Meghan Modafferi

Producer, The State of Things
A new study finds that video gamers' vision may be better than that non-gamers.
Rebecca Pollard via flickr, Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired June 4, 2014.

When many people hear the words “video game,” they think of a stereotypical geeky teenage boy. But that image does not represent the true industry.

Women account for nearly half of the gaming population and more than a third of gamers are over the age of 36. Video games have expanded into an art form that produces complex narratives, cultural critiques and symphony soundtracks.

Monika Johnson-Hostler
monikaforschools.com

Note: Today's program is a rebroadcast of a program originally aired on July 14, 2014.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Monika Johnston-Hostler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Wake County School Board Member.

It's A Beautiful World

Jul 18, 2014
Beauty World

  

Musicians Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson strive to never play the same show twice. The experimental duo, formerly known as Prypyat, recently embraced a new chamber pop sound along with a new name: Beauty World.

The band combines their classical training with a sharper, rock-fueled delivery. They perform at the Raleigh City Plaza at 6pm next Thursday, July 24th.

Rick Dillwood

When filmmaker Rick Dillwood agreed to donate sperm to his neighbors, he hardly knew them. Mel and Carey Downey-Piper had been seeking a known donor but not a good friend. However, after many months of celebration and hardship, the three became very close. Dillwood recorded their journey in a documentary called "Between Friends & Family".

  

Kid Finance

Jul 17, 2014
makethedifference.org

Children learn a great deal about money from their parents. But which aspects are parents wont to teach and which do they often conceal? Researcher Lynsey Romo sought to answer that in her new study, "Money Matters: Children's Perceptions of Parent-Child Financial Disclosure".

Meanwhile, an exhibit at Marbles Kids Museum aims to facilitate money talk in kids as young as five and the North Carolina Bankers Association works with middle and high school students.

Audio Under the Stars

  

Live storytelling events have increased in popularity recently, but audio listening parties are still relatively rare. A monthly event called "Audio Under the Stars" seeks to change that in Durham.

Its organizers see audio stories as vehicles to other times and occasions for social engagement. The latest installment, "Fish Out Of Water: Stories of misfits, oddballs, mariners and real fish", is Friday at 8pm at SPECTRE Arts in Durham.

Below is a taste of the kind of stories "Audio Under the Stars" showcases. 

monikaforschools.com

Host Frank Stasio talks with Monika Johnston-Hostler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Wake County School Board Member. 

Michael Christian headshot
kenan-flagler.unc.edu

Former stockbroker Bernie Madoff and former New York Times journalist Jayson Blair share infamy for their unethical business decisions.

A new report considers the psychology behind these transgressions and shows that misdeeds tend to escalate into larger scandals over time.

Life's difficult choices rarely present themselves in one dramatic question or one big decision. Instead, our most important choices in life, including ethical ones, present themselves in small baby steps.

-Jayson Blair  

The von Trapps in front of mountain backdrop
Courtesy of the North Carolina Symphony

Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August von Trapp are the grandchildren of Werner von Trapp. He was portrayed as Kurt in the beloved film, "The Sound of Music." The young von Trapps learned to sing from their grandfather and have been touring together for 13 years. The foursome sang "Edelweiss" on The State of Things.

Alexandra Zagbayou smiling
studentudurham.org

Alexandra Zagbayou was born in Montreal but returned to her father's homeland of Ivory Coast when she was 4 years old. Six years later, her family fled because they feared political persecution in the tense years before the country's civil war.

"We thought we would be in the U.S. for a summer. The summer turned into 15 years," she said.

The family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Zagbayou learned English by reverse engineering her school's French classes.

Later, her parents returned to Africa while she and her sister stayed in Raleigh with their aunt and uncle. A few years after that, their uncle was killed.

Zagbayou's older sister became her primary guardian while she worked hard to finish high school and secure funding for college. 

One summer, Zagbayou taught dance classes to homeless and displaced youth. This was when she first began to process her own challenging life experiences. She realized not only that she related to her students, but that she had come out the other side. 

Today she helps run the Durham-based college-access organization, Student U. The program empowers students to pursue their own educational journeys despite diverse challenges. 

Byrd book cover shows a tree and bird
dzancbooks.org

After a whirlwind reunion with a childhood friend, Addie Lockwood finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Never aspiring to motherhood, she chooses adoption without telling the father. But even before the child is born, Addie feels compelled to write letters to him.

The story is the premise of Byrd (Dzanc Books/2014), a new book by Raleigh-based author Kim Church.

Justin Clapp

  Drag performance has a rich history and a lively culture that is increasingly more mainstream. Drag queen Vivica C. Coxx has performed in drag shows for more than a decade, regularly hosting events at The Pinhook in Durham.

Folk Songs From The Soul

Jun 27, 2014
Marie Killen

For Skylar Gudasz, a whisper can resonate louder than a shout. The Carrboro folk singer has toured with national musicians in Big Star Third and collaborated locally with Spooky Woods. She showcases her soft, but powerful vocals and elegant songwriting in her upcoming solo album, Oleander.  

Iron Man
flickr

Film and television production companies in North Carolina currently receive tax refunds of 25 percent if they spend $250,000 or more. The incentives expire at the end of the year unless the General Assembly reinstates them in the budget. Critics say the incentives are too high given a number of permanent jobs the industry creates. But a report commissioned by industry players shows the state receives a positive return on its entertainment investment. 

headshot of ethicist David Gushee
theology.mercer.edu

Many have criticized the American government's use of torture since 9/11 including military experts who say it it is ineffective. But for Christian ethicist David Gushee, the very question of effectiveness is a degrading one. He believes the usefulness of a behavior does not affect its morality. 

