PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

“HOODS” Powerful Drama With An Amazing Cast

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

I’m a huge fan of Dan Kehde and the work he does with Mark Scarpelli on musicals. We are very lucky to have such talented creators working in our area. This is just one of the many times I slobbered all over one of Dan’s plays…

You might think that with the current racial tensions in this country, The Contemporary Youth Arts Company was motivated to revive their original play, “HOODS,” a drama about the turning tide of race relations in the Appalachian foothills in the 1950s by politics, but you’d be wrong.

“Politics had nothing to do with our decision to revisit this play,” says playwright and director, Dan Kehde. “There are two reasons I wanted to do ‘HOODS’ again. First, it needed to be rewritten and I had time and wanted to do it right. Also, I saw that I had the cast for it, and felt that I could pull it off the way I wanted to.”

Opening Thursday night and running through next week, “HOODS” is set in October 1957 and tells the story of Joe Stampers, the patriarch of a family that winds up in the middle of a racial incident. Stampers is one of “them,” a euphemism for the KKK, who are never mentioned by name during the play, but you will see their trademark robes.

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ONE HUNDRED!

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

An hour ago I posted my reaction to being featured in Sandy Wells “Innerviews” column. The reason for that was that we had episode 100 coming up. Here it is with some wordy damn production notes.

RFC 100 from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Above you see the epic milestone 100th episode of Radio Free Charleston, “M.C. Escher Shirt.” I wanted to give you guys a normal show, but still a special one. I think we did a pretty good job. It’s our longest show, packed with great music, animation and short films, but we didn’t resort to using Zombies, toupees or any other gimmicks.

Our musical guests are The Hellblinki Sextet, The Nanker Phelge, Eva Elution and Jeff Ellis. The animation this time is by me, with music by David Synn. We’ve got a trailer for the new Kitty Killton short, plus promo clips for two upcoming Kanawha Players shows. RFC Big Shot Frank Panucci is represented by a batch of new interstitials, including the touching “Stuffed Potatoes” spot.

Our host segments were shot at Top O’ Rock, the architectural masterpiece built by Henry Eldon. I want to thank The Elden Family, Jon Cavendish and Realcorp Inc. and Thomas W. Sayre of KVLive.net for making this location available to us. It is a fantastic work of art. You can definitely see the angels in the architecture.

Speaking of angels, my sidekick showgirl for our big C-Note show is Chelsea Cook, also known as Kitty Killton, also known as Celeste The Zombie Supermodel and also known as “The Kid,” my imaginary daughter. It’s always a kick to work with Chelsea and I’ll come up with any excuse imaginable to get her on camera with me.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

You know, this is not the first really gratifying, humbling week that I’ve had while doing PopCult. Back in 2010, when we hit the 100th episode of Radio Free Charleston, Sandy Wells made me the subject of one of her “Innerviews.” It was an honor and a pleasure and if it were still online I’d link to that piece like a madman. Anyway, this is me being all sweet and humble. I’ll post examples of me being mean later tonight.

Snappy Dresser at age 6The PopCulteer
April 23, 2010

Life Is Good

I gotta admit, I’ve had a great week. Sandy Well’s “Innerview” profile of me ran Monday, and the response has been universally positive (Well, almost. In an amusingly predictable move, my ex-wife de-friended me on Facebook because of the interview.). I also posted a new episode of Radio Free Charleston, of which I am very proud, and our next several episodes are shaping up nicely. That includes our big 100th episode, which is going to be jam-packed with top-flight musical guests and special features. I hope our new readers like what they’ve seen so far.

And the point of all this is that I am, indeed, one of the luckiest people on the face of the planet. I have a wonderful woman in my life, loving family, a colorful and loyal group of friends, and I get to have ridiculous amounts of fun almost as a profession. Plus, for some inexplicable reason, a number of people seem to enjoy reading about my exploits here in PopCult.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Once we got into the swing of things with Radio Free Charleston, it became an annual tradition to pull out all the stop and do a killer show for Halloween. Then each year we tried to top it. This show, from 2009, was an absolute pain-in-the-ass to try and top. We really should have aimed lower.

Above, you see our epic 2009 Radio Free Charleston Halloween special,”HallowEast Shirt.” If the show isn’t up there, that means that it escaped and can be found here. I’m going to post very detailed production notes about part of the show in Friday”s PopCulteer, but we do have some folks to thank for making this year’s Halloween show happen.

Specifically, Mark Wolfe and Amy Williams and The Charleston Area Alliance East End Main Street, Eamon Hardiman, Razor Sharp Productions, The No Pants Players, The Book Exchange and Flare Baroshi all went above and beyond in helping with this year’s show, which was our most involved episode yet. It’s also our longest, clocking in at just under half an hour (and that’s after we jettisoned two complete songs and a couple of short films).We feature music from Unknown Hinson, The CYAC musical, “The Blob,” The Big Bad and Flare Baroshi.

