PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The RFC MINI SHOW with The Living Deads

Randee and Symphony
Randee and Symphony

The Living Deads are Randee and Symphony and whichever guitarist that they have most recently kidnapped. They tour the country in their RV, spreading the gospel of Punkabilly where ever they go. They live full time in their RV (Irv) and tour the world, printing T-Shirts and burning CDs while on the road. They have been known to kidnap guitar players from time to time, drag them on stage in a Burlap sack and force them to perform.

When we caught up with the band at The Empty Glass last month in Charleston, they had Wyatt Mundy on guitar, having just abducted him from his job at an adult bookstore.

The Living Deads (Randee Mcknight and Symphony Tidwell) have featured guest artists such as Danny B Harvey, Chuck Hughes, Lance Romance. Hank Hays, James Hunnicutt, Steven R Trent, Mondo Cortez, Chad Hasty, JD Holopter, Scotty Spears, Mr. Conrad, Matt Allen, Dr. Void, Sean K. Preston, Tony Burlingame, Trevor Rogers, Craig Gory along with several more.

They describe themselves thusly, “A Rhythm section born of Hate, Hellfire and Brimstone. With a book of matches, can of gas, and a Louisville slugger we’ll have a party.”

You can expect to see them again on Radio Free Charleston 198 in a week or two.

Monday Morning Art: Abstract

things 0007

Sometimes, an abstract painting is just an abstract painting. Titling it, or explaining it would take away from its potential deeper meaning. It should remain a mystery, one for the viewers to divine and define by themselves in their own subjective ways. This makes art more of an exchange between artist and viewer, as the meaning of art is derived from how people see it. Sometimes, for the sake of the integrity of the work, it must remain a mystery, a puzzle…one to be solved by each person who casts their gaze upon it, and one for which there is no wrong answer.

Plus it’s easier than having the artist wrack his brain trying to remember what the hell it was supposed to be. Click to see it bigger.

Sunday Evening Videos: The Time Tunnel

9471efc0-2118-4266-a316-da6d2cc1df2bAbove you see a short documentary about Irwin Allen’s “The Time Tunnel,” a 1960s science fiction TV show that I loved as a kid, but haven’t tried to watch since. It was only around for thirty episodes, which was one season back then. I hear that it hasn’t aged well.

The show is most fondly remembered for having Lee Meriwether, the substitute Catwoman from the 1966 “Batman” movie, among its cast, along with James Darren, who went on to play the holographic crooner, Vic Fontaine in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” It also has a pretty killer score and theme by John Williams.

The premise of “The Time Tunnel” was that government scientists built a portal that you could jump through to travel to different time periods. Keep in mind that this was more than twenty years before “Stargate,” “Quantum Leap” or “Wayne’s World 2.”

Below you see the original intro, and after the jump you’ll find a “lost’ intro (actually a remix with a goofy slide for the last minute) to the show and some strange video rarities and oddities from “The Time Tunnel.”

If you’re interested in seeing the show, it can be found on a few streaming sites, and on DVD boxed sets. From what I hear, part of the reason it doesn’t age well is because most episodes have pretty much the same plot. I prefer to remember it the way I saw it when I was four, rather than spoil the memory.

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Last Minute Stuff To Do

I heard about this months ago, but didn’t get any solid information or graphics until this morning. here’s a chance to get out and hear music and stories from an incredible drummer who’s toured the world, and who, coincidentally, went all through elementary and high school with me–David Dunkely is performing at The Colesmouth Concert Series tonight.


RFC Flashback: Episode 78

This week we bring you a really cool episode of Radio Free Charlestons from August, 2009, although it has elements of April Fool’s Day in it. “Kirby Captain America Shirt” is loaded with great stuff. Our 78th episode included music by Tofujitsu and Deni Bonet, plus brilliant animation by Nina Paley.

The April Foolish part of the show is the fact that the host segments, in which I claim to be on Charleston’s West Side, were actually shot in Pittsburgh. Although many people thought that this was a sly comment on the number of movies set in West Virginia that are actually filmed elsewhere, the truth is that we shot these during a last-minute surprise birthday week trip to visit my sister who lives in the Pittsburgh area. If we hadn’t shot our host segments while we were up there, the show would have been delayed.

That wasn’t really an option. Deni Bonet was included on the show to promote an appearance at LiveMix Studio, and delaying the show would have meant that the show and the accompanying notes in the Charleston Gazette would have hit after her performance. So we sort of had to multi-task and turn a quick fun trip into a host segment shoot.

Which was a shame, because shooting in one city while claiming that we were still in Charleston was an idea I had on file to use in an April Fool’s Day show. I actually kept that idea on file and used it in April, 2011 for episode 125. We just used a different city. Original production notes are HERE.

Save Top-O-Rock

10308339_454844787985677_4113064932246422463_nThe PopCulteer
May 9, 2014

Top-O-Rock is the legendary house built by architect, Henry Elden, overlooking MacCorkle Avenue and the Charleston Skyline. You can see it at right, in better days (photo by Jennifer Peters). When Elden passed away, it was left in the care of his son, who found the task of maintaining this architectural masterpiece to be outside of his range of ability.

So he put it up for sale. Any prospective buyer had to be told that the house and its accompanying office would have to undergo an expensive and extensive renovation before it could really be used for any purpose. Originally, the asking price was rumored to be in the six-million dollar range.By the time we used Top-O-Rock as the location for our Radio Free Charleston 100 host segments in May, 2010, the price had dropped to around two million.

The building was in pretty wretched shape when we shot there. The residential section looked okay for an abandoned house, but it smelled of water damage. The office had been gutted, and there were holes in the floor with bare wires sticking out where fixtures had been hastily removed. At the time I described it as looking like “The Jetsons house, after the apoloclypse.”

Even with my limited knowledge of building codes and construction costs, I knew that whoever bought the place was looking at seven figures of additional investment just to make it a viable property.

Apparently some some minor cosmetic repairs were made to get the house presentable for a 2011 estate sale, but word on the street was that the asking price was plummeting.

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Weekend Stuff To Do

Your Popculteer’s morning was spent working on the very important piece about the situation at Charleston’s historic landmark, Top-O-Rock, so our weekend guide is going to consist largely of events for which we have BIG GRAPHICS. Also, don’t forget The Ford Theater Reunion at The Boulevard Tavern.



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The Bojeffries Saga

The PopCult Bookshelf

the_bojeffries_saga_cover_sm_lgThe Bojeffries Saga
Written by Alan Moore, Drawn by Steve Parkhouse
Top Shelf Productions
ISBN 978-1-60309-063-6

Alan Moore is hailed as a revolutionary who changed the world with his deeply serious work on “Swamp Thing,” “Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta,” and “From Hell.” From the tone of most of his interviews over the last decade, Moore comes across as an embittered, humorless, self-involved artiste who takes himself way too seriously. This tends to obscure the fact that Alan Moore has always possessed a wicked sense of humor with a very healthy dose of Dadaistic absurdity that places him somewhere between Monty Python and Douglas Adams on the “really funny British person” scale.

Steve Parkhouse is no slouch either. He’s an unjustly overlooked talent, with cartooning skills on par with Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd and Brian Bolland.

If you want to see Alan Moore’s sense of humor on display in full bloom, you have to read “The Bojeffries Saga,” his collaboration with artist Steve Parkhouse. The first of these stories was published in Warrior Magazine (the mag that gave us “V For Vendetta” and “Marvelman”), while later stories were done for the anthology “A1” and a few earlier collected editions. This new volume collects every story published, along with a new 24-page chapter that wraps everything up. It’s taken thirty years to get to this point, and you really ought to dig in.

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My Bleeping Weekend Plans

Rudy Steve 001Okay, so I’m doing something this weekend, and I can’t really tell my loyal PopCult readers about it.

Well, I can tell you about it, but I can’t tell you what it is.

It’s not that it’s a big state secret or anything. It’s just that…well…I have an agreement with the Charleston Gazette. They let me write about anything I want as long as it can be at least somehow tied to pop culture. Toys, comic books, movies, television, music, concerts, bowling, telemarketers–it’s all fair game.

There are just a few very reasonable rules for me to follow.

I can’t slander or libel anyone. I can’t post outright lies. I can’t plagarize. And there are two words that I have agreed to never use in this blog. You can probably guess which two words those are. If you’ve ever dropped a heavy hammer on your bare foot, these would be the two words–the ones with just the perfect mix of hard and soft consonants to satisfy your need to exclaim–that come out of your mouth.

I’m fine with not using those words. It makes my blog family-friendly (or some ersatz version of such) and it makes me a better writer.

However, this weekend Melanie and I will venture down to Princeton to be guests on a very cool and funny webshow, which will have to remain nameless. I can’t even embed the video here because one of those oh-so-satisfying-to-say but oh-so-unfit-for-mixed-company words is in the title.

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The PopCult Toybox: Green Toys

green-toys-rocket-blueKids put toys in their mouths. It’s one of the laws of the universe. Young children will take their little plastic objects of amusement, and jam those artifacts of wonderment directly into their pie-holes. There’s no stopping it. You might as well seek out the safest toys for your kids to slobber all over.

In PopCult I usually write about toys in the context of how they are nifty nostalgic totems that adults use in some vain attempt to recapture part of their squandered youth. This week’s column is aimed at helping the parents of young kids who will orally molest any play object in which they come in contact.

You see, toys can be dirty, nasty things. You literally don’t really know where they’ve been. They may seem clean right out of the package, but who knows how long they sat in a Chinese factory, marinating in rat urine and feces before they were hermetically sealed and shipped across the ocean to your local retailer?

That’s not all you have to worry about. What about lead paint? Or tiny parts that can rush down the gullet of your little one, turning them unnatural shades of blue and purple? On top of that you have BPA and Pthalates and all sorts of nasty chemicals that have unknown and potentially hazardous effects on the human body.

Faced with the constant peril into which their kids are plunged everyday, what is a parent to do when it’s time to buy them toys?

images (9)Luckily, there is a cool alternative. Green Toys is a company that makes really cool, durable toys out of recycled milk jugs, all of which are free of nasty chemicals like BPA and Pthalates, and all of which are food-safe. Your kids are safe putting these toys in their mouths.

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