Culture Dumps lights up media’s darkest corners at Whammy!

There’s a very special event happening this Friday at micro cinema venue Whammy! Analog near Sunset Junction. Presented by the Culture Dumps podcast and CD principal, Ryan Lichten, it’s an intriguingly titled “edutainment event” called “A Magical Evening of Dismal Pop Culture.”

The show starts 7:30pm this Friday, 1/20/23—get tickets now

“Basically the event is centered around pop culture—but not the E! or Bravo-type, more so along the lines of the forgotten and failed,” says creator Ryan Lichten.

Lichten and Culture Dumps may be on to something big here. The all-star cast of subculture vultures is certainly impressive:

“Every act is doing something a little different from each other,” Lichten explains. “Bill Conway who co-founded The Hard Times is going to be doing a presentation […] based around crowd participation and punk rock. Adam Papagan will be showing clips from his appearances on court TV shows which is cool because it puts him at the center of a pop culture phenomenon. Bret Berg will be previewing a new super cut of regional restaurant commercials he is putting together for Museum of Home Video and Culture Dumps has put together a slide show that will serve to cover some of topics we have featured on our podcast but this time with visual elements.”

Plus, as a surprise sideshow bonus, yours truly will be introducing the performers. It’s showtime, baby!

Get the complete details

“Besides being sore from laughter, which is obvious, I would like folks to walk away [from this event] discussing some of the factoids Culture Dumps will be presenting,” says Lichten. “If the audience laughed but also learned, we did our job!”

Well then consider this required reading: each of the Dismal presenters generously consented to an exclusive interview—read each below—so we can all know the how / when / why behind the hated, the horrible and the hilarious pop culture they’ve curated.

See you at the event? Read on…

Ryan Lichten & Culture Dumps: Shining a light (where the sun don’t shine)

Ryan Lichten Culture Dumps Whammy! Analog Sean Carnage

Culture Dumps’ Ryan Lichten—the KIng of Rears. Follow him on IG.

What’s Culture Dumps all about?
Ryan Lichten:
Culture Dumps is a research-based comedy podcast brought to you by the creators of Podcast99 (the complete guide to Woodstock ’99). Hosted by Ryan Lichten and Parks Miller, Culture Dumps attempts to shine a light on the darkest, forgotten corners of pop culture. Priding themselves on their deep dives on such topics as Beanie Babies, Girls Gone Wild, Milli Vanilli, Pogs, Four Loko, Hands Across America, Spring Break, the Disco Demolition, and all things that make you say “Oh yeah! I remember that shit!”

READ: Culture Dumps’ guided tour through hell

What inspired you to create this event?
Ryan Lichten: After two years of Culture Dumps we decided it was time to do a live show but we also wanted to give our friends a chance to perform as well. We chose who we consider to be the best of the best as far as edutainment-style acts go. It is also cool because every act has been a guest on Culture Dumps so while Culture Dumps isn’t the only act performing, every act has a relationship with the podcast.

I had heard that this will be a night of ‘found footage’?
Ryan Lichten: It is not necessarily found footage, some of the acts performing like Adam Papagan and Bret Berg definitely specialize in found footage but the event itself is made up of a lot more than just quirky clips.

Culture Dumps is doing a glorified powerpoint presentation full of facts and anecdotes related to things we have talked about on the podcast like Beanie Babies and the Swing Revival.

You are a well-known collector; what have you been collecting lately?
Ryan Lichten: Recently, I have been collecting evil books, that is to say, books that have a terrible crime attached to them or books that caused a social uproar upon their release. One example is Steven King’s Rage which was actually released under a pen name and was the unfortunate inspiration behind several school shootings.

Collect the collector: get even more Ryan Lichten

Can you please tell folks who haven’t been to Whammy! before,what the venue is all about?
Ryan Lichten: Whammy! is a new kind of space, it is a VHS store that specializes in obscure titles but also has a micro cinema. Generally, Whammy! throws events based around film screenings but they also host a ton of comedy shows and multi-media events which makes them the perfect fit for this kind of show.

How do folks find the venue?
Ryan Lichten: Online Whammy is easy to find as they have been growing in popularity, in real life, the store is kind of hidden, tucked away on the backside of Sunset Boulevard. Gives the place kind of a speakeasy, or “if you know, you know” vibe which is always a plus.

