PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Wednesday afternoon on The AIR Mel Larch presents a brand-new episode of Curtain Call. You can hear it at 3 PM. Just tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of stimulating programs.

At 3 PM Wednesday on Curtain Call, Mel Larch brings you a new hour of the best of musical theater, and opens the show with a rare demo of “I’m Not A Loser,” the song that They Might Be Giants wrote for SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical (which I reviewed HERE). We caught the show during our recent trip to New York City, and the song, sung by Squidward, is one of the many showstoppers we witnessed during the evening. Following this week’s new hour, we will replay last year’s episode of Curtain Call that presented the entire original cast recording of SpongeBob Squarepants, so you can compare this demo to the finished piece.

The rest of this week’s new hour presents a varied mix of wonderful showtunes from major hits and obscure curiosities, featuring performers like Vanessa Williams and Keith Carradine. Check out the playlist right here:

Curtain Call 048

“I’m Not A Loser” They Might Be Giants Demo
“Belmont Ave.” A Bronx Tale
“Queenie Was A Blonde” The Wild Party
“The Big Time” Will Rogers Follies
“Could You Use Me” Girl Crazy
“The Party of a Lifetime” Charlie Girl
“Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home” St. Louis Woman
“King of New York” Newsies
“Stan’ Up and Fight” Carmen Jones OBC
“What A Remarkable Age This Is!” Titanic OBC
“Falstaff and Talbot” Jeanne The Musical
“Lady of the Manor” Valmouth
“Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen” A Chorus Line
BG music Overture from On The Twentieth Century

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.

The rest of our programming day follows the new routine: 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 and 7 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents an Ociean Healing Meditation. At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. This week listen to the songs that people thought were by the Beatles, but which, in fact, weren’t really. 5 PM sees a replay of this week’s hot new episode of The Swing Shift. At 7:30 PM, we begin replaying Word Association with Lee & Rudy, from the very first episode. We’re hoping to crank out a batch of new shows in this series soon.

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…

Pull In To The Mind Garage On Radio Free Charleston

As I’ve mentioned before, Tuesday is our most-listened-to day on The AIR and we really like to load it up with new episodes of our most popular shows. Tuesday we bring you new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift.  You can tune in at The AIR website, or listen in on this hand-made, intricately-embroidered radio player…

Today at 10 AM we are bringing you a special brand-new episode of Radio Free Charleston, digging deep into the RFC Archives.  We open and close with tracks from Mind Garage, the legendary Psychedelic/Spiritual Rock band from Morgantown. Mind Garage was: Larry McClurg – lead vocals, Norris Lytton – vocals, bass and sax, Ted Smith – percussion, Jack Bond – vocals, keyboard,  and John Vaughan – vocals, lead guitar.

Although the band was signed to RCA almost half a century ago, all five members are still with us, and have an active Facebook group , dedicated to great classic rock music, and they have been sharing some of their own incredible revolutionary music.  We’ll be bringing you lots of this in the coming weeks, but this week you get a double dose of Mind Garage.

Inspired by the Mind Garage archives, I decided to fill the rest of the show with music from the Radio Free Charleston and RFC MINI SHOW video archives, much of this has not been heard outside of the video shows themsevles.  See the playlist below 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 are treated to an encore of a show from earlier in the summer, as Nigel and the Haversham Recording Institute crew are still working hard on a project in France.

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 new hour that mixes all types of Swing Music from the last one hundred years into an eminently danceable, cohesive whole. From The Blues Jumpers and Speakeasies’ Swing Band to Keely Smith, Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton, this hour swings from top to bottom.

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: Times Square


As promised, this week we have another piece of art inspired by my recent trip to New York City. This week it’s a looser Impressionistic piece inspired by the view from Father Duffy’s Steps in Times Square. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that there was no charge to sit there, it seems like everything else in The Big Apple is monetized, but it was free, and we spent a fair bit of time sitting outside enjoying a light rain and cool breeze, which was a wonderful counterpoint to the nasty heat that’s been plaguing most of the East Coast this summer.

In the distance you see the tower of billboards and LED screens that makes up the colorful centerpiece of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration. It’s all so overwhelming that I chose a looser style than last week, to give a hint of how much of everything there is just take in. This is a digital painting, and not simply a photo fed through a filter or painted over. I’ve been trying to do more real painting since regaining the use of my fingers a couple of years back, and all the photos I took from this angle had some large guy in a white shirt standing in front of me for some reason. Maybe he thought he was in church, but every time I pointed the camera that way, he’d jump up.

