PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episodes 35 and 36

synergy01-e1453574477862This week we bring you two episodes of Radio Free Charleston that were recorded on the same night in January, 2008. The LaBelle Theater in South Charleston played host to a very special benefit concert to raise money for Sojourners, the YWCA shelter for homeless women and families and victims of domestic abuse. What was remarkable about this evening was that it happened on the day of the infamous “Blue Haze,” one of the many notable chemical leaks over the years that our state government has done nothing about.

Despite the fear of what an unknown chemical cloud floating around the area could do, a large crowd came out to hear an amzing assortment of musicians donate their time to this worthy cause. John Lilly, Rich Allen, The Synergy Collective, Sean Richardson, Karen Allen, Jerry Fugate, Mark Davis, Deron Sodaro and the evening’s host, Ric Cochran, put on a fantastic show that ended with a ton of musicians on stage leading a singalong to “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”


This was originally a two-part episode of Radio Free Charleston, spread out over RFC 35 and 36. Included among the musical performances are interviews I conducted with Ric Cochran and with Margaret Taylor, the director of Sojourners. At the time, these two episodes of RFC were described as “uncharacteristically classy,” which amused the hell out of me.

Sojouners is still active and the information in this show should still be valid. If you are in need of their assistance you can check with them at this link, or call 800.681.8663 or 304.340.3549, 24 hours a day.  The original production notes can be found HERE and HERE.

Calling In Sick

cough430xauto-30235The PopCulteer
February 10
, 2017

I’ve promised you fresh content every day here in PopCult, and I’ve delivered on that promise for more than three years now, but today, even though this post does count as fresh content, it’s a bit of a cop-out.

Your PopCulteer has come down with the nasty Winter cold-like cough that seems to be going around. In fact, Mrs. PopCulteer has it even worse than I do. We are barking our heads off to the point where Stately Radio Free Manor sounds a bit like a kennel during an earthquake.

So the post intended for this spot, another pre-Toy Fair report, will have to wait a few days. Our programming on The AIR will continue of course, but today’s edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat will be a rerun as a New Wave of the flu has struck our production partners at Haversham Recording Institute in London. Sickness has hit all over. It’s almost like there was some kind of great disturbance in the force.

I do not like being sick. Of course, nobody does. This is a particularly nasty cold-type sickness. It’s more of an annoyance than my Myasthenia Gravis, which technically is an illness, but which I consider more of a strange condition–one that I’m getting over quite well, thank you.

Luckily, before this damnable crud hit me, I was able to record five episodes of Radio Free Charleston in advance, so we’re covered there until March. Hopefully I’ll recover in time to make a new episode of The Swing Shift for Tuesday.

Mel has been waylaid by this, so it’s likely that On The Road with Mel and Curtain Call will present encore episodes next week. It sucks not being able to do as much for my wife as I’d like. This has been a rather sucky week.

logo-2-10That doesn’t mean you should miss out on the fine internet radio that we bring you 24/7 on The AIR.  You can even listen here…

a-2086045-1295051681-jpegI am lining up a ton of toy news for you. It’s just been tricky getting it all typed into this computer box while I’m coughing my head off.

Also, the cough meds make me very easily distracted, and then I get the audio earworm of Jay Silverheels singing the Honey Nut Cheerio Cereal jingle in my head and it all goes to hell. The next thing I know I’m on Wikipedia trying to find out who did the voice of the short fat cat that played bass in The Cattanooga Cats (it was Jim Begg).

I do want to plug the Alban Arts Center production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which the director, Patrick Felton, assures me has nothing at all to do with Jim Varney. It is a cross-gender take on Oscar Wilde’s wicked farce. Details are in the graphic below. Mel and I had intended to make it to opening night Friday, but instead we will stay away until we stop sounding like seals mating. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it next weekend.


That’s it for this week’s half-assed PopCulteer. I will try to make up for it next week. All of our regular features will be here, and as I feel better, I’ll start pumping out the toy posts, so keep checking back.

Prog Rock Rules on RFC International

rfci-2-09Radio Free Charleston International brings you two hours of mind-expanding progressive rock this week on The AIR. You can hear RFC International, the show where your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci, gets to play whatever music he wants, Thursday at 3 PM at The AIR website, or right here, on the embedded player…

With our Prog-rock showcase, Prognosis, presented by Herman Linte, in reruns while Herman recovers from the flu, your PopCulteer decided to battle off his own winter bug with the warmth of progressive goodness on RFC International. This episode hits all the stars in the progressive rock sky, and even throws in a few enigmas and ghosts for you.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston International Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 7 AM and 10 PM, Saturday at 11 AM, Sunday at 1 AM and Tuesday at 11 PM. That’s plenty of chances for you to catch this week’s show, loaded with 200% of the USDA recommended daily requirement of prog rock.  . Seriously, check out the playlist:

