PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle and Curtain Call are all-new Wednesday on The AIR! Tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of stimulating programs.

Our musical morning line-up on Wednesday continues with The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by Prognosis at 9 AM, Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM and an encore of a classic Curtain Call at Noon.  We are re-presenting classic episodes of On The Road with Mel at 1 PM.

At 1;30 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents an impromptu show that Michele recorded while out on a walk over the weekend. Last week we told you about how Michele would be stepping back from the weekly grind of producing a radio show, but we left the door open for her to return any time she wanted to, and this week the opportunity presented itself, so she offers up a new verbal essay on doing things your own way.

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

At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. This week listen to the novelty oldies band, Big Daddy, cover the entire Sgt. Pepper album.  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 on Curtain Call, we bring you a brand-new episode featuring a random assortment of show tunes. This week it’s totally random, as Mel jumps wildly from Broadway classics to obscure productions, off-Broadway hits and maybe a few flops, along the way. Among the musicals you will hear sampled on this week’s program are The Rhythm Club, The scarlet Pimpernel, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Camelot, Cannibal The Musical, Can-Can and more.

Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

At 7:30 PM, we have gone into the AIR Archives and unearthed the missing seven episodes of Word Association with Lee and Rudy. These shows were misplaced on a stray hard drive and have not been heard in more than two years. We’ll bring them to you over the next seven weeks, and hopefully follow these with some new shows.

This week you can hear Lee Harrah and Rudy Panucci speak with reverence about the legacy of The Marx Toy Company in a show that was recorded just days after the announcement that the Marx Toy Museum would close back in early 2016.

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, including our full day of fine programming…

Like I told you last week, Tuesday is our most-listened-to day on The AIR so we try to load it up with new episodes of our most popular shows, and once again that’s exactly what we did this week as we bring you more great local music and other goodies like Swing and Psychedelica. This week all three of our music programs feature new episodes, and they’re all pretty life-elevatingly terrific.  You can tune in at The AIR website, or listen in on this swell embedded radio player…

Today at 10 AM we are bringing you yet another brand-new episode of Radio Free Charleston, opening with brand new music from Jeff Ellis (his new single, “The Destroyer, seen below), and continuing with a great mix of new music and stuff from our archives, including Ann Magnuson, Stonebeard, In The Company of Wolves, Karma To Burn and more.

We also have a special treat courtesy of Jay Silverman, the co-host of The Third Shift (heard every Friday night on The AIR).  Jay shot a video of the band Shine performing a cover of Led Zepplin’s “Dazed and Confused” when they played Live on the Levee back in June, and he gave us the okay to use the audio from his video clip, so we could shine the light on Shine, one of Charleston’s best bands.

We’ll post the full playlist at the bottom of this post, after the jump.

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 2 PM it’s time for Nigel Pye and his psychedelic mixtape program, Psychedelic Shack. This week we get yet another new episode of Psychedelic Shack in its new one-hour format, bringing you Nigel and his weekly hour-long mix of mind-blowing psychedelic music. In this week’s show you’ll hear vintage Grateful Dead and more classic acid-trippy music, but again this week Nigel didn’t send us a playlist this week, so you’ll have to tune in to find out what he has up his Nehru-jacketed sleeve for you.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM and Saturday at 7 AM.

At 3 PM The Swing Shift brings you a special themed-episode where the Swing bands attempt to go legit by applying the style of Swing to some of the most recognizable melodies of Classical Music. In one corner you have Glenn Miller, Les Brown, Benny Goodman and Brian Setzer, and in the other corner you have Bizet, Beethoven, Chopin and Wagner. It’s a Classical/Swing mash-up and both sides come out swinging. You’ll find the playlist at the bottom of this post, after the jump.

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.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else.