Next week, for a change of pace, I’ll be executing a hyper-realistic painting based on a detail from one of the photos I took, which cracked me up. In the meantime, click on this image to enlarge it.

Over on The AIR, Marathon Monday brings you The B****it Crazy Show. Tune in for 48 episodes of what has been described as “an audio collage that sounds like Dr. Demento on acid with Tourette’s Syndrome.” You can tune in on The AIR website, or on this rather ingenious embedded transistor radio thingy…

Sunday Evening Videos: The ShockaCon Files


ShockaCon, West Virginia’s only horror/sci-fi convention, begins Friday, September 21, at The Beni Kedem Shrine Center on Quarrier Street in Charleston. This is the seventh year for ShockaCon, and it’s got the biggest line-up of guests so far. We’ll be tell you more about the show in the next couple of weeks, but tonight we wanted to get a head start and show you videos of past ShockaCons so that you can clear your schedule and get in the mood to kick off Halloween season in style.

This year they have a stellar line-up of guests and vendors, including Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Tawney Kitaen, Jyote Amge and Nicholas Bendan. Plus they’ll have artists, authors, cosplayers, after-hours music and movie screenings, Ghostbusters, Horror Trivia, drawing with Chris Woodall and more, in addition to the many vendors selling horror-themed goods and sundries. Expect to read a lot about ShockaCon in the coming days.  Despite all this coolness, however, this will be the first ShockaCon that your PopCulteer will have to miss. We ran headfirst into an unavoidable schedule conflict, and I will be out of town during the show.

Just because I have to miss it, that doesn’t mean that you should skip it. In fact, if they draw record numbers of attendees, and everybody posts about how much fun they’re having, I can sort of enjoy the show vicariously through other people’s posts.

We begin with our coverage of  the 2015 ShockaCon Costume Parade, which started at the Beni Kedem Shrine Center and wound around the first floor of The Charleston Town Center Mall. The parade is going to happen again Saturday, September 22, at 10:15 AM.

You know you want to dress up and take part.

We have more ShockaCon videos after the jump…

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The RFC Flashback: Episode 151

This week we take you to March, 2012, where after more than two month’s off, we got back into the thick of things with Radio Free Charleston 151, “The Tom McGees Shirt.” It was our first all-new episode of 2012.

In this show, you will find music by Buddy Black, Johnny Compton with Prank Monkey and Karma To Burn We also get a preview of Danny Boyd’s graphic novel project, “Carbon.” Host segments were shot on a beautiful, windless, Sunday morning at Haddad Riverfront park.

Our first musical guest was Canadian punk rocker Buddy Black. Black was such a huge fan of the Danny Boyd‘s classic West Virginia Horror movie, Chillers, that he recorded a tribute EP devoted to film. He came to Charleston to film two music videos from the EP, and we were proud to bring you one in this episode. “Xipe,” directed by Curtis Baskerville, and filmed in Dunbar and Institute is a beautifully-crafted, catchy punk rock gem.

After a couple of plugs for then-happening events, this episode brings you an animated (sort of) video of an instrumental tune by Johnny Compton and Prank Monkey that featured digitally-assaulted graphics so that the video looks like an oil painting come to life.  The tune is one that Johnny Compton plays to salute fallen friends and loved ones. This week we featured Johnny with Jamie Skeen and Mike Vandergriff performing “Until We Meet Again.”

This show closes with two numbers (literally) by the legendary Karma To Burn. Recorded the previous fall at Mission Coalition, you get to hear “19” and “36.”  These was an incredible night and it’s cool to see that I used more footage from that show than I recalled.

You can read the full production notes for this episode HERE.

A Trip To Yankee Stadium

The PopCulteer
September 7, 2018

A week ago today, I went to Yankee Stadium to watch a baseball game.

That may not seem like a big deal to you. Millions of people do it every year. In my case, it was something that, for a long time, I never dreamed would happen.

I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees my entire life. I inherited my favorite team from my father. I’m not obsessive about baseball, but I do enjoy watching the occasional game, and when my team is in the post season, I make it a point to cheer them on.

