PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number Seven (2)

This was the week where I wasn’t paying enough attention. This RFC Flashback goes to the first week of December, 2013, for the second consecutive “Number Seven” of The RFC MINI SHOW. In my haste, I used the same number for this show that had for the previous episode, and the worst thing about it was that I didn’t notice until four months later. Mea Culpa.

Fortunately, the show kicks all kinds of butt. This week’s RFC MINI SHOW was a special Sepia solo showcase for Andrew Hellblinki. The Hellblinki Sextet first appeared on Radio Free Charleston way back on episode 49, back in 2008. They were the first out-of-town band we featured on the show.

Andrew was undertaking a solo tour and a Kickstarter campaign at the time and we caught up with him at The Empty Glass. The fact that this is an RFC MINI SHOW, and it features a band that’s not from Charleston is significant, but I can’t really tell you why at this time.

Socialized PopCult and More New New Wave

The PopCulteer
September 13, 2019

It occurs to me that I have been a bit lazy when it comes to self-promotion and the inter-linkings of PopCult, The AIR and Radio Free Charleston and all the various social media pages thereof.

I know that the RSS feed here at The Gazette-Mail can be beyond a little wonky, and that can make it hard for those of you who wish, for some reason, to linger upon my every word to get notifications of all the various and sundry PopCult posts.

So this week we’re going to give you links so you can find the various PopCult-related social media links that might help you keep up with the goings-on in this here blog.

First of all, as you probably already know, I’m Rudy Panucci, your faithful PopCulteer who brings you random news, reviews, essays, art, video, pictures and other crap that has to do with the loosely-defined catagory of stuff known as “Pop Culture.”

You are welcome to send me a friend request on Facebook. Understand that Facebook is my personal page, and in addition to links to every PopCult post, you will also be subjected to posts where I complain about telemarketers, tell tales of how loud my neighborhood can be when I’m trying to record voice-overs (seriously, last week I started to record The Swing Shift and an Osprey flew over my house and hovered for about fifteen minutes), the occasional post about the news or politics, and fart jokes.

Also, please note that I will look at your page before I accept your request, and if it’s nothing but political memes…well, life’s too short for me to put up with that.

If you prefer your PopCult news in short, Twitter-sized bites, I also maintain a Twitter account as Rudy Panucci. You can follow me and find links to every PopCult post that I remember to Tweet. Of late, that’s been all of them.

Lately I have dipped my toe into the world of Instagram. I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but at some point I’ll probably start posting old Monday Morning Art pieces from the last fourteen years, so if you dig that kind of stuff, follow me on Instagram.  I also post links to all the PopCult posts here.

You can also head over to the brand-new PopCult Facebook page, where you won’t find a blasted thing for another week or so. They just asked me if I wanted the page, so I figured I’d better snap it up before somebody else did. I’ll put it in the social media rotation as soon as I have the time to finish setting up the page.

We also have Facebook pages for Radio Free Charleston, as well as The AIR, our sister internet radio station (recently dubbed “THE cool radio station in Charleston” by Ann Magnuson).

You can also find Facebook pages for some of the specific shows on The AIR, like Radio Free Charleston International, Word Association, and On The Road with Mel.

We also have a special NEW LINK for you. That is the web address for ThePopCultBlog.  Currently, it will bring you right back here. It’s sort of our backup plan. See, PopCult has been hosted by The Charleston Gazette and later the Gazette-Mail since day one. We have a great relationship. They sort of leave me alone, and I try not to make waves. It works, and PopCult has thousands of readers most days who seem to like it.

But, in the event that The Gazette-Mail has to cut us loose (things are tough in the newspaper industry these days) we have a plan that will allow us to take our archives and move to a new server, with the new URL that is linked above.

That’s not going to happen any time soon that I know of. Things at the moment of the doryest of hunky, but as your PopCulteer has learned repeatedly in his life, it never hurts to have a “Plan B.”

