PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Videos: Linda Vista

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lindavistaOur videos are shorts this week. First it’s a new promo clip for Linda Vista, the new play by Tracy Letts that I reviewed Friday. It’s also chock-full-of not-safe-for-work language, so be warned.

This world premiere production at Steppenwolf has just had its run extended and can be seen until May 28 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted St, in Chicago, Illinois. You can find ticket information HERE.

In the above clip you will see Ian Barford as “Wheeler,” the hapless victim of progress and his own life choices who has just moved into the Linda Vista apartment complex, reciting a few “Wheelerisms” that might give you a hint just exactly how confoundingly charming our hero is. Linda Vista is “an adult comedy about immature behavior,” and it’s a strikingly honest and hilarious play. Also, to correct an oversight in my review, the direction by Dexter Bullard, was note-perfect.

Below you see the playwright, Tracy Letts, talking about writing Linda Vista.

 

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 47

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rfc47montagethumbRadio Free Charleston 47, “Ted Petty Shirt” is back for another play. This July 2008 edition of the show brings you music from The Diablo Blues Band and Mark Bates and The Vacancies. We also have a taste of episode 48’s tribute to Quick And Dirty’s late lead singer, Randy Lee Walden and animation from Frank Panucci.

You can find the original production notes HERE.

23766_show_portrait_largeThe PopCulteer
April 28, 2017

Some readers have reported technical issues with this edition of The PopCulteer. To try and iron them out, we have moved the photo essay, Charlton Neo Kickstarter news and the schedule for The AIR to separate posts and republished these as four different entries. Let’s hope that works. Now on with the PopCulteer:

Our main reason for going to Chicago was to see Linda Vista, the new play by Tracy Letts, at Steppenwolf, the place where your PopCulteer got married. This story of a middle-aged white guy trying to resurface after falling into the deep end of the pool of bad life choices is probably the most laugh-out-loud funny thing that Letts has written. It’s still touching and poignant with a relevant subtext, but it’s also funny as hell.

Linda Vista, billed as “An Adult Comedy about Immature Behavior,” tells the story of Wheeler (Ian Barford), a 50-year-old under achiever who’s just moving out after spending two years sleeping on a cot in the garage of his estranged wife’s house. Wheeler is smart, funny, charming and also confused by the changing world around him. He works in a dead-end job as a camera repairman and early in the play finds himself on a blind date with a “life coach,” named Jules (Cora Vander Broek), with whom he begins a relationship.

Without going into too much plot detail, Wheeler manages to screw things up one month into that relationship, and winds up as half of a doomed couple with the much younger, pregnant Vietnamese-American Rockabilly chick, Minnie (Kahyun Kim). His longtime college buddies (Tim Hopper, Sally Murphy) are somewhat horrified by his actions, and as his world falls apart he finds himself dealing with miserable developments with his wife and son and melts down at work.

lindavista

Because I don’t want to write a book about this play, just let me say that it was spectacularly performed and exqusitely written. There were no weak links in the cast with every performer perfectly capturing the essence of their roles and Barford making “Wheeler” a very real entity. The story evoked a “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling in me as it put Wheeler through the paces of what seemed like a cross between a “Make Your Own Adventure” book and “Cards Against Humanity.” The audience really, really comes to like Wheeler and root for him, and he keeps making the worst possible decisions. There is a hint of redemption at the end, just to keep the play from being so realistic that it becomes depressing.

Continue reading…

Chicago Mini Photo Essay

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The PopCulteer
April 28, 2017

Some readers have reported technical issues with this edition of The PopCulteer. To try and iron them out, we have moved the Charlton Neo news, Linda Vista review and the schedule for The AIR to separate posts and republished these as four different entries. Let’s hope that works. Now on with the PopCulteer:

We saw lots of stuff in Chicago. Here are a few photos. Monday Morning Art in May will be based on Chicago images, too. Plus I promise we’ll get part three of the Avengers Assemble diorama photo essay posted soon. (This was originally part of today’s PopCulteer, but technical issues made us have to break it out as a separate post)

img_0046
A different view of the Chicago Skyline for us. Seen from inside the Art Institute.

 

img_0057
One of the lions outside the aforementioned Art Institute of Chicago.

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Chicago and Charlton Neo

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img_0070The PopCulteer
April 28, 2017

Some readers have reported technical issues with this edition of The PopCulteer. To try and iron them out, we have moved the photo essay, Linda Vista review and the schedule for The AIR to separate posts and republished these as four different entries. Let’s hope that works. Now on with the PopCulteer:

Your PopCulteer has returned from a quick trip to The Windy City and has a bunch of cool stuff to talk about this week.

Chicago

Your faithful correspondent made the trip to Chicago to accompany his wife to see Linda Vista, the new play by her favorite playwright, Tracy Letts (August: Osage County, Bug, Killer Joe, Superior Donuts), and on this trip we managed to squeeze in visits to a few great record stores for Record Store Day as well as our first-time as a couple stops at The Art Institute of Chicago and Millenium Park. That’s the Crown Fountain you see at right.

image_amtrakswc_markhinsdaleswc3cus580We rode up via Amtrak, and it was one of the most fun train trips we’ve made. Rail travel is such a great alternative to flying that it’s pretty disheartening that there are political leaders in Washington who want to defund Amtrak and eliminate the freedom of choice that consumers who have to travel long distances now have.Rather than killing off the last vestige of long-distance passenger rail in this country, since Amtrak is a government-owned corporation, our country ought to be investing more in Amtrak, upgrading the equipment and increasing the service so that vital lines like The Cardinal could become every day trains.Ridership would go up and fewer people would have to forcibly removed from overbooked airplanes.

Charlton Arrow Kickstarter

arrow-6Our friends at the Charlton Neo movement have a great new Kickstarter campaign for issue #6 of The Charlton Arrow that also includes a replica of the famed Charlton guide to making comics.

Let me quote from the Kickstarter campaign:

In just three years, Charlton Neo has released two dozen books with some of the world’s best and upcoming talent and our flagship title, The Charlton Arrow, is now up to it’s sixth issue! So far, we’ve only been available through mail order in select places, but now it’s time to hang with the big boys and, after this issue, get into the comic shops for increased exposure! It is our goal to raise enough from this Kickstarter for The Charlton Arrow #6 and The Comic Book Guide to afford printing of our next issue and get it into your friendly neighborhood comic shop! Check below for the sensational news of our line-up for our next, first direct issue.

This will be a big move for Charlton Neo, getting the book into comic shops via Diamond Distributors. Recently The Creeps Magazine and CARtoons made the jump into Diamond with great success, proving that great comics can be conceived outside the traditional comic book shop pipeline.

7cd8bb0fb2b79d866960ef471b460679_originalAlso part of this campaign is a reproduction of a book that your PopCulteer wanted badly back in the 1970s, but never managed to get around to ordering, Charlton’s Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer, Featuring a new introduction by writer Nick Cuti. Again, we quote from the campaign:

Nicola Cuti’s 1973 Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer from Charlton Comics is an instructional look at the process of comics storytelling. It details a commonsense approach to constructing and drawing comic book stories, even if the tools have evolved since then. Despite changes in technology, the basics that are logically conveyed here remain the same. The Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer is a rare, sought-after collectible produced by one of comicdom’s most gifted creators, and we at Charlton Neo are proud to re-present it. Take a step back and immerse yourself in the state-of-the-art tools and techniques of 1973, courtesy of Nicola Cuti and the Charlton artists!

This brief campaign has already hit its goal, and there’s still about a week left to go. I’ll be kicking in shortly, as should you. I would have told you about it sooner, but I was in Chicago when it started. Check out the widget:

Check the three other posts for this week’s full PopCulteer. PopCult will still be here every day. Keep checking back.

 

Friday On The AIR!

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april-6-logoThe PopCulteer
April 28, 2017

Some readers have reported technical issues with this edition of The PopCulteer. To try and iron them out, we have moved the photo essay, Linda Vista review and the schedule for The AIR to separate posts and republished these as four different entries. Let’s hope that works. Now on with the PopCulteer:

The AIR Friday Schedule

Friday on The AIR swells to new heights as we hit listeners with the double shot of DJ Betty Rock and Radio Coolsville, and Sydney Fileen with her Big Electric Cat. You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

With our new schedule on The AIR, we now have three hours of specialty music programming every weekday, starting at 3 PM. Friday, as before, is where you’ll find the debut of new episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 3 PM. This is our New Wave Showcase from Sydney Fileen courtesy of Haverhsam Recording Institute in London, England. Check the playlist for this week’s show at the bottom of this item.

Joining Sydney on Friday afternoons, we are proud to have DJ Betty Rock and Radio Coolsville. DJ Betty’s show, which originates out of WMUL in Huntington, has shrunk down to an hour, but is still chock-full of the coolest Alternative-inflected music you’ll find. Radio Coolsville will debut a new episode every Friday at 5 PM, with replays throughout the week.

At 6 PM tonight, it’s another half-hour of The New Music Show, and at 6:30 PM we bring you The Crazy Show. At 7 PM, this week, we’re bringing you a special replay of the Life Speaks Bigfoot Special, and at 8 PM we continue The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy with hour four.

9 PM sees a full hour of The Third Shift with Jay and Jared. Check this show our for the wildest conversations about beer, babes, gadgetry and the latest news from the world of the key demographic. At 10 PM we offer up a replay of this week’s Radio Free Charleston International. Midnight brings you an all-night trip to The Comedy Vault, with cutting edge humor to keep you awak and screw up your sleep cycle for the weekend.

Continue reading…

img_0070The PopCulteer
April 28
, 2017

Your PopCulteer has returned from a quick trip to The Windy City and has a bunch of cool stuff to talk about this week.

I’m going to try and keep it short, but chances are that I won’t succeed.

Chicago

Your faithful correspondent made the trip to Chicago to accompany his wife to see Linda Vista, the new play by her favorite playwright, Tracy Letts (August Osage County, Bug, Killer Joe, Superior Donuts), and on this trip we managed to squeeze in visits to a few great record stores for Record Store Day as well as our first-time as a couple stops at The Art Institute of Chicago and Millenium Park. That’s the Crown Fountain you see at right.

image_amtrakswc_markhinsdaleswc3cus580We rode up via Amtrak, and it was one of the most fun train trips we’ve made. Rail travel is such a great alternative to flying that it’s pretty disheartening that there are political leaders in Washington who want to defund Amtrak and eliminate the freedom of choice that consumers who have to travel long distances now have.

Rather than killing off the last vestige of long-distance passenger rail in this country, since Amtrak is a government-owned corporation, our country ought to be investing more in Amtrak, upgrading the equipment and increasing the service so that vital lines like The Cardinal could become every day trains.

Ridership would go up and fewer people would have to forcibly removed from overbooked airplanes.

Charlton Arrow Kickstarter

arrow-6Our friends at the Charlton Neo movement have a great new Kickstarter campaign for issue #6 of The Charlton Arrow that also includes a replica of the famed Charlton guide to making comics.

Let me quote from the Kickstarter campaign:

In just three years, Charlton Neo has released two dozen books with some of the world’s best and upcoming talent and our flagship title, The Charlton Arrow, is now up to it’s sixth issue! So far, we’ve only been available through mail order in select places, but now it’s time to hang with the big boys and, after this issue, get into the comic shops for increased exposure! It is our goal to raise enough from this Kickstarter for The Charlton Arrow #6 and The Comic Book Guide to afford printing of our next issue and get it into your friendly neighborhood comic shop! Check below for the sensational news of our line-up for our next, first direct issue.

This will be a big move for Charlton Neo, getting the book into comic shops via Diamond Distributors. Recently The Creeps Magazine and CARtoons made the jump into Diamond with great success, proving that great comics can be conceived outside the traditional comic book shop pipeline.

7cd8bb0fb2b79d866960ef471b460679_originalAlso part of this campaign is a reproduction of a book that your PopCulteer wanted badly back in the 1970s, but never managed to get around to ordering, Charlton’s Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer, Featuring a new introduction by writer Nick Cuti. Again, we quote from the campaign:

Nicola Cuti’s 1973 Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer from Charlton Comics is an instructional look at the process of comics storytelling. It details a commonsense approach to constructing and drawing comic book stories, even if the tools have evolved since then. Despite changes in technology, the basics that are logically conveyed here remain the same. The Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer is a rare, sought-after collectible produced by one of comicdom’s most gifted creators, and we at Charlton Neo are proud to re-present it. Take a step back and immerse yourself in the state-of-the-art tools and techniques of 1973, courtesy of Nicola Cuti and the Charlton artists!

This brief campaign has already hit its goal, and there’s still about a week left to go. I’ll be kicking in shortly, as should you. I would have told you about it sooner, but I was in Chicago when it started. Check out the widget:

23766_show_portrait_largeLinda Vista

Our main reason for going to Chicago was to see Linda Vista, the new play by Tracy Letts, at Steppenwolf, the place where your PopCulteer got married. This story of a middle-aged white guy trying to resurface after falling into the deep end of the pool of bad life choices is probably the most laugh-out-loud funny thing that Letts has written. It’s still touching and poignant with a relevant subtext, but it’s also funny as hell.

Linda Vista, billed as “An Adult Comedy about Immature Behavior,” tells the story of Wheeler (Ian Barford), a 50-year-old under achiever who’s just moving out after spending two years sleeping on a cot in the garage of his estranged wife’s house. Wheeler is smart, funny, charming and also confused by the changing world around him. He works in a dead-end job as a camera repairman and early in the play finds himself on a blind date with a “life coach,” named Jules (Cora Vander Broek), with whom he begins a relationship.

Without going into too much plot detail, Wheeler manages to screw things up one month into that relationship, and winds up as half of a doomed couple with the much younger, pregnant Vietnamese-American Rockabilly chick, Minnie (Kahyun Kim). His longtime college buddies (Tim Hopper, Sally Murphy) are somewhat horrified by his actions, and as his world falls apart he finds himself dealing with miserable developments with his wife and son and melts down at work.

lindavista

Because I don’t want to write a book about this play, just let me say that it was spectacularly performed and exqusitely written. There were no weak links in the cast with every performer perfectly capturing the essence of their role and Barford making “Wheeler” a very real entity. The story evoked a “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling in me as it put Wheeler through the paces of what seemed like a cross between a “Make Your Own Adventure” book and “Cards Against Humanity.” The audience really, really comes to like Wheeler and root for him, and he keeps making the worst possible decisions. There is a hint of redemption at the end, just to keep the play from being so realistic that it becomes depressing.

Continue reading…

The AIR Covers The Earth Musically, Thursday

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background-002Radio Free Charleston International mixes up the muzix once again at 3 PM Thursday on The AIR. Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

After another morning and afternoon filled with special encores of Curtain Call, Radio Coolsville, Beatles Blast, Ska Madness and more, we make the world safe for eclecticism on Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM with another show that, like last week, revisits a ton of great music that we originally presented one year ago. This show was also bumped off the server last summer, but it was so good we decided to bring it back for your listening pleasure.

Listeners will be treated to then-brand-new music by Bob Dylan, Corinne Baily Rae, Billy Sherwood, Radiohead and more, plus classic tracks from Emerson Lake and Palmer, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Joe Jackson and more. It’s a smorgasboard of excellence in music, presented lovingly for your ears.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 9 AM and 10 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Sunday at 1 AM and 10 PM.

