PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Play Catch-up on The AIR

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5-16-air-logoIf you think that headline means that we’re bringing you reruns all day on The AIR….well, you’re right. Your PopCulteer has been taking it easy for the last few weeks while undergoing cataract surgery, and this week has been all about working on outside projects (AKA “paying work”) so Thursday is going to, once again, be a day for you to catch up with some of the wonderful programming you may have missed on The AIR.

Radio Free Charleston International, which is usually new Thursdays at 3 PM, is going to be an encore of a recent show. But it’s a good one, so you’ll still want to tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Starting at 7 AM you’ll get replays of Curtain Call, Ska Madness and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Then at 3 PM, tune in for an episode of Radio Free Charleston from March, where we opened with new music from Chuck Berry!

You can then listen to this week’s new Radio Free Charleston, with all-new music from Pale Nova, Scarlet Revolt and more at 5 PM, and The New Music Show at 6 PM , The Crazy Show at 6:30 PM. In prime-time, it’s this week’s episodes of The Swing Shift and Curtain Call, followed at 10 PM by Live From The Empty Glass (this week with Unknown Hinsn and Southern Culture on the Skids). All night long after that, it’s a marathon of The Swing Shift.

We plan to have The AIR running on all cylindars next week, after a special Monday marathon of The (censored) Crazy Show. Still, we hope you’ll check out our humble little internet radio station. We make it just for you.

new-air-logo-4-24A powerful episode of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle and all-new editions of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast  anchor a strong day of programming on The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

From screaming, praying, deceased women and ghost children playing ball to banging and scratching on doors and windows and footsteps with no person in sight, these tales will give you chills. Join Michele and three employees of The Portsmouth Times as they share eerie experiences from days spent working in the former office building on sixth Street in Portsmouth, Ohio, where the former newspaper office was housed since 1952. Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle debuts a new episode Wednesday at 1:30 PM on The AIR. Don’t forget you can learn more about Michele’s views on life and how the spiritual and physical worlds coexist at her website, where you can also find out about her book, Rain No Evil.

Then at 2 PM The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe sees Mark talking with Clay Sayre.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a special episode of Curtain Call that salutes the “Ladies Who Sing.” Tune in for an hour of fantastic female vocalists navigating their way through the Broadway standards. You’ll hear Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Bernadette Peters, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga and more on Curtain Call. Check the playlist at the bottom of this post.

At 5 PM, yours truly hosts a special episode of Beatles Blast that pays tribute to the golden anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a “Frankensteined” version of the album, assembled out of alternate mixes, mono versions of tracks, outtakes, remixes and other different versions of the familiar Sgt. Pepper songs, all still performed by The Fab Four.  Bonus material includes studio chatter, demo versions, the words of the late Sir George Martin and alternate versions of “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

6 PM sees The NEW MUSIC SHOW, followed at 6:30 PM by the now-daily Crazy Show. At 7 PM we have a replay of Life Speaks, followed at 7:30 PM by Word Association with Lee & Rudy.

We maintain our prime-time Wednesday line-up of this week’s Prognosis at 8 PM.  That’s followed by The Comedy Vault at 10 PM. Then at midnight listeners can settle in for an all-night marathon of Radio Free Charleston. All part of the unique programming on The AIR.

Here’s that playlist for Curtain Call:

Aretha Franklin  “It Ain’t Necessarily So”
Diana Krall  “Night and Day”
“When He Sees Me”  from Waitress
Ella Fitzgerald  “Someone To Watch Over Me”
Kerry Ellis and Brian May  “If I Loved You”
Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett  “Anything Goes”
Bernadette Peters  “Time Heals Everything”
“Let’s Hear It For The Boy”  1998 Original cast of Footloose
Betty Buckley  “I Won’t Dance”
Julie Covington  “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”
Barbera Streisand  “As If We never Said Goodbye”
Sarah Brightman  “Chanson D’enfance”
Glenn Close  “With One Look”
Nancy Wilson  “Makin’ Whoopee”
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  “Summertime”

rfc-5-23New episodes of Radio Free Charleston, and The Swing Shift debut Tuesday at 10 AM, and 3 PM on The AIR.Listeners will get a huge load of local music, plus a special live dose of retro Swing from The Royal Crown Revue.