Anyway, if you would be so kind as to follow PopCult, its author, or its favorite features on the social medium of your choice, it’ll make it easier to alert everyone of any such transition, should one occur sometime in the future. Plus it’ll make me feel less like I’m doing all this in a vacuum.

New New Wave On Sydney’s Big Electric Cat

Check out what’s on The AIR, as Friday sees a brand-new, post-milestone episode of  Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Sydney Fileen presents two more hours of brand-new New Wave Music. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Friday at 3 PM you will get your second two-hour dose of crunchy New Wave goodness with a modern twist. This week Sydney picks up the theme that she started a couple of weeks ago on her 50th show for The AIR.  If you caught that episode you know that Sydney Fileen assembled two hours of music by the top New Wave artists, made in the 21st Century. Well, there was way more new music by classic New Wave artists, and this week Sydney presents a second helping, with two MORE hours of New Wave Music in the 21st Century.

Every tune you hear this week was released after the year 2000, just like in episode 50.. The playlist below lets you know which year each song was released. In the show Sydney breaks format a bit and tells you a little bit about each artist and how they’re still making vital and important music.

Just check out this epic playlist that Sydney has curated for you…

BEC 051

Elvis Costello and The Imposters “Mr. And Mrs. Hush” (2018)
Blondie “Love Level” (2017)
“Glen Matlock “I Couldn’t Give A Damn” (2018)
Garland Jeffires “Streetwise” (2011)
The Stranglers “Relentless” (2006)
Hugh Cornwell “Delightful Nightmare” (2008)
Hazel O’Connor “Good Morning Heartache” (2017)
Adam Ant “Punkyounggirl” (2013)
Suicidal Tendancies “Ain’t Messin’ Around” (2018)
The Damned “Daily Liar” (2018)
OMD “Metroland” (2013)
The Go Gos “Stuck In My Car (2001)
Paul Weller “Satellite Kid” (2017)
Killing Joke “New Jeruselem” (2015)
Dexys “I’m Always Going To Love You” (2012)
a-ha “Giving Up The Ghost” (2015)
Cyndi Lauper “Mother Earth” (2010)
The B 52s “Eyes Wide Open” (2008)
Bad Manners “Shape I’m In” (2013)
The English Beat with Dave Wakeling “Every Time You Told Me” (2018)
Annie Lennox “Mood Indigo” (2014″
Ultravox “Brilliant” (2012)

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR. Every Wednesday at 1 AM, we bring you three classic episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, just so you can be all New Wave-y overnight.

Next week, because our friends at Haversham Recording Institute are buried under work providing support for international news agencies who are covering the collapse of the empire, we’ll bring you both two-part 50th episodes of Prognosis, on Monday, and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, next Friday.

That is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features, plus coverage of The Queen City Beautiful Doll Club show at EnterTrainment Junction, which happens this Saturday, in Cinncinnati.

 

Barbie Collector’s Show In Cinncinnati Saturday

Saturday, September 14 the closest Barbie Collectors show to Charleston happens at EnterTrainment Junction in Cinncinnati.

The Queen City Beautiful Doll Club will host a show from 10 AM to 3 PM, and vendors will have Barbie, Tonner, Monster High, Madame Alexander and other fasion doll lines, as well as dollhouse accessories, miniatures and even some GI Joe stuff.

It’s happening at EnterTrainment Junction, which houses a massive toy train display (and a gift shop filled with train goodies). I’ve been wanting to visit EnterTrainment Junction for some time, and I also like to bring my readers photos from toy shows and my other cool travels, so this is a fun way for Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer to kill two birds with one stone and have a fun trip, to boot.

Admission to the show is only five dollars, and that also gets you a four-dollar discount on the admission to EnterTrainment Junction, so it’s a bargain on top of being a cool place to go.

It’s a quick trip, and we’ll be back later Saturday. You can expect photos and maybe even video next week. If you want to go shop for some rare Barbie items, or even just check out the cool train displays, visit the QBDC Facebook Group, or the EnterTrainment Junction website for more details.

