Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: April 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

Sunday Evening Video: Chuck E. Cheese Exposed

Above you see an alternate episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, which ran online only three weeks ago. That week, his HBO show covered a topic about home ownership, but since he figured that nobody under the age of 35 will ever be able to own a home, he created an alternate episode for younger viewers, which was not aired on HBO, about Chuck E. Cheese, the kids pizza palace.

He covers the history of the company, the controversies, the decidely non-family-friendly content in some of the shows and the bizarre way the company was taken over by Showtime Pizza, which as a result, had to jettison their own robot band of musical mascots, The Rock A Fire Explosion. You’ll get the full story of Chuck E.’s evolution from nasty rat to gormless mouse, and all the crazed depcitions of the character along the way.

And he does this all with his trademark not-safe-for-work, absolutely hilarious delivery. And I felt compelled to share it here because it’s that damned good.  Set aside half an hour and prepare yourself to laugh out loud.

The RFC Flashback: Episode Twenty-Three

Radio Free Charleston’s 23rd episode was a major departure. Delayed more than a month from its intended debut due to the death of my aunt, this episode featured the reunion of The Feast Of Stephen, who hadn’t played together in 14 years when we managed to corral them all in the studio on May 12, 2007. This was nearly sixteen years ago, so it’s been longer since this reunion than it had been before.

It was a magic night as Bob Miller, Joey Fabulous, John Radcliff, Dan Jordan, Tommy Medvick and Fred Tyler came together to play music for the sheer joy of it. The energy at LiveMix Studio that night was amazing, and I still rank this show among my best work.

This show has become bittersweet to watch after the deaths of Tommy Medvick and Jerry Fugate, but it’s a great way to remember our fallen friends.

This was a four-camera shoot, with Jerry Fugate joining me on handheld, in addition to our two stationary cameras. Melanie was busy with tech week for the WVSO production of “Carmen.” There were good times.Original production notes are HERE.

Ecstasy, Passion, Pain & Disco on MIRRORBALL Friday!

The PopCulteer
April 28, 2023

We’re bidding farewell to April already and Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL to help you dance the month away. The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear listen at The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL!  In advance of a special third-anniversary treat coming next Monday, this weekThe AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a decidedly random collection songs from the heyday of polyester, gold lamé, mirrored balls and lighted dancefloors. We don’t have a fancy theme this week, just meaty, beaty, funky Disco music.

Check out the playlist…


Ecstasy, Passion & Pain “Touch and Go”
The Trampps “Hooked For Life”
Stacy Lattisaw “Jump To The Beat”
The Spinners “Are You Ready For Love”
Donna Summer “Love’s Unkind”
Peter Brown “Dance With Me”
The Three Degrees ‘You’re The One”
T Connection “Saturday Night”
Gino Soccio “Dancer”
Chic “My Feet Keep Dancin”‘
Randy Crawford “Steet Life”
Foxy “The Way You Do The Things You Do”
Candi Staton “When You Wake Up Tomorrow”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays throughout the following week, Saturday at 9 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM and Tuesday at 1 PM.

Next Monday marks three years of MIRRORBALL on The AIR, and to celebrate we’re going to kick off the Monday Marathon at 9 PM with yet another BRAND-NEW episode of MIRRORBALL, which is also a special 75th episode, devoted to the Disco hits of the year, 1975. Be there, or be stuck listening to Donny and Marie.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen a classic early episode of  of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.  This time around, Sydney brings you an hour of her regular mix of classic New Wave tracks from folks like The Teardrop Explodes, Kate Bush, Wang Chung, New Order and more. The second hour is devoted to a rare live recording of The Fixx, from 1983.

Check out this intriguing playlist…

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat   025

The Teardrop Explodes  “When I Dream”
Camouflage  “The Great Commandment”
Kate Bush  “Running Up That Hill”
Wang Chung  “Dance Hall Days”
Moti Special  “Cold Days, Hot Nights”
Animotion  “I Engineer”
Fox The Fox “Precious Little Diamond”
New Order  “True Faith”
Al Corely  “Square Rooms”
Black  “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”
Eighth Wonder  “I’m Not Scared”
Thompson Twins  “Doctor Doctor”
Squeeze “Black Coffee In Bed”

The Fixx Live in 1983

“One Thing Leads To Another”
“Cameras In Paris”
“Stand Or Fall”
“Saved By Zero”
“The Fool”
“Reach The Beach”
“Red Skies”
“I Found You”

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 new on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for our regular features every day.

