PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Back in 2009, we produced one of our most elaborate Radio Free Charleston shows, with a large cast, multiple locations and even costumes and make up–and that was just the host segments. We also loaded the show up with great music.  It remains in contention for our best show ever, largely due to our unindicted co-conspirators.  Specifically, Mark Wolfe, Amy Williams, Eamon Hardiman, Razor Sharp Productions, The No Pants Players, The Book Exchange and Flare Baroshi all went above and beyond in helping create this little gem. We had a script and everything.  This show features music from Unknown Hinson, The CYAC musical, “The Blob,” The Big Bad and Flare Baroshi.

We also have a Mini Movie, and a few extra treats along the way. Our host segments, featured members of The No Pants Players were shot in various locations in Charleston’s East End. Jeff Bukovinsky, Mandy Petry, Joe Wallace and Duncan Stokes met up with us one afternoon, and we proceeded to skip from location to location, shooting our little comedy bits, aided and abetted by Mel Larch, Mark Wolfe and Amy Williams. We did a killer job, shooting guerilla style, and except for the guy playing me, everyone did a great job.

Next week we’ll wrap up our selection of the best Halloween episodes of Radio Free Charleston with a spooky seance filmed at Mark Wolfe’s house.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 157

From the last day of April, 2012 we have Radio Free Charleston 157, “The Mighty Thor Shirt” On this week’s show we are brought you three songs from the then-upcoming production of The Color Purple by the Charleston Light Opera Guild, plus we had some new music from Godmode Broadway, and a heartfelt plea from The Tom McGees. Host segments were shot around The Charleston Civic Center, a good six and a half years before the current remodeling job.

Director Nina Denton Pasinetti invited us into the Guild workshop so we could take in an early run-through of The Color Purple. Melanie and I were mightily impressed. A week out from opening night, the cast had already gelled into a finely-tuned vocal ensemble. Even without the benefit of an orchestra, set or full costumes, they put on a compelling evening of theater. The entire cast was just amazing and the music was incredible.

The Charleston Civic Center Little Theater was the site of the Charleston Light Opera Guild production of the musical version of The Color Purple. The beloved novel by Alice Walker was turned into a Broadway musical a few years ago by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, with a book by Marsha Norman, and it was the spring offering from Charleston’s Light Opera Guild in 2012. The Guild was chosen to be the first community theater troupe to perform the show, following it’s Broadway run and national tour.

Also appearing on this episode of RFC was Godmode Broadway, the greatly-missed progressive hybrid band. We bring you their song, “Arson Wells (The Misadventures of Ray Von Siskle),” which we recorded at their rehearsal space, the same day we recorded “Surfboards and Broadswords,” which you saw on RFC a few weeks ago.

The PopCulteer
October 19, 2018

There is a ton of stuff going on in the region this week, Bridge Day, pre-Halloween events, city-sponsored beer bashes, grand openings and what-not, but we’re going to focus on a couple of overlooked events that you might want to know about, and we’ll also give you notes on today’s programming on The AIR.

In all the rush, The Woody Numbers Memorial Show and the play, Of Devils and Men, have been unjustly overlooked, so this week, we focus on these two great local events.

Remembering Woody

As promised, I have more details on the big IWA East Coast show happening Saturday. This is the Woody Numbers Memorial Show, in Nitro.


Former IWA East Coast Heavyweight Champ Chance Prophet gets his rematch against the man who took his title, IWA EC Heavyweight Champ, “The Reaper” Matt Conard. There will also be a ladder match between The Rydas and The Minorities for the vacant IWA East Coast Tag Team Championships, and the winner will receive the brand-new title belts, featuring a permanent tribute to Woody Numbers.


Smokey C will face Woody’s old partner-in-crime, Crowza. Violent Vance Desmond will take on Shane Kryzac. The Black Irish Saints will battle Rough, Tough and Beautiful. Stars from all over the country will take part in the Woody Numbers Tribute Battle Royal. Plus we can expect Mickie Knuckles and in his first WV appearance in years, hardcore legend Necrobutcher will be in the house.



This is your chance to come out, support IWA East Coast, salute Woody Numbers and see some of the best wrestling that West Virginia has to offer. Ringside seats are fifteen dollars. General admission is ten dollars for adults, and five bucks for kids. Doors open at 6 PM, with a free meet-and-greet before the show. Belltime is 7:30 PM at King’s Way Outreach Center (the former Nitro High School), 302 21st street in Nitro. Check out the event page on Facebook for more details.

