Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: May 2023 (Page 2 of 4)

Monday Morning Art: Southside

This weekend, I set aside some time to paint. Close to twenty hours over three days, to be exact, plus another hour or so photographing the piece and then color-correcting it on the computer.

This is an acrylic painting on heavy watercolor paper I did of the Southside of Chicago, using dozens of photographic references, none of which were actually from this perspective. I wanted to do something different than just another depiction of the famous skyline (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Obviously, the style I employed here is an impression of an impressionist. My fingers weren’t up to working in high detail, and while I am in a years-long fascination with the work of Edward Hopper, I wanted to take a different approach to this one. I thought it might be interesting to apply a Claude Monet-derived vision to Hopperesque subject matter. In this case, an industrial part of a city, complete with the “L” running through it.

I’m sort of happy with taking a Hopper-type subject matter, but composing and rendering it in a more organic, less technical, finished painting. Not aiming for precision was a bit liberating.

As usual, I am not thrilled with the sky, and considered cropping it out for the blog, but then the aspect ratio would make sharing it on social media annoying, so I left it as is.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland we have new stuff this week. You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page.

Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a new episode of Psychedelic Shack,  As always, Nigel Pye has compiled a collection of creative cacophonic concoctions, designed to expand the mind and free the soul.  Check out the playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 077

Cream “Sunshine of Your Love”
Inner Thoughts “Smokestack Lightning”
The Kids “Jordan Land”
The Impact Express “A Little Love”
The Ranch “A Little While Back”
Yellow Brick Road “When Fall Arrives”
The Razor’s Edge “Baby’s On His Way”
Elephant Stone “L.A. Woman”
Sons of Hippies “Soul Kitchen”
Kinetic “Suddenly Tomorrow”
The Matadors “Get Down From The Tree”
Russ Alquist “The Laughing Man”
Virgin Sleep “Haliford House”
L.A. “Nine to Five”
The Unknown Group “Out of My Head (Over You)”

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.

Then at 3 PM a new edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis brings you two hours of classic Progressive Rock bands with substitute vocalists.  These are tunes released by the biggest bands of Prog after their most famous vocalists have departed.

The show opens with the title track of the just-released album by YES, and continues with post-lineup-change vocal turns by Marillion, Pallas, Styx, Kansas, King Crimson and more. You’ll also get to hear Genesis with lead vocalist Ray Wilson, and the show concludes with more from YES, this time featuring the vocals of Benoit David, who since leaving the band has exited the entire music industry.  There’s even a local connection as he includes a track by Renaissance, featuring Grafton, WV native, Stephanie Adlington, taking over behind the microphone from Annie Haslam.

Check out the playlist with the Legion of Substitute Vocalists (with the vocalists in brackets)…

Prognosis 104

YES “Mirror To The Sky” (Jon Davison)
Genesis “One Man’s Fool” (Ray Wilson)
Marillion “The Lap of Luxury” (Steve Hogarth)
King Crimson “Lizard” (Jon Anderson, Gordon Haskell)
ASIA “Crime of The Heart” (John Payne)
Renaissance “Somewhere West of Here” (Stephanie Adlington)
Pallas “Rat Race” (Alan Reed)
3 (Emerson, Berry and Palmer) “Desde La Vida” (Robert Berry)
Styx “Crash of the Crown” (Lawrence Gowan)
Queen + Paul Rodgers “We Believe” (Paul Rodgers)
Kansas “Crossfire” (John Elefante”
YES “Fly From Here (excerpts)” (Benoit David)

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 Polka-heavy music from Weird Al Yankovic on a new episode of Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, with two-hour blocks devoted to each year of New Wave Music from 1978 to 1982.

