PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

9-20-fall-preview-logoIt’s Day four of our NEW FALL SEASON on The AIR, West Virginia’s for-reals most-listened-to internet radio station as of this writing. All week long we have featured brand-new episodes of our most popular shows!  Thursday sees only one brand-new show on The AIR, but it takes “brand-new” to a new level, as Radio Free Charleston International presents two hours of newly-released music. Check it out at the website, or on this nifty embedded radio player…

Every track you’ll hear on RFC International this week comes from a record released in the last two months. some of the songs are new versions of old tunes, but they’re all newly-recorded.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM, following an encore of this week’s new episode of Radio Free Charleston at 2 PM.

On RFC International you’ll hear new music from Gary Numan, Ringo Starr, Foo Fighters, the former Cat Stevens, Weezer, Gogol Bordello, Living Colour, Sparks, Tori Amos, The Waterboys and more. Much of this music is so new that it may well not have shown up on your musical radar yet.

We also have a bounty of tracks by new artists that you probably have never heard of before. Think of this week’s RFC International as a huge sampler mixtape of new music. Check out the playlist…

RFCI 041

rfci-june-variant-004Gary Numan  “If I Said”
Ringo Starr  “Back Off Boogaloo”
Foo Fighters  “Dirty Water”
Yusef  “The Laughing Apple”
St. Vincent  “Los Angeles”
Greg Howe  “Push It On”
The Contortionist  “Reimagined”
Weezer  “Beach Boys”
The Foxholes  “Andromeda Blues”
The Used  “Over and Over Again”
Living Colour  “Preachin’ Blues”
El Goodo  “It Makes Me Wonder”
Dinner  “Don’t Belong”
Sparks  “Scandanavian Design”
DYGL  “Boys On TV”
88 Fingers Louie  “All The Right Words”
The Preatures  “Yananda”
The Woggles  “Tally Ho”
Johnny Lang  “Signs”
Thirty Seconds To Mars  “Walk On Water”
Mosquitos  “Mexican Dust”
Tori Amos  “Chocolate Song”
Secure Escape  “Obsession Addiction”
The Waterboys  “Morning Came Too Soon”
Brendon Small  “The Agenda”
Gogol Bordello  “Did It All”

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston International Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 7 AM and 10 PM, Saturday at Noon, and Sunday at 1 AM and 10 PM. That’s plenty of chances for you to hear what’s new in the world of music.

air-fall-preview-wednesdayOur NEW FALL SEASON continues on The AIR, West Virginia’s for-reals most-listened-to internet radio station. All week long we will have brand-new episodes of our most popular shows! Wednesday is a madhouse on The AIR as we bring you brand-new episodes of FIVE programs, two of which have been on hiatus for nearly a year! Check it out at the website, or on this nifty embedded radio player…

Continuing a week of premieres that will see new episodes of every one of our late-afternoon music programs plus many of other talk and comedy shows, we are thrilled on Wednesday to offer up brand-new editions of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, Beatles Blast, Curtain Call, Word Association with Lee & Rudy and The Comedy Vault.

This is all part of our big fall initiative that will see new editions of all your favorite shows for at least a month before we start filling up timeslots with Halloween programming, then go back to reruns for a while, using the holidays as an excuse.

evans-picOur premiere episodes begin at 1:30 PM with Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle. This episode features the first part of Michele’s interview with Patricia Evans (left), a celebrated life coach and the best-selling author of The Verbally Abusive Relationship, which is closing in on one million books sold. Michele credits Evans’ earlier book, The Verbally Abusive Man, for much of her success in finding her own path to success.  Dealing with verbal abuse is a very important subject and Michele’s interview with Ms. Evans is a real eye-opener.

Michele will be holding a workshop on recognizing and dealing with verbal abuse Thursday, September 21, at Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston from 6 to 7 PM.  You can hear a replay of Life Speaks Wednesday night at 7 PM and Friday morning at 11 AM.

