PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The RFC Flashback: Episode 2

Starting this week, The RFC Flashback will depart from the strict chronological presentation of the history of Radio Free Charleston so that we can restore and re-present some of the episodes of the show that have been missing in action…in some cases for more than ten years. In fact, four of our first 100 episodes are still missing. I don’t have copies, and if anybody out there managed to download episodes 21, 66, 79 or 80, I would be extremely happy to get copies of those.

This week we go back to our second episode, from July 2006.  This one has been available, but is harder to find. YouTube flagged it and gave it the boot for our inclusion of, ironically enough, scenes from an unlicensed Batman movie from the Phillipines. However, Vimeo didn’t give a rat’s ass, so it’s bee tucked away there for some time. Now we represent it for you.

This episode is called “RVD Shirt, named after the then-current ECW and WWE champion, Rob Van Dam. Shortly after I got the shirt (a matter of hours, really), Mr. Van Dam drove into a speedtrap near Ironton, Ohio, which is not advisable when you are indulging in fine smokables of an illicit variety. RVD dropped both championships and was escorted from the company shortly thereafter.

This was when the show was still in its infancy, and originating from the much-missed LiveMix Studio. Our musical guests were a solo Stephen Beckner (currently in the band Speedsuit) and The Sleeping Dons, which was Sean Richardson, Deron Sodaro and Jay Lukens. We had animation from Brian Young and Frank Panucci, and ended the show with one of my favorite jokes, which is now fourteen years out of date, but it still qualifies as “mind-hurting weirdness.”

Next week, if YouTube cooperates, we will bring you an episode of the show from 2007 that hasn’t been seen anywhere in four or five years.


For some reason, nobody seems to be able to retrieve the embed codes that allow us to put YouTube clips into the body of our posts.

Until this matter is resolved, I will be unable to bring you our normal weekend video features here in PopCult.

We will keep trying, and hope they fix it in a few hours.


Stuff To Do At Home

The PopCulteer
March 27, 2020

Usually, roughly once a week, I present a round-up of cool places you can go and things you can do here in PopCult.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen this week (or for the foreseeable future).

We are still doing our best to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus from spreading. There are times, when trying to discuss things like climate change, voting in your best interests and how to best limit the damage from a pandemic that I feel like Jor-El trying to warn the Science Council of Krypton that their planet is doomed. It’s frustrating and tiring, but please, listen to the doctors and scientists and don’t go out unless you really need to do so.

This is the easiest assignment in the world. You can save lives by just not leaving your house for a while.

But there are still cool things in this world which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. I’m going to divide it in a a few catagories, so you can take your pick of cool things to help pass the time.

Stuff To Read



For a long time I’ve been meaning to plug the blog of Douglas Imbrogno, my original editor at PopCult and the reason you have this blog to read now.

Doug is a terrific writer, videographer and musician, and in his blog, thestoryisthething, you’ll find essays, music, video and — if for some reason you’re a big fan of PopCult, Doug’s take on the genesis of The PopCult Blog  and how it led to the revival of Radio Free Charleston were all documented in a recent post of his.

I got to hang out with Doug a bit recently. He gifted me with some cool Pez dispensers a couple of months ago, and he provided pre-show music for the recent production of Titus Andronicus in Charleston in which my wife participated.

His blog is a wonderful collection of the musings and writings of a truly gentle soul who tries as hard as possible to remain positive, which is quite a feat these days.

Douglas also curates the Changing Climate Times Newsletter, to which you can subscribe HERE. That he covers issues of climate change and manages to remain mostly upbeat is a tury remarkable accomplishment in an area where identifying with Jor-El is an everyday occurence.

The Chronicles of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley

Last year I included British musical legend Mike Batt’s whimsical illustrated fairy tale for all ages, The Chronicles of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley, in the PopCult Gift Guide. This stunned Mike, who had no idea that anybody in American knew who he was, or knew about the book. We exhanged a few pleasant Twitter messages over that.

Now, with the first edition of his book sold out, he has made it available for free, to read online, to help people deal with the world-wide quarantine. You can find it HERE and pass your time enjoying a tale that will take you to a much funnier world, one where slugs long to play the piano, and there’s not a worry in the world…except for the Pigfrogs. But then, what would a good story be without some conflict?


More Cool Blogs

In the past, I’ve recommended a few other blogs, and now is a good time to remind you so you can go catch up.

