Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: October 2017 (Page 3 of 4)

The RFC Flashback: Episode 72

montage72fbRadio Free Charleston’s seventy-second episode, “Sulu Nation Shirt,” was posted in June, 2009, and it contains a lot of “firsts.” This episode featured music from The Scrap Iron Pickers and Whitechapel District. We also had a guest appearance by The Chemical Valley Rollergirls, who were just getting started back then. Host segments were recorded at a CVRG practice at Skateland in Campbell’s Creek. We also have Frank Panucci’s “Porklips” in this edition of RFC and a 90 Second Art Show.

This was a fun show to produce, with a cool host location and lots of action. It was really cool having Scrap Iron Pickers on. This instrumental progressive metal powerhouse was real bright spot on the local scene, and ithey left a legacy of great music.

Whitechapel District is rarely performing these days, but you never know when they’ll make a return. Of course, the Chemical Valley Rollergirls are also still going strong and winning bouts all over the region. The original production notes can be found here.

Random Items for Friday The 13th

13-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-friday-the-13th-franchiseThe PopCulteer
October 13 , 2017

Today is Friday the 13th, and true to form, your PopCulteer is a bit under the weather. In fact, that’s why there were reruns this week of Beatles Blast and Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR. Three weeks of working 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week took it’s toll and I had to slow way the heck down for a bit. We shall soldier on with our normal Friday column, but it’s going to be a series of short items because my brain is still flickering like a flourescent light.

The Bakery Update

The Bakery is the name of the all-ages venue that is under construction now at the former Purity Bread Factory on Charleston’s West Side. I told you about it a few weeks ago. Progress is being made. This 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.

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. Shortly The Bakery will have a gift registry set up at Lowes, so that you can purchase the tools and supplies that they specifically need, and donate them directly to the cause. Details are still being worked out on that, and I’ll post links and instructions once it’s all set up and ready to go.

Charleston desperately needs an all-ages venue, and The building desperately needs a major tenant, so this is a match made in heaven.

Drive-in Saturday Night

Don’t forget that Saturday night Ridenour Lake in Nitro plays host to Terror At The Drive-in as part of the Nitro Festival of Fright. I wrote about it HERE. Go read up on it, then go out and enjoy it.

Continue reading

Thursday and Friday on The AIR

The rest of the week looks cool on The AIR as we bring you new episodes of The New Music Show, Radio Coolsville, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and The Third Shift.  Listen in at the website, or on this cool embedded player…

Thursday we bring you a replay of this week’s new Radio Free Charleston at 2 PM, followed by a classic RFC International at 3 PM. Friday it’s time for an all-new Radio Coolsville at 2 PM and a new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 3 PM.

You can soak in the complete schedule right here, so you can plan our your end-of-week internet radio listening!


Drive-in Movies Return To Nitro This Saturday

22228464_1688951454456575_3648426274935105296_nIt’s true, even if it is just for one night. On Saturday, October 14, the second annual Nitro Festival of Fright will turn the parking lot at Ridenour Lake into a Drive-in Theater as they present “Terror At The Drive-in.” The automotive movie screening caps off a day that starts at 4 PM and features pumpkin carving, local artists, food vendors and tons of events for the entire family to experience a little pre-Halloween fun.

There will be inflatables, a coffin ride, a zombie shoot, and pumpkin races for kids (and kids-at-heart) to enjoy. J.R. Earls, a terrific local artist will be on hand to draw “scare-ictures.” Psychics will be there to ask you to roll down your windows so they can tell you how the movies end. Local horror author Edward Holsclaw will attend, and there will be ghost hunting with the Ghostbusters West Virginia Division. There will even be a “Trail of Terror” haunted trail.

The Drive-in Movies are the big attraction. At dusk it all begins with It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Just like in the latter days of the drive-ins, you can tune your car’s FM radio to a channel to hear the sound. After Charlie Brown, you can get down with the work of Danny Boyd, West Virginia’s horror movie pioneer. Both his locally-made horror classics, Chillers and Invasion of the Space Preachers will be among the scary movies shown. Danny will be there, as will Eliska Hahn, who played Nova in Space Preachers. It’s always great seeing Danny and the evening may even turn into a bit of a reunion if other actors from his films show up.

