PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Stuff To Do With The Wayward Girls

10338678_675389835843041_6898599864016450148_oThis weekend you have three chances to catch West Virginia’s top Burlesque Troupe, as The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque kick off their spring tour right here in Charleston.

Friday night you can find the girls at The Empty Glass at 10 PM, sharing the bill with Dinosaur Burps. Cover charge is seven bucks. 21 and up, please.

Saturday the Wayward Girls will be at Kanawha Players Theater, with two shows, at 3 PM and 10 PM. These events are BYOB, 21 and up and admission is $ 8 at the door. Check out this cool graphic, and then follow the jump for a Probably-Not-Safe-For-Work promo video.


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“CARBON” Reviewed

The PopCult Bookshelf

As I mentioned last week, the PopCult Bookshelf and the PopCult Toybox are trading days this week so that I can bring you my review of Danny Boyd’s graphic novel, “CARBON,” a day before his debut book signing at Lost Legion Cards and Comics (another book signing takes place Saturday afternoon at Taylor Books). Also, and this is in the interest of full disclosure, Danny and I have been friends for over thirty years and I have been kept in the loop but have not been a creative contributor to “CARBON.” Bear with me as I nudge that aside to present as objective as possible a review of my friend’s new book.

Written by Daniel Boyd, Drawn by Edi Guedes
Published by Caliber
ISBN: 978-0-9857493-3-0

“CARBON” is a distinctly West Virginian graphic novel. It was written and conceived here and it takes place here. Like with our the state, coal is central to the theme of the book. Everything revolves around the dark, black rock. In 118 pages, “CARBON” spins a feature-length story loaded with mayhem, miners and mythology.

In “CARBON,” Boyd has crafted a rollicking science fiction adventure tale with a heavy dose of the oppressive economic realities that afflict the Mountain State. He perfectly captures the love/hate relationship that many native West Virginians hold for their home state. This infuses the book with an extra layer of meaning that may only be apparent to people who live here and live under the omnipresent shadow of Big Coal.

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Johnny Compton on The RFC MINI SHOW

Image2This edition of The RFC MINI SHOW stars Johnny “Hurricane” Compton, a legend in the Charleston music scene, performing two solo acoustic numbers at The Thirteenth Lane Taproom at Dunbar Lanes. Johnny takes on the Marshall Tucker Band classic, “Fire on the Mountain” before debuting the title track of his upcoming solo acoustic album, “These Roads.”

The recording session for this show was a tremendous amount of fun. Dunbar Lanes has really fixed up a great, intimate performance space and it’s a wonderful place to hear live music if you don’t feel like making the trek all the way to Charleston and fighting to find parking. We really need to get the word out to music lovers and performers about this gem of a venue, tucked away in a peaceful corner of Dunbar.

After years of begging and pleading from his fans, Johnny is currently working on a solo acoustic album. “These Roads” is slated to be the title track and in this video you will witness the first public performance of this powerful new song. You may also notice the ice machine deciding to join in near the end. We’re posting this recording due to the historical significance, but you can be sure that “These Roads” will turn up again, in a more pristine form, on Radio Free Charleston in the future.

If you are a fan of Mr. Compton, you should be aware that his band, another RFC favorite, Diablo Blues Band, is recording a live album on Sunday, May 25, at The Empty Glass, with their new horn section along for the ride. The music fires up at 9 PM and the cover is just five dollars.


Last night saw another edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School happen at Uncork and Create, and it was take two of The Laser Beams tribute to Cowboy BeBop (the first try got waylaid by a spring snowstorm). You will see more art based on photos I took at this session in the coming weeks, and you can see The Laser Beams this weekend, as all members of the band are also in The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque, who will have three shows in town. Friday night they will appear at The Empty Glass. On Saturday they will hold two shows at Kanawha Players Theater, at 3 PM and at 10 PM. The cover charge Friday night is $7, and admission for the Saturday shows is $8 (each).

Of course, you can check PopCult for more info on upcoming shows by The Laserbeams and The Wayward Girls. And you can click the image to see it bigger.

