Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

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Monday Morning Art: That House

This week’s art is a small study (using Winsor Newton inks on textured paper) for a potential Edward Hopper-style painting.

This was done quick ‘n’ sloppy just to get the composition and rough colors down. Chances are the finished piece will change the angle, and maybe lose the buildings next door and maybe the fence. I’ll also be using a different medium. As you can see the ink was a little hard to tame in places.

I based this on a few quick photos I took out the window of The Amtrack Cardinal somewhere between New Jersey and Washington DC last January.

I’m still trying to get to the point where I can imitate parts of Hopper’s mastery of light and shadow, but apply it to my own surreal subject matter. It’s fun to try and learn new things at my age.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you encores of a recent 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. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM. All times listed are Eastern, so if you’re in another timezone, adjust accordingly.

At 8 PM you can hear an hour of Cheech and Chong on a recent episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM for the Monday Marathon We bring you ten hours of The Swing Shift. It kicks off with our recent four-episode look at Boogie Woogie, and I also scheduled another four-parter, this one devoted a rough history of 100 years of Swing, back when we hit episode 100 of our show.

Sunday Evening Video: We Told You So

About ten years ago we featured a song on the video version of Radio Free Charleston about a tiny, rotund and evil man named Patrick Morrisey. At the time he was the Attorney General of West Virginia, and his terms in office were marked by him filing nusiance lawsuits against Democratic administrations, while also filing lawsuits to advance the agendas of pharmaceutical companies, coal companies, Big Oil, and pretty much any business that wanted to pollute our state and harm its people.

Of course, now he’s running for governor on a platform of exterminating transpeople and minorities, polluting our state even more and basically doing whatever else ALEC orders him to do. He’s running as a Republican (of course) and his opponents are a shady used car salesman millionaire son of a Congresswoman; a shady millionaire son of a Senator and grandson of a disgraced and convicted former governor; and a shady election denier who was the top election official in our state.

I don’t have songs about them, but we do have this one, with a Boylesque dance by Leo Tuxedo and lyrics on the screen so you can follow along to this song by The Laser Beams. It’s relevant again, but it looks like there’s a long line of candidates for governor who somehow all manage to look worse than Jim Justice, who might be the worst governor of WV in my lifetime. We’re sharing it here because we’re sick of seeing his awful commercials every time we turn on the TV for weather and traffic reports.


The RFC Flashback: Episode Seventy-Five

We are going to dig back into the archives for a very special episode of Radio Free Charleston from July, 2009. Radio Free Charleston celebrated three years of our video revival with our 75th episode, “Unknown Hinson Shirt.”  Our third-anniversary Rock And Roll Extravaganza was a pretty ambitious, epic show.

This landmark edition of RFC featured music by The Pistol Whippers and  a pre-fall-into-disgrace Unknown Hinson, both legends of honky-tonk psycho-billy stage. We also had a snippet of Princeton’s Option 22 over the end credits.

With this being our third anniversary, we took it upon ourselves to corner a few really cool people with our camera to get them to say nice things about us. Among those who weren’t quick enough to escape are Ann Magnuson, Necrobutcher, the late wrestling legend Gypsy Joe and GWAR’s front-man, Oderous Urungus.

You can read the original production notes HERE.



Seven Things That Still Make Up PopCult

The PopCulteer
April 5, 2024

As with tens of thousands of my fellow West Virginians, I am still without power (as I write this).

Updating this, my power actually has been restored and I’m back in the house, but I was stuck in the hotel all day Wednesday and didn’t have anything else to do, so I put this together while I had the free time.

I’m quite lucky. My house did not sustain any damage. My neighbors didn’t fare as well. That drone photo you see at the right, which came from WCHS-TV, is just a couple of blocks from my house. It’s one of a few billboards in the area that just snapped in the high winds. It’s a miracle that nobody was killed or even seriously injured during Tuesday’s storm.

