Meghan Modafferi

Producer, The State of Things
Meghan Modafferi and Durham Comics Project

Superheroes are not the only characters to grace the pages of comic books. The Durham Comics Project invites ordinary people to tell their own stories in cartoon squares. Started by Amy Godfrey, a librarian at Durham County Library, the project seeks to illuminate the small and big moments that make a community. 

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Rain forests are home to an incredible variety of species. From cute olinguitos to slimy spittlebugs, scientists are discovering creatures all the time. The exhibit "Rainforest Adventure" at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences educates kids on rain forest diversity and conservation.

Sociologist Stephen Vaisey
Stephen Vaisey

For a million dollars, would you: 

  • Throw a tomato at a politician? 
  • Kick a dog in the head?
  • Sign away your soul?

Sociologist Stephen Vaisey asked these questions and more in the first stage of his project, Measuring Morality, which seeks to understand moral beliefs and moral divides. The study also followed teenagers for more than a decade to monitor the development of morality in young adults. 

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  Moral Monday protests resume as the General Assembly's short session continues. Protestors visit individual lawmakers today to lobby for Medicaid expansion, unemployment insurance and education reform. Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved a fracking bill and tentatively approved a regulatory overhaul. Both pieces of legislation may face challenges in the House. 

Rapper interacts with contemporary art
juanobando.com

Colombian artist Juan Obando noticed a disconnect between North Carolina art museums and the communities they serve. In response, he invited local hip-hop artists to create songs that playfully critique contemporary art collections at local museums. The result is Museum Mixtape: a series of music videos shot in art museums, featuring hip-hop artists.

  

Museum Mixtape - Trailer from Juan Obando on Vimeo.

A drawing of four girls in diverse clothing
facebook.com/events/411156452355142/

    

For a teenager, a diary can be a safe haven. It is a place to share thoughts that one would never speak aloud. But The Diary Play: Four Teens Tell Their Story brings those intimate details to light. Based on the teenage journals of four women who are now adults, the play asks questions about self-censorship and the boundaries between adults and young people.

Diaries cover everything from the monumental to the mundane. From tests and papers to crushes and self-esteem, it's all in there.

Firefighters use hose to tame large fire
creative commons

Many young children dream of becoming firefighters someday. But not everybody sustains that desire into adulthood. What is it that makes some people want to run into the buildings when everyone else is fleeing? 

poster of sexy athletes
littlegreenpig.org

  Have you ever wondered what goes on in the Olympic Village that doesn't make it on TV? A local playwright imagines a covert operation where sex crosses international borders and makes sport of diplomacy. Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern presents the world premiere of "Tarantino's Yellow Speedo" on Thursday, May 22 at 8:15pm at Man Bites Dog Theater in Durham. It runs through June 5. 

image of hands welcoming sunset
http://womensvoiceschorus.org/

  When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it's a tragedy. But when writer David Wolman's wife contracted breast cancer, he chose to make the experience into art. He wrote an anthology of poetry, which composer Andrea Clearfield set to music.

A local community chorus, Women's Voices Chorus, is performing "The Long Bright" tonight at 8pm in the Hill Hall Auditorium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The short session of the North Carolina General Assembly begins today. Environmental issues on the table are coal ash disposal and fracking. Meanwhile, teacher pay remains a hot topic. Legislators will discuss Governor McCrory's proposals to update the teacher pay model. They'll also consider a bill that seeks to repeal Common Core.

The Skin Collector book cover
hachettebookgroup.com

    

Needle phobia is a popular fear, so it is a natural place for a horror writer to start. Author Jeffery Deaver added darkness and poison to the mix in his new book, "The Skin Collector"(Grand Central Publishing/2014). The novel's villain kills his victims in New York City's subterranean tunnels by tattooing them with poison. Detectives try to decipher a message in the tattoos. Jeffery Deaver will be reading at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill tonight at 7pm and at Quail Ridge Books tomorrow at 7:30pm. 

