Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

20 Random Items

The PopCulteer
February 26, 2010

This week in The PopCulteer we’re going to veer willy-nilly around the Internets with 20 totally random items, jokes, videos, photos or links. We did this once before, and at the time thought it would become a monthly feature, but this is just the second time that we’ve been caught with no major topic to address. So here goes.

1) The Bluegrass Kitchen

I’ve never had anything less than a wonderful dining experience at The BlueGrass Kitchen, on the East End, within sight of the State Capitol The service is always top-notch, and the food is amazing. Everything on the menu that I’ve tried has been fantastic. The specials are well worth gambling on, and the regular menu has some real winners on it.

The best hamburger I’ve ever had is the 1/2 pound burger at BGK with caramelized onions and Gouda cheese. The Bourbon Trout with kale and grits is a pure delight. Of the specials I’ve tried, the Eggplant Parmesan was so good, and in such large portions that I felt full for two days. I had the same experience with the Spinach Lasagna.

The ambiance of the restaurant is terrific, too. It’s cozy, with a bohemian feel, accented by the ever-changing artwork on the walls. If you’re lucky, you might score one of the more private tables at the dining area in the back.

The Bluegrass Kitchen is a real treasure, and we’re lucky to have such a cool place to eat here in Charleston.

2) Duh Moment Of The Week

Seriously, folks….

Why do you think they call them “Killer” Whales, anyway?

It’s not because they look all cool and stuff.

3) Larry Marder’s Beanworld was one of our previous “Cool Comic of The Week” picks, and now you can find an exclusive two-page story online at this link.

Since we featured Beanworld, Dark Horse Comics has finished collecting the original run of the series in hardback, and has published the first volume of all-new material. You can order it here. Highly recommended.

4) Lights Out

On the I 64 bridge between Dunbar and South Charleston, that is. Does anybody know why the overhead lights on this bridge are not being used? This stretch of interstate has been dark for months now. It’s particularly treacherous in bad weather, now that the road is covered with Kia-sized potholes. Is it a penny-pinching measure or did they just blow a fuse?

5) Having lost The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien has taken his act to Twitter, which is only slightly more prestigious than NBC,

6) Musicians and performers come up to me all the time and ask how they can get a story about them in one of the city’s newspapers. Looking at my track record with Radio Free Charleston, I can’t imagine why they ask me, but I think I’ve got it figured out. First, have all your band members quit. Then get a gig opening for another band in St. Albans, and bill yourself with your band name even though you’re going on as a solo act. Come up with a story about how you recorded your CD in New York (because nobody’s ever done that before) and for some reason, you can get major press. I don’t know why it works, but one local guy has managed to pull off this stunt three times in five years, without ever headlining any of the shows he was promoting.

Is he related to somebody or something?

7) Curling

I can’t explain the appeal. It’s like a televised narcotic. You see a few seconds of this bizarro sport and you can’t look away. It’s like watching slow-motion marbles on ice–if the marbles weighed 42 pounds. When I watch it, my blood pressure drops and time seems to pass more slowly. I don’t understand it, but I’m glad they only show it for two weeks every four years, otherwise I’d never get anything done.

8) Eva Elution

They’re headlining RFC 95, in two weeks. We recorded them Monday Night at The Empty Glass. Here’s a sneak peek.


WWE finally pulled the plug on their ECW show on Sci Fi ( I refuse to type that network’s new name). The replacement is WWE NXT, a new concept–a semi-reality show crossed with a wrestling program that pairs eight “rookies” with eight veteran wrestlers who will act as their mentors. The show debuted this week and the first episode showed a lot of promise. The story-lines seem fresh and the relationship between the rookies and their mentors has a lot of potential. The wrestling was pretty impressive, too. One of the “rookies” is Bryan Danielson, newly dubbed “Daniel Bryan.” Danielson has been wrestling internationally and on the indy circuit for ten years, and is considered one of the top talents in the world. His mentor is The Miz, whose obnoxious heel persona is a direct clash with the experienced technical exptertise of Danielson.

One of the other rookies is David Otunga, who is engaged to Jennifer Hudson. He also has the look of a breakout performer on the show.

An odd feature of the show is the sudden injection of a personality into announcer Michael Cole. Cole, also the announcer for RAW, is being portrayed as an arrogant, Internet-hating heel announcer. This is remarkable because for more than a decade Cole was sort of “just there,” doing his job. The jury is still out on if this new version of the guy who’s primarily known as the “not JR” announcer is going to fly.

