Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: July 2019 (Page 1 of 4)

Life Speaks Returns, Along with New Beatles Blast and Curtain Call

Wednesday afternoon on The AIR, you can tune in to new episodes of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle, Beatles Blast and Curtain Call.  You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Wednesday at 1:30 PM, Michele Zirkle returns to The AIR with a new episode of Life Speaks for the first time in several months. Michele has been off promoting her second book, exploring options for a movie based on her first book and has also been expanding her scope as a teacher, but she found the time to give us a new edition of her show. In Why Wounded Healers Dive into the Dark Michele shares insights from a week training in Colorado with Best-Selling author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” Dr. Pinkola Estes

You can hear this special edition of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle Wednesday at 1:30 PM, with replays Thursday at 11 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 7 PM and Sunday at 9 AM.

At 2 PM on Beatles Blast, yours truly hosts the eighth of a ten-part look at rare and unreleased music by The Beatles. For most of the summer, Beatles Blast will follow this format and bring you The Lost Beatles Project. This will be a treat for the die-hard fans as we mine the best of the recently-released archive projects by the band, and mix in rare releases and wild remixes from their band and solo years. We won’t be posting playlists for these shows because the whole point is that each of these programs will be a revelatory surprise.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 9 PM, Friday at 11 AM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call.  This week Mel brings you highlights of this year’s winner of the Olivier Award for best musical in London. Come From Away tells the true story of what happened when 38 planes carrying almost 7,000 travelers were ordered to make an unexpected landing in Gander,Newfoundland, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. Come From Away opened on Broadway in March, 2017 and was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A London production of the show opened in February, 2019 and was nominated for a total of 9 Olivier Awards and won 4, including Best New Musical, which is why we’re bringing it to you this week.

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight..

RFC, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift All New Tuesday on The AIR

For the first time in a couple or three weeks on The AIR, PopCult’s adjunct radio station, we have an afternoon of all-new-programming.

Tuesday on The AIR we deliver new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. You may cursor your way over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this happy little embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston.

This week’s show opens with a brand-new song from John Radcliff, and then, as part of our year-long celebration of Radio Free Charleston‘s 30th anniversary it morphs into a mixtape of live, local music that was recorded around Charleston by yours truly for the RFC video show between 2007 and 2010.

You’ll hear exclusive live tracks from Jeff Ellis, Lady D, Punk Jazz, The Clementines and Raymond Wallace. You’ll also be treated to twenty minutes of the Spurgy Hankins Band, recorded at The Blue Parrot. We even toss in a recording of The Paris Project, performing classic jazz at the UUC, which has never been heard since it was performed all those years ago.

You should be able to click on the episode number above the playlist that follows, and go to a page where you can download a low-res version of this week’s show.

Check out the playlist:


John Radcliff “Body”
Punk Jazz “Little Star”
Raymond Wallace “Variations”
Lady D “Go Higher”
Spurgy Hankins Band “Blue Parrot Set”
The Paris Project at UUC
The Clementines “Soundscapes”
Jeff Ellis “Fade”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8PM, exclusively on The AIR.

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Monday Morning Art: Flatlands


We have finally left the city that never sleeps and this week our art is a moving landscape…literally. It’s a digital painting based on a sketch I did on my phone weekend before last on my way back home from the quick trip to Chicago that I’ve been telling you about for the last week. Mrs. PopCulteer had gone off to the dining car for dinner, and I stayed in our room, gazing out the window at the flat Indiana horizon that was speeding by.  I had a stylus handy and did a quick sketch on the phone, and then when I got home I dropped it into the computer, blew it up to a larger size, and painted over it. I tried to capture the twilight colors of the sky and the brisk motion of the grass going by in the foreground.

If you wish, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, this week we bring you a Monday Marathon featuring four episodes of Prognosis from the few months last year that yours truly was the host. That will lead to the rest of the day’s programming.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Herman Linte’s show, Prognosis, now holds court on Mondays. This week we bring you a new episode, loaded with great progressive rock. At least we hope we will. As we write this, we are still awaiting transmission of the show from the UK. However, Herman has kindly provided us with a playlist, so we can tell you what to expect.

Prognosis 049

Billy Sherwood “Hold Quiet”
Alan Parsons Project “The Naked Robot”
John Johanna “Parker Tallis Version”
Edison’s Children “The Confluence”
Flaming Lips “The Sparrow”
Hawkwind “Brainstorm”
David Bowie “Space Oddity (Clearvale Demo)”
Heather Findley “Winner”
Emerson Lake and Palmer “Pictures at an Exhibition (live)”
Paul Gilbert “Havin’ It”
King Crimson “ElectriK”
The Move “Feel Too Good”
Kansas “Song For America”

Prognosis will be followed by a classic episode at 5 PM, and then by replays of last week’s Psychedelic Shack at 7 PM, Radio Free Charleston at 8 PM and RFC International at 9 PM. Then at 11 PM we kick it back over to Prognosis, with an eight hour marathon of great progressive rock.

