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.

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Jeff Rapsis is a hard man to shut up once he gets going on his favorite subject. Ask him about how silent movies used to be staged, and Rapsis overwhelms you with information, a walking Wikipedia entry with actor anecdotes and deep history at his fingertips. He’s been into the genre since he was a kid growing up in Nashua.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Making your own liquor at home is illegal under federal law. A bill in the New Hampshire House right now would legalize the distilling of a limited amount of alcohol in the same way the state regulates in-home production of wine and beer. One local entrepreneur who sells stills is hoping the bill will provide a boost to his business.

In a workshop off Depot Street in Manchester, foreman Jeremy Burrows rolls a beautifully-shined sheet of copper through a machine to emboss it.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When an elementary or middle school student can't pay for lunch, that student will run up lunch debt. Students with debt are sometimes given an "alternative meal" instead of a hot lunch, and that could lead to shame and embarrassment. Recently a man in North Haverhill launched an effort to wipe out kids' lunch debt in his local schools...and is now promoting what he calls "lunch equality." 

Abhi Sharma / Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Manchester and the Millyard have undergone redevelopment over the past decade with the opening of new restaurants and shops. But now residents are getting an independent bookstore.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Liz Hitchcock, co-owner of The Bookery Manchester, which will open this spring. And she plans to make this bookstore more than another retail establishment downtown, but also a gathering place for the community.

Some of you may know Manoush Zomorodi as host of the podcast Note to Self from WNYC. She is also, now, an author. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self came out of her own experience and curiosity about the creative process and confronting digital distractions - one of the biggest challenges for writers. She asked her audience to help her figure out what it would mean to let all of that go and to learn to shut down in order to build your creative juices up.

As the farm-to-table movement caught on nation-wide, a cohort of farmers, chefs, and organizers put in the legwork to make local food possible here in New Hampshire. 

This week on Word of Mouth, we trace the history of local food in the state, and we address a listener's question: How can you distinguish real, authentic local food from the dizzying display of marketing gimmicks? 

We also hang out with a local arts collective on the seacoast, and we sit down with National Book Award-winning poet Frank Bidart. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

And now it’s time for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in the Granite State.

A new beer on tap at Portsmouth Brewery does more than give you a buzz. It aims to ease the symptoms of menopause. It’s called Libeeration, and several years ago, when Joanne Francis pitched the idea to her colleagues at the brewery, the men didn’t get it.

"It was met with nothing short of disdain and horror," she says. "And I'm not exaggerating when I say that."

Conventional, linear narratives are not really Jennifer Egan’s thing. She's a shape-shifter of fiction – jumping through time, space, voices and forms. She's written a graphic novel, a short story composed of tweets, and, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From The Goon Squad, a kind of novel-as-concept album. Jennifer Egan takes on historical fiction in her newest novel, Manhattan Beach. We called her at her home in Brooklyn to ask about her process and how she begins her unpredictable novels.

Best Of: Holiday Book Show 2017

Dec 8, 2017
The Exchange

Our popular holiday tradition takes place on Monday, December 11, with Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter and Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord.  We look at the top books of 2017 and discuss best books for gift-giving...and receiving.  And scroll down to click on the photos below for a look at what some NHPR folks are hoping for this year!


Nina Subin

Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, co-creators of the phenomenally popular Welcome to Nightvale podcast, the “Nightvale Presents” series of podcasts, and New York Times bestselling co-authors of the new novel, It Devours, their second book set in the fictional world of Nightvale. We caught up with them at the 2017 Boston Book Festival.

Episode Music by Disparition

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Think bagpipes, and you likely think Scotland. But one of the world’s largest bagpipe manufacturers happens to call Nashua, New Hampshire home.

That company, however, is facing an unexpected wrinkle in its international supply chain.

Peter Biello / NHPR

How do you get serious about baking bread? French bread, in particular, which takes hours to make and years to master.

For Manchester resident Benge Ambrogi, the path to becoming a serious baker began in the late 1980s, with a bad loaf made by someone else—the man who would become his father-in-law.

"It was terrible. Typical first loaf. Very heavy and monochromatic. Not a very interesting loaf."

"What did you tell him about his first loaf?" I asked.

The blockbuster 2003 thriller The Da Vinci Code launched Dan Brown into the best-selling stratosphere. More than 200 million copies of his books have sold worldwide since. Three of his novels have been made into films starring Tom Hanks as fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Brown is a disciplined writer, rising at 4 a.m. to a breakfast smoothie and "bulletproof" coffee, writing every day, and throwing himself into his research.

Cori Princell/NHPR

For the past few months, visitors to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester have had a chance to spend quality time with the artist Claude Monet.  Since July, the museum has had an exhibition, Monet: Pathways to Impressionism, showing works by the famous French painter. This is the final weekend to see it – it closes Monday.  

