Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: August 2021 (Page 2 of 4)

Sunday Evening Video: Frenchy and The Punk On RFC

This week we are jumping back exactly ten years to bring you an episode of Radio Free Charleston devoted to the music of our friends, Frenchy and The Punk.  This show has been missing from PopCult for a few years because YouTube changed the embed code and didn’t tell anybody. Since I discovered and corrected that, and because it ten years ago this weekend that the show debuted, I decided to bring it to you in a fresh post again.

In addition to three songs by Samantha and Scott, we also have a short film by K.D. Lett and animation from Frank Panucci.

For the restored full production notes, go HERE. This episode was sort of a pilot for The RFC MINI SHOW, which usually just focused on a single musical artist. We began doing that on a regular basis in 2013.

Rubberband Man vs. MothMan

The PopCulteer
August 20, 2021

We have a new episode of MIRRORBALL, our Disco Music showcase on The AIR plus we have a sad note about this year’s Mothman Festival, so let’s get started…

Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL and encore a recent Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. 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 solid hour of some of the best club hits of the classic disco era. It’s a great show, and I’m just going to drop the playlist right here…

The Spinners “Rubberband Man”
Evelyne Champagne King “Shame”
Average White Band “Pick Up The Pieces”
Alicia Bridges “I Love The Nightlife”
Parliment “Flash Light”
The Sylvers “Boogie Fever”
Kool and the Gang “Jungle Boogie”
Earth Wind and Fire “Boogie Wonderland”
Carol Douglas “Doctor’s Orders”
The Moments “Nine Times”
Lakeside “It’s All The Way Live”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  8 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.  This week’s new MIRRORBALL will kick off a Disco Marathon Saturday night until Midnight.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore of an episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat devoted to the infamous and beloved record label, Stiff Records.

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. The Haversham shows will return with new episodes next week. YAY!

You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the Sunday morning and afternoon Haversham showcases, which begin at 9 AM with Psychedelic Shack, and include double shots of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Prognosis.

Mothman Takes A Powder

For the second year in a row, the folks who put on the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV, have called off the festivities. Ysterday they rleased this statement on social media…

I have to applaud them for doing the right thing. This pandemic is not over, and I am currently wrestling with whether or not to put STUFF TO DO back on ice as a regular feature of this blog. Thanks to a profound lack of common sense among a certain chunk of the population, and various mutations of the virus, I have gone back to wearing a mask full-time indoors in public, and I’m very worried about all the pent-up demand for live entertainment is coming with a rather deadly price.

It’s not an easy call. I have always supported the local scene, but I don’t want to support it to death.

And I’ll leave you with that thought this week. Check PopCult every day for fresh content.

Stuff To Do On A Very Busy Weekend

Aside from what I’m posting below, there are tons of things in and around Charleston to keep you busy this late-summer weekend.  Charleston’s Art Walk returns after a long nap Thursday evening, and there are lots of things to keep you occupied.

You should know the drill by now. The pandemic is still not over.  In fact, it’s getting worse again. 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 leave you at the mercy of your fellow patrons, and with the Delta variant surging, why risk any exposure? I know there are folks who hate the idea of wearing masks, even if they’re not vaccinated. Those people are why you should wear a mask.

If anybody gives you grief over wearing a mask…get the hell out of there. It’s not safe. Nobody wants to be the last person to die of COVID.

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









Go On A Knickerbocker Holiday On Curtain Call

Last week she looked at the future of Musical Theatre, on Wednesday afternoon Mel Larch returns on  The AIR to brings you a brand-new episode of  Curtain Call that looks at the past.  You can tune in at the website, or or 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 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch opens the show with ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, aided by George Harrison, no less, and his rendition of the standard, “September Song.”

That song originated in the 1938 musical, Knickerbocker Holiday, written by Kurt Weill (music) and Maxwell Anderson (book and lyrics), based loosely on Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York about life in 17th-century New Netherland (old New York).

Today’s new episode of Curtain Call  brings you a rare radio broadcast of a shortened version of the musical, starring the original Broadway production cast, including Walter Huston, Richard Kollmar, Jeanne Madden, and Ray Middleton Walter Huston is the legendary stage actor, as well as the father of John Huston, and grandfather of Angelica Houston.

The musical itself is a wrong-headed political allegory about FDR’s New Deal, disguised as a romantic comedy. Most of the politcal commentary has been trimmed out of this shortened presentation, but it certainly isn’t missed. The songs remain, and they are particularly wonderful.

Knickerbocker Holiday is a curious and historicially important show that is largely forgotten today, save for the lovely “September Song.”

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, Saturday evening and Monday at 10 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.

The Pros And Cons Of Eating Out

(PopCult Note: One result of your PopCulteer’s recent birthday trip was that it left me rather raspy. Jumping between hot and nasty humidity and very efficient air conditioning too much over the course of a few days will do that. As such, I decided not to record new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift this week. You can still tune into The AIR to hear encore presentations of recent episodes, but instead of the playlists for those shows, you get this short essay instead.)

My birthday last Friday was spent on the road, enjoying a trip to an undisclosed city to do things which, for a change, are not fodder for this blog. I just wanted some time to enjoy a trip without worrying about taking photos or shooting video.

However, I will bend that little rule to bring you this post. I did something on this trip that I haven’t done since March, 2020.

For my birthday, Mel and I ate in a restaurant. We didn’t have a full meal. We went to a Cheesecake Factory for what would be my birthday cake. Oddly enough, I didn’t get cheesecake, which for the past several years has been my choice of birthday cake. Instead I got a giant piece of chocolate cake that would be right at home in the short film about manners shown during the Pee Wee Herman Show. That’s the menu shot of it above.

Mel got a huge monstrosity that alternated cheesecake with chocolate cake (left).

Neither of us were able to finish what we’d ordered.

Before you ask, I did not mention that it was my birthday to the staff. I absolutely detest those chain restaurant birthday celebrations where everybody on the staff comes out and claps and sings. I don’t like being within earshot of them, and if anybody ever tried to do that to me, I would simply get up and walk out.

So my birthday was a state secret while we were there.

Before the pandemic, Mel and I ate out too much. We both lost weight last year because you simply eat better when you cook for yourself, and you have more control over portion size.

But there were things I missed about eating out. Primarily, not having to cook, and getting tasty food…without having to cook it myself.

Our excursion last Friday also reminded me of a few things that I absolutely did not miss about eating out:

  • Waiting to be seated, especially at a restaurant that texts you when your table is ready (Rudy don’t text).
  • Annoyingly loud background music that renders conversation impossible. (I couldn’t even read lips because Mel kept her mask on…even while eating, which was quite impressive to watch)
  • Being seated much closer than was comfortable to strangers.
  • Those strangers ordering really, really stinky food. (Your PopCulteer has one of the most acute senses of smell of any animal on the planet)
  • A waiter who responds to your request for water, with light ice by saying “Water with lots of ice, coming right up!”
  • A twenty-five minute wait for two slices of cake to come out of the kitchen, when all they have to do is slice the cake, put it on the plate and send it out.
  • Not really being able to taste the incredible-looking cake you ordered because the table next to you ordered some kind of platter of what looked like roadkill with extra putrid sauce, and it smelled like a fire at at slaughterhouse.

So, we ate in a restaurant for the first time in over a year, and to be honest, we may not do so again until next year. I was not entirely comfortable with the lack of masks among my fellow patrons. I’m fully vaccinated, but I still think you have to be a special kind of stupid to go maskless when you’re indoors, in tightly-packed quarters, with people who are spraying stuff all over the place while they’re ferociously masticating.

When next we do dine in a restaurant, it’ll probably be a locally-owned, smaller place, preferably with no loud music and tables that are far enough apart that I don’t smell what my neighbor is eating.

I hadn’t forgotten the things I liked about eating out, but it was handy to have a reminder of everything I don’t like about eating out. It was also a good reminder that there is a very plausible theory that, when the French Philospher, Jean-Paul Sartre came up with the phrase “Hell is other people,” he was probably sitting in a Cheesecake Factory.

