The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

When Catholicism and Fashion Collide: A Night At The Met Gala

Jun 6, 2018
Yves Saint Laurent, Statuary vestment for the Virgin of El Rocco, ca. 1985
Courtesy of David Morgan

It is probably hard to picture an event that would include the archbishop of New York, the Kardashians and Rihanna wearing a papal hat. But that eclectic crew is just a sample of the guests Anna Wintour assembled for the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit, affectionately called the Met Gala.

MAD Magazine Cover from October, 1972
MAD Magazine / Flickr/Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/46ZanQ

Former MAD Magazine editor Nick Meglin died at his home in Durham Saturday, June 2 at the age of 82. Meglin worked at MAD as an editor for nearly 50 years before retiring in 2004. Host Frank Stasio pays tribute to Meglin, who was one of his creative inspirations and a dear friend.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

In less than one month, full-time state employees in North Carolina can expect a minimum wage boost to $15 per hour. It is one of the measures in the new state budget that was rushed through by Republican legislators last week in a process that did not allow amendments.

Courtesy of The Historic Magnolia House

The Magnolia House has a rich history in Greensboro. In the 1950s, it was one of the few places that welcomed African-Americans traveling between Richmond and Atlanta. Its guest list includes stars from Duke Ellington and Ike and Tina Turner to James Brown and heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles.

Courtesy of Carol Cole

Carol Cole was a Southern girl who came of age in the 1960s and did what she felt was expected of her. She found a good doctor to marry, had children and spent her days taking care of other people’s needs. She took her first art class in the early ‘70s, and even though her mother told her she did not have an artistic bone in her body, Cole decided she wanted to be an artist.

Courtesy of Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets

Magpie Thief is a stripped down folk-duo featuring Greensboro-based singer-songwriters Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets. For Stewart and Sheets, the heat of summer inspires some of their most creative work. They escape the sun and cozy up indoors in cool living rooms. As this summer approaches, Stewart and Sheets are hoping to veer away from their raw and eclectic folk sound and experiment with other genres, including the blues.

Courtesy of Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Even though she grew up in a small, historically black community in Mississippi, Kimberly Johnson heard plenty of conversations about racism and discrimination.

Kim Yong Chol, left, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting, Thursday, May 31, 2018, in New York.
Seth Wenig / AP Photo

The week kicked off with White House officials working overtime to save the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been photographed in New York enjoying dinner and drinks with the leader’s right hand man, Kim Yong-chol. Will the stepped up efforts save the summit?

Yusuf Salim, a dishwasher in the mosque restaurant and renowned jazz musician in Durham, organized a group for children called “the clean-up squad.” They cleaned up the neighborhood in return for food provided by the mosque and the community.
Courtesy of Jeff Ensminger

 The Museum of Durham History calls itself a museum without walls. It collaborates with the community to curate exhibits that reflect the area’s unique stories. So when educator Naomi Feaste walked in and suggested an exhibit on the local mosque, Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center,  curatorial consultant Katie Spencer was eager to get involved. Afterall, Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center was blocks from the museum and has been a staple for community members and local businesses for decades.

Phil Cook's album cover for "People Are My Drug."
Courtesy of Phil Cook

 Phil Cook moved to North Carolina from Wisconsin over a decade ago. Even though he is from the Midwest, Cook says he has always been a student of Southern music. He had romantic ideas about the South from a young age, even with no experience of the region.

The inside of a cell at central prison.
Courtesy of Rose Hoban

Is the North Carolina Department of Public Safety breaking its own rules? A 2016 policy change prohibits inmates with mental health issues from being held in solitary confinement for more than 30 days. So why was Devon Davis, who is developmentally delayed and has mental illness, kept in solitary for more than five months last year?

Poster image of art of Monét Noelle Marshall stuffing money in her mouth.
Derrick Beasley

Artist Monét Noelle Marshall has been working intensely on a new three-part performance art project: “Buy It Call It.” It explores the price people put on their bodies and souls and how capitalism uniquely impacts women and people of color.

In 'Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton's Mountain Dream' author Graham Hoppe explores how the country-music star's theme-park is reclaiming Appalachian narratives and uplifting the community.
Courtesy of Graham Hoppe

Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s mountain, dream theme park in Sevier County, Tennessee. On the surface, the concept conjures up images of a kitchy and over-the-top Appalachian amusement park. But a new book by writer and folklorist Graham Hoppe looks behind a narrative of Appalachian stereotypes and reveals a place that has served and nourished a community and family for years.

NC State House
Courtesy of NCGA

Republican legislative leaders released their plan for the state budget late Monday. The bill includes a 6.5 percent average pay hike for teachers, raises for full-time state employees, and a $60 million fund for continued Hurricane Matthew recovery.