Sunday Evening Video: The Beach Boys Reunion Tour

It’s summer, and this video is available. Sort of a no-brainer here. It’s the original boys of summer, The Beach Boys, reunited for their 50th anniversary a few years back with as close to the original line-up as possible. In concert in Japan, in 2012. This is probably not going to happen again, so enjoy this terrific broadcast from Japanese television.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 191

This week The RFC Flashback acts like a retailer…and brings you Halloween in July!

Radio Free Charleston 191, from October, 2013, was the first of a two-part Halloween special that we recorded at ShockaCon the previous month. What makes this show unusual is that I included interviews, mixed in among the musical performances. We also brought you the sights and sounds of Charleston’s original horror convention.

The music we featured was by ShockaCon guests HarraH, The Renfields, The Big Bad and The McGees. You will also see interviews with Jeremy Ambler, Eamon Hardiman, Danny Hicks and The Fiend,

The show also includes the promo clip I assembled for Kanawha Players’ live stage production of “Night of the Living Dead.” Most of this clip uses the audio from the original movie trailer, cut to scenes we shot at a dress rehearsal.

Next week we’ll bring you the second part of this Halloween special.

A Sponge, A Squid and a Starfish Walk Into A Bar…

The PopCulteer
July 26, 2019

Longtime readers of PopCult may know that Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, is a big fan of SpongeBob Squarepants. I like the little yellow bastard, too. Back in the long ago days when the two of us were writing “Animated Discussions” for the Charleston Gazette, we had transitioned to mainly writing movie reviews by the time SpongeBob made his TV debut, so we didn’t devote too much time to watching the show or writing about it.

We did review the first movie, but it wasn’t until I got Mel the cast recording of The SpongeBob Squarepants Musical that Mel became almost evangelical about the denizens of Bikini Bottom. We even made a trek to New York last year to see the musical on Broadway (you can read about that HERE). We even have a SpongeBob unboxing video coming your way soon.

My point is, we loves us some SpongeBob Squarepants.

Last week while we were in Chicago (exactly a week ago as I post this) Mel found out that a bar in The Windy City had converted a backroom into “The Salty Spitoon,” the rough and tumble bar for tough guys in the SpongeBob cartoon. It was a block away from a stop on the Brown Line in Lincoln Park, and we were headed that way anyway, so as soon as they opened last Friday at 3 PM, we stopped by for a Krabby Patty and took tons of photos.

Replay, The bar playing host to this art installation with food and drink, is a pretty amazing place. It’s a bar stocked with zillions of pinball machines, video games and other arcade attractions. All the games are FREE, and since they serve alcohol, nobody under 21 is admitted. I mention those two things together because they can both serve as selling points.

Being non-drinkers, this still seems like a great place to spend a lot of time. We might get shooed away after a while, but it’d be fun while it lasted.

Anyway, the amount of detail that went into the pop-up SpongeBob bar/restaurant is amazing. They painted the walls, installed life-sized statues, augmented those with cardboard standees, and they even duplicated the tables and decor of The Krusty Crab. This installation has been extended to August 4th, so if you’re in Chicago you have about another week or so to experience this cool cartoon wonderland in person. This is Nirvana for any die-hard fan of SpongeBob Squarepants.

We took tons of photos (both of us) and we whittled them down to a couple dozen cool images for you to see the wonders of this super neat tribute to SpongeBob. Note that we got there a few minutes early, and that’s why there aren’t many people in the photos. By the time we left, the place was packed, and it was only 4 PM.

The original announcement. It proved so popular that they extended the event.

You still have time to go see this cool enviropub experience.

Photobombed by Patrick and SpongeBob!

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Loads Of Stuff To Do

Your PopCulteer is still running a little slow, so the photo essay we planned for today has been moved to Friday. In its place, we shall share graphics for some really cool stuff happening near (or at least within driving distance of) Charleston this weekend. Remember, you can check the Gazette-Mail for a much more comprehensive list of things going on in town this weekend. I’m just bringing you the cream of the crop.








Hot Chicago Memories (Of Last Weekend)

If you read yesterday’s explanation of why The AIR is in reruns this week, you know that your PopCulteer was in Chicago last weekend. We made a brief trip up and were able to squeeze in a chance to see “True West” at Steppenwolf, plus we did some other fun things in the 95 degree weather (117 with the heat index).

