Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

The UK Celebrates the End of Rationing

Jul 14, 2017
Douglas, Emerald

The History Lesson

On July 4, 1954, while Americans celebrated their independence by gorging on hot dogs, the British celebrated being allowed to gorge on hot dogs.

That day the U.K. officially ended 14 years of food rationing imposed at the dawn of World War II. Back then, German subs attacked ships bringing food into Great Britain. Pretty awful considering it’s an island nation that imported 2/3 of its food supply.

’30 for 30′ Team Tease a Tale of a Gambler Scorned

Jul 14, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

ESPN, the sports TV network recently launched a sports podcast called “30 for 30.” It’s based on their celebrated documentary series of the same name. The first season is five episodes, each dedicated to a different sports story.

Brendan sat down with editor Jody Avirgan and producer Rose Eveleth to talk about their upcoming episode called “Queen of Sorts,” which will be released on July 18. It’s about gambling. Brendan kicked things off by asking, “Is playing cards really a sport?”

Alan Alda Gets Passive and Punchy with Etiquette

Jul 14, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Rico Gagliano: Each week, you send us your etiquette questions, and here to answer your questions this time around is actor, writer, director, and science advocate, Alan Alda. He is, of course, beloved for starring as “Hawkeye” Pierce in what’s widely considered one of the best TV shows of all time, “M*A*S*H.” He was a regular on another great show, “The West Wing,” and he hosted another great show, the PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers” for over a decade.

Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez
Violet Bell

Last year Omar Ruiz-Lopez began playing alongside songstress Lizzy Ross. Ruiz-Lopez is a classically trained violinist, viola and cello player who complements her folksy sound. As their collaboration grew, he became more than just an accompanist, and the duo became known as Violet Bell.

The band has since performed about 200 shows together and recently returned from a tour that took them from the Outer Banks to Massachusetts. Their songs reflect the beauty they find all around them and their sense of wonder and gratitude. 

Sound Opinions: Year Punk Broke (pt 2)

Jul 13, 2017

No place to run

Jul 12, 2017

In Texas, the foster care system is failing the vulnerable children it’s meant to protect, leaving them without a safe place to live. Many end up on the streets or in jail, which is one of the few places where they can receive treatment services. This week we look into the crisis in foster care, and efforts to fix it.

Pole Vaulting, Comedy, and the Congo

Jul 12, 2017
Chris Council and Emily Champlin, Courtesy of the Aspen Institute

Annie Korzen has trouble letting go as her son grows up, gets engaged, and gets married.

Matthew Dicks is more concerned with beating his own high school track teammates than winning the meet.

Richard Matthew must decide whether the risks of working in war torn areas of the world are worth it.

Hari Kondabolu finally confronts a heckler after years of hearing jerks in the front row.

Promotional still for the movie, 'Citizen Kane'
Alexander Kahle, RKO Radio Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

For decades, Hollywood has reigned as an industry that offers entertainment for mass audiences.

In his new book “Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema” (Oxford University Press/2017), Todd Berliner explores Hollywood as an art form that appeals to a mass audience. From “Citizen Kane” to “Starship Troopers,” filmmakers have used unique styles to construct narratives, ideologies and genres that challenge the industry’s standards.

Patrick Read Johnson directs John Francis Daley through a scene
5-25-77, LLC

Growing up in the small town of Wadsworth, Illinois, Patrick Read Johnson was enthralled, some might say obsessed, with making movies. As a teenager in the 1970s, movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Jaws” inspired Johnson to make Super 8 movies with his friends in his garage, using any prop or special effect Johnson could concoct. But during a trip to Hollywood, Johnson’s life changed forever when he saw a rough cut of “Star Wars” in the spring of 1977. Johnson was blown away when the movie hit theaters, and was propelled to continue making movies.

Cori Vella poses with cupcake
Loni Lyn Price

The new play “Licked Cupcake” grapples with how organized religion influences the way young women learn about sexuality. Through a series of monologues, anecdotes and songs, characters process the formative and sometimes-shaming messages they were told in their youth about purity and sexual identity. 

Gestures Great and Small

Jul 11, 2017
Pilar Siman
Photo by Jacquelin Reyna

Tim Lopez steps into the spotlight at a flair-bartending competition.

Pilar Siman takes part in a magical ballet recital.

Tom Nimen lets his mother's middle-eastern cooking shut his bullies up.

Susan Wolman turns to quilting in the aftermath of 9/11.

Jon Cayton shares hsi gratitude for his grandfather on Thanksgiving.

Deedee Lundberg takes the leap of her life on stage at a Moth GrandSLAM.

Courtesy of Sidney Brodie

For nearly 20 years, Sidney Brodie has sewn a new patch to the Durham Homicide and Victims of Violent Deaths Quilt each time a homicide occurs in the city.

He began the quilt in 1998 with the name of Shaquanna Attwater, a 2-year-old girl killed while playing on her front lawn in 1994. Today, the quilt has almost 700 names on it.

Steph Stewart and Mario Arenz of Blue Cactus
Roxanne Turpen

In their recent self-titled debut album, the duo Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez conjures the classic country sounds of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. Stewart grew up listening to country icons with her grandfather and has always been fascinated with the songwriting style of country music. With the help of Arnez, the duo infuses wit and personal storytelling into its music. 

Criminal: The Procedure

Jul 7, 2017

Abortion has been legal in the United State for almost 45 years, but before it was, seeking an abortion was very dangerous. This week's Criminal podcast tells the story of a covert network of clergy who organized to help women get illegal abortions in the late 1960s. 

