Local Scene News

We have new feeds added From Charleston Underground and The Defintley Loud Podcast!!

These two cover much of the local art and music scene and if you are from out of town this will give you a great heads up on what goes on in Charleston and the Rest of WV.
You can Read it here on the Empty Glass site or click on the Links and read if on the on the original Site.

Monday Morning Art: King of Burlesque 


Last Saturday Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was graced with the presence of Paco Fish, the King of Burlesque. Our art this week stars Paco in an appropriately regal pose, digitally painted in oils. We will be revisiting the remarkable Mr. Fish and his Dr. Sketchy’s session later.

You will also want to check PopCult later Monday for the latest episode of Radio Free Charleston featuring music from Donnie Smith, The big Bad, The Terra Firma Ensemble and Jordan Searls, plus animation from Jake Fertig and Frank Panucci, and a preview of the Alban Arts Center production, “Antigone.”

Sunday Evening Video: W.C. Fields 

Comedian W.C. FieldsW.C. Fields was a comedy giant in the 1930s, standing alongside The Marx Brothers in terms of subversive anti-establishment humor. Yet, since a brief revival in the 1960s, his movies haven’t seemed to get their fair share of recognition. It might be because he usually played a thoroughly unpleasant child-hating alcoholic curmudgeon, but still, there’s plenty of comedy gold in his work.

To rectify his recent undeserved obscurity, this week PopCult is bining you the entire W.C. Fields classic, “The Bank Dick.”

RFC Flashback: Episode 74 

Radio Free Charleston’s seventy-fourth episode, “RFC Trax shirt” is from June, 2009. This show features music from former Morgantonians, J Marinelli and Slate Dump, plus special announcements from Mad Man Pondo and Tofujitsu, as well as a Plant Ro Duction Mini Movie.

We also continued the First Great Guitar Giveaway with Route 60 Music, which has now been over for quite some time. Don’t bother trying to enter.But please do visit Route 60 Music and tell them you heard about it on RFC.

Host segments and our end credit bed were shot during FestivALL 2009 in Davis Park, during the “Art On A Stick” sale and open stage. You’ll hear RFC’s old buddy, Jerry Fugate, singing and playing Mandolin as we show you some of the sights of the day.

This show makes many references to our big third-anniversary show, which was posted the following week. You will not see RFC 75 next week because I posted it here months ago.  Go check it out, it’s a gem. And you can read the original production notes for this show HERE.

Dr. Sketchy’s Welcomes Paco Fish 


Burlesque legend, Paco Fish, is the featured model for a special Saturday edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.  Tomorrow at Kanawha Players Theater at 6 PM, artists and photographers can settle in for a session with the one and only, Paco Fish.

Admission is $10 at the door. Bring your own art supplies and your own bottle, if you wish. This is a 18-up event. All art mediums are accepted as long as they don’t disturb anyone else (ask first before firing up the chainsaw). Artists of any skill level from the novice to the pro are invited to come create in this relaxed environment.

The official Paco Fish bio tells us, “ Paco Fish is a dynamic performer of spoken and physical comedy, burlesque, boylesque, stilt walking, clown, mime, and a variety of other disciplines. Most of Paco’s characters exist in multiple forms and his acts are visual representations of the transitions between these coexisting identities. Whether playing a freshwater turtle in forbidden saltwater love, an exhausted cheerleader, or a submissive judge, Paco dismantles assumptions and defies convention with humor and passion. He has performed in nearly every state in the US and has won the title of “King of Burlesque” at the Southern Fried, Carolina, and Great Southern Exposure Burlesque Festivals, “Most Humorous” from both the Great Burlesque Exposition and The Carolina Burlesque Festival, and was voted one of the top ten male burlesque performers of 2013 by 21st Century Burlesque.”

This should be a unique and memorable night of Sketchy’s.

April’s ArtWalk Photos 

Img_0452The PopCulteer
April 18, 2014

Last night saw an epic Downtown Charleston ArtWalk, with beautiful weather, crowded galleries and really wild exhibits. Things were hopping so much that your PopCulteer only made it to a small fraction of the participating galleries. In fact, he barely ventured off of Hale Street, and still wound up taking over a hundred photos (and one video) at six different galleries.

