Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: December 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

Ring In The New Year With No Pants

The No Pants Players will see 2006 exit stage right Sunday night with their New Year’s Show at the Labelle Theater in South Charleston.   After the comedic triumph that was the Joytacular last month, Mel and I are looking forward to laughing our way into 2007 with West Virginia’s only comedy troupe.  The show starts at 10PM and runs until next year.   As usual, there will be prizes.

If you go: The No Pants Players New Year’s Eve Show begins at 10Pm on December 31 at the Labelle Theater in South Charleston.  Tickets are $10. 

Radio Free Charleston: A Look Back At 2006


Wooden Rudy Puppet

The special year-end edition of Radio Free Charlestonis online now.  This is your chance to sample the meaty pleasures of our humble little internet show in one 18-minute chunk.  The highlight is a 9-minute megamix featuring every musical artist that has appeared on the show!  We also present some of the memorable bits of mind-hurting weirdness that makes RFC the best thing since sliced steam-powered birth control pills.  Once we hook you with this taste of the best music and film that Charleston has to offer, bop on over to our archives so you can check out full episodes from the past six months.

Continue reading

Christmas Morning Art

I’m taking the week off from Monday Morning Art, due to the holiday. In its place, here’s a YouTube video and an MP3 of Melanie Larch singing Schubert’s “Ave Maria” from the Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston. Enjoy!


An MP3 file will be posted as soon as technical issues are ironed out.

Merry Christmas from PopCult and Radio Free Charleston!

Song Of the Week: The Concept

This week’s SOTW is from The Concept, one of the most exciting bands in town.  I discovered these guys after Nick Harrah wrote about them in the Local Music blog and they went on to appear on Episode Seven of Radio Free Charleston.   After taping their performance for the show, they laid down a couple of audio-only performances of brand-new songs.  This week we feature one of those, “Better Left Said.”

“Better Left Said” by The Concept.

 You can catch The Concept Christmas night, opening for 69 Fingers at The Empty Glass, and keep an eye out because we’re going to have them back on Radio Free Charleston soon.  the Christmas show promises to be one of the best in town!


Joe Barbera

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Joseph Barbera, the legendary animator, passed away Monday after a long illness.  He was reported to be 95, but may have actually been older.  As part of the directing team of Hanna-Barbera with the late Bill Hanna, Barbera directed scores of Tom And Jerry cartoons for MGM during the golden age of theatrical animation.   Still partnered with Hanna, he was a pioneer of television animation, producing “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons,” “Jonny Quest,” “Top Cat,” “Yogi Bear,” “Scooby Doo” and countless other classics. Barbera, known for his boistrous personality, was one of the last of the old guard of animation directors. 

Mark Evanier was in the midst of a tribute to Barbera when the end came.  You can read his memories of the man here, here, and here.  Cartoon Brew has a collection of tributes here.   Paul Dini (Batman:The Animated Series, Lost) writes about Barbera here. More tributes are sure to come.  Animated Discussions extends our condolences to his family and the extended family that loved his work.

PopCult Gift Guide: Part Two

Yesterday we kicked off the 2006 PopCult gift guide with five cool items that are available nationwide.  Today we’re going to narrow our focus and suggest gifts that originate or are based in Charleston, West Virginia. 

Gift Certificates

The Purple Moon

716 Lee Street East, Charleston

Taylor Books
226 Capitol Street, Charleston

You can take the easy way out this holiday season, and give gift certificates from two of Charleston’s coolest stores. The Purple Moon is West Virginia’s only shop dedicated to vintage mid-century modern art and contemporary design, furnishings, accessories and art. They’re also the exclusive Charleston dealer in the famous Kit Kat Clock from last year’s gift guide.  Chuck and Connie at The Purple Moon are great folks and you’ll be able to see their store in the next episode of Radio Free Charleston.  If you have a fan of atomic-age retro design, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate in any denomination from The Purple Moon.  Call 304 345-0123 for details.

Taylor Books offers a gift certificate that can be used for books, classes, art and crafts.  They come in books of ten certificates which are worth a dollar each.   This is a great way to let the person on your gift list pick out their own book or art from Charleston’s coolest bookstore.  Call 304 342-1461 for more information.

Wrestling DVDs
 IWA East Coast
$20 plus shipping from Smart Mark Video

We are lucky to have an internationally-recognized wrestling federation right here in Charleston.  IWA East Coast presents a variety of top wrestling talent from all over the world, and puts on incredible shows at their home base at the South Charleston Community Center.  You can purchase DVDs of their shows from SmartMark Video.  I ‘d recommend “Stars With Scars,” their most recent show, due to the amazing title match between Chris Hero and Jerry Lynn.  You also can’t go wrong with either of the tournament DVDs, both filmed on September 16, 2006.

 “September To Dismember”
$19.99 plus shipping from AWA

Last September Danny Boyd put on a wrestling show at the Davis Fine Arts Auditorium at West Virginia State University.  I wrote about the event here, and covered the DVD release party here, just last week.  You can order your own copy from the AWA website and see what all the fuss was about.  This is a great evening of old-school wrestling, wonderfully directed by Amy Trent, and it’s a great look at Danny “Professor Danger” Boyd in action. 

