Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: February 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

Monday Morning Art: The Jogger

This week I decided to revert back, just a little, to the style I was using in January as an homage to the work of Edward Hopper. However, this was mainly copying technique and execution. The composition and color balance show more of an influence of another of my artistic heroes, René Magritte.  The brightly-attired jogger adds just a hint of surrealism and takes the focus off the stately building (based on Matthew Laflin Memorial Building in Chicago, of which I had a few blurry reference photos, taken from a taxi), which would appear at first glance to be the point of the painting.

I just wanted to have a really impressive building to paint, only to have it upstaged by the colorful little jogger dude.

It was a bit of a visual joke.

This is another small-scale study-acrylic on illustration board, perhaps to be blown-up and painted on real canvas someday. If I ever get around to doing that.

If you want to see this one a bit bigger, just click on it.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a new episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  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.

Nigel Pye has scooped up another collection of amazing psychedelic rock, expanding your minds and your hearts with everything from The Turtles to Sean Lennon.

Check out the playlist for all the peace and love…

Psychedelic Shack 059

The Turtles “She’s My Girl”
Donovan “Atlantis”
TNT “Love Of My Life”
Smash “Fail Safe”
The Petards “Flame Missing Light”
The Trip “Caronte (Part 1)”
Plum Nelly “The Demon”
Space Rock “Going Down The Road”
Tourists “I Need My Music”
Redd Kross “Pseudo-Intellectual”
Neil “Cosmic Jam”
Sean Lennon “Parachute”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

Following that hour of Psychedelic joy, Herman Linte’s Prognosis will bring us a two-hour dream concert, assembled from existing live recordings, where the giants of prog-rock perform their epic hits in one continuous fantasy jam session. You can pretend you’re present at an imaginary super bill of Progressive Rock legends.

Check out the playlist…

Prognosis 087 Live Epics

Emerson Lake & Palmer “Karn Evil 9”
Genesis “Supper’s Ready”
King Crimson “Starless”
YES “Close To The Edge”
Jethro Tull “Aqualung”
Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb”
ASIA “The Heat Goes On”

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

At 8 PM, we have tinkered somewhat with our schedule, shortening the Monday Marathon by an hour to make life easier for ourselves when it comes to putting together the weekly line-up. Now, every Monday at 8 PM we will bring you an episode of The Comedy Vault. I forgot to mention this, but we’ve been running new episodes of our comedy showcase for the last month, after only doing one new show in the previous four years.

Sorry about that.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of classic tracks from the little-heard, latter-day National Lampoon comedy albums. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode, featuring the stand-up comedy of Jim Jeffries.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, providing you with five classic early episodes of our New Wave extravaganza, presented by Sydney Fileen and The Haversham Recording Institute.

Sunday Evening Video: Unmanned In Ironton

This week our video find is a terrific video show that somehow managed to escape my notice when it was released about eleven months ago. I’ve barely been on social media for the last year, trying to avoid obnoxious and ignorant anti-Biden trolls after January 6, and sadly missed this cool video featuring one of my favorite Charleston bands. Now that I found it, I’m sharing it with you!

Unmanned is Andrea Anderson, Misty Lomas and Katie Barker, and I’ve played every track on their self-titled debut album on Radio Free Charleston on The AIR, but I since I’m semi-retired from shooting video, I have yet to capture this all-girl band for the RFC video show (although all three members have been on the video show in other bands).

Here, we find the band jamming some upbeat, twangy, rockabilly surf punk with harmonies and attitude in the press room of the Ironton Tribune. This is really cool, with the press room setting. I remember back when Charleston had a newspaper that supported the idea of shooting video of local bands (sigh).

Anyway, the band is playing out again.  Just last night they played at The Loud in Huntington. I’ll try to keep you posted on their next gigs, and I’ll probably toss a couple of their tunes into RFC next Tuesday.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 87

This week we go back to late November, 2009, for what turns out to sort of be the missing Radio Free Charleston Christmas episode from that year. This is part of a block of shows that has been offline for close to a decade, and now I’m finally restoring them and that’s when the memories come flooding back. We didn’t go all-out for a holiday episode that year because we devoted most of a show to The Contemporary Youth Arts Company’s production of MARY instead.