Continue reading…

Monday Morning Art: Birthday Boy

 

Your PopCulteer celebrates his birthday today, and since I’m planning to enjoy myself, I just slapped up an old self-portrait that I ran in this space eleven years ago. It’s a bunch of me in different styles and colors, Warhol-style. I thought about doing a new one, but I pretty much look the same. At least I do when I have goatee, like I did back in June. I’m gonna read comics, play with toys, eat Graziano’s Pizza and cheesecake and watch wrestling today. So don’t expect any extra posts until tomorrow. Click the image to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, Monday on our sister internet radio station, The AIR, the Monday Marathon keeps you up with the best of our local music scene with a full day of Radio Free Charleston, beginning at 7 AM and running through Tuesday morning. That’s our signature show on The AIR, and it’s my birthday present to you.  Tune in at the website, or listen on this handy embedded player…

Sunday Evening Video Takes A Week Off

Because of technical issues that have kept PopCult offline since Friday afternoon, and also because the RFC Flashback that we’d prepared in advance just went live a few hours ago, we are giving our Sunday Evening Video feature the week off. This may be the first (or second) time that we’ve skipped Sunday Evening Video since we officially started the feature in PopCult just over ten years ago, so it’s earned its week of rest.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 147

This week we go back to November, 2011, for Radio Free Charleston 147, “Mighty Avengers Shirt.” This installment of our webshow featured music by Miniature Giant, Dual Core, Volt 9000 and Disturbing The Peace. We also have animation from Frank Panucci and other weirdness.

Host segments were shot at a random parking lot in Kanawha City along MacCorkle Avenue. The reason for this is lost to history.

First up in this show we had Miniature Giant, with the song “Piss and Vinegar.”  Then we went to a “Lax” meditation toon by Frank Panucci. Dual Core, the nerdcore rapper, performed “My Girlfriend’s a Hacker,” recorded at Hackercon 3.

Killink checked in from Istanbul. We then presented the music video for Volt 9000’s song “Trancers,” animated by Frank Panucci. On the way out we presented a performance from a show at The LaBelle Theater. It’s a cover of the Drowning Pool Song “Bodies” by Disturbing The Peace, joined by Bret Wood from Born of Conviction. You’ll also see Hugh Deskins from Remains Unnamed chiming in on vocals.

That was a pretty jam-packed episode of the show, when you look back at it. We had punk rock, rap, electronica, metal and lots of weird crap. And I didn’t even mention the Teaberry gum.

Captain Marvel vs. The Monster Society of Racism

The PopCulteer
August 10, 2018

This week’s PopCulteer is an example of the concept of mixed feelings. I finally got the chance to read a series of comic book stories that I’ve wanted to experience for over four decades…and they have major moral and ethical issues.

I have made no secret of the fact that my all-time favorite super hero is Captain Marvel. I’m talking about the original Captain Marvel, the one known as “Shazam” by the uneducated masses. Created for Fawcett Comics in 1940 by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, Captain Marvel quickly surpassed Superman and Batman to become the best-selling superhero of the 1940s.

This did not go unnoticed by the folks at Detective Comics Inc. (then the name of what is now DC Entertainment), so they started filing lawsuits against Fawcett just a year or two after he debuted. In the early 1950s, with the entire comic book industry in decline, and Fawcett an established publishing house that only dabbled in comics, they decided to cut their losses and get out of the comics business, settling their lawsuit with DC and agreeing never to publish the character again without DC’s permission. With no book being published, the trademark on the name “Captain Marvel” expired, and it was eventually picked up by Marvel Comics.

That’s the Cliff Notes version, which sort of has to precede any discussion of Captain Marvel, and explain why the first superhero on film, who was a merchandising juggernaut and the most popular superhero in the world in the 1940s, had disappeared from view by the middle of the next decade, and now doesn’t even get to use his real name.

DC leased the rights to Captain Marvel from Fawcett in 1972, and purchased them outright sometime later from CBS (after CBS acquired Fawcett Publications). While they had a lot of success with TV and merchandising in the 1970s, DC struggled to find a way to do Captain Marvel comics in more modern times. There were a few times they got it right, like when the characters were handled by creators who understood them like Jerry Ordway, E. Nelson Bridwell, or Jeff Smith, but there were also some disastrous attempts at modernizing the Captain and his crew, and among the worst of those is the current incarnation, which sees Captain Marvel renamed as “Shazam,” and really screws up the entire mythos for us long-time fans.