While this is far from complete, it can give you an idea of the variety of cool stuff on display. We had movie props from Razor Sharp Studios, Blekno Glass, photography by Betty Rivard, cool antiques, enviormentally-concious work and an intrigiuing “Ritual.”

I only made it to part of the ArtWalk events. Keep in mind that most galleries will be leaving these exhibits up for a while, so you can still get out and see what all the galleries have to offer–perhaps this Saturday, after you hit Budget Tapes and Records or Sullivan’s Records for Record Store Day.

But now, the ArtWalk photos…

“Ritual” at Good News Mountaineer Garage

This was an immersion event by Gregg Oxley, and is best sampled via video, so watch this, then look at the photos…




The bare walls before the installation

Who guides the planchette?

Who guides the planchette?





Razor Sharp and WVIFF at Centered Pilates

Eamon Hardiman was showing off props and artwork from his films and he and WVIFF were screening trailers and short films at Centered Pilates. That’s one of the Zombie Babies you see at the top of this post.  He is not alone.














Betty Rivard “I Love Charleston and the Elk” at Art Emporium

Betty Rivard turns her educated eye on Charleston and the surrounding area, and you really should see this show in person. My photos do not really do her photographs justice. This show is a great reminder of why so many of us stay in this area.










The Purple Moon

The Over The Moon Gallery at The Purple Moon is under renovation, but there’s still plenty of cool stuff and new pieces at Charleston’s Atomic Age Headquarters.




Attack Of The Giant Blenko!

Attack Of The Giant Blenko!





A pristine Zenith Stereo from 1970

A pristine Zenith Stereo from 1970



Stray Dog Antiques

Just around the corner from The Purple Moon, Charleston’s other source for cool vintage knick-knackery, plus art and a huge collection of vintage clothing is always adding cool new stuff to the store.


Loads of vintage clothes on the Mazzanine

Loads of vintage clothes on the Mazzanine







This is what ths cool art piece is supposed to look like

This is what ths cool art piece is supposed to look like

But this is how it photographs with a flash. Could be spirits...or reflective material on the sign

But this is how it photographs with a flash.
Could be spirits…or reflective material on the sign

Apartment Earth’s Second Annual Earth Day Show

Dozens of artists presented environmentally-aware art, with in many media.

RFC contributor, Jake Fertig, has some cool animation on display

RFC contributor, Jake Fertig, has some cool animation on display


Epic metal tree

Epic metal tree


More mixed media

More mixed media


Healthy crowds were there all night

Healthy crowds were there all night




I can't pass the bird without taking a photo

I can’t pass the bird without taking a photo

That’s it for the ArtWalk Photo Essay. With any luck, next month your PopCulteer will make it to more galleries. Remember that most of these exhibits will remain up for a few days or even weeks, and you really need to see them in person to fully appreciate them.

Check PopCult later today for a “Stuff To Do” column, plus don’t forget all our regular features.


Where No Comic Book Had Gone Before 

The PopCult Bookshelf

Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 1
star-trek-gold-key-archives-01-cover-michael-striblingwritten by Dick Wood
art by Nevio Zeccara and Alberto Giolitti
introduction by Tony Isabella
IDW Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1613779224

Back in the glory days of the original Star Trek series, Science Fiction was still not quite a proven commodity in entertainment circles. Despite the success of TV programs like “Star Trek,” “Lost in Space,” “The Time Tunnel” and others, Sci-Fi was still seen as a risky “cult” genre, not quite ready for the mainstream.

Captain Kirk, by Zeccara

Captain Kirk, by Zeccara

Much of the pure science fiction elements had been purged from mainstream comic books of DC and Marvel, although there were plenty of sci-fi overtones in their superhero comics. There was, however, one holdout among the then-major comic book companies. Gold Key Comics was still a major player, and offered straight-up space opera with “Space Family Robinson: Lost in Space” and Superhero-tinged science fiction in “Magnus: Robot Fighter” and “Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom.”

