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.
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RFC Flashback: Episode 141 

Monday will see the debut of Radio Free Charleston 209, our ninth-anniversary show.  At the head of this post, you can see our fifth anniversary episode of Radio Free Charleston. When we first started doing Radio Free Charleston as a video web show, there was no guarantee that we would even make it to the end of our first year.  Now it’s the fourth anniversary of our fifth anniversary. Ain’t that special?

Mother Nang

Radio Free Charleston has not always observed our anniversary. The first anniversary of the show fell in the middle of a hiatus we took due to a family health crisis. I don’t think we really paid any attention until episode 75, which coincided with our third anniversary in 2009.

Stacee Lawson

I considered blowing off the anniversary show in 2011, simply ignoring it, because we had just produced eight episodes in two weeks for FestivALL, and were completely burned out. After producing three hours of content in two weeks, the idea of taking the month of July off looked mighty appealing. But this was our big number “five” and we had a golden opportunity plop into our lap.

The official birthday of Radio Free Charleston is the Fourth of July and in 2011, we had two big outdoor music festivals scheduled for the second and third of July. Jammin’ On The River was a day long music fest held at Haddad Riverfront Park. Tribute To The Troops was a day long hard rock/heavy metal festival held at the Schoenbaum Ampitheatre in Coonskin Park.

Pepper Fandango, video by Eamon Hardiman and Razor Sharp Studios

Since the first episode of Radio Free Charleston, I wondered how plausible it would be to do a one hour episode. The idea sort of defied all Internet logic. People go online because they have short attention spans and RFC, which usually runs fifteen to twenty minutes, already tries the patience of the wired generation.

Still, we put together a killer show, with great performances by Andy Park and the Kountry Katz,Holy Cow, Mother Nang, 600 Pounds of Sin, Remains Un Named, Disturbing The Peace,Stacee Lawson Band, Line Work, and HARRAH and a special duet by Jeff Ellis and Sasha Collette.

We also featured a music video that starred Pepper Fandango and was directed byEamon Hardiman. One of our short films was “Celebritol,” directed by Scott Elkins and starring Kitty Killton and Jack Dent, Jr. We also had the movie trailer for Diana Curry’s film,“Creature Of The Night.” A second short film and two pieces of animation come to us courtesy of RFC Big Shot, Frank Panucci.

This is all to set you up for the fact that our ninth anniversary show is nowhere near that ambitious. We will have fantastic new music videos by The Company Stores, Volt 9000 and Skull and Bird, plus we have live performances by Speedsuit and Tape Age. We’ve also got a trailer for an upcoming project by Ann Magnuson as well as animation and really neat suprises. So you definitely want to see that when it drops on Monday.

But this show was just a Herculean effort that I was not going to be able to duplicate this year. Read more about it HERE.

Holiday Weekend 

Image2The PopCulteer
July 3, 2015

It’s the big 4th of July holiday weekend and as a result, this week’s PopCulteer is going to be lazy and not have much content in it.

We do want to alert you that Monday, the 9th Anniversary episode of Radio Free Charleston will premiere here in PopCult, with music from The Company Stores, Speedsuit, Volt 9000, and more, plus a web series trailer by Ann Magnunson and animation. We’ll tell you all about that in the production notes Monday morning.

You may have noticed this year that we did not do a big FestivALL wrap up here in PopCult. That’s because we didn’t go to much of it. Basically, your PopCulteer attended Ann Magnunson’s show and ArtWalk and didn’t make it out to anything else. There was no sinister reason behind this. The first weekend of FestivALL, we traveled to the Marx Toy Convention and had loads of fun, which we told you about HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The second weekend, we were playing catch-up with other assignments and taking it easy. So for the first time since the very first FestivALL, the PopCult/RFC cameras did not roam Capitol Street during the Art Fair. This will give absence a chance to make the heart grow fonder and we will likely return next year to capture some of the cool street performances.

