PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Joe and Wiley Sonic are coming to town this weekend!
Joe and Wiley Sonic are coming to town this weekend!

At the top of this post, you see the embedded video of Radio Free Charleston 131, “Thenewno2 Shirt.”  This special episode of RFC is devoted to promoting a great triple bill of live, original music.  Saturday, June 4, local favorites Tofujitsu and Mother Nang will be opening for Washington DC’s, Wiley Sonic.

Wiley Sonic is a new band fronted by Joe Vallina, who was last seen on RFC back on The Feast of Stephen Reunion Episode 23, four years ago.

Joe has a long history with Radio Free Charleston, having appeared as the one of the first in-studio guests on the radio version of RFC back in 1989.  Back then, Joe was half of the punk duo Blind Blue Leper Society.  The other half of that duo was local bartending and jam band legend, Washboard Dave.

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Monday Morning Art: Conflict

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This week’s art is a digital painting that pays tribute to our war dead by ironically juxtaposing the bear, representing the conservative faction of our country, against the mighty eagle, representing the liberal faction, thus portraying the endless conflict of the extreme political wings who do battle regardless of the Grand Old Flag flying in the background.

Or it could just be a digital painting over a photograph of the statue of the Eagles fighting the Bear that’s in front of Cabela’s near Wheeling, where your PopCulteer visited during a Memorial Day shopping excursion. Either way, it looks ccol, huh?  Click to see it bigger, and check PopCult Tuesday for RFC 131, and look for a Cabela’s photo essay sometime in the next few weeks.

The PopCulteer
May 27, 2011

Save Our Boulevard

Earlier this week The Charleston Gazette (our magnanimous benefactors) ran a couple of front-page articles that seemed to advocate major changes to Charleston’s lovely and glorious Kanawha Boulevard. This is nothing new. There is a very vocal, very tiny contingent of people who think that our city would be better off if we shut down one of the most impressive highways in the country and replaced it with a green space where bikers, joggers and walkers would all flock to enjoy the riverfront.

This is, of course, a bizarre fantasy. A few years ago the city experiemented with shutting down a lane or two of Kanawha Boulevard so that pedestrians and bikers could come down and bask in the wonderfulness of being close to water. The experiment was a huge failure. By the time it was quietly discontinued it had become clear that the same amount of people were taking advantage of the extra lane that had been going to the existing walkways along the Boulevard anyway.

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Cool Comics: Harvey Pekar Does Huntington

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So Long, Harvey

This week Cool Comics returns from its hiatus with a look at the new Harvey Pekar book, “Huntington, West Virginia On The Fly.” Doug Imbrogno has a great review over at the WestVirginiaVille blog, written from the POV of someone who isn’t familiar with Pekar’s work. I’ve got a different take.

I’ve been a fan of Harvey Pekar since what I think may have been his second published work, back in 1976. “The Champ” told a true tale of Harvey’s days as a teen bully back in the 1950s. It’s a theme he would not revisit until his acclaimed graphic novel, “The Quitter,” (drawn by Dean Haspiel) some thirty years later. This short story was published in the fourth issue of Comix Book, a magazine-sized anthology of underground comics that was originally published by Marvel in 1974, with the final two issues being published by Kitchen Sink after Marvel pulled the plug.

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Sunday Evening Videos: Kate Bush

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One of my favorite musicians, Kate Bush, has a new album coming out…sort of. “Director’s Cut” is an album that revisits songs from two of Kate’s later albums, “The Sensual World” and “The Red Shoes,” plus a re-working of “This Woman’s Work.”  Since Kate doesn’t release a lot of music these days, even a colletion of reworked tunes is reason to celebrate, and so we will.

At the top of this post, you see the video for the original version of “The Sensual World,” which on her new album is called, “Flower Of The Mountain.”  On the original track, Kate sought permission to use part of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” in this song. The Joyce estate denied her request, but more than twenty years later, they have relented, and the song is presented as originally intended.

If you want to hear the entire album for free, head over to NPR, where they’re streaming it for free. After the jump, you can see some videos for other songs from “Director’s Cut.”

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ArtWalk Photos And A Great Artist Checks Out

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The PopCulteer
May 20, 2011

We have another terrific ArtWalk in the books, and in the blog.

We are also saddened to bring you news of the passing of Jeffrey Catherine Jones, one of the premiere fantasy artists of the last half-century.

We’re also going to take a quick look at upcoming weekend events.

But first, it’s time for ArtWalk, kicking off with some cool work by Keith Allen (that’s some of it at the right of this text). Apologies for the sparseness of the captions this month. Your PopCulteer is still stretched a bit thin.

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“Porkchops” Helper

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Eamon Hardiman’s next epic motion picture will be “Porkchops,” a sequel to the smash hit, “Porkchop.”  Tonight at the Empty Glass, a fundraiser will be held to help pay for the production.  There will be food and music and you can schmooze with the cast and crew.

Let’s quote the press release, shall we? “Love WV? Love Horror? Love Independent Cinema? Well you’ll love Razor Sharp Studios’ fundraiser for our upcoming film PORKCHOPS! With your help we’ll be able to raise the money to make the first feature film direct sequel in West Virginia history. Help us make horror scary again and have a blast in the process!

“Starting at 6 PM, we’re going to throw the greatest fundraiser ever created! Bands from 6 PM to close, BBQ on the patio, prop auctions, door prizes, drinking games, and much much more! Cover is $3 until 9 PM and $5 afterwards.

LIST OF BANDS:

Steady Matt
Pepper Fandango
Esker Morris
Spurgie Hankins
AK Forty Sexuals
The Renfields”

It promises to be a wild night. All lovers of fine cinema, great local music, pork and the magic of moviemaking should make it a point to show up and support the local scene.

Monday Morning Art: Rocky Horror Pictures

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Last night saw the third Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Show drawing session.  The theme this month was a tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring models from Downhome Decadence. As always, it was a fun, artistic night, with loads of people sketching and lots of art being generated in a short time. Since I primarily work with digital photography these days, I went the digitally-assaulted photograph route, painting over the shots I took.

Above you see a digital watercolor of Magenta and Dr. Frank N Furter.  Immediately below you’ll find Columbia in repose, and below that Brad, prior to being stripped. Click the images to see bigger versions.

Sunday Evening Video: Svetlana

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Svetlana is a Russion Prostitute, and she has many fun adventures in Hollywood. Actually, Svetlana is a character created by Actress/Author/Comedian Iris Bahr, and she has her own show on HD Net (available from Suddenlink and Direct TV).  Her Svetlana character stars in the show, and it’s became a not-so-guilty pleasure of your PopCulteer. With sharp writing and great acting, it’s a well-crafted show, and it’s also good, raunchy fun.

Bahr has been around for a few years, appearing in everything from Star Trek videogames to sitcoms like The Drew Carey Show and Friends.  her first book, “Dork Whore” is a highly acclaimed account of her travels in Asia, and a second book on South America is on the way. Bahr is also noted as playing a character in the pilot episode for “Big Bang Theory” that was cut out before the show aired.  Had she not been excised, she might be playing a female nerd instead of a Russion whore on TV now.

Above you see the pilot for “Svetlana.” You can jump over to Vimeo to watch the entire first season.  Season two of “Svetlana” airs Thursday and Saturday nights on HD Net.