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

A Republican congressman charts his course in a Democratic capital.
The Martin Family

Jim Martin was the first and only two-term Republican governor in North Carolina, serving from 1985-1993.

 

Becky Buller won three IBMA awards this year for emerging artist, songwriter of the year and recorded event of the year.
Becky Buller

Becky Buller has tried her hand at almost every part of the bluegrass music industry.

She is a prolific songwriter whose compositions have been recorded by musicians like Ricky Skaggs; she produced for and toured with Valerie Smith; she co-hosts a bluegrass music show; and she has released two solo records.

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

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre has spent much of her career as an objective outsider who writes about cultures that are not her own. She studies artistic communities and creativity in the South Pacific, and eventually this work encouraged her to examine her own life and the spaces she grew up in. Her debut novel “The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato” (John F.

Melissa Radcliff is an advocate for children with incarcerate parents as the executive director of Our Children's Place.
Melissa Radcliff

More than 2.7 million children in the United States have an incarcerated parent and more than 25,000 of those children live in North Carolina. But while conversations around mass incarceration are on the rise, the stories of these children often remain invisible. 

Giorgio Ciompi (right) founded the Ciompi Quartet at Duke University in 1965. Pictured with him are (L-R) Claudia Warburg, one of the early quartet members, pianist Murray Perahia and Horst Meyer, a professor at Duke and a great patron of the quartet.
Ciompi Quartet

The Ciompi Quartet was founded at Duke University by renowned Italian violinist Giorgio Ciompi. Since its inception in 1965, the quartet has been an integral part of the classical music scene in the Triangle and has also built a reputation around the world.

The quartet begins its anniversary season with a performance at Baldwin Auditorium next Saturday, October 3. The event features celebrated jazz vocalist Nneena Freelon. 

Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons/ USDA

Representative Barney Frank served in Congress for more than three decades.

His momentous career was marked by personal and political achievements; he was the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, he helped bring about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he co-authored the far-reaching Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

A collection of Blue Bell Wrangler artifacts showcasing their position as a player in both the work clothing and westernwear markets
Evan Morrison

Jeans are one of the most ubiquitous clothing items—found in both high-end designer boutiques and on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

Although they originated as work garments for miners, farmers and cattle workers, they have since become a more everyday item.

Periodical Cicada Shells
Bill Reynolds

Arthropods comprise the great majority of the animal kingdom. Although many humans see them mostly as pests, they are vital to our everyday lives. They are pollinators, decomposers, and a nutrient-rich food source for a wide range of species.  

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences celebrates the world of bugs this Saturday with BugFest, a daylong event with entomologists, scientists, and more than 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities.

Pictures from Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, which partially inspired Null for his book
Matthew Neill Null

Writer Matthew Neill Null calls West Virginia a museum of failed enterprise. He argues that industries like logging, coal mining, oil extraction, and now hydraulic fracturing, have irreversibly marked the state’s history and landscape.

Null has a long personal history with the area—his family has lived there since before it became a state, and his writing aims to explore the lesser-known stories of the land and the people who lived on it.

Amiri Baraka
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Amiri Baraka, born Everett LeRoi Joins, was a poet, playwright and political organizer whose career spanned more than five decades.

Father Michael Lapsley with Desmond Tutu
Institute for Healing of Memories

Father Michael Lapsley is a South African liberation activist and priest who knows firsthand what it is like to experience trauma. In 1990, a mail bomb intended to assassinate him caused him to lose both of his hands, an ear, and an eye.

The truce signing in 2003 with Reo Hatfield, Bo McCoy and Ron McCoy
Ron McCoy and Jerry D. Hatfield

The Hatfields and the McCoys are two of the most well-known American families. Their legendary family feud ended more than a century ago but continues to capture the American imagination to this day.

In the past two decades, direct descendants of the patriarchs have been working to reunite the two families and reintroduce their heritage and story to the American public.

Pianist Pamela Howland creates musical arrangments using the sounds of The Beatles with a classical music influence.
John Chapman

Pianist Pamela Howland has had a long love affair with legendary Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. She wrote a one-woman show about his life and documented his roots in a film.

Dale Watson
Sarah Wilson

Guitarist Dale Watson feels out of place in the modern country music world, and he is perfectly OK with that. The Texas musician believes the genre has changed so much that it lost its identity, so he created a new genre of his own—Ameripolitan.