The Cocaine Bear Necessities

Yours truly has been a bit of a slovenly correspondent when it comes to telling you about last month’s trip to Lexington, Kentucky for the big Comic and Toy convention. We did too many trips in a row, and real life got piled up while we were gone, so I’m just now getting around to telling you about this cool side trip we took while we were there.

Just a few blocks away from Rupp Arena, tucked away near a residential section of town, we found the Kentucky 4 Kentucky Fun Mall. It’s part tourist trap, part oddities museum, part gift store, but most famously it is the final resting place for the real life Cocaine Bear, of recent Hollywood movie fame.

If you somehow missed the hulla and its associated baloo, there was a big Hollywood movie called “Cocaine Bear” released a couple of months ago, that was allegedly based on a true story about a drug dealer who tossed his stash of the other white stuff out of an airplane, intent on parachuting out alongside it for later retrieval and distribution.

The parachute failed. Mr. Drug Dealer perished. The cocaine fell to Earth, where it was promptly eaten by a wandering bear.

That much of the story is absolutely true, and really did happen.

In the movie, the bear, coked to the gills, goes on a 1970s rock star-like rampage, terrorizing campers and wreaking all sorts of havoc. It is, a horror/comedy, filled with wonderfully-choreographed cartoon violence.

It made for a really fun movie.

Now, in real life, the bear ate the cocaine, dropped dead of a heart attack on the spot and wasn’t found for a few months.

So, don’t do drugs, kids.

KY 4 KY claims to have the taxidermied carcass of the real cocaine bear on display, and in spite of the logical fallacies of a bear carcass that’s been decomposing in the woods for a few ,months looking this good, I choose to believe their claim.  It’s more fun this way and either way, I salute their entrepreneurial hucksterism.

As KY 4 KY says…


Of course, they have a sizable assortment of T-shirts, soaps, stickers and other associated merchandise devoted to the creature that made cocaine funny again.

KY 4 KY Fun Mall is filled with all kinds of cool stuff, not all of it Cocaine Bear-related, and it’s a fun diversion if you find yourself in Lexington. Here’s some photos to give you a taste of the experience…

More hyper than your average bear, here is the star of our story.

In answer to the question posed on the sign…no, I did not know that.

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STUFF TO DO To End April

Onced again, sit back and relax as your PopCulteer regales you with suggestions hither and yon.  There’s a ton of STUFF TO DO in Charleston and all over the Mountain State and beyond as we find ourselves rapidly approaching the end of the month of April.

We start with a show for which I don’t have graphics handy, but it sounds really cool.

The West Virginia State University Yellowjacket II Chapter of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Incorporated will host local musician and member Tajai Holmes for a benefit concert for the CAMC Foundation on SATURDAY, APRIL 29 at 8 PM at Davis Fine Arts Building on the campus of WVSU. Proceeds from the concert will go toward that charity. Tickets will be available at the door for $5. Parental discretion is advised.

Tajai Holmes, known by his stage name Jai’Rahd, is a talented singer, rapper, producer, and songwriter born and raised in Kanawha County, WV. One of his biggest inspirations for singing stems from his uncle, the late Dr. Mark Holmes, a well-known gospel singer in West Virginia. Tajai’s versatility in music allows him to perform in multiple genres including hip-hop, R&B, pop, and trap. Currently, he works as a computer science engineer for Live Nation and is a member of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Incorporated, Yellowjacket II Chapter at West Virginia State University.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s Matt Mullins. Saturday Andrew Pauley entertains the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.

The Empty Glass has some great stuff through the week to tell you about.  Thursday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin play fiddle and piano and sing swing and early jazz standards. Each week they donate their tips to a local nonprofit.  At 6: 30 PM Thursday, The East End Ghouls host a viewing party for Halfway To Halloween. Thursday at 10 PM The Glass hosts a Bluegrass Jam.  Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour. Sunday sees the return of Empty Glass Got Talent  Next week they’ll have an open mic Monday night, and Songwriter Showcase on Tuesday.

