PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Prog-Rock Christmas on The AIR

proglogoxmasOur onslaught of holiday music continues on The AIR this week, joined at 3 PM by a brand-new Christmas episode of Prognosis, our weekly progressive rock program, presented by Herman Linte.  You can listen at the AIR website on on this intricately-carved and highly-detailed embedded player…

Prognosis joins a line up of holiday programming on The AIR that includes special editions of Radio Free Charleston, The Swing Shift,Curtain Call and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, as well as huge blocks of The AIR XMAS Mess that bring you a wide variety of music as well as specials like The Goon Show and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.

The Prognosis playlist:

Greg Lake  “I Believe In Father Christmas”
Jethro Tull  “A Christmas Song”
Jon Anderson “How It Hits You”
Chris Squire and Alan White  “Run With The Fox”
Rick Wakeman  “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”
The December People  “Carol of the Bells”
Queen  “Thank God It’s Christmas”
The December People  “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”
Keith Emerson  “I Saw Three Ships”
The December People  “Little Drummer Boy”
The December People  “Silent Night”
The California Guitar Trio  “Oh Christmas Tree”
Jethro Tull  “Another Christmas Song”
Kate Bush  “December Will Be Magic Again”
Genesis  “A Winter’s Tale”
Queen  “A Winter’s Tale”
Renaissance  “The Winter Tree”
Steve Howe  “Beyond Winter”
The December People  “The First Noel”
ELP  “Nutrocker”
Kansas  “The Light”
The December People “Up On The Rooftop”
Jon Anderson  “Day of Days”
The December People  “Deck The Halls”
The December People  “Angels We Have Heard On High”
ELP  “Humbug”
Jethro Tull  “Fire at Midnight”
Rabbit  “Auld Lang Syne”

overview-01Okay, so I know it isn’t winter yet, but it still made for a catchy title, so I’m sticking with it. Your PopCulteer recently went on two fun adventures, week-long trips a week apart, that I was not able to tell you much about because this blog was overrun with the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide.

Now that we’re through with that (at least for another year), I can tell you about my trips. First we went to Georgia for Thanksgiving and then we went to Chicago for my wife’s birthday.

Wonderful, cool and even surreal things happened on both trips and I’ll be posting the visual evidence all week long.

Today we’re going to give you some quick highlights of both trips, starting with the image at the top of this post, which shows the late Chicago sportscasting legend, Harry Carey, escorting us into Dante’s seventh level of hell…or something. I wasn’t really paying attention.

More cool stuff below…

One of the main reasons we went to Georgia for Thanksgiving was to check out some of the more accessible shooting locations for The Walking Dead. Here’s the wall at Alexandria (actually Senoia). Look for a whole photo essay devoted to this stuff later in the week.


Mrs. PopCulteer stands in front of the grafitti wall in Grantville, Georgia, the location of the acclaimed “Clear” episode of The Walking Dead.


Yours truly is joind by JoeLanta stalwarts E.J. White (L) and Maren Jallad (R) at the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum temporary exhibit at the Historic Train Depot in Stone Mountain Georgia. We’ll have a photo essay on this later in the week, too.

Continue reading…



We start off this week with a digital painting of the Chicago skyline, as reflected in the building across Grand Avenue from my hotel the week before last. I thought it looked cool, so I immortalized it. Youse can click on it to see if bigger.

Now that The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide is over and done with, I can devote some time to telling you about my recent travels. During the course of the gift guide this year, I took two week-long trips: To Georgia for Thanksgiving and to Chicago for my lovely wife’s birthday. All week long I’m going to bring you brief photo essays to show you what kind of misadventures we got into. After cranking out nearly a novel’s worth of writing for the gift guide, I’m going to let photos do the work as we slide into Christmas.

There will also be bonus videos of RFC Christmas goodness posted all this week, too. PopCult will be a bit of a multi-media smogasboard. So enjoy. I’ll be here all week.

You’d Better Watch Out!

You have one last chance today to get your photo taken with Krampus. If you don’t…well, you might go on “the list.”


330px-a_kitten_for_hitler-e1418397863757Two years ago I decided to start a holiday tradition, showing the absolutely most-foul Christmas film ever made. It is so deliberately offensive that I think I can only get away with posting it here ever other year. Tonight, one week out from the holiest day of the year, I invite to wallow in the poor taste once again. Above you see the film, “A Kitten For Hitler,” a short holiday film written on a dare by the late director Ken Russell.

In a 2007 interview Russell explained how the film came about: “Ten years ago, Melvyn Bragg and I had a heated discussion on the pros and cons of film censorship. Broadly speaking, Melvyn was against it, while I, much to his surprise, was absolutely for it. He then dared me to write a script that I thought should be banned. I accepted the challenge and a month or so later sent him a short subject entitled A Kitten for Hitler. ‘Ken,’ he said, ‘if ever you make this film and it is shown, you will be lynched’.”

The result is a low-budget, self-indulgent sophomoric work of genius. Deliberately as offensive as possible, this short film tells the tale of a young Jewish boy who thinks that Hitler wouldn’t be such a bad man, if only he’d gotten a good Christmas present. You will groan loudly as the story unfolds and whether or not you make it to the end is dependent on how tolerant you are of work that is awful on purpose. You will either laugh yourself silly or be deeply, deeply offended.

Tune In To The XMAS Mess on The AIR

xmas-air-logoThe AIR is brimming with holiday spirit all week this weekend and up until the big day on the 25th. We’re bringing you special collections of holiday programming and special episodes of Radio Free Charleston, The Swing Shift and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Joining the line-up Saturday at 1 PM will be a special holiday edition of Curtain Call, as Mel Larch brings you Christmas songs from the world of musical theater.

You can tune in at the Website or on this happy little embedded player…

At 1PM you can hear a brand-new Curtain Call as Mel Larch brings you holiday-themed songs from shows like Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Elf” The Musical, A Christmas Carol: The Musical and more, plus some Christmas songs performed by cast members from shows like The Producers, The Bardy Bunch and Something Rotten.

Monday the holiday madness continues as we bring you a Christmas-themed episode of Prognosis, presented by Herman Linte. Herman will load you up with holiday cheer from prog-rock titans like YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull, Kansas, Queen, Genesis and more.  You can hear The AIR XMAS Mess almost non-stop until the day after Christmas on The AIR, with just a few breaks for some of our regularly-scheduled programming.

rfc27montageFrom September, 2007, comes RFC 27 “Trust Me I’m A Doctor Shirt.” Highlighted by music from Comparsa, Doctor Senator and Stephanie Deskins, this show also features animation by Stephen Beckner and a creepy toy commercial.

Episode 27 of Radio Free Charleston is online again for the first time in over six years.  This installment, titled “Trust Me I’m A Doctor Shirt,” is crammed full of a diverse assortment of excellent music, plus just a dash of animation and mind-hurting weirdness. We were all over town in this show, at LiveMix Studio, The Sound Factory, The La Belle Theater, and even on the South Side Bridge.

We have great songs from Stephanie Deskins, Doctor Senator, and Comparsa, plus a cartoon by Stephen Beckner and a really creepy toy commercial (about which we will not speak again). Hosted by yours truly from the South Side Bridge, the iconic gateway that leads from downtown Charleston to up where all the user fee money goes to pave roads.The original production notes can be found HERE.

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide Master List

giftguide-graphic-004The PopCulteer
December 16
, 2016

Okay, this was quite an undertaking. The 2016 PopCult Gift guide comprised over 130 gift suggestions in over 100 posts, spread out over just a bit more than a month. Your PopCulteer spent months choosing unique and particularly nifty gift suggestions with the goal of telling about things that other gift guides didn’t know about.

This was a beast of a list to compile. Once I got into the actual writing, editing and posting, I realized that I would have to compose close to 40,000 words…and that I had two week-long trips scheduled during the time I usually assemble the list. Needless to say, this was a huge job, made even hugerer by the fact that I had to write two week’s worth of posts ahead of time so that I could get out of town.

salt-coverSo now this list is in the books, and PopCult should return to whatever passes for normal around here. Our regular features will still be here over the weekend. We’ll be bringing you plenty of updates on The AIR, our internet radio station (currently playing holiday music, go check it out!), and starting Monday I’ll be posting photo essays that cover the two trips I made in the last month.

That should take us to next Friday, easy. I may even try to neak in a new video episode of Radio Free Charleston before the end of the year.I hope you enjoyed the list. Feedback on social media indicates that this may be my best-received PopCult Gift Guide yet. Below is the master index. Keep in mind, if you are ordering something through the mail, act fast! Today is pretty much the last day that you can reasonably expect to order something and get it in time for Christmas or Hannukkah.Enjoy, and have a great holiday season!

