Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Saluting The Braxton County Monster

While your PopCulteer and his lovely wife, Mel Larch, were galavanting around the highways of West/Central West Virginia last weekend, we got a wild hair to visit the Flatwoods Monster Museum on the home stretch of our premature leaf-peeping tour.

The museum is smallish, one room in an old Fountain drugstore, I think, but it’s filled with tons and tons of cool stuff devoted to the Flatwoods Monster, or as I’ve always called him (or her), The Braxton County Monster.  I’m going to cop the description of the fabled incident from their website, along with a live link…

It was almost fully dark on the evening of September 12th, 1952. Edward May, Freddie May, Neil Nunley, and Tommy Hyer, all young residents of the town of Flatwoods, were playing on the lawn of the Flatwoods Elementary School. Suddenly, a bright light streaked across the sky overhead and appeared to crash into a hillside on G. Bailey Fisher’s farm. To find out how the story end, click here.

I knew about The Braxton County Monster long before I’d ever heard of Mothman, and the additional element of an extraterrestrial origin makes it much more up my cryptozoological alley. I have to admit, I have an affinity for the space aliens.  Sorry Mothy, but I’m all-in for the BCM. Not that you aren’t cool in your own way.

If you know Sutton, the museum is hard to miss. If you don’t, it isn’t hard to miss at all.  My advice…when Google maps says to take a hard left, take a hard left. Check their Facebook page to make sure they’re open.

Anyway, we found the place on a quiet Sunday. A very friendly attendant left us to our own exploratory devices, and I’m bringing you some of the photos today. I didn’t want to show everything, because you really ought to go there yourself. The museum doubles as The Braxton County Visitors Center, so you can find information on all sorts of other things you can get into around the area (heck, there’s a Bigfoot Museum on the same street).

Since I’m in a Braxton County Monster Mood, I’ll give you a heads up that you might hear about Braxxie again this weekend, in PopCult’s Sunday Evening Video.

Without any further ado, here’s some photos of the museum, with a few captions…

The front door only hints at the weird, wonderful treasures within.

Upon entry we are greeted by Dale Morton’s rendition of the Monster, in mascot uniform form. Not the last cool thing created by a friend that we’d see here.

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Premature Leaf Peepulation

Last weekend yours truly and Mrs. PopCulteer took a leisurely weekend mini-trip, obstensibly to see the lovely colors of the fall foliage. It was a pleasant and relaxing trip, but to be honest…we went too soon. The leaves have not yet burst forth in their full technicolor glory.

We still had a wonderful time, and we could see a few examples of the trees that turned sooner than those around them…sort of like the first few people who timidly get on their feet for a standing ovation, not knowing if the folks around them would join in.

So I got a few decent photos of leaves, early in the process of turning colors, while we drove the leafy triangle of Charleston to Parkersburg to Clarksburg and back. Most of these photos were taken along Route 50, but a few are from Interstate 79. We might do this again in a couple of weeks when the colors are more spectacular. It all depends on how far ahead I can get on The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide. As you can see, the sky ranged from a grim and dreary gray to a bright and sunny blue. It was the luck of the draw.

We made a couple of other fun stops along the way, and you’ll see photos from one of those tomorrow. But now, sans captions (’cause I’m feeling lazy), here are some leaf photos…

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Re-Gifting RFC Tuesday On The AIR

Tuesday on The AIR  your blogger and radio show host once again shirks his duties and delivers a patchwork edition of Radio Free Charleston. Preparations for the start of next week’s PopCult Gift Guide have devoured my time, so you get to revisit the recent past of 2019Since my gift guiderly duties are what pulled me away from producing a fresh show this week, I decided to go back to the final episode of RFC Volume Four, which also doubled as an entree in the 2019 PopCult Gift Guide. That makes up the first hour of this week’s show.

For our second and third hours, you get a swell vintage episode of RFC International, from around the same time. To hear all this wonderfulness you simply have to point 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.

At 10 AM and 10 PM you can hear this compilation of RFC volume 4, episode 125 and RFC International 072.   This year I probably won’t devote a show to the PopCult Gift Guide like I did back in 2019, but that’s because many local bands will be getting full-fledged entries in the guide this year. I’ll tell you more about The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide on Friday.

