Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Jill McCorkle
Tom Rankin

Jill McCorkle's first novel in 17 years, “Life After Life” (Algonquin/ 2013), is set in a retirement community. There, the dying grapple with life and death in humorous, dark turns. One character moved to the area to be close to the grave of her former lover. Another fakes dementia to avoid having to deal with his adult son. Jill McCorkle joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her newest work.

Keith Weston
MelShoots

Every weekend it's my pleasure on Back Porch Music to share with you scores of selections from WUNC's wide-ranging folk music library.  It's always a musical adventure that I often find surprising and inspiring myself - and I hope you do, too. From fiddle tunes to singer-songwriters, the term "folk" applies to such a large range of sounds and textures.

The first page of the Carolina Charter of 1663.
N.C. State Archives

People interested in the history of North Carolina can see the front page of the Carolina Charter on display today in Raleigh.  The 350-year-old old document represents the land grant from the King of England to eight of his closest friends and allies who helped him when he was restored to the throne. 

Carl Kasell at a WUNC event in 2007.
Dave Horne/Flickr

At their most recent Annual Meeting, The North Carolina Press Association named Carl Kasell the 2013 North Carolinian of the Year.

Originally from Goldsboro, Kasell is known for his life-long career in radio broadcasting. He also helped found WUNC while in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Kasell spent 30 years as a newscaster for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and he currently works on the popular radio news quiz show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, in addition to being an ambassador for NPR.

Carolina in the Morning
Johns Hopkins University, The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music

If you’ve ever attended a public event or high school choir performance in North or South Carolina, chances are you’ve heard the song “Carolina in The Morning.” But which Carolina does the iconic tune refer to?

Andy Griffith
andygriffith.org

Less than one year after Andy Griffith’s death, his widow intends to raze the house where he once lived with his family. According to friends, Griffith had hoped the house would be turned into a museum.

Cindi Griffith received a demolition permit from Dare County on Monday. The house that she intends to tear down is not the large one that she and Andy built recently, but a smaller one on Roanoke Island that Andy Griffith bought in the 1950’s.

Tokyo Rosenthal
tokyorosenthal.com

Tokyo Rosenthal is an Americana musician. And while Americana might be a traditional sort of music, Tokyo Rosenthal isn’t your traditional artist.

His sound combines rock, country and blues, and his songs revolve around issues of social justice. Host Frank Stasio talks to him about his newest album, and Tokyo Rosenthal plays live in the studio.

South Carolina Historical Society

Three hundred years ago this week, European colonialists in what is now eastern North Carolina fought a battle that devastated an American Indian tribe. A symposium at East Carolina University marks the anniversary of the 1713 battle, in which European settlers attacked a stronghold of the Tuscarora tribe called Fort Nooherooka.  Nearly a thousand Tuscarora Indians were captured or killed, forcing the remaining tribe members to migrate to New York. 

brucepiephoff.net

Bruce Piephoff began writing songs in Greensboro in the 1960s, and 22 albums later he's making music here today. He's found music one of the best vehicles to tell a story, and he'll tell you that Greensboro is full of stories. He and electric guitarist Scott Sawyer talk to host Frank Stasio and play live at the Upstage Cabaret at the Triad Stage.

http://www.craignova.com

Author Craig Nova's life as a reader has left him wanting to fill in the gaps in contemporary fiction. Nova notes that he's witnessed a decline in loving male characters. In his latest novel, "The Constant Heart" (Counterpoint/2012), he attempts to fill in this gap. “The Constant Heart” was recently celebrated as part of the New Yorker's "Best Books of 2012" list. Craig Nova is an author and a professor in the humanities at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He joins Host Frank Stasio live at the Triad Stage to discuss the themes behind "The Constant Heart."

The Royal Hawaiian Quintet Performing on the U.S. Mainland
University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, via flickr, creative commons

  

The sound of American Country music owes much of it's success to an unlikely source: the 19th century Hawaiian music scene. Hawaiian music at that time was dominated by the steel guitar. During the instrument's century-long international migration, it influenced the direction of many genres.

Duke.edu

Wangechi Mutu's life-size collages attempt to bring the Black female body to the forefront of her work. It is inspired by the complex power she's seen in women, particularly from her native Kenya. Not only are they enormous, but the figures are also mystical and powerful.

Spanish catechism for the Catholic Church
book cover, amazon.com

Today, Pope Francis officially became the 266th Pope for the Catholic Church, and the first representative of the New World. The 265 men who served before him were all European, but Pope Francis was born in Argentina, where he continued to serve until the church tapped him for the top job in Rome.

Brittany Darst

A new exhibit at UNC Chapel Hill aims to challenge the way people think about the word "disability." It's a collection of photos and narratives written by students called "This Able Life." UNC junior Katie Savage founded the campus group, Advocates for Carolina. She says she hopes the exhibit will help dissolve the stigma often associated with disability and transform the word into something celebratory that empowers and inspires.

James Beard Foundation
James Beard Foundation

More than a dozen North Carolina restaurants and chefs earned a spot on the James Beard Award semifinalist list this year, but only one is advancing to the nominee (finalist) category: Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh. Christensen was nominated for Best Chef: Southeast, a position she shares with four other chefs in the region. Here is her reaction on twitter this morning:

fresh peas
courtesy of Andrea Reusing

Like a few others in the Triangle, Andrea Reusing found out she was a James Beard semi-finalist on Twitter.  But of the 13 semi-finalists in North Carolina this year, Andrea Reusing of Lantern is the only one to have ever won the award before.

gravyboys.com / Christer Berg Photography

The Americana music of The Gravy Boys hit the scene about eight years ago. They’re now three albums in and expanding their acoustic sound. Their newest album is called Crackerjack Whistle, and they’ll be playing in Raleigh tomorrow night.

