Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

A white man with grey hair in front of a microphone. The microphone is grey and the stand holding the microphone is black. The man has black circular glasses.
Ben McKeown

Frank Stasio bids WUNC goodbye today as he hosts his last live show before retirement. Stasio hosted thousands of live conversations in his 14 years as permanent host of The State of Things, with guests ranging from politicians and musicians to academics and activists.

Four Black men in a boat rowing in the water.
Richard Schultz / Courtesy of 50 Egg Films

A Louisiana family is sounding the alarm over the disappearance and death of 15-year-old Quawan "Bobby" Charles. The teen was missing for days before being found facedown in a creek. Local law enforcement officers say the boy drowned, but Bobby’s family says his disfigured corpse tells a different story. Host Frank Stasio talks about this 2020 death that calls to mind the 1955 murder of Emmett Till with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal.

A brown skinned woman with two hands over her face, the hand on the right side is white and the hand on the left side is black. The same woman is also shown at the bottom right corner of the picture with her head and hands up, her mouth is also open .
Seeco

Activists and artists continue fighting to awaken U.S. arts institutions to the foundational Blackness of Rock, EDM and Punk. The whitewashing of music and dance is a supremacist project throughout the Americas. Choreographers and instructors oftentimes ignore the West African traditions undergirding salsa, merengue, tango, and bachata.

A white man looking downwards into the camera. The white man has a white beard and round, black glasses on. He has a stern look on his face
Frank Stasio

What movie is the top of the list for a Buffalo-born, Durham-residing, grandchild-adoring talk show host? For host Frank Stasio’s grand “Movies on the Radio” finale, listeners have submitted their guesses. Is Frank a fan of car chases and cheap beer? Then it might be “Smokey and the Bandit.”

An older Black woman standing in chef's gear: a black apron with a black buttoned shirt underneath and a black cap. The woman is looking off to the right and is wearing glasses
Courtesy of Sprouthouse Agency

When Hanan Shabazz was a child in her grandmother’s Asheville home, she remembers their house as the one where those in need of a good meal would come to be freely fed. The experience was formative for her as she grew up and opened Shabazz Restaurant in the early 1970s. The restaurant was part of Asheville's thriving Black business scene in the historic neighborhood known as The Block until urban renewal forced its closure. 

Friedman and Sow leaned against eachother and laughing outside.
Milan Zrnic

Friendships carry us through the high and lows of life. From celebrating our successes to helping salve the sting of rejection, the people we choose to surround ourselves with offer an unparalleled kind of support. But there is not much structural guidance on how to nurture our platonic, intimate relationships. 

A diptych with author Tracy Deonn on the left and the cover of her novel on the right. Tracy is a Black woman wearing a maroon sweater and a silver necklace. The novel has the words "Legendborn" in front of a Black girl with blue and red fire on her arms.
Simon & Schuster

Bree Matthews is a 16-year-old girl with a desire to separate herself from her old life after her mother’s passing. While attending a residential program for bright high schoolers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bree is thrown into the world of magic. 

Logo for SHEROES Radio with Carmel Holt
Carmel Holt

WUNC Music is thrilled to welome SHEROES to its line up starting this Sunday, November 15th at 6pm.

Sandra Lawson

In 2018, Sandra Lawson became the first openly gay, Black female rabbi in the world. But her path to rabbinical school was far from traditional. Lawson grew up in a Christian household with parents who didn’t get along. When she got to college, she lacked focus and dropped out.

A Black woman smiling, she is wearing a red top with white colored leaves printed in random fashion. She has golden earrings, they are a hoop shape with black tassles at the end. She also has a red and black head scarf on her head, it is tied into a knot
Shanequa Gay

When a Kentucky grand jury failed to indict police officers responsible for killing 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, multidisciplinary artist Shanequa Gay turned to her work in a search for justice. Her exhibit “holding space for nobility: a memorial for Breonna Taylor” opened last week at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. 

A Black woman standing with her hand touching her ear while looking off to the left. She is wea
Courtesy of DL Zene

DL Zene was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. As a young kid, Zene learned to love the overflowing harmonies of her aunts and mother singing atop her grandmother’s baritone voice. Zene began singing with the local gospel group Mary and Martha at age 13 and took lessons at the renowned jazz program at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black college. 

A close up photo of State of Things host Frank Stasio. He wears glasses, and half of his face is in shadow behind a wooden cutout.
Frank Stasio

Frank Stasio will join film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes one last time this November for his Movies on the Radio finale.

So we’re having a contest...can you guess Frank’s favorite film? It might be "Buffalo '66." Or perhaps it’s "Radio Flyer." 

We’ll reveal the answer later this month. Send your best guess to sot@wunc.org, or leave us a voicemail at 919-980-5419.

The secret weapon of Disney+'s The Mandalorian, is discovery.

It's pretty much in the DNA of the series — which became a streaming TV phenomenon last year — on the strength of a new character the series calls "The Child" but most of us fans call Baby Yoda.

The goal: to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Star Wars universe that the big movies ignored and build compelling stories around them.

Laughing manically toward the left, Lanchester sports a massive beehive hair-do with squiggly white strands on the side.
John J. Mescall / Universal Pictures

It is the season of undead film franchises. You can catch plenty of reboots and movie series in which they had to swap out the lead actor after a decade of sequels. While some series recycle the first film’s formula, others break the mold.

A woman in a colorful head scarf holding yellow flowers in front of brightly-colored art.
Courtesy of Cortina Jenelle Caldwell

The world of artistic expression called to Cortina Jenelle Caldwell at a young age. As a child she dreamed of becoming an architect, spent a lot of time journaling and loved losing herself in a good book. Her early life was characterized by hard work and perseverance, but it was also marked by trauma. 

