One of the coolest (out of many cool things we saw) at JoeLanta a few weeks ago was the Raise The Flagg project by Chris Dortch.
The USS Flagg is probably the largest action figure accessory/playset ever sold. Designed for the GI Joe: A Real American Hero line in 1985, this gigantic aircraft carrier was eight feet long when fully assembled.
While that was awfully impressive, the Flagg did not have a lot going on below deck. What Chris has done is remedy that with a range of upgrades and additions. He literally raises the Flagg and puts in meticulously-detailed lower decks with lighting, 3-D printed additions, new paint detail and more.
Chris has written a book filled with tips and instructions on how to upgrade the USS Flagg, and his website is filled with additional details and resources.
The brief video above shows you some of the majesty of this epic DIY playset revision. Below, you’ll find more photos, presented without comment because your humble blogger is trying to get this post finished between frequent short power outages. The first photo you’ll see was taken Friday afternoon, before Chris had the entire custom USS Flagg assembled. The remainder were taken the next morning and show the Flagg and it’s detail in their full glory.
Visit Chris’s website for more details on how you can Raise The Flagg (and his ministry), and order his book from Amazon.
We enter into Labor Day weekend here at PopCult with a whole bunch of suggestions for things you can get into this weekend in and around West Virginia and a few points more distant.
There are loads and loads of cool things happening all over the damn place this weekend, so this is probably a good time to remind you that THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS. I do the best I can by jumping over to Facebook and grabbing existing graphics for cool events, but past experience has taught me that putting more time and effort than this into compiling a huge list of things that folks can do is an exercise in futility. These posts are the least-read things in this blog. It’s the same reason that “entertainment calendars” at news sites tend to wither and die. People would rather read about one single event, or they’d rather read about new radio shows or comic book and toy reviews.
But, I like to support the local scene, so here’s what you can get into if you’re local, starting with my boilerplate paragraphs.
Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday RFC faves, Blue Twisted Steel take the stage. Saturday it’s more RFC faves, as Bad Keys of the Mountain with Aaron Fisher entertain the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.
The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this weekend to tell you about. Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause. Later Thursday evening you can hear the country stylings of Oklahoma’s Seth Reid at 10 PM. Other shows at the Empty Glass include: Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour. Later on Friday The Charleston Rouges mark the half-way mark to St. Patrick’s Day at 10 PM. Saturday at 10 PM, there is a poetry jam that you can read about below. Sunday, The Redbloods bring their jam-band sound to The Glass at 9 PM. Next Monday it’s Open Mic Night at 9 PM.
Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. It’s still a going concern with the ‘rona surging again. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu, Peruvian Murder Fleas, anti-science maniacs screaming about vaccines, the reanimated corpse of Alice Moore revived by the Koch Foundation to ban more books and other damned good reasons to be careful. 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.
Keep in mind that all shows are subject to change or be cancelled at the last minute.
If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the weekend, roughly in order…
Radio Free Charleston comes your way with an intellectually-curated collection of local and independent music this week on The AIR as we premiere three full hours of new RFC! 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 elsewhere on this page.
Rather than once again revive some of our pre-2020 programming this week, we decided to just build a new three-hour show that you can hear at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday. We have lots of new music, lots of local and independent stuff and some mystery bonus tracks at the end that have to be heard to be believed.
We open our show with a song from the new album by Aristotle Jones, Mountain Doo Wop and The Streets of Osage, and over the course of the next three hours, we bring you brand-new music from The Paranoid Style, Skyflake, The Struts, Test Subject 17, TAFKAVince, Buni Muni, Old Crow Medicine Show with Sierra Ferrell, Pere Ubu, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Cindy Wilson, Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns, William Matheny and Jerks.
That’s mixed in with classic tracks from local, independent and international artists, with everything mixed together in lovely free-format clumps of musical excellence.
And a quick correction to what I announce in the show: A Problematic Opera, the new album by TAFKAVince is out now, and you can get it from Bandcamp. For some reason I thought it was due to be released shortly.
Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store (links will take you to the artist’s pages where possible)…
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 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.
Then at 1 PM we have MIRRORBALL, followed at 2 PM by Curtain Call. At 3 PM two classic episodes of The Swing Shift arrive.
You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 8 AM, Thursday at 9 AM, Friday at 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.
Last week I brought you a painting that I’m really happy with. This week, not so much.
Technically, I was pleased with the recreation of a photo I took on the streets of Chicago in acrylic on cheap canvas board, but I wasn’t thrilled with the composition. I also thought my work on it was a little mechanical and didn’t really add much to the photo.
I sat it aside in the reject pile for a few weeks. Last week I picked it up and looked at it again, and decided to paint in one new detail, which I found mildly amusing, so now you get to see it. This one can be considered as a study for a larger painting that I’ll never bother doing. But it’s worth a chuckle, maybe.
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.
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. 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 The 2,000 Year Old Man on last week’s episode of TheComedy Vault.
Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of Herman Linte’s prog-rock showcase, Prognosis.
Also, for those of you who have read down this far, today is the 18th anniversary of PopCult. We started at The Charleston Gazette, as part of the Gazzblogs, and a few years ago we left the Gazette-Mail for a more stable platform. It’s been a wild trip and I thank you all for reading us for all those years. I’m not making a big deal out of this anniversary because we intend to keep going for quite some time.
Above you see the video of the epic road trip your humble blogger took two weekends ago. In just under half an hour I take you from Dunbar to Caryville, Tennesee, to Calhoun, Georgia, into Atlanta for JoeLanta, back up to Richmond, Kentucky and then on to Columbus, Ohio for PowerCon and MEGO Meet.
I intended to have this video ready for you a week ago, but the trip took a lot out of me, which you can probably tell near the end of the video, and it took a while to clear enough time to actually edit the thing.
In fact, you’ll get to see your PopCulteer go through several wardrobe changes (the trip took five days), a few different hats and glasses, and astute viewers ought to be able to see where my Myasthenia Gravis flared up and made me all squinty-eyed. Also, I messed up when I did the title screen you see above. We actually left on the afternoon of August 9.
It was a fun trip, but we’ll never do another like it again. 1,200 miles on the road in five days is just too much. By the time we hit PowerCon we were basically DOA and only lasted a couple of hours. Cramming this much into one long weekend basically meant that everything was a blur.
I do have loads of leftover video from JoeLanta and PowerCon, and you’ll probably get a couple of “raw footage” clips in the coming weeks. I also still have a video in progess from The Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo back in July that I need to finish, plus I’ll have a short video of Chris Dortch’s amazing USS Flagg Modification job.
But for now we have the above travelogue, which is scored with copyrighted music, so I had to post it in an unusual way to avoid torching my YouTube account. Hopefully that doesn’t create any technical issues. If it does, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to fix it. (Update: I’ve switched out the original video with a smaller file that should play much more smoothly).
Below we have a few teaser photos, but there are many more photo essays in the pipeline. Just be patient.
You can expect a photo essay and short video devoted to Chris Dortch’s USS Flagg upgrade project (and book) next week.
Just a sample of the cool toys for sale at JoeLanta.
At some point we need to do an in-depth interview and photo essay with this vendor who specializes in Six Million Dollar Man stuff from Kenner. Much of it is autographed.
I think this was the Brentdollz table at MEGO Meet/PowerCon. We really need to go to ths show sometime when we can get the full effect, instead of showing up halfway through the final day.
Had I not been exhausted, I may have succumbed to the pull of collecting these gems. In fact, you can see me in the background snapping photos.
Impressive as hell, and I don’t even know what they are because by this point both of us were beyond exhausted.
Obligatory Rudy standing in front of Buc-ee’s wearing a Cocaine Bear shirt photo.
This week we head back to April, 2008, for “IWA East Coast Shirt,” the forty-first video edition of Radio Free Charleston. This music-packed show featured A Place Of Solace, Holden Caulfield, and from Nashville, special guests The Coal Men, who crashed at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor one night after performing at The Empty Glass.
We also had an announcement from The Concept, and a short burst of animation from my brother Frank. I hosted from Davis Park, using a real microphone for the first time on the show. It made a difference, and that ten-dollar mic that I bought at Sun Electronics back in the early 1990s is still part of the RFC production arsenal.
I’m not sure about The Coal Men, but every other group on this show, and Sun Electronics too, have either broken up or fallen off the face of the Earth. Read the original production notes HERE.
Your PopCulteer is hitting the road again this weekend (August is a bit of a minefield of important anniversaries) for a mini-trip to celebrate my ninth wedding anniversary. Because of that I’m rushing to complete a few PopCult posts (including a big video for Sunday) and don’t have a lot of time for our Friday column. Sydney Fileen has come to my rescue with a brand-new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, premiering this afternoon on The AIR, but first we have a couple of brief and sad wrestling notes.
With the sad news of the passing of legendary wrestler, Terry Funk, after years of failing health, on Wednesday, wrestling fans were stunned by the awful news that Windham Rotunda, known to WWE fans as “Bray Wyatt” unexpectedly passed away at the age of 36 the next day.
Wyatt was considered one of the most creative minds in wrestling, and had been off TV battling a severe case of COVID since February. It was said to be “life and career threatening,” but he was recently reported to be well on the way to recovery and was expected to return to WWE television shortly. Reports are that he suffered a heart attack Thursday. I was a fan of his work and even reviewed his action figure back in 2020. He brought a fresh sense of macabre surrealism to the ring, and fans were eagerly awaiting what he would do next.
PopCult’s condolences go out to the friends and family of Funk and Rotunda/Wyatt. The wrestling world was far more entertaining thanks to their efforts.
Party Out Of Bounds On The AIR
On a less somber note we have to tell you about a new episode 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, we bring you a encore of a cool, random episode of Mel Larch’s Disco Showcase, MIRRORBALL, from March of 2021. Here’s the playlist:
ABBA “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”
Kool And The Gang “Fresh”
A Taste of Honey “Boogie Oogie Oogie”
El Coco “Cocomotion”
Peaches and Herb “Freeway”
Amii Stewart “Knock On Wood”
Carol Douglas “Doctor’s Orders”
Chic “Dance, Dance, Dance”
Donna Summer “Hot Stuff”
Ubass “My Disco”
The Jacksons “Dancin’ Machine”
Vicki Sue Robinson “Turn The Beat Around”
Van McCoy “The Hustle”
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, Sydney Fileen graces us with special mixtape-style new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. This week Sydney delves deep into the history of Athens Georgia’s brightest party lights, The B-52s.
This plucky band from Athens didn’t reach their greatest US success until well after the end of The New Wave era, but throughout the early 1980s they carried the torch for New Wave Funky Weirdness internationally, with major chart success in Australia and the UK. With a ringing endorsement from none other than John Lennon, the B-52s appeared in Paul Simon’s movie, “One Trick Pony,” and on American television programs like Guiding Light, Saturday Night Live and others.
Sydney has assembled a collection of tracks from the B-52s first four albums and a couple of singles, and she winds up with a live version of their biggest post-New Wave hit, just to keep everybody happy.
Check out the playlist…
Big Electric Cat 107
“Dance This Mess Around”
“There’s A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)”
“Party Out Of Bounds”
“Give Me Back My Man”
“Devil In My Car”
“Thorw That Beat In The Garbage Can”
“Nip It In The Bud”
“Song For A Future Generation”
“Queen of Las Vegas”
“Summer of Love”
“Girl From Ipanema Goes To Greenland”
“Ain’t It A Shame”
“Love Shack (live)”
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. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday morning at 10 AM.
That’s what’s new on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for our regular features every day. Sunday we’re posting our video of the JoeLanta/PowerCon Mega Road Trip.
We have a bunch of stuff to tell you about all over West Virginia this week as we skid into the last full weekend of August. Your humble blogger and his lovely wife will be absconding to an undisclosed location to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, but there’s all kinds of cool things going on for you folks to enjoy while we’re gone.
Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s Ty McClanahan. Gary Hays entertains the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.
Magically Ordinary will bring their family-friendly magic show to Mountain Roots Community Theater in Quincy on Sunday. The show runs from 2 PM to 5 PM and tickets are $12, or $10 for kids and seniors. The show will be interpreted in ASL. Magician, Matt Neely find way to make the ordinary magical and delights audiences of all ages.
The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this weekend to tell you about. Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause. Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour. Later on Friday Guns For Hire bring their Southern Blues-based Rock to the Glass from Paintsville, KY. Saturday at 10 PM, The East End Ghouls put on their back-to-school show, which you and see more about below, and of note, your PopCulteer’s imaginary daughter, Kitty Killton will be on hand. Sunday at 10 PM it’s time for Empty Glass Got Talent. Next Monday it’s Open Mic Night with Unmanned at 7 PM.
Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. It’s still a going concern with the ‘rona surging again. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu, heatstroke,typhoons, tycoons, Tyke Hunt, Ty Beanie Babies and other damned good reasons to be careful. 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 weekend, roughly in order, with a couple of Festivals and Kin Ship Goods two-day ninth anniversary celebration listed first…
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 tribute to Abbey Road, with cover versions of every song on that classic album, some of them twice. It’s a wild mix of veteran prog-rockers, 1960s legends, alternative rock icons, and a few people you probably never heard of before. Heck, we even have three keyboardists who spent time in YES.
The hour kicks off with the entire album recreated via covers, and then we end with four bonus versions by folks like The Surpremes, Nick Cave and Chumbawumba.
