Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: July 2015 (Page 1 of 4)

Outrage and The Theory of The Universal Double Standard

Screen_Shot_2015-07-2a8_at_6.48.47_PM.0.0The PopCulteer
July 31, 2015

The summer of 2015 is going to go down in history as the summer of outrage. Something awful happens, and people get outraged. People get so outraged that other people take offense, and then THEY get outraged. Other people get offended at what they feel is a disproportionate amount of outrage for their pet cause, so then they get outraged. On top of that we have people creating fraudulent stories so that they can provoke misdirected outrage and get a piece of that juicy outrage action.

The country, collectively, needs to to calm the hell down.

Yes, there are horrible things happening, and yes, they do need to be condemned, but when you pile outrage on top of outrage, and when some are not even remotely genuine, all you wind up doing is desensitizing the masses to the very concept that some behavior is simply not to be tolerated. People get trapped in a cycle of continual outrage and simply stay pissed-off all the time.

This week my personal outrage was the murder of Cecil the lion. As I grow older, I have noticed that I have less acceptance for animal cruelty than I used to. I don’t mean that I ever thought it was cool. It’s just that my views on life, shaped by my own experiences, have brought me to a place where I am damn nearly an activist. Even before the CNN “Blackfish” documentary, I was disgusted by SeaWorld and similar animal parks. I have become well aware that those who perform acts of cruelty on animals are often just a tiny leap away from doing the same to humans.

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TV Shows That Could’ve Been

The PopCult Bookshelf

tv-series1Three of the most intriguing reference books on the history of television are back in print, and available at reasonable prices. Lee Goldberg’s Unsold Television Pilots 1955-1989, The Best TV Shows That Never Were, and TELEVISION FAST FORWARD (Sequels and Remakes of Cancelled Series) were just reissued last week by the author’s own “Adventures in Television” label.

Author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar & two-time Shamus Award nominee and the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the fifteen Monk mysteries, “The Walk,” “King City,” “Watch Me Die,” and the internationally bestselling Fox & O’Hare books co-written with Janet Evanovich. He’s also written and/or produced scores of TV shows, including “Diagnosis Murder,” “SeaQuest,” “Monk,” and “The Glades.” As an international television consultant, he has advised networks and studios in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, China, Sweden, and the Netherlands on the creation, writing and production of episodic television series.

He is also a huge television nerd, and we are all richer because of it.

Unsold Television Pilots 1955-1989
cover70659-mediumby Lee Goldberg
Adventures in Television
ISBN 9781511590679
$27.99 (paperback) $4.99 (ebook)

This is one huge, exhaustively-researched book that reveals all of the details behind thousands of TV series ideas that were developed and rejected by the networks from the dawn of television to 1989.

The book was an instant, national sensation when it was first published in 1990, winning enthusiastic critical acclaim and enormous media attention, including on-air praise from TV legend Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” and was adapted into two hour-long specials, “The Greatest Shows You Never Saw” on CBS and “The Best TV Shows That Never Were” on ABC.

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Captain Action’s Kool Card Game Returns

42b549cb97c0f4efb0e1c513167525abThe PopCult Toybox

One of the most rare Captain Action collectible items from the vintage era of 1966-69 was the Captain Action Card Game, which was a mail-in premium, available only to kids who devoured Kool-Pops frozen treats.

The Captain Action card game AND the Kool-Pops package--a holy grail among collectors

The Captain Action card game AND the Kool-Pops package–a holy grail among collectors

Complete sets of this card game go for over a hundred bucks easily–way more than that if they’re in mint condition. The original Kool-Pops packages go for even more and are considered one of the hardest-to-find collectibles of the 1960s superhero boom.

A couple of days ago, Captain Action Enterprises, LLC  (CAE), in cooperation with veteran game designers and developers Harold Sipe and Meg Stivison, announced a new card game based on the beloved Captain Action properties. The team will bring Captain Action, Dr. Evil, Lady Action and the entire mythology to gamers and action figure fans in 2016 as part of Captain Action’s 50th Anniversary.

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New Music from Superfetch, The Aristocrats and Weedhaven Laughing Academy plus a Classic “Lost” Album by World Without Fear on Radio Free Charleston’s Streaming Show

Img_4802RFCv3 #34

Opening Track: Superfetch “White Horse”

Superfetch is a brand-new entity, an avant-electronic band made up of local music greats who, for the moment, will remain anonymous. However, the band includes some of my oldest friends. They’ve never made music like this before. We’re thrilled to open This week’s Radio Free Charleston podcast with this group.

Our theme in this week’s second hour is Shepardstown’s own World Without Fear. This was a fantastic band that staked out their sonic territory somewhere between U2 and REM. We will bring you their entire self-titled debut album from 1989, plus we’ll fill out the hour with a recent live track from the band’s frontman, Scooter Scudieri.

Due to ongoing software upgrades at Voices of Appalachia, this show will premiere as a podcast. You can listen to it right here HERE, or download it for later. The technical issues at VOA are taking a lot longer to sort out than expected, but we hope to be back in the swing of things soon. There are big things planned for New Appalachian Radio once everything is squared away.

NAR log 002You can click over to Radio Free Charleston’s  fun and exciting streaming radio incarnation in the  archives for previously-aired shows.  Until we get the stream up and running, new episodes of the show will be posted there as well.

