Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

NCDHHS

Updated on Jan. 15. This post will be updated periodically as we tackle your questions.

Anna Luisa Daigneault, known as Quilla, is the audio muse that makes the Embodied podcast sparkle. WUNC collaborated with Quilla to craft the theme for Embodied and other background music for the recurring series, which approaches taboo topics through a feminist lens.
 

New Year, New Hope

Jan 1, 2021

Host Leoneda Inge rings in the new year with astrologer Tali Edut and asks what the stars have in store for 2021. Plus poet and cultural historian Darrell Stover shares his favorite Kwanzaa principle.


Two Black men pose for the camera together without smiling
Courtesy of Phonte Coleman

In 2003, Frank Stasio spent time in North Carolina guest hosting The State of Things, and one of the conversations from his early days on the show is one of his most-memorable from his 15-year tenure as host: sitting down with hip-hop group Little Brother.

Two younger boys pose on either side of a man with gray hair as he holds up an album to the camera. The boy on the right is holding a violin.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond/WUNC

Logan Valleroy and Casey Valleroy might be teenagers, but their musical prowess makes them seem like professional musicians. The brothers have been playing music since they were young. Today, the pair play a myriad of instruments like the violin, keyboard, drums, saxophone and guitar, but started out as kids banging on pots and pans around the house.

Unsplash / Creative Commons


It’s a holiday season like no other. With families and friends practicing social distancing, and traditional celebrations stripped down to the bare minimum, many North Carolinians are finding themselves a bit lonelier this year.

Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

It's not easy keeping the family engaged and entertained during this unprecedented holiday, but these North Carolina museums are making that tall task a little more accessible. Across the state, museums have turned to digital technology to craft online tours that aren’t subject to regular business hours.

An old postcard photo of the Gastonia community center, which includes the Women's Club Building, Memorial Hall and Public Library.
Boston Public Library

This March, our world turned digital. Zoom meetings, virtual school and video chats dominated work, school and home life. To ease this transition to computer-based life, the state’s public libraries stepped up for their communities.

A black pen lying on a piece of paper with handwritten words.
Pixabay

  The letters begin with various greetings. “Dear 50 year of age self.” “To my future children.” “Dear future me, It’s me, I mean you, but circa 2020.” These are the words of a group of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill undergraduates who processed the reality of a pandemic-dominated year through letters to the future as a class assignment this spring.

A young woman and an older woman posing together in front of what looks like a food truck.
Courtesy of Cecilia Polanco

Cecilia Polanco’s parents did not dream of their daughter owning a food truck when they emigrated from El Salvador to the United States in the early 1980s. Their expectation was that she would get a respectable profession after college, or even better, a career, like her older sisters who work in law and insurance. So when she proposed the idea of a pupusa business, her mother naturally had some concerns — Polanco did not even know how to make the traditional Salvadoran fare.

Tested Presents: 'Occasional Shivers'

Dec 22, 2020

This special episode is a gift from the team at Tested to you, the listener, with hopes for a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year.

Enjoy "Occasional Shivers," an original musical production from WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio featuring Branford Marsalis, Mike Wiley, Nnena Freelon and more.


He Was An Architect

Dec 22, 2020

In my undergraduate studies I was able to take two courses from the architecture major. We learned a lot about design, cultivated attention to the built environment. My professors emphasized imagining things as they could be, if only we had the fortitude and verve to bring those things we sensed with our imagination into being. I loved it.

Courtesy of Blair Publishing


Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

A man wearing a brown jacket and holding a guitar standing in front of a microphone. The man is looking forward.
Ben Phantom

Asheville-based singer-songwriter Ben Phantom’s father never talked about his time in Vietnam. So when he finally decided to go back for a visit after 42 years in the United States, Phantom brought a video camera.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)


When former schoolteacher Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, founded Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC in 1979, no one could have imagined all that the institution would become: a religious movement with global impact; a community that provides housing and job opportunities to its congregation; and a cult dogged with allegations of physical, psychological and spiritual abuse

An image of H.C. McEntire
Heather Evans Smith

H.C McEntire's latest album is firmly rooted in her home along the banks of the Eno River in North Carolina. She writes about the changing seasons, working the land and caring for the people she holds dear. 'Eno Axis' is informed by traditional country gospel, but is fueled by a live band captured largely in first takes with plenty of electricity and edginess.

A group of Black people in the middle of the street, walking. The people are holding various signs and there is one large black banner with the words 'Black Panther Movement Black Opressed People All Over The World' in bold, gold letters
Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen took over a decade to fully realize his vision of a collection of stories about the West Indian community in London in the '60s, ‘70s and '80s. That idea came to life last month with the release of a five-part film anthology called "Small Axe." The films explore the joy and pain of life in this immigrant community — and its important contributions to London's history.

An image of the WUNC Music Crew
Brian Burns

Brian Burns (WUNC Music Director)

A Black man shuts his eyes as he blows into a saxophone
Dropota Koperska Photography


Saxophone master and Durham resident Branford Marsalis has never shied away from a challenge when it comes to tackling music. In 2008, the jazz legend incorporated his sax into the classical music traditions of South America in a show called "Marsalis Brasilianos: Villa Lobos, Milhaud and the New Worlds of Brazilian Modernism."

A black-and-white photo of actor Mickey Rooney posing with a cap and a cane, mid-dance.
Public domain

Mickey Rooney’s Hollywood acting career began in the 1930s. He starred as an all-American teenager in the Andy Hardy series.


He was Judy Garland's partner in musicals from the 1940s, and a cautious old trainer in the 1979 classic “The Black Stallion.” He was married eight times, including a partnership with North Carolina’s own Ava Gardner.

A Black woman smiling while holding an orange book titled 'Black Equestrian; coloring book.' The woman is wearing silver dangly earrings and her hair is pulled back into a ponytail
Courtesy of Caitlin Gooch

When Caitlin Gooch began working at a daycare center and a Boys and Girls Club in her hometown of Wendell, North Carolina, she noticed that students were not as interested in reading as she would have hoped. She started showing them pictures of her horses at her father’s farm, if they agreed to read and work on their vocabulary.

Our 2020 poll is closed. To see the results, click here.

WUNC Music is excited to premiere Skylar Gudasz's new video for 'Actress' off of her brilliant 2020 album Cinema. Directed by Emmett Anderson and Andrew Synowiez, the video takes us back to pre-COVID times, set in a hazy and crowded bar.

Gudasz had this to say about the video:

Courtesy of Markee Steele

North Carolina-based emcee Markee Steele recently changed his name. Formerly known as Mark Steele, a moniker given to him by super-producer 9th Wonder, Steele felt the need to change the course of his career this year. The ESPN-featured indie artist, formerly known as Mark Steele, started with a new stage name, then created a new label, Thee Marquee Recordings.

Courtesy of Joshua Lozoff

When Chapel Hill-native Joshua Lozoff was 19, he moved to Los Angeles to be an actor, and the move paid off. He played a recurring role on the sitcom “Cheers.” He was part of the ensemble cast in the hit movie “Clueless,” and he was also on the cult favorite nighttime sitcom “Sisters.” But after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, Lozoff decided to devote himself to public service.

A woman looking into the camera and smiling. The woman has dark colored (brown) hair. Her arms are crossed, left over right, over her chest.
Anne-Maria Makhulu

When Anne-Maria Makhulu tells her family history, it sounds as if she is paging through a well-worn textbook in her mind, memories written in the margins next to dates and city names. And in a way, she is. Makhulu is a cultural anthropologist who teaches at Duke University. Her research work is autobiographical, she says, based on her experiences as a child of an English mother and a South African father growing up in Europe and Africa.

A dark creek flows by wet granite boulders teeming with orange lichen, mirroring the fall tree colors alight in the background.
Kim Brewsaugh / Duke Forest


After their initial conversations on “The State of Things” in 2006 and 2007, author Haven Kimmel and host Frank Stasio hit the road. Libraries invited the pair to talk about anything. It was less the topic that mattered than the atmosphere they created through their intense connection. Kimmel describes Stasio’s hosting as a “church of listening.”

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.

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