Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: July 2024 (Page 1 of 2)

Sunday Evening Video: Preview The Kentuckiana GI Joe & Toy Expo

It’s time to plug a great toy show that’s within easy driving distance of Charleston,  and your PopCulteer and his wife will be there. It’s a week earlier than usual this year, so head’s up folks!

The Eleventh Annual Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo happens next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s Saturday (with a Friday preview night) and it happens at the Paroquet Springs Conference Centre, at 395 Paroquet Springs Drive, in Shepherdsville, KY, just like last year.  It’s not far at all from the South Louisville Antique Toy Mall, so most toy collectors ought to have an easy time finding it.  This is a great show. I’ve been to several in the past, and above and below you’ll see videos I made to document the visits. Up top it’s our clip from last year. Below you’ll see several videos from the years preceding.

There will be dozens of dealers with great vintage GI Joes, plus GI Joe from the Real American Hero era and brand-new custom uniform sets and figures for 12″ and 3 3/4″ GI Joes. Plus there will be tons of other action figures and toys for sale. You might find MEGO, Big Jim, Super Joe, Johnny West, Major Matt Mason and many other great toys from the past.

Collectors can expect new convention sets from several cutomizers and independent toymakers . This is some terriic stuff that is keeping the 1/6 scale hobby alive. The unofficial theme this year is GI Joe’s 60th anniversary, and several cool limited edition sets will be available at the show.

Visit the Kentuckiana GI Joe Toy Expo Facebook event page for more information. It should be a great time, and your PopCulteer will be there, so come up and say “howdy” or something.


The RFC Flashback: Episode Ninety-One

This week we go back to the first Radio Free Charleston of 2010. “Bettie Page Shirt” features music from Highway Jones, Ryan Hardiman, and Blue Million. There’s also animation by Frank Panucci, a Plant Ro-Duction Mini-Movie, and a cameo by now-retired professional wrestler Daizee Haze.

Host segments were shot at a pre-ghost-mall Charleston Town Center, and musical performances were recorded at The Boulevard Tavern, Trinity Lutheran Church and Bruno’s, one of which is still in existence (it’s the church).

For the full production notes, go HERE.

A Festive FiestaWare Photo Fantasia

The PopCulteer
July 12, 2024

As I briefly mentioned Wednesday, this weekend I am headed back up to the The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum for a special toy show/memorial for Roberto Ligotti, a beloved member of the MEGO collecting community known to his friends as ‘Berto. This event is not private, but having come together in mere weeks following ‘Berto’s passing, it’s not expected to be heavily attended. However it is open to all MEGO collectors who would love to pay tribute to our fallen friend. You can buy a ticket in advance or at the door.  Admission also gains you entry to the wonderful Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, which hosted MEGO Meet for its first ten years.

Because of this quick trip and some outside deadlines, today’s PopCulteer is a simple photo essay…one that I’ve been keeping up my sleeve for four weeks now.

Four weekends ago, when Mel and I drove up to Wheeling for the annual Marx Toy & Train Show, we made a side trip to the FiestaWare Factory Store in Newell, WV. It was not our first trip. This is sort of like visiting Mecca for Mel, only with much more colorful plates.  Since I’m going to try to write this blog four days in advance to accomodate the trip and the magazine article I’m working on, you will get to take in the bright, shiny and color images from our latest trip to Newell.


I just realized that I’m going to have to come up with captions for almost twenty photos of brightly colored dinnerware. Forgive me if I go a bit off the rails.

Here are the bowls alongside one wall. Note how they are arranged by color.

On the opposite wall, across the store, we find plates, rammakin-thingys and assorted crockery.

A trick of perspective: These covered baking dishes are not actually bigger than the tiny people in the background.

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Kickstart A New Chapter In The “Decay” Saga

I’ve been telling you about comic books written by Anthony Stokes for almost two years now, and he has a new Kickstarter campaign that ends in just one week.  This is a special one because it’s a spin-off of the first project of his that I discovered, which was a mini-series called Decay.

Decay is quality storytelling, with a fresh take on horror that is so compelling that the idea of new chapters of the story are a huge treat for me. Decay is a supernatural revenge tale about a young man who is gunned down by drug dealers, but then revived by his grieving sister…who happens to be a Voodoo priestess.  As I’ve said before in this blog, Stokes is a very gifted storyteller and in Decay he’s woven familar elements into something really new and exciting.

After the five issues of Decay, Stokes is going back for more in the Decay universe. His new series, Prescription Paradise, comes at this situation from a different angle.

This time around, a small-time drug dealer gets set up with a bad batch of drugs. He overdoses and then gets brought back to life to life by his cousin using a voodoo ritual. Once revived he works his way up the supply chain to get revenge on the supplier who set him up.