Southern Coalition for Social Justice logo
southerncoalition.org

 

  

.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ian Mance, a civil rights attorney for the Southern Coalition of Social Justice, and Frank Baumgartner, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Baumgartner published a statewide study tracking racial disparities in police stop-and-search practices. He later worked with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice to analyze Durham-specific data.

black book cover with neon lighting lettering and Eiffel Tower in background
harpercollins.com

  

It was a photograph of two women at a table, one in a dress and one in a suit, that inspired Francine Prose's latest novel. The suited woman is Violette Morris, a French athlete turned Nazi collaborator. Mixing history with fiction, "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932" (HarperCollins, 2014), imagines Morris' life through multiple narrators.

Assorted pharmaceuticals
creative commons

    

A recent deal between the biopharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis may mean more jobs and more attention for the Research Triangle. Plus, the $1.1 billion sale of Furiex pharmaceuticals increases possibilities for investment in the area. Meanwhile, Mooresville's Vestiq Holdings, a much smaller pharmaceutical company, is filing for bankruptcy. 

lemur with white head and body, brown arms and dark facial markings
David Haring / http://lemur.duke.edu

Sixty-five million years ago, ancestors of lemurs journeyed from Africa to Madagascar on a raft of vegetation. This explanation for their arrival, now widely accepted, was the dissertation of Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center. It is also the subject of a new IMAX movie, "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar." Many of the lemurs that star in the film are Durham residents who were trained locally by behavioral manager Meg Dye. 

Andrea Moore performs in the opera, Turn of the Screw
Benjamin Britten / andreaedithmoore.com

   

Opera comes to life in elaborate performance halls with high-priced seats. But the high-brow setting is not the only place for opera; it also takes place in modern art museums, bars and even outdoors. "Opera in the Garden" takes the artform outside on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Botanical Garden.

The performance is part of the Chapel Hill Spring Garden tour and proceeds will help build a Children's Wonder Garden.

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

Elections for seats on the NC Supreme Court are purportedly nonpartisan. But one race this year is already infused with large outside donations and negative advertising. The state's highest court likely will rule on cases regarding redistricting, teacher tenure, voter ID laws and same-sex marriage in the coming year. Those contentious issues make the race for incumbent Democrat Robin Hudson's seat a particularly heated one. Hudson faces Republicans Eric Levinson and Jeannette Doran.

Alloy book cover shows woman in toga
boomerangbooks.com

    

Inspiration for poetry can strike anywhere, even at the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro. A visit there sparked one of the poems in "Alloy" (2014, WordTech Communications), the latest book from Larry Johnson. 

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez
http://durhamnc.gov/

In the last year, the Durham Police Department has faced public criticism surrounding search policies and three police-related deaths.  The NAACP of North Carolina questioned the police actions in the case of Jesus Huerta, a 17 year-old who died in police custody.

Advocacy organizations like the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement (FADE) have raised accusations of racial profiling.

The department maintains that racial discrepancies in crime statistics do not indicate discrimination. They issued a report in response to the criticism.

In response to public outcry, the Human Relations Commission will make recommendations to the City Council for procedural reforms in police governance in May. 

Prisoners at Ebensee Concentration Camp in 1945
Creative Commons

With each passing year, we lose more survivors of World War II. And not just the soldiers who fought, but the targeted civilians who survived the Holocaust. In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we share a few of their stories.

We begin by talking with speakers from the Chapel Hill-Durham Holocaust Speakers Bureau. It works to preserve the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations. Host Frank Stasio talks with three people from the Bureau: Sharon Halperin, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors; Peter Stein, a survivor from Czechoslovakia; and Renee Fink, a survivor from Holland.

Jon Langford

Welsh musician Jon Langford is best known for his time with the British punk band, The Mekons. But Langford’s work is also deeply influenced by American country singers like Johnny Cash. Langford's new album, "Here Be Monsters", blends those interests. He'll be performing at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh on April 25th at 8 p.m. Host Frank Stasio talks with Jon Lanford and we get a taste of the new album. 

govtrack.us

As the primary election draws near, Host Frank Stasio leads a series of conversations with candidates running to unseat Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd District. Ellmers declined to come on the program.

Conservative radio talk show host Frank Roche is challenging Ellmers in the Republican primary. Roche opposes Ellmers' views on immigration, which include a legal path to citizenship. He also hopes to buckle down on federal debt by repealing the Affordable Care Act and limiting other entitlement programs. 

