On August 1, 1981, MTV, a new cable channel intended to bring music videos to the world, launched and for a few short years, did exactly what its name entailed. Of course, that all went to hell when music started sucking as hair metal came in, then the network started making awful reality shows and got rid of music altogether. But for a short time, MTV was the coolest thing around.
Above you see an embedded playlist that roughly recreates the first hour or so of MTV from forty-one years ago. Some of the videos were hard to track down, and some have unwanted subtitles, but you will get to see The Buggles, Pat Benetar, Rod Stewart, The Who, The Pretenders and the other bands that helped launch Music Television, along with the very first moments as broadcast on August 1, 1981.
I shared this a few years ago but since tomorrow is the anniversary it was time to dig it out and polish it up for you again. It’s hard to believe that some people who weren’t born yet when this aired are grandparents now.
This week we time-travel back to December, 2010, for a pre-winter edition of Radio Free Charleston filled with great music.
This episode features a wide variety of music: a Metal classic by HARRAH, a Progressive-Alternative jolt from Linfinity, an operatic waltz from Hellblinki set to animation, Blues from Crossroads and a great rocked-up ballad from The Nanker Phelge.
Host segments were shot in Davis Park in Charleston on a bitterly cold day, which sounds sort of heavenly about now. Our namesake shirt featured Frank Sinatra. You can find the original production notes HERE.
Your humble blogger and host is on his way to Louisville for a much-needed toy-soaked respite from real life today, so you won’t get a long essay or anything, however, it’s Friday and that means that The AIR dives headfirst into the Disco wonderland of MIRRORBALL!
Mel Larch dances it up bigtime Friday afternoon on The AIR. The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear our shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.
At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a collection of classic Disco tracks from the classic era of rhythmic aerobic social interaction.This week Mel brings you a random and spectacular designer handbag full of dance tunes from the classic Disco era with tracks from the beginning and the end of the Disco era, and many funky points between.
For one hour you can go back to the Golden Age of Disco, where the sideburns were long, the skirts were short and the dancing was endless.
Check out the playlist…
The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”
Gene Chandler “Get Down”
The Trhee Degrees “The Runner”
Tavares “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel”
Edwin Starr “Happy Radio”
Heatwave “Groove Line”
Dan Hartman “This Is It”
Teena Marie “Behind The Groove”
Giorgio Moroder “I Wanna Rock You”
Ashford & Simpson “The Jungle”
The S.O.S. Band “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”
Alicia Bridges “I Love The Nightlife”
You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM exclusively on The AIR.
At 3 PM, we’ll be replaying Sydney Fileen’s special 75th episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can find the playlist and background info 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.
Friday at 9 PM you can tune in for a 35-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston, because I want to SUPPORT THE LOCAL SCENE. The rumor that I’m only doing this because it makes it way easier to schedule the station while I’m out of town is a DIRTY FIB!
That’s what’s on The AIR Friday and this weekend, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content and loads of our regular features.
Okay, it’s time once again for your guide to things you can do in and around Charleston during this waterlogged July weekend in our latest edition of STUFF TO DO, but somethng new has been added! I’m going to tell you about a couple of really cool non-sport trading card set Kickstarter campaigns that I meant to tell you about weeks ago before life decided to get really interesting.
First, and most urgently, I have to tell you about the new Fearsome Weirdos set from Robert Jimenez. Kaiju Creeps is in the vein of the previous Fearsome Weirdos sets that I’ve told you about in PopCult, but this time the trading cards depict some hilarious Kaiju monsters. Let me quote the campaign here…
Kaiju Creeps is the 3rd Fearsome Weirdos set! This set of 36 sticker cards features parodies of Kaijus, written and illustrated by Robert Jimenez, with help from fellow Wacky Packages writer Paul Harris.