Tubes  “White Punks on Dope”
Nektar  “Burn Out My Eyes”
Dream Theater  “The Gift of Music”
Robert Fripp  “Breathless”
Tame Impala  “Let It Happen”
Floyd Acapella  “Us And Them”
Emerson Lake and Palmer  “Pirates”
Steve Hackett  “The Steppes”
Roger Waters  “Amused To Death”
Alan Parsons Porject  “I Robot”
Progessive Experience  “The Storm”
Steven Wilson  “Don’t Hate Me”
King Crimson  “21st Century Schizoid Man”
Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe  “Roundabout”

Special thanks to Mitch O’Connell for our nifty clip art logo!

zirk-logo-2-08Love is in The AIR today at 1:30 PM and 7 PM, where you can hear a new, Valentine-inspired episode of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum on The AIR website, or on this embedded radio player…

This week Michele talks of love and candy and kicks off a great new contest with prizes including copies of her book, Rain No Evil,  and a one hour heart-healing session with Naturopathic doctor Dr. Jeanie Short. The grand prize winner will be announced March 6th at noon in a live video on Michele’s Facebook page. For details on how you can enter the Heal Your Heart contest, go HERE,

In addition to the contest, this week Michele looks at love and other games of chance. The color of love can be a subtle hue or a bold splash of primary colors, but regardless of the shade, the color of love is easily felt. Michele discovers the sweet taste of love and the bitter tinge that lingers long after the color of love fades.

Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum can be heard every Wednesday at 1:30 PM and 7 PM on The AIR, with replays Friday morning, Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. You can also listen to archived episodes at her website.

207-logoIt’s Tuesday and that means new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

At 10 AM and 10 PM Radio Free Charleston brings the local music to you with a show that includes new music from The Wren Allen Band, Bon AIR, Deni Bonet and more, plus classic local tracks from the likes of Sheldon Vance, The Scrap Iron Pickers and Byzatine.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, Thursday at 5 PM, Saturday at 10 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 9 PM, exclusively on The AIR. Check out The Playlist after the jump.

At 3 PM The Swing Shift blasts away another new hour of killer swing tunes, followed by a classic episode. In our new hour ths week get ready for a mix of classic Big Band Swing, 1990’s Swing Revival bands, Electro Swing from Europe and brand-new Swing classics.

You can hear The Swing Shift every Tuesday at 3 PM, Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM, Saturday at 9 AM and if you just can get enough, tune in Thursday at Midnight for a marathon of classic episodes, all night long. The full playlist can be found at the bottom of this post.

Continue reading…

Monday Morning Art: Look Up



This month we are devoting Monday Morning Art in PopCult to some recent abstract work that I’ve done. As with most abstract art, describing it sort of defeats the purpose. You tell me what you’re looking at, okay?

Above you see a digital painting called “Look Up.” Click to enlarge it, and enjoy, if you are inclined to do such a thing.

And while you’re at it, just to remind you guys, PopCult has an internet radio stations, The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this neat little player…

On Mondays we feature progressive rock on Prognosis at 3 PM, with Harrah’s Hard & Heavy at 5 PM, cool talk with Patrick Felton, Mark Wolfe and the crew at The Empty Glass starts at 7 PM, and at midnight we get strange and disturbing overnight comedy and audio madness.

Sunday Evening Video: The Big Game

template-tudor-electric-football-650-dal-la-box-1972-vgIn the spirit of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” our video tonight is a football game, in honor of the Super Bowl, also known as “that thing they show between commercials and the Lady Gaga concert.”

So we’re bringing you football, only it’s not real football. It’s better. Apparently there is an entire league of electric football players who recreate games and post them to YouTube. The answer is “Yes,” if the question you have is, “So, this is a thing?”

Electric football, for the uninitiated, is a game played with little plastic figures balanced on bases with little finger-like brushes for feet. They are placed on a large, thin metal plate that’s painted to look like a football field, then a switch is flipped that makes the field vibrate, sending the little players skittering off in unpredictable directions. If you play correctly, one of the players will be carrying a booger-sized football.

I had this game as a kid, and I have fond memories of giving up on the players ever doing what they were supposed to, so I’d just turn it on to watch them jump around and chill out to the loud vibrating motor, which was nearly as relaxing to me as the sound of a vacuum cleaner (one of the most soothing sounds in the world for your PopCulteer). I sort of wish I still had it so I could crank it up to zone out to now. My problem with the video posted above is that they play it the game properly, instead of loading it up with Green Army men and toy dinosaurs, then lettting them go at it like I did.

Still, this is as interesting as any game where I don’t really care for either team.

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 34

RFC 34 from RFC Archives on Myspace.

aadelaynote01From January 2008 comes the thirty-fourth episode of Radio Free Charleston, “Lucha Mask Shirt (Show Without Words #1) ,which featured music from Charleston’s Blues legend Raymond Wallace, WV’s Latin Stars Duo Divertido, and Parkersburg’s master of the 12-string Josh Buskirk.

We also had fresh animation from RFC Big Shot Frank Panucci and a special visit from the then Commander in Chief. Best of all, this episode of RFC featureed NO VOCALS! The music is all instrumental, as is the animation, and even the President doesn’t have much to say.

