PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Videos: VirtuALL FestivALL

Today VirtuALL FestivALL offically begins!

From now until the end of June we will post at least once a day with details on what you can experience at home during this pandemic year for Charleston’s annual festival of all arts. For 2020, FestivALL is when The Internet Becomes A Work Of Art. Every day we will bring you up to date on this year’s VirtuALL FestivALL, plus we will flash back to some of our video coverage from previous years, and I will dig into the archives for one post in the Monday Morning Art Exhibit, collecting some of my favorite pieces from the nearly fifteen years that I’ve been posting my original work here in PopCult.

On this first day you’ll want to check out The Alban Arts Center’s Eugene O’Neill Project, which I told you about Friday.  You can lso participate in the CAMC “Run For Your Life” virtual run/walk. The Show Your Pride window display contest is already underway, and you can vote HERE. Ice cream and the arts is also underway, and details for this coloring contest for kids can be found HERE.  The Virtual Art Fair will open on June 14th on the FestivALL website – check it regularly for the gallery and links to shop your favorite WV artisans this summer.

You can also vote on The Artbus, check out the Art-for-ALL Kids’ Juried Art Exhibition look into the “Faces of First Responders” Tribute Mural and teens can participate in Life: Unedited. FestivALL is off to a strong VirtuALL start!

The FestivALL Flashback

Today we’re going to bring you a two-part video that dates all the way back to the second edition of FestivALL, in 2007. This is the handiwork of Radio Free Charleston Big Shot (and now Mrs. PopCulteer), Melanie Larch. This was our first video of Charleston becoming a work of art and you’ll find our memories compacted into a nice, neat little ten-minute video package. We had a blast at FestivALL that year, and I had a blast not being the video guy (except for a few shots). Mel even composed and performed an original tune in honor of the FestivALL Catfish for the end of the second part. Listen hard and you might even hear me playing eerie ebow guitar in the background.

This was done so long ago that we had to break it into two parts because YouTube wouldn’t allow videos longer than a few minutes.

The Monday Morning Art Exhibit

We’ll wrap up each Virtuall FestivALL post with an example of Monday Morning Art, which has been a weekly thing here in the blog since 2006. Each week I post a piece of my artwork, much of it digital, for no other reason than to keep me making art on a regular basis so I don’t forget how. Today we go back to September, 2010 for an abstract digital painting I call “Radiophonic.” I was trying to work with textures and colors that aren’t normally in my repertoire. I also went for a bit of a Ralph Steadman vibe with the line quality. There’s not much more to add about this one. I do like the way it came out.

Originally I’d hoped to produce a catalog to go along with this virtual exhibit, but time constraints prevented that from happening. Maybe we’ll be able to pull it off in time for PopCult’s 15th anniversary late this August.

Click the image to see a larger version, if you want.


The RFC Flashback: Episode 111

RFC 111, “Teefury.com Shirt” from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

This week we go back to September, 2010 for a Radio Free Charleston video show loaded with tons of cool stuff.

The show this week featured music from Andy Park, Stephen Beckner and Stone Soup, plus some offbeat animation and a public service announcement for Covenant House that starred Ann Magnuson.

Most of this episode was shot at The Empty Glass on Thursday, September 16, 2010, during a benefit for Empty Glass Records, a project that allowed Charleston’s most celebrated bar to install recording equipment so that they can preserve the magic moments that happen there on a regular basis. Over the years that equipment provided incredible audio for many episodes of Radio Free Charleston.

The Alban’s Long Days Journey Into The Internet

The PopCulteer
June 12, 2020

VirtuALL FestivALL kicks off online Sunday, and our plan is to bring you at least one post per day that will spotlight what’s happening that day with the pandemic era version of Charleston’s annual arts festival, plus we’ll flash back to our videos of previous years’ of FestivALL and also have an entry in our online art gallery of the best of Monday Morning Art.

However, one other cool event timed to VirtuALL FestivALL is The Eugene O’Neill Project, which will come into our homes courtesy of The Alban Arts Center.

This is a virtual theatre event that you will be able to watch starting June 14 at 3PM, with additional showings the following five days. The price to watch it online is ten dollars. We will present excerpts of the press release with our own take below.