The set features a Wrapper/Checklist card, 15 Kaiju Creeps, and 2 subsets. One is 10 vintage comic and magazine covers and the other 10 are product parody tie-ins. Also a 9 card puzzle with be a part of the card backs. Each set will also include 1 lenticular card of Gamer-A and a tuck box.
There’s only about a day left in this campaign (I meant to tell you about this weeks ago, but things kept happening). There is no danger of this campaign not happening. It’s fully funded more than five times over. If you’re interested in add-ons like orignal art and other goodies, check out this link to kick in. You can find my coverage of Robert’s previous sets HERE.
Next up with have a Kickstarter campaign for MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE Series 2 by RRParksCARDS. You read that right. This is the SECOND series of MANOS: The Hands of Fate Trading Cards This classic “so bad it’s good” movie made its trading card debut with a sneak peek in series 3 of RRParksCARDS’ MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and after that the demand was clear for the FIRST series of MANOS … but now, here, finally — MANOS: The Hands of Fate Trading Cards Series Two.
This series focuses on the ART of MANOS! A special selection of artwork by the sketch card artists of Series One … And this SECOND series continues the trading card adventure with:
A 51 card base set of BEAUTIFUL artwork, front and back!
A 5 card card subset with the artwork of Elisabetta Stoinich
A TORGO MOTION lenticular card
A DIY sketch card blank
An original art SKETCH CARD
Genuine Printing Plate Cards
TWO different Autograph Cards
Special Set Packaging
A BINDER INSERT KIT with bonus goodies!
I have to be honest. They had me at “TORGO MOTION lenticular card.”
This campaign had a modest $600 goal, and is currently funded at over $10,000 with more than two weeks left to run, so you know that this will soon be unleashed unto the world. Rush to THIS LINK to kick in, before everything is already spoken for. And go HERE for links to a few PopCult entries on RRParksCARDS.
Meanwhile, live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s Steve Himes with Hunter Blankeship. Saturday sees Gary Hays perform at Charleston’s Bookstore/coffeehouse/art gallery institution.
At this point, there are no vaccination or mask mandates for any of the events listed this week. However, we all need to remember that the pandemic is not over yet, and everybody should be vaccinated by now. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding while you’re out. After the super-spreader potential of recent weeks, and rising case numbers locally, let’s all try to be smart and kind about this.
In the meantime, if you’re up for going out, here are some suggestions for Friday and Saturday while I’m in Kentucky playing with GI Joes…
It’s time, once again, to plug a great toy show that’s within easy driving distance of Charleston, The PopCult crew will make its return to The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo this weekend. We’re going down early for the preview event the night before, and will stick around a little for Saturday’s show, while still dodging the crowds.
The Ninth Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo happens this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s open to the general public Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport, with an early preview package available for Friday night. This is a great show. I’ve been to several in the past, and a the end of this post you’ll find a link to our coverage of previous years.
As always there will be dozens of dealers with great vintage GI Joes, plus GI Joe from the Real American Hero era and brand-new custom uniform sets and figures for 12″ and 3 3/4″ GI Joes. Plus there will be tons of other action figures and toys for sale. You might find MEGO, Big Jim, Super Joe, Johnny West, Major Matt Mason and many other great toys from the past.
This year the big treat will be that we’ll get to see prototypes of Super Joe Unlimited, a revival of sorts of one of GI Joe’s less-celebrated eras, courtesy of White Elephant Toys and Kentuckiana’s own Steve Stovall.
This year the convention special is a box/uniform combo wih a jungle adventure theme. Collectors will also be able to enjoy the custom figure and diorama contests.
Convention-goers can also expect other new sets from folks like Cotswold Collectibles, Mark Cole and Mattsquatch Customs. This is some terrific stuff that is keeping the 1/6 scale hobby alive. I believe that there will also be some exclusive 3 3/4″ GI Joe-style figures and items for sale at the show.
There won’t just be dealers on hand. Representatives from other GI Joe shows, like ToyLanta, The Hershey Action Figure and Toy Show and The DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show will be there to show their support.
