PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Radio Free Charleston Preview

Episode Two of Radio Free Charleston, featuring Stephen Beckner and The Sleeping Dons will be ready for viewing on Monday. Editing delays and technical hijinks kept us from finishing it in time for this week. However, you can check out a brief trailer below. Enjoy!

Song Of The Week: Falling Star

The latest SOTW is a treat from Stephen Beckner. “Falling Star” is the studio version of the song Stephen sings on the next Radio Free Charleston (which we are working on furiously).

This is a track from Stephen’s new home-made CD, Apples. For information on how to get a copy, contact Stephen Beckner here. You can check out Stephen’s photography on his blog here.

You can listen to a couple of songs from Stephen’s old band, Go Van Gogh, here.

More No Pants Action

The No Pants Players are back in action at the Labelle Theater at the South Charleston Museum on D Street this weekend.

For a great evening of family-friendly improv comedy, with audience participation and prizes involved, get yourself down to see the state’s only improv comedy troupe. The shows start at 8 PM Friday and Saturday nights. Admission is a mere five bucks, and the NPP will also have T-shirts available for the proud pants-free fan.

If you go: Admission is five dollars. The shows start at 8 PM Friday and Saturday at the LaBelle Theater, 311 D Street. South Charleston

Vampires Of The Evening


Saturday night at the Empty Glass, area aficionados of fine cinema will be treated to a screening of Vampire Whores From Outer Space, a locally-produced epic by Eamon Hardman. As he describes it, “A group of idiots band together to defeat vampiric alien prostitutes. Raunchy sci-fi/horror/comedy/exploitation that should offend everyone at least once. ” I hear it’s like a Merchant-Ivory film, only with vampire space prostitutes and a bit of gore. The soundtrack includes tunes by The Pistol Whippers, Lords Of The Highway, and Pinky.

After the movie, you can stick around and catch a performance by Noizebox with special guest, the Scalliwags. Watch the film close and you’ll see spaceships provided by my brother Frank. One of those actually made a cameo in the first episode of Radio Free Charleston.

If you go: The movie starts around 10:30 PM at the Empty Glass 410 Elizabeth St. in Charleston. There’s a $6 cover charge, which includes the movie and the bands.

Monday Morning Art: Red Bridge

More colorplay leads off the week, as I take a shot of the Dunbar bridge, colorize it, and set it against a yellow background. It didn’t really take enough work to call it “digitally-assaulted,” so let’s just say it’s “digitally-manipulated.”

Free Previews Of Cutting Edge Animation

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Thanks to the magic of the internets, fans of cutting edge animation can get free sneak peeks at two cool new projects.

IGN is offering the first 24 minutes of Richard Linklatter’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. We actually didn’t care much for Linklatter’s previous foray into the world of rotoscoped animation, Waking Life. It was basically a sub-par arthouse flick with animated effects that served no real purpose. A Scanner Darkly is different, and suggests that Linklatter may have just been getting his feet wet with Waking Life in order to prepare himself for this project. A Scanner Darkly is a futuristic tale of drug interdiction and intrigue from the creator of Blade Runner. You can check out the first big chunk of this movie, which is currently in limited release, right here.

Mike Mignola, the cartoonist/creator of Hellboy, has a new project coming to the cable channel, Sci Fi. The Amazing Screw On Head is described as “an animated comedy” by Sci Fi. Based his 2002 comic book, it’s a send up of Steampunk and Lovecraftian horror. This series tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s top spy, a bodyless head who is a master of disguise! You can watch the first episode of The Amazing Screw On Head here.

Short entry this week, because our cool toy is not official yet, rumors have been circulating for a couple of weeks, but reliable sources tell me that Mattel has coughed up enough money to end the feud between DC Comics and master car designer George Barris, and has secured the master toy license to produce the famous Batmobile from the 1960’s Batman TV show. This car has been in legal limbo for years, as it was ruled that Barris owned the design, but not the name or the bat-insignia. There haven’t been any legally-licensed toys of this most famous version of the Caped Crusaders car for over twenty years.

Now we’ll finally get the full gamut–Hot Wheels, 1/18 scale desktop toys, remote-control versions and maybe (though this is a pipe dream) a version scaled for Barbie that we can steal and use for Captain Action! And it’ll be the real Batmobile, not that ugly thing from the 1989 movie that looked like a Goth sex toy, or the ‘roided up SUV from Batman Begins. This is the real deal–the coolest car ever built!

It won’t be a done deal until the official announcement is made, reportedly at the San Diego Comic Con next weekend, but things are looking good for fans of the coolest car in the world. This is a big deal for us aging nerds, trust me. The Batmobile ROCKS!

You can read about the second coolest car in the world here.

Radio Free Charleston Production Diary–Show Two

We are hard at work on the second episode of Radio Free Charleston. Last night, at the LiveMix studio, we recorded Steve Beckner and The Sleeping Dons. They’ll be the musical guests on the next RFC. We’re also working on a major Hollywood scoop, and of course we’ll have all the unexpected visual treats designed to amaze and confuse you that you’ve come to know and love. If all goes according to schedule, the next episode of Radio Free Charleston will be coming your way next week!

We’re also lining up guests for future shows. If you have a band, play solo music, or have some experimental films or short animated bits that you’d like us to consider, drop me a line at radiofreechas@charter.net. We’re out to prove that the Mountain State is more than just country music and friends of minerals.

Song Of The Week: Wall Of Voodoo

A couple of months ago, we had “Andy Prieboy Week” here at PopCult. This included the SOTW, a review of the book he’d co-written, bonus reviews, and an explanation of who he is. To remind you, he is the former lead singer of Wall Of Voodoo. But he wasn’t the first lead singer for that band. Originally, Stan Ridgeway was the frontman for Wall Of Voodoo, and it was Ridgeway who sang on their biggest hit, “Mexican Radio.”

Since we paid so much attention to Prieboy, it’s only fair that we give equal time to Ridgeway, so our song of the week is “Call Of The West,” the title cut of a Wall Of Voodoo album, and a great example of their cinematic sound that blended Morricone with New Wave. This one is a Ridgeway tour-de-force.

And the reason we made this the SOTW this week is that next Tuesday, a reformed Wall Of Voodoo will open for Cyndi Lauper at a concert in Orange County. Nobody knows exactly who will be in this incarnation of the band, since two of the original four members are dead, one member who had been fired is complaining loudly that he wasn’t contacted, and none of the other members of the band are talking.

However, in an exciting development over the last week, a photo was posted on a Wall Of Voodoo message board that showed Stan Ridgeway, shoulder-to-shoulder with Andy Prieboy. The two have never performed together, and in fact, Ridgeway hasn’t performed much Wall Of Voodoo music since he left the band, so this may indicate a special union that would allow fans to hear song from the complete history of the band. It’s only speculation at this point. All we know for sure is that Wall Of Voodoo, with Ridgeway included, will be performing next week. But all indications are that it might be a combination of both incarnations of the band. It would be like when David Lee Roth toured with Sammy Hagar, only with good music.

Disguise and Destruction in Nitro


I had a wild time in Nitro Saturday, as I took in my first XMCW wrestling show. It was lot of fun, seeing some of the up-and-coming area wrestling talents work their magic in front an enthusiastic crowd, but the evening ended on a shocking, perhaps even disturbing note.

But first, the show itself was a trip. This was my first time seeing most of these folks in action and I was impressed at the level of athleticism and theatrics on display. Local boys like Smokey C and Max Rock showed real star quality, while The Unholy made a tremendous fire-breathing entrance, before his three-way match with Wes Lynch and Eric Steel. I was excited to see Death Falcon, since I’d been hearing about him for some time, but he factored into one really weird turn during the evening. It was a fun show, and I’ll probably be going back, but during one of the night’s main events, something bizarre and unexpected happened.

The Kid, a miniscule, but vicious fellow, was facing Alan Lynch, the XMCW champ. However, he was not alone. He had Death Falcon in his corner. It was a particularly brutal match, with plastic tubs filled with barbwire coming into play, and Death Falcon getting in more than a few shots on the outnumbered champ. At one point, Lynch was on his back outside the ring when an elderly gentleman who had been at ringside in a wheelchair all evening rose shakily from his chair, and tried to help Lynch to his feet. It seemed like a touching, uniquely West Virginian moment, until the old guy (who looked like a Civil War Veteran) started beating on Lynch and then delivered a snap suplex. The now three-on-one beating continued back in the ring, where the “old guy” removed his disguise to reveal that he was, in fact, Danny Boyd–West Virginia filmmaker, author, and photographer.
Now, I’ve known Danny for over twenty years. And I knew about his fascination with professional wrestling. It even led him to become a professional wrestler a couple of years ago. His flirtation with professional wrestling was covered in a documentary film last year. But we all thought Danny was done with this. He left XMCW fifteen months ago. He made a hero’s exit. He left as a good guy. It was a bit of a shock to see him return to the ring–now that he’s pushing fifty–in such an underhanded way. It’s almost like the world of professional wrestling has changed him. He’s gone over to the dark side. I know Danny’s friends are worried about him. I just don’t know where this will lead. It was a strange ending to a fun evening.

Photo credit: Susan Lively