Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: January 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

Sunday Evening Videos: Colecovision History

Admittedy, your PopCulteer is not exactly up-to-date as a gamer. I resent any controller that doesn’t have joystick. I still haven’t figured out how to watch Twitch. And to be honest, the last video game system I bought was a Colecovision.

That would be nearly forty years ago.

However, at the time, owning one made me a cutting-edge gamer.

Tonight we bring you a few brief histories of the Colecovision gaming system. Some of them contradict each other in places. Some of them are from the UK, so they may seem a bit off to US viewers.

This is a public service, so that when you read about videogames here in PopCult, you can see my immediate frame of reference.

Music On The AIR and In Louisville

The PopCulteer
January 29, 2021

After writing over four thousand words for PopCult over the past two days, your PopCulteer is a bit wiped out. So today we’re going to keep it as short as possible.

Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL and encore a recent Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio shation. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player at the top right column of this blog.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a line-up of classic tracks from the golden era of excess and intense dance floor fever. Just check the playlist for this bodacious bit of boogeymania…

MIRRORBALL 017

Amii Stewart “Knock On Wood”
Boney M “Sunny”
Nick Straker Band “A Walk In The Park”
Amanda Lear “Follow Me”
Spargo “You And Me”
Belle Epoque “Black Is Black”
Santa Esmerelda “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
Ralph McDonald “Calypso Breakdown”
Brick “Dazz”
Foxy “Get Off”

You can now hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  Midnight and 9 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore of an episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat from last summer, which you can read about HERE (scroll down). This is a pure NEW WAVE HITS special, and we haven’t replayed it since last July.

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR. You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the overnight Haversham Recording Institute marathon that starts every Monday at 11 PM.

Livestream from Louisville Friday!

Friday night at 8 PM, RFC favorites, Bon Air, along with Copiers present three hours of great independent music, streaming live from Art Sanctuary in Louisville. Here’s how they describe the show…

Copiers and Bon Air kick out the jams on a live webcast from Art Sanctuary in Louisville! Is it Safe? Can we come out of hiding now? NO? Or (partially) Yes? We’ve (mostly) made it to the end of January. And we’re (statistically) not having to live on a respirator or (possibly) hide from the FBI. And we don’t have to figure out how the Hades we’re going to grow Bananas in this Republic (maybe). So, it’s still gonna be awhile before we can gather in bunches and sneeze on each other. Best to settle back in the ol’ Bean Bag Chair and turn the screen to Late for Dinner, Art Sanctuary’s Live Streaming Showcase. This Friday’s fare for January 29th is two great Louisville bands: Bon Air and Copiers.

Bon Air is a kick in the head Guitar/Drum duo that creates melodies reminiscent of Messrs Thompson and Mould, but with a distinct clarity all their own. Uplifting tempo paired with personal introspection, Former Charlestonian Sam Scholten knows how to wind up a listener and send them into his world. John Kleemeier drums up a storm, keeping pace with Sam all the way. There’s a happy patter to the pathos. You’ve never felt so good feeling so bad.

Copiers are a band of few, if ANY, words. Rollin’ a little HonkBlatSqueak from from the Cool of Kirk, prescribing a happy dosage of Psych, and possessive of Progressive, this foursome takes us into the imaginary cinescapes of motion pictures as yet unshot. Brian Manley frets over his Guitar, Axel Cooper relies on his Bass instincts, Jeff Komara gives his Drums a proper flensing, and Eddie Campbell squawks his Sax and boards the Keys. A collaboration of scene vets that opens up the Mind’s Eye.

Check out the Facebook Events page, or just come back here to PopCult at 8 PM (Eastern Time) and watch it below…

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer.  Check back for fresh content every day and all our way-cool regular features.

Final Faction At Dollar Tree

The PopCult Toybox

In the bizarre clustermess that was the year of our lord, 2020, I have to admit, “Dollar Tree releases an exclusive,  original, high-quality collectible action figure line” was not on my Bingo card.

