Arts and Culture

via onlydaughterfilm.com

Eighteen-year-old Dawn has never met her father; raised by her mother in a rural New Hampshire town, they are barely getting by. Dawn works at a bait and tackle shop by day and turns tricks at night to fund an escape from her dead-end life.  A cascade of bad events set Dawn on the road to find the father her mother doesn’t want her to find. He’s not so keen on the idea either. Our guest, Aaron Wiederspahn wrote, directed and starred in the film, “Only Daughter.”

For anyone who’s ever driven by a crumbling old New Hampshire barn and wondered what could be in there, here’s one answer…a stack of dusty old film reels that turned out to be the only surviving reel from a long lost 1911 film. The movie, called Their First Misunderstanding , was written by and stars Mary Pickford, one of the most beloved actresses of the  silent film era. We spoke with Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at Keene State College Dr. Larry Benaquist about the discovery of this rare, important and now celebrated film.

Andre Rosa

New Hampshire is known for its White Mountains and maple syrup. But one local artist would like to add another pair of regional highlights to that list: covered bridges and drag queens.

Andre Rosa is an artist and software engineer working out of Manchester. He’s just recently funded a photo calendar through Kickstarter and joins us to talk about the project.

iphonebookstore via Flickr Creative Commons

We turn now to that exemplary literary magazine, Playboy.  Hugh Hefner’s magazine has always been about the centerfold and male fantasy and an air-brushed version of female sexuality…but it's also a great read. Really.

In 2005, writer Amy Grace Loyd was hired to revive Playboy’s traditions of stories from the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and short fiction from Margaret Atwood, or that scandalous interview with Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.  Amy was Playboy’s Fiction and Literary Editor for seven years, and she recently wrote in Salon about some of the ribbing she took for a job she loved. She also recently published her first novel, called “The Affairs of Others."

Just reappointed for a sixth term, Van McLeod’s agency oversees Libraries, Historical resources, and the state Council on the Arts. With the tighter budgets of recent years, his department has had to adjust, but he says it continues to be a key factor in the state’s prosperity and quality of life. 

Guest

  • Van McLeod - Commissioner for New Hampshire's Department of Cultural Resources.
via The Poetry Foundation

The Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac is horrifying, unforgettable and open to interpretation. Faithful Jews, Christians and Muslims regard God’s demand that Abraham sacrifice his beloved son as a lesson about the demands of faith, the rewards for obedience, or for some, evidence of God’s cruelty.  

Others see the essence of the story not in the command not to sacrifice, but the command to stop. The parable is alluded to throughout “The Exchange” by Sophie Cabot Black, one of the poems about the exchange of love and money and sex and time which anchors her third collection of poems. Black is among the many writers who will be sharing her work with audiences at the Brattleboro Literary Festival this weekend. 

mollybob via Flickr Creative Commons

People living with dementia can appear to live in their own world, a complicated, non-linear inner world not so easily communicated to, or understood by others. The London-based writer Susanna Howard is attempting to give people with dementia a voice by visiting with them and recording their words as poetry. 

Susanna is artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program helping people with dementia feel understood and heard even when communication seems lost. 

Check out the Living Words website here.

Ryann Ford

For the past fifty-three years, rest areas have offered weary travelers a place to pull off and pause and maybe even learn a little local history. Traditional rest areas are disappearing across the country… Louisiana for example, has already closed twenty-four of its thirty-four stops. Ryann Ford is a photographer whose work has been featured in the New York Times and Texas Monthly. She’s been trying to capture these doomed rest areas with her camera… before they disappear. Her project is called “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside.”

David Lockwood, Live From Studio D

Oct 1, 2013

Inspired by the Modern Love section of the Sunday New York Times,  each song on David Lockwood's new album is based on a deeply personal essay about love and relationships. David visited NHPR’s Studio D to play a few of his new tunes, and talk about the stories behind “Modern Love”. You can check out the essays that inspired the songs David played for NHPR here: Love Like This, Come Back Here, and Gone

Jonathon Kambouris

For his last meal, John Wayne Gacy requested 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, french fries, and 1lb of strawberries. Gary Gilmore was served steak, potatoes, milk and coffee. Timothy McVeigh asked for two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Victor Feguer asked only for a single pitted olive. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were not given a choice.

Brent Cunningham is deputy editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and he wrote about the history of prisoner’s last meals for Lapham’s Quarterly.

In his book, My Heart is an Idiot, Davy Rothbart chronicles his shocking and sometimes disturbing real life stories about traveling around America, looking for love, and meeting strangers who take strange to a whole new level. He’s also the creator of Found Magazine and a regular contributor to This American Life.

Many of you called our Breaking Bad Hotline to let us know how you felt after the credits rolled on the finale. Here are just a few of the messages you left for us...and we've made them SPOILER FREE!

Just remember...WE'RE the ones who knock! Or something.