You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

At 10 AM and 10 PM Radio Free Charleston opens with the title track from Scarlet Revolt’s new CD, “Cold Town.”  Fans of the transmogrified “Under Surveillance” will want to make it out to The Empty Glass Sunday night at 7 PM for the cover-free release party for Scarlet Revolt’s “Bleed,” a song that’s currently in rotation on The New Music Show on The AIR. RFC continues with new music from Pale Nova, Kerry Hughes, The Company Stores, Bon Air and more.  See the playlist below.

swing-shiftplylistAt 3 PM The Swing Shift celebrates reaching twenty-five episodes with an hour-long live concert by The Royal Crown Revue, recorded in Australia. Listeners can dance their butts off to songs like “Rock This Boogie,” “Stormy Weather,” “Perdido,” “Watts Local,” “Fever” and more. It’s a special treat to mark out little milestone.

At 5 PM Dexter Checkers checks in with a replay of his first hour-long episode of Ska Madness, focussing on The English Beat’s first album. Our friends at Haversham Recording Institute have been swamped with what us Americans call, “paying work,” and so they needed to take a couple of weeks off.

At 6 PM our daily New Music Show continues, while at 6:30 PM, by Popular Demand, it’s The Crazy Show. At 7 PM we offer up a replay of last week’s Radio Coolsville, and at 8 PM it’s a replay of last week’s episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.

rfc-logo-24-00510 PM is when Radio Free Charleston is heard again, followed at 11 PM by Radio Free Charleston International, and then that’s followed by a star-studded all-night marathon of Prognosis at 1 AM.

The AIR is the place to go for interruption-free music.  Here’s the RFC playlist for this week:


Scarlet Revolt  “Cold Town”
Pale Nova  “I Don’t Believe In Your Love”
Kerry Hughes  “Flurry of Feelings”
The Company Stores  “Shenendoah Fall”
Bon Air  “(Baby I’m) Lost”
Wren Allen Band  “Skate”
Corporate Orange  “New Drugs”
Holly And The Guy  “Just Can’t Fake This”
The Wild Rumpus  “Stockade Blues”
Karma To Burn  “Fifty”
TriElement  “Look Ma, No Hands”
Under Social  “Long Strange Trip”
Scrap Iron Pickers  “Strange Bytes”
Payback’s a Bitch  “Do You Wanna Go Out”

Monday Morning Art: Skyline and Flowers

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For the duration of the month of May, Monday Morning Art will present two pieces of art by your PopCulteer each week, based on his recent trip to Chicago.

This week we offer up two pieces done in different styles, both based on photos shot on the same day, about two hours apart.

Above you see some of the flowers in Millenium Park, painted over in a digital Pointallism style I would tell you what kind of flowers those were if I were in any way armed with any desire to possess that knowledge, but since that is not the case, I shall simply identify them as being of the “purty” variety. This piece was done for my lovely wife, who is a fan of Pointallism…and purty floers.

Below you see a shot of the Chicago Skyline, taken out of the third-floor window of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Art Wing, with plenty of the adjoining roof also in the picture. I fed this through the comic book filter for no particular reason besides I thought it would look cool. To see larger versions of each piece, click on the image.



Also of note Monday, we’re going to have a rerun day on The AIR. Our programming is all encore, but it’s all primo stuff, so you probably ought to tune in anyway. That, by the way, is something you can do at The AIR Website, or just hit the virtual button right here on this embedded radio player…


Sunday Evening Video: Sgt. Pepper Turns 50!

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sgt-pepper_1Our video is a short one this week. Above you see a brief trailer for the deluxe reissues of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which will be released May 26, on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of what is probably the most-recognized album in the history of rock and roll.

