Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Banner for Hopscotch Music Festival
Hopscotch Music Festival

WUNC Music will broadcast live from the City Plaza Stage during the 10th Annual Hopscotch Music Festival September 5-7 in downtown Raleigh. Hopscotch is one of this region’s most important modern music festivals and this year features a broad and adventurous lineup. There will be more than 140 bands playing over three days. The complete schedule is here.

Image of soul and hip hop artists Sonny Miles performing with a guitar.
Kai McNeil

Artist Sonny Miles is on a journey back to himself. After a year spent refining mixtape collaborations, he is dropping a new EP: “Gamma.” It is a return to his roots in acoustic soul and pays homage to the last three years he spent learning beat making and hip-hop performance.

Using Music To Release Your Emotions

Aug 16, 2019
Ismael Luna-Cornejo in the WUNC studios in Durham.
Allison Swaim / WUNC

Every Friday night at 9:19 there’s a cypher on the streets of downtown Durham. You know that big bull right across from the Marriott? That’s us. We meet there to freestyle – to release - to find reprieve from your everyday routine and express your innermost feeling. 

An image of Jake Xerxes Fussell
Brad Bunyea

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, musician Molly Sarlé talks about Jake Xerxes Fussell's version of 'Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing On a Sweet Potato Vine?'

The Mountain Goats & Opinions on Sleater-Kinney

Aug 15, 2019

Over the course of 17 albums, The Mountain Goats have gone from a super lo-fi solo project to a polished four piece combo. We're joined by the whole band for an exclusive performance and interview with songwriter John Darnielle and drummer Jon Wurster.

The Cost of School Choice

Aug 15, 2019

Dominique Martin was thrilled to get a state-funded voucher to send her daughter to private school. We go to Louisiana to investigate the cost of school choice. 

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Toni Morrison passed away August 5, 2019.
Wikimedia Commons

Last month, President Donald Trump called Baltimore a “rat and rodent-infested mess” and told four Democratic Congresswomen of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” These are just the latest examples of a repeated tactic: the president denigrates women and people of color who oppose him and his policies. What power do his words have and how do they affect the people and the cities he attacks? Popular culture experts Mark Anthony Neal and Natalie Bullock Brown take on that topic with host Frank Stasio in the latest installment of #BackChannel, The State of Things’ recurring series connecting culture and context.

Image of Harper Lee at a desk.
Donald Uhrbrock / The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

What lessons can the now-deceased Harper Lee teach a modern-day investigative journalist? Writer Casey Cep retraced Lee’s footsteps to a small town in Alabama to find out. She reopened a 1970s murder case that Lee had once obsessively followed: a rural preacher named Reverend Willie Maxwell who was accused of killing five of his family members for insurance money.

The Moth Fall Fundraising Special 2019

Aug 14, 2019
Phyllis Bowdwin
Peter Cooper

Adam Gopnik learns to laugh out loud.

Phyllis Bowdwin
takes on a silent assailant.
Alexis Barton
learns nothing good happens after midnight.

Yolanda Rabun is a talented singer and storyteller.
Courtesy of Curtis Brown Photography

The musical legacy of Nina Simone is celebrated throughout the world, but to North Carolina she is a special treasure. Simone was born in the town of Tryon, where efforts are underway to turn her childhood home into a space that reflects her dynamic, complex legacy. Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation officially designated it a “National Treasure.”

The summer is flying by. And while we can’t slow down time, we can take full advantage of summer vegetables in their full glory. Hetty McKinnon is an Australian cook and food writer with a passion for vegetables. She’s written a new book on the subject; it’s called Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day.

Letting Go

Aug 12, 2019
Caridad De La Luz
Jason Falchook

Chris Foley inherits his family's male pattern baldness.

Caridad De La Luz contends with her father's baggage.

Andrew McGill discovers his people though the card game Yu-Gi-Oh.

Patricia Brennan describes being married to a Vietnam veteran.

Michael VonAllmen works to let go of his hate after his wrongful conviction. 

Image of Harvey Dalton Arnold
Courtesy of Harvey Dalton Arnold

Harvey Dalton Arnold found fame on Southern stages, rocking out in bell-bottoms topped with big buckles. But before he opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd touring the country with The Outlaws, Arnold was helping his dad sell Ford tractors and raise chickens in Duplin County. He grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Rose Hill, a town of just over 1,500 that breaks out the world’s largest frying pan for its yearly Poultry Jubilee.

An image of The Popes
Trilby Berger

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, Motorco's Glenn Boothe talks The Popes, their role in the late 80's North Carolina pop scene, and their great lost major label debut.

Photo: Angie Vargas and Francis Lam prep Vargas's kitchen work area for a lesson in making chile rellanos.

The kitchen incubator group, La Cocina, has helped many immigrants realize their dreams in the Bay Area of California. The group helps people with everything from a business plan and legal issues to branding and menu design. Two newcomers to the group are Wafa and Mounir Bahloul. Their business concept, Kayma, has been picked to be part of La Cocina’s food hall, opening in 2020. Francis Lam visited the couple in their home to talk about what's like to be newly arrived in the U.S. and searching for not only work but a way to bring your passion to life.

