Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: November 2023 (Page 1 of 6)

STUFF TO DO and Kickstart Heading Into December

Somehow your humble blogger has managed to survive The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide in one piece, and rather than let the eleventh month slip by without one more rundown of local events, how about I regale you with tales of tons of cool shenanigans to get into around the Mountain State and a few points beyond. 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.

Before we get into that, I have a brief Kickstarter plug:

There are only four days left in this very cool campaign, but the folks behind it have had a bit of bad luck this month. I’ll let them explain…

Right before Thanksgiving, Rich Fowlks (designer extraordinaire) and I co-launched a Madmaniverse campaign with fun retro Ginchy-O-Rama stickers that pair the Madmaniverse with dad jokes! There’s also a NEW issue of Madmania (covering Madman Atomic Comics), as well as metal postcards designed by Rich!

Then, over the week, we both got sick and I got sidelined by my dissertation. Needless to say, we haven’t been able to get the word out as much as we like, and the window to keep funding these is closing.

Can you do us a SOLID favor and spread the word on social and amongst all yer pals!?

If anybody else is a nerd as old as I am, you may remember the Marvel Comics stickers from the 1970s that repurposed classic comic book art with goofy new word balloons.  This project does the same thing, only with art from Mike Allred’s Madman comics.

You can support the campaign HERE, and the rewards are fun and not too expensive. They’ve already met their goal, almost three times over, but the guys behind this project have been waylaid and haven’t been able to promote it as heavily as they would’ve liked, so I’m helping out a bit here. It’s a cool project and you get 12 stickers and can add on new issues of Madmania Digest.

I have a couple of big local things to plug before we get into the bulk of our list this week.

First, Thursday night at Black Sheep Burritos and Brews in Charleston, it’s Derick Fest ’23…

Friday and Saturday it’s the 19th River Arts Show at Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520, Kanawha Blvd.  in Charleston.

This cool collection of art, arts and artists happens Friday Dec. 1st – 6.30-9.30PM and Saturday Dec. 2nd – 10AM – 4PM. Admission: $3, Ticket includes raffle ticket for artists work.

They promise “A welcoming, warm atmosphere akin to a Moroccan Bazaar or Christmas Market.” as over 20 Artists in many mediums, ceramic, visual, sculpture, stained glass, wreaths, textiles, jewelry have their wares for sale. You will also find 4 Psychic Readers:  Tarot, astrology, cards, and music drifting from a stage, on both days.

Friday Night will include a reception with finger foods and there will be a light lunch available on Saturday.

Featured Artists in 2023 include:  Sarah Golden (Buckhannon) – stream of consciousness; Annette Meyer – hand embroidered ornaments; Lesia Angel – hand-built ceramic, glass jewelry; Bob Fisher and Judy Fisher – whimsical; Christopher Higgins – natural wreaths; Hepcatz Design – meow time; Al Peery – West Virginia photographer; Jessica Osbourne – altered images; Meish Claus – whimsical images; Knorrsgaard Jams – artisanal fruit alchemy; Carolyn Gilbert Sayles – feeling of joy; The Two Tinkers – unique, creative, passionate; and many others.  A special Friday night addition is a friend of RFC, artist and musician, Andrea Anderson.

The music line-up:
7.30 -Doug Stalnaker & John Longwell – old time
10.30 – Concordia – recorder
11.30 – Mike Foster – blues
12.30 – Spencer Elliot – finger style guitar
1.30 – Paula Bickham – piano
2.30 – Christopher Vincent – himself

It’s a great way to get out and support the local scene–art, music and creativity in general, and it’s all fun, too.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday Mike Pushkin & Alasha Al-Qudwah take the stage. Saturday a sterling talent, yet to be determined performs at the beloved bookstore/cafe/art gallery.

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. Friday Tim Courts plays during happy hour.  Friday at 10 PM Kindred Valley is an indie folk band out of Huntington, West Virginia focused on intentional lyrics and good music, takes the stage.  Sunday at 7 PM Chris Murray holds down the fort, and then at 10 PM The Carpenter Ants host the post-Mountain Stage Jam, after the first of two loaded 40th Anniversary editions of Mountain stage. We have graphics below for the rest of the weekend shows at The Glass.

Speaking Mountain Stage, it’s a big couple of weeks for West Viginia’s musical calling-card to the world…

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, hellbound ghosts of former secretaries of state hoping to get in one last act of evil before the afterlife, zombie bell-ringers, dyslexic people dressed as Satan Claus 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…


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Gift Guide Day Thirty: Local Music

Today The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide comes to an end. Friday will see The Master List offered in The PopCulteer, but today is our final batch of gift suggestions.

And it’s sort of a vague one.

Today I’m going to suggest that you give the gift of local music. The thing is, if you’re one of my many readers who does not live in West Virginia, then you’ll have to go out and find it in your own area. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

And I have to state upfront that this is in no way a comprehensive list of local releases. In fact, I’m limiting myself to five recent releases that I know can be bought in a physical format. If you are, or know, a local musical artist or group, please use the comments below to bring them to my readers…and my…attention.

I have been cranking out around a thousand words every day all month long on this Gift Guide, and my brain is crying out for a much-needed rest, so if I have featured your music on Radio Free Charleston but don’t mention it below, do not take it as a snub. It’s a combination of fatigue, old age and a lack of ominpotence.

Don’t let that dissuade you from seeking out new music by local and independent artists whose music can brighten the lives of the people on your holiday shopping list. The comments are open for you to remind me how cool your music is.

Before we get into the five artists I’ve chosen to spotlight, I want to mention that several local record shops have dedicated local music sections to help you find the perfect local musical gift for the folks on your list.

Locally, that means you can go to Budget Tapes & Records or Sullivan’s Records in Charleston, Orbit’s in Barboursville, Cheap Thrills in Princeton or any of the other cool record shops in our state. They will be glad to assist you, and might even be able to let you sample some of the music.

You can also sample local music on Radio Free Charleston, heard every Tuesday (with replays all week) on our sister internet radio station, The AIR. Each week I post the playlist for our new show in this blog, and when possible, that playlist will have live links to the artist’s websites.

Below you’ll see five recent releases by local artists that can be bought in a physical form. If your gift-getter prefers digital downloads, then that opens up a whole world of music via Bandcamp and other websites that you’ll find in those playlists. Please note, I’m keeping these as short as possible because I’m about to fall asleep. It’s been a long month.

Dear Boy
Brian Diller
Available on on CD and Vinyl

Just a couple of months ago, my old friend, Brian, released a new collection of songs spanning his 45 years making music.  Dear Boy is available on CD and Vinyl, and I played just about every track from it on Radio Free Charleston. Back in the 80s, Brian was the king of Charleston rock, and this collection from his archives shows off his impressive talent.

You’ll get vintage tracks by Brian Diller & The Ride, recorded in the Charleston area, songs he composed while living in Nashville, and more great tunes from across his career.

