Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she moonlights as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy John Pavlovitz

John Pavlovitz is a North Carolina pastor who has experienced more than a handful of personal crises: he lost his job and his father within a short time span, and during the aftermath of the 2016 election, the now-progressive pastor lost his sense of optimism.

Cover of Prius or Pickup book
Courtesy Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler

What is your go-to coffee spot? What car do you drive? What is your favorite TV show? A new book examines how the answers to these and other simple questions could explain America’s growing political divide. 

A young lemur coyly looking out from behind a tree branch at the Duke Lemur Center.
Courtesy of Duke Lemur Center

Lemurs sit near the base of the primate evolutionary tree. As distant cousins to homosapiens, their behavior, health and evolution may have significant implications for humans. At the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, researchers are actively studying how the curious hibernation pattern of the fat-tailed dwarf lemur may have applications for coma patients and could also help humans better prepare for deep space travel. 

Greensboro's Chuck Mountain brings blues rock on the road this spring.
Courtesy Chuck Mountain

Chuck Mountain has not been on the Greensboro music scene long – the band just came to fruition in July – but they have already been on tour and laid down a number of original tracks. The band’s guitarist Beau James says their trip to Nashville, which included camping on the North Carolina state line, expedited the team bonding and lit a creative spark for the band. 

Clay Enos / Warner Bros Pictures

Films that draw viewers into the gritty highs and lows of the music world are having a big cinematic moment. There is the new head-banging Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” yet another reincarnation of “A Star is Born,” featuring pop icon Lady Gaga, and the forthcoming “Rocketman” that takes on the rise of Elton John.

'Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features' by Adrian Piper
Cropped image courtesy of Adrian Piper / Wikimedia Commons - https://bit.ly/2rCcjXn

Feminist artists in the 1960s and ‘70s were tired of the dominant artistic representations of their bodies: idealized curves symbolizing fertility or pictures of dolled-up women used in marketing campaigns. They wanted to make work that was brash and unapologetic — art that pushed boldy against the societal roles that women were traditionally assigned. Their new creations allowed them to start a conversation with one another outside of a male-dominated system. 

Silent Sam on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus is a controversial Confederate symbol.
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees issued their recommendation Monday for the future of the confederate Silent Sam monument. The board wants to see the statue housed in a $5.3M history center on south campus. The news prompted protest among the students and faculty on campus who do not want the statue re-erected on any part of the campus.

Jay Price / WUNC

The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are digging up hundreds of soldiers from the Korean War as part of a massive identification project. The disinterment operation is taking place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and is based on recent advances in DNA and forensic technology. 650 Korean War dead will be exhumed. 

Photo of J.D. Cortese
Courtesy of J.D. Cortese

From the mid-1970s to early 1980s, tens of thousands of Argentines who were believed to be political dissidents were kidnapped, tortured and killed by military and security forces. Those who were never seen again are called los desaparecidos. 

Photo of Phaedra Boinodiris
Courtesy of Phaedra Boinodiris

Phaedra Boinodiris grew up in a family of technologists. As a kid, she and her sister tore down and rebuilt computers for fun and even designed their own games. But as they got older, they discovered the gaming world was not an inviting space for women, so they founded womengamers.com to fill that void. It grew quickly to become a well-known platform for women to review and discuss computer games.

Courtesy of Hal Crowther

Hal Crowther has a fascination with getting people’s stories right, especially after they are gone. It started with the death of his beloved great-grandmother Mary Ann Naylor Crowther. When the 94-year-old passed away, he realized that deceased people are often “defenselessness as others tell their stories and rank their accomplishments.” 

Courtesy Peter Eversoll

A group of migrants, mostly from Central America, clashed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Sunday. Of the thousands of migrants who are seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds broke off from the group and attempted to illegally cross into the country. Border protection agents fired tear gas into the crowd, which included children in strollers. 

Photo of Turkey feathers line the road in front of a 675,000-square-foot Butterball facility where 17 million turkeys are processed each year at world’s largest turkey-processing plant located in Mount Olive NC
Courtesy Michael S. Williamson / Washington Post

Many North Carolina families spent Thursday circled around a big table and probably a big turkey. Some of these turkeys likely came from Butterball, the largest turkey processing plant in the world located in Mount Olive, North Carolina. The town struggled to get back on track after the recession until an influx of Haitian immigrants moved to the area in 2010 attracted by work at Butterball. 

Stock image of banjo
Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1098772

The public face of Bluegrass in North Carolina has long been male and white, but the genre is now undergoing a transformation. The star-power of Rhiannon Giddens has drawn new attention to the music and the history behind it.  And legacy organizations like the International Bluegrass Music Awards have started to pay more attention to women’s contributions.

