PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: The Return of Gorgo

As longtime readers may know, I have been slowly (very slowly) restoring this blog since I moved it out from under the auspices of The Charleston Gazette-Mail. One of the latest posts I fixed was from 2014, and it was the movie, Gorgo, the video of which had been taken down by YouTube shortly after. It has since resurfaced, but instead of expecting you to wander back seven years in my archives, I’m bringing it to you once again here, as well as in the archives.

In 2013 I reviewed a very nice collection of comics by Steve Ditko that were based on the 1961 monster movie, Gorgo. The consensus is that the comics are way better than the movie, which was a British-made cheesy knockoff of Godzilla.

Now you can see for yourself as we present the entire movie, here in PopCult. It’s a good way to kick off the Halloween season which I’ll be stretching out here in the blog for the next few weeks.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 71

This week we go back six years to an RFC MINI SHOW starring guitar master, Ryan Kennedy

This was recorded live at the much-missed Third Eye Cabaret in August 2015. Kennedy performs the theme from the movie “Black Orpheus” by Louis Bonfi, and two pieces by Antonio Lauro, “Tatiana” and “Natalia.”

Ryan, of course, is still active all over Charleston’s music scene, and it was an honor to have him on the show.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When Synthesizers Ruled The Earth

The PopCulteer
October 1, 2021

Friday brings a brand-new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat to The AIR. The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player right here…

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with a very special mixtape episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat that salutes the modern instrument that became identified with the New Wave sound, the synthesizer. A necessary ingredient in what I call “blippy, farty music,” the synthesizer had evolved beyond the Moogs that dominated progressive rock, and became cheaper, lighter, less complicated and infinitely more colorful in terms of the sounds they produced.

Beyond making experimental sounds, these instruments were played on hit records, and in this special mixtape episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, you’ll hear a number of massive, worldwide number-one hit records. It’s cool to hear the synth before it evolved to the point where it’s used for almost every song you hear nowadays, and you can’t even tell. These were hits back in the day when new sounds were welcome, not just new technology sampling old sounds. It’s a pretty epic two-hour thrill-ride.

Just check out the playlist to see for yourself…

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Yaz “Don’t Go”
Depeche Mode “Enjoy The Silence”
New Order “Bizarre Love Triangle”
The Human League “Don’t You Want Me”
Tears For Fears “Pale Shelter”
The Cure “Let’s Go To Bed”
Heaven 17 “Temptation”
Rational Youth “Saturdays In Silesia”
Thompson Twins “In The Name of Love”
John Foxx “Underpass”
Kon Kan “I Beg Your Pardon”
Fad Gadget “Collapsing New People”
Kraftwerk “The Model”
Real Life “Send Me An Angel”
Gary Numan “Cars”
The Normal “Warm Leatherette”
Glass Candy “Digital Versicolor”
Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”
The Postal Service “Such Great Heights”
The Associates “The Affectionate Punch”
Druan Duran “Planet Earth”
DEVO “Planet Earth”
The Units “Go”
Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”
Bronksi Beat “Smalltown Boy”
Erasure “A Little Respect”
A Flock of Seagulls “Wishing”
Thomas Dolby “She Blinded Me With Science”
Altered Images “Don’t Talk To Me About Love”
Orchestra Manoeuvres In The Dark “Enola Gay”
M “Pop Musik”

Rest assured that all the musicians you hear on this show are much more accomplished than this guy…

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer.   Check this blog for fresh content every single freakin’ day. I’m cool like that.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

5-Star Super Kickstarter Spectacular

It’s a bit of a perfect storm for comics fans who support projects via Kickstarter. Today we’re going to tell you about five projects featuring work by acclaimed comics veterans, four of which are already fully-funded, so that you can see what kinds of cool stuff is happening in the world of sequential art beyond the scope of Marvel, DC and even the direct market. Most of these campaigns still have a couple of weeks left, but you want to act fast so you don’t forget.

Let’s dive in…

I’m starting off with the most in-depth preview because this project just launched yesterday, and has a way to go to reach its ambitious goal. This campaign has about a month left, but it could use a good surge.

The MASTERS!

THE MASTERS! are a group of villains inspired by master artists of the 20th century, and in this five-issue series, they prove worthy opponents for some of history’s favorite super heroes! This is he brainchild of Austin Hough, a fellow MEGO action figure enthusiast, and a man after my own heart. He has gathered together a “who’s who” of classic silver and bronze-age comic book artists to pit the villains he’s created against a wild collection of some of the most fun public domain superheroes available.