Our first hour is packed with tons of new music from some of Charleston’s hottest bands. The full show’s playlist is below the jump…

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Stuff To Do Tuesday

11064620_10203826569321065_8452316777793791228_nThere are some regular events that happen every Tuesday here in town that I have not done a very good job of informing my readers about. Let’s rectify this.

Every Tuesday at The Empty Glass, starting at 5 PM, it’s Thaibilly Tuesday. Raj Pongsugree and Michael Seeburger  bring their awesome culinary creations to The Empty Glass each week so that you can fill your belly and settle in for a night of amazing music from Spurgie Hankins Band.

I have to confess that I have not yet sampled Thaibilly Kitchen‘s offerings. I really want to, but a combination of bad timing (I have to eat on a tight schedule) and food allergies (Can’t deal with mushrooms or berries, and I don’t eat pork) has kept me from indulging so far. I can vouch for the fact that not eating this food while being close enough to smell it is sheer torture. This is some real mouth-watering fare. One of these days I’m going to have to make my schedule fit theirs and chow down.

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Monday Morning Art: Arm Tree

Arm Tree

This morning’s art is the other piece I created for Ann Magnuson’s SurRURALism show last month that actually made it in. Thanks again to Ann and to Mark Wolfe for letting me be part of something so cool. This particular piece is a composite photo-digital painting of a recurring nightmare image of mine: Trees shaped like human arms breaking upward out of the pavement. Click to enlarge.

Your PopCulteer has taken advantage of various technical bugs over this past weekend to actually have a weekend. There will be no RFC MINI SHOW this week because we still can’t embed videos here in PopCult. I’m still not sure of the status of Voices of Appalachia. I hope to at least bring you a link to a podcast version of the Radio Free Charleston audio show tomorrow.  To be honest, it was nice to be able to take a weekend away from chronicling the local music scene. The nose will go back to the grindstone next week.  Also, work proceeds on The ShockaCon Horror Show podcast, hosted by Lee Harrah. You’ll be hearing about that very soon.

DC Comics Toys Update

The Schliech Toys DC Comics display is pretty impressive

The Schleich Toys DC Comics display is pretty impressive

The PopCult Toybox

So, if you’ve been following PopCult the last few days, you know that we do not currently have the ability to embed video in our blogs. I’m sure that this will be cleared up soon, but it does put a bit of a damper on our “Sunday Evening Video” feature that’s been part of PopCult since June, 2008.

Rather than just post a link to a cool video, this week we’re bringing you a bonus PopCult Toybox Alert. Some really cool DC Comics toys have shown up locally at regional retailer, Magic Mart. You can find this stuff at their Teays Valley and Madison locations right now.

First up we have the NJ Croce Batman Classic TV Series bendy figures, plus The Flash, a new addition to their Justice League New Frontier line.

Last year I reviewed the Batman Classic TV Series boxed set, and Magic Mart has that, but they also have the individually-carded figures of Batman, Robin, The Penguin, Catwoman and The Joker.

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RFC Flashback: The Beginning

2013+rfc+logo+shot+001Since our video-embedding capabilities are somewhat disabled at the moment, today we’re going to use a more elaborate means to take you back to our two very-first episodes via the wonderful and neglected Radio Free Charleston Archive blog.

Follow THIS LINK to go to a page where you can see both of our first two episodes from July 2006, with music from Mother Nang, Stephen Beckner, Sean Richardson, Deron Sodaro and Jay Lukens, plus comedy from The No Pants Players and animation from Frank Panucci.

We promise to update the archives soon to bring them up to date with all of our video and radio shows. Right now they peter out around last October.  We’ve been busy.

Interesting Times

newsign.phpThe PopCulteer
July 24, 2015


So, has anything notable been happening your way this week?

As you have probably heard by now, there has been a seismic shift in the local media scene, and it has a direct affect on PopCult. The Charleston Gazette and The Charleston Daily Mail, our city’s two fierce rival newspapers, merged. It was inevitable, but the suddenness surprised everyone.  I guess that whole “marriage equality” thing became infectious and now everybody’s tying the knot.

I do not know what this means for the future of PopCult, and I would imagine that hardly anybody else at the newly-merged paper has given it much thought. We are not exactly a high-priority in this situation.  This is a massive and complicated undertaking, and lots of good people, many of them friends, are going through a very stressful process. I hope to remain part of the Gazette-Mail team, and the fact that they have moved us to a new URL is a good sign that I’m cheap enough to keep around, but I don’t presume to have any idea what’s going to happen next.

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Comics In Your Future

The PopCult Bookshelf


Swamp Thing art by Kelly Jones

A lot of comic book news came out of the International Comic Con in San Diego a few weeks back, and most of it has been reported-on and analyzed ad-infinitum all over the internet, but there was one bit of news from DC Comics that seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

Early next year, eight new mini-series will be published by DC, and while I don’t have really high expectations for anything coming out of the “Big Two” these days, this slate of titles certainly seems to be targeted at attracting some nostalgic attention from long-time readers.

The eight books will be: Swamp Thing, Metal Men, Raven, Firestorm, Katana: Cult of the Kobra, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death, Metamorpho and Sugar & Spike. Not only are most of these titles revivals of books that had their heyday way back in the 1960s, 70s or 80s, but DC has brought back some of their original creators to script these books.

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