Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: October 2017 (Page 2 of 4)

Monday Morning Art: Eye Test



Okay, stare at the image above for thirty seconds with both eyes. Now cover your left eye and look at for fifteen seconds. After that, cover your right eye and look at it (intensely) for twenty seconds. With both eyes open, look directly at the above image for another fifteen seconds.

You’re almost done. Next you need to look directly at the image while rapidly blinking each eye alternately. The last step is for you to turn your head (either to your left or right is fine, which ever is more comfortable). Turn your head as far as you can while still keeping the above image in your line of sight.

If all goes well, you should see lines and circles in a variety of colors. If you don’t, contact an opthalogical health professional immediately. And click the image to see it bigger.

Sunday Evening Videos: Skeletor, Insurance Salesman

epic-skeletor-content-2-2017-840x460 For some unfathomable reason, insurance companies worldwide seem to be under the impression that their best possible spokesperson is Skeletor, the villain from the 1980’s Masters of the Universe cartoons who faced off against He Man.

I can only surmise that market research told them that their target demographic had fond memories of the cartoon, and would pay extra attention to any televised ads featuring the character. I know that a generation grew up watching what was, for the most part, a really terrible cartoon. I also know that the character has camp value as a frequently-parodied subject on Robot Chicken.

What I can’t quite figure out is how they make the leap from “Remember that really goofy character from that crappy old cartoon?” to “I’ll bet people will rush out to buy insurance from us if we put him in a commercial.”

I can offer up the fact that I was so impressed by this worldwide non-sequitor that I’m writing about it here in PopCult, so there must be something to it. Above you see the Geico ad featuring Skeletor that’s currently running on US television. Below you’ll find a remarkable clip that contains two currently-running live-action commercials plus a “making of” featurette for Money Supermarket, an insurance company in Great Britain who also does business in a few European markets.  These will show you Skeletor and He Man in a whole new light.

To be fair, these commercials have way higher production values and are far more entertaining that the cartoon ever was. Go figure.


The RFC Flashback: Episode 73

montage174This week we bring back one of the most powerful musical episodes of Radio Free Charleston. From June, 2009, RFC’s 73rd episode, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie Shirt” was shot around downtown Charleston with street art in the background, and it featured music from OVADA and The Limbs. We also have a Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie.

In the background of this show, you will see part of the “Coming And Going” art installation by Mark Wolfe, and “Celebrate,” by Amy Williams with Chris Dutch. Mark’s work featured life-sized black-and-white photos of some of Charleston’s most notable people.

“Celebrate” was an evolution of Amy’s “Press 2 For Spanish” street work from 2008, expanded to include Italian and Arabic. You’ll see those peeking over my shoulder and around my back in the host segments for this edition of RFC.

The dynamic music comes from Ovada, a collection of great musicians from Parkersburg that included John Radcliff and the late Jospeh Hale, and also from The Limbs, a one-man-band from Denver. This episode is considered by many to be a high point from our first 100 episodes. You can read the original production notes HERE.

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

2013-rfc-logo-shot-001The PopCulteer
October 20 , 2017

I miss doing the Radio Free Charleston video show. If you’re a longtime follower of PopCult, you know that a variety of health issues have kept me from producing RFC since early last year. I’m doing remarkably well for someone with Myasthenia Gravis, but thanks to a combination of meds, side-effects and age, I am not operating at the energy levels that I managed to maintain for the decade that I was producing the show. I was basically doing the work of five people most of the time.

It’s not all health-related. I am spending much of the time that I used to spend shooting and editing the RFC video show on other pursuits, mainly my internet radio station, The AIR. In the time that it would take me to shoot, edit and mix the audio for a twenty-to-thirty minute video show, I can produce ten hours of radio programming.