You can also by these songs, and several more at Brian’s Bandcamp Page.

Hello June
Available in different formats and packages from the Hello June online store

One of the most anticipated WV music releases of the year, Artifacts comes five years after the debut album by Hello June, and showcases the songwriting and voice of Sar Rudy, who is rightfully one of the most acclaimed artists to come out of the Mountain State in some time.

With an sound that’s hard to describe, Hello June manages to rock too hard to be pure Americana. The lyrics are intimate, articulate and intelligent, and Rudy’s voice is an exquiste instrument.

And that’s a sentence I never expected to write in this blog.

Artifacts is bound to wind up on a lot of “best of the year” lists.

Todd Burge
Available on CD from his Bandcamp page

Todd Burge is one of the most prolific singer/songwriters in the state, and Seed is his fifteenth solo album.

Just released less than a month ago, Seed is, well…how about I let Todd describe it?

These songs seemed to be “handed to me” like little gifts from various sources. A few were challenges from The Song Colony*, an open group of writers who meet each month in Marietta Ohio at The Stage Door. At the end of each session, we spontaneously pick one word to use as a jumping off point for a song. We call it the “Quick and Dirty”. The assignment is to spend one hour or less on a song, and the goal is to write whatever comes to mind, without the pressure of feeling it should be precious, or a “masterpiece”. We are simply working the songwriting muscle, and as a result, happy accidents occasionally occur. Hundreds of songs have come out of this group using this method.

Other songs from Seed are playful challenges from friends. Pig came from my late friend Mark Scohy saying to me, “there aren’t enough songs about bacon”. Weed and Keep Your Clover Bloomin’ came to me while I was doing yard work, and a couple others came from words I saw in a book called 300 Drawing Prompts.

Seed is another reliably terrific collection of Todd’s songs, delivered with his pleasing voice and trademark wit.

Gravel (Remix)
63 Eyes
Available on CD from their Bandcamp page

Speaking of Todd Burge, when I first met him back in 1989, he was in the legendary Morgantown band, 63 Eyes.

This is a remixed version of an album that almost never was. Here’s the story…

Gravel was originally planned for vinyl release back in ’88, but for various reasons, it only made it to a limited run cassette. In 2023, the album was completely remixed by Mark Poole at Zone 8 Recording.

Unlike Todd’s singer/songwriter work, Gravel shows a heavy punk influence and the end result is sort of a precursor to the Grunge that was bubbling up in the Northwest around the same time.

Folks might call it “alternative,” but it rocks and sounds great regardless of labels.  Recommended for fans of Nirvana, Wall of Voodoo, and XTC.

That Grand Old Feeling
William Matheny
Available in multiple formats and packages from William Matheny’s online store

William Matheny is a West Virginia-based singer-songwriter whose brand of Americana music is firmly steeped in the Appalachian storytelling tradition. This latest release was written and recorded before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That Grand, Old Feeling is Matheny’s most expansive work yet, taking narrative inspiration from the eclectic characters who inhabit dive motels and roadside haunts and sonic cues from the work of classic American rock’n’roll artists like Jason Molina’s Magnolia Electric Co. and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.

Matheny’s 2017 album Strange Constellations was a critical darling, drawing praise from outlets including NPR Music, PopMatters, and American Songwriter. That Grand Old Feeling tops it and shows an exponential growth in one of our most striking songwriters.

Please keep in mind that dozens, if not hundreds, of other West Virginia musicians released great new music this year, and if you want to tell the world about it, please use the comments below. Also, you can always give the gift of live music by giving someone the experience of going out to a performance by a local artists.

You can hear all the musicians listed here in regular rotation on Radio Free Charleston, and if you tell me about a great new band in the comments, I’ll probably play their music too.

Gift Guide Day Twenty-Nine: Last Blast of Random Cool Stuff

Today is the penultimate day of The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide. I’d intended to stop this a week ago, but decided to go ahead and fill up November with gift suggestions after I got my other writing committments out of the way this month and discovered that I had a lot of candidates that I hadn’t gotten around to yet.

So today we have five random, but very cool, gift suggestions that might just brighten up the holidays for the folks on your shopping list.

There’s no theme today, just the stuff that I hadn’t managed to list here yet. Tomorrow we have a big theme to finish things out, but today, it’s random.

Today we have a graphic novel, a book about toys, a video boxset, a music boxset and an autobiography.

So let’s dive in…

Boy Maximortal
by Rick Veitch
King Hell Press
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8867560027
$19.99 at Amazon

Rick Veitch, Quixote of Comics, brings his King Hell Heroica to a furious boil in this collected edition of Boy Maximortal. Originally serialized in comics, here is the complete Boy Maximortal graphic novel; Volume Two of Veitch’s planned five book cycle, the King Hell Heroica. It joins The Maximortal (Volume One) and Brat Pack (Volume Four), in the hearts and minds of discriminating superhero readers around the world.

Accelerating faster than a speeding bullet, Boy Maximortal continues the story of True-Man, now a teenager hiding from an increasingly desperate military while trying to come to grips with powers and urges far beyond those of normal men. Played against a backdrop of the sleazy underworld of comic book publishing, Veitch’s superhero deconstruction digs deep into the roots of a cultural mythos that has come to define our times.

Young True-Man is a higher dimensional entity enthralled by a cheap disposable fantasy, grappling with otherworldly origins while hoping to save the world. With the government hunting him down and a girlfriend obsessed with his secret identity, life for our young super being is anything but simple.

What happens when the most powerful creature on Earth reaches puberty? What secret truth running through history has led to his manifestation? If the military catches him can he be contained? Rick Veitch continues his Eisner nominated superhero deconstruction in this highly anticipated second volume the King Hell Heroica series.

Note: the back-up material that was included in Boy Maximortal comics #1-4, is not collected in this volume. A short essay on modern superhero culture, “The Forgotten Quest”, by Veitch, is printed here for the first time.

Veitch is a bit of a legend who’s worked with Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and his brother Tom, but has created an incredible adult-oriented superhero universe by himself.  Boy Maximortal is the latest collection of what has become known as The King Hell Heroica, which encompasses Brat Pack and Maximortal and planned future works.

Boy Maximortail is recommended for fans of Veitch, as well as fans of The Boys and Invincible and other post-Watchmen superhero comics.

GI Joe: Action Soldier: Celebrating 60 Years of America’s Movable Fighting Man!
by R.J. Jones
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8864792452
$19.99 at Amazon

A companion volume to a book we recommended in the first day of The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, GI Joe: Action Soldier, R.J. Jones has delivered the first of four planned volumes that focus, not on the entire military era of GI Joe, but instead just one one branch, in this case, the Army.

This is a complete checklist of all of the figures and accessories that made up GI Joe’s Action Soldier line. In the coming months you can expect GI Joe Action Sailor, Action Pilot and Action Marine books.

