Sunday Evening Videos: Beatlesque

August 30, 2015 by rudy panucci

klaatubThis week we treat you to four music videos that sound like the Beatles, but aren’t. The last one of the batch is a song written by one, though.

Above you see “A Routine Day,” by Klaatu. Klaatu was a Canadian band that is mainly famous for sounding so much like The Fab Four that many people thought that their debut album was actually a secret Bealtes reunion. The above video, in all its Yellow Submarine-inspired glory, was released in 1979 to promote the ‘Sir Army Suit’ album. This music video was part of an incomplete animated special that has never been released called ‘Happy New Year Planet Earth’.

utopia_defacefBelow you see the video for “I Just Want To Touch You,” which hails from “Deface The Music,” the album where Todd Rundgren decided that he wanted his band, Utopia, to sound as much like The Beatles as possible.

The problem with the Utopia “Deface the Music” album was that The Rutles had already done the Beatles parody/soundalike thing first, and better, as you can see later in this post.

After the jump we have two more, including a clip from The Rutles.

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RFC Flashback: Episode 75

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Our last bonus “best of” post will also stand in for the RFC Flashback this week. We’re flashing back to a flashback from 2013. This is so meta that you may need to take some Metamucil.

Thank you for sharing our tenth anniversary with us, and for wasting your time reading this blog.

In today’s RFC Flashback we revisit our 75th episode! “Unknown Hinson Shirt,” our third-anniversary Rock And Roll Extravaganza.

This landmark edition of RFC features music by The Pistol Whippers and Unknown Hinson, both legends of honky-tonk psycho-billy stage. We also have 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 (featured in the OSCAR-nominated movie “The Wrestler”), wrestling legends Gypsy Joe and Bull Pain and GWAR’s front-man, Oderous Urungus. The really cool thing is that it looks like we recorded Necro and Gypsy Joe in the same place we recorded Ann.

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PopCult Instant Video: 2013 Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

More big fun, from 2013.

Taking place of the Sunday Evening Video and the RFC MINI SHOW this week is the above video of the 2013 Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show. This was a fun video to shoot and edit and I hope my readers get a kick out of it.

Img_8554First, though, a few notes about how this video came to be. Oddly enough, the music came first. A few weeks ago, YouTube made some background music available to the folks who post there to use, royalty-free. Last week I downloaded a few tracks and found them to be pretty darned good. Two of them, in fact, were perfect for the kind of fast-moving quick-cut videos that I’ve been itching to do. “Half Pipe,” by Huma Huma and “Eviction” by The Silent Partner were the songs I wanted to use, but I didn’t know where.

Then it hit me, this was the week of the Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show, an event I usually whine about because it closes my favorite road in Charleston. This year I would actually go to the show, but with a plan. In order to make it quick and easy to edit, and to cram as many cars into the video as possible, I would shoot still photos–hundreds of them–and cut them to the beat. Melanie shot video, just so we’d have some variety, and I’d slap it all together.

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Come Back, Johnny (West)

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

In May, Mark Wolfe and I ran around town playing with action figures.

The PopCult Toybox

Johnny shoots up the State Capitol. Photo by Mark Wolfe

Johnny shoots up the State Capitol. Photo by Mark Wolfe

It’s time to mark a Golden Anniversary.

In 1965 The Louis Marx Toy Company introduced Johnny West to the world. Johnny was a 12-inch tall posable action figure who was a Cowboy. He was the first fully-articulated large-scale action figure that Marx made, predated a few months by Stony Smith, a soldier, and Daniel Boone. Neither of those first two figures were articulated below the shoulders, though.

Johnny was an instant star and inspired Marx to create a full line of Western-themed action figures as well as other large figures of spies, knights and vikings. Johnny West lasted ten years in the toy marketplace and may have lasted longer had the Marx Toy Company not changed hands and suffered a series of inept management regimes.

Johnny West gets a 50th Anniversary figure

Johnny West gets a 50th Anniversary figure

The creation of Johnny West was a response to the smash success that Hasbro achieved in 1964 with GI Joe. Rather than copy GI Joe outright, Marx decided to test the waters with what were essentially larger, more detailed versions of their classic green Army men style playset figures. After the first two releases, more-articulation was added and Marx hit upon a successful format.

Borrowing the name from an earlier small-scale playset, Johnny West was introduced as a Cowboy Everyman. He shared his headsculpt with Stony Smith, the soldier (though this is still debated in some quarters) and he had a Native American pal, Chief Cherokee. The figures sold so well that within a couple of years Johnny had a wife, Jane, and four kids, Jay, Jamie, Josie and Janice. There were also tons of horses, a couple of dogs, The Fort Apache Fighters, General Custer and a couple of not-so-friendly natives added by the end of 1968.

