Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: August 2023 (Page 3 of 4)

More Kentuckiana Photos!

The PopCulteer
August 11, 2023

If it seems like I’m slacking off a little bit here at PopCult and just running photo essays this week, it’s because that is indeed the case.

Your PopCulteer is off on a roadtrip.

As I mentioned Wednesday, less than two weeks after The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo happened in Louisville, your PopCulteer and his lovely wife are going to attempt to hit JoeLanta in Atlanta, Georgia and PowerCon/MEGO Meet in Columbus on the same weekend.

So not only is it easier to run photos than it is to write a long essay, it also lets me burn off these photos before I start filling the blog with photos from Atlanta and Columbus next week.

Sunday I’ll run a video of the raw footage of the vendor’s room from Kentuckiana, but even at that, I’ve got one more video and photo essay to put together. I just don’t want to rush that one because I want to make the video of Brad Curry’s Spy Island diorama special.

Meanwhile, look at what fun we had at Kentuckiana…

Special guest, on the right, legendary GI Joe toy and package designer, Ron Rudat

Steve Stovall, one of the organizers of the show, and one of the moving forces behind Super Joe Unlimited.

Former frontman for Holden Cauflield, Dana White, and Terry Ruin. Terry put together a cool custom GI Joe: RAH figure (Cobra Mortal) and has a fun YouTube channel dedicated to GI Joe and Transformers. Dana designed the packaging for the Cobra Mortal figure.

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Cindy Scott’s Customs and Dioramas At Kentuckiana

While your PopCulteer heads off to both JoeLanta in Atlanta and PowerCon/MEGO Meet in Columbus this weekend, we still have some cool stuff to share from The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo. Today we’re going to bring you photos of the cool custom figures and dioramas created by Cindy Scott, a proud member of the Sixth Scale Collector’s Club of Ohio.

Working with other customizers around Cinncinnati, Cindy has created and customized some extremely cool figures, vehicles and dioramas, and today we’re going to check these out.

I grabbed a quick photo while Cindy was setting up, before she had these incredible dioramas fully populated.

These are only part of the cool figures she had on display.

Plus there was a small motor pool.

Scott’s Military Surplus.

A tremendous level of detail is packed into this scene.

Plus it’s a great way to use all the cool military stuff a GI Joe collector ends up accumulating.

With this log cabin we can see even more cool detail work. Cindy built most of the furniture in these dioramas herself.

Eye-popping detail on the wood-working bench.

More detail in the rest of the cabin.

My favorite is this astonishing mad scientist laboratory.

It’s like a classic horror movie come to life.

Cindy built the tables with metal surfaces, and collected a cool array of 1/6 scale science objects.

Again, the detail is just mind-blowing.

We’ll wrap this up with the lab monkey, tucked away under the table.

If you like what you see here, be sure to check out the Sixth Scale Collector’s Club of Ohio at their website, or at Facebook.


STUFF TO DO For a Weekend Stuffed With Stuff To Do

Some folks would call this a “first world problem,” but sometimes there’s just way too much STUFF TO DO.

Case in point: This weekend.

Let me explain, because this goes back to last year. In 2022 ToyLanta, a toy convention in Atlanta that Mel and I try to attend every year, decided to split JoeLanta off as a separate toy show. Originally there was JoeLanta, and you can read all about this history in detail HERE, but in short, the show started as a dedicated GI Joe collector’s show, but over time changed its focus (and name) to handle toys of all kinds.  After a few years of that, it was decided to spin off JoeLanta as its own show once again, to appeal to its core fanbase.

The spin-off happened so fast last year that Mel and I were unable to make it to the revived JoeLanta. I decided then that this year, we’d skip ToyLanta and instead go to JoeLanta, whenever they got that show scheduled.

Also last year, I learned that MEGO Meet would return as part of PowerCon in Columbus, and I told my friends that we’d make it there this year.

Then the fates conspired against me. First, PowerCon announced their dates…it happens this weekend, which is also the weekend of my birthday. A side note; I hate to be around large groups of people on my birthday. I hate being the center of attention and find that being sung at is one of the worst things in the world for me. However, I figured we’d go to the first two days of PowerCon/MEGO Meet, and then make it home before my birthday so that I could maybe relax and enjoy myself and possibly even take advantage of the birthday special at Tidewater Grill for the first time in six years.

But no, a few weeks after PowerCon announced their dates, JoeLanta announced that they would also have their show from August 11 through 13.

The least rational course of action would be to try and make it to both shows. And that’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll roll into Atlanta in time for the early admission stuff Friday night and Saturday morning, and then we’ll cut out before Saturday afternoon and make our way from Atlanta to Columbus (with an overnight stop in between), so we can attend the final day of PowerCon and hope that they have a few of the MEGO exclusives left.  I guess the Shanghai Swordfish at Tidewater will have to wait until next year.