Check last week’s STUFF TO DO for a list of theatre performances that are happening again this weekend. Also, Crumbl Cookie opens in Charleston, near the Aldi at Southgate, this Friday.  CAUSEACON happens Friday through Sunday in Beckley.

Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. It’s still a going concern. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu and other ferocious bugs in the mix. 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.

If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the rest of this week, roughly in order.



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Buni Muni, Joe Rian, Sierra Ferrell, Corduroy Brown and More On a New RFC.

We have once again arrived at Tuesday on The AIR  and that means it’s time for a new  Radio Free Charleston. You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay here, and  listen to the cool embedded player found elsewhere on this page.  This week it’s yet another of our hybrid shows, combinging a new hour with classic episodes from the archives.

In order to hear this show, you simply have to take your cursor over and point it at the website, or you could just stay right here and  listen to the cool embedded player found elsewhere on this page, Either way you get three full hours of Radio Free Charleston loaded with cool new local music and cool new independent music and some really interesting recycled material from 2018.

Our first hour is mostly recently-released music, some of it less than a week old. We open with brand-new music from Huntington’s Buni Muni, and heap on the new local and indie stuff with fresh tracks from Corduroy Brown, Joe Rian, Sierra Ferrell, Nixon Black, Ian Hunter and more.  We also spice things up a bit with music from John Lennon, Ann Magnuson, Payback’s a Bitch, Easy All-Stars and others.

I have to be honest. I’d planned to do a full three-hour show this week, but my prep and recording time got upended by the news that Tucker Carlson was fired from FOX News. My phone started ringing off the hook, and my inbox filled up. When it came time to record the show my throat was raw and my face was contorted into an intense grin. So I just did one new hour, then plundered the RFC Archives.

That means that our second and third hours resurrect two of our one-hour, all-local editions of Radio Free Charleston from the Spring of 2018.  Among thes two gems you’ll find a long-lost live set by Blue Million, recorded about thirty years ago at The Empty Glass.

Again, I warn you that over the course of our three hours we jump around many different musical genre and styles, because RFC is free-format radio, and we sorta do that by definition.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store (live links will take you to the artist’s pages where possible)…

RFC V5 128

hour one
Buni Muni “TAZ-BBY”
Joe Rian “Daddy’s Head Hurts”
Sierra Ferrell “The Sea (Alternate Version)”
Corduroy Brown “Survivor’s Guilt”
John Lennon “Old Dirt Road (rehearsal)”
Tyler Childers “Old Country Church (Jubilee Version)”
Todd Burge with Joseph Hale “Moonshiner”
Peg Bundy “Down”
Dave Strong “I Would”
Nervous Twitch “You Never Let Me Down”
Payback’s a Bitch “Go Johnny”
Nixon Black “Fragile”
Model Citizens “You Are What You Wear”
Easy All-Stars “Moonage Daydream”
Ann Magnuson “I’m A Man”
Ian Hunter “I Hate Hate”

hour two
Holden Caulfield “Open For Business”
Blue Million – Live At The Empty Glass 1993
“Real Life Baby Doll”
“Tangled Up In Blue”
“What Would It Take”
“Blueberry Jam”
“That Was Then, This Is Now”
“Folsom Prison Blues”
“Flesh Blood and Bones”
Three Bodies “Gardens of Hope”
Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”
Two Watts of Power “World”
Whistlepunk “Falling Down”
Raymond Wallace “Shine On Harvest Moon”
Mark Bates and the Vacancies “Spiral Down”
Under the Radar “Mothman”
The Amazing Delores “Rats In My Trailer”

hour three
Sheldon Vance “Play On”
Farnsworth “American Dream”
Burt Reynolds Death Metal Experiment “Finding Emo”
Science of the Mind “Taste My Fist”
The Renfields “Mars Attacks”
Under The Radar “Mothman Prophecy #1”
Radio Cult “Man Made Monster”
Linnfinity “Martian’s Bloom”
Hawthorne Heights “Hope”
Stone Ka-Tet “Here It Comes Again”
Stark Raven  “It Never Goes Away”
Wolfgang Parker “Blood Red Water”
Pepper Fandango “Make-out Bandit”
John Radcliff  “Company Song”

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 last week’s episodes of  MIRRORBALL at 1 PM and Curtain Call at 2 PM.

