The State of Things

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State of Things
12:15 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Bright's Passage

Josh Ritter
Credit www.joshritter.com

Josh Ritter’s popular Americana music is the product of his childhood spent in the small western town of Moscow, Idaho and his years as a student of American History and Scottish folk traditions. His strength as a narrator and balladeer has drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan and acclaim from both the mainstream press and indie music magazines. He’s released close to a dozen albums and EPs and played at Radio City Music Hall. So what does a guy in his 30s with that much success do for an encore? He writes a novel of course. Ritter’s debut work of fiction is called “Bright’s Passage” (Random House, 2011). It’s the story of a World War I veteran and his talking horse. Ritter calls it a comedy but reviewers have called it “tender, touching, moving and genuine.” He joins guest host Isaac-Davy Aronson in the studio today to talk about writing fiction and to perform a live preview of his concert tonight at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.

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State of Things
12:03 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Poster Boy

Ron Liberti
Credit Ackland Museum

Ron Liberti's screen-printed posters for music shows have been integral to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro scene since Liberti moved here in the 1990s. A musician as well as a visual artist, Liberti has performed with seminal '90s band Pipe and The Ghosts of Rock and designed posters for everyone from Southern Culture on the Skids to Tift Merritt. His work has been shown around the world and is collected in the University of North Carolina's Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Library.

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State of Things
12:23 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Private Money for Public Education

When organizers of North Carolina's public Governor's School summer enrichment program learned that the state General Assembly had cut their funding, they went to work raising money. So far, the group has secured more than $100,000 in hopes of keeping the program afloat, but not every public educational program at risk has the ability to keep itself funded. What problems arise when we rely too heavily on private donations to pay for public school programs?

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State of Things
12:53 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Meet Minrose Gwin

Minrose Gwin
Credit www.minrosegwin.com

Minrose Gwin grew up in a segregated Mississippi town much like the one she wrote about in her debut novel “The Queen of Palmyra” (Harper Collins/2010) and like the book’s protagonist, she was disturbed by the willful ignorance of white people in her community who blinded themselves to the problems of racism and violence. Gwin, Kenan Eminent Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, now makes her home in North Carolina where she continues to reveal the unspoken truths of Southern culture in her writing.

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State of Things
1:17 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

It's Electric

The Plug-In electric car conference wrapped up its four-day run this week in Raleigh. It's the first time the conference, which draws car makers and utility planners from around the country, has been held on the East Coast. Conference planners were drawn to North Carolina's capital by the growing demand for electric vehicles in the Triangle.

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State of Things
1:09 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

National Black Theatre Festival 2011

NBTF Artistic Director Mabel Robinson

The National Black Theatre Festival is a longstanding tradition in Winston-Salem. Founded in 1989 by North Carolina native Larry Leon Hamlin, the biennial celebration of African-American stage performance draws thousands of people to the Triad.

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State of Things
12:56 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

Skank Fest 2011

Skank Festival
Credit www.skankfestival.com

Durhamite Brian Hill is the lead singer of the ska band Regatta 69, even though the rest of the band is based in Berlin. There’s still a big ska scene in Europe, and Hill wants to lead a revival of the genre stateside, so he’s starting locally. He’s organized a concert series called Skank Festival 2011 that visits Greensboro this weekend.

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State of Things
9:30 am
Thu July 21, 2011

Smoke Damage

Book cover, ''Smoke Damage''

North Carolina State University sociologist Michael Schwalbe’s new book, “Smoke Damage: Voices from the Front Lines of America’s Tobacco Wars,” (University of Wisconsin Press/2011) is a collection of portraits of people whose lives have been changed by tobacco. The images and the stories that accompany them span a wide range of ages, social classes and professional disciplines, from lawyers and farmers to disease survivors. The intimate photos tell a story not captured by statistics, but the book is not merely sentimental.

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State of Things
11:55 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Living Without Enemies

Book cover, ''Living Without Enemies''

When Marcia Owen began the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham in 1992, it was a traditional gun-control advocacy group. Over time, Marcia realized that new laws weren't going to address the root causes of the violence plaguing the Bull City. Instead of working for Durham's underserved communities, she began working with the people who lived in them. That particular method of social engagement is what Dean of Duke Chapel Sam Wells has been advocating in his theology for years. Wells and Owen have co-authored a new book called “Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence” (IVP Books/2011).

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State of Things
12:09 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Pre-K Funding Flap

Yesterday Superior Court Judge Howard Manning declared portions of the state budget that deal with preschool education unconstitutional. Manning says the Republican-authored budget provisions limit eligible at-risk children from enrolling in a state funded prekindergarten program. 

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