And read this flyer, too…

From The Page To The Stage On Curtain Call Wednesday

This Wednesday afternoon The AIR, presents a special new episode of Curtain Call.  You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call.  This week Me lbrings her listeners songs from musicals that have their works in literary works. While the world of musical theater takes its inspiration from many sources, often the original source material can be found in your local library. On this show you’ll hear tunes based on the written word, including everything from classic literature, to contemporary best-sellers, beloved children’s stories and even comic books.

Check out the rather wordy playlist:

Curtain Call 071

“Prologue” from Ragtime
“One Second And A Million Miles” from Bridges of Madison County
“It’s Today” from Mame
“Our Lady of the Underground” from Hadestown
“We’ll Smile Again” from Kafka’s Metamorphosis
“Chillin’ The Regrets” from Alice by Heart
“Once Upon The Natchez” “from The Robber Bridegroom
“The Woman For The Man” from It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman
“What’s Up Duloc” from Shrek
“Our Prayer” from The Color Purple
“Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (London cast)

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 8 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 5 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight..

Right before Curtain Call, at 2 PM on Beatles Blast, yours truly hosts an encore presentation of the sixth part of an ongoing look at rare and unreleased music by The Beatles. For most of the summer, Beatles Blast will follow this format and bring you The Lost Beatles Project. This will be a treat for the die-hard fans as we mine the best of the recently-released archive projects by the band, and mix in rare releases and wild remixes from their band and solo years. We won’t be posting playlists for these shows because the whole point is that each of these programs will be a revelatory surprise. Beatles Blast will return with new episodes of The Lost Beatles Project soon.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 9 PM, Friday at 11 AM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

Tuesday on The AIR we deliver new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. You may tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this happy little embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston. This week’s show opens with a song from Ann Magnuson’s newly-reissued album, Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories. You can order it through her bandcamp page, which will be linked in the playlist below.

The show this week is split into three parts. First up we have newly-released, or re-released music with local ties. Then we offer up a set of relaxing instrumental music from local artists. Lastly, in the spirit of our 30th anniversary archival dig, we bring you a set of live music by The Mad Scientist Club, recorded out in the middle of nowhere about twenty-five years ago.

I’m going to try to link the names in the playlist so that you can buy the music we play this week. And as is our new tradition, I’m going to upload the show to YouTube, and put the resulting video right here…

So now, check out the playlist:

RFCv4120

Ann Magnuson “The Picture On My Dentist’s Wall”
Emmalea Deal “Queen” Live Unplugged
Fletcher’s Grove “Decker’s Creek”
The Big Bad “Spit On Your Grave”
Time And Distance “For Real”
Spencer Elliott “Yin and Yang”
Todd Burge “Main Street Auburn (guitar)”
Neostra “Explorations In Silence”
David Synn “Paths To Nowhere”
The Mad Scientist Club Live

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM your PopCulteer returns to host a new hour of The Swing Shift as we continue to bring you the best Swing Music of the last century. This week, in order to conserve his voice, your humble host (and PopCulteer) presents another mixtape show, which means you sort of have to come here to see a list of the music we play this week.

The Swing Shift 080

Jimmy Hamilton and his Orchestra “Salute To Charlie Parker”
Squirrel Nut Zippers “West of Zanzibar”
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers “Logan and Moore”
Pat Travers “In The Mood”
Glenn Miller “Anvil Chorus”
Joe Stilgoe “Nothing’s Changed”
Helen O’Connell “The Bad Humor Man”
Dr. John “Tauro Infirmiry”
The HUngry Williams “Where’s My Baby”
Jive Aces “Feelin’ Happy”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Whistle Stop”
Tape Five “Love Gun”
The Swingin’ Sisters “Tanav, Kus Sa Elad”
Hetty And The Jazzato Band “Un Bacio a Mezzanotte”
Susie Arioli “If Dreams Come True”
Kansas City Jazz Orchestra “We’ll Be Together Again”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 5 PM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else. Check PopCult regularly for details on our new episodes.

