) is a great collection of character sketches and short, mostly-funny tales of Jewish life, pre- and post- Immigration to America. In terms of the tone of this adaptation, it would fit perfectly on your comics library shelf between Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, and Will Eisner’s A Contract With God.

Perlson was a talented writer who seemed to be working somewhat in the vein of James Thurber, maybe with a little traditional Jewish storytelling in the mix, too. This book presents snippets of Person’s life growing up in a shtetl in Belarus and immigrating to Brooklyn in the late 1910s at the age of 16.

Robbins no longer draws. For this book she has handed the scripts over to a group of terrific artists. The cover is by famed underground comic artist Barbara Mendes. Each of the 13 stories has been visually adapted by a different artist and includes contributions by: Steve Leialoha, Shary Flenniken, Eve Furchgott, Miriam Katin, Miriam Libicki, Sarah Glidden, Anne Timmons, Robert Triptow, Jen Vaughn, Elizabeth Watasin, Caryn Leschen, Joan Steacy, Ken Steacy, and Terry Laban. The effect is wonderful because each story is presented in a unique style, but they all combine into a cohesive whole because of the strong personality of the authors (father and daughter).

The stories are bright little vignettes that are very entertaining. Most are funny, though there is a tearjerker about a loyal dog, but all will hold your attention. The only problem is that the book is so brief. It really leaves you wanting more. That’s really not a bad problem to have.

A Minyen Yidn (un andere zakhn) is perfect for anyone with an interest in pre-WWII Jewish culture, but it will also appeal to fans of reality comics and good storytelling in general and makes a great Hanukkah gift . You should be able to order it from any bookseller, using the ISBN number, or you can get it from Amazon.

Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal

Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal
by Brian Posehn
Da Capo Press
ISBN-13: 978-0306825576
$26.00 (Discounted at Amazon)

Today’s final pick in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is the first memoir by beloved comedian, actor, and writer Brian Posehn, hilariously detailing what it’s like to grow up as and remain a nerd, with a foreword by Patton Oswalt

You may recognize Posehn from his stand up comedy, his acting on Mr. Show, or as the wacky neighbor who “smoke too many pot” on The Sarah Silverman Show or from any of the many other places he’s gotten around to. His book is the pefect gift for any fan of alt-comedy, nerd culture or of the man himself.

Brian Posehn is a successful and instantly recognizable comedian, actor, and writer. He also happens to be a giant nerd. That’s partly because he’s been obsessed with such things as Dungeons & Dragons, comic books, and heavy metal since he was a child; the other part is because he fills out every bit of his 6’7” frame. Brian’s always felt awkward and like a perpetual outsider, but he found his way through the difficulties of growing up by escaping into the worlds of Star Wars, D&D, and comics, and by rocking his face off. He was a nerd long before it was cool (and that didn’t help his situation much), but his passions proved time and again to be the safe haven he needed to persevere and thrive in a world in which he was far from comfortable.

Brian, now balls deep in middle age with a wife, child, and thriving career, still feels like an outsider and is as big a nerd as ever. But that’s okay, because in his five decades of nerdom he’s discovered that the key to happiness is not growing up. You can be a nerd forever and find success that way. because somehow along the way the nerds won.

Forever Nerdy is a celebration of growing up nerdy and different. This isn’t Brian’s life story, just some bizarre and hilarious stories from his life, along with a captivating look back at nearly fifty years of nerd culture. Being a nerd hasn’t always been easy, but somehow this self-hating nerd who suffered from depression was able to land his dream job, get the girl, and learn to fit in. Kind of. See how he did it while managing to remain forever nerdy.

You can order Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal from any bookseller by using the ISBN code, or go to Amazon for the path of least resistance.

Charlton Comics Classics

Charlton Comics Classics

Regular readers of PopCult should be well aware by now of your PopCulteer’s admiration and enjoyment of the Charlton Neo movement. Charlton Comics was sort of the “shadow comic book company” that operated on the fringe of the industry as a self-contained unit that handled their own editorial, printing, and distribution. Their comics had a certain funkiness to them because of the weird printing and the fact that they didn’t pay anywhere near the comic industry’s top rates.

However what they lacked in budget, they made up for in creative freedom, youthful exuberance, and fan enthusiasm. Sadly, Charlton Comics floated belly-up to the top of the comic book company bowl in 1985. Over the past couple of years, the Charlton Neo movement has resurrected the spirit and sense of fun of the original Charlton Comics but 2018 has become a year of regrouping, following their flirtation with the Diamond Comic distribtion system.

That hasn’t stopped the folks at Charlton Neo from celebrating the legacy of the original Charlton though. They’ve released several collections that bring back some of the lost classics of the Charlton Comics line, with enhanced production and high-quality printing. These stories in Violent Crime and Rocky Jones have been reproduced from the vintage comics of over 60 years ago. Attempts have been made to clean up the pages to make them look as close to the original printed experience as possible, flaws and all. The Billy The Kid collections have new coloring by Mort Todd, and look absolutely spectacular. These are our next slection in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide.

These will make the perfect gift for the comics connoisseur on your holiday shopping list. You can find a launching page that will take you to all these comics and more HERE, or you can click on the indvidual titles to go directly to the Amazon page to order them.