NewsFromME is Mark Evanier’s blog that covers everything from comics to classic film, animation theater, Frank Ferrante and life in Los Angeles. Mark’s had an amazing career that starts with him writing letters to comic books, then becoming an assistant to Jack Kirby, before broadening his scope and writing sitcoms and variety shows and producing animation–while still keeping a hand in comics as a writer and historian.
I always used to say he’s who I want to be when I grow up, but since he’s only ten years older than me, and I’m not even in television’s “money demographic” anymore, that joke is more creepy than funny.

Dial B For Blog is a great comics history site that hasn’t really been updated for several years, but it’s still filled with a wealth of fantastic material, mostly devoted to the comics and comic creators of the Silver age of DC Comics. The writer, “Robby Reed.” has over 950 well-researched and wonderfully-crafted “issues” that bring that great era of comics to life.

Just a few weeks ago I told you about The Rialto Report, which does for the Golden Age of Porn Chic what Dial B For Blog does for Silver Age DC Comics. I’m reminded to recommend it again because of the strange parallels between the business practices of porn producers and comic book pubishers, and the way that both industries treat their star talents. Ashley West and April Hall post articles, podcasts and archival material and paint a vivid picture of a marginalized cultural influence. Not for kids, and not safe for work, but still a fascinating read.

Stuff To Watch

Rick Wakeman has a new prog-rock concept album coming out soon. The Red Planet is the full-blown 1970s-style progressive rock beast of an album that Wakeman’s fans have been clamoring for for decades.

Wakeman has even dragged and dusted off out his vintage synths to make sure this album delivers on all fronts.

The album features 8 newly composed pieces, especially for this project, and harks back to Wakeman’s critically acclaimed debut album “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” where there were 6 heavy keyboard pieces based around a central subject matter. It is a serious return to “Wakeman Prog”

The Red Planet is inspired by a potential mission to Mars. Here’s a snippet of the music as a preview…

You can watch more of Rick’s videos, where he talks about recording the project at his YouTube Page.

Stuff To Hear

In a departure from what I usually do, I am putting up recent episodes of our speciality music programs as podcasts at The AIR.

To listen, you have to go to The AIR website, and in the menu on the left of the page (where the arrow is pointing in the graphic below), click “Podcasts.” This will give you a list of shows, you can listen to on demand. You can choose from recent episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, NOISE BRIGADE, Curtain Call, The Swing Shift, Psychedelic Shack and Prognosis. Plus we have the Life Speaks UFO Special there, too.

We’ll do this for the time being while everybody’s quarantined. It’s our small way of helping out.

Go to The AIR and look here…

Stuff To Buy and Listen To

William Matheny has hooked up with Leesta Vall Sound Recordings for a really cool project. For 25 bucks, you can choose a song from the provided list, William will record it and send it to Leesta Vall, who will custom-press it as a 7-inch, one of a kind record, and they’ll mail it to you. It’s the Direct-to-vinyl Shut-in Session Preorder.

The cutoff date is March 29, so go to the website, pick your song and order now!

And that’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. I hope everybody is doing well and abiding by the recommended hermatige-ing. We’ll do this again next week, with all-new picks.

Pop Culture On Pause

That headline does not mean that I’m taking time off from PopCult. I’ll still be here, trying to post fresh content every day and keeping you all apprised of cool stuff in pop culture and what’s happening on The AIR.

But with the unprecedented situation brought on by the Coronavirus outbreak, pop culture in general has shifted from escapism and light entertainment to focus on what’s happening in the real world.

This is like watching 9 11 unfold over a period of weeks, instead of a period of hours. It’s traumatizing and horrific to see this happen to our country.

It’s really scary stuff, and I’m certain that you’ve had your fill of it if you’re taking the time to come here and see what I’m writing about. There are better sources online than PopCult to tell you what to do and who to blame, and half of them are even accurate.  In this post, I’m going to look at some of the possible ramifications of how this virus has crippled the pop culture economy.

Our priority is and always should be the healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines. We also need to recognize (and maybe raise the pay of) the grocery store and restaurant workers and pharmacists who keep this country operational  I don’t mean any of this to take away from their valiant efforts.

But I’m here to talk about the trivial stuff, the non-essential industries that help us pass the time when thing are going relatively smoothly. The workers in these industries are largely going without pay right now. They have bills, rent, need food and medical attention–just like everyone else. This outbreak, and the ensuing near-lockdown of the country, is going to change several industries drastically, and perhaps forever. Get ready for a little bit of doom, with just a dash of gloom. Things are going to be rough before they get better.