At 3 PM we offer up a couple of early episodes of The Swing Shift. Every week yours truly strives to bring you the best of over 100 years of Swing Music on one of our most-listened-to programs. This week we’re going to encore some of the formative episodes. These two shows orignally aired in 2017.

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM and 8 PM and Saturday afternoon, only on The AIR . You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Art: Partially Obscured

This week finds your blogger/artist still working with pastel crayons. I’m currently dealing with a weird evolution of my Myasthenia Gravis, where the control of my fingers is not consistent. Pastel crayons are easier for me to handle than a brush, pencil or pen at the moment, so this week I decided to try a bit of a mixed media experiment.

I created a digital abstract piece on the computer, then, with a tremendous reliance on straight-edges, tried to recreate it in pastels on paper for pens. You see the end result above,

It’s abstract, but it means something. It’s up to you to figure out what.

To see it bigger,  try clicking HERE

If you’re curious, the digital version is at the bottom of this post.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a classic episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a classic 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 elsewhere on this page.

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. 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 you can hear an hour of comical songs by Garfunkle and Oates on an encore episode of Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of New Wave Dance Mixes, as we bring you five episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat made up entirely of 12″ remixes of classic New Wave tunes.

The digital rough draft

Sunday Evening Video: Siouxsie & The Banshees In Concert

This week PopCult brings you Siouxsie & The Banshees, recorded live at Shepherds Bush Empire, London, on July 10 2002. The band sprung forth from Punk Rock fandom, having formed after Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin started following the pre-fame Sex Pistols.

Of course, they grew beyond that, with Siousxie becoming one of the most inspirational vocalists of the New Wave era, with a huge international following.

The band broke up in 1999, but reformed for the “The Seven Year Itch” tour in 2002, and that is where this concert comes from. The line-up here is: Bass – Steven Severin, Drums – Budgie, Guitar – Knox Chandler, Vocals – Siouxsie Sioux, plus additional backing vocalists.

The setlist:
1 Pure
2 Jigsaw Feeling
3 Metal Postcard
4 Red Light
5 Happy House
6 Christine
7 Lullaby
8 Lands End
9 Cities In Dust
10 I Could Be Again
11 Icon
12 Night Shift
13 Voodoo Dolly
14 Spellbound
15 Blue Jay Way
16 Monitor
17 Peek-A-Boo

We’re just randomly dropping this here because it’s such a good show. Enjoy!

The RFC Flashback: Episode Twenty-Two

This week we go back to June, 2007 for an early episode of Radio Free Charleston that was just resotred and re-posted three years ago, after being MIA for many years before that. This is another show that had unfortunately been archived at MySpace, before that service self-destructed and deleted all their videos.

“Shark Bopy Shirt”was produced while I was under a great deal of stress. I had recorded the famed reunion of Feast of Stephen the previous month, and mixing the audio and editing video from five cameras was taking longer than anticipated. Much of this was due to the fact that I had begun overseeing the care of my elderly aunt and uncle, and my aunt, Stella Warden, had been diagnosed with quickly-progressing lung cancer right in the middle of production of the FOS reunion special

So I decided that the best way to deal with things was to rush out a stopgap episode of RFC, just in case something forced me to delay the Feast of Stephen special, which was already way behind schedule at this point.

Which was a good move, since what happened was that my aunt’s cancer progressed quickly and took her life about a month after this show premiered. The FOS reunion eventually became episode 23 of RFC, after a gap of over a month between shows.

Which is not meant to demean this episode of the show. It’s a pretty great episode. I had discovered Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen at a new talent showcase at the Labelle Theater (along with InFormation, Jordan Searls and Joe Slack) and rushed them into LiveMix Studio so fast that they hadn’t quite settled on their name yet. In this show they were called “Aurora.” Voices of Anatole were one of the top metal acts in the region, and I was offered the chance to include a music video for them by Screaming Butterfly Entertainment, which is helmed by Holly Siders, who has gone on to produce many great award-winning films and music videos for the likes of Byzantine and other bands and is still creating cool music videos and feature films.

