Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

For the next episode of "Movies on the Radio," The State of Things is asking, what is your favorite movie about music? 

Did you enjoy the humorous depiction of rock stars in "Almost Famous?" Were you moved by the dramatic portrait of Mozart in "Amadeus?" Do you still remember the soundtracks of "American Graffiti" and "Jaws?" Film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes will examine how movies depict musicians and the music industry and discuss memorable movie music.

Screenshot from Zootopia
BagoGames / Flickr

From Jungle Book to Jaws and Babe to The Lion King, the stars of the silver screen are often not humans but instead are our four-legged friends. Though no animal has ever won an Oscar, viewers have embraced animal actors and characters in film.

229: Farm to fork

Jul 19, 2016

This week, Reveal revisits an hour of stories dedicated to food. We take a look at the complicated networks of labor, trade and regulation that carry meat, produce and other products to our tables.

Photo of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speaking at the ESPY Awards.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In the past two weeks, violence by and against police has dominated headlines and rattled the country. Protests from movements like #BlackLivesMatter continue while celebrities use speeches and social media as a platform to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, the ESPN documentary series "O.J.: Made In America" looks at race relations since the 1960s through the life of former athlete O.J. Simpson.

Matthew Ryan
Sarah Kay

Matthew Ryan has been releasing albums for almost two-decades. In that time, he's been compared to everyone from Bruce Springsteen to U2's Bono and Tom Waits and fans of his work include Lucinda Williams.

photo of Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Knight was recently on The State of Things in advance of his appearance at the Durham Comics Fest.

Keith Knight has considered himself a cartoonist since he was in diapers, doodling on the walls of his family home near Boston.

While that spirit of creativity has not changed, the content of Keith's work has taken on more profound issues. Keith is known for drawing a weekly political cartoon called "(Th)ink" that often provides commentary on police brutality, racial profiling, and the black experience in America.

the Historical Haywood Bible Church on Moncure
Amanda D. El Jaouhari /

Photography became a part of Amanda El Jaouhari's life during her rehabilitation from an injury that ultimately resulted in back surgery. Before the injury, El Jaouhari, 36, said she was unaware of the "parasitic nature of pain" and it was very hard for her to see the beauty in the world even after having a successful operation.

photo of a dress designed by Willie Kay
North Carolina Museum of History

For much of the 20th century, Willie Otey Kay was a household name among the fashion-conscious in Raleigh. The designer and dressmaker crafted one-of-a-kind fashion for women to wear to weddings, debutante balls, and other formal events.

photo of Rissi Palmer
Rissi Palmer

Singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer exploded onto the country music scene in 2007 with a self-titled album. She sang alongside Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, and her single "Country Girl" was the first song by an African-American woman artist to make the country Billboard charts in almost two decades.

Stories with a Heartbeat Podcast Header Logo

In a month filled with tragedy, how do we make sense of it all? This week on the podcast, we use a poetic lens to try and find meaning within conflict.

Marijuana is slowly being legalized, with legitimate, profitable businesses popping up in several U.S. states. But in this week's Criminal Podcast, Phoebe Judge tells the story of Meridy Volz, who pioneered a booming pot brownie business in 1970s San Francisco.

Steve Sando's heirloom beans

Jul 15, 2016

What rare wines are to some, heirloom beans are to Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando. Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks to him about how he got his start, his favorite kinds of beans, and his "foolproof" method for preparing them.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: So how did you get into beans?

photo of Honest Pint Theatre Company
Megan Dohm

Shakespeare’s "Hamlet" is now more than 400 years old. And while many theatergoers are familiar with its plot lines about murder, death and betrayal, each new staging of the production has the opportunity to highlight a different theme or lesser-known aspect of the story.

Host Frank Stasio previews two different interpretations today. He is joined first by 14-year-old Leo Egger, a student at Durham School of the Arts, whose passion for Shakespeare led him to direct and produce a community production in his neighborhood.

Film Still: A girl awaits her train on a Tokyo subway platform. Tokyo is home to the world’s busiest metro system, with approximately 8.7 million daily riders.
Patrick Shen and Brandon Vedder

For some, silence is defined as the absence of sound. But a new documentary film, "In Pursuit of Silence," explores the many facets of silence. From religious meditation to the natural world, silence is an integral part of existence. And the noise of modern life may be damaging in physical, mental and emotional ways.

