The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:

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An image of actor Emily Anderson in 'Orlando'
Alex Maness

In 1928, writer Virginia Woolf portrayed the story of an Elizabethan nobleman in her novel “Orlando: A Biography.” The story follows Orlando as he becomes a woman and travels through time. Orlando’s journey takes on a 21st-century spin in the stage adaptation by Sarah Ruhl. Durham-based theater group The Delta Boys have brought Ruhl’s adaptation to Manbites Dog Theater.

Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

Triad City Beat Senior Editor Jordan Green spent a year investigating housing ownership in lower income neighborhoods of High Point, North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Green about the racial lines of poverty in lower income neighborhoods, and how nearly more than 80 years of racial economic housing policies has limited access to loans and squashed opportunities for upward mobility for many African-Americans in High Point. 

An image of the book cover for 'Dancing in Damascus'
Routledge

In March 2011, many Syrians stood up in the midst of the Arab Spring to protest President Bashar al-Assad and demand the country’s leader step down. Since then, a tumultuous civil war has ensued between the government, its citizens and rebel extremists.

Courtesy Sheryl Oring

In the lead up to the inauguration, Sheryl Oring, art professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, roamed the country asking people to dictate postcards to the new president. The postcards show a range of support, emotion, and frustration regarding the incoming administration.
 

Women and their supporters turned out in droves for the Women's March on Raleigh on January 21, 2017.
Jess Clark / WUNC

On Saturday, women and their supporters took to the streets of Washington, DC and other cities around the world to voice their opposition to incoming President Donald Trump. In Raleigh, marching women donned knitted pussyhats, the headwear that has become emblematic of feminist protest.
 

Host Frank Stasio speaks with WUNC reporter Jess Clark about the march in Raleigh and the range of issues protested including xenophobia and House Bill 2.

Ninian Reid / Flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump started work on his first official day in office by signing an executive order on Obamacare. Trump pledged throughout his campaign to roll back the Affordable Care Act but has not yet articulated what plan will take its place to cover the 20 million Americans who rely on Obamacare.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Time Warner Cable Washington Reporter Geoff Bennett about Trump’s plans for his first 100 days in office. 

A logo of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Elevatorrailfan / Wikimedia Commons

The Department of the Interior will allow the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to apply for full federal recognition. The department issued a memorandum reversing the agency’s previous reading of the 1956 Lumbee Act. The Lumbee people have been fighting for full federal status for decades.
 

Courtesy of Janet Link

Portraiture as an artistic expression has been around for more than 2,000 years. In ancient Egypt, individuals painted portrait-style images of pharaohs in temples and palaces. During the Renaissance, artists sat down with others in their social and intellectual circles to make portraits. A new exhibit "REGARD" on view at Meredith College looks at modern portraiture through the work of 15 pairs of artists who made reciprocal portraits.

Alexandra Valenti

In 2015, folk singer and songwriter Tift Merritt was busy as a touring musician. At the time she had spent years on the road, was approaching 40 years old and was getting a divorce so she decided to take a year off from touring. During that time she processed her role as a writer and individual. Out of that reflection came her latest album, “Stitch of the World.”

An image of Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson and Kenya Barris
Richard Shotwell / AP Photo

As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws closer, popular culture wrestles the influence of the president-elect. In its latest episode, ‘Lemons,’ the ABC television show ‘Black-ish’ grappled with post-election grief and what the impending presidency might mean for communities of color.

 

 

 

 

Host Frank Stasio talked with popular culture experts Mark Anthony Neal and Natalie Bullock Brown about the program and how it compares to political commentary in other television shows.

An image of service members at Camp Lejeune in NC
Public domain

Veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune who were exposed to contaminated drinking water now have a chance to receive additional compensation.

The Obama administration will provide more than $2 billion in disability benefits to veterans assigned to Lejeune when the camp's water was tainted between August 1953 and December 1987. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that up to 900,000 service members might have been exposed to the contaminated water.

A picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dick DeMarsico / Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Jr. is an inimitable cultural icon known for his vast contributions to the advancement of civil rights in the United States. A new play features an intimate portrait of the civil rights figure by putting his inner concerns and vulnerabilities on display.

Courtesy of Nancy Peacock

"I’ve been to hangings before, but never my own” is a line that came to author Nancy Peacock one day while she was on an early-morning walk.

Image of Shaw University President Tashni Dubroy
Terrence Jones / Shaw University

As a teenager in Jamaica, Tashni Dubroy struggled to understand chemistry. But after a breakthrough moment in her high school chemistry class, she fell in love with the science.

She moved to the United States to attend community college, and then to Raleigh to attend Shaw University.

The Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and the LGBTQ Center of Durham join forces for the second year in a row for a fundraiser cabaret show. This year’s show is set in a dystopian near-future where a fictional character named Zee must fight for sex-positive liberation from the tyranny of an evil empire.
 

Image of Sherri Holmes
Courtesy of Sherri Holmes

How did one word both lift a white playwright to American fame and condemn a black actor to failure?

An image of the book cover 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday'
Algonquin Books

In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.

An image of an NSCU biology professor holding a St. Francis satyr butterfly
Jay Price

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from August 17, 2016.

For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.

The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

Courtesy Samuel Peterson

Samuel Peterson has battled addiction all of his life.  When he was young, it was sugar. In his twenties, he turned to methadone and cocaine. As an adult, he moved to prescription painkillers and later heroin.

He eventually found sobriety, and in his 50s, Peterson enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also wrote a play. But underneath these life achievements was the pull of addiction.
 

An image of community organizer Bree Newsome
Courtesy of Bree Newsome

Activist Bree Newsome gained national attention in the summer of 2015 when she was arrested for scaling the flagpole at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and removing the Confederate flag. The act of civil disobedience took place in the wake of the killing of nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

Courtesy of Dawn Sinclair Shapiro

For more than 70 years, programs around the United States forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of American citizens.

An image of bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull
Gina Binkley

Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.

Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Senate Armed Services committee met this morning to address cybersecurity and threats to the United States. President-elect Donald Trump denies any interference by Russians in his election. 

And new members of Congress took their oaths. What are the legislative goals for 2017?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Time Warner Cable News Washington Reporter Geoff Bennett talks about the inquiry and the latest political news from Capitol Hill.

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