This book is packed with photos, information, a value guide, a checklist and more.  It’s a book every vintage GI Joe enthusiast and collector is sure to love.

And it’s a great gift idea for veterans of the Army, as well as collectors of the toys.

The Vincent Price Collection
4-Blu Ray boxset
by Shout Factory

You can’t go wrong with Vincent Price movies. These Roger Corman productions are dripping with style and include some of Price’s most memorable performances.

This collection includes new and vintage bonus features that focus not just on each film, but on Price’s illustrious and enduring legacy as cinema’s most chilling actor.


THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1961/Color/Not Rated/+/- 80 Minutes

THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1971/Color/PG-13 (Some Horror Violence/Gore)/+/- 93 Minutes

Bonus Features: NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr; Rare Prologue
Audio Commentary By Producer/Director Roger Corman and Robert Fuest; Theatrical Trailer; Still Gallery.


THE HAUNTED PALACE:1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1963/Color/Not Rated/+/- 93 Minutes

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1960/Color/Not Rated/+/- 80 Minutes

Bonus features: NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Kim Newman And Barry Forshaw (Extended Cut): NEW Introduction By Film Historian Stephen Jones; Includes Both The Theatrical Cut And The Extended Cut; Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman (Theatrical Cut); Interview With Producer/Director Roger Corman; Theatrical Trailer; Still Gallery.


THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (Theatrical Cut)/+/- 88 Minutes

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (Extended Cut): 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1964/Color/Not Rated/+/- 89 Minutes

Bonus Features: NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Kim Newman And Barry Forshaw (Extended Cut); NEW Introduction By Film Historian Stephen Jones; Includes Both The Theatrical Cut And The Extended Cut; Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman (Theatrical Cut); Interview With Producer/Director Roger Corman; Theatrical Trailer; Still Gallery.


WITCHFINDER GENERAL (aka THE CONQUEROR WORM):1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio Mono/1968/Color/Not Rated/+/- 87 Minutes

Bonus Features: Audio Commentary By Producer Philip Waddilove And Actor Ian Ogilvy; Witchfinder General: Michael Reeves’ Horror Classic; Alternate Opening And Closing Credits For The Conqueror Worm; Interview With Vincent Price Conducted By Film Historian David Del Valle; Interview with Victoria Price; Theatrical Trailer; Additional Vincent Price Theatrical Trailers; Still Gallery.

 Also Includes 24-Page Booklet With An Essay By Author David Del Valle And Rare Photos.

This is the perfect gift for the horror and/or Vincent Price fan on your holiday shopping list.

John Wetton: An Extraordinary Life
by John Wetton
Spirit of Unicorn Music
8-CD Boxset
$102.76 at Amazon

People mainly know the late John Wetton from the prog supergroup, ASIA, but he was actually in several top-level progressive bands, or worked as a sideman, for years before ASIA took off in 1982.

John Wetton: An Extraordinary Life collects all six of Wetton’s solo albums, and adds two full CDs of rarities and bonus tracks.

This is a limited-run eight CD box set. It includes John’s six solo albums, each with bonus material,  which have been fully remastered.

Also included are 2CDs of extremely rare and hard-to-find bonus material. This material is a treasure trove of wonders for the true Wetton fan.

Presented in a 12×12″ box, this collection also features an extensive 64 page book with notes written by Nick Shilton, author of John’s biography, An Extraordinary Life and artwork by Michael Inns, long-time friend and collaborator of John’s.

This box set has been carefully curated with the blessing of John’s wife Lisa and son Dylan and is released with the full support of the Wetton estate. You probably know Wetton’s voice from ASIA, and possibly from his earlier stints in King Crimson and UK. He’d also played bass and sang with Family, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Renaissance, Brian Eno, Quango, Icon and more.

His solo work is top-notch melodic prog-rock, with his incredible voice pushed to the front and star-studded line-ups of guests and sidemen. This is a killer gift for any fan of Wetton, ASIA, UK, or prog-rock in general.

Berserker!: An Autobiography
by Adrian Edmondson
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1035014279
$35.92 available from any bookseller or from Amazon.

I recommended the movie, Guest House Paradiso, yesterday in the Gift Guide, and it co-starred and was directed by Adrian Edmondson, so you know I’m a fan.

Edmonson was also very kind, offering words of support for the Radio Free Charleston video show in the early days (via MySpace, no less), so I may be a bit biased, but I still think that this book would be a fantastic gift for any fan of The Young Ones, Bottom, British alternative comedy, or even Absolutely Fabulous, the show written by his wife, Jennifer Saunders (Edmonson was a recurring character on the show, and Saunder’s character name, “Edina Monsoon,” was a riff on Edmonson’s name).

This is Edmonson’s amazing story, in his own words. Let’s look at the blurb:

Berserker [noun]: A Norse warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable; often off his tits on henbane and large quantities of alcohol; one who is out of control with anger or excitement.

Ade Edmondson smashed onto the comedy circuit in the 1980s, stormed The Comedy Store and, alongside Rik Mayall, brought anarchy to stage and screen in iconic shows such as The Young Ones and Bottom. How did a child brought up in a strict Methodist household – and who spent his formative years incarcerated in repressive boarding schools end up joining the revolution? Well, he is part Norse. Could it be his ‘berserker’ heritage?

With wisdom, nostalgia and uniquely observed humour, Ade traces his journey through life and comedy: from playing the Angel Gabriel in four school productions and adolescent dreams of becoming a rock god, to revolutionizing the alternative scene with the Comic Strip Club, creating his outrageously violent characters, playing with The Who and even kissing Joni Mitchell along the way.

Brimming with nostalgia and set to a soundtrack of pop hits which transport the reader through time, BERSERKER! is a memoir like no other.

Filled with inside stories about his years working with Rik Mayall ad his wife, Jennifer Saunders, and with plenty of details about his band, The Bad Shepards and his time in The Bonzo Dog Band during their reunions, this is manna from heaven for Ade’s fans.

Gift Guide Day Twenty-Eight: Videos

As we wind down The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, it hit me that we have not yet recommended any video gift ideas.

Streaming and digital releases have become such a huge part of life that fewer physical video items are being released.

However, there are still some great things out there in a physical format, and I will stubbornly cling to the idea that holiday gifts should be wrapped, so today I’m recommending five video gift ideas from a variety of sources and genre for you to ponder as gifts for the folks on your shopping list.

Tomorrow will be our last full day of specific gift ideas, while Thursday will be a big general suggestion.

But we’re still going, so let’s roll the video…

Making Mr. Right
Blu Ray
Directed by Susan Seidelman
Starring Ann Magnuson and John Malkovich
Available autographed by Ann Magnuson from her webstore

This was a huge deal here in Charleston in 1987 when it was originally released. It was a major Hollywood studio release starring Charleston native, Ann Magnuson, along with then-rising-star John Malkovich, and on top of all that, Making Mr. Right is a really entertaining movie.