But first, take a look at this trailer…

The Eugene O’Neill Project is a selection of Eugene O’Neill scenes from three of his Pulitzer Prize winning plays: Beyond the Horizon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and Anna Christie. The Eugene O’Neill Project explores the American family through the lens of addiction, attraction, and monumental loss. Our talented and dynamic cast will weave a series of seemingly unrelated characters and scenarios to reveal thematic patterns.

A few years ago Mrs. PopCulteer and I saw The Tennesee Williams Project at the Alban, also directed by Leah Turley, and it was a wonderful evening that offered a sampler of of lesser-known works by one of the great American playwrights.

Turely is back at the helm for The Eugene O’Neill Project, and is also essentially taking on the mantle of directing it for television.The Alban elaborates:

While we wish we could welcome audiences into The Alban, we can’t, in good conscience traditionally produce theatre. So we’re going non traditional! We built a set, got our costumes, and rehearsed our show just like a normal production but instead of an audience we turned our tech crew into a video production team. The play will be performed like traditional theatre, with no cuts or fancy edits. Instead the director, Leah Turley, turned herself into a live video producer and told her camera team where to go and when, and she made all the switches between shots in real time during the performance. Just like live television. While it’s definitely not traditional theatre, we are very excited to share this new way of producing theatre with you, and we hope you are just as happy with the production that we created as we are. When you buy a “ticket” you will get a digital link the day of the show that will allow you to watch the final product that day only. So make sure you buy a ticket for a day that you will be able to watch the performance as the link for each day will expire at midnight.

You can buy your tickets HERE, and visit the Alban Arts Center website for more details.

The O’Neill Project spans more than 30 years of Eugene O’Neill’s prolific playwriting career: Anna Christie premiered in 1921, Beyond the Horizon in 1918, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 1956. The episodic structure of The O’Neill Project is meant to reacquaint old fans with the playwright’s rich dialogue and distinctive voice and welcome new audiences to sample three of the best American plays ever written. This unique collection of scenes is thoughtful, suspenseful, and heartfelt.

It’s a testament to the creativity of the crew at The Alban Arts Center that they have found a way to adapt what was to have been a live production of O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night into a new form that can be safely enjoyed by audiences during our current pandemic situation.

Later this month, The Alban will present another online event with A Wrinkle In Time. Both shows give you a great way to support live theater, even at a time where it can’t be performed “live.”

That is this week’s PopCulteer. I want to thank my loyal readers who were patient this week while the blog dealt with technical issues. Thanks also to Ron Phillips at HD Media for quickly sorting things out yesterday afternoon. Oh, and the photos and video for this post are courtesy of The Alban Arts Center.

Things are back to whatever passes for normal now, and we still have fresh content every day, and intend to double our efforts to support VirtuALL FestivALL starting this Sunday.

Technical Issues at PopCult

This blog is experiencing technical difficulties. Our regular readers may have noticed them since Monday. Pages are taking a long time to load, and behind the scenes, I’ve lost a few handy functions that keep things running smoothly.

Unfortunately this happened the day before election day, when the talented HD Media tech crew was all tied up with making sure that election results were all tallied and published in a timely manner, so it’s taking longer than normal to iron out the problem.

In the meantime, we are posting as we would normally. I want to thank those of you who have had the patience to wait for the pages to load. Hopefully we’ll get this worked out and be back to normal soon. You can expect a regular PopCult post later this afternoon. I just wanted to let you folks know what’s going on.

The Lost Beatles Project Concludes

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a special episode of Beatles Blast that wraps up our nearly year-long The Lost Beatles Project. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 2 PM, your humble blogger returns with the sixtieth episode of Beatles Blast that will wrap up what has turned into a 20-part series, The Lost Beatles Project. This series brings together bonus material from deluxe reissues of The Beatles group and solo albums and weaves them together in a flowing stream of consciousness mixtape that allows the listener to pretend to be a fly on the wall in the studio while the Fab Four make their magic. This final installment of the project includes the audio of the entire rooftop concert, as seen in the film Let It Be.

