PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

New Shows Wednesday on The AIR!

It’s another Wednesday with new programming on The AIR for your internet-listening pleasure. At 1;30 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle looks into how you can add color to your world. At 2 PM, Beatles Blast presents part five of a classic Beatles BBC radio documentary. At 3 PM Curtain Call returns as your host, Mel Larch, presents a grab bag of the best of musical theater. Tune in at The AIR, or listen on this embedded player thingy…

Our block of newness begins at 1:30 PM with Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle. This week Michele looks at colors, the illusion of colors and how you can paint your own world using your personal palette, if you put your mind to it. She also talks about an upcoming appearance at The Tranquility Salt Cave in Columbus and reads from her syndicated column.

Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle can be heard Wednesday at 1:30 PM and 7 PM, with replays on The AIR Friday at 9:30 AM and Monday at 12:30 PM.

At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents part five of The Beatles Story, a legendary BBC radio documentary from 1973, Beatles Blast can be heard Wednesday at 2 PM, Thursday at 11 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 5 PM, and Tuesday at 9 AM.

At 3 PM Wednesday Curtain Call unveils a new episode. This one runs the gamut from brand-new recordings by Broadway stars Kate Rockwell and Lesli Margherita to tunes from classics like Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon to long lost obscurities like Oh, What A Lovely War and You Never Know.  You’ll also find some gems in the mix from recent shows, The Book of Mormon, Legally Blonde and James and the Giant Peach. It all adds up to a wonderful hour of music perfectly-chosen for the fan of musical theater.

Curtain Call debuts Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM.

At 5 PM, stick around for radio drama on The AIR Audio Playhouse. This week it’s Dame Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van.

Stay tuned all day, every day, for incredible music, thought-provoking talk and gut-busting comedy exclusively on The AIR. And check out the full schedule below…



New RFC and The Swing Shift Tuesday On The AIR

Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift are new today on The AIR. You can tune in at The AIR website, or just listen on this little embedded radio doohickey…

At 10 AM and 10 PM our latest Radio Free Charleston presents new music from Mark Beckner, Creek Don’t Rise, Poor Man’s Gravy, Emmelea Deal and more, plus we play two classic tracks from Feast of Stephen in honor of Jerry Fugate, who ran camera and conducted interviews in our video show devoted to their reunion.

At the very end of this show we have a little Easter egg of Jerry with John Radcliff performing the RFC theme.


Mark Beckner “Human Satellite (ode to Doris Day)”
Feast of Stephen “No Vaccination”
Poor Man’s Gravy “Victim of Myself”
Farnsworth “Free Me”
John Radcliff “Company Song”
Emmalea Deal “Ghost”
Hawthorne Heights “Hope”
In The Company of Wolves “The UpsideDown”
Membrane Cell “Architects of Reassimiliation”
Speedsuit “The Dawn”
The Science Fair Explosion “Demon Burger”
Johnny Compton “Pistol Whipped”
Stark Raven “16 Tons”
Creek Don’t Rise “Sometimes It Rains”
Crazy Jane “Frica”
Feast of Stephen “Mystery Hole”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM and Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM stick around on The AIR for a new hour of The Swing Shift, continuing our mission to bring you the best Swing music from the last century. This week we bring you a mix of classic Big Band era music, retro Swing and brand new Swing tunes. Here’s the playlist for this epic swingin’ hour…

The Swing Shift 042

Bart & Baker featuring Marcella Puppini “Stop Googling Me”
Bill Wyman & His Rhythm Kings “Blue Light Boogie”
Dem Brooklyn Bums “Mr. Zoot Suit”
Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers “He Beeped When He Should Have Bopped”
The Mighty Blue Kings “Go Tell The Preacher”
Sing ‘N’ Jive “Stealin’ Apples”
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies “The Way You Look Tonight”
Rosie & The Riveters “La Boheme (Dweet Do)”
Swing Rocket “Big Bad Bill”
The Atomic Fireballs “Pango Pango”
Postmodern Jukebox “Just Dance”
Artie Shaw “Indian Love Call”
HDH “Sherry Wine”
Cab Calloway “Jumpin’ Jive”
Vargas Swing “Rocker Ted”
Woody Herman “Keeper of the Flame”
The Rhythm Rockers “Make It So”
Glenn Miller “American Patrol”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 9 AM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Art: Tower Envy


Continuing this month’s theme of surreal looks at the Chicago skyline, we have a surreal look at the Chicago skyline. I call it “Tower Envy,” because it needed a name and I and couldn’t think of anything better. If you wish to gaze at it via a larger file, click away at the image and be magically transported to a big ole jpeg.