Directed by Susan Seidelman, who was fresh off of Desperately Seeking Susan and had previously directed the acclaimed cult movie, Smithereens, Making Mr. Right is a science fiction comedy, which if it were being marketed today, would be seen as a major statement about neurodiversity.

The studio blurb says…

What do you do when you ve fallen hard for a man who’s hard-wired? Ann Magnuson (Panic Room)and John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) star in this fast, funny and precocious (L.A.Weekly) comedy from director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan) and writers Floyd Byars and Laurie Frank.

Savvy and beautiful PR executive Frankie Stone (Magnuson) has her work cut out for her. Hired by a giant technology company to humanize their latest invention, an android-astronaut named Ulysses (Malkovich) she is shocked to discover that her new client embodies all the qualities she’s ever wanted in a man! When they begin to fall for one another, will their robotic romance blast into the stratosphere or blow a circuit and crash?

This is the 2023 restored Blu-Ray release of Making Mr. Right from Kino Lorber, signed by Ann. In addtion, there is a bonus gift, available only from Ann’s webstore: 3 postcards featuring French release poster art and a continuity Polaroid (from Ann’s personal collection) of Ann wearing the shoes Keith Haring customized especially for her.

Blu-Ray Extras :

  • Brand New HD Master – From a 2K Scan of the 35mm Interpositve
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Producer/Director Susan Seidelman and Star Ann Magnuson
  • NEW Interview with Star Ann Magnuson
  • NEW Interview with Director Susan Seidelman
  • Theatrical Trailer (Newly Mastered in 2K)

This is a great gift for fans of science fiction, romantic comedy, or fans of Malkovich, Magnuson or Seidelman. Getting an autographed copy from one of the stars is pure gravy.

Guest House Paradiso
Blu Ray
directed by: Adrian Edmondson
starring: Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Simon Pegg, Bill Nighy, Vincent Cassel, Kate Ashfield
Available from Vinegar Syndrome

Guest House Paradiso is essentially a movie version of Bottom, the brilliant slapstick BBC series that was essentially a sequel to The Young Ones.

I have to say “essentially” here because the names of the major characters have been changed to protect the guilty.

Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson were the top comedy team to come out of Britain’s Comic Strip alternative scene in the 1980s. They co-starred as Rik and Vyvian on The Young Ones, and after several other projects, they starred in Bottom, which gave the characters new names (Richie Rich and Eddie Hitler), but was basically Rik and Vyvian fifteen years after college, forced to live together because nobody else could stand them. In 1999’s Guest House Paradiso, they pretty much play the same hilariously repugnant characters, but as hotel managers.

“Richie Twat and Eddie Elizabeth Ndingombaba proudly run the worst hotel in the world. With bills piling up and a myriad of issues coming to a head, it’s up to them to provide the perfect Guest House Paradiso experience to the Nice family during their stay… if only they stayed somewhere else. A weekend of nightmarish situations involving exotic lingerie, Italian movie stars, getting trapped in an oven, and more vomit than you can imagine await anyone foolish enough to stay at the Guest House Paradiso.”

Let’s go to the blurb:

This was the final collaboration between Adrian Edmondson and the late Rik Mayal (Drop Dead Fred, TV’s The Young Ones), co-founders of the anarchic ‘80s UK comedy troupe The Comic Strip, director Edmondson’s GUEST HOUSE PARADISO is bizarre, uncomfortable, non-stop hilarious, culminating in the greatest (and most voluminous) vomit gag in cinema history. Reprising their characters from the famed British sitcom Bottom Mayal and Edmondson are joined on-screen by Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Irreversible), Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead) and Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Star Trek) in one of his first movie roles, Vinegar Syndrome Labs offers the definitive home video release this unsung classic of British comedy, newly restored in 4K from its 35mm interpositive.

The bonus features:

  • Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm interpositive
  • “Paradiso Pegg” (12 min) – a brand new interview with actor Simon Pegg
  • “The Making of Guest House Paradiso” (37 min) – an archival making-of featurette
  • “From the Cutting Room Floor” (9 min) – a collection of outtakes
  • Multiple original trailers
  • Reversible sleeve artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

Guest House Paradiso is the perfect gift for any fan of The Young Ones, Bottom, or (really good) British comedy.

Fantastic Planet
Blu Ray and DVD
Animated Feature
direct by RENÉ LALOUX
Available from Criterion

This classic French animated feature is probably familiar to anybody who had HBO between 1976 and 1980. They showed Fantastic Planet as often as they showed Beastmaster ten years later. In this case, Fantastic Planet is an excellent movie that people vividly remember fifty years later.

Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue native inhabitants (Draags).

After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.

This edition has a ton of extras:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate English-language soundtrack (familiar to HBO viewers)
  • Les temps morts (1965) and Les escargots (1966), two early short films by director René Laloux and illustrator Roland Topor
  • Laloux sauvage, a 2009 documentary on Laloux
  • Episode of the French television program Italiques from 1974 about Topor’s work
  • Interview with Topor from 1973
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Brooke

Fantastic Planet is a great gift for fans of surreal adult animation, wild psychedelic imagery or socially-mind science fiction analogies.

Blu Ray
directed by John A. Alonzo
starring Michael Brandon, Eileen Brennan, Alex Karras, Cleavon Little, Martin Mull and Cassie Yates.
Available from Grindhouse Video

This movie is more notable for its soundtrack, which was one of the first Irving Azoff-styled rock compilation soundtracks, and the storyline is pretty much fluff, but the concert footage is amazing.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The airwaves crackle with the delectable sound of smooth rock in FM, a riotous comedy about the heady world of late-70s US radio. Michael Brandon (Four Flies on Grey Velvet) stars as Jeff Dugan, the ultra-cool program director at Q-SKY Radio, LA’s number one rock station. Dugan encourages a free-wheeling culture at work, employing an array of eccentric DJ personalities: Mother (Eileen Brennan, Private Benjamin), a husky, world-weary ex-hippie; Eric Swan (Martin Mull, Clue), a mad-cap romantic looking for love, and The Prince of Darkness (Cleavon Little, Blazing Saddles), a cool cat who keeps the night-time airwaves alive.

But when the station’s future is thrown in to jeopardy by corporate bosses looking to cash-in, the Q-SKY troupe are forced to batten down the hatches and turn up the volume – will a fully-fledged rock ‘n’ roll rebellion save the day? Legendary cinematographer John A. Alonzo (Chinatown, Scarface) directs this slickly-produced rock film, which combines hilarious studio hijinks with epic footage of Linda Ronstadt and Jimmy Buffett in concert. FM also boasts an incredible platinum-selling soundtrack featuring a pantheon of AOR greats including Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Eagles and Tom Petty (who also cameos). Now, High Fidelity meets High Definition as FM debuts on blu-ray with a selection of exciting new extras.

