PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Not Titled

 

This week’s art was inspired by being uninspired.

Let me explain.

After a couple of weeks of chaos that included having a car die while I was doing 70 MPH, a landline going dead, a runny toilet that just mocks me, what appeared to be a lightning strike that pruned quite a bit of the tree in my front yard, and then writing one of the most difficult editions of The PopCulteer I have ever had to do, I spent much of the weekend…let’s just say “unmotivated.”

I had planned to go find something I’d previously rejected for this spot and rescue it from the trash heap instead of making new art. I have a few folders of rejected Monday Morning Art, dating back to 2006.  I found a good abstract candidate, but then decided to repaint what was a digital painting in the real world with different colors, using comfort colors, thick paint, clunky brushes and sponges and old X-acto knives on small piece of tile.  I came up with what you see above. It didn’t take that long. I didn’t really try to come up with a title. It’s just art coming out because that’s what I do.

Chances are, if you’re reading this on a computer instead of a phone, you’ll see it bigger than the actual size it was painted in. I photographed it and white-balanced the photo afterward.

Reminds me of a early-1960s Jazz album cover or something.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we offer up a brand-new episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a brand-new episode of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player right here…

We do have playlists for our Monday shows this week.  Nigel Pye provides us with a Psychedelic Shack that he says has some “long groovy tunes” among it’s hour of mind-expanding jams. Check out the playlist…

Psychedelic Shack 066
Fox “Madame Magical”
The Jarvis Street Revue “Sally’s Hymn”
Hotlegs “Neanderthal Man”
Godley & Creme “Virgin Soldiers”
The Mads “Rock & Roll Woman”
String Driven Thing “River of Sleep”
Action & Tension & Space “Chromosones”
The Temptations “Love Can Be Anything”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

Herman Linte tells me that Prognosis is neatly divided, with the first hour full of newly-released Progressive rock tunes (including a song from The Settlement, from Huntington that he heard me playing on RFC), while the second hour is made of of prog-rock that has all been newly reissued or uncovered and released. Take a gander at this playlist…

Prognosis 094
Porcupine Tree “Chimera’s Wreck”
Arthur Brown “Once I Had Illusions Parts 1&2”
Alan Parsons “You Are The Light”
Ribbons of Euphoria “You Don’t Care”
Nobuo Uematsu “Battle Medley 4-6 from Final Fantasy”
The Settlement “Reason”
Mirage “The Emperor”
God Is An Astronaut “From Dust To The Beyond”
Hawkwind “Silver Machine (live, 1986)”
ASIA “Sole Survivor (live in Japan)”
Barclay James Harvest “Medicine Man (live)”
Frajboy & Runcible Spoon “Animal Song”
Frank Zappa “Dupree’s Paradise (live)”

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of the internal soundtrak of my brain, the music of Spike Jones on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault starring Flight of the Conchords.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of five Prognosis episodes from the eleven weeks in 2018 where I filled in for Herman Linte while he was dealing with a serious health issue.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sunday Evening Video: Toni Basil

This week we’re recylcing an old edition of Sunday Evening Video in honor of Toni Basil.  Ms. Basil is still stunning at the age of 78, and recently regained control of the album and videos we’re showing here.  I’d imagine a remastered boxed set of the audio album and video album should be forthcoming in the near future.

Nearly everybody knows the legendary dancer/choreographer Toni Basil from her international hit song, “Mickey,” but what many people don’t remember is that her big hit song and video were part of an entire video album, Word of Mouth. This was released in 1982, decades before Beyonce had the idea to do it.

Another fact that not many folks are aware of is that Basil was in a relationship with Gerald Casale of DEVO at the time, and PopCult’s favorite spud boys backed up Ms. Basil on several cuts from the album, like the one above, and the few tucked away on the other side of the jump.

Folks who pay attention to such things may well recognize the presence of Shabadoo of The Lockers and Spaz Attack, from several early DEVO videos, among the back up dancers in these clips.