 

Monday Morning Art: Amish Alpaca

 

It’s late on a Sunday evening, and I didn’t have any candidates for Monday Morning Art that I’m really happy with, so I sat down and knocked out a quick digital painting of an Alpaca.On our recent trip through Pennsylvania we noticed that there were a few Alpaca on the Amish Farm in Lancaster, near the scenic covered bridge.

I didn’t get any photos of them, so I did this from memory. The reason we didn’t get close enough for photos is that, as you probably already know, Alpaca are fearsome beasts who, upon seeing an innocent animal or human, will immediately charge, leaping over fences and farm utility vehicles so that they may pounce upon their prey, ripping ferociously at its neck with their long, sharp-as-knives claws so that they can instantly slay it and begin feasting on the resultant dead body.

Or so I am told.

I must salute those brave Amish men who get up at 4 AM, when the Alpaca are still lethargic after a long night’s hunt and don Medieval armor so that they confont these animals and retieve the wool, milk, ambergris, limericks and other products that these majestic animals provide.

This painting was done from memory, as we only briefly glimpsed the fearsome predator and were able to speed away before it zeroed in on us and made us its next meal. Makes my heart races to think of how close we came to certain death.

If you wish, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon brings you four episodes of Radio Free Charleston international.  After airing, these four early episodes will go into mothballs and disappear from the server to make room for new programming. As Haversham Recording Institute is providing international coverage to news outlets of the mess in Britain, Herman Linte has begged off this week, and we’ll be bringing you an encore of a recent episode of Prognosis at 3 PM.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

 

Sunday Evening Video: A Space Anniversary

2019 marks 50 years since we landed on the moon, but it’s also the 20th anniversary of a tragic space anniversary that has thus far gone unmentioned in the media.

This week marks twenty years since the moon broke free from its orbit, taking the crew of Moonbase Alpha on an interglalactic journey.  Nobody will forget that fateful morning, September 13, 1999, when nuclear waste stored on the moon triggered the fateful circumstance.

While we on Earth have had to contend with the consequences of catastrophic climate change and hysteria that caused the election of an insane reality TV star to the highest position in government, those 311 brave people on the moon have had to contend with even rougher hardships…except for the whole president thing, anyway.

This week we once again turn our video eye toward the best science fiction show with a really moronic premise ever…Gerry and Silvia Anderson’s Space: 1999.

The premise of Space: 1999 involved the folks on Moonbase Alpha (Remember that base we had on the Moon just two decades ago?).  The Earth had been storing its nuclear waste on the dark side of the Moon, where it blowed up…real good.   The force of the explosion sends the Moon right out of orbit, launching it into space like a giant spaceship, with Moonbase Alpha going along for the ride.

Ignoring the likelihood that such a cataclysm would not only kill everyone on the Moon, but also pretty much end life on Earth as we know it, the series was a lot a fun with sharp writing and a first-rate cast that included later OSCAR winner Martin Landau. We first ran the above video of the pilot five years ago, but it was paired with a couple of complete episodes from later in the series, which have since fallen victim to YouTube’s notorious copyright hook. Still, we must never forget the tragic events of September 13th, 1999, and endeavor to never ever again bury nuclear waste on the moon that isn’t there anymore.

Space: 1999 was a welcome lifeline for fans of science fiction on television in the mid-1970s. Back in the dark ages before Star Wars, good old-fashioned space opera was a rare sight on the small screen. Space:1999 was the first prime-time series set in outer space since Star Trek and Lost In Space had ended their runs in the previous decade. Space:1999 ran for two seasons, from 1975 to 1977 (back when 1999 seemed like a far-off future date), and spawned a ton of cool toys, comic books and action figures. Just like with Star Trek, the final season of Space: 1999 was produced by Fred Frieberger, as so it is rarely mentioned by fans of the show.

 

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW Number Seven (.1)

This week we go back to late November, 2013 for an early edition of The RFC MINI SHOW featuring music from the annual CYAC tradition, MARY A Rock Opera, Dan Kehde and Mark Scarpelli’s musical which has become a Charleston holiday institution. We brought you three songs from the show’s 2013 rehearsals, starring Rowan Maher as the titular mother of Christ. The RFC crew recorded these three songs, “Spin and Grow,” “Hear Us O Lord,” and “Child, My Child” before the set was finished or the full orchestra was available. It’s still a stunning work and we are happy to share it with you.

We will keep you posted about this year’s production of MARY, which I’m guessing will be at CYAC’s new home, the Elk City Playhouse. The show usually opens the day after Thanksgiving, and is well worth experiencing.

Also of note is that this is the first of two “episode sevens” for The RFC MINI SHOW. Months after posting these, I realized that I’d numbered two of the shows as “seven,” I don’t recall if I ever skipped a number later to make up for it, but next week you can look forward to The RFC MINI SHOW number 7.2.

The New Action Man Reviewed

The PopCult Toybox

Action Man is the British version of GI Joe. Hasbro debuted GI Joe as the first-ever action figure (seriously, they invented the term just for him–if someone says different, they don’t know what they’re talking about) in 1964, and America’s Movable Fighting Man proved to be so popular that Hasbro was approached by toy companies in other countries who wanted to license the hit toy.

In the UK, Palitoy secured the license, and changed the name to “Action Man,” mainly because “GI” was a meaningless term in the British Military. Also, having “action” in the name reinforced that he was an action figure, and not a doll.

There is a ton of history that comes after that, but for the purposes of this review, we’re going to jump forward about fifty years. In 2014 GI Joe hit his 50th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, Hasbro did almost nothing. They did slap an anniversary logo on some 3 3/4″ GI Joe toys that had been delayed from the previous year, but outside of offerings from the Official GI Joe Club, there was no 12″ GI Joe product.

However, two years later, when the 50th Anniversary of Action Man came about, a small company called Art + Science International Ltd licensed the rights to produce 50th Anniversary Action Man sets from Hasbro (who bought Palitoy back in the 1980s).

These were well-done sets that included nearly exact replicas of the original figures with great accessories and they were priced with the adult collector in mind.

After having a decent level of success with the collectors figures, last year Art + Science decided to shoot for a more mainstream, children’s market, and came up with a new, less expensive, body design. Apparently inspired by Marvel’s Titan Hero series of figures, of which I am on record as not being particulary fond, the new Action Figures are aimed at ages 3 and up.

These figures were released in the UK in time for Christmas last year, but I just now got my hands on one of the basic models (more deluxe sets have weapons, but I believe they have the same body).

These may well work as toys for kids, but I think even kids would be disappointed. The figure itself sports a great headsculpt–a perfect likeness of the GI Joe/Action Man head that we all know and love. Unfortunately that head is poised atop a body that can best be described as that of a knockoff of Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend.

There are eight points of articulation, and half of of those points have limited range. The nead has the neck built-in, and plugs into the body, which makes it incompatible with most other action figure bodies without serious modifications.

The figure comes with no weapons. The uniforms have no real pockets and close with velcro-type closures. You get a shirt, pants, boots (molded with a distinction between left and right), very cool scale dog tags and a nice beret. The basic model has no other weapons or accessories. This is a budget-line action figure.

There is more articulation than a Titan Hero and a cloth uniform that can be removed, but aside from that, it fits right in with the cheap-o standard 12″ figures that dominate the mass market today.

We’ll address the positives: The headsculpt is perfect. This is GI Joe (or Action Man), down to the scar. The scale dog tags (seen right) are terrific, although I can’t figure out how they got around the choking hazard standard to get this marked safe for ages 3 and up. The beret is very nice, pliable vinyl-like material. The boots are well-sculpted military boots, and seem to be big enough, and soft enough to use with a vintage 12″ action figure.

