Meghan Modafferi

Producer, The State of Things

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The State Of Things
11:19 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Letters To The Unborn

Byrd book cover
Credit 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.

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The State of Things
11:07 am
Tue July 1, 2014

The Art of Drag

Vivica C. Coxx
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.

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The State of Things
12:00 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Folk Songs From The Soul

Skylar Gudasz
Credit 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.  

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

The Future Of NC Film Incentives

Iron Man 3 was filmed in North Carolina.
Credit 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. 

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The State of Things
12:25 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

The Ethics of Torture

Christian ethicist David Gushee
Credit 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. 

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The State of Things
12:18 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Not So Happy Ever After

Beyond Fairy Tales book cover
Credit 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.
 

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The State of Things
11:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Gigabit Internet New To Four NC Cities

Fiber Optics
Credit 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. 

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The State of Things
11:54 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Three Decades Of North Carolina Wilderness

Pisgah National Forest
Credit 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. 

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The State of Things
11:40 am
Thu June 19, 2014

When Poetry And Science Collide

Reel to Reel book cover
Credit 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.

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The State of Things
11:45 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Driving The American Dream

Auto Biography book cover
Credit 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.

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