This is the brainchild of Jim Caudill and Tim Arnott (Tim being of Third Floor Comics and Collectibles fame). Those two, along with an army of volunteers, have put this all together to entertain the public, and it’s all free (except for a one-dollar donation to the Cub Scouts for the haunted trail, and the price of food and whatever wares the vendors have to sell). This looks like loads of fun, the movies are free and there’s plenty of stuff for the entire family.

It all happens at Ridenour Lake in Nitro, starting at 4 PM this Saturday.


New Radio Free Charleston, Swing Shift, Curtain Call, Marking Out on The AIR!

10-10sched-airEven with a holiday-shortened week we are giving you BRAND-NEW episodes of many of our fine original programs! This week we’re bringing you Tuesday and Wednesday’s schedule together so that you can have plenty of time to arrange your life so that you can enjoy the fine programming on our internet radio station, The AIR. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM it’s a new Radio Free Charleston that opens with a track from “Rancho Extreme,” the new album by Aaron Fisher. You can order “Rancho Extreme” from his website and enjoy the whole thing for yourself! It’s top-notch, original music.

After we hear from Aaron, this week’s RFC opens up a time capsule from 1989. We play the entire “First Step” local music sampler cassette that was put together by Steve and Tana Lister.

You’ll get to hear tunes from Brian Diller and the Ride, Big Money, Territories and more. We wrap up the show with a couple of ore recent classics. We’ll post the full playlist for RFC at the end of this post.

At 3 PM it’s time for a new installment of The Swing Shift. Our weekly primer in all things Swing opens with Louis Jordan performing “I Want You To Be My Baby,” and it begins a bit of a musical journey as we will feature different artists covering that song on at least our next four episodes…maybe more. Our new hour of Swing Music also includes tunes from Stan Kenton, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer, Fats Waller and more. Look for this playlist below, too.

10-11-schedWednesday we expect a new episode of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle at 1:30 PM, and then at 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch opens up the show with “Almost Like Praying,” the benefit song composed by Hamilton‘s Lin Manuel Miranda to benefit Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief. The rest of Curtain Call runs the gamut of musical theater with tunes from Spamalot, In Transit, Guys and Dolls, Fun Home, Come From Away, Jersey Boys and more.

At 10 PM you can catch the latest from the world of professional wrestling, as Betty Rock and Matt BelVillain brung us a new episode of Marking Out.

And now, here are the playlists we promised you…

RFCv4058                       Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM

Aaron Fisher  “Fire Trucks”

First Step sampler:
Slick Six  “Terri Ann”
Debut “Free Your Mind”
Night Fire  “Change”
Big Money “Words On The Street”
Spyce  “Freeway Rider”
Territories  “Ghostown”
Act 1  “Winners”
Xtasy  “Give Me A Chance”
Tempest  “What It’s Like To Be Me”
Annex  “Blindsided”
Sound Advice  “Say That You Love Me”
Brian Diller and the Ride  “Don’t Stop at Anything”

Todd Burge and Kathy Mattea  “Change”
Pepper Fandango  “Red Shirt Blues”

The Swing Shift 032          Tuesday at 3 PM

Louis Jordan  “I Want You To Be My Baby”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy  “Jack You Dead”
Keely Smith  “Jump Jive and Wail”
The Jive Aces  “In The Mood”
Christian McBride Big Band  “Thermo”
Louis Prima Jr.  “Blow”
Lady J and her Bada Bing Band “Believe Me When I Lie To You”
Brian Setzer Orchestra  “Your True Love”
Fats Waller  “Ain’t Misbehavin'”
Ringo Starr  “Shake It Up”
Sugarpie and the Candymen  “Single Ladies”
Indigo Swing  “Reet Petite and Gone”
Stan Kenton  “Jump For Joe”
Smoking Time Jazz Club  “Snag It Up”
Hot Sugar Band  “Jumpin’ At The Woodside”




Monday Morning Art: Columbo Day



Since we begin this week with a holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to start it off with a salute to that holiday. Columbo Day is observed every year to celebrate the life and career of Lieutenant Frank Columbo, the persistant, if somewhat disheveled, Los Angeles Homicide Detective who entertained television audiences from 1968 to 2003.