Radio Free Charleston was born as a radio show way back in 1989 on WVNS radio at 2 AM on Saturday nights. Even in that dead timeslot we brought in more listeners than the morning and afternoon drive shifts did. So it’s cool to have RFC back on the radio, even if it’s only internet radio, where I can play much more local music each week. I get a real kick out of making the radio shows, not only Radio Free Charleston, but RFC International, Beatles Blast and The Swing Shift. I really wish Charleston had a local swing band, but I don’t believe we’ve been lucky enough for that since Mel Gillespie passed away. I’d love to shoot video of a swing band.

rfc0002And I have to be honest. I really enjoyed going out and meeting and recording the bands, but editing and producing the final shows was a solitary and boring job. I don’t miss having the computer crash just as the final version of a show is about to finish rendering. Don’t get me wrong, I liked making the RFC video show, but for the last few years I was churning it out on an almost-weekly basis, and it got to be a drag.

I lan to bring the show back, but when and how is still up in the air.

Early last year I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, and at the same time I was launching the internet radio station that we now know as “The AIR,” and the video show simply had to go on the back burner. I actually have a “lost” episode that is completely shot, with host segments recorded in Senoia Georgia, but I haven’t made the time to finish editing it.

I needed the break to focus on my health, and now that my health is more than stable I’m thinking about the best way to bring back Charleston’s longest-running direct-to-YouTube local music show (yeah, I’m getting a little specific there, I know). I’m open to suggestions. I know that I want to shoot bands in The Bakery once they’re up and running, and I have a list of bands that I haven’t had the opportunity to record yet. If you know of any new bands that you think would make for good video coverage, please mention them in the comments.

It is getting harder for me to go out to bars to record bands because of the meds I take. I’m usually in bed by the time most bands go on stage. Back when I seemingly had super powers this wasn’t a problem, but now that I’m a mere mortal (and no spring chicken at that), if I know the opening act won’t go on until after 11 PM, I don’t even bother charging the cameras. I have shot and posted video of The Velvet Brothers, Bad Blood and Membrane Cell this year, so I know I can still do it, but I need to work on my motivation. I know not to expect the bars in Charleston to suddenly have the bands start playing at 8 or 9 PM. Decades of people waiting until after 10 PM to start getting ready to go out has sort of killed that idea. There’s no use paying a band to play to an empty room.

rfc-000montageI will tell you, I’m not going to be cranking out weekly episodes again. It was great to prove that it could be done, but I think it reached a point of diminishing returns. People got so used to there being a new show each week (either RFC, or The RFC MINI SHOW) that they took them for granted and never got around to watching the new episodes. There are some incredible episodes of The RFC MINI SHOW on YouTube that have yet to reach 200 views.

It’s more than a little disheartening to put so much work into a program that showcases such incredible local talent, only to have it be seen by a tiny handful of people. Going forward Radio Free Charleston will likely only have six to ten new shows a year. Each show will be more of an event. I’ll take time to make a slicker product, and hopefully broaden the viewership. The AIR reaches thousands of listeners each week. It’d be great to at least match that with the RFC video show.

Until I make the leap back into the video world with RFC, I hope you remember that you can listen to the radio version of Radio Free Charleston every Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR (with replays all week long), and you can also hit up the RFC Archives at our long-neglected companion site, and watch the old video shows, if the links are still working. We produced over 200 episodes of Radio Free Charleston and almost 80 installments of The RFC MINI SHOW, so you can still get a taste of the local music scene. You can also just search for us on YouTube.

Plus, every Saturday, we re-post a classic episode of Radio Free Charleston here in PopCult. We started bringing them to you in order, from the beginning, back on our tenth anniversary. I promise we’ll have new shows before we run out and have to start over again.

A Double Shot of Radio Free Charleston and RFC International on The AIR!

rfc-rfci-logoWe posted our full week’s schedule here on Monday, but wanted you to know about two shows hosted by your PopCulteer that you can hear this afternoon on our internet radio station, The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this convenient little embedded player…

At 2 PM you get another chance to hear the best local music around on this week’s Radio Free Charleston. We open with a track from the new Byzantine album, “The Cicada Tree,” then we take a trip through the RFC Archives, mixing brand-new music with tracks from every decade going back to the 1960s.