There are plenty of negatives too: The body sucks. Articulation is poor. The head can twist, at the base of the neck, but can’t move up or down.

The hip joints are very loose. The legs are neoprene and the plastic click-joints within can only hold three positions. Ankles are not jointed. The waist joint is a simple swivel.

The arms are way too short. The hands will not grip anything and are posed open, like he’s waving. There is no articulation in the arms, other than the ball-and-socket joint where they attach to the torso. Elbows do not bend and the wrists are not articulated.

All told, there are eight points of articulation, but that’s being a bit generous.

The uniform is cloth, and not some kind of plastic or vinyl, but the velcro-type closures are clunky (and white on the uniform I got, which makes them more visible). The pants may be useful on other figures as part of a kitbash, but the shirt is hampered by being tailored to fit the unnaturally short arms and might look a tad doofussy on another figure.

At the moment, I’ve only seen these at Amazon. None showed up at any of the toy shows I’ve been to this year, and even ordering from Amazon, they ship from the UK. You’re looking at spending twenty to thirty bucks a pop, depending on the vendor and how elaborate the set you choose is.

I went with the basic desert-camo guy, and he ran just over twenty bucks.

That’s not a great value for the money. The figure, as sold, is not intended for collectors, and once he’s out of the box, he does not display well at all. My guess is that, if these were marketed in the US, at mainstream retailers, they’d sell for ten or twelve bucks, just like most 12″ figures do now.

At that price, these have some good kitbash/custom fodder value. I’ve just popped the head off the body as I’m typing this, and I’m going to extend the neck with Apoxie and see how he works on a Marx 12″ action figure. I’ll find a use for the uniform, boots and beret, and those dog tags will look sharp on a detailed military kitbash.

If Hasbro allows these to be marketed in the US (which does not look to be likely) and the price is what I’m guessing, customizing and kitbashing would be the use for these. They’d be cheap enough to buy in bulk just to get the headsculpts.

However, at the current prices as imports, it’s a bit much to pay for a figure that can’t be enjoyed as-is, out of the box.

The PopCulteer
September 6, 2019

You know what we haven’t done in a long time. We haven’t done a PopCulteer that was made up of random items, assembled hap-hazardly. How about we do that again?

It’s been a bit of a busy week for your PopCulteer, still catching up from the backlog of work that accumulated during his vacation, while working on other projects for the future, reconnecting with old friends and preparing to bring you more cool articles, video and radio.

There’s a lot of cool stuff coming up, so let’s dive in.

Metal Flooring

Well, sort of. I wanted to plug a Kickstarter campaign for Chris Ojeda, the frontman of local Metal Heroes, Byzantine. Chris is also a professional contractor, and has, along with his father, created and developed a tool to align wood flooring, so that the planks are straight and flush against one another.

There’s about a month left to go on this campaign, and it almost looks cool enough to make me want to  take up installing flooring as a hobby. The Floor Cam could be a real game-changer for the flooring industry.

Check out the video…

The Floor Cam can be ordered through the campaign, with an expected delivery date of late next year for the rust-free aluminum installation aid. Click this widget for more details on how you can get your hands on one.

Anticipating Sydney

The previously-announced second part of the special “New Wave In The 21st Century” episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat will run next week on The AIR instead of this Friday. Sydney requested an extra week to put the show together, and you just don’t turn down a request from the legendary Sydney Fileen. Instead, you can tune into The AIR at 3 PM to hear the episode of Big Electric Cat where Sydney turns out not to be a fan of the Royals. Listen at the website, or on this embedded player…

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR. Every Wednesday at 1 AM, we bring you three classic episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, just so you can be all New Wave-y overnight.