We’re going to document the trip on ONE VIDEO, so don’t expect a lot of stand-alone clips, with the possible exception of a short video showing off the custom figures at JoeLanta.  You can expect tons of photos next week here in PopCult. Hell, we might even have some photos left over from Kentuckiana.

While all that is taking up your humble blogger’s weekend we have more than a few suggestions of things worth venturing out in the heat and/or rain to do in and around Charleston and The Mountain State this weekend.

This Saturday it’s the grand opening of Appalachian Books in Saint Albans at 808 B Street Suite 201. Upper level (Elevator). I hate that I’ll have to miss this, but we’ll stop by later.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday it’s to be determined (we have an early deadline this week). Khegan McLane entertains the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.

The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this weekend to tell you about. Wednesday at 9 PM Aeon’s Harmonic goes on at 9 PM.  Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause.  Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour.  Later on Friday The Rachel Brooke Band takes the stage at 8 PM.  Saturday at 10 PM, Pottera bring their Pittsburgh-based Pantera tribute to The Empty Glass stage.  Next Monday it’s Open Mic Night at 9 PM and on Tuesday Steve McAlphabet spells it out at The Glass.

In other “we don’t need no stinking graphics” shows, Friday The Settlement, with support from Friendly Fire play at Sam’s Uptown Cafe at 8 PM.  Saturday The Detonators take the stage at The Blue Parrott at 9 PM.

Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. It’s still a going concern with the ‘rona surging again. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu, heatstroke, lightning from above, exploding houses in Dunbar and other damned good reasons to be careful. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out.

If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the weekend, roughly in order…


New Music From Hello June, Jonny Strykes, Jim Lange, Jerks and more, plus a JoeLanta Jam Preview

Tuesday rolled around again this week, and on The AIR that means it’s time for a new  Radio Free Charleston. You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay here, and  listen to the cool embedded player found elsewhere on this page.  

You can hear Radio Free Charleston Tuesdays at 10 AM and 10 PM, with tons of replays throughout the week.  This week we have one all-new hour, and two hours of a Radio Cult concert from 2018, with a wide array of toy-collecting guest musicians, including our own Mel Larch.

Kicking off this cool edition of our show is a new song from Hello June. “Interstate” is the lead single from the long-awaited upcoming album, which s the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed debut album, Spruce. It’s a real treat to be able to share this with our listeners.

Likewise, it’s a real treat to have new music from Jonny Strykes, back on the show courtesy of the Chicago pipeline; Jim Lange with a tune inspired by a photo he saw on social media; Jerks, who will be opening next week’s show. We also have cool new stuff from Guitarmy of One, Brian Diller, Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns and more.

Plus we also have a set of music with a particular theme, which can probably be figured out by anybody who reads the playlist below.

Our second and third hours bring back a raucous live episode of Radio Free Charleston International from 2018 that that was recorded in Atlanta at the ToyLanta convention. It’s an extended jam, anchored by Radio Cult, and with tons of guests, who happen to also be toy collectors. Stick around to the end and you’ll even hear Mrs. PopCulteer.

I’m resurrecting this episode of RFC International because this weekend I’m headed to JoeLanta (I’ll explain the name changes here tomorrow). We won’t be able to stick around for this year’s jam session, but it will happen and we’ll be there in spirit as we wing our way Northward to MEGO Meet at PowerCon in Columbus.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Live links will take you to the artist’s pages so you can find out more about them, buy their music and find out where to see them perform live…

RFC 141

hour one
Hello June “Interstate”
Jonny Strykes “All The Way Home”
Brian Diller “Drive”
The Anchoress “This Is Yesterday”
Jim Lange “Sky of Fire”
Novelty Island “Turn To Me”
Matt Mullins and The Bringdowns “There You Are”
Guitarmy of One “Top Secret Agent Man On A Wire Tapped Phone At Sea”
The Tentakills “Split The Sea”
Galen and Paul “A Sea Shanty”
Sierra Ferrell “The Sea”
Pete Townshend “Sea and Sand”
Bottle and Bride “A Call To The Sea”
Jerks “Ok New Wave”
Lost Decades “Essex”
Dave Strong “She’s The One”

hour two and three
Radio Cult with guests recorded live at ToyLanta, March 2018
Jas Ingram
Mike Gardner
Alex Massey
J.D. Luck
Dan Cioffi
David Lane
Mel Larch

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Wednesday at 9 AM,  Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different classic episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.


After RFC, stick around for encores of last week’s episodes of  MIRRORBALL at 1 PM and Curtain Call at 2 PM.

