The PopCulteer
January 5, 2024

PopCult Note: This edition of The PopCulteer was fully-written before the news broke yesterday that Kai Haynes passed away. I couldn’t let that go unmentioned, so I’ve amended a brief obituary to the beginning of this week’s column, but I wanted to include a note to explain the abrupt shift in tone. 

Kai Haynes: 1950-2024

We lost one of the good ones yesterday. Kai Haynes, a titan among Charleston musicians, died after suffering a brain-bleed shortly before Christmas.

Kai musical accomplishments, from being a key part of the early Mountain Stage band to performing with too many local musical acts to list here, as well as his expertise in audiophile sound systems and his partnership in LiveMix Studio are only part of a life well-lived.

Kai was a great friend, a devoted father, a man who was extraordinarily kind and generous with his knowledge and just an overall quality human being. Kai was one of the three partners in LiveMix Studio, without whom the 2006 revival of Radio Free Charleston never would have happened. Kai appeared on several episodes, and ran camera on several early episodes of the video show.

This hits hard, and I plan to link to more extensive tributes to Kai in the coming weeks. My most heartfelt condolences go out to Kai’s family, bandmates, friends and fans.

A musical celebration of Kai’s life is being planned for March. We’ll have full details as those plans come together.

I can imagine Kai in heaven now, reuniting with old friends and lining up new gigs, just as soon as he rewires the place to make it sound better.

Chuck Video Number One

The Maestro,  Chuck Biel is at it again. He has a new music/video projects in the works for this summer, and he’s produced a teaser video for it, which is fairly self-explanatory:

T.A.M.I.L.D.A.A. will be unleashed upon the world in a few months, and any project that blends improvisational progressive metal music with interpretive dance and ballet has my attention. We’ll keep you posted on further developments, details and cryptic messages.

Chuck Video Number Two

This video is from my buddy (and master GI Joe replica and fantasy box-maker) Chuck Van Voorhis, and it’s a killer music video for his music project (which you can hear on recent episodes of Radio Free Charleston) Sgt. Van and the Highway Dogs. Chuck has taken “Animal Farm,” one of the tunes from his excellent instrumental album, and used AI to create a pop culture mash-up video that has healthy doses of Clint Eastwood, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Fast and Furious and Toy Story, all combined into what looks like a movie trailer from an alien world in an alternate dimension…

…my favorite is Mexican Space Elvis, although Elvis at Giza and Clint Eastwood combined with John Doe from the band, X, is pretty cool, too. This is a clever and fun use of AI that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

New Webcomics

We have a couple of cool new webcomics to tell you about,and we’re a little behind, so you’ll have to play catch-up.

Frist we have Ms. Tittenhurst: Finder of Lost Things, by Scott & Jennifer McCullar.  In this new series, with a character seen in THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ANTHOLOGY, A divorced college student from Texas at the outbreak of World War II takes on the role of private investigator for a detective agency where she has previously served as secretary in the deep south Mississippi River port city of St. François de Port. With hips, lips and a quick quip… does our rookie Dame Detective Ms. Dottie Tittenhurst have what it takes to be a gumshoe wearing high heels?

This is a great blast of retro-pulp action, and you can read more about and order a hard copy of the first issue of THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ANTHOLOGY,  HERE.

Next up we have a reboot of Flash Gordon, the long-running science fiction comic strip that was turned into an awful 1980s movie. After a few years of domancy, the strip has been rebooted, written and drawn by Dan Shadke, with a nice, sleek, modern style, and you can read it HERE.  Check out a recent Sunday page…

It’s a fun updating of a classic strip, and one that fumigates some of the stench of that horrible movie (I was not a fan of the movie, by the way).

That is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for fresh content in PopCult every day, as well as all our regular features.