Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: January 2014 (Page 1 of 4)


Cm-Punk-Wallpaper1The PopCulteer
January 31, 2014

No big essay this week for the PopCulteer. Instead we bring you a bunch of short items.

CM Punk Gone From WWE?

Former WWE Heavyweight Champion CM Punk  reportedly walked out on the company due to his disappointment with the direction of the wrestling promotion’s storylines heading into Wrestlemania, their biggest show of the year. According to reports, he walked out of last Monday’s episode of RAW after telling WWE’s owner, Vince McMahon that he was “going home.”

The immediate question everyone has is, “how real is this?” Is it true? Did he really walk out of a huge Wrestlemania payday? Is this a cover-up for him taking time off to recuperate from an injury? Or is this part of an elaborate storyline…a “work” in wrestle-speak?

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Dirty Hippie Comix

The PopCult Bookshelf

comix1The Best of Comix Book
by Various writers and artists
Kitchen Sink Press/Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 987-1-61655-258-9

It’s going to be hard for me to write a completely objective review of this book because it fills me with loads of nostalgic glee. As a young comic book reader in the early 1970s, I had a pretty steady diet of mainstream comics–DC, Marvel, Charlton, even Harvey, Archie and Gold Key would do in a pinch. I would read just about anything put in front of me in comic book form.

I also had the benefit of having an older brother, so I was exposed to things like The National Lampoon, which introduced me to some of the Underground Cartoonists who sprang out of the 1960s counter-culture. As cool as the Lampoon was, it was nothing compared to the revelation I experienced when I found the first issue of Comix Book on a magazine rack, in of all places, the Dunbar Kroger.

Comic books were “comics” but “Comix” were “underground” comics, printed and distributed through mysterious and arcane means, with the creators owning their work and keeping odd publishing frequencies that made it difficult to track down consecutive issues of anything–at least here in West Virginia it was like that. Most importantly, comix were uncensored. The characters within could smoke drugs, have the sex and talk about crazy hippie politics. I never expected to find that at Kroger.

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RFC MINI SHOW: Crystal Bright and The Silver Hands

Image4We recorded Crystal Bright and The Silver Hands last May at The Empty Glass and previously featured music from that session on episode 185 of Radio Free Charleston. We actually had lots of great material left over from that night, and you will see two songs on this edition of the RFC MINI SHOW, plus an additional tune on the next full-length Radio Free Charleston.

Crystal is a stunning multi-instrumentalist and musical anthroplogist who has traveled the globe teaching and learning music. Aided by The Silver Hands, she creates indescribable New Cabaret music that melds a world’s worth of influences into an exciting and cohesive new musical landscape. We are proud to bring her music to you on RFC. Be sure to check out her website and follow her on Facebook.

Crystal and The Silver Hands were recorded for RFC last May, with an assist from Steven Allen Adams. Our host segment was shot Sunday, January 26 while clearing snow off the car, and was ad-libbed in a rambling manner.

Stuff To Do Thursday, January 30: Opera, Cabaret, Comedy and Guitar

1010083_268670653289262_1638426555_nThird Eye Cabaret welcomes Little Nomad, Steve Wandling, Jody Herndon, Roger Rablais and someone who will make his Radio Free Charleston debut next week, “Cemeterry” Schultz, to the Cellar, 8 Capitol Street, Thursday at 8 PM. Admission for this fifty-ninth edition of 3EC is free, and it will be an evening of music that promises to warm whatever chilled cockles you may have.

The Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents “Lincoln,” a classic opera by Dan Kehde and Mark Scarpelli, beginning Thursday and running on weekends through February 8. Check out this preview clip from a rehearsal…

1779144_564625964756_1135612629_nI saw a previous production of “Lincoln” a few years ago, and it’s a great piece. In fact, we devoted episode 59 of Radio Free Charleston to the 2009 production, and we will bring that episode of the show back this Saturday in the RFC Flashback, so you can get more of an idea of how great this show is.

Performances are 8 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week and next, with a 2 PM matinee this Sunday. Tickets are available at the door for $8 students and Seniors (65 +) and $15 adults.For more information call the theater at 304-342-6522.

Free Entertainment in the valley includes Rick Perdue at EZ Street in St. Albans at 9 PM and Mojo’s Comedy Night Open Mic at Mojo’s Sportsbar behind The Mound in South Charleston, also at 9 PM.