This episode also features No Running, one of Frank Panucci’s most beloved contributions to RFC. We open the show with The No Pants Players Eat A Watermelon, which is either disgusting or erotic, depending on your point of view.

Host segments were shot on the banks of the Kanawha River in Dunbar, just a few blocks from my house, during a rare break of a couple of hours from providing end-of-life care to my aunt. Considering what all was happening at the time, this turned out to be a pretty incredible episode of the show. I was still learning my craft as a guerilla TV producer and host, but I think it came out pretty well, and it’s nice to have it back online. You can read the original production notes HERE.

Post-Disco Revivalism On The AIR

The PopCulteer
April 21, 2023

You’ve worked hard all week and now we reward you with a new episode of MIRRORBALL, on The AIR, bringing joy and dancing to all you Disco fanatics.   The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

Getting right to that, at 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music departs from its normal format of presenting Disco-era delights and shines its multi-colored spotlight on three artists who have spent the last four decades keeping Disco alive.

While Disco alledgedly faded from America’s conciousness sometime in the early 1980s, there were–and are–true believers keeping the beat and making sure the dancefloors don’t fall silent. This week Mel pays tribute to three artists who, either through cover songs, or original compositions in the classic Disco style, have kept us shaking our groove things into a new millenium.

Pet Shop boys, Jimmy Somerville and Kylie Minogue have stood strong and proudly defended the Disco Hill, and this week we bring you a Disco salad of all three

Check out the playlist…


Pet Shop Boys “Go West”
Kylie Minogue “Fine Wine”
Jimmy Somerville “You Make Me Feel”
Pet Shop Boys “To Step Aside”
Kylie Minogue “Magic”
Pet Shop Boys “Saturday Night Forever”
Kylie Miogue “Real Groove”
Jimmy Somerville “Travesty”
Kylie Minogue “Where Does The DJ Go?”
Pet Shop Boys “Radiophonic”
Jimmy Somerville “Strong Enough”
Kylie Minogue “Dance Floor Darling”
Jimmy Somerville “Never Can Say Goodbye”
Pet Shop Boys “I Don’t Know What You Want, But I Can’t Give It Any More”
Jimmy Somerville & Sarah Jane Morris “Don’t Leave Me This Way”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays throughout the following week, Saturday at 9 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM and Tuesday at 1 PM.

At 3 PM we bring you an encore of a classic episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat from September, 2016.  This was another show where Sydney Fileen educated the masses on the finer points of New Wave history.  Rather than send you to a link, we’ll just re-post the playlist here…

The playlist:

After The Fire  “Der Kommisar”
Dave Edmunds  “I Hear You Knockin’”
Eddie and The Hot Rods  “Teenage Depression”
Dr. Feelgood  “Milk and Alcohol”
Roogalator  “Cinncinnati Fatback”
Flamin’ Groovies  “Slow Death”
Elvis Costello and The Attractions  “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding”
Ian Dury and The Blockheads  “What A Waste”
The Ramones  “Teenage Lobotomy”
Talking Heads  “Life During Wartime”
The Damned  “New Rose”
Plastic Bertrand  “Ca Plan Por Moi”
Buzzcocks  “Ever Fallen In Love”
Kraftwerk  “Trans Europe Express”
Falco “Der Komissar”
The Dickies  “Pretty Please Me”
Lene Lovich  “Blue”
Joe Jackson  “A Slow Song”
New England  “Walking Wild”
M  “Keep It To Yourself”
Mike Batt with the LSO  “Voices In The Dark”
Men At Work  “Be Good Johnny”
Spoons  “Walk Across The Water”
The Passions  “I’m In Love With A German Film Star”
Sham 69  “The Kids Are United”
Spandau Ballet  “Chant No 1”
Altered Images  “Happy Birthday”
The Smiths  “Please, Please Let Me Go”
Nina Hagen  “TV Glotzer (White Punks On Dope)”
Bill Nelson  “In The Forest of the Storms”

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. Two classic episodes can also be heard every Sunday, starting at 10 AM.

And that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content because it makes you a smart feller, or something.

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