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RFC Flashback: Episode 101

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RFC 101 “Viewmaster Shirt” from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Above you see the 101st episode of Radio Free Charleston, “Viewmaster Shirt.” Originally posted in Early June, 2010, this episode of our show included music from Josh Buskirk, The Gypsy Nomads and The ButtonFlies, plus a sequel from MURFMEEF and a trailer for the film, “Toxic Soup.”

Since this show, about five and a half years ago, The Gypsy Nomads have changed their name to “Frenchy and The Punk,” The Buttonflies have broken up and former members are now in The Laser Beams, Qiet and other bands, and Josh and Murfmeef need to start doing more stuff again. Also, “Toxic Soup” won a bunch of awards.

Host segments were shot in front of the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse, which is still there.

Halloween Weekend Burnout and Stuff To Do

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rfc-54previewthumbThe PopCulteer
October 30, 2015

It’s time for the big Halloween Stuff To Do, and your PopCulteer is too hoarse to record the audio podcast version this week, so we’re doing it the old-fashioned way: I will type the information into my computer and post it to the blog!

There is a ton of stuff going on this weekend. It’s Halloween, and in the grand tradition of adults taking over what used to be a children’s celebration, Kanawha County held their trick-or-treat Thursday night so that they could leave Saturday open for the big beer fests. We’ll get to the run-down after I explain some comments I made in this blog last weekend.

Hallow-Ennui-N

Some readers have asked me about comments I made about HallowEast last Sunday in the notes accompanying the Zombie Walk video. I wrote that it stopped being fun for me. There’s not really a lot on which to elaborate. I hate how they ruined the Zombie Walk. It was my wife’s idea, and the first three years of it were fun and amazing and I was proud to shoot video of them. It was the highlight of HallowEast for those years.

The Zombie Walk in happier times
The Zombie Walk in happier times

But it wasn’t a money-maker, and we must remember that the main purpose of HallowEast is to put money into the coffers at East End Main Street. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means that a free event like the Zombie Walk gets shunted to the back-burner or repurposed. Starting with the fourth year, the start time of the Zombie Walk was pushed back to after dark. This completely defeats the purpose of a Zombie Walk. People are not going to spend hours putting together elaborate make up and costumes just so they can walk through a neighborhood in the dark.

The first year that the current route was taken, the Zombie Walk was a huge hit. Residents of the East End stood outside to watch and interact with the zombies. It was great. When they moved to a later start time, that all ended. Nobody’s going to stand outside in the cold and dark to watch zombies go by that they can barely see.

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PopCult Halloween Videos

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toon01.pngJust a reminder that we posted three new videos this week. You can see them all right here, kicking off with our Halloween edition of Radio Free Charleston, and following that up with a promo clip for Kanawha Players’ production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Lastly, we have a look at last Saturday’s Zombie Walk at the Charleston Town Center.

The PopCult Bookshelf

Creeps-4The Creeps Magazine #4
written and drawn by various creators
published by Warrant Publishing
$4.95

Just days before Halloween we have a special treat to trick you with. A new issue of the now-quarterly The Creeps Magazine is out. Once again we get a great selection of horror stories by a mix of classic Warren Publishing veterans and new artists and writers.

You may recall that we’ve raved about this book earlier this year and again just a couple of months ago.

A scene from "Night Mare in Nitrate"
A scene from “Night Mare in Nitrate”

Under a cover by Sanjulian, this issue welcomes two more Warren vets to the fold. Artist Bill Black illustrates a ne-page primer on zombies on the inside front cover, while writer Don Glut brings us a very clever spin on a vampire tale, mixed with a little cinematic urban legendry and a few shots at sleazy Hollywood producers. Mansyur Damon illustrates “Nightmare in Nitrate,” which is the first story in the book.

Next up we have “The Goby and The Kraken,” a viking-era sea-going tale written by Nicola Cuti, with art by Jason Paulos that somehow manages to evoke the work of Wally Wood and John Severin at the same time, which is a very good thing. It’s a great story with a nice gruesome twist at the end.

Jason Paulos art from "Goby and The Kraken"
Jason Paulos art from “Goby and The Kraken”

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Not Yo Mama’s Yo-Yo

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2387957_Blazing_TeamThe PopCult Toybox

Strange as it may seem to us here in the United States, around the globe the Yo-Yo has once again become a “hot toy.” In China the traditional toy has been updated with an animated cartoon with Pokemon-like storylines and a line of Yo Yos and accessories with colorful designs and flashy packaging, and Blazing Teens is the top-selling boy’ss toy in the most populous country on Earth.

Now Hasbro is going to try to launch the property in America. The concept has a slightly-altered name, “BLAZING TEAM,” and the newly-translated animated series will debut on Discovery Family, the cable channel that Hasbro still holds a 40% ownership stake in, beginning November 13 with international distribution to follow in 2016.

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Above you see this year’s Radio Free Charleston Halloween special, and there’s a short, uninteresting story about how it came to be. “Blood Red Shirt” is chock-full-o good stuff. We have music from Hurl Brickbat, The Renfields with Ari Lehman and HARRAH, plus we a plug for Kanawha Player’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (opening Friday) and footage from last weekend’s Zombie Walk. We even have a batch of “weird stuff” that revisits the Pentagram Flowerbox cartoon from our first Halloween special. But our host segments did not come off as originally planned.

Count Rudlof
Count Rudlof

I had a really cool, elaborate post-zombie-apocalypse scenario planned, but as our deadlines rushed toward us, it became apparent that, if we were going to get the show done in time for Halloween, we’d have to scrap it and do something simple.

So we did. We brought back an old friend who hadn’t been on RFC since April, 2009. This year’s Halloween show is the return of Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater, hosted by Count Rudolf!

So basically, when I scrapped the zombie thing, I went into the RFC wardrobe department, grabbed the vampire cape and Marvin the wonder pelt, my trusty pet toupee, and headed up to Spring Hill Cemetary to ad-lib the host segments, which were each done in one take.

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Monday Morning Art: Buffy Spikes It

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Our art this week returns to last week’s session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School, as Buffy (Luna L’Enfant) prepares to gleefully impale Elle X, as a vampire, with a handy-dandy wooden stake. It’s a digital drawing with loads of cross-hatching.

Be sure to check PopCult tomorrow for our big Radio Free Charleston Halloween Special, with music from Hurl Brickbats, The Renfields with Ari Lehman, HarraH and more scary goodness.

zom walkI have a warm spot in my heart for Zombie Walks. I accidentally stumbled into the second-ever Zombie Walk years ago at the Monroeville Mall near Pittsburgh, where “Dawn of the Dead” was filmed. It was my wife, Melanie Larch, who suggested that HallowEast add a Zombie Walk to their line-up back when HallowEast was still fun for us.

Since HallowEast moved their Zombie Walk from the daylight hours (when all the good ones are held so that you can see the zombie’s make up) to after dark so that they could funnel unsuspecting undead folks into the middle of their drunken beer party pub crawl and use them as obstacles in their 5K run, Charleston has not had a decent Zombie Walk.

Last Saturday the Spirit Halloween Store in the Charleston Town Center filled that void with an inside-the-mall Zombie Walk, which happened in a well-lit area so that folks could actually see the FX make up that the Zombies were wearing. It was a lot of fun and our cameras were on hand. The walk was lead by Jeremy Ambler, West Virginia’s own walker from The Walking Dead, and members of Ghostbusters West Virginia Division were on hand to make sure that no innocent bystanders were harrassed by the undead.

RFC Flashback: Halloween 2014

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Image11This week we revisit last year’s all-star Radio Free Charleston Halloween Spectacular, with our guests Mark Wolfe, Kitty Killton, Penny Maple, and Mic Bradford all gathered around a Quija board. Mark guest-directed the host segments, which feature camera work by Mark and Melissa Bradford.

Our musical guests were Radio Cult, The Jasons, Possum Kingdom Ramblers and HarraH. You can read the full production notes HERE.

The 2015 RFC Halloween Special will NOT be an all-star affair, at least in terms of the host segments, as yours truly flies solo this time, in the guise of an old fiend friend. We’re still working on it this weekend, for release on Tuesday, but our contributors include Hurl Brickbats, The Renfields with Ari Lehman, Kanawha Players, HarraH and probably a few surprises.

Berdine’s Five and Dime in Harrisville, WV

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12105786_898521446904563_8521851465336488441_nThe PopCulteer
October 23, 2015

This week’s PopCulteer is entirely devoted to a photo essay of Berdine’s Five and Dime, in Harrisville, West Virginia. Your PopCulteer and his wife took a day trip up there a couple of weeks ago after hearing about this legendary establishment for years. We were not disappointed.

It's like a portal to another time
It’s like a portal to another time

It was a brisk drive on a sunny day, with the leaves just starting to turn. From Charleston, you just head North on I 77 untill you hit the junction with Route 50 in Parkersburg. Head East on 50 for about half an hour until you see the exit for Route 31, then just follow that winding country road and it takes you straight to Harrisville where you go right through the first stop light (when it’s green, of course) and you’ll see Berdine’s half a block later, on your right.

Berdine’s Five and Dime has been in continuous operation in Harrisville, West Virginia since 1908. It is a nostalgia addict’s Mecca.  This is like walking back in time. I’m just barely old enough to remember when Ben Franklins and other stores like this dotted small towns the way Dollar General and Family Dollar do today, only the Five and Dimes were way more cool than what we have now. Basically, a Five-and-Dime is a small store crammed full of enough inventory for a modern store three or four times its size. Berdine’s keeps that tradition alive.

Classy reading material on sale
Classy reading material on sale

Berdine’s is America’s Oldest Dime store. Under their pressed tin ceilings you will find bins of novelties, tin toys, bulk candies, old-time remedies, hillbilly joke items, jewelry and household goods, organized and laid out just like the Dime Stores of old.

As they say on their website: “Berdine’s continues to evoke memories while providing practical and purely nonsensical merchandise. Bulk candy from our antique oak case, bins of old time and inexpensive toys that you remember from your childhood, gifts for special occasions that you will not find elsewhere. We also carry unique books and old time remedies along with kitchen gadgets and soaps and cleaning products that have been used for generations. If you cannot find it anywhere else – try Berdine’s!  Your grandparents did!”

I’ve been reading about this place for years, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. The store is only 1,500 scare feet, but we spent an hour there and felt like we’d just scratched the surface. I can guarantee that we will make many return trips. The pictures will say more than I possibly could.

You can visit Berdine’s Five and Dime at 106 North Court Street, Harrisville, West Virginia 26362. Their telephone number is (304)643-2217. The store is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day except Sunday, and they also have a website. If you visit in person, bring cash or a check. Berdine’s does not accept credit cards. You can also “like” them on Facebook.

The promised land!
The promised land!

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