Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Regatta Thoughts and FiestaWare Dreams

The PopCulteer
July 8, 2022

It has been a bit of a strange week here at PopCult. Power outages, weather-related ailments and technical issues threw us off our planned schedule and things aren’t getting posted in the order they were planned.

However, things have settled down and today’s PopCulteer should get us mostly back on track.

The plan was to run a photo essay yesterday, and devote this week’s PopCulteer to a short piece on my thoughts on the return of the Sternwheel Regatta, and notes for a new episode of MIRRORBALL.

MIRRORBALL got delayed a week.  I didn’t have time to do the photo essay so yesterday I ran a “best-of” post. My thoughts on the Regatta are below, and below those you’ll get to see the photos I’d planned to run yesterday. So all is well.

Boat Race

My attitude toward the Regatta, like my attitude toward just about everything is, if it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anybody, then it’s great. I don’t think the Regatta hurt anybody, and reports are that it made an awful lot of people happy, so good for it.

It’s not for me, but everything doesn’t have to be for me. I don’t do well in the heat. I don’t drink beer. And my taste is music is generally pretty far from commercial. I also don’t like being around bodies of water. I think the whole idea of Charleston ever having been a classic riverboat town is contrived nonsense, and I’d still like to not die from COVID. There was very little chance I was going to go anywhere near The Regatta this year.

But it was great for the people who enjoyed it, and it was apparently great for Charleston businesses.

I think holding it immediately after FestivALL was a good idea. It prevented the post-FestivAll doldrums and struck while everybody was still in a celebratory mood. While it had to really suck for city workers who had to clean up after back-to-back citywide spectacles, it seemed to work out really well for the attendees. And it looks like it might be easier to book decent headliners during the Fourth of July weekend than it was during Labor Day.

People lamented the demise of the Regatta back in 2009, but to be brutally honest, it had basically degenerated into an overgrown beer bash by then, and the musical acts, with a few notable exceptions, were generally underwhelming. The one year, near the end, when they booked a decent band, Blue Oyster Cult, the director of the Regatta took pains to mention to the press that she had never heard of them.

This year the musical acts were booked with wider appeal, with the first night actually bringing in a band that appealed to people under the age of fifty.  I was never a fan of The Regatta back in the day. I worked in Charleston and it made my commute hell, and I can only think of four or five acts that I would have walked across the street to see. But I’m not the type of person that the Regatta is supposed to attract. I’m old, with weird taste in music. I don’t drink and I really don’t like being around large drunken crowds. Plus I hate being outdoors for long periods.

Having said that, if they book The Aquabats next year, I’ll be there.

One More Trip to FiestaWare Land

Last week I ran a photo essay of a recent trip to the Fiesta Tableware Factory Outlet Store in Newell, West Virginia. Today we’re going back for more photos. This time most of them are by my lovely wife, Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch.  These were taken where they make the brightly-colored dinnerware beloved by millions.  You can see a smokestack on the factory above.  More photos follow. Take a look.

Once more into the promised land.

One of the old dish mold presses, on display on the way to the seconds room.

Colorful shirts, actually made of the same ceramic as their dishes (not really…they’re just regular t-shirts)

An artsy pic of heart-shaped dishes

The “other” seconds room, filled with restaurant dishes

A small part of Mel’s haul from the trip

At the end of the parking lot, you can see one wall of a factory building and several bins filled with FiestaWare discards.

Some of these are left overs from a recent tent sale, while some are…casualties

BTW, if you look away from the factory, you get this incredible view of the Ohio River.

A sad tale of broken pottery. I don’t know what they do with this stuff, but I hope they break it into smaller pieces and sell it by the pound to artists for use in mosaics

That is our PopCulteer this week. Check back for fresh content every day, plus all our regular features. The plan for next week is to tell you about new radio content on our internet radio station, The AIR, plus we have some Kickstarter alerts and reviews to share.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Great photos, but I feel rather badly for the discards and broken pieces. I’d like to think something productive is done with them.

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