Anita Rao

Producer, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. She loves excessively-long dinner parties and hopes to one day live up to her mom's nickname, "Sheila, The Chocolate Eater."

Ways to Connect

Headshot Photo of Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.
lgbtq.unc.edu

This is a rebroadcast of a program that aired last year.

Terri Phoenix (T) grew up always feeling like an outsider. As a young child in a poor, fragmented family, Terri moved around more than 10 times before starting high school and was always the "new kid."

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre studies creativity and social networks. Her debut novel 'The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato' blends a look at dive bar culture with ancient philosophy.
Kathy Giuffre

This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired earlier this year.

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre has spent much of her career as an objective outsider who writes about cultures that are not her own.

Image of Host Frank Stasio, Avett Brothers' Cellist Joe Kwon, and SOT Producer Anita Rao
Charlie SHelton / WUNC

The year is coming to an end, and “The State of Things” staff is taking a moment to reflect on some of the year’s most memorable conversations. Producer Anita Rao’s favorite segments include a conversation commemorating Yusor Abu-Salha, one of the three Muslim students shot and killed in Chapel Hill in February.

(L-R) Gabe Fox-Peck, Annie Bennett and Philip Norris. 'Lady and the Tramps' after winning the 2014 NCCU Jazz competition.
Lady and the Tramps

    

The jazz scene in the Triangle has been steadily gaining ground in the past few decades. The region’s musical talents include Grammy-nominated acts like Branford Marsalis and Nnenna Freelon as well as budding young musicians who are hoping to become the next generation of jazz stars.

Sara Foster is the owner of Foster's Market and has written a cookbook of the favorites from the gourmet restaurant.
Christopher Baker / Story Farm

Sara Foster was in many ways destined to open Foster’s Market, a gourmet restaurant and store in Durham, N.C.

As a young kid she spent a lot of her time at her grandfather’s small country store in Tennessee, watching old men playing checkers and scouring the buckets of penny candy. She later went to culinary school in New York, juggled multiple gigs at restaurants and catering companies, and serendipitously landed a gig as a chef in Martha Stewart’s growing business.

Killo, Raleigh, NC, 2015
Caitlin Cary

Caitlin Cary is best known as a violinist, singer and songwriter who broke out with the band Whiskeytown. She later joined Tres Chicas, the NC Music Love Army, and other groups, but she says that while she was out on the road with her music, she always had to keep her hands busy working on a craft project.

Rob Jansen stars in the one-man play, 'The Tramp's New World,' which envisions a post-apocalytic world for Charlie Chaplin's character, 'Tramp.'
Manbites Dog Theater

Charlie Chaplin’s most well-known on-screen character was the “Tramp,” a bumbling man whose humor and playfulness guided audiences through some of the darkest periods of the early 20th century. After the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, renowned journalist and film critic James Agee urged Chaplin to bring back the Tramp. He wrote a screenplay and sent it to Chaplin, insisting that the Tramp’s humor and grace were essential to help the world heal from this tragedy. Chaplin declined, and the play faded mostly into oblivion.

Pile of zines from the Bingham Center’s zine collections
Mark Zupan

We hear constantly that “pens and paper are dead,” and “screens are taking over our lives.” But there is one small corner of the world where pens, paper, scissors and glue are alive and well: the world of zines.

Zines are handmade, self-published magazines that are about almost anything, from politics to music, arts and raw personal experience.

'Day and Night,' 1938, woodcut in black and gray, printed from two blocks, 15 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.
The M.C. Escher Company

Dutch-born printmaker M.C. Escher was a meticulous artist who drew inspiration from landscapes and the natural world. Although he had no formal scientific training, his work features complex mathematical objects and scenarios.

The exhibit “The Worlds of M.C. Escher: Nature, Science, and Imagination” on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art through January is the most comprehensive Escher exhibition ever presented in the U.S.

Animation still artwork
Ammar Nasri and Zhou Quan

During the Jim Crow era, many businesses and establishments were not friendly to African-Americans which made traveling both inconvenient and dangerous for black families.

Andy Griffith and Barney Fife shoot their first scene on 'The Andy Griffith Show.' The production was supposed to revolve around Andy; but once producers saw the magic between Andy and Don, they set about reordering the show around their relationship.
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

“The Andy Griffith Show” was one of the first sitcoms to portray life in rural, small-town America. The show was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C. and traced the friendship of two quirky men: Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife.