VIOLENT CRIME Volume 1: Is a collection of Charlton Comics most shocking pre-Code crime comics. Among the stories included are:  “GETTING A-HEAD,” a sinister switch on the old triangle problem. This one is slightly different in that one loses his head over a woman, causing the other one to literally lose his head! From Lawbreakers Suspense Stories #10, January, 1953;  “ROUND-TRIP TICKET” takes you on a stormy bus ride through limbo… and it may teach you to keep a civil tongue in your mouth! From Lawbreakers Suspense Stories #11, March, 1953;  “EXPLOSIVE!” a story that ends with a bang and may leave you in pieces! From Lawbreakers Suspense Stories #11, March, 1953.

There are several more delightfully lurid stories included, plus a cover gallery. This is a great gift for the crime buff and comics fan on your gift list.

John Severin’s Billy The Kid Volume 1 and Volume 2

Return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when the Old West was wild and when Western comics proliferated the media landscape! Here are two voumes presenting a collection of Charlton Comics BILLY THE KID series drawn by one of the industry’s greatest illustrators, JOHN SEVERIN. All pages shot from Charlton’s original printing sources and recolored by Severin’s former editor and collaborator MORT TODD.

These are two thrilling 64 page collections for all cowboy and Severin fans! Also features an article on the artist along with a biographical comic strip by RUSS HEATH plus an original cover gallery!

Rocky Jones Space Ranger Volume 1

ROCKY JONES, Space Ranger Volume 1 is A 64 page collection of Charlton Comics adaptation of the beloved classic 1950s TV show, presented by ex-Charlton editor and E-Man co-creator NICK CUTI! Here’s what you have to look forward to:

From SPACE ADVENTURES #15 March, 1955: SPACE INFANTRY The secret origin of Rocky Jones and how he joined the Space Rangers. VELOCITY X Professor Newton devises an incredible new rocket fuel but is betrayed by his assistant who steals it to use against the United Worlds of the Solar System! SPACE FACTS Information on the real-life Rocky Jones Silvercup Rocket that traveled America in the 1950s! INVENTIONS OF TOMORROW Some of these ideas from the mid-20th century are now fact!

You’ll find more cool Charlton reprints, and some classics from other publishers, too. Just visit the Charlton Neo website for more information.

Local Spotlight: Two Tinkers Jewelry and Fine Art

Our local pick today in The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide is a cool boutique, tucked away on the third floor of the Oddfellows Building (717 Lee St Rm 307), that sells custom made jewelry, art and knacks of the knick variety, plus they offer workshops on creating art, painting and other cool stuff.

The Two Tinkers are Mary Ellen Terry Baughman and Rebecca Luann Hemsworth, and they’ve been selling their wares at fairs and festivals and conventions for years, but finally made the leap to setting up shop in Downtown Charleston. They sell their own creations as well as works made by other local artists like Cindy Sarkany, and it has a unique charm that can make the perfect gift for the hard-to-shop-for person on your holiday gift list.

Their work has the air of the mystic, cosmic, karmic, macabre and enlightened to it, and they also sell vintage pieces that compliment the very cool attitude of the shop.

You can check out their Facebook page and get an idea of what kind of cool stuff they have to offer.

The Two Tinkers is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 AM to 7 PM, and I’m guessing they’ll also take part in the Black Friday Artwalk next week. If you can’t make up your mind to which of their offerings would make the best gift, they also offer gift certificates in any denomination (seen below), so that the person on your gift list will get the experience of visiting and enjoying this cool little boutique on their own.


Wednesday afternoon on The AIR Mel Larch presents a very special, double-length brand-new episode of Curtain Call. You can hear it at 3 PM. Just tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of stimulating programs.

At 3 PM Wednesday on The AIR, our musical theatre program, Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch, arks its 50th episode with an episode where Mel presents the favorite songs that she’s sung in her many years as a performer of musical theater. Except for one song, we don’t have recordings of Mel actually singing these songs, but in this very special show, Mel talks about each song, what it means to her, and shares behind-the-scenes stories about her connections to each song, the productions she sang them in and pays tribute to the late Tom Murphy, her mentor and former creative director of the Charleston Light Opera Guild.

Mel also talks about some of her misadventures in musical theatre, like performing the lead role in 42nd Street in a wheelchair after she broke her foot.

This show ran over its usual one-hour format, so rather than trim any of these great songs or Mel’s wonderful stories, we decided to let it run as long as needed.  Since it didn’t quite take up two full hours, Mel produced a “mini-show” with previews of songs that you’ll hear in the next fifty episodes, including numbers from The Prom, which opens on Broadway on Thursday, Getting The Band Back Together, which just opened a few months ago, and Bat Out of Hell: The Jim Steinman Musical.

The end result is a fun, two-hour look at Mel’s past and Curtain Call‘s future.

Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

The rest of our programming day follows the new routine: Our musical morning line-up on Wednesday continues with The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by Prognosis at 9 AM, Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM and an encore of a classic Curtain Call at Noon.  We are re-presenting classic episodes of On The Road with Mel at 1 PM. At 1;30 PM and 7 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents part twoof her Salt Cave Meditation. At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. 5 PM sees a replay of this week’s hot episode of The Swing Shift. At 7:30 PM, we continue replaying Word Association with Lee & Rudy, from the very first episode. This week it’s episode eight, dedicated to obscure comic books.

Stay tuned all day, every day, for incredible music, thought-provoking talk and gut-busting comedy exclusively on The AIR. And check out the full schedule below, including our full day of fine programming…

The 2018 PopCult Gift Guide continues this afternoon.