PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Another Halloween Treat

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Just a quickie: The Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing Blaaahhhggg!!! brings you rare music from monster movie soundtracks and other spooky audio treats all year long. You can head over now and download the musical score to the original “King Kong,” the audio storybook for “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and the original 1938 radio broadcast of “War Of The Worlds,” among other way-cool scary gems.

Happy Halloween, now scroll down this page and follow the links to the Radio Free Charleston Halloween special!

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Neither side likes to admit it, but comic books and soap operas are a lot alike. Both tell melodramatic stories and use elements that require quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. Both have rabid fans who follow the stories closely and call “foul” quickly when something violates established continuity. And both genres are treated with no small level of disrespect by the mainstream press. So it’s about time that soap operas and comic books team up. Tomorrow, November 1, long-running CBS soap, Guiding Light, crosses over with Marvel Comics. An 8-page insert started running in Marvel’s comics last week, and tomorrow on the show, one of the soap’s characters gets super powers. Harley Cooper, a cop, and a mother of two, gets electrocuted, and gains several new abilities, which she uses to fight crime, for at least the one episode.

This is a bit of a bizarre development, and somewhat surreal for the tiny population of people who both, watch Guiding Light, and read comics. Reaction has been mixed. Heidi MacDonald has a good sampling of mainstream reaction here. CBS has a preview of the episode up here. You can also see the trailer here (scroll down). Word is that her powers go away by the end of the episode, but they’re being a bit coy about whether or not they may return someday. I’m in that tiny population that follows both GL and comic books, so I’ll just sit back and watch.

UPDATE: Comic Book Resources has a behind-the-scenes look at the show here. However, they do list the wrong timeslot. In most of the country, the episode airs today at 3 PM.

Cool Toy Of The Week: Winchies

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Fumnanya

I’ve written about April Winchell before. She’s a talented voice artist, actress, and daughter of the late Paul Winchell, who was a ventriloquist (Jerry Mahoney), voice artist (Tigger), and inventor of an artificial heart valve. Of late, April has taken up sewing, and she’s been selling her creations, “Winchies,” on eBay, with the proceeds going to charity. Her latest batch, inspired by Madonna’s recent adoptorial misadventures, are “African Orphan Winchies,” complete with Kente cloth, a Kabbalah bracelet and adoption papers. A portion of the proceeds will go to Toys For Tots. You can read April’s explanation at her blog, and check out the auctions right here. It’s a cool little artifact, spoofing a current event, and some of the money goes to charity. Can’t top that.

Production Notes RFC Halloween

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Episode Eight of Radio Free Charleston, the conclusion of our two-part Halloween special is in the books. You can see it here. Be sure to check out the first part of the Halloween special here. I was killed in the first half, and you can see me revived in the second half. So sit back and read the detailed production notes, as promised.

We brought back Professor Mike, who had first appeared on episode six, to kick off the Halloween festivities with their song “Poolshark.” The Mikes just put on a great show Saturday Night with Ten Carp Lie at the Blue Parrot Halloween Party. Their performance was directed by Brian Young, and taped at LiveMix Studio (the area’s only DVD showcase production facility for bands).

Tim Nichols, late of The Todd Who Project, is the driving force behind BetaJesus and Pentagram Flowerbox. You can expect more of his irreverent humor aided by a crack crew of animators and collaborators on future episodes of RFC. Timmy seems to be the breakout star of Pentragram Flowerbox, so don’t be shocked if we see a lot more of him as well.

The Pistol Whippers have one of the most fanatic followings of any band in town, but even their most die-hard fans must have been shocked to hear them UNPLUGGED! Guy Parker and Dirt Reynolds came in to do an acoustic number when our schedule prevented us from getting the full band. We will have the entire lineup of the Pistol Whippers on a future show. Also, the song they perform is called “Nothingville.” In the show, we called it “The Clock Is Ticking,” because when we gave them a clipboard and told them to write down the song title, they gave us an entire page of jokes and “thank you'” for our end credits, but forgot to give us the song title. So we had to guess. We guessed wrong.

Clownhole was a legendary new-wave band of the late 1980s, fronted by John “Sham Voodoo” Estep, who had previously been in the even more legendary group, The Defectors. I wrote about trying to track Sham down a few weeks ago, when I featured him (and me) performing the song of the week. Since then, I was able to contact him, and got his blessing to have Clownhole’s massive hit, “Heads On Fire” remixed by my brother Frank, who also created a video for the song. This has been so well received that I pulled the song out of the show and uploaded it to YouTube. You can watch it at the end of this post.

I have written many times about my notoriously camera-shy significant other, Melanie Larch, who is well-known among area theater and symphony aficionados. I was able to coax Mel on-camera with the plum role of my “Fairy Ghostmother,” who brings me back to life at the end of the episode. Mel’s actually been the voice behind the RFC Jingle since episode two, but you can finally see her on-screen, albeit in a white fright-wig. Yes, it’s the same wig I wore in last week’s Local Music Report.

So there you have it. Our big epic production that wore everyone out as we delivered the two-most intensively-produced episodes of RFC within eight days of each other. I hope you enjoyed them. We will have Professor Mike and episode seven’s The Concept back on future shows, and we hope to bring you the entire line-up of The Pistol Whippers very soon. Whistlepunk will also be back on RFC, and you can expect more Pentagram Flowerbox. The big news that I’ve saved for last, we are in the very early stages of arranging for at least a partial reunion of Clownhole, sometime before the end of the year. Stay tuned to PopCult for more details. And check out the video below.

