Arts and Culture

Word of Mouth
12:30 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Princesses Behaving Badly

Credit lindarodriguezmcrobbie.com/

As long as there have been stories of princesses, there have been little girls to love them. The Disney princess phenomenon seeds young imaginations with shiny pink costumes, and gossip magazines continue the fantasy with pages devoted to Kate Middleton, and before her, Princesses Grace and Diana – the latter proving that becoming royalty is no guarantee of living happily ever after. Beyond these two dimensional characters are scores of real princesses  -- sometimes tragic, often extraordinary human beings who left scant record of their lives. Mental Floss columnist Linda Rodriguez McRobbie scoured through history for stories of women who fought, stole, schemed and survived, and pulls them together in her new book, Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History – Without The Fairy-Tale Endings.

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Word of Mouth
12:29 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

NH Magician Performs As 19th Century Illusionist

Courtesy of Andrew Pinard

Andrew Pinard’s website features video from the kinds of performances you might expect from a contemporary working magician: entertaining audiences at conventions, business meetings and a group of teens at a post-graduation party.

On Saturday, Andrew will take on another guise, and another century. He’ll be performing as the 19th century magician Jonathan Harrington at Canterbury Shaker Village, and he’s here to give us a preview, and a little bit of information on just who this Harrington is.

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Word of Mouth
9:55 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Inside The World Of Competitive Laughing

Credit Arnett Gill via Flickr Creative Commons

We all know laughter can be contagious. But can it be a good workout?  A form of therapy?  Even a skill?  Many happy devotees think, yes. Inspired in part by the growing popularity of laughter yoga, filmmaker and journalist Albert Nerenberg hosted the first official laughing contest in Montreal back in 2011. He’s also the director of the 2009 documentary, Laughology.

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Word of Mouth
11:55 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Norman Rockwell's Less Than Idyllic Life

Credit via indiebound.org

I was once invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a friend who warned me that her family was “Not a Real Norman Rockwell Kinda Bunch”. We know that image: brightly scrubbed faces hover in smiling anticipation over sparkling china as Ma sets the turkey in front of the family patriarch ready to be carved. That painting is titled Freedom From Want and it’s one of those homespun scenes that only happens in what author Deborah Solomon calls “Rockwell Land” -- a magical reflection of American life as it should be. Solomon’s new biography of the illustrator, beloved by the masses and dismissed as corn ball by the art world, reveals a complicated, neurotic, and repressed man who lived very far from the America he invented.

Deborah Solomon is author of American Mirror: The Life and Times of Norman Rockwell

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Word of Mouth
1:40 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Caldecott Winner David Wiesner On His Latest Book, 'Mr. Wuffles'

Children’s book writer and illustrator David Wiesner is a three-time winner of the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished children’s picture book. His newest work is about a group of tiny extra-terrestial explorers, whose wee spaceship unwittingly becomes a plaything for a house cat named Mr. Wuffles. 

As with all of Wiesner’s books, Mr.Wuffles is nearly wordless, with dramatic visuals that propel readers from the plausible and everyday into the fantastical world of what could happen… 

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Word of Mouth
1:35 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Colin Quinn Will Make You Laugh At The Constitution

Credit Mike Lavoie, copyright 2013

Here’s a topic guaranteed to get a big laugh…the Constitution.

The national tour of comedian Colin Quinn Unconstitutional, is stopping at The Colonial Theater in Keene this Friday. Quinn, after all, made the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal funny as anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, and has now condensed the Constitution’s history into a witty 75-minute one-man play. His new show finds the humor in how the right and the left argue over the meanings and interpretations of the Constitution.

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Word of Mouth
2:01 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Playing For Peace

Kinan Azmeh
Credit via KinanAzmeh.com

Clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh was born in Damascus, but now lives in New York, where he wakes up to bad news each day. One of his compositions, “A Sad Morning, Every Morning,” is dedicated to the victims of the Syrian conflict, now in its third year.

Kinan will be performing at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth tonight along with Sally Pinkas, and the Apple Hill String Quartet in a program called “Playing for Peace.”

Also featured tonight will be works by Joseph Haydn and Mieczyslaw Weinberg and the world premiere of two compositions by the composer Kareem Roustom-- also born in Damascus. Roustom has not been back to Syria since 2008; Azmeh since July 2012 , but the people who are suffering in their war-torn homeland are never far from their hearts or their music. We spoke to Kinan Azmeh and Kareem Routsom from Dartmouth’s studio about homeland.

