Tapestry, from 90.3 WBHM

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January 2011...

We've just finished another season of holiday parties and family get-togethers. It's a time of the year when there's plenty of small talk. Even if you aren't good at it, you've probably got some idea of the unofficial rules. Talk about the other person, not yourself. And avoid any sensitive topics such as religion or politics. But it's that last one which has some Birmingham artists saying "excuse me?" WBHM's Andrew Yeager takes us to the Space One Eleven gallery where a show challenges viewers to talk about subjects that usually don't come up in polite conversation.

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Race, Sex, Politics, Religion runs at Birmingham's Space One Eleven through January 28th.

Rock 'n Roll in the 1950's is often credited with breaking down racial barriers, particularly in the South. And Elvis Presley was an important part of that movement. Early Elvis concerts attracted significant black audiences.

Of course today, many people only remember the movies and the bloated Vegas-era Elvis. In his latest novel, Losing Graceland, author Mica Nathan imagines what a post-Vegas Elvis might be like. But Nathan tells WBHM's Tanya Ott that it's the "other" main character in his novel that really fascinates him.

Mica Nathan interview...

Micah Nathan's novel Losing Graceland was released this week. And for the record, there are plenty of fans who think Jim Croce died too young.

Ira Glass is probably the closest thing to a public radio superstar. His program This American Life has nearly two million listeners every week and has won almost every major award in broadcast journalism. But it's not a straight news show or a talk show or a call-in show. Each week, there's a theme and there are different kinds of stories based on that theme. Glass recently spoke with WBHM's Michael Krall about what it takes to create This American Life and why he's coming to town...

Ira Glass interview...

Ira Glass is the creator and host of This American Life, which airs Saturday and Sunday afternoons on WBHM. He'll speak at UAB's Alys Stephens Center, January 28th.

Three to See logo

We just heard about This American Life, but what's going on in your Alabama life? There's plenty to see and do in the first month of 2011, including a world renowned violinist, a dance company on a farewell tour, and new performing arts program for senior citizens. WBHM's Bradley George has the skinny in this month's Three to See.

Thieves are stealing from a fossil site in Walker County and it's up to a couple of young science students to put a stop to it. So goes the plot of Time, the latest mystery from author Roger Reid. Reid is an Emmy Awarding winning writer and producer for Alabama Public Television's Discovering Alabama. He's turned the knowledge gained from working on a nature show into a series of young adult novels packed with scientific information. Reid's character, Jason Caldwell, isn't from Alabama. But through his friendship with a young girl from Andalusia, he gets mixed up in some dangerous scientific adventures. So what was Roger Reid's inspiration for these books?

Roger Reid interview...

Here's a little science for you: Books burn at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. And that, of course, is the title of Ray Bradbury's classic novel, Fahrenheit 451. Set in a not too distant future, it's a tale of an America where books are illegal. The novel's been adapted into a play that's being staged by Birmingham's Theatre Downtown. WBHM's Bradley George has a look.

Fahrenheit 451 the play...

Fahrenheit 451 opens January 13th at Fifth Avenue Antiques.

Christina Linard

Christina Linard is only 26, but she's been playing music for half her life. She started writing music when she was a teenager. She says it was therapy. And a lot of the songs on her latest CD reflect that. This is a tune called Unnecessary. (AUDIO MONTAGE)

Shortly after her mother's death, Linard wrote a song called Baby Blue - which draws on the wisdom her mom had taught her through the year. Linard performs regularly at Marty's Bar in Birmingham and with the female singer-songwriter group the Black Magnolias.

Most public schools offer orchestra, band, and choir to their students. But a middle school in North Hollywood, California is expanding those options. Oakwood Secondary School is now offering rap as a music-elective. As Alexander Mayer reports, teaching hip-hop in schools can be about more then self-expression.

Rapping as a music elective...

Tapestry is produced by Bradley George and Michael Krall. This month, we had help from Alexander Mayer, Tanya Ott and Andrew Yeager. We always welcome your feedback on the show. We're also on Facebook and Twitter. I'm Greg Bass. Thanks for listening, we'll see you next month.

If you've got a story idea for Tapestry, drop us an e-mail.