Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: December 2010 (Page 3 of 4)

The Return of Vinyl

Today’s pick for the 2010 PopCult Gift Guide is a blast from the past-music on vinyl.  More than 20 years after its supposed death, the vinyl LP is on the rebound and if someone on your holiday gift list still has a working turntable, you can surprise them with a brand-new selection from a wide array of musical artists in the old 33 1/3 RPM format.

The Rolling Stones have released a pair of massive box sets of re-mastered vinyl editions of their albums, restored to their original packaging, complete with annotated new liner notes.  If you’ve got a Stones freak among your friends or family, this is the gift for them.

If you don’t want to spring for an entire box set, be advised that many of the recent Beatle re-issues are also available on vinyl.

Newer groups are in on the act, too.  Fistful of Mercy, a supergroup featuring Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison, have released their debut album on vinyl, as have RFC guests The Hellblinki Sextet and PopCult faves DEVO, whose “Something For Everyone” is available on nifty blue vinyl.

You’d be surprised how many current releases are available as vinyl records, a supposedly moribund format these days.  All you have to do is check Amazon or hit one of the online vinyl specialty retailers.

Give The Gift That Stays Crunchy, Even In Milk

The PopCulteer
December 10, 2010

Cereal Entertainment

Today’s PopCult Gift Guide suggestion is a bit unusual. Giving food is an age-old holiday tradition.  Cheese, meat, wine, pasta, cake, candy and cookies are just some of the foodie treats that people give as gifts this time of year.  But there’s one cool food item that is rarely given as a gift, and it’s not only perfect for the holiday season, but it’s also easy to wrap.

I’m talking about breakfast cereal. I mean the good stuff, the kind you ate as a kid, not anything healthy or flaky.  If you give cereal as a Christmas gift, it’d better have a high sugar cnntent. You don’t want to give anybody anything like corn flakes or bran. That would be like giving them underwear and socks. Continue reading

The Chase Is On

Chase Henderson, that is.  Today the PopCult Gift Guide spotlights the work of local artist/writer, Chase Henderson. A young man who has unfortunately been afflicted with the horrors of accidentally being mistaken for me a few times, even though we don’t really look much alike.

However, this isn’t about me, it’s about Chase.  He’s written a very clever and entertaining metaphysical space opera novel called “The Spaces In Between,” which you can order from Amazon.

The descriptive blurb from the back cover reads, “When Cameron stole the power of God, he used it to live out his fantasies as a pirate in space. After three years of blazing a name for himself across the universe, his powers are running out. He pools his remaining resources to hunt down Noah’s Ark, the back-up copy of Creation, in hopes of siphoning power from it. But there are far worse things out there than the Pirate King hunting for the Ark…”

This is cool stuff. It’d be great for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Gilliam.  If it’s still available in any local bookstores, check the comments for updates, but I know you can get it from Amazon. Continue reading

Cool Comics: Dan DeCarlo’s Jetta

Our PopCult Gift Guide pick today is a graphic novel collection of some rare, but classic stories from 1952…and the 21st Century!

“Dan DeCarlo’s Jetta” is the first entry in the “Good Girl Art Library,” a new series of classic comic book collections edited and designed by Craig Yoe. DeCarlo was a master cartoonist who designed Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch for Archie Comics, and also turned out a lot of memorable stories for Timely Comics (now Marvel) and illustrations for men’s magazines in the 1950s. He was noted for his imaginative storytelling and his ability to draw very, very cute women.

Jetta is a series he drew for Standard Comics, one of the lesser comic book publishers, in 1952. Jetta is a space-age “Teen-age Sweetheart of The 21st Century” and the comic, which only lasted three issues, has a major cult following due to terrific flying cars and rockets vision of the future, and the very lovely women folk who inhabit it. Continue reading

Johnny West, The Best Of The West

My fondness for Marx Toys’ Johnny West action figure line has been well-documented here before. We’re going to re-visit a PopCult post from last summer where we revealed that, for the first time in years, you can now buy a new Johnny West action figure.  Noah and Terri Coop’s New Marx Toy Company has just made “U.S. Marshall Johnny West” available to order.

You can order Marshall Johnny directly from the Magic Marxie website. The cost is $44.99, which gets you a high-quality action figure, molded in the familiar Johnny West caramel brown color (with a reconfigured plastic that will last much longer than the original figures) plus 18 accessories, instructions, a bonus Magic Marxie figure, and a surprise mail-in offer.  This all comes in a sturdy, 1974-style “Best Of The West” box.

