The Week In PopCult
Next week PopCult will be all about Holiday Gift ideas! I'll be firing off recommendations for a variety of neato manifestations of materialistic goodness in a plethora of Pop categories. My goal is to give you three ideas for each genre, "Ridiculously Expensive," "Moderately Priced" and "Cheapskate Special." Be warned that what may be cheap in one category could very well be considered expensive in another. In other words, don't think too hard on it.
Monday, we're kicking the week off with the Animated Discussions gift guide, wherein my partner Melanie will join me to share with you the coolest animated offerings for stashing underneath one's tree. Later in the week I'll be giving you gift ideas centered on wrestling, movies, comics, home furnishings, retro candy, art books, magazines, robots, music, chocolate and a few things I haven't thought of yet.
This morning I rated a mention in one of my favorite blogs, Mark Evanier's NewsFromME. Seems I was among the dozens who jumped in with the obvious "Dubya' joke in response to Mark's suggestion that the US Postal Service put Mad Magazine's mascot, Alfred E. Neumann on a stamp. And that item came from a story about a whole load of DC Comics characters being featured on an upcoming panel of stamps. I check Mark's blog every morning. Giving away too much information about both our ages, I've been following his way-cool career for 35 years. in 1970, Mark was an assistant to comic book legend Jack Kirby. He spent the next few years writing for stand-up comedians, wound up as the story editor on "Welcome Back Kotter," and produced animated shows like "Garfield and Friends." He also collaborated on two of the best comic books of the last few decades, "Groo The Warrior," with Mad Magazine's Sergio Aragones, and "Blackhawk," with the great Dan Speigle. That's just skimming the surface. His blog covers comic books, show biz, Broadway, Vegas and just about every other cool thing you can think about. I want to be him if I grow up.
You may be wondering what happened to that review of the new WB 30 Newscast that I promised you a few weeks ago. Well, the newscast debuted, and the first week was, to be generous, a trainwreck of biblical proportions. There were so many technical errors and SNAFUs that I found myself making excuses for them as I was watching. I hadn't seen such an ineptly-produced newscast since the Wendy Griffith era at WCHS-TV.
As I was watching, an angel appeared on my shoulder. He leaned over and said, "Rudy, surely you can't write a review based on these early shows. It would be like booing at the Special Olympics." Then a devil appeared on my other shoulder. He took one look at the screen and said, "Yeah dude, even I wouldn't kick these guys when they're this far down."
Clearly, the WB News could have used a week to do rehearsal shows that would never air, just to work out the bugs, but the fates conspired to force them to go live with minimal preparation, and it showed. There were dead microphones, missed cues, embarrassing glitches and other production nightmares. I'm going to give them another week to finish their on-the-job training and see if they can learn how to work the microphones before I go in-depth with the constructive criticism. For what it's worth, Tom McGee is doing a professional job, and the rest of the staff shows promise, but technically the show has been a mess so far.
Saturday night The Dreamsicles will be appearing at the Walker Theater, tucked away in the nether regions of the Clay Center. You can read Rusty Marks' Gazz piece about the show here. Opening will be Gazz Editor Doug Imbrogno and Bob Webb, who are members of The Garagecow Ensemble in their secret identities. If you're out and about that night, it's well worth going for a listen.
Buried in the 1:30 a.m. Monday morning (late Sunday night) timeslot on Adult Swim this week is Evan Dorkin's Eltingville Club. We raved about this in Animated Discussions a few years ago when it originally aired as a pilot. For some reason, Cartoon Network didn't pick up the option to make a series, which is a real shame. This is geek culture at its finest. Comic books, Sci-fi, roleplaying games and ECW all find themselves in the satirical crosshairs of this epic of fanboy fury. Plus the opening and closing themes are by The Aquabats! You can't get any geekier than that! Set the VCR, DVD or other recording device. This one's a keeper.
If you haven't already seen the November 28th issue of The New Yorker, get yourself to a magazine rack right now! We'll wait.
You back? Okay, this is the annual "cartoon" issue, and on page 164 you'll find a new three-page "jam" comic by legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb. This strip is worth the inflated price all by itself, but the magazine is also packed to the gills with other cool one-panel cartoons by the New Yorker's roster of distinguished doodlers. Aside from the cartoons, this issue also contains a CD-ROM that has previews and articles about lots of current Broadway musicals like Spamalot, and a feature on Rent. Oh, and there's tons of stinky perfume samples, too.
Remember, next week it's gifts galore right here in PopCult.