Arts and Culture

Amadscientist via Wikimedia Commons /

Tomorrow marks the fortieth anniversary of the longest running film in continuous release ever – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Today, a critic deconstructs how the long-running cult classic introduced the LGBTQ community to the mainstream. We’ll also hear from the organizers of a Rocky Horror convention on the appeal of midnight showings and fishnet stockings in America’s rural and suburban towns. 

Marius Watz via Flickr CC / //

Fifty-five years ago, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird gave the nation a glimpse of the deep south. Soon afterwards the author and the town that inspired the classic book disappeared from public imaginations. Today, we take a look at the conflicted history of a town that produced two great American authors. Then, the skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. We’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

Courtesy of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago.

About seventy years ago, a North Country woman was one of the earliest proponents of forensics and an  analytical approach to crime investigation best known to many from the television program CSI. 

From the archives this week, former NHPR arts producer Phillip Bragdon caught up​ with Karl Drerup after he won the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award in 1989.

When Karl Drerup and his wife Gertrude first came to their little house in Thornton in 1946, it was the end of a very long journey – one that started in 1930 when Drerup left his native Germany to study in Italy. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, a return to Germany was impossible. Gertrude was Jewish, and Karl had designed anti-government posters. The Drerups took refuge first for several years in the Canary Islands, and finally settled in New York City in 1937.

Via The Thing in the Spring Website

An arts fair in Peterborough this weekend is aimed at the more budget-conscious arts consumer. Broke, the Affordable Arts Fair, features locally crafted work all priced under fifty dollars. The fair is being held this Saturday as part of the annual Thing in the Spring music festival.

Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne is co-founder of the fair, and she joined Morning Edition to talk about the event.

What's the idea behind the fair?

Courtesy of New Hampshire Audubon, Concord, New Hampshire.

In his groundbreaking work The Birds of North America, John James Audubon brought together the art world and the outdoors in a new way. It served as both a scientific record of North American bird species and a landmark in how to represent wildlife in art.

What’s less well known is the massive project Audubon took on after The Birds of North America.

The Juan MacLean will be playing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth at 9:00 pm tonight (April 29th). Tickets and more information on the show can be found at this link.

When you think of electronic musicians, DJ's that spin thumping dance tracks to swarms of sweaty dancers at A-list parties, do you think of Dover, NH?

Next week Dartmouth College will showcase the work of its digital artists, from animators and game designers to those developing interactive pieces and even fashion.

Lorie Loeb is a professor in Dartmouth’s Computer Science department and director of its digital arts program. She joined Weekend Edition with a preview of the 4th annual Digital Arts Exhibition, known as DAX. It takes place Tuesday, April 28th from 7-10 pm.

Governor Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Writers' Project announced the four inaugural inductees to the New Hampshire Literary Hall of Fame Wednesday. The Hall of Fame will be housed as a permanent exhibit and artifact collection at SNHU's Learning Library on the school's Hooksett campus.

Writers' Project Board President Rob Greene and SNHU's Dean of the Shapiro Library, Kathryn Growney, stopped by NHPR's studio to talk about the inductees and the New Hampshire Literary Hall of Fame.

Sean Hurley

For the first time in their history, the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake in Maine have authorized production of an authentic Alfred Shaker Chair.  While the Shakers will oversee the process, the actual chair will be made by Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Sandwich [Adam's story can be heard here].  

The village at Sabbathday Lake itself is not surprising.  An 18th century New England colony of red barns and white meeting houses clustered around a four story homestead where the last 3 living Shakers in the world reside.

Mulling It Over via Flickr/CC -

M.C. Escher has been all over Manchester lately (or, at least, his work has been). The Currier Museum of Art has been featuring Escher in an exhibit that runs through January 5th.

mbeo via flickr Creative Commons

Some people spend their vacations relaxing on a beach, others visit museums and fine restaurants. On today’s show we go off the beaten path to look into nuclear tourism. A science writer visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, and finds it not the wasteland you may expect.

Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks, we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Courtesy Northeastern Ballet Theatre

Wolfeboro ballet instructor Edra Toth knows what it feels like to be misunderstood.

On Saturday night, her nonprofit Northeast Ballet Theater will present Dracula, a ballet written by Toth. In it, Toth’s dance ensemble will illustrate the truth about Dracula – or, more accurately, the original historical figure he’s based on, a militant ruler named Vlad Tepes.

Former Daily Show reporter John Oliver’s fake news show on HBO is bucking the odds: diving deep into stories that aren’t in the headlines, and climbing in the ratings. On today’s show, what happens when comedy meets investigative journalism ?

Then, A-list DJs appear to live in the top tier of fabulousness. Jet-setting to giant clubs and VIP parties. We’ll get the inside view from Juan MacLean, an international star living quietly in Dover, NH.

Officials in Nashua are considering plans for a new downtown performance arts venue. Architectural drawings call for a multi-level theater one block from Main Street that seats 1,400 and includes a 500-car parking garage and space for a restaurant. 

The city held a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday.

Sarah Marchant, who directs Nashua’s community development division, says the project would cost around 22-point-five million dollars, but she says the city doesn’t intend to foot that entire bill.

Matt Novak via flickr Creative Commons

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, future technologies take center stage in the form of Hal 9000, a sentient, yet sinister, computer aboard the spacecraft Discovery One. On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful. 

Plus, a science writer plays nuclear tourist and visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, where he finds some surprising imagery.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Getting together for dinner on a regular basis can be tough for any family, but it is especially hard for military families during deployments. On today’s show: how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s deployment, by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week. Then, the artist M.C. Escher may be best known for his repeating patterns and mind-bending optical illusions, but a new exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art, touted as the most comprehensive retrospective of Escher’s work, is highlighting his lesser known illustrations.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

myri_bonni via flickr Creative Commons

At her funeral on Sunday, fellow comedians applauded Joan Rivers for her sharp wit, biting humor, and irreverent routines. What really made Joan Rivers so funny? On today’s show, the director of the Humor Research Lab offers some theories into what makes us laugh. Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks; we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

In 1984, the heroes in a half shell -Turtle Power!- burst onto the comic scene, and the sewers would never be the same.

Children's Museum of NH

Hippo Editor Amy Diaz is back for a look at New Hampshire events this weekend; It's Fest-A-Palooza Two, the Sequel!

For foodies, there's  Greekfest in Manchester, Fire on the Mountain Henniker Rotary Chili Fest, and the Jakarta Fair in Somersworth.

Michael May via flickr Creative Commons,, Rui Costa via flickr Creative Commons and via

In 1936 18-year-old Marty Glickman was one of the fastest sprinters in the country, earning him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and a trip to the Berlin Games. Today on Word of Mouth, we have the story of how he was removed from the competition to appease Hitler and how he then became a legendary sports broadcaster. Then lessons in science with The Art of Tinkering and a conversation about how elements were named.
Finally, Producer Zach Nugent spoke with front-woman Arleigh Kincheloe of the band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Their new album is called Fight.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.

This show originally aired on 3.27.14. 

BagoGames via Flickr CC

 In April 2010, WTF host Marc Maron sat down to speak with Robin Williams. Following the news of Williams’ death on August 11, Maron reflected back on that interview and shared some of his thoughts on a conversation that he considers life-changing. The interview is at times delicate, as Williams talks about his battle with addiction and depression, but it also raised a new perspective the comedian which people had rarely seen before.

USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Flickr

Today on Word of Mouth, invasive species like Zebra Mussels to Asian Carp, are destroying biodiversity across North America. Or are they? Also, we'll look into China’s push to build a frozen food infrastructure. The number of urban Chinese households with a refrigerator has risen from just 7 percent to 95 percent in a decade. We’ll find out what that means for global climate change.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Internet Archive Book Images via flickr Creative Commons

In the last decade, cosmetic procedures performed on Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans have far outpaced those among the white population. The goal? Westernizing ethnic features.  Today we put ethnic plastic surgery on the examination table. Then, scientists are demystifying what may be the least understood human organ: the placenta. Plus, we share some personal stories from the delivery room.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Sara Plourde

Every month producer Zach Nugent picks a fresh bushel of new music for The Audio Orchard Playlist. Check it out below.

Derek Bridges via Flickr CC

We spoke with Glen David Andrews about his new album Redemption, which features his band and select friends who played major roles in a spiritual recovery that started him on a new path in life. The New Orleans musician came out with the new album after reconnecting with music, and its healing powers, in rehab. Many listeners have observed the similarities between Andrews and New Orleans itself, and in the album it’s hard to distinguish where the influences of one ends and the other begins.

Courtesy Joe Del Russo

Someone in your family probably remembers a time when receiving a letter was unusual. The message was typically handwritten and personal, and it told you that someone in another part of the world thought enough about you to sit down, organize their thoughts and craft a message, just for you.

There are still places in New Hampshire where getting mail is just as special, mostly because of how it's delivered.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been 25 years since Larry David’s “show-about-nothing” debuted on NBC, but it lives on. Recently a critic made the argument that Seinfeld not only transformed the sitcom but paved the way for television’s anti-hero dramas. Plus, not even a month into summer, you may already be approaching capacity on grilled burgers and hot dogs. JM Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press joins us to inject new ideas into the outdoor cooking season. And, a sneak peak of bands heading to western Massachusetts for this weekend’s Green River Festival.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Sara Plourde

Every month producer Zach Nugent picks a fresh bushel of new music for The Audio Orchard Playlist. Check it out below.

Word Of Mouth Voted Best N.H. Radio Talk Show

Jun 26, 2014

We are so proud to have been voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show by the readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

Six years after launching Word of Mouth, we still feel like upstarts and appreciate our listeners coming through. Thank you!  It's pleasure to bring you stories that spark curiosity and wonder about the world around us, and will continue spreading interesting information the best way we know how: through Word of Mouth.

And not only was Word of Mouth voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show, but NHPR was voted Best FM Radio Station!

With all that in mind, here is a look back at some of your favorite Word of Mouth stories from the past year.