Check out the playlist:


Byzantine  “New Ways To Bear Witness”
John Radcliff  “RocknRolla”
Farnsworth  “For You”
Hawthorne Heights  “Stranded”
Feast of Stephen  “Escape The Man”
The Heavy Editors  “Take This Town and Kill It”
Pale Nova  “I’m Gone”
Speedsuit  “Long As Yesterday”
The Rose Garden  “February Sunshine”
Stark Raven  “Talking To The Walls”
Jack Griffith  “Under The Sun”
Hurl Brickbat  “Subliminals”
Hasil Adkins  “The Hunch”
The Science Fair Explosion  “Appetite for Apology”
Scarlet Revolt  “Tomorrow Never Comes”
Kerry Hughes  “Tequila Mockingbird”
Bobaflex  “Hey You”

Right after that blast of local goodness, at 3 PM,  we bring you the International version. Radio Free Charleston International is where I get to play whatever I want. This premiere episode is loaded with two hours of my favorite obscure tunes–you won’t find a hit in the bunch–by some of my all-time favorite artists. Here’s the playlist:

RFCI 044

air-7-5-17Utopia  “Junk Rock (A Million Monkeys)”
Klaatu  “Around The Universe”
Eddie Jobson  “Green Face”
The Buggles  “Rainbow Warrior”
Frank Zappa  “Tinsel Town Rebellion
Rick Wakeman  “Wooly Willy Tango”
Queen  “The March of the Black Queen”
Kate Bush  “Get Out of My House”
Wall of Voodoo  “Elvis Gave Dora A Cadillac”
Lene Lovich  “What Will I Do Without You”
Crack The Sky  “A Night On The Town (with Snow White)”
The Stranglers  “The Men They Love To Hate”
Elvis Costello  “From A Whisper To A Scream”
Andy Prieboy  “Psycho Ex”
Pretenders  “Tatooed Love Boys”
The Dickies  “Pretty Please Me”
DEVO  “Going Under”
YES  “Release Release”
Renaissance  “Camera Camera”
Split Enz  “Nobody Takes Me Seriously”
Oingo Boingo  “Mary”
Julian Cope  “Beautiful Love”
Harlequin  “Sweet Things In Life”
Brian Wilson  “Wanderlust”
Joe Jackson  “Slow Song”
Shriekback  “Nemesis”

You really ought to tune in for the RFC onslaught on The AIR. It’s a life-changing experience!

More On The Bakery

22282061_290166328149275_2018736838990578618_nThe Bakery is the name of the all-ages venue that is under construction by The Charleston Music and Arts Collective at the former Purity Bread Factory on Charleston’s West Side. I’ve been trying to keep PopCult readers up to date about their progress and how you can help. Progress is indeed being made. Last week a building permit was granted to allow for demolition and construction to turn the space into top-flight performance area, complete with ADA-compliant restrooms. There’s plenty of work to be done, and plenty of ways you can pitch in.

The non-profit in charge of all this can still use donations. You can make a cash donation through their Generosity Page, and a novel idea is in the works for those of you who want to make more tangible donations. As I mentioned last week, The Bakery now has a gift registry set up with some much-needed items from Lowes, so that you can purchase the tools and supplies that they specifically need, and donate them directly to the cause.  Visit their MyRegistry page for full details on how this works.

If you want to get more involved and offer your time and possibly do some manual labor, you should like and follow the Charleston Music and Arts Collective Facebook page for information on upcoming meetings and benefit shows.

Charleston desperately needs an all-ages venue, and The building desperately needs a major tenant, so this is a match made in heaven. You can help turn this into a safe place for kids and adults to gather and enjoy music and the arts in a non-drinking environment.