Sunday Evening Video: Mike Batt’s Zero Zero

{This week’s Sunday Evening Video is an encore of a post I’d written almost exactly ten years ago. In that time, the video link went bad, but the video remains online. So since this is one of my favorite works, and if all goes according to plan I’ll be reviewing a new graphic novel/music project by Mike Batt next month, I’m repeating this entry with some minor tweaking and the video properly back in place. }

Back in December, 2010, I brought you several music videos by Mike Batt, a composer and performer of whom I have have been a fan for a very long time.  When I posted that item, I lamented the unavailability of my favorite work of his, a “Video Fantasy” called “Zero Zero” in the US.

Zero Zero is a New Wave/orchestral hybrid of a ballet with a long-form music video. It tells a story set in a futuristic dystopian society where love has been declared a mental disorder and is systematically eliminated. I discovered it among the many treasures aired in the early days of the USA Network program, “Night Flight.”  I was familiar with the music, but the visuals, including dance, animation and a wild set design, were mind-blowing. I hadn’t seen Zero Zero since it last aired on Night Flight around 1982 (back in the days before I had my first VCR).

Luckily Mike Batt graciously posted the entire work, in remastered form no less, to YouTube. That’s it you see at the top of this post.  Please enjoy Mike Batt with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, performing Zero Zero.

The RFC Flashback: Episode Twenty-Six

This week we go all the way back to September, 2007, for a “Back to School” episode of Radio Free Charleston.  We have music from Whistlepunk and Sean Richardson, a short film by Stephen and Amee Beckner’s kids, a preview of a series we never got around to filming with Mad Man Pondo and animation from yours truly. I just restored and uploaded this last fall and posted it here then, but we’re going in order here, so this is going to happen a lot over the next two or three months.

The show was hosted by then-12-year-old Cadence Young, the daughter of RFC Big Shot (and Whistlepunk drummer) Brian Young.  She took over as I was mysteriously attacked during the “Hello” segment. Sixteen years later I still have no idea who perpetrated this savage assault.

Most of this show was recorded in or around the much-missed LiveMix Studio on Quarrier Street, and you can read the original production notes HERE.

Celebrate The Legacy of Donna Summer On MIRRORBALL

The PopCulteer
May 19, 2023

Saturday, May 20th, HBO premieres a new documentary about the legendary singer, Donna Summers, just days after the eleventh anniversary of her passing.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer is an in-depth look at the iconic artist as her voice and artistry takes her from the avant-garde music scene in Germany, to the glitter and bright lights of dance clubs in New York. A deeply personal portrait of Summer on and off stage, the film features a wealth of photographs and never-before-seen home video footage – often shot by Summer herself. Through a rich window into the surprising range of her artistry, from songwriting to painting, Love to Love You, Donna Summer explores the highs and lows of a life lived on the global stage.

The documentary was directed by Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and Summer’s own daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, and it debuts tomorrow on HBO and the soon-to-be-renamed, HBO Max.

In honor of this new documentary, Friday at 2 PM on The AIR, Mel Larch presents her second tribute to Donna Summer on the Disco Showcase, MIRRORBALL. 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.

Mel first paid tribute to the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, back on the fifteenth edition of MIRRORBALL and this week she goes back to the well and brings you another solid hour of dance classics from the woman who was the female voice of the Disco era. Rather than simply rerun that earlier episode, Mel decided to put together an all-new collection, with no songs duplicated from her previous tribute.

Donna Summer was the first artist to get the MIRRORBALL spotlight with a solo show, and she created so much iconic Disco music that it was easy to put together a second tribute show. Who knows, maybe someday Mel will grace us with a third tribute to Ms. Summer.

Check out the playlist…

Donna Summer Tribute #2

“With Your Love”
“Walk Away”
“Spring Affair”
“Journey To The Center of Your Heart”
“Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”
“Take Me”
“Could It Be Magic”
“Happily Ever After”

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.

Friday and Saturday evenings at 9 PM, this week you’ll get a mini-marathon with the new MIRRORBALL followed by an encore of the previous tribute to Ms. Summer and a show devoted to the soundtrack of her movie debut, Thank God It’s Friday.