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed stereo 2.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Mono 1.0 music and effects track
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
No Static at All, a newly filmed interview with Michael Brandon, the star of FM
Radio Chaos, a newly filmed interview with Ezra Sacks, the writer of FM
The Spirit of Radio, a newly filmed video appreciation of the era of FM radio and the FM soundtrack by the film and music critic Glenn Kenny
Extensive gallery of original stills, promotional images and soundtrack sleeves
Original trailers

FM is a great gift idea for fans of 1970s AOR rock, or “Yacht Rock,” and it looks great.

Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons The Complete Series
DVD Boxset
by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Available from Shout Factory

Fate made him indestructible. Courage made him a hero. Syndicated TV made him a lasting memory for your humble blogger.

In the year 2068, Earth’s greatest defense team, Spectrum, is tasked with fighting a cosmic battle against an ancient race from the planet Mars: the sinister Mysterons. Possessing the ability to recreate the exact likeness of any object or person they destroy, the evil aliens set their sights on Spectrum’s number one agent- the intrepid Captain Scarlet. But when their initial attack on Scarlet fails, the Mysterons discover they have awoken what will be their most dangerous enemy. Obtaining the Mysterons’ special power of retro-metabolism, Captain Scarlet has been rendered virtually invulnerable…and completely unstoppable in his quest to protect the Earth from any attack.

Produced by the immortal Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, Stingray) and featuring his famous SUPERMARIONATION technique, all thirty-two episodes of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons are here in one convenient package, providing you 100% of your daily recommended allowance of sci-fi and cult classic television. Join the fight to save the Earth with Captain Scarlet.

There aren’t any bonus features (reportedly those are being held for a future Blu Ray release), but this is a great way to relive what was my favorite of the Anderson’s bizarre puppet adventure series.

New Music From Bottle & Bride, Todd Burge, Madness and More, Plus Holiday HiJinks on RFC!

Despite my decision to extend The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide to the end of the month, your humble blogger still managed to crank out a partly-new Radio Free Charleston on The AIR.  In fact, our all-new first hour of  Radio Free Charleston is accompanied by two hours of primo RFC Christmas stuff, one hour from just last week, and the third from 1989. 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.

Our first hour opens with “Crimson,” a new tune from Bottle and Bride, and we also have new music from Corduroy Brown, Hello June, Todd Burge, Madness and more.  We also feature a new tune from Catherine Campbell, who comes to us from Chattanooga, via our Chicago pipeline.

Our second hour is the RFC V5 Black Friday Christmas Special, which you can read about HERE. This week we’ll have live links to the artists in the playlist below, but be warned, Clownhole is just now entering the world of the interwebs.

Our third hour is largely comprised of stuff I harvested from the 1989 Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston, as broadcast (over the air!) on 96.1 FM back when it was WVNS. Back in 2014, when I was doing RFC Volume Three for Voices of Appalachia radio, I came across a recording of the 1989 RFC Christmas show, including in-studio guests, specially-recorded Christmas songs, weird bumpers and even the infamous holiday commercial for Budget Tapes and Records where I did all three voices. (Note: This commercial spot is an archival recording, included here purely for historical purposes).

Right before Christmas that year we had a vicious cold snap, and making matters worse, just like this year, Christmas fell on Monday, which meant that my show was airing live, at 2 AM the morning of Christmas Eve. You’ll hear a few arcane references to those events hidden among the mumbling and studio chatter. What was remarkable was that people still managed to show up in the studio between 2 AM and 4 AM on the morning of Christmas Eve in the bitter cold.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Live links, where available, 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. Don’t expect that in the third hour, though…

RFC V5 154

hour one
Bottle and Bride “Crimson”
Todd Burge “Pig”
Catherine Campbell “Too Late”
Corduroy Brown“Who I Am For Now”
Ann Magnuson “I Remember You”
Galen and Paul“I’ve Never Had A Good Time In Paris”
Wall of Voodoo “Elvis Bought Dora A Cadillac”
Hello June “Soft Love”
Astrodot “As Far As I Can See”
William Matheny “Late Blooming Forever”
Buni Muni “11:11”
Dr. John “Such A Night (Live, Solo Piano)”
Madness “C’est La Vie”

hour two
Clownhole “Fa La La La La, Deck The Halls”
Mediogres  “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Brian Diller “Christmas Time of Year”
Audrey Smiley “Peppermint and Innocence”
Speedsuit  “Winter”
The Dollyrots “Christmas Time With You”
Jay Parade“Wonderful Christmastime”
Earth Wind and Fire “Everyday Is Christmas Day”
Sierra Ferrell “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree/Jingle Bell Rock”
Captain Catfeesh “Chistmas In Prison”
Nixon Black “Winter In Kashmir”
The Aquabats “Santa Claus’ Party”
The Cast of Something Rotten “12 Days of a Something Rotten Christmas”
The Beatles “1968 Christmas Greeting”
IDKHOW “Christmas Drag”
Kate Fagan “Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney”

hour three
“Jam theme”-a special rendition of the Radio Free Charleston theme song, recorded at The Charleston Playhouse and featuring most of the Charleston Playhouse Quartet, with the addition of Stephen Beckner, who provides a wintery spoken interlude.
An archival commerical for Budget Tapes & Records where I provide all three voices, including the ghost of Bing Crosby.
Go Van Gogh “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”
Stephen Beckner and John and Tim Rock from Go van Gogh, live interview in the studio.
Go Van Gogh attempts at Christmas carols
Three Bodies (Kris Cormany, Brian Young, Brian Lucas) live interview in the studio
Three Bodies “Three Bodies”
“Why Do We Have To Work Skit”
Clownhole (Sham Voodoo, Flair) Christmas message with the accapella punk “Deck The Halls”
Charleston Playhouse Jam Session “Jingle Bells”
Plugs for “The Last Ride,” the final concert by Brian Diller and the Ride, which happened one week after this show first aired.
Mad Scientist Club “I Saw Santa Claus”
Gary Price Christmas wishes from The Swivels
Hour three opening for the original broadcast
Charleston Playhouse Jam Session interview with John McIntyre leading into “Heaven and Mud/Train Wreck The Halls/Will The Circle Be Unbroken”
Gary Price from The Swivels, pre-taped interview in the production studio
Clownhole in the studio, rambling semi-interview
Go Van Gogh in the studio, going off the rails a bit.
Go Van Gogh “Big Bottom (accapella)”–this was considered appropriate for the holiday for some reason.
Melanie Larch singing “Ave Maria” from 2006.

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.

Next week, RFC will take the week off as The AIR will present eight days of 24-hour marathons of all of our shows.

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 two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.  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.

Gift Guide Day Twenty-Seven: Random Cool Things

We are now several days past what had been planned as the end of The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, and with four days left in the new plan, we are officially off the rails.