The first page of the first Star Trek comic book story

The first page of the first Star Trek comic book story

Gold Key also published way more comic books based on TV shows than other publishers of the day did, so it’s no shock that they wound up with the license to produce comic books based on “Star Trek.” In fact, they held that license, and produced original stories, well past the point that the TV show was cancelled. Gold Key continued to publish adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise up until 1979.

These stories aren’t considered canon by die-hard Trekkers, but they are still a lot of fun and display a level of craft that is largely absent from modern comics. In his introduction, comic book writer (and guest at last year’s Tri-Con in Huntington), Tony Isabella explains some of the quirks in these early comic book stories and the reasons behind them.

The Enterprise flying through the air, art by Alberto Giolitti

The Enterprise flying through the air, art by Alberto Giolitti

It’s unlikely that the writer, Dick Wood, was terribly familiar with the show when he got the assignment. Characters are not as well-deliniated as they were on the show, and he sometimes strays from established concepts, like The Prime Directive. However we do get the “Star Date,” Spock bringing up logic, disposable members of the landing party and other beloved Star Trek staples.

It’s also worth pointing out that each issue of the Gold Key series was “done-in-one,” a concept that was so much the norm that it didn’t have that name when these comics were published. Each 25-page story tells a complete adventure with a beginning, middle and an end. In modern comic books these stories would be spread over a six-to-ten issue “story arc” that would drag so much that, by the time they finished, you would have forgotten the first part of the story.

This volume collects the first six issues of Gold Key’s “Star Trek” comic book, and that means six complete stories. This is a good thing.

nevio Zeccara draws the

Nevio Zeccara draws the “Teleportation Chamber,” which wasn’t called the “Transporter Room” in the early issues.

The first two issues of the book were drawn by Nevio Zeccara, who had a very workmanlike style, with strong layouts and well-executed likenesses of the actors in most places. Zeccara, who like his successor, Alberto Giolitti, was based in Italy, had never seen the show, and had to work from reference photos. His two issues are not fan-favorites, but his artwork serves the stories well.

An action panel from Giolitti

An action panel from Giolitti

Giolitti took over with the third issue, and brings a slightly slicker style to the book, with more dynamic layouts and better finished rendering. He remained the principle artist on Gold Key’s “Star Trek” for most of the next ten years.

As Isabella points out in his introduction, these are stories from before the rules for the Star Trek universe were fully established. In the first issue the Prime Directive is not mentioned once as the Enterprise crew wipes out an entire planet’s sentient civilization. We also get a story where the Enterprise flies through the atmosphere of a planet, with exhaust flames shooting out of the back. On top of that readers will have to overlook a few of Dick Wood’s trademark exclamations, like “Howling Comets!” and “Great Hannah!”

Despite that, these stories have a charm that is not simply nostalgic. They capture most of the spirit of Star Trek and tell solid, enjoyable stories. They hold up remarkably well.

This is not the first time the Gold Key Star Trek comics have been collected, but this time they are in hardback and the publisher, IDW is not likely to go belly-up anytime soon. It’ll be cool to see further volumes in this series in the future. I hope they manage to present the entire series in hardback books with slick paper and vibrant color.

This is not only indespensible for the Star Trek completist, but it’s also a handy, entertaining compilation for casual fans.

The covers of the first six Gold Key issues

The covers of the first six Gold Key issues

ArtWalk Returns Thursday 

10256438_762243323809941_1691789147068721091_oWell, in truth Downtown Charleston’s ArtWalk returned last month, but I was too wiped out from JoeLanta to attend, so for your PopCulteer, this will be the first ArtWalk of 2014.

It’s also the first ArtWalk for Centered Pilates, at 225 Hale Street. They will be playing host to Razor Sharp Studios and WVIFF. At Centered Pilates you will see artwork and goods from Charleston’s local horror auteurs, Razor Sharp Studios. Come see (and purchase!) zombie babies, original noir photography, high-quality poster prints, and much more!

Vincent Renfield, of the horror-themed band The Renfields, will be playing a live acoustic set in the street. There will be a screening room with a short film by Razor Sharp and previews of films from the upcoming festival!

