Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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.

Flicker/David Geitgey Sierralupe

There are still very few answers about what led to the police killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year. Police officers battered their way into Taylor’s apartment, serving a "no-knock" warrant, and shot Taylor five times. As the FBI and Kentucky state officials continue to investigate the death, a new documentary from The New York Times Presents digs into official reports and documents to piece together what went wrong. "The Killing of Breonna Taylor" also paints a picture of who she was as a person through interviews with Taylor’s friends and family.  Host Frank Stasio talks about the story with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal for #BackChannel, our recurring series connecting culture and context. 

Headshot of Rissi Palmer
Chris Charles

Independent country music recording artist Rissi Palmer is not surprised by the feedback she has received about her new Apple Music radio show “Color Me Country Radio,” which explores Black, Latinx and Indigenous voices in country music. She has heard everything from, “Is this a limited series? You’re going to run out of people to talk to!” to “Why does everything have to be about race?” 

Put to the Test

Sep 17, 2020
Quratulain Fatima
Catherine Fox

Living on the 44th floor, Lucy Danser has to face her fear of elevators.  Albert Fox Cahn finds unexpected motivation to turn his health crisis around.  Quratulain Fatima grows up refusing to take no for an answer. Tim FitzHigham takes on 10 world record holders. 

COVID-19 in Confinement

Sep 17, 2020

At a time when self-isolation is the best way to avoid the pandemic, we examine two places where people have no choice but to live with strangers: nursing homes and prisons. 


We start with Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren, who’s been looking at why COVID-19 is spreading so quickly in nursing homes. It turns out that many have had long-standing issues with controlling infections. 


Yes's Going For the One

Sep 17, 2020

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot dissect Yes's 1977 masterpiece album Going For the One. They talk about the progressive rock band's history, the rich music and they interview lead singer Jon Anderson about the making of the record. Jim and Greg also review the latest from Detroit rock band Protomartyr.

A Black woman squatting in front of a totally pink Cadillac with "TRAP" painted on the equallly pink garage door behind
Courtesy of Kyesha Jennings

The linguistic rules of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) are widespread and catalogued — yet most classrooms still frown upon writing and speaking it. Hip-hop scholar Kyesha Jennings grew up in Queens, New York, and remembers teachers correcting her use of the possessive they and double negatives. Now, she’s on a mission to disrupt the common belief that all English follows one set of rules. 

America's ring of fire

Sep 10, 2020

Wildfires are getting bigger, more expensive to fight and closer than ever to where people live. The consequences can be deadly. This episode examines how wildfires got so dangerous – and how people in some areas are fighting back.


Buried Treasures & Saving Our Stages

Sep 10, 2020

Nothing in the world can stop great music from being created. Even now there are songs coasting under the radar, not being enjoyed by enough people. We have a new batch of buried treasures to share. Plus, we talk with venue owners, activists and politicians working to save American stages that have been shut down due to the global pandemic.

20th Century Studios/Dreamworks Pictures

Feeling stir-crazy staying at home during the pandemic? Our next Movies on the Radio may be just what you need. This month with Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes, we will explore films about isolation and escape.

From Tom Hanks' deep and abiding relationship with Wilson in "Cast Away" to Brooke Shields' love affair with Christopher Atkins in "The Blue Lagoon" to Matt Damon's time stranded in outer space in "The Martian," we will talk about films that envision being alone and what it does to the body, mind, and psyche.

A headshot of Randall Kenan
UNC Chapel Hill English and Comparative Literature Department

Last weekend, the literary community was rocked by news of local giant Randall Kenan’s passing. He died in his Hillsborough home late last week at the age of 57. 

Actor Lamorne Morris standing in front of a public billboard with fliers in his hand, looking confused.
Photo by: Joe Lederer/Hulu

In the pilot episode of cartoonist Keith Knight’s new Hulu show "Woke," the main character Keef is putting up posters in a park when police officers show up, draw guns and slam him to the ground. The cops think he is a suspect in a string of muggings because he "fit the description": a six-foot-tall Black male. The nerdy character, played by Lamorne Morris, is understandably shaken after the incident. 

The Robert Mueller of Latin America

Sep 4, 2020

Crusading prosecutor Iván Velásquez has been called the Robert Mueller of Latin America. He’s known for jailing presidents and paramilitaries.