Phoebe Lawless
Lissa Gotwals

People who bake pies for a living usually do so because they love it. Not to win awards. So when Phoebe Lawless of Scratch bakery learned recently that the James Beard Foundation named her a semi-finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef – an honor she shares with only 19 others in the country – she was thoroughly shocked.   “I certainly did not expect to find myself on the list,” she said.  Lawless learned of the honor while at home on her couch, when someone mentioned it on Twitter.  

http://fy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etty_Hillesum

  Out of the varied horrors of the Holocaust, a body of literature survives.  The most famous voice belongs to Anne Frank.  At 15-years-old, she wrote, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”  It's hard to believe that anyone, even a child, can be so big-hearted. 

Less well-known is the voice of an adult woman, Etty Hillesum.  And her writing is finally getting its day in the sun.

Bolton Anthony
secondjourney.org

Baby boomers are coming of retirement age at a rapid pace. The ordinary path forward would be golf, retirement homes and taking it easy, but Bolton Anthony, founder of Chapel Hill non-profit Second Journey, wants to change that conception of old age. He wants the hippies of the ‘60s to become the idealists of the new millennium.

Host Frank Stasio talks to Bolton Anthony about his ideas for changing retirement.

Fullsteam's First Frost persimmon ale
Fullsteam

Like last year, Sean Lilly Wilson of the Durham brewery Fullsteam found out that he was on the list of 2013 James Beard Award semi-finalists via Twitter.  And he thought it was a mistake.  His reaction?  “Profound disbelief,” he says.  Wilson’s Fullsteam made the semi-finalist list for the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional Award, joining names like Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, and The Brooklyn Brewery.

Even though he’s been a James Beard Award semi-finalist for three years in a row, Chef Aaron Vandemark of Hillsborough’s Panciuto was caught off guard last month when he learned that his name was on the list yet again. He was checking his email and received a congratulatory note, at first not realizing what it was for.  But that’s not too different from last year, Vandemark says. In 2012, he was alone in his kitchen cutting up lamb parts when he received a phone call from a writer in Raleigh who gave him the news.  “I’m always surprised by how informal it is,” he admits, referring to the fact that The James Beard Foundation does not notify its semi-finalists directly.

University of Georgia Press

  Medgar Evers’s assassination was a spark that motivated social activists and inspired writers, poets and journalists. Artists like Bob Dylan, Eudora Welty and James Baldwin have contributed to the collective memory of Evers through their own works.

Minrose Gwin, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks to host Frank Stasio about her new book, “Remembering Medgar Evers” (University of Georgia Press/2013).

Neal Hutcheson

  For nearly 300 years the Core Sound community has earned a livelihood from the commercial fishing industry. It’s a livelihood that is now seriously threatened. “Core Sounders” is a new documentary that tells the story of a community in transition.

Host Frank Stasio is joined by Walt Wolfram, executive producer and professor of English at North Carolina State University; and Neal Hutcheson, the Emmy-Award winning director, to talk about their new film, “Core Sounders.”

The wreck of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor lies off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Friday marks 150 years to the day since it sank.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary / noaa.gov

The remains of two Union sailors who went down with the ironclad USS Monitor off the North Carolina coast will be honored Friday at Arlington National Cemetery. 

The Civil War ship sank 150 years ago.  The remains were found in 2002.  Lauren Heesemann is the research coordinator for NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. 

"The date for the burial was chosen because its the 151st anniversary of the battle of Hampton Roads which is one of the battles that the Monitor is most known for; the battle of the Monitor versus the Merrimack or the CSS Virginia," Heesemann says.

beyucaffe.com

Organist Gary Brunotte has been playing music since he picked up an accordion at age 9. He went on to study and teach at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and has been writing, arranging, performing and recording ever since. 

Birds and Arrows on Last Motel
Eric Hodge / WUNC

Birds and Arrows new album Coyotes is out next week.  It's produced by Chris Stamey from the dB's and features guests including Robert Sledge from Ben Folds Five and James Wallace from Mount Moriah.  

Jeffrey L. Cohen via flickr.com

  Sir Walter Ralegh has never set foot in North Carolina. He’s certainly never seen the city that was named for him. But there he is. Airports and cemeteries bear his name; statues of his likeness are all around town. Why does Ralegh have such a hold on the popular imagination?

Host Frank Stasio will try to parse fact from fiction with his guest Christopher Armitage, a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Armitage is working on a book, “Literary and Visual Ralegh: Writings of and Visual Reproductions of Sir Walter Ralegh” (Manchester University Press).

Andrew Rannells, 'The Book of Mormon'
www.bookofmormonbroadway.com

The Durham Performing Arts Center has announced what it calls its biggest season ever.  The Tony Award winning musical “The Book of Mormon” is singing its way to Durham in February 2014.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle
annaandelizabeth.com

While many popular musicians today seek out the newest digital technology to enhance their performances, there’s a young musical duo from rural Virginia who are moving in the opposite direction. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle call themselves simply “Anna and Elizabeth.”  Both accomplished traditional Appalachian musicians on a variety of instruments, together they have resurrected a storytelling tradition called the “crankie,” whose technology outdates their combined age (which is 50).

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