11196354_988778874468361_495683789615221996_nThe PopCulteer
June 19, 2015

John Hodgman In Charleston

So here’s what happened: The plan was that this week’s PopCulteer would feature a long interview with Comedian/Actor/Author John Hodgman, who is appearing at The Culture Center on Monday. I’d sent in a batch of questions for John a couple of weeks ago, and since I knew that he’d already talked to Bill Lynch (read his interview HERE), I decided to give him the chance to do our interview in character and have fun with some of his trademark deadpan humor.

Unfortunately, right after he spoke with Bill, John went on tour and didn’t have time to craft answers to the questions that I’d sent him. He’s basically been living in airports this month. So a few days ago I got word that the interview wasn’t going to happen, but he did compliment my questions.

So what I’m hoping happens is that, on Monday when he performs at The Culture Center at 8 PM as part of FestivALL (tickets available HERE) that the show is a huge success and he loves it so much that decides to come back and perform in our fair city again real soon. Then I can get those questions to him again and run the interview here in PopCult!

1393747_10153428925526060_4052317420359349774_nAnn Magnuson In Charleston

Also as part of FestivALL, on Tuesday, beloved Charleston native, Ann Magnuson, returns home with a new show called “An Evening of SurRURALism.” Everyone should go see this. It’s going to be an evening of music, stories, burlesque and art. In fact, your PopCulteer is honored to have been asked to contribute some artwork to this show.

I’m going to tell you more about SurRURALism next week, but for now here’s what Ann posted on Facebook about the show:

HI everyone! I thought I should offer some more detailed information about what you can expect to see in my FestivALL show on June 23 at the Walker Theater (since the initial press release was a bit vague. Though we enjoy mystery adn intrigue, I think Charlestonians might like to know what specifically they get for the price of admission! If you do, read on:)

“The show will be a cabaret-style collection of fun songs and personal stories that combine The Surreal and The Rural to create…..ta-dah! SurRURALism! I have an ongoing affection for my home state that never wavers and West Virginia is often a part of my work but this time the state is squarely in the spotlight. West Virginia is always popping up in my dreams and I will be showcasing a few of those (think Disney on moonshine) as well as giving the home folks a sneak peak premiere my new web series ANN MAGNUSON’S DREAM PUPPET THEATER (which features the wonderfully homespun –and wonderfully strange- dolls my Grandma Magnuson made in Morgantown back in the 1960s).

Plus there will be a lot extra goodies! They include:

-The West Virginia premiere screening of ONE GOD, ONE SINGER, my college student film where I filmed and interviewed local Elvis fans gathering outside of the old Charleston Civic Center (before the renovation) for the Elvis Presley concert in 1976. Includes footage of Elvis emerging out of the side door of the Daniel Boone Hotel and into his limo to a cheering crowd!

-Recreating the 1960s “Mad Men” cocktail ambiance of famed Charleston supper clubs The Press Club and The Army/Navy Club, popular jazz (and boozehound) venues back when the state was ‘dry’. Yes, alcoholic beverages will be served – as well as Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers’! Please feel free to dress up, especially in your favorite Don (or Betty) Draper vintage outfits! Or dress SurRURAL! (Or just wear whatever you want! We just want you there!)

-Unique renditions of songs by West Virginia singer-songwriters Hasil Adkins, Little Jimmy Dickens and Hazel Dickens!

-A musical tribute to The Mystery Hole!

-Participation by local Charleston visual artists who have contributed their interpretations of SurRURALism, including a local grade-school student whose work I saw on his teacher’s Facebook page and it was so great I had to include it!

-Participation by local Charleston neo-burlesque performers in my song and dance celebration of the old Greyhound Bus Station and the colorful (i.e. trashy) ambiance of Summers Street “back in the day”!

-Tales from the Red Carpet: Inside stories from the star-studded Greenbrier Casino red carpet opening in 2010! Plus stories from inside the Red Carpet Lounge! (Audience participation encouraged!)

-Personal stories about seeing the freak shows at the West Virginia State Fair as well as the old Thomas Joyland Carnivals that used to swing through Charleston when I was growing up!

-The handsome and talented Tom Judson accompanying me on piano! (This is his first appearance in West Virginia and I know he will love it!)

So, as you can see, the show will be WEIRD, WILD & WONDERFUL!”

Stuff To Do

Curiously enough, your PopCulteer is going to be playing hooky from much of FestivALL this year. I will miss the first weekend because I’m attending The Marx Toy Convention and a memorial service in Wheeling. Next week business meetings will take me out of town for some of the coolness. I will be here for Ann’s show, and I’m hoping to make it back to town in time for John’s performance on Monday.

But, just because I can’t make it to all the stuff that happens while this city becomes a work of art, that doesn’t mean you can’t come out. So check out the FestivALL website for a full list of events, and look down at the rest of this column for some more cool things you can do all over the area this weekend. And remember, folks, if I left anything out, feel free to let me know about it in the comments.



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That’s it for this week. Check PopCult every day for all our regular features.