And while you’re staring at it for hours on end today, feel free to check out The AIR, over at the website, or on the cheeky little embedded player below, where you can listen to our great and unique programming. Of special note today is a new episode of Prognosis at 3 PM, which will bring you two hours of live Emerson Lake and Palmer, recorded in 1978 at the Nassau Coliseum.

Sunday Evening Video: Kate Bush Live In Concert

Longtime readers know that we here at PopCult are big fans of British singer/songwriter, Kate Bush. I’ve been posting videos and tributes for years. Tonight we bring you a fan edit that combines footage from various sources into a recreation of her entire set from her 1979 “Tour of Life.”

Originally released on video in truncated form as “Live at the Hammersmith Odeon,” this version cobbles together extra performances from the tour which have dribbled out over the years as DVD bonus cuts, outtakes or background video from interviews. Running nearly two hours, this is almost twice as long as the official release.

Kate did not mount a major live performance again for 35 years, when she finally returned for a sold-out two-week stand at London’s O2 Arena in 2014. That performance, “Before The Dawn,” has been released as a CD (you can buy it HERE), but as yet, there are no plans to release a video.

So this is your best chance to see Kate Bush perform live in your home, presented just a few weeks before the agelss songbird turns 60.

Remembering Jerry


Word broke yesterday that Jerry Fugate, a fixture on the Charleston music scene, died at home sometime Thursday night or Friday morning. There were no signs of foul play and very few details  Many people are absolutely gutted over this. Jerry had touched so many lives that his loss will be felt far and wide. Everyone had their own stories of Jerry, and each person’s tale is just a tiny part of a jigsaw puzzle that made up this remarkable person.

Jerry was a nice guy. I mean, he was an unfailingly nice guy, to everyone. He was a musician, photographer, videographer, artist, wine expert, and really too many other things to list here, but above all, he was just one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet.

Jerry was one of the first people outside of the RFC and Livemix crew to work as a cameraman on Radio Free Charleston. He joined us for episode 23, the Feast of Stephen reunion special, where his excellent camera work was much-needed and added so much to the show. He also handled some of the interviews on that episode. Earlier, he’d appeared on episode 18, “Radio Free Parkerburg” performing a version of the RFC theme with his good friend, John Radcliff (that’s a frame grab at the right). I’m going to drop that show right here…

Jerry continued to contribute the show as a performer and cameraman, and was always a joy to work with. He was so supportive of everybody in the Charleston music scene, myself included, and Radio Free Charleston was a better show for his contributions. This is a real loss.

I’m writing this about an hour after finding out, and to be honest, I’m still at a loss for words. I would invite those who knew Jerry to please leave comments of your memories and stories and share what an incredible guy Jerry was. I’m afraid I’m not quite up to the job.

For the last few and next couple of weeks The RFC Flashback will go back to the most ambitious run of episodes in Radio Free Charleston history.  In June, 2011 I decided to try and do something sort of crazy. I’d managed to crank out Radio Free Charleston on a weekly basis before, which was no mean feat since the show was basically produced by me alone, with camera help from my now-wife Mel Larch and occasional help from other friends. For FestivALL 2011, I managed to produce eight episodes of Radio Free Charleston in under two weeks.

FestivALL 2011 had wrapped, but it still lived on here in the PopCult blog with part six of our exhaustive coverage.  In this week’s installment we revisit “Saint Stephen’s Dream: A Space Opera,” which was staged by WestVirginiaVille.com at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation last weekend. That is Douglas Imbrogno in the photo accompanying this post.

