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

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.

Author Robin Greene with her first son Dan in 1981
Robin Greene

Robin Greene gave birth to her first child in 1981. It was a traumatic experience for her, and she was shocked that nobody had prepared her for what it would be like.

She shared her experience with a friend and they both began to wonder how many other women had similar experiences, and if anything could be gained from encouraging women to share their birthing stories more openly.

Odili Donald Odita stands in front of his mural, a public art display at the Nasher Museum of Art.
J Caldwell

Duke University’s Nasher Museum opened its doors in the fall of 2005 with a vision for a first-rate museum but without a clear path to get there. Luckily the board hired talented staff, and within a few years they were on their way to becoming an established museum with robust collections of contemporary art and art by people of African descent. 

Time on a clock
Flickr/Sean MacEntee

Time is an essential part of day-to-day life. Clocks and calendars let people know when to sleep, eat, and where they’re supposed to be each morning.

But time is also something much more complicated; time is an abstract concept that sits at the center of conversations about physics, philosophy and culture.

Host Frank Stasio with brothers Noah and Gabriel Harrell, founders of the Rural Academy Theater, a theater troupe that travels the state by horse and buggy and brings theater to rural audiences.

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.

Pages