PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

ShockaCon Starts Today!

pc-shockacon-01The PopCulteer
September 8 , 2017

Today is the day that ShockaCon begins! This is West Virginia’s premiere Horror and Science Fiction covnetion and it happens at the Beni Kedem Shrine Center on Quarrier Street in Charleston, nestled right in between the Charleston Civic Center and the Charleston Town Center Mall.

What you can expect if you go is a huge room filled with people like the same kind of stuff as you (Let’s face it, you won’t go if you don’t love horror movies or science fiction). There will be actors, musicians, celebrities, artists, writers, directors, vendors and cosplayers, all devoted to the worlds of horror and sci-fi.

You’ll be able to buy autographs from the famous folks on hand. Vendors will have movies, comic books, action figures, props, jewelry, and tons of cools stuff that you’ll want in your life. You can attend panels to learn how to do effects make-up or build props. There will be horror-themed crafting and lessons on cosplaying. The actors will hold question and answer sessions. Yours truly will even be on hand Saturday morning to talk about forty years of Star Wars toys with Mark Wolfe and Lee Harrah.

There will be several trivia contests, including Walking Dead Trivia, Saturday at 2 PM, hosted by Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, with an assist from your humble PopCulteer.

After-hours on Friday and Saturday there will be live music, magic, dancing and more. Ari Lehman is bringing his band, First Jason to the stage Saturday night. The Renfields will be there Friday. We’ll have more details below. And after the music wraps up Saturday night, there’s the AfterShock party at the Blue Parrot.

At 11:30 AM Saturday there’s even a costume parade that winds through the Charleston Town Center. Sunday is a whole day devoted to kid-friendly events.

It all begins today at 4 PM. Visit the website for details on tickets. You can find the full schedule in last week’s PopCulteer. The extended Halloween season kicks off in Charleston ShockaCon. We told you more about Ari Lehmen HERE and Professor Sinsiter HERE.  Check below for mini-profiles of some of the guests and musicians.










You’ll find more guest profiles after the jump…

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ShockaCon Spotlight: Professor Sinister

19143379_1310831895698523_7966992665400331067_oFriday evening at 8 PM at ShockaCon Professor Sinister will take the stage for the fourth consecutive year of his Savage Sideshow! Attendees at the after-hours Shock ‘N’ Roll Party will kick off the night thrilling to Professor Sinister’s amazing feats of illusion, escape and things which defy explanation.

Above we take you back in time as Professor Sinister brings his Savage Sideshow to ShockaCon 2015.  With help from some volunteers from the audience, the mysterious Professor displays feats of fire-eating, stage magic and a great escape. In his second year at ShockaCon, Professor Sinister left the crowd amazed and stunned by his daring acts of magical adventurism.

His fourth year will be even more astounding, with new feats and maybe some returning favorites. You will be shocked and awed if you dare to witness this mind-bending show.

Stay tuned to PopCult for more ShockaCon Spotlights.

ShockaCon Spotlight: Ari Lehman

19054997_1307434949371551_1871648994011700945_oAri Lehman, the first actor the play “Jason” in the Friday The 13th movie franchise, returns to ShockaCon this weekend, and this time he’s bringing his band, First Jason.  In the above clip you get an idea of what to expect from the may who kicked off one of the greatest franchises in the history of horror movies.  Ari is seen at ShockaCon 2015 discussing his acting career, how he was cast in the classic horror movie and his career as a musician.

You can follow Ari’s careers at his website.

ShockaCon, West Virginia’s premiere horror and sci-fi convention, happens this weekend at The Beni Kedem Shrine Center and the show will be packed with movie and TV stars, cosplayers, artists, vendors, Ghostbusters and more, and they’ll be signing autographs, holding question-and-answer sessions, meeting the fans and a wonderfully macabre time is guaranteed for all.

I posted the schedule and a few graphics last Friday. Stay tuned to PopCult because we’ll tell you a little more about ShockaCon every day, leading up the opening festivities this Friday. For information on tickets, directions and other pertinent stuff, go HERE.

Summer Rerun Season On The AIR

9-5-17-airToday kicks off Summer Rerun Season on The AIR.  Except for new episodes of Marking Out, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle and The Third Shift, all of our regularly-scheduled programs will be presenting classic episodes for the next two weeks.  The reason for this is two-fold. First, we have a ton of stuff to do in the next couple of weeks (like ShockaCon), so we won’t have much time to crank out new shows. Second, we’re gearing up for our NEW FALL SEASON on September 18!

We expect to have new episodes of ALL of our programs, including Radio Free Charleston, Curtain Call, The Swing Shift, Word Association with Lee & Rudy, Ska Madness, Prognosis, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, Radio Coolsville, Beatles Blast and more, beginning September 18. Our listeners are really excited and you can hear why at the website, or on this nifty embedded radio machine doohickey…

Meanwhile, we still have goodies for you to listen to until then. Tuesday is filled with specially-selected encore programming, as well as a special replay of the newest Marking Out at 7 PM.

