Local Scene News

We have new feeds added From Charleston Underground and The Defintley Loud Podcast!!

These two cover much of the local art and music scene and if you are from out of town this will give you a great heads up on what goes on in Charleston and the Rest of WV.
You can Read it here on the Empty Glass site or click on the Links and read if on the on the original Site.

Brass man Trombone Shorty to headline Mayor's Concert 

STAFF Reports

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will play this year's Mayor's Concert as part of FestivALL.

Troy Andrews, who uses the stage name Trombone Shorty, is a native of the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. He grew up participating in brass band parades as a child, and was a band leader by the age of 4. He also has played in backing bands for Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith.

He last played in Charleston in 2011, when he and his band brought down the house at the Clay Center for a Mountain Stage performance.

The Mayor's Concert begins at 8 p.m. June 25 at the Clay Center. For the first time, FestivALL and the Clay Center are co-presenting this event.

The Go Van Gogh/Nanker Phelge Rock Family Tree on Radio Free Charleston at New Appalachian Radio 

NAR log 106RFCv3 #17

It is time once again for Radio Free Charleston, streaming at New Appalachian Radio. This week our two-hour audio extravaganza kicks off with solid hour of great local music as usual.

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston’s  fun and exciting streaming radio incarnation at 10 AM and 10 PM on Tuesdays (and again at midnight Thursday) at New Appalachian Radio, part of Voices of Appalachia. If you miss it, check our the archives for previously-aired shows. You can also listen to Radio Free Charleston Saturday at Midnight. Saturday, RFC airs for six hours, starting at The Witching Hour!

Johnny and Tim Rock, 1989

Johnny and Tim Rock, 1989

Our second-hour theme this week is our first attempt at doing a “Rock Family Tree,” this time focusing on one of the hottest bands from the original RFC, Go Van Gogh. Stephen and Mark Bckner and Tim and Johnny Rock made up this four-piece, and you may have seen them in action a few weeks back on The RFC MINI SHOW.

Mark and Stephen Beckner, 1989

Mark and Stephen Beckner, 1989

In addition to bringing you some Go Van Gogh classics, we’re going to check out music from the pre-Go Van Gogh and post-Go Van Gogh bands that feature the brothers Beckner and Rock, and we’re going to catch up with solo material by The Beckners and tunes from their current band, The Nanker Phelge. That’s in hour two.

Hour One Playlist

Mad Scientist Club “Dr. Owsley”
Kevin Scarbrough “Jimmy Burned Bridges”
Jeff Ellis “Tina”
The Laser Beams “Red Shirt Blues (Demo)”

Ann Magnuson “Miss Pussy Pants”
The Amazing Delores “Rats In My Ceiling”
Hasil Adkins “Do It To Me Tonight”
Granny’s 12 Gauge “Too Many Dues”

Tim Truman “Ten Dollar Dog”
The Diablo Blues Band “Price of a Broken Heart”
Underdog Blues Revue “Honey Wyld”
Spurgie Hankins Band “Do The Right Thing”

The Company Stores “Dear Universe”
Tofujitsu “Cabeza”
Keef Mack “Love Is Free”
Mark Bates and The Vacancies “Michelle”

Hour Two of RFC features the Go Van Gogh Rock Family Tree

069-02We kick off with songs from the bands that the Rock brothers and the Beckner brothers were in prior to forming Go Van Gogh.

True Rumor “River Beyond”
Meadow Blasters “Da Da Da, I Love You”
Meadow Blasters “She Doesn’t Want My Love”

Then we get into the meat of the show…

Go Van Gogh “Planet Freedom”
Go Van Gogh “I Don’t Like Trains”

The Tunesmiths were a side project by Mark Beckner.

The Tunesmiths “Ballet Dancer”
Tunesmiths “For Your Love”

The core of The Tunesmiths moved to Nashville and became Hitchcock Circus

Hitchcock Circus “Telescope”
Hitchcock Circus “Song For A Friend”

Meanwhile, Stephen Beckner released a great solo album, “Apples.”

Stephen Beckner “Those Eyes”
Stephen Beckner “Scream”

Mark returned from Nashville, and formed a new band with Stephen (and Dave Roberts with Casi Null and Joey Lafferty playing bass), The Nanker Phelge.

The Nanker Phelge “Johnny’s Got A Problem”
The Nanker Phelge “That’s What She Said”
The Nanker Phelge “The Nanker Stomp”

We managed to squeeze in one of Mark’s solo tunes, too.