Alex Bailey / Twentieth Century Fox

Films that draw us into the gritty highs and lows of the music world are having a big cinematic moment. There’s the new head-banging Queen biopic, a film that takes on the rise of Elton John, and yet another reincarnation of “A Star is Born.”

For the next edition of Movies on the Radio, we want to know which movie about musicians resonates most with you? Is it the dark poignancy of “Ray?” The drug and music fueled tour in “Almost Famous?” How about rise and fall of N.W.A. in “Straight Outta Compton?”

Photo of social media apps on a phone screen
Public Domain

Note: This segment is a rebroadcast from September 5, 2018. 

Personality tests have become a common feature in the professional world. They are meant to tell candidates or employees who they are and how they fit into a group. But personality tests have their own character flaw: they can be faked. The test-taker can manipulate the questionnaire to deliver answers they think their employer wants to hear.

Photo of Kay Suber, Marcus Smith's sister, addresses the media. At left is Smith's mother, Mary Smith.
Courtesy Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

Two recent law enforcement interventions in Greensboro and Winston-Salem have prompted questions about police use of force. In Greensboro, Marcus Deon Smith died in the hospital hours after he was restrained by police in a position his family described as being “hogtied.” The family’s lawyer says the position left Smith unable to breathe. Smith’s family recently made a public request for Greensboro City Council members to review the police body camera footage from the incident.

Photo of traditional roast turkey dinner.
Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com

The family Thanksgiving meal does not look quite like it used to for Winston-Salem chef and restaurateur Stephanie Tyson. Tyson is the chef and co-owner of the award-winning restaurant Sweet Potatoes, best known for its twist on Southern staples like sweet potato cornbread. 

The Ciompi Quartet of Duke University pictured with their instruments.
Courtesy Ciomi Quartet

The Ciompi Quartet is known for its technical brilliance and for keeping a long-standing tradition alive. The group was founded more than 50 years ago at Duke University, and is comprised of Duke professors. This year they welcomed a new member for the first time in 23 years: Caroline Stinson joins the group on cello after her long-running career with the Lark Quartet in New York.
 

Nick Pironio / NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

After nearly a quarter of a century leading the North Carolina Museum of Art, Larry Wheeler is stepping down. During his tenure as director, Wheeler ushered in major changes including launching a popular outdoor concert series, building the light-filled West Building and doubling the museum’s staff. He also made the museum a place to meet and mingle beyond the gallery walls.

Motherboard

The new film “The Most Unknown” from Motherboard is both documentary and experiment. It takes viewers on a stunning visual journey into surprising corners of the world and follows along as nine scientists meet for the first time.

Courtesy Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance is revolutionizing tap dance, and the world is watching. Dorrance stomps and slides across the floor with movements that are experimental, loose, romantic and everything in between. She breaks the rules of what many expect tap dance to look like, and reinforces that tap dancing is first and foremost about making music.

Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/p/fvhbd4

By November 15, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and the school's Board of Trustees will present their plan for the future of the Confederate Silent Sam monument that was topped by protestors in late August. The statue is currently being stored at an undisclosed location.

pxhere.com

BBC Radio reporter and producer Giles Edwards first came to North Carolina to look at the politics of voting access in 2014. It was one year after the U.S. Supreme Court had gutted the Voting Rights Act and not long after North Carolina embarked on its own efforts to overhaul voting, including eliminating same-day voter registration and reducing early voting. That legislation was later struck down by the Supreme Court. Through conversations with politicians, activists and experts, Edwards created an audio analysis of the many ways North Carolinians were seeing their voting access change.

Credit Lynn Hey / For WUNC

Republican incumbent Tedd Budd and Democratic challenger Kathy Manning are in a tight and heated race to represent North Carolina's 13th Congressional District. Budd won in 2016 with no prior political experience, and Manning is in the same position this year. Budd owns a gun store and shooting range in Advance, North Carolina, while Manning has spent her career in law and philanthropy.

Courtesy SHAN Wallace

A new batch of artists has hunkered down for an experimental, immersive residency in Greensboro's Elsewhere Museum. For the nearly month-long Southern Constellations Fellowship, artists from different generations and backgrounds play, perform and present their work within the walls of Greensboro's thrift store-turned-museum.
 

A photo of Laura Jane Vincent and her guitar
Courtesy of Laura Jane Vincent

When singer-songwriter Laura Jane Vincent set out to record her entry for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, she knew just the place to do it. Her relatives owned a historic farmhouse tucked away in rural Glendon, North Carolina that still contained the nearly-untouched office of a country doctor named Murdo Eugene Street who died in 1944.

pxhere.com

News deserts are cropping up across America. A new report shows nearly 1,800 papers have shuttered or merged since 2004, and 171 counties across the U.S. have no local newspaper. This decline has deep implications for civic participation and government accountability, which become even more critical around election time.


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