Check out the playlist…
Beatles Blast 098
“Come Together” Durga McBroom, Jackie Lomax & Snowy White
“Something” Charles Jones & Sonny Landreth
“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
“Oh! Darling ” Eric Dover & Carmine Appice
“Octopus’s Garden” Matt Axton & Brian Auger
“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” Arthur Brown & Steve Stevens
“Here Comes The Sun’ Ron Bumblefoot Thal
“Because’ Rebecca Pidgeon & Patrick Moraz
“You Never Give Me Your Money” Graham Bonnet & Rick Wakeman
“Sun King” James Booth & The Return, Albert Lee & Geoff Downes
‘Mean Mr. Mustard” Jack Russell
‘Polythene Pam” Matthew Sweet
“She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” Adam Gaynor & Paul Shaffer
“Golden Slumbers” Terry Reid
“Carry That Weight” Gregg Bissonette
‘The End” Frank Dimino & Steve Hillage
“Her Majesty” Gary Wilson
“Come Together” The Supremes
“Something” Martha Reeves
“Here Comes The Sun” “Nick Cave
“Her Majesty” Chumbawumba
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 a collection of performances from new musicals, and closes the show with a couple of tunes played in tribute to Inga Swenson and the composer, Tom Jones, both of whom recently passed away. .
The show opens with another new track from the current revival of Sweeny Todd.
Following that, Mel tells you about four interesting new musicals that are either newly-staged, or still in the concept phase. You’ll hear samples of Mayflies: A New Musical, Relapse The Musical Concept Album, Cupid’s Daughters a Mythical Musical and Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera. Mel tells you a little bit about each show, and then wraps up with a couple of songs from 110 In The Shade.
Check out the playlist…
Curtain Call 135
“Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd (2023)
“Looking Back,” “Running On Empty,” “Jigsaw” from Mayflies: A New Musical
“Wasteland,” “Flush,” “Serenity” from Relapse The Musical Concept Album
“Brightest Love,” “Long Dark Road,” “Run to You” from Cupid’s Daughters a Mythical Musical
“Forever Girl,” “Stand Up And Be Counted,” “Even The Cool Succumb,” “You’ve Gotta Understand” from Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera
“Love Don’t Turn Around,” “Simple Little Things” featuring Inga Swenson from 110 In The Shade
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 presents an encore episode featuring Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s 2,000 Year-old Man.
We are somewhat back to normal for Tuesday on The AIR and 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 a new hour loaded with great stuff, and another dip back into the Radio Free Charleston archives for a show loaded with curious gems and jarring transitions.
Our first sixty minutes features new tunes from Alabaster Boxer, Jim Lange, Jerks, Golden, Bearings, The Hives, The struts ad Speedsuit.
Our second and third hours revive another free-format free-for-all with a mix of everything from The Residents to Paul McCartney, with contributions from Matt Berry, King Crimson, Kate Bush, Be Bop Deluxe and more along the way.
Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. In the first hour live links will take you to the local and indie artist’s pages so you can find out more about them, buy their music and find out where to see them perform live…
The Struts “Primadonna Like Me”
Matt Berry “Mr. Green Genes”
The Nice “Little Arabella”
The Winstons “Golden Brown”
Peter Hamill “On Deaf Ears”
Kate Bush ‘Leave It Open”
Roine Stolt “Six Thirty Wake-Up”
The Beatles “Revolution 1”
The Kinks “The Last of The Steam-Powered Trains”
10CC “Under Your Thumb”
Nazareth “Beggers Day/Rose In The Heather”
The Doors “The Unknown Soldier”
Be Bop Deluxe “Sister Seagull”
Paul MacCartney “Who Cares”
The Residents “Still Needy”
Sonic Elements tribute to Yes featuring Marisol Koss and Tony Kaye “Yours Is No Disgrace”
Thumper Monkey “Make Me Young”
Adam Rabin “The Badger Flies At Dawn”
King Crimson “Sleepless”
Renaissance “Mother Russia”
New Nektar “Intermezzo 1”
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 some of the lesser-known Swing artistes. There are a few recognizable names in this episode, and several bands we’ve played in the past, but I decided to let these musicians step out of the shadows of big name Swing artists.
Except for Herb Albert. I was just impressed that he was even able to Swing.
Just check out this seemingly random playlist…
The Swing Shift 147
Pepper and the Jellies “Some of These Days”
Jennifer Wharton “Big Long Slidin’ Thing”
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers “Dr. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic”
Bayou Moonshiners “Big Time Woman”
Renee Zellwiger “Get Happy”
Herb Albert “South of the Border”
Adrian Raso “Eric The Baker”
Swing Valley Band “Silent George”
Juke Baritone “Old Joe”
Giorgio Cuscito “Just Squeeze Me”
Gypsy Jazz Trio “I Got You (I Feel Good)”
Vintage Gramola “Maria”
Harp Bazaar “My Heart Belongs To Daddy”
O Sister “Do Not You Agree With Me”
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.