At 3 PM we bring you an encore of a classic episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat from April, 2017.  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…

BEC 020
Oingo Boingo  “Private Life”
Missing Persons  “Hello, I Love You”
INXS  “Need You Tonight”
Vivabeat  “Man From China”
Go West  “We Close Our Eyes”
Fad Gadget  “Back To Nature”
Erasure  “The Circus”
The Clash  “Straight To Hell”
Toyah  “Blue Meaning”
Ultravox  “Rockwrock”
Fear  “Let’s Have A War”
Biizarre Leidenschnatt  “Plasticpuppen”
The Nerves  “TV Adverts”
Stiff Little Fingers  “Nobody’s Heroes (Live)”
Blitz  “Youth” Mi Sex  “21-20”
Yoko Ono  “Move On Fast”
The Cure  “10:15 Saturday Night”
The Distributors  “T.V. Me”
Kraftwerk  “Tour De France”
Simple Minds  “Someone Somewhere In Summertime”
Ian Dury and the Blockheads  “What A Waste”
The Saints  “Know Your Product”
Aerial  “Cold War Love”
Siouxsie and the Banshees  “Suburban Relapse”
Berlin  “Sex (I’m A)” (extended version)
Blue Me  “Berlin”
The Jam  “Going Underground”
Generation X  “King Rocker
Yellow Magic Orchestra  “Cosmic Surfin’”

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 metaphorically larger than the average human.


STUFF TO DO Without A Clever Headline

It’s that time of the week when we tell you that there’s still a ton of STUFF TO DO in Charleston and all over the Mountain State and beyond as we find ourselves tearing through 2023 at the speed of light.  This week our suggestions cover everything from music to writing workshops, retail festivals and more, and we plug events in Charleston, and everywhere from Morgantown to Fayettefille to Marietta to Huntington and even in exotic and alluring Dunbar!

A special note: ArtWalk happens again in Charleston Thursday from 5 PM to 8 PM.  This free event is open to the public as art lovers can walk to all the usual suspects and take in the majesty of the art. Some galleries will have music and/or munchies as well. It’s a really cheap way to support the local scene and get out and mingle a bit…if you are so inclined.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s Megan Bee. Saturday Josiah Whitley 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 7:30 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 or worthy cause.  Thursday at 10 PM Harper and Midwest Kind come to town.  Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour. Friday at 10 PM Luke Trimble has a full band show. The East End Ghouls have an open stage at 10 PM. Sunday it’s time for EMPTY GLASS GOT TALENT at 10 PM.  Next week they’ll have an open mic hosted by Unmanned on Monday night, and Songwriter Showcase on Tuesday.

Extra note: The Graveyard Mafia show, which you’ll see a graphic for below, happens at Sam’s Uptown Cafe. I was unable to find the full poster with the venue listed.

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.

Continue reading

AlphaBeatlical and A Sugary Treat On The AIR

For yet another Wednesday afternoon, The AIR brings you new episodes of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  You can tune in at the website, or if you’re on a laptop or desktop, you could just stay right here and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player lurking elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM (EDT) Beatles Blast brings you a mixtape with stupider premise than last week’s show. This time I tried to put together a collection of Beatles songs, group and solo, with one song title that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Beatles Blast being only a one-hour show, I only made it to the letter “U” before I ran out of time. Maybe I’ll finish it next week, and fill out the show with songs about numbers or something.

Still, any collection of Beatles music is good listening, so you might want to tune in and see what I came up with. Some are obvious, some are not.

There’s no playlist this week because the element of surprise is pretty much the only thing this episode has going for it.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 11 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday afternoon.

At 3 PM (EDT) on Curtain Call, Mel Larch presents the original Broadway cast album for a strangely-forgotten show that one the Tony Award for Best New Musical fifty years ago.  Mel will tell you why Sugar is a relevant show today.

Right now on Broadway, one of the hottest shows is a new musical adaptation of the classic 1959 Billy Wilder movie, Some Like It Hot.