Mark Beckner “Habitual Preoccupation with Self”

We wrap up the show with the classic…

Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”

Sunday Evening Video: The Walking Dead at Toy Fair 

Tonight we bring you footage of the McFarlane Toys Toy Fair booth, showcasing The Walking Dead action figures and building toys for 2015. This clip also includes footage of The Coop, a pet, children’s clothing, and accessory maker, who offer some Walking Dead merchandise. The video was shot by Melanie Larch. Still photos and editing by Rudy Panucci.

This video is meant to accompany our coverage of The Walking Dead at The New York International Toy Fair from February, 2015. In the coming week, expect more video from Toy Fair, as we have finally managed to sort out all our video so that we can edit it and get it out to you. In the coming days you can expect video from Diamond Select Toys, DC Collectibles, Funko, Colorforms and more, plus we will continue bringing you photo essays and articles from Toy Fair, right here in PopCult.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2015 

The PopCult Toybox: Toy Fair 2015 Report

You're going to get a full report on The Turtles, too.

Last week your PopCulteer made the trek to New York City to cover The 2015 International Toy Fair, and in the coming days and weeks you can expect many special editions of The PopCult Toybox to cover all the cool things he saw.

One of the hottest action figures in toy stores now is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and playsets. The folks at Playmates Toys gave us a quick tour of the Turtles booth, and we have all the details in print below the video, along with a ton of photos, to share this part of the Toy Fair experience with you.

Fresh off a wildly successful 2014 in which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures were ranked the #1 selling toy to the NPD Group, Playmates Toys, the company behind the popular toy line, is thrilled to its all-new 2015 offerings during North American International Toy Fair.by season 4 of Nickelodeon’s hit TV series, Playmates Toys will introduce its biggest extension to date in the line called Mutations, extensions to the successful Half Shell Heroes preschool line and a new die-cast segment called T-Machines; in addition to new action figures, vehicles, role play and playsets.


“As the Turtles continue to be one of the hottest brands, we’re excited to introduce toy segments that bring all-new levels of play to the Turtles world,” said Karl Aaronian, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Playmates Toys. “For example, kids will now be able to recreate the Turtles’ mutation, transform an action figure into a playset, or roll through the sewers and streets with the new die-cast vehicle collection.”

“After five years of an incredible partnership, we are excited to be working with Playmates Toys on what is now the most sought-after toy property, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” said Manuel Torres, Senior Vice President, Global Toys and Publishing, Nickelodeon Consumer Products. “The new toy segments we’re launching will elevate the Turtles’ popularity even more to fans around the world.”

Highlights of the 2015 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line from Playmates Toys include the following:

Mutations Segment

Mix&Match Figures Group Shot

90381_MixnMatchLeo_pkg (5)Kids can now recreate the Turtles mutation story over and over again with the Pet Turtle to Ninja Turtle action figures. Fun and easy, kids can transform the four Heroes from pet turtles to 5.5”, fully articulated Ninja Turtle action figures, each coming with their signature weapons and ready to fight evil everywhere.

You know the story, four baby Turtles fall down into a storm sewer, are doused with ooze and mutate into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, kids can recreate the mutation over and over again with the Pet Turtle to Ninja Turtle action figures. This line is fun and easy. Kids can transform the four Heroes from pet turtles to 5.5”, fully articulated Ninja Turtle action figures, each coming with their signature weapon. This collection includes: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael


90386_MixnMatchShredder (2) (7)With Mix & Match Mutations, kids can find out how it looks if the Turtles had Metalhead’s power, Shredder’s armor, Tiger Claw’s stripes and Splinter’s quick reaction hands. Kids can mix and match the heads, arms, legs and torsos of the fully articulated 4.5” tall action figures to create hundreds of different mutations.

Kids can mix and match the heads, arms, legs and torsos of the fully articulated 4.5” tall action figures to create hundreds of different mutations.Each figure includes one extra arm or leg to start off the different mutation possibilities. The Spring release includes: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, Shredder, Slash, Metalhead, and Tiger Claw. In the fall you can expect Bebop, Rocksteady, Casey Jones, Leatherhead, Dog Pound Razhar, Baxter Fly and Robotic Foot Soldier.

