PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

So I Still Have Myasthenia Gravis

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The PopCulteerpc-4-21
April 21
, 2017

About a year ago I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an auto-immune disorder that weakens my muscles by keeping the nerve signals from being transmitted to them. I wrote about it at the time, and a few times since, but since it’s now a day short of one year since I first told my readers about it, I figured it was time for an update.

First of all, I need to reiterate how lucky I am. I have a very mild case of this disease. It’s so mild that, as the effects of the disease wane from time to time, it sometimes appears as if I’m in a full remission. I’m not. I still have it, but it hasn’t hit me nearly as hard as most people who are diagnosed with this.

I feel lucky because I had already adapted to life with the impairments that this disease brought with it. My fingers were essentially useless. I could not open a bottle of water and had to use both hands to get my car door open. I managed to adapt to this and continue on with my life. In the back of my mind I figured that I was in the early stages of ALS and that I would have to keep making adjustments as the quality of my life declined.

So when I got the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis, I was actually thrilled. What I had was treatable and not fatal.

One of the drugs used to treat MG has been a bit of an adventure. Also, my optimism at my double-vision going away completely has now been tempered with the realization that 12 years of atrophy in my eye muscles is going to take a long, long time to repair, if that can ever happen.

The problem drug has been Prednisone. It’s a wonder drug of sorts that can be used to treat all kinds of ailments, usually more effectively than any other drug on the market. Unfortunately, it comes with a laundry list of side effects that provide a whole new set of challenges.

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rfci-4-20Radio Free Charleston International puts the randomizer back in action at 3 PM Thursday on The AIR. Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

After another morning and afternoon filled with special encores of Curtain Call, Radio Coolsville, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Ska Madness, we make the world safe for eclecticism on Radio Free Charleston International at 3 PM with a show that revisits a ton of great music that we originally presented one year ago. This show was bumped off the server last summer, but it was so good we decided to bring it back for your listening pleasure.

Listeners will be treated to then-brand-new music by Steve Vai, The Monkees, Ultravox, Anderson/Stoldt, The storkes, ABC, The Avett Brothers and more.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 9 AM and 10 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Sunday at 1 AM and 10 PM.

Following RFC International on Thursday,you can listen to this week’s new Radio Free Charleston, with Fabulous Head 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  Travis Stephens and Matt McGuire). All night long after that, it’s a marathon of The Swing Shift.

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4-19-logoIt’s yet another thrilling Wednesday filled with new programming on The AIR as we offer up a special hour-long episode of  Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum and new editions of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just flip the switch 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, featuring Save Ferris, Brian May, Claypool Lennon Delirum, Speedsuit, HARRAH, Everlast and more at 9 AM and a replay of last week’s Curtain Call at noon. All times, EDT, by the way.

At 1 PM  Michele Zirkle Marcum brings us a special one-hour compilation of her lengthy interview with local Bigfoot scholar, Russ Jones on Life Speaks. We’d brought you parts of this interview in the two prior weeks, but there was so much left and it’s such a facinating interview that we decided to combine them into a one-hour special.

The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe re-presents Mark’s talk with your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci, at 2 PM.

It’s a new Curtain Call at 3 PM, as Mel Larch brings you a collection of some of the greatest overtures in Broadway history. This show has everything from Gypsy, to Oklahoma to Starlight Express.  You’ll find the playlist later in this post.

At 5 PM Beatles Blast is back with a brand-new episode, hosted by your humble PopCulteer. We have plenty of tracks from the Fab Four, together and solo, plus plenty of interesting covers. The full playlist can be found below.

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 the Life Speaks Bigfoot Special with Michele Zirkle Marcum.

We maintain our prime-time Wednesday line-up of this week’s Prognosis at 8 PM, followed by The Comedy Vault at 10 PM. Then at midnight we dive into the Radio Free Charleston archives for seven hours of classic episodes from the last year. Nobody brings you as much local music as The AIR.

The interruption-free programming continues as The AIR continues being an actual radio station, despite what some people think.

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tuesday-4-18-lgoOur internet radio station, The AIR, is making Tuesdays bigger than ever with three specialty music programs.  Today, Radio Free Charleston opens with Fabulous Head, The Swing Shift brings you an hour of great Wing Music and Dexter Checkers returns with the first hour-long edition of Ska Madness.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

A t 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday join us for a new hour of great local music on Radio Free Charleston. This week we open the show with a new track from Fabulous Head, then launch into a trek through the RFC archives. The playlist is below the jump.

At noon we offer up a bonus hour of Radio Free Charleston from just a few weeks ago, so you can overdose on great local music. 1 PM sees two hours of mystery music that you’ll have to hear to believe.

3 PM sees a brand-new episode of The Swing Shift, featuring Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Royal Crown Revue and more. You’ll find the playlist for this week’s show below the RFC playlist.

5 PM sees the return of Dexter Checkers and Ska Madness. This is the first hour-long edition of the program, and in it Dexter brings you the entire debut album, “I Just Can’t Stop It,” by The English Beat.