And if you're not ready to let go of our favorite meth cooks yet, check out some of our favorite 'Breaking Bad' memes:

'Breaking Bad' theme, played on meth lab equipment:

Margaret Atwood

Sep 26, 2013
Courtesy the Lavin Agency

Margaret Atwood’s novels are imaginative and  satirical, and her post-apocalyptic predictions eerily accurate. Atwood has just finished her Maddaddam trilogy, set after a bio-engineered plague has wiped out a wantonly consumerist America governed by corporations.

Atwood talks about her latest novel, and then sits down for a conversation and questions from the audience for this edition of Writers On A New England Stage, a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

smithsonianmag.com

Everybody can benefit from taking a field trip. And here’s your chance… this Saturday is Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live. Follow this link: Smithsonian's Museum Day Live to download a free ticket that will get you and a guest into any participating Smithsonian museum, including the McCauliffe-Shepard Discovery Museum in Concord, the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Manchester, and the Strawberry Banke museum…where you can learn – among other things – about Portsmouth’s long love affair with beer.  And while brewing may not be the focus of 7th grade class trip, there is plenty more to learn at Strawberry Banke.

This Weekend's N.H. Arts Scene

Sep 18, 2013
Logan Shannon for Word of Mouth

A round-up of this weekend's New Hampshire arts events, including:

Hawk and Dove & Darlingside, playing Friday at the Capitol Center for the Arts

The Telluride by the Sea film festival in Portsmouth, and Telluride at Dartmouth

"The Mudroom," a story-telling event at the AVA Gallery and Arts Center in Lebanon

Watch Darlingside perform Live From Studio D at NHPR:

via scalisto.blogspot.com

Werner Herzog is one of the leading figures of world cinema. In addition to making more than 60 films, he’s produced more than 20 operas, published books and screenplays and articles, acted in films and produced art installations.

His films are known for their unnerving originality and difficult locations. He’s shot films deep in the jungles of Thailand and Brazil, through bone chilling temperatures in Antarctica, and under strained conditions from political coups to maneuvering in a cave of prehistoric art with only hand-held cameras and minimal crew.

His latest work is extreme in a different way… a startling public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving. Herzog joined us from the studios at Dartmouth College, where he’ll be in residence this weekend.

danceforparkinsons.org

A few years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, writer, producer, and Public Radio host Dave Iverson learned that the Mark Morris Dance Group was teaching dance to people with Parkinson's at its Brooklyn headquarters.  Dave was touched - and produced a special on the dance group for the PBS Newshour and the PBS series Frontline.

More recently, he's rounded up a team of pros to film students preparing for their first public performance. He’s launched a Kickstarter project called “Capturing Grace" to finish the film.

Also joining us is David Levanthal – who until recently was one of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s most celebrated dancers. He’s now focusing entirely on dance for PD, the program working with Parkinson’s patients.

Courtesy Kingdomcounty.org

When people talk about shopping local, they’re usually referring to buying food, books, and other goods and services  from a regional supplier as opposed to buying online or from big box store.

Sam Amidon Reimagines The Music Of Others

Sep 11, 2013
via Sam's Facebook page

Sam Amidon, the Vermont born musician, grew up in a musical family touring New England and playing traditional folk songs. Now Amidon tours the world playing his own music, though he’s not exactly writing his own songs. Whether it’s a traditional Irish folk song or Mariah Carey, Amidon is known for reshaping and reimagining the music of others. We caught up with Sam Amidon before his set at the Ottawa Folk Festival. He will be playing at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth tonight.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Welcome to the Word of Mouth Saturday show where we take all our freshest content, pop it in the audio blender and pour out a refreshing glass of public radio awesome. On this week's show:

  • Hogwarts for orphans? Natasha Vargas-Cooper tells us about San Pasqual Academy, a new kind of group home that is trying to create a stable environment for teenage foster kids.
  • A Disney convention for die-hard fans. Move over Comic-con, Disney is trying to create the ultimate fan event. Jordan Zakarin covered this years D23 event in Anaheim for Buzzfeed.
  • Vietnam through the eyes of photographers. Curator Kurt Sundstrom stopped by the studio to tell us about the Currier Museum of Art's new exhibit, "Visual Dispatches from the Vietnam War."

Jessica Verma

Vaud and the Villains is the 19-piece group known for putting on rollicking musical theater and cabaret shows with a "New Orleans in the 1930s" twist. The band is performing this weekend at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Joining us is bandleader Andy Comeau, also known as "Vaud Overstreet," as well as his wife, Dawn Lewis, A.K.A "Peaches Mahoney."

Sam Kinison, the comedian known for screaming politically incorrect rants with the passion of a preacher, became on of the biggest comedy acts of the 1980's. He died in 1992, just shy of his 40th birthday.

Chris Canibano has helped turn the life of Kinison, whom many regard as a comedic genius, into a comic book called, simply, "Sam Kinison."

