PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

STUFF TO DO: Flood Benefit Edition

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Last week’s floods are still in the forefront of everyone’s minds, so this week STUFF TO DO will still focus on some upcoming benefits and fundraising efforts to help alleviate and rebuild some of the damage. We’ll also mention a couple of other shows, too.

FRIDAY

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A Comedy Beneift for flood victims will take place at Fireside Bar & Lounge. Andy Frampton, Jacob Hall, Ian Nolte, Lee Hale, Angela Davis, Nathan Thomas, and Cody Lambert have been announced and others may be added to the bill.  The plan is to put on a comedy show this Friday night (July 1st) at Fireside Bar and Lounge located in Charleston’s Historic East End (above Little India). Details for where exactly the money will be going will be announced as the week progresses. Check the event page on Facebook for up to date information. There won’t be a set cover charge, but a donation is required to attend. Doors open at 9:00 pm. This show is for ages 21+.

HARRAH and TriElement are having their long-announced dual CD release show at The Empty Glass Friday night, but they have added a toy drive for flood victims to the mix. Bring a new toy, appropriate for one of the children who lost everything in the flooding, and you get to pick either the new HARRAH CD or the new TriElement CD as a free bonus.

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More Flood Benefits

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13466506_1713094435579571_1057011275077961809_nWe have a few more benefits to report on. These are all to help the victims of the devastating floods that hit West Virginia last week.

Monday, July 4, APTiming will put on a free race at Kanwha State Forest in hopes that they can collect and raise donations to support those that were affected by the recent flooding. The race is completely free! They will be selling shirts and if you would like to order one, you may do so upon checking out. If they run out on race day, they plan to make a second order and mail it to you.

In addition, they will be collecting DONATIONS for Mountain Mission (their flood relief fund). You can donate money, water, food, cleaning supplies, animal food, etc…anything to help those in need. You may register online or on race day. Check out the event page at Facebook for more details.

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Flood Benefit Update

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The devastating floods that tore through West Virginia last week have wreaked havoc and destruction that is just now starting to sink in. There are all sorts of benefit shows and fundraisers planned in the coming weeks, and PopCult will do its best to make you aware of them. People need help.

In particular, Dave Humphreys of Ghostbusters, WV Division fame and Gazette-Mail theater critic, Autumn Hopkins have suffered major losses. Click on their names to go to their GoFundMe pages and donate. Autumn’s story is particularly gut-wrenching. If you can afford to donate, please do. I will be posting more links for donations as I find them.

The benefit concerts and shows begin tonight. Here’s the first batch…

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AIR LOGO Color Wheel 0001With July 1 rapidly approaching we are still in repeat mode for a few more days on The AIR. As we wind down the beta version of our exciting new internet radio station in preperation for our big relaunch on Friday, you can sample some of our programming at The AIR’s website or on this nifty little embedded radio player,,,

While we are busy producing new episodes of the programming you may have already heard, and creating and acquiring tons of other new internet radio shows, you can sample some of the cool stuff we’ve already done to get an idea of what you can expect when The AIR revolution happens on July 1.

Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, you can listen to the third episode of the new Radio Free Charleston radio show produced for The AIR back in February. Wednesday at 10 AM and 7 PM, check out an encore edition of The Booster Pack. At 1 PM Wednesday, On The Road With Mel presents a replay of one of her informative travel shows.

All day Friday we’ll have brand-new programming, including special one-off interviews and a live remote from The Empty Glass. I’ll tell you more about our Friday line-up as it gets closer. Until now, give us a little listen, okay? .

Monday Morning Art: FestivALL Favorites

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Your PopCulteer barely made it to any of this year’s FestivALL festivities. My new medicines don’t play well with sunlight, and despite that, I ventured out for an hour or so at the Capitol Street Art Fair on Saturday. I paid for it later that evening, but it was worth it to see some friends and watch as our city still managed to become a work of art in spite of the overhwelming somberness hanging over our region due to last week’s flooding.

I did manage to snage a nifty Photo of Charly Erb and Beth White, two FestivALL fixtures, who returned this year even though Charly is now battling ALS, which has caused hm to trade in his stilts for a motorized scooter. It was inspiring to see the man still doing what he loves, making people laugh. That photo became the basis of this digital painting. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Videos: ASIA

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Asia_logxASIA was a prog-rock supergroup. John Wetton, who’d played with everyone from King Crimson to UK teamed with Carl Palmer, of ELP and Atomic Rooster fame, Steve Howe, the guitar genious of YES, and Geoff Downes, late of YES and one of The Buggles. They produced high-quality slick album rock with progressive overtones and, this is the big point, thirty-four years ago TODAY, they had the number-one album in the country and also played at The Charleston Civic Center.

13501856_1637782939877186_8738112114154969394_nAnd I was there in the third row, with my brother, Frank. Many thanks to Larry Shockley for posting the image of the ticket stub to Facebook, and to Mike Ballburn for the accompanying newspaper ad.

The opening act was a “rock ‘n’ roll juggler” who at one point tossed a flaming tennis ball into the crowd. Of course, it extinguised on the way out there, but that didn’t stop someone from re-igniting it and nailing the poor guy in the crotch. ASIA was in top form, but only played for about an hour.

13522013_1060482637355358_350149000217211549_nThe band didn’t have much material beyond their top-selling debut, and didn’t want to spend half the night covering tunes from their previous bands, so we basically got to hear the entire first ASIA album, one unreleased song that wound up on their second (“Midnight Sun”), a great instrumental by Steve Howe and a keyboard solo from Downes. Still, it was a great show, and it gives us an excuse to run some ASIA clips.

At the top of this post you see the original line-up of the band performing “Only Time Will Tell” in a shaky clip shot in Montreal in early 1983.

Next we see the original line-up reunited just four years ago, playing their classic tunes and songs from their then-new reunion album…

Below you get another full concert by the band recorded in the mid-1980s, after Steve Howe left to form GTR with fellow six-string virtuoso, Steve Hackett. Pat Thrall had taken over guitar duties and the band is still in top form in this show from London.

Enjoy and wistfully remember the good old days when Charleston was regularly treated to top of the line rock bands, instead of the country music and oldies that seem to be all we can get in the Civic Center for the last two decades.

FESTIVALL_logo_oval_medFor this, the last weekend of FestivAll, we bring you three more clips. Above you see The RFC MINI SHOW number forty-eight starring Todd Burge. We recorded this during FestivAll 2014, but some reason this episode was not posted until the following January.

Below you will see two dance pieces. One, shot in 2012, features Jenna Brooke Swanson and Susan Angela Hughart. This became The RFC MINI SHOW number twenty-seven. Under that you will find a special “Dance on Capitol Street” clip featuing Swanson and Hughart, joined by Lacy Hughes. We recorded this one in 2014.

Dance will happen again this weekend on the stage outside Taylor Books, so be sure to check out this fun part of FestivAll.

Extreme Weather and Common Sense

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1048The PopCulteer
June 24
, 2016

Once again we find ourselves scrapping an already-written PopCulteer to bring you some news and advice. West Virginia has been hit with severe flooding, and as I write this 44 counties are under a state of emergency and two local bridges (The Dunbar Toll Bridge and the Nitro-St. Albans Bridge) are closed for inspection after being hit by runaway barges. There are many events planned for this weekend, and you probably want to reconsider your plans and keep up-to-date via social media to see if they’re still happening.

The Crossings Mall in Elkview is cut off from the main road, leaving hundreds of people stranded. Live on the Levee with Dangermuffin has not been officially canceled for tonight, but you probably want to check social media before you leave your house. It’s not clear if the stage at Haddad Riverfront Park will be above water tonight. Saint Albans’ Riverfest is possibly also in question. Please use common sense. Don’t try to drive across standing water. Check social media to make sure that any events you plan to attend are still happening, and that your route to those events is clear.

You can get updates from the WV Division of Homeland Security Facebook Page as well as the Gazette-Mail and other news sites. Our image for this post is one of Chris Dorst’s photos for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

I would imagine that the month of July will be filled with benefit concerts and shows to help the victims of this flooding. We’ll try to keep you up to date on all that as it happens. This state has a long history of the artistic and musical communities coming together to help after a disaster. I first met Larry Groce over thirty years ago when I was running camera for Public Television and he had organized a benefit telethon for flood relief that originated from the Cultural Center. Over twenty years ago I put together a flood relief benefit for The Red Cross at The Empty Glass with The Carpenter Ants and the Leon Waters Blues Band.