Ian's cool FestivALL piece

Ian’s cool FestivALL piece

Luckily, I did happen to wander by Ian Bode as he was working on his big FestivALL painting and even though I was barely a presence at FestivALL this year, he included me standing next to the giant bust of John Hodgeman. It’s always an honor to be included in one of Ian’s pieces.

Having built up your anticipation for next week’s cool stuff, let’s take a look at a sparsely-populated holiday weekend STUFF TO DO…

Free Music

I’m sure there’s more cover free music than this happening this weekend, but nobody’s bothered to tell anyone. Friday night, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and the Ryan Kennedy Trio will be Live On The Levee at Haddad Riverfront Park starting at 6:30 PM. At 8:00 PM, Marshall Petty will be at the Fifth Quarter.

Sunday evening, we’re looking forward to this…

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FRIDAY

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SATURDAY

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I know that there’s more stuff than this happening, with shows scheduled for The Blue Parrot and The Monkey Barrel all weekend, but this is all that we have handy graphics for as we go to publish.

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. We will have a special RFC flashback tomorrow and all our regular features. Enjoy your 4th of July holiday. Don’t blow up anything that doesn’t need blowin’ up.

WILLPOWER 

tumblr_nla53oaJYN1tbpid9o1_1280The PopCult Bookshelf

This week we’re going to take a quick look at, and highly recommend, Justin Cornell’s graphic novel-turned-webcomic, Willpower. Justin has been working on Willpower for more than three years now, and I’ll let him describe it…

William was a regular, 7 year old kid. Until he wasn’t.
Inheriting his powers by facing down oblivion and emerging unscathed, but inheriting his morality from Saturday morning super hero cartoons, he has trouble adjusting and coping with the reality of the world.

92b2afb5aa36d297dd1a6571111215381754380753Willpower is basically a superhero book, with a kid protaganist. But it’s not your typical superhero book. Justin is drawing Willpower in a style that isn’t in the traditional superhero mold.

The book is in black-and-white, with heavy tones, and Justin’s style is more along the lines of an independent book, looking almost like Manga at times, and showing the influence of Rick Geary at others. It is a refreshing change from mainstream comics with ‘roided-up heroes and coloring that buries the art under every possible color that the computer can spit out.

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Having spent three years working on the book with no feedback because the sotry has not yet been published, Justin decided to post one page a week, every Thursday, at his website, for free. Justin explains his reasons for doing this thusly…

I’m going to start releasing this as a webcomic. A lot of things lead to this, and it seems like they all weighed equally into the final decision. I took a while to find a management service; I wanted something simple (uncomplicated, but mildly customizable), that I could set and forget, with simple functions on both ends (me uploading it, anyone else looking at it).
I’m sitting on a pretty large stack of finished pages that aren’t going to see print for a while. (less and less I liked the idea of being on page , say, 150 without anyone really seeing the first page. I guess I sort of want to be able to prove I’m doing something.)
Nothing else has changed, the plan is still to print it as a single volume when it’s finished.

d5f026c3c783efa2cc7f2b7db5b8c677756604936This is a very smart idea. Fourteen pages in, I’m hooked. I can’t wait to see the entire story, and to have it in a format where I can read it all at once. For now, you can sample Willpower HERE. Check out Justin’s website HERE and visit his store, where he has the odd print or two for sale HERE.

When Willpower is released, PopCult will let you know how to get a copy. This is a fun story, with interesting implications and the art is a delightful departure from mundane genre fare.

 

More American-Made Fun 

10494987_1029391997072319_6063500351691819265_oThe PopCult Toybox

Some of the most fun reissued toys coming out these days are made by Tim Mee Toys. This long-lived toy company, part of Processed Plastics Co. of Montgomery, Illinois, teetered on the edge of oblivion until they were rescued by J. Lloyd International a few years ago.