Because of the pandemic and your PopCulteer’s seriously-curtailed toy hunting activities, I didn’t even know about this line until a few weeks ago. There was no advance word. This line just showed up in November in some Dollar Tree stores, and was available nationwide (and online) by early January.

Final Faction is a line of Science-Fiction, alien-fighting action figures in the popular 1/18 (roughly four-inches tall) scale. Most of the figures have five points of articulation. Most come with at least one accessory. The paint detail is above-average. There is a backstory and accompanying nine-minute CGI cartoon on YouTube, and most importantly…they only cost a dollar each!

For a mere buck, you get a hell of a lot. Quality-wise, the figures are just a notch below ReAction’s line of licensed five-point figures, but those sell for fifteen to twenty times as much. If you are a 1/18 scale hobbyist, these figures are great customizing fodder. At this price you can try all sorts of things–from total repaints to attempting to add joints.

The backing cards are printed in full color on both sides and include Power Ratings and a bio for each character, along with this intro to the series…

In the year 2050, a large asteroid collided with our moon. Among the debris, we discovered a hibernating alien mothership. Now, the Kharn are awake and they want to plunder our precious natural resources. So, we recruited teams of special operatives to defend Earth from their alien threat.

They are the…

FINAL FACTION!

There you go. A cool space-opera premise with well-sculpted figures that sport decent (if limited) paint detail, and a computer-animated short. And they cost a buck apiece. You can collect the entire first series of figures for eight bucks (fourteen dollars if you buy all six extra accessory packs). For less than the price of one ReAction figure, you can own the entire line (if you can find them–in some stores the aliens and the robot are sold out).

Let’s take a look at that cartoon…

This whole line reminds me of the GI Joe: Star Brigade series (seen right), which was a bright spot in the waning days of the Real American Hero series of figures in the 1990s. In fact, the toys are completely compatible.

The file cards, design and even the personalities of the characters have a classic RAH vibe to them.

I was never really into the RAH Joes, but I know I have a few Star Brigade pieces scattered throughout my collection. It’s really cool to see the tradition of that line continue, especially in a line of action figures that are cheap enough that every kid who wants them should be able to have them.

I did a little digging into who created this line.

The IMDB page for the cartoon lists Elizabeth Schwartz and J.D. Schwartz as the creators, but the cartoon’s credits begin with “special thanks” for four Dollar Tree executives. I would say we can probably thank a team of folks at both companies for Final Faction.

The Schwartz’s run FourStarEntertainment Group, a Chinese-based design firm, who appear to have done all the heavy lifting on the Final Faction project. FourStarEntertainment has designed everything from furniture to candy to holiday decorations, housewares, shoes and electronics, and I have to say, they have knocked it out of the park with Final Faction.

I would imagine they have a long-standing working relationship with Dollar Tree (FourStar Group makes those pregnancy tests you find there, and tons of other things), so either Dollar Tree asked for an original toy line, or they designed it first and pitched it to Dollar Tree. Either way, we get a really cool toy line out of the deal.

Voice work on the cartoon is by a group of veteran voice actors who have previously worked on projects like Young Justice, One Piece, Aggetsuko, Pokemon and Moble Suit Gundam.

You can order Final Faction directly from Dollar Tree, or just head out to your nearest store to see if they still have them in stock.

Word has leaked out that there will be a second series of figures, along with a Dune-buggy-type vehicle that will be sold as a basic model, but will have tons of add-ons sold separately. I haven’t discovered a timeline for these yet, but there is info about a second cartoon buried among the details at IMDB, so I’d say we may see these new toys no later than Spring. Check out the leaks…

After the jump, I’ll bring you a detailed photo essay of the Final Faction figures.

Continue reading

WWE Tags In Peacock

The world of streaming television experienced a seismic shift early Monday morning when it was announced that, in the middle of March, The WWE Network’s United States streaming service will be absorbed by NBC/Universal’s Peacock streamer. The WWE Network will still be a stand-alone streaming service internationally.

