PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Radio Free Charleston Production Notes: Episode Four

Episode Four of Radio Free Charleston, featuring Raymond Wallace and Under The Radar, is now online. It’s another 12-minute dip into the local music scene with great music, cool animation, and weird little bits of ephemera. You can see it here.

Raymond Wallace is the first musical guest, and you can read more about him and check out his Songs Of The Week here. We brought him into the studio and put a guitar in his hands and let the cameras roll. He’d barely touched a guitar for two years, and it’s a kick seeing him playing again after all he’s been through.

Our animated short this week is “Zachery Bop,” an experimental CGI piece that my brother Frank made on primitive coal-fueled computers over ten years ago. Frank also composed the music on an electric abacus.

Under The Radar gave us our SOTW just yesterday, and they tear up the LiveMix studio with “Me, The Boys And Jack,” a rock ‘n’ roll song about the exploits of the crew of the PT 109 during World War Two. Be sure to give a listen to their take on Gershwin’s “Summertime,” while you’re digging their music.

The shirt I’m wearing in this show features The Blue Guy, AKA The Blue Meanie of WWE/ECW fame. Meanie performed at the IWA East Coast show in June, and I snapped up one of his shirts to wear on the show. That’s me and Meanie at the IWA EC after show party, in a photo by Daniel Boyd. If you want one of these shirts for yourself, you can check out Meanie’s post here, for details on how to order one.

Song Of The Week: Summertime Under The Radar

Our SOTW this week is another preview of the next episode of Radio Free Charleston. Last week we brought you a tune by Raymond Wallace, and this week we bring you a song from our other musical guest from episode four, Under The Radar. UTR is ace Gazette reporter Rusty Marks on guitar and vocals, Bill Robinson on bass, and Mark Lanham on drums. Rusty is someone that I was trying to get on the old radio incarnation of RFC back in the day, but the show got canned before he could get me a tape. On the show Under The Radar will be performing an original tune, “Me, The Boys And Jack,” but for our song of the week, we bring you their rockin’ rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

With any luck, the next episode of RFC will be posted as early as tomorrow. After I write this, I’m off to edit the show, and then tonight we’ll be taping a band for episode five. Tomorrow look for production notes on the show four, so you can learn all the backstage dirt on our little internet TV-type show.

Rebecca, over in her Carpe You Some Diem blog notes that a new local horror movie is being made in and around Spencer. “Pretty Girls Make Graves” tells the story of an eccentric wealthy businessman who lives a solitary life until he meets his true love, and then they have a run in with a sinister tattoo artist who marks them with an ancient mystical symbol which sends them spiraling down a path marked with deciet, greed, and murder. Check out the website for more information on the movie, which is scheduled to premiere at the Robey Theater in Spencer on Halloween. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks.

Dubya Rocks Like U2

Click the screen above and you’ll be treated to our Fearless Leader, singing U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” spliced and diced into existence by RX at PartyParty.com. Looks like GWB may have a new career ahead of him. Heck, maybe if we’re lucky, he’ll quit his job and go on tour!

Only if he takes Dick Cheney with him as a backup dancer, though. If you want to make your own version of the Preznit crooning, go check out the George W Bush Public Domain Audio Archive for tons of clips that can be rejiggered and manipulated so that he’ll say anything you want. It’s the same thing that Mr. Bush does to the Constitution!

Let’s jump into this week with a study in detail. At the left, you will find a digitally-assaulted photograph of the metal design work on the outside of the Stone And Thomas building on Lee Street. I did this last February, and if you’re interested, you can study the progression of how I assault these photos here.

You’ll notice that most of the time I go a few stages beyond the piece I decide to share. You have to make a few wrong turns before you find the right way to go. click to enlarge

Song Of The Week: Harvest Moon

This week’s SOTW is a sneak preview of the next Radio Free Charleston. One of our guests will be my good friend Raymond Wallace, late of The Leon Waters Blues Band, dragged in from his sickbed and forced to play his guitar for the first time in a long time. Raymond’s been living the blues for the last couple of years with a variety of heath and housing issues, and after our recording session, he told me that he felt like he was coming back to life after being a dead man. It was great to see Raymond playing again, after all that he’s been through.

Raymond recorded three songs for us, and our SOTW is one that won’t be on the next show. “Shine On Harvest Moon,” performed in Raymond’s Leon Redbone-influenced style, will make you feel like you’re hanging out in a New Orleans whorehouse, circa 1910. Leon Redbone is one of Raymond’s heroes, as you’ll see on the show, and he draws a lot of inspiration from him and other legendary bluesmen like Muddy Waters.

As a bonus, You can listen to Raymond playing “Variations On Kotke,” Raymond’s take on a piece he heard Leo Kotke play on Mountain Stage. This tune was recorded with Raymond playing my cheap 12-string, on the very computer that I use to write this blog. My guitar never sounded better. The next episode of RFC, featuring Raymond and Under The Radar, should be posted here at theGazz.com next week.

Animated Links

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch


It’s link week in Animated Discussions, as we slack off and let other people do the work for a change.

Heidi MacDonald, at the Beat, tells us about the new Adult Swim import from Japan, Shin Chan the adventures of a rude five-year-old boy, and how it will probably rock because Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer are writing the English scripts for the series.


Mark Evanier posts an embedded YouTube compilation of Quisp and Quake commercials made by Jay Ward (Bullwinkle) in the 1960s. Not only is this cool because of the animation and the background info Mark provides, but also because Quisp is the food of the Gods–the finest cereal ever crafted by human or alien.

Toonzone interviews Mark about the episodes of Superman: The Animated Series that he wrote, notably the tributes to legendary comics creator Jack Kirby.

Miles Thompson, an animator and designer who’s worked on countless of our favorite TV cartoons dating back to 2 Stupid Dogs has a way-cool art blog.

Meanwhile, Donovan Cook, creator of 2 Stupid Dogs, is currently working on an animated feature, Space Chimps, due out in a year or two. His last major project was Mickey, Donald and Goofy as The Three Musketeers, which you can read about here.

Cool Toy Of The Week: Power Team Combat Engineer

I haven’t exactly made a secret of the fact that I collect GI Joe action figures. I’m talking about the 12″ tall guys, like we had back when I was a kid (and also for the last ten years or so). Hasbro recently decided to take GI Joe into new territory, with a new size and the storylines and characters familiar to fans of the small GI Joes from the 1980s. So history repeated, and in 2005, just like back in 1976, the 12″ tall GI Joe was “retired.” The official GI Joe Collectors Club is still making extremely cool limited editions of the big guys, but unless you luck into some leftovers hidden on the shelves, you won’t be seeing the big GI Joes in stores.

However, GI Joe has always inspired a healthy group of fellow travelers, compatible toys made by competing companies. One of the best of these is the Power Team Elite World Peacekeepers line of 12″ action figures made by M & C Toy Centre. You can find Power Team figures at Big Lots, Kay Bee Toy Stores, and in the JC Penney Christmas catalog. Unlike the 12″ GI Joe, Power Team is still going strong! They have a ton of new product coming out and they put a tremendous amount of effort into their design and play value. Their current body design sports some of the most realistic articulation of any 12″ action figure, and is able to imitate nearly the full range of motion of the human body.

Our “cool toy” this week is the Power Team Elite World Peacekeepers Combat Engineer, which includes one fully-articulated figure, with interchangeable hands, and a huge assortment of cool 1/6 scale diorama pieces, including a garbage can, barrel, extending ladder, chainsaw, “wood” planks, a crate and a tool kit. The tool kit includes scale tools like a hammer, screwdriver, wrenches, pliers, facemask, axe, shovel, circuit tester, and eye protection. One of the major attractions of the Power Team line is that it provides such a wide variety of cool accessories in the proper scale for hobbyists who build dioramas. This set is a gold mine with tons of potential for that purpose.

Best of all, this set has been spotted in Big Lots just last week. So if you’re a GI Joe collector who’s depressed over the lack of cool Joe stuff in retail stores, look in the direction of Power Team. They’re still holding down the 1/6 scale fort.

Monday Morning Art: Branches

We kick off the new week, rested and refreshed after some birthday weekend slacking, with a digitally-assaulted photograph from last winter. This is a shot of barren tree branches, which has been a recurring motif in my work for over twenty years. I like the way they look. As always, click to enlarge. Later today I’ll be catching up on my weekend off, with Cool Toy and Animation posts.

I wasn’t slacking the entire weekend. Friday night Mel and I split our time between the Open mic night at the Unity Church and the CD launch party for Holy Cow at Capitol Roasters. I was out recruiting bands for future episodes of RFC, and found quite a few talented area musicians. We were particularly impressed by Holy Cow, whose new CD can be found at Budget Tapes and Records in Kanawha City and Fret & Fiddle in St. Albans. (and at CD Baby, online).

Your Chance For Pirate Booty And A Cool Book!

Saturday evening at Taylor Books author Pavanne Pettigrew will be signing copies of her new book, “One More Breath,” a fast-paced pirate adventure. But there’s more to this book signing than just a nifty book. Attendees will also be given a key–one of a thousand–of which, five can open the lock on a Treasure Chest at the Headline Books booth at the West Virginia Book Festival at the Charleston Civic Center, October 21-22 This is a fun promotion, and a great attention-getter for “One More Breath,” the first novel from Headline’s new fiction imprint, Publisher’s Page.

A native West Virginian, Pettigrew has lived in the Charleston area for the past twenty years, having moved to the capital city to pursue a career as a professional musician and university music instructor. She was also the classical music critic for The Charleston Gazette for a number of years. Since 1990, after receiving her Master of Science degree and making a career shift, she has been an environmental geologist in hydrologic and groundwater protection for mining.

A childhood experience with a band of Gypsies established a lifelong fascination with the Roma that is manifest in nearly every piece of fiction she writes, as is an obsession with pirates and the romance of the tall ships that is almost as long-standing. She is currently working on her next novel.

My own fascination with Pirates has been well-documented in this blog, and I’m looking forward to reading the well-reviewed “One More Breath.” Pettigrew will be signing copies of her book at Taylor Books, 226 Capitol Street in Charleston, at 6:00 PM Saturday August 12. You can also pick up one of the 1,000 Keys To The Treasure Chest at the same time.