Of Devils And Men

Opening Friday and running through Halloween at The CAPITOL THEATER of Resurrection Church is a new play by Lawrence Burgess. OF DEVILS AND MEN is an original stage play from Burgess (Jack the Ripper, Anne of Green Gables, Signing Off) that takes place in 2021 West Virginia. The death penalty has been enacted into law. Twelve jurors must decide the fate of the accused, with great new consequences from their decision. One of them has a secret…

This devilish play by Burgess promises to be a perfect fit with the Halloween season. Performances are October 19, 20, 26, 27 at 8 PM. October 20 and 27 at 2 PM , October 21 and 28 at 3 PM, and a special Halloween night performance October 31 at 7 PM, at the Capitol Theater, 123 Summers Street in Charleston. General admission for most shows is fifteen dollars. The Sunday matinees are only ten dollars. Produced by the West Virginia Actors Conservatory



Happening On The AIR Friday

Friday on The AIR sees new episodes of Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can listen in at The AIR Website, or on this neat little embedded player…

At 1 PM you may treat yourself to a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston International with a new format. Beginning this week, the show is a two-hour mixtape of whatever it is that I want to play, and to find out what exactly that is, you have to read this post. That way I can cram more music into the show without talking so much.

So if you came here for that, here’s the playlist:

RFC International 058

Elvis Costello and The Imposters “Under Lime”
Glen Matlock “Strange Kinda Taste”
Antarcticats “Pony”
Be Bop Deluxe “Shine”
Bourbon “Fuente Vieja”
Echo and the Bunnymen “Ocean Rain (Trasnformed)”
Ian Gillian and the Javelins “You’re Gonna Ruin Me Baby”
Joe Strummer “Coma Girl”
Katie Melua “Closest Thing To Crazy”
Keith Emerson “Walter L”
Argyle Goolsby “Nightsurf”
Billy F. Gibbons “Standing Around Crying”
Dave Davies “Same Old Blues”
Boz Scaggs “On The Beach”
Neil Finn and Paul Kelly “Deeper Water”
Kirsten Hersh “Lady Godiva”
Les Big Byrd “I’ve Tried So Hard”
Nazereth “My White Bicycle”
John Lennon “Oh My Love”
Paul McCartney “Ceasar Rock”
Pink Fairies “Resident Reptile”
Shriekback “My Spine Is The Bassline”
The Struts “Fire” and “Ashes”

As you may notice, much of that is newly-released music, including the tracks by Elvis Costello, Glen Matlock (the original Sex Pistols bassist), Argyle Goolsby, Billy F. Gibbons, Boz Scaggs, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and The Struts.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston International Friday at 1 PM and 10 PM, Saturday at 1 PM and 1 AM, Sunday at 3 PM and Tuesday at 11 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

Sydney Fileen returns with a brand-new edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 3 PM. This weekly two-hour blast of New Wave freshness opens with The Thompson Twins this week, and continues with hits, deep album cuts and lost treasures from the New Wave era. Sydney even brings us a mini-set of latter-day Stiff Records artists.

Check out this week’s Playlist:

Big Electric Cat 038

Thompson Twins “In The Name Of Love”
The Stranglers “Midnight Summer Dream (12″ Mix)”
The Jam “Down In A Tube Station”
The B 52s “Devil In My Car”
Ultravox “White China (Special Mix)”
The The “I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow (All of My Life)”
Thomas Dolby “Airwaves”
Naked Eyes “Flying Solo”
The Smiths “Still Ill”
The Motels “Remember The Night”
The Police “Synchronicity II”
The Human League “Life On Your Own”
The Elektrics “Tonight”
The Clash “Somebody Got Murdered”
The Boomtown Rats “Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)”
The Waitresses “Quit”
The Sports “Stop The Baby Talking”
Department S “Going Left Right”
The Belle Stars “Sweet Memory”
The Undertones “Free Yourself”
The Pogues “Sally MacLennane”
Rooglalator “Cinncinnati Fatback”
Joe King Carrasco and The Crowns “Buena”
Wreckless Eric “Wax Works”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR.

And with that, we wrap up this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all of our regular features and get ready for our month-long PopCult Gift Guide, starting November 1.

DerickFest 2018 Tonight!

The Annual Event to Fund Music Scholarships for Students in the Kanawha Valley happens tonight at Black Sheep Blues and Burritos, during and after ArtWalk in Downtown Charleston. This annual show raises money for The Derick Kirk Foundation.

