From 2006 to 2015, I produced ten Christmas episodes (or specials/treats) of the Radio Free Charleston video show. For some reason, until now, I have not compiled them all in a handy playlist to embed in this blog so you can watch them all together. One week out from Christmas Eve seemed like a good time to spring this on you.
We didn’t do a full-blown holiday episode every year. In 2008 I totaled my car on black ice early in December, and only managed to post a “half-episode” featuring music from the CYAC production of MARY: A Rock Opera from that year. I don’t remember the exact reason, but in 2011 all we did was a short video of Johnny Compton’s Prank Monkey.
But that’s all in here, and in order. The 2006 show features Clownhole and Mel Larch. In 2007 we had The Mountain Laurel Ensemble, 60 Fingers and The Android Family. 2009 saw an extra-long show with music from Molly Means, Joseph Hale, Todd Burge, and Melanie Larch with The Diablo Blues Band. In 2010 we presented the talented crew from The Contemporary Youth Arts Company singing Christmas Carols and songs from Mary: A Rock Opera.
2012 saw us back to full-length with a show that features music from the Charleston Gay Mens Chorale, a duet from Lee Harrah and Pepper Fandango, a special “double trio” from the cast of “MARY: A Rock Opera,” and Prank Monkey. Also in this episode, we have the Ghost of Animation Past, a holiday message from Razor Sharp Studios and Burt Flemming, and a quick musical tour of The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, WV. “Hasa Diga Shirt,” was our 2013 Christmas spectacular, with music from The Bob Thompson Unit and Frenchy and The Punk, plus a message from Santa, and animation from Jake Fertig.
In 2014 it gets a little bittersweet as we had quite a bit of help from the late Mark Scarpelli. Melanie Larch and Mark performed “Christmas Time Is Here,” the classic tune from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This was our “all female voices” Christmas show as the other musical acts include: Marium Bria performing the Jody Herndon song, “Naughty Christmas.” Lady D — aka Doris Fields — took on the Donny Hathaway classic, “This Christmas.” The Laser Beams wrapped up the show with a rendition of “Up on the Rooftop.” Also in this episode is the short film “Incomprehensible Words From Santa Claus,” as well as “Death Train,” a charming holiday cartoon about the real War on Christmas, created and animated by Jacob Fertig.
The final show in this playlist is both our least and most Christmas-y one of the batch. Our Christmas show for 2015 captures songs from a benefit show put on at The Empty Glass on December 12 of that year. The Logan-area band, let The Guilty Hang, lost all their equipment, merchandise, instruments and equipment cases in a fire in October. To help raise money for the band, Jeff Ellis, Sheldon Vance, Aaron Fisher, Speedsuit and Farnsworth all performed, with all the proceeds going to help this band get back on their feet. This was the true spirit of the season. Musicians came together, giving their gift of music to help raise money for fellow musicians down on their luck. When I first heard about this concert, I felt that it would make for a Christmas show more appropriate for the season than anything that I could contrive with a holiday theme.
As longtime readers of PopCult know, a few months after this show I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, and cut way back on producing video. RFC is basically an annual video show now (and I’m scrambling to figure out what to put in this year’s episode), so I haven’t really done any holiday-themed episodes since this last Christmas special. We still do radio specials (and you can hear a bunch of them on The AIR starting Monday), but these ten videos are the video version of our holiday legacy…for now.