The Gospel According To Danny and Mark

I’ve known about this for a while, but now it’s official and you can be sure that I’ll tell you more about it as the date grows nearer, but Mark Scarpelli  is turning Daniel Boyd’s cult movie, Invasion of The Space Preachers, into a musical, and they’re going to have a table read open to the public next month. Visit the Facebook page, like it, and stare at this graphic, what I done swiped from there…

A Very Plez-ant Time

Earlier this week, between doctor appointments, I met up with Douglas Imbrogno at Mea Cuppa on Charleston’s West Side. Doug was my editor for years at the Gazette and later The Gazz.com, where was responsible for the creation (and the naming of) this very blog. Doug has since struck out onto new adventures, including The Changing Climate Times Newsletter and podcast, and his personal writing depository, plus some great freelance assignments.

I’ve always been very fond of Doug, and when he said he wanted to meet up and gift me with some cool Pez dispensers, I was very happy to catch up and add more toys to what will soon be the revamped “Wall of Coolness” in Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor.

I took Doug some candy selections from our recent foray to the Boyer Candy Company, and accepted a very cool batch of Pez dispensers into the fold. We caught up on what each other has been up to lately. Doug told me about his life post-Gazette, and his upcoming projects and I filled him in on my recent travels and dealing with Myasthenia Gravis. What was a really cool surprise was that Doug had written a cool sendoff to his Pez buddies, which you can read HERE. I’ve swiped his photo of the Pez gang, but will post an update here once they are fully assimilated into the toy vault that is my home.

This weekend Doug will be at Culturefest at Pipestem, in Southern West Virginia. At the rate I’m working, he’ll probably be on stage minutes after I get this posted. You can find more details on that at their Facebook event page.

A Monster Of A Gathering

Also happening this weekend, up in Flatwoods, is the Flatwoods Monster Festival, which is just starting up. This could turn out to be a lot of fun, and I wish I found out about it sooner. Next year I’ll try to dig up more details in advance, but for now, you can visit their Facebook page.

“By God” By Liz

Liz McCormick, who as a teen was a huge help in front of and behind the camera on Radio Free Charleston’s video show, is now working for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and turned in this report on the etymology of the phrase, “West ‘By God’ Virginia.”  It’s so cool seeing Liz doing such great work for WVPB.

Later today in PopCult.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a detailed review of a toy in this blog, so I’m going to shake off the rust and come back at you later today with a review of the new, budget-line Action Man figures, which have been available in the UK for about a year now.

That’s a sneak peek at right.

I finally got my hands on one, and will give you the lowdown on the good and bad (mostly bad) about this latest British incarnation of the original 12″ action figure.

The Great Fudge Whale

Finally, I need to share a short story and photo from the recent vacation that most of my readers are probably sick of hearing about. As you may recall, that trip was mostly to celebrate five years since Mel Larch and I got married on stage at The Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. At the time, since we sort of eloped, we did not have a wedding cake. On the way back to the hotel on the L, I proclaimed that, when we did finally have a wedding cake, it would be “Fudgie The M****r F*****g Whale!”

If you’re not familiar with Fudgie the Whale, read up on him HERE.

It took us five years to find a Carvel anywhere near anyplace we would be long enough to make the trek to get the elusive beast.

It turns out that Carvel is not as widespread as you might think, not all locations sell Fudgie, and even though you can get Carvel ice cream cakes at Kroger, the whale itself is exclusive to their own retail locations. Those, it turns out, are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

However, our recent trip took us to Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour away from Reading, Pennsylvania, which does indeed boast among its many fine dining establishments one fully-functional Carvel Ice Cream Emporium. We diverted our hotel-hopping anniversary trip to Reading, hit up the Carvel and snagged the last small Fudgie what they had in captivity, and escorted him to our hotel, as he serenaded us with his beautiful ice-cream whale songs.

Later that night, in the privacy of our room at Homewood Suites, we partook of the tail of our killer whale, and that is the tale of our quest. Here is the photographic evidence.

 

And with that, our PopCulteer is a wrap this week. Check back later today for our review of Action Man, and come back all weekend for our regular features.