PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

2019 Tony Nominees On Curtain Call Wednesday

Last week Mel Larch presented a cavalcade of songs from shows that won Tony Awards for Best Musical.  Wednesday afternoon on The AIR, you can hear samples of the nominees for this year’s Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call. It’s our third annual Tony Awards preview, with songs from each of the nominated musicals, presented just one day after they were announced.

In this show you will hear multiple songs from each of the nominees for Best Musical: Hadestown, The Myth, The Musical; Beetlejuice The Musical, The Musical, The Musical; Tootsie; Ain’t Too Proud To Beg: The Life and Times of The Temptations; and The Prom. We also have one song each from the revivals of Kiss Me Kate and Oklahoma.

It was a little tricky putting this show together because so many of the nominated musicals have cast albums that have not yet been released (or recorded, in one case), but we were able to pull together enough preview performances and demos of songs to bring you a full sampling of the best of this year’s Broadway offerings.  We even give you a not-so-subtle hint about next week’s show along the way. The 2019 Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS on June, 9, so you can tune in and see who won this year’s prize.

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

 

New RFC with Fletcher’s Grove and Paradise Park

We only have one new show Tuesday on The AIR but it’s a doozy of a Radio Free Charleston!  If you want to hear the spectacular crunchy local goodness, all you have to do is tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

RFC hits at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of the show. Now in its thirtieth year, Radio Free Charleston continues to bring you more local music than any other source.

This week RFC brings you brand-new music from bands like Fletcher’s Grove and Beggars Clan, plus we are happy to present a song from Theater West Virginia’s Paradise Park The Musical, the stage adaptaion of Danny Boyd’s cult classic movie, with songs by Larry Groce.  You can order a hard copy or download of Paradise Park at CD Baby, just like the two bands we just mentioned (click on their names). We also preview next week’s show by digging deep into the archives to bring you local musical gems that were recorded live, some of them exclusive to Radio Free Charleston.

Check out the playlist here:

RFCv4107

Fletcher’s Grove “Straight To The Moon”
Cast of Theatre WV’s Paradise Park “No Money Down”
Beggars Clan “We Sleep”
Wolfgang Parker “The Father, The Son”
Beneath “Worst Eastern”
Rasta Rafiki “Nature of the Game”
Bad Keys of the Mountain “I’m Gone”
Todd Burge “Rapid Fire”
Karen Allen “Without Us”
Prank Monkey “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”
The Big Bad “Cold As A Ghost”
Sheldon Vance “Turn It Back Around”
Go Van Gogh “I Am The Walrus”

Following the 10 AM debut of this episode, you can stick around and listen to three previously-aired shows, for a four-hour local music fix.

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 1 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

As for the rest of Tuesday’s shows, due to a huge outside project, your PopCulteer was unable to record a new edition of The Swing Shift this week, so we bring you some recent classic episodes, and our friends at Haversham Recording Institute are just as busy as your humble blogger, so we are still in encore mode with their shows this week.

You can expect a new episode of Curtain Call tomorrow…we just aren’t sure if it will be the 2019 Tony Award nominees show, or a special episode devoted to musicals based on movies. I’ll let you know which one tomorrow.

 

Monday Morning Art: The Dancers

 

This week’s art is the first of two pieces which are exercises in high contrast lighting and negative space. This week it’s a depiction of two dancers. Next week it will be a single dancer. These were based on photos I found on a long-neglected drive that date back more than ten years, so I don’t remember who the models were. You can’t really see their faces in this minimalist approach, anyway.

As always, click the image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR,  7 AM sees a marathon continuation of The Swing Shift. Then at 3 PM you can settle in for eight hours of great New Wave music with Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. At 11 PM you can spend your late night with eight hours of the best Progressive Rock of the last half-century on Prognosis

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

 

It seems a bit hard to believe that it’s been more than ten years since the big Police reunion. In 2008, one of the biggest bands of the 1980s got back together and toured all over the world. If you’re a fan, you remember this, and maybe made it to one of their shows. If you never heard of The Police, you probably haven’t listened to popular music much in your life. Or you might be less than ten years old. Here’s The Police, Live At Tokyo Dome Japan 2008.