So today, as the hard-core fans don their ruffled raincoats and crumpled fedoras, squint, and ask “Just one more thing…” in his honor, we decided to bring you a digital painting of the good Lieutenant, as portrayed by actor, Peter Falk.

Happy Columbo Day! To see the image larger, just click on it.

It’s a well-known fact that Peter Falk was a huge fan of progressive rock. That explains the guest appearances by Robert Fripp, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Ian Anderson and Jurgen Fritz on Columbo. In his honor, our sister internet radio station, The AIR, will be running a marathon of Prognosis, presented by Herman Linte, all day today. Check it out on the website, or on this handy little embedded player…

Sunday Evening Video: The Go Gos Live At Palos Verdes High School, 1981

gogos-band-1982-bb14-2016-billboard-650-1548This week our Sunday Evening video showcase belongs to The Go Gos, the most successful all-female rock band in history. The earliest incarnation of the band formed forty years ago (some sources say 1978, but 77 seems more likely), and we were inspired to pick them for this week’s spot because their lead singer, Belinda Carlisle, has just released a new album, Wilder Shores, that takes Bhuddist chants used in Kundalini Yoga and sets them to music with pop song structures.

I was so impressed that I opened last week’s Radio Free Charleston International with one of the tracks from that album. You can hear that repeated Sunday evening at 10 PM and Tuesday evening at 11 PM on The AIR.

Getting back to the Go Gos, in honor of their anniversary year, I decided to take you back to 1981, the year they broke big with their debut album, Beauty and The Beat, and let you see the band in concert at Palos Verdes High School in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

Lest any of you think that the Go Gos aren’t cool enough for PopCult, I must remind you that none other than the legendary West Virginia punk band, Clownhole, covered their song, “We Got The Beat.”

So there.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 71


0montagefbRadio Free Charleston number 71, “Golden age Batman Shirt” was originally posted in May, 2009. This episode of Charleston’s local music, film, animation and weirdness program included new music from WATT4, vintage music from Hitchock Circus, a Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie, and a special appearance from IWA East Coast‘s Mad Man Pondo and a friend.

We concluded “Mark Beckner Month” with two songs from his Nashville band, Hitchcock Circus. This was a homecoming for Mark, who was a regular on the original RFC radio show as a member of Go Van Gogh and The Tunesmiths.  Mark is still making excellent music.

WATT4 was recorded at The Blue Parrot.  We were very lucky to score an appearance in this episode by the late Dave Brockie, also known as “Oderus Urungus” of the band, GWAR. Dave was nice enough to have recorded a couple of spots for Radio Free Charleston, and you can see them, presented in character as Oderus, in this episode of RFC. We were lucky enough to meet Dave, and he was a nice, funny and humble man who just wanted to entertain people. It was a real shock to learn of his passing. Thanks to Bo Vance and Mad Man Pondo for helping make these videos happen.

“Too Much Fighting On The Dance Floor”

wv_stateThe PopCulteer
October 6 , 2017

{Updated 10-7)

Our headline this week is a quote from a song by The Specials called “Ghost Town.” It was about the violence in the clubs in England in the early 1980s that was killing off the Ska music scene. And it’s appropriate to use it here because of a recent incident that took place in Charleston, one that has a direct connection to the situation in the UK nearly forty years ago.

I am writing this piece as a blind item. The reasons for this are many. I have not been able to contact the police officer in charge of the investigation and don’t want to do anything to hinder the process. Also, I don’t want to further sensationalize this story. The raw truth is bad enough.

Almost two weeks ago, in the restroom at a local music venue/bar, a member of one of the bands on the bill that night was severely beaten by a member of another band. There was some imagined slight a week or two earlier that was followed by harrassment and a series of online threats. There are witnesses. The police were called and the victim spent the night in the ER.

