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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Mandolin Orange
Scott McCormick / Sacks & Co.

Mandolin Orange's new album, "Blindfaller," moves between a haunting warning about politics, allusions to lingering effects of historical wars in the South, and a honky-tonk ode to life on the road.

wildfire photo
Stuart Palley for Reveal

Wildfires continue to sweep through the Southeastern United States. More than 28,000 fires have burned approximately 1.5 million acres of land in the region so far this year, according to The National Interagency Fire Center.

Image from The Andy Griffith Show
Wikimedia

Many know Mayberry as the idyllic town that was home to the fictional Andy Griffith show.

A new film highlights the characters of the true Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina. Filmmaker Bill Hayes, a Mount Airy native, captured the characters and places that make Mount Airy a representation of “Hometown USA.” 

Despite economic struggles caused by the decline of textile manufacturing, The Real Mayberry continues to thrive and retain its unique character.

Photo of comedian Josh Gondelman
Yvette Albinowski

Comedian Josh Gondelman has earned the nickname the “nicest man in comedy,” for his inherently decent and astute comedic style. But many in that world may also consider him to be one of the luckiest men in the business because comedy writing is part of both his day and night jobs.

Image of a judge's gavel
Wikipedia

A three-judge panel of a federal court ordered the North Carolina legislature to redraw their district lines and hold a new election next year. The court found 28 of the state house and senate districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. The decision requires the redrawing of the lines and shortens all the terms of members elected earlier this month to one year. 

Image of Attica uprising
ASSOCIATED PRESS/ New York State Special Commission on Attica

Forty-five years ago, New York state police raided Attica Prison, a maximum-security institution in a small town in upstate New York. The standoff and takeover led to the deaths of 39 men in what has become known as the "Attica Prison Uprising." Scholar and historian Heather Ann Thompson considers the uprising to be both one of the most important civil rights events of the 20th century and a pivotal moment in criminal justice history.

An image of the book cover for 'Game Changers'
Courtesy of UNC Press

Dean Smith is known as a legendary basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His teams won 879 games and two NCAA national championships.

But one of Smith's most crowning achievements isn't instilled in a trophy. In 1967, Smith recruited basketball player Charlie Scott, the first African-American scholarship athlete at UNC-CH. It was a seminal act for Smith and furthered his push for civil rights in the South.  
 

The Black Man Running group jog in Wilmington.
Courtesy Black Man Running

Putting on running shoes and heading out for a jog is not a straightforward affair for black men. Runner Rendell Smith remembers a white woman who was so scared when she saw him jogging toward her, she dropped her groceries and bolted.

An image of comedian Paula Poundstone
Michael Schwartz

More than 30 years ago, comedian Paula Poundstone hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled the country performing in small comedy clubs.  Over the years, Poundstone rose up through the ranks of comedy and eventually earned her own HBO special.

Michelle Lanier

Note: This program is a rebroadcast. It originally aired May 2, 2016.  

Michelle Lanier’s roots in North Carolina are so deep that she describes “every branch of her family tree having at least a sapling that crosses into the state.” She has a great-grandparent who preached at the oldest black Episcopal church in the state, one who was salesmen on Durham’s Black Wall Street, and one who helped establish the state’s first black high school.  

Image of NC Author Belle Boggs
Courtesy of Belle Boggs

Note: This is a rebroadcast. This program originally aired September 6, 2016.  

photo of Rissi Palmer
Rissi Palmer

Note: This is a Rebroadcast. This program originally aired July 15, 2016.

Singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer exploded onto the country music scene in 2007 with a self-titled album. She sang alongside Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, and her single "Country Girl" was the first song by an African-American woman artist to make the country Billboard charts in almost two decades.

Jon Eric Johnson

A woman dressed as a 1960s secretary sits in front of a rare vintage typewriter and asks people to engage in something even more rare – to share their unedited political opinions with a stranger. It’s all part of the “I Wish to Say” performance art project created by Sheryl Oring.