In adddition to that, you can also get your mitts on a brand-new Johnny West coloring book.  Written by Terri Coop and drawn by Mykol Blackwell, this is a fun little blast from the past that presents Johnny and all his friends in cool Western advenures.

If that’s not enough, you can check here for more cool deluxe Marx action figures. The new Marx Toys has several really cool boxed figure sets, including new takes on old favorites like Jed Gibson and Bill Buck.

Monday Morning Art: Clayton Spangler’s Charleston

This week we have a guest artist, as part of the 2010 PopCult Gift Guide.  Clayton Spangler is doing some magnificent work with digital photography and prints.  His fascinating study of scenes from around Charleston is currently on exhibit at The Art Emporium, on Quarrier Street.

You can purchase his metallic prints and canvas creations, but if you want to go for a stocking stuffer, a wide variety of his work can be found on very affordable postcards, and he also has a very nifty calendar available. You really ought to check out his exhibit, it’s quite striking.

The 2010 PopCult Gift Guide continues tomorrow we take a look at Johnny West, the classic Cowboy Action Figure by Marx Toys.

Sunday Evening Video: Toyland

This week’s video is doubling as our PopCult Gift Guide selection.  Below you see the trailer for TOYLAND, a documentary about the creation of some of our favorite childhood playthings.

Directed by Ken Sons, with consultation and co-editing by toy expert, Tim Walsh, TOYLAND is filled with priceless interviews with the creators and designers of toys like Slinky, The Game of Twister and others, and it follows a toy designer around as he tries to pitch his idea as the next hot new toy.

This DVD-R can be ordered directly from the filmmakers at their website. It’ll run you $18.99, plus shipping.  TOYLAND is a great holiday gift because it blends nostalgia with a hard-hitting look inside the toy industry. Continue reading

Give The Gift Of Beatles

We’re devoting this Saturday to The Beatles. They’ve been in the news a lot lately because they finally signed a deal to place their songs at iTunes, but for those of us who prefer hard copies of their CDs and other cool merchandise and objets d’art there is a one-stop place on the internet for all your Fab Four needs.

The Beatles Store at The has a wide variety of cool stuff, ranging from CDs to T Shirts to Lithographs.  They even have die-cast vehicles and onesies for your Beatle baby.  You can find everything from smartphone skins to housewares and holiday items, all emblazoned with images of the lads from Liverpool.

This site is adminstered by Live Nation, so some of your money will be going into the hands of evil corporate overlords, but the merchandise is official, so the Beatles will also profit handsomely, despite the Blue Meanies getting their cut. You can sleep easy knowing that the Fabs are not going hungry.

If you have a Beatles Freak on your Christmas list, you can be sure to find them something at The Beatles Store.  I’m a bit partial to the Yellow Submarine movie poster lithograph and the die-cast buses and taxis, myself.  Just in case anyone feels like gifting their favorite Pop Culture blogger.

Keeping Your Gift Certificates Local

The PopCulteer
December 3, 2010

As part of this year’s PopCult Gift Guide we’re going to present our first interactive gift guide entry. Today we’re going to run down, off the top of our heads, some of the local businesses from whom you can purchase gift certificates for the people on your list who like to pick out their own presents. If you’re one of those “hands-on” people, you might even decide to pick out a gift for them yourself, while you’re there.

However, this is just a spontaneous list, so if you know of a local business that offers gift certificates, or just cool stuff, that isn’t listed here, use the comments section to add them yourself! Your PopCulteer can’t know everything, so help us out and join in the fun.

Keep in mind that I’m talking about local merchants, stores that actually mean something. Anyone can buy a gift certificate for a big-box or chain store. Hell, you can duck into Kroger and find gift cards for dozens of merchants and restaurants. Where’s the thought in that? If you patronize a local merchant, you show that you care enough to actually go there, and probably enjoy the store yourself. Continue reading

Joytacular To The World

The No Pants Players, West Virginia’s premiere improv comedy troupe, has taken up residence at The Alban Theater at 65 Olde Main St., in St. Albans. This weekend you can catch the eighth annual No Pants Players Joytacular, a 2-hour, family-friendly Christmas-themed comedy bonanza.  It kicks off at 8 p.m. Saturday.

At intermission, there will be a raffe for several donated gifts, including an autographed Bob Huggins basketball, NASCAR memorabilia, a free meal at First Watch and more. Tickets are $10 for The UPS Store of Kanawha City-sponsored show. A portion of ticket sales and all raffle proceeds benefit The American Heart Association. For more info, call 877-IMPROV9 or visit The No Pants Players website.

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