PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

PopCult Year-end Stats

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internet-statistics_2It’s the very end of the year, and it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished here in our humble little blog.

We’ve had a pretty epic year here at PopCult. We brought you more posts and original video than ever before. We made a lot of people happy and a few people grumpy. Mainly, we followed our marching orders to tell you about cool stuff that you might otherwise miss. We even encountered the sincerest form of flattery from the other paper back in February when they decided to start a new pop culture blog of their own with a similar name and even started posting videos of local bands peforming their original music. I wonder where they got the idea?

Still, the more the merrier. I’m not going to complain about the local scene getting more coverage. I just hope they’re going to try a little harder to keep up. I’ve crunched the numbers. This year, PopCult has featured…

521 total posts

12 full-length episodes of Radio Free Charleston

35 episodes of The RFC MINI SHOW

37 newly- remastered episodes of vintage Radio Free Charleston shows

41 original videos produced especially for PopCult

52 editions each of The PopCulteer, Monday Morning Art and Sunday Evening Videos

Countless book, toy, comic book and theater reviews (that means I was too lazy to count them)

Fresh content every day for 365 days

Over thirty hours of original video

It’s been a good year. I hope our competition is ready for a challenge, because 2015 is going to be even bigger. When I started doing PopCult in 2005, and really up until early 2012, I felt like I wasn’t really providing enough content to be considered a real blogger. Since then, and especially now, I think I’m doing a pretty decent job. In fact, I have another little milestone coming up on Friday. I’ve been patting myself on my back a bit too much of late, so I’ll just mention it with a short item in The PopCulteer.

A Late Note: Just as this piece was due to be published, word comes down that the author of the pop culture blog at the Daily Mail is leaving his post for another job. There’s no word about whether his replacement will continue the blog. I sort of hope he does. I found the competition to be invigorating, even if it did seem like he gave up sometime around August. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a great New Year!

Your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci

New Year’s Eve Stuff To Do

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Your loyal Popculteer and his wife are going to ring in the new year cocooning with popcorn and movies at home, but if you’re wanting something a little more outgoing to do, there are plenty of options in and around town. Great Bands are playing all over town, and our friend Mark Scarpelli will be pulling triple-double duty, with two performances twice at Trinity Lutheran as part of Charleston’s GoodNight Celebration, then ringing in the new year at Timothy’s with Rubber Soul.  Check out what we found…

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Rudy n mel on the airFor our final 2014 edition of Radio Free Charleston on New Appalachian Radio, we bring you two full hours of local and regional music. There is no second-hour theme this week, but we do have a guest, my wife, Melanie Larch, who happened to be home while I was recording this episode, so it was handy to have her chime in.

Update: You can listen to this show now in the Voices of Appalachia archive HERE.

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston’s new audio incarnation streaming at 10 AM and 10 PM on Tuesdays (and again at midnight Thursday and 2 AM Saturday night) at New Appalachian Radio, part of Voices of Appalachia. If you miss it, check our the archives for previously-aired shows.

New Logo 119Melanie adds her commentary on some of our musical guests, like David Synn (who opens the show), Lady D and Company Stores. Our show runs the gamut this week from music that has just been released to some vintage Hasil Adkins from the archives. We cover metal, progressive, soul, rap, rock, pop and more in this two-hour blast of pure RFC goodness. Since we don’t have a theme this week, we’re just going to post the entire playlist, as is.

RFC Playlist Week Eight:

David Synn “Battle of Anihilation”
John Lancaster “Phantom Moon”
Black Cross Brotherhood “Megido”
Bobaflex “I’m Glad You’re Dead”

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Monday Morning Art: Shards

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The final Monday Morning Art of 2014 is a digital abstract. It represents the dichotomy of this year. I personally had one of the best years of my life, getting married, seeing PopCult and RFC reach new heights, getting international recognition for my reporting, but several of my closest friends have had lousy years, and I feel a bit guilty enjoying my life so much while people I care about are suffering.

This piece is an exercise in negative space with a pinch of digital Cubism and a dash of Mondrian. It doesn’t really solve any of my friends’ problems, but at least it looks sort of cool. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Videos: RFC Highlights from 2014

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For our final Sunday Evening Videos of the year, we’re going to bring you the three most popular episodes of Radio Free Charleston from 2014. These were our most-watched shows. I could not pick a “best” or “favorite,” because that’s like choosing among your own children, so I let YouTube make the decision with their wonky and erratic hit counts.

First up, episode 198, from May, it’s “Save Top O Rock Shirt.”

Next up, it’s episode 38 if The RFC MINI SHOW, starring Super Heavy Duty…

Finally, we bring you RFC 202, “Little Shop of Horrors Shirt,” from last Halloween…

RFC Flashback: April Fool’s 2008

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RFC 40 shotThe infamous 2008 April Fool’s Day episode of Radio Free Charleston is back online, with music from Paul Calicoat and Joe Slack and brand new special features that were never heard of again. You will see the only installment of “Eamon in the Street,” starring Eamon Hardiman, and you’ll see an animated version of outtakes of my interview with WWE Legend, Jerry “The King” Lawler.  This is the episode where I sneeze and break the RFC bug, and we have to replace it with a gaudy animated one.

We billed the show as brand new start, breaking from the stagnant old format of the show’s first 39 episodes. The joke is that with episode 41 all the new changes were gone, and we reverted to whatever passes for normal with RFC.

We open this show with a new theme song, a new look for your host, Rudy Panucci, and plenty of new features that were only ever on this one show. We even shot the host segments in Huntington, with Panucci wearing a shirt emblazoned with “Charleston.” To answer your questions: Yes, that was really the voice of Jerry Lawler. Yes, that was Eamon Hardiman laying in Elizabeth Street. Yes, we recorded Joe Slack in the parking lot behind Kanawha County Public Library. Yes, that was the Keith-Albee that I called “The La Belle.” Yes, I’m writing about myself in the third person. And yes, that is a toupee.

We named it “Marvin The Wonder Pelt.”

Boxing Day Notes and Stuff To Do

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Rudy 020The PopCulteer
December 26, 2014

It’s the day after Christmas, and hardly anyone will be reading PopCult. However, since I’m still doing the “fresh content every day” thing, I thought I’d take a moment to thank my loyal readers for sticking with me since 2005, when we fired up this blog.

It’s been a notable year for me. I (finally) married Melanie Larch. Radio Free Charleston passed our two-hundredth video episode and launched a streaming radio show which can be heard weekly on New Appalachian Radio. Plus, between The RFC MINI SHOW and our regular Radio Free Charleston video show, we’ve delivered local music video to you on an almost weekly basis. In fact, I’ve posted more than twenty-five hours of video this year for my PopCult readers to enjoy.

This is not just a big build-up so I can sneak in an announcement that I’m taking this weekend off from making video (I am. The next RFC MINI SHOW will debut January 5, 2015), I’m just taking a quiet moment to reflect on what I’ve cranked out this year.

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Merry Christmas from PopCult and Radio Free Charleston

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It’s become a Christmas Day tradition here in PopCult–I post Melanie Larch’s video of her singing “Ave Maria” from the eleventh episode of Radio Free Charleston. That way I don’t have to write anything on Christmas.

Wishing you and yours the best-

Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Christmas Time Is Here

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Taken from Radio Free Charleston 206, this is a clip of Melanie Larch and Mark Scarpelli peforming the song, “Christmastime Is Here,” from the classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” as written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi.

Stay turned after the end of the song for a special bonus. It’s the first take of the song, which features the virtuoso debut of Rocco Scarpelli, Mark’s Greyhound, on squeak toy.

RFC Christmas Show

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This is Radio Free Charleston 206, “Quisp Shirt,” our 2014 Christmas show featuring remarkable female voices.

Melanie Larch and Mark Scarpelli perform “Christmas Time Is Here,” the classic tune from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Marium Bria performs the Jody Herndon song, “Naughty Christmas.” Lady D — aka Doris Fields — was recorded last weekend at the Limelight Theatre Company’s “An Old Fashioned Christmas and a Movie,” where she took on the Donny Hathaway classic, “This Christmas.” The Laser Beams wrap up the show with a rendition of “Up on the Rooftop.”

Also in this episode is the short film “Incomprehensible Words From Santa Claus,” as well as “Death Train,” a charming holiday cartoon about the real War on Christmas, created and animated by Jacob Fertig. Full production notes are HERE. For information on the holiday edition of the audio version of Radio Free Charleston, check HERE.