This was a brutal and savage beating. It was ten days before the swelling went down enough for the doctors to determine if reconstructive surgery would be needed. Luckily, surgery will not be required, but the pain, bruises, fractured skull and facial bones and broken orbital bones will linger.

The accused attacker is a member of a well-known local band and a convicted felon. Immediately after the attack he took off, realizing that his previous record would land him in prison for this vicious beating. As I go live with this post, I have not been able to determine whether or not he has been apprehended. (Update: I have learned that the attacker turned himself in to his probation officer the next day. Details of this article will be edited to reflect this fact)

This is all bad enough, but the problem has been compounded. The victim’s wife was berated for calling the police, and has been hassled online for even mentioning the attack on social media. People have gone so far as to suggest that she keep quiet “for the sake of the local music scene.”

This is nauseating. I cannot stress how absolutely wrong-headed it is to think that sweeping a violent and brutal felonious assault under the carpet would, in any way, help the local music scene. Rather, it will do the opposite.

There is only one appropriate response to this incident: The attacker should be fired from his band immediately, or that band should not be booked until the case is resolved.  Any club that books this band, knowing that one of their members is accused ofa  violent act can be seen as essentially condoning the attack.

I hope that this poorly-thought-out attempt at a cover-up ends abruptly. The music scene can’t be perceived as supporting the attacker in this case. If anything, a benefit show should be organized to help with the medical bills that the victim incurred from this attack.

Charleston’s music scene has yet to recover from the shooting of Jimmy Beasley back in April, 2014. Jimmy is doing better than anyone expected after taking 16 bullets, including two to the head, but the mere fact that such a shooting took place, just a few feet away from the front door of one of Charleston’s most popular music venues put a chill on attendance of the shows at the Capitol Street bars.

signs_career_is_on_the_wrong_track_bands_artists_independent_musicians_diyThat shooting was entirely out of the control of the bar owners. It was not a security issue or anything that could have been “fixed.” It was two dangerous men with guns trying to kill somebody over something trivial. Both men are in prison now, but the music scene has yet to recover from the sense of danger that going downtown now engenders. People realize that this was far from typical, but it still contributes to a sense of insecurity that is not good for business. More often that not, talented musicians in Charleston play to empty, or near-empty bars.

This more recent violent episode (which did not happen at a Capitol Street bar) could very well have a detrimental effect on attendance at the venue where it took place, and it’s going to hurt business in general in the short-term, but a cover-up would do far more damage. If there are no repurcussions for what happened, the perception will be that there is no justice and that you’re taking your life into your own hands if you go out to hear music in Charleston. I already know plenty of people who feel this way.

We can’t have that. Charleston’s music scene has been worn to the nubs. The influx of aggressive homeless panhandlers into town this summer, combined with over-zealous meter maids, onerous user fees and streets that seem to be in a constant state of construction have made it far too easy for people to look elsewhere for their entertainment. There are some very good, positive things in the works, but we have to find ways to encourage them without trying to whitewash our problems.

The Bakery, which I’ve written about before, is preparing to open up part of its space as a non-profit all-ages venue. Charleston desperately needs an all-ages venue. We have nothing to introduce teens to the joys of live music. I want to see this succeed where so many other attempts at an all-ages venue have failed, but no parent is going to allow their kids to go to a show in Charleston if the word on the street is that convicted felons can brutally beat people and get away with it. I’m sure the folks in charge of The Bakery know full well that security is going to be a major undertaking, but they’re also in the sad position of paying for the sins of others. In this case they need to make sure to never book any band that the attacker is in, and they need to see to it that this matter is resolved quickly and justly.

ourshowisfullI’ve been a vigourous and enthusiastic supporter of the local music scene for nearly thirty years. I’ve played bands on the various incarnations of Radio Free Charleston, I’ve designed flyers, I’ve promoted shows here in PopCult.  I still play local bands on RFC on The AIR and do whatever I can to spread the word about the remarkable talent we have here. I’m not happy with the current state of malaise in our music scene. We have incredible artists producing amazing music, and the audiences are dwindling. We can’t afford to make mistakes like trying to cover up an attack of this nature. It WILL backfire. If nothing is done, then bands will continue to play to empty houses.