The Wild Bison truck stop, pictured here at night, is where Rao began her reporting for her novel.
Courtesy of Maya Rao / WUNC

Before 2008, western North Dakota was a faded frontier. The vast and sparsely-populated area had been steadily losing population since the Great Depression. But the discovery of the Bakken oil fields, in combination with new fracking technology, paved the way for what Maya Rao calls a modern-day gold rush.

Kerri Mubaraak with participants from Hunter Elementary School in Greensboro
Courtesy of Kerri Mubaraak / WUNC

Kerri Mubaarak is the artistic director of Greensboro-based Scrapmettle Entertainment Group. Their Blueprints program gives youth the opportunity to create, write and produce arts projects from inception to performance. One day she received a call from educators at Ecole Actuelle Bilingue primary school in Senegal saying: our fourth and fifth graders are interested in radio, can you come up with a course of study for them?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a theater marquee.
Mark Miller (CC-BY-SA)

 

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” spurred one of the biggest cult movies phenomenons. But the sci-fi musical mashup did not impress at the box office when it opened in 1975. In fact, a Halloween show in New York City and a national rollout of the film was canceled due to terrible reviews. Decades later, the film has been running continuously in movie theaters for longer than any other movie — with many of the showings happening at midnight on weekends.

Hogs in a large-scale farming barn.
Public Domain

North Carolina’s pork industry has been in the spotlight since a jury awarded tens of millions to 10 people living close to one Eastern North Carolina hog farm. The money was awarded as nuisance payments for noxious odors, floating fecal dust and other byproducts of large-scale farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO’s.

headshot of Bishop Michael Curry
www.dionc.org

Bishop Michael Curry became one of the stars at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after delivering a rousing 14-minute-long sermon at the event. 

Curry is the first African-American to head the Episcopal church and the first American to preach at a British royal wedding. 

A former employee at Candler Living Center, a facility for mentally ill and disabled adults outside Asheville, N.C., contracted with Recovery Connections for workers. It houses nearly 30 residents.
Courtesy of Nancy Pierce / Reveal

For years, clients who sought treatment for addiction at a North Carolina-based rehab program found themselves in a system of exploitative labor, according to a new investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Michael C. Munger speaking
Courtesy of Michael C. Munger / WUNC

In 2010 the first Uber passenger was picked up in San Francisco. The business model quickly took off, and one year later was available in New York and Chicago and then went international.

Isabel Taylor with guitar
Courtesy of Isabel Taylor

Isabel Taylor wanted to perform on stage for a long time. So long, in fact, that it became one of those dreams that lingered until it felt more and more distant. So she finally set a deadline: by 40 she would take the stage at an open mic.

A group of protesters outside of the Greensboro coliseum before R Kelly is scheduled to perform.
Skip Foreman / AP Photo

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit Monday accusing R.Kelly of sexual battery and knowingly infecting her with herpes. This is the latest in a decades-long string of allegations against the R&B artist that detail an array of misconduct, including his repeatedly holding women against their will in a “sex cult.” Hollywood leaders recently renewed the #MuteRKelly movement to demand that companies who profit from his music cut ties.

A promotional poster for the 1959 Douglas Sirk film 'Imitation of Life'
Reynold Brown

This year US consumers are estimated to have spent an average of $180 each for Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. This month Movies on the Radio gives moms a tribute money can not buy with a show devoted to mothers.

Representative Nelson Dollar of Wake County listens to debate on the state budget during general session at the State Capitol on June 21, 2017.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Last year the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly voted to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on the state budget plan.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

More than 15,000 North Carolina teachers traveled to Raleigh last week for a teacher rally. The event brought national attention to the state’s education budget and teachers’ demands for more resources and support staff to increase student safety.

Misumena Vatia, or Crab spiders, are able to change color to blend in with their surroundings.
Sean McCann / University of Chicago Press

Despite being an entomologist, Eleanor Spicer Rice was not a likely candidate to write a book about spiders. She is terrified of the creatures. Or at least she was until she partnered up with acclaimed arachnologist Chris Buddle of McGill University.

Ashley Thomas posing with athletes from the Valor Games
Bridge2Sports

Each year the Valor Games come to the Triangle and give disabled veterans and those in the armed services the opportunity to compete in sports that help them build strength, confidence and tenacity.

photo of eastman amongst red and blue baloons, speaking at a podium
Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Female candidates swept primary elections in Pennsylvania and Nebraska this week. Will this wave continue into the November midterm elections? And Wednesday’s teacher rally in Raleigh is part of a wave of teacher protests in red states. What impact could this have on the midterms?

photo of pauli murray in her later years in priest's attire
UNC Digital Library and Archives

Pauli Murray is an often-overlooked civil rights trailblazer. She staged her first “protest” at 5 years old  when her aunt gave her grandfather three pancakes while she only received one. Murray was arrested for sitting in the whites-only section on a Virginia bus 15 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

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