At 2 PM things turn bad, sort of. Beatles Blast, hosted by your PopCulteer, observes their 13th episode by presenting an hour of some of the unluckiest covers of Beatles songs ever recorded. Kicking off with David Bowie’s unfortunate take on “Across The Universe,” the show continues with celebrities who think they can sing, metal bands who don’t quite understand what they’re supposed to be doing and easy-listening vocal groups who should just say “no.” And we won’t even go into the abomination that is “Looney Tunes Sings The Beatles.”

There is entertainment value here, just not musical entertainment value.

spongebob-squarepants-ocr_cover_sq-cfbb337635edbcfbfe28475cb71b0bd8cb21b1b8-s500-c853 PM sees a special edition of Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch. This week Curtain Call presents a preview of the cast album of the upcoming Broadway show, SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical.

Featuring the original cast performing songs written by They Might Be Giants, David Bowie, Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, Jonathan Coulton and more, this show is a huge surprise, with a great story, terrific songs and energetic performances. This may be the great Broadway musical based on a a cartoon about sea life ever produced. Sorry Ariel.

Curtain Call replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM.

1200px-george_romero_66eme_festival_de_venise_mostraAt 7:30 PM Wednesday it’s the long-awaited return of Word Association with Lee & Rudy, back after eleven months off! In this rambling and unrehearsed half-hour, Mr. Lee Harrah and yours truly discuss all manner of pop culture topics with no preparation whatsoever. In fact, I never tell Lee what the topic for each show is until after we roll tape. Luigi, our official timer, returns to make sure we don’t run long.

Tonight we discuss The Father, the late George Romero (left), and his influence on film. This episode will replay Friday morning at 9 AM and Saturday night at 8 PM.

Also returning with a new episode after many months in reruns is The Comedy Vault at 11 PM, which presents an hour of Lenny Bruce, recorded at Berkley.

There you have it, a full day of cool new programming on The AIR. Go nuts listening to it, folks!

More New Cool Radio Shows For You!

air-logo-tv-guide-coverOur NEW FALL SEASON continues on The AIR, West Virginia’s most-listened-to internet radio station. All week long we will have brand-new episodes of our most popular shows! Check it out at the website, or on this particularly swell embedded radio player…

Continuing a week of premieres that will see new episodes of every one of our late-afternoon music programs, we are thrilled to offer up brand-new editions of Radio Free Charleston, Ska Madness and The Swing Shift.

At 10 AM and 10 PM, Radio Free Charleston delivers its usual mix of new and classic tracks from Charleston-connected bands, hosted by yours truly. Check out the playlist…


rfc-logo-julyThe Heavy Editors   “Heavy”
4OHM MONO  “A Lunatic High”
Byzantine  “Verses of Violence”
Bobaflex  “Moon And Shadows”
Scarlet Revolt  “Wait”
Hawthorne Heights  “VANDEMONIUM”
Speedsuit  “Riddle”
Red Audio  “Robotomy”
The Science Fair Explosion  “Coinslot Part One”
The Science Fair Explosion  “Coinslot Part Two”
Strawfyssh  “Netted Fish”
Payback’s A Bitch  “Nut Up or Shut Up.”
David Synn “The Future Is History”

At 2 PM our colleague from Haversham Recording Institute, Dexter Checkers, offers up a new hour of Ska Madness for your listening and dancing pleasure. Here’s what Dexter has to play…

Ska Madness 012

ska-madnessThe Toasters  “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”
The Bodysnatchers  “Let’s Do Rock Steady”
The Selector  “Three Minute Hero”
The Specials  “Rat Race”
Rico  “Sea Cruise”
Save Ferris  “Come On Eileen”
Reel Big Fish  “Take On Me”
Skankin’ Pickle  “Cup Flipper”
Bad Manners  “Inner London Violence”
The Hot Knives  “Turkey Stomp”
Big 5  “Walking On Sunshine”
The Riffs  “Peter Gunn”
King Hammond  “The King Hammond Shuffle”
The Skatalites  “Christine Keeler”
Prince Buster  “Flying Ska”
Dillinger  “Rock To The Music”
Madness  “Prospects”

Tuesday at 3 PM, I return to the microphone again to host an all-new hour of The Swing Shift, and this one’s loaded with brand-new Swing Music discoveries. Just look…

