PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

RFC Flashback: Episode 51

rfc51-big-montagethumbFrom September, 2008. This edition of the show features music by Brain Trauma and The Underdog Blues Revue, plus a Kitty Killton movie trailer and the debut of the Astonishing Finger Man! Just one show after our fiftieth, Radio Free Charleston kicked out the jams with Brain Trauma’s Horrorcore Rap and hot blues from Chuck Biel’s Underdog Blues Revue.

We first met Kyle and Toxik Flow from Brain Trauma at an IWA East Coast show way back in the early days of the PopCult blog. It took a couple of years for our schedules to jibe so we could have them on the show, but it was worth the wait. Using footage we shot at The Empty Glass in August, 2008, we created a music video for the song “Rock It.” One of these days we gotta get these guys back on the video show. In the meantime, you might just hear them pop up on RFC at New Appalachian Radio.

Rounding out the show this time is an amazing performance by The Underdog Blues Revue. This was recorded in July, at the last show UBR gave before going on hiatus. This is only one of many bands that Chuck Biel’s has had on the show. We’re hoping to catch up with Chuck again soon, too. He’s one of our favorite people.

Speaking of favorite people, your Popculteer’s imaginary daughter, Kitty Killton, returns in this episode, in a short film by Scott Elkins, and our animation stars the Astonishing Finger Man. You can read the original production notes HERE.

Here’s Another Batch of Music and Art News

28fafd108e8bdbc79942abbe3b085357The PopCulteer
January 9, 2015

It’s another week for a PopCulteer jam-packed with news, so let’s dig in…

Art Opportunity with Plutonium Burrito

I’m afraid I dropped the ball a bit on this one and left it out of the blog last week. There is still time for artists to contact The Empty Glass to submit art works for an art/music show next Wednesday. The band, Plutonium Burrito will bring their Avant Garde “Free Playing” music to The Empty Glass with a cover-free show at 10 PM on January 14. Your art could be part of this. Email booking@emptyglass.com for details on how you can participate.

Plutonium Burrito is an underground supergroup comprised of Charles Pagano and Scott Bazar. Between the two of them, they have collaborated with Gary and Jill Wofsey,Beck, Kevin Ayers, Larry Willis, Enrico Rava, James Emery (String Trio of NY),
Steve Gilmore (of the Phil Woods Quartet), Tatsuya Nakatani, Cedric Lawson and Bobby Keys.

It’s going to be a wild night of art and music, and the RFC crew will be on hand to capture some of it.


Continue reading…

Star Trek: New Visions

The PopCult Bookshelf

STAR-TREK-Mudd-cvr-21174Star Trek: New Visions #4
“Made out of Mudd”
A Photoplay by John Byrne
IDW Publishing

Fumetti is basically comic books that consist of photos instead of drawings. The form has been more popular in other countries than it has been here over the years, but with the advent of Photoshop and computer-assisted coloring effects, American audiences seem to be more open to fumetti these days. Heck, a lot of mainstream comics artists just copy pictures from body-building and porn mags and paint clothes on them.

Applying the fumetti form to Star Trek is really a pretty great idea. Using frame-grabs from Star Trek: The Original Series, combined with new elements added via Photoshop (and more than a little 3-D modeling), John Byrne has created what amounts to brand-new episodes of Star Trek using the original cast as they appeared on the show almost fifty years ago.

Continue reading…

Stuff To Do 1-08-15

There’s a couple of cool things going on tonight, plus you can watch the latest RFC MINI SHOW at the end of this post.And all of it is FREE–not a penny in cover charges will be required, so bundle yourself up and head on out this evening.

First up we have Third Eye Cabaret, which you should head out to catch in person, but if you don’t, you can still listen to the music live at New Appalachian Radio, starting at 7:30 PM (or a little later, depending on when the music starts). Remember that you can tune in and listen to Third Eye Cabaret every other Thursday, and then stick around for the midnight replay of Radio Free Charleston.


If comedy is you thing, then you’ll want to head to Mojo’s for the comedy open mic, hosted tonight by Thomas Mac.


And any time you want to, watch The RFC MINI SHOW starring Go Van Gogh…

The PopCult Toybox: Guesses About GI Joe in 2015

We start off the PopCult Toybox this week with a minor editorial note. Going forward, the PopCult Toybox will appear each Wednesday, with occasional bonus material appearing on Saturday. This will leave Tuesday open for us to post our playlist for Radio Free Charleston on New Appalachian Radio.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Roadblock will return in the next GI Joe movie in 2016
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Roadblock will return in the next GI Joe movie in 2016

A year ago, I wrote about the controversy over Hasbro’s underwhelming observation of the fiftieth anniversary of GI Joe. There was no new 12″ product and only a limited number of 3 3/4″ inch product and KRE-O building sets released only at Toys R Us and some online retailers. The official GI Joe Collector’s Club released a 12″ membership figure, as well as an anniversary set for their convention, but there was no traditional 12″ GI Joe product sold at retail during his fiftieth anniversary year.

There were valid reasons for this. It’s a real shame that the anniversary was not widely celebrated, but the business reasons made sense. Product released around the last GI Joe movie did not sell well at retail because it was already in stores when Paramount decided to yank the movie from theaters two weeks before it was to open and retool it into a 3-D film.

Continue reading…

It’s week nine of Radio Free Charleston streaming at New Appalachian Radio, and this week’s show celebrates our companion video program, The RFC MINI SHOW. All the music in the second hour is culled from the archives of The RFC MINI SHOW. You may recall that the MINI SHOW was created to fill the gaps between full-length episodes of RFC as I approached episode 200. It presents a single act, performing a song or three without all the bells and whistles of the regular video version of Radio Free Charleston.

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.

Note: In the second hour, The Terra Firma Ensemble is heard playing Ralph Towner’s “Innocente.” True to the form of the episode of The RFC MINI SHOW from which that recording was taken, I call him “Robert Towner.” Apologies to all involved.

The playlist for our first hour:

The Nanker Phelge “Limping Away”
Kevin Scarbrough “Gene The Hater”
The Ruins “Dog Day Dallas Doo-Dah Demons”
Under Surveillance “Rejection Cue”

Geronimo “Better Luck Next Time”
The Big Bad “Seeking Souls”
DEVO “Ono”
Unknown Hinson “Rock and Roll is Straight From Hell”

Continue reading…

Vintage Go Van Gogh on The RFC MINI SHOW

Image3For the first RFC MINI SHOW of 2015 we dive back into the Radio Free Charleston archives for previously-unseen video from 1991. Go Van Gogh was one of the top bands in town playing original music back then, and this is footage shot live at The Levee. The Levee was a primo music venue in town then, and it still is, sort of. It occupied the spot where The Boulevard Tavern is now located, right on Kanawha Boulevard, across from the river.

Go Van Gogh consisted of two sets of brothers, Stephen and Mark Beckner, who have been playing together in The Nanker Phelge in recent years, and Tim and Johnny Rock. On this night they were joined by Bain Ashworth on percussion and Mark Mingrone on keyboards. You’ll hear the band performing three songs in this show, one each sung by Stephen, Mark and Tim. One or two more songs from this vintage concert will probably turn up in the next full-length episode of Radio Free Charleston in a couple of weeks.

The sound is a little low-fidelity, and there’s only one camera angle, but the raw energy of the band comes through loud and clear.

old painting 014

Our first Monday Morning Art of the new year is a digital painting over a detail from our New Year’s Day art from last week. I’d posted “The Queen of the End of the World,” which was an old work of mine from 1986 last Thursday. Today we bring you my digital take on a detail of that painting, showing the actual queen in question. I gots no idea of any significance of the work, but it sorta looks purty. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Video: The Starlost

The_Starlost_-_introImagine a television show, produced in the early 1970s–the darkest time for science fiction on television, with an amazing pedigree. Let’s say it boasted special effects and was produced by Douglas Trumbull, a veterarn of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Andromeda Strain” and “Silent Running.” Add in Keir Dullea, the star of “2001” as your lead actor. Wrap it all up with the fact that the show was created and written by the legendary Harlan Ellison, and it sounds like a surefire winner that would have changed the face of science fiction on television.

gallery5starlostHowever, if you throw in some complications, it turns out a bit differently. In this case, the complications included the series being rejected by The BBC, and winding up, with a fraction of the budget, on Canadian TV. Other complications included a writer’s strike that kept Ellison from writing anything more than the show’s bible and story outlines, Trumbull’s failed attempt at creating a new special effects system, the Canadian government forcing producers to use Canadian writers to finish Ellison’s scripts, and finally, before even the pilot episode was completed, Ellison invoked a clause in his contract forcing the producers to use his alternative registered writer’s pen-name of “Cordwainer Bird” in the credits.

And that’s why hardly anyone remembers The Starlost, at least not fondly. This was a show that was broadcast in Canada and in the US in syndication in 1973, and rerun only a couple of times. You can find every episode on YouTube, or you can look them up on a Roku Channel devoted to airing the 16 episodes. To quote the Wikipedia description, “The show’s setting is a huge generational colony spacecraft called Earthship Ark, which has gone off course. Many of the descendants of the original crew and colonists are unaware, however, that they are aboard a ship. “

By the way, it’s not very good. That’s the first episode at the top of this post. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but the series went downhill after this one. It’s not so bad that it’s good, it’s simply bad enough to escape having any entertainment value.

RFC Flashback: The Golden Show

rfc50montagethumbThis week we flash back to August, 2008 and the fiftieth episode of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON. We pulled out all the stops for this one. Our musical guests were The Late, Great Master of the Hunch, Hasil Adkins and The Concept, who debuted their then-new guitarist, Brian Flowers.

We also had a wild short film from Scott Elkins, which introduced Kitty Killton to the world. Frank Panucci brought us a sneak peek at some test footage from his still-long-gestating feature film, “Repurkussionz.” We also had some cameo appearances by the star of “Repurkussionz,” Mad Man Pondo, along with Survivor’s Jonny Fairply and Unknown Hinson, who introduced Hasil Adkins on the show.

Kevin Pauley from IWA East Coast, The No Pants Players and The American Heart Association showed up to take umbrage at one of our end-credit gags from episode 49. Wrapping it all up, RFC Big Shot and Resident Diva Melanie Larch wass shown singing the National Anthem at Appalachian Power Park over the end credits.

This one sort of set the high standard for milestone episodes of the show that paralyzed me and delayed episode 200 almost a year.