Dom Flemons 'What Got Over' Release
Dom Flemons

When Dom Flemons was in the studio making his album Prospect Hill, the engineer made a casual comment that pushed the material in an unexpected direction. “Maybe you should sell some of those beats to a hip-hop artist!” the engineer quipped. 

Child prays at vacation bible school.
Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego / Dept of Defense

For parents who like to provide concrete answers when their children ask questions, the topics of God, faith and spirituality can be especially tricky. Parents who themselves are not sure what to believe are sometimes at even more of a loss when talking to their children about religion.

Doctors, Judgments, Dictators

Jul 5, 2017

Ali Al Abdullatif encounters the kindness of patriots.
Aidan Greene desperately tries to hide his stammer.
Chris Herbert takes a wild career detour in Public Relations
Rachel Ogilvy is forced to make a huge decision in the face of a health scare.

Sound Opinions: Year Punk Broke (pt 1)

Jul 5, 2017

In part one of our two-part series on the historic year 1977, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the punk explosion in the UK with music writer Jon Savage. They discuss important British bands like The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols and The Clash and what made them so influential. Plus, they'll review the new record from indie folk band Fleet Foxes, and Big Star's Jody Stephens shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

'Lord of Monsters,' written by John Claude Bemis
John Claude Bemis / Disney-Hyperion/ 2017


In his “Out of Abaton” series, North Carolina author John Claude Bemis has created a fantastic twist on an ancient Venetian empire. But it is one in which monsters and a once-servantile robot-puppet push the boundaries of reality.

The second book in the series, “Lord of Monsters,” (Disney-Hyperion/ 2017) brings youth into a new, more regal landscape for the character Pinocchio. It also thrusts Pinocchio and other characters into a battle against ancient monsters. 

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.

On this episode, Eric Hodge chats with John Moreland about his song "Lies I Chose To Believe" from the album Big Bad Luv.

Moreland's catalog is filled with songs that tug at your heartstrings, and "Lies I Chose To Believe" is no different. He says the key to writing an emotional song like this one is to not over think it.

The smuggler

Jul 3, 2017

In 2015 French radio reporter Raphael Krafft was covering the refugee crisis. Then one day, one refugee asked for his help. Raphael followed his moral compass… which led him on the journey of a lifetime.

Piet Mondrian: Genius Modernist and Party Animal

Jul 2, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

At the turn of the 20th century, Dutch artist Piet Mondrian had established himself as a master of colorful, post-impressionist landscapes. But then, in the 1910s, he moved to Paris… and blew the world’s collective mind with what became his signature style: Bold, modernist paintings of colored squares, bisected with black lines.

Samin Nosrat Convinces Us to Go to Therapy

Jun 30, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Brendan Francis Newnam: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this time… is celebrated chef and cooking teacher Samin Nosrat.

Beth Ditto DJs a Potluck Party Worthy of Great Gravy

Jun 30, 2017
Douglas, Emerald

Beth Ditto made a name for herself as the lead singer of indie-rock group Gossip, and her standout voice has been compared to Janis Joplin and Etta James. Her debut solo album “Fake Sugar” was released this month. Here she is with some tunes to play at your next potluck.

Handsome Boy Modeling School Feat. Cat Power – “I’ve Been Thinking”

Giancarlo Esposito Channels a Murderous Mindset

Jun 30, 2017
Douglas, Emerald

Giancarlo Esposito landed his first Broadway role at age eight, and he grew up to become one of the most celebrated character actors in America. He’s recently starred in not one but THREE TV shows: As the fiery pastor on “The Get Down.” As the Narrator of the Netflix show “Dear White People.” And, of course, as the murderous criminal genius Gus Fring on “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad.”

Alison Brie Gets Slammed to the Mat on ‘GLOW’

Jun 30, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Actor Alison Brie played Pete Campbell’s long-suffering wife Trudy on the hit drama “Mad Men,” and straight-laced Annie Edison on the cult sitcom “Community.” But this month, she takes on a very different starring role in the Netflix series “GLOW.”

Brie plays Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress in the 1980s who joins an all women’s pro-wrestling league. Marc Maron co-stars as a sleazy, but somewhat lovable, director

Cast of 'Space Girl' rehearses.
Katy Koop

In the new play “Space Girl” by Mora V. Harris, 16-year-old Arugula Suarez wants to be just like everybody else. But she is an alien from the planet Zlagdor, so it is not always easy for her to blend in. Arugula and her father Nancy have been sent to Earth to see if the planet is worth saving. As they decide Earth’s fate, Arugula must also navigate the social politics of high school without blowing her cover. She finds comfort in a wacky blend of things, including roller derby and salad. 

Band, 'Added Color'
Daniel Freiberg / Daniel Freiberg

Brothers Dan and Kiko Freiburg grew up subconsciously absorbing the rhythms and beats of the music from their mother’s native Brazil. But their own musical tastes range from death metal to gypsy jazz. They moved to New York and found two other musicians with an equal desire to create a new group and a new sound. The band, which changed its name to Added Color in 2017, began writing music, touring and releasing EPs – all mostly on its own. 

Canadian-born Leif Vollebekk spoke with WUNC Morning Edition Host Eric Hodge about his latest album "Twin Solitude."
Courtesy of Leif Vollebekk

Leif Vollebekk was born in Canada, but his music is influenced by his travels to France, Iceland and New York. Now he calls Montreal home. 

The Big Oops: Blunders Large and Small

Jun 30, 2017
Hasan Minhaj
Photo by Christian Leonard

Jessica Lee Williamson works on a routine for her school talent show.

Hasan Minhaj misses his mom when she moves back to India to attend school.

Holly Rutter does some late night grocery shopping.

Bob Zellner is curious about a movement rising in Montgomery, Alabama in the early 1960's.