Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: August 2023 (Page 2 of 4)

Monday Morning Art: The Artist

I didn’t go full-tilt Hopper this week, but in this acrylic and water color on textured paper piece I do attempt to employ some of his light and shadow technique.

The story behind this piece is that, on my July trip to Chicago, while I was biding my time sitting on a bench in Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square (while Mrs. PopCulteer was shopping in stores that sell stuff with strong fragrances), I noticed a young lady sitting on the bench opposite me across the park furiously drawing or writing in a journal. From the movements of her hand and arm I assumed that she was drawing.

She may have been drawing me, or she may have been drawing whatever was behind me, or something altogether different. I don’t know because I don’t want to be the creepy old man who goes up to young women to ask, “Hey, what you doin’?”

Besides, it’s possible she was drawing  stick figures of me with knives and bombs and fighter jets killing me, so it was best not to find out.

While I didn’t want to be creepy enough to bother her in person, I was creepy enough to be sitting in the park taking reference photos for this latest stretch of Monday Morning Art, and she happened to turn up in several of the pictures. So I sort of conglomerized them into one, got the composition I was happy with, and came up with this painting. It’s really more of a study for a future painting, but my fingers were cooperating pretty well on this one.  I’m particularly happy with the tree branches and their shadows.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a brand-new episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a brand-new 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.

For the first time in months, I have playlists for these shows.  At 2 PM Nigel Pye brings you an hour of Psychedelic Shack, and this week he has some more contemporary mind-expanding aura chex mix for you, along with some vintage goodies. Check out the playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 080

The American Dream “Storm”
Blur “Goodbye Albert”
Apokalipsa “Ta Duda”
Brown Spirits “Who’s At The Door?”
Utopia (Germany) “What You Gonna Do?”
Stackridge “Teatime”
The Siegel-Schwall Band “I Don’t Want You To Be My Girl”
King gizzard & The Lizard Wizard “Dragon”
The Knickerbockers “High On Love”

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.

At 3 PM Herman Linte takes over with a two-hour mixtape edition of Prognosis.  This episode is a stiched-together live music experience that blends live recordings of several great prog bands, and this time Herman stretches the definition a little to include proggier tunes by The Who, Ultravox and Zappa Plays Zappa.  Check out the playlist…

Prognosis 107
Live Prog

Gentle Giant “The Runaway Experience”
PFM “Alta Loma Five Til Nine Medley”
Dream Theater “The Big Medley”
John Wetton “Open Your Eyes”
Ultravox “The Voice”
The League of Gentlmen “Inductive Resonance”
Jethro Tull “Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day”
Zappa Plays Zappa “Inca Roads”
Marillion “The Leavers”
The Who with Orchestra “Love Reign O’er Me”

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 encore of last Wednesday’s episode of The Comedy Vault, which featured more wild stuff from National Lampoon.

Monday at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of classic episodes of Mel Larch’s musical theater showcase, Curtain Call. .

Sunday Evening Video: Remembering Leon Trotsky

Okay. I have to ‘fess up here. I’d planned to run the video of last weekend’s epic roadtrip here, but I was so worn out from the trip that I did not get it edited in time.

I want to do a good job on it, and I was just too lethargic to finish it this week. I’m shooting for next week now.

So instead, today we will commemorate the 1940 assassination of Leon Trotsky by bringing you The Stranglers and their song that mentions it, “No More Heroes.”

The RFC Flashback: Episode Forty

Radio Free Charleston headed into a bold new direction with episode 40 of the show. This episode featured a slick new opening, new regular features and a fresh, upbeat attitude, as we undertook a major revamp to bring you the best local music, comedy, film and animation that West Virginia had to offer.

Of course, it was all a load of hooey. This was our first April Fool’s episode and nobody fell for it, but it was loads of fun.

Aside from the “new regular features” that would never be seen again (thanks for being a good sport, Eamon), and the presence of the frightening and mis-colored Radio Free Charleston toupee, this was a great show with music from Paul Calicoat (filmed at Route 60 Music) and Joe Slack (filmed behind the Kanawha County Public Library). Plus The No Pants Players returned with a hilarious April Fool’s Day Message, Award-winning filmmaker Eamon Hardiman did indeed grace us with the first of one installment of “Eamon In The Street,” and our animation this episode features Jerry “The King” Lawler in animated outtakes from his then- recent PopCult interview.

It was during the filming of the host segments in Huntington (while wearing a “Charleston” shirt and claiming that the different locales were in Kanawha County) that your PopCulteer’s trusty ride, the Cutlass Supreme, blew its cooling system, which limited us shooting in a three-block radius near Pullman Square. Had we been able to shoot the original gags that we’d planned, which were in extrememely poor taste, chances are that your humble host would have been lynched and strung-up, Mussolini-style, from one of the tasteful streetlights in the downtown Huntington area.

You can find the original production notes HERE.

And have a happy April Fool’s Day. Your shoe’s untied.

Kickstarter Alert and Disco In 1978

The PopCulteer
August 18, 2023

We have a couple of cool things to tell you about this week while we are still recovering from our epic road trip.

I Wish The Gods Were Dead

First, it’s a Kickstarter note on a very short campaign that wraps up in about a week.

I’ve been telling you about Anthony Stokes’ comics for over a year now. He’s one of the most exciting young storytellers to turn up on the scene, and hot on the heels of his excellent Tap or Die comic he has a new project, a fantasy Manga-style comic book called I Wish The Gods Were Dead.

Here’s how Stokes describes the series:

How far would you go to avenge a loved one?

After stumbling upon a powerful ancient relic, an overlord enslaves humanity using giant animals as overseers. After her brother is killed, Shyanne becomes humanity’s last hope. She regularly battles with giant monsters, rarely coming out unscathed.

Insurmountable odds be damned Shyanne is ready to risk it all to get revenge and save humanity in the process.

Fans of Berserk and Attack On Titan will love I Wish The Gods Were Dead. It’s a must read for manga fans.

I’m interested to see how Stokes works with a more fantastic setting. Joining Stokes on this series is artist Andrea Virnicchi.

Stokes has quickly established himself as a major creative force on the comics scene, and it’s a treat to get to watch as he broadens his scope and grows as a storyteller, taking on new genre and building grand new mythologies.

Once again, this book was already fully-funded before I had a chance to tell you about it. If you want to see another great project from Stokes, Kick in while you can.

Go Back To 1978 On MIRRORBALL

Mel Larch’s Disco Showcase, MIRRORBALL, returns Friday.  At 2 PM on The AIR, Mel Larch devotes the full hour of MIRRORBALL to the Disco Hits of 1978, one of the peak years of classic dance music.  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.

Basking in in the glow of the previous year’s Saturday Night Fever, Disco burst out of the clubs and into the mainstream as dance beats took over the top 40 and could be heard everywhere! The country may be been in the midst of the great malaise, but people put on their boogie shoes and danced away from their problems as the seventies wound down. Get ready for a full hour of Disco: 1978.

It’s a killer time capsule of primo Disco tunes from forty-five years ago. Check out the playlist…


A Taste of Honey “Boogie Oogie Oogie”
Chaka Khan “Some Love”
Musique “Keep On Jumpin'”
Sylvester “Disco Heat”
Chic “I Want Your Love”
Dan Hartman “Instant Replay”
Village People “Sodom and Gomorrah”
The Jacksons “Blame It On The Boogie”
Average White Band “Same Feeling, Different Song”
Andy Gibb “Shadow Dancing”
Peaches and Herb “Shake Your Groove Thing”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays throughout the following week Monday at 9 AM and Tuesday at 1 PM and a mini-marathon Saturday nights at 9 PM

At 3 PM we bring you an encore of a classic episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat that was the second of two shows that presented music by by prominent New Wave musicians in the years well after the New Wave boom of the 1980s went bust.

Here’s the playlist…

BEC 051

Elvis Costello and The Imposters “Mr. And Mrs. Hush” (2018)
Blondie “Love Level” (2017)
“Glen Matlock “I Couldn’t Give A Damn” (2018)
Garland Jeffires “Streetwise” (2011)
The Stranglers “Relentless” (2006)
Hugh Cornwell “Delightful Nightmare” (2008)
Hazel O’Connor “Good Morning Heartache” (2017)
Adam Ant “Punkyounggirl” (2013)
Suicidal Tendancies “Ain’t Messin’ Around” (2018)
The Damned “Daily Liar” (2018)
OMD “Metroland” (2013)
The Go Gos “Stuck In My Car (2001)
Paul Weller “Satellite Kid” (2017)
Killing Joke “New Jeruselem” (2015)
Dexys “I’m Always Going To Love You” (2012)
a-ha “Giving Up The Ghost” (2015)
Cyndi Lauper “Mother Earth” (2010)
The B 52s “Eyes Wide Open” (2008)
Bad Manners “Shape I’m In” (2013)
The English Beat with Dave Wakeling “Every Time You Told Me” (2018)
Annie Lennox “Mood Indigo” (2014)
Ultravox “Brilliant” (2012)

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.


It’s another rare RFC premiere on a Thursday on The AIR  as we deliver unto you a brand-new episode of Radio Free Charleston, which should have been ready two days ago for our normal timeslot, but wasn’t because your humble blogger was, as they say in the big city, plumb tuckered out after making an almost 1,200-mile roadtrip in five days, hitting two major toy shows that were over 500 miles apart, and being old.

But, we simply delayed the show two days, so this Thursday on The AIR that means it’s time for a new  Radio Free Charleston.  

Thursday at 2 PM and 8 PM 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, and you get three full hours of Radio Free Charleston loaded with cool new local music and cool new independent music and two hours of really interesting recycled RFC International from June, 2019..

Kicking off this slightly-delayed edition of our show is a new song from Jerks, which is not the title track of their new album, “This Is Fun,” but it’s damned close.

The rest of our first hour is loaded with new music from Aristotle Jones, Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns, Foz Rotten, Jonny Strykes, Blur, Jack Hues, The Fusion Syndicate, and the RFC debut of Alabaster Boxer.

Plus we also have a set of music in our first hour that probably isn’t safe for work. It’s really good stuff, but you might not want to mess around and play it loud, for fear of “finding out.”

Our second and third hours bring back a couple of hours of freeform radio insanity from 2019, via an old RFC International.  This episode marked the recent departures of both Dr. John and the alleged leader of The Residents, and also manages to veer off into Two-Tone Ska, Solo Beatles, pseudo-progressive and New Wave territory. It’s just me having fun playing whatever I felt like. I think this might be the last of the 2019 episodes of RFC International that I’ve recycled into our new three-hour format, but we have quite a few from earlier, in case I get in a pinch.

This week your PopCulteer was just too wiped out to do a full three-hour show.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Live links for the first hour of the playlist 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…

hour one
Jerks “This Is Fine”
Alabaster Boxer “Build You An Ocean”
The Cleverlys “She’s Not There”
Matt Mullins and The Bringdowns “Appalachain Highway”
Aristotle Jones “Streets of Osage”
Frank Sinatra “Michael and Peter”
Verdeant (Chloe Florence) “Reckless (Demo)”
Foz Rotten “From The Top”
Jonny Strykes “Gimme A Sign”
Buni Muni “Kids Are Dead”
Blur “Far Away Island”
Jack Hues “Since 2017”
The Fusion Syndicate “Io”
Galen and Paul “Esmeralda”

hour two
Dr. John “Such A Night”
Adrian Belew “Wait To Worry”
Harry Nilsson “1941”
Tom Robinson Band “2-4-6-8 Motorway”
The Planet Smashers “Can’t Stop”
The Skints “The Island”
The Aquabats “Doing Science”
The Specials “Embarrassed By You”
Russkaja “No One Is Illegal”
The Beat “Civilisation”
Madness “Prospects”
The Selector “Too Much Pressure”
The English Beat “Here We Go Love”
John Lennon “Instant Karma”
Wings “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”
Ringo Starr “In My Car”
George Harrison “Fish On The Sand”

hour three
The Residents “Voodoo Doll”
Andy Samberg “You Can’t Catch Me”
Uriah Heep “Easy Livin’”
Monochrome Set “Boom Boom”
Claypool Lennon Delirium “Boriska”
Marynox Bend “Avadnor”
Betty “Old Me”
Ventura Lane “Spacecrawl”
Matt Berry “Hey Little Girl”
The Police “Invisible Sun”
Shriekback “And Everything Like That”
The Clash “Version Pardner”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Thursday at 2 PM and 8 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.

Summerfest STUFF TO DO And More!

The big ole thing happening around these parts this weekend is South Charleston’s Summerfest,  which will be taking place all around the Mound at D Street, Wednesday through Sunday. There will be two bands each night,  a car show and all kinds of cool stuff for folks of all ages. Here’s the big graphic…

…we’ll plug a few other cool things from Summerfest in our graphic packages below.

We also have a bunch of stuff to tell you about all over West Virginia and maybe just a hair beyond our borders this weekend.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday it’s Gerald Potts. Ari Pappalardo entertains the crowd at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Art Gallery.

All the way up in Morgantown at 123 Pleasant Street Friday at 9 PM it’s 123’S BACK TO SCHOOL BACCHANAL FEATURING THE WEARING HANDS, SWEET TOOTH, SAMUEL S.C., AND JIM POLAK! Or so they say.

The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this weekend to tell you about. Wednesday at 6 PM it’s Talent On Tap and then at 10 PM Aeon’s Harmonic returns.  Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause.  Later Thursday, Kenny Booth hosts Shred Night, the metallic open mic. Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour.  Later on Friday it’s a night of Metal that you can read about below.  Saturday at 10 PM, Mojohand bring their indescribable music to The Empty Glass stage.  Sunday at 6 PM you’ll find Red Scare doing Tarot readings. Next Monday it’s Open Mic Night at 9 PM.

In a curious development this Saturday, RFC faves, Golden, along with Dust Up will be playing semi acoustic sets at The Roq, below the Quarrier Diner, which I had no idea was even open. The show starts at 7 PM, and there’s no word on if there’s a cover.

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, earthquakes, beligerent chickens, Cocaine Bear and his cousin, Viagra Bear 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…

Continue reading

RFC Delayed: Here Are Trip Photos Instead

Your humble blogger/ radio host needed an extra day to recover from an epic toy run trip, so this week’s new Radio Free Charleston will debut on Thursday. Today we’ll be running an encore of episode 100 on The AIR at 10 AM and 10 PM.  You can 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.  

Just so’s we don’t have a blank post here, let me give you a few teaser images from our trip to Caryville Tennessee, Atlanta Georgia, Richmond Kentucky, Columbus Ohio, Morehead Kentucky and back home, in that order. We did that in five days, covering two big toy shows, three visits to Buc ees, lots of interesting driving adventures and your PopCulteer’s birthday, which mostly happened on the road. So that left Mel and I both worn out on Monday.

I’ll be devoting lots of photo essays and one big video to the trip. Here’s just a taste…

Our hotel the first night of the trip overlooked Cove Lake, in Tennessee. It’s a lovely, peaceful place with calming interstate noises and smoky-assed mountains.

Our first night on the road we decided we wanted breakfast for dinner, so we stopped at a Waffle House. During our very nice meal, Mel looked out in the parking lot and said, “Hey, there’s a couple of chickens out there!” At this point, our waitress overheard Mel and relayed the story: A couple of weeks earlier, a lady had eaten there, but when she went to leave, she discovered that her late-model Cadillac had broken down and would not start. The staff told her it was okay to leave it there, and she walked home. When she returned the next day on foot, she was followed by two black chickens, apparently a mating pair. She still couldn’t get the car started. The folks at Waffle House asked if those were her chickens, but she told them she’d never seen them before they started following her, and to be honest, she was a little scared of them. Reportedly, the chickens will get hostile and attack if you get too close to them. Complicating matters is that the chickens have decided that the Cadillac is their home, and they spend most of their time under or on top of it. The lady has become terrified of them and is afraid to retrieve her car. So it’s still there, and they now rule the Waffle House parking lot. This is that Cadillac.