Check out the playlist:

RFC V5 067

hour one
Beggars Clan “Glass of Water” “Beautiful World”
Emmalea Deal “The Light” “Everything I’m Not”
David Synn “Sadie The Time Traveler” “The Mirror”
Fletcher’s Grove “Tree Hugger” “Straight To The Moon”
The Big Bad “Transylvania Is For Lovers” “Ghoul Girl”
Time And Distance “Waiting” “Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades”

hour two
Andy Partridge “Humanoid Boogie”
Moron Police “Beware The Blue Skies”
The Hatters “Обижен”
Wax “Right Between The Eyes”
Argyle Gooslby “Blood Cave”
Hans Gruber and the Die Hards “American Hero”
The Beautiful South “36D”
Residente “La Sombra”
Cherie Currie & Brie Darling “Something In The AIR”
Mark Knopfler “The Boxer”
Hollywood Vampires “Heroes”
PP Arnold “Different Drum”
The Pretenders “Stop Your Sobbing”
Buck O Nine “Tuff Rudeboy”
Ringo Starr “We’re On The Road Again”

hour three
Julian Cope “Psychedelic Revolution”
Waddy Wachtel “Wadraga”
Billy Sherwood “Sailing The Seas”
Terry Draper “Everything Will Be All Right”
Rupert Hine “Anvils In Five”
Paul McCartney “Dominos”
The Gift “Long Time Dead”
Fish On Friday “Godspeed”

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 Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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.

After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and NOISE BRIGADE at 2 PM. At 3 PM we have two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.

The PopCult Gift Guide starts Monday, but you should also expect an all-new three-hour RFC next week.

Monday Morning Art: Imaginary Cityscape

This week’s art is the last of our Inktober drawings, and for this one I decided to give myself some extra burdens.  This was a timed drawing. I did it in 20 minutes. Also, I used no photo reference or rulers or straight-edges.  I decided to attempt a city scene, using my imagination.

And…I did it left-handed (I’m a rightie, normally). Due to Myasthenia Gravis, I could hold the pens better in my left hand the day I drew this. It’s cheap markers on airbrush paper (not a great combination, by the way–the ink smears like crazy).

I probably screwed up the dimensions of the buildings, which should range from three to six stories high, but don’t appear to be in scale with one another.

I was happy enough with it that you get to see the results, as sloppy as they are.

If you want to see it a bit bigger, just click on it.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a recent episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a recent edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  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.

We gave the Haversham folks the week off so that they could prepare for Halloween.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

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

At 8 PM, we brng you an encore of Michele Zirkle’s Life Speaks Special, featuring her appearance on the Myrony podcast. That’s followed by an all-night preview marathon of this weekend’s Halloween programming on The AIR.

Sunday Evening Video: PopCult Halloween Shorts

We are less than one week away from the big day for candy, ghosts and goblins. The drunken weekend parties will also be happening, but there’s a chill in the air, and the mood is getting spooky.

Once again kids will get to Trick or Treat on the most spookiful night of the year.

To get you in the spirit of the holiday, tonight PopCult’s Sunday Evening Videos will look at a few of our own videos that celebrate the true meaning of Halloween.

First up, it’s a look at Ben Cooper Halloween costumes.

Next it’s a cool Halloween-themed game that we saw at Toy Fair.

Of course we have a short, stupid, Halloween cartoon for you.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 113

RFC 113 "Jazz From Hell Preview" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

This week we depart our usual chronological trip through the Radio Free Charleston archives to go back eleven years to a pretty major departure from our usual format. Back in 2010, for some reason, I thought it would be good idea for the RFC Halloween special to make a whole cheesy horror movie, in black-and-white, and present it as an episode of the show.

I had the bright idea to make “Jazz From Hell,” named after a Frank Zappa album, this movie attempted to be a cross between “White Zombie,” “Dragnet,” and “Reefer Madness.”  It’s about a Mad Scientist who creates a mutant strain of marijuana that turns people who smoke it into zombie jazz musicians.

It wasn’t a bad idea. In fact, it was a really good idea. However, the execution fell a bit short. Basically I forgot the number one thing they teach you in film school…don’t start shooting without a script. I thought I could apply my usual guerilla filmmaking techniques to a narrative film, and, well, it’s eleven years later and the film remains about 60% unfinished.

However, I had enough footage on hand to slap together an extended trailer, which became our 2010 Halloween Special.  It’s about 13 minutes of the movie, plus a promo spot for HallowEast by KD Lett. This was during the period that I was uploading Radio Free Charleston to Vimeo instead of YouTube, so when I compiled a YouTube playlist of all our Halloween shows, this one got left out. You will see the rest of the RFC Halloween shows next week. For now you get to see its of the unfinished goofball horror epic, “Jazz From Hell,” starring yours truly, with Melanie Larch, Chelsea Cook, Lee Harrah, Craig Auge, Duncan Stokes, Donnie Smith, Abby Rhodes and Steven Allen Adams.

You can read the original production notes HERE.

And you can see an additional short trailer right here…

Andrea True Connection, IRS Records and Michele Zirkle Returns- Friday On The AIR

The PopCulteer
October 22, 2021

Friday afternoon we offer up lovely and remarkable new episodes of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, and we offer up a brand-new Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle special Friday evening! The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. 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 salute to the Disco artist who inspired the creation of this show. Mel will tell you all about it in this hour-long presentation of the best of the first two albums by Andrea True Connection. Check out the playlist…

Andrea True Connection

“Party Line”
“Keep It Up Longer”
“More, More, More”
“Fill Me Up (Heart To Heart)”
“Call Me”
“What’s Your Name, What’s Your Number”
“You Make Love Worthwhile”
“Life Is What You Make It”
“N.Y., You Got Me Dancing”
“White Witch”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays this Saturday at  8 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with a terrific new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat dedicated to another seminal New Wave record label (and management company), IRS, or The International Record Syndicate. Run by Miles Copeland (brother of Stewart Copeland, drummer for the police), IRS was sort of the American counterpart of Stiff Records in the UK, and brought many British acts to these shores, along with developing an amazing slate of American New Wave stalwarts.

Just check out this star-studded playlist to be amazed…

BEC 079

The Police “Roxanne”
The Go Gos “Can’t Stop The World”
Squeeze “Cool For Cats”
Concrete Blonde “Tomorrow Wendy”
Wall of Voodoo “Blackboard Sky”
Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgeway “Don’t Box Me In”
The English Beat “Mirror In The Bathroom”
The Cramps “Human Fly”
Skafish “Sign of the Cross”
The Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen In Love”
The Stranglers “Get A Grip (On Yourself)”
Magazine “Shot By Both Sides”
Fine Young Cannibals “She Drives Me Crazy”
Oingo Boingo “Violent Love”
Klark Kent “Office Talk”
The Alarm “Sixty-Eight Guns”
Rennaissance “Tyrant-tula”
Humans “I Live In The City”
R.E.M. “It’s The End of the World As We Know It”
Berlin “It’s A Matter of Time”
General Public “As A Matter of Fact”
Sparks “I Predict”
Fleshtones “Ride Your Pony”
Bangles “Hero Takes A Fall”
Let’s Active “Every Word Means No”
Lords of the New Church “Like A Virgin”
Timbuk 3 “All I Want For Christmas”
Jane Wiedlin “Modern Romance”
The Bolshoi “Please”
Camper Van Beethoven “Pictures of Matchstick Men”
Klark Kent “Don’t Care”

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.

We are not done with the new programming once our music specialty programs wrap up Friday. At 9 PM we welcome Author and podcaster, Michele Zirkle back to our airwaves with a new Life Speaks special. Actually, this is a re-presentation of Michele’s recent appearance on Alysha Myronuk’s podcast, That’s Myrony (my+irony) which chronicles the crazy coincidences that happen in life that we can’t explain…it’s also another word for sign/synchronicity. Michele  shares how her spiritual gifts opened up after she and her family had an unexplainable paranormal experience that eventually required a priest to do an exorcism on her house. What is more “myronic,” this paranormal experience ended up being a huge catalyst of self and spiritual discovery for Michele which she now helps others by teaching mindfulness and is also a holistic healing practitioner and life coach.