What you need to know about aperitivo

Jul 14, 2016

Aperitivo is northern Italy's version of happy hour, only instead of half-priced beers and a sketchy taco bar, light drinks and small plates carry the day. Marisa Huff writes about these cocktails and appetizers in the aptly-titled Aperitivo: The Cocktail Culture of Italy, and speaks with Splendid Table contributor Shauna Sever about them.

Shauna Sever: For the uninitiated, can you paint us a picture of this lovely Italian tradition of aperitivo?

The fundamental challenge of eggs

Jul 14, 2016
Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen

Eggs are tricky. Molly Birnbaum, executive editor of Cook's Science for America's Test Kitchen, agrees, and says it all comes down to the white and the yolk. She tells Sally Swift how to best soft-boil an egg and shares a recipe for Runny Yolk Sauce.

[More from Birnbaum]

book cover of "Fight Club 2"
Chuck Palahniuk

The first rule about Fight Club is "you do not talk about Fight Club." But author Chuck Palahniuk is making an exception.

As a sequel to the 1996 novel, Palahniuk is continuing  the story with a new graphic novel "Fight Club 2" (Dark Horse Comics/2016). It's set ten years after the original story, and shows the main character Sebastian refueling his alter ego Tyler Durden and the group Project Mayhem.

An image of Negar Mottahedeh
Golbarg Bashi

It's easy to think of a "selfie" as a narcissistic way to accrue "likes" on social media and  flaunt your latest traveling adventures. But every "selfie" tells a story about the photographer's world.

Negar Mottahedeh, associate professor of literature at Duke University in Durham, says taking a selfie is a humanizing way to document history in the age of social media. In a recent speech at TEDxDurham, Mottahedeh illustrated the ways selfies can be used as tools for protest and citizen journalism.

The memorable rosemary

Jul 13, 2016

"Queen of Herbs" Jekka McVikar tells Lynne Rossetto Kasper about the memory and meal-enhancing properties of rosemary.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: I have an herb that I've always really been attracted to, and I'd love to hear your take on it: rosemary.

Jekka McVicar: Rosemary is one of my absolute must-have herbs: Rosmarinus officinalis. It's just been proven to be as good as ginkgo at restoring your memory.

LRK: Really?

Jekka McVicar

photo of "Asperger's Are Us"
Asperger's Are Us

Asperger’s Are Us’ is a four-member comedy troupe that is quickly gaining national traction. While all four men are on the autism spectrum, their comedy is not all about their condition.

In fact, the group says it has no interest in poking fun at Asperger’s, and the men do not make light of their behavioral differences. They get on stage every night to enjoy one another’s company with the hope that their absurd and satirical sketches will make their audience laugh.

photo of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Chris Roesing

Lar Lubovitch is known in the performing art world as a breakthrough choreographer in modern, ballet and jazz dancing.

One of his most heralded works is called "Concerto 622," which depicted two men in a loving relationship for the first time on the modern dance stage. It gave a face to the AIDS crisis in the mid-80s.

William Tyler
Angelina Castillo / Merge Records

Whether you think he sounds country or not, William Tyler has just been named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 Country Artists You Need to Know. The magazine described him as a Ry Cooder playing Kraftwerk.

Krishnendu Ray (Photo credit: Maggie Tauranac)

Krishnendu Ray didn't learn to cook until he came to the U.S. from India. He quickly became fascinated with the subject, so much so that he's written The Ethnic Restaurateur, a history of immigrant food cultures in America.  He talks with Von Diaz about America's (very) gradual acceptance of new foods, the overwhelming skepticism even now-popular meals once faced, and the fate of the term "ethnic cuisine."

photo of Violet Bell
Lizzy Ross

After spending four years making music in Nashville, singer-songwriter Lizzy Ross began to feel homesick.

Ross grew up in North Carolina, went to UNC-Chapel Hill and started her career in the Triangle music scene. While Nashville was filled with passionate and impressive musicians, she missed being part of a community that she felt really embraced diverse creative expressions.

Book cover of "Magic in Islam"
Michael Muhammad Knight

People of faith will argue that magic and religion are not the same thing; magic is often condemned as dark and unsacred, while religion is characterized as morally sound and pure. In his new book “Magic in Islam” (Tarcher Perigee/2016), Michael Muhammad Knight resists the notion that the two are incompatible.

He argues that through looking at the histories of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, it is clear that the boundary between magic and religion has been blurred time and time again. He looks at examples including the use and interpretation of the Quran, astrology, and mythological figures of multiple religions.