Ameripolitan music is original music with prominent roots influence, and the genre’s tagline is, "We’re not about leaving country music behind, we’re taking the ‘real’ country music with us."

'Poet' looks at the life of poet George Moses Horton
Don Tate

George Moses Horton was born into slavery in Northampton County, N.C. in the late 18th century. He was enslaved in rural Chatham County for most of his life, yet he built a remarkable career for himself off the plantation.

As a child, George secretly taught himself how to read, and as a teenager he began making trips to Chapel Hill where he composed poems for students on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

Mary Kratt in rhododendron at age 6
Mary Kratt

Historian and author Mary Kratt grew up in the countryside surrounded by trees, the occasional quail hunter and not much else. As a little girl she spent a lot of time on her own and became a keen observer of her surroundings and other people, and she says that’s exactly why she is a successful poet today. 

Kratt has authored six poetry books and a number of books and essays on Charlotte history.

Movies On The Radio: Alfred Hitchcock

Aug 26, 2015
Alfred Hitchcock
Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr Creative Commons

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most celebrated and prolific filmmakers in cinema.

He directed more than 50 films in six decades, mastered the art of psychological thrillers and suspense, and meticulously crafted scenes filled with compelling visuals. 

Wonder Woman is perhaps the most well-known female superhero. She is the inspiration for the play 'Behind the Boots' put on by the Summer Sisters. It explores the history and significance of Wonder Woman.
Mark Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Wonder Woman is an iconic superhero best known for her battle skills and formidable weapons. The Amazonian warrior princess is often seen with her Lasso of Truth, invisible airplane and indestructible bracelets. She first appeared in comic books in 1941, but her image and character has since soared far beyond the page.

Triangle-based theater group Summer Sisters used the pop-culture icon as inspiration for a new experimental theater piece called “Behind the Boots.” It explores the connections between heroism, feminism, truth, justice, and their own everyday lives.

Pauli Murray, the imp
Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

Scholar and activist Pauli Murray grew up in Durham and was fundamentally shaped by its history and culture, and she left a lasting legacy on the city in return.

Duke University’s Pauli Murray Project has been working to document this legacy and recently reached an important milestone: the project begins the restoration of Pauli Murray’s historic house in southwest Durham this summer.

The largest mass murder of gay individuals in America occurred at The Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans when 32 people were killed in a fire. Robert Camina's documentary 'Upstairs Inferno' looks back at it.
Robert Camina

Four years after the Stonewall riots, someone deliberately set fire to The Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Thirty-two people were killed, and many more were injured. It was the largest killing of gay individuals in American history, but to this day, little remains known about the tragedy. The new documentary “Upstairs Inferno” traces the story of the fire and documents the effect it had on survivors and the community.

A portrait of Deondra Rose when she was four
Deondra Rose

Deondra Rose has always been 10 steps ahead of her peers.

She took an interest in government and politics in first grade while running for student council and says that many of her most vivid memories about growing up revolve around electoral politics—like when she lost her first election in 4th grade because she refused to vote for herself.

The live orchestra that accompanied the premiere of Blair Tindall's 'Mozart In The Jungle.' Many of them were onscreen for the series as well.
Blair Tindall

Oboist and Chapel Hill native Blair Tindall has played with some of the biggest names in classical music. She has performed on stage at Carnegie Hall and played in the orchestra pit for Broadway musicals like Les Miserables andMiss Saigon.

Why I Am A Salafi

Aug 12, 2015
Cover of Michael Muhammad Knight's book 'Why I Am A Salafi'
Michael Muhammad Knight

Michael Muhammad Knight grew up in an Irish-Catholic-working-class family in upstate New York. And as a teenager, he found himself at a unique crossroads: he wanted to either continue writing letters to Charles Manson or devote his time to studying Islam.

He chose the latter, and that decision changed the course of his life. A year later, Knight had converted to Islam and spent two months studying the religion in Pakistan.

A compilation of magazine covers from all over the world showing Tab Hunter at the peak of his celebrity.
Photo courtesy of Chuck Adams

Tab Hunter was a Hollywood golden boy whose looks propelled him into quick fame. He starred in more than 40 major motion pictures including “Battle Cry” and “Damn Yankees.” 

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

He has produced more than a dozen documentaries exploring race, death, violence and the American psyche. His work has earned him an Emmy, a Peabody, and a litany of other documentary awards.

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