Sports will rebound. The restaurant industry will climb back. Streaming services and television networks are having a boom period because of so many people being stuck at home.

Some people may discover that they don’t mind being stuck at home.

The major Hollywood studios have rush-released movies that were in theaters when this hit to home video and streaming services already, and this could very well change the way they decide to do business when we get close to being back to normal.

I’m among the people who have discovered that they hate seeing movies in crowded theaters. This happened years ago, when my job involved seeing moves at the hated Marquee Cinemas. I don’t like having to go out, pay a lot of money, and sit in a chair that isn’t always comfortable just so that I can have the “pleasure” of being around people who have no respect for the art of movie-making, nor any concept of how to properly behave in public.

I’ve got a big screen in my living room. I don’t need that other crap. Plus I can hear every line of dialogue instead of having them drowned out by the guffaws of ignorant oafs. I try not to be anti-social, but I’ve always enjoyed watching movies most alone or with a small amount of people around.

If the major studios discover that they can make just as much money, or even more, by distributing their films directly to the consumer–bypassing the middleman–they will start to release movies digitally the same day they hit theaters, and the movie theaters will see a huge drop-off in boxoffice sales.

Theater owners have feared this for decades, and it’s why they’re vowing to “punish” Universal for digitally releasing the next Trolls movie on the day it was to open in theaters. Hell, fifty years ago they tried to have cable television outlawed because they feared the competition, as you can see in this theater ad from the late 1960s.

Charging people to watch moving pictures when they have multiple screens in their home that let them that for free might not be a great business model for these times. We could see a major collapse of the theater industry after this. However, the silver lining seems to be the revival of the Drive-In Theater, if only temporarily.

In a less-profitable arena, this shutdown could very easily kill off the direct-sales comics market. 90% of the comics shops in the country are currently closed for the outbreak. Diamond Comic Distributors, who have a virtual monopoly, will stop sending or receiving orders after next Wednesday’s books are shipped out.

Transcontinental Printing, based in Toronto, is shut down, and they print most of DC Comics’ output, along with that of several other publishers like Dark Horse. Several comic companies have delayed books, suspended publication or even laid off their artists and writers.

Some folks are urging the industry to go digital, but most people agree that there simply aren’t enough readers using digital platforms to support the industry yet.

The fear is that this will break the comics habits of the small number of remaining comics readers, and put the vast majority of comic book stores out of business.

DC and Marvel will find a way to survive. Image and IDW will try. Many other publishers will likely go belly-up thanks to this economic meltdown.

The lack of printing facilities, distribution and retail outlets could also wipe out what’s left of an already-struggling magazine industry. Playboy magazine has announced that their next print edition is likely to be their last this year, and possibly their last ever.

Entertainment Weekly has already dropped to monthly publication. Going a month or two (or three) without any sales could be the death knell for periodical publications as we know them.

Newspapers might come out of this with a bit of reprieve, if people come back to the idea of home delivery of any kind of print media. Attracting advertisers might be trickier, as we have to see how other non-essential industries weather this storm.

The music industry, which was already mired in a years-long depression, is a matter that will have to wait for a later column. Suffice to say, music venues, bars, music stores and the musicians themselves are taking a major hit.

The toy industry is in seriously dire straits. Many toy lines are tied to movies that have been delayed, and while Walmart and Target and Walgreens are still open for business, other outlets for toys are shut down for the duration. The factories have been shut down in China for two months, and are only now beginning to come back online. Shipping priority has been given to medical supplies, so what toys have been made are piling up on the docks in Hong Kong.

At retail in the US, toys are no longer competing against other toys for consumer’s dollars, they’re competing against food and toilet paper. I love toys, but they are pretty near the top of the “non-essential” list.

The same can be said for fashion, or make-up, or wall decor. I mean, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Who is deeply concerned about buying Tiki mugs or Funko Pops or collectible Nikes?

This is a bit of a weird time for yours truly, since I cut way back on going out when I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis and had to start taking hardcore immuno-suppressants, so I’ve sort of been living like this for almost four years now. Melanie and I have put all our travel plans on hold, but my everyday routine hasn’t really changed much. Mel’s working from home for the time being, so that’s pretty cool.