This edition of RFC is comprised primarily of music from the CYAC Rock Opera, “Mary.” We also have a really cool “120 Second Art Show” from a Habitat Restore Relics show set to piano music by artist Sharon Lyn Stackpole.

You can find the full production notes for this show HERE.

A Disco Trip To 1977

The PopCulteer
February 25, 2022

Your PopCulteer has decided not to comment on the events currently consuming the attention of the world. I don’t think anybody is coming to this blog for news on what’s happening in the Ukraine, and if you are, maybe you need to get professional help. For the moment I’m keeping my head down and sticking to pop culture.

Today that means what you get is notes on a new episode of MIRRORBALL on The AIR.

Luckily for you, it’s a great hour of Disco classics courtesy of my lovely wife, Mel Larch,  So please enjoy this bright, shiny new episode of MIRRORBALL which will be followed by a very cool recent edition of 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 dedicated to the year of our Disco-dancing lord, nineteen-hundred-seventy-seven. This was the year of PEAK DISCO and Mel delivers a full hour of the tipity-top of the pack. That is…minus the biggest hit of the Disco era, Saturday Night Fever.  We devoted an entire show to that seminal Disco artifact a few months ago, so this week we’re focused on the rest of the top hits from 45 years ago, just in time for our 45th episode.

It’s a big sparkly time capsule, shaped like a MIRRORBALL, for your boogery enjoyment (“boogery” is a word, right?).

Check out the playlist…


Ashford & Simpson “Bourge Bourge”
The Sylvers “Hot Line”
KC & The Sunshine Band “I’m Your Boogie Man”
Chic “Strike Up The Band”
Joe Tex “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)”
Tavares “Whodunnit”
The Trammps “Disco Inferno”
The Emotions “Best of My Love”
Thelma Houston “Don’t Leave Me This Way”
Village People “San Francisco”
Donna Summer “Love’s Unkind”
Marvin Gaye “Got To Give It Up”
Heatwave “Boogie Nights”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays this Saturday at  8 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat that  brings you New Wave music from Scotland. You can scroll down and find the playlist HERE.

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.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back because we have a fresh post every day and next week I’m gonna be winging it, so you have no idea what I’ll be posting here.

The Swivel Rockers Return And More Stuff To Do

Like I said last week,  West Virginia’s pandemic map is no longer completely red, so even though I’m not ready to go out to shows yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t. In fact, we’re going to start off with a plug for a show that I would definitely go see, if I weren’t still being cautious due to my auto-immune disorder. Just before this all hit, two years ago almost exactly, the Radio Free Charleston cameras went to Sam’s Uptown Cafe to shoot video of our old friends, The Swivel Rockers.  You can see one of the songs from that night HERE. Friday night, you can go see them in person for yourselves…

As always, please do what you can to remain safe and alive. Get vaccinated and/or wear a mask, or better yet, do both. Don’t be reckless. Refrain from putting your tongue up strangers noses and if you find yourself in a mosh pit, for God’s sake, wear a condom.

Here are some other cool things happening in our local area this weekend. Be smart and support the local scene as much as you are comfortable doing.










Heavy Metal Takes A Ride On Blu-ray In April

Heavy Metal, the cult-favorite adult animated feature, comes to 4K Blu-ray on April 19th (Amazon is promising it in March). The film it will come housed in a great-looking Steelbook package, and also included in the release will be Heavy Metal 2000, the sequel, which is making its debut on Blu-ray as well. The less said about that, the better.

Presented in 4K and under the supervision of the late Ivan Reitman, it will also feature a Dolby Atmos track featuring new soundscapes under the direction of Reitman. All sorts of special features are going to be included as well.

I’m not entirely sure what “new soundscapes” means, but it might indicate that they weren’t able to clear the rights to all the music used in the original film.

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about HEAVY METAL. Most of my friends love the movie, and most of them first saw it on HBO in the 1980s and weren’t familiar with the magazine when they were first exposed to the film.

I was a big fan of the magazine and considered the film to be a major disappointment when I saw it during its original theatrical release.

I went in expecting a faithful adaptation of some of my favorite stories from the comic magazine, and what I got was a mixed bag of beautifully-animated segments, horribly-animated sequences, bad adaptations with failed attempts at humor inserted, and two long segments of the movie that were ripped off of stories by the legendary Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius, without attibution.

The animation was farmed out to studios all over the world after the producers had been turned down by Nelvana Ltd, who were working on their first feature film, Rock & Rule (a much better animated feature, by the way). Some of the studios turned out spectacular first-rate work, others produced work that was more than adequate for the time, but some segments were cranked out by slapped-together crews of first-time animators, reportedly hired at Canadian comic conventions.

HEAVY METAL is really a mixed bag. I probably would remember it far more fondly had I not read the source material (credited and uncredited) first. I though the Den segment was an abomination. I’ve been a fan of the late Richard Corben since I was eight years old, and I was hoping that he would’ve been hired to oversee the animation for this adaptation of his story.

Corben had made some experimental films with limited animation based on Den in the 1960s (I posted one HERE last year), and it would have been a dream come true to see what it would look like had he been given a budget to work with. Instead, his segment was handed off to the comic convention recruits, and re-written by the guys who wrote Meatballs and Stripes. Even though I was a fan of John Candy, who voiced the main character, I despised this part of the movie.

Aside from that mess and the fact that two segments rip off the work of Moebius (and also Dan O’Bannon in one case), the rest of the film has aged better than I would’ve thought.

Bernie Wrightson’s Captain Sternn was faithfully adapted and looked exactly like Wrightson’s art. This short segment seems to be the consensus favorite among fans of the movie, and deservedly so.

Angus McKie’s So Beautiful & So Dangerous, again, looked very much like the original story, and was very close to a small part of the comic, despite the insertion of a lot of Cheech & Chong style drug humor that was not originally there.

The voice work has some surprises. John Candy, who sort of helped murder the Den segment, turns up in other segments, as do his SCTV cohorts Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty. There are also a lot of voices from the Heavy Metal/National Lampoon circle of contributors, like Douglas Kenney, John Vernon (Dean Wormer in Animal House), Rodger Bumpass (now famous as Squidward) and Alice Playten.

A lot of notable comic artists worked on HEAVY METAL behind the scenes.  Neal Adams redesigned some of the characters from So Beautiful & So Dangerous, while Howard Chaykin immortalized DEVO in animation with his designs of the band for their cameo in the Taarna sequence.

The soundtrack was one of those Irving Azoff compilations that didn’t make a lot of sense, but was jam-packed with different artists. Where else could you find an album called “Heavy Metal” that had songs by members of The Eagles, Stevie Nicks, DEVO, Donald Fagan and Journey? To its credit, it also had Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick and a pre-Van Halen Sammy Hagar.

So there’s a lot of cool stuff here, if you don’t mind gatuitous cartoon nudity and ignore what they did to Den. I’ll probably grab this for the collection when it comes out.

Here’s the pertinent data from the press release:

Based on the fantastical illustrated magazine HEAVY METAL, producer Ivan Reitman enlists the help of some of Hollywood’s animation masters to create the otherworldly tale of a glowing green orb from outer space that spreads destruction throughout the galaxy. Only when encountered by its one true enemy, to whom it is inexplicably drawn, will goodness prevail throughout the universe. Richly and lavishly drawn, the vignettes of the orb’s dark victories include the character voices of John Candy, Harold Ramis and a pounding soundtrack by Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Donald Fagen, Don Felder, Grand Funk Railroad, Sammy Hagar, Journey, Nazareth, Stevie Nicks, Riggs, and Trust. Highly imaginative and full of surprising special effects, HEAVY METAL set the standard for alternative contemporary animation. An intoxicating experience not to be missed!

Here is the list of special features and specs for the release:


Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, reviewed and approved by Ivan Reitman
New 2022 Dolby Atmos soundtrack – a brand-new immersive experience utilizing enhanced sound effects and much more, supervised by producer Ivan Reitman!
Also includes the 2022 mix in 5.1, and the original 1981 theatrical Dolby Stereo audio
Special Feature:
NEW: Heavy Metal: A Look Back – an all-new retrospective featuring re­flections from producer Ivan Reitman, famous fans Kevin Smith, Norman Reedus, and more!


