PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Local, Swing, Ska…Music Is On The AIR Tuesday!

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5-16-air-logoNew episodes of Radio Free Charleston, The Swing Shift and Ska Madness debut Tuesday at 10 AM, 3 PM and 5 PM on The AIR.Listners will get a huge load of local music, retro Swing and live music from legendary Ska band, The English Beat.

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 a cut from Ann Magnuson’s latest album, the incredible Dream Girl. The show continues with new music from The Company Stores, The Wolves of Calla and more, and archival tracks from Pepper Fandango, The Mad Scientist Club, Clownhole and more. See the playlist below.

At 3 PM The Swing Shift devotes the entire first hour to Retro Swing, with killer tracks from The Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and more. The playist can be found at the bottom of this post.

At 5 PM Dexter Checkers checks in from London with Ska Madness, this week presenting a live concert by Dave Wakeling’s English Beat, in advance of the release of their brand-new album this summer.

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 weeks Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.

10 PM is when Radio Free Charleston is heard again, followed at 11 PM by Radio Free Charleston International, and then that’s followed by an all-night marathon of Ska Madness at 1 AM.

The AIR is the place to go for interruption-free music. Below the jump you’ll find the playlists I promised you:

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YES, Prognosis Is On The AIR!

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ytotoJust say “YES” Monday as our internet radio station, The AIR, offers up yet another prog-tastic episode of Herman Linte’s Prognosis.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just hit the virtual button right here on this embedded radio player…

After a morning and afternoon of new music and encore presentations, thigs get wild at 3 PM with a brand-new episode of Prognosis that shines the spotlight on the controversial 1973 album, “Tales From The Topographic Ocean,” by the group, YES.

This epic and spacey concept album only features four compostions, but it originally stretched them across two LPs, with each song taking up an entire side. This week on Prognosis, Herman brings you the entire album, in order, bracketed by tracks from the 1974 “Relayer” album, which followed up “Tales.”

“Tales” was either loved or despised by fans upon its release. Critics assailed it as a prime example of the excesses of progressive rock, while die-hard fans were split between loving the experimentation and lamenting the lack of a recognizable “hit.” Band memebers were also split, with Rick Wakeman citing this album as his reason for leaving the band the first time.

Decades later, opinions are still split, but more people seem to be coming around to appreciate this for the grand sprawling statement that it was, and “Tales” has achieved some newfound respect…except for side three.

Prognosis can be heard at 3 PM Monday on The AIR, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and as part of the AIR Music Block, which runs all day on Saturday.

At 5 PM Monday we bring you a classic episode of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy. In a few weeks we’ll have new shows from this series, but until then, you can rock out with your encore out.

At 6 PM it’s another installment the New Music Show. This is exactly what the title says. It’s new music, a mix of local and non-local, presented in a rotation so that you can see the artist and song title displayed. You’ll get to hear some of the best tracks that we play on our specialty shows here every weekday at 6 PM.

At 6:30 PM it’s The (censored) Crazy Show. Now daily, by popular demand.

7 PM sees a classic episode of That Conversation with Patrick Felton, while 9 PM brings us another much-requested episode of The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. At 10 PM The AIR revives a lost episode of Six Degrees of Separation.

At midnight, settle in for an all-night marathon of Ska Madness, with Dexter Checkers.



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 present two digital paintings based on photos that were taken in separate parts of Chicago, but which share a bit of their curvy composition.

Above you see a shot of the Chicago skyline colliding with its distorted reflection in the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park. Below you see a randow photo, shot out of a moving taxi, of part of a BP gas station, that had a cool round design to its canopy. Some might think that this is a brilliant juxtaposition of two similar images, placed together to make a statement about the universal themes that run through humanity’s artificial structures. Others probably recognize dumb luck when they see it.

As always, click the images to see bigger versions.


Sunday Evening Video: Happy Mothers Day

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zappa01Today is Mothers Day, and to celebrate the artificial holiday, born right here in West “By God” Virginia, we bring you a concert by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. Recorded in 1973 for the Swedish program Opopoppa, above is rare video of Frank Zappa with a later incarnation of The Mothers of Invention that included  Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Tom Fowler, Ralph Humphrey, Ruth Underwood, Ian Underwood and Bruce Fowler.

In this nearly hour-long performance, the band presents three tunes, “Montana,” “Dupree’s Paradise” and “Farther O’blivion,” showing off the more experimental, instrumental side of The Mothers of Invention.

Now isn’t that a better way to observe the day than a cheesy Hallmark card and some flowers?

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 49

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rfc49lmontagethumbEpisode 49 of Radio Free Charleston, “The Concept Shirt” is our Flashback this week. This episode features eclectic music from Asheville, North Carolina’s The Hellblinki Sextet, and Charleston/Huntington’s The Button-Flies–both of these bands making their RFC debuts on the show–plus more relaxing animation from Frank Panucci and a preview of then-upcoming shows by The Ghosts Of Now, The Concept, and Under The Radar, three bands that are not currently playing together.

You can read the original production notes HERE.