We also have a Mini Movie, and a few extra treats along the way. Our host segments, featuring members of The No Pants Players (Go see Their SCARETACULAR this Saturday at The La Belle Theater in South Charleston) were shot in various locations in Charleston’s East End–the home of HallowEast!. Jeff Bukovinsky, Mandy Petry, Joe Wallace and Duncan Stokes met up with us last Sunday at The Book Exchange, and we proceeded to skip from location to location, shooting our little comedy bits, aided and abetted by Mel Larch, Mark Wolfe and Amy Williams. We did a killer job, shooting guerilla style, and except for the guy playing me, everyone did a great job. Huge thanks to all involved. I’ll be writing more about this shoot on Friday.

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Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

In April, 2009, I began a new weekly feature, The PopCulteer. Every Friday morning I wanted to emulate Jim Dent’s old “Gazetteer” column, but for a new generation. I would post essays, short news items, videos, lists of weekend events…and rants. In the six and a half years since the beginning, I think I may have only missed one or two Fridays. I started off with a particularly eloquent rant, and I’m still proud of it. And I haven’t eaten at Tudor’s since…

Welcome to what I hope becomes a regular Friday feature here at PopCult. It’s a random assemblage of random thoughts, observations, show plugs and shameless self-promotion courtesy of Rudy Panucci, your loyal PopCulteer.

Pigs At The Trough

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more brazen display of what must be either arrogance or incompetence than the scene last Tuesday at the WV State legislature. I’m talking of course, about the biscuit feeding frenzy that took place immediately prior to the spiking of the menu-calorie labeling bill. This shameful, yet hilarious display was so astounding that it crosses the line from politics into pop culture. This tops the idiotic Barbie ban bill in terms of reinforcing West Virginia’s “ignorant yokel” stereotype. Either the lawmakers knew how bad it made them look to accept free breakfasts from the chief opponent of the bill they were about to kill and didn’t care, or they honestly didn’t see anything wrong with such an obvious display of “one biscuit, one vote.”

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Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

One of my shortest blog posts, this originally had no words, just video of building 42 being imploded in South Charleston, in March, 2009.

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Okay, I started Sunday Evening Videos as a regular feature in the summer of 2008, however, a change of blogging software some months later caused many of the video embeds to muck all up. This particular edition is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I’m going to make an attempt to restore all of these videos…

Okay, two of them didn’t make it.

“Requiem For Pepperland” by Go Van Gogh, animated by Rudy Panucci:

The above video may seem familiar to regular readers of PopCult. It’s the video I created last year for Go Van Gogh’s “Yellow Submarine” inspired song, “Requiem For Pepperland.” I’ve been listening to a lot of Beatles lately, and had fun at Stephen Becker’s movie night in Elkview last night (Stephen wrote the song, and probably played all the instruments on this recording, which is a demo), so I thought I’d re-post the video I designed and animated for the Radio Free Charleston Beatle’s tribute show using Stphen’s 1989-vintage song.

After the jump, you’ll find more Beatles and Beatle-inspired goodness.

Below is a tribute cartoon made by the mysterious “animator and pop culture enthusiast” Stelos485.

The Beatles themselves, with “All You Need Is Love” from The Yellow Submarine movie. In this clip, you can see part of the inspiration for the Radio Free Charleston logo.

From The Rutles classic animated feature “Yellow Submarine Sandwich,” it’s the song “Cheese and Onions.”

Here’s “Yellow Submarine” in animated LEGO form.

Some folks have to have all their entertainment translated into Star Wars references in order to enjoy it.

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

This was a fun column in which I look forward to cool things that I expected to happen in 2008. Some of them happened many years later, while others happened and nobody cared. Still others happened, were cool, and are done now. Go figure.

2008 is still in its infancy, and the new year promises some cool new things that will thrill and delight those of us who surf the waves of Pop Culture. With that in mind, PopCult presents a list of 8 Cool Things To Anticipate in 2008. This list runs the gamut from a revival of a classic toy line to long-awaited new laws, from really inexpensive computers to cool TV shows and more.

This is a totally arbitrary list of what PopCult deems to be “cool.” Feel free to disagree in the comments, or chime in with your own suggestions. But first sit back and memorize this list. At the end of the year you can see which of our picks were amazing life-changing experiences, and which of them were total busts.

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Monday Morning Art: Geisha

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

I couldn’t leave out the first appearance of my imaginary daughter in Monday Morning Art, now could I?

The Radio Free Charleston Halloween Party, where we shot the host segments for this week’s show, was a load of fun, and you’ll see just how much fun tomorrow when our Halloween episode goes online. Until then marvel at this week’s Monday Morning Art, which is a digital painting based on a photo of Chelsea Cook, one of our costumed guests. I thought it would be cool to paint over our Geisha in the style of Japanese pen and watercolor. You see the results above. Chelsea took home the prize for best female costume. You can see why.

Just like every week, you can click the image to see a larger version. You can also buy this image on shirts, posters, buttons, and other stuff in the newly revamped Monday Morning Art Store. You can also follow these links to see my efforts in the PopCult store and the Radio Free Charleston store.

Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

I always liked this one, from July 2007…

One of the most endearing sights around Charleston is the mysterious multi-colored UFO balls that occasionally float over Capitol Street around the Lee Street Triangle. The other day I was lucky enough to catch them on film.

As always, click the photo for a larger view. And go here for the Monday Morning Art Store, and here for the PopCult store