Continue reading…

The RFC Flashback: Episode 114

RFC 114 “Flash Photography Shirt” from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

If you’ve been keeping track, you probably noticed that I skipped an episode of the show. It hasn’t gone missing. It’s our 2010 Halloween episode, and I decided to hold it back for a more appropriate time this fall.

Instead, from November, 2010, we bring you Radio Free Charleston 114, “Flash Photography Shirt.”  The wide-ranging music on this show comes from Andrea Anderson, The Dad Horse Experience, and Shayla Leftridge. That would be punk alt-banjo music, German Gutter-Gospel and Showtunes.

For reasons I can’t remember, this episode is in standard definition, and has a 4:3 aspect ratio. I had switched to widescreen several episodes earlier, so I have no explanation why it’s like that.

Our animation is Frank Panucci’s very first animated film, about Evel Knievel.  We also have some Super Fancy Dancing. You can find the original production notes HERE.

Farewell To A Friend

The PopCulteer
July 22, 2022

On July 14, 2022, Susan (Kathy) Duffy Stover, a wife, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away, one day before what would have been her 58th birthday.

Kathy was an avid reader of PopCult, and I’m very glad that I could call her a friend.

The reason for that is, a long time ago, Kathy and I were married. Our marriage was short, rocky and didn’t end well.

It was more than twenty years before we got back in contact. I didn’t know where she lived or if she was even stlll alive when she started leaving coments on this blog. Since she was using her new married name, I had no idea it was her for a few months.

When it hit me, I sent her an email, and we caught up on each other’s lives. I was flattered and more than a little weirded out to discover that, while I was totally in the dark about what had happened to Kathy after we broke up, she had managed to keep track of my career. Her grandmother had sent her newspaper clippings, so she knew that I had recovered from our break-up (it took a couple of years) and had a successful radio career.

She read Michael Lipton’s profile of me in the Charleston Gazette, and later she knew I was writing about animation with Melanie Larch for that same Charleston Gazette.

And she would pepper her emails with riffs on jokes I’d made in PopCult. That reminded me why Kathy was so important in the early chapters of my life.

Kathy was my first audience. I’ve mentioned before in PopCult that this blog is an extension of my life-long habit of saying “Hey, check this out, it’s really cool!”

Kathy was the first person who really listened to me. We met during my senior year in High School. She was two years behind me, but we were in first period Art Class together. My plan, as with most of my high school classes, was to keep to myself, do my weird art, get an A+, and not really engage with my fellow students.

But on the first day of class, I’d got my spot picked out at a table and my head in my sketchbook when a cute little redhead with big glasses, big boobs and braces sits down beside me and starts talking to me. I was about as socially awkward as a person could be back then. I had a very small circle of friends and they were all guys and I never went or dates or messed with proms.

But Kathy kept sitting there, and over the course of the school year I turned her on to Kate Bush, Monty Python, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Bonzo Dog Band, National Lampoon and all sorts of other things that had formed my tastes and would form much of hers. I don’t know if I influenced her views on politics and religion, or if she influenced mine, but we had those views in common to the day she died. Kathy always seemed to seek out the “misfits” and non-conformists, but she absolutely hated using those terms. She befriended a lot of us on the outside.

We became friends. Nothing more. Then I graduated, spent a couple of years regretting that I’d never asked her out on a date, and moved on to college.

Two years later we met again in college, and our friendship picked up where it had left off. She had lost the braces and picked up a fiancée. I didn’t really tell anyone, but I was emotionally reeling from having my entire circle of college friends die over the previous summer in a series of car wrecks and other accidents. I wasn’t so much socially awkward as I was shell-shocked at that point.

Kathy was among the first people to see me perform in front of a camera in a TV Production class, when I had to step in to do comedy sketches I’d written for somebody else, and then they no-showed.

Like I said, Kathy was my first audience. At the end of that semester, Kathy’s parents moved to Florida, and she had to drop out, broke off her engagement and went along with them, and she hated it. She was absolutely miserable, and to cheer her up I started recording and sending audio cassettes through the mail (God this was a long time ago). It was me talking, joking and playing new music for her to discover. We traded tapes for a year and that led us to make a huge mistake.