The Eyes Have It

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eyesThe PopCulteer
May 12, 2017

So yesterday your PopCulteer had his peeper poked, and by that, I mean I had my first cataract surgery. As expected, everything went smoothly and I am on the mend and looking forward (with my one good eye) to having my second cataract surgery next week. After that, more of the photos and videos you see here in PopCult will be in focus.

Because of the effects of anasthesia, this week’s column will be a collection of short items and observations.


olliesOllie’s opened in Dunbar Wednesday, and your PopCulteer made the tactical error of checking the store out on Grand Opening Day. The place was packed. I’m a big fan of the chain, and have made regular visits to the Barboursville store. They have a great selection of blowout and overstock merchandise, with everything from food to clothes to toys, tools, cleaning supplies, shelving, flooring, books, DVDs and beyond.

But the crowd on opening day was insane. I’m sure the presence of some NASCAR yahoo (excuse me for not knowing who he was, but no apologies for not caring) contributed to the “Black Hole of Calcutta” atmosphere, but it was not the optimum shopping experience.

Still, it was great to see a vital and thriving business locate in my occasionally moribund hometown of Dunbar. They will get great traffic and I’m sure they’ll be a big success and maybe help attract some other new businesses to our city (maybe to take advantage of our lack of an added sales tax). I’ll be going back often. In fact, I went back for a second time the next day, with Mrs. PopCulteer, right after leaving the hospital following my eye surgery.

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Taking A Sick Day On The AIR

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5-11-17Your PopCulteer is undergoing cataract surgery today, so 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 Coolsvile and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Then at 3 PM, tune in for a special presentation of Ska Madness, where Dexter Checkers, our mate from Haversham Recording Institute in London, pays tribute to thrid-wave Ska legends, Operation Ivy. You can read all about it HERE.

At 4 PM, yours truly brings you an episode of Beatles Blast devoted to alternate mixes and rare overseas versions of Beatles songs. 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 Groove Heavy, Hybrid Soul Project and more). All night long after that, it’s a marathon of The Swing Shift.

Depending how the anathesia works, tomorrow’s PopCulteer could be very interesting indeed.

GI Joe’s Biological Father Passes Away

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The PopCult Toybox

stan-westonStan Weston, a toy industry legend and licensing pioneer, passed away last week. Reports started surfacing on the internet over the last couple of days.

Weston was the inventor of GI Joe, but he sold his interest in the first action figure to Hasbro early on. Just last year he settled with Hasbro over other ownership considerations for an undisclosed sum. Weston approached Hasbro’s Don Levine in 1963 with the concept of a posable 12″ figure that would have a cloth uniform and plastic accessories as a way to create a toy based on a military TV show that he was representing. The TV show didn’t last long, but Hasbro was still interested in the concept and moved forward with GI Joe, which went on to become one of the highest-grossing toys of all time.

In addition to GI Joe, Weston also came up with Captain Action (seen above, with Mr. Weston. Click the photo to read an interview with Weston) and arranged for MEGO to acquire the licenses for DC Comics and Marvel for their best-selling World’s Greatest Superhero line.

In 1970 he co-founded Leisure Concepts Incorporated, which changed the face of the toy industry by initiating many pervasive licensing deals. His company even developed the idea for the Thundercats action figure line and cartoon series in the 1980s. If you bought any licensed toy or knick-knack from 1970 to 1990, Stan Weston likely had a hand in its production.

Weston was quite a character, and I’m sorry that I never got the chance to meet him in person. A couple of years ago he was very helpful aiding me in busting a pop culture fraud, but we only had contact through a mutual friend.

Weston was 84 years old, and is survived by his brother, his three children and five grandchildren. PopCult extends its condolences to his friends and family.It’s always sad to see one of the creators of our favorite toys leave us.

bblog-5-10It’s a killer line-up of music and talk Wednesday on The AIR as we offer up brand-new episodes of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  We also celbrate our new URL, www.theairwv.com! You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just click the dial right here on this embedded radio player…

The morning kicks off with a replay of this week’s The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by a two-hour version of The NEW MUSIC SHOW at 9 AM and a replay of last week’s Curtain Call at noon. All times, EDT, by the way.

At 1 PM, deadline issues related to your PopCulteer’s impending eye surgery have us bringing you encores of On The Road with Mel and at 1:30 PM, Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle Marcum. Then at 2 PM The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe sees Mark talking with Charly Hamilton.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a brand-new episode of Curtain Call, bringing you the best of musical theater. This week Mel brings you tunes from Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, School of Rock, Groundhog Day, Freaky Friday and more. You’ll find the playlist at the bottom of this post.

At 5 PM, yours truly hosts a special episode of Beatles Blast, focussing on alternative mixes of songs by the Fab Four. Listeners will hear rare mono mixes of tracks from Revolver and The White Album, plus oddball international releases and even an alternate edit of part of the medley from side two of Abbey Road. This is an education for fans who haven’t explored the slight-to-great differences that make these familiar Beatles songs seem new and exciting.

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. Herman Linte, plays both Jethro Tull’s 1972 concept album, Thick As A Brick, along with Ian Anderson’s 2012 sequel, Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?. That’s followed by The Comedy Vault at 10 PM. Then at midnight listeners can settle in for an all-night marathon of Curtain Call.

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