Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer
Credit Tammy Jean Lamoureux

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

BJ Leiderman
Paul Howey

BJ Leiderman has made a career of creating the well-known jingles for NPR shows like Morning Edition. But Leiderman has also lived a double life and spent his nights jamming in rock ‘n’ roll bands, often writing original songs.

Steven Caras

African-American women have fought against discrimination in the ballet world for decades. Debra Austin was the first black ballerina to become a principal dancer in a major American dance company. She broke through the racial barrier, but her career was not without challenges.


AFRICAN AMERICAN DANCE ENSEMBLE, INC.

Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Chuck Davis died earlier this month at the age of 80. Davis was considered America’s master of African dance. He formed the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York in the 1960s and later built the African American Dance Ensemble in Durham.

Keyboardist Jonathan Lim (front left) of Washington, D.C. and music producer Brandon Collins of Raleigh explore the sounds of the synth keyboard.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

Music producers, artists, and the future-curious explored art installations, talks, and concerts during Moogfest in downtown Durham. The festival celebrates artists who use technology to produce innovative sounds and visual art.

MIDDLE WEST MANAGEMENT

Phil Cook has become a fixture in the Triangle music scene since moving to North Carolina from Wisconsin more than a decade ago. His love for collaboration means he has lent his writing, production, and multi-instrumental skills to countless projects.

An image of Sammy Bananas playing at Moogfest in Asheville, 2014
Moogfest

Synthesizer enthusiasts, music lovers, and technophiles have descended on downtown Durham for the second Moogfest in the North Carolina city. The four-day festival from May 18 to 21 seeks to promote artists who lean on innovative technologies to produce visual and multimedia art and music.

Courtesy CERN

In a cavern 100 meters below the surface of the earth, physicists are constructing the universe – theoretically at least. Physicist Kate Shaw is a researcher studying CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. She works specifically on the 7,000 ton ATLAS detector that is investigating fundamental particles. 

Terry McCombs / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report from the Youth Justice Project shows that public school students in North Carolina lost 1 million days to school suspensions in the 2015-2016 school year. According to the report, the rate of short-term school suspensions is increasing, and disproportionately affects African-American students, boys, and students with disabilities.

Charlie Thompson / www.homeplaceunderfire.org

In the 1980s, rising interest rates, decreased farm prices, and misguided federal policies led to a crisis that hit farmers across the nation. Many farmers were either forced to sell their properties or driven to foreclose.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The North Carolina Senate released their $22.9 billion spending plan earlier this week. The budget has significant implications for the state’s education system. It shifts how teacher raises are allocated and proposes a $600 million increase in education spending.

arianta / Flickr

A well-executed remake film can bring a beloved story to a fresh audience. But when a remake is done wrong, it can leave faithful viewers cringing.

For the next Movies On The Radio, The State of Things wants to know what are the best and worst remake films? 

Courtesy Monica Berra/ Soul City

Like many utopian societies, Soul City was a dream that was doomed to fail. It was the brainchild of civil rights leader Floyd McKissick who wanted to build a haven of racial equality for nearly 20,000 people. Construction for the project began in the Piedmont region of North Carolina in the 1970s, but constant bureaucratic battles led to its demise.

University of South Carolina Press

Theories abound regarding why famed writer Ernest Hemingway shot and killed himself in Idaho in 1961. Some claim he suffered from bipolar disorder or that he had depression. But in the new book “Hemingway’s Brain” (University of South Carolina Press/2017), psychiatrist Andrew Farah offers a new theory.

Gate City Divas / www.gatecitydivas.com

The Gate City Divas are a female-led blues group made up of seasoned singer-songwriters from the Triad. The group had an unconventional start; they were awarded a grant to record an album of original songs by Greensboro-based female performers. After completing the project and releasing the album “Goin’ To Town,” they decided to form a full-fledged band.

Terrestrial Podcast / kuow.org

Many people are aware of the way human choices are changing the planet. But how is the planet shaping the big and small choices people make everyday? The new podcast “Terrestrial” from NPR member station KUOW traces the decisions people make based on the environment, like a couple’s decision not to have children because of rising global population, or the exploration of composting as an eco-friendly way of processing dead bodies.

Sarah Sneeden / Viking/Penguin Publishing

For nearly 20 years, Ann B. Ross has written about the lives of the outspoken Miss Julia and her band of friends. They live in the fictional town of Abbotsville.

