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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
For more than 15 years, the Mountain Faith Band has performed Americana and bluegrass across the country. The group mostly consists of the McMahan family from Sylva, North Carolina. Members of the family grew up playing bluegrass while they worked together in their dad’s tire shop. Today the group is well known for their 2015 appearance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
In her debut novel “No One Is Coming To Save Us” (Ecco/2017) Stephanie Powell Watts tells the story of an African-American family living in small-town North Carolina. The book features a young man named J.J. Ferguson who returned to his hometown to impress his high school sweetheart. Watts channels the literary classic “The Great Gatsby” as well as her experiences growing up Lenoir, N.C.
The Pakistani ensemble Sounds of Kolachi blends South Asian melodies with western classical compositions, jazz arrangements and more. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ahsan Bari, co-founder of the group, about the band’s origins and influences.
For centuries, musicians have borrowed and sampled from each other, creating musical evolution as they advance their own styles and careers. However, with each cycle of musical cross-fertilization comes attempts to police it.
A new comic book, “Theft! A History of Music” (James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins/2017), dissects 2000 years of music history and its legacy of copyright and control.
Note: This program is a rebroadcast from January 9, 2017.
Activist Bree Newsome gained national attention in the summer of 2015 when she was arrested for scaling the flagpole at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and removing the Confederate flag. The act of civil disobedience took place in the wake of the killing of nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Note: This conversation is a rebroadcast from February 16, 2017.
Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist Talib Kweli entered the music scene in the late 1990s as one half of the duo Black Star. The group stressed the importance of lyricism and wrestled with systems of inequality through rap. Since then, Kweli has maintained a reputation as a “conscious rapper.” He’s collaborated with other hip-hop artists like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Durham-based producer 9th Wonder.
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote on the American Health Care Act Thursday. The bill would replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Obama’s signature legislation. Approval of the AHCA would mean approximately 24 million people could lose health care coverage by 2026, according to an estimate released last week by the Congressional Budget Office.
Sarah Gaither is interested in how growing up with multiple racial identities shapes one’s social perceptions and behaviors. Gaither is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and her work explores how racial and gender diversity can facilitate positive relationships within different social circles.
President Trump unveiled his budget proposal Thursday with an emphasis on increased spending for the military and the Department of Homeland Security. The plan also included cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and eliminates federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Some Republican lawmakers are wary of the proposed cuts to the State Department and federal aid programs.
Asheville has been home to an African-American community for centuries. However, African-American residents in Asheville and western North Carolina have historically suffered from systemic inequality and racial disparities.
In the new radio program and podcast “The Waters and Harvey Show,” co-hosts Darin Waters and Marcus Harvey examine western North Carolina’s cultural history and the narratives of marginalized communities.
A few years ago, Durham-based indie-folk band Bombadil decided to do some soul searching. After one of the band members left the group, the rest of the band decided to take a step back and find a new direction. The group eventually picked up new bandmate and worked with a data scientist to create “the perfect Bombadil song.” The band’s new style guides its latest album “Fences.”
North Carolina district attorney David Learner said Friday that two assistant district attorneys no longer work for his office.
Learner’s statement is in response to an investigation by the Associated Press that reported prosecutors Frank Webster and Chris Back helped derail criminal investigations into allegations of abuse by church leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale.
Ben Vereen made a name for himself on Broadway in the late 1960s with performances in hit productions like “Sweet Charity” and “Hair.” He later won a Tony award in 1973 for his role in “Pippin.” Since then, he has also acted in more than a dozen television shows, including the 1977 hit miniseries “Roots.”
In his one-man show “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen,” Vereen performs hit songs from Broadway and pays tribute to iconic performers Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra.