Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: December 2016 (Page 1 of 9)

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 29

collageAbove you see a remastered version of Radio Free Charleston episode 29, “Pirate Outfit,” our Halloween 2007 show.

This classic RFC features appropriately scary music from legendary Charleston band Big Money (featuring Michael Lipton) and local rapper Lil Guy from South Park Enterprise. Plus, we have scenes from the Radio Free Charleston 2007 Halloween party at the late, lamented Capitol Roasters Cafe, where we hijacked a Whistlepunk show.

rudypirateOur host segments were taped that night, which was chock full o’ costumed frivolity. On top of that, you’ll find our usual mind-hurting weirdness and animation, with a sinister holiday bent.The party was quite loud, and you can barely hear our host in some segments.

In this episode you will also hear a snippet of Whistlepunk during the end credits. We did hi-jack their show and turn it into the RFC Halloween party, so we couldn’t very well leave them off the show. You’ll hear them doing the song “Lost.”

seannchelThere’s more than just music on the show. You’ll also get to see a commercial that loudly promises “Shrunken Heads for all occasions!” A lovely Geisha (Kitty Killlton) and a Japanese robot (Sean Richardson) introduce our animation, which was created by mystery men. An evil puppet turns Rudy into Jared Leto.

Right at the beginning of the show Raymond Wallace nearly destroys Rudy and RFC camera-person Melanie Larch by delivering a two-word ad lib that we had to try desperately to ignore. A Gladiator and a Ghostbuster are in a coffee shop. Subtitles take on a life of their own. This episode was remastered in October, 2013. Original production notes can be found HERE.

In a non-related note, this post is number 550 for 2016. It’s a personal best for this blog, even with the asterisk for coming in a leap-year. I hope all my loyal readers have a safe and happy new year, and come back tomorrow, because PopCult never sleeps. You can always expect at least one post per day.

The Third Shift Goes Into Overdrive on The AIR

tssTonight on The AIR your PopCulteer appears as the guest on our newest show, The Third Shift. Tune in at 9:30 PM as Jay and Jarod interviews yours truly and try to figure out how I manage to function without the use of alcohol. We also talke about other fun stuff and plans for the station in the coming year. You can tune in at the Website or on this happy little embedded player…

The Third Shift is part of our regular Friday night line-up, sandwiched in between Laugh Appalachia and Radio Free Charleston International.  Each week, as you prepare to head out, you can tune in for news and talk about sports, babes and beer, in the case of this week, Rudy.

This weekend, you can check out the station on Saturday and Sunday as The AIR will give you the one, true, final last-chance to hear Christmas Music on The AIR.

We didn’t plan to play our XMAS Mess again, but we had requests from folks who wanted to listen to holiday programming as they take down their tree and decorations and pack them away for another year.

Never let it be said that The AIR does not do whatever it takes to serve our listeners…both of them. Saturday from 7 AM to 8:30 PM, and all day Sunday you can listen to our bizarre collection of offbeat and strange Christmas programming, with just a little normal holiday stuff snuck in to make sure you’re paying attention.


2016: The Year of Mortality

death-year-001The PopCulteer
December 29
, 2016

This is the final PopCulteer of 2016, and I find myself tasked with trying to sum up a year in which death was a constant presence.

That’s a bit hard to comprehend. So many factors played into this year’s pop culture body count. Much of the remarkable number of high-profile passings in the last 12 months was due to simple demographics. A lot of the iconic personalities we lost were beyond the age where dying of natural causes is unexpected. However, we also had more than our fair share of people dying at what seemed to be far too young an age. I found myself abstaining from running obituaries for every famous person who died because I simply couldn’t keep up with them all.

Our society is obsessed with celebrity. To a certain extent we always have been, but it’s certainly been even more the case in the last hundred years, with the rise of motion pictures, and especially in the last sixty years with the coming of television. We care a lot, and have personal connections to, a lot of people we will never actually meet in person.

That’s where demographics come into play. People who are on TV become stars, and people have been becoming television stars for a long time now. When you think of people who made it big in the early days of television, it’s more remarkable that many of them are still living than to think of how many have passed away. When you consider a classic TV program like The Dick Van Dyke Show, which debuted more than fifty-five years ago, and realize that of the main cast, only one supporting player has passed away, it’s sort of mind-blowing.