It’s telling that, since DC made those major changes to Captain Marvel in 2011 and told an initial set of stories, the only two major appearances by the character have been out-of-canon reversions back to the classic character and name during DC’s Multiversity and Convergence events.

That’s all going to change with the release of the Shazam movie next year, which is based on the “New Coke” version of the character that Geoff Johns is responsible for. Johns will be writing a new mini-series to coincide with the movie, and DC is going to be looking for all sorts of good publishing tie-ins to cash in on the increased visibility of the character.

The first of those was going to be a deluxe hardback collection to be called Shazam vs. The Monster Society of Evil. This collection of stories has been a holy grail of mine for years. The very first long-form superhero story (well over two hundred pages), this tale was serialized in Captain Marvel Adventures over the course of two years, from 1943 to 1945. It’s not considered the best of Captain Marvel’s adventures, but it is historically important as the introduction of a major villain (Mr. Mind) and as the longest superhero story from the Golden Age of comics. Plus, even an average Captain Marvel story from the Golden age is head and shoulders above most superhero comics of the day.

However, there are major issues with these stories. Mainly the racist depictions of African-Americans and Japanese characters. It was thought that DC was going to address this like their sister company, Warner Brothers, did when they collected Tom and Jerry cartoons with racist content on DVD, by tackling the issue head-on. What apparently happened was, the book was put on the schedule and solicited, and then, when the racist content was pointed out to someone in charge, they panicked and cancelled the book because they did not want to engender any bad publicity right before the movie was due to be released.

Cancelling the book was the right business move. The fact that they even solicited it shows how little thought DC puts into how they handle the Marvel Family characters. It was like someobdy knew that they had a book ready to go to press, but had no idea what was in it.  For me this was yet another Lucy Van Pelt football moment. I’d already ordered and paid for the book (it’s been refunded) and this was not the first time I missed out on my chance to read this comic (it’s been online for free for years, but I hate to read comics online). DC comics had announced plans to reprint it at least twice before, reversing themselves before the book was printed.

A French publisher released a high-end limited-edition slipcased hardcover of this book back in 1989 (seen right). At the time I was working in radio, making radio money, and the high price tag of $125 meant I could never afford it. That edition now sells for six hundred bucks or more.

I understood the business decision, and the moral decision not to reprint the racist elements of the story, but it still stung to miss out on being able to read it myself.

Then I found out that, since the original chapters of the story are in the public domain, there are publishers who had made it available on Amazon via print-on-demand. It wasn’t cheap– I paid more for the paperback than I would have for the new hardcover edition, but I could finally get to see the story for myself.

I ordered the version offered by GwandanaLand, who specialize in reprinting public domain comics, because it was complete (other versions on Amazon are missing chapters), and spent a weekend immersing myself in this story that I’ve been wanting to read since I found out it existed over forty years ago.

I have to admit, I had more fun reading this than I have since I first discovered the joys of Golden Age Captain Marvel comics forty-five years ago. I also have to admit that the racist elements are extremely troubling. I don’t want this to seem like i’m endorsing or apologizing for them, but they do make up only a small part of this story, and this long story really takes off once you get past them.

Most troubling is the character, Steamboat. I’m not going to post an image of Steamboat here. It is a typical, racist, cartoon stereotype of a Stepin Fetchit like character who was around as a comic relief sidekick for a while in Captain Marvel stories. In 1945 a group called Youth Builders presented Fawcett Comics editor Will Lieberson with a petition signed by 11,000 school kids asking that the character be removed because he was so racially offensive. To his credit, Lieberson agreed, and the character was not seen in Fawcett comics again.

The problem is that there were dozens of stories featuring Steamboat, and they were mostly drawn by C.C. Beck, one of the most talented cartoonists of the era. It is disturbing to see such talent applied to such racist stereotypes, and it’s understandable why DC comics has gone out of their way to avoid reprinting those, or trying to profit off of them in any way.

Steamboat only appears in two chapters of the 25-part Monster Society of Evil storyline, but he is key to the plot and the unveiling of the true nature of Mr. Mind, so simply elminating those chapters would punch huge holes in the story.