It’s just 4 paintings, in a small gallery with the walls painted deep red.  But together, the works tell a story about the artist.

Nashua Voters Back Performing Arts Center Proposal

Nov 8, 2017
Courtesy of Nashua Offiicals

A proposal to build a performing arts center in downtown Nashua got a shot of support from local voters Tuesday.

Performing Arts Center Proposal Put to Nashua Voters

Nov 6, 2017

Nashua aldermen rejected the $15.5 million proposal in September. But the question on Tuesday’s city ballot asks voters to decide whether lawmakers should reconsider.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Nashua aldermen recently rejected a plan to bring a performing arts center to the downtown. But Tuesday, voters will get a chance to weigh in.

And over the past few weeks, advocates for the center have been working long hours to make sure it gets the support it needs.

Sean Hurley

NHPR’s Sean Hurley recently took a walk to Moose Painting Pond, as he’s named it.  The most peaceful place in the universe, he supposes it to be.  Maybe because it’s so quiet and hidden – maybe because it’s a place where the things he invents seem to meet together with the things nature does.

Note: As with every Sean Hurley story, we really recommend giving this one a listen.

I found the path to the pond – and the most peaceful place in the universe - about six years ago while wandering around Sandwich Notch Road.

Moose Painting Pond, I call it. 

For generations, the little red house at the end of Via Tranquilla has been home to a legend. The kind that makes your heart pound and your hair raise. A ghost story... a murder mystery... a curse. 

On this episode, the keepers of this myth share the grisly story of Via Tranquilla. And then, the truth comes out. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf, author Joe Hill of Exeter, N.H. joins Peter Biello in studio.

Hill's new book, Strange Weather, is a collection of four short novels. In one, the sky rains needles that rip to pieces anyone unlucky enough to be outside. In another, a skydiver gets stuck on a cloud. And in a story without any supernatural connection, people with easy access to guns use them to devastating effect. Joe Hill is the author of many works, including the novels Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman.

                                                      

  
 

New Hampshire Public Radio is proud to announce Frank Bidart as the 2017 Winner of the Hall-Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. 

The Hall-Kenyon Prize honors Donald Hall, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and Jane Kenyon, former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and Donald Hall's late wife. The married poets lived and wrote together for nearly 20 years at Eagle Pond Farm - Hall’s ancestral home in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

Carly Glovinski

The Museum of Art at UNH in Durham is presenting the work of fifteen artists, all of whom are past recipients of the prestigious Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant

The show, "Impact,” opens with a reception on Oct. 26 and runs through Dec. 15.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Kevin Roark waits tables at the Barley House in Concord. On this day, he stands at the host's station, greeting guests as they walk through the door. 

"Two?" Roark asks a pair of women who have come in for lunch. 

These women don't seem to recognize Roark. But he has a reputation among the regulars here. You may have encountered a server like Roark at other restaurants. A little theatrical or over the top.

Rob Strong / Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble will celebrate women composers Saturday night with a concert featuring works exclusively by female artists. The show, titled “Music, She Wrote…,” is one of several social-justice oriented performances this season at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

(Editor’s Note: We strongly recommend listening to this story.)

Virginia Macgregor, author most recently of Wishbones, has a knack for capturing the voices of children and young adults and projecting her novels through their lenses, giving us young narrators with accurate levels of experience and naivety - and a perspective not often found in adult literature. Our conversation with her centered around that: how she conjures the voices of young people, insures they are three-dimensional, and navigates those voices around complicated adult situations.

Episode music by Broke for Free

Mary McIntyre / NHPR

The Hood Museum at Dartmouth College is presenting its first ever sound art exhibition this fall. Resonant Spaces: Sound Art at Dartmouth features seven installations throughout campus and the town of Hanover.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley took a tour of the installations with Amelia Kahl, the associate curator of academic programming for the museum.


An Octopus Can Be Your Friend; Animal Minds, Where To Spot a Moose, And Liz Longley

Oct 13, 2017

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Sy Montgomery's 30-plus year friendship began with a ferret bite. Since then, the pair of New Hampshire-based naturalists and science writers have traveled together from Costa Rica to Tanzania.  

Their new book is called Tamed and Untamed, a collection of essays from their long-time Boston Globe column of the same name.  On this episode, Sy and Liz share scientific findings and personal viewpoints that argue the line between human and animal is blurrier than you might think. 

Also in this episode: Where to look for moose in New Hampshire, and singer-songwriter Liz Longley

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, professor at Harvard Medical School, and writes about medicine and ethics for the New Yorker. He’s author of several best-selling books, most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The book questions the human cost of miraculous medicine, and urges a shift from the prevailing thought that human decline and death are signs of failures to instead think about how to make old age and the experience of dying better. Despite the grave topic, Gawande views it as a book about living.

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