We fell in love, and got married. Some day I will tell the whole story of our marriage. Parts of it are hilarious.  Parts of it are sweetly romantic.  Parts of it aren’t very pleasant at all. We were broke all the time and had no social life. There were also medical issues adding pressure that neither of us were emotionally equipped or mature enough to handle.

What ensued eventually screwed up what would have otherwise been a deep and lasting life-long friendship. I was convinced she hated me (she had told me that repeatedly). She moved on with her life and after a couple of shakey years I did too. The weird part of this is that, Kathy and I never dated. We didn’t really go out much while we were married. I didn’t really go out on my first real date with anyone until two years after our divorce. If Johnny Rock hadn’t dragged me out to The Charleston Playhouse, I may have never matured socially into the semi-normal person I am today.  That was when my life really began. I made life-long friends at the Playhouse and that’s where I met Melanie, who is my everything and has been since 1990.

Kathy could be a warm, kind and loving soul, but she could also be hot-headed, resentful and acerbic, and she had a vicious tongue that she could wield like a ninja. I don’t think she’d mind me saying that. She was proud of her Irish roots. She wanted to be friends again, and since I was emotionally healed from our time together, I wanted that too. We both realized that, no matter how painfully it ended, our brief marriage was key in making both of us the people we wanted to become. I wouldn’t change a thing and I don’t believe Kathy would either.

I can’t imagine why she didn’t want to stay with me.

I only got to see Kathy once since 1986.  In 2008 she was in town and I took her and her family out to Olive Garden (her choice). Kathy wanted to meet Mel, but this was during the run of CYAC’s first production of “Jack The Ripper” and my soulmate was on stage playing Mary Kelly at the time. It was a fun and amusingly awkward dinner. Kathy’s husband, Dave, was perfect for her and she has three great kids, Lauren, Sarah and Kyle. Kathy was delighted that I had found Mel, because she said Mel was perfect for me.

I was relieved to see that she had finally attained the peaceful existence that she’d always wanted. She seemed happy, if not a little perplexed, that I was happy and successful with PopCult and Radio Free Charleston. We were happy for each other.

The last few years she’d battled cancer and other health issues and we basically only got in touch once or twice a year, for birthday wishes or to share cartoons on Facebook. It was still nice to know, once in a while, that I could drop her a line and say, “Hey, check this out, it’s really cool!”

I’m going to miss that.

Final arrangements and a celebration of life for Kathy have been scheduled for Sunday, July 24, 2022 from 2-4PM at the Haisley Funeral Homes Tribute Center at 2041 SW Bayshore Blvd, in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

A PopCult Note: I’m fairly well certain that, if she could, Kathy would read this and declare, “My God, he took my obituary and made it all about him!”  While she was almost alway supportive, she was also always prepared to pull out a needle and deflate my ego. I’m going to miss that, too.

Memories of Marx Toys

The PopCult Bookshelf

Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale
by Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller
Independently published
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8801403045
$25 (Paperback)
$34.99 (Hardcover)

I picked this book up from the authors last month at an event held in conjunction with the Marx Toy Convention, and it’s an absolute gem. Anyone interested in toy manufacturing, Northern West Virginia history or post-war industrial America should seek out Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale.

Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller have crafted an exhaustive history of the Marx Toys Glen Dale, West Virginia plant, pre-dating Marx toys and going all the way to the days of the Marx Toy Museum. They do this by weaving deep research with a stirring oral history provided by dozens of Marx Factory employees and their families. The book is also generously illustrated with photos and images from the factory.

It’s a trip to find out that, before Marx Toys took over, the factory built Fokker Aircraft.  Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale opens with a detailed look at the fall of the fabled airplane maker, and how that left an opening for Marx Toys to choose Glen Dale for one of their manufacturing plants.  It’s a wild to discover that the legendary Fokker Triplane was made in the same building as Big Wheels and Johnny West.

Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is a fascinating look at how toys were made in the days before OSHA, before outsourcing to other countries, and before Marx Toys themselves shut down operations.  We learn how life was for an every day worker at the factory, including some downright frightening tales of dangerous incidents at the plant and the aftermath of chemical exposure. However, the overwhelming aura of this book is that of a fond rememberance of a factory that provided employment for hundreds, if not thousands of households in the Glen Dale/Moundsville area for decades.