It’s Tuesday on The AIR and that means it’s Radio Free Charleston time, and we’re back on track with another new three-hour episode of Radio Free Charleston. 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 found elsewhere on this page.
We have three full hours of music, much of it new, local and not, at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday. This week our latest Radio Free Charleston has killer new tunes from Foz Rotten, Kerosene Stars, Drop Coat, SkyFlake, Cosmic Bull, and more, plus a newly-reissued gem from Brian Diller and The Ride.
This week, as a special treat, I ramble incessantly during the show. It’s probably just fatigue from a couple of stressful weeks, but at different points of the show I bust out imitations of Arthur Brown and Dean Martin, plus I do a rambling intro for The Big Bad that I hope they find amusing.
Throughout the show we continue our mix of local, independent and major-label artists, just to keep you on your toes. This week we’re a little heavy on the local stuff, but you gotta support the local scene.
We also have new tunes from some Chicago friends, and our second hour opens with a track from SkyFlake, a new musical project from William Mull, the man behind the Forbidden Gallery comic books I’ve been raving about for several years now in PopCult.
Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Live links for local and indie artists will take you to the artist’s page…
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.
After a couple of weeks of chaos that included having a car die while I was doing 70 MPH, a landline going dead, a runny toilet that just mocks me, what appeared to be a lightning strike that pruned quite a bit of the tree in my front yard, and then writing one of the most difficult editions of The PopCulteer I have ever had to do, I spent much of the weekend…let’s just say “unmotivated.”
I had planned to go find something I’d previously rejected for this spot and rescue it from the trash heap instead of making new art. I have a few folders of rejected Monday Morning Art, dating back to 2006. I found a good abstract candidate, but then decided to repaint what was a digital painting in the real world with different colors, using comfort colors, thick paint, clunky brushes and sponges and old X-acto knives on small piece of tile. I came up with what you see above. It didn’t take that long. I didn’t really try to come up with a title. It’s just art coming out because that’s what I do.
Chances are, if you’re reading this on a computer instead of a phone, you’ll see it bigger than the actual size it was painted in. I photographed it and white-balanced the photo afterward.
Reminds me of a early-1960s Jazz album cover or something.
Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we offer up a brand-new episode of Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a brand-new episode 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 elsewhere on this page.
We do have playlists for our Monday shows this week. Nigel Pye provides us with a Psychedelic Shack that he says has some “long groovy tunes” among it’s hour of mind-expanding jams. Check out the playlist…
Psychedelic Shack 066
Fox “Madame Magical”
The Jarvis Street Revue “Sally’s Hymn”
Hotlegs “Neanderthal Man”
Godley & Creme “Virgin Soldiers”
The Mads “Rock & Roll Woman”
String Driven Thing “River of Sleep”
Action & Tension & Space “Chromosones”
The Temptations “Love Can Be Anything”
PsychedelicShack 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.
Herman Linte tells me that Prognosis is neatly divided, with the first hour full of newly-released Progressive rock tunes (including a song from The Settlement, from Huntington that he heard me playing on RFC), while the second hour is made up of prog-rock that has all been newly reissued or uncovered and released. Take a gander at this playlist…
Porcupine Tree “Chimera’s Wreck”
Arthur Brown “Once I Had Illusions Parts 1&2”
Alan Parsons “You Are The Light”
Ribbons of Euphoria “You Don’t Care”
Nobuo Uematsu “Battle Medley 4-6 from Final Fantasy”
The Settlement “Reason”
Mirage “The Emperor”
God Is An Astronaut “From Dust To The Beyond”
Hawkwind “Silver Machine (live, 1986)”
ASIA “Sole Survivor (live in Japan)”
Barclay James Harvest “Medicine Man (live)”
Frajboy & Runcible Spoon “Animal Song”
Frank Zappa “Dupree’s Paradise (live)”
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.
Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of the internal soundtrak of my brain, the music of Spike Jones on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault starring Flight of the Conchords.
Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of five Prognosis episodes from the eleven weeks in 2018 where I filled in for Herman Linte while he was dealing with a serious health issue.
This week we’re recylcing an old edition of Sunday Evening Video in honor of Toni Basil. Ms. Basil is still stunning at the age of 78, and recently regained control of the album and videos we’re showing here. I’d imagine a remastered boxed set of the audio album and video album should be forthcoming in the near future.
Nearly everybody knows the legendary dancer/choreographer Toni Basil from her international hit song, “Mickey,” but what many people don’t remember is that her big hit song and video were part of an entire video album, Word of Mouth. This was released in 1982, decades before Beyonce had the idea to do it.
Another fact that not many folks are aware of is that Basil was in a relationship with Gerald Casale of DEVO at the time, and PopCult’s favorite spud boys backed up Ms. Basil on several cuts from the album, like the one above, and the few tucked away on the other side of the jump.
Folks who pay attention to such things may well recognize the presence of Shabadoo of The Lockers and Spaz Attack, from several early DEVO videos, among the back up dancers in these clips.
If you’ve been keeping track, you probably noticed that I skipped an episode of the show. It hasn’t gone missing. It’s our 2010 Halloween episode, and I decided to hold it back for a more appropriate time this fall.
Instead, from November, 2010, we bring you Radio Free Charleston 114, “Flash Photography Shirt.” The wide-ranging music on this show comes from Andrea Anderson, The Dad Horse Experience, and Shayla Leftridge. That would be punk alt-banjo music, German Gutter-Gospel and Showtunes.
For reasons I can’t remember, this episode is in standard definition, and has a 4:3 aspect ratio. I had switched to widescreen several episodes earlier, so I have no explanation why it’s like that.
Our animation is Frank Panucci’s very first animated film, about Evel Knievel. We also have some Super Fancy Dancing. You can find the original production notes HERE.
On July 14, 2022, Susan (Kathy) Duffy Stover, a wife, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away, one day before what would have been her 58th birthday.
Kathy was an avid reader of PopCult, and I’m very glad that I could call her a friend.
The reason for that is, a long time ago, Kathy and I were married. Our marriage was short, rocky and didn’t end well.
It was more than twenty years before we got back in contact. I didn’t know where she lived or if she was even stlll alive when she started leaving comments on this blog. Since she was using her new married name, I had no idea it was her for a few months.
When it hit me, I sent her an email, and we caught up on each other’s lives. I was flattered and more than a little weirded out to discover that, while I was totally in the dark about what had happened to Kathy after we broke up, she had managed to keep track of my career. Her grandmother had sent her newspaper clippings, so she knew that I had recovered from our break-up (it took a couple of years) and had a successful radio career.
She read Michael Lipton’s profile of me in the Charleston Gazette, and later she knew I was writing about animation with Melanie Larch for that same Charleston Gazette.
And she would pepper her emails with riffs on jokes I’d made in PopCult. That reminded me why Kathy was so important in the early chapters of my life.
Kathy was my first audience. I’ve mentioned before in PopCult that this blog is an extension of my life-long habit of saying “Hey, check this out, it’s really cool!”
Kathy was the first person who really listened to me. We met during my senior year in High School. She was two years behind me, but we were in first period Art Class together. My plan, as with most of my high school classes, was to keep to myself, do my weird art, get an A+, and not really engage with my fellow students.
But on the first day of class, I’d got my spot picked out at a table and my head in my sketchbook when a cute little redhead with big hair, big boobs and braces sits down beside me and started talking to me. I was about as socially awkward as a person could be back then. I had a very small circle of friends and they were all guys and I never went on dates or messed with proms.
But Kathy kept sitting there, and over the course of the school year I turned her on to Kate Bush, Monty Python, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Bonzo Dog Band, National Lampoon and all sorts of other things that had formed my tastes and would form much of hers. I don’t know if I influenced her views on politics and religion, or if she influenced mine, but we had those views in common to the day she died. Kathy always seemed to seek out the “misfits” and non-conformists, but she absolutely hated using those terms. She befriended a lot of us on the outside.
