Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: October 2023 (Page 1 of 4)

Halloween Bonus

Above you see a new music video by the group, V Band.  V Band is Jamie Skeen, David Synn, Jason “Roadblock” Robinson, and on video, your humble blogger. My first response on being asked to join the band was, “But I suck at guitar.” However, the invitation was to be the video-making member of the band, and I don’t think I suck at that.

You can watch the video above (with contributions from Frank Panucci and Jamie Skeen) and see for yourself as V Band takes on John Carpenter’s masterful Halloween theme.

It’s our last-minute treat, since you can’t give out candy in a blog.

The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide Is Coming

November first we begin what has become the most anticipated series of posts, our annual Gift Guide.

This year I’m tweaking the format a bit, just to make life a litle easier.

Each weekday you can expect one post with at least three gift suggestions.  On Saturdays I will do a Flashback gift idea, reviving a suggestion or two from previous years. Sunday will feature a retailer spotlight (either online or local to Charleston, WV). Our regular features will continue on their regular days.

The last day for The 2024 PopCult Gift Guide will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Master List will appear on Black Friday.  I’m open to the idea of doing some bonus picks the first week of December, but I’m not committing to that yet.

As for what you can expect…our first day will be toys, as always, and our second day will be books about comic book history.  Beyond that you can expect the usual mix of comics, toys, music, video, trinketry, art and apparel. You’ll just have to check every day to see what pops up.

By the time Wednesday rolls around, I will have corrected the year in the graphics that will accompany these posts. It was not until I was sharing this post on social media that I realized it’s not 2024 yet.


Monday Morning Art: Cheesecake Zombie

Okay, I decided to do one sort of spooky piece of art this year. Departing from my cityscapes, today’s art is an acrylic painting of a sexy zombie. It started out as a pencil doodle on paper for pens, then I decided to paint over it and see how it turned out.

At first I was just trying to go for an abstract color scheme, but then I decided to make the young lady into a zombie. A lot of that had to do with not wanting to bother mixing the paint for regular flesh color. I also didn’t put a lot of time into her legs or hands, but it was a fun painting exercise.

So you can have some cheesecake for Halloween.

To see the painting bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, Our three-day Halloween marathon continues.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page.

You can hear tons of Halloween programming until Wednesday morning at 9 AM.


Sunday Evening Video: Halloween Overload

Above you see a compilation of (almost) every Halloween episode of Radio Free Charleston’s video show, plus a few other holiday-appropriate clips. You can see the episode we left out of this playlist compilation just below. This year we decided to save all this for one last big Halloween video surprise.

And don’t forget, we still have Halloween programming starting Sunday at 9 AM and running until Wednesday morning on The AIR!

And as an extra Halloween treat, here’s a long-lost documentary about The Braxton County Monster, made by half of the RFC big shots eleven years before the Radio Free Charleston video show. You can read more about it HERE.


The RFC Flashback: Episode Fifty

This week we flash back to August, 2008 and the fiftieth episode of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON. We pulled out all the stops for this one. Our musical guests were The Late, Great Master of the Hunch, Hasil Adkins and The Concept, who debuted their then-new guitarist, Brian Flowers.

We also had a wild short film from Scott Elkins, which introduced Kitty Killton to the world. Frank Panucci brought us a sneak peek at some test footage from his still-long-gestating feature film, “Repurkussionz.” We also had some cameo appearances by the star of “Repurkussionz,” Mad Man Pondo, along with Survivor’s Jonny Fairplay and a pre-disgraced Unknown Hinson, who introduced Hasil Adkins on the show.

Kevin Pauley from IWA East Coast, The No Pants Players and The American Heart Association then-future Ghostbuster showed up to take umbrage at one of our end-credit gags from episode 49. Wrapping it all up, RFC Big Shot and Resident Diva Melanie Larch was shown singing the National Anthem at Appalachian Power Park over the end credits. You can read the original production notes HERE.

A Proto-Goth Primer on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, and Halloween Notes On The AIR

The PopCulteer
October 27, 2023

We have some radio notes for you today as we enter the weekend before Halloween. You’ll find info about today’s new afternoon programs below, but I also want to let everybody know that we will take a headfirst leap into the Halloween woodchipper on The AIR starting Sunday morning at 9 AM.  The AIR will be all Halloween specials and shows until Wednesday morning at 9 AM. That’s three full days of Spooky weirdness for you.

You can find all these Halloween editions of our music and comedy specialty programs, plust a boatload of special presentations on The AIR. This afternoon we serve up new episodes of MIRRORBALL and 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 found elsewhere on this page.


Friday at 2 PM on The AIR, Mel Larch devotes a full hour to classic Disco tracks, but alas, there simply weren’t enough Disco Halloween songs left to do a sequel to her 2020 Halloween episode, so this week MIRRORBALL is the kid who shows up without a costume.  Still, the bellbottoms, gold lamé, coke spoons, afro wigs and platForm shoes aren’t exactly strangers to Halloween wear.

Instead Mel just serves up another killer mix of particularly grooving tunes, the likes of which can cause a tectonic-like shift among the gluteous maximi.

Check out the playlist…


Quincy Jones “Razzamatazz”
Tavares “It Only Takes A Minute”
Gwen Guthrie “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent”
The Floaters “Float On”
Madleen Kane “Rough Diamond”
The Meters “Disco Is The Thing Today”
The Spinners “Are You Ready For Love”
Kool and the Gang “Get Down On It”
The Trammps “Love Epidemic”
Sylvester “Over and Over”
The O’Jays “Love Train”
Parliment “Give Up The Funk”
KC & The Sunshine Band “Shake Your Boogie”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays most weeks  Monday at 9 AM and Tuesday at 1 PM and a mini-marathon Saturday nights at 9 PM. Be sure to check out the Halloween marathon on The AIR because we’ll run the 2020 Halloween episode of MIRRORBALL multiple times, including in the regular replay slots.

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat explores the Roots of Goth

Also on The AIR  at 3 PM (EDT), Sydney Fileen graces us with special mixtape-style new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. This week Sydney surfs into Darkwave and proto-Goth music, which is perfect for this holiday season.  She tells us that this is to celebrate the season and also expose the roots of one of New Wave music’s more distinctive branches.

In this mixtape presentation you’ll hear influential Darkwave artists like Martin Briley, Closed Session, The Bolshoi, Theatre of Hate, Virgin Prunes, The Cult, The Damned, and of course, Joy Division. Sydney also shines the spotlight on some of the bands who were far more influential than they were commercially successful.

This is the music that gave birth to Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Godsmack and the like.  You say they paved the way…a long, dark, spooky alley, to be sure, but these folks paved it nonetheless.

Check out the playlist…

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat 109

Bauhaus “Dark Entries”
X Mal Deutschland “Black Madonna”
28th Day “Dead Sinner”
Closed session “We’ll All Die”
Parade Ground “Cut-Throat Business”
Martin Briley “A Rainy Day In New York City”
Mobiles “Tamarind Mind”
The Bolshoi “Crack In Smile”
Berlin Airlift “I Hate Everything But You”
Jimmy Destri “Under The Ice”
Unlimied Systems “Pale Blue Eyes”
Alexandros “Stress”
Intelligence Dept. “Sleeping City”
Theatre of Hate “Original Sin”
Southern Death Cult “Fat Man”
Virgin Prunes “Baby Turns Blue”
Trisome 21 “Relapse”
Get Smart “Nothing I Can Do”
Trial “Lobotomized Visions”
Virgin Circus “What Simon Says”
The Cult “Spirit Walker”
The Damned “13th Floor Vendetta”
The Creatures “Morning Dawning”
Freur “The Devil and Darkness”
Joy Division “Decades”

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 it for this week’s PopCulteer, check back for all our regular features, with fresh content, every day. Also, tune in for our Halloween marathon on The AIR, and get ready for the start of The 2024 PopCult Gift Guide next Wednesday.  I’ll preview it for you on Tuesday.


We finally arrived at the end of what seems like a long, long journey to the weekend before Halloween, and the calendar is flooded with spooky events sprinkled for you to get into around the Mountain State.  As I have been doing of late, this a good time to remind you that THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS.  It’s just a starting point, so don’t expect anything comprehensive, and if you feel strongly about me leaving anything out, feel free to mention it in the comments.

The big event this weekend is the annual Halloween Hootenanny at The Empty Glass.  It happens Friday and Saturday, and here are the graphics with all the details, including performances by several RFC mainstays…

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday Ryan Brandenburg takes the stage. Saturday Soia Copple performs at the beloved bookstore/cafe/art gallery. Saturday morning, our old friend, Glen Brogan, will be at Taylors at 11 AM, signing copies of his beautifully-illustrated Golden Book adaptation of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

Aside from the aforementioned Hootenanny, The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this week  to tell you about.  Thursday at 5:30 PM, Swingstein and Robin return with Swing for a good cause. Later on Thursday, at 9 PM, Jacob Copeland takes the stage. Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour before the Hootenanny takes over.

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, newly-elected insurrectionist House Speakers, evil people who give out candy corn for Trick or Treat, razorblades with apples inside 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, after the jump…

Continue reading

Dark Beatles and Spooky Musicals On The AIR Wednesday

In our week of all-new shows, Halloweenesque programming, we have hit Wednesday afternoon, and The AIR brings you new episodes of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast that attempt to have a scary theme.  You can tune in at the website, or 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 one-hour mixtape of “Dark Beatles.” If you think that The Beatles didn’t do that much dark music, you’d be right. I was able to scrape together some sorta dark-sounding tunes by the group together and solo, with one cover, to attempt to simulate the Halloween spirit. This was the best I could come up with…

Beatles Blast 101
Dark Beatles Mixtape

The Beatles “Helter Skelter”
George Harrison “Beware of Darkness”
Ringo Starr “Spooky Weirdness”
John Lennon “I’m Losing You”
Harry Nilsson and Ringo “Moonbeam”
Paul McCartney “Talk More Talk”
The Beatles “She Said, She Said”
John Lennon “Scared”
Paul McCartney “This Never Happened Before”
George Harrison “The Devil’s Radio”
Ringo Starr “Without Understanding”
George Harrison “Art of Dying”
Wings “Old Siam Sir”
Sonic Youth “Within You, Without You”‘
The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”

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 tries to celebrate the macabre season with considerably more success.

Mel serves up an assortment of spooky showtunes from the stage and screen. The shows she samples range from obscure oddities to massive hits, and it’s all great Halloween fun.

Check out this playlist…

Curtain Call 137

“Dude! What Is It-Hold Me, Bat Boy” From Bat Boy
“Do The Necronomicon” from Evil Dead: The Musical
“It’s Alive” and “Zombie Prom” from Zombie Prom
“The Exorcism” from Exorcistic!
“Raise A Little Hell” from Stranger Things: The Unauthorized Musical
“This Is Halloween” and “Oogie Boogie’s Song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
“Dance With The Devil” from The Witches of Eastwick
“The Witches” “Queen of Dark” and “The Invocation” from Which Witch
“The Nightmare” and “”You Can Get Away With Anything” from The Woman In White
“Evil Fiend” from Frankenstein :The Movie Musical
“Don’t Feed The Plants (Unused movie version)” from Little Shop of Horrors

Mel thought about playing something from Beetlejuice, but she didn’t want to cause any inappropriate touching or vaping among her audience.

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 brings you an hour of Halloween Novelty songs.

Ann Magnuson, The Big Bad, Frenchy & The Punk, David Synn, Payback’s a Bitch and more on RFC. Cab Calloway on The Swing Shift

One week out from the big day, we have gone slightly Halloweenie on The AIR as we debut somewhat spooky episodes of Radio Free Charleston Volume Five and The Swing Shift on Tuesday! 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 one new hour of sorta spooky new music, with our usual mix of local, indepedent and big fancy-ass artists. Then our second and third hours, by popular demand, revive a 2016 Halloween episode of RFC International featuring Count Rudolf and Igor.

We open the first hour with “Ghost Cat” by Ann Magnuson, recorded with the band she had here last year when she did her Surruralism shows. This was just released last week and you can download your own copy HERE. We also have new music from The Big Bad, Sierra Ferrell, Matt Berry, David Synn, Frenchy & The Punk, Payback’s A Bitch, The Dollyrots and Hello June, along with some other musical gems in our first hour.

For our second and third hours this week, since I had a few emails from folks asking if I was planning to run the 2016 RFC Horror Theater International Halloween Special this year, and my neighborhood was descended upon by ridiculously loud utility crews, I decided to repeat this fun show. . So stick around past the first hour if you want to hear your PopCulteer improvise two characters in one take, introducing spooky music for two hours.

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

RFC V5 151

Ann Magnuson “Ghost Cat”
The Big Bad “The Ballad of Mary Kelly”
Sierra Ferrell “Fox Hunt”
Sideshow Villains  “Be The Wicked One”
Matt Berry “Driving Seat”
David Synn “Stardust”
Astrodot “The Blank Dahlia”
Frenchy & The Punk “Cities in Dust”
Payback’s a Bitch “Fascination Street”
The Dollyrots “I Touch Myself”
Maxi Priest “Message In A Bottle”
Franz Ferdinand “Tainted Love”
Jamie’s Pawnshop Guitars “Love Song”
The Tom McGees “Save Me”
Lucky “Bent The Laughter”
Hello June “The Moon”

RFC Horror Theater International

MX 80 Sound “Theme From Halloween”
The Renfields “Machete A Go Go”
The Big Bad “The Omen”
Snakefinger “The Man In The Dark Sedan”
Blue Oyster Cult “Joan Crawford”
Crack The Sky “Invaders from Mars”
Christopher Walken “The Raven”
Kate Bush “Get Out of My House”
Stephen Merritt “Scream”
The Nanker Phelge “Scream”
The Jasons “Camp Arawhak”
Shakespear’s Sister “Bad Blood”
The Dickies “Attack Of The Mole Men”
The Aquabats “Fashion Zombie”
Mike Oldfield “Tubular Bells”
Oingo Boingo “Dead Or Alive”
Harrah “Sawney Bean”
Nine Inch Nails “Come Back Haunted”
The Misfits “Horror Business”
The Stranglers “Ghost Train”
The Who “Boris The Spider”

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 week our showcase of more than a century’s worth of Swing Music is also slightly spooky in places, but it’s really a long, long overdue mixtape salute to one of my all-time favorite bandleaders, Cab Calloway & His Orchestra.  We open with a sort of spooky tune, beloved by fans of Max Fleischer cartoons, and continue with a mix of his big hits and some killer deep album cuts.

Check out the playlist…

The Swing Shift 151

Cab Calloway & His Orchestra

“The Old Man Of The Mountain”
“Minnie The Moocher”
“Kickin’ The Gong Around”
“St. James Infirmary”
“You Rascal You”
“Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”
“Down-Hearted Blues”
“Minnie The Moocher’s Wedding Day”
“You Got To Hi-De-Ho”
“Strange As It Seems”
“The Lady With A Fan”
“Jitter Bug”
“Duck Trot”
“The Scat Song”
“The Calloway Boogie”
“Jumpin’ Jive”
“San Francisco Fan”
“Some Of These Days”
“Reefer Man”

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: The Big “W”

Still in Chicago, this week’s art is a pastel crayon/acrylic painting on paper for pens that takes its inspiration from a really blurry photo I took from the L, in the Loop, looking East on West Adams Street. I take a lot of photos on the L, even though they’re pretty unusable as photos because they’ll be blurry, or the windows will be smudged, or I’ll have all sorts of reflections gumming up the works.

However, if I just use these images to inspire a painting I can “fix” these issues and come up with a better image.  In this case, it was a shot of a big red “W” that made me think of the classic 1963 movie, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. However, instead of marking the site where loot from a bank heist was buried, this “W” designates The W Hotel City Center, which aside from having a big “W” on it, is of little interest to me since it’s not a Hilton property and I wouldn’t get any points by staying there.

Anyway, this is a good example of how I’m tryng to incorporate the lessons I’ve learned by studying the work of Edward Hopper into a painting that doesn’t exactly follow his compositional or rendering style that closely.  Working this way also lets me eliminate any annoying features, like ugly cars or extraneous people. It took about three weeks to finish, working on and off, around the Myasthenia Gravis.

If you’re curious about where this photo was taken, here’s a reverse view with the L in the background, courtesy of Google Street View…

To see the painting bigger try clicking HERE.

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

We do not have playlists for either show, because our friends over at Haversham are buried under work providing support to international news correspondents, but Nigel tells me his Halloween-season show is devoted to scary-sounding Swedish Psychedelic Rock, while Herman has devoted his entire show to the first two albums by The Alan Parsons Project. Those are great for the season because the first album is based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, while the second is a musical adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s I Robot.

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 The Frantics on last week’s episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten more hours of Halloween themed programming, to get you in the mood for the season

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