Thrilling Pirate Adventures
 “One More Breath” by Pavanne Pettigrew
 $24.95 at all area bookstores

Local author Pavanne LeJeune Pettigrew has crafted a wonderful pirate adventure in “One More Breath,” the first novel from Headline Book’s new Publisher’s Page fiction imprint.  The story of Captain “Blackjack” Bellamie and his struggle to elude capture in the Caribbean is filled with suspense, romance, and swash-buckling action.  Pettigrew mixes her interest in pirates with a lifelong interest in Romany culture and delivers a first-rate pot boiler.  And it’s so refreshing to read a work by a local author that doesn’t revolve around coal mines.   You can purchase “One More Breath” at Taylor Books and Frog Creek Books, as well as other area booksellers. 

That wraps up this year’s PopCult gift guide.  I hope you got some good ideas for last-minute gifterization.  Next week in PopCult we’ll have the production notes for the Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston, as well as a cool Song Of The Week and photos of my GI Joe Christmas Tree.

PopCult Gift Guide 2006 Part One

Still don’t have your holiday shopping done?  Well, here is our second annual (and way scaled-down) last minute PopCult Gift Guide.  Last year we brought you 45 cool pop culture gift ideas spread over five days.  This year you get two days, with ten gifts.  Blame the Republicans. Today, it’s stuff you can get almost anywhere.

GI Joe Land Adventurer
$15 at Hot Topic

Exclusive to Hot Topic, the Goth Culture Emporium, is a terrific reproduction of the 1973 Adventure Team GI Joe, with Kung Fu Grip and Lifelike Hair and Beard.  It’s a great nostalgic item, guaranteed to bring out the kid in any child of the 70s.  This is exactly the way a reproduction toy should be made.  It’s an almost exact copy of the original toy, and it comes in a reasonable facsimile of the original packaging.  Kudos to Hasbro and Hot Topic for this winner.

Comic Strip Reprint Books
Popeye and Dick Tracy
$30 each at booksellers everywhere

The Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Volume One, published by IDW, presents the first comic strips featuring Dick Tracy, as written and drawn by his creator, Chester Gould.  These are masterpieces of twisted fantasy police adventures, with gruesome villains and sharp detective work.  One of the greatest comic strips of all time.  This is the first of a series of books that will compile all the work by the late Chester Gould.

Popeye: I Yam What I Yam!, published by Fantagraphics, collects the early adventures of Popeye, from the comic strip Thimble Theater.  Popeye went on to become one of the most recognizable comic strip characters of all time, but here you can see him in his rawest, most primal form.  Elzie Segar’s gritty comics captured the imagination of millions, and paved the way for the successful series of animated cartoons starring the Spinach-eating sailor man.  This is also the first of a series of volumes that will collect the entire run of Segar’s Popeye stories.

The Complete Superman Collection DVD
Under $70 where ever DVDs are sold

Even if you think the way the Superman movies treated the comic book canon was horrible, this is still a set well worth having. It contains 1978’s Superman movie, and all three of its sequels, and it also includes the alternate “Richard Donner Edit” of Superman 2.  The story goes that Donner was replaced with director Richard Lester when he was more than halfway through production of the first Super sequel.  Lester had to reshoot quite a bit of footage just to earn his directing credit.  Now, if you loved everything that Donner did in Superman 1, then this version of the sequel is a sort of holy grail.  If, like me, you feel he ruined Krypton and Lex Luthor, then this could still be a fascinating DVD to watch.  I thought Superman 2was WAY better than the first movie, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of that was Donner, and how much of that was Richard Lester.  The real meat in this massive 14-disc set is the digitally-restored Max Fleischer animated Superman cartoons from the 1940s.  Though these are widely available for a dollar, those cheap-o discs featured muddy prints and fuzzy sound.   The set also includes some of the old movie serials, this year’s disappointing “Superman Returns,” and the two sequels from the 1980s, the less said about the better.  Even if you have problems with the movie, this set is a must-have for fans of the Man Of Steel.

The Beatles “Love”
Under $20 where ever music is sold

This is the most exciting Beatles release in years.  I’ll be writing a detailed review for NewSounds soon, but if you have a Beatles fan on your Christmas list, you can’t go wrong with this new CD.  Created as the soundtrack for a Cirque du Soleil show, this disc is an incredible audio masterwork as the Beatle’s producer, Sir George Martin, and his son went back to the original multitrack recordings and created 26 tracks of beautiful Beatles music, using parts of 106 different songs and state-of-the-art digital technology.  You’ll hear combinations of different songs that result in totally new works, as well as cleaned up versions of familiar classics.  This is a real gift to Beatle fans everywhere.  It’s available in regular stereo, and as a DVD audio disc with 5.1 surround sound. 

That’s five gifts to get you started.  Tomorrow we look at five gifts with a more local focus, as Charleston takes the main stage at the PopCult Gift Guide. 

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