I lost ToyLanta, but there’s always next year. I don’t know what the future holds, but I think it’s only 50/50 that I’ll be able to attend the toys shows I want to in June and July. I wasn’t considering going to SDCC, but I’m certain the organizers are already formulating contingency plans in case we aren’t up and running as normal by then.

I hope this ends soon, and safely. I do not trust our current leadership on a state or national level to do anything in our best interests, so I hope they don’t try to rush things, only to make things worse. There is so much about this virus that we don’t know yet, and they seem hell-bent on demonstrating that on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I’ll be here, posting about whatever cool stuff I can point you toward. Tomorrow I’ll share links for some good reading to help you pass the time, and I’ll probably shake up the RFC Flashback and dig deeper into the Radio Free Charleston vaults. I also still need to post more VirtualToylanta stuff. I’m very angry of the preventable aspects of this tragedy, but I will try very hard to keep that anger from seeping into what I write here.

It’s been a rough three weeks.

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a new episode of Curtain Call shines its spotlight on two shows that celebrate the music of Africa You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

If you’re familiar with the music of legendary South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, chances are it’s from their appearance on Paul Simon’s 1986 album, Graceland. But in addition to their many recordings and accolades over the years, they have also collaborated with the equally legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago on such productions as The Song of Jacob Zulu and Nomathemba.

In late 2019, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Steppenwolf teamed up for a third time to create Lindiwe. Written and co-directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Eric Simonson, it’s the story of a young South African singer named Lindiwe, who, while touring the US with Mambazo, meets and falls in love with Adam, a Chicago based blues drummer. It’s a tale that travels from the fabled Kingston Mines blues club to South Africa and beyond, challenging its audience to define the boundaries between this world and the next, all while exploring the sacrifices we make for love.  The music of Lindiwe makes up the bulk of this week’s edition of Curtain Call.

The rest of the show features music from Fela! the Tony Award winning musical by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis. Fela! is based on the life and music of the late Nigerian singer and social activist, Fela Kuti, who was also a pioneer of the Afrobeat musical genre.

The show takes place around 1977 and portrays Fela at the height of his influence as a composer and performer in Nigeria. Torn between his desire for fame and respect for his mother’s involvement in Nigeria’s civil rights movement, he eventually becomes involved in open opposition to his native country’s oppressive military regime which,in turn, responds to his musical activism with increasingly violent retaliation.

These two shows demonstrate the flexibility of musical theater, as the stage adapts and celebrates types of music not normally associated with the traditional form. This musical diversity and universal storytelling is what keeps live theater so vital and important as a cultural touchstone.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 6 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..



RFC favorite, Mark Beckner debuts a new song Tuesday on The AIR to open a special new episode of Radio Free Charleston. You may point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this happy little embedded radio player…

Tune into this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday for a special show that opens with a new tune byThe Mark Beckner Group, and winds up with a re-presentation of a one-hour “Go Van Gogh Family Tree,” featuring the history of Mark’s old group from long ago.

Mark’s new album, Mark Beckner Group-10 Stories will be released soon, and we’ll tell you all about it when the time comes. In the meantime we are proud to have been chosen to premiere the lead single, “Odessa.” This is Mark’s first studio release in 16 years, and it was recorded at Bud Carroll’s Trackside Studio in Ona, and mastered in Nashville by Dutch Noss.

While “Odessa” opens the show, the third hour of the show features Mark’s old bands, Go Van Gogh, The Tunesmiths and Hitchcock Circus, and ends with a solo demo track by Mark. I put this together back in the Voices of Appalachia days of RFC Volume 3, and it’s nice to pull it out of the mothballs for folks who haven’t heard it yet. It provides plenty of proof why Mark has been one of my favorite songwriters for longer than either of us would care to admit.

Of course, between the open track and closing hour we have a pretty impressive, eclectic mix of locally-produced music and cool stuff from all over the world.