Also, Steamboat is not the only racist element in these comics. In two very early chapters Captain Marvel encounters African cannibals, who are drawn in the same, thick-lipped racist cartooning style. Then, when the story moves to Asia (remember this is set during WWII, so war propaganda is in full force), the Japanese are depicted as slant-eyed, buck-toothed, fanged monsters with pop-bottle glasses. Interestingly enough, the Chinese, who were our allies at the time, are drawn in a dignified, non-racist manner, as seen to the left, showing that Beck was capable of rising above the stereotypes when he wanted to.

The cannibals are in chapters two and three. Steamboat is in chapter six, and one panel of chapter seven, and the Japanese characters are in chapter nine. Every panel that includes the racist caricatures is cringe-worthy, and impossible to defend.

You can say that it was of its time, and that is true, but that’s stuff that has been left in the past for a reason. When something wrong is being done, the first thing you have to do is to stop doing it. That’s why I’m not posting any images of the offending characters along with this piece. They should only be seen when set in a proper historical context, and posting them here would just circulate them further.

The racism does present a real problem because the rest of this story is so much fun. It’s an attempt to recreate the experience of a weekly movie serial, with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger, and enough action and intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next installment.

We get to see Captain Marvel at his best, battling larger-than-life challenges, like a reanimated Wooly Mammoth (seen right). He also battles Dr. Sivana, Ibac, Captain Nazi and Hitler, among other members of his rogues gallery.  It would easy to dismiss the entire series if it were sub-par work with no value, but this is really well-crafted, but seriously-flawed work.

I’m glad that I finally got to read this in full because it not only scratched that itch that I’ve had to read this since I first found out about it, but also because it demonstrated to me why it probably should not be presented as-is to a mass audience as simple entertainment. The racist elements are too toxic, especially in today’s environment.

There are ways around this. DC could commission a new creative team to adapt the story, eliminating the politically incorrect elements along the way. The trouble with that approach is that it’s hard to top the work that Otto Binder and C.C. Beck did on the original stories, and DC would probably update the character to the current, awful, version.

I think a better way to present this to a modern audience would be to find an artist who can imitate Beck (there are several out there) and hire a writer/editor to fix the stereotypical dialogue, and simply re-write and re-draw the offensive panels. Steamboat could be drawn in a realistic and non-offensive manner, and he could speak like a normal adult, instead of a cartoon. Likewise, the Japanese scientists and the cannibals could be redrawn and the dialogue tweaked to tone down the then-acceptable anti-Japanese hatred other cultural ignorance. This has been standard practice in Tin Tin albums in Europe, which have been consistently altered to adhere to more evolved cultural standards over the years.

One thing to note about Steamboat is that, while the character is a completely offensive racial stereotype in the Stepin Fetchit mold, he was never treated in an oppressive or abusive manner by Billy Batson. Billy saw him as a friend, and no reference to color was made (that I am aware of–remember the stories with Steamboat are rarely reprinted). It was one baby step forward in conception to have Billy have a black friend that he treated as an equal, and about a hundred steps back in execution.

Re-drawing him and fixing his dialogue would allow Billy’s African-American friend to retain his brief, but important role in the story without offending so many people. Publishing it unaltered in today’s climate, where the alt-right looks for any excuse to justify and celebrate white supremecy, would be irresponsible. The offending elements have to be altered in order for this to be acceptable as entertainment.

That’s the only way I can see DC Comics ever reprinting Captain Marvel vs. The Monster Society of Evil. They wouldn’t be doing this to preserve an important historical event. They’d be doing this to make money off of a big Hollywood movie tie-in. It is a great story that sees Mr. Mind, originally just a disembodied voice, gathering together all of Captain Marvel’s greatest enemies, to wreak havoc on the Earth. After he’s revealed to be an actual worm, the story kicks into high gear. The action takes place all over the globe in into outer space, and there are elements of pathos and comedy mixed in to create a wondefully-balanced story (with some absolutely reprehensible segments).