It’s a great interview, and you can hear more from That’s Myrony HERE.

We will replay this Life Speaks special program Satruday at 6 PM, Sunday at 7 AM and Monday at 8 PM.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back because we have a fresh post every day.

More Outdoors Stuff To Do

Aside from what I’m posting below, there are tons of things in and around Charleston to keep you busy this fine autumn weekend.  However, I am not confident in suggesting anything that happens indoors because I’m still freaked out over the pandemic. So here are some things you can get into Thursday and Sunday that don’t actually involve you getting into a building.

You should know the drill by now. The pandemic is still not over.  In fact, it’s getting slightly better, but it’s still really bad. If you are fully vaccinated and ready to do your best to stay safe, you should go check this stuff out. Outdoor shows were okay for vaccinated folks to go maskless, but maybe not at the moment. Indoor shows I am not ready to plug at the moment. I hate it, but I’d also hate losing any more readers to COVID.

So use your common sense and stay safe…and support the local scene.

Celtic Calling and Blackwater Press will have a table set up at 120 Capitol Street, (opposite The Kanawha Library) at Thursday’s October ArtWalk in Downtown Charleston.

They will be unveiling plans for next year’s 6th Celtic Calling Gathering in March 2022 and will also be selling copies of the book. I Piped, That She Might Dance by Iain MacDonald (with a foreword by Hugh Cheape). It’s an historical novel based on the life of Angus MacKay (1813-1859), first Piper to the Sovereign, appointed by Queen Victoria.

Mackay, who is one of the most significant figures in the history of Scottish music, died after a long battle with physical and mental illness, though he left behind collections of pipe music still played today. This account of his life traces his long journey, from humble origins on the isle of Raasay to the height of fame in Her Majesty’s service and beyond. His story is one that has long deserved to be told, and Iain MacDonald has obliged in style.

Read the book over the winter, and by the time Celtic Calling comes around next March, you’ll be fully in the spirit of things.

Also happening outdoors this week is DoggieFest, Sunday, October 24th. 3-9:00 at Country Roads Pet Resort, 173 Foxhound Lane Charleston WV.

This is an outdoor even with Live Music. Food. Beverages. Prizes for costumed doggies. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to hear the unspecified bands play as the animal folk frolic and bark and meow along.

This is a benefit for area rescue programs such as: CHASE Healing Fund; For the Love of Cats; Maine Coon Rescue; Sonys Place; and Woofie’s University Foundation.

 Call to learn more at 304-989-2393.

Get Back To The Little Shop Wednesday On The AIR

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you brand-new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call!  You can tune in at the website, or if you’re on a laptop or desktop, you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player lurking over in the right-hand column of this blog.

At 2 PM,  it’s time to Get Back on Beatles Blast. Specifically, we’re going to bring you the Glyn Johns version of the Get Back album, which was rejected by The Beatles and Apple, and was then sacrificed at the altar of the Wall of Sound and became the Let It Be album. However, Johns’ version of the album has been widely bootlegged, and it’s great to finally have an official release as part of the brand-new Let It Be Super Deluxe boxed set.  This version of the album compares very favorably to what was eventually released.

And of course, that boxed set has been released to prime the Beatle pump for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s three-part, six-hour Get Back film, which debuts next month on Disney +. That film has been re-edited out of the sixty or so hours of footage leftover from the original Let It Be movie, which has been heavily criticized for showing the worst aspects of the strained filming process while ignoring the joy and fun the band had while working on the project.

In this hour I bring you the entire Glyn Johns version of the Get Back album, along with an extra track mixed by Johns, as well as some other previously-unrleased gems from the Let It Be boxed set. It’s a crisp, clear look at one of the Beatles more controversial works.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday afternoon.