Here’s the setlist:

01. Message In A Bottle
02. Synchronicity II
03. Walking On The Moon
04. Voices Inside My Head – When The World Is Running Down
05. Don’t Stand So Close To Me
06. Driven To Tears
07. Hole In My Life
08. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
09. Wrapped Around Your Finger
10. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
11. Invisible Sun
12. Can’t Stand Losing You
13. Roxanne
14. King Of Pain
15. So Lonely
16. Every Breath You Take

Enjoy!

The RFC Flashback: Episode 181

This week we go back to March, 2013, for a very special episode devoted to one music/dance group, The Snake and The Pot, which was the performing duo of Amanda Jane and Duane Swanson III. In this video they have combined their talents into an experimental dance/music/art collective.

In December, 2012, during an ArtWalk, I was invited to an “Interactive Paint & Dance Performance with Live Music and Photography at Apartment Earth Studios.” I was intrigued. I’d featured The Snake and The Pot on one of the 2012 FestivAll shows, but I’d been wanting to capture more of this wild experience on RFC. This was an event with dance and music, plus also the art of Nik Botkin and Elizabeth Turner and the photography of Todd Griffith.

So Melanie Larch and I went by and recorded an entire dance piece, where Amanda painted on a canvas on the floor while she danced to music by Duane and a special guest, Jordan Trent, sitting in on bass. It was a very cool performance, almost hypnotic, and I knew it deserved special treatment.

I had the idea to enhance the video with visual effects, and processed two short segments with paint programs to sort of tie the dance to the canvas even more. I also made the decision to present the piece without truncating it any, which meant that it pretty much had to take up an entire episode of RFC.The music is incredible. To describe it, I’d have to call it “Ambient-progressive-electronic-bellydancing music.”

Meanwhile, Back At The Myasthenia Gravis Ranch…

The PopCulteer
April 26, 2019

It’s about time for another Myasthenia Gravis update.

As longtime PopCult readers may remember, about three years ago I wrote about being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. That’s an auto-immune disease where a person’s immune system attacks the membranes that transmit nerve signals to their muscles, leaving them in a weakened state.

I am very lucky. I have an extremely mild case. The disease only seems to attack the muscles in my fingers, eyes and part of my feet. Other people who get this disease aren’t so lucky, as it can target any muscles in the body, including those used for talking, swallowing, walking and breathing.

While I am indeed very lucky to have such a mild case of Myasthenia Gravis, the very mildness of it made it difficult to diagnose. It was over eleven years between the time of the first appearance of severe symptoms until it was diagnosed. I had mentally prepared myself for it to be something much, much worse, and I never lose sight of the fact that I am leading a charmed life.

I had convinced myself that I was in the early stages of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

With MG, the antibodies in your bloodstream seek out and destroy the very part of your body that is used to transmit nerve signals. It’s not known why this happens, nor is it known why it targets every patient in a different manner.

We do know, as shown in the diagram to the left, that some of the antibodies look like tiny Scrubbing Bubbles.

Living with Myasthenia Gravis has caused me to make some major changes in my life. Before I started taking a large amount of medicine each day to curtail the disease, I had some pretty remarkable sleep habits. I could stay awake, and be productive and function at my top level for twenty hours, and then get fully-rested with four or five hours of sleep.

Those days are over. Now that I’m taking around twenty pills a day for various reasons I find that I start to peter out after being awake twelve or fourteen hours, and I need at least eight hours of sleep. I have been reduced to having the sleep cycle of a normal human, and it’s not fun. I can’t stay up into the wee hours and work anymore. I also can’t go out and support local bands three or four times a week like I used to. I’m lucky to make it out three or four times a year now.

It is fun having the use of my hands again. But it’s been very difficult to find a way to bring back the Radio Free Charleston video show, since we record so many bands on location in local bars, and the bands tend not to start early enough for me to stay awake.  I’m trying to figure out a way to adjust my schedule so I can do some more location shoots, but most of the time the flesh is just too weak.

I also can’t shoot outdoor shows in the daytime. Extreme heat exacerbates the symptoms of MG, so a couple of hours in the heat leaves me with crossed eyes and flippers for hands.

Until I can gain access to a studio, like I had with LiveMix, back in the day, RFC will remain largely a radio program, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The most insidious thing about Myasthenia Gravis is the way it hits you. It makes your body work the opposite of how it does with exercise in a normal person. The more you use a muscle, with MG, the weaker it gets.