I’m glad this entire serial is available, but I can’t recommend it to anyone who is offended by outright racism. I will recommend other collections by Gwandanaland, available from Amazon, which collect thousands of great Golden Age comics, including a ton of Captain Marvel and Marvel Family stories, along with great stuff from Quality Comics and other cream of the crop publishers.

And that is this week’s PopCulteer. Remember to check back for our regular features.

The PopCult Toybox

The much-ballyhooed revival of MEGO action figures was supposed to hit Target stores nationwide on July 29, but thus far (as I write this) it has not yet arrived in all Target locations (including Charleston). However, some of them did show up on Target’s online store (and eventually all of them did), so I ordered a few, just in case they somehow managed to bypass our local area (or wind up intercepted by local scalpers).

Today we’re going to look at Action Jackson (right), a reissue of the very first MEGO 8″ Action Figure. This is a callback to the original figure, and it’s cool to have it included in “Marty Abrams Presents MEGO,” which is officially the new company’s name. Marty being the man who ran MEGO during its heyday.

Before we jump into the review, we have to be brutally honest about the vintage MEGO figures. The main appeal of them was that they were inexpensive and included a lot of cool superhero figures that had never been made into toys before. It was the DC and Marvel superheroes that put them on the map, and along with their excellent Star Trek and Planet of the Apes series, that is what built their legacy.

But they were never “perfect” toys. The first generation of bodies broke easily, which is why they refined the design over the years. Tailoring for such a small scale figure intended for mass production presented a series of challenges with choosing fabrics that were durable enough to work on toys while accurately reflecting the costumes of the characters they represented.

A lot of MEGO figures cut corners when it came to accuracy. My favorite MEGO figure from my childhood, Captain (don’t call him “Shazam”) Marvel didn’t have the right boots or cape, and his headsculpt didn’t look anything like the comic book character. In fact, I believe they just re-used the headsculpt they’d produced for a Peter Parker/Spider-man secret identity set. Either way, it didn’t look much like Peter Parker, either.

Much of the nostalgic charm of vintage MEGO figures was the high cheesiness factor. Tarzan’s flesh-colored bodysuit was one example. Over the years, as collectors grew up and acquired skills, customizers poured into the hobby and showed just how detailed and elaborate they could make figures in the MEGO scale. This really raised the bar on what the new MEGO had to do.

You can see some of the amazing Star Trek work of local customizer, Tony DiTrapino, at the left.

But back in the 1970s these were toys for kids that had to be produced cheaply in order to get them into stores to compete against higher-priced products. So with the vintage MEGO figures, a lot of the clothes look clunky, the face sculpts range from pretty good to pretty bad, and figures with rooted hair (most of the female figures) get tangled and messy-looking as soon as they’re removed from the package.

There’s also the matter of licenses. Back then it was fairly easy for MEGO to corner the market on superheroes, with deals in place with DC and Marvel. However, as the line progressed, MEGO took a bit of a “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” attitude, and created figures based on The Waltons, Happy Days, CHiPs, Wizard of Oz, and others as well as a whole host of non-licensed “World’s Greatest” figures based on cowboys, knights, pirates and monsters.

The big challenge facing MEGO today is the fact that Marvel and DC, which were MEGO’s bread-and-butter during their original run, are tied up with other toy companies (with the exception of the DC figures that MEGO is producing in the unusual 14″ size). Faced with that, and with a wish list from Target, MEGO has had to rely largely on “Television Favorites” for the first wave of new product. With Dr. MEGO, Paul Clarke, helming a talented team of sculptors and seamstresses (who are credited on the package, which is a wonderful development), the quality is vastly improved from the vintage days.

The question is, “how are the figures?”

I cracked open Action Jackson for a quick look. I will address the packaging later, but I will point out that it was easy to open with a hobby knife. If you don’t care about keeping the backing card, you can just rip into it. If you do keep those things, be prepared to cut the gold foil sticker off the blister bubble, if you want to store it flat.

The figure is tight and well-made. He’s more solid than any vintage MEGO figures I’ve encountered. The headsculpt is a perfect recreation of the vintage Action Jackson, which looks suspiciously like a young Marty Abrams. The shoes are removable (one gripe I had about the vintage Star Trek figures was that they’d molded the boots onto the feet in a cost-cutting move).

