Each week, WAMU 88.5's Metro Connection reaches across D.C., Maryland and Virginia to gather the sounds and stories that capture the current events, culture and personalities driving the Washington region.
The University of Maryland is trying to attract some of the world's top scientists to work in College Park. But if the Purple Line is routed through campus, the trains' vibrations could affect the work of some of the school's quantum physicists, who rely on sound-proof, vibration-proof environments to monitor the behavior of atoms. David Schultz talks with Rebecca Sheir about what's going on.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads]
Washington, D.C., native and international opera star, Marquita Lister, has performed in the world's great opera houses and has sung "Bess" (in "Porgy and Bess") more than 500 times. In 2006, she became gravely ill, and her meteoric rise was interrupted. But she's worked hard to make a remarkable recovery and now is poised for her comeback. Rebecca Sheir spoke with Lister as she prepared for a recital benefit for her favorite cause: the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation.
"Anacostia -- The Web Series" is a soap opera, home-grown in Southeast D.C. Like most soaps, it's about how we love, hate and get even with one another. But unlike most soap operas, it's about a place that's trying to rebuild its reputation. Emily Friedman gives us the lowdown on this Internet sensation.
[Music: "Welcome to D.C." by Mambo Sauce from Go-Go Mix]
She believes in ghosts, he couldn't care less -- until they took a candlelight ghost tour in historic Willamsburg, Va. Husband and wife Elliott and Arnetia Francis recall his creepy conversion in this restored colonial setting, where it's sometimes hard to tell if actors are real or imagined, and photos of ghosts seem to appear and disappear.
[Music: "Karaoke – Spooky" from Karaoke – Classic Male Pop – Vol. 6]
After the earthquake and tsunami battered Japan last month, University of Maryland Professor Hiroyuki Iseki put his map-making skills to the test. As environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour tells us, Iseki has helped develop an online tool to show residents and emergency responders how to find shelter, water and other necessities.
Virginia resident Ron Ball was as excited as could be about buying a brand-new, all-electric Chevy Volt. But after he drove it home from the lot, he began running into some unexpected problems. Where to charge the car? And how to install a charging station at his condo? Transportation reporter David Schultz talks with Ball about the ups and downs of being an early adopter of new technology.
[Music: "From A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "She's Electric (In The Style Of...
The D.C. area has been the birthing ground of some famous innovations, invented by some not-too-famous innovators. Rebecca Sheir shares the stories of two Washingtonians whose names may not ring a lot of bells these days, but whose creations have helped shape the modern world: Herman Hollerith and Emile Berliner.
[Music: "I've Got a Great Idea" by Harry Connick, Jr. from We Are in Love]
Artist-Centered. Exciting. Affordable. That's the credo of Taffety Punk, which has been turning the D.C. theater scene on its head with an inventive, low-budget, high-creativity approach to producing plays. Rebecca Sheir visits a rehearsal of Taffety Punk's newest effort, The Car Plays, to find out what makes these artistic innovators tick.
[Music: "Old Times" by The Most Secret Method from Get Lovely]
Traditional Appalachian square and contra dancing are enjoying a resurgence among young people in the D.C. region. Rosslyn's Artisphere often attracts 100 participants for monthly contra dances set to the backdrop of electronic music and indie pop. And a recent square dance in Mount Pleasant attracted 200 youthful dancers on a recent Saturday night. Jonna McKone explores this reinvention of an old form of dance.
[Music: "Just Dance (Instrumental)" by Lady Gaga from The Fame]
When Dorothy arrived in the Land of Oz, she quickly realized there was no place like home. But back in the real world, home is rarely the idyllic paradise Dorothy imagined. In this edition of the show, we explore real stories of house and home. We'll meet the developer who built an entire town from scratch, chase off some scary home invaders, and spend time at a shelter for homeless veterans.
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "Over the Rainbow" by...
The White House is a symbol of American power all over the world. But for many African-Americans, this most famous of American homes also represents a rarely discussed history of exclusion and inequality. Rebecca Sheir talks with Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House, about the ties between the White House and people of African descent, from the slaves and servants who worked there, to the activists who...
Home is where the heart is. It's also where the stink bugs live -- crawling out from cracks and crevices and finding their way into your shower or kitchen cupboards. They're a major nuisance to farmers, and the USDA is now experimenting to see if the invasive insects can be brought under control by importing their natural predator, a parasitic Asian wasp. Sabri Ben-Achour takes a look.
Real estate magnate Bob Simon is known as the father of Reston, Va. In the early 1960s, he bought up the Fairfax County farmland where the bustling suburb now exists and created a community from scratch. David Schultz talks with Simon about his vision for Reston, and what it's like to live in a town that contains a bronze statue of yourself.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Pink Houses (Karaoke Version)" by Stingray Music (Karaoke) from Karaoke - in the Style...
The burst of the housing bubble had a big impact on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and coastal Delaware. Realtors say they're closing more deals, but many of the homes they're selling are foreclosures. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo talks with host Rebecca Sheir about how the end of the housing boom is affecting the market for vacation homes.
[Music: ""Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "Beach Side Property" by Modest Mouse from This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to...
After years trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to adopt. What they thought would be a relatively simple process was instead a long and painful one. In her latest novel, Gilmore channels these autobiographical experiences into fiction.
Activists say the case against Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger is about raw milk — and much more. His supporters have turned the case into a rallying cry for personal food freedom and the rights of farmers and consumers to enter into private contracts without government intervention.
Amid warnings the proposal would shatter support for the measure, Democrats backed away from a provision that would allow gay U.S. citizens to sponsor foreign-born spouses for green cards. Advocates for gay and lesbian immigration rights accused Democrats of caving in to threats.
You've probably seen it in your inbox before: Someone who claims to have come into a fortune needs your help. You can share in the profits — if you send along a deposit or your bank account number. Boston Globe correspondent Finn Brunton talks about the history of the "Nigerian prince" or "419" scam, which actually got its start long before email.
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