PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Queen of Soul


Last week my lovely wife of four years and one day, Mel Larch, produced a tribute to Aretha Franklin on her radio show, Curtain Call (heard on The AIR). The late legend was a big fan of musical theater, and performed many memorable show tunes during her career. She even made plans to have her life story turned into a stage musical, and we hope those plans are realized. Mel played the Queen of Soul interpreting many classic showtunes, and tossed in a few of her biggest hits, too.

To accompany the PopCult post where I plugged Mel’s show, I tossed together a quick digital painting based on my favorite Aretha moment, a scene from The Blues Brothers. People were so happy with that small graphic that I decided to use it, in an easier-to-see form without the text, for this week’s Monday Morning Art. So that’s why we have this week’s digital painting, my tribute to The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. You can hear special replays of Mel’s tribute to Ms. Franklin on Curtain Call Tuesday morning at 9 AM, and Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM. You can also click on the image for an even bigger version.

Our Monday Marathon continues on The AIR, which you can listen to at The Website, or on the embedded player at the bottom of this post. This week it’s all live, local music, for 24 hours, starting Monday morning at 7 AM. We’ve grouped the performances together, so you can hear every one of the dozens of local artists in our live music library in extended sets (where we have more than one live tune, that is). Some of the recordings are national acts who were recorded locally. Groups that only have a few live recordings in our archives will be sprinkled throughout the schedule all day.

The schedule roughly includes C2JC at 8:10 AM, Christopher “Qiet” Harris at 9:30 AM, Groove Heavy at 10: 20 AM, Hybrid Sould Project at 11 AM, Go Van Gogh at Noon, John Lancaster at 1: 30 PM, Low Cut Connie at 2: 30 PM, Mark McGuire at 3:20 PM, Mojomatic at 4:40 PM, The Fat And Sassy Band at 6: 25 PM, The Scrap Iron Pickers at 7:30 PM, The Sprugie Hankins Band a 8 PM, Travis Stephens at 8:45 PM, Time Lancaster at 10: 50 PM, The Contrarians at 11 :40 PM, Sothern Culture on the Skids at 1 AM, Rye Baby at 2 AM, Unkown Hinson at 2:40 AM, We’ll wrap up this full day of local tunes with three hours of Rubber Soul, from the Beatles marathon concert last February. All times listed are approximate, so give or take five or ten minutes, and they are Eastern Daylight time.

Sunday Evening Videos: Will Vinton

Will Vinton (right) is a pioneering independent animator who learned stop motion techniques using clay from Bill Gardiner, and then went on to create Oscar-winning animated shorts, commercials, TV shows and features films, after coining the term “Claymation” to identify his work.

Of course, clay animation was a thing long before Vinton got in the game, with Gumby being the most prominent clay-animated star years before Vinton got into the game. Even my brother, Frank, made clay-animated films as a youngster before Vinton learned his craft. But Vinton certainly popularized the technique, and made his trademark name for it famous with The California Raisins, The PJs and several sequences for movies.

Vinton was forced out of his company shortly after the turn of the century, and that studio continues under the name “Laika” (Coraline, Paranorman, Kubo and the Two Strings), while Vinton has moved on to found Will Vinton’s Freewill Entertainment, where he develops features films, graphic novels and gallery exhibitions.

This week PopCult’s Sunday Evening Videos brings you a documentary (apologies for the irritating narrator) about Will Vinton (above) and two of his classic shorts below.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 149

From December, 2011, we have a psuedo-holiday episode of Radio Free Charleston. That’s episode 149, “Shredd’s Pizzeria Shirt,” at the top of this post, and it was an early Christmas present, that we tired to load with special gifts for our loyal viewers.

We were proud to present a World Premiere music video by Sasha Colette, “Rock of Ages,” plus we had a music video by Huntington’s master of pop music, Jordan Andrew Jefferson, the RFC debut of a new band, Trielement, and we dipped into our archives for a special Christmas tune performed by RFC’s resident Diva, Melanie Larch and The Diablo Blues Band. We also had two trailers for special projects and we met Hasbro, in a vintage commercial.

Our first music video was directed by the Apartment 2B crew, Toby Moore, Molly Tilly and David Smith. Huntington’s Jordan Andrew Jefferson seranaded us with “Coconuts For You (Yes You).”  Trielement was then a new progressive supergroup. Kenny Booth from HarraH and Dave Roberts from The Nanker Phelge have teamed up with bassist Joey Lafferty to form a new instrumental power trio. We caught their first performance with this line up, and with additional camera by Ally Green, we created a cool performance clip of  “Soular Flare” by the band.