Check out the playlist…

RFCV5 011

hour one
Mark Beckner Group “Odessa”
Andy Partridge-Robyn Hitchcock “Flight Attendants, Please Prepare For Love”
Eddie Jobson “Listen To Reason”
John Lancaster “Something To Fade Into”
Kevin Scarbrough “O For Operative”
Mike McGear “The Man Who Found God On The Moon”
The Rutles “Let’s Be Natural”
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies “Cold Hard Cash”
Mediogres “Zombie Activist”
Tautologic “Loud Shoes”
T C &I “Greatness”
The BrotherSisters “Wave Of Love”
Ann Magnuson “Cynical Girl”

hour two
John Williams “Lost In Space”
Feast of Stephen “Coal Tattoo”
Andy Prieboy “Who Do You Think We’re Coming For”
The Aquabats “Cowboy Android Theme”
Rel-X “Believe The Lie”
Ringo Starr “Thank God For Music”
Bon Air “I’m Doing Fine”
Apocalyptica featuring Lacey “Broken Pieces”
Epica “Canvas of Life”
Kate Bush “Pull Out The Pin”
Lana Lane “Hold You Head Up”
Kim Wilde with Mike Batt and the RPO “Because The Night”
Nightwish “Amaranth”

hour three
Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”
True Rumor “River Beyond”
Meadow Blasters “Da Da Da, I Love You”
Meadow Blasters “She Doesn’t Want My Love”
Go Van Gogh “Planet Freedom”
Go Van Gogh “I Don’t Like Trains”
The Tunesmiths “Ballet Dancer”
Tunesmiths “For Your Love”
Hitchcock Circus “Telescope”
Hitchcock Circus “Song For A Friend”
Stephen Beckner “Those Eyes”
Stephen Beckner “Scream”
The Nanker Phelge “Johnny’s Got A Problem”
The Nanker Phelge “That’s What She Said”
The Nanker Phelge “The Nanker Stomp”
Mark Beckner “Habitual Preoccupation with Self”

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 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 2 PM we bring you a classic episode of Psychedelic Shack. Nigel and the Haversham gang are back making new music shows, but we’re banking them and plan to have all new shows starting next week.

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 we bring you a mixtape collection that leads off with Jack’s Cats, our favorite new Swing Ensemble from California. The rest of the show is pretty darned interesting, and you can see what’s in it here, since I don’t do any back announcing in an effort to conserve my voice.

The Swing Shift 088

Jack’s Cats “My Friend”
The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League “Millenial Blues”
The Sazerac Swingers “The Night Before The Storm”
Swing Ninjas “Nancy”
Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra “The Trashman Cometh”
The Sassy Swingers “Va Et Vient”
Megan and her Goody Goodies “Buddy Bolden’s Blues”
Louis Prima “O Solo Mio”
Dominique Magloire “Fine And Mellow”
Bryan Ferry “Alphaville”
Dany Brillant “C’est l’amour qui rend heureux”

Whenever I do a mixtape show like this, where I only break in to talk once, you may notice that I try to load it up with foreign-language tunes that have titles I don’t know if I can pronounce properly.

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 2 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.

Monday Morning Art: Wheel Of Doom


It’s not really a wheel of doom. What you see above is a digitally-manipulated photo of the Centennial Wheel at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife visited the Windy City a few weeks in what may well turn out to be the last trip we get to take this year. I took a photo right after we got off the massive Ferris Wheel, looking up at the beast, and then took it to high-contrast black and white, and still not happy with it, took it negative.

I do that kinda crap when I have spare time.

This is part of our “Chicago-Inspired Art” event, happening every Monday in March.

You can click the image if you want to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon runs from 7 AM to 2 PM, and brings you seven hours of recent episodes of Radio Free Charleston. At 2 PM we bring you an encore of the Life Speaks UFO Special, which you can read about HERE. 3 PM sees either a rerun, or a new episode of Prognosis. Herman Linte has a new show in the can, but we’re having technical issues bringing it over from the UK (not related to the travel ban…I hope).

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

Possibly later today, but more likely on Tuesday, you can expect more VirtualToylanta posts, as I compile more video that I shot over the years at JoeLanta/ToyLanta into neat little packages.  I’d planned to do all of these over the weekend, but your PopCulteer has been completely swamped of late.

VirtualToyLanta: The Wrap-up Videos

Every year that I’ve attended JoeLanta, and later ToyLanta, I’ve produced a wrap-up video to try to capture the energy and excitement of the experience. My first show was in 2013, which was at the tail end of my 20-year period as a family caregiver, when I couldn’t really travel for anything that wasn’t health-related.

That first year was a revelation. In the space of about three hours I met over fifty people who had been online-only friends for the better part of two decades. The JoeLanta crowd welcomed me and Melanie (now Mrs. PopCulteer) into the JoeLanta family, and the annual trip to Atlanta has been a big part of our lives ever since.  I’ve made a wrap-up video every year since our first, although in 2016 I didn’t get it finished until November (that was a bit of rough year for your PopCulteer).