24inLeoTurtle to Playset 1A 24″ Leonardo ninja turtle transforms into a complete Sewer Lair Playset with the 24″ Leonardo Turtle to Playset. This set provides hours of Ninja fun with nine different rooms and over 30 features including spring activated surprises, false floors and so much more. The 24″ Leonardo Ninja Turtle transforms into a complete Sewer Lair Playset with over 30 features including spring activated surprises, false floors and so much more. The playset also features 9 different rooms – Turtles’ Living Room, Splinter’s Meditation Room, Skate Park Half-Pipe, Mikey’s Room, Turtles’ Dojo, Lookout Tower, Donnie’s Workshop, Computer Room and Entertainment Room. Includes Leo’s signature Katana sword

24inLeoTurtle to Playset 3

94263_TriflyerwithRaph_inset3 (3)The Turtles can easily transform to different modes with the new assortment of Mutations vehicles. They can transform from fight to flight mode, tearing up the terrain or speeding through the skies with the Quad Rotor, which transforms from a motorcycle to a quad copter and includes exclusive Cloud Cruisin’ Leo figure and with the Tri-Flyer, which transforms from an AT-3 to a jet and includes exclusive Jet Jammin’ Raph. Additionally, the Turtle Turbo Charger allows kids to transform the Turtles from speed mode into battle mode. The vehicle features spring-fired mutant missiles and the hood can be lifted for battle mode.

94262_QuadRotorwithLeo_Pkg (1)The Quad Rotor vehicle transforms from a motorcycle to a quad copter and includes an exclusive Cloud Cruisin’ Leo figure. The Tri-Flyer vehicle transforms from an AT-3 to a jet and includes an exclusive Jet Jammin’ Raph figure. Vehicle features spring-fired mutant missiles and the hood can be lifted for battle mode.

T-Machines Segment


97223_DonnieServiceTruck (1) (1)T-Machines is an all-new collection of die-cast vehicles and playsets, providing a unique play environment for kids. The fast-rolling vehicles feature a die-cast chassis, flashy rims and an action-posed, non-removable figure driving each vehicle. The 1/50 scale vehicles are available in an assortment of single-packs, as well as 2 and 4-pack vehicle sets. Also included in the world of T-Machines is the Shell Launcher, which gives a powerful boost to all of kids’ T-Machines vehicles.

Each 1/50 scale vehicle comes with an action-posed, non-removable figure who is driving the vehicle. Based on the hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show on Nickelodeon, the vehicles are designed to capture the personality of the characters driving them. Featuring a die-cast chassis, flashy rims and unique custom look, these fast-rolling vehicles bring a whole new level of play to the Turtles world. All the vehicles are compatible with leading competitors track systems.
Spring release includes: Raphael in Shellraiser, Fishface in Shellcrusher, Shredder in Shreddermobile, Leonardo in AT-3, Leonardo in Stealth Bike, Michelangelo in Hot Rod, Splinter in Rat Attack, Donatello in Service Truck, Raphael in Monster Truck, Tiger Claw in Safari Truck and Donatello in Patrol Buggy. Fall release includes: Michelangelo in Patrol Buggy, Casey in Ice Machine, Raphael in Armored Truck, Rat King in Hearse, Turflytle in Buggy, Donnie in Speed Demon, Karai Snake in Sports Car, Raph in Military Truck, Leo in Sports Car, Mikey in Party Wagon and Slash in Demolition Car.

97711_MikeandShredder (1) (1)Equipped with translucent wheels and highly decorated bodies, the ninja-charged decorated vehicles can only be found in the 2-packs. Spring release includes: Michelangelo in Hot Rod and Shredder in Shreddermobile, Raphael in Shellraiser and Splinter in Rat Attack, Leonardo in Stealth Cycle and Donatello in Service Truck, & Leonardo in AT-3 and Fishface in Shellcrusher. Fall release includes: Raphael in Monster Truck and Tiger Claw in Safari Truck, Rat King in Hearse and Michelangelo in Patrol Buggy, Casey in Ice Machines and Donatello in Patrol Buggy, & Donatello in Speed Demon and Turflytle in Buggy.

Featuring a die-cast chassis, flashy rims and unique custom look, these fast-rolling vehicles bring a whole new level of play to the Turtles world. The Night Ninja four-car collection includes: Raph in Midnight Monster Truck, Tiger Claw in Night Hunt Safari Truck, Donnie in Stealth-Tech Patrol Buggy, and Mikey in Moon Chaser Hot Rod.

