Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Sound Opinions: Conversation With Mavis Staples

Apr 6, 2017

As a member of her family group The Staple Singers and as a solo artist, Mavis Staples has used her huge voice to power the Civil Rights Movement and inspire generations. The gospel and soul legend joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an intimate discussion of her life and career.

Harper Collins Publishers

In her debut novel “No One Is Coming To Save Us” (Ecco/2017) Stephanie Powell Watts tells the story of an African-American family living in small-town North Carolina. The book features a young man named J.J. Ferguson who returned to his hometown to impress his high school sweetheart. Watts channels the literary classic “The Great Gatsby” as well as her experiences growing up Lenoir, N.C.

If you can't afford a lawyer

Apr 5, 2017

If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you – that’s how it’s supposed to work. But in New Orleans, the lawyer in charge of representing poor people accused of crimes is saying no. His office doesn’t have enough money or time to do a good job, he says, so he’s refusing some serious cases, which is jamming up the courts and leaving hundreds of people stuck in jail with no lawyer. His goal? To break the system in order to fix it. Reveal follows up on this story that we first brought you last fall.

slim, white-haired Abby Abinanti stands looking serious on a misty hill
Courtesy of Anne Makepeace

In Native American communities, poverty, drugs and the school-to-prison pipeline mean few second chances for those who commit crimes.

Two tribal judges in California are taking a different approach: Abby Abinanti and Claudette White are using restorative justice techniques to rehabilitate offenders and keep families together.
 

An image of doctoral student A.D. Carson
Ken Scar

Hip-hop music has long been revered for showcasing nuanced messages about marginalized communities. Nas’ 1994 debut studio album “Illmatic” is praised as a seminal, lyrical portrayal of life in New York City. Meanwhile, Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade” was heralded for its powerful messages about black feminism. Works like these achieved large commercial success, but what happens when hip-hop extends beyond the airwaves and into the academy? 

Martini Madness: And the Winner Is…

Apr 3, 2017
gnt-reveal.gif
Lopez, Kristina

After a month-long battle that pitted cocktail against cocktail (and host against guest co-host at the end) the polls have closed and the winner of the Martini Madness bracket has been crowned.

And the winner is…

Gin and Tonic!
How did the G&T pull off this win?

DSC_0960.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

UPDATE: Find out which cocktail won Martini Madness here.

Usually in the show, Brendan and Rico tell you something that happened this week in history, then pair it with a fitting boozy beverage. But this week, we’re doing something different.

The mystery of Mountain Jane Doe

Mar 31, 2017

Investigators dig up an unidentified murder victim, 45 years after she was buried, in an attempt to give her back her name. The exhumation leads to a series of unexpected revelations about who she was and why she may have been killed. Her case speaks to the complexity – and importance – of opening up cold cases. This is one story of thousands from the crisis of America’s unidentified dead.

Prentice Penny Swaps Politeness for Public Embarrassment

Mar 31, 2017
GettyImages-631691904.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Each week you send us your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this time around is Prentice Penny.

He’s the showrunner for HBO’s Golden Globe-nominated series “Insecure.” He also wrote for network comedy shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Scrubs,” and “Happy Endings.” And on his new show, he steps in front of the camera.

Jens Lekman DJs A Middle Eastern Dance Party

Mar 31, 2017
jenslekman.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Swedish musician Jens Lekman has become a legend in the indie world for his wry, alternately hilarious and heartbreaking pop tunes. Last year, he challenged himself to write a song a week… some of which evolved into tracks for his new album, “Life Will See You Now.” It’s his first record in five years.

Here’s Jens with a playlist mailed from the other side of the world.

Ahmed Fakroun – “Yumma”

Usman Dadi

The Pakistani ensemble Sounds of Kolachi blends South Asian melodies with western classical compositions, jazz arrangements and more. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ahsan Bari, co-founder of the group, about the band’s origins and influences.

World-renowned journalist Katie Couric is best known from her years as a news anchor for every major TV network and as a former correspondent for “60 Minutes.”

These days she is Yahoo’s global news anchor and she hosts her own interview podcast. When our guest co-host, Lauren Ober, met with Katie, she started things off by asking Katie where she got the super bizarre title of her podcast: “Katie Couric.”

Sound Opinions: Report from SXSW

Mar 30, 2017

Every spring, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot head to Austin, Texas for the sprawling SXSW Music Conference. This week, they report back on their favorite musical discoveries of the festival.

St. Martin's Press

In 1995, Lisa Dickey set out on what she thought would be a once in a lifetime trip. Along with photographer Gary Matoso, the writer headed to a lighthouse at the border of Russia and North Korea, and then voyaged inland for more than 5,000 miles. Along the way, they met a broad spectrum of Russians and spent time getting to know a few standout characters, including a farmer, members of an isolated Jewish community, and a rap star.

Doris Jenkins stands in front of rows of roller skates at her rink.
Courtesy of Nicole Triche

Doris Jenkins has led customers in roller skating fun and games for over 50 years from her rink on Topsail Island, NC.

