PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: Lost Bonzos

We have here, in memorium to Neil Innes, Sam Spoons and Viv Stanshall, a lost film starring the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. This was a short film made in 1969 for the British Film Institute, with the intent of being shown before feature films in UK cinemas.  Evidently, The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage was deemed too strange to expose the British moviegoing public, so the film was never shown, and at one point was considered “lost.”

The Bonzo Dog Band, seen here in their rock-iconoclast heyday, take a splendidly surreal trip to the countryside in this endearingly odd, semi-improvised psychedelic music short. Much of the music will be familiar to die-hard fans of the Bonzos.

After a strange-sounding supper with local kids, the Bonzos set up their instruments in a farmyard, where they perform outlandish instrumental versions of their weird theatrical rock songs to an appreciative audience of horses and ponies. The band line-up featured here is Vivian Stanshall, Neil Innes, Rodney Slater, ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, Roger Ruskin Spear and Dennis Cowan. Unusually, Viv doesn’t sing here. Instead he toys with some radishes, before playing some serious electric guitar, his brow appealingly adorned by a laurel wreath. Meanwhile, Neil expresses himself in clown trousers and Roger attends to his robots.

This video is part of the Orphan Works collection. When the rights-holder for a film cannot be found, that film is classified as an Orphan Work. That means it can be posted to YouTube without any nasty consequences.

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number Seventeen

This week we go back to April, 2014, for an RFC MINI SHOW featuring dogsoldier (all lowercase, in case you were wondering).

We recorded the band at The Empty Glass in the previous month. It had been over five years and about 140 episodes of Radio Free Charleston since we’d first featured them on the show. In the interim, the band had split up, reforming late in 2013 with a slightly-altered line up. We are glad to say that Justin Johnson, Chris Burdette, Jody Ashley, and Brent Brubaker still sounded fantastic. I’m not sure if they’re still making music together, so if they want to let me know, that’s what the comments are for.

With their musical territory staked out somewhere between Led Zepplin and Radiohead, dogSOLDIER created timeless music that is truly remarkable.

Random Notes From The World of Popular Culture

The PopCulteer
January 17, 2020

We have lots of little things to talk about this week. It has indeed been a strange week in the world of PopCult. The AIR was temporarily taken down by hackers. The Wednesday night cable television ratings were thrown into disarray by the appearance of Lev Parnas on The Rachel Maddow Show. Lots of early info is leaking out in advance of Toy Fair. And Major League Baseball has seen its integrity flushed down the terlet.

So in no particular order, let’s see what varied topics we can address…

Reacting to Death on Social Media

It seems like we’ve had an unusually high number of celebrity deaths recently, and it’s brought up something about social media that has bothered me for some time.

When a famous person–an actor, director, musician, artist or whatever–passes away, it’s inevitable that people who were deeply touched by their body of work will be sad. It’s the nature of social media that they will use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever, to express that sadness.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a normal human emotional response. When you mourn, if part of that process involves expressing your grief publicly via social media, then by all means, do so. It’s a release, and your feelings are valid and worthwhile.

What irks me is, when somebody famous dies and people are expressing how much they admired and respected that person, other people who are not acting out of grief go out of their way to express their opinion that the person who just passed away was not really that good.

That is just being a social media predator, poaching the genuine grief of people so that you can call attention to yourself.

When somebody famous dies, and you do not have fond memories of them, unless they have personally wronged you, then the civilised thing to do is to hold your tongue. I hate to point this out to you, but in the grand scheme of things, your opinion is not that important. At least it’s not so important that you need to trot it out to crap all over someone else’s genuine grief.

When Stan Lee died in 2018, I waited over a month to write about it in PopCult because I felt I could not simply praise the man. Being a huge fan of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, I could not ignore his shoddy treatment of his most important collaborators. I also feel that his dialogue is not nearly as good as some people say. I don’t deny his importance, but I see his contributions as an editor as much more important than his role as a co-writer.

That is my opinion, and there was absolutely no need to share that while so many other people were openly hurting at the loss of a hero. People were genuinely gutted when the man died, and it would have been selfish and cruel to intrude upon their grief. So I waited a few weeks, out of respect for his fans as much as for the man.