Feature presented in High Definition with 5.1 audio
Special Features:
Original Feature-Length Rough Cut with Optional Commentary by Carl Macek
Imagining Heavy Metal Documentary
Deleted Scene
Alternate Framing Story with Commentary


Feature presented in High Definition (newly remastered), with 5.1 audio
Special Features:
Julie Strain: Super Goddess
Voice Talent
Animation Tests
Animatic Comparisons
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 1.85:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA | English Stereo Surround DTS-HD MA

Familiarity Breeds RFC

Tuesday on The AIR  your blogger and radio show host once again dives into the vast RFC Archives and comes up with a “new” patchwork edition of Radio Free Charleston. Real-life intrusions and just a general amount of over-workedness combined to cause me to throw in the towel on bringing you a new show this week.

This week I decided to go back to April, 2019, and stitch together three consecutive episodes of Radio Free Charleston Volume 4, which happen to be loaded with great music. To hear all this cool local music you simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player over at the top of the right column.

At 10 AM and 10 PM you can hear this all-local compilation of RFC volume 4, episodes 105, 106 and 107. These are killer shows so you can still get your recommended daily amount of local music!

The first hour is a deep dive into our archives, with stuff you may not hear anyplace else. Hour two is a metal extravaganza with even more tracks that are exclusive to The AIR. Hour three is loaded with some then-new releases from notable area bands, and even that hour has a couple of tracks that you won’t hear on any other radio station.

These shows haven’t been heard in almost three years, so I thought it was a good idea to bring them back and plop them into the RFC V5 rotation. I do apologize for not having live links for the bands in the playlist this week. Time constraints and fatigue (laziness) prevented it.

Check out the playlist:

RFC V5 080

hour one
Rasta Rafiki “Perspective of Love”
Todd Burge “I’m Going Down”
The Big Bad “Nobody Makes It Out Of Here Alive (Live 2009)”
Time And Distance “That Girl”
Crazy Jane “Silver”
Terra Firma Ensemble “Brambles and Briars”
The Liquid Canvas “Spirit Molecule”
Io & The Ions “There’s A Light”
Science of the Mind “Suffer”
HARRAH “CODA (Gotta Get Out)”

hour two
Byzantine “Verses of Violence”
John Lancaster “A Penchant For Hell on Earth”
Bobaflex “A Real Sadness”
Karma To Burn “Thirty Eight”
Out of Nowhere “Take It Back”
Trielement “Accidental Chaos”
Zeroking “Black Friday”
CHUM “Six Feet of Earth”
Ghosts of Now “Deathburn”

hour three
Fletcher’s Grove “Straight To The Moon”
Cast of Theatre WV’s Paradise Park “No Money Down”
Beggars Clan “We Sleep”
Wolfgang Parker “The Father, The Son”
Beneath “Worst Eastern”
Rasta Rafiki “Nature of the Game”
Bad Keys of the Mountain “I’m Gone”
Todd Burge “Rapid Fire”
Karen Allen “Without Us”
Prank Monkey “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”
The Big Bad “Cold As A Ghost”
Sheldon Vance “Turn It Back Around”
Go Van Gogh “I Am The Walrus”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Wednesday at 9 AM,  Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.


After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and Ska Madness at 2 PM. At 3 PM we have two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.

First Look: Louder and Prouder Toys

The PopCult Toybox

We have our first images of the new toys from World of EPI based on The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder that I told you about last week. Better yet, these are already available from Target online and will be in stores soon.

The first in a series of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder fashion dolls and mini figures is available from Target now, ahead of the release of Disney+’s highly anticipated animated series. Designed and manufactured by The World of EPI, the leading manufacturer behind authentic multicultural dolls, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder fashion dolls and figures exemplify the distinct characteristics of each character and celebrate diversity, self-love and empowerment.