In recent years, with a little creative guidance from Victory Buy, Tim Mee has had a major resurgence, producing reissues of their classic toys from the original molds with clever packaging and in new colors, and most amazingly of all–made right here in the USA. That’s a pretty major selling point considering the holiday we’re observing this coming weekend. We first wrote about Tim Mee Toys‘ reissue program last Christmas.

Tim Mee has three cool new products just released and you can find them for sale in their Amazon store. We were lucky enough to get our hands on some review samples.

10582856_1028100303868155_684163a8130664667394_oFirst up is the set with packaging that warms the cockles of my Subgenius little heart. People at Play is a set with six different figures depicting a classic All-American Whitebread family in various modes of recreation. Mom is gardening, Dad is smoking a pipe and carrying a hammer, Jr is tossing a football, Sis is cheerleading, Little Brother is playing fetch with the dog, and Little Sister is jumping rope while her cat looks on.

Mom and Dad, with a quarter for size comparison

Mom and Dad, with a quarter for size comparison

The set itself dates back to the 1970s, and may have been an attempt to cash in on the popularity of wholesome TV sitcoms like The Brady Bunch. The figures are in scale with Green Army Men and have a multitude of uses ranging from traditional dollhouse or toy train figures to post-apocalyptic zombie survivors or prisoners of alien warlords. The play value is high with these. You can pretend that Little Brother is playing a game with Dad, where he throws the ball to Dad, who then tries to smack it with his hammer.

The sculpting is terrific and the molds, which weren’t used as much as other figure molds, are in remarkably good shape. There’s an amazing amount of detail for this type of figure, from the stem on Dad’s pipe to the fringe on Sis’s Pom Poms.

If you read PopCult, you know I love this

If you read PopCult, you know I love this

What really makes the set special is the header card art. Inspired by a Facebook comment that said the Dad looks like J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, the iconic and enduring symbol of The Church of the Subgenius, the folks designing the packaging resorted to a 1950s clip-art look, very evocative of SubGenius imagery. The front of the header card depicts “People at Play: Atomic Family Figures.” However, flip it over and the back of the header depicts the family with green skin and a nuclear wasteland behind them as the “Post-Atomic Family.” The header art is copyright by FerretBee enterprises, and transforms this set from a curious, well-made hobby collectible into a terrific hipster gag gift.

Meet the family

Meet the family

Each bag of People at Play figures comes with 24 pieces, two complete sets of the family figures in two colors, putty and green. The green figres are perfect for customizers who want to zombify the family. As Tim Mee tells us, “These are real plastic toys, meant to be set up, knocked down, picked up and played with for years to come. Recommended for ages 5 and up.”

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11419304_1025459720798880_7222165365365455384_oNext up we have The Tim Mee COMBAT PATROL set. Produced for the first time in years, this set includes two Willys Jeeps and two anti-tank guns. The vehicles have smooth-rolling wheels with metal axles and measure nearly ten inches when hitched together. The standout feature with these vehicles is that they are realistically scaled to work with Green Army Men. As anyone who had Green Army Men growing up can probably remember, the vehicles were rarely in scale with the figures. Not so with these guys.

The molding and detail is sharp. The jeeps are made in an olive green color and will look great with your Army Men, or simply as a cool desktop toy for your office.

11402900_1025756627435856_8502338986849827995_oA little history from the Tim Mee Toys Facebook page: “Modeled after the Willys MB Army vehicle and the M3 37mm Anti-Tank Gun, Tim Mee first produced this toy in the 1950’s and modified the tooling several times over the decades until the final version seen here. We’re extra pleased with this reissue to reintroduce the classic stars and serial number stickers that were discontinued more than 20 years ago. As an extra bonus stickers include new mini-stars and a Tim Mee logo that can be used to identify your favorite hero vehicle. The stickers are supplied on a sheet and placement instructions are included on the back of the package. This set has been out of production since the 1990’s, so in honor of its’ triumphant return the manufacturer has restored and updated vintage header card art based on the iconic USMC Bantam Jeep test photo.”