We devoted a couple of episodes of Beatles Blast (heard exclusively on The AIR) to this album (the second one airs this week) and if you’ve been reading PopCult for any length of time, you probably know that I’m a huge Beatles freak, so this is a big deal.

Let’s go to the press release for more info on what you can expect on the four CD/1 DVD/1BluRay set super-duper boxed set:

It was 50 years ago when The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr astonished and delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo, sourced directly from the four-track masters at Abbey Road Studios in London, and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin. This extensive collection gives an unprecedented insight into how The Beatles made their ground-breaking album. The box set features a new stereo version by Giles Martin and 33 tracks from the Sgt. Pepper sessions that place you in the studio as the group develop the songs.

4 Audio CDs:
A new stereo mix of the album by Giles Martin. Sgt. Pepper Sessions on 2 CDs with over 100 minutes of audio illustrating how the album was created. Newly mixed from the original four-track tapes, most of the material is previously unreleased. Also contains the original 1967 mono mix of the album and bonus tracks including three previously unreleased mixes.

Fully restored 1992 documentary The Making of Sgt. Pepper, including interviews with Paul, George and Ringo and fascinating in-the-studio footage introduced by George Martin. Restored promotional films for ‘A Day In The Life’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’. 2017 Giles Martin 5.1 surround sound mix and high-resolution stereo audio in 96KHz/24bit of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band plus ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’.

144-page hardback book featuring an introduction by Sir Paul McCartney, comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, in-depth essays about the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context… and much more. Illustrations include photographs from the recording sessions, handwritten lyrics and Abbey Road documentation.

Plus a replica of the original card insert and two bonus posters.

Your PopCulteer is sorely tempted to shell out the more than a hundred bucks that this set will cost, even though he probably has all the outtakes scattered across a few dozen bootlegs. The set will be available in many other configurations, without so much bonus material, so more casual fans might want to start with those.

Either way, it’s a great way to go back fifty years to revisit the hallmark that kicked off the Summer of Love. God only knows it’ll be better than contemplating the Summer of Whatever The Hell Mess We Have Now.

Since our video is so brief this week, here’s a bonus. It’s my tribute to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, featuring music by Go Van Gogh:

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 50

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rfc50montagethumbThis week we flash back to August, 2008 and the fiftieth episode of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON. We pulled out all the stops for this one. Our musical guests were The Late, Great Master of the Hunch, Hasil Adkins and The Concept, who debuted their then-new guitarist, Brian Flowers.

We also had a wild short film from Scott Elkins, which introduced Kitty Killton to the world. Frank Panucci brought us a sneak peek at some test footage from his still-long-gestating feature film, “Repurkussionz.” We also had some cameo appearances by the star of “Repurkussionz,” Mad Man Pondo, along with Survivor’s Jonny Fairplay and Unknown Hinson, who introduced Hasil Adkins on the show.

Kevin Pauley from IWA East Coast, The No Pants Players and The American Heart Association then-future Ghostbuster showed up to take umbrage at one of our end-credit gags from episode 49. Wrapping it all up, RFC Big Shot and Resident Diva Melanie Larch was shown singing the National Anthem at Appalachian Power Park over the end credits.

This one sort of set the high standard for milestone episodes of the show that we probably won’t bother with when the show goes back into production.

pc-5-19-headerThe PopCulteer
May 19, 2017

So if you read last week’s PopCulteer, you may be aware that yesterday I underwent the second of my cataract surgeries. Everything went perfectly and I don’t want to turn Popcult into a “Rudy’s Health Update” blog, but I do want to thank Dr. Muhib Tarakji for the amazing work he and his staff did on my behalf. I have some minor life adjustments to make, like not needing glasses around the house and such, but it’s an overwhelmingly positive change and I’m glad to have it behind me.

However, I did promise to provide at least one post per day to my PopCult readers, and I did not get the chance to work ahead as much this week as I did last week, so I’m sort of taking it easy and instead of cranking out a huge essay, I’m going to present a few of my surrealist digitally-assaulted photos from last month’s trip to Chicago.

Following the photos, which are going up sans captions so as not to tempt the website demons that bedevil us these days, I’ve got one big suggestion for Stuff To Do this weekend, and plug of our programming on The AIR.

But first, here’s some stuff I saw in Chicago. The final image is a photo looking up directly below the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park.


Continue reading…

That Feeling of Deja Vu…

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air-5-18Remember last week when your PopCulteer took a sick day for cataract surgery?  Well, it seems that I have two eyes.

Today, once again, your PopCulteer is undergoing cataract surgery, and since it worked out so well last week, instead of Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM, we’re going to encore this week’s episodes of Ska Madness and Beatles Blast on The AIR. Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Starting at 7 AM you’ll get replays of Curtain Call, Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Then at 3 PM, tune in for a very special episode of Ska Madness, where Dexter Checkers, our pal from Haversham Recording Institute in London, offers up a recent live concert performance by Dave Wakeling’s English Beat.

At 4 PM, yours truly brings you an episode of Beatles Blast that reassembles the classic “Sgt Pepper” album out of a wide and varied assortment of cover versions. Read more about it HERE.

You can then listen to this week’s new Radio Free Charleston, with all-new music from The Company Stores, The Wolves of Calla and more at 5 PM, and The New Music Show at 6 PM , The Crazy Show at 6:30 PM. In prime-time, it’s this week’s episodes of The Swing Shift and Curtain Call, followed at 10 PM by Live From The Empty Glass (this week with John Lancaster and Tim Lancaster). All night long after that, it’s a marathon of The Swing Shift.

Look for a light-duty PopCulteer tomorrow. I’m planning on taking it a bit easy this week. Don’t expect me to use this excuse again next week. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any eyes left to operate on after this.

sgt-pepper_2Your humble PopCulteer pays tribute to the classic Beatles Album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at 5 PM Wednesday on  The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

The eighth episode of Beatles Blast sees yours truly assemble a duplicate of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album using cover versions by as assortment of some of the most revered recording artists of all time, plus a few obscure artists, just to keep you on your toes.

The show opens with a rare version of The Beatles doing both parts of the song, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Then the fun starts. Check out the playlist…

Beatles Blast 008

The Beatles  “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Jimi Hendrix  “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Joe Cocker  “With A Little Help From My Friends”
Elton John  “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
Paul McCartney  “Getting Better”
Hue & Cry  “Fixing A Hole”
Syreeta  “She’s Leaving Home”
Billy Connelly  “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite”
Sonic Youth  “Within You, Without You”
Frankie Howerd  “When I’m Sixty-Four”
Fats Domino  “Lovely Rita”
The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton “Good Morning, Good Morning”
Three Wize Men  “Sgt. Pepper (reprise)”
Sting  “A Day In The Life”
The Fall  “Sgt. Pepper’s Inner Groove”

To fill out the hour, we include two songs that were originally intended for Sgt Pepper, but which were diverted to be used as a double-A side single prior to its release…
Tomorrow  “Strawberry Fields Forever”
David Bowie  “Penny Lane”

I decided to pay tribute to the Sgt Pepper album this way on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of its release. I hope you enjoy the effort. Beatles Blast can be heard Wednesday at 5 PM, and this week Thursday at 4 PM, with further replays Friday at 7 PM  and as part of our Saturday afternoon music lblock.


curtain-call-5-17-logoMel Larch presents a special preview of the original cast recording of the 2017 Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler, on Curtain Call Wednesday afternoon at 3 PM on  The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Wednesday Curtain Call presents the just-released original cast recording of the hottest ticket on Broadway, the classic musical, Hello, Dolly!, starring the Divine Miss M herself, Bette Midler.

The show opens with a special rendition of the famous title song by Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, and then your host, Mel Larch, introduces the new cast recording, which is available now where ever music is sold. You’ll get a little background on the show, and notes on the song in this version of the show that was cut from the original production.

That’s Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler on Curtain Call, exclusively on The AIR at 3 PM. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM with repeats throughout the rest of the week.