Tenta, balancing precariously.

To be honest, this wasn’t exactly a seismic shift, maybe more like John “Earthquake” Tenta coming off the top rope (if he ever did such a thing). It’s still a big deal, reportedly worth a BILLION dollars over the course of five years. However, this was absolutely not a surprise to anybody who’s been paying attention.

For subscribers to WWE Network, it’s a pretty sweet deal. They will automatically be enrolled in the Premium version of Peacock for $4.99, five bucks less than what they’re paying now, or they can pay the same amount and get Peacock Premium Plus, which is ad-free and has more bells and at least one extra whistle.

If those WWE Network subscribers are customers of Comcast or Cox Cable, they already get Peacock Premium for free, so they’re essentially getting The WWE Network, including all of their PPV events, for free, saving their $9.99 each month to spend on another streaming service, or perhaps the occasional small assortment of exotic cheeses.

It’s a great deal for WWE, too. Some estimates are that they will make double, if not triple the amount of money that they’d make running the network themselves. Their reach will increase dramatically. Currently they have 1.6 million subscribers, with maybe three-fourths of them paying $9.99 a month. A lot of folks sign up for free trials or promo deals, then quit. This is what streaming services call “churn.”

Going forward, once they make the jump, WWE will be part of Peacock, a service just launched a few months ago, that already has more than 26 million subscribers. It’s not clear how many of those are paid subscribers because of the deals with Comcast and Cox, plus the existence of the free version, but that still means that this year’s live broadcast of Wrestlemania has the potential to be the most-watched ever, by a factor of ten or more.

With this deal, all of WWE’s former pay-per-view events are included, live and at no extra cost.

Let me pause for a moment and explain the proliferation of Peacocks: There are three versions of Peacock, NBC/Universal’s streaming service.

There is a free version, Peacock Free, which offers a small sampling of their library, with advertising. If I have this correctly, you can watch the first season of some of their shows, but you have to upgrade to watch them all. This is really more of a promotional tool, hooking viewers who subscribe because it’s free, but like what they see.

The next tier is Peacock Premium. This is the $4.99 per month service, still with advertising, but you’ll have access to the entire library of programs, and starting in March, you’ll get The WWE Network.

If you want to cough up $9.99 a month, you can get Peacock Premium Plus, which has everything Peacock Premium offers, but is ad-free, for those of us who have been spoiled by ad-free TV.

Now that we have our cocks sorted out, let’s look at what the advantages are for NBC/Universal.

A Billion dollars is a lot of money, but this is a long-term investment. Just last week Comcast, the giant conglomerate that owns NBC/Universal, announced that they will shut down their very profitable NBC Sports Channel, and move their Hockey, NASCAR and EPL Soccer broadcasts to The USA Network and Peacock.

This is a channel that was still pulling in profits of 90 million bucks a year, but since NBC/Universal is owned by Comcast, and as a cable company, Comcast can see the writing on the wall in terms of the future of cable vs. the future of streaming, they decided to make a bold move to position Peacock as a real player in a post-cable world dominated by Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and other streamers.

Acquiring the rights to the WWE Network is another bold move. It’s not about trying to appeal just to WWE fans.

It’s about assembling a winning collection of programming that will attract a wide array of subscribers, and hopefully appeal to so many members of a family that Peacock will become a “must-have” streaming service.

If you look at what the newer streamers, the ones owned by huge media conglomerates, offer, you get an idea of this strategy. Disney+ offers Disney and Pixar movies, plus Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic in addition to cutting edge drama on HULU and sports on ESPN+. HBO Max offers the full library of HBO programming, plus comics-based shows and movies from DC Universe, Turner Classic Movies, Sesame Street, Adult Swim, Looney Tunes (old and new), Studio Ghibli and stuff from the Harry Potter universe. CBS All Access is about the change their name to Paramount +. and they offer Star Trek, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount movies, and a ton of programming shared with their sister streamer, Pluto.tv.