The book winds up with a profile of Francis Turner and a history of The Marx Toy Museum, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It follows the opening of the museum, the closing and even the visit by American Pickers a few years ago. I think Francis deserves a book of his own someday, but this is a great start and taught me a lot of new facts about my friend.

While Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is obviously a must-have book for any fan or collector of Marx Toys, it will also appeal to anybody who would like a well-crafted story about a small factory town and the people who lived there.

To quote the PR blurb:

Founded in August 1919 in New York City by Louis Marx and his brother David, the company’s aim was to “give customers more toy for less money.” They were so successful in this venture, that at one time Marx Toys was the largest toy manufacturer in the world. The Glen Dale facility, in its’ heyday, employed more than 2,000 workers and had multiple buildings in Glen Dale and McMechen.

But this story is about the people that made the toys that children around the world loved to have on Christmas morning. Their lives were dedicated to bringing that job and happiness to youngsters that opened those presents on that day and had happiness delivered to their doors.

You can order Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale from Amazon in Hardback or Paperback editions, and I hope that it turns up in museum gift shops all around the state. You might also be able to order it from your local bookseller using the ISBN number above.

STUFF TO DO July 20-23

Okay, it’s time once again for your guide to things you can do in and around Charleston, Fairplain and other places nearby during this sweltering July week in our latest edition of STUFF TO DO.

Wednesday evening it’s BridgeFest, a family-friendly community block party and fundraising event hosted by the Bridge Road Neighborhood Association from 6 PM to 9:30. Join family, friends, and neighbors and enjoy an evening full of live music, delicious food by various Bridge Road vendors, children’s activities, and more! Get out and enjoy it if that’s your thing, otherwise avoid South Hills like the plague. Unless you’re going there, the traffic is murder. The event page can be found HERE.

Also of note, ArtWalk happens again in Charleston Thursday from 5 PM to 8 PM.  This free event is open to the public as art lovers can walk to all the usual suspects and take in the majesty of the art. Some galleries will have music and/or munchies as well. It’s a really cheap way to support the local scene and get out and mingle a bit…if you are so inclined.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s our old friends, The Madison 2. Saturday sees Minor Swing at Charleston’s Bookstore/coffeehouse/art gallery institution.

Saturday at 5 PM at Madison City Park, more old friends, The Swivels, will be performing as part of Madison Riverfest. I’d share a graphic if there was one, but you can check out the event page on Facebook.

At this point, there are no vaccination or mask mandates for any of the events listed this week. However, we all need to remember that the pandemic is not over yet, and everybody should be vaccinated by now. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out. After the super-spreader potential of recent weeks, and rising case numbers locally, let’s all try to be smart and kind about this.

If you wanna hear something funny,  tune in to The AIR Wednesday night at 11 PM where we will offer up a new episode of The Comedy Vault, this time featuring an hour of the comedy of  Eddie Griffin.

In the meantime, if you’re up for going out, here are some suggestions for Wednesday through Saturday…

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

Saturday

 

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday on The AIR  it’s Radio Free Charleston time, and we’re back on track with a new three-hour episode of Radio Free Charleston. You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player right here…

We have three full hours of music, much of it new, local and not, at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday.   This week our latest Radio Free Charleston has killer new tunes from Deni Bonet, The Company Stores, Three’s Company Blues, Porcupine Tree, Neil Young, Bottle and Bride, Blue Twisted stel and more.

We also have a few artists making their RFC debuts this week,  including Dropcoat, Mirage, The Boppers, Ribbons of Euphoria and more.

The music ranges from pure pop to prog-rock to country-inflected mellowness to electronica and more. We like to mix things up a bit on RFC, you know.