The stellar line-up of talent includes:

5:00 – McCracken&Kirk – Roots-Based Acoustic Duo
6:00 – Independent State – Appalachian Soul Rebel Roots
7:00 – The Velvet Brothers – West Virginia’s Kings of Lounge
8:00 – Bob Thompson Unit – West Virginia Jazz Legend
9:00 – Voodoo Katz – Caribbean and African Dance Gurus

The Derick Kirk Foundation supports and funds music education and development in grades kindergarten through 12. Recognizing personal and professional development begins early, The Foundation endeavors to promote the significant role music plays in nurturing the creative process in youth. The mission of the Derick Kirk Foundation, Inc. is to support and fund music education and development in grades kindergarten through 12. The Foundation was created in 2007 when noted musician Derick Kirk succumbed to a rare form of cancer that same year at the age of 28. Derick was working on his Masters in Music at Marshall University at the time of his death. Today, his spirit continues through the ongoing work of the 501.c.3 charity.

Admission is free and there will be Door Prizes. You’ll also find Dinner Specials and a special beer designed for Derick’s memory, some of the proceeds from which will go to the foundation. Donations Accepted.

Thursday brings you a new episode of one of our most popular shows on The AIR.  It’s a brand-new edition of Prognosis, our guide to Progressive Rock, that you can tune in at the website, or on this nifty little player…

Thursday at 3 PM the legendary Herman Linte returns with two hours of a fantastic mix of new and classic progressive rock on Prognosis. As regular listeners of the show know, Herman has been missing in action for the last nine months or so. Your PopCulteer has filled in while Herman dealt with an astounding workload at Haversham Recording Institute in London, as something he’s kept private until this week’s show, a medical scare that forced him, on doctor’s orders, to rest his voice for a prolonged convalescence. Herman is thrilled to be back on his labor of love, and intends to stick around for the long haul now.

And he does this with a show packed with new music from Prog-Rock legends, YES, Fish, Dave Sinclair, Marillion, Dream Theater, Hawkwind and Coheed and Cambria, plus some great deep-cuts from other stalwarts of the progressive music scene.

Prognosis can be heard every Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 7 AM, Saturday at 8 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM and Wednesday at 10 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

Check out this week’s playlist for the music that will keep you moving forward…

Prognosis 038

YES (ARW) “And You And I”
Fish “Little Man, What Now”
Blackfield “End of The World”
Dave Sinclair “Home Again”
Be Bop Deluxe “Sound Track”
Dream Theater “I Walk Beside You”
Keith Emerson “The Band Keeps Playing”
Coheed and Cambria “The Dark Sentence”
Hawkwind “Down Through The Night”
Nick Mason “Prelude and Ritual”
Renaissance “Symphony of Light” (Live”
Hush “It’s All Too Much”
Stratovarious “Second Sight”
Marillion “Easter”

Don’t forget you can tune in an hour before Prognosis for a special replay of this week’s new episode of Radio Free Charleston, which you can read about HERE. Take a gander at this particularly swell HTML embedded schedule to see what else you can hear on The AIR all day long. When it comes to The AIR, we here at PopCult spare you neither a bell nor a whistle…

New Curtain Call Wednesday!

Wednesday afternoon on The AIR Mel Larch presents yet another 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 The AIR, our musical theatre program, Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch, brings you a new hour of the bestest ever of musical theater, and opens the show with the title song from the new musical, Head Over Heels, which uses the music of The Go Gos to tell a story based on The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia written by Sir Philip Sidney in the 16th century. Seems like a natural!

The rest of this week’s new hour presents a Mel’s usual mix of brand-new music and emerging performers with classics from the vault. You’ll hear evergreens from Peter Pan, Fiddler On The Roof and Pal Joey, plus tracks from exciting new and obscure musicals like Miss You Like Hell and Broken Wings. You’ll even hear a duet between Liza Minelli and Chita Rivera, as well as a solo turn by the sleek and sophisticated man of the stage, Buddy Hackett.

Check out the Playlist here…

Curtain Call 049

“Head Over Heels” title song
“I’m Flying ” Peter Pan (Cathy Rigby Elisa Adardia, Barry Cavanagh and Drake English)
“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” Kristen Chenowith (Art of Elegance album)
“Wedding Dance” Fiddler on the Roof (2007)
“Miss You Like Hell” Miss You Like Hell
“Garbage Isn’t What It Used To Be” An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner (Gerard Kenny)
“Capped Teeth and Ceasar Salad” Bernadette Peters from Song and Dance
“Dr. Freud” from I Had A Ball (1964)-Buddy Hackett
“Stealin'” from Only Heaven Knows
“Stop” Mean Girls
“Poor Little Person” Henry, Sweet Henry (1967) Alice Playton and Chorus
“The Apple Doesn’t Fall From The Tree” from The Rink (Liza Minelli and Chita Rivera)
“The Cathedral of Clemenza” Valmouth (1982-Chichester Festival Production)
Background music: Overture from Broken Wings concept album