In order to compete at that level, Peacock has to aim wide. They offer dedicated channels for The Today Show All Day, and special early feeds of The Tonight Show and Late Night with Seth Myers. They have the Dick Wolf “Chicago” shows, plus programs that they own, like The Office and Parks and Recreation, and they’re reviving a bunch of shows that will appeal to the nostalgia-minded early-middle-aged folks.

They also intend to invest in live sports programming. EPL Soccer has one of the youngest demographics of any sport, and will bring an enthusiastic audience to their streaming service. Add to that the threat of carrying NASCAR and any Olympics that might happen this year, and you can get an idea of how wide a net they’re trying to cast.

It’s not a matter of Peacock pushing WWE as the end-all, be-all of their network. They see them as a major attraction–a prime dish at a buffet, as it were–that might appeal to one member of a family and keep them loyal, while other members of the family watch Peacock for other things. This is what they see as the natural evolution of what was once The NBC Network into a major streaming service.

In that sense, the deal with WWE makes perfect sense. The only real question is why didn’t they just try to buy WWE outright?

Legendary wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer, from Wrestling Observor, speculates that they may do just that in the future, but they didn’t want to deal with any complications from the fact that WWE’s highest-rated program, Friday Night Smackdown!, is currently airing on the Fox Network, and that potential messiness, combined with a price near six billion dollars, makes it wise to cut this deal now, and then wait to see what the next five years bring.

Plus, it’s good business for WWE to take this deal now, and see if they can parlay this into a potential bidding war if they decide to put themselves up for sale in the future. It also further ingrains them with NBC/Universal, who hold the TV rights to Monday Night RAW and NXT (both seen on the USA Network).

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that this wasn’t really a shock. Over a year ago WWE talked openly of selling off their streaming rights to another company. Around this same time, they fired Michelle Wilson and George Barrios, who were key to launching the WWE Network, and had plans to offer different-priced tiers. It seems that it came to a showdown between Wilson and Barrios, who wanted to expand the network, and WWE’s owner, Vince McMahon, who wanted to sell the rights to another service.

“This money is good shit, pal!”

Vince McMahon is not going to lose in a showdown like that. Despite being publicy-traded, WWE is still his company. He owns the majority of voting shares.

In the wake of the firing of Wilson and Barrios, WWE’s stock price plunged, and then COVID-19 arrived.

Meltzer reports that WWE had been in talks with Disney/ESPN about selling their streaming rights, but those discussions were back-burnered during the pandemic, and WWE’s new president, Nick Khan, had a good working relationship with NBC/Universal, so they evntually cut the Peacock deal instead. On top of that Peacock had already been offering a selection of programming from The WWE Network for the past few months. This is sort of like a corporate marriage made in heaven.

Honestly, had ESPN acquired the WWE Network, it probably would’ve sucked for the network’s existing customer base. ESPN acquired the TV rights to UFC in 2018, and still charges full price for that companies pay-per-view events. If they did that with WWE programming, then I know, personally, I wouldn’t be watching those events live any more (it’s a bit deep in the piece for a full disclosure, but I’ve been a WWE Network subscriber since a month or two after they launched. It’s the reason I bought my first Roku streaming device).

“Have you tried turning your router off and on again?”

On top of that, ESPN+ has had some major technical issues lately, and there are some irate customers demanding refunds for last weekend’s Conor McGregor fight. ESPN charges around $70 for a UFC pay per view, and for that price they ought to send McGregor out to your house personally to make sure you have a good connection.

The end result of this Peacock deal for most subscribers of The WWE Network is that we’ll get exactly what we’re getting now for half the price, and we’ll also have access to a bunch of other stuff, some of which is really cool.

It’s a rare win-win. Woo-hoo!

This also might be good news for AEW. The very-successful new wrestling company already has a working relationship with WarnerMedia, the owners of HBO Max. If WWE does really well for Peacock, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that HBO Max might make AEW an offer to move their four annual pay per views to the streaming service.  I don’t expect that to happen soon, but it’s definitely on the table.