Monday Morning Art: The Female Form Found In Numbers


This week’s art is a case where I started out with a series of geometric designs, threw in some color, some filters, more tinkering and fiddling, and managed to come up with a semi-abstract realization of the female form. Think of it as sort of a “Venus emerging from a Shell” artwork. It was created entirely in the computer because summer sucks for those of us with auto-immune disorders, and I’m having a long stretch of what the medical professionals call “wonky fingers.”

Still, I was happy with the way this one turned out.

Click to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, Monday at on The AIR, this week our Haversham Recording Institute friends are finally done providing translation services for The Olympics. We will be running encore plays of recent episodes of Prognosis, Psychedelic Shack and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat until next week, because they needed some time off after wrapping up that project. This afternoon you can hear Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack at 2 PM and Herman Linte with Prognosis at 3 PM.

At 7 PM tune in for a Monday Marathon of Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack, to get you ready for his return next week.

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.

Sunday Evening Video: More Toys Than You Can Comprehend

Above you see PopCult‘s video of our first trip to The South Louisville Antique & Toy Mall. We went there straight from The Kentuckiana GI Joe & Toy Expo (we posted our video of that last week), and we were unprepared for the enormous size of this place.

As we were somewhat dumbstruck, all we did was shoot random video, which I brought home, set to music, and presented it as is, with little in the way of organization or narrative.

Needless to say, we’ll be going back, probably without cameras. It was too hard to concentrate on shooting video and shopping at the same time, so we didn’t really buy much.

However, everything with SpongeBob that you see in this video came home with us.

The RFC Flashback: episode 211

Let’s go back to August, 2015, for an episode of Radio Free Charleston loaded with music from The Company Stores, Farnsworth, ShockaCon, and Jake The Restaurant. This episode also has a 120 second Art Show featuring Michael McKowen’s “The World of the Willing,” a movie trailer for Austin Susman’s Killer Catfish of the Kanawha, and a promo spot for ShockaCon 4.

Just last month, I ran into one of the members of Jake The Restaurant at Record store Day at Budget Tapes and Records, and he tells me he’s working on new music, so that’s pretty cool.

Check out the original production notes HERE.



A Minefield of Special Days

The PopCulteer
August 13, 2021

Today is my birthday, which is why I’m writing this post on Wednesday.

Your PopCulteer and his wife are off on a mini-trip to celebrate my day of birth, and I’m not taking any cameras or shooting any video or doing anything like that.

I’m not even going to tell you where we’re going. It’s my birthday, and I’m off the clock.

You may notice that we have a lot of special days all grouped sorta close together here at PopCult.

July 4 is officially the anniversary of the Radio Free Charleston video show, which began back in 2006. We marked that occasion this year with a new episode.

Today is my birthday, and in thirteen days, it’s my wedding anniversary. Back in 2014 Mel Larch and I snuck off to Chicago and got married on stage at Steppenwolf Theater. That was August 26.

Two days later, August 28, is the anniversary of this very blog, with my first, rather short and silly post appearing August 28, 2005, back when PopCult was a Gazzblog at The Charleston Gazette.

If that isn’t enough, Labor Day weekend marks 32 years since the premiere of Radio Free Charleston as a radio show, back on WVNS, 96.1 FM.

Had I planned better, I may have spread these events out across the calendar year a bit more.

All of that is my way of explaining why all you’re getting today is this piss-poor example of a PopCulteer column. I could’ve skipped today, but then I’d miss another significant achievement.  On August 18, 2013, I started posting fresh content in PopCult every day, and except for a couple of technical crashes, and two columns that were deleted so that an asshole Canadian millionaire with a fake Batmobile wouldn’t file a nuisance lawsuit, I have had new posts up every day since then.

I didn’t want to break that streak just to take a day off to go eat cheesecake.

So, keep reading the blog. Our regular features will be here. Listen to The AIR. Stay safe and get your own cheesecake. I’m not going to be getting enough for everybody.

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