Arts & Culture

States are getting ready for Obamacare.

One of this year’s Inspiring West Virginians is a businesswoman from Morgantown.

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate talks about his work and diversity in Appalachia.

And we visit a school in North Carolina where the Cherokee language is taught.

Marshall Men's basketball began practice this week for the 2013-2014 season.

  After finishing last season with a 13-19 record, there were not many positives to look forward to this season for Marshall Basketball. But the Herd is a team of newcomers mixed with just a few returnees. Counting graduations and departures Marshall only returns six players from last season and mixes them with nine newcomers. Marshall Head Coach Tom Herrion said he likes the mix of guys he has.

  Civil Rights Activist Joan C. Browning visited Marshall this week as part of constitution week. The Freedom Rider told her story on the 50th anniversary of the rides.

Joan C. Browning was a Freedom Rider. The Riders were a group of men and women who boarded buses and trains headed for the Deep South in 1961 to test the 1960 Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation in interstate public facilities. What makes Browning’s perspective different though is that she’s Caucasian.

Journalist and author Wil Haygood
Courtesy Photo

In most cases, a novel or biography inspires a film. But for journalist and author Wil Haygood, the sequence has been dramatically different.  A November 7th, 2008 article by Haygood in The Washington Post inspired the Lee Daniels film The Butler and then Haygood went back to write the book, The Butler: A Witness to History.            

Beth Vorhees / WV Public Radio

June 20, 2013 · West Virginia is the only state in the Union that was created as a direct result of the Civil War. When war broke out in 1861 and Virginia seceded from the Union, some living in that state’s western regions saw it as an opportunity to break away and create a new state.

 

Tim O'Brien and Larry Groce
Dave Mistich

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Mountain Stage celebrated 30 years of live performance radio at the Americana Music Association's Conference in Nashville last week. Host Larry Groce and Producer Adam Harris were joined by singer-songwriters Tim O'Brien, Kim Richey and Chip Taylor for a special panel to discuss the show's history and its impact on American music and culture.

Here are a few images taken during the hour-long panel, which featured discussion and performances: 

Theater fans statewide mourn loss of Theatre WV

Sep 20, 2013

Some fans of the stage are already feeling the loss of one of the state's largest theaters.

West Virginia Morning - Sept. 19, 2013

Sep 19, 2013

On this WV Morning, learn about the music scene in the state, hear from a law professor about new threats to the coal industry, and hear the history of famous Omie Wise ballad.

A TRIBUTE: Celebrating Irene McKinney

Sep 16, 2013

Irene McKinney, poet, editor, and teacher, published seven collections of poetry, six during her lifetime including Vivid Companion and Six O’Clock Mine Report, and the most recent, published posthumously, Have You Had Enough Darkness Yet? The recipient of numerous awards, she served as WV’s Poet Laureate from 1994 until her death early last year.

WV Native becoming game show historian

Sep 13, 2013
Bill Cullen hosts "Bank on the Stars" 1954
Courtesy Adam Nedeff

A West Virginia native is finding success as a game show historian.  Adam Nedeff grew up in Vienna and graduated from Marshall University in 2005.  His first book has just been published.  It's called "Quizmaster: The Life and Times and Fun and Games of Bill Cullen." Cullen was a popular game show host, first on radio beginning in the 1940's and ending his career on television in the 1980's.

   Here's Bill Cullen hosting the comedy quiz show "Walk a Mile" in 1952. A contestant named Greta is trying to explain how to make couscous.

Square dancing, once a pillar of small-town life, is making a comeback in West Virginia. A statewide project is trying to help communities preserve and promote this part of their cultural heritage.

Marlinton, W.Va., is one of the towns taking up the cause. Its square dances can gather a crowd, but residents still worry about attracting the attention of the next generation.

If you go to a square dance in Marlinton, there are some rules to follow. First of all, leave your stereotypes at the door, says Becky Hill, who works on The Mountain Dance Trail initiative.

poet Crystal Good
Courtesy Photo

West Virginia, its culture and people are in a state of superposition, says writer poet and Kanawha Valley native Crystal Good.

Charged by her Affrilachian poet peers to combine her thoughts and observations of West Virginia with principles of Quantum Physics, Good delivered a lecture at a TedxTalks event in Lewisburg in July. 

State Civil War era newspapers going digital

Aug 20, 2013

Several hundred issues of state newspapers from the Civil War era are going to be digitized.

Several hundred issues of newspapers from Wheeling, Morgantown, Charleston and other state towns are being digitized.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Photographs depicting life in West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia have long been the subject of controversy. One documentary photographer with roots in the state’s southern coal fields is seeking to change that through his work but also has motives far more personal.

“The pictures have this visual context of Appalachia, or at least the mountains. Even if you don’t even know what Appalachia is, you can see this rural, country, mountain way of life,” said documentary photographer Roger May as he spoke about his project Testify.

Andy Pickens

Eight years ago three friends at Shepherd University started a band. The Demon Beat’s popularity grew from the restaurants and pubs around Shepherdstown to audiences across the state and region. The band just made a run around the state before taking a hiatus.

“Personally whenever I hear terms like ‘this is a garage rock band’ or ‘a back to basics raw sound’, those are just really tired phrases when you hear people talk about that,” said Morgantown musician and close friend of the band, Billy Matheny.

“When you listen to The Demon Beat and when you see them live, in both cases, I think it’s everything a rock experience should be. It is raw and it is immediate. More than anything, it’s fun to listen to. That’s kind of everything you want out of that experience,” he added.

Suzanne Higgins

Between the 1880’s and 1920’s there was an intersection of two historical phenomena in Appalachia. The railroads opened the region for the large scale extraction of coal and Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United States seeking opportunity.

In her book “Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History,” Deborah Weiner writes “…their story is treated here as Jewish History and as Appalachian history, in equal measure.  The linkages that emerge between these two seemingly unrelated fields help to illuminate both.”

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