Any tips and tricks to enjoy this event to the fullest?
Ryan Lichten: Get tickets early! While Whammy is awesome, it is also small so you want to make sure you get your ticket before they sell out! Also, a lil pre-game never hurt anyone…

This classic video is the ultimate pre-game

What is “MethSyndicate”?
Ryan Lichten: MethSyndicate is a comedic apparel brand that consistently pumps out the most ridiculous shirts ever. We love this company because so many of their designs involve things we at  absolutely love. Aside from his usual inventory, MethSyndicate will be selling two exclusive Culture Dumps designs that are definitely killer.

What’s next on your subcultural agenda?
Ryan Lichten: We are still releasing episodes regularly and hope to perform live in different cities across the country throughout the year. We will be hitting 100 episodes this year and have something very special planned that we have been plotting since the show started, so stay tuned!

Culture Dumps: you need this podcast in your life

Bret Berg: The fine art of not-so-fine dining commercials

Museum of Home Video Bret Berg

Museum of Home Video’s Bret Berg.

How’s the Museum? You certainly have accomplished a LOT since our 2020 interview. Can you give us a rundown of what the crew’s been doing?
Bret Berg: I’ve mainly been cutting and cutting—and cutting. Editing the weekly livestream‘s material is a true passion of mine, it helps me stay sane. Next week’s episode is #126 for the show.

I also do day job stuff at AGFA (American Genre Film Archive). I host a weekly Wednesday movie pick at Alamo Drafthouse DTLA.

Our producer Jenny Nixon slays it over at Common Sense Media, writing TV reviews geared towards parents making content choices for the family. IVOR makes incredible 3D animation for ad clients. It’s no surprise the folks who make MoHV’s shows all work in media in some way!

READ: Bret Berg’s Museum of Home Video brings you the lowdown on download culture

How did you become involved with Ryan Lichten & Culture Dumps?
Bret Berg: I first met Ryan when we partnered on a Woodstock ’99-themed live event (at Zebulon in 2019). I’d pitched the venue on a Woodstock ’99 show, and they said “Oh, you should get with these guys Ryan and Parks [Miller], they do a whole podcast on it!” We instantly hit it off… we were all so invested in the material and the true crime nature of the investigation.

I’m a proud subscriber to Culture Dumps‘ Patreon, their show makes me laugh a lot. I was a recent guest on it—we talked about Anita Bryant and her ’70s anti-gay crusade.

Please tease us with some details about what you’ll be showing at “A Magical Evening of Dismal Pop Culture”?
Bret Berg: It’s a mix called “Good Food From The Good Earth”, all local restaurant commercials. Stuff from all over the country, not just LA. Commercials are a longtime fascination on the livestream, it’s an endless well. Rather than emphasizing nostalgia, I highlight spots that are either cinematic, have a strange performer or real-life personality, an otherworldly jingle, whacked-out graphics or a combo of all these. Get ready to have the “Seafood City” jingle in your head for weeks afterwards.

What makes something ‘found footage’? Is that just some random TikTok or YouTube video one has never seen before?
Bret Berg: Everything is fair game, all recorded media. What we do aren’t “deep dives”, since there’s no way to ever collect or watch it all. It’s more like skipping stones across a footage ocean, and making a fun variety show out of it.

Where do your collecting/curating interests lie lately? 
Bret Berg: It took me a while to do game show edits, but I’m fully in it now. Every day after coming home from school, I’d turn on USA Network for game show reruns. Later, when Game Show Network came around I’d watch it all day… and I’m now more than a little obsessed with Buzzr (which I catch on the best/worst streaming app, Pluto).

I’ve now turned my attention to awards shows. There’s something special about inappropriately matched hosts (right now I’m cutting up Garry Shandling hosting the 1990 Grammys), embarrassing picks (same with 1990 Grammys, it’s the one where Milli Vanilli won Best New Artist), sick live performances (Prince on a MTV Video Music Awards with the ass-less pants is a childhood highlight).

And I’ll keep cutting up movies into 15-minute versions. Life’s too short to watch full movies.

Achieve maximum Berg

What’s next for the Museum?
Bret Berg: We’re starting to make feature-length Museum comps for cinemas and DIY venues to play. Imagine seeing “The Museum of Home Video Guide to Infomercials” alongside
“Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” on a theater calendar…

Any tips and tricks to enjoy this event to the fullest?
Bret Berg: Get ready to fall in love with the venue. Within weeks of Whammy! Analog’s opening last year, the place became a legit cultural center. A cozy room with a really good A/V system and smart people running it. Also, remember to enter through the alley (just like The Smell). And smoke weed. And grab a wood-fired pizza from the truck across the street on Sunset.