I’m not saying that you need to keep your mouth shut about your opinions, but rushing to say “I never cared for their music,” or “I always thought he was overrated” on Facebook just hours after someone passes away makes you look a bit like a selfish jerk.

We are all free to express our opinions, but as with everything in life, timing is the key.


Speaking of opinions, it may seem a bit odd for me to suggest that people be more prudent with sharing theirs when this blog, PopCult, is basically a vehicle for my opinions and criticism.

I admit that there is no small amount of irony here. However, what I wrote above was all about timing. When I write criticism or analysis, it’s about those things on which I feel competent to offer my opinions.

I have no qualms about offering up my opinions on toys, comics, books, movies, theatre, art or a number of other topics.

Yet there are opinions that I keep to myself. Being an old, straight, white guy, I don’t pretend to have any important opinions on fashion. I have opinions, but they shouldn’t be relevant to anyone besides me. Wear what you like, and don’t seek out anyone’s approval, especially not mine.

There are types of music that are simply outside my realm of interest. There are also comics and books and movies and theatre that have little or no interest to me. I don’t see any point in harping on things I don’t like. There’s enough negativity in this world, and if you like something, you shouldn’t let anybody rain on your parade.

What I try to do in PopCult, most of the time, is find stuff that I think is really cool, and then tell you all about it. If I do write something negative, it’s because I think that something that had the potential to be really cool fell short somehow.

More GI Joe Rumors

A week or so ago I wrote about rumors that JazWares might license the Real American Hero GI Joe from Hasbro and produce a line of 4″ action figures.

That is still possible, but we have confirmation now that Hasbro will be offering up a line of 6″ figures, the same scale as Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Series, that will be called “GI Joe: Classified.”

The first wave of that line is said to be made up of two versions of Snake-Eyes, plus Scarlett, Destro, Roadblock and Duke. It would seem by the name and line-up that this is not based on the upcoming Snake Eyes movie, due out in October. Expect a different line of toys based on that movie.

The image at right is an unofficial figure of Snake Eyes, posted by HissTank, who have been in front of this story with loads of great reporting. They are the go-to source for info on the Real American Hero GI Joe.

These are said to be expected out in June. The existence of this line does not necessarily mean that JazWares will not be doing a 4″ line as well. We still have a few days before the International Toy Fair in Nuremburg before we can see what JazWares will have to offer.

AEW News

Yesterday it was announced that Warnermedia had extended their contract with All Elite Wrestling until 2023. This is great news, although it may not exactly be as big as the wrestling press is reporting.

I have it on good authority that this was really just Warnermedia exercising the options in their original contract early, and that no major new deals were negotiated. It’s a definite sign that Warnermedia is exceptionally pleased with AEW’s performance in the ratings, but it also seems that this was part of the deal from day one.

The fact that they say it’s a “four year deal,” but also that it “expires in 2023” is a sign that this was the intent from the beginning. Tony Khan is not a fool, and I would expect that he had to have a four-year commitment in writing before he’d invest the money needed to start up a new wrestling company. My guess is that AEW hit all the desired benchmarks ahead of schedule, so they were rewarded with this early announcement and maybe an improved compensation package.

As part of the new deal, AEW will be adding an additional, hour-long show, which will likely mean the end of their weekly AEW Dark YouTube show. Each week they tape matches before and after Dynamite to use on the YouTube show, and now they can repurpose those tapings for the new AEW program.

It was also announced that AEW has signed former wrestler and experienced commentator, Taz, to a long-term deal, which is good news for the new show, as he’s one of the better announcers in the business.

It is worth noting that AEW’s deal is worth $175 million over four years, which comes out to around $44 million dollars per year. That’s about one-tenth of what WWE is getting from USA for RAW, each year, and is even less than the reported $50 million dollars that USA is paying for NXT, which airs opposite AEW Dynamite every Wednesday.

We still don’t know what night the new AEW show will air on, but it’s not likely to go up against RAW or Smackdown, or the NFL on Sundays, so Tuesday, Thursday or Saturdays seem to be the most likely landing spots.

The Rialto Report

It’s a bit hard to imagine now, but for a brief time in the 1970s and early 1980s, porn was a huge part of the mainstream pop culture landscape. The days of “Porn Chic” saw porn stars elevated to rock-star like status (and lifestyles) and before video killed the porn star and AIDS scared the top stars out of the business, the “Golden Age of Porn” was one of those cultural phenomenons that has since managed to achieve a mythical status.