But the power did go out. Mel and I absconded to a local hotel that did still have power and wi-fi and I took advantage of the downtime to write ahead on the blog because I know I’ll have plenty to do when we do get power restored.

We’ll have to toss out almost everything in the fridge and freezer for one thing. I hate doing that, especially since some of it is leftover pizza.

Throwing away leftover pizza is like killing a mockingbird.  It’s a sin.

Where we holed up, we had a scenic view of the still-vacant Toys R Us at Southridge, and apparently that parking lot is being used as a staging area for all the power company repair trucks, most of which are coming to our rescue from other states. Trucks were coming and going all day, and the lot filled up and emptied out several times. At points it spilled over and filled up the parking lots for Chuck E Cheese, Quaker Steak & Lube and the now-vacant Bojangle’s.

These folks are why power will be restored as soon as possible.

I want to thank those guys. Your hard work is appreciated.

However, since I need to get some posts written, and I don’t have access to all my resources, the rest of this week’s PopCulteer is a rewrite of a post that originally ran in this space on September 7, 2012. I’m updating it and replacing the art and video and many of the references, but it’ll still serve as a good introduction to this blog. That’s the advantage of having over 18 years worth of archives to mine for content.

Seven Things That Make Up PopCult

This post, in its original form, was a PopCulteer that ran a week after this blog marked seven years of exitstence. The idea was to explain what PopCult is about. There’s no easy answer. I sort of have free reign to write about whatever I want as long as it’s related somehow to Pop Culture, and since that covers just about every aspect of modern life, I get to run a little wild here.

But in order to try and explain our existence, I came up with seven things that help make up PopCult. They are Art, Music, Comics, Theater, Wrestling, Toys and Animation. This week we’re going to revisit some examples of each of these and how they frequently intersect.


Since the beginning of this blog, I have posted examples of my digital art. Starting around the first anniversary of PopCult, I started posting my art regularly, every Monday Morning, hence “Monday Morning Art.”  In the beginning most of my art shared here was digital or manipulated photography.  After my 2016 diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis, and the treatment that allowed me to start sharing actually physical art, I began posting more paintings and drawings and stuff.  Here’s a couple of examples of both…


Hallelujah! It’s time for a hamburger!

I also apparently backed into the role of Art Critic, as my December, 2009 examination of Albert Paley’s “Hallelujah” sculpture that sits in front of The Clay Center, wound up projected on a huge screen at a panel discussion Paley attended.

I missed that event, which might have been a good thing, since I don’t know if they discussed my follow-up piece where I suggested alternative sculptures for the site.

I mean, I don’t know how much of a sense of humor the guy has. Considering how much he charged for “Hallelujah,” he might be laughing all the way to the bank.


This should solicit a “Duh” from my regular readers. I’ve always covered music here in PopCult, but I also steered many good CD reviews to the now-defunct “Newsounds” blog at The equally defunct Gazz, where they seem to be lost to the ages, so I can’t link to my reviews of Roger Waters’ French-languaage opera, “Ca Ira,” or my reviews of albums by Wynton Marselis, Regina Spektor or The Aquabats, but I can link to Andy Prieboy Week and my review of the book he co-wrote, “The Psycho Ex Game.”

And then there’s the matter of local music, and Radio Free Charleston.  Here, try a few randomly-plucked video samples…

Now that The AIR is part of PopCult, Radio Free Charleston is just one of the music specialty programs you can listen to on our sister radio station, which you can hear on the player elsewhere on this page. If you’re a regular reader, you know you get new shows every Tuesday.

Contrary to the belief that I love all the music that I hear, I also reviewed Steely Dan when they came to The Clay Center.


Comics are a huge part of my life, and I’ve written about a ton of them here in PopCult. I’ve gone on about my love of classic comic strips, like Popeye and Dick Tracy.  I also looked at old and new takes on Superman. I’ve also examined some of the greats of undergroud comics like Kim Dietch and Harvey Pekar.  I’ve also raved about the work of newer masters of the form, like The Hernandez Brothers and Alan Moore. Plus we’ve celebrated some truly great works like “Starstruck,” by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta. Lately we’ve been following the emerging talent of Anthony Stokes.