The roster of artists include Ramona Fradon, Tom Palmer, Joe Staton, Mike Vosburg, Alan Weiss, Bob Hall, Mike Grell, Pablo Marcos, Romeo Tanghal, Alex Saviuk, Al Milgrom, Tom Grummett and many, many others that would have me typing all day to mention here.

The story pits the heroes against the villains in the manner of the classic Batman team-up comic, The Brave and Bold, so that in each issue we have two or more of our revitalized Golden Age heroes teaming up to take on our artistically-influenced bad guys. As a guy who spent the better part of the last 18 months wearing Rene Magritte-inspired facemasks, this is right in my wheelhouse. The Masters are: Sir Real Ordeal, The Clerk, Graffiti, Panorama, and Monsieur Petit Renard.

The covers to the comics pay homage to classic covers from the 70s, and 80s, and the rewards for higher tiers are impressive as heck, ranging from a tabloid-sized final issue to trade paperback collections, a calendar, a “Who’s Who” style guide to the characters, a jigsaw puzzle, action figures, tin lunchboxes a set of Slurpee-style cups with heroes emblazoned on them, posters and prints, Ben Cooper-style masks,  and even more gooides to be unlocked if they top their goals. This one punches all of my nostalgia buttons.

You can keep up with the project on Facebook and Instagram, and support the Kickstarter project HERE.

BLIGHTER: TRACKER OF THE REALM

BLIGHTER is an original graphic novel by writer Jeff Parker (X-Men First Class, Flash Gordon, Batman ’66 and Future Quest) and artist Drew Moss (Vampirella/Red Sonja, Star Wars, The Crow, Army Of The Dead, M.A.S.K. and Heavy Metal). Available in both paperback and digital download editions,  BLIGHTER is a dimension-spanning, action-packed suspense ride, chock-full of monsters, and a swaggeringly brutal Tiger-man who fancies himself a living legend.

I have to admit, this one had me at Jeff Parker, one of my favorite comic book writers.  About this project, Parker says, “Despite all the classic heroes I’ve written, super and adventurous, I have to say I really enjoy characters who are terrible role models and just a whisker away from being the villains of the story. That’s Lord Blighter, renowned tracker from The Old World who comes to Earth to help us with chaotic threats all over our planet. He’s unmatched at hunting these fiends – just ask him, he’ll gladly tell you!”

And here’s a Tiger-looking dude, to boot. How can this Tawky Tawny fan pass that up?

The book has met its goal, so if you kick in now, you know you’ll get the book, and maybe even some keen stretch-goal gravy. Check it out HERE.

Jetcat & Friends: The ultimate full-colour collection!

You may remember JetCat from a series of Nickelodeon shorts in the 90s, but Jay Stephen’s creation had a pretty good run as a comic strip, and this book collects them all.

Jetcat & Friends is the definitive, full-colour collection of every one of Jetcat’s comic book adventures, combining the long out of print stories from Jetcat ClubhouseNickelodeon Magazine, and the multiple Eisner-Award-nominated Land Of Nod Rockabye Book into one, ultimate, 248 page explosion of colour!

And if one ’90s TV cartoon star wasn’t enough, & Friends also includes the original Tutenstein comics, as well as Space Ape Number EightOddetteBug Patrol, and more!

These are great comics for all ages and show off Stephen’s mastery of the humor comics genre.

This is another project that is already fully-funded, so you know you’ll get it. Check it out HERE.

IMPOSSIBLE 2B: IMPOSSIBLE JONES & CAPTAIN LIGHTNING TEAM-UP!

This Kickstarter is written by Karl Kesel, longtime comics creator for DC and Marvel (he created King Shark, who was seen in The Suicide Squad comics and movie), and drawn by Dan Schkade and it brings together two of Kesel’s independent creations in one fun adventure.

Debuting in successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019,  Impossible Jones, features a thief with the newfound super power to shape-shift. She learns, it’s easier to rob New York City blind if its police and citizens believe she’s the only superhero standing in the way between them and dire threats. Along the way, despite her best efforts, she becomes a hero.

This 34-page adventure odd-couple team has the secret thief working alongside the super-straight arrow, and rumor has it that another Kesel co-creation, Section Zero, will figure into the story.

Kesel describes Impossible Jones as “Grin and Gritty,” and it’s pure superhero fun, sort of in the mold of the late 1980s Justice League International comics.