The body itself is a slightly-improved recreation of a later-generation MEGO body, and poses very well. The joints are tight. The hands are molded in a position that makes it a little tricky to get them to hold the gun that comes with the set, but once it’s in position, it’ll stay there.

The jumpsuit is well-stitched, with velcro closures rather than the snaps that the vintage figures had. The belt looks good on the figure, and the “AJ” emblem is a good reproduction, but is a bit smaller than the original, which both looks better, and makes it easy to distinguish from the original.

Which is not to suggest that people will try to pass these off as vintage figures. I’ve bought vintage 45-year-old Action Jackson figures still in the package just recently for what I paid for this guy.

Action Jackson was originally released as a lower-priced alternative to the 12″ GI Joe, and despite having a robust advertising campaign, he didn’t catch on. It was because MEGO was stuck with a warehouse full of Action Jackson bodies that the deals were struck with DC and Marvel to use them for the first wave of “World’s Greatest Superhereos” figures.

So it’s cool that they went back to their origins for this figure. It’ll be interesting to see if he manages to sell out of his initial production run of 10,000 figures. Vintage figures and uniform sets are still floating around at ridiculously-low prices. These could wind up as peg-warmers, or they might be heavily-sought-after by customizers and folks looking to refurbish other vintage MEGOs. The body is compatible with vintage MEGO heads (correction: it’s not entirely compatible. See the comments).

The packaging for the new 8″ MEGO single figures is pretty nifty. The card fronts have diagonal stripes, which makes for an eye-catching display when these are on the pegs in the stores (I’ve seen photos). The bubble on this blister pack has a distinctive shape, which allows the figures to be stacked face-to-face in the package without any slippage. The bubble is also where the gold sticker with the limited edition number is (each figure is numbered from one to ten-thousand). This card features the original Action Jackson logo, artwork from the vintage package and word bubbles coming from the character. The latter being a cute touch.

The card back (seen left) shows a photo of a vintage figure, along with some hype copy, a MEGO trivia question, an explanation of what MEGO was and who Marty Abrams is, along with a small photo of Mr. Abrams, and coolest of all, credits for Dr. MEGO as “Consultant,” along with Sean Samson, Cynthia Woodie and Andy Covalt as “Sculptors” and Nicole Wilson as “Seamstress.”

This is the first time I can recall seeing sculptor and seamstress credits on a mass-market toy, and it’s a welcome and long-overdue development.

As a reproduction of a classic toy, you have to give Action Jackson an A-plus. He looks like the original, is more sturdy and posable, but the improvements do not detract from the nostalgia. He is the only figure in this line that is not a well-known licensed character (although they did have to license the name from David Lee, who had picked up the trademark for his Cast-A-Way toy line a while back).

As for the MEGO line as a whole, there is a very good chance that these could catch on with casual collectors and take over where Funko left off with their Pops line, which has been losing steam recently at retail. With the ablility to do more recognizable representations of the characters they depict, MEGO has a real chance to take off.

One of my gripes about Funko Pops is that, much of the time, I don’t know what the hell they’re supposed to be. A guy in a suit with that weird generic big head/blank pupil look could be Agent Mulder, Don Draper, Agent Dale Cooper, Saul Goodman or any of dozens of other characters. MEGO has a much greater capability of capturing a reconizable likeness, which should appeal to fans who have burned out on Pops.

It’s great to have MEGO back, and exciting to see where they go from here.

Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle and Curtain Call are all-new Wednesday on The AIR! Tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of stimulating programs.

Our new morning line-up on Wednesday continues with The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by Prognosis at 9 AM, Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM and an encore of a classic Curtain Call at Noon.  We are re-presenting classic episodes of On The Road with Mel at 1 PM. However, we’re going to mix that up a bit next week. Details are below.

At 1;30 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents Michele’s interview with cult cable-access TV personality, Mr. Phil. A few weeks ago we brought you Michele’s appearance on Mr. Phil’s show, and this week the tables turn as Michele interviews Mr. Phil and finds out what propelled him to his cult status and how he began his long-running New York-area show.