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 The RFC Interview with Mark Wolfe, 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 by last week’s Radio Free Charleston International, and an all-night marathon of Radio Coolsville with DJ Betty Rock

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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A Tribute To Chris Squire on Prognosis on The AIR

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prog-loco-4-17Our internet radio station, The AIR, perseveres on its march through April with fresh shows and a tweaked schedule.  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, the fun starts at 3 PM with a brand-new episode of Prognosis. Herman Linte is back with a special show that pays tribute to the late Chris Squire by bringing you his solo album, “Fish Out Of Water,” and also presents great progressive rock by Pallas, Magenta, IQ, Greg Lake and Keith Emerson and more. See the playlist below.

At 5 PM we bring you a classic episode of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy. In a couple of 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. This week it’s Mike Mudoch and Toby Poole, talking about the state of creativity in West Virginia in 2012.

9 PM brings us a much-requested episode of The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. This time Mark talks to your PopCulteer, Rudy Panucci.

10 PM revives a lost episode of Six Degrees of Separation. This talk show, hosted at The Empty Glass, presents the world according to Johnny Compton.

At midnight, settle in for an all-night marathon of classic episodes of Radio Coolsville, featuring DJ Betty Rock.

Here is your playlist for Prognosis, heard Monday at 3 PM, Tuesday at 7 AM and Wednesday at 8 PM…

Prognosis 014

Pallas  “The Alien Messiah”

Chris Squire  “Fish Out of Water”
“Hold Out Your Hand”
“You by My Side”
“Silently Falling”
“Lucky Seven”

Magenta  “Guernica”
IQ  “Stronger Than Friction”
Marillion  “Quartz”
Renaissance  “At The Harbor”
Steve Morse Band  “Unnamed Sources”
Steven Wilson  “Drive Home”
Greg Lake and Keith Emerson  “Tarkus”
Tony Banks  “Forever Morning”



Monochrome Month continues with a digital painting that, like last week, composites two previous works into a new one. This time it’s a busy abstract from a few months ago, knocked down to greyscale, combined with a silhouette of Kitty Killton from an old edition of Dr. Sketchy’s. I tossed in a few chisel effects and come up with something that manages to be psychedelic without the use of color.

At least, I think so. Click to see it bigger.

Sunday Evening Video: Not An Easter Bunny

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51gouxf3c4lOn Easter, some of us think of bunnies. Bunnies make some of us think of Playboy. Therefore, our Easter Day video is a compilation of two episodes of Playboy After Dark, a late-night variety show that was cutting edge in 1969, and is tame enough to be aired on Nick Jr. today.

In these episodes of the show, hosted by Playboy’s founder, Hugh Hefner, you will see Patty Duke, Louis Nye, Ike and Tina Turner, Sammy Davis Jr., The Checkmates LTD., Rex Reed, Anthony Newly and just to make things a little more creepy in retrospect, Bill Cosby.

The odd thing is that this is actually a talk show where people talk. They aren’t doing shtick or promoting anything. It’s a bizarre artifact of a time when television was more real. It seems corny, tame and even tasteful today, but at the time this was as shocking as television got. Sure it’s dated and a bit sexist and exploitive, but it has a certain charm, if you don’t take it too seriously.

Playboy After Dark only ran one season in syndication. It was a color, Los Angeles version of the show Playboy’s Penthouse, which was produced in Chicago ten years earlier. I don’t have any childhood memories of this show because no TV station in West Virginia had enough guts to carry it at the time. Reportedly, that had more to do with the racially-integrated guest list than any concern of the connection to Playboy Magazine.

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 45

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rfc45montagethumbFrom June, 2008 we have Radio Free Charleston’s forty-fifth episode, “Hot Wheels Shirt.” This show promoted the then-upcoming Derick Kirk Memorial Stage Show at Davis Park in Charleston.  We featured Doctor Senator, performing at said park, and we had a touching song by T.J. King, about his friend, the late Derick Kirk.  We even shot the host segments around the park.

In addition to that, we had a movie trailer for an indie film out of Huntington, “The Comic Book Lady,” which starred Kathleen Jackson and featured cameos from Harvey Pekar, Genuine Nerd Toby Radloff, and Kitten Natividad.  Plus we offered up animation from Frank Panucci.  It’s all wrapped up in a tight little 16-minute package, for your viewing enjoyment.

A Basket Filled with Randomness

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poop-governorThe PopCulteer
April 14
, 2017

Well, it’s Good Friday for those of you who observe such things, and it’s also the mid-point of Passover, for those of you who observe those things. Today is also the anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, and the day that the Titanic found an iceberg the hard way. 90 years ago the first Volvo was spotted in the wild, and 50 years ago the president of Togo was overthrown. John Gielgud, Loretta Lynn and Daniel Clowes were all born on this day. In 2017, your PopCulteer, faced with a blank slate and having put off writing his weekly column until after breakfast the morning of publication, farted out an almanac-style post for the first-time ever, just to fill up space.

Our lead image this week is an artist’s depiction of yesterday’s veto of the state budget bill by our governor, Mr. Haney from Green Acres. I could write further about it, but the best part would still be that image, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

To be honest, I have a decent excuse for not having been my prolific self this past week, but I’m saving it up for next week’s Popculteer, so you’ll just have to wait for it. In the meantime, here’s some other stuff to fill this column up…

One More Stuff To Do

I missed this event at Route 60 Music in Barboursville on Saturday when I put together the Stuff To Do post yesterday. Feed people in need and hear great music in return. You can’t find a better deal that this…


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