Our big surprise this week was a world premiere music video by Sasha Collette. (left) Directed by Leah Connelly Felton, with puppet work by Patrick Felton, this was one of the coolest surprises that we ever sprang on our viewers.

Our plans to offer some new holiday music in this episode sort of fell through, but we didn’t want to let the Yule go by unnoticed, so we tossed in a heaping helping of X Mas Interstitials handmade by Frank Panucci, and on the way out, under the end credits, we jumped back a couple of years to bring you, once again, RFC’s resident Diva, Melanie Larch backed by The Diablo Blues Band with “Please Come Home For Christmas.”

You can find the original production notes HERE.


Ramones-Mania on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat

The PopCulteer
August 24, 2018

It’s time for another very brief PopCulteer.We fell behind a bit here at the blog because of the technical issues earlier in the week, so today we just have the one item for you. Rest assured that there will be another extra post later this weekend, as we play catch-up with a new edition of The PopCult Bookshelf.

Today we have a new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat to plug on The AIR.  This is our two-hour, weekly New Wave Music showcase, presented from London by legendary pirate radio broadcaster, Sydney Fileen.

You can tune in today at 3 PM to hear Sydney’s Big Electric Cate at The AIR website, or just click on this cool little embedded player…

On today’s debut show, in addition to a healthy smattering of New Wave hits and misses, Sydney salutes the movie, Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, the Roger Corman musical about a girl who wants The Ramones to perform at her high school. In the second hour of this week’s Big Electric Cat, Sydney plays several tracks from the soundtrack LP, including cuts by Nick Lowe and DEVO, as well as six songs by The Ramones.

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, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR.

Here’s this week’s playlist…

BEC 036

XTC “Are You Receiving Me”
Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Welcome To The Pleasuredome”
Payolas “I Am A City”
Madness “Driving In My Car”
Siouxsie and the Banshees “Dear Prudence”
Elvis Costello and the Attractions “High Fidelity”
The Cars “Good Times Roll”
Gary Numan “Conversation (live)”
The Hitmen “Eyes Open”
Auckland Walk “Instant Pictures”
The Dickies “She Loves Me Not”
The Beat “Mirror In The Bathroom”
Ramones “Rock N Roll High School”
The Plaey Brothers “Come On Let’s Go”
Nick Lowe “So It Goes”
DEVO “Come Back Johnee”
Eddie and the Hot Rods “Teenage Depression”
Ramones “Ramones Medley”
Ultravox “Someone Else’s Clothes”
The Producers “Dear John”
Jane Weildin and Sparks “Cool Places”
The Teardrop Expolodes “When I Dream”
Oingo Boingo “You Really Got Me”
The Clash “I’m Not Down”

That is our sole item this week. Later this weekend we plan to post a book review, and you can come back for all our regular features as we do our best to provide fresh content every day (when the servers are working, that is).

Your Thursday AIR Programming Guide

Thursday brings you a new episode of one of our most popular shows on The AIR, plus two episodes of shows that debuted Tuesday, when PopCult had gone out askew on treddle.  We have replays of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift, and then it’s a brand-new edition of Prognosis, our guide to Progressive Rock, that you can tune in at the website, or on this nifty little player…

While PopCult was cut off from the rest of the world Tuesday, we debuted a great new episode of Radio Free Charleston that opened with a vintage Rockabilly-era single from The Eddie Harris Trio. We also had tons of other great stuff, and you can see the playlist after the jump at the bottom of this post. The reston for that is that this show will be replayed Thursday at 2 PM, so you can tune in and hear what all the buzz was about.  You can also hear Radio Free Charleston Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 5 PM.

Thursday at 3 PM yours truly hosts two hours of a fantastic mix of new and classic progressive rock on Prognosis. This week the plan is to open with Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy, but as we write this, there is something weird going on with The AIR. I’m posting the playlist below, but you might hear a different episode instead. Prognosis can be heard every Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 7 AM, Saturday at 8 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM and Wednesday at 10 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 7 PM you can catch this week’s edition of The Swing Shift, which opens with Lee Presson and The Nails doing a Swing cover of a Van Halen tune, and after that it gets a little weird (see the playlist after the jump). Following The Swing Shift, at 8 PM, we replay Mel Larch’s salute to Aretha Franklin on Curtain Call.

Continue reading…

Wednesday afternoon on The AIR Mel Larch pays tribute to The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, on a very special episode of Curtain Call. You can hear it at 3 PM. Just tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for this week’s slate of stimulating programs.

At 3 PM Wednesday on Curtain Call, Mel Larch celebrates the life of Aretha Franklin and shines the spotlight on the late singer’s great love of musical theater. In this hour program you will hear The Queen of Soul perform songs from Annie Get Your Gun, A Chorus Line, Funny Girl, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess and other great shows, plus you’ll also hear a couple of her classic hits. For many years Aretha Franklin had been working toward making her life story into a stage musical, and we hope that her dream is realized soon.

Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

The rest of our programming day follows the new routine: Our musical morning line-up on Wednesday continues with The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by Prognosis at 9 AM, Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM and an encore of a classic Curtain Call at Noon.  We are re-presenting classic episodes of On The Road with Mel at 1 PM.

At 1;30 PM and 7 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents part one of her recent Salt Cave Meditation. At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents one-hour audio blast of music by and about the lads from Liverpool. This week listen to the longest songs the Beatles released, both as a group and solo. 5 PM sees a replay of this week’s hot new episode of The Swing Shift.

At 7:30 PM, we have gone into the AIR Archives and unearthed the missing seven episodes of Word Association with Lee and Rudy. These shows were misplaced on a stray hard drive and have not been heard in more than two years. This week we bring you the last of this batch of missing gems, as Rudy lectures Lee about the history of Harvey Comics.

Stay tuned all day, every day, for incredible music, thought-provoking talk and gut-busting comedy exclusively on The AIR. And check out the full schedule below, including our full day of fine programming…

Mind The Gap

Yesterday, for only the second time since August 18, 2013, there was no new post here in PopCult. There have been technical issues of late here at the Gazette-Mail blogs, and our servers were down from Monday morning until very early Wednesday. We are sorry for our regular readers who weren’t able to get their daily dose of PopCult, and we apologize to those folks who read PopCult to keep up with our programming on The AIR.

Thursday we will bring you the playlists for Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift, since they will both be replayed on The AIR that day, and later today we’ll tell you about a very special episode of Curtain Call that we have on tap for Wednesday afternoon.

Again, we apologize to our regular readers, and are keeping our fingers crossed that the technical issues are behind us.

Monday Morning Art: Big City


This week’s art by yours truly is an abstract attempt to evoke the sensory overload of a big city, the way it overwhelms and envelopes you as you try to see everything at once. Unless you already live in a big city, in which case you try to block everything out. It’s a digital painting using some custom brushes. Click to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, over on The AIR, our Monday Marathon is a Lee Harrah Special! Monday, from 7 AM to 5 PM you can hear every episode (so far) of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy. At 5 PM Lee appears as a guest on a two-hour edition of Six Degrees of Separation, and then from 7 PM to 7 AM Tuesday morning, it’s Lee, and Me, discussing pop culture topics in depth as we present 12 hours of Word Association With Lee & Rudy.

You can tune in at the website, or right here on this Gamma-ray infused embedded player…

Sunday Evening Videos: More New Aquabats!

A couple of weeks ago we told you about how The Aquabats have a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for a revival of The Aquabats Super Show. We’re a little more than half-way through the campaign, and the Aquabats are a little less than half-way to their 1.1 million dollar goal.

You can read all about the campaign, see the first part of a new adventure, and find links so you can donate HERE.

But tonight we’re going to bring you a special treat. The Aquabats have been serializing the exploits of their quest in a series of Kickstarter Updates. To date there have been five entries (counting the first chapter, which you can see in the above link). This is almost like an extra-long episode of The Aquabats Super Show, being doled out in bite-sized chunks every two or three days. Below, we’re going to bring you up to date. You might want to go back and see the first chapter in that link I posted, first.

We’ll bring you more chapters as they appear online.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 148

From late November, 2011, this week’s RFC Flashaback is “Red Popeye Shirt,” episode 148 of Radio Free Charleston. This edition of our show was hosted from a very soggy Veteran’s Memorial in Nitro, and presented music from the rock opera, “MARY” and Frenchy and the Punk.

This episode contains three songs filmed during the rehearsals for the Charleston institution, “Mary.” This was the fifteenth production of “Mary” the Scarpelli/Kehde rock opera from The Contemporary Youth Arts Company. We also had a great music video from our friends, Frenchy and the Punk, plus animation by yours truly, and we also have more confusing superhero action from Turkey, in honor of Thanksgiving.

You can read the full production notes HERE.