PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Eduardo Canelon on The RFC MINI SHOW

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 Eduardo Canelon is a virtuoso guitarist and Latin musician whose been part of the Radio Free Charleston family since he first appeared on the third episode of Radio Free Charleston back in the summer of 2006. He has since been on the show as part of Duo Divertido and ¡Comparsa! His apperance on this week’s RFC MINI SHOW is his first solo turn since his debut over nine years ago in the memorable “heatwave” video, shot on the fifth-floor fire escape at LiveMix Studio. We caught up to him at Third Eye Cabaret, at Fireside Bar & Lounge, a couple of weeks ago.

Eduardo is a first generation Venezuelan who moved to the USA when he was 10 years old and was raised in Elkins, WV.  In 2004 he formed ¡Comparsa! which is still a musical powerhouse in the Mountain State.  He has worked with Betty King and Maestro Grant Cooper of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and has presented his program “Latin America: Music, Culture, and Dance” in Randolph, Cabell and Kanawha Counties.  Eduardo Canelón and ¡Comparsa! was featured on the Mountain Stage radio show in February of 2008.

 Eduardo’s performance has had some computerized dancers edited into it. His music cries out for dancers, and my brother, Frank Panucci, had just given me a batch of glitched footage that he created on an open-source videogame graphics generator, so I decided to mix those with Eduardo’s music for just a hint of surreal dance-party fun.

Our host segment this week was shot in front of the newly-installed Streetworks Art Garden on Morris Street in Charleston, across from the ballpark. Host, Rudy Panucci, is standing in front of his contribution to this project. Panucci is also wearing the same shirt that he wore in the last full-length Radio Free Charleston, to promote Austin Susman’s film, “Killer Catfish of the Kanawha,” which is set to debut on YouTube September 1.

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This morning’s art is a digital oil painting based on a frame-grab of video footage shot by my wife, Melanie Larch, for this week’s RFC MINI SHOW starring Eduardo Canelon. The lighting at Third Eye Cabaret was awesome and moody, and I just had to take a shot at making it look even more painterly than it already did.

You can see The RFC MINI SHOW starring Eduardo later Monday morning, right here in PopCult. Click the image to see a larger version.

Sunday Evening Videos: Beatlesque

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klaatubThis week we treat you to four music videos that sound like the Beatles, but aren’t. The last one of the batch is a song written by one, though.

Above you see “A Routine Day,” by Klaatu. Klaatu was a Canadian band that is mainly famous for sounding so much like The Fab Four that many people thought that their debut album was actually a secret Bealtes reunion. The above video, in all its Yellow Submarine-inspired glory, was released in 1979 to promote the ‘Sir Army Suit’ album. This music video was part of an incomplete animated special that has never been released called ‘Happy New Year Planet Earth’.

utopia_defacefBelow you see the video for “I Just Want To Touch You,” which hails from “Deface The Music,” the album where Todd Rundgren decided that he wanted his band, Utopia, to sound as much like The Beatles as possible.

The problem with the Utopia “Deface the Music” album was that The Rutles had already done the Beatles parody/soundalike thing first, and better, as you can see later in this post.

After the jump we have two more, including a clip from The Rutles.

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RFC Flashback: Episode 75

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Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Our last bonus “best of” post will also stand in for the RFC Flashback this week. We’re flashing back to a flashback from 2013. This is so meta that you may need to take some Metamucil.

Thank you for sharing our tenth anniversary with us, and for wasting your time reading this blog.

In today’s RFC Flashback we revisit our 75th episode! “Unknown Hinson Shirt,” our third-anniversary Rock And Roll Extravaganza.

This landmark edition of RFC features music by The Pistol Whippers and Unknown Hinson, both legends of honky-tonk psycho-billy stage. We also have a snippet of Princeton’s Option 22 over the end credits.