Comics will continue to be a big part of PopCult. I wish I had time to cover them even more.


Thanks largely due to the influence of my beautiful wife, Melanie Larch, I have become a fan of live theater, and even get to write about it occasionally. One of those occasions was when I reviewed Dan Kehde’s brilliant piece of surrealistic naval-gazing, “Bert Hellmun Fights The Demons Of The Stage.”

More recently, I was able to share my reactions to some shows by Tracy Letts, as well as The SpongeBob Squarepants Musical, Boop! and just a few months ago, Stephen Sondheim’s final work, Here We Are.

And we also feature Musical Theater on Mel’s show, Curtain Call, on The AIR, every Wednesday.


Sometimes I go off on certain topics. I’m a stong advocate of smoking bans.  I don’t want to see Kanawha Boulevard shut down or shrunk.  I’ve type-blabbed about the death of Michael Jackson and the 2012 movie theater shooting in Colorado.  But one of my favorites rants, named after a Frank Zappa song, is “Dumb All Over,” from September 2009, where I took on one of the biggest threats to our country’s future…old comedy routines coming true…

“We have brought sophisticated, edgy, Lenny Bruce-type shock values to lowest-common-denominator humor. A pie in the face has been replaced with oversized plastic genitals bonking someone on the head.”

Over the years I’ve also addressed more personal topics, like getting married, being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, several obituaries of friends and other things that aren’t really pop culture related, but they do make PopCult what it is.


So I’m a toy collector. Maybe I never grew up, but I love toys. I collect action figures, toy cars, robots and board games, along with anything else that strikes my fancy. I’ve written about Captain Action and Johnny West and GI Joe. I’ve gone on at length about The Batmobile. I’ve brought you news and reviews of cool new toys.

I’ve also made pilgrimages to Wheeling to The Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum for MEGO Meet and The Marx Toys Convention. Since the original version of this post, I’ve made regular visits to JoeLanta/Toylanta and Kentuckiana, and even took a rather crazed road trip last year to cover two toy shows in the same weekend.


My working relationship with the Charleston Gazette began in the early nineties when Melanie Larch and I  started collaborating on “Animated Discussions,” the only regularly scheduled animation column running in a daily newspaper at the time.  We started out writing about our then favorite show, “Ren and Stimpy,” and within a year, we began doing more in-depth coverage that garnered national press attention.  From there, we continued to write about television animation and branched out into reviewing animated feature films such as “The Lion King,” “Toy Story,” and what turned out to be our swan song as movie reviewers “Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

In the summer of 2005, the Charleston Gazette shifted their freelancer budget around and decided to stop carrying locally written movie reviews.  That money was funneled into the Gazz blogs, which are now also a distant memory, and I decided to make the jump to blogger status. I and PopCult eventually left the Gazette-Mail, which is why you’re still able to read these words today.  Animation is still a large part of PopCult and you can expect more coverage of new animated projects as soon as they add more hours to the day.

That’s it for this bit of self horn tootery. It actually took more effort to re-write this piece and fix broken links and graphics than it would have to written an all-new post,  but with my brain preoccupied, this was the PopCulteer of least resistance. Check back for fresh content every day, even if some of it isn’t so fresh.

Nine Years Ago In PopCult

Because my power is not expected to be restored until late tonight, I’m taking advantage of our hotel stay to schedule this post for you. If I have time to write a real post, you’ll never know this one existed. Which is good, because going back nine years, this is just an edition of The RFC Flashback. It’s a really good one, but it’s not our usualy Thursday fare here in the blog. (Note: My power was restored, but I have a ton of stuff to do around the house, so you’re still getting this post today)

I originally planned to re-post something about the Derecho that hit the area back in June, 2012, but when I checked…I never wrote anything about it. The only reference to it was a brief mention of two now-defunct bands playing a “Post Apocalyptic Storm” show at the Empty Glass. So you get this instead.