9-6-17-airWednesday we offer up a new episode of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle plus we have other special coolness awaiting you.

The morning brings you replays of The Swing Shift and at 9 AM two hours of our special collection of local and international artists in The AIR Music Mix. Expect a replay of Marking Out at 11 AM.

Noon sees 90 minutes of Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, first hosting a replay of Curtain Call, and then also hosting a classic episode of On The Road with Mel.

At 1:30 PM it’s time for Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle.  This week’s a new installment of Michele’s trip through the journey of life, looking for clues and offering a hand up to those who follow.  Tune in and turn on to receive your insights. You can hear a replay of Life Speaks at 7 PM.

At 2 PM music takes over with Beatles Blast, followed by two hours of Curtain Call. The AIR Audio Playhouse brings The Point by Harry Nilsson at 5 PM and our double-shot of The New Music Show and The (BS) Crazy Show follow that.

At 10 PM we replay this week’s all-new episode of Marking Out, as Betty Rock and Matt BelVillain regale you with the fallout from the latest WWE and pro-wrestling developments.

Thursday is a music-laden extravaganza, with everything from Show Tunes to Swing to great local music coming your way.  Thursday night you can stay up late and Swing All Night with The Swing Shift.

Friday we bring you talk in the morning and evening, including an hour of The Third Shift with Jay and Jarod at 9 PM. In between we give you a cool music sandwich, with Radio Coolsville, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and more.

Every weekday we bring you an incredible assortment of new and cool music, both local and not, for thirty minutes in The New Music Show at 6 PM.

That’s followed each weekday at 6:30 PM by The (BS) Crazy Show, half an hour of sheer insanity.

For the rest of what to expect this week, just check out that nice schedule graphics that accompany this post. I made them just for you.

You can always keep up with the latest programming notes on The AIR here in PopCult. It’s our unofficial companion radio station.


Monday Morning Art: Tiki Strokes



We are going back to the Tiki Bar for this week’s Monday Morning Art. Like last week, while at Three Dots and a Dash, I was only armed with my Kodak Zi8, which is a great video camera, but not so great as a still camera, especially in low light. I took a few shots, like the one I based last week’s art on, but most of the others were too dark to be of any use.

But I had this one shot I took from our table, of the bar (before the crowd showed up in force), and I liked what little color and composition came through. So I fed it through a ton of brightness and contrast filters, then I painted over what was left, mainly using some digital Pointillism brushes that normally were too funky to work with my designs.

The end result is almost abstract, but there’s just enough detail that you can make out a night at the Tiki Bar in Chicago.

A quick and unrelated note to PopCult readers:  You can tune in to The AIR to hear a marathon of Radio Free Charleston that runs until Tuesday morning. Check it out at the website, or on this player…

Sunday Evening Video: ShockaCon Cometh

pc-shockacon-01ShockaCon, West Virginia’s only horror/sci-fi convention, begins Friday at The Beni Kedem Shrine Center on Quarrier Street in Charleston. We posted the full schedule of events here in PopCult on Friday.

We will bring you special ShockaCon content all week long leading up to Friday’s opening day festivities.

This year they have a stellar line-up of guests and vendors, including stars from The Walking Dead, Friday The Thirteenth, American Horror Story and Demons, plus loads of great panels, vendors and after-hours entertainment.

I will be telling you about ShockaCon all week here in PopCult, and to kick it off, we’re going to look at videos from previous years of this cool event.

We begin with our coverage of  the 2015 ShockaCon Costume Parade, which started at the Beni Kedem Shrine Center and wound around the first floor of The Charleston Town Center Mall. The parade is going to happen again this coming Saturday at 10:30 AM!

You know you want to dress up and take part.

We have more ShockaCon videos after the jump…

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The Labor Day Weekend RFC Marathon On The AIR!

labor-day-weekend-rfcLabor Day needs a new tradition. The famed MDA telethon has faded from existence, and Jerry Lewis, God rest his soul, is deader’n hell. So we’re going to start a new tradition with 54 hours of Radio Free Charleston and Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR!  Get ready for almost 60 hours of great local music mixed with the coolest stuff you’ll ever hear on the radio as we celebrate the America’s greatest endangered species, our workforce.  It all starts at Midnight, Saturday on The AIR! Listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Radio Free Charleston is the only regularly-scheduled showcase for local music, and has been around the Charleston area in some form or another since it debuted during Labor Day weekend in 1989.  Now supporting the local scene on The AIR, RFC brings you local, original music from new artists, established artists, and from our archives, which stretch back over fifty years. RFC International brings you cool stuff to listen to, without any rigid airplay rules.

You will hear rock, hip hop, jazz fusion, progressive rock, folk, Americana, classical, avante-garde and experimental music, with the bulk of it made by people with ties to Charleston and the surrounding areas.

