Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Burning Music Halls, Karoake, Blues, delayed art and MST3K: The PopCult Weekend

Monday Morning Art will be posted on Tuesday, due to pressing deadlines and Veteran’s Day and certain planetary alignment issues.  However, I do have time to update you on some weekend news about music, toys, karakoke, and the return of Mystery Science Theater 3000, or at least the component parts thereof.

First, we lost a landmark performance venue over the weekend.  The Columbia Music Hall in Portsmouth Ohio burned down.   Details are sketchy, but it happened sometime after a rock show Saturday night.  Reportedly, most of the expensive renovations have been gutted. The owners vow to rebuild, but it’s a daunting task. Details can be found here and here.

The MySpace page for the music hall just released the following statement:

Many of you now know that the Columbia Music Hall in Portsmouth, Ohio has suffered tragedy. The future is very uncertain at this time . The Scott family has suffered such a loss with this fire and your PRAYERS, SUPPORT and WORDS of ENCOURAGEMENT are needed.After 7 years of blood, sweat and tears……to bring a dream to reality… and the reality had come to life through our friends, family and community… through your support YOU had helped make their dream a reality and to watch it be engulfed in flames was beyond words for the Scott Family and staff.PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FUTURE…. the Scott family built this place for YOU, the community and especially the kids.”

In other news, I survived karaoke at Quaker Steak and Lube Friday night, as Melanie Larch and I stopped by to bid farewell to Kevin Briles, erstwhile video guru here at  Mel brought down the house with her rendition of Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Good luck in the land of Texas, Super Kev! It was also neat to run into a future RFC guest who I hadn’t met in person yet, and also meet Desiree, the singing bartender, and co-star of my brother Frank’s movie, “Repurkussionz.”

Lowery, Fontaine, Barker, Kidd, and Wallace, together again!

Saturday night I caught up with the reunited Leon Waters Blues Band at the Empty Glass. Terry Lowery, Mike Barker, Kevin Kidd, Thomas Fontaine, and Raymond Wallace hadn’t played together in years, and without much in the way of rehearsal, delivered a tight set of classic blues that left the crowd gasping for more.  This was billed as a one-night-only reunion, but I’m hoping that they can be lured out for more shows in the future. 

Weird news for the world of Trading Cards.  Former Disney CEO and alleged madman Michael Eisner has taken control of Topps, the venerable trading card and bubble gum company.  God only knows what this means.  Are they going to find some way to do crappy direct-to-video animated movies of Bazooka Joe?

Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 should be hopped up like ADHD kids mainlining sugar.  First, over at new animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo, and Gypsy can be found every week.

Also, from Cartoon Brew comes news that the original creative team of MST3K, Joel Hodgeson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl have reunited to create a new comedic whirlpool, Cinematic Titanic. This will see the A-Team from the glory days of MST3K back in action, riffing on movies, the way God intended.  With backing from an obscure outfit called Lucasfilm, we’re not sure it this project will have the support it deserves (sarcasm there, folks).  You can read an interview about it here.  

Conniff (TV’s Frank from MST3K)  is also working with the Brew’s Jerry Beck on a project called Cartoon Dump, which is deserving of a post all its own later in the week. But for now, check out the first episode:

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Rounding out the weekend PopCult roundup, my GI Joe-collecting buddy, Dave Matteson has an advance review of the new release from Sideshow Collectibles, John Wayne as a Cavalry Officer.  You can read his review, complete with photos, here.

 Check back tomorrow for this week’s art.


  1. Strident Weiner

    This post is a veritible smorgasboard of nifty newsiness. Cartoon Dump kicks major buttocks!

  2. Matt Salazar

    What a mix of bummers and cool stuff! Too bad about the Columbia, but hey, we’re going to get new MST3K goodies!

    It all balances out on the karmic scale.

  3. Elvis Capone

    CARTOON DUMP is hilarious, even more so than my daily dump. “More so” should always be spelled as two words. Mommy sez.

  4. Terry Lowry

    Rudy –

    We’ll be playing again this Friday (Jan. 11) at the Glass with Raymond (Leon Waters Blues Band) – Hope you can make it –


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