From 2007, it’s the nineteenth episode of our video show,  with the RFC debut of Ghosts of Now and archival video of Go Van Gogh.

The Mystery camera person who shot the original footage of Go Van Gogh turned out to be none other than Melissa Beezley (now Melissa Beezely Johnson) who has been a friend of RFC since the radio days.

This show is not 100% as it was when first posted, though. The original version included a commercial parody created by someone who later turned out to be, well, let’s just say “a criminal.” On top of that, it was very poorly done and not very funny. Newly-created animation takes its place, and is much, much better, despite being slapped together in less than ten minutes.

You can read the original production notes here.

Disrupted STUFF TO DO.

We had severe weather yesterday with funnel clouds and straight winds and falling billboards and stuff, and your PopCulteer got off rather easy.  I just lost my power.  However, I didn’t get a chance to write today’s PopCult post, which sucks because it was going to be a really good one. I am typing this from a nearby hotel that still has electricity and wi-fi. Instead of what I’d planned, how about we go to our least-read weekly feature?  There’s plenty of STUFF TO DO in Charleston and all over the Mountain State as we take detours around fallen trees, billboards and parts of buildings.

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. This is going to be a short one because I don’t have access to my full resources. All of these shows are “weather permitting.”

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. As in the last few of weeks, they ain’t saying who’s playing.

The World Famous Empty Glass Cafe has some great stuff this week  to tell you about. Wednesday at 9 PM, RFC regular James Townsend brings his music to the Glass.  Thursday at 5:30 PM the Helping Hour with Swingstein & Robin makes the world a better place with music.   Friday, Tim Courts plays during happy hour.  Friday night at 9:30 PM, McKenna Hope and Friends return to the Glass.  You can check below for the graphics for other cool weekend shows at The Empty Glass.

Please remember that the pandemic is still not entirely over yet. It’s a going concern with the ‘rona surging again. And now there are seasonal allergies, the flu, falling porno-shop billboards, sunspots, unindicted co-conspirators 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…

Classic Tracks From The RFC Archives Tuesday On The AIR

We have to dig into the archives today on The AIR.  We have a new episode of  Radio Free Charleston, but it’s a compilation of three episodes of RFC Volume 4 from five years ago.  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.

Normally I record Radio Free Charleston on Mondays.  However,  yesterday my electricity decided to take intermittent naps. The power would flicker off just long enough to shut down the computer and make me have to reboot everything.  That can take as much as fifteen minutes.

Naturally, this disrupted my normal routine.  After the fourth forced reboot in 90 minutes, I threw in the towel and found three episodes of RFC Volume 4, back when the show was all local and only lasted an hour, and put these together with a short new intro.

Because the power is still browning out and threatening to go out completely,  there are no links to the artist’s websites this week. If you get really curious, remember, Google is your friend.

The shows themselves are loaded with primo local music that goes back more than thirty years. There’s a healthy dose of stuff from the Charleston Playhouse days (including at least one track recorded there) and a lot of stuff that was new five years ago. We also have a lot of exclusive RFC video show tracks.

And the middle hour is a mixtape, so you don’t have to listen to my voice (that’s a deterrent for some folks). Keep your fingers crossed that we can get back to whatever passes for normal around here next week.

Check out the playlist.