She is the locally famous subject of  a new documentary premiering at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 7 as part of this year's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Host Frank Stasio talks with filmmaker and director Nicole Triche about the film, and its septuagenarian subject.

Sword Fight, Hip Hop, Amnesia, Berlin

Mar 27, 2017
Cole Kazdin
Photo by Renee Rosensteel

Cole Kazdin dreams of forgetting her past.

Simon Bill's
love for antique swords proves useful.
Chenjerai Kumanyika
becomes a hip hop star.

James Shuter finds himself in Germany near the Cold War's end. 

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time Eric Hodge speaks with Rick Miller of Southern Culture On The Skids about the song "Freak Flag" off of the band's 2016 album The Electric Pinecones.

Alan Tudyk Celebrates His 3 Favorite Robots

Mar 24, 2017
20TUDYK-articleLarge.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Alan Tudyk is one of the stars of NBC’s new superhero sitcom “Powerless.” After honing his chops at Julliard, he’s spent most of his career in outer space. He starred in the cult TV hit “Firefly” and lent his voice to a slew of films, including “i, Robot” and “Star Wars Rogue One.” Fun fact: Alan’s movies have made $2.1 billion dollars at the box office… that’s more than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Check out his list, in which he sings the praises of his robot heroes.

Twiki

Blondie – ‘Long Time’

Mar 24, 2017
blondie-320-LONG-TIME.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Is Wine Tasting at Restaurants Losing Its Flavor?

Mar 24, 2017
ThinkstockPhotos-200532045-001.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

You know when you’re at a restaurant, and you order a bottle of wine, and the waiter shows up with it and offers you a sip first? That tradition might be going out of style.

rupaul.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Rico Gagliano: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this week is RuPaul. Not sure he needs an introduction, but suffice it  to say he’s probably the best-known drag queen in the world —


RuPaul: Best known drag queen in the world?! I am the most famous drag queen in the history of the world!

Brendan Francis Newnam: We were just about to say that!


Danny Boyle Reflects on 20 Years of ‘Trainspotting’

Mar 24, 2017
T2-JB-01509c-3_rgb.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Back in 1994, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge made the hit indie thriller “Shallow Grave,” then followed it up with an adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel “Trainspotting.” With it’s hurtling energy and Britpop soundtrack, it was an international hit, made a star out of Ewan McGregor, and became one of the cultural milestones of the ’90s.

Sound Opinions Remembers Chuck Berry

Mar 24, 2017

Chuck Berry died on March 18th at the age of 90. Jim and Greg celebrate the life of Berry by looking at his iconic tracks, as well as his vast influence on future artists. They also talk about his work in later years and what it was like to share a stage with the guitar legend.

Image of folklorist Joseph Hall
Courtesy of Ted Olson, ETSU

More than 4,000 people surrendered their homes and land to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park covers more than 500,000 acres and straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

Sound Opinions: Remembering Chuck Berry

Mar 23, 2017

Chuck Berry, one of the architects of rock 'n' roll, has died at age 90. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reflect on the life, music, and enduring legacy of the legendary guitarist and singer.

  Note: This conversation is a rebroadcast from February 16, 2017.

Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist Talib Kweli entered the music scene in the late 1990s as one half of the duo Black Star. The group stressed the importance of lyricism and wrestled with systems of inequality through rap. Since then, Kweli has maintained a reputation as a “conscious rapper.” He’s collaborated with other hip-hop artists like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Durham-based producer 9th Wonder.

Actor Meshaun Labrone playing Stokely Carmichael in a new one-man show.
DJ Corey Photography / Courtesy of the Artist

Note: This conversation is a rebroadcast from February 16, 2017.

In the early 1960s, Stokely Carmichael was a relatively-unknown young activist working primarily with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Alabama and Mississippi. But he rose to prominence in the summer of 1966 when he introduced the term “black power” into the national dialogue.

Against their will

Mar 22, 2017

Powered by the internet, the sex trade is reaching into all corners of the country. Reveal follows up on what’s happened since we first took you inside the hidden places – real and virtual – where people are exploited for sex. Produced in collaboration with APM Reports, we’ll hear stories from the pot fields of Northern California to the streets of Chicago and suburban Seattle.

Our Podcast Picks for #Trypod

Mar 22, 2017
ThinkstockPhotos-533445426.jpg
Lopez, Kristina

Brendan Francis Newnam (Co-Host)

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Nina Simone's Tryon, NC, Home Sold to Artists

Mar 22, 2017
A clapboard house sits on a hill in the town of Tryon, NC
Courtesy of BPR News

In the 1930s and '40s, the community of Tryon, North Carolina supported local girl Eunice Waymon on her path to becoming a classical pianist. But she veered far from that trajectory, and eventually became an internationally-celebrated jazz and soul singer known as Nina Simone.
 

The three-room wooden house Simone was born and raised in was preserved by community members and recently purchased by four New York City-based artists.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Blue Ridge Public Radio reporter Helen Chickering about the house and its future.

Pages