The PopCult Toybox: JoeLanta and KRONIES

JoeLantaFirst up in the toybox this week is JoeLanta 2014! You may remember that last year I finally made it to my first real GI Joe collectors convention in Atlanta, Georgia.  Well, this year I’m going back once again as a guest and will be serving on a couple of panels. It’s going to be bigger than ever, because this year JoeLanta is expanding to two days and merging with The Greater Atlanta Toy Show.

While there will be tons of GI Joes over with to wheel and deal, there will also be TOYS OF ALL KINDS! Of course, the PopCult cameras will be on hand. I’ll be bringing you video highlights of the dealers rooms, bits of the other JoeLanta events, and a few of the expert panels.  In addition to the “State of the Hobby” panel, you can expect video from the Walking Dead panel and the wrestling panel, featuring WWE legend, Scott Hall.

It all happens in March. If you’re interested in going, check out the JoeLanta website, by all means!  I hope to see you there.


Is it real or a brilliant parody? Visit the website and decide for yourself. It might even be a Koch Brothers conspiracy! Thanks to JoeLanta’s Buddy Finethy for turning me on to this.


Monday Morning Art: Tiki Man

tiki 006

It’s cold outside, so to remind you that there is indeed a season known as “Summer,” today’s art is a Tiki Man’s face. You can stare at it and pretend that the sun is what’s nibbling at your fingers, not frostbite. Just imagine that you’re staring at a loaded tropical girly drink mug while vacationing in Hawaii or something. It’s my public service to you.

Click to enlarge, and check PopCult later Monday for the next RFC MINI SHOW with Crystal Bright and The S8lver Hands.

Sunday Evening Video: The Snowman

images (47)Rather than grumble and be moody about how the winter weather disrupted all our best-laid plans, today we’re bringing you the classic animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ children’s book, “The Snowman.”

This version has the original opening, featuring a spoken word intro and brief appearance by Briggs himself. The OSCAR-nominated “The Snowman” was produced by John Coates and directed by Dianne Jackson, both of whom worked on The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”

An episode of The RFC MINI SHOW will arrive in PopCult tomorrow, with our next full-length episode pushed back to next week.

RFC Flashback: Episode Nineteen

This is the nineteenth episode of Radio Free Charleston, “Ian Rotten Shirt,” from May 2007, with music from Go Van Gogh and The Ghosts Of Now, plus a Pentagram Flowerbox cartoon, which has been restored to its original place in the show. This show marks the RFC debut of Lee Harrah, who is still a frequent guest and a valued production team member.

The Mystery camera person who shot the original footage of Go Van Gogh turned out to be none other than Melissa Beezley (now Melissa Beezely Johnson) who has been a friend of RFC since the radio days.

This show is not 100% as it was when first posted, though. The original version included a commercial parody created by someone who later turned out to be, well, let’s just say “a criminal.” On top of that, it was very poorly done and not very funny. Newly-created animation takes its place, and is much, much better, despite being slapped together in less than ten minutes.

You can read the original production notes here.

Stuff To Do On A Cold Weekend

images (46)The PopCulteer
January 24, 2014

With your PopCulteer buried under deadlines and trying fo figure out what’s going to be in next week’s Radio Free Charleston, this week we’re just looking at stuff to do.

Friday Free Entertainment

Comedy returns to St. Albans’ hippest Coffee Shop, Four Brothers Cafe, as Patrick Felton headlines a FREE, ALL-AGES show with featured act Lynn Browder. Marcus Oglesby will also be on hand. The comedy starts at 8 PM. Four Brothers Cafe is on Olde Main Street Plaza, across the street from The Alban Theater.

Two virtuoso guitarists light up the night at Taylor Books, on Capitol Street, as Spencer Eliott and Sean Sydnor alternate sets beginning at 7:30 PM. The next night these two take their act to The Bluegrass Kitchen for more free, quality music, starting at 7 PM. Continue reading

The Best of Wonder Wart-Hog

The PopCult Bookshelf

best-of-wonder-warthog-gilbert-shelton-knockabout-628x888-350x494The Best of Wonder Wart-Hog
By Gilbert Shelton

Gilbert Shelton is one of the masters of the underground comix movement of the 1960’s, held in the highest esteem alongside top creators like Robert Crumb and Kim Dietch. He’s most noted for creating “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers,” a much loved comic strip which combined the hippie and drug culture with The Three Stooges. Shelton’s other major creation, pre-dating the Freak Brothers and their spin-off, “Fat Freddy’s Cat,” is “Wonder Wart-Hog,” a satirical superhero parody that first appeared in 1962. While the Freak Brothers were Shelton’s “money” creation, Wonder Wart-Hog seems to be his favorite and still appears from time to time in new stories.

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