10) The Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue, with RFC faves, The ButtonFlies, opening, will pull into The Empty Glass Friday night at 10 PM. The cover charge is ten bucks for what promises to be one of the wildest shows in town. If you’re more Westerly-oriented, check them out at The V Club in Huntington Saturday, this time with RFC faves The Bible Beaters in tow. Check the cool Gazz interview by Bill Lynch here.

11) WATT 4

Our star performers for RFC 96, in four weeks, will be WATT 4, also recorded last Monday night at The Empty Glass. We’ll be featuring two songs by the band, including one surprise cover. Here’s a quick preview.

12) Metal at The Parrot

Local loud bands Linework and Freaktent will be rocking The Blue Parrot Saturday night at 10 PM. Cover is five dollars and you can be sure you’ll get your money’s worth of powerful music.

13) Bleaching Gene Simmons’ Kid

Much hoopla surrounded the announcement last year that Radical Publishing was launching a comic book written and drawn by Nick Simmons, son of the legendary front-man for KISS, Gene Simmons. The first issue of “Incarnate” came out and people were impressed. It was well-written with good art.

But some folks were impressed for a different reason. It seems Young Master Simmons borrowed rather heavily from several Japanese Manga, most notably one called “Bleach.” You can read detailed accounts and examples of the alleged plagiarism here and here.

Here’s an example of “Bleach” on the left, and “Incarnate” on the right.

Aside from the direct swipes of the art, story points and character designs were apparently lifted from “Bleach” and other Manga, such as “Helsing.”
Radical Publishing, being a classy operation (they’re publishing some really great stuff) immediately suspended publication of Simmons’ book, “Incarnate,” while they investigate the matter. The most striking thing about this is that Simmons apparently didn’t even bother to pick something obscure to rip off. An animated version of “Bleach” is one of the most popular Anime shows on the Adult Swim schedule, and the book has tens of thousands of fans in the US.

You gotta wonder if this was all just a set up to give them fodder for a new season of Nick’s dad’s reality show, “The Family Jewels” on A & E. Maybe they shouldn’t have let him take art lessons from Greg Land.

14) Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Comparsa brings their lovely Latin rhythms to The Kanawha County Public Library as part of the Sunday Jams series It’s a chance to catch one of the area’s best bands for free.

15) RFC 94

Did you know we posted a new episode of Radio Free Charleston this week? It’s got Byzantine (reuniting March 5 at The Sound Factory), The Pistol Whippers and Adrian DeQuiros (whose name I mis-spelled all week) plus news on the East End Pet Food Pantry and The Chemical Valley Rollergirls. Watch it RIGHT NOW!

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16) Dead Man’s Cell Phone

This is the last weekend for Charleston Stage Company’s production of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” Read the review of this screwball comedy here, then go see it Friday or Saturday at 7:30 PM at The WVSU Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers Street.

17) This Year’s OSCAR prediction:

Felix will move out and Oscar will eventually get back together with his ex-wife.

18) My Current Television Viewing List

The Sarah Silverman Program–Comedy Central, Thursdays at 10:30 PM
The surreal adventures of an apparently insane woman and the people who enable her.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force–Adult Swim, Sundays at 11:30 PM
The surreal adventures of a Milkshake, fries and meat patty.

The Wrong Door–IFC, Tuesdays at 10PM
Surreal adventures in sketch comedy form, with lots of CGI.

Guilty Pleasure—Spartacus: Blood And Sand–Starz, Friday at 10 PM
Gratuitous sex and violence in ancient Rome, with lots of gore and camp.

19) Important reminder!

The Legislators are in town….HIDE YOUR BISCUITS!!!!!!

20) Bonus RFC

For no real reason, save the fact that all our old episodes are now available, here’s one of our shows from last year, re-presenting Go Van Gogh, in all their glory! It’sepisode 69 of Radio Free Charleston, “Go Van Gogh: The Sad Truth.”

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Next Week In PopCult

Look for our usual Sunday Videos, Monday Art, and Friday miscellany, plus a surprise or two along the way.


  1. Steven Allen Adams

    Huzzah for Bluegrass Kitchen!

  2. Anime Figurer

    This is the greatest ^_^

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