Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Looking Back At A HARD Night

The PopCulteer
July 29, 2011

Your PopCulteer is still trying to skate through July while on a semi-vacation. After delivering four hours of Radio Free Charleston to PopCult readers in two weeks, a well-earned period of rest became a priority.

However, the best-laid plans thing did kick in, and rather than have a few weeks of relaxation and slacking off, your loyal scribe has been busier than ever with a myriad of surprise projects and lovely household incidents, not the least of which has been an over-active dehumidifier on my central air system that sort of gave me an indoor pool for a few days.

So instead of a big wordy PopCulteer this week, you’re going to get a photo review of last night’s Heart Of Appalachia Roller Derby fundraiser. It was a great night, raising money to help fund the Clash In The Coalfields multi-team scrimmage and Benefit on August 27 at the Madison Civic Center. At the Clash, 20% of the door goes to the medical fund of a local boy diagnosed with leukemia, and concessions sales will benefit Rev-Up Madison, so it’s all fo a good cause. The night kicked off with the hysterical song stylings of Pete Kosky.  Then RFC fave, David Synn took the stage with his bank of keyboards to create some amazing soundscapes.  The Rendfields arrived from Transylvania just in time to whip the crowd into a frenzy (some of which you’ll see next month on Radio Free Charleston). HARRAH (seen above) closed the night, keeping the crowd hot and happy well into the wee hours.

Your regular PopCulteer and our other PopCult features should return next week, along with several CD, comic book and other local reviews.  Radio Free Charleston will return in less than two weeks with InFormation, a song from the upcoming CLOG production of “Hairspray” and, recorded just last night, The Renfields performing “Roller Derby Girl.”

Now onto the HARD hitting action from last night.

Pete Kosky kicked off the evening with some gut-bustingly funny songs that I really need to get on Radio Free Charleston

The Heart of Appalachia Roller Derby girls got into the spirit of the show all night

The master of the synths, David Synn

David even let a one of the HARD girls get into the act

David even let a one of the HARD girls get into the act

More dancing. There was a lot of that last night

"The Fiend" from The Renfields

"Dick Ramses" from The Renfields

The ringleader, Vincent Renfield himself--direct from Transylvania, which is a hell of a drive

One of the many raffle drawings. Lots of cool prizes were given away last night!

The crowd made it a bit tricky to get good shots of the bands

HARRAH prepares to take the stage

...and then proceeds to tear it up.

FRontman Lee Harrah surveys the damage from his elevated vantage point, while the band wails

It was a hot, weaty, rock and roll ending for a great night

Check PopCult next week for more cool stuff.



  1. Karan I.

    As a new rollergirl (or, ‘fresh meat’ as we’re called), I was disappointed to learn that my team, the Chemical Valley Rollergirls was not invited to participate in the Clash in the Coalfields exhibition. Me and many of my newer teammates could really use the scrimmage experience and, what’s more, would like to be part of a good cause like this.

    I don’t know the reasons behind the decision to exclude CVRG, nor the history between CVRG and HARD, but it is especially troubling when the team that worked so hard to ESTABLISH roller derby in West Virginia is deliberately snubbed.

    However, for the sake of derby, the boy receiving aid from the funds, AND the new HARD team, I hope the event is huge success! I just wish we were a part of it.

    Trudy Cups
    Chemical Valley Rollergirls

  2. Anonymous

    CVRG were not “snubbed” in any way in the process of putting together the Clash in the Coalfields event. As I am sure H.A.R.D doesn’t feel snubbed for not being invited to CVRG first home bout. As fresh meat I doubt you quite understand the relationship between teams or events that have taken place in the past year. That is something that your team captain may or may not want to share with the newbies. Decisions are made to benefit all teams as a whole and as of right now both teams are working on mending their pasts. All of the roller girls from the Tri-State area would like nothing more but to all get along and be a big happy derby family. As of right now that big family needs some work. There will be other events and in the near future where everyone hopes to bout together and have a great time. No team is perfect, but one day all of the teams in that area will get along. At least that is what everyone is hoping for!

  3. Chelsea O.

    Due to the fact that there are still political and personal wounds that are still open the decision wassup reached that it be beat for both teams to allow more time prior to becoming integrally involved with each other. There will be many more events/scrimmages/bouts in the future that I hope CVRG and HARD can both be a part of together. The timing was simply not right for this particular exhibition. Perhaps you should inquire to your coaches/captain as to the reasoning if you desire further information. To me, theft past is the past… I believe we all need to grow up and move on and try to help this amazing sport flourish together, but that doesn’t mean everyone is quite ready yet. In time it will all be a thing of the past. You should be able to understand considering the fact that CVRG is not quite ready enough either or one would imagine certain more seasoned skaters of HARD would be asked to assist in building your roster for upcoming bouts. I have no animosity I merely find it necessary to allow time to heal certain situations.

    ChestLee Dahmer #78
    Co bout rep/inter league liaison
    Heart of Appalachia Roller Derby

  4. Adrienne G.


    You could contact our Captain, Ariana or President, Maureen and talk to one of them about all of that. But, my question that I have for you about all of this is why wasn’t anyone from H.A.R.D. invited to skate on CVRG for your bout in September? Also, I know that for your bout this weekend, you all are pulling some skaters from at least 3 other teams to fill your roster. So, why weren’t any of us H.A.R.D. girls asked to help fill it too? The question can’t very well be asked to us, when the exact same thing is being done by CVRG. Personally, I don’t care. I just love my team and am happy to be a part of it. I really just hate seeing your comment posted on this article about our fundraiser, as opposed to being addressed to my team on our personal page.

    Also, I read somewhere that the Bluefield girls were skating for a pretty good bit before CVRG was even formed. So, I’m pretty sure that no one on CVRG “established” roller derby in WV.

    Thank you for your well wishes on our efforts to help Jake Weaver with his medical bills. He is an amazing kid and we are excited to help his family out. Good luck to you all in Lexington this weekend. Some of our girls are headed there to watch the action.

    Elle Virus
    Heart of Appalachia Roller Derby

  5. Julie W

    Reading the post immediately following such an entertaining blogpost (THANKS RUDY!!) was such a bummer. I was pleased to read the mature responses of the rollergirls of H.A.R.D. I’ll never understand why people don’t realize how poorly they reflect on themselves, but then on their team as well, when they do something foolish. Perhaps a newbie lesson learned.

  6. Lee Harrah

    Awesome pics Rudy! Yet again you capture the night for all the people not able to be there! Thanks again for your time!

  7. The Abominable Vincent Renfield

    On a related note, I too was quite troubled to find that there had been a slumber party involving SEVERAL rollergirls the evening following this event… It troubles myself and all of the clean cut kids from Transylvania that NONE of us were notified! Taking into account the fact that The Renfields have spent COUNTLESS HOURS stalking and slashing up slumber parties for the past 7 years! This as well as the fact that NOT ONE american rollergirl was willing to offer up EVEN A SINGLE LIMB OR PINT OF BLOOD to feed the band after driving miles and miles AND EVEN OVER MILES OF OPEN WATER to play the show… IS THAT NOT WHY THE NEW GIRLS ARE CALLED FRESH MEAT! We also got no telephone numbers from the American girls… which WAS our master plan ALL ALONG!
    Instead myself and Dr. Herbert had to alternate as drivers of the phantom hearse all the way back home while Fiend and Dick Ramsses complained of hunger pains.

    Vincent Renfield

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