Sunday Evening Videos: Top O Rock

1908313_10152441709216974_730008612934308676_nThis week we’re going to try and keep the focus on saving Henry Elden’s architectural masterpiece, Top O Rock, which has fallen into disrepair and is in danger of being demolished. I’ve written about it HERE and HERE, and as I write this, there is still no news other than a rapidly approaching deadline. Above you see a video by Motion Masters that shows off the structure in its prime from the HGTV show, “Dream Builders.”

Below you see a video that was apparently shot by trespassers last year, before the worst of the vandals descended on the house. It contains some not-safe-for-work language, but it gives you a good idea how long the property had been neglected and how much damage was done after this video was shot. It also shows how unsecured the property had been for a long time. I do have to warn you, if you care about Top O Rock, this video is really heartbreaking.

RFC Flashback: Episode 68

Radio Free Charleston 68, “Axiom Starliner Shirt,” is back online.  This episode of your favorite local music, animation and film show featured music from Jeff Ellis and Marcie Bullock. We also had the first edition of The Radio Free Charleston Financial Report, as well as the debut of the cutest li’l cute cartoon show in the history of cuteness, “Cuticles.” neither of those segments ever appeared in the show again!

Host segments for this show were shot late one Sunday evening in the parking lot at the Nitro Marketplace shopping center. “Why there?” You ask? I honestly have no idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The green ball cap seemed like a good idea, too, but it sure looks stupid on screen. The shirt was from the movie, “Wall-E.” This episode also includes the ultimate onscreen URL joke, in case you were wondering which show that one was in. You can find the original production notes HERE.

With this week’s edition of the RFC Flashback, we have a bit of a twist to the concept. You may remember that we started this series because MySpace suddenly and unexpectedly pulled the plug on all the videos we had hosted there last year. This left the first hundred or so episodes of Radio Free Charleston offline. That’s why we’ve been restoring the shows and re-uploading them to YouTube at the rate of one per week.

Well, MySpace just reversed everything a couple of days ago, and, for now, the early episodes of RFC are available to watch and embed. I still plan to remaster the old shows and upload them to YouTube, but sometime next week I will use the MySpace videos to fill in the gaps and present an archive website with every episode of Radio Free Charleston to date, posted in a chronologically-ordered blog format.

1908313_10152441709216974_730008612934308676_nThe PopCulteer
May 16, 2014

Top O Rock Update

The news this week is that there is no news since we wrote last week about Top O Rock, the historic home of architect Henry Elden that is in imminent danger of being demolished. Rumors are flying, but nothing solid has been confirmed.

One company has publicly made what I consider to be unprofessional comments, hinting that they have a contract to demolish the structure (why would anyone want to claim that job?), but nothing has been announced. The only development is the cool design for a possible fundraising T Shirt by Mark Wolfe Design (seen at the top of this post).

The issue is that, if anyone would take on the task of saving Top O Rock, they are instantly going to have to cough up huge amounts of money to secure the structure. The owners, Dr. and Mrs, Rashid, seem to want to find some entity to whom they could donate the building, but they have to find someone who can afford to take it.

If the Rashids can stop the bleeding–and they have hired 24 hour security to prevent any further vandalism–then maybe we can plead with the city to delay any demolition so we buy some extra time to find a way to rescue this architectural treasure from the wrecking ball.

If Charleston can’t save something as precious as Top O Rock, then maybe we really do deserve the “most miserable city in America” label.

Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School

Dr. Sketchy’s returns to Uncork and Create Sunday at 6 PM for a second try at presenting The Laserbeams (Pepper Fandango, Cat Schrodinger and Leo Tuxedo) in a tribute to Cowboy Bebop. When they first attempted this theme in March, snow acted in a bastardly manner and made the roads impassable.

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Mining a Rich Vein with Danny Boyd

The PopCult Bookshelf

10321194_10204079092240585_8520450079891709995_oIt’s full disclosure time here in PopCult. I have been friends with Danny Boyd for thirty years (man it feels weird to write that). I’ve always covered his activities here in this blog, and I’m not done yet. I even wrote about his wrestling endeavors back when this blog was merely a month old. Aside from being a teacher and guide, my friend is a creative guru who’s tried his hand at making movies, wrestling, bull-riding, journalism and creating graphic novels.