Running from Midnight Saturday  to 7 AM Tuesday morning, this is your chance to sample some of the vibrant, diverse and exciting music that Charleston has to offer.

As a special bonus, included among this marathon will be several airings of RFCv4 number 11, which re-presented a vintage 1990 episode of Radio Free Charleston that originally aired on WVNS, 96.1 FM.  This show hasn’t been heard on The AIR for over a year, and is a fun glimpse into the original incarnation of the program.

You can hear this special episode of the show Sunday at 1 AM and 4 PM and Monday at Noon. Just for good measure, we’ll run it again Tuesday night at 11 PM.

It would be impossible to list every song we play for all 24 hours of the marathon, but you will hear local favorites like The Company Stores, Qiet, HARRAH, Jeff Ellis, Todd Burge, Pepper Fandango, Spencer Elliott,and more. We’ll also bring you music from Charleston natives who have moved on to other areas like Ann Magnuson, Michael Cerveris, and Deni Bonet. Plus we’ll dig into the archives for tunes from Mother Nang, Go Van Gogh, Hasil Adkins, The Amazing Delores, Stark Raven and more incredible blasts from the past. We’ll also include new music from Byzantine, Bobaflex, Scarlet Revolt and many other active and vital bands.

So join us. We won’t force you to listen to testimonials from Firemen or corporate sponsors. We won’t make you wait for the tote board to change. There won’t be any cutaways to uncomfortable-looking local news people and WE WON’T BEG FOR MONEY! It’s the perfect way to enjoy Labor Day!

066montageWe don’t have a video this week. Episode 66 of Radio Free Charleston is lost. I may have a copy on DVD somewhere in my office, but I can’t find it. There are no digital copies on any of my hard drives. I can only guess that it was lost in one of many hard drive crashes that plagued me back about seven years ago. It used to be on MySpace, but it’s one of the videos I’d uploaded there that no longer seems to be working. If I turn up a copy, I will upload it to YouTube and make it available here. This has been extremely annoying.

Radio Free Charleston’s sixty-sixth episode, “Yankees Jersey,” was a good one.  This video installment of the longest-running local music and animation show in Charleston featured a song from the CYAC musical Norman Rockwell’s American Paradise, written by Dan Kehde and Mark Scarpelli, plus a tune from Electro Biscuit, a band that consisted of Kai Haynes, Greg Wegmann and RFC Big Shot Brian Young, who coincidentally happened to be the owners of LiveMix Studio, the late-lamented creative hotspot where this tune was filmed.

This show also included a couple of short weird pieces by Frank Panucci, the debut of Young Bradley Wilkerson and animation featuring a glimpse into the evil mirror universe, showing how the Anti-Rudy would introduce a song on the evil version of Radio Free Charleston.

You can read the original production notes HERE, but they won’t do you much good without the show to watch, now will they? If, by some fluke, any of my readers somehow have a copy of this episode, please let me know in the comments. The RFC Flashback will return to our chronological presentation of Radio Free Charleston next week. We have tons of copies of episode 67.

One Week Until ShockaCon!

pc-shockacon-01The PopCulteer
September 1 , 2017

We are one week away from the beginning of ShockaCon, West Virginia’s premiere horror and sci-fi convention. The Beni Kedem Shrine Center will be packed with movie and TV stars, cosplayers, artists, vendors, Ghostbusters and more, and they’ll be signing autographs, holding question-and-answer sessions, meeting the fans and a wonderfully macabre time is guaranteed for all.

This is the sixth year for ShockaCon and this year they welcome back two previous and popular guests, Ari Lehmen (the first Jason Vorhees) and actor, director and writer, Geretta Geretta. New guests on tap include Naomi Grossman (“Pepper” from American Horror Story) and two actors from The Walking Dead, Lew Temple and Josh Turner.

Plus there will be more actors, panels (yours truly will discuss forty years of Star Wars toys with Mark Wolfe and Lee Harrah), Trivia contests, costume contests, instructional workshops (build your own torso), a costume parade, games, authors, filmmakers and tons of cool stuff for you to get into.

Just check out this nifty video…

I’m posting the schedule and a few graphics below. Stay tuned to PopCult because we’ll tell you a little more about ShockaCon every day, leading up the opening festivities next Friday. For information on tickets, directions and other pertinent stuff, go HERE.


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Stuff To Do To End August and Begin September

Last week in the Popculteer I told you about the cool new calendar that Bill Lynch and the tech crew at the Gazette-Mail have put together.  Now we put it into practice.  You can use this great new resource to find out about the tons of cool things happening in and around Charleston that I don’t have time to tell you about. You can see the fancy new interactive calendar HERE. Using this, you can find a darn-nearly comprehensive list of the many and varied cool things into which you can insert yourself, activity-wise, here in Charleston and the Mountain State.

So, having pointed you that way, here are a few graphics highlighting just some of the things you can do this weekend…





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