Michael Edward Miller

Around & About Host/News Producer

A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Michael Edward Miller hosts Around and About.  His favorite radio programs and podcasts include This American Life, Radiolab and The Moth.  He and his wife Rachel are both Chattanooga natives. 

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Hawaiian-born electronic musician Kawehi will give one of the more unusual performances at this year's Riverbend Festival. 

Using a microphone, loopers and digital effects, she alters her voice to sound like a guitar, a bass, and drums.  Her cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" went viral last year, winning praise from Courtney Love, who called Kawehi's work "genius."  Now her YouTube channel has around seven millions hits.

Her live shows are a mix of cover songs and originals.  Check out her Nirvana cover below, and catch her at 9:15 p.m. on the TVFCU stage during Riverbend on Thursday evening.

At the 2015 Bessie Smith Strut, Deacon Bluz and the Holy Smoke Band's performance was cut short by a thunderstorm.  Before the rain and lightning came, Bluz gave tribute to B.B. King, who passed away recently at the age of 89.  See a clip of the performance in the video below.

Chattanooga Theatre Centre

The Chattanooga Theatre Center will perform Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a comedy which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.  In this segment, we hear excerpts from rehearsals, and we're joined by director Scott Dunlap and actress Kristina Montague, who plays Masha.  It opens June 12 and continues through June 28.

Here are five of the bands and musicians to check out during the Riverbend Festival's opening weekend:

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

History buffs in other parts of the country may know Chattanooga only for its importance during the Civil War.  However, a new book by NPR’s Steve Inskeep recounts a lesser-known regional conflict, and it's a story that deserves to be heard and remembered.

Contributed photo

The trio of string players who founded Harpeth Rising are all classically trained, but they have eclectic tastes in music.  Their songs are a blend of bluegrass, folk, rock and classical.  They call what they do “chambergrass” or “chamberfolk.“

Banjo and viola player Rebecca Reed-Lunn joins us to talk about the band.  They'll perform at the Riverbend Festival on Thursday, June 11th at 7:45 p.m. on the TVFCU stage.

"In all of my work, I go out to listen and to learn," documentary filmmaker Robert Ashton Winslow says. "I have the stories I feel like I can approach, and then I just ask people what their experience is, what they think is most important."

Traveling around the South, working on a shoestring budget, Winslow has created about a dozen films as part of the Southern Dialogues series, including the feature-length Chattanooga Story.

By Ken Lund [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Remember the scene in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation when the Griswolds finally finish their long journey to Walley World and find the theme park is closed?

If you’re headed for a whitewater rafting trip on the Ocoee River and you don’t plan ahead, you might be similarly frustrated.

President Obama has declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month, and says this year "approximately one in five American adults... will experience a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress."

Still, Obama says, millions of Americans still do not receive the care they need, and there is still considerable stigma associated with mental health treatment.

Steve Inskeep is best known as the host of NPR's Morning Edition, but he's also an author.  His new work of nonfiction is JACKSONLAND: President Andrew Jackson, Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab.   It centers on Jackson and Ross's twenty-year battle over ownership of Cherokee lands, a battle that "seems at once distant and familiar," according to the publisher.

Originally scheduled for April 18th and delayed due to inclement weather, the Little Owl Festival will take place Saturday, May 23rd from 11 am to 6 pm at Audubon Acres in East Brainerd.  Proceeds benefit the Chattanooga Audubon Society, and board member Ray Zimmerman joins us to talk about the festival.  We also hear several of the musical acts scheduled to perform.

Closed Door Entertainment

In this segment, we've got excerpts from Closed Door Entertainment's production of  Mary Poppins - The Musical.  It features new songs as well as many classics from the 1964 Disney film.  We're also speaking with Mary Beth Torgerson, who plays the lead role of Mary Poppins, and Johnny Krause, who plays George Banks.

Performances will be May 22nd & 23rd at 7:30 pm and May 23rd & 24th at 2 pm at the Memorial Auditorium.

From their Web site:

Alberto Garcia/Creative Commons/Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/bertogg/

Pundits are already talking about the 2016 Presidential election, and the Tennessee primaries are less than a year off. 

Looking to get more informed as the election season ramps up?

Bernadette and Travis Upton, founders of WEAVE Dance Company, join us to talk about their nontraditional approach to teaching dance classes and performing as a dance company.  Described as a "creative entanglement of fearless movement," WEAVE has classes such as Abnormal Ballet, Abnormal Barre, Hip-Hop and more.

From their Web site:

In this segment, we're talking about TechTown, a 2.5-million-dollar learning center opening this summer.  TechTown is not a school; founders call it a "people's house of technology."  It's a place where kids can find their own interests and explore them at their own pace.

CEO Cordell Carter joins us to give us details about TechTown's innovative approach to education, the nonprofit TechTown Foundation, and their summer camps that begin June 29.
 

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