The Swing Shift 029

swingshift-player-logoBig Bad Voodoo Daddy  “Jump Jive and Wail”
Louis Prima Jr.  “New Orleans”
Tomaccos  “Ugly Pretty Things”
Adriano Baltolba Orchestra  “Shame, Shame, Shame”
Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra  “Smack Dab In The Middle”
Lady J and Her Bada Bing Band  “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”
Finn Ziegler  “Ribald In Rhythm”
Woody Herman  “Sidewalks of Cuba”
The Swinging Dice  “Rhythm Off The Shelf”
The Peppi Moreale Trio  “The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else”
Noel Akchote  “A Smooth One”
Swing Republic  “Searchin’ The Desert For The Blues”
Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys  “Sing To Me”
The Swing Shift Big Band  “Sho Nuff”

Only two days into the week, and we’ve already loaded you up with tons of great new music programs. It continues tomorrow with more cool stuff, including new episodes of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, Curtain Call and Beatles Blast!


The NEW FALL SEASON on The AIR Starts Today!

air-previewBeginning today on The AIR, West Virginia’s most-listened-to internet radio station will have brand-new episodes of our most popular shows! Check it out at the website, or on this particularly swell embedded radio player…

Kicking off a week of premieres that will see new episodes of every one of our late-afternoon music programs, we are thrilled to offer up bright, shiny, new editions of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy and Prognosis.

Our long national nightmare of rerun season on The AIR is over, and now audiences can once again thrill and delight to brand-new episodes of the coolest radio shows ever crafted by humans. Just look at these highlights…

proghhhAt 2 PM, Lee Harrah returns with his first new episode of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy in 2017. It’s been a rough year for Lee, with the passing of his mother in January, and it’s great to have him back in the saddle for HHH and also for Word Association with Lee & Rudy, which returns with a new show Wednesday. This week Lee introduces part one of a two-part special that brings you live performances by Iron Maiden. If you know Lee, you know that this is his favorite Metal band. If you don’t know Lee, you will learn that fact.

At 3 PM we have our first new episode of Prognosis in months. Haversham Recording Institute in London, where this and some of our other shows originate, has been swamped with work, due in large part to their being pressed into service for international news organizations in the wake of the terror attacks in the UK.

Now they are ready to return, but Prognosis host, Herman Linte, was still working on what we politely call “paying gigs,” so for one week only Prognosis will be presented by Nigel Pye, who is familiar to listeners of The AIR from his Psychedlic Shack series. Since Psychedelic Shack is still being retooled to fit into a new one-hour format, Nigel decided to step behind Herman’s microphone this week to present classic albjms from two bands that qualify as both Psychedlic and Progessive Rock, Tomorrow (featuring a pre-YES Steve Howe) and The Nice (featuring a pre-ELP Keith Emerson). This is a powerfully cool show. We are assured that Mr. Linte will return next week.

At 5 PM today we are expecting a new episode of Marking Out, covering the world of professional wrestling with BelVillain and Betty. This show originates out of WMUL in Huntington.

At 6 PM The New Music Show will add several new tunes to the mix, including tracks from Byzantine, The Heavy Editors, Bobaflex, Todd Rundgren, The Foo Fighters and more.

Our evening talk line-up will remain in rerun mode for a couple more weeks, before we shake things up and move things around.

Tuesday should bring new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Ska Madness and The Swing Shift. Wednesday we expect new episodes of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, Beatles Blast, Curtain Call, Woord Association with Lee & Rudy and The Comedy Vault. Thursday will see a new edition of Radio Free Charleston International. Friday we expect to bring you new installments of Radio Coolsville, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and The Third Shift.

It’s an exciting time to be alive, if for no other reason than you can listen to new episodes of your favorite shows on The AIR!



This week’s jump-starting art is a painting of my lovely wife, Mel Larch, based on a photo I took a few years ago. I decided to update this with some paint effects and color play, and I didn’t tell her about it, planning instead to surprise her with it when she sees it here. That’s the kind of thing you do when you’re still deeply in love 27 years after you start dating.

You may all go “Awwwww” now.  Click the image to see a bigger version.

Sunday Evening Video: Svetlana Revisited

uf_bahr-iris_071307This week we are re-presenting a video I first posted here in PopCult back in May, 2011. This is Svetlana.