This is yet another project that is already fully-funded, so you know you’ll get it. Check it out HERE.

Mike Allred’s Madmania Shindig Activity Book

Our last Kickstarter alert for today is not for a comic book, but it is comic book-related.  A few months ago I told you about the Madman Ginchy Glider, starring Mike Allred’s beloved comic book hero. Now we have an activity book featuring Madman and all his Madmaniverse friends.

As the blurb says, “Hang out with the cool cats of Snap City (and beyond!) in this sweet activity book! Activities! Word stuff! Stickers! 3D! And coloring!”

I’ll just quote liberally from the campaign page here:

The Madmaniverse, that catch-all title for the comics from superstar creators Mike Allred (story, pencils, inks) and Laura Allred (vibrant colors!), comes to life in the Madmania Shindig Activity Book! This is jam-packed with 36 pages of activities, sticker fun, coloring, and 3D images featuring:

  •  Madman (aka Frank Einstein of Snap City): the swinging superhero enjoying life after death, rocking out with his band and fighting crime around Snap City!
  •  The Atomics: Formerly Mutant Street Beatniks, these do-gooders and hep cats join Madman in his quest to make everything swell. Oh, and to stop the badguys from winning!
  •  It Girl: One of the Atomics, lovely Luna Romy gains the ability of anything she touches. That, and she’s swell!
  •  Red Rocket 7: This cosmic clone from outer space rocks with the best of them, and taught the best of them how to rock!
  •  X-Ray Robot: Max and his alternate timeline future cyborg version of himself are keeping the timestreams neat.

And more! There’s even the G-Men from Hell and Cheetahman!

It’s cool. It’s fun. There are higher reward levels with extra goodies and I’ve already kicked in on it.

This is even still yet another project that is already fully-funded, so you know you’ll get it. Check it out HERE.

IWA East Coast Returns to Power Park Friday

I’ve cut way back on recommending events for folks in Charleston to attend during this latest surge in the pandemic, but Friday evening IWA East Coast will be at Appalachian Power Park for an outdoor show (in the case of rain, they’ll move it in under the sheltered food court) and I couldn’t let this pass without alerting my readers. The Woody Numbers Memorial Show will deliver an outstanding night of spectacular professional wrestling.

Ball Park Brawl 2 happens October 8th, at Appalachian Power Park. Get your tickets at iwaeastcoast.ecwid.com. It’s going to be a loaded show, with Mad Man Pondo, The Mortons, Mickie Knuckles, Chance Prophet, Juggulator, Billy Starks, Jaso Kincaid and other wrestling superstars will be on hand as Jake Crist challenges Matt Conard for the IWA East Coast Title.

You can also expect the fourth annual Woody Numbers Unholy Memorial Battle Royal. Bell Time is 7:30 PM, and the gates open at 6 PM. It will be a wild night.

 

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A Stitched-together RFC On The AIR

With your humble blogger and internet radio host feeling a bit under the weather (nothing serious, and not a problem with my voice) Tuesday on The AIR  I play Dr. Frankenstein and stitch together an episode of Radio Free Charleston volume 4 and Radio Free Charleston International to make a brand-new three hour episode of RFC V5. Both of the original shows are from early 2016, and neither has been heard by anyone for about five years.

It’s an interesting artifact, and it’s still jam-packed with three hours of great local and non-local music. You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player right here…

At 10 AM and 10 PM you can hear this compilation of RFC volume 4, episode 7 and RFC International episode 2. Instead of just running these shows back to back, I interwove them to seem more like the current format of the show.  However, becuause of the slicing and dicing, I didn’t break this show down into three separate hours like I usually do. These shows were produced when The AIR was still using the “Appalachian Internet Radio” moniker.  So you’ll hear that a few times.  both shows were loaded with good music, and I think my monster of a playlist is pretty impressive…