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15590224_10154591737246999_4237207990117318533_nCharleston and the surrounding areas are loaded with cool stuff to do this New Year’s Eve, as everybody seems intent on ringing out what may well have been one of the most awful years on record.

If you’re looking for stuff to do, first you start with Goodnight, a FREE, family-friendly, alcohol-free concert series that welcomes all to enjoy a night of 45-minute concerts at various venues around Charleston between 6 and 10 PM. on New Year’s Eve. FestivALL is partnering with GoodNight, led by Craig & Amanda Hinchman, for the second year to continue this longstanding event in the capital city. For a full line-up of what happens when, go to the FestivALL website and the Goodnight website for a complete schedule.

That’s not all that’s happening around here. While your PopCulteer and his lovely wife will be marking the beginning of a new year quietly at home, if you want live music, you have no excuse not to head out to one of these killer shows.


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The Weinermobile/Nutmobile Incident

wm-001I am about to provide you with photograhic evidence of the greatest meeting of two different pop culture icons that I have ever been witness to with mine own eyes.

I was there, on North Rush Street in Chicago, when the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was joined by The Planters Nutmobile for a joint promotional stop. This was not publicly promoted in advance. Your PopCulteer just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Let me tell you my story.

It begins in August, 2014, when your faithful correspondent made the awesome trek to Chicago to marry Mel Larch, his long-betrothed love. It was a wonderful, magical trip, but I had some issues that made things less than pleasant. I was at least fifty pounds heavier than I thought I was, and I knew I was overweight. On top of that, it was well over ninety degrees most of the time we were there. I did not enjoy walking around the city much. After about a block, I would blame the heat and slow down.

I was also unaware that I was suffering from Myasthenia Gravis, an auto-immune disorder otherwise known as “grave muscle weakeness.”

Long story short, I didn’t feel much like walking around Chicago back then, but now that I’m getting treatment for MG and have lost a lot of weight, I actually enjoy exploring the city, even to the point of taking a robust jaunt during a bitter cold snap.

On the day in question, Thursday, December 8 to be exact, Mrs. PopCulteer and I took a cab to Water Tower Place, the mall that you saw a few photos from earlier, and I surprised her with my announcement that we would be walking back to our hotel, over a mile away. This is a big deal for me, especially in sub-freezing temperatures.

We strolled down Michigan Avenue, “The Magnificent Mile,” made a few stops along the way–to shop, not to rest–and proceeded to the Shops at Northbridge, where Mel went in search of a hot cocoa while I checked Facebook on my phone. At this point we were just two blocks from our hotel.

When we left for the short walk back to our trusty Hilton Garden Inn, we left the mall, crossed Grand Avenue, and as I prepared to cross Rush Street, Mel let out a shriek…”WEINERMOBILE!’

img_9087There it was, parked in front of the Marriott Hotel’s entrance on Rush Street, the famed Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. I had never been this close to the iconic giant mobile frankfurter while it was parked. I had passed it on the interstate a couple of times, but here it was sitting still…and I had my camera on me.

I looked at my wife, “I must go take pictures of this.”  “Yes, do,” she replied, “Run, run like the wind!”

And so I hied my way down Rush Street, when a mere ten feet into my hie-ing, I spotted the Planters Nutmobile, coming down the street in the general direction of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. I quickly whipped out my camera to grab a shot of both of these legendary behemouths, fearful that they would surely soon part, as such awesomeness could be too much for one street to bear. That photo is what you see at the top of this post.

My fears were unfounded. Well, my fears of not being able to get a good photo of the meeting of the weiner and the nuts were unfounded. My fear of being run over by the Planters Nutmobile was brief, but very real as the giant hybrid-powered legume suddenly swerved in my direction and made a U-turn so that it could park directly behind the Weinermobile in some sort of harmonic convergence of automotive foodstuffs.

Having managed to evade being crushed by the mammoth peanut, I proceeded to take photos to prove that such a thing truly did happen. I even managed to ask Mrs. PopCulteer to take a photo of me standing in front of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and The Planters Nutmobile, for the sake of journalism (and also a really neat profile pic on Facebook). It was such a surreal, magical moment that even the hyperactive jackass in the red jacket who kept jumping into almost every shot (and into heavy traffic more than once) did not bother me.

And here, for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment, photographic proof of the Weinermobile/Nutmobile incident on Rush Street, December 8, 2016…


How can two such marvelous things co-exist on the same street?


