Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Summer Music Series swings through the Mount Washington Valley this week to visit the only music shop in New Hampshire that builds steel drums, the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.

After a listener wrote us about it, NHPR’s Leila Goldstein visited the shop, Maccabee Panworks, in Conway.


Peter Biello/NHPR

The multi-talented musician Theo Martey has traveled the world with West African drumming groups. After settling in Manchester in 2001 he formed the Akwaaba Ensemble and they've been touring New England ever since.

While Martey plays traditional West African music, he also mixes contemporary recording effects and nontraditional instruments into his work. Martey spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello about his music.

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

USPS.

John Lennon will soon be on a Forever Stamp from the U.S. Postal Service.

This is the latest in a series of music icons to appear. 

The stamp artwork is based on a 1974 photo of Lennon taken by rock music photographer Bob Gruen for Lennon's "Walls and Bridges" album. 

The stamp resembles a vintage 45-rmp record sleeve. The reverse side has Lennon at his white piano, from a photo taken by Peter Fordham that was used to promote Lennon's landmark 1971 solo album, "Imagine."

2018 Summer Book Show

Jul 4, 2018

Whether it's for a tablet, phone, or hardback, booklovers are always on the lookout for what to read when life slows down in the summer.  We hear what's new in fiction,  including a thriller co-written by a best-selling author and a former President.  For non-fiction fans, we review new works of History, Humour and Self-Help.  And as always, some N.H. authors make the list.  Get your pen and paper ready if you are looking for help with ideas for your reading list this summer! 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Just off busy Main street in Conway Village, George Wiese gives a tour of the inside what’s known as the Bolduc Block in the center of town.

Constructed in 1931 by local businessman Leon Bolduc, this batch of brick buildings has housed a department and grocery store, the post office and many other businesses over the years. And at the heart of the block, a theater: The Majestic.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Nori and Sarah Kozuma opened up the Horseshoe Cafe on Newmarket’s main drag last year.

The Bay Area-transplants, married and heavily tattooed, divide the duties: Sarah handles the baking, including fresh breads, spreads, and a few pastries. Nori is the one-man coffee department, doing everything from importing to roasting.

“So I’m still baby roaster. We normally say about 10 years to be called a roast master,” Nori says with a laugh.

While he may classify a novice, Kozuma knows more about coffee than he’s letting on.

Studies have shown that reading over summer vacation keeps kids' brains active and reduces stagnation or setbacks in reading levels (known as the "summer slide"). But how often do kids and teenagers read for pleasure these days? We talk with educators, librarians and authors about why independent reading is so important, what books appeal to kids nowadays, and what strategies help encouraage kids to open a book this summer.

Leila Goldstein/NHPR

Imane Naji Amrani is in total party planner mode. She wears a pink dress and matching pink headscarf. Focused and firm, she tells a group of teenage helpers where food should go and hurries to get everything done before sunset.

Every night for the month of Ramadan, families at the mosque in Manchester take turns cooking for the Iftar, the evening meal where Muslims break their fast each night during Ramadan. Tonight is Naji Amrani’s night to cook.

The interlude is polished and playful.

“I have something very special coming up here. I just kind of have to set the stage .... we have a giraffe that’s going to be performing with us out here.”

The audience laughs away.

This is the opening of a song track on one of The Shaw Brothers’ records. They’re playing live at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. And if you’ve ever enjoyed a concert at the Prescott Park Arts Festival, you can just imagine the giraffe was either a prop or a set painting for a youth theater act that used the stage earlier.

James Napoli

Tad Montgomery can still remember when he first discovered morels.

He was five years old, working in the garden with his mom and siblings, when a thunderstorm suddenly rolled in. They all ran under some nearby trees for shelter.

“Mom, what are these things? They’re really weird!” exclaimed his sister, looking to the ground.

His mom had no idea what to make of the brown, brain-looking things emerging from the soil. But, being an amateur naturalist, she piled all the kids in the car and drove them, soaking wet, to the local library.

A new documentary explores what it means to be a female veteran of the military through the lens of a pageant known as Miss Veteran America.

The participants are veterans, and they help raise awareness of homelessness among female veterans. The film is called "Served Like a Girl," and tomorrow at Red River Theatres in Concord, a screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion of the issues women veterans face.

City of Boston Archives / Flickr Creative Commons

The book Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 is an in-depth look at some famous and-not-so-famous figures that all seemed to converge in and around Boston in that one year. 

The catalyst for author Ryan Walsh’s book was the author’s love for Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks album- what many consider the singer-songwriter’s masterpiece- and the little-known fact that Morrison wrote much of the songs for it in Boston.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Ryan Walsh by Skype to learn more.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When he was a kid, Dan Walker lived in a house on Cottage Street, not far from downtown Littleton. Three doors up the hill from his house, in an old Victorian, was Bishop's Homemade Ice Cream. To young Dan, this seemed normal.

"I thought everyone had an ice cream shop a few houses away," he says, laughing.

Courtesy

Gretchen and the Pickpockets formed about six years ago while front-woman Gretchen Klempa was a student at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Since then the band has been performing in and around the Granite State, pleasing crowds with mostly upbeat funky tunes enriched with lively horn hooks.

Courtesy of Spencer Topel and Seth Parker Woods

An unusual musical spectacle will take place tonight in the Upper Valley. It’s a take on an iconic performance art piece from the 1970s.

In that first version, a woman - naked except for a garland of flowers around her neck - played a “cello” made completely of ice. Now, the piece is being re- imagined to reflect modern themes, and that’s required some modern engineering as well.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Eating local in New Hampshire can mean more than just stopping by the farmers' market. For more adventurous residents, it means foraging for wild ingredients – like seaweed, straight from the Seacoast.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik reports this old culinary tradition is getting a second life. 

Katherine Garrova

At her home studio, embroidery artist Sarah Benning stitches together one of her pieces. It’s a sun-filled room at this time of the morning. The artist’s finished work spills into the space around her with dozens of circular canvases bubbling up onto the walls. There are also plenty of house plants around.

 

“A lot of my work is inspired by my own house plants,” Benning says, “The very first plant pieces I stitched were actually inspired by houseplants that I killed, luckily I’ve gotten better and they’re not all dead plants now.”

Katherine Garrova

The trend of the speakeasy bar - drinking establishments that play with the history of our prohibition days - has taken off in big cities like New York and L.A. But New Hampshire now has at least a couple secretive watering holes of its own.

There’s a new place to grab a drink in Concord called Chuck’s BARbershop. Liu Vaine is the owner and he's started up a similar place in Nashua called CodeX.


Sam Hurley

Concord lost one of its most provocative landmarks last Thursday night when artist Thomas Devaney closed his giant Eye for good.  For the last five years the foam and wood sculpture came to life after dark when Devaney turned on his projector and lit the 6-foot by 8-foot structure with a filmed loop of his own blue right eye. NHPR’s Sean Hurley attended the closing of the Eye and sends us this. 

A lot of people hear "cooperative business" and think of their local food co-ops. But, the co-op model isn't limited to bulk bins of quinoa - it was designed to share profits with workers and give small businesses leverage against megastores.

So, what role do they play in the Granite State? 

Plus, we'll hear from area high school students, in this post-Parkland moment, who are organizing to tell lawmakers: Never Again. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

In some countries in Europe, red wine is part of daily life. Not so in the US. And as a result, Americans may be missing out on the health benefit of a particular antioxidant found in the skins of grapes. Now a chemist at UNH is trying to get more of this antixodiant, resveratrol, into the American diet through coffee. 

Glen Miller is chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, and a few years ago, he first got the idea of putting resveratrol into spring water. But when he did, he saw a huge problem. 

James Napoli

There are the mysteries you know about, and then there are the ones lurking in your midst. For the staff at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, it was a bit of both.

The site, run by the National Park Service, is the estate of Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens is behind many iconic monuments still standing today, most famously of Civil War heroes in Chicago and Boston. 


Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is presenting the work of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in an exhibit that runs through May 20th.  Saint-Gaudens was the most important American sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century, and this is the first major museum exhibit of his work in New England in more than 30 years.  

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

Matthew Jones from Hudson and I share a common beef with New Hampshire: a serious lack of great pizza. Matthew reached out to us through our Only in New Hampshire project, in which we do our best to answer listener questions about quirks of the Granite State.

He wrote to us with a question (or three) about New Hampshire pizza:

Why does every town have a House of Pizza? And why is every House of Pizza exclusively the Greek style of pizza? And why is the Greek pizza so popular here?

The Nashua Board of aldermen voted Tuesday to approve a new $15.5 million performing arts center. All but one of the aldermen voted for the complex, which is set to go in at the Alec’s shoe store building on Main Street.

Late last year the Board voted against the project, with some citing cost as a factor.

Big Brother and the Tax Man

Feb 9, 2018

New Hampshire is one of 9 states without a state income tax, and one of just two states without a broad-based sales tax either. 

Democrat or Republican, almost every serious candidate for governor takes the Pledge: a promise that they won't even consider a broad-based state income or sales tax.

When listener Mary Douglas moved to New Hampshire in 2005, she couldn't make sense of the state's strong anti-tax sentiment. For our "Only in NH" series, she asked us: why doesn't New Hampshire have a state income tax?

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

James Napoli

New works in progress by black playwrights will be performed this weekend in the Upper Valley. The festival is sponsored by JAG productions, a relatively new black theater company that’s been drawing audiences across western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont.


Chris Jensen

When the state of New Hampshire submitted a bid to Amazon , throwing Londonderry into the ring as home for the company’s second headquarters, they summed up their case like this: "All the benefits of Boston… without all the headaches."

Of course, that logic doesn't really apply if you live in New Hampshire's northernmost towns, where the closest city of size is Sherbrooke, Quebec.  In this episode, as part of NHPR's series "The Balance", we look at arts, culture and economy north of the notches.  

Plus, New Hampshire filmmaker and visual artist Amy Jenkins on her film Instructions on Parting, which premiers at MOMA later this month. 

Sara Plourde

After more than two years and 60 episodes, we are signing off, to make room for new projects and podcasts (but episodes will continue to live online if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration). Thanks to everybody who listened and learned from the show! For other literary offerings from NHPR, check out: The Bookshelf, featuring authors from around New Hampshire and the region, as well as books about New Hampshire by authors from anywhere. Writers on a New England Stage

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