The newest novel in the Miss Julia mystery series takes the book’s heroine to the coast where a hurricane bring both chaos and surprising treasures. Ross lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and her town has provided endless inspiration for the characters and content of her work.

McGuire's Miracle The Documentary

Alexander Julian is credited with the iconic revamp of Tar Heel sports uniforms. But his journey to creating the legendary Carolina blue argyle was a long time in the making. Julian drew up his first designs when he was a child, and he started working the sales floor at his father Maurice Julian’s haberdashery when he was in his teens.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 

This Saturday marks 100 days in power for the Trump administration. The Trump team is touting the president’s accomplishments, which include job creation efforts and national security measures. A significant number of these measures were instituted through executive orders or memorandums, a maneuver for which Republicans criticized former President Obama.

Barry Lam / hiphination.org

 When professor Barry Lam needed a break from the college classroom, he set out to turn his scholarly passion into a podcast. “Hi-Phi Nation” uses investigative journalism and narrative storytelling to peer inside under-explored philosophical question.

By Source - Fair use March for Science

Tens of thousands of scientists are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., this Saturday for the March for Science. Partner marches are set up in more than 500 cities around the world to bring together scientists and science supporters. Threats to budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health, and the Trump administration’s position on scientific research have galvanized the march movement.

Courtesy North Carolina Opera

Georges Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” is an opera that pits the dynamics of a love triangle against the union of brotherhood. The opera, set in historic Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, features one of the most famous duets in opera history. The North Carolina Opera presents their interpretation of “The Pearl Fishers,” an opera that was only popularized long after Bizet’s death.

Joe Wolf / Flickr Creative Commons

Dystopian films take viewers to cities in the sky and barren, post-apocalyptic landscapes. They explore futuristic universes while also tapping into the darker side of the human condition. 

In this episode of "Movies on the Radio," listeners discuss their favorite dystopian films. Host Frank Stasio talks with experts Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about how dystopian art emerges from societal reaction to politics and government.

Laura Boyes will host a screening of the 1930 Film "King of Jazz" at Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 

And on May 5, you can catch Marsha Gordon at a special screening of The Big Red One at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. 

Courtesy Phyliss Craig-Taylor

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from February 20, 2017.

Phyliss Craig-Taylor was part of the first wave of black students to integrate public schools in Alabama. She started attending an integrated school in third grade, and it was a challenging and formative experience. White children taunted her and threw projectiles at her, and she collected each item in a cigar box. These objects later served as evidence in a lawsuit to push for stronger integration of public schools.

Copyright 2017 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

For nearly five decades “Sesame Street” has used playful characters to teach kids about tough subjects. In recent years the show has addressed parental incarceration and divorce. This week the TV show introduced a new puppet with her own distinct challenges. Julia, who is on the autistic spectrum, does not communicate in a predictable way and struggles with sensory overload.

Leonard Rogoff

Gertrude Weil spent her life fighting for civil rights in the South. She founded the state's League of Women Voters and campaigned against lynching and segregation. She cleverly navigated the fault lines that marked politics in North Carolina in the early 20th century. In new the book, "Gertrude Weil: Jewish Progressive in the New South" (UNC Press/2017), Leonard Rogoff exposes the roots of Gertrude Weil's activism.

Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

UPDATE: According to reports from News & Record reporter Danielle Battaglia, a superior court judge has ordered the release of the police body camera footage of Jose Charles to the Greensboro City Council for viewing in a closed session.

Another violent arrest by police in Greensboro is testing North Carolina's 2016 law on the release of police body camera footage. The mother of fifteen-year-old Jose Charles says police choked her son without provocation at a Fourth of July party, and she wants the public to see the police tape of the incident. Police charged Jose Charles with attacking an officer, among other crimes. 

www.abigaildowd.com

After working in city politics, and running an art school, Abigail Dowd needed a change. She packed up her great-grandfather’s guitar and took off to Florence, Italy, to Ireland, and later to Maine, to spend some time reconnecting with herself and her music. The trip turned into an eight-year journey.

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The founder of the private security firm Blackwater was allegedly involved in a secret meeting with a confidante to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

jessamynstanley.com

 Jessamyn Stanley did not like yoga when she first started. Stanley’s first yoga class ended with her lying in a heap, overcome with nausea. But the body positivity advocate found her way back the mat years later and started sharing her journey with yoga on social media. Her honest posts on Instagram and Tumblr made Stanley a social media star.

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

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