Svetlana is a Russian prostitute and madam working in Los Angeles, and she has many fun adventures in Hollywood. Actually, Svetlana is a character created by Actress/Author/Comedian Iris Bahr, and after appearing on skits on the old Marc Maron show, she wound up with her own show on HD Net (which is now called AXS TV, and doesn’t carry cool shows like this anymore).  With very sharp writing and terrific acting, it was a very well-crafted show, and it’s also good, raunchy fun.

Bahr has been around for a few years, appearing in everything from Star Trek videogames to sitcoms like The Drew Carey Show and Friends.  her first book, “Dork Whore” is a highly acclaimed account of her travels in Asia.  After Svetlana ended with its second season, she went on to star in a YouTube series about an ever-pregnant redneck, Rae Lynn’s Preggo Tips. Bahr is currently touring with her third solo stage show, I Lost You There.

Above you see the pilot for Svetlana. You can jump over to Vimeo to watch both seasons and more comedy clips by Bahr. It’s a shame that Svetlana was cancelled in the purge of cutting-edge programs that followed the conversion of HD Net into AXS TV.  This was a quality show. I liked this show so much that I thought it was worth a second look. It’s hard to believe I first posted this more than six years ago.



The RFC Flashback: Episode 68

montage-68Radio Free Charleston 68, “Axiom Starliner Shirt,” dates from April, 2009, and we bring it to you once again.  This episode of your favorite local music, animation and film show featured music from Jeff Ellis and Marcie Bullock. We also had the first edition of The Radio Free Charleston Financial Report, as well as the debut of the cutest li’l cute cartoon show in the history of cuteness, “Cuticles.” neither of those segments ever appeared in the show again!

Host segments for this show were shot late one Sunday evening in the parking lot at the Nitro Marketplace shopping center. “Why there?” You ask? I honestly have no idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The green ball cap seemed like a good idea, too, but it sure looks stupid on screen. The shirt was from the movie, “Wall-E.” This episode also includes the ultimate onscreen URL joke, in case you were wondering which show that one was in. You can find the original production notes HERE.

We recorded Jeff way back in the Autumn of 2007, at the unity open mic. The footage was used in another music program for The Gazz, but by the time 2009 rolled around, we felt it was time to present our mix and edit of Jeff’s song, “In Harm’s Way.” Closing the show is Marcie Bullock, who was from Huntingon but is now living in Memphis and occasionally Disneyworld. Marcie, backed ably by The Steve Himes Connection, treats us to her soulful, bluesy original song, “Can’t Undo,” from her CD. You can read my review of her CD here, and you can order it from CD Baby.

The Virusteer and Stuff To Do!

pc-9-15The PopCulteer
September 15 , 2017

Your PopCulteer is dealing with a minor computer virus issue this morning, and as such, I’ve had to truncate this week’s column a bit. I promise that I’ll write in-depth about my new Air Fryer next week.

In the meantime, please don’t forget that there is plenty of Stuff To Do in and around Charleston this weekend. RJ Haddy is holding another session of FXU at his new RAD FX HQ and Escape Room, on Charleston’s Historic East End, while Kin Ship Goods is celebrating their third anniversary on the West Side.

You can keep up with all the goings-on in town by using the Gazette-Mail’s new interactive Calendar. Tell ’em PopCult sent you…in the unlikely event that they ask.

We’ll have some of our patented graphic plugs right after this plug for our internet radio station, The AIR.

Listen to The AIR!

air-logo-b-00123You can tune in at the website or on this nifty little player…

This weekend it’s more fun with re-runs. Saturday we run twelve hours of Radio Free Charleston International, and Sunday we run six hours of The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe.

Then Monday we gots a bunch of new episodes of our shows for you to listen at in awe and wonderment.






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Behaving Madly

The PopCult Bookshelf

61vfnwniixlBehaving Madly
by Ger Apeldoorn and Craig Yoe
classic reprints written and drawn by various talents
Yoe Books
ISBN-13: 978-1631408564

We have another gem from Yoe Books here. Behaving Madly is a collection of work taken from the many imitators of Mad Magazine that began springing up following the massive sucess of MAD after it was converted from a comic book into a magazine.