Before this, I had never set foot in a major league ballpark. Most of the reason for that was simply location. Charleston isn’t conveniently located less than a few hours drive from any MLB city, and although I’ve been going to Pittsburgh on a regular basis for over thirty years, I never really considered going to a Pirates game.

Apologies to fans of the Pirates, but I didn’t really want my first major league game to be in Pittsburgh. I love the Steelers, but I’ve never really been caught up in the Pirate’s mystique.

I really wanted to hold out for Yankee Stadium. My dad never got to visit Yankee Stadium. He traveled to closer cities to see his favorite team, and even got to see Joe DiMaggio in Washington, the day after the streak was broken. And he saw Mickey Mantle play in Watt Powell Park while rehabbing an injury. But Pop never made it to New York City.

I’ve mentioned before that I spent a long time as a caregiver. My father had a blood disorder that eventually developed into leukemia, and my mother suffered a major stroke in 1997 that left her bedridden. I took care of them at home from the early 1990s to 2006. During this time I couldn’t imagine being away from them long enough to go on any trips.

Within months after my mother passed away (Pop had died three years earlier), my aunt asked me to help take care of my uncle, and I was basically drafted into caregiver mode for another seven years.

When my uncle died in 2013 I was finally free to travel. I had actually started visiting other cities before he died, making my first trip to JoeLanta and a couple of trips to Washington D.C, but during those trips, even though we had plenty of other caregivers to watch over my uncle, members of his family made it a point to call every few minutes to ask me questions.

When the deck was cleared and I was no longer responsible for other people’s lives, I was finally free to live my own. Melanie and I got married in Chicago in 2014, and we make it a point to take several trips a year, just because we couldn’t for the longest time.

In fact, the reason that I finally took the plunge and went to Yankee Stadium was because Melanie is now a devoted fan…of the Chicago Cubs. She wants to go to a game at Wrigley Field (sooner than later, to be precise), and I could not have my first visit to a Major League ballpark be anywhere but Yankee Stadium.

If this sounds selfish…I’ll admit to that. The thing is, I’ve been a Yankees fan since birth, and Mel has been a Cubs fan for a bit over two years. I had to call senority on this one. Now that I’ve seen a game at Yankee Stadium, we can go where ever she wants.

The whole experience was a wide-eyed joy. In our previous trips to New York City, neither me nor Mel had ever ridden the subway. We took our first subway trip to Yankee Stadium one week ago. It smelled exactly like everybody said it would…like if giant robots had sweaty private parts. But it was still an adventure. I got to stand, pinned up against the wall (photo at right), for the entire 30-minute trip. But I was cool with that.

The train spilled its passengers at Yankee Stadium, and we walked around to get our bearings. We had to go buy tickets first. The light rain that plagued us all day threatened the game, but as long as I got in and was able to take my seat, I was going to be happy. I really never thought that I’d get the chance to go to Yankee Stadium.  This was hallowed ground, more important to me than the Vatican to the Pope.

It was Brett Gardner Bobblehead Day, and we didn’t really expect to get one. We got there hours early, but there were already massive lines. After we got our ticket, I had a hunch that we’d be closer to our seats if we walked around the stadium and entered through Gate 8.

It turned out that hardly anybody was using Gate 8. We got in without standing in line, and were both handed a Bobblehead of one of my favorite current players (seen left). We arrived so early that we had to wait to get to the section with our seats, but that gave us time to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the park.

We did not visit the museum or the stores or anything. This trip was about seeing a game, and we figured we’ll eventually go back and see all that stuff later. Plans are already afoot for 2019.

Come 5:30 we were able to get to our seats in section 211, and relax and watch stuff on the big screen, while not mentioning the rain that was still coming down at a mild pace. We sort of had the section to ourselves for a while because we’d gotten there so early, as you can see in the image at the right.

I should probably mention that most of the photos you see with this post were taken before the game. Once the game started, I put away the camera and phone and enjoyed it without infringing on any material owned by Major League Baseball, since I did not have expressed written consent or anything.

Then, right before the game started, the rain stopped. It became a cool and breezy 70 degrees. The weather was perfect, and the ground crew removed the tarp from the infield.

This being our first trip to a MLB ballpark, I wasn’t sure if it was standard practice to keep the infield cover before gametime, but it was rainly lightly, but steadily, so it was a bit nerve-wracking to see the field covered when we got there.