After we conclude The Lost Beatles Project series in June, Beatles Blast will revert to it’s usual format, presenting The Beatles group and solo material mixed with cover tunes by other artists, music from related acts (like labelmates, offspring, or former collaborators) and songs that feature guest contributions from the boys.

However, every Sunday this summer, starting at 2 PM, we will bring you four hours of The Lost Beatles Project, so you can spend your Sunday afternoon chilling out to The Beatles in the RAW.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 10 PM, Friday at noon, Saturday at 4 PM, Sunday at 2 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM Mel Larch treats us to musicals that debuted right before the shutdown on a couple of encores of recent episodes of Curtain Call.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 6 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.

We offer up a sort of new episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday on The AIR.  You can jump over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and listen to this exquisite little embedded radio player…

Tune into this week’s Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday for an example of your humble blogger punting.

Between a few household projects and my attempt at assembling an art book in less than two weeks, I simply didn’t have the time to crank out an all-new three-hour episode of RFC this week.  So what I did was record a new intro for two previous milestone episodes of Radio Free Charleston Volume 4, and RFC International.  The first hour is the 100th edition of RFC volume four, and just to make things more confusing, most of the audio comes from our video program’s 100th episode.

The second and third hours present episode fifty of RFC International, which is made up of live tracks from top international artists like The Beatles, Kate Bush and David Bowie. We’ve re-packaged both shows into a meaty three-hour bundle of great music.

Check out this playlist…

RFC V5 019

hour one
Hasil Adkins “Big Red Satellite”
The Charleston Playhouse Quartet “RFC Theme”
“Hair Rage” trailer by Scott Elkins
Hellblinki “Sanjula’s Junk”
Shakespeare Trailer
The Nanker Phelge “I’m Coming Home”
“Courting Disaster” promo
Eva Elution “I Don’t Want To Die”
David Synn “The Last Flight of Icarus”
Jeff Ellis “Fade”
Rudy, Mel Larch, Kitty Killton, Steven Allen Adams intro the RFC Medley
Brian Young “The Swinging Man”
Clownhole “Heads On Fire”
John Radcliff “Rock N Rolla”
Three Bodies “Shingles and Tar”

hour two
Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill”
Pete Townshend “Behind Blue Eyes”
Greg Lake “Nuclear Attack”
The Cars “Let’s Go”
Neil Innes “Shangri La”
The White Stripes “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
Bob Dylan and Tom Petty “Justine”
Gary Numan “Down In The Park”
Dream Theater “Learning To Live”
Guns N Roses “Welcome To The Jungle”

hour three
The Beatles “She’s A Woman”
John Lennon “Come Together”
Paul McCartney “Get Back”
George Harrison “Old Brown Shoe”
Ringo Starr “With A Little Help From My Friends”
The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”
Eric Clapton “Layla”
Kansas “Carry On My Wayward Son”
David Bowie “Changes”
Elvis Costello and the Attractions “Watching The Detectives”
Kate Bush “Rolling The Ball”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

For various other reasons, our other music shows are repeats on Tuesday. We will have fresh programming later in the week.

Monday Morning Art: Carnival

Richard Anuszkiewicz, a pioneering practitioner of Op Art in the United States before that perception-altering style was even given a name in the 1960s, died on May 19 at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 89. Anyone’s who’s seen my geometric abstract works has seen the undeniable influence that Anuszkiewicz has had on my work. His pioneering work that combined mathematics with color composition into a sublime style that was both complex and simple, enigmatic and solvable. When I began making art primarily in a digital medium, I found that I could emulate his style, and use it to springboard into new areas of expression. For the month of June, Monday Morning Art will feature new works by me, inspired by the work of Richard Anuszkiewicz.

Today’s piece is called “Carnival.” In it, I created a variety of colliding patterns, then warped the image, causing them to curve…and then added more patterns and then colors to create a bit of a cacophony of different layers. After creating the general pattern, I then painted over it digitally, so give it a subtle non-geometic texture.  The end result reminded me of the clash of light and colors that you find at a traveling carnival, so I called it that.

You can click the top image if you want to see it even larger than that.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR, we have a special marathon of Prognois from 7 AM to 7 PM. While we don’t have a new show from Herman Linte this week, we are bringing you six programs which are each devoted to a single progressive rock group for two solid hours. You will hear blocks of music from YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Gong, Refugee, Pink Floyd and Triumverat.

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

Sunday Evening Video: The 1960 Tony Awards

Since the Tony Awards, Broadway’s annual salute to the best of the stage, is not happening this year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this week we decided to jump back sixty years, to bring you the Tony Awards from 1960. Had the world not been rocked by Coronavirus, the 2020 ceremony would be taking place tonight. Broadway shut down in the middle of March, and it’s not clear if they will be able to reopen this year, so there are no awards to give out this year.

This video is the 14th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS, from Sunday, April 24, 1960, originating from the Astor Hotel Grand Ballroom, which was Broadcast on WCBS-TV Channel 2 in New York City. It was a while before the show went national. It was a pretty remarkable year, as The Sound of Music won for Best Musical, and The Miracle Worker for best play.

You will not see the elaborate production numbers that marked later Tony Awards ceremonies. At this point the show was just a locally-broadcast ceremony to dole out the awards. As such, this entire show runs just a few minutes over an hour. You will see awards go to Jackie Gleason, Mary Martin, Mervyn Douglas, Tom Bosley, Roddy McDowell, Anne Bancroft and more. The Show is hosted by Eddie Albert, a few years before he starred in Green Acres.

Also paying tribute to Broadway in this year without a Tony Awards show, from 6 PM to Midnight on The AIR Sunday night, during the regular marathon of our Showtunes showcase, since it’s the time that would normally see the Tony Awards Ceremony being broadcast on CBS, The AIR will present encores of all of our previous Tony Nominee episodes of Curtain Call, plus a couple of episodes that featured award winning shows.

You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

The RFC Flashback: Episode 109

RFC 109 "Shazam Shirt" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

This week we jump back almost a decade, to August, 2010, for one of our “Show Without Words” episodes of Radio Free Charleston. These were the programs where I presented instrumental music and wordless films, and came up with ways to not speak during the host segments. This time it was by presenting the show as if I were in a comic book.

Our music came from David Synn and D.T. Stephenson, who coincidentally teamed up to form a band after they agreed to became part of this show.  We also have RFC faves, Blue Million, ripping through an instrumental blues jam during a sound check at a Charleston venue that is no longer with us.

Our animation this time was “Car Pooptoon,” by Frank Panucci.  This short film was nominated for the vaunted “Squidgie” award by the Aviary Fecal Society of Lower Cleveland, and placed third in the annual film competition by the World Society of Automotive Befoulment, held in Pinch.

We also brought viewers a rare archival treat in this episode: The oldest surviving Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie. “Impact Of Great Peril,” which was created by Buckle Henry Johanasport, the enigmatic co-founder of Plant Ro Duction, who was ousted in the 1930’s after rumors of a sex scandal proved to be untrue. When this film was made, The Plant Ro Duction Mini Movies were credited to “The Plantro Buckle Company,” which was a dummy corporation set up to launder money made from the bootlegging of rubbing alcohol, which Johanasport mistakenly thought had been made illegal during prohibition.

You can find the original production notes HERE.


I Don’t Know What To Say

The PopCulteer
June 5, 2020

I try to keep politics out of PopCult. I realize that my place in the world of journalism is to write about toys and comics and movies and TV and music and not bog down my readers with real-world problems.

I try to provide an escape from the news.

But what I write about is the broad umbrella of Pop Culture, and I really can’t ignore what’s affecting so much of this country. Give me this one post to say some things that need to be said, and then I’ll go back to covering trivial stuff for your distraction.

I believe and support #Black Lives Matter. I hate that race continues to be an issue in this country. We fought a war over this more than 150 years ago, and we made the mistake of reconciling with the cancerous racist forces that tried to destroy this country instead of eradicating them when we had the chance.

We need to set history straight and tell the truth about the Civil War. We need to respect our black citizens and allow them the dignity which is rightfully theirs.

And we need to police the police.

I believe that most police officers are good people who want to protect and serve and preserve law and order for all people.

However, I believe that there are some police officers who joined the force for the wrong reasons. In my life I have encountered sociopaths, psychopaths and obviously racist police officers, and I’m an old white guy who isn’t usually on their radar as a target of abuse.