Today we have no theme, other than these are great gift ideas, and instead of just recommending three things, like I’ve been doing most of the month, today we have five random and cool gift suggestions.

Today we have an art book, two graphic novels and some toys.

Tomorrow the themes return for one day as we finally get around to recommending some video gift ideas.

As always, I’m sticking with physical objects that can be wrapped. You should know your giftee, and if they’re cool with e-Books, downloads or other virtual gifts, go for it.

I’m still a real-world guy, so here are today’s picks…

Polynesian Pulp: The Tiki Art Of Robert Jiménez
by Robert Jiménez
Independently Published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8854675079
$25.95 at Amazon

If this seems familiar, I told you about this book as part of a Kickstarter Alert a few months ago.

Polynesian Pulp: The Tiki Art Of Robert Jiménez is a book and a trading card set, and instead of showcasing his monster or wacky parody art, the book and card set collect some of his awesome Tiki Art from the past decade. This gift suggestion is for the book, but you can also find the trading card set HERE.

The Polynesian Pulp Art book is a hardbound book measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. It collects the art from entire card set along with an extra 40 images and my copy was signed because I got in on the Kickstarter campaign. I’m a huge fan of Robert’s Tiki art. I even wore one of his shirts on the latest video edition of Radio Free Charleston. I am also on record as being a fan of Tiki culture, even if I’m just a Tiki Poser at the end of the day.  The trading cards are wonderful, but seeing Robert’s art printed in a larger size is a special treat for my aging eyes.

You can order the book from Amazon now. Eventually Robert will have it for sale in his Zerostreet Store, but you want it in time for the holidays because this book will put a huge smile on any fan of Tiki art, culture or music, and you can’t go wrong by giving the gift of art.

Ukrainian Defenders
1/32 scale Toy Soldiers by MARS
Made in Ukraine
$30 to $35 from Amazon, Classic Toy Soldier or Michigan Toy Soldier

This is a set of fifteen figures (eight different poses) depicting current Ukrainian Freedom Fighters, the guys trying to fend off the attack by Russia, who have been surprising the world with their tenacity for almost two years now.

The size of traditional Green Army Men, these highly-detailed figures are sold unpainted, molded in a sort of light olive tan color, and ready to be painted by a hobbyist, or played with by anybody who loves toy soldiers.

The sculpting and manufacturing is impeccable, and the fact that these were sculpted, molded and produced in Ukraine, while the country is under siege is just amazing.

I picked up a set of these from James Wozniak last June at the Marx Toy Show in Wheeeling, and was mightily impressed by the quality.

These will be a great gift for the toy soldier collector, Ukrainian supporter or model painter on your shopping list. There is also a set of 1/72 scale figures in this line, and aside from the stores listed above, you may be able to find them at your local hobby shop.

Murky World
by Richard Corben
Dark Horse Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1506734743

I’ve been a fan of Richard Corben’s work, probably, since I was eight years old. My older brother bought Warren’s Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella comics magazines, and I fell in love with Corben’s art. Nobody drew like him, with a unique mix of cartoon dynamism and ultra-realistic rendering.

Dark Horse is collecting Corben’s work in a series of deluxe hardcovers, and this first release, Murky World, collects, for the first time, stories that were originally published by Dark Horse and in Heavy Metal Magazine over the last ten year’s of Corben’s life.

It is remarkable that in his long career, he never lost a step. This work is as rich and vital as the first stories I saw by him, over fifty years ago.

In addition to Corben’s entire Murky World series, this book features never-before-seen sketch material, the Dark Horse Presents one-shot, and an introduction by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, all presented in a gorgeous hardcover with a dust jacket.

The story is in the spirit of Corben’s Den and Mutant World sagas, sword-and-sorcery epics with sci-fi overtones, set in a surreal barren wasteland and populated with grotesque mutants and hyper-muscular heroes.  The story moves briskly, filled with Corben’s trademark humor, sexuality and action and the presentation is just beautiful, with Corben’s art fully restored and remastered and impeccably printed.

This is the first volume in Dark Horse’s Corben library, and subsequent volumes have since been published. This makes both a good jumping-on point for a new fan, and a great way to catch up with his lesser-seen latter day work for an established fan.

Recommended for any person who admires beautiful, but grotesque artwork, and stories with more than a little adult content.

Murky World can be ordered from any bookseller and select comic book shops by using the ISBN code or at a discount from Amazon.

The Collected Works of Mike Vosburg
by Mike Vosburg
Available directly from The Artist

Now we come to the work of another comic book artist that I’ve been a fan of since the 1970s. I was delighted to discover that Mike Vosburg is not only still alive and kicking, but he’s also producing cool new work, and his independent comics that were published over the last several decades are available directly from him.

I’ve been a fan since I discovered his work in Star*Reach and in the pages of DC Comics around the same time in the mid-70s. Let me swipe part of his bio to explain some of what he’s done over his career…

As a teenager Mike edited and produced the fanzine Masquerader, which introduced him to many of his cohorts in the comicbook world and helped jump start his career. He worked for Marvel and DC for a number of years until moving to LA in the mid 80’s where he branched out into the fields of animation, advertising and film. He has produced artwork for the LA Museum of Tolerance, has drawn the entire run of cover inserts for the HBO Tales from the Crypt series, won an Emmy as a director on the HBO animated series Spawn. Besides any number of advertising projects he has done storyboards for a number of music videos for the like of Emimem, Marilyn Manson and Gwen Stefani. Most recently Mike has storyboarded The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince CaspianVoyage of the Dawntreader and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In his spare time Voz continues to attempt his pursuit of excdellence by attending weekly figure drawing workshops and doing still life drawing exercises every day. Voz now concentrates on continuing to produce his own comic book creations, most recently finishing The Mad Mummy , as well as his Reel Art illustrations. And while the vertical leap is long gone, he still shoots baskets in his back yard when he finds time.

I’m recommending two of his collections (I haven’t got the others yet). These are great gift ideas for the comics lover on your list who enjoys adult-oriented action and humor and appreciates the work of veteran storytellers.

The LORI LOVECRAFT OMNIBUS is 348 pages, black and white, featuring all of the Lori stories produced over the past 25 years and may of the Linda Lovecraft stories from Star*Reach. Plus there are lots of pinups and special features, including a brand new Lori tales done especially for the Omnibus, and a never before seen penciled Linda story. This 25th Anniversary edition, personally signed by creators Pete Ventrella and Mike Vosburg, will be limited to only 200 copies. It’s $30, shipping included.

The Retrowood Omnibus is a 296 page, black and white book with eight complete stories and several extras. J. Parker Wrighte is an upwardly mobile private detective from the slums who now works for the movie industry in the city where celluloid dreams are made. Noir with more than a touch of merriment. 100 copy limited print run. It’s also $30, shipping included.