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11425860_1025292460815606_7773252688556081611_oFinally we have The Tim Mee DESERT COMMAND Tank Division. Remember what I wrote about vehicles not always being in scale with the figures? Well, this set is an example of that, but it’s still a great toy. Actually, it’s three great toys. You get three M48A2 Patton tanks, molded in desert tan, complete with a set of stickers. The tanks are about 1/48 scale, which makes them a bit small to do combat with the Combat Patrol Jeeps, unless you decide to throw such thoughts out the window and just have fun.

1597961_1025763594101826_8251612340597464188_oThe detail on these tanks is pretty intense and the molds have been kept in great shape. These were first made in 1964, and were first made in this color in 1991.Speculation is that this toytank may have been produced in larger numbers than any other toy tank in the world.

You get three tanks in each package. The turrets rotate. The treads are not working treads, so these don’t roll freely, but that’s not going to bother any kids you give these to. Also, as with the Combat Patrol set and People at Play, these are 100% made in the USA.

All of the Tim Mee reissues, including sets not reviewed here, can be found at their Amazon store. As they’ve been taking inventory of their molds, the company has continued to find some amazing gems from the past. We can’t wait to see what they spring on us next.

Dive Into The RFC Archives with The Tune Smiths and Go Van Gogh on New Appalachian Radio 

RFCv3 #33

Opening Track: Big Money “Face The Flood”

Our theme for this week’s Radio Free Charleston streaming show on New Appalachian Radio is the first part of our summertime raid on the RFC Vault. Just last week I discovered a treasure trove of vintage, circa 1989/90 cassette tapes of local music that was submitted to the original Radio Free Charleston radio show. Some of it was played. Some of it wasn’t. This week our second hour will bring you five songs by The Tune Smiths, Mark Beckner’s side project while he was in Go Van Gogh. To balance out our second hour, we’re going to hear a very, very late-night set by Go Van Gogh, sloppily recorded live, at The Legendary Charleston Playhouse.

You can listen to Radio Free Charleston’s  fun and exciting streaming radio incarnation at 10 AM and 10 PM on Tuesdays (and again at midnight Thursday) at New Appalachian Radio, part of Voices of Appalachia. If you miss it, check our the archives for previously-aired shows. You can also listen to Radio Free Charleston Saturday at Midnight. Saturday, RFC airs for six hours, starting at The Witching Hour!

For the next few weeks our second hour will be filled with vintage local crunchiness, but until we get there, check out this great new local stuff…

Sasha Colette “You Had Me”
Groove Heavy “Don’t Stop Believin'”
Total Meltdown “Pictures of You”
The Brothersisters “Can’t Be Lost”

Doktor Steamly “The Needle Goes In”
DEVO “Clockout”
J Marinelli “Lockdown Town”
Sheldon Vance “Turn It Back Around”

The Company Stores “No Middle Name”
Mike Morningstar and Rick Roberts “Queen of Hearts”
Martyranny’s Collective Pulse “Banshee”
Whistlepunk “Satellite”

Wolfgang Parker “To Say You Love Me”

Hour Two: Go Van Gogh and The Tunesmiths

Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”

The Tune Smiths

“Say I’m A Fool”
“Incredible Shrinking Man”
“Ballet Dancer”
“Waited For Love”
“For Your Love”

Hitchock Circus “Show Pony”

Go Van Gogh Live At the Charleston Playhouse 1989

Monday Morning Art: Dolly Does Jessica 

Img_4698Your PopCulteer had a great time last night as Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School presented a session with Dolly Dagger paying tribute to Jessica Rabbit.

The next Dr. Sketchy session happens Tuesday at Spoiler Warning Games and Comics in Danville, West Virginia. Starting at 7:30 PM you can see Susie Sketchman show off her Super Hero Pride. This event is 18+ and you need to bring your own art supplies. 21+ BYOB. $10 at the door.

