Charlie Shelton

Producer, "The State of Things"
photo of Gigi Dover & the Big Love
Gigi Dover & the Big Love

For Gigi Dover & the Big Love, Americana isn't limited to American styles of music. The group hails from Charlotte and composes Southern folk using worldly instruments like the sitar and rebab.

Through its latest album, "Travelin' Thru," the band continues to strengthen the grassroots music scene in Charlotte.

Riverhead Books/2017

Patricia Lockwood grew up in a Catholic family in the Midwest. But her family’s circumstances were a little different: Lockwood’s father was a priest. Throughout her upbringing, Lockwood navigated her father’s larger-than-life personality and the institutional bindings of the Catholic church.

St. Martin's Press

In his new novel, “Extraordinary Adventures” (St. Martin’s Press/2017), writer Daniel Wallace features the story of a middle-aged man who lives an “extra-ordinary” life. But one day, Edsel Bronfman’s mundane routine takes a turn when he receives a free weekend at a beachfront condo. But there is a catch: Bronfman must find a partner to accompany him on his trip within 79 days.


San Diego Personal Injury Attorney / Flickr/ Creative Commons

 Earlier this week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal for 2018. The plan cuts more than $600 billion from Medicaid in the next decade, which would affect  nearly two million enrollees in North Carolina. The budget also includes deep cuts to health research and higher education.


St. Martin’s Press/2017

In his latest novel “The River of Kings” (St. Martin’s Press/2017), author Taylor Brown interweaves two journeys that take place 500 years apart on the wild and mysterious Altamaha River, also known as Georgia’s “Little Amazon.”

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

 

Every year thousands of low-income students in North Carolina who achieve “superior” scores on end-of-grade tests are excluded from advanced programs, according to a recent report. The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer reported that high-achieving, low-income students are left out of advanced classes at a higher rate than their wealthier classmates with the same test scores.

An image of the musical trio KING
Alex King

About six years ago, twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother decided to team up with their friend Anita Bias to form the musical group KING. Little did they know the trio would soon cross paths with Prince and eventually receive a Grammy nomination. 

Flickr Creative Commons

A noncompete agreement is designed to prevent an employee from leaving his or her employer to work for a competitor. For decades, many companies required senior management to sign those agreements to protect information about the inner workings of their organizations. However, noncompete agreements are becoming more common down the economic ladder, barring blue-collar workers’ mobility and bargaining power in the workplace.

Chris Pizzello / AP Images

In the new Netflix series “Dear White People,” conversations about racism on a college campus take center stage. The story features members of the Black Student Union at a fictional Ivy League college called Winchester University, where the main character hosts a socially-conscious radio show. The series has received praise for featuring nuanced stories of students of color, and backlash by some who consider the show racist.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House is reeling after the president fired James Comey as FBI director earlier this week. The Trump administration said Comey tarnished the FBI’s reputation by mishandling its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. However, many Democrats suspect a cover-up and are calling for a special prosecutor into the investigation of Trump’s campaign aides’ ties to Russia.

Courtesy of The Artist

Durham-based musician Kamara Thomas knew she wanted to be an artist at a young age. But she grew up in a Christian fundamentalist household that frowned upon artistic expression.

Southerners on New Ground

Many families will not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day together this weekend due to barriers in the criminal justice system. In the United States, nearly 80 percent of women in jail are mothers, and most of those women are also single parents, according to a 2016 report from the Vera Institute of Justice. 

UNC Asheville

Growing up in South Los Angeles, Dwight Mullen remembers constant tension between the community and police. He specifically recalls the 1965 Watts riots and the impact it had on the city.

Duke Energy / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion. The purchase is a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.