Throughout the show we continue our mix of local, independent and major-label artists, just to keep you on your toes.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store. Live links where available will take you to the artist’s page…

RFC V5 096

Deni Bonet “Why Not You”
The Company Stores “Ways”
Mirage “Flowers For Algernon”
Porcupine Tree “Herd Culling”
Pink Floyd “A Great Day For Freedom”
The 69 Eyes “Call Me Snake”
Three’s Company Blues “Pray For The Thunder”
Bottle and Bride “Brighter”
Corduroy Brown featuring Massing “On and On”
Stevie Nicks “Cotton Candy Land”
Bane Star“The Thrall”
Alan Parsons “Uroboros”
Ribbons of Euphoria “Hold On To My Gun”

hour two
Three’s Company Blues “Misty Mountain Hop”
Dropcoat “Black Metal Parade”
The Boppers “Teddyboys Are Back”
The Heavy Editors “Time Travel”
Neil Young & Crazy Horse “Standing In The Light of Love”
Nirvana “Pay To Play”
Cassius At Best “Narrow Margin”
Tim Heidecker “What Did We Do With Our Time”
Aaron Fisher “Matters of The Heart”
Annie Neely “Past and Gone”
The New Relics “Run Away”
Hello June “I Wish I Could Fly”
Paul Callicoat “Sometimes This Old World Breaks My Heart”
Dream Theater “The Prisoner”

hour three
Blue Twisted Steel “The Carpenter”
Speedsuit “Seven Days”
Sheldon Vance “Logan County Rejects”
Poor Man’s Gravy “Dear Old Friend”
Jonathan Mason “You’re Not Asking”
Jason Barnhouse the Wounded  “I Feel You”
In The Company of Wolves “Shadow Valley”
Elvis Costello, Rusty “Everybody Knows This/Dance Dance Dance”
Jordan Andrew Jefferson “Ruler of the World”
Buggaboo “Nola Bean”
Safetybelt “I Do This To Myself”
Muse “Compliance”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Wednesday at 9 AM,  Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.

 

After RFC, stick around for encores of two episodes of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM.  At 3 PM we have two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Monday Morning Art: Eye See

 

We are delving into the world of mixed media this week. The above art, titled “Eye See” combines a watercolor abstract, used here as the background, with an older digital piece that I may have used for Monday Morning Art before, but I don’t really remember.

The digital piece is a self-portrait of my eye, set against a negative dot pattern. The background piece is just me playing with trying to create subtle moiré pattern with lengthy brushstrokes and shades of blue.

I wasn’t really happy with either piece until I thought of digitally compositing one over top of the other, and that’s what you see above.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a recent episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a recent edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player right here…

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of hilarious comedy from Beyond The Fringe on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of MIRRORBALL, our weekly Disco showcase hosted by my lovely wife, Mel Larch.  This batch of shows kicks off with the big Studio 54 special, with introductions recorded at the legendary Disco hot spot in New York City.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This week we are restoring a video that was presented in this blog 13 years ago, which had all its links and embeds broken sometime in the ensuing years during the many times PopCult was ported around cyberspace for various reasons.

The video you see above is an edited compilation of highlights from a live show by Group 87, recorded at the Savoy Tivoli and The Stone in San Francisco in 1980. Group 87 consisted of Mark Isham, Peter Maunu, Patrick O’Hearn , and Terry Bozzio. Isham went on to an acclaimed career as a film composer. O’Hearn and Bozzio, both veterans of Frank Zappa’s band, both went on to join Missing Persons and Duran Duran. Manau is an acclaimed session musicians with dozens of credits under his belt. This video captures Group 87 in all their instrumental, progressive glory. The video features effects that were “performed” live by Denise Gallant and Rob Schafer using the Synopsis Video System, which must have been state-of-the-art 42 years ago.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 112

RFC 112 “Toxic Soup Shirt” from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

This week we go back to October, 2010 for Radio Free Charelston 112, “Toxic Soup Shirt.”  On this show we had three bands making their RFC debuts–Crossroads, Doctor Curmudgeon and Happy Minor.  We also had a movie trailer for the documentary, “Toxic Soup,” and one for “Jazz From Hell,” which never quite got finished. This was an overlooked gem of a show, and we beat Charleston’s baseball team to the Canary in the Coalmine joke by a dozen years.