This is a different take on the original story, which featured a young victim who was more of an innocent bystander. In Prescription Paradise our undead protaganist knows who his target for revenge is, and how best to exact it.

From the Kickstarter page

Prescription Paradise #1 is a 52-page square bound graphic novel that is a gritty anti-drug crime story. I concieved the idea as a response to the opioid epidemic and I hope it provides some much needed catharsis to those who have been affected by it. It features beautiful illustrations by Marco Perguini and letters by Es Kay.

This campaign ends in a week, and it’s already two-thirds funded. In addition to digital and print versions of Prescription Paradise, you can add digital or physical copies of any of Anthony’s previous works, including Decay, which is available as individual issues or a trade paperback (which includes a bonus short story).  The time to click through to the Kickstarter is now, because time is running out.

Anthony always delivers, not only in terms of quality, but also very promptly with his rewards. I’m sure that Prescription Paradise will be no exception in either regard.

Tropical STUFF TO DO

In case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s really hot outside. It’s positively tropical…in a humid hellscape way, not in an island paradise way.

I’m not going off on an “I told you so” rant about climate change here. I’m just reminding you that we are still in the midst of a particularly hideous heatwave. I have a chronic illness which is excacerbated by high temperatures, so don’t expect to see me at any event that happens outside. I implore everyone to stay hydrated and stay safe because there is still a lot of  STUFF TO DO this week.

Again, remember, if you are attending an outdoor event, stay hydrated and please don’t smoke or vape around any humans who might find the associated stank to be offensive.  Let me tell you about plenty of STUFF TO DO in Charleston and all over the Mountain State and beyond as we struggle to survive this summer.

As I have been copying and pasting 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. I won’t be offended if you volunteer to do the work I was too lazy to finish.

It’s CharCon time as West Virginia’s longest-running Gaming Convention is coming to back to the Clay Center this weekend. There are games of many types available to enjoy so you can get your gaming fix, visit the vendors, check out the guest artists, participate in the cosplay, or just walk around and gawk.

I have to be honest, despite a lifetime of being immersed in what some folks call “geek culture,” I never really got into gaming. But if that’s your scene, you need to go here. Details are at their Facebook Event page.

This weekend in Barboursville, it’s the fourth annual BillyCon at Billy Bob’s Wonderland/Pizza/Fun City Arcade and Prarie Emporium.  Fans of Showbiz Pizza, Billy Bob’s, and The Rock Afire Explosion Band can indulge in 3 days of fun and food. This year will feature new merchandise at The New Billy Bob’s Wonderland. Details are HERE.

Live Music is on tap at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM.  Friday it’s Khegan McClane. Saturday Minor Swing takes the stage 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 music for a cause.  Friday Tim Courts and friends will fill the Happy Hour with music starting at 5:30 PM. Friday night at 9:30 PM Join The Vans, Ethan, Charlie, & Alondra, for a night of your favorite golden era jams. Check the graphics below for Saturday’s show. Sunday at 10 PM Christopher Carter of Hurl Brickbat treats you to an acoustic show.

You PopCulteer will be in Wheeling for a special MEGO event at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum. Tickets to the Friends of ‘Berto Memorial Meeting can be found HERE.

Please remember that the pandemic is still not entirely over yet. It’s a going concern with the ‘rona still lurking about. And now there are nasty seasonal allergies, Booty short-wearing Mothmen, exploding water mains, skillful media manipulators 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.

Here we go, roughly in order…

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RFC Wallows In Nostalgia Tuesday

With your humble radio host buried under deadlines this week, we once again have to dig into the archives today on The AIR.  We have a new episode of  Radio Free Charleston, but it’s a collection of “oldies” in the first hour, followed by a ten-year-old edition of RFC Volume 3 from 2014 in our second and third hours.  To listen to The AIR, 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.

I didn’t have nearly as much time as usual to record this episode of RFC, so I did one new hour,  filled with tracks ranging from 10 to 35 years old, and then pulled out the fifth episode of the old Voices of Appalachia version of the show from 2014.

We open our first hour with Government Cheese, a Louisville band that appeared on the original broadcast incarnation of Radio Free Charleston back in 1989. Then I just played what I could get my hands on in an old music folder, and happily managed to locate a Three Bodies song that I’d misplaced years ago.  The rest of the first hour includes lots of music that you won’t be able to hear anywhere else, harvested from the vast RFC archives.

Basically, this is a fond look back at the Charleston music scene (with a few visiting bands included) from the last 35 years or so. Because of my deadlines and the fact that many of these artists don’t have websites, there are no links this week.

Check out the playlist.