WVIFF will have information, t-shirts, and tickets for the upcoming festival that runs from May 9-17.

ArtWalk is the monthly walking tour of art galleries and art-friendly spaces in Downtown Charleston. Usually taking place the third Thursday of each month, ArtWalk is when the galleries are all open after normal business hours. The adult beverages and knoshes flow freely and all good peoples come out in droves to soak up the culture like sponges. Many galleries hold their openings or schedule special events during this time. It’s a wonderful time for an art-filled stroll.

Thre are loads of events happening this month. Here’s a list of the other participating venues withcontact numbers…

Art Emporium 823 Quarrier St., 304-345-2787

West Virginia Executive 8 Capitol Street Suite 200, 304-941-0600

The Purple Moon/Modern By Design 906 Quarrier St., 304-345-0123

Gallery Eleven 1025 Quarrier St., 304-342-0083

Tony the Tailor 822 Virginia St., 304-741-0980

Mission Savvy 202 Hale St., 304-343-4253

Stray Dog Antiques 219 Hale St., 304-346-1534

Chet Lowther Studio 223 Hale St., 304-941-6704

Visions Day Spa 238 Capitol St., 304-345-5620

Romano & Associates 230 Capitol St., 304-345-2626

Annex Gallery and Taylor Books 226 Capitol St., 304-342-1461

Christina DiFilippo at Zando’s Catering Unlimited
241 Capitol St., 304-545-6364

Delfine’s Jewelry 245 Capitol St., 304-343-5058

Good News Mountaineer Garage 222 Hale St., 304-344-8445

Ivor’s Trunk 819 Lee St., 304-342-5867

Charleston Ballet 100 Capitol St., 304-342-6541

Capitol Conference Center 815 Lee St., 304-344-2246

Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation 900 Lee St., Suite 1600,

Woomer, Nistendirk & Associates 231 Capitol St., 304-342-2006

Uncork & Create 1031 Quarrier St., 304-552-3331

Timothy’s/Quarrier Diner 1022 Quarrier Street., 304-343-5686

Hope Village Fair Trade Boutique at First Presbyterian Church
16 Leon Sullivan Way, 304-343-8961

Running concurrently with part of ArtWalk is “Drinks and Dice” at Timothy’s, starting at 7 PM. Following up on the success of International Tabletop Day at Kanawha Players, the organizers of that event are teaming up with Timothy’s located under Quarrier Diner to make a gaming event with new games, prizes and camaraderie a regular thing.

Tomorrow will also see the second annual Earth Day Invitational art show at Apartment Earth Studios, 223 1/2 Hale Street.


Curator Nik Botkin explains,”Not only is this the 2nd annual invitational for Earth Day, it is also my 2nd anniversary in the studio. I have reached out to many artists ranging from painters and sculptors, to performers and writers, as well as musicians and dancers. This exhibit will span the a broad range of arts and individuals. I have work from local artists as well as from Florida, Texas, Illinois and many other places.

“As of right now the artists include Paul Corbit Brown Elizabeth Turner, Betty Gay, Todd Griffith, Edward Botkin, Staci Leech-Cornell, Megan Schultz, Scott McMillian, Tandi Stephens, Chris Dutch, Katheryne Hawkins, Amanda Jane Miller, Ian Hagarty, Michael Burns, RK Arceneaux, Jeff Pierson, Carrie Dawson, Amy Williams, Andy Sanchez, Justin Fowlkes, Wesley Eary, Gregg Oxley, Jamie Miller, David Stephenson, Glen Brogan, Robby Moore, Melissa Ellsworth, Jodi McMillion, Charly Hamilton, Liza Samples, Laura Alvis, Tuesday Taylor, Jason Myer, Washboard Dave, Ian Bode, Dre McLeod, Gary Hilliard Needham, Mark Wolfe, Adam Eldridge, Jake Fertig, Frank Spilker, Beth Summers, Kevin Crump, Billy Hambleton, Katherine Cox, Adrian DeQuiros, Andrea Anderson, and Nik Botkin. This list will fluctuate a little between now and the show, but as you can see there will be a ton of work and performance to feast your eyes upon!”