When the show transitioned to ToyLanta a couple of years back we enthusiastically embraced the expansion, since it all goes to benefit the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum, a dream that we are all still working hard to realize.

As part of VirtualToyLanta, which is neccessitated by the Coronavirus situation, we are bringing you videos of our coverage of past editions of ToyLanta/JoeLanta.  Below you will find all of the big wrap-up videos I’ve produced, in order, so you can get an idea of how the show has grown and evolved, and how it will indeed come back next year, bigger than ever.

Continue reading…

VirtualToyLanta: Dioramas

This post is part of VirtualToyLanta, the online substitute for this year’s canceled toy show. Go join the Facebook Group to see way more cool stuff from the best toy show in the world.

One of the highlights of ToyLanta/JoeLanta is always the dioramas and custom figure contest. This is where the toy collectors show off their creativity and make incredible custom action figues, accessories, vehicles and scenarios.

In this post we’re bringing you some videos that focus on the dioramas from past years at JoeLanta and ToyLanta. Plus we’ll have links to photo essays. Later today we’ll have a post with the wrap-up videos we’ve done since 2013.

Above is the video of last year’s ToyLanta dioramas. You can find photo essays covering last year’s dioramas and custom figures HERE, HERE and HERE.

Here we have the raw footage from the 2016 JoeLanta Diorama room…

That year we had photo essays for Mike Gardner’s epic diner and garage diorama as well as the custom figures.

Photos from 2017 can be found HERE.  I can’t seem to find a diorama photo essay from 2018 (I was a bit sick when I got back from the trip). For some reason (probably related to Myasthenia Gravis) I didn’t put together raw-footage videos of the dioramas for those years. That doesn’t mean I won’t go back and assemble a massive video of JoeLanta/ToyLanta videos for next week.

I did do a Diorama video in 2015, and you can see it below and check out the accompanying photo essay HERE.

2014 was the year of MIke Gardner’s massive “Zombie Horde at Yellow Jacket Creek” Walking Dead diorama, and it got its own two-part photo essay HERE and HERE.

There are a few photos of the 2013 dioramas scattered in posts HERE and HERE. It was my first time, and I was a little overwhelmed by the experience.

Check PopCult later today for more video-heavy posts that look back at ToyLanta/JoeLanta.

The RFC Flashback: ToyLanta Edition

We depart from our chonological presentation of Radio Free Charleston today so we can bring you all of the footage of Radio Cult and friends that we shot over the years at ToyLanta, and before that, JoeLanta. ToyLanta is the big toy convention that was to celebrate its 20th year this weekend before the Coronavirus outbreak caused life to hit “pause.”

Radio Cult is Bambi Lynn and Ricky Zhero, with Jay Jay Slotin on drums, and they tear through the hits of the 1980s and beyond, plus they have some pretty impressive originals, too. In the clip above, you’ll hear them do “Highway to Hell” and “I Love Rock N Roll.” Every year Radio Cult puts on a special Saturday night concert for the core JoeLanta/ToyLanta attendees.

However, despite not happening in the real world this year, ToyLanta is moving online to VirtualToyLanta a group page at Facebook. Join up and you can get great videos, photo essays and all kinds of other cool stuff that would normally happen at ToyLanta, only you can see it from the comfort of your own home.

Where you need to be staying for the time being.

In addition to links to this post, which is chock-full-o-music from Radio Cult, The Possum KIngdom Ramblers and some great guests, you can find videos of the Pirate Diorama by Mike Gardner, and a vacu-form tutorial by Clay Sayre.  Cool new stuff will be happening all weekend, and tomorrow we’ll post panels and dioramas and other non-music video from past years.

Above you see an RFC MINI SHOW starring Radio Cult. Below you’ll see a later RFC MINI SHOW with Radio Cult and guests, David Lane, Mike Gardner and Alex Massey. Below that, we have The Possum Kingdom Ramblers, which is a bluegrass supergroup with Bambi and Ricky, teaming up with Timothy Price and Jas Ingram, under the direction of Buddy Finethy.The Ramblers are seen performing on the dealer’s floor of JoeLanta.

Further on you’ll find some of the full Radio Free Charleston shows that have one or two songs from the band, some with surprise guests.

Continue reading…