Comix Review: The Charlton Arrow v.2 #1

tcav201The Charlton Arrow v.2 #1
written by Nicola Cuit, Paul Kupperberg and Roger McKenzie
drawn by Joe Staton, Mike Collins, Barbara Kaalberg, Tim Kennedy, Ben Torres and Dan Reed
Lettering and color by Mort Todd, Matt Webb and Ben Torres
published by Charlton Neo/AC Comics

I’ve been telling you about this comic for months, but I finally have my hands on a copy. The Charlton Arrow is now available from Diamond Distributors, and that means that any comic book store worth its salt should be able to order it for you. I understand that sales of this comic have been so brisk that it’s largely sold out nationwide. However, you may still find it in your local comic shop, or look for autographed copies on eBay.

After six self-distributed issues, the Charlton Neo folks have started the numbering over with this issue and it’s a pretty cool new beginning. The Charlton Arrow is an anthology comic with a mix of superhero, adventure, and macabre stories. Some are serialized, while some are great stand-alone short stories. As with the prior incarnation of The Charlton Arrow, this is a really fun comic book that cuts through the BS of mainstream comics to simply entertain.

tcav202The big news with this issue is the return of E-Man in a story by his creators, Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton. Staton was able to purchase the rights to his character from Charlton before the bulk of the Charlton superheroes were sold to DC Comics in the early 1980s, so E-Man has lived on with new stories published by a variety of comic book companies over the past four decades, one of which (Digital Webbing) had ties to Charleston, West Virginia.

Now he’s landed back at Charlton for the first chapter of a story that introduces a new member to E-Man’s supporting cast, and sees the marriage of E-Man’s old back-up strip character, Mike Mauser. This is the first of a three-parter, so we basically get “Act One” of the story. Cuti and Staton are in top form and obviously enjoying the reunion with their old creation.

Following that we get a clever short story featuring another Cuti/Staon creation, Colonel Whiteshroud, Monster Hunter. This tale, written by Paul Kupperberg and drawn by Mike Collins and Barbara Kaalberg, sees the intrepid Monster Hunter on a mission in a mine in Wales.

tcav203Next up we have the debut of Mr. Mixit. This is just a ridiculous amount of fun. Created by Roger McKenzie and Steven Butler as a sly tribute to Steve Ditko, this is the origin story of a kid who encounters a bizarre comic book spinner rack and winds up with super powers. His super-suit is an amalgam of many Ditko creations, with elements of Spider-man, The Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Creeper, Doctor Strange and probably a few I haven’t identified yet. This is just his origin story, and I’m already chomping at the bit for more adentures (which you can find at the Pix-C Comic website).

This is the kind of comic that I would have loved as a kid, and still do as an aging pop culture blogger.

After that we get another introduction to a new strip, Edison Corliss Industrial Steam and Ironworks. With a script by Paul Kupperberg and art by Tim Kennedy and Barbara Kaalberg, this is basically a Steampunk adventure set right before World War II, and happily, there’s plenty of Kirby-inspired machinary behind the Steampunk. This is another intro that has you wanting even more.

tcav205The last full story is new chapter of Deathwatch, continuing from the previous volume of The Charlton Arrow. This story by McKenzie, with art by Ben Torres, mixes up the Grim Reaper with a superhero strip and creates a moody revenge saga.

Finally we have a pinup page for Dan Reed’s Space Adventure. Like everything else in The Charlton Arrow, it leaves the reading eagerly looking forward to the future. The Charlton Arrow has retained all of it’s charm and sense of fun with the move into comic books shops. We can only hope that this is the beginning of a trend.

If you are extremely lucky, you may still be able to find The Charlton Arrow v2 # 1 in your local comic shop. If not, check eBay, Charlton Neo’s Editor Mort Todd’s website, or The Charlton Arrow Facebook page for details on how to get your own copy. Mort’s website also has all of the earlier Charlton Neo comics available.