 

But Velásquez met his match when he went after Jimmy Morales, a television comedian who was elected president of Guatemala, and Donald Trump backed him up.


Oftentimes the best way to celebrate a new venture is with great music, and we could all use a fresh start right about now. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite songs about new beginnings. They also review new records from country singer-songwriter Margo Price and the late Chicago rapper Juice Wrld.

the home screen of a video game, set at a concert venue parking lot
Super Body Games RPG

Eiffel 65 is at the Cat’s Cradle playing their 1998 hit single “Blue” on repeat. Weeks pass. Only you can bring light to the dark musical landscape. Even for those who are not gamers or daily lurkers in downtown Carrboro, Super Body Games RPG is a dangerously fun way to remember the satisfaction of earning music. 

The Games We Play

Aug 31, 2020
Abhishek Shah
Kerry Tasker

Joey Garfield is invited to play with the cool kids. 
Tod Kelly seeks justice for a decades-old prank.
Romy Negrin and her Latin Club compete in the highest division.
Tahmin Ullah risks her relationship with her mom when she takes up running. 
Abhishek Shah hatches a plan to win over his fiancée's family.

Headshot of Sherrill Roland, an African-American man wearing a green ball cap and black T-shirt
Sherrill Roland

Visual artist Sherrill Roland spent 10 months in prison for a crime he did not commit. What kept him going was a quest to fulfill his dream of going to art school.

Howard Burchette sitting in front of a microphone with a WNCU flag on it
Courtesy of Howard Burchette

Every Saturday evening for more than 15 years, Howard Burchette has hit the airwaves in Durham with a playlist of iconic tunes and interviews with masters of funk. On “The Funk Show” on WNCU, Burchette interweaves dance-worthy songs with stories from greats like Bobby Byrd, Chuck Brown and Bettye Lavette. 

Give the Drummer Some

Aug 27, 2020

What role do drums play in Rock? Should they be keeping the beat or leading from the front? Who are some of the greatest drummers in rock music? The beat goes on as Jim and Greg focus on the contributions of drummers to rock music with drummer Joe Wong. Wong also hosts a podcast on drummers called The Trap Set.

The Refuge Revealed

Aug 27, 2020

The 40-year fight over drilling for oil in one of the world’s wildest places, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is coming to a head. On Aug. 17, 2020, the Department of the Interior removed the final hurdle to allow oil industry bids for the right to drill in the refuge. Opponents say climate change is warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and the plants, animals and people living there are struggling to adapt.


A woman wearing earrings and a white dress looks wearily at the camera. Behind her, a mirror shows her profile.
Library of Congress

Some of the most popular films in our nation’s cinematic history are about the life, culture and customs of the American South. “Gone With the Wind” — the story of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her love life set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction — remains one of the highest-grossing films to date. And the first film to ever be screened in the White House was the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation,” a film set in Civil War and Reconstruction-era South Carolina that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan. 

The cover of 'F*ckface' featuring a frog on a blue background with the title in bright red writing.
Henry Holt & Co

Forest fires, a rotting bear carcass, polluted water and industrial farming are both the settings and the main characters in "F*ckface: And Other Stories" (Henry Holt & Co/2020). Leah Hampton’s new collection is a kaleidoscope picture of the many ways land is expressed through human stories.

Morgan in a yellow dress lying calmly on her side on a wooden bench.
Courtesy of Nikki Morgan

Like SZA’s groundbreaking R&B album "Ctrl" (2017), Nikki Morgan’s "30 Something" puts to bed the gendered expectations of adulthood. On her first full-length album, the Wilkes County artist weaves her lilting music together with intimate vignettes of women reflecting on their age.

Clapsaddle's headshot
Courtesy of Annette Clapsaddle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle spent years writing her first novel, and it garnered critical acclaim: she won an award and became a finalist for another. Yet she could not find an agent to publish it. So, she started again, this time with the support of the Great Smokies Writing Program. 

Courtesy of Joe Troop

Singer-songwriter Joe Troop has been putting out a lot of music during the coronavirus pandemic — including a song he released on YouTube in late April called “A Plea to the US Government to Fully Fund the Postal Service." The song went viral and garnered more than 400,000 signatures to take action to save the post office. 

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