Arts and Culture

Anne Frank and Me

What happens when a young holocaust denier travels back in time and finds herself sharing a cattle car ride to Auschwitz with Anne Frank.

Interview: Fred Schneider of The B-52’s

In the late 1970’s Athens, Georgia didn’t have much to offer in the way of music. One night, a group of friends were hanging out and decided to write a song. After all, it was something to do. A few months later, the B-52s were playing their first gig. Thirty-two years later they’re still making […]

Musical Examines Atlanta Lynching

The Civil War left Atlanta in ruins, but after the war the city quickly rebuilt and became a dynamo for the New South. But the tensions between the old and new boiled over in 1913. That's when frenzy erupted over the rape and murder of a young girl. Accused of that murder: a Jewish businessman from New York named Leo Frank.

Stantis Leaves for Chicago

For Birmingham News editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis, Alabama's political world has not disappointed. For 13 years he's drawn on an array of characters for fodder, from former Governor Fob James to Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford. But after this weekend, Stantis trades in that scene for world of the Daleys and Blagojevich. Monday, Stantis becomes the editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. He tells WBHM's Andrew Yeager, his thoughts about the move are all over the place.

City Stages Vendors Left with Bill

It's been several weeks since City Stages announced it was taking its final curtain call. The non-profit music festival had struggled for many years with a deficit. And now, local businesses who provided services for this year's festival say they're scrambling to make ends meet because they weren't paid for their work.

Not Knowing Does Hurt: Dan Carsen on Science

What do Alvin the Chipmunk, pretzels, and the Internet have in common? Believe it or not, WBHM commentator Dan Carsen (who may soon become a dolphin) sees a disturbing pattern here.

Willie King Remembered

Fans remember Alabama bluesman Willie King, who died of a heart attack at his home in Pickens County on Sunday. Before his death, King talked with WBHM's Greg Bass about his life and music.

Considering Faith: Emuna

Religion has inspired art in the western world for centuries. Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' or Michelangelo's 'David' are just two examples. In Birmingham, one group of artists is also drawing on religion, but not so much for inspiration - rather as a platform for discussion. WBHM's Andrew Yeager introduces us to Emuna

On The Line: Funding Arts

When the Jefferson County Commission eliminated its $4.2 million a year allocation for arts and cultural organizations it sent local arts groups scrambling to replace the funding. On the next On The Line (March 31), County Commissioner Sheila Smoot joins the leaders of local arts organizations to talk about Funding the Arts.

Public arts funding

The world of arts funding can be challenging. There are artists that rely on the marketplace for all of their support. There are artists who only take money from private donors. And then there are arts organizations that support themselves with local, state and federal funds. And it's the latter group that, for nearly a quarter century, has been at the center of a fiery philosophical debate. WBHM's Steve Chiotakis reports.

Cave 9

There are a lot of well-known arts organizations around Birmingham. Big ones like the symphony and ballet and smaller ones like Red Mountain Theatre Company and Space One Eleven. But there's one very small non-profit that's doing something pretty unusual, as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports.

NonProfit Management

Used to be, it was enough for nonprofits to be run by someone with a big heart and a passion for a cause. Board members were friends and board meetings were more social than business. But, times have changed. A growing number of nonprofits are scrambling for a limited amount of donations, and many nonprofits are adopting for-profit business models to ensure their survival. In the latest installment in our weeklong series "Funding the Arts", Les Lovoy reports on how the executive directors and boards of non-profits are having to use both halves of their brains to manage their organizations.

ASO Bankruptcy Lessons

For many people, there's just something distinctive about taking in an orchestra concert. Maybe it's the feel of the auditorium or seeing the array of instruments on stage. For a time though, this orchestral thrill was not something Birmingham could offer. Fifteen years ago the Alabama Symphony Orchestra filed for bankruptcy and stayed silent for four years. While the ASO's rebirth represents hard work and dedication by many, it also contains lessons for any organization in turmoil. WBHM's Andrew Yeager continues our weeklong series on arts funding.

Loss of Arts Funding

The delicate balance of keeping an arts organization afloat, whether it be a symphony, theater, ballet or museum, relies on a constantly fluctuating web of private, corporate and governmental funding. What happens when a mainstay of that web disappears? In part one of a weeklong series, Reporter Haden Holmes Brown examines the repercussions of the loss of governmental funding.

Urban Divide: Arts & Economy

Over the last several months, there have been storm clouds on the Birmingham arts and culture horizon. Jefferson County faces a $30 million budget shortfall for 2008, and commissioners say some things may have to go. At the top of that list: eliminating $4.2 million in funding for the arts and culture. Les Lovoy examines how this could affect downtown Birmingham.

WBHM’s 30th Anniversary

Tom Godell was one of the first voices on 90.3 WBHM, when the station signed on the air more than 30 years ago. As part of our year-long look back celebrating WBHM's 30th anniversary, Godell -- who's now in Kentucky -- talks about the early days of public radio and what it was like to be in the studio when the switch was pulled and public radio in Birmingham came alive.

Chevalier Burning Bright

Author Tracy Chevalier rocketed to fame after the publication of her slim, stark novel "Girl with a Pearl Earring". The book was about the creation of the Vermeer painting of the same name. It went on to become an Oscar winning movie. Chevalier's newest novel, Burning Bright , also deals with the creation of a work of art. But this time the artist is more obscure.

WBHM 30th Anniversary

In celebration of WBHM's 30th anniversary year, meet some of the people who were there during the station's early years. WBHM officially signed on at Sunday, December 5, 1976 at 1 p.m. In this interview Michael Krall talks to Les Myers, WBHM's first Music Director...

The Bodon Family Secret

During World War II no one fought the Nazis longer than the Czechs. Even after Czechoslovakia was taken over by Hitler's Germany, the Czech's fought on; the resistance moving from havens in Poland to France and, eventually, to Britain. One UAB filmmaker's father was one of those fighters. The whole time he fought the Nazis, and for the rest of his life afterward, he was keeping an enormous secret.

Justin Brown

On November 17-18, guitarist David Starobin played contemporary music with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. One of the works is Paganini Variations by Poul Ruders. David Starobin spoke with WBHM's Michael Krall about the work.

The Secrets of Amarna

For more than eighty years King Tutankhamun (or Tut) has been the superstar of ancient Egypt. Tut's reign was only a short one, the pharaoh died while still a teeanger, but the glittering treasure found in his tomb captured imaginations the world over. All that gold has, for years, outshone one of the more astonishing bits of Egyptian history -- the Amarna heresy, which was sparked by none other than King Tut's father.


She was a tomboy who would grow up to write one of the seminal novels of the 20th Century. Published in 1960, Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' catapulted her into fame -- a fame from which she made a hasty retreat. There's a new biography out about Lee and the creation of her only novel. WBHM's Rosemary Pennington spoke with the author, Charles J. Shields.

Howell Raines

Howell Raines says his leaving The New York Times was part of a long journey that brought him back to doing what he wants to do: write and fish. Over four decades, Raines climbed the print journalism ladder, starting in Birmingham and making his way to The Times. He tells WBHM's Steve Chiotakis that his new book, The One That Got Away, uses some scaley metaphors to highlight those turn of events.

Student Docs Debut

Documentary films are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The big story at last year's box office, a documentary about penguins. UAB students are currently unveiling their forays into the format -- which include stories about Birmingham's Muslim community and one Native American group's struggle to retain its culture.

Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson's second novel, Gilead, is written in the form of a letter from a 76-year old Congregationalist minister to his young son. Gilead is a meditation on family relationships, religion, and finding meaning in life. Robinson's visit coincided with the selection of Gilead for the Mayor's Book Club of Vestavia Hills. She spoke with WBHM's Roseanne Pereira.

The Gospel According to Anne

Anne Rice has a rabid following; readers who've come to love her tales of vampires, witches and others 'outsiders'. But her days of writing about them are over. Rice is embarking on a new direction -- one that some think is a departure for the author. Rice talked with WBHM's Rosemary Pennington about the shift.

Young Zombies in Love

Zombie themes are very popular right now - and not just because of Halloween. There's been a resurgence in Zombie movies, including the locally produced hit Hide & Creep. And this weekend, Birmingham Southern College takes the genre to the stage, with a play called Young Zombies in Love. WBHM's Tanya Ott spoke with BSC's Theater director Michael Flowers about the play.

Lemony Snicket

For several years now fans have followed the story of the Baudelaire orphans. The latest and 'last before the last installment' in the Lemony Snicket 'Series of Unfortunate Events' has just hit bookstore shelves. There's been a lot of speculation as to the fate of the Baudelaires. WBHM's Tanya Ott spoke with Lemony Snicket's 'handler' -- Daniel Handler -- in hopes of clearing up some of the mystery. Judge for yourself whether it worked!

The Last Days

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama

Germany Photos

WBHM's Rosemary Pennington took part in the RIAS/RTNDF German American Journalist Exchange. She spent two weeks in June traveling through Germany and Brussels. These are some photos from that trip.

Rosemary’s German Weblog

NPR News and Classical Music for North Central Alabama

TR Pearson

T.R. Pearson has been compared to Mark Twain and William Faulkner for his Southern influenced prose and circuitous, anecdotal narratives. Pearson's first novel, 'A Short History of a Small Place' won rave reviews from readers and the praise of critics as well. 20 years later, he's out with its sequel: 'Glad News of the Natural World'.