Mmm. Now I’m hungry. What are your favorite weird-ass L.A. restaurants of all time?
Bret Berg: Anything still standing from before 1960. The Pantry, The Smokehouse, Tam O’ Shanter, Musso & Frank, Chili John’s, Tito’s Tacos, Johnnie’s Pastrami. I love living museums of old-ass cooking.

The Museum of Home Video is your stoneriffic new best friend

Bill Conway: ‘Wear a poncho’

Bill Conway The Hard Times Culture Dumps Ryan Lichten Sean Carnage

Forget climate change, inflation, or a coming recession—it’s Bill Conway.

How did you become involved with Ryan Lichten & Culture Dumps?
Bill Conway: Ryan has written a few articles for my website The Hard Times, when I heard he was doing a live show I told him I would come to his house, drag him out into the street, and beat him mercilessly in front of all his neighbors if he didn’t let me perform. I also threatened to invite his parents to watch the beating.

So what are you going to be screening?
Bill Conway: Nü Metal is making a stunning resurgence. I plan on looking at some of the indicators that show we are heading in a bad direction.

Get hip with Nü Metal

In early 2023, what turns you on? What can you not get enough of?
Bill Conway: I’m loving the new labels on the Whole Foods branded pasta sauce. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

You’re the editor-in-chief of Hard Times; do you see a presentation like this as a break from your day job editing fake news? Or an extension of it?
Bill Conway: This will be an extension of my day job and a great chance to inform people about troubling trends that could effect them in 2023. Forget climate change, inflation, or a coming recession, this will be important.

What makes the best satire?
Bill Conway: The best satire always has two things. 1) An established point of view. 2) A deserving target. Satire doesn’t have to be some sort of high art, but it should make you think even if a little. If your preferred satire is just confirming all of your biases then it probably sucks.

What makes the best audience?
Bill Conway: People willing to laugh at themselves first, that’s what will allow someone to enjoy comedy on a deeper level. If you hate yourself you will end up hating everything you watch or read.

Any tips and tricks to enjoy this event to the fullest?
Bill Conway: If you’re seated in the first three rows make sure to wear a poncho, or some clothing you don’t mind getting covered in smashed fruits and vegetables.

What have you got cooking for the 2023? 
Bill Conway: I’m planning on setting the single season home run record, and inventing sustainable farming techniques that use a fraction of the water.

The Hard Times—a hit & run on your funny bone

Adam Papagan: Court show repeat offender

Adam Papagan court TV Culture Dumps Whammy! Analog Sean Carnage

Adam Papagan will see you in court.

“A Magical Evening of Dismal Pop Culture” seems like the perfect event for you! What will you be screening?
Adam Papagan: I’m always trying to get on TV any stupid way I can the news, game shows, whatever, and I’ve had pretty good luck with court shows. I’ll be showing clips from the three court shows I appeared on over a six year period.

Court shows—a staple of American syndicated TV; which are your favorites and why?
Adam Papagan: They’re all pretty much the same but there used to be one on 15+ years ago called Eye For and Eye where the judge would dole out crazy punishments so the wronged party could get revenge. The judge was named Extreme Akim and he brandished a baseball bat instead of a gavel. The host was Kato Kaeilin from the O.J. trial!

How did you get on these court shows? Was it always for the same ‘crime’?
Adam Papagan: They are all civil matters so mainly they all center around the defendant owing me money. Was it a gift or was it a loan? That sort of thing.

Here’s a very quick peek of what to expect from the Museum of Home Video:

Are you still doing your tours?If so, please tell us more.
Adam Papagan: No. I can be booked for special tours and events but otherwise I’m happily retired from daily tour guiding.

Is Rock and Roll Party! still happening?
Adam Papagan: No, but that’s a good idea. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.

Adam Papagan hosts a rager with Rock and Roll Party!

In early 2023, what turns you on? 
Adam Papagan: Currently my special interest are documentaries where a guy goes to the Mississippi Delta to find old Blues musicians. There’s soooo many on Tubi.

Get even more Adam Papagan

Any predictions for the year?
Adam Papagan: Hopefully the further crumbling of many of our society’s outdated institutions.

Any tips and tricks to enjoy this event to the fullest?
Adam Papagan: Don’t talk while the performers are talking. It’s rude!

Follow Adam Papagan on IG

Don’t miss the event this Friday:

Culture Dump Whammy Analog Ryan Lichten Bret Berg Adama Papagan Bill Conway Sean Carnage

Get more info & buy tickets

Follow me on IG for the best new events & more

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