Arts and Culture

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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. 

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?

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. 

Courtesy

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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

George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress

This weekend, the music of composer Amy Beach will echo throughout UNH’s campus during a two-day event timed to celebrate her 150th birthday.

Beach, who was born in Henniker in 1867, is often referred to as ‘the Dean of American Women Composers.’ At a time when women were often limited to writing parlor songs and other light fare, UNH Professor Peggy Vagts says Beach was a trailblazer, composing complicated, bold music.

“She took on really major works. She wrote a mass, wrote a symphony. She was the first American woman to do that,” says Vagts.

Ray Carbone for NHPR

The problem with most nature museums is that they’re too neat.

Everything is carefully labeled and preserved, enclosed in glass cases or behind various barriers. It’s all very nice and scientific, but it’s not what nature is like. Nature is messy.

The Center for Cartoon Studies and illustrator Harry Bliss are inviting a new generation of cartoonists to apply for a fellowship at Bliss's house. The well-known illustrator lives in the former home of a well-known author: J.D. Salinger.

Library of Congress

The MacDowell Colony, an artists’ retreat in Peterborough, has nurtured some of the most influential creative thinkers of the last century. This weekend, the colony will open its doors to the public for its annual Medal Day ceremony — where it plans to honor filmmaker David Lynch.

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