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We’re revisiting last year’s Halloween week event with a new version of a familiar digitally-assaulted photograph, “Apocalypse On The River REDUX.” New colors and aspect ratio lend a new look to this vision of South Charleston bursting into flames, as seen from the Union Building.

You may also remember that last year I brought you a week’s worth of Halloween music, composed by yours truly. I’ve been writing orchestral music for some time, but most of it sounds like the soundtrack to bad horror movies, so it was appropriate. If you’d like the check out the music from last year, and see if you can guess which pieces I used to score the Radio Free Charleston Halloween specials, follow the following links: Day One-“Oooh Scary”; Day Two-“Robot Leprechauns With LEGOs”; Day Three-“The Raven Watches”; Day Four-“Native Drums”; Day Five-“Ten Ten”; and the bonus day, which was art and music called “Apocalypse On The River.” And it was that piece of art that I recycled into our Monday Morning Art this week. See, it all comes full circle.

Click the pic to enlarge. Click the title to laugh at my efforts to sell shirts with this art.

Sneak Peek: RFC Halloween part two

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RFC Show 8 Trailer

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Go watch it now: Radio Free Charleston episode EIGHT!

Production notes coming this weekend. Stay tuned….

A Halloween Without Pants

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Friday Night at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston, The No Pants Players present SCARETACULAR, an evening of improve comedy with a few prepared sketches thrown in as extra treats. The show kicks off at 10 PM, which means we can expect a more adult than usual performance. Costumes are welcome. Admission is a mere five bucks. Check it out, it’s sure to be scarily hilarious! Ghoulish delights will abound.

If you go: The No Pants Players present SCARETACULAR. Friday October 27, from 10 PM to Midnight at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston. Admission is five dollars.

Song Of The Week: Professor Mike

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Our SOTW this week is Professor Mike doing a cover of 311’s “Beautiful Disaster,” recorded at LiveMix Studio when Professor Mike came in to record their performance for episode six of Radio Free Charleston. They’re also going to be on part two of the Radio Free Charleston Halloween special, which will be online no later than Monday, October 30. On that show, you can also look forward to seeing a special unplugged performance from Guy Parker and Dirt Reynolds, half of The Pistol Whippers and a newly-created video for a 2006 remix of a song by legendary new wave band, Clownhole.

Speaking of Halloween, there are three big holiday-themed shows featuring the musical guests from our Halloween special taking place this Saturday, October 28. First up, The Concept, fresh from headlining the first half of our Halloween special, performs with Last Standing at an all ages show at The Alpine Theater in Ripley, beginning at 8 PM.

Meanwhile, Professor Mike will be playing with Ten Carp Lie at the Blue Parrot Halloween Party here in Charleston, starting at 10 PM. While across town, also at 10 PM, at the Empty Glass, it’s the Seventh Annual Halloween Hootenanny, hosted by The Pistol Whippers.

If I were still alive, I’d be burning up all the gas in my car driving between all three shows, but if you watched the first half of the Radio Free Charleston Halloween special, you’d have seen that I met a rather grisly demise. That’s led to some production delays in the second half of the Halloween special, but we’ll still get it to you before Halloween proper. Look for it by Monday here at the The Gazz.com.

In case you’re wondering how I’m writing all this if I’m dead….I always write a couple of week’s worth of posts, just in case I’m tossed off a fire escape by an angry ghost. If you haven’t seen the first half of the Radio Free Charleston Halloween special, go watch it now! And remember….

Monday Morning Art: Virginia Street Revisited

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We kick off this week with a fresh take on the first digitally-assaulted photograph that was posted here at PopCult. Virginia Street Revisited is a differently-colored take on Virginia Street, blocked into a new aspect ratio. It’s brighter and less ominous than the original version.

As always, click the image to enlarge, and click the title if you’d like to buy this image. You still have time to be the first!

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We’ve got quite the Halloween treat for you, as we present the first half of our Halloween special. I’m not going to go into great detail about the host segments this time, except to say that I start out evil, and end up dead. We’re still working out how to shoot around that “dead” part for the second half of the RFC Halloween special. Suffice to say, fans of the ghoulish will not want to miss this stranger-than-usual episode of Radio Free Charleston.

The music is top-notch! We have our first returning band, Whistlepunk, with the holiday-appropriate “Vampire Love Song.” You can read more about Whistlepunk here, here, and here, and visit their MySpace page, here.

Our other musical guest is The Concept, one of Charleston’s most energetic new bands. I found out about these guys by reading Nick2’s Localmusic blog here at theGazz.com. Nick was raving about how good these guys are, and when I followed the link to their MySpace page, I found that I agreed. Then I started pestering them to come on the show, and they did. It’s very short notice, but you can catch The Concept tonight at The MonkeyBar in Huntington, and Saturday at Dave’s Den in Red House.

We also have public service announcements, animation (including a new Pentagram Flowerbox) and a fleeting glimpse of Captain Action! You can watch the first half of the Radio Free Charleston Halloween special (official name: “DEVO Shirt”) by clicking here. Then go back and watch all the other episodes at the GazzTV page.

Here’s a quick preview:

Radio Free Charleston Show 7 Trailer

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