Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: December 2010 (Page 2 of 4)

Sunday Evening Videos: Toy Story 3

For the final 2010 PopCult Gift Guide pick, we are making a mainstream choice. “Toy Story 3” was the highest-grossing movie of the year, and it’s also PopCult’s pick for best movie of the year.  This third installment in the Toy Story trilogy is simply flawless. Every element, from the story structure to the casting to the technical aspects of the animation is note-perfect.

Part of the meticulous planning for this film included the creation of several fake “vintage” commercials for one of the new characters introduced in “Toy Story 3,” Lots O’Huggin Bear.  That’s one of the clips you see above.  Disney/Pixar created these spots, complete with fake video noise, and posted them to YouTube well in advance of the movie.

The film itself tells the story of Woody and Buzz and the gang of Andy’s Toys as they deal with their kid,  Andy, going off to college. For a movie about children’s playthings, it’s an amazingly touching, poignant film.  Themes of sadness and aging are mixed in with action and humor, creating one of the best films we’ve seen in years.

And it’s also pretty easy to find, which is good this close to Christmas.  You can pick up the DVD virtually anywhere, from entertainment stores to grocers and drug stores.  If you want to splurge, you can seek out the 10-disc Toy Box Edition, which has all three Toy Story movies on Blu-Ray, DVD and in digital media form, and throws in a disc of extras and a cool toybox-shaped package.

With that, we bid farewell to the 2010 PopCult Gift Guide.  After the jump, you’ll find more clips from Toy Story 3 and Lots O Huggin Bear.  Now get out there and shop! There’s less than a week before the big day! Continue reading

Ghosts Of Christmas Gifts Past

Today in the PopCult Gift Guide we’re going to revisit a few cool items from the previous six years worth of Gift Guides from your humble Popculteer. We’re just a week away from the big day, so it you have to order any of these, expect to pay for premium shipping if you want to get them in time.

First up we have the artwork of someone that you can buy locally.  Kerry Beary works in a retro-cool, sleek style that recalls the pop-art and advertising art of the 1960s.  Her work can be found at the Purple Moon, and I’m told they have a fresh batch of brand-new works for you to choose from.

In 2007, I wrote: “This is the perfect wall decoration for your space-age bachelor pad or atomic age household. Ms. Beary’s art is retro to the max, revisting mid-20th-century styles that recall a time when innocence and sophistication met for dinner and later went out for a drink and who knows what.

“Beary’s flair for capturing the spirit of the martini age is dead-on.  You’ll feel transported back to the time when TV was just starting to invade the country and the biggest threat to national security was Sputnik.  The Purple Moon has a variety of very affordable prints and a few original paintings, all at your disposal for that last-minute gift that will leave a lasting impression.” Continue reading

Memories Of The Diamond

Our PopCult Gift Guide pick for today is Jeff Pierson’s fine art print, “Christmas Memories At The Diamond,” which recreates a holiday display window from the long-ago days when The Diamond Department Store was one of Downtown Charleston’s major hubs of Christmas activity.  That’s it pictured above. This beautiful and meticulously-researched print touched a chord with many Charlestonians, and if your loved one has happy memories of the pre-mall Capitol City, then this print is THE gift to give.

This numbered print is available exclusively from Watson’s Picture Framing on Lee Street on the West Side. Their Phone number  is 304-343-6324.

An Abbreviated ArcticWalk Photo Essay

A cool Tryptich by Traci Higgenbottom at Art Emporium

The PopCulteer
December 17, 2010

ArtWalk happened last night, but due to the onslaught of Winter weather, it’s going to happen again next week. Thursday December 23, from 5 to 8 PM, will see the second ArtWalk of the month. This is the rare “Blue ArtWalk” that only happens every 13 years.

Melanie Larch and I braved the harsh cold and nasty snow, and made two early stops for ArtWalk: The Purple Moon and The Art Emporium. We then stopped in The Vandalia Grille to warm up and have dinner, and the meal was so good that we decided to cut our losses and head home.

That’s why you’re only getting a partial ArtWalk Photo Essay this week, but we do plan to visit the other galleries in tiime for a special “Pre-second Artwalk of the month” edition of The PopCulteer next Thursday, so we can take Christmas Eve off.

So check out part of ArtWalk, and then read PopCult every day as our 2010 Gift Guide wraps up and we return to our regular features. But follow the jump for our mini-photo essay of the ArtWalk without a Santa Claus. Continue reading

Homegrown Horror For The Holidays

Christmas is a time for peace and love and harmony, and to be honest, too much of that can wear out its welcome this time of year.  Rather than overdose on the holiday spirit and take an axe to the family, you need a healthier release–perhaps reading horror stories might soothe your less Christmas-y tendancies.

You can find plenty of great horror stories set in West Virginia in three new books, “Legends of the Mountain State 4” and “Specters in Coal Dust“, edited by Michael Knost, and “Mountain Magic: Spellbinding Tales of Appalachia“, edited by Brian J. Hatcher.

Better yet, you can give these as gifts to diffuse any potential ticking time-bombs among your relatives. On top of that, you can get these fine literary anthologies signed by the editors and some of the authors, this very weekend!

Friday, at the Borders Express in The Charleston Town Center, Editors Michael Knost, Brian J. Hatcher, and contributing writer Keith Davis will be on hand to personalize your gift, from 5 to 8 PM.

If you miss out on that, you can head to the Borders in the Huntington Mall on Saturday from 2 to 4 PM, when the above trio will be joined by contributing writer Frank Lanerd for a book signing. What person on your gift list wouldn’t be impressed by a signed first edition of a cool book set in their home state?