A Blast of New Music On The AIR!

Tuesday on The AIR we once again deliver brand-new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift.  If you want to hear the aural goodness yourself, you simply have to move your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player over at the top of the right column.

We have a brand-new Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday.  This week we open with the new single from All Torches Lit, and we revisit that band with an album cut in our second hour . We also have new music from Unmanned,   Bon Air, Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys, Jim Lange, The Jasons , The Foo Fighters and more.

This is a full-length three-hour RFC, packed to the gills with great music. Check the links in the playlist to buy music from the artists on the show this week. Your PopCulteer’s voice is back this week, and I’m loaded for bear.

Whatever that means. We have exciting new and old music from West Virginia and around the world for you here.

Check out the playlist to see all the goodies we bring you this week…

RFCv5 040

All Torches Lit “Strangelove”
Unmanned “Don’t Fret My Pet”
Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys “Camden Park Queen”
The Foo Fighters “No Son Of Mine”
The Rolling Stones “When The Whip Comes Down”
Neil Young “Be With You”
Bon Air “You Need Me To Need You”
The Jasons “Red Dawna”
Black Russians “Invasion USA”
Tina Turner “Nutbush City Limits (Live)”
Suburban Reptiles “Coup D’Etat”
Jim Lange “No Way Out”
No Pretty Pictures “Sails”
Rob Fetters “Not The End”
Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands “I’ll Hold You”
Rasta Rafiki “It’s Up To You”

hour two
All Torches Lit “Eros”
mediogres “Bittersweet”The Dukes “I Am An Unskilled Worker”
Jay Parade “Destroyer”
Farnsworth “Now That You’re Gone”
The Stars Revolt “Pretend”
The Children’s Hour “The Mongolian Brothers”
Neostra Music “Balance From Darkness”
Lee Ritenour “The Lighthouse”
Spencer Elliott “Missing You”
The Crimson Jazz Trio “I Talk To The Wind”
T Rex “Metal Guru”
AC/DC “Kick You When You’re Down”
Jerks! “Anywhere To Go”

hour three
Unmanned “Make Out Bandit”
Dreamcar “Kill For Candy”
Polysics “Eye Contact”
St. Vincent “KROKODIL”
Feast of Steven “Mystery Hole”
Red Audio “Plasticland”
The Renfields “Ramones Zombie Massacre”
Sheldon Vance “Turn It Back Around”
The Irreplaceables “The Villa”
The Concept “Guitar Pick In My Kool Aid”
Clownhole “Old Man Jumping A Fence”
Wren Allen Band “What Are You Waiting For”
Howard Jones “Beating Mr. Neg”
Elvis Costello “Hetty O’Hara Confidential”
The Who “All This Music Must Fade”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 11 AM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.

At 2 PM we offer up a new episode of Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack, loaded with trippy music from the trippy era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Nigel, ever the upright gentleman, has even sent along a playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 039

Aardvark “Copper Sunset”
Valeria Mongardini “Addio Citta Vecchia”
The Playboys “I’m The Looser”
The Jarvis Street Revue “Mr. Oil Man”
Aquaturbia “E.V.O.L.”
Prince “Around The World In A Day”
Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs “Momma”
Bloodrock “DOA”

Psychedelic Shack alternates weeks with NOISE BRIGADE  Tuesdays at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 10 PM, Thursday at 9 AM, Friday at 1 PM, Saturday at 8 AM, Sunday at 9 AM and Monday at 7 PM.

The Swing Shift drops a new episode at 3 PM. We are in a random Swing mood this week, with old and new stuff in our usual mix of the greatest Swing Music of the last century.

