Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

For our episode “How Chefs Holiday at Home,” we asked some of our favorite restaurant chefs what they cook for their family for the holidays. One extremely satisfying dish we heard about and tasted came from Victor Albisu, chef/owner of Taco Bamba and Poca Madre. He showed Francis Lam how to make ajiaca, a Peruvian pepper potato soup. Francis joined Victor in kitchen of Taco Bamboo to learn how to make the dish and talk more about Victor’s holiday feasts past and present.

In America, there is one candy that enjoys two often separate successes. It manages to carry a sense of sophistication, while at the same time being everpresent on drugstore and grocery shelves. We’re talking about Ferrero Rocher. You likely know – and love – the company’s trademark golden-wrapped chocolate hazelnut candy. But how did it reach this superstar status?

There’s nothing like the holiday season to get us thinking about cooking, food and family traditions. We’re always curious to learn what sort of holiday meals our chef friends grew up eating and now make for their loved ones. Matty Matheson is a Canadian chef, known for hosting Viceland’s It’s Suppertime and Dead Set on Life. He is also the author of the New York Times best-selling Matty Matheson: A Cookbook.

The holidays are a time when families gather joyfully in the kitchen, surrounding a warm oven, making the season all the sweeter with baked goods. No one personifies the joy of holiday baking better than chef Christina Tosi, founder/owner of Milk Bar bakeries and author of new dessert book Milk Bar All About Cake.

If you're like us, you have a few food-loving folks left on your shopping list for the holidays. You may be looking for something small or you may be looking for something that will last a lifetime. Either way Jack Bishop has you covered. Jack is Chief Creative Officer at America's Test Kitchen. Our Managing Producer Sally Swift put him on the spot for holiday gift ideas - from stocking stuffers to splurges. He gave her a list of five favorite kitchen tools for the home cook and a bit about why they'd make a wonderful present this holiday season.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros Pictures

Films that draw viewers into the gritty highs and lows of the music world are having a big cinematic moment. There is the new head-banging Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” yet another reincarnation of “A Star is Born,” featuring pop icon Lady Gaga, and the forthcoming “Rocketman” that takes on the rise of Elton John.

The Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular: 2018

Dec 13, 2018

Whether you've been naughty or nice, Sound Opinions has a new sack full of holiday music for you. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot welcome back record crate explorer and Christmas music aficionado Andy Cirzan for our annual Holiday Spectacular. This year, Andy celebrates his 30th season of hunting for Christmas music you'll hear nowhere else!

Taylor Negron
Joshua Bushueff

Simon Doonan stirs up controversy with small details on his Christmas ball decorations.

Mark Redmond works with a homeless shelter in Vermont.

Ophira Eisenberg wanted to meet Santa Claus.

Taylor Negron grows up “California Gothic” and must balance the joy of owning a monkey with his fear of Charles Manson.

'Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features' by Adrian Piper
Cropped image courtesy of Adrian Piper / Wikimedia Commons -

Feminist artists in the 1960s and ‘70s were tired of the dominant artistic representations of their bodies: idealized curves symbolizing fertility or pictures of dolled-up women used in marketing campaigns. They wanted to make work that was brash and unapologetic — art that pushed boldy against the societal roles that women were traditionally assigned. Their new creations allowed them to start a conversation with one another outside of a male-dominated system. 

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 station, WUNC Music.

On this special episode, we take a look at the legacy of Big Star and focus on the 2017 tribute album Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live...And More.

Uma Avva remembers attending elementary school in Fayetteville and being asked: Are you black or white? She was neither. Avva’s family moved from India to the South in the 1960s, at a time when there were only three boxes to check on standardized forms: white, black, or other.

The cover for 'Amidst This Fading Light.'
Courtesy of Rebecca Davis

How does a community move on after unspeakable tragedy? Author Rebecca Davis explores this question in her debut novel “Amidst This Fading Light” (SFK Press/2018). The historical fiction book is loosely based on a 1929 murder in Davis’ small hometown of Germanton, North Carolina.

Guts! Courage.

Dec 10, 2018
Photo by Jason Falchook

AJ Jacobs gets an unwanted modeling gig.

Aleathia Brown makes a bold aesthetic change.

Kwong Yue Yang tries to muster the courage to meet his idol.

Nisha Coleman responds to a threat.

Leonard Lee Smith struggles to survive his first California Christmas.

Courtesy of Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi was born with nystagmus, a visual condition where the eyes are constantly in spasm. It took Calvocoressi a while to learn how to walk and balance, so the young child spent a lot of time sitting on the floor, daydreaming and observing the world. 