Orson Welles directed, produced, co-authored, and starred in 'Citizen Kane,' considered by many as the greatest film ever made.
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The 1941 film Citizen Kane is considered by many to be one of the best films of all time. Its daring subject matter, bold visuals, and unique style made Orson Welles a household name.

Photo of Arab composer Suad Bushnaq
Suad Bushnaq

Suad Bushnaq was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. She composed her first piece of music, a simple birthday song for her brother, when she was just 9 years old. She is now one of a handful of Arab women composers in the world. Her compositions are featured in documentaries and films like “The Curve,” a feature film recently selected at the Dubai International Film Festival.

Clarence Page
Keppler Speakers

Protests erupted on college campuses around the country this month as students called for racial and social reforms. At the University of Missouri-Columbia last week, the system president and university chancellor resigned after mounting tensions over race relations on campus.

Cervantes Is Among Us, one photo that's part of the 'I am Quixote/Yo Soy Quixote' arts exhibit on view at the Durham Arts Council.
Jean-Christian Rostagni

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Miguel De Cervantes' infamous two-part novel “El Quixote.” It is considered by many to be the first modern novel, and its themes continue to resonate with today’s artists and thinkers.

To celebrate the anniversary, Triangle-based artist Rafael Osuba coordinated a 7-month long festival, “El Quixote Festival,” that gathers artists around the state to share works that reflect the character and spirit of Don Quixote.

Vivian Joiner

After college, chef Stephanie Tyson wanted to leave her Southern roots behind her and start life anew in the North. She left North Carolina for New York with hopes to become an actress, but things did not quite work out as planned.

Thomas Brown studies landmarks of Confederate memory such as the flag, shown here flying at the South Carolina capitol before it was taken down this summer.
eyeliam / Flickr Creative Commons

The Confederate flag has been around for more than a century, yet the controversial symbol has been in the headlines almost every week this year. South Carolina removed the flag from their state grounds this summer after the shooting of churchgoers in Charleston, but the debate over Confederate symbols has continued across the nation.

Historian Thomas Brown has studied landmarks of Confederate memory around the country and examines what they can teach us about Americans’ changing political, social, and economic positions.

Photographer Nadia Sablin spent seven summers documenting the lives of her aunts Alevtina and Ludmila in a small village in northwest Russia. These photographs are some of those shown in her new book 'Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila.'
Nadia Sablin

Photographer Nadia Sablin grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and each summer her family escaped the hustle and bustle of the city to spend time with their extended family in a small, rural village. They left Russia for good in 1992 and Sablin didn’t know whether she would ever get a chance to go back.

She went back for the first time more than 15 years later, and although everything in Russia had changed, one little piece of the world remained exactly the same: the small family home in Alekhovshchina.

Photo of foreign policy expert Trita parsi
Trita Parsi

Trita Parsi was born in pre-revolution Iran in the early 1970s. Although his family left the country when he was just four years old, his interest and connection to Iranian people, culture, and politics has remained strong throughout his life. Early in his career Parsi worked for the United Nations addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou opposed the torture tactics that the CIA used in the 'War on Terror.'
Troy Page / t r u t h o u t / Flickr Creative Commons

John Kiriakou spent 14 years in the CIA as an analyst and counterterrorism officer. At one-point he was responsible for leading the team that found Abu Zubaydah, one of the highest ranking al-Qaeda officers at the time.

But Kiriakou’s career has become defined by a decision he made after he left the CIA. In 2007, he became the first CIA official to publicly acknowledge the agency’s use of waterboarding.

Joe Kwon is the cellist for the Avett Brothers and also runs a popular food blog based on where the band eats.
Front of House Photography

As a kid, Joe Kwon spent all of his time doing two things: practicing the cello and eating delicious food.

His family had recently immigrated to North Carolina from South Korea so his house was always filled with family and lavish Korean cooking.

Survivors of a civilization-ending apocalypse manage to salvage fragments of their cultural history.
Emily Levinstone

The Simpsons is the kind of show that people watch over and over. Many episodes continue to linger in popular culture no matter how many years have passed since they originally aired.

But what would happen if suddenly all The Simpsons episodes and all other media and technology were gone and all that remained were people’s memories of what they think they heard or saw?

Right Image Photography, Inc.

Mental healthcare practices in the United States have changed quite a bit in the past two centuries. State hospitals and asylums once housed the great majority of mentally ill individuals, but definitions for what constituted mental illness were often vague and included conditions like epilepsy and PMS. In the 1950s and 60s, government officials pushed towards the deinstitutionalization of mental health care, and many individuals experiencing mental illness were released into the community.

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