At 3 PM we offer up two classic episodes of The Swing Shift.  You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM and 8 PM and Saturday afternoon, only on The AIR . You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Art: Elevated Loop

I’m still Hopper-ing about in Chicago this week, but today’s small acrylic study is going to be heavily-revised before I take to canvas.

This acrylic on textured board piece was inspired by a very blurry photo I took while riding the L through the Loop. I got this cool shot of where the tracks come into the Loop, and I figured I could paint in the detail to make up for the blurriness, but as I progressed, that gleaming white utilty box just overpowered the composition, so it’s probably going to be changed in the finished piece.

When I figure out those changes, this might get the high-detail treatment, or I might go a little more Hopperesque with the rendering. I haven’t really decided yet. This one was knocked out in an afternoon, and isn’t terribly big. It’s smaller than a sheet of printer paper.

To see this one bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a classic episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a classic edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

At 8 PM you can hear the genius of Stan Freeberg on last week’s episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of music recorded live in concert on many different programs on The AIR.

Sunday Evening Video: The 2023 Kentuckiana Music Video

I have to be honest with you, this video is just a teaser. I had some technical issues (since resolved) but wasn’t able to start editing the 2023 Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo video footage until this morning.  There will be three more videos from the show coming, but today I was only able to cut together a quick music video, using library tunes from YouTube.

Probably next Sunday I’ll bring you a collection of the raw footage from the vendor’s room, and with luck, before that I’ll have short videos dedicated to custom figures and dioramas.

And I still have more photos for you, as well.

The problem is, we leave for JoeLanta on Wednesday, so time is tight, and you might be getting some Kentuckiana stuff after we get back from JoeLanta and MEGO Meet.

It’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to toy shows all happening around the same time.

But anyway, today’s video is just a taste of what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Mel and I plan to do a video of this week’s trip, but it’s going to be one video that covers the whole trip, so I don’t bury myself under video projects when I get back.

Meanwhile, here’s a few more Kentuckiana photos.  I will be posting more of these all week long. The life of a PopCulteer is not always an easy one, but it’s never boring. You can find our previous coverage of Kentuckiana 2023 HERE.

Oh, I suppose you have a problem with nudity?

This was really cool, but after buying a Batmoblie, there was no way we had room for it.

Really cool Super Joe Unlimited stuff, more of which I will get at MEGO Meet/PowerCon

The leading cause of whiplash among PopCult bloggers at toy shows…Captain Action stuff.

There was tons of RAH GI Joe stuff, including fleets of vehicles.

The RFC Flashback: Episode Thirty-Eight

From March, 2008, we jump back to a special episode of Radio Free Charleston.  This was our 38th show, “Captain America Shirt” featuring music by Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars with Joe Slack and The Spurgy Hankins Band .There’s also a commercial for the Chevrolet Corvair and some animation from Mars.

The show sports location footage from The Blue Parrot, Capitol Roasters, Capitol Street, and The Quarrier Building, home of LiveMix Studio.  This made two episodes in a row where we used The Quarrier Building for some of our host segments. At the time I was sheepishly apologetic about it, but now it’s sort of bittersweet, since that building was taken away from Charleston’s artistic community.

This was a special episode because it was our first attempt at going weekly with Radio Free Charleston. We managed to squeak out four or five shows in consecutive weeks for the first time. Little did I know that, just a few years later, I would manage to do that for months at a time. Read the original production notes HERE.

Kentuckiana 2023: First Look

The PopCulteer
August 4, 2023

We are in the eye of the hurricane, in terms of cool toy shows. Last weekend your PopCulteer was at The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo in Louisville, and next weekend I will be dividing the days between JoeLanta in Atlanta, and MEGO Meet at PowerCon in Columbus.

And with all that coming up, I haven’t even told you about Kentuckiana yet. So today we’re going to rectify that a bit. In fact, over the the next week I’ll bring you a series of photo essays that will run here alongside our regular features, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have a Kentuckiana video ready for you this Sunday.

Today’s photos are just a sampler. Over the next week you’ll find photo essays dedicated to the collectors, the custom figure entries, the cool dioramas (including a huge Spy Island display that showed off the varies convention sets offered by different vendors) and of course, the cool toys.

The Tenth Annual Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo happened last weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. The show was open to the public Saturday, but there was a fun Friday preview night, which is where many of these photos were taken.  This was the first Kentuckian (following a Winterfest event in January) at the Paroquet Springs Conference Centre, at 395 Paroquet Springs Drive, in Shepherdsville, KY. The new location is huge and was filled to the brim with dealers and collectors.

The new location

The idea for today is to just give you a taste of the fun. We’ll go more in-depth over the next few days, and hopefully have our coverage of Kentuckiana wrapped up before we turn up at JoeLanta.

