Today is Friday the 13th, and true to form, your PopCulteer is a bit under the weather. In fact, that’s why there were reruns this week of Beatles Blast and Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR. Three weeks of working 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week took it’s toll and I had to slow way the heck down for a bit. We shall soldier on with our normal Friday column, but it’s going to be a series of short items because my brain is still flickering like a flourescent light.
The Bakery Update
The Bakery is the name of the all-ages venue that is under construction now at the former Purity Bread Factory on Charleston’s West Side. I told you about it a few weeks ago. Progress is being made. This week a building permit was granted to allow for demolition and construction to turn the space into top-flight performance area, complete with ADA-compliant restrooms.
The non-profit in charge of all this can still use donations. You can make a cash donation through their Generosity Page, and a novel idea is in the works for those of you who want to make more tangible donations. Shortly The Bakery will have a gift registry set up at Lowes, so that you can purchase the tools and supplies that they specifically need, and donate them directly to the cause. Details are still being worked out on that, and I’ll post links and instructions once it’s all set up and ready to go.
Charleston desperately needs an all-ages venue, and The building desperately needs a major tenant, so this is a match made in heaven.
Drive-in Saturday Night
Don’t forget that Saturday night Ridenour Lake in Nitro plays host to Terror At The Drive-in as part of the Nitro Festival of Fright. I wrote about it HERE. Go read up on it, then go out and enjoy it.
Comics Making Good
Over the past three or so years, I’ve written about a lot of comic books that originated outside of the Diamond Comics Distribution system. Diamond does a great job serving local comic shops, but they can be a little hesitant to try new ideas, and the real innovation tends to come from publishers who are willing to bypass their distribution and sell directly to the consumer.
This year three of the projects that I’ve championed here have become so successful that Diamond has taken notice and has begun to make these books available to comic book stores across the country. This increased distribution takes a lot of the pressure off of the publishers and allows them to focus more on the creative and marketing end of the business, instead of the physical schlepping about of books.
Last week The Charlton Arrow turned up in comics shops. Co-published by Charlton Neo and long-running indie publisher, AC Comics, this book kicked off with a new “number 1” issue and a huge boost with the return of E-Man, an original Charlton Comics star from the 1970s, who later turned up as one of the flagship titles for First Comics in the 1980s. E-Man leads this great anthology in the first of a three-part new story by his creators, Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton. We also get the incredible homage to Steve Ditko, Mr. Mixit (by Roger McKenzie and Steven Butler) and many other cool stories that I will review in depth next week. It is absolutely wonderful to see The Charlton Arrow in comic shops.
Earlier this year, too other books that I’ve reviewed here in the past, CARtoons Magazine and The Creeps Magazine, proved that Diamond is finally open to the idea of magazine-sized comic books, You can now order these books from your local comic shop and support your local business.
Or, if you prefer the convenience of home delivery, I will work in a plug here for Westfield Comics. I’ve been a customer for over 18 years, and in that time I have never missed an issue of any comic book that I wanted. All three of the titles I mentioned here can be found at Westfield Comics.
Magazines Not So Much
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the magazine industry and how its sort of made every bad move that it can. I do want to point out that I was talking about the mainstream magazines that you find on your local magazine rack. Independent magazines have a whole different set of struggles, and one of my favorites, Bachelor Pad Magazine, had to make a rough decision this week. Their publisher/editor, Java, sent out an email announcing that the magazine will be going digital-only with its next issue. It will still be possible to purchase a print-on-demand copy, but it’s going to be more expensive that way.
This was not a decision taken lightly, but with printing and postage costs rising steadily, something had to give. The good news is that Bachelor Pad has partnered with MagCloud, and if you prefer print, they do a fantastic job with their print-on-demand products. I’ve ordered some of their stuff in the past, and they look great and feature saddle-stitching, as opposed to the perfect-bound books that you get from Createspace.
There is a chance that Bachelor Pad may go back to their print format in the future, but they need to pay off some printer’s bills first. If you’re interested in an old-school PG-13 rated Men’s magazine, with pinups, short fiction, articles on drinks and film, funny panel cartoons and more, check out their website and order some back issues.
The AIR Halloween
Next week The AIR will start trickling in some Halloween treats, but the week after that we’re going all-in with wall-to-wall spookiness until October 31. Expect some great scary radio drama, macabre Halloween music, and special episodes of many of our regular shows. It’s time to get into the spirit of the season.
PopCult Gift Guide
Speaking of getting into the spirit of the season, your PopCulteer is already starting work on this year’s PopCult Gift Guide. I don’t want to pull a Cracker Barrel here and start pushing Christmas in August, but I need to write ahead of time and get everything properly researched to bring you the best pop culture gift ideas imaginable.
We never really have a set format for the PopCult Gift Guide, so this year I’m laying down some new ground rules: Every week day, beginning November 13, there will be three PopCult Gift Guide posts for you to read. On weekdays you’ll get one toy recommendation, one book or graphic novel idea and one CD or DVD suggestion. On weekends we’ll cover apparal, gadgets, home decor and anything else that I find. Thanksgiving Day will recommend local restaurants and Black Friday will recommend local businesses that offer gift certificates.
This will all culminate with a master list on December 8.
As usual, the PopCult Gift Guide will be interwoven with your usual PopCult posts and regular features. We’ll cover a wide range of gifts with prices that run from “cute little stocking-stuffer” to “you gotta be insane to pay that much.” The PopCult Gift Guide is always one of the most popular features of our long-running blog, and I think this year will be one of the best.
And with that, this PopCulteer is in the books. Check back for all our regular features.