The movie, Boogie Nights, and the HBO series, The Deuce, dug into the some aspects of this world of sex and drugs and rock and roll (and way more sex and drugs on top of that). It’s a fascinating period in pop culture history when a newly permissive attitude toward sex created an enviroment where sleaze merchants mixed with independent filmmakers and a bizarre new cinematic art form was born.

Ashely West and April Hall, who were consultants on The Deuce, document the people, times and verbal history of the Golden Age of Porn at The Rialto Report. This is a podcast/blog that puts Porn Chic under the microscope and looks at the lives of the people who starred in, made and distributed what are now considered classic porno movies.

Their mission statment reads:

The Rialto Report is a series of podcasts dedicated to expanding the historical record on the adult entertainment industry between the early 1960s and the mid-1980s. We take a special interest in adult film production in New York during this period but are also interested in the industry in other geographical areas.

The project is named after the Rialto Theatre, New York’s oldest continually operating exploitation theater. The Rialto advertised “pictures chosen to give you the ultimate in thrill entertainment.'”

What makes The Rialto Report podcasts so special is the way that West and Hall put their subjects at ease, so that we get their entire life stories. Along the way we find out why people did porn, how they got started, how their families reacted, why they got out of the business and what they’ve done since. This is first-rate interviewing and in-depth journalism.

Each story is unique and fascinating, and some, quite frankly, are hilarious. Some people felt abused by the porn industry. Some felt empowered by it. For some it was just a job. Others have gone on to get masters degrees in sex-oriented studies. Though every story is different, you can also see patterns emerge.

Of course, if you are easily offended or have no interest in sexual topics, you won’t want to visit The Rialto Repot. It is dedicated to pornography, and is not for everyone. The website is loaded with nudity and some hardcore images, and the interviews are frank, explicit and uncensored. But if you are curious about the time before AIDs made sex scary again and the internet sucked all the money out of the industry, then you may well enjoy The Rialto Report.

The Art of Glen Brogan

In last year’s PopCult Gift Guide, I recommended pre-ordering the book, The Art of Glen Brogan. It was published at his opening at Heroes Complex Gallery in Los Angeles last Saturday, and I have my copy in my hands now, and it’s gorgeous.

The book collects artworks from Glen’s entire career, with some of his childhood drawings included, and any fan of his work should have this in their library.

You can still order The Art of Glen Brogan and some of his new prints from HGC at this link, but act fast. These won’t last long.

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features and fresh content every day.

Stuff To Do January 16-18

It’s time for another quick graphic showcase of some of the cool events happening this weekend in and around Charleston.

Dig in, and go out and see some of the cool stuff happening in town. You might be out anyway, paying to have people try to sell you a car, so why not support some local musicians and artists?





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Early Tuesday morning, The AIR was hacked, and listeners who tuned it heard nothing but dead air. It was actually a DDoS attack on all of the AirTime stations hosted by Sourcefabric, and although it’s fun to think we were important enough to be targeted by a foreign power, chances are we were just collateral damage in a prank by amateur hackers.

However, things were swiftly rectified, and we were back in operational form by 10:30 AM. If you want to see what those damned dirty Russians wanted to prevent you from hearing, tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Wednesday afternoon, we offer up new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call, so check them out, and maybe you’ll be able to figure out the real reason that Russia’s Prime Minister and Cabinet resigned today.

At 2 PM Beatles Blast brings you another hour of The Lost Beatles Project, which combines rare cuts, studio outtakes and musical rarities into a nearly-60 minute mixtape of little-heard Beatles gems.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 9 PM, Friday at 11 AM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call. It’s a random mix of old and new this week, so check out the playlist…

Curtain Call 077

“You Oughtta Know” from Jagged Little Pill
“A Better Haircut” from Amelie: A New Musical
“Dancing All The Time” from Big (1996 Broadway cast)
“Come Along With Me” from Can-Can OBC
“Sister” from Pump Boys and Dinettes
“Feed Me (Git It)” from Little Shop of Horrors new off Broadway cast
“Green Eggs and Ham” from Seussical
“Pegasus” from Myths and Hymns (Billie Porter, Lynette Dupree, Audra MacDonald)
“Transformation Suite” from King of Hearts OBC
“Who’s Next” from Tomfoolery OLC
Andrew Lloyd Webber Medley by Lea Salonga (The Broadway Concert)

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 8 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 5 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight..



