The PopCulteer
September 11, 2009

Yet another Art Walk is in the books, and as we do each month, we take a look at some of the highlights. So that I can fill up this column with pictures and won’t have to write as many words.

We’ll kick it off our tour of ArtWalk with a trip to Taylor Books. Thats’ work by Jamie Miller you see to the right. On the other side of the “Read More” you can see more photos from Art Walk and some other stuff that may interest you.

Taylor Books Annex Gallery

More work by Jamie Miller.

By Amanda Jane Miller.

Amy Williams and Rob Hrezo, “Necking”

Bob Rosier at Visions Day Spa

Allied Artists at Good News Mountainer Garage Gallery

“Livestock” by Rebecca Burch

“Mouse Chair” by Linda Conner

“Transcendental Metamorphosis” by Newman Jackson

Robert E. Martens At The Purple Moon

Rubber Soul at The Capitol Center Theater

Don’t forget to catch RFC 81’s guests, Rubber Soul, performing the number one hits of The Beatles” Saturday night at The WVSU Capitol Center Theater. The show starts at 8 PM and tickets are a mere ten bucks. You can see the band rehearsing on this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston.

More RFC Radio Memories

Continuing our wallow in nostalgia, since we are now observing 20 years since the Radio Free Charleston radio show, this week we’re going to revisit our first week on the air, and briefly note the first three local artists that were played on the show. I was a regular customer of Elkins Record Shop, on Charleston’s West Side, and along the way I picked up a couple of singles by local artists. This was back in the day when vinyl 45s were not quite dead yet,

The first single was by Hazil Adkins. “Big Red Satellite” was the first local song played on Radio Free Charleston, back in September, 1989. That song kicked off the “local showcase” portion of the show at 1:35 AM. After the first week, the “local showcase” was eighty-sixed, along with the cumbersome “After Hours” tag that Garrett Majors insisted be part of the show’s title. Starting with the second week, instead of just playing two or three local songs each week, I decided to integrate the local artists into the mix with the alternative/new wave/progressive music that I played on the rest of the show.

That turned out to be a bigger thrill for the local musicians, who got the chance to hear their own songs placed on the same level as international artists like XTC, The Cure and REM.

It was a bit of a struggle to convince management to let me do the show, so for the first week I made concessions. The first show was called “After Hours: Radio Free Charleston.” Garrett Majors, the program director, didn’t like the name I wanted, and thought he could talk me into dropping it after a week or two. He also didn’t think I’d be able to find enough local music for the show, so he suggested that I spotlight it in one segment, then ignore it for the rest of the four-hour program. He was of the opinion that I’d have to drop the local music after a while.

Garrettt wasn’t exactly a visionary.

By week two, after becoming thoroughly convinced that neither Garrett nor anyone else at the station was listening, I ignored his suggestions and the show simply became “Radio Free Charleston” with local music a key component. In fact, thanks to Michael Lipton and Paul Calicoat, by our sixth week on the air we did four solid hours of local music.

Back to week one, we featured two more local artists on our inaugural show. After Hazil, I played a single by a 16-year-old girl, billed simply as “Cheryl,” whose dad was a friend of Garrett’s. The song was sort of forced on me, but it wasn’t bad. It was in the Debbie Gibson/Tiffany mold, and stood out like a sore thumb between Hazil and our third local artist.

I’d had the single “Big Money” by Big Money for a couple of years–dating back to before I was working in radio. I’d never met Big Money’s head honcho, Michael Lipton, but within a couple of weeks we’d made contact and he was funneling tons of local acts my way.

Humble beginnings for the RFC phenomena, which would withstand radio obscurity, radio success, 16 years in limbo, and now Internet obscurity! Who would’ve thunk it. Look for more RFC radio memories in the coming weeks.

Cool Comic Of The Week

The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics
edited by Art Speigleman and Franciose Mouly

This is a real treat–a coffee-table sized collection featuring over 300 pages of great Children’s comics from years gone by. Edited by the couple behind the legendary RAW Magazine. This hefty tome collects work by some of the greatest cartoonists to ever grace the medium–Carl Barks, Walk Kelly, C.C. Beck, Sheldon Mayer and dozens more–Included are Sugar and Spike (years later the premise of this strip–babies that can talk to each other but not understand adults–was borrowed for the cartoon series “Rugrats”), Uncle Scrooge, Pogo and a very cool story, The original Captain Marvel, who encounters the world of surrealism.

There is also a healthy representation of George Carlson’s “Jingle Jangle Tales” and some great lesser-known works by lost masters of the form. These were all comics that were created back in the day when comic books were primarily considered a children’s medium, and seeing how wonderfully innovative the stories in this collection are, one can’t lament that the medium is no longer aimed at kids, but at arrested adolescents who act as nerd-barometers for what might be the next big summer action flick.

This is not a cheap collection, but it’s well worth it the forty-dollar price tag (way cheaper at Amazon). They don’t make comics like this any more.

Next week in PopCult

Sunday–videos (live from Sam’s Uptown Cafe this week). Monday–art, Tuesday–Radio Free Charleston 82 with music from the CYAC musical “The Blob.” Make your reservations now!