The Yankees were playing the Detroit Tigers. We’d picked this time to go because the tickets were less expensive, and (sorry Tigers fans) there was a better chance that the Yankees would win.

Before the game, while posting on Facebook, Jack Hall, a friend and fellow GI Joe collector, and a loyal Tigers fan, said he was rooting against the Yankees (whom he also likes). I made a reverse-bet with him. If the Yankees beat his team, I’d send him a box of Quisp cereal.

Jack should get his Quisp today or tomorrow. The Tigers took an early lead. Then, in the sixth inning, Brett Gardner, on the day of his holy Bobble-headening, hit a two-run homer to put the Yankees on the scoreboard for the first time. One Strikeout later, Aaron Hicks and Gleybor Torres hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees the lead. Later Detroit re-took the lead, but in the 8th inning, Gardner scored the tying run, and the Yanks added two more for the win.

I was pretty lucky. At my first game in a major league ballpark, I got to see my team win, and hit three home runs in one inning, and the rain held off and it was a fantastic experience all around.

The really cool thing was that the crowd was united. There were no divisions over skin color, politics, religion or anything else. For a few hours we didn’t think about how awful the president is, or how things are probably going to get worse soon. We were spared the real world issues of the day, and over 41,000 of us got to sit back and enjoy an exciting ballgame. This was America at its finest…unless you were a Tigers fan.

I would like to mention that I have been to games at Power Park here in town, and I have an observation: When we went to local games, I noticed that they pumped in really, really loud music, non-stop, before the game and between every inning. It was so loud that you couldn’t possibly carry on a conversation. If they weren’t playing music they were making some really loud announcement or having a contest or something.  I figured that at Yankee Stadium it would be much worse. I was wrong. While they do play music and have news and introductions and announcments, the audio level was never at the pain-inducing roar that our local minor-league team uses (or used–to be fair, I haven’t been to a Power Game in about seven years, largely due to the noise. They may have fixed it by now). Mel and I were able to talk to each other without yelling, and we got to meet some of our fellow fans. It was so much nicer than the audio onslaught that I’ve experienced here in town.

After the game, Mel and I were able to navigate the subway back to our hotel (which was just a block away from the station) and prepare for our last night’s slumber in the city that never sleeps. We even passed the stage door to SpongeBob Squarepants on the way. The next morning we were back on the train to Pittsburgh, and the day after that we meandered our way down I 79.

We’d made our anniversary trip to New York City. Mel got to see SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical. We got to eat Junior’s Cheesecake. I got to see the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium.

Mission accomplished.

Now we need to get ready for part two of the anniversary trip. Here’s a video with some random inages from our trip…

That’s the PopCulteer for this week. Check back for our regular features, and get ready for more book and toy reviews next week.

Riding The Rails To New York City

As promised, now I will tell you a bit about my anniversary trip to New York last week. Yesterday I posted my review of SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical, but today I’m going to tell you how we got to New York City in the first place.

I’ve mentioned before that Mel and I like to travel via Amtrak. It’s easier than driving, and cheaper than flying, with more room for luggage and way less TSA hassle. The cars are comfy, even traveling coach (seen right). However, until November, there’s a problem with taking our local train, The Cardinal, to New York.

It doesn’t go there, at least not at this time.

While they are taking forever to repair and replace tracks in the Northeastern Corridor, service on the Cardinal line beyond Washington D.C. has been suspended. This has been a major pain in the butt for us because the repairs coincide with two trips to the Big Apple that we took this year, and we had to find other means to get to our destination.

Rather than take the train to DC and deal with a long layover while we waited for another train to finish our journey, we decided to drive to Pittsburgh, stay with my sister overnight, and then ride The Pennsylvanian into New York. It’s a fun trip that takes us through the famous Horseshoe Curve in Blair County, Pennsylvania (see the video below) and also past the Boyer candy factory in Altoona, Amish Country and into Philadelphia (after which the trip is exactly like riding The Cardinal).

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but Boyer Smoothies and Peanut Butter Cups were a big part of my childhood. I never really cared for the Mallo Cups, though.

We arrived at Penn Station in Manhattan around 5 PM and hopped a taxi to our hotel, Double Tree Suites Times Square, which was strategically chosen because it was right next door to the Palace Theater, where we went to see SpongeBob Squarepants.

The view from our hotel window, which inspired this week’s Monday Morning Art.

