Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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The Splendid Table

The Wisconsin supper club is something so unique to its region of the U.S. that someone really needed to make a movie about it. Holly De Ruyter has done just that with her documentary, "Old Fashioned." She tells Shauna Sever about the history of this Badger State institution, the importance of the bar, and what you'll find on a relish tray.

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All photos courtesy Ann Bancroft

Polar explorer and adventurer Ann Bancroft's latest project is "Access Water," a world-spanning journey that looks to document the world's fresh water shortage. She recently returned from a trip down India's Ganges River, and shared her experiences with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: The project is “Access Water.” Explain what this is about.

Sabrina Ghayour's simple shortcuts

Aug 4, 2016
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Haarala Hamilton

Sabrina Ghayour cooks up simple, Middle Eastern-influenced dishes with a modern twist in her second cookbook, Sirocco. She tells Russ Parsons about the shortcuts she's found to traditional Persian methods (despite some skeptical aunts) and the spices she relies on in her kitchen.

Abandoned farmhouse western North Carolina
Julia Franks

Eight years ago, Julia Franks and her husband bought a farm in western North Carolina. At the time, the 1800s farmhouse on the land was still standing and when they walked in the doors, they were greeted by dozens of odd artifacts, including animal bones, locks of hair, insect hives, and even a jar with a fingernail in it. Franks is a high school literature teacher and lover of writing, so it was hard for her to not let her imagination run wild.

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Noah Fecks

Tyler Kord, chef-owner of No. 7 Restaurant and No. 7 Sub, and author of the wonderfully titled A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, argues that vegetables are the equal of roast beef for sandwiches, makes the case for less-than-perfect ingredients, and asks you (yes, you) to reconsider that to-go bag.

Photo of Mamie Neugent
David Spear

​In the late 1980s and early 90s, North Carolina photographer David Spear spent several years documenting the lives of his neighbors, the Neugents.

The family owned a tobacco farm in Rockingham County, and his photos depicted their attempts to keep their tobacco farm alive at a time when many others were dying. He described the Neugents as "fabulous people" who "raise hell, and they don't try to hide it."

Celery goes to war

Aug 2, 2016
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Photopips/Thinkstock

You may not know it, but celery is an herb. "Queen of Herbs" Jekka McVikar knows this, hence her title. She shares its history, and its potential for helping a common ailment, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: I'd like to talk to you about celery leaves. No one thinks of celery leaves as an herb.

Jekka McVicar: No. The Latin is Apium graveolens. Now, are you sitting comfortably?

LRK: I am very comfortable.

Jekka McVicar

Justin Natvig as Vivian Vaughn
D.j. Bonet V'lentino & After Six Photography Studios

Justin Natvig has had a flair for performance most of his life. As a young kid, he often snuck into his grandparents’ attic and dug through his grandmother’s things: vintage dresses, hats, wigs, shoes and makeup. He would put it all on, play Diana Ross records and lip sync in front of the mirror. For many years, he kept this passion a secret as he struggled with a family that would not accept his identity. 

Talking With Taj Mahal: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 3

Aug 1, 2016

In episode 3 of the podcast series American Songster Radio, host Dom Flemons calls on blues legend Taj Mahal for a conversation about their mutual love of the banjo and its complicated history. 

"All the pictures and caricatures of those black-faced minstrels really seemed to be degrading. But the instrument itself - there was something about it. It would rattle in my bones," Taj Mahal says of his early connections with instrument. 

Júníus Meyvant Spins a Cool Soundtrack to Beat the Heat

Jul 29, 2016

Iceland’s own Júníus Meyvant won his home country’s equivalent of a Grammy for “Song of the Year,” and he’s making an international name for himself with soulful folk-pop that’s both emotive and uplifting. His debut album, “Floating Harmonies” just came out. Below he spins a few tunes for your next get easy-going together.

Sharon Jones Tells Cancer ‘Get up and Get Out’

Jul 29, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Sharon Jones is the unstoppable lead singer of the funk and soul band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings The ten piece act has been releasing albums and touring the world for a decade. In 2014, they earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B album.

Kristen Bell Entertains our Emoji Etiquette Questions

Jul 29, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Each week our listeners send in questions about how to behave (you can check out more each week by subscribing to our podcast). Answering them this time around is actress Kristen Bell.

She’s starred in series like “House Of Lies,” the cult hit “Veronica Mars,” and she was the off-screen narrator of the scandalous teen drama “Gossip Girl.” Bell also voiced the sweet princess Anna in the mega-hit Disney film “Frozen.” If you have a child, they are probably still singing songs from that.

Josh Gondelman Celebrates His Sublime Relationship

Jul 29, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Comedian Josh Gondelman is up for an Emmy for his writing on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” His new comedy album, “Physical Whisper,” is out now. Listen to a tale from the album in the audio above about how he knew his girlfriend was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

How Bruce Lee’s Legacy Lives on After His Death

Jul 29, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Each week on Chattering Class, we’re schooled by an expert in some party-worthy topic. This week, the topic is the most famous martial arts fighter of all time, Bruce Lee. And our teacher is Charles Russo.

Ellis Dyson and the Shambles

  Note: This segment originally aired on Friday, February 19, 2016.

For Ellis Dyson, there is something alluring about the music from the 1920s. He sees it as dirty, raw and mysterious.

With the help of fellow musicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dyson has blended the sounds of Dixieland jazz with themes of standard folk ballads to create a "whiskey folk" ensemble.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Dyson about the band's origins and influences as a young group channeling another era.

Colette Heiser

CJ Suitt is a young black poet living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And he has a simple and frightening question, "Would I be shot if I called the police?"

CJ uses his poetry to combat stereotypes and to build bridges of understanding. But he admits, in the wake of yet another series of high profile killings of black men by the police, something has changed. CJ no longer feels safe walking at night.

Frank C. Curtin / Associated Press

Note: This segment originally aired February 19, 2016.

Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt could not have come from more different backgrounds. Murray was the granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, while Roosevelt’s ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In J.J. Johnson's book, 'believarexic,' she recalls her battle with eating disorders through her diary entries as a teenager.
Jessica Arden Photography

Note: This segment originally aired January 21, 2016.

When J.J. Johnson was 15 years old, she had to force her family to admit that she needed help for her eating disorder. She spent 10 weeks in an inpatient unit, but her healing process took many more months and years.

Her new book "believarexic" (Peachtree Publishers/2015) is a ‘fictional autobiography’ that revolves around her diary entries from her teenage years.

Melyssa Rodriguez
Jason Falchook

Chrissie Graham is a nerdy girl who needs contacts and promptly loses one. Catherine Palmer tries to micromanage her son at a school concert. Constance Mudenda is a healthcare worker with a health scare of her own. Matthew Dicks has an allergic reaction to a bee sting and needs his mother. Melissa Rodriguez grew up a foster child and then has a child of her own.

Leon Capetanos

This show originally aired on May 27, 2016.

As a kid growing up in Raleigh Leon Capetanos never imagined that he’d spend most of his life out West. He was an aspiring poet and studied writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After participating in a talent program in Hollywood, he got a call from Universal Studios to join their writing department, and his career took off from there.

Diana Matthews / Algonquin Books

This program originally aired April 4, 2016

Lee Smith started writing stories when she was nine years old and sold them for a nickel a piece.

Many of them were inspired by the gossip, true stories and daily grind she observed at her father's dime store, deep in the coal mining mountains of Virginia.

Anna Meredith DJs Your Next Dinner Party/Obstacle Course

Jul 22, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Scottish composer Anna Meredith’s background is in classical music, but she’s acclaimed for her jubilant synth pop. The Guardian says her work, “conjures images of a jetpack through the northern lights.”

Rubik’s Cube’s Puzzling Past

Jul 22, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

The History Lesson

One of the most popular toys in the free world was created in the unfree world.

Photo of Ernő Rubik By Babak Mansouri [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It was 1974. In the Soviet-bloc country of Hungary, a design professor named Ernő Rubik — barely 30 and still living with his parents — made himself a little wooden gizmo: a cube, made up of a bunch of little cubes.

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Lopez, Kristina

Each week in chattering class we’re schooled by an expert in some party-worthy topic. This week our topic is “the worst opera singer ever.” And our expert is a purveyor of fine, bad music author Darryl W. Bullock.

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