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:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops famously reclaimed traditional mountain music for African-Americans. Their efforts were celebrated from Nashville to Hollywood and by the folks who give out the Grammy Awards. That legacy took on some poignancy this past year when their mentor, master fiddler Joe Thompson, passed away.

The aluminum company ALCOA wanted to renew their license to run dams along the Yadkin River, but they are faced with resistance from Governor Bev Perdue and some county commissioners. Critics say ALCOA is harnessing power irresponsibly and, in turn, poisoning the river. ALCOA is fighting for their property and profits. Host Frank Stasio is joined by WUNC reporter and Greensboro Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii with the details of this story.

Trouble in Mind

Sep 20, 2012

The play “Trouble in Mind" is currently in performances at the Triad Stage.  It features a rare protagonist – an older African-American woman who boldly picks apart the theatrical roles that are offered to her. Preston Lane is the artistic director of Triad Stage and the director of the production.

O. Henry Turns 150

Sep 20, 2012

The famous writer O. Henry was born William Sidney Porter in 1862 in Greensboro, NC.  He went on to write hundreds of short stories. Last week, he would have turned 150 years old, and the US Postal Service released a commemorative stamp to celebrate this anniversary. Host Frank Stasio is joined by Linda Evans, the community historian for the Greensboro Historical Museum and Stephen Hale, a local performer who has been portraying O. Henry in plays at the museum for the past nine years.

Girls Talk
http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2012girltalk/

A new exhibit called “Girl Talk” at CAM, the contemporary art museum in Raleigh, explores the way women use language and communicate through the work of nine female artists. Women, specifically girls, are perhaps the most innovative users of speech and they are heavily influential on overall language trends.

The Indy...Sold!

Sep 18, 2012

The Independent Weekly has been covering news, art, and culture in the Triangle for 29 years now. Steve Schewel, the owner of the Indy, recently sold it to Richard Meeker and Mark Zusman. They also run Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon and the Santa Fe Reporter in New Mexico. What will happen to the Indy now that it is under new management? Will the paper hold onto its local identity? Host Frank Stasio is joined by the Indy editor Lisa Sorg to talk about changes to the paper.

Telegraph Avenue

Sep 18, 2012

Michael Chabon famously constructs whole worlds in his novels.  From the superhero invented by Cavalier and Clay to the Yiddish State of Alaska. His new novel, “Telegraph Avenue” (Harper Collins/2012) is no exception. It conjures a Bay Area struggling with chain stores and its countercultural past. It also comes with a playlist. Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon joins host Frank Stasio to talk about art, culture and the consolation of music.

The Brothers Size

Sep 18, 2012

"The Brothers Size" is a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney dealing with the relationships between three African-American men. The older brother has lived on the straight and narrow, running an auto repair shop. The younger brother is a dreamer who has just come out of prison.

Even though Wayne Holden wasn’t a natural athlete, being 6 feet, 6 inches meant that he had to play basketball in high school.  That sent him to college, which led him into psychology and working with disturbed kids. It was a career he loved, but since 2005, Holden has worked at RTI International, a global research organization.  Now he serves as RTI's CEO.  So, how did he go from the clinic to the boardroom? Holden joins host Frank Stasio to discuss his fascinating journey.

Frances O’Roark Dowell writes books for young adults. But she forgoes wizards and vampires in favor of very real themes. Her new book, “The Second Life of Abigail Walker” (Simon and Schuster/ 2012), address childhood obesity and bullying. She joins host Frank Stasio to speak about writing for younger audiences.

Jo Gore made a name for herself around the Triangle by singing jazz and soul music. But she grew up singing traditional gospel songs in her grandparents’ church. Now she has a new album, “The Herstory of Josephine Gore: Return of the Articulate Kinsman, Volume One.” The band Jo Gore and the Alternative will join host Frank Stasio to revisit old gospel songs and to play some more contemporary music.

Julia Scatliff O'Grady attended several time management seminars before she started to teach them.  Neither the experience of being a student or a teacher satisfied her interest in how we use time. So she studied several people with unique relationships to time and wrote the new book, "Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination and the Endless Pursuit of Balance"

Nina Simone
http://www.ninasimone.com/

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, NC in 1933. She was musically gifted from a young age and her experience singing gospel in the church influenced her jazz performance style that would later make Simone an international superstar. Simone also lent her voice to the Civil Rights Movement with powerful, socially conscious songs like “Young, Gifted and Black” and “Mississippi Goddamn.” While she found success as a performer and activist, Simone also suffered from mental illness, which tore apart her personal relationships.

Baldemar Velasquez
www.supportfloc.org

Legend has it that Baldemar Velasquez led his first fight for migrant farmworkers’ rights at the age of 12. He started working in the fields at 4 years old and soon became a self-taught scholar of social justice. Today, Velasquez is the founder and President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), a labor union that has battled against unfair wages and mistreatment of migrant workers since 1967. FLOC has a headquarters in North Carolina where Velasquez regularly rallies for better conditions for local laborers.

Andy Griffith died in July at his home on Roanoke Island, NC at age 86. Griffith was a native son of North Carolina, who proudly brought a tender vision of Southern culture to the masses through television. His portrayal of a wise and honest country lawman on “The Andy Griffith Show” won many hearts.

Amy Goodman

Sep 7, 2012

Amy Goodman has dedicated her life to progressive journalism.  She founded the radio program “Democracy Now!” in 1996, and has continued to cover important stories ever since, including those that the mainstream media sometimes misses. She is in Durham, NC this Saturday promoting her new book, "The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope” (Haymarket Books/2012).

Before he even released his debut solo CD, hip-hop artist Killer Mike scored a Grammy with OutKast for the song “The Whole World” in 2003.  Mike’s new project, “R.A.P. Music” is his sixth studio effort and one that showcases the wisdom that has come with aging in the music business.

Some Army

Sep 7, 2012

The annual Hopscotch Music Festival kicked off in Raleigh yesterday, and if you were hanging around the right spot, you might have caught the band Some Army rocking it out. The group formed in 2011, and it is releasing its first EP later this month. Host Frank Stasio talks to them about playing Hopscotch and their new album, and they play live in the studio.

The Democratic National Convention is in Queen City. And the streets of uptown Charlotte are crowded with delegates, politicians, reporters, police, and protesters. Tonight President Obama will take the stage and formally accept his party’s nomination. Host Frank Stasio will be joined by WUNC reporter Dave DeWitt to talk about the buzz at the DNC.

North Carolina had a brief brush with payday lending. But it was banned by the State Attorney General Roy Cooper in 2006. However, banks are not bound by state law, and Regions Bank from Alabama is offering payday loans in North Carolina in a program they call "Ready Advance." Some are worried that Regions Bank will open the door for other banks to do the same. Host Frank Stasio will be joined in the studio by Ellen Harnick, the Senior Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending.

The city of Charlotte has opened up its arms to the Democratic National Convention, allowing the DNC to take over the uptown. An estimated 35 thousand people are attending the convention, and Charlotte is extending itself to accommodate them all. But many of the city workers are feeling stretched thin. And they are making demands for better working conditions. Host Frank Stasio will be joined by Dante Strobino, Field Organizer for UE 150North Carolina Public Sector Workers Union, and Chris Miller, a reporter for WBT who has been covering this story.

The North Carolina delegation has a prime spot on the floor at the Democratic National Convention arena. Hosting the party's party is a big deal, and for delegates it's fun, and fascinating. We'll meet several North Carolina delegates today. Frank Stasio is joined by Andy Ball, Nick Carpenter, Margaret Katherine Alexander and Sam Spencer.

The Youth Vote

Sep 5, 2012

Young people helped Barak Obama secure the presidency in 2008.  The question is: will they do it again? At Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, they hosted a cyber summit called U-FUTURE directly aimed at empowering young people to participate in the electoral process. Host Frank Stasio is joined by JCS President Ronald Carter, North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham and students Michael Jordan and Lauren Simmons.

Charlotte, NC is the host city for this year’s Democratic National Convention. That means thousands of supporters, protesters, reporters and delegates have poured into the Queen City in anticipation of President Barack Obama accepting his second party nomination.

Legend has it that architect Harvey Gantt fell in love with Charlotte, NC the moment he laid eyes on the city he would come to lead.  Gantt, a Democrat, served two terms as Charlotte’s first African-American mayor before running for U.S. Senate against Republican Jesse Helms.

Remembering Andrew

Sep 3, 2012

20 years ago on August 24th Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down.  In this hour-long documentary, "Remembering Andrew" uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew.

Wake Forest Debate

Aug 31, 2012

Many voters are looking forward to the Presidential debates this election year, but competitive debaters might say that the civil discourse of our times has given up on formal argumentation. True debate depends on a certain openness and on the possibility that minds can change on the strength of a well-crafted argument. Wake Forest University has an award-winning debate team and their members are already preparing for the upcoming season.

In 2011, magician Steve Marshall was living in Japan. That year, a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck and Marshall found it hard to get work in the aftermath of those disasters. He decided to take a magic tour across the United States to raise some cash.

Doug Largent has had a long career as a professional musician playing the bass. But in 2009, he decided to pursue his real dream: learning to play the organ. Soon after, he formed a jazz trio and they have a new CD called “Right in the Pocket” coming out. Host Frank Stasio talks to the Doug Largent Trio about their music, and they play live in the studio.

There must be something in the water in Craven County, NC. North Carolina’s first female governor, Bev Perdue, got her start there, as did the state’s first African-American President Pro Tem of the House, William Wainwright.

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