We bring you a bit of the beginning of Douglas Imbrogno’s magnum opus, and we mix in Austin Susman’s entry in the Silent Film Competition.  The show wraps up with Kentucky chanteuse Sasha Colette, performing in Davis Park. Our march through these eight FestivALL 2011 episodes of RFC continues next week, and later today we will be posting an extra rememberence of our friend, Jerry Fugate, who just appeared in this spot a few weeks ago.


Short Bursts of Random Notes

The PopCulteer
May 11, 2018

Your PopCulteer has been operating at less than 100% for some time now, and there are lots of story ideas, news bits and other items that have been piling up on my desk. This week, we’re going to see about clearing a bunch of those off so we can get a fresh start next week.

What follows are brief bursts of infotainment, slashed in price and marked down to next to nothing. We pass the saving along to you! How do we turn a profit? VOLUME!!!

Saturday is the infamous East End Yard Sale. Get up early and hit up the Historic East End of Charleston hunting for bargains. Some people consider it paradise…others find it to be somewhere between the third and fourth levels of hell.

I’m taking some kind of perverse glee in the way our local traffic reporters handled the rash of accidents that happened recently on the stretch of Interstate 64 between Hurricane and Milton. After blaming distracted drivers for all the problems of people driving into one another, they would then pivot, without a hint of irony, to plugging the “WAZE” app, which lets you learn about and report traffic delays on your phone…while you’re driving.

Speaking of local TV, did Dutch Miller stop advertising on WCHS, or did their ads just get lost in the miasma of all the political advertising? Do you think maybe they saw those Don Blankenship ads and decided they couldn’t compete with the stupidity on display?

And did anybody notice how, the day after the Primary election, all the political ads on WCHS were replaced with ads for catheters?  I mean, are catheters really such a big business that they can afford to advertise on TV?

The latest Charlton Neo project is a four volume set of reprints of Billy The Kid stories by legendary artist, John Severin. Sourced from original silverprints, they will be presented in black and white and in new color volumes, with colors by Mort Todd. Learn about how you can advance order them HERE.

Rick and Morty has been renewed for 70 episodes by Adult Swim. So all the people who have been in a deep depression at the idea of the show ending can cut it out now, okay? There was never any danger that they would cancel their most lucrative show. In all probability the only hold up was the producers haggling over merchandising rights. Rick and Morty is a cash cow right now. Well that, and the heavy drinking by the show’s creators. I mean, they even make comments about that.

There has been no official word of The Beatles releasing a deluxe boxed set commemorating the 50th anniversary of The White Album yet, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion that they’ll do something. In the meantime they plan to re-release Yellow Submarine in theaters for one night only in July to mark its golden anniversary. Rumor has it that a White Album set might be tied in to an upcoming documentary on The Beatles in India. 1968 was a busy year for the Fab Four.

Creek Don’t Rise will be playing a last-minute show at Roni’s in Elkview Friday night.

If you haven’t already, please read our latest update on The Bakery, which was posted here yesterday.

Now it’s come out that Dark Matter might not be a thing after all.

Last year I finally broke down and signed up for Netflix. I did it mainly for the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000. However, I’ve been pretty happy with the service and have discovered quite a few shows that I’d been putting off watching for years. This is all to explain why I may suddenly start making references to The IT Crowd five years after its last episode aired. I may be behind the times, but at least I have good taste.

I’ve had Amazon Prime for a much longer time, mainly because no other streaming service offers you free two-day shipping. Just last night I discovered that they had a movie called “Baba Yaga” which I’d heard about for years, and when I started watching it, I was surprised to find that it was based on the psychedelic-erotic comic books of Guido Crepax.  All this time I’d heard about the movie, I didn’t know it was an adaptation of Valentina. And that type of obscure weirdness is one of the things I like best about Amazon Prime.

