Arts & Culture

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a new play that honors those who lost their lives at the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster 10 years ago. We also bring you the latest updates on coronavirus in West Virginia.

Coal Country: Can A Play About A Mine Disaster Help Bridge A National Divide?

Apr 5, 2020
Joan Marcus / The Public Theater

 

The actors deliver their lines from a sparse stage — just a few benches around them and 29 modest lights above. For the most part they speak directly to the audience, sharing memories of the lives of husbands, sons, fathers and nephews, some of the 29 men who died on April 5, 2010, when an explosion ripped through the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.  

It’s a powerful performance, made even more so by the realization that nearly all of the actors’ dialogue is drawn directly from court transcripts and hours of interviews with about a half dozen people who lived through that tragic day and the many long days that followed.

“Coal Country,” which opened in New York’s storied Public Theater, introduced New York theater-goers to the real lives of families affected by the tragedy.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

American soul singer legend and West Virginia native Bill Withers has died at 81 of heart complications, unrelated to coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. In a statement released to the AP, Withers’ family said he died Monday in Los Angeles. 

Downtown Shepherdstown
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / David Fattaleh/WV Division of Tourism (WVDT)


The Contemporary American Theater Festival, located in Shepherdstown, has pushed its 2020 season to next year due to coronavirus concerns. This summer was meant to be the festival’s 30th anniversary celebration.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, modeling can help show health officials when the coronavirus is expected to peak in West Virginia. And you had questions about COVID-19; we have answers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, what can hillbilly squids teach us about Appalachia? We find out, and we bring you an update on the coronavirus situation in West Virginia.  

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from artisans from across Appalachia coping with the coronavirus. And it’s been about nine months since coal company Blackjewel suddenly declared bankruptcy. We check in on a father and son who are moving forward.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, food pantries across the state cope as the coronavirus turns life upside down – we’ll explore regional food security in the Mountain State. We also bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the past two years, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia team has been working on a folkways project that focuses on artisans and craftsmen within Appalachia.

For many of these people, their art or craft is their primary income, and a lot of them depend on social events, like concerts, farmers markets and craft fairs. In this new world of coronavirus and social distancing, that is proving difficult.

A screenshot from the video game Fallout 76.
Bethesda Game Studios

 

A study done last year that found the video game Fallout 76 may help forge new emotional connections between those playing it and West Virginia, will be published in a new journal under the American Psychological Association

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as detection of coronavirus expands throughout the state, other health challenges remain. We’ll check in with a health expert in the Eastern Panhandle, and we’ll also take a break from virus coverage and hear from kids corresponding between Wales and West Virginia.  

Country music icon Kenny Rogers, whose hits included "Lucille," "Lady" and "The Gambler," died late Friday at his home in Sandy Springs, Ga., his family said in a statement. He was 81.

The Houston-born country star had 20 No.-1 hits and three Grammys and performed for some 60 years before retiring from touring in 2017 at age 79, according to the Associated Press.

Rogers didn't write most of his hits and often said he didn't consider himself much of a songwriter. But he told NPR in 2012 that he had a knack for picking songs that could draw in the listener.

Kara Lofton/ WVPB

 

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking a much-needed break from the news. We’ll explore ways we can continue to stay connected with each other, even when we’re self-isolating for health reasons.

Thoroughbred horses participating in a race at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.
Courtesy Photo / Coady Photography

Live horse racing is back on without the fans at a West Virginia track a few days after the facility was shut down due to the new coronavirus.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the past few months, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project has cultivated a connection between two groups of people thousands of miles away — high schools in Lincoln County, West Virginia and in Merthyr Tydfill, Wales.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, stories of hope and resilience, of communities coming together while also staying apart, all in response to the coronavirus. We’ll hop around the state to hear how communities are making sure kids have the food they need to continue to thrive despite being out of school.

Legends and legacies meet where the Great Kanawha and the mighty Ohio rivers merge, on the land where history & agriculture combine in one of the nations oldest and most storied farming regions.

Narrated by Chris Sarandon, The Legacy Of The Land: The Story of the Kanawha Gateway explores the history and agriculture of the Kanawha Gateway region.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll talk to an author and playwright who has thought a lot about how growing up in our region shapes what we become. We’ll also bring you the latest headlines on coronavirus in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s a new quadruped moving slowly into the coalfields of southern West Virginia. We’ll hear more about West Virginia’s elk population, and we bring you important updates about how the state and region is working to control the global COVID-19 pandemic.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit the small town of Ona, West Virginia to learn about the Ona Speedway racetrack. We also hear from high school students in Fayette County, and we hear a conversation on higher education challenges in the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we remember a bit about Appalachia as experienced by Bobby Kennedy.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from people in our region who maintain a dedication to the art of canning fruits and veggies. It’s a practice that used to be critical not long ago to be able to survive long winter months in Appalachia. Their efforts are ongoing to revive the practice and make it easier for people who grow their own food to can their veggies safely and cheaply.


It was Arts Day at the Capitol. We spotlight the activities from the day, and we bring you a special report on an educational effort by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, debates nationally and globally rage on about high-speed data coverage and which country will control it, while in West Virginia, many residents are still looking for any reliable connection at all. We hear how that affects schools and communities.

Jermaine Lucious / Exit Zero Entertainment

Esports are becoming increasingly popular across the nation with leagues and tournaments popping up more frequently, both online and in person. A bar in Wheeling recently hosted an event to see how a league playing a classic video game would fare.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a historian of public schooling in the U.S. turned education advocate visited the state over the weekend. She joined in an event celebrating the teachers strike of 2018.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

The Japanese soldiers came out of their concrete “pill box” with bayonets fixed, determined to get the Marine who had been killing them all afternoon with a flamethrower.

Their target was Hershel Williams. He was 5-foot-6, the youngest of the 11 children of a dairy farmer from Quiet Dell, W.Va. He had a nice smile, and a girl back home named Ruby whom he planned to marry when the war was over.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Old-time music is a large part of West Virginia’s heritage – it is the folk music of the state. And although it has now gained the popularity of people from all over the world, hundreds of years ago it was isolated within Appalachian communities. However, as it gains traction, some people think the uniqueness is lost. 

In a special report exploring folkways traditions, as part of the Inside Appalachia Folkways Project, Caitlin Tan explores the master-apprentice relationship in the old-time music community.


Mason Adams / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On any given Friday night, a parade of customized cars and trucks cruise from north to south and back again on Williamson Road in Roanoke, Virginia. 

Modified with neon lights, spinning rims and streamlined spoilers, these vehicles do not necessarily scream “folk tradition”—but they are just the modern version of a long-running Appalachian tradition. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit with a potter who spends a lot of time on his Preston County property collecting clay-rich soils. We also learn about musician and composer Markus Reuter.

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