Last weekend when I was drawing and painting Monday Morning Art, I seemed to be doing okay, but Sunday evening my fingers were starting to become useless. I’m not going to give up my art, but I’m either going to have to space it out, or take some extra pills to get me through it. I’ve been working primarily with digital art for the past fifteen years or so, but I really want to star making real-world, tangible pieces again.

Oddly enough, typing doesn’t seem to bother me that much. My theory is that, while I can type very fast, I never learned the proper way of doing it, and in all the years that I had hands that were essentially paralyzed, I figured out a way to type without using too many finger muscles. As seen in the graphic at left, apparently MG can also let you wave at giant germ-like things when you’re being X-rayed. That could be a sign that I’m having a hard time finding Myasthenia Gravis graphics that I haven’t used yet.

Sunlight is another problem . I naturally squint, but squinting uses eye muscles, which, when weakened, can’t keep my eyes pointed in the right directions. Having my MG flare up on the drive down to Toylanta last month was not at all pleasant, and I’m lucky that Mrs. PopCulteer is such a road warrior and can handle the driving. Eye fatigue is another reason that I haven’t been posting as many book reviews of late, but that will end soon, as I have some free time coming up and hope to dig into a stack of really meaty graphic novels.

I am discovering new limitations and new ways to work around those limitations every day. Even three years after being diagnosed, I have a lot to learn. There are good days and bad days, and I’m learning to cope with the bad days better, and appreciate the good days more.

But I’m doing okay. Life is good.

STUFF TO DO

Speaking of life being good, here’s some good stuff you can get into this weekend…

FRIDAY

 

 

SATURDAY

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s this week’s PopCulteer. Thanks for reading and keep checking back for fresh content every day.

Paradise Park the Musical On CD

This evening is your first chance to pick up a copy of the recording of Paradise Park the Musical. The CD release party will be held at Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill, 423 Virginia St W, on Charleston’s West Side. It starts at 6 PM, and there is No Cover (but you have to pay for the CD and any food or drinks, folks).

Join Danny Boyd and Larry Groce along with some of the cast and crew from Paradise Park the Musical to celebrate the release of Theatre West Virginia’s 2018 cast album. We refer you to the press release for the debut of  last year’s stage adaptation of Danny Boyd’s 1991 cult classic film…

“God’s comin’, and he’s gonna grant us all a wish.” Paradise Park has been adapted for the stage by acclaimed West Virginia filmmaker, director Daniel Boyd. Mountain Stage’s own Larry Groce has written a new and extensive score for this premiere. The story contains themes familiar to citizens of West Virginia; poverty, religion, hopes and dreams and centers on people caring for other people, through hard times, through natural disasters and through everyday life.

While these themes are all too familiar to West Virginians, Daniel Boyd said; “It is set in one particular community but the story is universal.” Composer Larry Groce chimed in with; “When I first read the script for Paradise Park The Movie, back in 1991, I loved the heart of the script. I loved what this script was really about. It symbolizes, in many ways, what I found in West Virginia. I came here 45 years ago and I found people who care for other people. That’s what this story’s about.” Theatre West Virginia General Manager Scott Hill had this to say about the show; “You may know Paradise Park the film that was 25 years ago. Larry Groce was in it, Danny Boyd directed it, but we’re turning that into a musical. We’re turning that West Virginia story about God coming to a trailer park into a play, a musical, at Grandview for Theatre West Virginia.”

This project grew out of the EDC and they are hosting the evening at one of their favorite West Side venues, Dem 2 Brothers. Expect good music, good food, good drinks…some might call it paradise.

Sponsored by the WVSU Creators Program. CDs will be available for $15 or 2/$25.

Curtain Call Presents Tony Award-Winners On The AIR

Mel Larch presents a cavalcade of songs from shows that won Tony Awards for Best Musical Wednesday afternoon on The AIR, You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call.  This week Mel devotes the entire hour to songs from Tony Award-winning musicals. The first part of the show presents one song each from all of Stephen Sondheim’s five winners for Best Musical. Mel then brings you three Tony-winning numbers from the catalog of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. This week’s show then wraps up with samples of songs from more recent winners of the Best Musical Tony Award, The Book of Mormon, Hamilton, Fun Home, Once, and In The Heights. These are not all songs from the original cast albums. Mel wanted to shake things up a bit and include some songs from concert presentations, covers by pop artists and performances from revival productions.