Gushee is part of the non-governmental, bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, convened by the Constitution Project. Gushee speaks tonight at 7pm at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. A declassified report on CIA torture is expected to be released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later this summer. 

woman lying on the grass
mainstreetrag.com

Walt Disney's fairy tale adaptations are known for their neat, happy endings. But in their original states, these tales were rife with darkness and despair. 

Writer and poet Maureen Sherbondy embraces the gloom in her new book, "Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh" (Main Street Rag Publishing Company/2014). For example, Sherbondy's Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy.

What the Prince Doesn't Know

By Maureen Sherbondy

Two months ago the mammogram revealed
a lump, and days since then have passed.

She can no longer throw her hair over the wall
for him to shimmy up beneath the star-scarred sky.

In a nauseous-chemo blur, clumps of golden thread
fell from her head to the tower's cold stone floor.

Still, the witch keeps her here, caged and ill, the left breast
completely gone. Her head a pale bald egg.

So when the Prince yells up to her, Rapunzel, throw down your golden hair, she hides beneath the sterile sheets.
 

Fiber Optics
Michel Tronchetti

Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Winston-Salem have signed on to an agreement with AT&T for high-speed fiber optic Internet service. The service operates at one gigabit per second, which translates to 25 song downloads per second. Still can't wrap your head around the incredible speed of fiber? Check out this video that uses water to demonstrate.

This ultra-fast Internet service is not new everywhere in the state. The cities of Wilson and Salisbury started working on their own fiber systems years ago. That was before a 2011 state law restricted municipalities from building publicly-owned broadband networks. 

Pisgah National Forest
Flickr

Thirty years ago today, President Ronald Reagan signed the North Carolina Wilderness Act which protected nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness in the state. Robert Cox, former president of the Sierra club, was instrumental in the law’s passage.

He toured the state showing the following slideshow on the importance of wilderness. It was digitized by the North Carolina Sierra Club as part of the project, Our Wild North Carolina.

Of course, the North Carolina Wilderness Act was controversial at the time, just as many environmental issues are today. Human industry has historically locked horns with the rest of nature.

Today, Cox is a professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studies the rhetoric of environmentalism and social change. 

Reel to Reel book cover shows a galaxy
press.uchicago.edu

Poet Alan Shapiro says good science writing, like good poetry, asks questions and evokes a sense of wonder. His new book, "Reel to Reel" (University of Chicago Press/2014), takes inspiration from biology, astronomy and physics.

The poems move between the intimately familiar and the vastly unknowable, considering both the frustrations of political hypocrisy and the mysteries of human consciousness. 

Homeric Turns, Part 2

The gods laugh, that’s what they’re good at, laughing.They laugh at the crippled god, his shriveled legs,
His hobbling, and his mother, in a little
Shadow play of suffering at the sight of him,
Her crippled baby, laughs the loudest, and then
Laughs even louder when she hurls him out
Of heaven, and he falls, and while he falls
The laughter echoing around him is
The measure of the pure unbreathable cold
Height of the heaven he’s falling from and through,
Hilarity of light and air, delight’s
Effacement of everything but itself.
And the crippled baby tumbling to earth
In a charade of terror? Don’t let him
Deceive you—he’s a god—he’s laughing too.

Auto Biography book cover shows a 1957 Chevy
harpercollins.com

The 1957 Chevy was once the American Dream on wheels. It represented the easy life with backyard barbecues in suburban neighborhoods. But over time, its meaning has changed along with American values.

A new book, "Auto Biography: A Classic Car, An Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream" (HarperCollins/2014), examines the evolution of American ideals through the lens of a 1957 Chevy and its 13 owners.

photo of NC Legislature
creative commons

North Carolina counties are bracing themselves for statewide education cuts under consideration by the General Assembly. Guilford County schools stand to lose between $6 million and $21 million from the state. 

In an effort to mitigate the loss, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is considering a referendum on increasing the sales tax rate. Host Frank Stasio talks with News & Record reporter Kelly Poe.

http://www.hubcity.org/press/catalog/nonfiction/the-only-sounds-we-make

  

Many birds are known for their songs, but vultures cannot sing. Their vocal shortcomings inspired author Lee Zacharias. Her new book of essays, "The Only Sounds We Make" (Hub City Press/2014), meditates on speech and memory, drawing on a range of inspirations from vultures and spiders to her father's death and the Great Migration. 

http://www.thecollectionband.com/

Composed of artists, nurses, farmers and students, The Collection is as much a community as a band. The group, presently 15 members, easily expands and contracts as musicians come and go.They describe their sound as a rock band that tripped into an orchestra pit.

dancer
John Hogg

South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma grew up hearing the story of his ancestor, a 19th century Xhosa warrior. The man is remembered for his long fight to preserve cultural traditions and resist colonial rule. In the dance piece, "Exit/Exist," Maqoma explores the connections between his past and present while live musicians sing in the Xhosa language.

Girl in the Road book cover
crownpublishing.com

Author Monica Byrne was reading a poem that included the words "ocean" and "bridge," when something just clicked. She couldn't get the idea out of her head: a pedestrian bridge so long it spanned the Arabian Sea. The vision formed the basis of her debut novel, "The Girl in the Road" (Crown Publishing/2014), which is set decades in the future.

The novel combines months of research and travel with numerous autobiographical details. It considers the different ways people recover from trauma.

Learn more about Monica and her work here.

Pages