Abingdon Press/2017

In 1947, dozens of white men in Greenville, South Carolina kidnapped and murdered a young black man named Willie Earle. Several of the men later confessed to the crime and said it was retaliation after a black man allegedly stabbed a white cab driver. However, after a trial, nobody was convicted for the murder.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

David Hoffman

Earl Scruggs is considered one of the most influential banjo players of all time. He made a name for himself performing with Bill Monroe’s band on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-1940s. Scruggs went on to compose seminal records like “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”

Man Bites Dog Theatre

What do we choose to remember as we grow older? How do the stories we tell ourselves shape our own identity? The play “Marjorie Prime” explores these questions through the story of an 85-year-old woman dealing with memory loss. Marjorie finds companionship in artificial intelligence modeled after a younger version of her deceased husband.

Rebecca Ward

 After more than 15 years, rapper Joshua Gunn is familiar with the Durham hip-hop scene. As a teenager Gunn made a name for himself in underground Durham rap battles. He paired up with artists like acclaimed DJ Terminator X of Public Enemy and MC Lyte.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

 

Governor Roy Cooper’s political battle continues with the Republican-led General Assembly. The state House and Senate voted this week to override Cooper’s veto of a bill to consolidate the state elections and ethics boards.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

In his latest novel, “The Moon and The Other” (Simon & Schuster/2017), science fiction writer John Kessel envisions a collection of people living on the moon in the middle of the 22nd century. The story follows four main characters as they navigate the social structures of each colony, including the “Society of Cousins,” where men receive societal privileges but are denied the right to vote.

 

Sufis Doucet

For Durham-based architect Phil Freelon, 2016 was a year of triumphs and setbacks. Freelon was the lead architect for the National Museum of African American History & Culture and celebrated the museum’s opening in Washington D.C. last fall. But months before the opening, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bonnie Rochman

Parents today have more options to determine and influence their children’s genetic makeup than ever before. But is knowing more about one’s DNA always empowering? In the new book “The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids- and the Kids We Have” (Farrar, Straus, Grioux/2017) writer Bonnie Rochman explores the possible benefits and drawbacks to modern genetic testing.

Jeff Roffman

In June 1944, a group of Jewish prisoners performed Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem Mass” to a group of Nazi officers at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The performance was a subversive and artistic act of defiance by the Jewish prisoners. In 2008, Maestro Murry Sidlin founded The Defiant Requiem Foundation to commemorate the event. Sidlin conducts Verdi’s “Requiem Mass” alongside testimonies and footage from the concentration camps.

An image of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky
Public Domain

19th-century Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky is considered one of the most popular composers in history. However the man behind ballets like “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” had a secret that clouded his personal life. Even though he never publicly came out, Tchaikovsky was gay. His sexual identity influenced his work and may have contributed to his mysterious and sudden death.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 Relations between the U.S. and Russia are tense this week as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Moscow on a diplomatic trip. Tillerson urged Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, to pull their support from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These talks come a week after the U.S. launched a missile strike against Syria. Meanwhile, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Nina Berman

Nina Berman has been capturing stories as a professional photographer since the late 1980s. She is best known for her photos capturing military culture and veteran issues in the wake of Sept. 11. She documented the militarization of American life with the collection “Homeland” and told the stories of wounded veterans in “Purple Hearts- Back from Iraq.”

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Two weeks after the repeal of House Bill 2, several new proposals are working their way through the General Assembly. A group of House Republicans filed a bill that aims to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina. The bill claims the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is “null and void in the state of North Carolina.”

Nasher Musuem of Art

 Nina Chanel Abney was drawn to art at an early age. As a kid growing up in Chicago, she stayed busy by doodling and making collages with comics in the newspaper. As she got older, her work began to take on more political themes, including racism, police brutality and the impact of social media. The exhibition “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” features about 30 of Abney’s paintings, watercolors and collages.

Lucinda Devlin

For more than 40 years, photographer Lucinda Devlin has captured unique scenes across the country. Her images are social commentaries on things like the death penalty and agribusiness. The exhibit "Lucinda Devlin: Sightlines" spans Devlin's career and features 83 of her photographs.

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