Best Albums of 2018

Dec 7, 2018

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite albums of 2018. They also hear picks from Sound Opinions producers and listeners.

Beloved North Carolinian musical legend Nina Simone graces the cover of Oxford American's Southern Music Issue.
Amanda Magnus

The latest issue of the Oxford American magazine is all about North Carolina’s musical past and present, from Doc Watson to Rapsody. The issue features essays on musicians from the Tar Heel State from writers across the South. It also features a companion CD full of samples of the state’s iconic music. 

A jazzy twist on a classic, Marcus Anderson blends music, coffee and entrepreneurship with his brand.
Courtesy of Marcus Anderson

Marcus Anderson is a fusion jazz artist whose performances include not only playing the saxophone, but also singing and choreography. But Anderson is more than an artist — he is also an entrepreneur. In 2015 he started a coffee line called AND Coffee. And he is in the process of organizing a jazz festival in Asheville for August, 2019 called “Jazz AND Coffee Escape.” 

A picture of Michael Rank
Bowie Ryder /

Michael Rank is doubling down on his musical move to funk and soul. The Triangle-based singer/songwriter was known for his Stones-y, outlaw country swagger and dusty folk on a series of recordings before pivoting to Sly and The Family Stone and D'Angelo on last year's Another Love.

Sound Opinions: The Best Albums of 2018

Dec 6, 2018

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite albums of 2018. They also hear picks from Sound Opinions producers and listeners.

Monumental Lies

Dec 6, 2018

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but the Confederacy didn't completely die with it. Monuments, shrines and museums are found throughout the South. We teamed up with The Investigative Fund to visit dozens of them and found that for devoted followers they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them. That twisted history is also shared with schoolchildren on class trips. And you won't believe who's funding these site to keep them running. Plus, the story of New Mexico’s great monument controversy.

Photo of women's history trail in Western NC, cutting through red tape and blazing new trails.
Courtesy of Karen Lawrence

A new women’s history trail in Franklin, North Carolina highlights the overlooked stories of entrepreneurial women in the western part of the state. The trail celebrates both individual women and women’s organizations, like the Main Street Milliners: a group of hat-makers and business owners who worked in Franklin in the 19th and early 20th centuries — a time when women rarely owned businesses. 

Photo of Amy Ray
Carrie Schrader

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 station, WUNC Music.

This time we take a look at Amy Ray's 'Didn't Know A Damn Thing,' from her latest solo album Holler. The song starts off like a country song complete with banjo, pedal steel and two-step back beat. But as the lyrics build, out comes a story about a white kid growing up in the Jim Crow South.

Listen to the episode here:

Photo of J.D. Cortese
Courtesy of J.D. Cortese

From the mid-1970s to early 1980s, tens of thousands of Argentines who were believed to be political dissidents were kidnapped, tortured and killed by military and security forces. Those who were never seen again are called los desaparecidos. 

Moonshine: America's original rebel spirit

Dec 4, 2018

Moonshine is a spirit that goes by a long list of nicknames: white lightning, corn liquor, stump water, skullcracker, wildcat, ruckus juice, and that is a short list. Moonshine, which is most often distilled from corn, has a deep connection to the history of the United States and is seeing a recent boom in popularity. John Schlimm is the author of Moonshine: A Celebration of America’s Original Rebel Spirit.

A picture of singer-songwriter Doug Paisley.
LP Photographs

Doug Paisley's new record Starter Home is a quiet beauty. The Canadian musician will remind you of Guy Clark, John Prine and Gordon Lightfoot, even as he puts his own stamp on a long tradition of singer-songwriters.

He recorded the new songs over a few years at several home studios in Toronto. Paisley will be at The Cat's Cradle Back Room in Carrboro tonight. 

Enter to win The Great Minnesota Cookie Book

Dec 3, 2018

December 2018 Giveaway

Every month, The Splendid Table helps listeners equip their kitchens, stock their pantries, and fill their bookshelves. This month, three (3) winners will receive one (1) copy of The Great Minnesota Cookie Book by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson. The retail value is $24.95.

Enter before December 31, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

Nathaniel Rateliff “Tearing at the Seams"

Shambling their way through the Triangle and into your heart this December.
Courtesy of Ellis Dyson & The Shambles

Growing up, Ellis Dyson loved listening to music on the radio until many of the songs started to sound the same. They had similar beats and were often formulaic. This epiphany led him to old-time jazz and artists like Jelly Roll Morton, and eventually to playing his own music. He began on the fiddle, moved on to the banjo, and started his own band as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill