Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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Rwanda & Juliet: In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The oft-quoted passage takes on new meaning in a production of Romeo and Juliet staged in Rwanda with both Hutu and Tutsi victims of the 1994 genocide. The documentary film “Rwanda & Juliet” follows the production of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy in Kigali, Rwanda in the spring of 2013.

While still a very young person, Martin Fisher fell in love with a very old machine. It was Christmas in Tennessee, and Martin's parents kept pestering him to submit his list. Martin remembers that his quirky, nine-year-old self wasn't all that interested in gifts. But his parents persisted, and Martin came up with a response: "I finally said, 'Ok. I'm gonna call their bluff.' And I said, 'have the elves hook up a cylinder player.'"

World of Bluegrass festival performers
Evan Millican / WUNC

The World of Bluegrass held its annual StreetFest in downtown Raleigh last week.

The event included hundreds of offerings for bluegrass professionals and music aficionados -- and plenty of banjos and fiddles.

Image of Michelle Moog-Koussa with the minimoog.
Courtesy of Michelle Moog-Koussa

More than 50 years ago, Robert Moog revolutionized electronic music with the invention of the Moog synthesizer. It was one of the first widely-used electronic instruments and has been featured in music by artists ranging from The Beatles to jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. But despite his immense career success, Moog kept his professional and personal lives separate. In fact, it was not until his death that his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, began to learn about his professional influence.

Mandolin Orange
Scott McCormick / Sacks & Co.

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz are back with a new Mandolin Orange recording. It's called Blindfaller.  The duo recorded its fifth album in their hometown of Chapel Hill during a week off between tour dates.  The record builds on a mix of folk, country and bluegrass while always keeping the spotlight on their captivating vocal harmonies.

Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

The International Bluegrass Music Association is underway in Raleigh with the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The group The Earls of Leicester won Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row. The group led the field in nominations. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Lawless, editor of Bluegrass Today, about notable awards and emerging bands in bluegrass.

Claire Lynch Band

Bluegrass music traditionally draws inspiration from the back porches, front porches, swamps, mountains and hollers of the South. But for her new album, celebrated bluegrass artist Claire Lynch looked north. The album is called “North By South,” and it is a celebration of the often underappreciated catalog of bluegrass songs written by Canadians. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Claire Lynch about her Canadian muses and listens to some live music from the band.

Courtesy of Laughing Penguin Publicity

Kenny and Amanda Smith have been professional musicians as a duo for 15 years but have been playing music together as husband and wife for decades. The pair's new album is called "Unbound." Amanda Smith was a nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Kenny Smith was nominated for Instrumental Performer of the Year on the guitar in the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards.
 

Eric Andre Shares His 3 Favorite Awkward Interviews

Sep 30, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

We’ve got a brand-new “Guest List,” in which an interesting person lists some interesting things. This time around, our guest is comedian Eric Andre, host of “The Eric Andre Show.”

That title is the only conventional thing about series. Each episode begins with Eric destroying his own set, and then he lobs bizarre questions at often-unsuspecting interview guests.

Here’s Eric to list a few disastrous interviews that served as… “inspirations.”

Kennedy & Major Lazer

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Lopez, Kristina

Rico Gagliano: Each week you send us your questions about how to behave, and here to solve all of your problems this week, is Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

Jack Garratt Throws an Old School Dinner Party

Sep 30, 2016

Jack Garratt’s mix of electronica, pop and soul won him the BBC’s “Sound of 2016” Poll and a Brits “Critics’ Choice” Award. To put things in context, the last folks to do that were Sam Smith and Adele.

A Closer Look at Seth Meyers

Sep 30, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Seth Meyers spent a decade at “Saturday Night Live,” eventually becoming that show’s head writer and the anchor of its satirical news segment “Weekend Update.” He left the show in February 2014 to take the helm at “Late Night” on NBC, a spot made famous by David Letterman.

He’s also Executive Producer of the comedy series “Documentary Now” – a satirical send-up of classic docs, starring his former colleagues Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. He also co-created the animated series “The Awesomes.”

Phoebe Robinson Explains How Not To Be The Black Friend

Sep 30, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Comedian Phoebe Robinson hosts the podcasts “Sooo Many White Guys” and “2 Dope Queens” – alongside Daily Show alum Jessica Williams. Now she’s released her first book, “You Can’t Touch My Hair.” It’s a mix of memoir and culture commentary.

GrandSLAMS Coast to Coast

Sep 30, 2016

Fred Johnson is a soldier who won’t admit that he has PTSD.

Vivienne Anderson is a trans teen.

Pam Burrell is a college student who volunteers at a prison.

Steve Zimmer gets into a highstakes eBay bidding war.

Tony Cyprien spends 26 years in prison.

Pam Colby connects with her family in the midwest.

Kilmartin at The Stand in August 2016.
Lisa Gansky / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Laurie_Kilmartin.jpg

Steven calls on the wisdom of cancer bloggers who found real-life support systems online. Guest experts Anne Strainchamps and Joshua Johnson return to weigh on on gay PDA at a conservative wedding, cutting in line at the airport, and how to handle that “nasty” relative who's always looking for a fight.

Photo from Playmakers production of 'Detroit 67'
Jon Gardiner

Tensions between police and civilians are on the minds of many after last week’s shootings and protests in Charlotte. But a play on stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Playmakers Repertory Company makes it clear that these tensions are not new. “Detroit ‘67” tells the fictional story of a brother and sister working to stay afloat as their city faces increased economic and racial turmoil. The story is punctuated with music from the booming Motown music scene.

The business and beauty of Sylvia Weinstock's artisan cakes

Sep 28, 2016
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Caryle Murphy

Sylvia Weinstock's artisan wedding and birthday cakes have traveled from her New York City boutique to locales as far-flung as Bahrain and Johannesburg. She tells The Splendid Table contributor Melanie Dunea about what inspires her creations, what keeps her going, and how she learned to make one of her signature flourishes.

[You can also explore The Splendid Table's cake collection here.]

Natto: 'It's like a vegan stinky cheese.'

Sep 28, 2016
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officek_ki/Thinkstock

Natto is fermented soybeans, and it's been popular in Japan for over a thousand years. Ann Yonetani tells The Splendid Table's Von Diaz how it gets its "special sauce," and why it might be exactly the thing for a vegan looking for a pungent cheese alternative.

Von Diaz: I recently tried your natto, and I have to say it's a little hard to describe. How would you describe it?

Turmeric basics with Julie Sahni

Sep 28, 2016
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bhofack2/Thinkstock

Turmeric is the latest poster child for the healthy living movement, thanks to its reputed anti-inflammatory properties. It's also a staple spice in Indian food, which is why The Splendid Table's David Leite asked legendary author and cooking teacher Julie Sahni to tell us a little more about it.

David Leite: Poor, misunderstood turmeric. Not a lot of people know what to do with it, so why don't we start from the beginning. What exactly is turmeric?

An unexpectedly sweet use for fig leaves

Sep 28, 2016
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Jose Santiago/Thinkstock

In Dandelion & Quince, author Michelle McKenzie explores the uses of some non-standard herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Here, she tells The Splendid Table's Noelle Carter about her tomatillo-inspired green fish stew and the unexpectedly sweet use she's found for fig leaves.

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Delmonico Restaurant, New York City, 1898 (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Food historian Paul Freedman's book, Ten Restaurants That Changed America, tells the history of American restaurants (and America itself, for that matter) through those ten establishments. He tells Lynne Rossetto Kasper why Howard Johnson's is on the list, why McDonald's isn't, and how New York City's famed Delmonico's started it all.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Which ten restaurants did you choose?

Stefan Litwin is a piano composer and music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Hans Joachim Zylla

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from February 8, 2016. 

For Stefan Litwin, playing the piano is personal. Litwin was born in Mexico City in 1960 after his parents fled from the Nazis in Europe years earlier.

He grew up speaking three languages but always felt like an outsider. He went on to study piano in Switzerland and the United States, all the while channeling his family's experience in the Holocaust through composing music.

Youth Radio: A Reflection On Black Women's Hair

Sep 26, 2016
2016 Summer Reporting Intern Natasha Graham, 18, talks about the history and appropriation of black hairstyles in mainstream media.
WUNC

This story is part of WUNC's 2016 Youth Reporting Institute, an annual summer program that teaches young people how to tell stories about their community in their own voice.

Meet: Natasha Graham
Age: 18

A shot from the top of the Corcoran Street parking garage.  The American Underground sign is visible along with the 21c Hotel to the left.
Philip Vignola Jr. / http://bullcity.pictures

By day, Philip Vignola Jr. works in technology at Research Triangle Park. In his spare time, he likes to roam the streets of downtown Durham and showcase the city’s history and beauty.

Instagram: @bullcitypictures

Gloria Steinem author photo
Annie Leibovitz

Gloria Steinem, 82,  is one of the most iconic figures of the American feminist movement. Her legacy as a journalist and activist includes co-founding and editing Ms. Magazine, publishing writings on the intersecting barriers to women’s rights, and decades of organizing on the front lines of national and international feminist movements.

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