Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: July 2014 (Page 1 of 4)

A Muscle Man Misses The Mark

The PopCult Bookshelf

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery
flexmentallo_1by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Vertigo/DC Comics
SBN-13: 978-1401247027

Kept out of print for years because of a frivolous lawsuit from Charles Atlas, Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery is an early work by the team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, We3), and it’s ultimately a confounding and bizarre meditation on the nature of the super hero in the post-Alan Moore and Frank Miller world.

Flex Mentallo himself looks like a cross between Bruno Sammartino and Sean Connery as “Zardoz.” He is unabashedly swiped from the bully in the old Charles Atlas comic strips.

600full-flex-mentallo--man-of-muscle-mystery-coverThis series is an uber-meta parody of comics history, particularly the infamous “Insult that made a man out of Mac” comic strip that was used to advertise Charles Atlas fitness routines. This series, while brilliant on many levels, may hold little appeal for anyone who isn’t immersed in the history and vocabulary of comics. When your main character is a parody of an ad that hasn’t run in comic books for thirty years, you’re in pretty esoteric territory. A lot of effort goes into building in-jokes that hardly any casual comics reader will get. Continue reading

Stuff To Do: CYAC’s “Best of Boxes”

droppedImageCharleston’s Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents its annual monologue production of BOXES this weekend, starting tonight at The WVSU Capitol center Theater.  “Boxes” is a collection of monologues written by Dan Kehde and performed by an ensemble of the area’s brightest young actors, aged 13 to 26. This year the monologues are a “Best of” assortment, presenting a selection of works from the last 18 years. The above clip was made by Austin Susman

The show opens tonight at 8 PM and runs through Saturday night at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers Street, in Charleston. The cast includes Caitlin Moore, Julianna Spradling, Sarah Mandirola, Gage Snodgrass, Anna Poole, Haley Arthur, Olivia King, Nik Tidquist, Celeste Vingle, Hanna Peterson, Ellie Paybins, Carrie Jo Rader, and Austin Thomas.

Tickets will be available at the door and the price is $15, or $8 for seniors or students. You can call the box office at 304-342-6522 for more details, reservations and group rates. Next week Kehde’s new play, the provocatively-titled “Joseph, Mother of Jesus” opens.

The RFC MINI SHOW starring The Diablo Blues Band

Image6This week’s RFC MINI SHOW presents The Diablo Blues Band. Newly signed to Arm The Pit Records, this band is a long-time Radio Free Charleston mainstay, newly reborn with a new vocalist and the addition of a great horn section. We’ve been bringing you great music from this band for over five years, and it’s great to see them revitalized with new energy and a new line up.

We recorded them at The Empty Glass last May performing two originals, “Loud Mouth Woman” and “How D’You Like Me Now?” The members of DBB are Johnny “Hurricane” Compton,John ” The Mud Cat” Chickogee, Tommy Fountaine, Jessica Lowe, Kevin Kidd, Terry Lowry, Billy Hambleton and Morris Hambleton.

You can catch The Diablo Blues Band August 10 at The Empty Glass, where they will be recording a live album, their debut on Arm The Pit Records.

Beckley Fills Up With Jazz and Blues This Weekend!

simply jazz 01An exciting weekend of Jazz and Blues happens in Beckley, starting Friday. The Simply Jazz and Blues Festival returns, bringing some of the area’s finest musicians together with major national and regional acts for a showcase of terrific music in the hills of West Virginia.

This year The Simply Jazz and Blues Festival will be moving to a new location in uptown Beckley, WV at Word Park, 421 Neville St.

In addition to the great music, The Simply Jazz and Blues Festival will feature an Education Center geared toward young people who would like to learn more about America’s “roots” music, the blues.

Zac Harmon

Zac Harmon

Headliners include Zac Harmon from Jackson, MS, The Heritage Blues Orchestra and the Bob Thompson Unit.

Other local acts include Chaz Humley and the Effects, The Dennis McClung Blues Band and Bare Bones.

The Bob Thompson Unit

The Bob Thompson Unit

This is a “rain or shine” event. Bring lawn chairs. A limited number of canopies will be allowed. Food, Craft and Information vendors will be on site. The W.Va. Music Hall of Fame Traveling Museum will also be on hand.

Dennis McClung

Dennis McClung

The Education Center will be located inside the Raleigh Playhouse & Theatre at 403 Neville St. The center will feature an instrument petting zoo, Blues In the Schools presentations and performances by Fruteland Jackson and local musician, Bob Redd. For more information, visit their website. A full schedule of performers appears below the jump.

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The PopCult Toybox: Captain Action News

cap 01It’s time for another update on Captain Action, which longtime PopCult readers may know as one of my favorite toys from my childhood. I first wrote about Captain Action and his nemesis, Dr. Evil, way back in the first month of this blog, almost nine years ago, and since then we’ve seen him revived as a MEGO-sized figure, a model kit, a comic book, a pulp novel series and as a full-blown 12″ action figure with outfits that allowed him to become famous Marvel Superheroes, just as the original figure could.

There were revelations at San Diego Comic Con last week that prove that these are indeed interesting times for the good Captain. Resistance from mass-market retailers means a major delay, and possible cancellation of the planned DC Comics sets featuring outfits to turn Captain Action into Superman and Batman. That’s a pretty huge blow, but it’s not the end of the line for Captain Action.