All art mediums are accepted as long as they don’t disturb anyone else. Artists of any skill level from the novice to the pro are invited to come create in this relaxed environment.

We have two digital paintings from last night. At the top of this post you see a digitally-assaulted Pop Art piece. Below it’s a digital oil. Click to enlarge.

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Sunday Evening Videos: FestivALL 2010 

RFC 102 "FestivAll 2010 Pt. One" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Radio Free Charleston has covered FestivAll in-depth since 2007, but our first really ambitious attempt at wall-to-wall coverage was our six-episode voyage into Cinéma vérité coverage of FestivAll 2010.  Today, on the last day of FestivALL 2015, we’re going to re-present, in one handy post, all six of our FestivAll 2010 shows. Above you see RFC 102, with The Nanker Phelge, Spurgie Hankins Band, The Kanawha Kordsmen and Bob Thompson.After the jump, you’ll find the remaining five episodes (for a total of over two hours of RFC at FestivAll) with music from Brian Diller, The VooDoo Katz, Comparsa, The Velvet Gypsies, Miss Behavin’, Option 22, Alasha Al-Qudwah, Mark Scarpelli, The Sweet Adelines, Actual Rhinocerous, Bare Bones, T.J. King and many more.  You’ll also see lots of the art, parades, theater and film that permeated the city.

 

RFC 103 "FestivAll 2010 Part Two" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

RFC 104 "FestivAll 2010 part Three" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

RFC 105 "FestivAll 2010 part four" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

RFC 106 "FestivAll 2010 part five" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

RFC 107 "FestivAll 2010 part six" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

The Marx Toy Convention Was A Hit! 

The man of the hour, Johnny West

The man of the hour, Johnny West

The PopCult Toybox

One week ago your PopCulteer was enjoying one of the best toy convention experiences of his life. Today we bring you photo and video to show you the highlights of The Marx Toy Convention (including “JohnnyCon”) from Wheeling and Moundsville.

First, Scott Stewart walks us through the “50 Years of Johnny West” exhibit at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling, West Virginia. Learn about fifty years of one of the country’s most memorable action figures, Johnny West, and The Best of the West toy line. Recorded June 20, 2015

Scott has a special page devoted to Johnny West’s 50th Anniversary up at his site, and it’s well worth checking out.

photo by Mykol Blackwell

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Marx Toy Company’s famous action figure, Johnny West, a new, Limted Edition Johnny West figure was made. This 2015 version of America’s Moveable Cowboy sported brand-new colors and was sanctioned by the current rights holders, making it an official celebratory figure, created from the original molds. Distribution was handled by James Wozniak of Classic Recasts.

Las Vegas artist, Suzanne Hackett-Morgan, came up with the idea of revisiting a previous collaborative project of hers, a photographic journey that followed a vintage Johnny West around the country, which he travelled via the Post Office. “Johnny Hits The Road” has been on exhibit at The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville since 2004.

For “Vacation Time,” rather than mailing one Johnny West figure around the country, Suzanne had collectors take their new 50th Anniversary Johnny West figures to their local landmarks, and compiled their photos into the slideshow you see here. The pictures are amusing, touching and most of all, fun. We invite you to join in on Johnny West’s 50th birthday celebration.

“Vacation Time” made its debut at The Marx Toy Museum on June 20, 2015.

Now it’s time for more photos of the wonders of the 2015 Marx Toy Convention. A special note: I have to apologize to James Wozniak, who had a fantastic display of great Marx repro toys for sale. Every time I walked by his table I started buying stuff and forgot to take pictures. However, I did get some good photos of everything else…

The starting point, the first cabinet of the

The starting point: the first part of the “Johnny West at 50″ exhibit at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum

Newer iterations of Johnny West

Newer iterations of Johnny West

Rainbow Johnnies

Rainbow Johnnies

Gotta show Thunderbolt some love

Gotta show Thunderbolt some love

Dealers had tons of stuff all over Kruger Street

Dealers had tons of stuff all over Kruger Street

Tom Heaton, of Vintage Toy Room and Johnny West book fame, brought in plenty of other classic toys