RFC V5 170

hour one
The Big Bad “After Dark”
Speedsuit “So Did I”
Karen Allen “This War”
Bad Keys of the Mountain “Nothing Is Easy”
Todd Burge “Elvis From Hell”
Mother Nang “Knee Deep In Wine”
Amazing Delores “Love Magic”
Time And Distance “War”
Ghosts of Now “Deathburn”
Whitechapel District “How Heavy Is Thy Crown”
Marcie Bullock “Maybe Just Crazy”
Paul Calicoat “Trampled Flowers”
Stephanie Deskins “Godless”
Brian Diller & The Ride “Don’t Stop At Anything”
Mad Scientist Club “Thunder and Lightning”
Alan Griffith “Blowin’ In The Wind”

hour two
Three Bodies “Gardens of Hope”
600 Lbs of Sin “TJ’s Song”
Andy Park and the Kountry Katz “Attention”
Sahsa Colette and The Magnolias “Sweet”
Go Van Gogh “Planet of Psychotic Women”
John Radcliff “Somethings Got To Give”
Under The Radar “Krakatoa”
The Pistol Whippers “Lucky Boy”
The Carptenter Ants “Blessing”
Saprogen “Jam/Total Damnation”
Punk Jazz “Little Star”
Highway Jones “Shimmer”
Ovada “The Electric God”
Rudy Panucci “Jazz Sketch”
Hasil Adkins “Maybelline”

hour three
Kevin Scarbrough “End of The Day”
Beggars Clan “Glass of Water”
Fletcher’s Grove “Ride”
Mother’s Nature “Stand Back”
Mojomatic “That’s what The Blues Is All About”
Todd Burge “Back To The Races (Burlap)”
Holly And The Guy “Since I Met You”
Jay Parade “How This Ends”
John Lancaster “Phantom Moon”
Poor Man’s Gravy “That Which Should Never Be Played”
Feast of Stephen “Gomec”
Holden Caulfield “The Fields Still Burn”

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: Really Big Boy

So, I had this Hopperesque piece I was working on with acrylics on paper for pens, and I sort of lost interest and felt it needed something.  I’d taken several photos out of the window of The Amtrak Cardinal on the way back from NYC a few months ago, and took inspiration from those of those to try another Edward Hopper pastiche.  But it just wasn’t working for me.

Then I decided to add something.  That makes it work for today, anyway.

This was done the way I do most studies for possible canvas paintings, but if I planned to take it further I probably would’ve worked more on the atmospheric perspective.

Usually when I give up and insert Big Boy into a random painting, you folks don’t get to see it.  So consider this one a treat.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Over in radioland, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you encores of a recent 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. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM. All times listed are Eastern, so if you’re in another timezone, adjust accordingly.

At 8 PM you can hear an hour of funny songs by Barnes and Barnes on a recent episode of The Comedy Vault.

Tonight at 9 PM for the Monday Marathon the April Fool’s Day laughs continue as we bring you ten more hours of The Comedy Vault.

Sunday Evening Video: Easter Tradition!

Four in a row makes it a tradition, right?

As I may have mentioned three previous times in this space, hardly anybody is going to read the blog today due to it being Easter. So I’m just going to drop a fifty-plus-year-old Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated special here for you. “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” is based on a song that was written by Keyser native, and WVMHOF Class of 2011 indutee, Jack Rollins.  This is the fourth year in a row that I’m doing this. Traditionally Easter Sunday is the least-viewed day of this blog, and has been for a long time. It’s like people think they have more important things to do or something. So if you did come here today, thanks.

Enjoy, and Happy Easter!


The RFC Flashback: Episode Seventy-Four

Radio Free Charleston’s seventy-fourth episode, “RFC Trax shirt” is from June, 2009. This show featured music from former Morgantonians, J Marinelli and Slate Dump, plus special announcements from Mad Man Pondo and Tofujitsu, as well as a Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie.

We also continued the First Great Guitar Giveaway with Route 60 Music, which has now been over for quite some time. Don’t bother trying to enter. But please do visit Route 60 Music and tell them you heard about it on RFC.

Host segments and our end credit bed were shot during FestivALL 2009 in Davis Park, during the “Art On A Stick” sale and open stage. You’ll hear RFC’s old and much-missed buddy, Jerry Fugate, singing and playing Mandolin as we show you some of the sights of the day.

This show makes many references to our big third-anniversary show, which was posted the following week. You’ll get to see it in this space next week.  You can read the original production notes for this show HERE.

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