A guilty pleasure of late has been ordering cheap crap from Wish.com. This is a site that sells stuff to you from hundreds of different vendors in China. You can find anything there, most of it of dubious authenticity, and then you wait between two and six weeks for it to show up. Some of their stuff is great. Some of it laughably bad. The selling point is that it’s mostly cheap. I’m talking less than five bucks cheap, here. They have more expensive stuff, but I have yet to gamble on that (the light-up toilet is tempting). A great number of their items are “free if you pay shipping,” which works for them because they usually pay nothing for shipping due to our “epacket” treaty with China. So if you pay a dollar shipping for something that they paid a dime for, they’re turning a healthy profit. It’s the internet version of pumping quarters into a vending machine. The wait and potential for disappointment make it just like ordering stuff from comic books back in the 60s and 70s.

It still bothers me that there are people who don’t realize that Rolling Stone has some of the most insightful political coverage you can find today. You post a link to a Rolling Stone article and they’ll act like you posted a link to My Weekly Reader or Breitbart, or something else written for second-graders. The fact is, political coverage is the only thing Rolling Stone has going for it these days. The rest of the magazine is fairly useless.

Next week I’ll be writing about Theater West Virginia’s upcoming musical adaptation of Danny Boyd’s movie, Paradise Park.

My friend Chung Kim recommended this to me a few weeks ago, and I never got around to posting it here in PopCult, until now. The folks behind the Bantam Bellatorum Facebook page have painstakingly recreated the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Arena” as a photo album, using 1/6 scale action figures. It’s impressive as hell.

Hey guitarists, tired of knocking out your teeth when you strap fails? Go check out Earth III, a revival of the original locking guitar strap.

Don’t forget to listen to The AIR. We play cool stuff, and most of our shows will be new next week.

There is wrestling in Dunbar Saturday…

We also have wrestling in Madison Saturday…


Sullivan’s Records on Charleston’s East End is celebrating its 5th anniversar Saturday. As part of the celebration, Third Man Records is coming to WV for the first time via its Rolling Record Store (seen at the top of this post) and will be offering great deals on exclusive vinyl. On top of all that, JAWBONE (right) will be providing its unique acoustic take on a variety of tunes, busker-style, from 2 to 3 in front of the store.

Saturday night at The Empty Glass we have this cool show…

Sunday, The Living Deads bring their Psychobilly Madness to The Boulevard Tavern at 9:30 PM.

You may remember The Living Deads from this RFC MINI SHOW

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for our regular stuff, every day.

The Bakery Needs More Bread

Last summer I told you about The Bakery, inside the former Purity Made Bread Factory located at 1007 Bigley Ave on the West Side of Charleston which had become an incubator of sorts for creative endeavors. Facing a cash crunch, the owner had put the building on the market, but was hoping for new tenants to come in and rescue this cool space from being taken away from the creative community.

Their largest tenant had moved out, leaving the building operating at a loss. Something had to be done.

In the week after I first wrote about the situation, several new tenants moved in, and a non-profit organization was formed to rent the largest space and operate it as an all-ages venue, to be called, “The Bakery.” For the time being, the building was saved.

Led by Jason Robinson, Dennis Strom and Chris Ojeda, The Bakery has made a splash and has hosted many terrific shows. However, The Bakery is still a new entity, with just seven months of operation under its belt. While they’ve had some huge shows, they still need a lot of help in fundraising to cover their operating costs. There are still cash-flow problems. To counter this, and make some much-needed capital, The Bakery has a three-pronged attack planned.

First, they continue to book high-profile shows. This Friday, legendary Canadian Heavy Metal Band, Anvil (seen left)will take the stage at the Bakery. Following that, The Bakery will play host to Unearth / MyChildren MyBride , Lady Parts Justice League Comedy show and a Filmmakers Contest During Festivall. There are more big shows waiting to be announced. On the booking front, things are moving along nicely.

Anvil is cited as an inspiration for bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, and they are the subject of an award-winning documentary film. This is their fortieth-anniversary tour, and I believe it may be their first time playing Charleston. Doors open at 7 PM and the shows begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. You can order advance tickets HERE.

In addition to booking top-flight shows, The Bakery is asking for help via Patreon, a sort of ongoing “Kickstarter” type donation system. Donors kick in five to fifty dollars a month, and in return get perks like stickers, buttons, admissions, presales and exclusive invites to events. For more details, you can check out the Patreon page HERE.

One-time donations can be made via PayPal, at CMACBakery@Gmail.com.

