Usually, roughly once a week, I present a round-up of cool places you can go and things you can do here in PopCult.
Obviously, that’s not going to happen this week (or for the foreseeable future).
We are still doing our best to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus from spreading. There are times, when trying to discuss things like climate change, voting in your best interests and how to best limit the damage from a pandemic that I feel like Jor-El trying to warn the Science Council of Krypton that their planet is doomed. It’s frustrating and tiring, but please, listen to the doctors and scientists and don’t go out unless you really need to do so.
This is the easiest assignment in the world. You can save lives by just not leaving your house for a while.
But there are still cool things in this world which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. I’m going to divide it in a a few catagories, so you can take your pick of cool things to help pass the time.
Stuff To Read
For a long time I’ve been meaning to plug the blog of Douglas Imbrogno, my original editor at PopCult and the reason you have this blog to read now.
Doug is a terrific writer, videographer and musician, and in his blog, thestoryisthething, you’ll find essays, music, video and — if for some reason you’re a big fan of PopCult, Doug’s take on the genesis of The PopCult Blog and how it led to the revival of Radio Free Charleston were all documented in a recent post of his.
I got to hang out with Doug a bit recently. He gifted me with some cool Pez dispensers a couple of months ago, and he provided pre-show music for the recent production of Titus Andronicus in Charleston in which my wife participated.
His blog is a wonderful collection of the musings and writings of a truly gentle soul who tries as hard as possible to remain positive, which is quite a feat these days.
Douglas also curates the Changing Climate Times Newsletter, to which you can subscribe HERE. That he covers issues of climate change and manages to remain mostly upbeat is a tury remarkable accomplishment in an area where identifying with Jor-El is an everyday occurence.
The Chronicles of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley
Last year I included British musical legend Mike Batt’s whimsical illustrated fairy tale for all ages, The Chronicles of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley, in the PopCult Gift Guide. This stunned Mike, who had no idea that anybody in American knew who he was, or knew about the book. We exhanged a few pleasant Twitter messages over that.
Now, with the first edition of his book sold out, he has made it available for free, to read online, to help people deal with the world-wide quarantine. You can find it HERE and pass your time enjoying a tale that will take you to a much funnier world, one where slugs long to play the piano, and there’s not a worry in the world…except for the Pigfrogs. But then, what would a good story be without some conflict?
More Cool Blogs
In the past, I’ve recommended a few other blogs, and now is a good time to remind you so you can go catch up.
NewsFromME is Mark Evanier’s blog that covers everything from comics to classic film, animation theater, Frank Ferrante and life in Los Angeles. Mark’s had an amazing career that starts with him writing letters to comic books, then becoming an assistant to Jack Kirby, before broadening his scope and writing sitcoms and variety shows and producing animation–while still keeping a hand in comics as a writer and historian.
I always used to say he’s who I want to be when I grow up, but since he’s only ten years older than me, and I’m not even in television’s “money demographic” anymore, that joke is more creepy than funny.
Dial B For Blog is a great comics history site that hasn’t really been updated for several years, but it’s still filled with a wealth of fantastic material, mostly devoted to the comics and comic creators of the Silver age of DC Comics. The writer, “Robby Reed.” has over 950 well-researched and wonderfully-crafted “issues” that bring that great era of comics to life.
Just a few weeks ago I told you about The Rialto Report, which does for the Golden Age of Porn Chic what Dial B For Blog does for Silver Age DC Comics. I’m reminded to recommend it again because of the strange parallels between the business practices of porn producers and comic book pubishers, and the way that both industries treat their star talents. Ashley West and April Hall post articles, podcasts and archival material and paint a vivid picture of a marginalized cultural influence. Not for kids, and not safe for work, but still a fascinating read.
Rick Wakeman has a new prog-rock concept album coming out soon. The Red Planet is the full-blown 1970s-style progressive rock beast of an album that Wakeman’s fans have been clamoring for for decades.
Wakeman has even dragged and dusted off out his vintage synths to make sure this album delivers on all fronts.
The album features 8 newly composed pieces, especially for this project, and harks back to Wakeman’s critically acclaimed debut album “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” where there were 6 heavy keyboard pieces based around a central subject matter. It is a serious return to “Wakeman Prog”
The Red Planet is inspired by a potential mission to Mars. Here’s a snippet of the music as a preview…
You can watch more of Rick’s videos, where he talks about recording the project at his YouTube Page.
Stuff To Hear
In a departure from what I usually do, I am putting up recent episodes of our speciality music programs as podcasts at The AIR.
To listen, you have to go to The AIR website, and in the menu on the left of the page (where the arrow is pointing in the graphic below), click “Podcasts.” This will give you a list of shows, you can listen to on demand. You can choose from recent episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, NOISE BRIGADE, Curtain Call, The Swing Shift, Psychedelic Shack and Prognosis. Plus we have the Life Speaks UFO Special there, too.
We’ll do this for the time being while everybody’s quarantined. It’s our small way of helping out.
Go to The AIR and look here…
William Matheny has hooked up with Leesta Vall Sound Recordings for a really cool project. For 25 bucks, you can choose a song from the provided list, William will record it and send it to Leesta Vall, who will custom-press it as a 7-inch, one of a kind record, and they’ll mail it to you. It’s the Direct-to-vinyl Shut-in Session Preorder.
The cutoff date is March 29, so go to the website, pick your song and order now!
And that’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. I hope everybody is doing well and abiding by the recommended hermatige-ing. We’ll do this again next week, with all-new picks.