It’s worth noting that after a short time, Marx pulled out of the military action figure game. Stony Smith was given better articulation so he could ride in a Jeep, but even after evolving into the more GI Joe-like “Buddy Charlie,” sales didn’t justify production. Hasbro and GI Joe handled the military end of things, Johnny West and friends covered the wild West. Nobody knows if it just worked out that way, or if there was some kind of secret golf course handshake deal between Louis Marx and Merrill Hassenfeld.

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Where All The People At?

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Last April I wrote a heartfelt essay about the problems we have keeping young people in this state. Since It was well-written, didn’t insult anyone, and wasn’t a histrionic cry for help, it didn’t start any conversation.

wv drain 002The PopCulteer
April 10, 2015

Apologies to my regular PopCult readers. Yesterday we didn’t post a PopCult Bookshelf. The truth is, I was so stunned and shocked at the passing of my friend Tom Medvick that I simply didn’t have it in me to sit down and write anything else.

Today we’re devoting the PopCulteer to one topic: Population density, or the lack thereof in Charleston and in West Virginia.

Our area has a thriving arts scene. We have more than our fair share of original art, music, theater, literary events and other cultural enrichments. However there is one thing that we have a desperate shortage of–audience.

This state is losing people. Folks are dying (or moving) to get out of the Mountain State. We’re not just losing people. We’re losing people who support the arts.

I’m beginning to wonder if we have enough people to go around to fill the auditoriums, venues, galleries, and bars where art and music happen. Recently, we’ve lost Community Music Live, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra has drastically cut back on their performance schedule, and Kanawha Players is in the process of divesting themselves of their theater. Kanawha United Presbyterian even discontinued the Kanawha Forum series of lunchtime concerts.

The bar scene in town, which consists of our primary small venues for live, local original music, has suffered of late. If one bar has a show that draws a huge crowd, that usually means three or four other bars in town are playing host to tumbleweeds. For a variety of reasons, it seems fewer people are going out to bars to hear live music.

Quite simply, we have too much culture and not enough patrons of the arts.

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A Miles Davis Classic Comes To Life On Radio Free Charleston

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

On income tax day this year, we got all highbrow-jazzy.

bitches-brewMiles Davis’ Bitches Brew album is a seminal work. This double-LP was released forty-five years ago this month, and it remains one of the most challenging, controversial and influential works in the history of Jazz and Jazz Fusion. Not content with already having revolutionized Modern Jazz, Davis began this project with heavy influences from rock and funk, but also brought the use of the recording studio in Jazz up to contemporary standards.

This album is filled with multi-tracking, post-production edits and looping. It’s ahead of its time, and had the technology been available at the time, Davis probably would have experimented with sampling and auto-tuning, too.

Because this album is such a notorious studio creation, performing it live is a major undertaking that is not something that musicians just decide to do on the spur of the moment. In this episode of Radio Free Charleston we sit in on a rehearsal by the group 4tet, with added musicians “and more,” as they tackle this epic work in preparation for the first of a series of shows where they will perform the entire album live.

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Monday Morning Art and RFC MINI SHOW notes Combined!

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Fun times from May 11 of 2015.

Image2b

Since we don’t know how long we’ll be able to post today with limited power at The Gazette, we’re combining both of our usual Monday posts into one. Up above you see Pepper Fandango dancing to the music of HoboClay.com, as interpreted in digital paint by yours truly. Click to enlarge.

Below you will find The RFC MINI SHOW starring HoboClay.com, with guest dancing by Pepper Fandango and Kitty Killton.

Recorded the day before Valentine’s Day last February, this edition of The RFC MINI SHOW may not be safe for work, but it sure is easy on the eyes. HoboClay.com performs two songs: One, a cover of “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” the other an original song, “Drink To Your Breasts.”

Joining HoboClay.com for these performances are Pepper Fandango and Kitty Killton of Wayward BurlyQ. Pepper dances solo for “Hat,” while the two bring the second song to life with a spirited dance duet.

These are burlesque performances, so steer clear if you’re easily offended. There is no nudity, but there’s lots of damn-near nudity, so proceed at your own risk.

HoboClay.com will be opening for Spurgie Hankins Band every Tuesday at The Empty Glass. Pepper and Kitty of Wayward BurlyQ (formerly The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque) will perform new routines Wednesday night at The Empty Glass as part of The Vagabong Variety show Live at the Empty Glass along with big-time MTV comedian Brian Bargainier and music from GypsyRythm. Five bucks gets you in the door for a show that starts at 9 PM at The Empty Glass.

Monday Morning Art: Queen of the Roller Derby

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

From last May, it’s a Monday Morning Art from Dr. Sketchy’s.

MMA 001

It’s Lavender Menace, from last night’s session of Dr. Sketchy’s, striking a great pose for my digital watercolors. You will be seeing more from last night’s Sketchy’s in the coming weeks. It was the first session at WVSU EDC (AKA DigiSo) and it was a blast in the new environment.

Check PopCult later Monday Morning for The RFC MINI SHOW starring The Scrap Iron Pickers.

A Rebuttal, and More…

August 29, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Back in May Courtney Forbes wrote an editorial about why she was leaving Charleston. I took issue with it and wrote this rebuttal. A lot of folks were really unhappy with what I wrote and felt that I missed the point. A lot more folks agreed with me, and some felt that I was too soft on Ms. Forbes. I stand by what I wrote, even if it does seem mean.

Audience-Exodus-002The PopCulteer
May 22, 2015

Sometimes you have to be the person to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

It’s been almost two weeks since the infamous Courtney Forbes “Don’t Settle, Charleston” editorial. I’ve been trying to decide the best way, or if I even wanted, to craft a response to Courtney’s piece. On my Facebook newsfeed, reaction to Courtney’s piece ranged from about a quarter of the people who felt that it was dead-on, while the remainder thought it was outrageous hogwash. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure initially that her piece needed a rebuttal. The need to answer Courtney built up in me over a few days.

My gut reaction was to respond with a goofy Lewis Black-style rant. Then I thought a cool, calm, reasoned approach might be best. After having considered the issue and listened to Courtney’s appearance on The Front Porch podcast from WV Public Broadcasting, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best response will be to alternate between the two approaches. After all, her original editorial seemed like two unrelated essays spliced together, so a similar approach might work for me.

The reason I feel the need to respond is that Courtney has managed to parlay her editorial into some measure of local minor celebrity with appearances on local podcasts and her name on the lips of people who talk about such things. People are heaping praise on her for her editorial. I don’t want to burst her bubble here, but I think most of that praise is undeserved. Her “conversation starter” didn’t really start the conversation that she thinks it did.

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The Music of Tom Medvick on Radio Free Charleston at New Appalachian Radio

August 28, 2015 by rudy panucci

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

As I mentioned a few hours ago, we have seen too many friends pass before their time, and one that hit us particularly hard was earlier this year, when Tom Medvick, one of the best people I ever knew, died suddenly of natual causes. I dedicated a whole episode of The RFC Podcast to Tom’s music and life.

RFCv3 #24

We have a bittersweet episode of Radio Free Charleston on New Appalachian Radio this week. Not long ago Tom Medvick suddenly and surprisingly passed away. This was a shock to his friends in the music scene and where he worked at the West Virginia Department of Transportation and also people whose lives Tom touched in college and coaching his kid’s in sports.

And of course it has been an unimaginable horror for his wife, Wendy and their children, and the rest of Tom’s family. Our thoughts are with them as we take two hours to remember the music of Tom Medvick.

This edition of Radio Free Charleston on New Appalachian Radio can be heard in the Voices of Appalachia archive right HERE, or right in this widget, HERE.

Tommy was a great guy and one of the most powerful drummers I’d ever seen. Always upbeat and hilarious. He was a frequent guest on the original Radio Free Charleston broadcasts and he was not just a good friend, but a great friend. I am going to miss him terribly, and I’m hoping that this tribute can help his friends remember him, and let those who didn’t know him understand what a wonderful person he was.

Over the course of two hours you will hear music from The Swivels and The Feast of Stephen, two of the major musical projects Tommy worked with. You may also remember, if you are elderly enough, that The Swivels started out as The Swivel Rockers, then shortened their name late in 1989.He was also the lead figure in Tommy Spear and The Mints, but sadly I don’t have any of their music in my archives.

What we do have is pretty incredible. Tommy was an amazing musician and I hope that you can get an idea of how fantastic he was in this show. We are going to kick off the show with some rare demos that the Swivels recorded, which come to us courtesy of Tom’s bandmate in both the Swivels and Feast of Stephen, John Radcliff.

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston’s streaming radio incarnation at 10 AM and 10 PM on Tuesdays (and again at midnight Thursday) at New Appalachian Radio, part of Voices of Appalachia. If you miss it, check our the archives for previously-aired shows. You can also listen to Radio Free Charleston Saturday at Midnight. Saturday, RFC airs for six hours, starting at midnight.

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