Staying in Times Square is a remarkable experience, and if you can ever afford to do it, I recommend it highly. We only stayed for two nights, and cashed in Hilton Honors points for one of those, so it wasn’t a back-breaking expense.

After freshening up a bit, we walked out of the hotel’s front entrance and were five feet away from the start of the line to pick up our “will call” tickets for the show. I wrote about the show HERE, so we’ll pick up the rest of the story after we got out of the show.

The coolest thing about where we stayed was how close we were to everything. After the show it was a block and a half walk to Junior’s Delicatessen, where we partook of giant sandwiches and brought their world famous greatest cheesecake in the world back to the hotel to eat for breakfast the next morning. That’s me and Mel, waiting for our gigantic portions of food, at the right.

Walking through Times Square after Midnight was a trip. It was still packed with people, bright and loud, and to be honest, we felt much safer than we do walking in downtown Charleston at 8 PM. With so many people around, you don’t feel threatened if you see someone who looks crazy. Chances are you’ll see someone who looks crazier five feet past them, and they’re not paying any attention to you because they’re trying to out-crazy the next guy, five feet past them.

It was a kick walking into our hotel room and seeing that there was more light coming in the windows at night than there was in daylight.

We slept a little later than normal the next day, recovering from the fantastic show, the insanely huge portions of food, and the fun and overwhelming Times Square experience, and then we had Junior’s cheesecake for breakfast, and started out on a couple of excursions around the neighborhood.

I should mention here that one impediment to our summer travels is that I have Myasthenia Gravis, and heat wears me out fast. It has been a brutally hot and humid summer on the East Coast, and New York City has not been spared the heat waves. It’s so hot that, if the Son of Sam killings were happening now, the Satan dog would tell David Berkowitz to wait until it cools down a bit before going out shooting.

So I had to pace myself, but luckily that didn’t get in our way of having fun. In the morning we walked through Shubert Alley and hit a couple of Theatre book stores, and just enjoyed the city. We also ventured down the subway to check out the maps and schedules for later in the day. Having stuffed ourselves with cheesecake, we didn’t really need to stop for lunch.

Part of Shubert Alley, as seen from Junior’s.

We did head back to the hotel to rest for a few minutes, then we went back out, walking in the opposite direction from where’d we gone earlier, and visited Hershey World, M&M World and a Christmas shop, all within a block of the Doubletree.

One of the many giant cool things in the three-floor M&M World.
Super Nutcrackers at the Christmas Shoppe

After that we stopped and sat on Father Duffy’s Steps in Times Square, which was right outside our hotel, and hit up Grand Slam, a gift shop where trinkets and Yankee’s stuff was purchased.By this point, it had become overcast, but also windy. The temperature dropped to a lovely and breezy 75 degrees, but the light rain made put our evening plans in a bit of jeopardy.

Sensory overload while sitting on Father Duffy’s Steps.
Father Duffy himself, with giant animated billboards looming in the background.

After soaking in Times Square, it was back to the hotel to rest up for our first-ever NYC Subway ride, to Yankee Stadium. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

One last picture: Our hotel, right next to The Palace Theater. This is what you call good trip planning (all Mel’s work, by the way).

SpongeBob Squarepants The Broadway Musical may well be the quintessential Broadway experience. It has the perfect combination of music, cast, direction, art direction and story to make it stand head and shoulders above any of the classics of the stage. The only musical close to this in terms of over all quality is The Book of Mormon, and unlike that show, SpongeBob Squarepants is family-friendly.

Taking the familiar characters from the Nickledeon cartoon, and placing them in a compelling story about the potential end of the world works surprisingly well on stage, largely due to the efforts of the cast and the creative team.

The show is a spectacle in every sense of the word. The set design is brilliant, both figuratively and literally, and the costume design manages to perfectly capture the characters of the cartoon series without resorting to using mascot uniforms.

Much of the credit for that also goes to the cast, who manage to evoke the outlandish cartoon characters by using physical comedy, mime and puppeteering skills, exaggerated dance and mastery of the character voices. Ethan Slater, as SpongeBob, looks like a muscled-up Danny Elfman, but with the voice, stance and costume perfectly embodies the beloved cartoon character.

The entire cast is excellent, but special notice has to go to Gavin Lee (left), who plays Squidward. With a costume that includes gimmicked pants that include two extra legs, Lee brings Squidward to life in a way that would have been hard to imagine. He has the body language, voice and attitude down perfectly, and his big production number, “I’m Not A Loser” (written by They Might Be Giants), is one of the many highlights of this show.