The Charleston music scene is not a particularly violent one. We’ve had this incident and the Beasley shooting, but compared to other cities we’re extremely peaceful.  We are nowhere near as violent as the club scene was in London in the early 80s. What hurts is the perception of the public. People need to feel safe when they go out to hear music. Otherwise they will stop going out. Charleston is learning this now. PopCult will revisit this story once an arrest and, hopefully, a conviction occur.

Update: Since this article was originally posted, some additional information has come to my attention, and I have incorporated that into the post. One person was upset that I mentioned the shooting from 2014 along with this latest incident. I stand by that. Whenever I try to get some people to go to a show in Charleston, I am met with people saying that they simply don’t feel safe after that shooting. I have been a tireless advocate for Charleston’s music scene for a long time. I hate to see it portrayed in a negative light. To me, the attempted cover up of this assault was worse, and worse for the scene, than the assault itself.

“but this is all like the end of the world”

pr-devestation-01It’s easy to become overwhelmed and even desensitized to the horrors that we see flashed before our eyes, seemingly every day, due to natural disasters. The devestation in Puerto Rico is massive and tragic, yet people are not responding the same way they would if Hurricane Maria hadn’t happened so soon after Harvey and Irma tore through Texas and Florida.

I’m going to try not to get political here and talk about the embarrassment and shame that we should all feel as Americans over the way the people of Puerto Rico have been treated. That’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of decency.

However, I fear that the message of how bad things are down there is simply not being taken seriously. When folks who should know better are cracking jokes, acting like everything is fine, and even telling outright lies about it, we need to expose the truth.

Ray Flores is an online toy-collecting friend of mine of many years. He’s probably the world’s top authority on Ideal’s Super-Queens, the fashion doll line that complemented Captain Action. After being out of contact with the world for two weeks, he finally got this text to one of our mutual friends, who shared it in a Captain Action mailing list, “Hi …barely get signal …comes and goes…we got hit hard…going through a lot…no food…no power…barely water…long lines for gas and food markets…once there…nothing left…no banks opened…almost no money…hospitals in need of meds…plasma…insulin and dialysis…dead animals everywhere…houses lost roofs….thank goodness mine is made of bricks…but this is all like the end of the world…not even trees as most were pulled from the ground… seldom internet signal….this is terrible….sorry for mentioning all this…but its all so depressing…. I cant get enough signal to txt anything there….thanks my friend….and take care..”

pr-devestation-03“but this is all like the end of the world” Let that sink in. This is a United States territory. These people are citizens.

Understand, the reason the official death toll is so low is because there aren’t enough aid workers to count the bodies piling up in the morgues. Without vital meds, more people will die. One hospital lost sixteen patients on ventilators because they had no power. This is indeed a disaster on par with Hurricane Katrina, and the government response has been almost as inadequate.

The potential exists for thousands of more people to perish in the coming days and weeks if emergency aid does not speed up dramatically.

The reason I’m sharing this here in PopCult today, rather than a book review or news about toys or music, is because this is simply more important. You can still help. One reliable charity, one which does not waste all the money donated to them on fundraising activities, is Operation USA. You can donate via credit card through their secure server, and you can opt-out of any further contact. You also have the option to direct your donation to specific disaster areas.

pr-devestation-02You can also donate blood, if you’re able, to the Red Cross. It may not go directly to Puerto Rico, but with the disasters in Texas and Florida, and the attack in Las Vegas I’m sure that stocks are low all over the country, and they can use all the blood that they can get.

There are other organizations that can use your help. Local churches and non-profits may be asking for donations. Remember that cash is better than physical objects. It might make you feel good to donate a 12-pack of Bounty paper towels, but it’s going to take a lot of money and effort to transport it to an Island out in the Atlantic Ocean. If you can give money, do so. Don’t just be a spectator. Do something to help.

If all you can do is get the word out, do that. Do not remain silent and do not let anyone forget that this is an emergency and they need help now. This is not over. People can still be saved.


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