This is bit of a preview of the annual Curtain Call sampler of Tony-nominated musicals. The nominees will be announced next Tuesday, and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to bring you the 2019 Tony Nomination show next week.

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. 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.

RFC Goes Metal Tuesday, The Swing Shift Doesn’t

It’s another new-show Tuesday on The AIR as we deliver new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. If you want to hear the magic, all you have to do is tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston. Now in its thirtieth year, RFC continues to bring you more local music than any other source.

This week RFC goes METAL for the whole hour. We open with Byzantine and continues with epic slabs of local metal from bands like Bobaflex, Karma To Burn, CHUM and Ghosts of Now, some of them exclusive to Radio Free Charleston.

Check out the playlist here:

RFCv4106

Byzantine “Verses of Violence”
John Lancaster “A Penchant For Hell on Earth”
Bobaflex “A Real Sadness”
Karma To Burn “Thirty Eight”
Out of Nowhere “Take It Back”
Trielement “Accidental Chaos”
Zeroking “Black Friday”
CHUM “Six Feet of Earth”
Ghosts of Now “Deathburn”

Following the 10 AM debut of this episode, you can stick around and listen to three previously-aired shows, for a four-hour local music fix.

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 1 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

Psychedelic Shack remains in reruns this week. The Haversham Recording Institute crew were overwhelmed with extra production work last week, and we are hoping that they will return with new episodes of all their shows next week. Tuesday at 2 PM we revisit Nigel Pye’s trippy mixtape that begins with the Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM and Saturday at 7 AM and the next Tuesday at 9 AM.

At 3 PM we have a brand-new, shiny edition of The Swing Shift that opens with a tune from The Gentleman’s Anti-Temperance League. Also in this show is another new track from Jack’s Cats, “Ain’t Gonna Be Blue,” which you can hear in this week’s new episode of Riverdale, which is also the final episode with Luke Perry, and you can see it Wednesday evening at 8 PM, on The CW.

Check out the full playlist for this week’s show…

The Swing Shift 069

The Gentleman’s Anti-Temperance League “Dark Eyes”
Jack’s Cats “Ain’t Gonna Be Blue”
Benny And The Cats “Joe’s Mood”
Jessie Gordon “I Love Being Here With You”
Marco Bianchi Vibes “Hampton’s Blues”
Dominique Magloire “Fine And Mellow”
Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive “What’s The Use of Getting Sober”
Tommy Dorsey “The Sheik of Araby”
Brian Setzer Orchestra “Kiss Me Deadly”
Dexter Gordon “Blow Mr. Gordon”
Donny Most “The Tender Trap”
J Street Jumpers “Night Life Boogie”
Glenn Miller “St. Louis Blues March” (In The Digital Mood)”
Squirrel Nut Zippers “Pay Me Now (Or Pay Me Later)

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 9 AM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else. Check PopCult regularly for details on our new episodes.

Monday Morning Art: Pin Up Girl

 

This week’s art is a watercolor over a ballpoint-pen drawing I did over the weekend. It’s probably the first watercolor I’ve attempted in over thirty years, and the limited palette is due to the fact that I only had reds and pinks available. It came out a little sloppier than I wanted, and I still need to work on drawing feet and hands, but it’s not bad for being the product of rusty hands. The subject is an upcoming action figure custom I plan for later in the year, as part of the extended Adventure Team SCUBA team.

If you want to see it bigger, just click on the image.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR,  7 AM sees a mini-marathon of Psychedelic Shack. Then at 3 PM you can settle in for eight hours of great New Wave music with Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. At 11 PM you can spend you overnights with eight hours of the best Progressive Rock of the last half-century on Prognosis. That makes Monday the beginning of 24 hours of programming from Haversham Recording Instistute in London. If you recall, last we were supposed to have new episodes of our trio of musical specialty programs from our British friends, but Haversham got overwhelmed providing production support for news crews covering the fire at The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris last Monday, and that’s the day they usually start recording their programs for The AIR. We’re not sure if we’ll have new programs from this this week, as the schedule is supposed to see their shows arriving bi-weekly until July, but we’re hoping.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…