I’m currently paying the price for my excusion into the high heat, but it was worth the hassle and, luckily, didn’t hit me until we got back home.

We stayed in a different hotel than we normally do. The Wit, a DoubleTree Hotel right on the edge of The Loop, turned out to be a wonderful choice, with a great view of the Marina Towers (that’s them at the head of this post), and terrific amenities. The fact that the front door is maybe thirty feet from the nearest L platform was an added bonus.

We were only in town for about fifty hours, and we crammed a lot of good times into that short stay. We hit Lincoln Square where I did something I hadn’t done for more than a year. I videotaped a band. You’ll have to stay tuned to PopCult to find out what’s going to happen with that footage. We also got in some shopping and visited a very cool pop-up experience that you will see in this space tomorrow.

Also, we saw “True West,” and when we hopped on the Red Line back to our hotel, we noticed Francis Guinan, a Steppenwolf ensemble member who played a role in that play standing on the platform, and since we’d seen him in three other plays, we followed him onto the train and stuck up a conversation. He was very gracious and kind and generous with his time, and we spoke until we all got off on the same stop. We were at our hotel, and he had another 40 minutes or so of commuting ahead of him before he was home, but it was a wonderful way to end a great day and I want to thank him for his time once again.

I didn’t take too many photos on this trip (I didn’t even take my phone to the theater), but I did get a few cool images to share. You’ll see some of them below, and a very special set of photos tomorrow.

Another view of the Marina Towers, in full daylight, as seen from our hotel window.


Look down a little and you get a great view of The Chicago River, which is best viewed from within an air-conditioned hotel room, at least on a day like this.

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The AIR is under the Weather

It’s rerun time again this week on The AIR as we give our listeners a chance to catch up with some of our favorite episodes of our music programs from the last few months. It’s still great stuff, and you can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

As many of you know, The AIR, PopCult’s internet radio component, is pretty much a one-man show (with considerable help from Mel Larch and our friends at Haversham Recording Institute in London). That means that when I’m not feeling great, something’s gotta give, and this week it’s the new programming on The AIR.

By way of explanation, your PopCulteer has made no secret of the fact that he has an auto-immune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis. This disease causes my immune system to attack the membranes that transmit nerve signals to my muscles. In the reverse of the way things usually work, the more I use a muscle, the weaker it becomes. It can be very serious, but I am fortunate to have an extremely mild case. I am not completely off the hook, though.

One of the major pitfalls of MG is that its effects worsen in extreme heat and cold. If you were in the United States last weekend you can probably see where this is going. Last weekend my lovely wife and I made our way to Chicago for a quick theatre trip. The heat index in the Windy City was about 117 degrees last Friday and Saturday.

Now, the way heat affects me (and keep in mind that every MG patient is affected differently) is that I do fine for a day or three in extreme heat, and then it hits me like a ton of bricks and I feel like five kinds of hell for a few days.  That’s where we are now. I had planned to record Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift yesterday, but I just wasn’t up to the task. I made the decision, since the Haversham shows are scheduled to take this week off anyway, to just use reruns for everything this week so that I can recover from the trip and put together a few special photo essays from the trip, as well as cover some of the news out of SDCC and write about the revival of Toys R Us.

So we’ll be bringing you episodes of our shows from April and May this week, and The AIR will return with all-new programming next week. You can see the schedule below…

Monday Morning Art: 42nd Street Canyon


Your PopCulteer’s artistic muse is still New York City this week, as we give you a digital painting of a view of 42nd Street, done up in the style of pre-WWII magazine paintings. It’s sort of like being awed and inspried by nature, only in an Urban setting, without so much nature involved. I would’ve tackled this as a piece of real-world art, but my fingers are not cooperating during this hostile-to-Myasthenia-Gravis weather we’re having. I’m not sure how much more milage I can get out of my May trip to The Big Apple. This series might be over now, or it might have a week or two left in it. You’ll just have to check back next Monday morning to see.

Meanwhile, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, this week we bring you a Monday Marathon featuring four more episodes of Syndey’s Big Electric Cat that we didn’t run during the marathons last Thursday and Friday. We still want to salute Sydney Fileen and her recent birthday. plus a lot of our listeners enjoy listening to New Wave Music all day long. That begins at 7 AM.

At 3 PM Herman Linte’s show, Prognosis, now holds court on Mondays. This week we bring you an encore of a recent program, since the Haversham crew are now off on holiday in Spain.

Prognosis will be followed by a classic episode at 5 PM, and then by replays of last week’s Psychedelic Shack at 7 PM, Radio Free Charleston at 8 PM and RFC International at 9 PM. Then at 11 PM we kick it back over to Prognosis, with an eight hour marathon of great progressive rock.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

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