And be advised that Mike is generous with the extras, so you might wind up with a thumbnail sketch or piece of original art. You can order both books HERE.

Tura Satana Action Figure
by Odeon Toys and White Elephant Toyz

Tura Satana is a cult icon movie star, exotic dancer and feminist hero, famous for appearing as “Varla” in Russ Meyers’ 1965 exploitation classic, Faster Pussycat, Kil, Kill and the sci-fi shlock epic, The Astro Zombies.

With a life that at times seemed more exciting than the wild movies in which she starred, this martial-artist who took revenge on her rapists in Japan, danced burlesque at the famed Trocadero nightclub, posed nude for Harold Lloyd, turned down a marriage proposal from Elvis Presley and survived being shot and breaking her back in a car wreck managed to live life on her own terms and inspire independent women along the way.

She became an underground movie favorite and was sort of a Japanese-American Bettie Page who could easily kick your ass. Satana was popular at comic book and pop culture conventions, and enjoyed a huge resurgence in her popularity and acclaim before she passed away in 2011.

Odeon Toys, who are the toy company arm of our friends at Plaid Stallions, previously made the Brick Mantooth action figure, procured their first-ever license to produce a MEGO-scaled version of Tura Satana, dressed in her iconic Faster Pussycat outfit. They teamed with White Elephant Toyz, who are producing all kinds of terrific collectible toys right now, and they signed big-name artist, Joseph Michael Lisner, to create the package artwork.

The packaging, as you can see on the right, is a bit of a tribute to the Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. package artwork of the 1970s. Tura comes packaged in a top-opening box that will fit right in with your vintage or recent MEGO boxed figures.

The articulation is terrific. She bends and holds her poses very well. The rooted hair gets a little hard to tame, like Ms. Satana herself, and actually makes her look even more like she did in Faster Pussycat.

The end result is a killer action figure who seems ready to burst out of her package and beat the living crap out of your MEGO-sized Batman and Spider-man figures. You can order Tura from either of the links above.

Monday Morning Art: At The Station

This week your humble blogger is still coping with The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, which winds up this week, and I didn’t have any time to whip up a new piece of art, but I do have a failed curiosity from over the summer to share.

What you see above is a Chicago scene, inspired by a photo I took at The Quincy Station on The L in the Loop. I had the idea of eventually painting this scene, but this is a bit of an experiment.

Whilst rooting around in my archives, I found one unused piece of Craftint DuoTone paper that I bought back in 1988. I also found two bottles with the “developing” solution. Amazingly enough, they were not totally dried out. I have no idea how that didn’t happen. I hadn’t taken any extraordinary measures to store them safely. But there was a little bit left in each bottle.

Craftint DuoTone was paper with a pre-printed cross-hatching pattern which you made visible by painting the shadows with the solution. This turned the faint blue lines black so that they could be reproduced.

The piece of paper I found had faded to the point where the blue shading lines were barely visible. I decided to try and use it anyway. I drew out the scene with my Blackwing Palamino pencil, tightened it up with a charcoal pencil and wax pencil, and then applied the developer solution (which, by the way is highly toxic, which is why they don’t make this stuff anymore). It worked, in spots. There was a bit of an iffy section near the middle where it didn’t work at all, and other areas where it was spotty. The trash receptacle looked so bad that I went back over it with a heavy charcoal pencil.

And it stank. Seriously, I tossed out the bottles after a couple of hours because it smelled so bad. The art was put into an old magazine-sized comic book bag with a dryer sheet, where it sat for months.

It was, in the grand scheme of things, a pretty huge waste of time. If I want that type of shading I can do it in the computer with hardly any effort at all. This was just me trying to do some real-world art while my fingers were working. I may revisit this scene in paint in the future, but since this piece was sort of done and had finally quit stinking and I didn’t have anything else ready, I figured I’d share my failed experiment with you.

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.

Happily, 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 083

The Kinks “Animal Farm”
Polyphonic Spree “Shadows On The Hillside”
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets “Pillhouse”
The Beatles “If I Needed Someone”
Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze”
Madness “Round We Go”
Tina Turner “Under My Thumb”
Nazareth “Morning Dew”
Rupert Hine “Kerosene”
Jerry Harrison “Fast Karma-No Questions”
Lucid Sins “Catch The Wild”
The Searchers “Popcorn Double Feature”
The Settlers “Major To Minor”
The Flying Machine “Strawberry Fool”

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 brings you two hours of Peter Gabriel, recorded live in concert in 1983, when his band included Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta and Larry Fast.  Check out the playlist…

Prognosis 110

Peter Gabriel Live

“Across the River”
“I Have The Touch”
“Not One Of Us”
“The Family And The Fishing Net”
“Shock The Monkey”
“Family Snapshot”
“Games Without Frontiers”
“Lay Your Hands On Me”
“Solsbury Hill”
“I Don’t Remember”
“The Rhythm Of The Heat”
“I Go Swimming”
“San Jancinto”
“No Self Control”
“On The Air”
“On Presuming To Be Modern”

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 The RFC Black Friday Christmas Special.

Monday at 9 PM the Monday Marathon presents ten hours of a selection of our afternoon music specialty shows.

Gift Guide Day Twenty-Six: Even More Cool Retailers

Today it’s our last full batch of retailer suggestions for The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide.

We have two great online stores, and two Downtown Charleston institutions (who happen to be neighbors) where you can find all sorts of cool gift ideas for the folks on your shopping list this year.

We are in the home stretch, and as such will be cramming more than three entries into each day of our Gift Guide. In our remaining four days we’ll probably abandon themes and suggest up to five things per day.

And then Friday we’ll post The Master List and then settle in for what comes close to passing for normal here in PopCult.

But for now, check out these cool retailers…

Rockin’ Pins

Rockin’ Pins started out as a jewelry company, making enamel pins of cool rock stars. They have expanded their range quite a bit lately, and in addition to pins they now make apparel, mugs, books, figures, pateches and tons of other cool things, and they don’t just feature rock bands or musicians anymore. I’m partial to their button-up shirts, myself.

Rockin’ Pins has been leading the way in helping to restore classic Max Fleischer and Gumby cartoons. You can even find DVD and Blu Ray releases of some of their Fleischer restorations at their website.

Plus they have a full range of merch based on Gumby and Fleischer’s KoKo The Clown, in addition to ultra-cool musicians like Bauhaus, The B-52s, Cab Calloway, Frank Zappa and others. They even have cool stuff with Groucho Marx available.

They straddle the multiverse of pop culture, bringing together The Little Rascals, Megadeth, Jac Mac and Rad Boy Go, Betty Boop and Pink Floyd, all under the same roof. You can find everything from Beavis and Butthead to Cheech and Chong, as well as Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges.

For a top-notch, brilliantly-curated selection of the cream-of-the-crop of nostalgic pop culture that blends classic animation, progressive rock, classic comedy, rock music and more, visit their website and look for the perfect gift for the folks on your list.


Retro A Go Go just makes cool stuff. Whether it’s jewelry, T shirts, parasols, tin signs, wallets, posters or giant Ben Cooper Halloween masks that you can hang on your wall, this is THE place that just epitomizes coolness. You can find designs by Doug P’Gosh, licensed Ford and Chevy stuff, Monster stuff, Betty Page clothing and decor and all sorts of the coolest things on their planet.

Lately they’ve created some really cool Tiny Terrors figures, plus ornaments based on Betty Page, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and EC Comics’s three horror hosts.

These are the folks who began the craze of making cool, oversized Halloween masks. They have the wildest selection of those, and they also have cool plus throws now.

Not only do they cover the monster stuff with their Ghoulsville line, they also have the dangerously cute retro-sweet market cornered with their Sugarland lines.

Visit their website for the perfect gift for the coolest person on your holiday shopping list.

The Purple Moon

One of the pillars of the “Downtown Cool” places to shop in Charleston is The Purple Moon. Chuck and Connie Hamsher’s store is filled with Mid-century art, furniture, decor and design delights.

West Virginia’s only shop dedicated to vintage mid-century modern and contemporary design, furnishings, accessories, and art. Their store, tucked away at 817 Quarrier Street, right in the heart of downtown Charleston is a treasure trove of atomic age delights. Chuck and Connie Hamsher have created a terrific space where Charlestonians can finally find all that cool retro stuff that we see on the Home & Garden channel when they do a post-modern weekend.

The Purple Moon has been featured in PopCult since our first year blogging, and in that time we’ve seen them move to new locations twice as they expand and improve their mission to preserve the coolest stuff of the past seventy years for our enjoyment and enlightenment.

Or course, we’re mentioning The Purple Moon here because you ought to be able to find great gifts for anyone on your list among their offerings. Whether you’re looking for Blenko glassware, small or large pieces of art, furniture or any sort of cool knick-knackery, chances are you’ll find it here.  Check their Facebook page for hours and more info.

Art Emporium

A Downtown Charleston fixture, nestled on the corner of Quarrier and Hale Streets, Art Emporium is a go-to location for art, art supplies, small and cool physical objects and all your framing needs.

In addition to notepads, calendars gift cards, paperweights and other cool gift ideas, Art Emporium always has incredible art on display in their gallery.

Several area artists sell their work through Art Emporium, and if you can’t figure out what gift to give, you can purchase a gift certificate and shift the burden onto the artistic-minded person on your holiday shopping list.

Art Emporium is located at 823 Quarrier Street in Charleston, and they’re open Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM. I would expect them to have some extended hours through the holidays. Check their website and Facebook page for more details.

Sunday Evening Video: Christmas, Restored

Our video this week is a restored Fleischer animation classic that longtime fans of Radio Free Charleston might recognize as one of the cartoons we used clips from during the Clownhole song in our first video Christmas special back in 2006 (RFC Episode Eleven). Since we brought you a new recording of that song last week, I thought it might also be cool to share this newly-restored version of the original cartoon, even though we didn’t use the cartoon in the new video.

‘Christmas Comes But Once a Year’ is a 1936 animated short produced by Fleischer Studios and released on December 4, 1936 by Paramount Pictures. It is the 15th cartoon of the Color Classics series. The cartoon features Professor Grampy, a character from the Betty Boop series; this is the character’s only appearance without Betty.

This restoration is the work of Thad Komorowski & Jack Theakston. You can support their work via Patreon.  These are the folks who restored the cartoons that were shown at The Alban Arts Center last year, and I’ve been following their work since.  You can keep up with them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (I ain’t calling it “X”).

You can find more restored animation classics at their YouTube Page, and later today in The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide I’ll tell you where you can find some cool merch that supports their restoration efforts.

Gift Guide Day Twenty-Five: More Cool Retail

We are in the last week of The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide, and now we’re mixing things all up.

We shared our final batch of Flashback picks yesterday. Today and tomorrow we’ll be spotlighting more retailers, online and brick-and-mortar, and then for our final four days next week, I might just ramp up things a bit and have five suggestions each day.

And then next Friday I’ll post The Master List and get ready for you folks to enjoy some surprises in the first full week of December.

But today, we have two online merch stores, and one great and diverse place in Dunbar, where you can find all sorts of wonderful gift ideas.

The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe
Merch store can be found HERE

This is where you can find T-shirts, hoodies, Beanies, ballcaps, stickers and more, all bearing the logo of The Empty Glass.

The Glass, as you may know if you’ve been reading PopCult for any length of time, is one of Charleston’s most venerated dive bar/performance venues.

The history of The Empty Glass is deep and impressive. World class musicians have graced its humble stage–Chuck Berry, Mojo Nixon, Bob Geldof, Tyler Childers, Ann Magnuson, NRBQ, and hundreds of other amazing performers.  Following Mountain Stage, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s internationally-broadcast live music show that happens about a block away, there is a jam session at the Glass, and a significant number of guests on Mountain Stage has showed up to keep the music going at the little holy temple on Elizabeth Street.

Many people have incredible memories of The Empty Glass (Heck, your humble blogger and his wife shared our first kiss there), and if you know somebody who’s had some of those memories, you can find a nice gift for them at their merch store.

Sierra Ferrell’s Store
Merch Store can be found HERE

One of the performers who has graced the stage at The Empty Glass is Sierra Ferrell.  A Charleston native who has signed to Rounder Records and is a rising Country/Americana star who has performed all over the world.

I met Sierra over fifteen years ago when she was an impossibly young and gifted singer in town, and we featured her on the Radio Free Charleston video show a few times.

Since then she has gone on an incredible personal and musical journey, and has collaborated with some of the most respected musical artists in the world.  She’s just announced next year’s Shoot For The Moon tour, and has released a new song, “Fox Hunt,” the cool animated video for which you can see here…

You can find Sierra’s merch, including shirts, mugs, posters and more HERE.  Her latest album can be ordered HERE.

Eclectic Goods Market
1401 Charles Ave.Dunbar, WV
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 AM to 6 PM

Eclectic Goods Market is a unique vintage and artisan mall located in Dunbar, WV. Their many vendors display a large selection of vintage finds, antiques, home decor, jewelry, artwork, clothing, and more. You can shop their curation of small West Virginia and Appalachia owned brands 5 days a week.

This is a great place to find everything from FiestaWare to comic books to vintage clothing, fair-trade goods, home-made soaps, vintage toys and more.

At this time of year they also have a terrific assortment of vintage and artisan Christmas ornaments and decorations.

If you want to be a vendor, you can find details at their website, but for our purposes, I’m suggesting that you go there in person and shop.

There are some great shops filled with great gift items, like Magpies’ Treasures, Gypsy Grace Boutique and other cool, funky shops, filled to the brim with great gift ideas.


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