Apeldoorn has written extensively about the books of this period and, together with Yoe, has crafted a detailed look at the best of the also-rans, which might not be a fair way to describe this book. After all, with 200 pages of never reprinted material by comic book legends Bill Elder, Jack Davis, John Severin, Al Jaffee, Joe Maneely, Jack Kirby, Ross Andru, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Basil Wolverton, Steve Ditko, Lee Elias, and many others, Behaving Madly is a pure treasure trove of unexpected delights.

With titles like Cockeyed, Cuckoo, From Here To Insanity, SNAFU, THIMK, and many others, this era of publishing industry imitation is chronicled in tremendous detail.

better-tombs1The hefty (34 page) introduction does a great job of setting the scene for what follows. Taken just as reprints of old material, this book is a time capsule of the post-war era of satire, when the field of humor and comedy was changing. Mad Magazine blazed a revolutionary comic trail in print while comedians like Shelly Berman, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce were doing the same in stand-up and Second City was introducing the world to improv. This is part of that comedy evolution that paved the way for underground comics, Lowbrow Art and even more cutting edge and “sick” humor in the 1960s.

We get to see jokes about Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, the early days of TV. Hemingway, comic strips of the 1950s, Zorro, Mickey Spillane…pretty much anything in pop culture in the late 1950s was fair game, along with a healthy dose of the macabre.

Beyond that, though, Behaving Madly shows off the versitility of some of the greatest artists who ever worked in comic books. We knew that the Mad Magazine artists like Davis, Wolverton, Elder and Jaffee could do great humor work, but who would have expected Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath and Steve Ditko to have such an accomplished manic side (okay, we knew Kirby could be funny, but his art here is revelatory)?

53425b0cc832a31a441946710c104c35What’s more impressive, since Behaving Madly presents the cream of the crop of the MAD imitators, this book is almost like an archive of missing material from the history of Mad Magazine. Much of it is as funny, or funnier than what MAD was publishing at the time, and many of MAD‘s top talents show up in these pages, either before or after their stints with the top humor magazine of all time. Al Jaffee (who is still doing his fold-outs for MAD past the age of 90) and Angelo Torres both started working for imitations before they were hired by MAD. Jack Davis eventually returned to the MAD fold, a few years after leaving in the wake of MAD founder, Harvey Kurtzman’s departure.

For fans of sick humor, parody, and mid-century mayhem, Behaving Madly is a gold mine. It works both as an historical document of a time when the comic book industry was struggling and top talent was looking for new avenues to earn a living, and also as a collection of very entertaining, very funny, humor comics from a legendary time.

Behaving Madly can be ordered from any bookstore using the ISBN code above.

Scenes From ShockaCon

966_4688Your PopCulteer had a blast at ShockaCon last Saturday. Due to real-life intrusions I was only able to make it to one day of the extremely fun three-day event, but I could tell that the entire event was a success. I hosted the “40 Years of Star Wars Toys” panel with Mark Wolfe and Lee Harrah, and played Ed McMahon to Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch as she hosted Walking Dead Trivia. That was right after her stint moderating the panel with Walking Dead actors Lew Temple, Josh Turner and Scott Lane.

Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I didn’t take many photos. And many of the photos I did take did not come out well because I was trying out a new camera that turned out to be a bit of a dud. I did get a decent shot of the Staypuft Marshmallow Man, who greeted visitors, courtesy of Ghostbusters WV Division.  Most of the stuff I shot inside came out fuzzy.

Despite the camera glitches, we do have some images to bring you. I want to thank Mike Winland and Penny Maple and the whole ShockaCon crew for putting on another great show. We’ll do it again next year, and this time I’ll bring the good camera.

Scott Lane, Josh Turner and Lew Temple, who have all appeared on The Walking Dead, talking with Mel Larch


The first Jason, Ari Lehmen, signs a photo for a fan in the only decent shot I got of any of the other guests.


Lee Harrah, Mark Wolfe and yours truly, minutes after hosting our panel on Star Wars Toys. Photo credit to the guy in the Ghostbusters outfit that Mark handed his phone to.

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