We became friends. Nothing more. Then I graduated, spent a couple of years regretting that I’d never asked her out on a date, and moved on to college.
Two years later we met again in college, and our friendship picked up where it had left off. She had lost the braces and picked up a fiancée. I didn’t really tell anyone, but I was emotionally reeling from having my entire circle of college friends die over the previous summer in a series of car wrecks and other accidents. I wasn’t so much socially awkward as I was shell-shocked at that point.
Kathy was among the first people to see me perform in front of a camera in a TV Production class, when I had to step in to do comedy sketches I’d written for somebody else, and then they no-showed.
Like I said, Kathy was my first audience. At the end of that semester, Kathy’s parents moved to Florida, and she had to drop out, broke off her engagement and went along with them, and she hated it. She was absolutely miserable, and to cheer her up I started recording and sending audio cassettes through the mail (God this was a long time ago). It was me talking, joking and playing new music for her to discover. We traded tapes for a year and that led us to make a huge mistake.
We fell in love, and got married. Some day I will tell the whole story of our marriage. Parts of it are hilarious. Parts of it are sweetly romantic. Parts of it aren’t very pleasant at all. We were broke all the time and had no social life. There were also medical issues adding pressure that neither of us were emotionally equipped or mature enough to handle.
What ensued eventually screwed up what would have otherwise been a deep and lasting life-long friendship. I was convinced she hated me (she had told me that repeatedly). She moved on with her life and after a couple of shaky years I did too. The weird part of this is that, Kathy and I never dated. We didn’t really go out much while we were married. I didn’t really go out on my first real date with anyone until two years after our divorce. If Johnny Rock hadn’t dragged me out to The Charleston Playhouse, I may have never matured socially into the semi-normal person I am today. That was when my life really began. I made life-long friends at the Playhouse and that’s where I met Melanie, who is my everything and has been since 1990.
Kathy could be a warm, kind and loving soul, but she could also be hot-headed, resentful and acerbic, and she had a vicious tongue that she could wield like a ninja. I don’t think she’d mind me saying that. She was proud of her Irish roots. She wanted to be friends again, and since I was emotionally healed from our time together, I wanted that too. We both realized that, no matter how painfully it ended, our brief marriage was key in making both of us the people we wanted to become. I wouldn’t change a thing and I don’t believe Kathy would either.
I can’t imagine why she didn’t want to stay with me.
I only got to see Kathy once since 1986. In 2008 she was in town and I took her and her family out to Olive Garden (her choice). Kathy wanted to meet Mel, but this was during the run of CYAC’s first production of “Jack The Ripper” and my soulmate was on stage playing Mary Kelly at the time. It was a fun and amusingly awkward dinner. Kathy’s husband, Dave, was perfect for her and she has three great kids, Lauren, Sarah and Kyle. Kathy was delighted that I had found Mel, because she said Mel was perfect for me.
I was relieved to see that she had finally attained the peaceful existence that she’d always wanted. She seemed happy, if not a little perplexed, that I was happy and successful with PopCult and Radio Free Charleston. We were happy for each other.
The last few years she’d battled cancer and other health issues and we basically only got in touch once or twice a year, for birthday wishes or to share cartoons on Facebook. It was still nice to know, once in a while, that I could drop her a line and say, “Hey, check this out, it’s really cool!”
I’m going to miss that.
Final arrangements and a celebration of life for Kathy have been scheduled for Sunday, July 24, 2022 from 2-4PM at the Haisley Funeral Homes Tribute Center at 2041 SW Bayshore Blvd, in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
A PopCult Note: I’m fairly well certain that, if she could, Kathy would read this and declare, “My God, he took my obituary and made it all about him!” While she was almost alway supportive, she was also always prepared to pull out a needle and deflate my ego. I’m going to miss that, too.