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QIET “Kiss of the Universe”
Blue Million “Next Year”
Diablo Blues Band “Price of a Broken Heart”
Underdog Blues Revue “Back Door Blues”
The Horse Traders “Nothing At All”
The Ruins “Used To Be Friends”
Weezer “Do You Wanna Get High?”
Dubioza Kolektiv Pirate Bay Song”
Jane Wiedlin “World On Fire”
Adam Ant “Cool Zombie”
Moron Police “Who’s That Chicken”
Jordan Andrew Jefferson “One Step At A Time”
Jack Grifftith “With A Girl Like You”
The Buttonflies “Lil’ Birdie”
Go Van Gogh “I Can’t Sleep At Night”
Hellblinki “Bella Ciao”
The Aquabats “Sequence Erase/Giant Robot Bird Head”
The English Beat “Click click”
The Creatures “Killing Time”
Julian Cope “Beautiful Love”
Carpenter Ants “Blessing”
Bob Clay “Fuel For The Fire”
Todd Burge “Hey, Little Christian Girl”
Paul Calicoat “Soul of Stone”
The Pretenders “The Wait”
Pete Townshend “Empty Glass”
Frank Zappa “Uncle Remus”
DethKlok “How Can I Be A hero”
Men Without Hats “Underneath The Rainbow”
XTC “It’s Nearly Africa”
Casi Null “Blue Haze”
Punk Jazz “Little Star”
Option 22 “Soul Song”
Radio Cult “Saturday Midnight Double Feature”
Stephen Beckner “Come On (We Gotta Get On Home)”
Elvis Costello “Tramp The Dirt Down”
Joe Jackson “Soul Kiss”
Can “Outside My Door”
Marianne Faithfull “Why’d You Do It”
Captain Beefheart “Veteran’s Day Poppy”
Feast of Stephen “No Vaccination”
Deron Baker “Gravel”
Douglas Imbrogno with Melanie Larch “Bring Sunshine When You Come”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.

 

After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and NOISE BRIGADE at 2 PM. At 3 PM we have two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Monday Morning Art: Another Imaginary Flower

For the first time in the fifteen-plus history of this feature, I am going to attempt to do Inktober. The idea is that I’ll post a pen and ink drawing each Monday this month. This is all dependent on my hands holding up enough to hold a pen that long.

Today we have a quick pen sketch, done on watercolor paper (not really the best choice). It’s a doodle that became a flower. It’s not any particular type of flower, so remember that any resemblence to flowers living or dead is purely coincidental. I did this in about twenty minutes Sunday afternoon.

If you want to see it a bit bigger, just click on it.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a new episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a new edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player right here…

Nigel Pye has a trippy party with the fiftieth episode of  Psychedelic Shack! It’s an entire hour filled with music from a new boxed-set reissue of the definitive Psychedelic Rock classic The Village Green Preservation Society, by The KInks. Check out this playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 050

The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society

“The Village Green Preservation Society”
“Do You Remember Walter?”
“Picture Book”
“Johnny Thunder”
“Last of the Steam-Powered Trains”
“Big Sky”
“Sitting by the Riverside”
“Animal Farm”
“Village Green”
“Starstruck”
“Phenomenal Cat”
“All of My Friends Were There”
“Wicked Annabella”
“Monica”
“People Take Pictures of Each Other”
“Mr. Songbird”
“Days”
“Polly”
“Wonderboy”
“Berkley Mews”
“Groovy Movies”
“King Kong”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

At 3 PM, Herman Linte offers up a new Prognosis, which opens and closes with tracks from the brand-new album by YES, The Quest. In between, expect all-new prog-rock releases from 2021. Check out the playlist here…

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YES “The Ice Bridge”
Kyros “Heartstrings”
Vangelis “Zeus Almighty”
Steve Hackett “Shanghai to Samarkand”
Helicopters of the Holy Ghost “Tony Got A Car”
The Trip “Two Brothers”
Iron Maiden “Lost In A Lost World”
Big Big Train “All The Love We Can Give”
Steve Howe “A Lady She Is”
Looney Grandpas “Looposuction”
Jon Anderson and Jonathan Elias “Sleep”
Psychic Hit “Orocovis”
Sal Balamir “Seagull”
Three Colours Dark “Love’s Lost Property”
YES “Leave Well Alone”

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

At 8 PM, stick around for an 11-hour marathon of unusual talk and comedy programming.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sunday Evening Video: Follow Your Dream…

..that is, if your dream is to work at National Record Mart. The famed national music chain, based in Pittsburgh, began liquidation sales just about twenty years ago, and was completely out of business by early, 2002. Before that, NRM was a very reliable source for music, especially back in the days before CDs.

Locally we had NRM stores on Capitol Street, in the Charleston Town Center, The St. Albans Mall and The Huntington Mall. Eventually most of those had closed or were sold to other chains, and the Capitol Street location moved to the Southridge Shopping Complex a few years before the whole chain shut down.

