HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
Is Pop Culture an oxymoron? Well, that probably depends on your definition of culture. But whether you're a fan of the phenomenon, or are more likely to simply shake your head at the things that some people do, PopCult Magazine offers some genuinely entertaining perspectives on the fads of our times.
A recent addition to the Web ("Pushing The Envelope of Readability Since Earlier This Year"), PopCult was born from creator Coury Turczyn's inability to find magazines devoted to the subject on newsstands. After unsuccessful attempts to market the concept to various print publishers, Turczyn did "what every other yahoo with a dream he can't afford does" and began sharing his obsession through the Web.
Unlike most sites created by yahoos with a dream, though, PopCult Magazine has a professional feel to it and while the site's look seems lifted from an episode of the Jetsons or a late '50s drive-in menu, content also includes such recent PC artifacts as a cereal box tie-in to this year's "Spiderman" movie. (Being such a new undertaking, much of the site's content also consists of articles previously published elsewhere, but unless you're a regular reader of Knoxville, Tennessee's "Metro Pulse," it should all be "new to you.")
With recent additions featured on the home page, the PopCult archival index begins with Odd Glimpses, holding such visual collections as '50s and '60s album cover art, and shots from a 1966 German television cousin of Star Trek. Obsessions is next, offering feature articles that include interviews with the inventor of plastic owls (sold in garden centers, but seeming to spend most of their time on high-rise apartment balconies), and Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker (following a career from rock, to Wal-Mart, and mercifully back to rock again). Other pieces cover the recent attempt to revive Roller Derby, an empirical test of the advice in Life's Little Treasure Books, and Pop Culture profiles that range from Sid and Marty Kroftt to the crew behind the Prairie Home Companion.
If you've got less time (or a shorter attention span) Passing Fancies has a Website of the Week, an interactive quiz to test your potential as a Hollywood producer, and the Bottom 5, lists of the worst of Pop Culture. Subjects in the Bottom 5 archive include, "MTV's Most Insulting Programs," "Coffee-Table Book Artists Who Market Their Gimmicks to Death" (more Anne Geddes, anyone?), and "Movie Critics Who Will Shill for Anything." An example from the last collection is this thoughtful assessment of Crossroads; "Britney rocks! She is like a comet. A talent of her magnitude only comes around once in a lifetime and you can't take your eyes off her when she is on screen in this totally cool and delightfully hip movie."
Things are rounded out with movie/book/music reviews, a buyers guide for Pop Culture books, and the most disturbing exhibit of the site to date Amazing Food Technology. This collection of current and special edition sugar-super-saturated breakfast cereals (openly referred to as "food" by their manufacturers) could rot your teeth right through the computer screen. (As we all know, the primary nutritional component lacking in every child's diet is sugar.) Some lure potential buyers with connections to such recognized brands as the Simpsons and Oreo cookies (another inspired breakfast choice), while others seem content to just let the sucrose do the talking if your kids seem listless in the morning, a heaping bowlful of Cap'n Crunch's Choco Donuts will have them vibrating right through till lunch time.
All in all, PopCult Magazine seems to be off to an auspicious start, and if future content matches the quality and variety of its current material, it should become a regular destination for both Pop Culture aficionados and those of us more likely to simply shake our heads at the things that some people do.
PopCult Magazine can be found at http://www.popcultmag.com/