After ArtWalk, there will be live music at Third Eye Cabaret…


And later, more live music at The Empty Glass…


So you can see, there’s plenty to do Thursday night in Charleston.

“Little Shop” at WVSU 


The hilarious musical spoof, “Little Shop of Horrors,” is being staged at West Virginia State University starting tonight This musical, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The show runs April 16-19th at 8 PM at The Davis Fine Arts Building at West Virginia State University. Admission is ten dollars for the general public, free for WVSU students.

The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour.”

Many people remember this show from the 1986 movie, starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene. This new stage version is directed by: Susan Minnerly, with music direction by Dirk Johnson, symphony music by Scott Woodard and stage design by Doug Minnerly.

The Cast:

Seymour……………………..Joshua Drew
Audrey II…………………….Phil Washington
Audrey………………………..Roberta Arthur
Mushnik……………………..Luca DiPiero
Orin Scrivello…D.D.S….Jason Lykens
Girls (Crystal)…………….Casey Sharp
(Ronnette)…………………Ashley Dominique
(Chiffon)……………………Mandy Harper
Chorus……………………….Eric Rogers
………………………………….Tim Alderman
Musicians………………….Kenneth W. Morrison
………………………………….John Inghram

The PopCult Toybox: Catching up with Captain Action 

The 4.5

The 4.5″ Captain, from Fresh Monkey Fiction

While we’ve been wallowing in the wonderfulness of JoeLanta and GI Joe for more than the last month, there have been significant developments in the world of PopCult’s other most-favored action figure, Captain Action.

Work is progressing on their next four costume sets. Superman, Batman, Brainiac and The Joker are tentatively scheduled for December of this year. Meanwhile the folks at Captain Action Enterprises and Round 2 Corp. are keeping their Marvel Comics plans close to their vests. The animated Captain Action pilot is still in production, and Ed and Joe are sure to be pitching it to prospective broadcast outlets all year.

While all that is happening, the Captain Action brand is invading three new scales of collectible figures, and we have a new pulp-style novel and a cool comic book crossover with our buddy, Art Baltazar.

ladyactionoct2013First up we have the impending debut of Lady Action, Captain Action’s female counterpart, as a 16″ Tonner Doll, appearing for the first time at the TonnerCon in Chicago in one month. This event will see a Limited Edition Lady Action, with an additional, convention-exclusive, Wonder Woman costume into which she can change.

This is the first appearance of Lady Action in any form outside of the comic books, and it could be the prelude to Captain Action himself showing up in Tonner form.

Ed Catto of Captain Action Enterprises will speak at TonnerCon, and it’ll be cool to see if they can pull off this intriguing crossover of collectible giants.

1zicaCAEspecially exciting news for action figure collectors is the announcement of a deal to bring Captain Action to the popular 3 3/4″ scale via Zica Toys. Expecting to hit hobby shops and comic books stores later this year, the Captain Action small-scale line will see Captain Action, Dr. Evil, Action Boy and most exciting of all, The Silver Streak, his way-cool amphibious vehicle, brought to life in a size compatible with the 1980s GI Joe figures.

Craig Owen, owner of Zica Toys, says, “ZICA Toys is very happy to be working with Captain Action Enterprises on bringing the exciting characters of the Captain Action universe into 3.75″ retro figure format! This scale will allow us to do a lot of really cool stuff with the property in addition to just making the action figures. My favorite thing about the smaller scale figures when I was a kid was the vehicles and play sets that went with them, and I can definitely see some exciting possibilities for these with Captain Action!”


Not content to invade the world of high-end fashion dolls and small-scale retro figures, Captain Action is also going to “guest star” in the “Amazing Heroes” line of 4.5″ action figures, coming soon from Fresh Monkey Fiction. This line of figures will be funded through a Kickstarter campaign (we will post links here in PopCult as soon as it starts in July), and is essentially making public domain and independent characters into action figures that will be made in the style of the 1980s Marvel “Secret Wars” line from Mattel.