We even open with a local band who also appear on Radio Free Charleston this week.   Check out this playlist…

The Swing Shift 108

Big Rock and The Candyass Mountain Boys “Sweet Subsitute”
Ella Fitzgerald “It Don’t Mean A Thing”
Sonny Rollins “Moritat”
Liz Gillies and Seth McFarlane “This Could Be The Start of Something Big”
Stan Getz “This Can’t Be Love”
Miles Davis “Milestones”
Louis Armstrong “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”
Swingaria “Slinky Saxophone”
Cab Calloway “Three Swings and Out”
Louis Jordan “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby”
The New Orleans Johnnys “Big Easy Women”
Paul Carrack “Come Rain Or Come Shine”
Richard Geere “Jazz Club Blues”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesdays at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 2 PM,  Saturday at 5 PM and Sunday at 10 AM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Those are Tuesday’s new shows on The AIR. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Monday Morning Art: High Seas

This week’s art is another one of my timed paintings. I gave myself half an hour to crank out a painting of a ship at sea. It’s also a fairly tiny painting, done in water colors with a markers and a few pastel crayons on textured paper. I’m not entirely sure why I chose the subject matter, but all those damned Sea Shanties all over social media may have been a subliminal influence. If you’re looking at it on your phone, you’re probably seeing it at about 75% of its full size.

If you want to see it bigger, just click on the image.

Meanwhile, Monday at 9 AM on The AIR, we bring you a couple of episodes of Radio Free Charleston that will be leaving the server soon.  Then you can tune into a brand-new episode of  Prognosis at 3 PM. This week Herman Linte brings us two hours of prog-rock cover tunes. The second-hour is a tribute to the late Chris Squire, with an all-star line-up covering songs he wrote for YES.

Check out the playlist…

Prognosis 067

Chris Squire, Alan White, Billy Sherwood “Comfortably Numb”
The Nice “Tarkus”
Steve Hackett “Return Of The Giant Hogweed”
Robert Berry “Minstrel In The Gallery”
Martin Barre “Eleanor Rigby”
Keith Emerson “Lumpy Gravy”
DBA “Heat of the Moment”
ASIA “Video Killed The Radio Star”
Jon Davison, Patrick Moraz “On The Silent Wings of Freedom”
Steve Hogarth, Larry Fast “Hold Out Your Hand”
Annie Haslam “Onward”
Billy Sherwood, David Sanction, Steve Stevens “South Side of the Sky”
Sonja Kristina “The Fish”
Billy Sherwood, Steve Porcaro, Steve Hackett “The More We Live-Let Go”
Jon Davison Tony Kaye “Parallels”
Nikki Squire, Dweezil Zappa “Owner of a Lonely Heart”
Todd Rundgren, John Wesley, Tony Kaye “Roundabout”
Candice Knight, Brian Auger “Don’t Kill The Whale”

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, Saturday at 10 AM and Sunday at 2 PM.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player at the top of the right-hand column of this blog.

Sunday Evening Video: DEVObama Redux

This week we are reviving a Sunday Evening Video entry from January, 2009. I posted this video in one of our early installments of this feature, but a week or three later, the Charleston Gazette once again reshuffled their blogging software, and the videos all disappeared and were replaced by naked code. I just restored this post as part of my never-ending “repair the PopCult archives” project, and I liked this entry enough to foist it on you fine folks one more time, now that our country has survived the most devolved presidency in history.

This particular show was so legendary that a website has sprung up, devoted to tracking down every bit of documentation of the event.

Our selections this evening are shaky bootleg audience videos shot during the fabled “DEVObama” benefit, held in Akron Ohio in October, 2008. What you see above is Chrissie Hynde, backed by DEVO and The Black Keys, performing “Breaking The Concrete,” the title track from the then-new Pretenders album.  In the original post I wrote that we brought you these clips in honor of the birthdays of David Lynch, Snoop Dogg, Bill Maher, Michelle Malkin, Alan Parsons, Malcolm McClaren, Lewis Grizzard and Slim Whitman the following Tuesday. Coincidentally, that was also when Barack Obama was inaugurated.

There’s more low-fi shaky DEVOBAMA below….