It’s obvious to anybody who’s watched any of the dozens of videos posted over the last week of blatant examples of police brutality during protests that there are a large number of dangerous armed lunatics out there who are gainfully employed as policemen.

Driving through crowds, pepper-spraying peaceful protesters, firing rubber bullets at the press, shoving 75-year-old men down and threatening anyone who tries to help him—these are not the actions of people who aspire to be public servants. These are the actions of thugs and petty tyrants.

We all know that there’s a problem. I can offer up one solution.

We need to give every police officer in the country a psychological screening. I know that they get screened before they get hired, but it’s clear that the criteria currently in place is woefully inadequate. There are reports that some law enforcement agencies actually reject applicants if they score too high on intelligence tests. That is not what we need to be doing.

We need independent psychologists to evaluate whether or not an officer is worthy of carrying a badge and a gun. It’s the only way to rid the police of the stain of dirty, violent cops. The bad cops have to be purged, and should never be allowed to work in law enforcement again.

Police departments have to be more proactive and recruit more officers of color. We need more equal representation on our police forces.

While we’re at it, we need to do something about the “brotherhood” that causes otherwise good policemen to cover up for their racist and mentally-disturbed fellow officers.

The death of George Floyd was a murder. It was carried out by four police officers. The one who knelt on his neck until he died could not have done so without the assistance of the other three. Had one of those officers pulled his weapon and taken out Floyd’s assailant, he would have been a true hero, but the “blue code” would probably mean that his career in law enforcement was over.

That has to stop. While we’re at it, we need to take away all that riot gear that the federal government gave to local police departments. They have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to use it in a lawful manner. It’s clear that the people instigating the riots in many places were the police.

It has to change. Being born black should not be a death sentence.


Tuesday was supposed to have been “Blackout Tuesday” for the media. I didn’t get the memo, and for that, I apologize. I have been limiting my social media exposure since the beginning of the pandemic for the sake of my own mental health.

As such, I did not find out about Blackout Tuesday until after I had prepared two radio shows and a post about them for PopCult, and shared the links to those on social media.

It was after I shared those links that I found out about Blackout Tuesday and had my “oh crap” moment. Today’s graphic is me showing up late to the protest.

It’s my bad. I had my head buried in the sand. I will try to do better.


Our governor made a spiteful and hateful joke about our last decent president, Barack Obama the other day. When called on it, he responded by first saying it was a joke, and then spouting lies and nonsense in an attempt to justify it.

The incident demonstrated that our governor is a hateful and spiteful, dishonest man, and the evidence shows that he is probably racist too. He hates President Obama because he hated being fined repeatedly for millions of dollars for the various criminal acts of pollution that his companies have committed over the years.

President Obama didn’t hurt the coal industry. Coal Barons who sold their mines to Russian Mob Bosses only to buy them back for pennies on the dollar hurt the coal industry.

I am ashamed of Jim Justice. West Virginia will continue to lose jobs and it’s brightest young people as long as we are cursed with backwards, hate-filled, corrupt leaders.


I want to take a moment to recommend ProPublica. This is a non-profit investigative reporting organization that is doing work that corporate-controlled media will not support. They recently added former Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward Jr. to their ranks, and he’s already producing great work. His article on Jim Justice and the myriad of shell corporations that he employs to welch on his debts should be read by every West Virgina voter.

We need this. We need people to expose the truth.

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer. I hope you don’t mind me sustaining a little outrage over here in my pop culture blog. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind of late, and it’s pretty much my only public outlet.

I can’t go out and march. I have Myasthenia Gravis, and hot, humid weather destroys me. On top of that, due to my condition, I take some pretty heavy-duty immuno-suppressants, and we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

I’ve been holed up in my home for several months now, and while I do what I can in my role as a ghostwriter, the nature of that job prevents me from saying exactly what that has been. So I took this week’s PopCulteer to vent a bit and show my support to my fellow Americans. It’s pretty much all I could do.

That, and urge you all to vote out ever Republican from the municipal level to the top office in the land. They have proven to have no interest in preserving Democracy.

PopCult will be here with fresh content every day, unless they decide to fire me over this.