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Word of Mouth
11:31 am
Tue November 12, 2013

The Art of Procrastination

The Art of Procrastination by John Perry

Feeling guilty about putting off something important?  Can’t seem to finish that daunting task at the top of the to-do-list?  Here’s a philosophy book for you: “The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing John Perry is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, and an admitted chronic procrastinator.  He wrote the book as a way of avoiding doing something else – a principle he calls “structured procrastination".

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All Things Considered
4:51 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Tomie de Paola Reflects On Art And Life "Then"

A postcard for the exhibition "Tomie de Paola: Then" shows the artist holding up an early painting.

Writer and artist Tomie de Paola is perhaps best known for his books about the "grandma witch" Strega Nona and her magic pasta pot.

The inspiration for this character came to de Paola in an unusual place: a faculty meeting at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire.

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Word of Mouth
11:47 am
Thu November 7, 2013

The Metropolitan Opera - Live In HD

George Gagnidze as Scarpia and Patricia Racette as the title character in a scene from Act II of Puccini's "Tosca."
Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

This Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” series will broadcast worldwide. The live performance will be streaming to more than 700 theaters in the United States, seven of which are right here in New Hampshire.  Starring in the opera is soprano Patricia Racette of Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Word of Mouth
10:37 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Schadenfreude! Zeitgeist! German Words That Capture The Indescribable

Zach is feeling the Zeitgeist...or something.
Credit Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

In German, there's an expression for kicking through piles of leaves, and for the conviction that all large houses must have secret passages. In other words, Germans have expressions for things we don't, and they're pretty great. Just think about the ones we've adopted without thought, like 'Wanderlust.' 

Author Ben Schott’s Miscellanies  and annual almanacs have sold millions and been translated into more than a dozen languages. Now, he’s completed a compendium of compounds to describe the inexpressible. It’s called Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition.

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Word of Mouth
9:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The Grimm Conclusion: These Fairy Tales Are Not For The Faint Of Heart

Halloween is a perfect time for ghost stories and fairy-tales. Yes...fairy tales. But not the sanitized stuff of Disney Princesses,  but the grisly, violent, cautionary tales from which they were derived. 

Of course, scary stories are told best by Word of Mouth, so we invited author Adam Gidwitz to share the rather horrible story of “Ashputtle,” or as you might know her, Cinderella. It’s one of the tales from his new book, The Grimm Conclusionthe third volume of delightfully dark, vividly re-told stories originally written by the Brothers Grimm.

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Word of Mouth
9:44 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The Return Of A Comic Book Heroine: Nelvana Of The Northern Lights

It seems like every summer, another classic superhero gets ripped from the pages of Marvel or D.C. comics and is adapted, or rebooted, for the big screen. You don’t have to be a comic book super fan to recognize icons like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, but what about the telepathic Nelvana of the Northern Lights?

What, you never heard of her?

Two Canadian comic book fans, Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richy, are hoping to change that with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first ever reprint of Nelvana comics for a new generation of fans to enjoy.

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Word of Mouth
2:07 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Uncle Vanya In Maine

Brent Askari and Rebecca Rudolf star in “Uncle Vanya in Maine.”
Credit Courtesy Bushor Photography

Since its premiere in 1899, Anton Chekov’s play Uncle Vanya has been adapted for stages all over the world. Originally about a family property in eastern Russia, it’s been re-set in the English lake district in the 1930s, at an abandoned theater on Manhattan’s 42nd Street, and a post-apocalyptic interpretation set in Hawaii after a zombie attack.

Now, Kent Stephens, founding artistic director of Stage Force Productions, is bringing Uncle Vanya to the Maine coast.  Stephen’s relocates the bored, begrudging family members to the banks of the Androscoggin – bringing 21st Century concerns of environment and land policy issues to the fore. Uncle Vanya in Maine opens this Friday, November 1st, and runs until the 10th, at the Star Theater in Kittery, Maine.

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Word of Mouth
11:25 am
Thu October 24, 2013

I've Gotta Have More Cowbell! A History Of The Humble Instrument

This cow has no shortage of cowbell.
Credit Ingo Lütkebohle via flickr Creative Commons

One of comedian Will Ferrell’s most memorable Saturday Night Live characters was musician Gene Frenkle, the belly shirted cowbell player from the ‘70s rock band, Blue Ӧyster Cult. His cowbell playing was intoxicating and hilarious and prompted this now quotable line: "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."

That line, delivered by Christopher Walken, catapulted onto t- shirts and bumper stickers, and helped put the instrument designed for agriculture into the mainstream musical spotlight. But where did cowbell come from? And how did it migrate from the farm to the recording studio? Chicago based journalist Lori Rotenberk  wrote an article for Modern Farmer called “More Cowbell: From Herdsman’s Tool to Cultural Icon.

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