RFC V5 184

hour one
Government Cheese “Camping On Acid”
Qiet “The Indie Song”
Snakebox “Dead Planet”
Go Van Gogh “Planet of Psychotic Women”
Decomposing In Paris “He Loves Me”
Some Forgotten Color “High Chair”
Three Bodies “Three Bodies”
Stark Raven “Irrational People”
WATT 4 “Bad Situation”
Super Heavy Duty “Here I Be”
Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands “Especially Your Mother”
From The Future “Cool Taco”
Beckner, Price & Panucci “Got Drunk, Got Married, Got Screwed”

hour two
Slate Dump “Co-Dependent Shuffle”
Mark Beckner “Ain’t It Hard”
Kenneth Brian Band with Lillie Mae Rische “Last Call”
Southern Culture On The Skids “King of the Mountain”
The Renfields “Transylvania Fight Song”
Donny Iris “Songs of Summer”
Scooter Scudieri “Round and Round”
Todd Burge “My Kind of Town”
Blue Million “Down To A Groove”
Stephanie Deskins “Godless”
Spurgie Hankins Band “Seagull”
Strawfyssh “Choppin’ Broccoli”
Kevin Duffer “Harder Days”

Hour Three–the songs of Slate Dump
J. Marinelli “The Ballad of Pop Bottle Pete”
Sam Taylor “Behind The Ears”
Sleepy Eyes Nelson “The Tragic Tale of Kazimir Kiskis”
Tongue Tied Twin “Safety Rope”
The Stalnaker Brothers “The Last Buck Dance”
Tucker Riggleman “Your Man”
Tyler Timebomb “Leave The Light On”
Nick Ledford “Bedbug Epidemic”
Walt Phelan “Shoulder pt. one”
The Discovery Flannel “Dubber’s Theme”
Esmerelda Strange “Love Bug”
Mussy Cloves “Disillusionment”
Johnny Lowebrow “Burl Ives Must Suffer”
SlamDance “Requiem for a Canary”
Badger Fight “I’m a Creeper”
Black River Bluesman and Bad Mood Hudson, “I’m a Creeper”
Sleepy Eyes Nelson “Ballad of Pop Bottle Pete”

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 give you an encore of two recent episodes of The Swing Shift, because I couldn’t record a new one of these on Monday, either.

 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: Phone Doodle Girl

Once again this week I’m back to using the trusty Blackwing Palomino pencil, only this time it started out as a phone doodle.

While I was on the phone, stuck in “hold purgatory,” I grabbed my clipboard and just started doodling what became a girl’s face. I did a little post-call finishing, but it’s just a doodled portrait of an imaginary young lady.

This is pencil on regular copy paper. I was using the plastic clipboard to hold it, and with my MG-afflicted fingers, this once again changed the amount of pressure I could apply. So it’s not really my normal style. This is smaller than last week’s drawing, but I had a bit more control this week, and didn’t have to do much with it post-scanning.  As with much of my physical art of late, this is just me trying to get my fingers working again.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you encores of a classic episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a recent 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.

At 8 PM you can hear an hour of stand up from Gabriel Inglesias on a new episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM for the Monday Marathon We bring you ten hours of Mel Larch’s Curtain Call. In fact, we bring you every episode so far from 2024. So you can catch up.

Sunday Evening Video: A “Lost” Episode of Radio Free Charleston Has Been Found!

Normally I would drop a vintage episode of Radio Free Charleston‘s video show into the weekly “RFC Flashback” post on Saturdays here in PopCult, but this is a very special episode, and it’s well outside the chronological presentation of our video shows that’s been happening in that feature since January of last year.

What you see above is one of the lost episodes of the show. There were four of them, but now there are only three. This was actually the oldest of them. The video you see above has been out of circulation for almost a dozen years. I tried a new tack in searching my labrynth of hard drives on the Fourth of July, and found a copy of the show encoded as a .VOB file from where I’d burned it to DVD in 2007. This made me positively giddy and I dropped everything and immediately remastered it so I could upload it in time for today’s PopCult post. I’m even writing this while the new file is rendering.

Making this even more fitting, July 4, 2006 was the official premiere date of the first video episode of Radio Free Charleston.  I hadn’t planned to do anything to mark the 18th anniversary of my show’s return from the dead, but then this fell into my lap organically, so here you go.

From June, 2007, comes episode 21 of Radio Free Charleston, featuring Under The Radar, The Ghosts Of Now, a short film by Sean Richardson and Alon Kutchinsky, plus vintage beer animation. This episodes is called “Yellow Submarine Shirt,” and except for a brief period when it was hosted by MySpace in 2012 this is the first time it’s been seen in PopCult since early 2009.

Under The Radar returned with a song written by Charleston’s rock n roll recluse, John Wallace.  “Dog Day Dallas Doo Dah Demons” is a musical ode to JFK conspiracy theories. The Ghosts Of Now made their second appearance on RFC with “Patton’s Blues.” I am a huge fan of Sean and Alon’s controversial short film (read the comments under the original production notes) and I’m thrilled to have it back online as part of the show.