Image of Ivey Ghee and her mother, participants in the podcast 'Out In The South'
Jeff Sykes

The series "Out In The South" features the narratives of five generations of LGBTQ Southerners. It showcases residents' experiences navigating their identity in a cultural environment that can be supportive at times, and polarizing at others. The series includes a podcast and a written component published by Greensboro-based publication YES!Weekly

Triangle-based musician Jasmé Kelly grew up singing in church choirs and eventually decided to pursue music as an independent musician. Kelly combines her upbringing in gospel with popular blues and soul aesthetics in her new album called "Lady Jasmé."

Courtesy Sönke Johnsen

Sönke Johnsen was always driven by art. As a youth he captured documentary photos on the streets of Pittsburgh and developed them in a homemade dark room. Later he practiced and taught modern dance. But Johnsen's pursuit of artistic awe led him on a surprising path toward biology. Today, as a professor of biology at Duke University, he plunges thousands of feet under the sea, discovering mysterious marine animals that hide in plain sight. He has won multiple awards for his scientific writing, teaching, and mentorship.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The Trump transition team is in place and the president-elect says their work is going smoothly. Today’s picks include Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn for national security adviser. But critics have called the transition "chaos,” and many questions remain about the framework of a Trump administration. And at the state level, the governor's race remains in limbo. Incumbent Pat McCrory's campaign has launched ballot complaints in 52 counties.

Image of Dyanna Taylor and Dorothea Lange
Paul Taylor

Dorothea Lange is best known for her portraiture photography documenting America’s Great Depression. Her image “Migrant Mother” depicts a destitute woman with three children in California. It is one of the most recognized photographic portrayals of that era. When Lange passed away in 1965, her granddaughter, Dyanna Taylor, inherited one of her cameras and began to follow in her footsteps.

 

Image of Luray Performing Live
Courtesy of Luray

Shannon Carey grew up playing guitar in a musical family. She wrote her own songs in high school, but then started a career as a social worker and put her passion for music to the side. Years later she witnessed both of her younger brothers pursuing their musical dreams, one alongside the now-famous Bon Iver, and decided to pursue her own musical career.

Stack of Ballots for Super Tuesday
Wikimedia

The race for the state's highest office is still in limbo. County Boards of Elections are counting provisional ballots this week. Attorney General Roy Cooper leads Governor Pat McCrory by several thousand votes. But McCrory says the race is not over. Host Frank Stasio talks with capital bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

 

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, requested public records from the university about sexual assaults on campus. Journalists want to know who has been held responsible for sexual assault and how the perpetrators were punished.

 


An image of UNC's Old Well
yeungb / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The NCAA and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are at loggerheads over the ongoing investigation into academic fraud at the university. Recent correspondence between the two organizations, obtained by the News and Observer, shows the sports association no longer considers the university a partner in the investigation into fake classes targeted at student athletes.

An image of Dave Chappelle with members of A Tribe Called Quest Joribe White and Q-Tip
Rosalind O'Connor / AP

After years of mostly staying out of the spotlight, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted NBC's  "Saturday Night Live" last week. Chappelle's opening monologue mirrored the stand-up comedy that helped make him famous more than a decade ago. Chappelle's jokes grappled with a Trump presidency.  

Image of South African guitarist Derek Gripper
Coutesy of Derek Gripper

South African musician Derek Gripper has been playing classical music since he was 6-years-old. But after years of studying in Cape Town, he felt uninspired by the classical guitar repertoire available to him, so he set off on a journey to discover musical inspiration from around the world. He traveled first to South India, and then explored Brazilian music before he happened upon the instrument that changed the direction of his career: the kora.

students with laptops in classroom
Enokson / Flickr/Creative Commons

After an emotional election season, educators in North Carolina and around the country are figuring out how best to address the results of the presidential race in their classrooms.

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