“Girl U Want” by DEVO

“Going Under” by DEVO

“Uncontrollabe Urge” by DEVO

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 43

This week we zip back to December, 2014 for an RFC MINI SHOW featuring the acoustic Blues mastery of Raymond Wallace, presented in glorious black-and-white. Raymond has been a fixture on Charleston’s music scene for decades and is a longtime friend of Radio Free Charleston’s host and producer, and your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci.

Wallace first appeared on the fourth episode of Radio Free Charleston back in 2006, and it’s always a treat to hear this man perform. This week we present three songs by Raymond, recorded at The Third Eye Cabaret at Fireside Bar and Grille, located above Little India Restaurant in Charleston. Big thanks to Eric Meadows for the audio mix.

New Local Music and Book News

The PopCulteer
January 22, 2021

We have two great local projects to tell you about today, and the first is the eponymous debut album from Unmanned, an all-female trio of Charleston music veterans who describe themslves as “3 gals from Charleston, WV jamming some rockabilly surf punk.”

All three members, Pepper, Katie Ann and Misty, have appeared on the Radio Free Charleston video show before, but not all together in one band. It’s really cool to have a new album from Unmanned to play on RFC’s radio program next week.

Friday night at 9:30 PM, Unmanned will go live on Facebook with Maiden Voyage, a free streaming album-release concert, with plenty of extras and surprises planned.

I have been a huge fan of all three of these talented musicians, and it’s going to be a joy to hear them making music together.

Visit their Facebook page and the event page for more details, and head to their Bandcamp page (and some other streaming services) to download the full album.

Probing Alienation

Next up with turn to the literary world with the debut novel from an acclaimed West Virginia filmmaker.

Inalienable: An Alien Abduction in Pre-Civil Rights Appalachia
written by Lisa Tignor
ISBN: 9798594035676
Retail Price: $12.99

This is not a review, since I haven’t got my hands on a copy of this book yet, but consider this a heads up that a friend of PopCult has a new project out (and please excuse the joke headline).

Longtime PopCult readers may remember Lisa from her film, Finding Big Pink, which I wrote about back in 2018. Her debut novel is the result of having newfound down time due to the COVID pandemic shutting down production of her next movie.

Allow me to borrow copiously from the press release…

Inalienable: An Alien Abduction in Pre-Civil Rights Appalachia is a book ostensibly about alien abduction, which, when you dig deeper, is also about racism and social change.

The story takes place in 1961 in very rural Appalachia. A mixed-race couple moves to the area so Calvin can work as an educator and social activist. They experience an abduction, which he wants to put behind them, but his wife, Rose, wants to do more research and get to the bottom of it. After four years of research and therapy, they finally come to terms with what happened to them.

Lisa Tignor is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and tv host who has toured with a British rock band, been jumped on by secret service, visited 30 states, been banned from Israel (according to a letter from the Embassy after writing a letter on behalf of a political prisoner.) and made a disciple of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi lose his cool. Also, in the early 90s she tried to convince Bob Woodward to tell her who “DeepThroat” was. She fears leaving behind a boring obituary.

I don’t think Lisa has anything to worry about on that front.

You can order Inalienable: An Alien Abduction in Pre-Civil Rights Appalachia from Amazon now, or contact Lisa directly at writerlatignor@gmail.com to purchase it directly from the author.

Radio Notes

You may have noticed that your PopCulteer did not deliver a promised episode of Radio Free Charleston Thursday.

The truth is, while I am still slightly under the weather and my voice is a bit shot, I also was distracted Wednesday by one of the most wonderful things thatI have ever witnessed in my lifetime: The end of a corrupt, inept and downright evil regime that nearly destroyed our country…and that was not for lack of trying.

So while I was honestly raspy and unpleasant to listen to, I was also too damned happy to do anything resembling work.

So next week I’ll deliver all-new episodes of my programs on The AIR, and I’ll try to get my fellow hosts to crank out new material too, to make up for this week of repeats.

Meanwhile, keep checking back with PopCult as we bring you all of our regular feature and ramp up the book, comics, music and toy reviews.

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