The production notes for this episode can be found HERE, and they include a mention of the show possibly going weekly, which we did indeed manage to do a few times over the last eighteen years. As you may know, Radio Free Charleston is currently running as an annual show as a video program, but you can still tune in to our radio show every Tuesday for three hours of great local and independent music and free-format radio on  The AIR.

Now I’m going to see if I can get this lucky looking for the other three missing episodes of the show!

The RFC Flashback: Episode Ninety

This week we go back to the last week of 2009 for a Radio Free Charleston video show loaded with cool music from WATT 4, Eva Elution and Drop Ded Phred, plus a Kitty Killton film by Scott Elkins, animation and for reasons I don’t quite remember, a promo spot that I made for my late friend, Garry Douglas, who was promoting a Blues concert series at his local pub.

Garry was a fellow action figure collector, and asked me to do a video for him, and  since he was such a big fan of Radio Free Charleston. I did the spot, and then I guess I stuck it in this episode just for the heck of it. If that doesn’t seem odd, Garry lived in London, and the club was in the West End. He even told me that I nailed the accent, although he may have just been being kind.

Garry passed away a couple of years after this, and I’d completely forgotten about this until a couple of years ago when I was remastering the show for its new upload. It was cool to remember my friend, the Action Man collector.

You can read the original production notes HERE.

Salsoul Records and The Pretenders On The AIR Friday!

The PopCulteer
July 05, 2024

We finish up our eighth anniversary of fresh programs for The AIR Friday as we offer 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 on this very page. These shows actually had sneak previews last Monday evening, but if you missed them then, they’re new to you.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch digs into the archives of Salsoul Records for a sampling of one of the key record labels of the Disco era on MIRRORBALL.

Salsoul Records was founded by three brothers, Joseph, Kenneth and Stanley Cayre, in New York City, and filled the dancefloors with their acts like The Salsoul Orchestra, Skyy, Aurra, Double Exposure, Instant Funk and more. They often hired Larry Levan to do their 12″ extended mixes.

With several key components of the Philly Sound jumping over to become The Salsoul Orchesta, the record label carved out a huge part of the musical map in the Disco era.  More than four years in, Mel continues with her mission to celebrate the classic Disco era, educate the masses about the importance of dance music and rehabilitate the reputation of this unjustly maligned musical genre.

Check out the playlist…

MB 103

The Salsoul Orchestra “Run Away”
M&S Presents The Girl Next Door “Salsoul Nugget (If U Wanna)”
The Salsoul Orchestra “Salsoul Hustle”
Skyy “Skyzoo”
Instant Funk “I Got My Mind Made Up”
Steve Arrington “Summertime Lovin'”
Charro & The Salsoul Orchesta “You’re Just The Right Size”
The Salsoul Orchesta “Magic Bird of Fire”
Aurra “When I Come Home”
The Salsoul Orchestra “Chicago Bus Stop”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  9 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, it’s Big Electric Cat time as Sydney Fileen delivers a special mixtape edition of her show that pays tribute to The Pretenders, who brought a little bit of Akron to the British New Wave scene.

Sydney focuses on the New Wave career of the British-American band, The Pretenders. With Akron, Ohio native Chrissie Hynde out front, and James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon and Martin Chambers backing her up, this band soared out of the New Wave scene in London and burned brightly for two albums before, sadly, Honeyman-Scott and Farndon both succumbed to drug overdoses within a year.

Overcoming tragedy, Chrissie Hynde persevered and continued on with the The Pretenders, adding new musicians and rising to new creative heights.

This week we present a mixtape of the best of The Pretenders from 1979 to 1986, when they proved that a female leader could take a band to the top of the charts and inspire generations of young girls to follow their musical dreams.

Check out this killer playlist…

BEC 118

The Pretenders

“Brass In Pocket”
“Up The Neck”
“Tattooed Love Boys”
“Stop Your Sobbing”
“The Wait”
“Private Life”
“Mystery Achievement”
“Message of Love”
“Talk of the Town”
“The Adultress”
“Bad Boys Get Spanked”
“Birds of Paradise”
“Pack It Up”
“Day After Day”
“Middle of the Road”
“Back On The Chain Gang”
“Watching The Clothes”
“My City Was Gone”
“Thin Line Between Love and Hate”
“2000 Miles”
“Don’t Get Me Wrong”
“My Baby”
“Light of the Moon”
“I Remember You”
“How Much Did You Get For Your Soul”
“Chill Factor”
“Room Full Of Mirrors”
“Hymn To Her (live)”
“Brass In Pocket (live)”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Over the next week I’ll be tweaking the replay schedule of our musical specialty shows, so keep checking for more convenient ways to catch replays of your favorite programs. And also check PopCult for all our regular features, with fresh content every day. Our Sunday Evening Video is particularly special this week.

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