Update: We are aware of the technical issues that currently have The AIR offline. We’re working with our Chechnyan server hosts to restore service as soon as possible.

Update: Service was restored by 10:30 AM EST. Our servers fell victim to a Denial of Service attack. All should be well now.

The AIR is back this week with new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and Psychedelic Shack. We also bring you replays of two episodes of The Swing Shift that present the legendary Carnegie Hall concert by Benny Goodman, which took place January 16, 1938. That’s 82 years ago, this week.

To hear these fine specialty music programs, you may point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with the second episode in our brand-new direction for Radio Free Charleston.

Starting last week, RFC expanded to three hours, mixing local music in with all sorts of cool stuff, and started over as RFC Volume Five, Number One. This week we keep at it with 180 minutes of top-notch music, some of which just happens to be made by local artists.

Starting with this episode, we’re incorporating a feature from RFC International into the show.  At the end of the show we’ll have a “Mystery Bonus Track” or two that won’t be listed in the playlist. If you want a hint, this week’s tracks are a little ‘mystical.”

Here’s the mountain of a playlist for you to peruse:


hour one
The Offenders “Rose Thorn”
Farnsworth “For You”
Ozzy Osbourne with Elton John “Ordinary Man”
Dead For Decades “Punch A Face, Win A Heart”
Dweezil Zappa “Stayin’ Alive”
The Who “Sister Disco (demo)”
Bootblacks “Hold & Dissolve”
Tyler Pederson “Whack N’ Rolla”
Junco Shakers “Blue Blood Blues”
The Big Bad “Nobody Makes It Out of Here Alive”
Sweet “Funk It Up”
Grand Funk Railroad “Shinin’ On”
Fletcher’s Grove “Straight To The Moon”

hour two
The Revillos “Cool Jerk”
Time And Distance “Away We Go”
Frenchy and the Punk “La Vie De Boheme”
Peter Ivers “I’m Sorry, Alice”
Karen Allen “Moving On Isn’t So Hard”
Steve Walsh “A Little Bit of Tennessee”
The Audiots “Rewind”
The Stars Revolt” Pretend”
Ann Magnuson “I Met An Astronaut”
David Bowie “Space Oddity (demo #3)”
Heaven 17 “Rocketman”
Harry Nilsson “Spaceman”
Spencer Elliott “There’s Something In The Airlock”

hour three
YES “Starship Trooper (live)”
Mediogres “Nice To Mole You”
Joy Division “Heart and Soul”
ELO “New World Rising”
Sparks “I Bought The Mississippi River”
Madness “Blue Skinned Beast”
Kevin Scarbrough “White Paper Black Pen”
Bon Air “Bizarre Love Gun”
Feast of Steven “Battle With The Sun”
The Laser Beams “Eden by the Fire Escape”
The Breaks “She Wants You”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8PM, exclusively on The AIR. We are looking into ways that we can makes these available on demand without running afoul of the copyright gods. The YouTube experiment turned out to be a bust, as nobody bothered watching the shows there. I’ll keep you posted on that project later.

At 2 PM Nigel Pye treats us to a new episode of Psychedelic Shack. Produced by Nigel through Haversham Recording Institute in London, this hour-long mixtape of psychedelica opens with vintage Pink Floyd and continues with…well, just check out the playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 028

Pink Floyd “Let There Be More Light”
Andy & Robyn “Planet England”
Julian Cope “Roswell”
World Trade “The Revolution Song”
Dukes of the Stratsphear “Mole From The Ministry”
Frupp “Song For A Thought”
Nektar “Burn Out My Eyes”
Strawberry Alarm Clock “Soft Skies, No Lies”
Rain “He Could Have Known”
Small Faces “Red Balloon”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard alternating weeks on Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM, Friday at Noon, Saturday at 9 AM, Sunday at 4 PM and Monday at 7 PM. Every other week you can tune in for the best of punk/ska with Steven Allen Adams on NOISE BRIGADE.

