Alex Granados

Producer, "The State of Things"

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.

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State of Things
1:15 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Dark Tangos

Dark Tangos
Credit www.lewisshiner.com

Lewis Shiner’s latest novel is a blend of historical fiction, romance and crime, and it all revolves around tango. Protagonist Rob Cavenaugh is a recent transplant to Buenos Ares. On the dance floor, he falls in love, but his relationship exposes him to Argentina’s dark history. Thousands of citizens disappeared in the country’s dirty war, and Rob’s new crush was somehow involved. Host Frank Stasio talks with Shiner about his new novel, "Dark Tangos" (Subterranean Press/2011).

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State of Things
12:09 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Speed Drummer

worldrecordsacademy.org
Credit worldrecordsacademy.org

Eric Okamoto is a percussion teacher in Cary, NC who has brought drumming to new heights. Since he won his first speed percussion competition in 2003, Okamoto has continued to top the list of the world's fastest drummers. He just broke more records at a competition in Nashville, Tennessee in July.

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State of Things
11:22 am
Tue August 30, 2011

The Magician King

Book cover, ''The Magician King''

Harry Potter paved the way for many fantasy novels, including one written by Time Magazine book critic Lev Grossman. "The Magicians" (Viking Adult/2009), took an adult look at the mythical world of magic and tackled issues of sex, drugs and existential angst. The sequel, "The Magician King" (Viking Adult/2011), is out now and continues its offbeat examination of the magical life.

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State of Things
12:24 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

William Michael Dillon

William Michael Dillon
Credit wmdmusic.com

William Michael Dillon spent nearly 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. In 2008, DNA testing proved that he was innocent and he was set free. Dillon, also a musician, sings about his trials and tribulations in his first album, “Black Robes and Lawyers,” released this month.

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State of Things
12:15 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Instruments of Justice

Instruments of Justice
Credit facebook.com

How many lawyers does it take to make good music? Well, if you’re talking about the North Carolina band Instruments of Justice, the answer is a lot. They’re the house band for the law firm Poyner Spruill LLP, and they’re up to 13 members – enough to make up their own jury with an alternate. Host Frank Stasio gets treated to an in-studio performance and talks to the band about life as music-making attorneys.

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State of Things
12:23 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Good Divorce

As early as the late 1800s, the United States already had the highest rate of divorce in the world. It has pretty much maintained its status as a world leader of broken marriages ever since. The advent of no-fault divorces in the late '60s and early '70s only made things worse. Now a generation of people raised by split parents is struggling to forge their way through the uncertain bonds of matrimony. Jonathan Weiler and Anne Menkens are one couple who say they found a way to have a “good divorce.” They wrote about their efforts in a series of articles on the Huffington Post.

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State of Things
11:55 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Dog Sees God

God Sees God
Credit realtheatre.org

Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew have delighted fans for more than half a century. But what happens when those innocent kids become teenagers? In the play “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” Linus is a pothead, Snoopy is dead, Lucy is imprisoned and Pigpen is a germaphobe. Good grief! Raleigh Ensemble Players will be performing “Dogs Sees God,” which follows the Peanuts gang in high school as they deal with the drama and turbulence of the teen years.

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State of Things
11:43 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Holy Ghost Tent Revival
Credit holyghosttentrevival.com

After going it alone for years, the members of Holy Ghost Tent Revival are considering changing their unsigned status and seeking representation from a record label. They’ve been having a blast on the road, but balancing a hectic tour schedule with the responsibility of promoting their music and financing the needs of the seven-member band is overwhelming.

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State of Things
12:25 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

The Family Fang

Book cover, ''The Family Fang''

Camille and Caleb Fang love to put people in uncomfortable situations. They're performance artists who think nothing of making a scene by stealing candy at a mall or heckling a pair of young street performers. But the Fang’s greatest works are their damaged children who they traumatize in the name of art. For example, they dress their son as a girl and enter him in a beauty pageant. In The Family Fang" (Ecco/2011), first time novelist Kevin Wilson explores the dependent and often twisted relationship between parents and children.

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State of Things
12:04 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

The Casino Business

Harrah's

Gambling is big business in Western North Carolina. A new report by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that Harrah's Cherokee Casino pours more than $380 million into the local economy there. That has led to improvements in life expectancy, poverty rates and even education in the area.

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