It’s doing very well at the box office and is nominated for this year’s Tony Award for Best New Musical. Interestingly enough, Sugar , which featured a book by Peter Stone, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill, is also based on the classic 1959 Billy Wilder movie, Some Like It Hot.

Mel brings you the full show album and talks about how it’s still well-known in some parts of the world, but isn’t here in the US. Mel also gives listeners a chance to compare and contrast Sugar with the current Broadway adaptation of Some Like It Hot, with a couple of songs from the new show tacked on at the end.  Stick around to the very end of the show and you’ll hear a couple of minutes of outtakes from the 1973 recording of Sugar, just as a bit of an Easter Egg.

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

Also on The AIR, Wednesday at 11 PM,  The Comedy Vault once again presents a new episode that I  haven’t produced yet, so there’s no telling what it’ll have in it.  It’s the fun of discovery!

Shake The Dead Music, David Synn Interviewed on RFC, Swing From Around The World on The Swing Shift

We have come to Tuesday, which almost always lands somewhere between Monday and Wednesday, and on The AIR that means it’s time for a new  Radio Free Charleston and a new edition of The Swing Shift. 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.  

You can hear Radio Free Charleston Tuesdays at 10 AM and 10 PM, with tons of replays throughout the week.  This week we have two hours of freeform radio that mixes local, independent and not-so independent artists together. Then we devote our third hour to a seven-year-old RFC Interview with David Synn. This is because we close our second hour with a new track from David, showing off the new musical direction he’ll be exploring with his next release, early next year.

We open the show with a great new hard-rocking tune from Shake The Dead, and also have loads of other new music from WV bands like Golden and Massing. In our second hour we open with new tunes from WV artists I discovered thanks to The WV Music Detective.  They put The Wearing Hands, Socialist Book Club and Overvue on my radar this week.  I’ll be picking their brain a lot more in the coming weeks so I can keep bringing new WV artists on the show alongside the free-format, indie artists and major players.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Where possible, live links will take you to the artist’s pages so you can find out more about them, buy their music and find out where to see them perform live…

RFC V5 131

hour one
Shake The Dead “From Fury”
Golden “Smokers”
Gogol Bordello “Focus Coin”
The Dirteez “Boogie Rats”
Atomic Annie “Creeps”
Dave Strong “Nights In Jail”
John Lancaster “A Bloodrunner Conspiracy (Andre Blacksugar Remix)”
Massing “Nothing To Fear”
Novelty Island “The Desperately Strange”
Logical Fleadh “Fermoy Lasses-Noisy Curlew-Gravelwalk”
The Dread Crew of Oddwood “Expedition on Heavy Submarines”
Stark Raven “Bowl Ethereal”
Jethro Tull “The Feathered Consort”
Ovada “Church of Paranoia”
dog soldier “Blanket”

hour two
The Wearing Hands “Closer To You”
Socialist Book Club “Mountain”
Overvue “Horizon”
The Liquid Canvas “Spirit Molecule”
Under Surveillance “City Boy”
City Boy “Rat Race”
Renaissance “Deja Vu”
Payback’s a Bitch “Get Up…Go (Live at the Marquee Club, London)”
Wreckless Eric “Semaphore Signals (Live)”
Jane Aire & The Belvederes “Yankee Wheels”
Graham Parker & The Rumour “Saturday Night Is Dead”
David Synn “The Gap”
David Synn “Van Gogh’s Awakening”
David Synn “Jazz Hands”

hour three
The RFC Interview with David Synn, from 2016

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 2 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 classic 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 brand-new episode of The Swing Shift. This time it’s a solid hour of great Swing tunes from all around the world, chosen, seemingly, at random. It seems that way because they sort of were. I recorded and deejayed this one live with no prep. Still, it swings like crazy.