Detail from the next Overstreet Price Guide

Detail from the next Overstreet Price Guide

Captain Action Enterprises has expanded the scope of the Captain Action concept beyond simply selling 12″ figures in the mass market. Captain Action will be featured on the cover of the next Overstreet Guide to Comics, which remains the industry standard price guide for comics. An annual publication, this means that Captain Action will be highly visible for the next year.

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Monday Morning Art: Monument


Today’s art is a digital painting based on several photographs I took almost a year ago on a trip to our nation’s capitol. This was when The Washington Monument was still sheathed in a prophylactic covering to prevent any further damage from the fracking-induced Earthquakes that struck Washington DC earlier. Rather than simply run a photograph through a filter, this one is a straight digital painting, which looks a lot like a photo run through a filter, but took, way, way, way longer. Click to see it larger.

Sunday Evening Videos: Bugs Bunny


446264Bugs Bunny, the iconic wise-cracking rabbit, made his official film debut seventy-four years ago today in the cartoon that you see above (in a weirdly-cropped form). To celebrate his cinematic birthday, we’re bringing you the above cartoon, plus a couple of other goodies below.

Despite suffering such indignities as “Space Jam,” Bugs is still plugging away as both an animated comedic presence and a corporate mascot. You’ll see him next in a new “Looney Tunes” series being made for Cartoon Network.

RFC Flashback: Three more from 2007

rfc27montageaThis week, as promised, we’re going to bring you three more classic episodes of Radio Free Charleston. These three originate from the late summer/ early autumn of 2007, and showcase some of our most memorable performances.  Also interesting is that, while many of the performers on these shows are still active in the area, all but one of the groups featured on these three shows are no longer together.

First up, in episode 26, your host was knocked unconcious by then-twelve-year-old Cadance Young, who took over the show and introduced music by Whistlepunk and Sean Richardson, plus a short film by Audrey and Mia Beckner, animation by Rudy Panucci and a cameo by Mad Man Pondo. Tofujitsu fans should take note that Sean and Karen are both in this episode, peforming separately. From September, 2007, it’s “Back To School.”

RFC 26 from RFC Archives on Myspace.

Also from September, 2007, comes RFC 27 “Trust Me I’m A Doctor Shirt.” Highlighted by music from Comparsa, Doctor Senator and Stephanie Deskins, this show also features animation by Stephen Beckner and a creepy toy commercial.

Wrapping up this week’s trio of of early RFCs is “John Lennon Shirt,” our first attempt at a Beatles tribute, despite the fact that we could not then use cover songs on the show. Our music is “Hey John, I Did Imagine,” by Seven Minutes Til Mdnight and “Requiem For Pepperland” by Go Van Gogh. We also have Sir Paul speaking about cannibus, and the end credit audio is an excerpt from the original Radio Free Charleston radio show, with Rudy Panucci talking Beatles with Clownhole’s John Estep and Go Van Gogh’s Johnny Rock.

Crowd Funding Live At The Empty Glass Vinyl and Plenty of Stuff To Do

The PopCulteer
July 25, 2014

The Empty Glass, Charleston’s venerable hot spot for music, turns thrity years old in 2015, and they want to do something really special to mark that milestone. You have a chance to pitch in and get a pretty cool artifact in the process. If you’ve been reading PopCult for the last couple of years, you know what that means…crowdfunding!

This time the goal is to raise money to press a vinyl album containing live music recorded at The Empty Glass over the last eight years. I’ll turn it over to a huge quote from the IndieGoGo page

“The Empty Glass opened in 1985. 2015 will be the Empty Glass’s 30th Anniversary. In celebration of this momentous occasion Empty Glass Records is releasing a Limited Edition vinyl record of some of the best performances we have recorded at the venue over the past 8 years.

Some of the acts included in this compilation will be: Unknown Hinson, Freekbass, Jubal Kane, The David Mayfield Parade, The Big Bad, The Carpenter Ants. C2J2, John the Conqueror and a couple more big names on which I’m waiting for clearance. (Band list will be updated as clearance is received)

This will be a one time limited Edition Hand numbered vinyl of 100 copies. CD’s and digital Downloads will also be available of the Release. (CD release will have Bonus Tracks that will be available for anyone who purchased the Record)

Vinyl is much more expensive than CD’s. The Cost of producing this run of Vinyl will be $1100 plus $500 for licensing fees to all of the Published Artists.

Presales will help out Tremendously with covering the cost of this Project.

Perks will be: Digital Downloads, CD’s, Vinyl, Credit for any Empty Glass Records Future Releases. Free Passes to shows at the Empty Glass and more!

The 30th Anniversary is a Momentous Occasion for any local business. The Empty Glass has been an Icon the East Coast music scene for all of that time and still is. support this Project and get some great music!”

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All You Need Is Weird Love

The PopCult Bookshelf


Currently in cooler comic books shops, issue two of Weird Love

Many times I’ve sung the praises of Yoe Books here in PopCult, and it’s time to do it once again. I’ve previously raved over Yoe’s terrific collections of pre-code horror comics, Steve Ditko’s monster comics from Charlton and his ongoing reprinting of Bud Sagendorf’s classic Popeye comic books.

Now Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni have launched a new bi-monthly title in conjunction with IDW, “Weird Love.” This book dredges up the best of the worst of romance comics which have fallen into the public domain. At one time, romance comics were among the best-sellers in the industry, but that time is long gone. The last of the mainstream romance comics fell by the wayside in the late 1970s, and the genre is pretty much forgotten now.

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