97413_ExtremeMonsterTruckMikeAdditional vehicles in the collection include the T-Machines Sound Vehicles, which allow kids to hear the engines roar, tires squeal and their favorite Ninja Turtles scream out battle cries. Each 1/50 scale vehicle plays 10-15 different sound effects. Featuring over 30 phrases and sound effects, kids can let the party begin with another vehicle, Leo’s Audio Tuner Party Van. Kids can push the 1/24 scale Party Van to hear Leo speak at different speeds and volumes, adjusting to how fast or slow the vehicle is pushed. For even more fun, kids can continually push Leo back and forth to listen as he audio tunes his words.

With the T-Machines sound vehicles, kids can hear the engines roar, tires squeal and their favorite Ninja Turtles scream out battle cries. Just press the button on the engine block and the vehicles come to life, playing 10-15 different Turtles phrases and vehicle sound effects. Collection includes: Extreme Speed Demon with Talking Raphael, Extreme Party Wagon with Talking Leonardo, Extreme Monster Truck with Talking Michelangelo and Extreme Service Truck with Talking Donnie.

Leo's Audio Tuner Party Van

Leo’s Party Van is ready to roar with over 30 phrases and sounds effects. Kids can push the party van to hear Leo speak at different speeds and volumes. The faster the van is pushed, the faster and higher Leo’s voice gets. Slow down the van and Leo’s voice will get lower and slower. Kids can even push Leo in reverse to hear him speak backwards, matching the speed of the vehicle. For even more fun, kids can continually push Leo back and forth to listen as he audio tunes his words. The 1/24 scale Party Van comes with a non-removable, action posed Leonardo figure driving the van.


Kids can give a powerful boost to their’ T-Machines vehicles with the Shell Launcher. Compatible with all the T-Machines vehicles, kids can simply load their favorite vehicle into the launcher, pull back on the shell and launch their vehicle into action to race around the city streets. The launcher comes with an exclusive Mikey in Party Van vehicle

Rounding out the line is a variety of playsets, including the Sewer Gas Station, Garage & Lair, Turtles’ Revenge and Race to the Sewer playsets. Compatible with all the T-Machines vehicles, the playsets include tunnels, lifts and other features for kids to roll and battle their vehicles. They can also be snapped together to create a bigger T-Machines play environment.


97876_TMachines Garage & LairKids can start building out cities with the T-Machines Garage & Lair playset and the Sewer Gas Station playset. Each playset includes tunnels, lifts and many other features for kids to roll and battle their T-Machines vehicles. The playsets can also be snapped together to create a bigger T-Machines play environment. Compatible with all T-Machines vehicles, each set come with an exclusive T-Rawket vehicle (Garage & Lair comes with exclusive Raphael in T-Rawket vehicle and Sewer Gas Station comes with exclusive Mikey in T-Rawket vehicle).

97961_TMachinesTurtlesRevengeTrackset (1)There will also be the Turtles’ Revenge Track Set. This dual lane track set features an oversized Giant Robotic Shredder and allows kids to battle Shredder in a whole new way. Kids can race vehicles down the track, but watch out because Shredder will try to pound them through the street or throw the cars off the track. Choose the correct lane and kids have a shot at defeating Shredder. This set is compatible with all T-Machines vehicles and comes with an exclusive Leonardo in T-Rawket vehicle.

Xsell-back-Tmachines_r10_illust5With the Race to the Sewer Playset it all gets real. Standing over 24” tall, kids can battle and race head to head on 3 levels of play – rooftop, street and sewer levels. Kids will need to watch out for the Kraang brain rolling down the track looking to knock them out! They can activate the billboard sign lever and change lanes to drive their opponent off course and be the first to the Sewer Lair. Compatible with all T-Machines vehicles and comes with an exclusive Mikey in New Party Wagon vehicle.

Half Shell Heroes Preschool Segment

96130_DojoRaphwithAccyThe Half Shell Heroes segment, which successfully launched last year, is sized just right for smaller preschool hands. The collection features brighter colors, softer expressions and safe play features, allowing kids as young as three to experience open-ended imaginative play with the whole family of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles heroes and mutants.

96111_SnakeweedandSpiderBytesExtensions to the line include the introduction of new 2.5” action figure characters including Baxter Fly, Slash and Tiger Claw, as well as an assortment of new vehicles that each come with a 2.5” action figure. The line also features toys that bring fun to the tub, including Bath Tub Squirters and Bath Tub Vehicles. Young Turtle fans can even become their favorite Ninja Turtle with the new Soft Foam Electronic Talking Role Play sets and the Soft Training Shell.

Spring release includes: Baxter Fly and Slash, Snakeweed and Spider Bytes, Tiger Claw and Newtralizer, Bebop and Rocksteady, all four Turtles in dojo training gear, Policemen Leo, Road Rescue Donnie. Fall release includes: Fireman Raph, EMT Mikey, Rahzar and Cockroach, Monkey Rockwell and Pigeon Pete, Karai and Dragon Foot Soldier, Footbot and Biotroid, Rat King and Squirrelanoid, Kirby Bat and Mutagen Man.

96756_HoverCraftwithLeo_withfiguresBasic Vehicles with 2.5″ Figures go on sale in the spring and fall. With a variety of Half Shell Heroes vehicles to choose from, younger kids can now engage in a unique Ninja play experience with their favorite characters. Each vehicle includes a 2.5-inch action figure and separates into two vehicles.Spring release includes: Tread Cycle with Raph. Fall release includes: Dune Duster with Mikey.

There will also be Deluxe Vehicles with 2.5″ Figures. Young heroes will enjoy recreating Turtle adventures or inventing their own with the new Half Shell Heroes deluxe vehicles. Each vehicle in this assortment has unique action features and includes a 2.5-inch action figure. New to the collection is the Hovercraft Vehicle with Leonardo, which allows kids to press down on the Hovercraft vent to activate the Mutant Scoop. Hovercraft comes with a Sea Rescue Leo action figure and fits up to four Half Shell Heroes action figures. This collection includes: Hovercraft Vehicle with Leonardo (new), as well as Stealth Cycle with Raph and Shred Tread with Shredder.

96814_MutationsFireTrucktoTankRaphThis fall, younger kids can enjoy Mutation Vehicles with 2.5″ Figures, Now kids can enjoy two vehicles in one! With an easy flip transformation, young Turtle fans can change the vehicle their Turtle is driving into an all new vehicle to sneak up on the Shredder. Each vehicle includes a 2.5-inch action figure. Collection includes: Shellraiser to Recycling Truck with Donnie, Fire Truck to Tank with Raph, Pizza Delivery Truck to Ambulance with Mikey and Police Car to Race Car with Leo.

96332_HSHBathtubSquirterDonBath Tub Squirters are due out this spring. Now young Turtle fans can bring the fun to the tub with the all new Half Shell Heroes Bath Tub Squirters. Just squeeze the squirters to fill them with water and then squeeze them again to spray the water. Single-pack collection includes: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael. Two 3-pack collections includes: Leonardo/Donatello/Splinter and Michelangelo/Leatherhead/Raphael.

96786_Dive Boat with Diver DonnieContinuing with water play are two Bath Tub Vehicles due out in the fall. These vehicles float in the tub and include different water features. The Dive Boat features a mechanical claw and diving line, while the Fire Boat features a squirting fire cannon. Each vehicle comes with an exclusive figure and also works with all Half Shell Heroes Figures. Collection includes: Dive Boat with Diver Donnie, Fire Boat with Captain Raph.

Jumping from one extreme to the other, we go from Pre-school Turtles to premium stature adult collectible statues. We wrap up our TMNT coverage with a quick look at what the Good Smile Company has in store later this year. These statues of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo are sold separately and based on the artwork of Eisner Award-winning “Fables” cover artist James Jean. Fans who buy all four will also get an aluminum print of Jean’s concept piece.


RFC Flashback: Episode 48 

rfc48randy01Radio Free Charleston 48 was our tribute to the Randy Lee Walden, the lead singer and bass player for Quick And Dirty, who appeared on RFC 44 in June, 2008.  This was a pretty somber show, the first time that RFC had to deal with death. Sadly it was not the last.

Randy was found dead in Quick And Dirty’s rehearsal space before a scheduled show by the band on June 30.  It was an apparent cardiac arrest.  Randy was only 30. This tribute show originally ran in July, 2008. The original production notes are HERE.

Leonard Nimoy, famous as Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek,' dies  

By LYNN ELBERAP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Leonard Nimoy, the actor known and loved by generations of "Star Trek" fans as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, has died.

Nimoy died Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Los Angeles home, with family at his side, said his son, Adam Nimoy. He was 83.

Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 "Star Trek" run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public's mind he would always be Spock. His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner's often-emotional Captain Kirk on one of TV and film's most revered cult series.

"He affected the lives of many," Adam Nimoy said. "He was also a great guy and my best friend."

Asked if his father chafed at his fans' close identification of him with his character, Adam Nimoy said, "Not in the least. He loved Spock."

His death drew immediate reaction on Earth and in space.

"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love," Shatner said.

"Live Long and Prosper, Mr. (hash)Spock!" tweeted Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, aboard the International Space Station.

Nimoy displayed ambivalence to the famous role in the titles of his two autobiographies: "I Am Not Spock" (1975) and "I Am Spock" (1995).

After "Star Trek" ended, the actor immediately joined the hit adventure series "Mission Impossible" as Paris, the mission team's master of disguises.

From 1976 to 1982, he hosted the syndicated TV series "In Search of ... ," which attempted to probe such mysteries as the legend of the Loch Ness Monster and the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart.

He played Israeli leader Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman in the TV drama "A Woman Called Golda" and Vincent van Gogh in "Vincent," a one-man stage show on the life of the troubled painter. He continued to work well into his 70s, playing gazillionaire genius William Bell in the Fox series "Fringe."

He also directed several films, including the hit comedy "Three Men and a Baby" and appeared in such plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Cat on a Hot Tim Roof," "Fiddler on the Roof," "The King and I," "My Fair Lady" and "Equus." He also published books of poems, children's stories and his own photographs.

But he could never really escape the role that took him overnight from bit-part actor status to TV star, and in a 1995 interview he sought to analyze the popularity of Spock, the green-blooded space traveler who aspired to live a life based on pure logic.

People identified with Spock because they "recognize in themselves this wish that they could be logical and avoid the pain of anger and confrontation," Nimoy concluded.

"How many times have we come away from an argument wishing we had said and done something different?" he asked.

In the years immediately after "Star Trek" left television, Nimoy tried to shun the role, but he eventually came to embrace it, lampooning himself on such TV shows as "Futurama," "Duckman" and "The Simpsons" and in commercials.

He became Spock after "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry was impressed by his work in guest appearances on the TV shows "The Lieutenant" and "Dr. Kildare."

The space adventure set in the 23rd century had an unimpressive debut on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, and it struggled during its three seasons to find an audience other than teenage boys. It seemed headed for oblivion after it was canceled in 1969, but its dedicated legion of fans, who called themselves Trekkies, kept its memory alive with conventions and fan clubs and constant demands that the cast be reassembled for a movie or another TV show.

Trekkies were particularly fond of Spock, often greeting one another with the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan motto, "Live Long and Prosper," both of which Nimoy was credited with bringing to the character. He pointed out, however, that the hand gesture was actually derived from one used by rabbis during Hebraic benedictions.

When the cast finally was reassembled for "Star Trek - The Motion Picture," in 1979, the film was a huge hit and five sequels followed. Nimoy appeared in all of them and directed two. He also guest starred as an older version of himself in some of the episodes of the show's spinoff TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

"Of course the role changed my career- or rather, gave me one," he once said. "It made me wealthy by most standards and opened up vast opportunities. It also affected me personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally. ... What started out as a welcome job to a hungry actor has become a constant and ongoing influence in my thinking and lifestyle."

In 2009, he was back in a new big-screen version of "Star Trek," this time playing an older Spock who meets his younger self, played by Zachary Quinto. Critic Roger Ebert called the older Spock "the most human character in the film."

Among those seeing the film was President Barack Obama, whose even manner was often likened to Spock's.

"Everybody was saying I was Spock, so I figured I should check it out," Obama said at the time.

Upon the movie's debut, Nimoy told The Associated Press that in his late 70s he was probably closer than ever to being as comfortable with himself as the logical Spock always appeared to be.

"I know where I'm going, and I know where I've been," he said. He reprised the role in the 2013 sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness."

Born in Boston to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Nimoy was raised in an Italian section of the city where, although he counted many Italian-Americans as his friends, he said he also felt the sting of anti-Semitism growing up.

At age 17 he was cast in a local production of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing" as the son in a Jewish family.

"This role, the young man surrounded by a hostile and repressive environment, so touched a responsive chord that I decided to make a career of acting," he said later.

He won a drama scholarship to Boston College but eventually dropped out, moved to California and took acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Soon he had lost his "Boston dead-end" accent, hired an agent and began getting small roles in TV series and movies. He played a baseball player in "Rhubarb" and an Indian in "Old Overland Trail."

After service in the Army, he returned to Hollywood, working as taxi driver, vacuum cleaner salesman, movie theater usher and other jobs while looking for acting roles.

In 1954 he married Sandra Zober, a fellow student at the Pasadena Playhouse, and they had two children, Julie and Adam. The couple divorced, and in 1988 he married Susan Bay, a film production executive.

Besides his wife, son and daughter, Nimoy is survived by his stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck. Services will be private, Adam Nimoy said.


AP Television writer Frazier Moore in New York and AP Aerospace writer Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida, contributed to this report. This story contains biographical material compiled by late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas.

Theatre-Geek Photos, Stuff To Do, and the loss of an Icon 

Photo02180945_1The PopCulteer
February 27, 2015

Though he’s been back more than a week, your PopCulteer is still reeling from the whirlwind trip to New York City last week. We went up to attend The International Toy Fair (and you’ll be seeing coverage of that event in this blog for weeks), but we also hit the Big Apple to see “A Delicate Balance,” the revival of Edward Albee’s 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. This production starred John Lithgow, Glenn Close, Bob Balaban, Martha Plympton, Lindsay Duncan and Clare Higgins, and it was a incredible as you’d expect.

You may remember that a couple of years ago Mrs. PopCulteer, Melanie Larch, was in a local production of this, alongside Mark Felton, Susan Minnerly and Rob Boone, and except for the Gazette reviewer, it was pretty universally-acclaimed thanks to a great local cast and director Patrick Felton. It is such a striking play that we couldn’t pass up the chance to see it produced with a world-class cast and a Tony-winning director.

While we were on Broadway, we indulged in taking some theatre-geek photos around the show we were seeing. It’s amazing how much theatre they can cram into such a small area. So today we’re taking a break from the toys and instead are strolling the Great White Way by way of photos taken by Mel and Rudy. And after that we run down stuff to do in town. That’s the Herald Square Hotel at the head of this post.

1509748_10153137607551974_352620889498355759_nAs we prepared to post this, word came down that Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the iconic Mr. Spock on Star Trek in television and movies, had passed away. It was not unexpected, he’d been hospitalized with severe chest pains in recent days, but it’s still an emotional gut-punch for those of us who grew up in the thrall of the Vulcan.

Nimoy was also a strong supporter of the craft of acting and live theater, so we dedicate this photo essay to the man for whom the former Thalia movie house in Manhatten was renamed, “The Leonard Nimoy Thalia,” Leonard Nimoy. He lived long, and prospered.

On with the photo tour…

Mel outside the theater

Mel outside the theater

The main reason we went to NYC

The main reason we went to NYC

The cast list

The cast list

Your PopCulteer with a bunch of wannabees

Your PopCulteer with a bunch of wannabees

Another nearby theater

Another nearby theater

Looks sorta like the graphic on MGM records labels during the early 1970s

Looks sorta like the graphic on MGM records labels during the early 1970s

This was next door to

This was next door to “A Delicate Balance”

And this was three doors down

And this was three doors down

Your PopCulteer sitting on the not-in-use outdoor deck at Junior's

Your PopCulteer sitting on the not-in-use outdoor deck at Junior’s

We caught this at The Kennedy Center, but two of the guys we saw in that cast are on Broadway now

We caught this at The Kennedy Center, but two of the guys we saw in that cast are on Broadway now

Passed this along the way

Passed this along the way

And this

And this

Right across the street from where we saw

Right across the street from where we saw “A Delicate Balance”

Best slogan on Broadway (or slightly off)

Best slogan on Broadway (or slightly off)

Stuff To Do This Weekend





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And In Lewisburg…


That’s about it for this week’s PopCulteer. RFC is taking another week off while we dig into our Toy Fair video, so there will be video coming your way,  just not local music. This is the first time we’ve taken off two weeks in a row from bringing you Radio Free Charleston or The RFC MINI SHOW since the summer of 2013, so I think you can cut us a break. All of our other regular features will be here, sandwiched between cool toy stories.


Get The Creeps 

The PopCult Bookshelf

preview2 (1)The Creeps Magazine
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Warrant Publishing Company

What we have here is a lovely and affectionate homage to Creepy and Eerie Magazine. Folks of a certain age probably remember these magazine-sized black and white horror anthologies that featured intelligent stories and high class art. You could find them on almost any newsstand. Warren Publishing, the folks who gave us Famous Monsters of Filmland, published Creepy and Eerie (and Vampirella and others) from the mid 1960’s into the mid 1980’s.

They evenb nailed the fonts for the contents page!

They even nailed the fonts for the contents page!

Warren Publishing was noted for featuring spectacular writing and art, including creators such as Frank Frazetta, Archie Goodwin, Bruce Jones, Richard Corbin, Al Williamson, Steve Ditko, Bernie Wrightson, and many of the other top names in comic books among their roster. Warren ceased publishing in the eighties, but in recent years, other publishers have started publishing new versions of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. However, Creepy and Eerie, which are currently being published by Dark Horse Comics, are now comic book-sized and printed on slick paper. While they’re both fine books, they just aren’t the same.

Frank Brunner's frontpiece for issue #1

Frank Brunner’s frontpiece for issue #1

Late last year, Warrant Publishing began a new magazine with the full title “The Best In Illustrated Horror To Give You THE CREEPS.” The book is a loving re-creation of the look, feel, and even the smell of the original black and white Warren magazines. The creators on display are a mix of actual Warren Publishing veterans and new creators who are working squarely in the Warren style. They’ve even gone so far as to duplicate the distinctive fonts that Warren used on their contents page.

To be honest, I have a suspicion that one of the magazine’s writers, Artie Godwin, may be a pseudonymous tribute to the legendary writer/editor Archie Goodwin. If it isn’t, it’s a really cool coincidence.

Nice art by Randy Valiente

Nice art by Randy Valiente

The first issue kicks things off with a striking painted cover by Warren veteran Ken Kelly (also known for painting the covers of some of the best albums by the group KISS). You open the magazine and after an incredible frontpiece by Frank Brunner (Howard The Duck, Doctor Strange), you encounter a nice, white newsprint reminiscent of the original Warren Publishing magazines, but of a higher quality. And then, a two page letters column, followed by several fun short stories.

Classy art by comics vet, Rich Buckler

Classy art by comics vet, Rich Buckler

The magazine is hosted by The Old Creep, who is the reincarnation of all the horror hosts of anthology magazines from years past rolled into one. There are some great highlights here. Rich Sala, the magazine’s editor, is drawing in a style heavily influenced by Bernie Wrightson. We get a terrific story drawn by Rich Buckler, a longtime Marvel and DC artist known for his versatility, working here in what seems to be his natural style.

The rest of the artists in the issue do a great job of re-creating the vibe and the feel of the original Warren artists. This is a terrific homage and my only criticism is that the stories are so short, with most of them clocking in at five pages or less. The first issue is only thirty-six pages long and features seven stories in addition to the front piece and letters column. However, it’s still an incredibly fun book that harkens back to a type of comics magazine that hasn’t been published for almost thirty years.

Sanjulian's cover for issue #2

Sanjulian’s cover for issue #2

The second issue has just been released and features a very cool cover painting by Warren veteran Sanjulian. The frontpiece is by another Warren veteran, Ralph Reese. This issue sports fifty-two pages of great work, including a previously unpublished Rich Buckler story from 1970, more stunning work by Rich Sala, and a wonderful science fiction story written by Artie Godwin with art by Jason Paulos, who is clearly paying tribute to the legendary late artist, Wally Wood.

Closing out this issue is a great story written by Roger McKenzie, with art by Mort Todd, both of whom are movers and shakers behind the Charlton Neo movement, about which you will be reading more next week.

Jason Paulos pays tribute to Wallace Wood

Jason Paulos pays tribute to Wallace Wood

We've got several months to wait for #3

We’ve got several months to wait for #3

The inside back cover of this issue promises that issue #3 of THE CREEPS Magazine, due out Fall 2015, will proudly sport a cover painting by Frank Frazetta.

Also promised for the third issue of THE CREEPS, according to their Facebook page,  is newsstand distribution. However, until then, the only way to get THE CREEPS is to order it directly from their website, where the magazines will be promptly shipped to you in a strong protective envelope with mysterious package tracking by the United States Postal Service.

If you a fan of the old Warren magazines like Creepy and Eerie, you definitely want to check out THE CREEPS. Not only have they recreated the spirit and the look of the original Warren Publishing magazines, they’ve even managed to capture the tactile feel of the original books. THE CREEPS is tremendous fun.