You can find out more about these books at Woodland Press’ website, and you can buy the books, unsigned, at several local bookstores.

A Pre-Winter Blast Of Cool Music

RFC 115 "Frank Sinatra Shirt" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Radio Free Charleston 115, “Frank Sinatra Shirt” is the video you see right up there above this text.  This episode features a wide variety of music: a Metal classic by HARRAH, a Progressive-Alternative jolt from Linfinity, an operatic waltz from Hellblinki, Blues from Crossroads and a great rocked-up ballad from The Nanker Phelge.

It was so cold that horse behind me became a gelding.

Host segments were shot in Davis Park during lunch on Tuesday, and were recorded in record time due to the bitter cold.  The namesake shirt for this installment is a Frank Sinatra T-shirt that I pulled out to wear in honor of what would have been the 95th birthday of The Chairman of the Board earlier this week. Continue reading

Cool Comics: The Adventures Of Unemployed Man

Our Gift Guide pick, and Cool Comic for today is the perfect way to cheer up a friend or loved one who might feel victimized by the current economic situation. Some might call them “The 99ers” or simply the chronically unemployed, but if you have a comic book reader on your list who’s been out of work for a while, I have the perfect gift for them.

“The Adventures Of Unemployed Man” is the creation of Erich Origen and Gan Golan. Set in a world where everyone seems to be a superhero, “The Adventures Of Unemployed Man” uses wicked satire to shine a light on our current economic state. As the story begins, we meet our hero, Bruce Paine, AKA The Ultimatum, who prowls the city spreading his message of self-help and positivity. He’s very self-righteous until he discovers that his business is part of the problem. Continue reading

Give The Gift of Giving

Today in the 2010 PopCult Gift Guide we suggest that you make a charitable donation on behalf of someone on your gift list.  With the economy in the shape it is, charitable donations are down.  If you have someone on your gift list who likes to be socially active, but may have had to tighten their belts, then perhaps they would be more touched by a donation made in their name than they would by receiving a gift like the Chia Obama.

There are loads of worthy causes out there.  You’d probably be best off choosing one that has a special meaning to the person for whom you are donating.  Just remember, do not make a donation to a political charity.  You’re just asking for trouble, and we should NEVER FEED THE POLITICIANS!

If you’re stuck for ideas, let me offer a couple of causes that I think could use a hand.

Covenant House was created in 1981 by Charleston citizens and groups committed to helping those with the fewest resources.  Their mission was to work for justice by offering direct services for West Virginians in need while creating social change through advocacy and education.  Their founders recognized that by pooling their collective financial and material (food and clothing) resources, they would have greater impact. Among the many notable Covenant House programs are the Homeless Outreach program, which targets those who are chronically homeless; the SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) initiative, which helps those experiencing homelessness and disabling mental illness through the social security application process; The Residential & Resource Program offers housing-related outreach and supportive services to people with specific medical diagnoses and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS assists people who are HIV+ with housing-related concerns.  Covenant House is also very active in educating the community on issues of homelessness and HIV awareness. You can find details on how to support Covenant House at this link.

Since 1978, Manna Meal Soup Kitchen has fed over 1.25 million people. They serve two meals a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to the hungry in Charleston. Manna Meal’s policy is to serve anyone who is hungry with no questions asked. They seek to provide a safe haven for their guests, who include women, men, teenagers, families, and seniors.  Manna Meal is solely dependent on contributions from the community of Charleston. They are not a governmental program and rely on the financial generosity of individuals, religious communities, corporations and businesses. Manna Meal is operated by a small paid staff, but highly depends on volunteers to assist in setting up, cleaning the dining room, preparation and serving food and assisting the staff. Contributions and volunteers are always welcome and you may contact Manna Meal at 304-345-7121 in you have any questions regarding the best ways you can help.

Monday Morning Art: Eric Pardue

The very cool cups you see above are the work of my friend, Eric Pardue.  Eric, a talented potter and collage artist, has created some very innovative and clever work with ceramic transfer technology. I’m proud to have one of Eric’s pieces hanging in my living room.

For a tall drink of water

Eric was the inspiration for the East End Main Street brick project earlier this year, and provided loads of technical advice that helped make it possible.

I get a real kick out of the way Eric blends pop culture iconography with political commentary and first-rate craftsmanship in his pieces. These affordble, locally-created works of art make a great Christmas present.

You can find Eric’s work at Taylor Books Annex Gallery, and at The Washington Street Galery in Lewisburg. You can also find work by Eric at the Mountain Made website and at their gallery in Thomas.

Sunday Evening Video: CROSSROADS

Today’s entry in the 2010 PopCult Gift Guide is “And The Devil Makes Three,” the new CD by CROSSROADS.  That’s them in the clip at the top of this post, performing one of the songs from the CD. This collection of original soulful blues tunes makes a great gift for the music lover on your holiday list, and the band has had an interesting few months that make a great story to go along with it.

Just a few days after the above clip was recorded (for RFC 112), Jeff Mangus, the band’s lead singer and guitarist suffered a heart attack, and had to undergo open-heart surgery. The good news is that Jeff is on the mend and is doing so well that, just last Saturday, the band played at The Empty Glass.

The band’s official comeback performance is this Friday at Tomahawks in St. Albans. CROSSROADS will be playing from 9:30 PM until 11:30. The band, Jeff, Roy Graley and Chuck Brown (Kevin Yeager filled in for Roy in the clip above) will return with gusto.  It’s a safe bet that they’ll have their CD for sale at the show, but you can also order it directly or buy a download from the boys in the band at their website.

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