But before we get to that point, we need to make it through the crisis, so please, if you are fortunate enough to remain dry and safe, please do not attempt to attend any events until you are certain that the event is still happening and that you can get there safely. We don’t need any of the tragic circumstances that this extreme weather brought us compounded. I’m hoping that FestivAll will be back on schedule by Saturday, but you can check their Facebook page to make sure.

I’m not telling you to hide in your house and skip all the cool local events that are supposed to happen this weekend, but please, use common sense and don’t put yourself in any danger. With major highways closed and bridges washed-out, take the time to make sure you can get where you want to go safely.

The content originally scheduled for today’s PopCulteer will be posted to this blog over the next week.

STUFF TO DO: June 23-26

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10430857_287867981402459_2442619287084244104_nAs is always the case during FestivAll, it’s a daunting task to document all the stuff to do in and around Charleston, but we’re going to give it the old college try (even if that means giving up three-quarters of the way through and taking an “incomplete”). The big things on Thursday are ArtWalk and the online listening party for Deni Bonet’s new CD.

ArtWalk happens tonight in Downtown Charleston, and the ArtWalk during FestivAll is traditionally one of the biggest of the year. In addition to all the usual cool stuff at the ArtWalk star destinations like Taylor Books, The Purple Moon, Art Emporium, Stray Dog Antiques and others, there will be all kinds of additional cool things happening, weather permitting.

The Company Stores will be performing live on Capitol Street. Steve Beckner will also be providing live music at ArtWalkm while Plus 1 will be at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance,920 Quarrier Street. There will be music everywhere.

Ryan Byrd, Andy King, Randy Yoho and Newman Jackson will show new works at 717 Lee St E.  Look for work by Krista Linderman at Viking Contracting and Consulting, 1027 Quarrier Street. Virginia Lee will feature I Love Nice People and Knight Vision Designs. In their new location, Uncork & Create will feature the work by the Charleston Gazette-Mail on its Tastiest Town Series, an interactive media experience with photos, videos, maps and stories showcasing signature restaurants in seven West Virginia towns. Steven Keith, the newspaper’s resident “Food Guy”, will address attendees at 6 p.m. about his restaurant experiences across the state.

At Top’s Off Barber Shop, the cast and production team of the Astral Theatre Collective’s Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel will present sneak-peeks of its debut production which will opens in July at the Alban Arts Center. Also at Tops Off on Hale Street, expect a free pop-up edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. There will be art, music and other cool stuff all over the Downtown Charleston area, that’s why you gotta walk it. For a full list of participating galleriesm hit up the ArtWalk website.

And if you stay in, you can listen to the new CD by Mountain Stage Alum, Deni Bonet…

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Also tonight, Saint Albans’ Riverfest begins with Morgan White performing at 9 PM, and there’s other cool things happening all weekend, check it out…

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One Week Left for The Marx Toy Museum

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Img_8431The PopCult Toybox

The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville will close its doors for good on June 30. That means you have about a week left to visit one of the coolest spots in the state and take in the history of one of the greatest toy companies of all time. The museum will continue as a virtual entity and a series of traveling exhibits, but the physical location simply became too expensive to operate.

If you have not made the trek up North to visit the Marx Toy Museum, I implore you to make the effort to check it out before the end. Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife were in Wheeling and Moundsville last weekend for the annual Marx Toy Convention (you will see more photos from that later this week), and we made one last trip to the museum, hanging out with fellow MTM supporters one last time for the after-hours get-together, complete with DiCarlo’s pizza and tons of great deals on toys and stuff.

To help entice you to make the trip, today we’re going to bring you one last photo essay, which follows in the footsteps of the massive five-part photo essay that we posted after our first visit to the museum. I also want to thank Francis Turner and the Turner family for their generosity in sharing this epic collection with the public for fifteen years. They have demonstrated the classiest way to share a toy collection with the world, and I hope they inspire others to follow their example.

We still haven’t ironed out all the captioning bugs with our new blogging template, so we present these images without much in the way of explanation. Go visit the museum and they’ll tell you all about what you see here.

Nestled on Second street in Moundsville, this is The Marx Toy Museum
Nestled on Second Street in Moundsville, this is The Marx Toy Museum
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Let’s go in one last time, shall we?

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