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 Ocean Healing Meditation. At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. 5 PM sees a replay of this week’s hot new episode of The Swing Shift. At 7:30 PM, we continue replaying Word Association with Lee & Rudy, from the very first episode. This week it’s episode five, dedicated to Lemmy. 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…


As I’ve often 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. This 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, once again digging deep into the RFC Archives.  We open with a track from The Stars Revolt, a band that includes Richie Ray, of Shindig fame. The rest of the hour is a deep dive into the RFC Archives, with artists as diverse as Go Van Gogh, Stephanie Deskins, Time And Distance, The Hey Days and HARRAH. This batch of goodies includes rare recordings from The Charleston Playhouse and LiveMix Studio.

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 gearing up for a new batch of all of our British show.

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 a variety of Swing Music from the last one hundred years into an eminently danceable, cohesive whole. From Jack Pack and Jane Horrocks to Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and even Aretha Franklin, 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: Demon’s Face


Continuing our month of somewhat spooky or scary art, this week we have a digitally-painted portrait of a demon. Starting with an old photo I took from the Union Building, looking West (you can see the original HERE), I snipped and snorted and created an image of a face mingled in amongst the background. Then using that, I repainted the entire painting using wilder and more abstract digital brushes until I came up with what we have here.

I think it’s sufficiently spooky to work with this month’s theme. Click the image to see a larger version.

Click the image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, today on The AIR, we present a 24-hour marathon of Prognosis. As a special bonus, all twelve episodes of the show, which will are from 7 AM Monday to 7 AM Tuesday, are presented by Herman Linte, the original host of the program, who, if all goes according to plan, will return to the presenter’s seat this Thursday to bring you the finest progressive rock of the last half-century. It’s been a kick hosting the show myself for the past several months, but I’m thrilled to have Herman back where he belongs, steering Prognosis into the uncharted seas of virtuosity and intelligent rock music.

Tune in at The AIR Website, or on this neat little embedded player…

Sunday Evening Videos: Halloween Horror on RFC

We always tried to do something special for our Halloween shows on Radio Free Charleston. In 2008 I decided to pay homage to the cheesy horror movies hosts of my youth, and came up with “Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater,” hosted by me, as “Count Rudoph.” We shot the host segments at LiveMix Studio, and I assembled a cast of terrific performers–Liz McCormick,Melanie Larch, Brian Young, and as “Celeste the Zombie Supermodel,” Kitty Killton. While I wrote a script, the five of us basically improvised the show.  You see the first two parts at the top of this post. The bonus installment is on right below.

We had so much fun that the following spring we decided to do it again, only this time for our April Fool’s episode. Kitty wasn’t available for this shoot, but we added Alan Young and Mark and Stephen Beckner.  Again, it was a ton of fun. Stick around for the post-end-credit gag.

The music on these shows is top-notch, too. You’ll hear Doctor Senator, The Hellblinki Sextet, Under The Radar, Go Van Gogh, Whistlepunk and Hitchcock Circus. You’ll also get to see animation by Wladislaw Starewicz and Frank Panucci, and short films by Rich Allen and Spike Nesmith. You will also bear witness to the truth about Jack The Ripper. That’s all in addition to the zombie hijinks. You can read the productions notes for part one and part two, and the fake and real notes for the third installment. The RFC Halloween videos continue next week.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 156

From April, 2012 comes Radio Free Charleston 156, “Warning Trioxin Shirt,.” This week we featured music from The Renfields and The Tom McGees, plus we brought you a terrific short docu-drama by Stephen Schmidt.

Charleston’s Ska kings, The Tom McGees (right) perform a song called “Enemy Spy Plane Inbound,”which I mistakenly called by two or three different titles during the show. We also had Three-fifths of The Renfields on this show, to promote the then-in-the-future Zombie Prom at the old Kanawha Players theater. You’ll get to hear our favorite monster cereal band performing From Beyond” and “Ramones Zombie Massacre.”

Sandwiched in between our musical guests we presented a wonderful short film by Stephen Schmidt. “Give Up The Fuzz, a few words with Clarence Fuzzy Haskins” In this film, Stephen combined an interview with Fuzzy Haskins, with dramatic recreations of some of the events starring such notable local performers as Newman Jackson, Philip Washington and Billy Hambleton. Fuzzy Haskins was a founding member of Parliment-Funkadelic, and the interview with him was conducted at a West Virginia Music Hall of Fame event. I want to thank Stephen for letting me share his wonderful film with the RFC audience. It really classed up the joint.

You can read the original production notes HERE.