Halloween Haunts The AIR Starting This Week

week-schedule-10-16It’s another great week loaded with new programming on The AIR, and this week we also get in the Halloween Spirit as we trickle out our treats for you, starting Monday night. You can see a schedule with highlights accompanying this post while you tune in at the website, or listen right here on this embedded radio doohickey…

Monday we offer up brand-new episodes of our afternoon specialty music shows, and then bring you radio drama in the evening. At 2 PM Lee Harrah pulls you into Harrah’s Hard & Heavy with an Ozzy Osbourne concert from 1981, featuring the late Randy Rhodes on guitar. 3 PM sees Herman Linte present Prognosis with two hours of music by Curved Air.

Monday at 7 PM we kick off five hours of Halloween-centric radio drama that includes radio episodes of The Twilight Zone and Mystery Theater, as well as a dramatization of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. This is just the opening volley of our Halloween programming that will kick of in earnest next week.

Tuesday we’re coming at you with new episodes of Radio Free Charleston (at 10 AM and 10 PM) and The Swing Shift (3 PM). We’re sure that both of these shows will be fantastic, but we can’t offer up details because we start producing them right after we post this schedule.

Wednesday an all-new episode of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle airs at 1:30 PM and 7 PM and will feature Michele talking about a recent radio interview. At 2 PM Beatles Blast will look at The Beatles and The Blues. On a new Curtain Call at 3 PM Mel Larch will present the best of Broadway, once again. The Comedy Vault at 11 PM presents another classic episode of The National Lampoon Radio Hour.

Thursday at 2 PM we replay this week’s new Radio Free Charleston, then we’ll launch right into an all-new Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM, which this week is devoted to hidden gems from years past.

Friday at 2 PM it’s time for an all-new Radio Coolsville, hosted by DJ Betty Rock, courtesy of WMUL Radio in Huntington. At 3 PM we are going to re-present last year’s Halloween episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, with the spookiest Halloween music from the New Wave era. Next week Sydney will return with a new Halloween special.

Friday evening at 9 PM Jay and Jared take The Third Shift into Halloween overdrive with a new episode at 9:30 PM (preceded by a replay of last week’s show).

Saturday you get a chance to hear all of this week’s music specialty shows starting at 7 AM. Then at 7 PM we have three all-new episodes of The (BS) Crazy Show. Midnight sees Radio Free Charleston take over all night long.

Sunday we will feature more Halloween programming in The Talk Block at 11 PM, followed by replays of Marking Out, The Comedy Vault, Big Electric Cat, Radio Free Charleston and RFC International. At Midnight you get to Swing All Night with a marathon of The Swing Shift, which is very popular in Europe, by the way.

Every weekday at 6 PM you get treated to a half-hour of new music (both local and non-local) on The New Music Show, and at 6:30 PM you can catch up with The (BS) Crazy Show.

That is your guide to programming on The AIR for this week. Enjoy!

Monday Morning Art: Spy Lady



We kick off this week with a digital painting of a Spy Lady. She may not look it to the untrained eye, but she is a deadly killing machine. Luckily, she’s on our side…or is she?

Stationed in the Bahamas, this stealthy seductress is waiting for a certain foreign agent to fall into her web of seduction. Once he gives up his secrets, they may never find his body.

She’s probably got a knife stashed somewhere in her bikini. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Videos: Ghosts of RFC Halloweens Past

image321Tonight we repeat an annual tradition and get into the spirit of the season by re-presenting our classic Radio Free Charleston Halloween shows. If this all seems familiar, it’s probably because we find some way to do this every year.

This time around we look at the Halloween specials from our first few years. You will see classic RFC performances by Clownhole, Whistlepunk, half the Pistol Whippers, Lil’ Guy from South Park Enteprises, Big Money, Go Van Gogh, Under The Radar, and more, plus all sorts of scary animation and guest appearances.  After the jump you’ll find the three-part Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater, and our classic “Big Buddy” show from 2009.


Our first two-parter, now combined into one show. See Rudy Panucci get killed and resurrected as a ghost.

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