I never collected the Secret Wars figures, but I have to admit that these guys look pretty tempting. These are also available for pre-order at Big Bad Toy Store, but the Kickstarter campaign will offer extras and exclusive figures.

51S-meLqVdLWith so many figures coming out, we mustn’t forget that Captain Action is back in print with “Hearts of the Rising Sun,” a new pulp-style novel by Jim Beard. You might remember “Riddle of the Glowing Men,” the first Captain Action pulp novel that I raved about last year.

I haven’t had a chance to read the new book yet, but here is the PR blurb, “ACTION IN JAPAN! While on assignment in Japan, Captain Action is haunted by the woman he loved and lost years ago in the underground kingdom beneath Siberia. When she mysteriously begins reappearing during his clandestine mission to witness a newly discovered power source, agent Miles Drake begins to question his own sanity. Forces are at work to steal two naturally formed energy stones whose limitless power in the wrong hands could destroy the world. When he begins to suspect his alien nemesis, Dr. Evil, is behind these attacks, Drake has to utilize his most daring disguises ever to learn the truth and ally himself with an old vigilante hero from the past. Now the one and only Captain Action must walk a delicate tightrope between old and new allies while attempting to discover the source of the threat to the Hearts of the Rising Sun. If he fails, mankind is doomed!”

It looks to be as much fun as the first book.

10245492_10152069073713857_463545251763318679_nSpeaking of fun, we wind up our look at Captain Action’s many irons in the fire with “Captain Action Cat,” by Art Baltazar and Franco. This is a fun hybrid, combining Captain Action with Baltazar’s Action Cat. Art has almost turned into a genre, with his Tiny Titans book from DC Comics, “Itty Bitty Hellboy” from Dark Horse, and Action Cat from his own Aw Yeah! Comics among many other titles for other publishers. He’s also a rabid toy collector.

Captain Action Cat #1 will hit hipper comic book stores Wednesday, and you can find a preview at Comic Book Resources.

So you can see, all is not quiet on the Captain Action front. Check back with PopCult for more info on the first Superhero Action Figure.


The RFC MINI SHOW: The Terra Firma Ensemble 

Uncredited photo swiped from Jim Lange's Facebook page

Uncredited photo swiped from Jim Lange’s Facebook page

This week’s RFC MINI SHOW features The Terra Firma Ensemble, recorded at The Kanawha Forum at Kanawha United Presbyterian Church on Quarrier Street. The Terra Firma Ensemble is Jim Lange, David Porter, J. Scott Milam, Lisa Peery, John Inghram and Ryan Kennedy. The Kanawha Forum offers up free half-hour lunch concerts at the church, which are followed by a paid gourmet meal, which is optional.

At this particular edition of The Kanawha Forum, The Terra Firma Ensemble performed three pieces: “Innocente,” by Robert Towner and Gary Burton; “Eye of the Needle,” by Robert Fripp and the world premiere of “Brambles and Briers,” a piece composed by Jim Lange. You will see Jim Lange’s composition next week on the full-length Radio Free Charleston number 197. This RFC MINI SHOW features “Innocente.”

In a couple of weeks we will bring you the entire program from The Terra Firma Ensemble’s Kanawha Forum peformance, with all three pieces presented in order.

Lisa Perry, Scott Milam, Ryan Kennedy

Lisa Perry, Scott Milam, Ryan Kennedy

It was a real treat to get to record this group. Jim Lange has been a friend of RFC dating back to our radio days, when he appeared live, on the air, with The Velvet Brothers. His guitar work is legendary. David Porter brings his virtuosity on the EWI wind-controlled synth to the ensemble. Lisa Peery contributes acoustic flute. Scott Milam brought percussion and the malletKAT to the table. And eagle-eyed viewers of RFC may recognize Ryan Kennedy (guitar) and John Inghram (fretless bass) from The Bob Thompson Unit, who appeared on our last Christmas show and their own RFC MINI SHOW.

David Porter, Jim Lange, John Inghram

David Porter, Jim Lange, John Inghram

This is an amazing collection of musicians who include three current or former members of The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra among their ranks, alongside musicians with lists of credits that would take up several paragraphs. It was turly an honor to record them for the show.