Tom Heaton, of Vintage Toy Room and Johnny West book fame, brought in plenty of other classic toys

Scott Stewart's display...in part

Scott Stewart’s display…in part

Some of Scott Stewart's offerings

Some more of Scott Stewart’s offerings

The Dollar Bins from CXR Ranch/Terri Coop

Some of the Dollar Bins from CXR /Terri Coop

Supercollector, Dave Roth (right) gettng ready to cut a deal

Supercollector, Dave Roth (right) gettng ready to cut a deal

Suzanne Hackett-Morgan, Terri Coop and Scott Stewart, holding court in the Johnny West room

Suzanne Hackett-Morgan, Terri Coop and Scott Stewart, holding court in the Johnny West room

The original

The original “Johnny Hits The Road” project from 2004, at The Marx Toy Museum

Saturday evening, the action moved to The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville. Seen here: Jason Turner, Francis Turner, Dave Roth, Suzanne Hackett-Morgan

Saturday evening, the action moved to The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville. Seen here: Jason Turner, Francis Turner, Dave Roth, Suzanne Hackett-Morgan

More of the crowd in the diner at The Marx Toy Museum

More of the crowd in the diner at The Marx Toy Museum

Grayson and Lee Bolling show off their custom Johnny West playset, based on a never-produced Marx set

Grayson and Lee Bolling show off their custom Johnny West playset, based on a never-produced Marx set

The custom box graphics

The custom box graphics

Chief Cherokee, Johnny West, Jane West and Flick and Flack, their dogs, in playset form

Chief Cherokee, Johnny West, Jane West and Flick and Flack, their dogs, in playset form

Tom Heaton, with Jason Turner

Tom Heaton, with Jason Turner

Part of the top-secret video of the saga of the April Dancer mold

Part of the top-secret video of the saga of the April Dancer mold

We leave you with a panoramic photo of many of us Marx Toy Convention attendees having dinner at TJ's Sports Bar in Wheeling.

We leave you with a panoramic photo of many of us Marx Toy Convention attendees having dinner at TJ’s Sports Bar in Wheeling. Swiped from Scott Stewart’s site

That’s not quite it for our coverage. We have tons of photos from Kruger Street and The Marx Toy Museum that you will see in the coming weeks. Next Saturday I’ll post photos of my haul from the convention. Needless to say, we had a blast, and can’t wait until next year.

 

FestivALL ArtWalk in Photos (with one video) 

Img_4659The PopCulteer
June 26, 2015

Last night the rain held off and a wonderful FestivALL ArtWalk happened in Downtown Charleston. Today is all about images from that, even though your humble PopCulteer only made it to about half the galleries. We even have a surprise video performance that I stumbled onto.

Unlike past ArtWalks, I actually remembered to take pictures of the people at ArtWalk, so we’ll kick things off with “The People of ArtWalk”, then we’ll poke around in a few galleries. Captions will be dropped in where I have something to say.

This week your PopCulteer simply has too much stuff to do, so this week we’re not going to have time to put together “Stuff To Do.” Check the calendar page at The Charleston Gazette and if you’re on Facebook, scoot over to Charleston Together for tips on what’s going down this weekend.

Before we jump into the photo essay, check out this bonus PopCult Instant Video of Kevin Scarbrough street performing in front of Modern By Design with a cover of The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ classic, “Hell.”

People of ArtWalk

Hale Street, in front of Alt Art Gallery

Hale Street, in front of Alt Art Gallery

Apartment Earth, another healthy crowd of art patrons

Apartment Earth, another healthy crowd of art patrons

Alt-Art Gallery was wall-to-wall peoples

Alt-Art Gallery was wall-to-wall peoples

Susie Sketchman promoting Sunday's Dr. Sketchy's session at DigiSo

Susie Sketchman promoting Sunday’s Dr. Sketchy’s session at DigiSo

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Art Emporium was packed solid

Art Emporium was packed solid

Part of a crowd rushing into The Purple Moon

Part of a crowd rushing into The Purple Moon

Kevin again

Kevin again

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Someone in this picture has a CD coming out today

People on the street, while Ian Bode paints

Someone in this picture has a CD coming out today

Someone in this picture has a CD coming out today

The No Pants Players turned up in front of Apartment Earth

The No Pants Players turned up in front of Apartment Earth

Lee Hale and Brian Hatcher doing something unmentionable

Lee Hale and Brian Hatcher doing something unmentionable

Tony Slack and Jeff Bukovinsky, improvising

Tony Slack and Jeff Bukovinsky, improvising

More steet art. It was all over the freakin' place

More steet art. It was all over the freakin’ place

Look, there's Ian Bode again!

Look, there’s Ian Bode again!

Alt-Art Gallery

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Apartment Earth

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Art Emporium

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The Purple Moon/Modern By Design

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That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Next week get ready for the ninth anniversary of Radio Free Charleston!

 

 

 

 

Agent 23 Skidoo slides into street fair 

By MEGAN KENNEDYDAILY MAIL STAFF

He's a man of many names who has toured the United States and beyond, soothing the growing pains of childhood for his young audience of listeners.

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, also known as "Cactus," writes, performs and improvises music geared toward children and their families, tackling social anxieties some kids may face.

Donning trademark purple suits, he and other members of his crew will perform in front of the Kanawha County Public Library on Capitol Street at the Children's Art Fair at the children's stage at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday.

FestivALL has had its eye on Agent 23 for about three years and is pleased to have nailed down the popular musician, said Larry Groce, co-director of FestivALL.

"He's a high-quality, high-energy act that I think will engage the kids," he said.

Self-described as positive, surrealist and hip-hop, Agent 23 said he wants his music to inspire children to "never lose their sense of wonder."

"Every life on earth is unique and is a unique adventure," he said, wanting children to "be proud of who they are."

"These days, there's a narrow idea of hip-hop," Agent 23 said. "People see it as materialistic or super-hard," but it doesn't have to be that way, he said.

Agent 23's music style fits well into the overall message of FestivALL for children, said Groce, as it's the festival's goal to spark imagination and understanding that it's "a good world out there."

Based in California, Agent 23 has toured the country, with a following to back him. In December, he was nominated for a Grammy for his album "The Perfect Quirk."

Along with Agent 23's good rapport, Groce said the musician's nomination "certainly helped" the festival's decision to book him for Sunday's slot.

The Sunday show kicks off his two-month East Coast tour, which will lead him into Canada.

He's looking forward to the Charleston performance.

"It looks like an amazing festival," he said.

His 13-year-old daughter, Saki, or "MC Fireworks," is also no stranger to the stage, accompanying her father on some of his performances.

"I've just been watching her grow up," he said, though it didn't start out that way.

As Agent 23 became more recognized in the music industry with a much larger group called GFE, which he has since stepped away from, the more time he spent away from his family, he said.

"I just wanted to create something together with her," he said, adding that the duo was positively received.

"That blew up more than anything I've ever done,' he said.

Though he has enjoyed having his daughter by his side, she needs to channel her creative side to school work and spending time with friends, he said.

In 20 years since Agent 23 began his music career, he has created four studio CDs, one live CD, a record and even his own brand of hot sauce, "Hot Lava."

"It's kind of like my music, hot," he said.

Inspired by his song, "Hot Sauce," Smoking J's, of Asheville, N.C., approached the musician about the idea.

Those interested can visit his website at secretagent23skidoo.com for tour dates, photos and music.

Contact writer Megan Kennedy at megan.kennedy@dailymailwv.com or 304-343-4886. Follow her at www.twitter.com/wvschools

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