The casting of this show is a perfect example of how to achieve diversity without calliing attention to it. Other shows would stop every five seconds to pat themselves on the back for having black, Asian, gay, Latino, and folks with different body types as cast members on stage, but in SpongeBob Squarepants they simply are, without it being a big deal. Each actor does their job, or jobs, and they all excel.

The music is incredible and hangs together very well, despite being written, for the most part, by rock musicians with no prior stage experience. In addition to They Might Be Giants, composers include David Bowie and Brian Eno, Jonathan Coulton, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Yolanda Adams, Sara Bareilles, John Legend and members of Lady Antebellum, The Flaming Lips, Panic at the Disco, The Plain White Ts and Paic At The Disco.

The orchestra does a remarkable job throughout, and the onstage sound effects/Foley/percusstionist Mike Dobson adds a whole new level to the use of sound in a stage musical.

Everything about this show is perfect. I can’t understand how this show was passed over for the Tony Award for best musical in favor of the dismal and mundane The Band’s Visit.  I can only assume that it was misplaced resentment over all the stage musicals based on Disney cartoons. However, SpongeBob Squarepants The Musical is so much more than the Disney musicals are. It delivers everything that a Broadway musical should, and does it with originality, wit and style. Kudos to director/co-conceiver Tina Landau for creating the definitive Broadway musical.

SpongeBob Squarepants The Broadway Musical ends its run at the Palace Theater on September 16, but will shortly be going out on a national tour. I recommend you see it, if you get the chance. This is a show that you will never forget.

This show was half of the anniversary trip to New York taken last week by your PopCulteer and his wife. I will tell you about the rest of the trip later this week.

You can hear Mel Larch’s Curtain Call present the cast album of SpongeBob Squarepants on The AIR today at 3 PM, Thursday at 8 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. Listen at The AIR website or on this embedded radio player…

Here’s one look at how amazing just part of the set was. This is just one side of the stage, in a photo taken during intermission. It does not do justice to how impressive the set for this show is.

The Best of The AIR All Week Long!

This week The AIR presents the best examples of our most popular programs. If you think that’s just a euphemistic way of saying that we’re bringing you reruns all week long…well, it’s hard to argue your logic. You can tune in all week to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of familiar programs.

Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife took off for New York City last week for a late-anniversary trip, and while we had lots of fun, we did not have time to record new episodes of our programs for the week. Likewise, the crew at Haversham Recording Institute had the daunting task of undertaking a working vacation in the South of France, and were not able to provide us with their programs. So this week The AIR brings you the best of our recent shows.

Tuesday you will be treated to treasures from our archives for Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift. Wednesday it’s encores of Curtain Call, Beatles Blast and Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle. Thursday expect a classic edition of Prognosis, and Friday brings you hand-picked examples of the finest episodes of Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can keep track of the full schedule on the widget-thingy at the bottom of this post.

And you can also expect yours truly to share the details of our second surgical strike on The Big Apple, complete with photos, and possibly video. Stay tuned to PopCult this week for that.

Monday Morning Art: Theatre District


Your PopCulteer has just returned from another whirlwind trip to New York City, and I will be telling you about those action-packed 42 hours in the next few days. In the month of September, the Big Apple will be the subject of Monday Morning Art, with each week presenting a piece of art inspired by New York City, but executed in drastically different styles. This week it’s my impressionistic take on Manhattan’s Theatre District, which we could see just by looking out of our hotel window. As always, click to enlarge the image.

Our Monday Marathon on The AIR, this week celebrates the 29th anniversary of Radio Free Charleston, which debuted on broadcast radio 29 years ago on the weekend of Labor Day, 1999.  RFC has gone through many different incarnations, including the original broadcast run, our video show (currently on hiatus) and our current internet radio program which you can listen to at The AIR Website, or on the embedded player at the bottom of this post. Starting at 7 AM Monday, and running for 24 hours, you can listen to one-hour episodes of Radio Free Charleston filled with great local music alternating with two-hour episodes of Radio Free Charleston International, filled with great music of all kinds from all over the world.  Between the two shows, you can recreate the feel of the original RFC, which combined alternative and progressive music with the best of local music from all over West Virginia.