Following RFC International on Thursday,you can listen to this week’s new Radio Free Charleston, with Deni Bonet and more at 5 PM, and The New Music Show at 6 PM , The Crazy Show at 6:30 PM. In prime-time, it’s this week’s episodes of The Swing Shift and Curtain Call, followed at 10 PM by Live From The Empty Glass (this week with  C2J2, The Contrarians and more). All night long after that, it’s a marathon of The Swing Shift.

Continue reading…

juke002It’s yet another thrilling Wednesday filled with new programming on The AIR as we offer up a new food-centric episode of  Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum and new editions of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just flip the switch right here on this embedded radio player…

The morning kicks off with a replay of this week’s The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by a two-hour version of The NEW MUSIC SHOW at 9 AM and a replay of last week’s Curtain Call at noon. All times, EDT, by the way.

At 1 PM  we have an encore of an edition of On The Road with Mel devoted to Chicago. We couldn’t do a new episode this week because we were in Chicago.

1:30 PM sees a new episode of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum, wherein Michele captures a green orb on her camera in what just may have been a fairy glen in Ohio and then we find out what was in the supposed empty tomb of Jesus..

The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe re-presents Mark’s live broadcast from Create WV, at 2 PM.

It’s a new Curtain Call at 3 PM, as Mel Larch brings you a collection of Broadway show tunes that became Top 40 hits when sung by other people.You’ll find the playlist below.

At 5 PM Beatles Blast is back with a brand-new episode, hosted by your humble PopCulteer. We have plenty of tracks from the Fab Four, together and solo, and a special treat from the Let It Be sessions. The full playlist can be found below.

6 PM sees The NEW MUSIC SHOW, followed at 6:30 PM by The now-daily Crazy Show.

At 7 PM we have a replay of the Life Speaks Bigfoot Special with Michele Zirkle Marcum.

We maintain our prime-time Wednesday line-up of this week’s Prognosis at 8 PM, followed by The Comedy Vault at 10 PM. Then at midnight we dive into the Radio Free Charleston archives for seven hours of classic episodes from the last year. Nobody brings you as much local music as The AIR.

The interruption-free programming continues as The AIR continues being an actual radio station, despite what some people think.

Continue reading…

tuesday-4-18-lgoOur internet radio station, The AIR, is making Tuesdays bigger than ever with three specialty music programs.  Today, Radio Free Charleston opens with Deni Bonet, The Swing Shift brings you an hour of great Swing Music and Dexter Checkers picks it up with the second hour-long edition of Ska Madness.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

A t 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday join us for a new hour of great local music on Radio Free Charleston. This week we open the show with a new track from Deni Bonet, then launch into a trek through the RFC archives. The playlist is below the jump.

At noon we offer up three hours of Radio Free Charleston from just a few weeks ago, so you can overdose on great local music.

3 PM sees a brand-new episode of The Swing Shift, featuring Royal Crown Revue, Joe Jckson’s Jumpin’ Jive, Glenn Miller, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Buddy Rich and more. You’ll find the playlist for this week’s show below the RFC playlist.

5 PM sees the return of Dexter Checkers and Ska Madness. This is the first hour-long edition of the program, and in it Dexter brings you the entire debut album, “I Just Can’t Stop It,” by The English Beat.

At 6 PM our daily New Music Show continues, while at 6:30 PM, by Popular Demand, it’s The Crazy Show. At 7 PM we offer up a replay of The RFC Interview with Mark Wolfe, and at 8 PM it’s a replay of last weeks Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.

10 PM is when Radio Free Charleston is heard again, followed by last week’s Radio Free Charleston International, and an all-night marathon of Radio Coolsville with DJ Betty Rock

The AIR is the place to go for interruption-free music. Below the jump you’ll find the playlists I promised you:

Continue reading…