Of course there were the host segments to contend with. I host the show with duct tape over my mouth. There are subtitles for my mumbling. We even recorded a special version of the theme song, and non-verbal jingles for this show. A lot of effort went into this as an afterthought.

nibtagebthumbpngWe remembered to record them while we were shooting the host bits on the fifth floor of the Quarrier street parking building at the Charleston Town Center, and the new jingles and theme were recorded in the car while RFC Big Shot Melanie Larch and I were warming up between segments. It was very, very cold last Sunday when we shot these.

The “Show Without Words” became an irregular feature of Radio Free Charleston, with three more wordless episodes in our archive. When production resumes, we’ll probably try to do it again.


Toy News Out The Wazoo

pc20301The PopCulteer
February 3
, 2017

The International Toy Fair in New York is just a few weeks away, and Toy Fairs in Europe are either wrapping up, or about to start, so this week the PopCulteer is going to be an epic rundown of some of the latest news from the toy industry.

Go get something to drink and find a comfortable spot so you can read this without any undue fatigue. Here is the latest from the world of Toys. PopCult will be very heavy with toy news for the next month or so.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Brothers always puts out a pre-Toy Fair press release that tips their hand a bit, offering up what they see as their main focus with toys that will be manufactured by multiple licensees. This year the focus is on their big movie properties, Wonder Woman and Justice League, with nods to some of their television and cartoon items, plus the new blockbuster DC Superhero Girls franchise.

Their press release is short on specifics, but does give us an idea of what to expect in stores. “With collections and must-have products from the most anticipated films of the year, we’re excited to showcase the full breadth and scope of WBCP’s DC Super Hero offerings in partnership with our super-powered global partners, programs and products at Toy Fair this year,” said Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

pc20302Wonder Woman hits theaters around the world in her first-ever standalone, self-titled action adventure feature film, beginning on June 2. The much-anticipated epic delves into the Amazonian Super Hero’s origins and her fight in a war to end all wars. In continuation of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary and in support of the upcoming film, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and its partners created a line of products fit for Wonder Woman fans of all ages.

Global master toy licensee Mattel will unveil product from the powerful line of toys to accompany Wonder Woman’s first-ever solo feature film, including a full toy line created in the likeness of the movie’s characters, collectible figures, dolls, playsets and role play for fans to recreate their favorite scenes from the movie. The Wonder Woman feature will also be supported by global partners The LEGO Group with an exciting construction set inspired by adventurous moments from the film, and Rubie’s Costume Co. with a new line of Wonder Woman movie-inspired costumes and accessories for fans of all ages.

Additional licensees with toy offerings include Funko, with fan-favorite stylized collectible figures; Neca, with 18-inch replica figures; Tonner Dolls, with detailed-design 18-inch fashion dolls; Madame Alexander, with 11-inch fashion dolls; Hot Toys, with the highly detailed high-ticket collectible figure you see above; Kotobukiya, with high-end collectible statues; Mezco and QMX with stylized figures; Jada Toys, with mini-metal figures; NJ Croce with bendable figures and keychains, Schleich with collectible figures; Sakar International, with electronics and accessories; and many more worldwide.

Continue reading…

bec-2-03-logoSydney Fileen returns Friday at 3 PM with a brand-new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat on The AIR. You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Back in fighting trim after the recent flu outbreak at Haversham Recording Institute, Fileen presents two hours of terrific New Wave-era music. There may even be a subtle theme to this week’s show. Check out the playlist:

The Clash  “Know Your rights”
M  “Official Secrets”
Elvis Costello  “Two Little Hitlers”
Theatre of Hate  “Do You Believe in the Westorld”
The Plugz  “Mindless Contentment”
Hazel O’Connor  “Big Brother”
The The  “The Beaten Generation”
New Model Army  “No Rest”
Joe Jackson  “Right And Wrong”
Laibach  “Sympathy For The Devil”
The Sex Pistols  “Holiday In The Sun”
Stiff Little Fingers  “Guilty As Sin”
Talking Heads  “Burning Down The House”
Boomtown Rats  “Banana Republic”
DEVO  “Freedom of Choice”
Depeche Mode  “People Are People”
Spear of Destiny  “Never Take Me Alive”
Kate Bush  “Army Dreamers”
The Buggles  “Living In The Plastic Age”
The Beat  “Whine and Grind/Stand Down Margaret”
The Specials  “Racist Friend”
Gang of Four  “To Hell With Poverty”
The Stranglers  “No More Heroes”
Funboy Three “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”
Tom Robinson Band  “Up Against The Wall”
The Vapors  “Cold War”
The Dead Kennedys  “Kill The Poor”
The Dickies  “Paranoid”
The Police  “When The World Is Running Down”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat can be heard Friday at 3 PM on The AIR, with replays Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 6 PM, Monday at 7 PM, and Tuesday at 8 PM. Look for a special Toy Fair Preview edition of The PopCulteer this afternoon.