Arts and Culture

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.

Michael Salerno via flickr Creative Commons

Going up? Today on Word of Mouth, we're lifting you to new cultural heights with a look into the history of two architectural advancements in history - the elevator and escalator. We'll hold the door for you when we stop on a story about a family of mannequins. Last stop, a discussion about why we should all stop singing that pervasive birthday song.

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

butler.corey via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s always debate about what will be the ‘song of the summer,’ a title usually determined by airtime and download statistics. But what about all the other songs that deserve a chance at becoming your summer anthem? Here is an alternative summer playlist, with songs from all across the board. Pick your favorite and listen until you get sick of it, hopefully sometime around September.

6.14.14: To Twee Or Not To Twee

Jun 13, 2014
Zachary Nugent

First there was rock & roll, then punk, then hip-hop. Today, we’re living in the age of “twee”.  And boy is it precious. We'll explore the gentle revolution that is “twee” from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films and why this nostalgia for home-spun innocence is thriving.  And, New Hampshire guitarist Michael Blum talks about making a name for himself in the world of Jazz, and plays some music live in Studio D. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd glass. He’s been performing stand-up for decades, but made his boldest move a year and a half ago when he came out as gay on the WTF podcast.


laverrue via Flickr Creative Commons

We are in the midst of a cultural movement…it’s called Twee and boy is it precious. Today we look into the gentle revolution that is Twee…from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films, why this retro wish for innocence is thriving. Then, we hear from a local jazz musician who has just released his debut album to good reviews. He has a long career ahead of him since he’s only 20 years old. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd Glass. He’s been performing stand-up since 1982, but he made his boldest move in 2012 when he came out publicly as gay on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF.

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


6.07.14: The Power of Music

Jun 6, 2014
Molly Donahue

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. Word of Mouth goes behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.


Live From Studio D: David Kontak Ensemble

May 29, 2014

The David Kontak Ensemble invaded Studio D with a bevy of strange instruments and put on quite a show. Check out the performances to see the group "playing" Slinkys, original instruments called 'Babels', and glow in the dark handheld fans.

Sara Plourde

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

By London Records. (Billboard page 25 1 May 1965) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer Ron Capps experienced five wars in ten years, and came home with severe PTSD. Today on Word of Mouth, he discusses founding the Veterans Writing Project, and the power of the written word in coping with the psychic wounds of war. Then, from Scottish bag pipes in the mid-18th century to Metallica in the mid-2000s, we’ll take a brief tour through the history of music as a weapon of war. Plus, a diehard Oasis fan is forced to admit that the band’s rivalry with Blur has unfairly colored his perception for the past 20 years.

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


The Audio Orchard For April

May 1, 2014
Sara Plourde

Each month producer Zach Nugent handpicks his favorite new songs for a playlist called 'The Audio Orchard'.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

The search for “cool” has been a quintessential cultural quest for decades: we all want to be cool, but by definition only a select few will ever achieve it, and only for an instant. So what is “cool,” anyway, and why are we so fascinated by the people who make cool? Here to answer that question is Dan Kois. He's Senior Editor at Slate, which is doing a month-long series on the nature of cool. 

@Doug88888, Gerry Balding, Sarah0s, Adam Cohn, Mark Evans, Ross Pollock, Don LaVange, Giorgio Raffaelli & hey tiffany! via flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth - laughing! And why we do it. We're getting science-y with the giggles before moving on to a less-than-scientific community: psychics. Then, the art of the brain takes over with a look at graphic novel that takes place inside the brain. Finally, what happens to digital art, and how do we restore it?

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

Neurocomic

Apr 10, 2014
Nobrow Press

In their new graphic novel "Neurocomic", authors Dr. Matteo Farinella and Dr. Hana Ros have created a visual, story-based guide that makes brain exploration exciting and understandable for all ages. Check out a slide show of some of the beautiful artwork above.

The Audio Orchard For March

Mar 31, 2014
Sara Plourde

Each month producer Zach Nugent handpicks his favorite new songs for a playlist called 'The Audio Orchard'.

upenn.edu, Sergey Galyonkin, Phill Roussin & Ian Thomson via flickr Creative Commons

Facebook is making headlines once again with its two billion dollar acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR. Today on Word Of Mouth, a look into why the social network has put so much stock in virtual reality. And it’s opening day for the Red Sox as they take on the Baltimore Orioles today. Fans are hoping this year’s roster will bring them to the World Series again, but how much can we really predict at this point in the season? And are stats the final word?

Producer Zach Nugent has been scouring record stores for the best new music offerings in a new segment we're calling The Audio Orchard.

Then we talk with a National Geographic columnist who argues for lifelong love of  dinosaurs.

Finally, NHPR environmental reporter Sam Evans-Brown brings us the story of a UNH "pee bus" project. Urine, it turns out, can be pretty useful.

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

via amazon.com, Chris Devers and Heinrich Klaffs via flickr Creative Commons & nplusonemag.com

No fooling: today's show deals with some dangerous imposters. It's not all lies and deception, however. We also have some "lost" sounds from the man in black himself. Finally, Chad Harbach talks about his controversial essay about making it as a writer. Grab your headphones and turn up the volume; we've got the stories behind the stories.

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

Penn State, Kat Masback & Ricky Brigante via flickr Creative Commons and Josh Ritter

Today on Word of Mouth we're exploring the macro influences of the micro world. Then 99 Percent Invisible brings us a story about a menacing courthouse. (Perhaps a phantom menacing courthouse?) Finally, a conversation with Josh Ritter, whose album The Beast in its Tracks was recently released.

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

Best Songs For St. Patrick's Day

Mar 17, 2014
via thechieftans.com

Top o' the mornin' to ya, lads and lasses! Ahem. We'll drop the attempt at authentic brogue, but our St. Patrick's Day continues with a playlist that has enough Irish inspiration to make up for it. We reached out on Facebook to find out what tunes you play to celebrate St Patrick's Day. 

Click Read more for our top St. Patrick's Day songs!

via philklay.com

Happy St. Patrick's Day, the day when everyone gets to be Irish! Doff your green cap, sip (or chug responsibly) your green drink, and tune into Word of Mouth. Slàinte! 

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

Five Great Children's Books

Mar 12, 2014
Enchanted Lion Books

Maria Popova is the founder of Brain Pickings, a fantastic online collection of articles, book reviews, and other assorted musings. In her role as curator Popova has often looked with a critical eye at the under-examined genre of illustrated children’s books.  We spoke to her about what makes a great illustrated work, and she shared with us some of her favorite children’s books from the recent and not so recent past.


W.W. Norton

Author Andre Dubus III talks about his new book "Dirty Love"

  • A successful professional hopes to win back his wife after proving her infidelity. A bank clerk crowding in on 30 and hoping for a family moves in with her compulsive, demeaning boyfriend.  A bartender who fancies himself a poet cheats on his pregnant wife, and a pretty teenaged girl gets shamed on Youtube and reaches out for the promise of a new future and a new love on Skype. These characters all live in the faded beach towns and leafy suburbs of the New England coast. They are united by their clumsy attempts at connection and are the subjects of four loosely connected novellas in a new book called “Dirty Love” by Andre Dubus III. The national book award-winning author of “House of Sand and Fog” and “Townie” again presents gritty, frustrated lives on the skids of the American dream... NOTE: Andre's reading and book signing at the New England College has been rescheduled to April 16th due to weather.
Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth wishes you a happy Daylight Saving Time! (Can you believe it's this Sunday already?) But why exactly does the practice of changing our clocks even exist? We explore the ins and outs of Daylight Saving (without the extra "s") with a guest who wrote the book on it. Then Zach Nugent talks with Marissa Nadler whose most recent album was released in early February. We take an architectural turn with a look at the invention of revolving doors followed by a hot architectural commodity: wood. Finally, producers Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown bring us a story about a wild winter activity. No, not skiing or boarding, but animal tracking.

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

Marissa Nadler

Mar 6, 2014
Marissa Nadler

The Boston Globe describes Marissa Nadler's  voice as “an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke."

On Sunday, March 9th, Marissa Nadler will be performing at the Portsmouth Book and Bar. Producer Zach Nugent spoke with Marissa and asked why her new album is called July, when her music is often described as dark, sparse, and even frosty.


The Many Genres of Drone

Mar 5, 2014
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via flickr Creative Commons

The cosmos is full of noisy wonders including, strangely enough, black holes that have been emitting drone sounds for millions of years. And art truly does imitate nature in the genre of drone music. Marcus Boon wrote about drone for Boing Boing, and despite a knee-jerk reaction to pass it off as potentially annoying, it turns out that drone music is pretty popular.Popular enough, even, to have several sub-grenres.

Roadsidepictures via flickr Creative Commons

Title sequences have a practical function, sure. They convey the whos, wheres and whens of a production while segueing into the story. They are also the first impression, the opportune moment to set up the tone of a film or show. Through music, imagery, and written or spoken dialogue, title sequences can be the most artistically influenced aspect of a production. Though not always true, title sequences can even be the best part of a show or movie that is otherwise full of overplayed clichés and unoriginal storylines.  At Word of Mouth, we searched and sifted for those iconic title sequences we thought packed that extra artistic punch. While most correlate to the quality and success of the production as a whole, others, well, others might not.

Check out some of our favorite film and TV title sequences below. Yours didn't make the list? Share it on Facebook!

Beacon Radio via flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth is putting on the glam, rolling out the red carpet, and practicing our best paparazzi poses for the Academy Awards this Sunday. (Isn't everyone?) But first we're preparing with some film history – smear campaigns, artistic title sequences, and controversial kisses in films have been wowing fans and critics for decades. This Sunday marks the 86th Academy Awards, but not all movies are Oscar-worthy. Hence The RAZZIES, whose goal it is to recognize the worst of the worst. So whether you're preparing for the red carpet or a drive to the office, we've got a star-studded show worth that extra time in the makeup chair or pickup truck.

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

Blank On Blank: Janis Joplin On Rejection

Feb 26, 2014
blankonblank.org

Four days before she died, on September 30, 1970, Janis Joplin was interviewed about rejection by Howard Smith. Blank on Blank remixed and animated the interview. In context, it is both sad and enlightening about Joplin's life and views. Her unapologetic attitude toward critics is both admirable and unsettling. Unsettling because of the amount of criticism she faced and that, like anyone who faces rejection, "in my insides, it really hurts if someone doesn’t like me."

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