Lamees Dahbour is one of many immigrant women cooks who are finding a voice and space of their own through the wonderful non-profit kitchen incubator organization, La Cocina, in San Francisco. Lamees worked for many years with the United National Relief and Works Agency, as well as the embassy of Yemen at the consulate in San Francisco, before deciding to follow her life's passion of cooking. Francis Lam recently spoke with her in the kitchen of La Cocina to learn more about the hardships she overcame to build a business that nurtures her ambitions.

Fernay McPherson is a lifelong resident of the Fillmore neighborhood of San Francisco, a once predominanty African American neighborhood that has gone through a lot of changes since she was growing up there. To keep some of the area's food memories and traditions alive and strong, Fernay started a food truck called Minnie Bell's Soul Movement. From a food truck to a vendor spot at Public Market Emeryville, and now into a more permanent restaurant spot at the market, Fernay has made a name for herself and her food all around the Bay Area.

Sound Opinions: The Legend of Robert Johnson

Aug 8, 2019

For decades, the myths surrounding Robert Johnson overshadowed his contributions as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. From the legend that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to mystery surrounding his untimely death at age 27, the truths of Johnson’s life have remained untold. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with music historian Bruce Conforth about Johnson’s career, death and working to give the guitarist his identity back.

A black and white photo of the cast of The Wizard of Oz in costume.
Library of Congress

Somewhere over the rainbow, The State of Things is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 1939 movie is best known for its hit musical numbers, fantastical plotline and use of Technicolor. Judy Garland’s career took off after she portrayed Dorothy Gale on her journey through the magical land of Oz, and the film has since become an American cultural touchstone.

Bundyville Revealed

Aug 7, 2019

A bombing in rural Nevada you’ve probably never heard of. A plot to blow up a government building.  Reveal teams up with the podcast series, Bundyville, produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Longreads, to see what happened to rancher Cliven Bundy’s supporters since his original armed standoff with the government. 

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S'mored out? Bring some sizzle to your campfire cooking

Aug 7, 2019

This digital piece was produced in collaboration with member station KNOW | Minnesota Public Radio News in Saint Paul, MN. Enjoy more food coverage at their Appetites section.

A woman holds a black-and-white photo of her grandmother.
Courtesy of Digital Diaspora Family Reunion LLC

Family pictures often illustrate everyday milestones — like birthday parties, weddings or family reunions. But they can also illuminate deep and complex stories about communities, values and identity. The new three-part PBS documentary series “Family Pictures USA” follows people from southwest Florida, Detroit and North Carolina as they search to discover what surprising things they can learn from stashed-away images.

Freeman Vines holds a guitar that he carved out of wood thought to be from a tree that was used as a "hanging tree" in lynchings
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

The life of an aging blues or folk musician is not always pretty. Many of these old soulsters have not been able to retire with dignity. For the past 25 years, the Music Maker Relief Foundation has worked to improve the lives of these musicians. It has literally saved the lives and the music of more than 400 artists.

Live in Boston

Aug 5, 2019
Nina Mitchell
Allison Evans

Matthew Dicks is a teenage boy who works hard to impress his step-father.
  Walter Pavlo is an MCI manager who learns that crime does not pay.
  Nina Mitchell is a young stroke victim who sneaks out of the hospital to attend a party.  

Singer Bessie Smith's recording career lasted only 10 years, but during that time she created a body of work that helped shape the sound of the 20th century. Her first single, "Downhearted Blues" — written by two women, pianist Lovie Austin and blues singer Alberta Hunter — was a major hit in 1923, selling hundreds of thousands of copies and helping her label, Columbia Records, out of a financial slump.

Press photo of Shay Martin Lovette
Courtesy of Shay Martin Lovette

Shay Martin Lovette grew up paddling and playing soccer in Wilkesboro with his brother Chad. Every spring, Lovette watched musicians and their followers flood his little mountain town for Merlefest, the popular roots music festival. More and more came each year as the festival grew. Lovette took notes from legends like Doc Watson and young arrivals like the Avett Brothers. He also listened to his father strum, and decided to pick up a guitar himself.

A picture of Sylvan Esso.
Sylvan Esso

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, Kamaya Truitt-Martin is in for Eric Hodge again. She talks with Da’Mon James, Emma Pollard, Victor Amaya, and Director Allison Swaim of WUNC's 2019 Youth Reporting Institute about songs that inspire them and say something about North Carolina.

Harpooned by Facebook

Aug 1, 2019

As smart devices become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, we look at how Facebook and other companies gather information about their users and turn it into profits. 

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Sound Opinions: Why the Ramones Matter

Aug 1, 2019

Back in the 1970s, punk was shorthand for a subculture that took pride in breaking the mainstream’s mold. And at the vanguard of punk rock was The Ramones. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the cultural contributions of the band, beyond the myth, with the author of Why The Ramones Matter, Donna Gaines. Plus, they revisit their 2007 conversation with the late Tommy Ramone.