While Budget Tapes & Records was my go-to store, I still have great memories of NRM, too. It’s where I bought Sandanista by The Clash. It’s also where I picked up a few Beatles Imports…and in 1999 it’s where I bought my first Aquabats CD.

The video above is National Record Mart’s training video from the late 1990s, presented for nostalgia, camp and confusion purposes.  It begins with an historical overview of the company, and ends with stern warnings about what will happen if you help people shoplift.  It does end on an upbeat note about how bright your future can be as a National Record Mart associate. Enjoy!

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 70

This week’s Flashback is a little sad. It’s the band, The Irreplaceables, who are no longer a band, performing at Shock A Con, which is no longer Charleston’s annual horror convention.

Even with that, the band rocks pretty hard with great tunes, and a wonderful time was had by all. Check out the production notes HERE.

The PopCulteer
October 1, 2021

We have lots of localish stuff to talk about this week in The PopCulteer, so let’s get started…

For The Love of God, Why?

Charleston’s Minor League Baseball team unveiled their new name this week, and to the horror of many, it turned out to be the much-rumored “Dirty Birds.” Picking a new name for a ballclub is a thankless task, and any choice is bound to cause tons of people to come out of the woodwork to bitch and moan about what a poor choice it was.

Allow me to join in with that chorus. “The Dirty Birds” really sucks.

Now, I totally understand why the new owners of the team wanted a new name. “West Virginia Power” was outstandingly lame and uninspiring from day one. First of all changing from the city to the state designation in the name was a misguided move that only confused people. I know it was meant to make the team more appealing to baseball fans outside of the Capitol City, but it didn’t.

Second, I know that they sold the naming rights to the new ballpark to Appalachian Power, and really, really wanted to suck up hard to the electric company by naming the ball club after them. But it was a bad move, and we were long past the point where we needed to change to something more appealing and exciting.

Also, there is this ridiculously wrong-headed idea that all we care about in West Virginia is coal, and therefore this would make West Virginians flock to the new club.

The truth is that, outside of the coal barons who either own, or are, state politicians, and the coal miners who sacrifice their lives to make those coal barons rich, not many other West Virginians give two craps about coal. I know I’ve lived here my entire life, and I’ve been sick of hearing about coal since before I started high school, and that was a very, very long time ago.

That brings us to a laundry list of many problems with the name “Dirty Birds,” and it’s not just because the name is being used by a fast-food chicken place with a deliberately phallic logo.

First up, only somebody who knows nothing of Charleston would consider (once again) giving our ballclub a name that has anything to do with coal.

Jay Leno, “America’s Scumbag,” once called Charleston “A dirty little coal mine town where the streets were covered with soot and filth.” I’ve hated the man ever since. Now the owners of the ballclub have essentially agreed with him. There are no coal mines in Charleston. Trust me. The only dirty birds we have around here are pigeons, and who would want to name a ballclub after rats with feathers?

That’s one problem with the name. The second is that the word “dirty” does not have any positive connotations at all. “Dirty Birds” is what people call teams like The Atlanta Falcons when they suspect that they’re cheating.

Compounding this problem is that “Dirty Bird” already has several other meanings which I don’t think a minor-league ballclub would want to be associated with: It’s a euphemism for giving someone the finger; It is also slang for a woman with unclean private parts; Worse than that, The Urban Dictionary defines it as a particularly unpleasant and demeaning sex act that involves the involuntary exchange of bodily fluids.

Let’s see ’em put that on a shirt.

There’s also the fact that Florida Gulf Coast University uses “Dirty Birds” for their team. Are we competing with Florida for bad ideas now?

Don’t answer that.

Then there’s the fact that the name is intended to pay tribute to the legendary canaries that were sent down into the coal mines to warn the miners of unsafe levels of methane.

You know how they did that? They had seizures and died. These were innocent little animals without a care in the world who were sent down into coal mines where they stood a good chance of dying because their lives were considered to be expendable…sort of like the coal miners were treated.

And every time I see that logo and hear that name, I’m gonna think of death. Why not just call them “The Charleston Grim Reapers?”

I understand why they wanted a new name, and I understand why they didn’t pick the overwhelming favorite, “The Charleston Charlies.” The team already plays as The Charlies two days a week, and they already have a full line of merchandise, jerseys and caps that bear the Charlies name and logo. If they picked The Charlies, then they’d only have one merchandise line to sell.