Returning to television more than 20 years after it first hit Disney Channel, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder follows the adventures and misadventures of newly 14-year-old Penny Proud and her Proud Family as they navigate modern life with hilarity and heart. The series debuts February 23, 2022 on Disney+.

Always cute and forever proud, Penny Proud is wearing her signature outfit, a faux suede skirt, knit blouse and sweater, and sneakers, inspired by the animated series. The 10″ fashion doll, with 11 points of articulation, offers bendability and flexibility, allowing Penny to strike fierce poses. Featuring long beautiful black hair, styled in two twisted pigtails and a tendril on top, kids can also wash and restyle it for hours of play. Suitable for ages 3 and up.

The Penny Proud & Crew Mini Figure set includes Penny, Dijonay, LaCienega, Maya and Zoey. Fully sculpted with expressive poses, each character is dressed in a molded outfit and shoes inspired by their outfits from the animated series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. The five-piece set is packaged in a reusable box that doubles as Penny’s bedroom (seen below), so kids can hang for hours of fun playing with the crew.

The figures are up to five inches tall and perfectly capure the way they look on the cartoon. Also suitable for ages 3 and up, available at Target now.

Click the images for a closer look, and stay tuned to PopCult for detailed reviews as soon as we have our hands on these cool toys.

Monday Morning Art: Taxis On Broadway

This week’s art is an expressionistic view of Broadway, in Manhattan, inspired by a trip to The Big Apple we took in the Autum of 2018. We had a killer hotel room, right in the heart of Times Square, and the views were spectacular. This acrylic on Paper for Pens piece is based on fuzzy memories of what it was like to look down at the street from 23 floors up, to see a fleet of taxis standing out with their bright yellow against the gray pavement. I put in some advertising signs and the sign for the M&M store for added color.

And because I was craving M&Ms.

This piece was then was photographed with my phone and a ring light because I didn’t want to smudge the paint in my scanner. There was some cropping and color-correction done once I got it into the computer.

If you want to see this painting larger, just click on it.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a recent episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a recent edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  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.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Our Monday Marathon, beginning at 8 PM, brings you eleven hours of  random stuff from our AIR archives. You might here music, talk shows, comedy, live concerts…nobody knows, because it’s random!

Sunday Evening Video: Guitarmy of One

Tonight we feature an embedded playlist of videos from our friend, Scott Helland, also known as Guitarmy of One (and also known as “The Punk” from Frenchy and The Punk).  Scott has been cranking out really cool videos for his latest album, The Spy Detective Collective, since its release a bit over  year ago. The latest one, “Detectives and Dragonets,” debuted just a few days ago, and it’s the first video you’ll see up above this text.

Quoting liberally from Scott’s website here…

On the latest album, The Spy Detective Collective, Guitarmy of One looks to the crime and intrigue shows of the ‘60s and ‘70s for inspiration as well as for dashes of melodic and cultural source material. Guitarist Scott Helland traces his love of instrumental music all the way back to his childhood immersion in The Rockford Files, The Man from Uncle, I Spy, and others. In the tight-lipped, complex, and solitary characters celebrated in those shows, Helland finds an analog for his own go-it-alone forays into stylish post-punk guitar composition.

In a bit of coded intrigue, Guitarmy of One’s song titles all contain the word ‘one’ buried in them. Some songs are dedicated to singular heroes of the genre: the ominous riffage of “Perry Mason Exoneration” and the moody, Eastern-Euro tinged spy rock of “Emma Bella Citronella,” an homage to Emma Peel of The Avengers. Other songs conflate multiple titles and characters, leaving a referential riddle for the listener: the shimmering, tuneful “Overtones of Hercule and Holmes,” the brash and driving album opener, “I Spy the Prisoner.”

I’ve been playing tracks from The Spy Detective Collective on Radio Free Charleston since its release, but I thought it’d be cool to take a look at the exquistely nifty videos that accompany some of those wild surf-inflected spy tunes.  There are seven videos in all, and I’ve set them to play one after the other here in this post. You’ll even get to spy Frenchy in a few, hiding beneath some impressive wigs.

To get your own copy of The Spy Detective Collective, plus cool Guitarmy of One merchandise, visit his website, HERE.

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