With this being our third anniversary, we took it upon ourselves to corner a few really cool people with our camera to get them to say nice things about us. Among those who weren’t quick enough to escape are Ann Magnuson, Necrobutcher (featured in the OSCAR-nominated movie “The Wrestler”), wrestling legends Gypsy Joe and Bull Pain and GWAR’s front-man, Oderous Urungus. The really cool thing is that it looks like we recorded Necro and Gypsy Joe in the same place we recorded Ann.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

More big fun, from 2013.

Taking place of the Sunday Evening Video and the RFC MINI SHOW this week is the above video of the 2013 Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show. This was a fun video to shoot and edit and I hope my readers get a kick out of it.

Img_8554First, though, a few notes about how this video came to be. Oddly enough, the music came first. A few weeks ago, YouTube made some background music available to the folks who post there to use, royalty-free. Last week I downloaded a few tracks and found them to be pretty darned good. Two of them, in fact, were perfect for the kind of fast-moving quick-cut videos that I’ve been itching to do. “Half Pipe,” by Huma Huma and “Eviction” by The Silent Partner were the songs I wanted to use, but I didn’t know where.

Then it hit me, this was the week of the Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show, an event I usually whine about because it closes my favorite road in Charleston. This year I would actually go to the show, but with a plan. In order to make it quick and easy to edit, and to cram as many cars into the video as possible, I would shoot still photos–hundreds of them–and cut them to the beat. Melanie shot video, just so we’d have some variety, and I’d slap it all together.

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Come Back, Johnny (West)

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Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

In May, Mark Wolfe and I ran around town playing with action figures.

The PopCult Toybox

Johnny shoots up the State Capitol. Photo by Mark Wolfe
Johnny shoots up the State Capitol. Photo by Mark Wolfe

It’s time to mark a Golden Anniversary.

In 1965 The Louis Marx Toy Company introduced Johnny West to the world. Johnny was a 12-inch tall posable action figure who was a Cowboy. He was the first fully-articulated large-scale action figure that Marx made, predated a few months by Stony Smith, a soldier, and Daniel Boone. Neither of those first two figures were articulated below the shoulders, though.

Johnny was an instant star and inspired Marx to create a full line of Western-themed action figures as well as other large figures of spies, knights and vikings. Johnny West lasted ten years in the toy marketplace and may have lasted longer had the Marx Toy Company not changed hands and suffered a series of inept management regimes.

Johnny West gets a 50th Anniversary figure
Johnny West gets a 50th Anniversary figure

The creation of Johnny West was a response to the smash success that Hasbro achieved in 1964 with GI Joe. Rather than copy GI Joe outright, Marx decided to test the waters with what were essentially larger, more detailed versions of their classic green Army men style playset figures. After the first two releases, more-articulation was added and Marx hit upon a successful format.

Borrowing the name from an earlier small-scale playset, Johnny West was introduced as a Cowboy Everyman. He shared his headsculpt with Stony Smith, the soldier (though this is still debated in some quarters) and he had a Native American pal, Chief Cherokee. The figures sold so well that within a couple of years Johnny had a wife, Jane, and four kids, Jay, Jamie, Josie and Janice. There were also tons of horses, a couple of dogs, The Fort Apache Fighters, General Custer and a couple of not-so-friendly natives added by the end of 1968.

It’s worth noting that after a short time, Marx pulled out of the military action figure game. Stony Smith was given better articulation so he could ride in a Jeep, but even after evolving into the more GI Joe-like “Buddy Charlie,” sales didn’t justify production. Hasbro and GI Joe handled the military end of things, Johnny West and friends covered the wild West. Nobody knows if it just worked out that way, or if there was some kind of secret golf course handshake deal between Louis Marx and Merrill Hassenfeld.

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Where All The People At?

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Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Last April I wrote a heartfelt essay about the problems we have keeping young people in this state. Since It was well-written, didn’t insult anyone, and wasn’t a histrionic cry for help, it didn’t start any conversation.

wv drain 002The PopCulteer
April 10, 2015

Apologies to my regular PopCult readers. Yesterday we didn’t post a PopCult Bookshelf. The truth is, I was so stunned and shocked at the passing of my friend Tom Medvick that I simply didn’t have it in me to sit down and write anything else.

Today we’re devoting the PopCulteer to one topic: Population density, or the lack thereof in Charleston and in West Virginia.

Our area has a thriving arts scene. We have more than our fair share of original art, music, theater, literary events and other cultural enrichments. However there is one thing that we have a desperate shortage of–audience.

This state is losing people. Folks are dying (or moving) to get out of the Mountain State. We’re not just losing people. We’re losing people who support the arts.

I’m beginning to wonder if we have enough people to go around to fill the auditoriums, venues, galleries, and bars where art and music happen. Recently, we’ve lost Community Music Live, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra has drastically cut back on their performance schedule, and Kanawha Players is in the process of divesting themselves of their theater. Kanawha United Presbyterian even discontinued the Kanawha Forum series of lunchtime concerts.

The bar scene in town, which consists of our primary small venues for live, local original music, has suffered of late. If one bar has a show that draws a huge crowd, that usually means three or four other bars in town are playing host to tumbleweeds. For a variety of reasons, it seems fewer people are going out to bars to hear live music.

Quite simply, we have too much culture and not enough patrons of the arts.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

On income tax day this year, we got all highbrow-jazzy.

bitches-brewMiles Davis’ Bitches Brew album is a seminal work. This double-LP was released forty-five years ago this month, and it remains one of the most challenging, controversial and influential works in the history of Jazz and Jazz Fusion. Not content with already having revolutionized Modern Jazz, Davis began this project with heavy influences from rock and funk, but also brought the use of the recording studio in Jazz up to contemporary standards.

This album is filled with multi-tracking, post-production edits and looping. It’s ahead of its time, and had the technology been available at the time, Davis probably would have experimented with sampling and auto-tuning, too.

Because this album is such a notorious studio creation, performing it live is a major undertaking that is not something that musicians just decide to do on the spur of the moment. In this episode of Radio Free Charleston we sit in on a rehearsal by the group 4tet, with added musicians “and more,” as they tackle this epic work in preparation for the first of a series of shows where they will perform the entire album live.

Continue reading…

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

Fun times from May 11 of 2015.

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Since we don’t know how long we’ll be able to post today with limited power at The Gazette, we’re combining both of our usual Monday posts into one. Up above you see Pepper Fandango dancing to the music of HoboClay.com, as interpreted in digital paint by yours truly. Click to enlarge.

Below you will find The RFC MINI SHOW starring HoboClay.com, with guest dancing by Pepper Fandango and Kitty Killton.

Recorded the day before Valentine’s Day last February, this edition of The RFC MINI SHOW may not be safe for work, but it sure is easy on the eyes. HoboClay.com performs two songs: One, a cover of “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” the other an original song, “Drink To Your Breasts.”

Joining HoboClay.com for these performances are Pepper Fandango and Kitty Killton of Wayward BurlyQ. Pepper dances solo for “Hat,” while the two bring the second song to life with a spirited dance duet.

These are burlesque performances, so steer clear if you’re easily offended. There is no nudity, but there’s lots of damn-near nudity, so proceed at your own risk.

HoboClay.com will be opening for Spurgie Hankins Band every Tuesday at The Empty Glass. Pepper and Kitty of Wayward BurlyQ (formerly The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque) will perform new routines Wednesday night at The Empty Glass as part of The Vagabong Variety show Live at the Empty Glass along with big-time MTV comedian Brian Bargainier and music from GypsyRythm. Five bucks gets you in the door for a show that starts at 9 PM at The Empty Glass.

Ten Years of PopCult

Friday was the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour (sort of), we brought you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. When we got done, we decided to give you a few more, just for the hell of it. Enjoy!

From last May, it’s a Monday Morning Art from Dr. Sketchy’s.

MMA 001

It’s Lavender Menace, from last night’s session of Dr. Sketchy’s, striking a great pose for my digital watercolors. You will be seeing more from last night’s Sketchy’s in the coming weeks. It was the first session at WVSU EDC (AKA DigiSo) and it was a blast in the new environment.

Check PopCult later Monday Morning for The RFC MINI SHOW starring The Scrap Iron Pickers.