This also mark’s Michele’s last show for a while. With a new book coming out soon, her first book being adapted into a movie, and her recent move, Michele will be stepping away from the weekly grind and concentrating on her other endeavors, which you can keep up with at her website. Next week The AIR will begin airing remastered encores of her show, beginning with the first episode (which hasn’t been heard on The AIR for nearly two years), at her new timeslot, Wednesday at Noon. We will be shuffling the schedule around, so tune in and see the new line-up.  Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle will return on a sporadic basis, as she has time to create new episodes.

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

At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. 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 on Curtain Call, we bring you a very special brand-new episode celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Broadway musical, Eubie!  This was the show that put Gregory and Maurice Hines on the map, and reintroduced the world to one of the most prolific songwriters of all time. Mel Larch introduces the original cast recordings, and we also hear performances by Eubie Blake himself, recorded in 1981, when he was 98 years old.

Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

At 7:30 PM, we have gone into the AIR Archives and unearthed the missing seven episodes of Word Association with Lee and Rudy. These shows were misplaced on a stray hard drive and have not been heard in more than two years. We’ll bring them to you over the next seven weeks, and hopefully follow these with some new shows.

This week you can hear Lee Harrah and Rudy Panucci fumble about wildly as they try to discuss the old days of Charleston Radio, even though their age difference means that they are talking about two different eras.

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, including our full day of fine programming…

Great Tuesday Music On The AIR!

With Tuesday being our most-listened-to day on The AIR we try to load it up with new episodes of our most popular shows, and that’s exactly what we did this week as we bring you more great local music and other goodies like Swing and Psychedelica. This week all three of our music programs feature new episodes, and they’re all pretty darned nifty.  You can tune in at The AIR website, or listen in on this sweet little embedded radio player…

Today at 10 AM we are bringing a terrific new episode of Radio Free Charleston, opening with brand new music from Jay Parade, and continuing with a great mix of new music and stuff from our archives, including Holly and the Guy, Jeff Ellis, Half Batch, Erik Woods, Mark Beckner and more. We’ll post the playlists at the bottom of this post, after the jump.

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 2 PM it’s time for Nigel Pye and his psychedelic mixtape program, Psychedelic Shack. This week we get yet another new episode of Psychedelic Shack in its new one-hour format, bringing you Nigel and his weekly hour-long mix of mind-blowing psychedelic music. In this week’s show you’ll hear Chocolate Watchband and more classic acid-trippy music, but this week Nigel didn’t send us a playlist this week, so you’ll have to tune in to find out what he has up his Nehru-jacketed sleeve for you.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM and Saturday at 7 AM.

At 3 PM The Swing Shift brings you another brand-new one-hour blast of yours truly trying to revive the jive with a reet beat and a swing ans sway that’s here to stay. This week the show kicks off with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and never lets up, with Duke Ellington, New Morty Show, Postmodern Jukebox, Wolfgang Parker and more. You’ll find the playlist after the jump.

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.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else.

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Monday Morning Art: The Hot Streets

 

If you’ve poked your head outside of the safety of air conditioning anytime in the the past three or five months, you may have noticed that it’s been hot, painfully hot, some would even say “gosh-damned heckishly hot.” In fact, we just wrapped up the hottest July in recorded history, and that’s not just on Earth, but also includes all the other planets and the sun. To capture this environment of extreme hottery, today’s art is a digital painting of a scene from Summers Street in Charleston, seconds before things reach a critical temperature and burst into flames. Click the image to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, Monday on our sister internet radio station, The AIR, the Monday Marathon keeps you cool as a cucumber with 24 hours of The Swing Shift  You can listen to a full day of yours truly spinning the best Swing music of the last century, beginning at 7 AM and running through Tuesday morning.  In fact, if you are one of our loyal international listeners, you may know that this marathon immediately follows the regular Midnight Sunday marathon of The Swing Shift, so if you tune in early enough, you can hear 31 hours of The Swing Shift, with no repeats among them. Tune in at the website, or listen on this handy embedded player…