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide Master Index


The Amazing Toys of Marvin Glass
Celeste Giuliano’s Pin-ups in 3-D
The Battle of Charleston
Rain No Evil
Mitch O’Connell’s Tattoos Volume II
TV’s Frank on MST3K
Maido: A Guide To Japanese Gestures
Pinball Wizards and Blacklight Destroyers
The Daily Show (The Book)
Heavy Metal Pizza Party (Crime Cats)
Portraits of The Legends of Comics
411ic6pengl-_sy400_bo1204203200_2Create: Art Collaborations In NYC
VISCERAL The Art of Jason Edmitson
Steppenwolf Theatre Company In Their Own Words
Big In Japan II
Call of Cthulu for Beginning Readers
Stroker: The Artistic Works of Tom Medley
Ink ‘N Guys


annmagnuson5Progressive Rock from Prognosis
Swing Music from The Swing Shift
New Wave Picks from Sydney’s Big Electric Cat
Diablo Blues Band
Dream Girl by Ann Magnuson
Kate Bush Before The Dawn
Todd Rundgren Live
Pete Townshend’s Deep End Live
Phantom of the Opera Remastered
ws_bannerfeastEight Days A Week: The Beatles-The Touring Years
Art and Music by The Punk
Under Surveillance “Awakening:”
Todd Burge  “Live on Mountain Stage”
Larry Groce  “Live Forever”
Spencer Elliott  “Unspoken
Superfetch  “Maximum Penetration (Live)”
Hurl Brickbat  “The Stamp EP”
Crazy Jane “(the green disc)”
Miniature Giant  “Terrible People”
Kerry Hughes  “Battleground’s Theater”


2016 Hess Toy Truck and Dragster
50570161AZIAM Yoga Toys
Lionel Mega Tracks
Terra Climber
I AM Elemental
Mensch on a Bench
Cabbage Patch Kid Baby So Real
Xtreme Cycle Moto Cam
91irosjq4ll-_sl1500_My Fairy Garden
Peppy Pups
Greenlight Collectible Cars
LEGO Yellow Submarine
Hot Wheels Ai Racing System
DC Superhero Girls
The Amazing Toys of Marvin Glass
Johnny West Horses
Cabbage Patch Big Kids


The World of Edena
The Fifth Beatle (Expanded Edition)
Super Weird Heroes
Charlton Neo Comics
Tiki Zombie Bundle
The Creeps Magazine
Call of Cthulu for Beginning Readers
Stroker: The Artistic Works of Tom Medley
Cemetary Plots
71rjdhzgazl-_sx522_Forbidden Gallery


Celebrity Name Game Home Edition
Noel Shuffle
Captain Action Card Game
Stratego Waterloo Edition


Phantom of the Opera Remastered
Eight Days A Week: The Beatles-The Touring Years
The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man
Todd Rundgren Live
Pete Townshend’s Deep End Live
The Secret Life Of Pets


Aquabats Power Watch
That Pillow


The Charleston Anvil
The Creeps Magazine
Non Sport Update
Bachelor Pad Magazine
TCM Now Playing
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street


The Art of Glen Brogan
Art and Music by The Punk
Mitch O’Connell’s Tattoos Volume II
Pinball Wizards and Blacklight Destroyers
Portraits of The Legends of Comics
2Create: Art Collaborations In NYC
VISCERAL The Art of Jason Edmitson


Eat Local
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street


Oddbird Gift Emporium
Shop Local


Musical Theatre Gifts from Curtain Call
“Worst Christmas” at The Alban
Steppenwolf Theatre Company In Their Own Words
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Black Nativity

Pop Culture Themes

Batman ’66
Star Wars
Star Trek

ys-001Stuff You Need

Picks from On The Road with Mel

Check back for our regular features and tons of photos and we attempt to take it easy going into the holiday. .

rfcappFor our final day of the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide we are going to turn to one of my speicalities, local music. As the host of Radio Free Charleston, I sort of keep my finger on the pulse of the local music scene here in Charleston.

In fact, you can listen to the radio version of Radio Free Charleston for three hours today at 3 PM on The AIR, our internet radio station, at the website or on this cool embedded player…


This has been a bit of an odd year for your PopCulteer in terms of covering local music. After my diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis in April, I had to curtail my activities on the local scene quite a bit. I haven’t made it out to many shows this year and the Radio Free Charleston video show, which has been running since 2006, is on an extended hiatus due to eyestrain issues that make editing video a bit of a burden (that will change soon and RFC will return).

The following list is recently-released music by local artists whom I respect greatly. It is not a “best of” list. It’s just music that I think would make a great gift for the music-lover on your holiday shopping list. Links to order are included, but you may also find some of these releases in local music stores or at gigs by the artists. A few of these releases are only available as downloads, which makes them hard to wrap, but that’s what the kids today seem to like. Go figure.

productimage-aspUnder Surveillance
This four-song EP was just released a couple of weeks ago and it finds Under Surveillance revitalized. Their sound is firmly rooted in the New Wave era, but their music has evolved with a contemporary edge.

This very reasonably-priced EP is a great introduction to the band, which will be touring extensively in 2017. You can order the new EP from Factory Fast Records HERE.

a2194342474_16Todd Burge
“Live on Mountain Stage 2006-2015”
The CD collects ten year’s worth of Todd’s performances on Mountain Stage, the legendary radio show that originates from right here in Charleston. Todd, of course, is West Virginia’s troubadour, an amazing songwriter and an engaging performer.

These songs were recorded live on Mountain Stage and used by permission of Mountain Stage, West Virginia Public Broadcasting – Francis Fisher (engineer), Larry Groce/ Andy Ridenour/Adam Harris (producers) Patrick Stevens (additional mixing on “Nuts” and technical assistance). You can order this CD right HERE.

albumart_larrygroce1_200x200Larry Groce
“Live Forever”
Speaking of Mountain Stage, Larry Groce, the show’s host, producer and proud pappy, has released his first solo album in years. With his feet planted firmly in Americana, Groce has delivered a remarkable CD.

“Live Forever” is a terrific collection of originals and covers and it’s a strong, mature, musical statement. This is perfect, contemplative Sunday Morning Music. You can order it HERE.

imagegen-ashxSpencer Elliott
My old pal, geetar wunderkind Spencer Elliott, has released a new collection six pieces of intricate fingerstyle guitar music. Once again with Antoine Dufour at the controls, Spencer’s second Candyrat release contains six unique and dynamic pieces that forge new territory and display Spencer’s continuing progression in composition and careful attention to melody.

From the bombastic “Torque” to the delicate “Unspoken,” each composition paints a diverse and vivid sonic landscape. Order it HERE and be amazed.

Speaking of old friends, if you’re into heavier rock, this is the release for you. The Self Titled Harrah Release is a powerhouse from the Capitol City of West Virginia. Veterans and Pioneers of the Rock and Metal scene they mix genres of Rock, Metal, Blues, and Soul.

I produced a couple of videos for this CD before my medical exile, and I wish I could have made more. This is a striking and powerful collection of heartfelt songs. You can order it HERE.

“Maximum Penetration (Live)”
Equal parts Negativeland, The Church of Subgenius, Kraftwerk and The Beatles “Revolution 9,” Superfetch is experimental music taken to the extreme.

These electronic avant-garde artistes recommend that you “Play this album during daily activities.”  All songs are lifted from their live stream shows on YouTube, which can now be heard on The AIR, Saturdays at 9 PM. Order the CD HERE.

a3984940514_16Hurl Brickbat
“The Stamp EP”
Five new songs from one of the brightest bands to emerge in Charleston in 2015. Hurl Brickbat treads the lines between alternative, grunge and Americana with style and wit. Well worth checking out and with an exciting future.I believe the band plans a full album and tour in 2017. They’ve come a long way since we discovered them at ShockaCon in 2015.

You can buy the EP HERE.

a1010364450_16Crazy Jane
“(the green disc)”
A new collection of tunes from one of West Virginia’s most intriguing bands. With a history going back more than a quarter-century, it’s rereshing to find the reunited Crazy Jane sounding as vital as ever, with great songwriting and wonderful musicianship and vocals.

It’s cool to see veterans showing that they still have it, and can remain as vibrant and relevant as ever. Order the CD HERE.

a3161978516_16Miniature Giant
“Terrible People”
This new six-song release from one of my favorite punky bands is a terrific musical kick in the ass. With songs like “Not My Way” and “Jerk in a Nissan,” the band continues to amuse and amaze with a wiseguy attitude and driving punk music with first-class chops.

This is one of the bands I really want to have as guests on the RFC video show, once it’s up and running again. Download the album HERE, and check for special deals on their other releases.

a2704089952_16Kerry Hughes
“Battleground’s Theater”
A great new solo release from Charleston-based Kerry Hughes, “Battleground’s Theater” includes ten mostly acoustic songs recorded from 2015-2016. Newer songs make up the first half, while the second half is made up of older songs.

This is acoustic music with a punk edge, and extremely clever songwriting. Order it HERE.

That wraps up our 2016 PopCult Gift Guide. Please keep in mind that I didnt have room to list every local music release that came out this year…but you are welcome to post comments to tell me about the cool stuff I might have missed.

Tomorrow we will present the final Master List of all the entries in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide. Check back and get our there and buy some of this stuff. You only have a few days left!

PC 9 23 airThe AIR is brimming with holiday spirit all week this week, but today we also have new episodes of On The Road with Mel and Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum. You can tune in at the Website or on this happy little embedded player…

At 1PM you can hear a brand-new On The Road with Mel as Mel Larch is joined by yours truly to discuss our recent trips to Georgia and Chicago, and we also give you a recap of the On The Road Gift Guide.

At 1:30 PM (with a replay at 7 PM) you can hear part three of Michelle Zirkle Marcum’s appearance on Coast to Coast with George Noury in this week’s Life Speaks.

The rest of the day is just plastered with holiday music and comedy and other cool stuff, so listen in to The AIR and get enlightened, or amused, or something.