And on the other side of the aisle, candidates Clay AikenKeith Crisco and Toni Morris compete in the Democratic primary.

Aiken is best known for his appearance on American Idol and subsequent singing career, but he is also an advocate for special needs children. Frustrated with political gridlock, Aiken pledges to use his status as an independent outsider to encourage legislators to reach across party lines.

Democrat Keith Crisco is a retired businessman who spent most of his career as the president and chairman of Asheboro Elastics Corporation. He also served as North Carolina's commerce secretary for four years under Governor Bev Perdue. He hopes to focus attention on addressing issues of unemployment and the state of the North Carolina economy.

 

 

 

 


Marcus Gee (left) and Heyda Ortiz with Frank Stasio
Carol Jackson

  

 For ten hours each week, 300 children in the Triangle create a cacophony of sound using flutes, violins, cellos and drums. The  organization Kidznotes uses classical music as a tool to combat poverty by strengthening kids' community and self-esteem.

Kidznotes hosts a Renaissance-themed gala on Thursday, April 24th, inspired in part by a local children's author. 

™ & © 2013 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved

 

For many, Dr. Seuss is an icon of clever rhymes and fantastical children's book characters. But few people know he also created elaborate paintings and sculptures. Or that he had a room filled from floor to ceiling with hats. Curator Bill Dreyer describes one use Seuss had for the hats:

If a party was lagging a little bit, he would go into the hat closet, bring out hats, put them on people's heads and ask them to spend the rest of the evening in the persona they might expect the person wearing that hat would have.

 The touring "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss" exhibit includes paintings, sculptures and hats from Seuss' personal collection. The collection is on display at The Art Shop in Greensboro through April 19th. Dreyer believes Dr. Seuss is just beginning to receive the recognition he deserves as a fine artist:

Here we are, 23 years after Ted Geisel passed away and he's now really being considered a significant 20th century American artist because people are viewing his art as separate from... his most important legacy, children's literature.

Book cover with Duke "D" and image of Duke's campus
simonandschuster.biz/scribner

  

In March 2006, three white lacrosse players at Duke University were accused of raping an African-American exotic dancer. The case raised questions about race, gender and class in the justice system. Ultimately, the lacrosse players were found innocent. But Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong lost his law license for withholding evidence and other offenses.

Men stand in line to receive free coffee and donuts for the unemployed - depression-era photograph
wikimedia commons

  The state's unemployment rate is on a downward trend, but the meaning of those numbers is the subject of debate. Some believe it is a sign of a comeback while others believe it is skewed statistic. Debate over unemployment extends to the federal level, as an unemployment bill with a North Carolina-specific provision struggles to reach a vote in the United States House. 

An internet hacker dressed as a robber cracks a code on a desktop
flickr.com

    

You may not know what OpenSSL does, but odds are you rely on it when you enter your credit card number to make a purchase online. The software provides internet security for companies large and small across the web. A recently discovered bug in the software called Heartbleed could mean massive security breaches by hackers and exposure of private information. 

  

When Michele Tracy Berger was a young girl, her mother gave her a gift: a walk-in closet. Looking back, she thinks of this space as her first portal to creativity. Creativity served as a survival tool for her during a difficult childhood involving abuse and poverty. Today, she's a creativity coach and professor of women's studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

  

As the May primary draws near, issues over voter rights persist. The controversial voter law passed last year requires photo identification and reduces the number of days for early voting in the May 6th primaries. A lawsuit challenging the measure may soon force legislators to release their correspondence related to drafting the legislation. Meanwhile, the State Board of Elections released a report identifying hundreds of cases of possible voter fraud. 

Jon Gardiner for PlayMakers Repertory Company

What would have happened if John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald had met? Stephen Sonheim's musical, "Assassins" imagines a time when nine presidential killers or would-be killers can walk into a bar together. The show raises questions about what the pursuit of happiness means in America. Performed by PlayMakers Repertory Company, "Assassins" runs through April 20 at the Paul Green Theater in Chapel Hill. 

Pages