Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day Three: Television Series

Betraying my age here, when I was growing up, the idea of owning a collection of TV shows was incomprehensible. There was no way for a consumer to purchase movies or TV shows because home video hadn't been invented yet. Even in the days of VHS, the limitations of the format pushed the practicality of selling an entire long-running television series just out of reach.

DVD and Blu Ray has changed that. Now, if you're a die-hard fan of a television series, you can buy each season as they become available, or wait until the series has ended and buy a boxed set of the entire run. Today's gift idea is five suggested boxed sets of complete runs of TV shows. The links will take you to Amazon (this blog, unlike others, does NOT get a cut of any purchase you make), but you may find better prices at other retailers such as Best Buy, Sam's club or Costco.


This retelling of the pre-Metropolis days of Clark Kent, before he became Superman, wrapped up ten seasons on the air in 2011, and was highly regarded as one of the best live-action depictions of The Man of Steel. With Tom Welling as Clark, and a cast that included Annette O'Toole, John Schneider, Michael Rosenbaum,Allison Mack, Kristin Kreuk, with guest appearances by Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Michael McKean, Smallville turned out to be a first-class television series that brought a lot of DC Comics characters to a mainstream audience for the first time. You can relive those ten seasons with Smallville The Complete Series.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day Two: Bond...James Bond

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the quintessential spy, James Bond, on film. Theater-goers have reacted very favorably to the latest entry in the long-running franchise, "Skyfall," and new or lapsed fans can catch up instantly with the "Bond 50" box set, which collects every "official" entry in the James Bond film canon.

Starting with 1962's "Dr. No" and fizzling out with 2010's "Quantum of Solace," this set brings you all the highs and lows of the Bond franchise. "Never Say Never Again" is missing because, like the first "Casino Royale," it's not one of the EON Productions Bond movies.

Now, oddly enough, the Blu Ray version of this set, which contains an extra disc, is availalbe for much less than the DVD version. At least that's the way it is at Amazon, where the DVD version is nearly three hndred dollars, while the Blu Ray is a little more than half that. The bonus Blu Ray is an hour-long overview of the Bond Franchise.

If you don't want to dump that much money supporting a British secret agent's martini habit, you can actually go back to the source material with Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels, which can be found in nifty new editions for around fifteen bucks a pop. If your ordered them now from a local bookseller like Taylor's, you should have them in plenty of time for gifting.

And if you really want to go on the cheap, at most area Big Lots stores, you can find really good DVD editions of most of the James Bond movies for five bucks a pop. At that price, we're talking stocking stuffers.


The RFC 2012 Sampler Looks Back At A Great Year For Local Music


Radio Free Charleston 175, "Dunbar Lanes Shirt," is a sampler of just a tiny amount of the great local music that we brought you in 2012. We'll revisit songs from Red Audio, In The Company of Wolves, Godmode Broadway, and The Charleston Light Opera Guild production of "The Color Purple."

Our title shirt this week comes to us from the newly reopened Dunbar Lanes, the area's coziest little bowling alley, tucked away in the heart of the hub of the Kanawha Valley, Dunbar. After the previous owners retired and left for Florida and the bowling alley lay dormant for a few months, the Dunbar landmark reopened last Friday and the new management promises to turn it into the hippest bowling alley in the state.

Host segments were shot at Joplin Park in South Charleston early Sunday morning before the gloomy clouds and rain blew through.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide Day One: The Beatles

We're kicking off our 8th Annual PopCult Gift Guide today and we're doing it with The Beatles. This year, there's one huge gift that the die-hard Beatle fan will definitely want. It's The Beatles complete box set of studio recordings on vinyl.

This is the vinyl debut of the digitally remastered versions of The Beatles albums which were released on CD and on iTunes just a couple of years ago. Even if you have the original vinyl, you should be able to detect subtle differences in these new pressings. All the albums are restored to their original packaging, which includes the inserts with the "Sgt. Pepper" album, the posters and photos with "The White Album," and the twenty-four page storybook that came with "Magical Mystery Tour."

Monday Morning Art: Balls

Today's art is a digital painting over a digitally-assaulted photograph of one of the bowling ball racks at the newly-reopened Dunbar Lanes. It doesn't look like that in real life. Click to enlarge.

Dunbar Lanes reopened under new management last Friday, and they also supplied the title shirt for RFC 175, "Dunbar Lanes Shirt," which will hit PopCult later tonight. Also later, The 2012 PopCult Gift Guide kicks off. So just keep hitting "refresh," okay?

Sunday Evening Video: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Daleks


This came up in a conversation this weekend...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

750 Words About Dick

The PopCulteer
November 30, 2012 

This week we're devoting the PopCulteer to a review of a digital download. In April of this year, over four nights at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, Eric Idle staged his original play, "What About Dick?" with an all star cast of Brit expatriates performing a fairly undescribable but hilarious evening of conceptual comic theatre.

Rather than go for television or theatrical release, "What About Dick?" is a digital download that combines the best of those four performances. The plot is indecipherable. The best I can come up with to explain it is that "What About Dick?" combines elements of Monty Python with the stream of consciousness storytelling of The Firesign Theater into an hysterical hybrid where even the cast members have a hard time keeping a straight face.

Don't Forget "Mary"


Up above you see a special video of the Trio that ends the first act of "Mary A Rock Opera."  You still have four more chances to see this Dan kehde-Mark Scarpelli homegrown Christmas classic, tonight through Staruday at 8 PM, and Saturday afternoon at 2 PM at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater.

The story of the nine months prior to the birth of Jesus Christ through the eyes of a young girl destined to be the most important woman in the Christian tradition, MARY has become a family friendly holiday tradition throughout the greater Charleston area, and continues to give audiences new insight to the days and months leading up to the first Christmas.  New to this Contemporary Youth Arts Company production this year is the introduction of a second cast of young performers who will take on the principle roles during the matinee.

The above video is a performance of the stirring "Trio" that ends the first act, with both sets of actresses portraying Elizabeth, The Archangel Gabriel and Mary combining to form a "Double Trio" of six wonderful voices. As Elizabeth we have Lo Mallory and Susanna Tucker. Singing the role of Gabriel are Maddy Gourevitch and Susanna Morris. In the tile role of Mary are Katie Shaver and Rowan Maher.

The piano is played by composer, Mark Scarpelli. Speical thanks to Lee Harrah for the camera assist.

The WVSU Capitol Center Theater is located at 123 Summers Street, Charleston. Tickets are available at the door prior to each performance: $10.00 for adults. $6.00 for students and seniors (65+). Call the WVSU Capitol Center Theater office at 342-6522 for advance ticket sales and group rates.

It's Time For The Tacular Of Joy!

Joey Stapp, the Magician, starts at 6:45 PM, so get there early!