August 31, 2014

Disco Rodeo

by Leda Hartman Latino immigration has impacted North Carolina's culture in a variety of ways. You can see it in the number of Mexican restaurants here, or in the presence of Univision, the Spanish-language TV network. You can also see it at a Raleigh club called Disco Rodeo. Just a few years ago, the club was known for its rock 'n roll shows. Now it specializes in bringing in live bands, straight from Mexico. … [Read more...]

Harkers Island

by Alison Jones For centuries, Harkers Island was its own world. On this island off the North Carolina coast, generations of fishermen and boat builders created a culture marked by deep family ties and a distinctive dialect. But outsiders are discovering this five-mile island. As waves of newcomers displace local residents, locals worry that the island's essential character is changing. Listen to the podcast … [Read more...]

A Thread through Time: The African American Quilt Circle

by Amy Nelson The women who make up the African American Quilt Circle of Durham congregate once a month for three hours to quilt. They piece together fabrics of all patterns, shades and textures with varying degrees of expertise. Of course women getting together to sew is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for millennia all over the world. But look between the layers of past and present and you will find a desire … [Read more...]

Turning with the Times: Seagrove Potters Embrace Change

by Amy Nelson Shifts in the economy are reshaping the way small cottage industry towns like Seagrove do business. Home to over 100 potteries, this rural piedmont area has become a tourist destination for local and international clientele. But with rising gas prices, the traffic flow has slowed. As a result, some potters and town officials are exploring new ways to ensure their collective survival. Independent … [Read more...]

Agri-tourism in North Carolina’s Happy Valley

by Leda Hartman North Carolina's Happy Valley, in the Blue Ridge foothills, is known for its pristine beauty and its traditional music and stories. Development is threatening to eclipse the community's old way of life. But one local farmer is determined not to let that happen. Tony Jones hopes to protect the Happy Valley's heritage by inviting outsiders in to enjoy it. His plan rests on a story and a song. … [Read more...]

Prime Time Steppers

by Leda Hartman Stepping is a performance and movement style popularized a century ago by African American fraternities and sororities. Stepping has a strong link to the past, with roots that go all the way back to Africa. But it also has a vibrant future. These days, younger kids of all races are doing it. And this week, the first national high school competition will take place in Miami. Leda Hartman profiles … [Read more...]

Strike at the Wind: the Struggle to Sustain a Culture

by Amy Nelson In the southeastern North Carolina town of Pembroke, it's hard to come by anyone who hasn't heard the name Henry Berry Lowery. The 19th-century Native American is a cultural icon for the Lumbee population there. In 1976 a musical drama was created about Lowery’s life called “Strike at the Wind.” The production ran out of money and ceased running last year. Historian Malinda Maynor wants to revitalize … [Read more...]

North Carolina Arts Incubator

by Leda Hartman Many small towns across the country that are suffering from economic decline have turned to the arts to rejuvenate their communities. In North Carolina, the piedmont town of Siler City has opened a new arts incubator that will eventually be the largest one of its kind in the country. Leda Hartman takes a look at how the town is using its local heritage to transform its economy and its identity. … [Read more...]

Durham Farmer’s Market

(9) Durham Farmer's Market, by Barbara Lau The Durham Farmer's market is fast becoming a community institution. Supporters are now working with local architect Ellen Cassilly and contractor C. T. Wilson to build a permanent structure in the nearby Durham Central Park. Like an open-air barn, the new market will bring an agricultural feel to the urban landscape, but with contemporary features like skylights. … [Read more...]

Catfish Cove Fish Camp

(8) Catfish Cove Fish Camp, by Paul Overton If you were to ask a typical North Carolinian to tell what a fish camp is, most would come up short for words, but for the people in Gaston County, the fish camps have been a way of life since the 1940s. Independent producer Paul Overton recently visited Belmont, North Carolina, to find out just what makes the fish camps so appealing. Listen to the podcast … [Read more...]