Just check out this seemingly random playlist…

The Swing Shift 142

Swingaria “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
Lily Wilde “Rip Van Winkle”
Robbie Williams “Swing Supreme”
Mijares “Lamento Boliviano”
Pink Turtle “Hotel California”
Renée Geyer “Comin’ Home Baby”
Igor Butman “The Song Is You”
Golden Swing Band “Love Me Or Leave Me”
Big Band Gustav Brom “Sumpf”
Franck Dijeau Big Band “Sing, Sing, Sing”
Adriano Baltoba Orchestra “One Minute To One”
Big Joe and the Dynaflows “Gumbo Blues”
Django Reinhardt “Swing Guitars”

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: 80’s Album Cover

Sometimes you come up with something sorta cool when you feel totally devoid of inspiration.

This is what it was like for your humble blogger just last night when it came time to create something for this week’s Monday Morning Art.  I started playing around with old skyline photos I took in Chicago more than five years ago, found one that looked sort of weird and decided to go after it digitally.

I cropped it, rotated it, compressed it, did a little digital painting and ran it through a ton of filters and came up with what you see above.

The end result looks to me sort of like an album cover from the 1980s. You might see it on a record by a Post-Punk band with neat suits and pretentious lyrics, or maybe it would be at home on a progressive Jazz album by a group that didn’t like being photographed.  It sort of made me feel like I was playing the part of a third-rate Hipgnosis imitator.

I can almost see this album clear in my mind, by “Suave Businessmen” or “Trio Number Twenty-Nine,” sitting in the cut-out bin at Budget Tapes & Records a week after it was released.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

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 radio sketch comedy from Canada on a new episode of Comedy Vault. These are the “Boot to the head” guys.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of the most recent shows created for The AIR, as we give you a chance to play catch-up.

Sunday Evening Video: The Return Of The Velvet Brothers

Just about nine days ago, your humble blogger did his first video shoot of a band in Charleston in over four years. it was Cinco de Mayo and The Velvet Brothers were playing the outdoor pavillion at The Red Carpet.

And to give you a little added perspective, it was the first time I’d set foot in The Red Carpet since 1989.

Mel and I went and captured the first twenty minutes or so of the Velvet’s set before the smoking on the Pavillion drove us away. I would’ve loved to have stayed for the whole show, but even wearing my trusty mask, I knew I had to limit my exposure.

The boys were in fine form.  Whitney Velvet was sitting in for Dave Velvet, which meant they had a sax instead of a trumpet, and that gave the Brothers V a slightly different flavor for the evening. Maybe we’ll get to hear both of these guys Velvetting it up together someday.

Above, you get one song from the evening, Tommy Bolin’s “Savannah Moon.” The rest of these gems are being squirrled away for a future project.

Any VB is good VB. So enjoy this taste of Cinco de Mayo from The Velvet Brothers.

The RFC Flashback: Episode Twenty-Five

This week, firmly entrenched in a several-week stretch of early episodes of Radio Free Charleston that were just reposted here last fall, we bring you another classic show.

rfc2509From August, 2007, this episode of RFC, “Flaming Skull Shirt,” has been missing in action for thirteen of the last sixteen years.  This episode features a video by the late, legendary darling of Dunbar, The Amazing Delores. You’ll also get to see a performance by Joe Slack, recorded at LiveMix Studio, back in the glory days.

Over the end credits we play one of the most-requested songs from the original radio incarnation of RFC. We also have a very special movie trailer, and animation from Frank Panucci’s movie, “Reperkussionz.”

This show is notable for having two segments directed by my old pal, Danny Boyd. Danny did the video for Delores, and he also did the original short film, “Coal Dust, Fairy Dust,” which I re-edited and bastardized into a cheap parody of “Brokeback Mountain.” The joke was funny fifteen years ago, trust me.

Also, I couldn’t fix it in the remastering, so the credits still have the incorrect songwriting credits for “Love Magic.” They should be Delores Boyd/Michael Lipton/Stan Lynch.

You can read the original production notes HERE.

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