Danny is a treasured resource in this state. As such, it’s surprising that he hasn’t been blown-up, leveled and sucked dry by coal barons.

Which brings us to his next big project. “Carbon” is a graphic novel that Danny has been working on for many years. It tells the story of an evil coal operator (who may bear a bit of a purely coincidental resemblance to a certain universally-despised former coal official who likes to make documentaries about himself that say he didn’t kill all those miners on purpose). This coal operator has tapped into a sacred carbon, actually the banished and cursed remnants of an ancient fallen civilization, and his actions are likely to doom the world.

After what happened with our water last January, you may need to keep reminding yourself that this is not a documentary.

Boyd has created this graphic novel with artist Edi Guedes and next week, you will be able to purchase this book from Danny at two book signings, two full months before it’s available in the rest of the country.

Also next week, for one week only, I will trade days for “The PopCult Bookshelf” and “The PopCult Toybox.” The Bookshelf will be posted Tuesday, and will feature my full review of “Carbon.”

Wednesday, you will be able to purchase “Carbon” at Lost Legion Games and Comics in South Charleston, as Danny holds a book signing from 6 PM to 9 PM. Saturday Boyd will be at Taylor Books in Charleston from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Danny will also be making more appearances around the state and in town during FestivAll. I’ll keep you posted as those dates approach. Until then, remember to check out a special PopCult Bookshelf review of “Carbon” next Tuesday, and pick up your own copy Wednesday or Saturday.

Movie Night at the Library Commission


You may remember me writing about David Smith’s movie, “Ladybeard,” in which I have a small role, here in PopCult. This cute, funny romantic comedy will be screened for free Thursday evening at 5:30 PM in the JD Waggoner Reading Room, nestled inside the Library Commission Capitol Complex at the Culture Center. Admission is free and the film’s director, David Smith will be on hand selling DVDs of the movie and answering any questions you may have.

The description of “Ladybeard” from the PR: “Andy would do anything to help his best friend Michelle, which is why he’s put his dreams of stand-up comedy stardom on hold to stick around his college town and help her hide her sexuality from her family. Michelle is afraid to tell her family she is a lesbian, so she and Andy pretend that they are in a relationship to throw them off. When Michelle’s girlfriend Hayden proposes to her, she decides it’s time to finally come out of the closet. Andy knows he should be happy, but he begins to worry that their friendship will be over once Michelle and Hayden get married. Aided by a traveling performance artist named Amy, Andy sets out to do anything he can to save his role as Michelle’s beard.”

It’s a great film, and I’m proud that I was part of it. You shouldn’t pass up this chance to catch it for free.I know it’s the same time as ArtWalk, but this screening is indoors and air-conditioned, which might just come in handy, given the weather this week.

The PopCult Toybox: nanoblocks Contest

1948175_651441678226768_574723626_nBuilding sets are the fastest-growing segment of the toy industry. LEGO, riding on the heels of their very own movie, are selling stronger than ever, MEGA BLOKS are doing so well that they have just been purchased by Mattel, and Ohio Arts, the folks who gave us Etch A Sketch, is taking the world by storm with their micro-building system, nanoblock®. This an incredibly popular building set line that’s gaining fans at a rapid pace.

An elaborate nanoblock train set, coming out later this year

nanoblock® (all lower-case with the registration mark, if you please) is like LEGO, but tinier, which means that you can build bigger creations in a smaller scale. You can fit the Taj Mahal or Westiminster Abby on your desk and have plenty of room left over. The cool news about nanoblock® is that they’re having a contest.

If you’re looking to put your creativity to the test, then nanoblock®, has the challenge for you. The world’s smallest building block system from The Ohio Art Company, makers of the famous Etch A Sketch®, invites nano-enthusiasts of all ages to participate in the first-ever national nanoblock® Award: Build It Your Way Competition.

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