The seventieth episode of Radio Free Charleston,”Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch Shirt” is online now!
This edition of your local music, film, animation and art webcast is jam-packed with music and other short bits of coolness. The music is from Barebones, the accapella group who debuted on RFC just a few weeks ago, plus we continue “Mark Beckner Month” with a couple of performances that feature Mark one solo, and one supporting his brother Stephen while jamming on an old Go Van Gogh tune.
As if the music weren’t enough, we also have a 100-second art show, this time showcasing the work of Leia Bell, a promo clip for “Viva le Vaudeville,” and the debut of “A Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie.”
Host segments were shot in front of the loverly Clay Center located right in the loudest part of Charleston (no one-take show this time, folks). We shot these Monday evening for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to plug this weekend’s opening of “West Virginia Words & Music,” which the Charleston Stage Company is presenting at The Walker Theater in the Clay Center. Second, Melanie Larch, RFC Big Shot and our host segment camera person, was there already after a WVSO board meeting, so it was easy to just shoot there, too.
The Charleston Stage Company is indeed kicking off “West Virginia Words And Music” this weekend. We were not able to fit a proper preview into our schedule, but several of the featured performers have appeared on Radio Free Charleston, so we dipped into our sizable stash of unaired gems and came up with a recent performance by Barebones, the accapella wonders who first appeared on RFC 65. Rebecca Kimmons, the lead singer of Barebones, is prominently featured in “West Virginia Word And Music,” so we decided to bring you a song by this great vocal trio.
In addition to Rebecca, Barebones also includes her husband, Bill Kimmons, and Mark Davis, who somehow manages to fit Barebones in among his other gigs as a member of Comparsa and The Voo Doo Katz. This time we bring you Barebones take on a musical sermon that’s around a century old, “You’d Better Let That Liar Alone.” We recorded this at LiveMix Studio just a few weeks ago while Barebones was recording their latest CD. We’ll keep you posted about when that CD will be available.
Of course, “Mark Beckner Month” continues on RFC. I hope Mark isn’t too mortified. It is his birthday week, after all. I first met Mark when he was in Go Van Gogh, back in the radio days of RFC. Even then, Mark had a side project, “The Tunesmiths,” who we also featured on the show. In fact, “Zombie Dancer,” which Mark, his brother Stephen and Alan Young played on our April Fool’s show last month was actually a bastardized version of Mark’s old Tunesmith’s number, “Ballet Dancer.” I remember Mike Lipton being very enthusiastic about The Tunesmiths, back in the day.
We feature Mark performing an almost acoustic version of his Hitchcock Circus song, “I Want You.” Mark is joined halfway through the song by his brother Stephen on electric guitar. Stephen also shot this video, I think at their parent’s house (correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, Stephen). I did a little post-production to make it look like a webcam video, which sort of creates a narrative for the video. Next week, you’ll get to hear this song by Mark’s band, the Nashville-based Hitchcock Circus.
Over the end credits you get to see a rough one-camera video of a late-2007 jam session at LiveMix Studio, with Mark supporting his brother Stephen on the Go Van Gogh classic, “Shut Up, I Love You.” Also in on this jam are Alan Young, RFC Big Shot Brian Young, and Kai Haynes. This was just a case of musicians getting together to play music for the sheer joy of it, and I stumbled in with a camera to capture part of the evening.
The whole idea behind “Mark Beckner Month” is to promote the May 30 Hitchcock Circus show at LiveMix Studio. You can go hear the band and also see how much they’ve changed LiveMix Studio since we shot the jam session less than two years ago. We’ll have more details on the show next week.
Our 100-second Art Show features the work of Leia Bell. We caught the collection of works by this rising star at The Good News Mountaineer Garage Gallery during Art Walk in April. Chip Tantlinger and Marshhouse presented this show, and many of the pieces have migrated to The Bluegrass Kitchen, where they can be seen (and purchased) throughout the month of May. You should check out this wonderful work, and try the catfish. It’s great!
We also have a promo clip for “Viva le Vaudeville.” Bellydancer extraordinaire, Jenna Brooke Smith, is assembling this show, which will take place May 30 at The La Belle Theater in South Charleston 7 PM to 9 PM. I’m hoping that it’s the first of many. Jenna has a great idea to bring together some of the area’s more unusual performing acts in a setting like old-school vaudeville. Check out her website for more information.
Finally, this episode of RFC brings you “Burn The Hairy Man,” the debut of “A Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie.” This feature will alternate with our animation for the next few weeks. Created and filmed by a mysterious collective of artists, musicians, filmmakers and craft peoples, many rumored to be suffering from a variety of mental ailments or dependency issues, these films arrived in a plain padded envelope, with the only return address listed as “Prestone County.”
As I have managed to piece together from the sketchy emails the groups sent me, these were filmed late last year in rural West Virginia, shot on vintage film stock and distressed to make them look as if they were simply spliced together from old public domain films. I can’t quite tell if we’re dealing with brilliant Dadaists, or a new generation of Ed Woods here, but the films are pretty wild, so we’re showing them here.
That’s it for this week’s Radio Free Charleston. Next week we wrap up “Mark Beckner Month” with a performance by Hitchcock Circus. We also have the RFC debut of WATT 4, and tons of other cool stuff, including a message from an extra-dimensional visitor–no lie!