We made three stops at two Buc ees during this trip. This is the promised land.

Right after this photo was taken, Buc ee grabbed my ass.

Eventually we made it to JoeLanta. You’re going to see much more of JoeLanta via photos and video in the next week.

I went in to take a few pictures during the set-up of JoeLanta, and this is just a tease for Chris Dortch’s incredible USS Flagg modification project, which will get it’s own photo essay. This is when he’d just started assembling the aircraft carrier.

And this guy had Shogun Warriors, a toy too big and exensive for me to start collecting now.

One other shot of JoeLanta. Expect dozens more in the days ahead.

From there we made it to the final day of PowerCon, about an hour after the doors opened. This meant that the lines were nearly non-existent.

Don’t worry, I got tons of photos of the cool action figures to show you.

Mel spent the entire trip saying “I know I’m not going to find any SpongeBob stuff at PowerCon.” That’s her hand forking over money.

They had a little bit of plush there, too.

I didn’t quite have room for this ten foot tall action figure from The Four Horsemen.

Lastly, this is NOT a family photo. We’ll have more stuff from the trip for the next week or so here in PopCult.



Monday Morning Art: White House

This week’s art is a small study for a possible Hopperesque canvas sometime when I hit the lottery and can spend all my time painting. It’s a small pastel crayon (with some acrylic) piece depicting a composite of about five houses I glimpsed from the L in Chicago. This sloppy little doodle was done on the back of an oversized index card.

I noticed that, every once in a while, a bright white house would be plopped down amid all the other colors of domiciles that you see whilst riding the happy rails. It seemed interesting enough to try to capture.

If I decide to go full-tilt Hopper on this one, it’ll need loads of tightening up. This was basically just a proof of concept of the composition. I’m not sure I’m happy with the colors. It’s got elements of several photos I took while riding the Brown Line, but there was one major inspiration. The finished piece will probably diverge from that one more.

To see this one 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 the genius of Jack Benny on last week’s episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of Halloween episodes of our music specialty programs. Heck, if you go to Cracker Barrel or Big Lots it’s Halloween season anyway, so why not go with the flow?

Sunday Evening Video: The 2023 Kentuckiana Vendor’s Room

By the time you see this video of The 2023 Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo, your humble blogger will be in the midst of a weekend spent at two other toy shows in wo other cities.  And on top of that, this is my birthday.

So, happy birthday to me. What you see above is all the video we shot on the dealer’s floor at Kentuckiana, set to some nifty YouTube library music. This one’s for the die-hard toyaholics among you.

PopCult should be back to what passes for normal Monday.

The RFC Flashback: Episode Thirty-Nine

Episode 39 of Radio Free Charleston, “Go Van Gogh Shirt” comes to us from March, 2008, and it’s a nostalgia-soaked trip down memory lane.  And you can take the word “trip” any way you want.  The music is from an archival video that I found while rooting around in the “gem closet” here at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor.  It’s from November 1990, recorded live at The Empty Glass.  We called that night “Shooting Fyssh In A Glass” because I was going to videotape the band, Strawfyssh.  They were opening for Three Bodies, and until I checked the tape I’d forgotten that I had also taped Three Bodies doing their sound-check that night.  So I had both bands on tape.

No, of course, since that show happened over thirty years ago, and this episode dropped fifteen years ago, it’s doubly-nostalgic.

I hosted this show from the Empty Glass in 2008, during Happy Hour.  It was a bit loud, as the Glass tends to be, and there are parts of the show where the audio on the host segments is questionable, but the show is still packed with musical goodness. Okay, let’s be honest. The audio for the host segments is horrendous. It was this show that convinced your host to start using a microphone, rather than relying on the word of his cameraman that “It sounded okay.”

There is also a surreal guest appearance by none other than Charleston’s Mayor, in a segment that has to be seen to be believed, and which, considering events that occurred after this show first debuted, has taken on a twisted and bizarre character..  There’s also an animated short by me, just so that the entire show doesn’t degenerate into ruminations on “the olden days.” You can read the original production notes HERE.

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