Minor league baseball is not a high profit-margin business. Having two different names for a team means that they can have an additional revenue stream. It’s the same reason Major League Baseball and the NFL have their teams wear “throwback” uniforms sometimes…it gives them something different to sell.

I get that they never seriously considered using “The Charleston Charlies” full time for that reason. It makes sense. However, the name they picked, and the other rumored contenders don’t make sense.

I’m sure the idea behind picking this name was the hope that the novelty value would spur out-of-towners to collect their merchandise. However, the name is neither novel nor clever. It’s not as goofy as The Toledo Mud Hens, and not as eye-catching as The Rocket City Trash Pandas. In the end, it’s just lame, like they were trying real hard to be outrageous, but were afraid to offend anyone. If not offending anyone was a concern, maybe they should’ve Googled it first.

There were other names that could have worked better and represented the area more: “The West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls,” “The Charleston Capitols,” “The Kanawha Valley Water Leaks.” Heck, since it seems that the dominant cultural force in Charleston now is beer, how about “The Capitol City Ale Kings,” or “The Charleston Growlers?”

With that last one they could have a drunk bear as a mascot. Who doesn’t love drunk bears?

Second-hand Amtrak News

Longtime PopCult readers know that Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife enjoy going places via Amtrak. We are very excited to see the improvements at the Charleston Amtrak station, and I can pass along some second-hand information, which is very likely accurate, but not confirmed.

Think of it as coming from “unnamed sources.”

The renovations to the Charleston station should be complete by November 1, barring any unforeseen delays. When they are complete, there will be additional parking spaces, so that you can leave your car there overnight, which is pretty important since The Cardinal only runs three days a week.

The station is newly revamped, ADA-compliant and looks wonderful. There are persistant rumors that we could see The Cardinal begin daily service, but that probably depends on President Biden’s infrastructure bill getting passed, so it might not happen anytime soon.

If you’d like to see The Cardinal go daily, now would be a good time to call Senator Manchin and bug him about that (after thanking him for getting Charleston returned to its manned station status). Here’s a tip, if you get calls asking to patch you through to the Senator’s office to lobby for some political cause of some sort, let them patch you through, but instead of talking up their cause, make a pitch for daily service for The Cardinal instead.  If your dinner is going to be interrupted by a political call, you might as well get something useful out of it.

All of this is good news for those of us who enjoy traveling by rail. Now we just have to hope that the pandemic subsides so that we can have places to visit.

That Voice on The Voice

I usually loathe singing competition TV shows, but I have to make an exception here. Holly Forbes is an amazing singer from Catlettsburg, Kentucky who has performed all over the tri-state region. I’ve played her music on Radio Free Charleston, and in an odd turn of events, I, along with Melanie Larch, Holly and a few other local singers, added backing vocals to a couple of tracks on a yet-to-be-released album by The Big Bad.

Holly has such an incredible voice that it really shouldn’t be a surprise that she was discovered by NBC’s The Voice. I have no idea how the competition part of the show works, but below you can hear Holly sing Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and feel a little proud of our local girl made good…

Blasphemy, or Just Plain Cute? You Decide?

I get strange things in the mail sometimes…

Friday on The AIR

Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL and encore a recent Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player right here…

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a solid hour filled with the biggest hits of the classic Disco era. It’s a great show, and I’m just going to drop the playlist right here…

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Maxine Nightengale “Right Back Where We started From”
Hot Chocolate “You Sexy Thing”
Rod Stewart “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
Chaka Khan “I’m Every Woman”
KC & The Sunshine Band “That’s The Way (I Like It)”
Frankie Valli “Grease”
Candi Staton “Young Hearts Run Free”
Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions “Boogie Wonderland”
Sister Sledge “Circle of Love”
The Trammps “Disco Inferno”
The Bee Gees “Jive Talkin'”
Donna Summer “On The Radio”
The Village People “YMCA”
Chic “La Freak”
Andrea True Connection “More More More”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  8 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.  This week’s new MIRRORBALL will kick off a Disco Marathon Saturday night until Midnight.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore of an episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat which is the second episode devoted to Sydney’s alphabetical jaunt through New Wave Music.

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, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR. The Haversham shows will return with new episodes next week. YAY!

You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the Sunday morning and afternoon Haversham showcases, which begin at 9 AM with Psychedelic Shack, and include double shots of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Prognosis.

That’s about it for this week. Check PopCult every day for fresh content.

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