The third element of this fundraising campaign is the search for corporate sponsors, and for that, I am going to simply print Jason Robinson’s Facebook pitch:

The Charleston Music & Arts Collective, herein referred to as “The Bakery”, is searching for businesses and individuals that are interested in becoming Sustaining Partners.

Our Story:
In Charleston, WV at 1007 Bigley Ave, there resides a building; a building that once housed the Purity-Maid Bread Factory. For decades, this building produced sights and smells many residents of Charleston still remember vividly as their family members produced fresh-baked bread and distributed it throughout the region. Now the building, simply known as “The Bakery”, houses another type of artistic creation, The Charleston Music & Arts Collective! Founded by: Charleston musician and frontman of Metal Blade Recording artists Byzantine, Chris Ojeda, Technical Director of Limelight Theatre Co. – Dennis Strom and Musician/Booking Agent Jason Robinson. The Charleston Music & Arts Collective is an open-source, all-ages, non-profit organization with the sole purpose of establishing a central hub for the creative minds of the Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia. The Bakery opened its doors on December 1, 2017. Over the course of the last 5 months we have brought over 25 All-Ages music events, including headliners such as Madball, Soulfly and Byzantine. We also provide a first-class rental space for theatre, art, wine tastings, dance classes, movie screenings and more.

How can you help in growing this vital hub of artistic expression in our community?
Make a 6-month pledge and be part of an investment in our region’s future! We will show our appreciation by adding your company’s name to a banner which will be visible from the high-traffic merger of I-64/I-77/I-79!

Levels of Sustaining Sponsorship:
Croissant (Extra Large Logo)
$100.00 a Month
Brioche (Large Logo)
$75.00 a Month
Scone (Medium Logo)
$50.00 a Month
Baguette (Small Logo)
$25.00 a Month
Your charitable donation is tax deductible and can conveniently auto paid through on a monthly basis or in a lump sum.

Corporate Sponsors can donate via this link, and contact The Bakery at 304-807-9023 to make more detailed arrangements.

With any luck, The Bakery can thrive and continue to give Charleston the long-term all-ages music venue that we have so desperately needed. Right now the priority is catching up on their rent, and then they need to have enough cash on hand to step up their promotion for upcoming events. I’m afraid that The Bakery is still in the “best kept secret” phase of their existence, and we need to get the word out to more people about this great, mid-size performance venue.

Meet Cyriak

Since your PopCulteer is still dealing with dilated eyes from a routine exam yesterday (everything went great, but the effects linger longer with me), and looking at a computer monitor is about as pleasant as staring at the sun, today PopCult becomes the last blog on the planet to share the incredible work of UK-based surrealist animator and musician, Cyriak (seen right).

You can see his work all over the place, on his YouTube Channel, on Adult Swim and on BBC 4, among others.

Prepare to have your mind blown, if you haven’t already been watching his stuff for the past fourteen years. If you like this stuff, go subscribe to his YouTube Channel. It’s loaded with tons of these videos. Of special note is the music video at the bottom. It’s for the song by Gong, “Occupy,” and it’s particularly cool.

A Familiar AIR About Us

The AIR is going to be presenting re-runs this week.  Your PopCulteer is celbrating the one-year annivesary of his successful cataract surgery with a dilated-eye exam, and having learned last year how much the effects of that linger with me now that I have Myasthenia Gravis, I have decided to simply take it easy.

You can visit the The AIR website, or listen in on this embedded radio player…

Last year looking at a computer monitor was akin to staring into the sun, so for the sake of my vision, we’re going to give you a second chance to listen to last week’s episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift on Tuesday (details HERE), and Curtain Call on Wednesday (details HERE).  Wednesday we’ll also bring you an encore of an episode of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle from a few weeks ago (details HERE). Thursday I’ll dig out a classic RFC International for your amusement.  This is all good stuff that you ought to enjoy listening to again.

Next week we plan to have all-new music shows every afternoon, including the return of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, and possibly the debut of the new Psychedelic Shack. Just think of this week as a cooling-off period to keep you all from hyperventilating.

You can keep track of the full schedule right here…