Right after this shot, the Nutmobile swerved and headed directly where I was standing.

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More Chicago Photos

img_8954Just so you know, there are a couple of reasons that PopCult has been virtually polluted with photo essays (cool though they may be) for the last few weeks, since the end of the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide, to be precise.

First, I took two week-long trips during the Gift Guide, and on those trips I took tons of photos that I wanted to share with my readers.

Second, recent technical tweaks with the blogging software here at PopCult have seriously limited how many photos I can include in one post.

Whereas in the old days I could stick forty or fifty pictures in a post, now if I try to put in much more than a dozen, the interface page gets all glitchy and sometimes the posts come out blank, which to be frank, sucks when you put as much work into it as I do.

So I had to break these photo essays down into little bite-sized pieces. However, more glitches have popped up, and if I attempt to caption too many of the photos, then it all goes kablooey and nothing comes out either.

So you’ve been getting more photos with less writing. I hope you’ve been enjoying them. My goal is to get everything posted by the end of the year so that we can start 2017 with a clean slate. In fact, after this photo essay of random shots of The Windy City (like the one up top) we only have one more photo essay up our sleeve…and it’s a doozy, so check back for that.

Now the interesting thing is that, after the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide and all these late-year photo essays, your PopCulteer is on track to break his own record number of posts from last year. We do have an extra day in 2016, so it’ll get an asterisk, but still, it’s nice to know that, despite being diagnosed with a major illness and taking more than half the year off from making videos, I still managed to be productive.

So here are shots of Chicago, from a couple of weeks ago. I’ll caption the ones I can get away with.


Chicago by night


…and by day

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Life Speaks and More On The AIR

wed-logoChristmas is finally over on The AIR (except for a relapse, this weekend), so today we revert to our regular schedule, highlighed by a brand-new episode of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum at 1: 30 PM.  You can tune in at the Website or on this happy little embedded player…

After the Radio Free Charleston mini-marathon wraps up at 1PM you can hear the most-recent On The Road with Mel as Mel Larch is joined by yours truly to discuss our recent trips to Georgia and Chicago, and we also give you a recap of the On The Road Gift Guide.

At 1:30 PM (with a replay at 7 PM) on Life Speaks you can hear Michelle Zirkle Marcum’s musings on Winter and the changes of the seasons and how other living things can tell us what we might expect in the future as we approach the end of the year.

The rest of the day sees the return of The Best of the Real with Mark Wolfe, Curtain Call, The Goon Show, Word Association with Lee and Rudy, The Gibby Hunters and The Comedy Vault. Next week we’ll leap into the new year with new episodes and even a new schedule on The AIR.

Unique Thriftique in Stone Mountain, Georgia

tu-016After we met up with our friends Marten Jallad and E.J.White (of JoeLanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention fame) at the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum exhibit in Stone Mountain (remember this photo essay?), they loaded us up in the van and took us to a very cool place. Unique Thriftique & Consignment is a cool store that sells unique, pre-owned items — antiques, musical instruments and equipment, vinyl records, comics, jewelry, hand-made leather purses, artwork, and more.

This place was a trip. It was stocked full of so much cool stuff that this photo essay barely scratches the surface. Our current technical issues keep me from captioning the photos, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so just wipe your eyes and focus, because there’s a ton of fantastic images here for you to stare at.

If you find yourself in Stone Mountain, visit Unique Thriftique at 5385 Five Forks Trickum Rd, Suite B-2 and check out their Facebook page, so you can plan your trip proper. Now look at the pictures. Tomorrow we head back to Chicago.


They have so much cool stuff that they have to hang some of it from the ceiling.


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Non-Zombie Georgia

808_4044There is more to Georgia than filming locations of The Walking Dead. In this photo essay we’re going to look at some random shots taken around Georgia during our Thanksgiving vacation.

To your right you see yet another shot of the famed Senoia Water Tower.

Below you’ll see several more images, many of them with no captions, of cool things your PopCulteer saw while trying to relax on vacation having written over ten-thousand words of the PopCult Gift Guide that he was hoping posted as scheduled without any technical difficulties. They did, and all went well on what was a wonderful trip.

Later today you can expect another photo essay of a really cool store our friends took us to in Stone Mountain Georgia.


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