At 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch jumps the gun a little bit on Halloween and presents highlights of the new 2021 Off-Broadway Revival Cast Recording of Little Shop of Horrors. This show is very special to Mel, since she played Audrey in a production in Charleston back in the 1980s, and it remains one of her favorite theatrical experiences. In this recording you’ll hear Jonathan Groff as Seymour and Tammy Blanchard as Audrey, in a fresh, new recording, produced by Alan Menken, the show’s co-creator.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM, Saturday at 8 PM and Monday at 9 AM. A six-hour marathon of classic episodes can be heard Sunday evening starting at 6 PM, and an all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

RFC is ALL-NEW, The Swing Shift Revisits The 90s, Tuesday On The AIR

Once again we have come to Tuesday on The AIR  and you know what that means. Today we deliver unto you brand-new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift. That’s two all-new programs totalling four new hours of particularly nifty internet radio!  You simply have to poke 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 (If you’re reading PopCult on a desktop, that is. Phone readers have to go to the website).

We have a  killer new Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday.  This week we open with new music from a great new-to-me local band, Safetybelt, and we continue with a pretty darned epic line up of music that includes great local stuff, neato-kee releases from major artists, a few classic tracks and a bunch of stuff from 2017/18 that I just recovered from a once-abandoned hard drive.

It’s a fun show, loaded with great music, and I figure you’ll probably love the holy hell out of it. Our second track this week comes from Julian Daniell, who comes to use from Boulder, Colorado, via Chicago. I think fans of the Quiet Beatle might really get a kick out of his music.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store (live links will take you to the artist’s pages)…

RFC V5 066

hour one
Safetybelt “Sun”
Julian Daniell “Memories”
Andy Prieboy “How Would I Know Love”
Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa “Black Coffee”
Todd Burge with Joseph Hale “Jesus Night Light”
Bob Dylan “All Along The Watchtower”
Rory Gallagher “Hoodoo Man”
The Dollyrots “Breed”
Lost Decades “No Way Out”
Hot Wheels Monster Trucks “Go Big! Go Hot Wheels”
Herbie Hancock “Rockit”
Red Audio “Plasticland”
Scary Thieves “Tell Me Girl”

hour two
Static Fur “Diaspora”
The Renfields “I Was A Teenage Cthulu Cultist”
Dynamite Thunderpunch “Blood Stallion”
Dopapod “Confabulation”
Hello June “Less Than Nothing”
Madness “I Never Knew Your Name”
The Bounty “Turn”
Cassius At Best “Wait”
Simple Minds “Barrowland Star”
Hello June “Home”
Little Nemo “Blue Years”
Tautologic “The Choirboy”
Utopia “The Up”

hour three
The Vandals “National Brotherhood Week”
Sierra Ferrell “Bells of Every Chapel”
Heavy Set Paw-Paws “Distract My Mind”
James Townsend “Talkin’ Hipster Beer Joint Blues”
Timbuk 3 “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”
The Madison 2 “Chains”
Oingo Boingo “Country Sweat”
The Settlement “Prelude”
Karen Allen “Where Ever You Go”
Neil Finn “What’s The Matter With You”
The Supervillains “Home Again”
Midge Ure “The Man Who Sold The World”
The Polecats “John, I’m Only Dancing”

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, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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.


After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and Ska Madness at 2 PM.

At 3 PM we have a brand-new episode of The Swing Shift. This week it’sa 1990s Swing Revival mixtape, celebrating 25 years since the release of Mugsy’s Move, the major-label debut of Royal Crown Revue. We open with two tracks from that album, and then bring you double shots from the other top Swing bands from the 90s. And remember, double shots was how they drank ’em back at the Brown Derby.

Check this playlist.

The Swing Shift 120

Royal Crown Revue “Hey Pachuco” “Trouble In Tinseltown”
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies “Zoot Suit Riot” “No Mercy For Swine”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Beggar’s Blues” “Jump With Me Baby”
Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers “The Busy Woman’s Blues” “Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Mis Thing”
Brian Setzer Orchestra “The House Is Rockin'” “Jump, Jive and Wail”
The Atomic Fireballs “The Man With The Hex” “Drink, Drank, Drunk”
The Jive Aces “Planet Jive” “Think For Yourself”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesdays at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM, Friday at 8 PM and Saturday afternoon only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

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