At 3 PM your PopCulteer takes a week off so we can bring you a two-part special episode of The Swing Shift. This week you can hear all of Benny Goodman’s historic 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall, a legendary venue which prior to this show had been reserved for classical music only. With a band that already included Harry James, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa and more, for this performance Goodman invited a host the best Swing musicians around to sit in for extended jam sessions. You will hear legends like Count Basie and Lester Young jumping in on these recordings.

This performance happened on January 16, 1938. So we thought it’d be a good time to play it for you again, and give yours truly a little vocal rest.

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 5 PM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

To find the whole schedule for The AIR, just look here…

Monday Morning Art: Bel Air Watercolor


This week we kick off things with a piece of physical art that, to be honest, probably isn’t finished. Over the weekend I decided to try my hand at another watercolor, this time inspired by a photo I took years ago at one of the Rod Run shows that shuts down Kanawha Boulevard every October.

My inspiration was a lovely ’55 Chevy Bel Air (correction: I have been told that it’s a ’57–thanks Bryan Pagan!), and this week I used real, textured watercolor paper (unlike last week’s piece, which was done on regular printer paper). I’m happy with the color and the composition, but I may go back over this with ink at a later date to pick out more of the details. To be honest, it barely got dry enough to scan in time to run here. I’m still re-learning a lot of techniques that I never really mastered in the first place.

If you wish, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon runs from 7 AM to 3 PM, and brings you eight recent episodes of Beatles Blast, hosted by yours truly.   At 3 PM, we will replay the very first episode of Prognosis, for no other reason than the show’s host, Herman Linte, is tied up with other work.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Sunday Evening Video: DEV-O LIVE!

What better way to start off a new year than by bringing you a live concert by one of my favorite musical combos, the band DEVO, recorded…oh my god…almost FORTY YEARS AGO.


Making things worse, this concert was released complete on vinyl for the first time last year on the Black Friday Record Store Day, and I wasn’t able to track down a copy

Well, now I just feel bad.

Enjoy the music.

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number Sixteen

The sixteenth episode of The RFC MINI SHOW was our April Fool’s Day show. The joke was that we would play our usual two songs from the band, in this case, Project Biscotti, and then after the credits rolled and we ran our General Substances tag the picture would fade back up, and we’d show an additional 47 minutes of the band performing.

What I didn’t know at the time was that we had recorded what turned out to be one of the last, if not the absolute final performance by the band.

Project Biscotti was one of Charleston’s most intriguing bands. With a sound that blended cabaret, raw punk and high-energy rock, they were unlike any other artists in town. I thought they were the closest thing we had to Captain Beefheart.

The band was recorded in March, 2014 at the Rock N Roll Theater at the old Kanawha Players Theater.  That series of concerts was also their brainchild, under the “Scarred Art” banner. The band offered up their own disclaimer, “Project Biscotti was formed by front man Cardiac Jones and began as a 2 member group that has since taken on 2 more members making us a full, four piece act. With each member bringing their own style, sound, and weirdo flavor to the mix, Project Biscotti is an act like none other you’re likely to see in this or any other area.”

They added the following, “WARNING!! Project Biscotti is a very vulgar band with themes ranging to everything from masturbation to rampant drug abuse and sexual misconduct. Also, we have songs about movies & TV shows we like. Whatever we think is fun, we do…NO LIMITS!”

So in other words, this show might just be a little NSFW. It is also something pretty damned special, and I’m glad I was able to preserve some of their act on video.

Stuff To Do This Weekend

The PopCulteer
January 10, 2020

The second weekend of the year, especially one where it’s supposed to be unseasonably warm, is a good time to get out and take in some great entertainment or other local events.

People promoting local events on social media should remember that, taking five or ten minutes to prepare a graphic that includes the date, time and location of an event, along with other pertinent details will likely be the deciding factor on whether or not it gets included in a roundup like this. These days I only tend to compile this kind of post when I don’t have five or ten minutes to make graphics for every event I know about. Hence a few of the slapdash graphics below.

So, since this is what I post about here when paying work takes me away from my PopCulteering duties, let’s see what’s going on in and around Charleston this weekend, shall we?




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