These shows are great ways to get back in touch with old friends and find new treasures for our toy collecting hobbies. In my case, I sort of blew my budget on not one, but two “holy grails,” which you will see at the end of this batch of images.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

This pick just hints at the vastness of the vendor area.

As does this pic, which was three or four rows away from where I took the first one.

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Augusting It Up With STUFF TO DO

We enter into the first weekend of August (also known as “Too Many Anniversaries Month” here at PopCult) with a whole bunch of suggestions for things you can get into this weekend in and around Charleston and a few points more distant.

The big thing happening this weekend is Multifest, which actually begins Thursday. Charleston’s multi-cultural celebration packs loads of entertainment and events and 33 headliners into four days. You can find all all about it HERE, plus I’ll have graphics with the daily line-ups for it below.

You still have one weekend to catch The Blob, the musical by Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde, which is being revived at The Elk City Playhouse by CYAC.   The 1958 Horror Classic comes to life on the musical stage with music, dancing, romance, and DooWop fun, in one amazing evening of entertainment! Featuring performances by Nik Tidquist, Julia Carriger, Mattie Connelly, Austin Susman, Caroline Chamness and a supporting ensemble of singers, dancers and musicians. You can catch it at 7 PM Friday August 4, Saturday August 5.

Tickets $15.00 Adults, $10.00 Students/Seniors. Available online or at the door, at The Elk City Playhouse, 218 Washington St. W. Charleston, WV.

Also, last week because I was in a hurry and didn’t see a FB event page, I missed out on telling you about the Charleston Light Opera Guild’s production of Grease. You can see it this weekend, too, with the details in the graphic below.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday we actually have a graphic that you’ll see in with our other show images. Saturday Julien Aklei entertains the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.

The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this weekend to tell you about. Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause. Later Thursday evening you need to check out this extremely cool show…

Other shows at the Empty Glass include: Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour.  Later on Friday Jeff Ellis pulls in to the Glass at 10 PM for the first of two area CD release shows. Saturday at 10 PM, Katie Curley brings her country originals and covers to The Empty Glass stage. Sunday, Christopher Carter plays at The Glass at 9 PM. Next Monday it’s Open Mic Night at 9 PM and on Tuesday Jen Howard plays at the Glass at 9 PM.

Saturday night, Jeff Ellis will perform “Live At The Shop” in Dunbar, for the second CD release party for his new album, Vacancy Hearts, which I’ve been previewing on RFC for over a month now. This is a full band show, with Bud Carroll handling lead guitar duties. You can find more details HERE.

Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. It’s still a going concern with the ‘rona surging again. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu, more Canadian wildfire haze, serially indicted disgraced former presidents, screaming neighborhood kids, prehistoric jellyfish fossils and other damned good reasons to be careful. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out.

If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the weekend, roughly in order…

Kickstarter Alert: The Red Ram

We have another cool comic book Kickstarter campaign to tell you about, and the cool things about it are that it’s by a local creator and it’s already fully-funded, with two weeks left, so you can be sure you’ll get it.

The Red Ram: Toxic Suicide is the brainchild of Charlestonian Paul Rashid, MD, a board-certified Psychiatrist, and an old buddy of your humble blogger going back over thrity years, to the days of Comic World. He’s created this comic book both to indulge his life-long love of comics, but also as a bit of an outreach to help make people more aware of mental health issues and erase some of the stigma of mental illness.

The Red Ram: Toxic Suicide #1 is a 22-page comic book that follows Technology Titan RJ Ronaldson who, in his alter ego as The Red Ram, is at the end of his battle-damaged vigilante career. But before RJ can set down his mantle, he gets roped into one last war with his arch-nemesis.

Along the way, he is sidelined by a suicidal female and her psychiatrist. This leads the Red Ram down a winding tale involving alcoholism, opioid addiction, depression, anxiety, narcissism and even suicide.

Will order be restored or will these darker forces overtake and prevail in today’s rapidly advancing world?

In his quest to combine elements of dark action and a psychological thriller with the “relevant” comics by Rashid’s creative hero, Neal Adams, he came up with The Red Ram, a comic book adventure steeped in real-life issues and for mature readers.

As Rashid says on the campaign page, “If you’re a Batman fan, then you’re gonna love The Red Ram!”

Joining Rashid in telling this tale is artist, J.C. Grande, a veteran of Image Comics, IDW and other publishers, who brings a visceral, gritty style to the adventure. He is aided and abetted by colorist, Santosh Rath. Rounding out the creative team is award-winning editor, David Gallaher and Noelia Dixon, who assisted with character designs.

Check out this video for more background on the project…

You can kick in on Red Ram: Toxic Suicide #1 at THIS LINK.  Rewards include the basic comic book in print or .pdf form, along with print variant covers and retail bundles.

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