Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Author Mary Shelley’s life holds enduring intrigue. Born in 1797, Shelley was raised by famed intellectuals and trained to think in ways that stretched far beyond most women in her time, and she was undoubtedly a rebel. In her teens, Shelley took up a lover, writer Percy Shelley, who would later become her husband. Their escapades with literary friends fueled Mary Shelley’s work.

Betty Wright - My First Time Around
ATCO Records

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

Mourad Lahlou came to America from Morocco, not to work in restaurants, but to study economics, until he missed the taste of his food so much that he decided to become a chef. And in his restaurants, he makes beautiful versions of Moroccan food – like traditional hand-rolled couscous and modern, jet-black aerated smoked eggplant purees. Now, he and his chef Louis Maldonado are opening a new restaurant called Amara, where the food is a mix of Moroccan and Mexican flavors – two cuisines with more in common that you might think.

To honor Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday, the nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives set forth to print and distribute one million copies of Douglass’ historic slave narrative. They initially had no idea how they would generate public interest. Then Donald Trump was quoted saying, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”  Suddenly Ken Morris, a descendant of Douglass and co-founder of the nonprofit, was fielding non-stop calls from the press, and his history lesson for the president went viral.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Tearing At The Seams
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

headshot of pierce freelon
Mark Maya Photography

Pierce Freelon is known to many in the Triangle for his ambitious projects and constant stream of new ideas.

If he is not performing onstage with his band The Beast, teaching about the intersection of politics and hip-hop, or heading a rap cypher in downtown Durham, he is likely leading workshops at Blackspace: a digital makerspace that offers black and brown youth the opportunity to create multimedia projects that reflect their identities.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

photo of joy harjo
Karen Kuehn

Critics call Joy Harjo “the first lady of American Indian poetry.” But Harjo is more than a poet. She is also an author, musician and playwright. She is a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Mvskoke (Muscogee) Nation.

photo of leeda 'lyric' jones playing guitar onstage
Courtesy of Leeda 'Lyric' Jones

Leeda “Lyric” Jones honed her skills as a writer, singer and performer busking on the streets of downtown Asheville. At first hesitant to play for strangers, she quickly realized her original lyrics and soulful style helped her forge connections with those who needed it the most.

A picture of Jphono1 and The Chevrons
Kevin Clark

Carrboro-based JPhono1 used to be a solo act. But now, Jphono1 and The Chevrons is officially a band.

The 2016 release Time In The Chevron was head-honcho John Harrison's first experiment in using a band for his Jphono1 project. Well, he must have thought it was a good idea because he's back with an additional band member for the new recording Magic Meadow Hour. It's out now and if you like Dinosaur, Junior, Kurt Vile or Neil Young it could be right up your alley. 

Sound Opinions: The Legend of Captain Beefheart

Apr 12, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the legend of Captain Beefheart, a musician with a larger-than-life personality who blurred the lines of music, art and noise. Also, they talk with longtime Captain Beefheart collaborator Gary Lucas and share their thoughts on why Beefheart's music, however difficult, is of value.

photo of a young man wearing a varsity jacket with the letters 'mdtmt' on the back
Courtesy of Keynon Lake

Many know Bennie Lake as one of the original Harlem Globetrotters who traveled the world entertaining audiences with their comedy and athleticism. But for his son Keynon, Bennie was a role model of what a man should be: an engaged citizen with a commitment to helping young people through his career as a social worker.

Tech companies in Silicon Valley are under the microscope for not living up to their idealistic pledges to save the world. On this week’s episode of Reveal, we investigate companies on the cutting edge that are struggling to solve some old-fashioned problems: Worker safety at Tesla, and diversity at Google and beyond.

American Tobacco Music
American Tobacco

This year, WUNC's co-sponsored On The Lawn series expands to include not only concerts "on the lawn" at American Tobacco but also "Music Down Under" and "Sounds of Bull City."

Most of the concerts will be on the grassy lawn beneath the Lucky Strike tower as in years past. Others will happen at near the outfield section of Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Home Run Patio) or at the Down Under Patio near Saladelia.

The events are free and open to the public. You're encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the "on the lawn" events. No bottles allowed.

American Tobacco Music and Mill Music Sessions
American Tobacco / Rocky Mount Mills

Lawns and patios in Durham and a mill in Rocky Mount will reverberate with the sounds of music this summer in a series of concerts co-sponsored by WUNC.

Mill Music Sessions Return To Rocky Mount For 2018

Apr 9, 2018
Mill Music Sessions 2018
Rocky Mount Mills

It's that time of year to load up the lawn chairs, blankets, family and friends and head out to Rocky Mount Mills for a summer series of concerts co-sponsored by WUNC. Food trucks can help complete your picnic.