A painting of a Black masculine face covered in leaf print, with roses coming up his neck.
Courtesy of Being seen

How much does it matter to see people who look and identify like you in the media that you consume? In the new podcast "Being Seen" host Darnell Moore examines what it means to have culturally accurate and responsible depictions of the Black, male, queer experience. He joins host Frank Stasio and popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal on this edition of #BackChannel, a series connecting culture and context, to talk about his interviews with artists, writers and others. 

Cari Grindem-Corbett

Burning Coal Theatre Company’s only in-person performance this fall opened last week to a rapt audience of...four. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the live production of “A Hundred Words for Snow” is being performed before drastically-reduced audience sizes, creating an intimate atmosphere. 

A Black man in a black shirt smiling. He has his hands behind his head
Courtesy of Phonte Coleman

Robeson County-born, Greensboro-raised musician Phonte Coleman has traveled all over the world, but there’s no other place he can imagine living than North Carolina. A founding member of the rap group Little Brother, as well as a member of the genre-bending music group The Foreign Exchange, Coleman appreciates the quiet, lowkey community he’s built in the state and the focus on his craft that it affords him.

A green anthropomorphic depiction of Tara, a female buddha
Elisabeth Feldman

The Pachamama, La Virgen, Parvati, Ala, Hera, the Cailleach, and the White Buffalo Calf Woman. Devotion to a masculine god was not always as widespread as in contemporary faith traditions, nor were feminine deities always relegated to gender roles we consider traditional today.

Jenny Blass

For people of the Jewish faith, fall is a time of celebration and self-reflection. The High Holidays began with Rosh Hashanah and wrapped up this past weekend with Simchat Torah. Jenny Blass is an 11th grade student at East Chapel Hill High School. She produced this story as part of WUNC’s Youth Reporting Institute:

four pigs take off from the starting gates
Courtesy of Hogway Speedway

Pig racing, giant pumpkins and a tour of the old grist mill — with a free hushpuppy at the exit — are common traditions we all need badly this year. The rituals of the North Carolina State Fair connect disparate communities and celebrate traditional livelihoods. Host Frank Stasio hears from some of the characters, competitors and vendors who ensure that nothing could be finer. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

Were you horrified by the follow-up to your favorite movie? Or maybe they switched up the entire cast and the next one was actually an improvement. And then there are the franchises that they just keep milking. The sequels, spin-offs and cross-overs keep piling up as if it were a competition. ("Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Fast and Furious" are neck-and-neck.) 

Send in your pick for a chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio on October 28, 2020. Email us at sot@wunc.org, tweet at us with #sotmovie, join the conversation on Facebook or just comment below!

 

Toni Murden McClure, a middle aged white woman with brown and grey hair standing next to Dawn Landes, a white woman with brown hair. Both are smiling and holding a boat figurine
Courtesy: Dawn Landes

In 1998, Tori Murden McClure set off in a boat she made herself to become the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She did not make it. Eighty-five days into her journey, Hurricane Danielle capsized her boat more times than she could count. 

A movie poster saying a fascinating adventure into the unknown! There is a yellow tiger being poked by a small white man next to a large pair of scissors, matches, and white sewing thread
Flickr / Creative Commons

One of the truest forms of horror Hollywood ever depicts is the story of mankind abandoned, disoriented or forgotten. Whether it’s a film about being lost at sea like Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away” or one about being so miniscule that your spouse believes you’ve been eaten by the family cat — as was the case in the 1957 sci-fi film “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” — movies about isolation force viewers to confront some of their worst fears.

UFOs circle a human brain in a 60s paperback illustration
Sam Peffer

Evidence matters little in the case of UFOs. In the U.S., 45% of people believe UFOs exist and have visited Earth, according to a 2020 Ipsos poll. Yet those pushing for government transparency and scientific inquiry often face ridicule. How can a belief so widespread be marginalized at the same time?


Fear Factor

Sep 28, 2020
Tito Chavez-Nguyen
Henry Cromett

Zaena Tessema's mother invokes a mysterious figure to control her children.  Diane Kastiel gets unexpected and unwanted news.  Bruce Lee teaches Tito Chavez-Nguyen how to find his way in a new school. Patricia Aro is scared that her children will ask her about death.  Chelsea Shorte is pulled over for the first time while masculine presenting. Rufus May fears his own experience with mental health issues will keep him from being a clinical psychologist. 

Catching Amazon in a Lie

Sep 24, 2020

Amazon says its warehouses are safe for workers, but we’ve obtained numbers that show they’re getting hurt much more often than the company claims.


Al speaks with Reveals Will Evans who’s been able to gather a trove of injury data from Amazon warehouses that paints a very different picture from what the company tells regulators and the public. 


Parental advisory labels date back to the 1980s. They exist, in part, to alert consumers to the presence of profanity, explicit discussion of sex and sexuality and graphic violence. But there has never been a unilateral ranking system to determine what content must be labeled as explicit. 

Durham-based musician A.yoni Jeffries understands discouragement. Her latest album, “Potential Gon’ Pay,” was delayed three times this year. But the 25-year-old never stays discouraged for long. In the interim, while she awaited a new release date, she focused her attention on a new endeavor, Handèwa Farms, which she launched in December 2019 with eight partners. 

Hannibal Buress & How Record Stores Are Adapting

Sep 24, 2020

In the music world, record stores are important economically, but also as community hubs. Jim and Greg talk with the directors of the documentary "Other Music" as well as record store owners in North Carolina and Ohio about how they're adapting to coronavirus times. Plus they talk with music-loving comedian Hannibal Buress about his drive-in theater tour.

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