© Don McCullin, courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery, London.

America’s ambivalence about the Vietnam conflict began with the photograph of a monk, engulfed in flames, sinking to the pavement on a Saigon street, and another image, capturing the moment a uniformed officer fires a bullet into the head of a man in a plaid shirt, and still later, a naked girl,  screaming as she runs from a cloud of black smoke.

These iconic pictures are among those collected in “Visual Dispatches from the Vietnam War” on view at the Currier Museum of Art until November 11. The show’s curator, Kurt Sundstrom, talked with us about the show and its groundbreaking images.

kndynt2099 via Flickr Creative Commons

You don’t have to be a geek to know about the San Diego Comic Con, the annual convention that attracts celebrities, industry big-wigs, and fanboys and girls dressed as their favorite comic book superhero or villain.  

In Annaheim, California this August, thousands of costumed super-fans descended on another massive expo… some decked out as superheroes, but more princesses, pirates, mermaids and mice.

The D23 Expo is a bi-annual celebration of all things Disney.  Jordan Zakarin is Entertainment Reporter for Buzzfeed, where we found his exploration of the peculiar brand of obsession that sets Disney super-fans apart. 

Via Photobrew

Gary Burton was thirteen when he first heard jazz. By then, he’d been playing the marimba for seven years, and had toured around his home state of Indiana with his siblings. “The Burton Family” band came apart shortly after Gary heard Benny Goodman’s band playing a song called  "After You’ve Gone."

That song helped launch a career that has spanned the globe, the decades, collaborations with musicians from Chick Corea to Stan Getz to Astor Piazolla, and originated what’s called the "Burton Grip," playing the vibraphone holding two mallets in each hand.

Now 70, Gary Burton is a seven-time Grammy award winner. He’s the former Executive Vice-President at Berklee College of Music and has spent the majority of his life playing and teaching jazz. Burton has a new album, called "Guided Tour," and a new autobiography called, Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton.

Abigail Washburn

Aug 29, 2013
http://www.abigailwashburn.com

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck are a banjo playing husband and wife duo. Bela,  a fifteen time Grammy winning virtuoso on the instrument plays "Scruggs Style". Abigail  plays "Clawhammer" and sings…together they whip their respective styles into intricate music that sounds big and new. We asked Abigail Washburn about her peculiar journey into music and life on the road with her family. The duo will be at The Music Hall in Portsmouth tomorrow night.

Guus Krol via flickr Creative Commons

Not so long ago, “Americana” was the term for rusty milk jugs, embroidered pillows and souvenir spoon collections found at antique stores. In the mid-1990s, it became the nickname for the rootsy, twangy, weather-beaten music of bands like Uncle Tupelo, Alison Krauss, and a man who embodies rebellion against the country music establishment…Johnny Cash. Americana stalwarts like Wilco, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch and the big-selling collaboration of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant revived the music of an America that was appealing to boomers and those to the left of the “real” America celebrated by conservatives.

Courtesy JoyceMaynard.com

Say the name "Joyce Maynard" and you’re likely to get some pretty visceral reactions…from those who’ve admired her career since her time as a reporter for the New York Times and her later syndicated column “Domestic Affairs,” and from her detractors…those who are critical of her relentless self-examination and her revelations about her relationship with J.D. Salinger. Salinger was living as a recluse in Cornish, New Hampshire when he began exchanging letters with Maynard after reading an article she wrote as a freshman at Yale. She dropped out of college and moved in with Salinger. She was eighteen…Salinger was 53.

Eric Schwortz Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Contemporary music, local and international acts, ten concerts, seven venues and three days of music…that’s the promise of the Parma Music Festival that begins Aug. 14 and runs through the 17 in Portsmouth.  Music fans can hear world musicians, hometown artists, classical, contemporary and chamber music alike; music for film, electronica, SCI panel discussions, a kid’s concert… and many of these events are free!  Dipping into this all you can eat buffet of music is Bob Lord. We guarantee that listeners will have heard his theme for NHPR’s “The Exchange” and his clever covers of thematic songs as leader of Dreadnaught, the house band for our Writers on a New England Stage series.  He now wears his other hat as CEO of Parma, and the keynote speaker for the festival.

Apollo 13 Comes Safely To New Hampshire

Aug 8, 2013
Todd Bookman

“Houston, we have a problem!”

Tom Hanks’ famous line as astronaut and Apollo 13 Flight Commander Jim Lovell has become an emblem of a dramatic slice of American history.  Now, a youth theater in Wilton is bringing Apollo’s big drama to a much smaller stage.

Actors age 8 to 18 will be taking on deep-space, mission-control and an iffy re-entry in Apollo 13, an original musical opening tomorrow night at Andy’s Summer Playhouse. NHPR’s Todd Bookman sat in on rehearsals, and produced this audio postcard.

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