In partnership with Schoolkids Records, the series will showcase a range of North Carolina-based musicians.

photo of Erin Byrd
Courtesy of Erin Byrd

Activist Erin Byrd grew up moving from one military base to the next – from Virginia to Texas to South Korea to Texas to Germany and back to the U.S. again. Throughout her childhood, Byrd witnessed military families get free dental care, free health care and reduced-price groceries. The government supplied these basic services to the military population, and she wondered why the whole country did not have the same benefits.

In 2016, the Justice Department alleged that Malaysian officials stole billions of dollars from their people and funneled some of it through the United States. Reveal teamed up with Washington D.C.’s public radio station, WAMU, to dig into one of the largest investigations ever by the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. It’s a tale that features cameos from Leonardo DiCaprio, Donald Trump, the world’s largest yacht, a Malaysian playboy known for his lavish spending in New York nightclubs, and – as you might imagine – lots of Champagne.

photo of sarah shook and her band
John Gessner / Bloodshot Records

Chapel Hill-artist Sarah Shook did not follow an obvious path to country music. She grew up in a conservative Christian household, listened primarily to religious music and only discovered country greats like Wanda Jackson and Buck Owens in her 20s. She was also painfully shy as a kid, so when she first took the stage in early adulthood, it was a shock to her own mother.

Cold case file
JULIENNE ALEXANDER / CRIMINAL

When the Dallas Police Department fails to find the person responsible for the death of a college sophomore, her best friend steps in to solve the case.  

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers
Courtesy of John Gessner

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are back with their second release. Years is the follow-up to Sidelong which came out on Bloodshot Records in 2017. 

photo of an orchestra rehearsal
Courtesy of Peter Askim

April 4, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King was shot on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. The Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra of North Carolina State University will honor this anniversary in their upcoming program, “The Dream Is Alive: Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.” All of the music included in the event was written by African-American composers.

photo of a man with a shotgun standing in a small boat with several dead nutria (large rodents).
Courtesy of Quinn Costello

They weigh 20 pounds, have bright orange buck teeth, and look like a cross between a beaver and a rat. The nutria is an invasive rodent that has become a scourge on ecosystems in Louisiana and elsewhere. In the new documentary “Rodents of Unusual Size,” filmmakers track how nutria first arrived in Louisiana and follow the work of hunters who kill the rodents for money and to protect the environment.

Hurricane Maria raked nearly all of Puerto Rico's agriculture off the island when the storm pummeled the country in September 2017. Farmland was destroyed, home gardens were devastated, trees lost all of their leaves - even their bark. The people there are now working to rebuild not only their cities, but their food supply. As field producer and contributor Daniella Cheslow reports, some agronomists hope a donation of half a million dollars in seeds will cultivate local gardening and farming. Listen on audio player above.

PHOTO GALLERY

The unfortunate reality about seeds is that most are not bred and selected for flavor. Rather, they are chosen specifically for the yield, uniformity and shelf stability of their fruit or vegetable. Chef Dan Barber wants to change that. The chef-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns wants to help create seeds that bring forth new foods with unexpected and unique flavors. Which is why he - along with seedsman Matthew Goldfarb and seed breeder Michael Mazourek - cofounded of a new seed company called Row 7.

Sound Opinions: The Regrettes

Apr 4, 2018

The Regrettes are a young band that blends 1960s girl group sensibilities with the edge of Bikini Kill. Their debut album, Feel Your Feelings, Fool! was a Best of 2017 pick for both Jim and Greg. The Regrettes joined Greg for a performance and conversation.

book cover picturing a women jumping into the ocean
Crown Publishing

Women of a certain age are frequently treated like the best moments of their lives are over.  But that is not the case for the protagonists in Frances Mayes’ novels, or Mayes herself. She was a professor and little-known poet until the release of “Under the Tuscan Sun” (Broadway Books/1997) which catapulted her career. Mayes was well into her 50s at the time, and still lit with her own personal fire and passion, she has continued to send her characters on a journey to find the success that eluded them in their youth.

Above, left to right: Passport to Chile, Sidecar Called Desire.
Cocktails from The One-Bottle Cocktail | Photos: Kelly Puleio

Nothing says "fresh" like the flavor of spring vegetables that we're starting to see pop up now in markets and stores: asparagus, radishes, avocado, artichokes and spring greens. For many people, the go-to cooking method for these veggies is to steam or sauté them. But how about braising or roasting them? Ashley Moore is Senior Editor for Cook’s Country magazine and test cook for the Cook's Country television show. She says the idea of cooking the vegetables either low and slow or by blasting them with high heat may seem shocking, but the result is magnificent.

Actors Carlos Alcala, Sarita Ocón, Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Samuel Ray Gates, and Alex Givens pose by a brick wall in a promo picture for the play 'Leaving Eden'
HuthPhoto / Courtesy Playmakers Repertory Company

What does it feel like to be excluded? Minority communities in North Carolina have experienced economic and political exclusion at various points throughout history, and the new Playmakers Repertory Company production “Leaving Eden” brings that familiar story to light.

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