Arts and Culture

© Michelle Gienow

For many of us, rekindling a connection to our food means lingering a little longer in the organic produce section while trying to pick the perfect pepper. But the “hyper-local” and “slow food” movements have created a new demand for the old ways of connecting to food…food you can grow, catch, gather and even kill…D.I.Y. style. A wide range of workshops have cropped up all over the country that offer hands-on experience with identifying edibles in your own backyard. Our next guest took a decidedly more aggressive approach to connecting with his food.

Bill Heavey, editor at large for Field and Stream, is the author of a new book which chronicles his own “mis-adventures” in hunting and gathering: It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It.

Back in March, we spoke with Vermont novelist David Blistein, about his latest book, David’s Inferno. The book is part memoir, part brain research, part rough guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy…and it’s also, surprisingly funny. David will read from the book and talk with the audience this evening, June 6, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. He spoke with us about the razor thin-line between creativity and mania, and how ricocheting between those extremes was how he thrived for many years career as an ad agency executive. Here is the earlier conversation with David Blistein, the novelist, essayist, and blogger.

Logan Shannon

This past weekend, Funspot arcade in Laconia, New Hampshire, played host to the International Classic Video Game Tournament. Gamers from all over the world have been traveling to Funspot for the past 15 years to compete against each other, sometimes on video games that were born long before they were. For many, it's a chance to play rare games that they've only heard about. For others it's a great chance to connect with like-minded friends over a friendly, albeit competitive, game of Tapper.

The competition runs for four days as participants try to post the high score on each of the tournament games. Outside the cordoned-off area reserved for the tournament, the rest of Funspot's American Classic Arcade Museum is open to the public. Mixed in amongst the novice players, you're likely to see world record holders trying to beat their high scores in between their tournament play. I spoke to three gamers who have made the nostalgic trip to Funspot repeatedly, enticed by the pristine machines and the sense of camaraderie among the players.

Special thanks to Derek Janiak for his help wrangling the elusive video gamers in their natural habitat.

lightplays via Flickr Creative Commons

Depending who you ask, the literary genre known as street lit began when Charles Dickens published Oliver Twist …or in 1969, when Iceberg Slim came out with Pimp. These gritty, slightly lurid, often violent stories focus on the underside of city life.

People like Wahida Clark, a New York Times best-selling author three times over, are becoming more and more successful as thug lit comes into its own. Other popular titles in the genre include Brother and the Dancer and The Ski Mask Way. Now, with several new imprints and tie-ins with the hip hop market, street lit is making a play for the mainstream market. Darren Sands is a New York based writer and a freelance reporter for the New York Observer, where he wrote an article called “Holler if You Read Me: African-American Writers -- and Readers – Fret Over the Future of Thug Lit.” We spoke with him about the state of thug lit and its rising popularity.

Fatoumata Diawara, Nonesuch.com

West African singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara has a backstory not unlike many of today’s cosmopolitan Africans. She was born in Ivory Coast to parents from Mali and now lives in Paris. She’s a stage and film actress, singer, and songwriter, all of which has given her a world of experience which shines through on her 2011 solo album Fatou. The album plays to her roots, but retains an infectious pop sensibility. Fatoumata is performing next Thursday, June 13th at the music hall in Portsmouth. We spoke to her last year before her performance at Dartmouth, just after the release of the album Fatou which is also her nickname, reflecting the very personal nature of its songs and production.

The Audio Orchard For June

Jun 4, 2013

1.Postal Service, Brand New Colony

June 12, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA

2.David Byrne & St. Vincent, I Should Watch TV

The Thing in the Spring Facebook

The Thing in the Spring is coming to downtown Peterborough, New Hampshire next weekend, June 6-9th. The quirky music and arts festival has over twenty bands playing in various venues around town and its own arts fair. The ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­founders of the festival, Eric Gagne and Mary Goldwaith came to give us the scoop on “The Thing.”

We have music from some of the bands who will be at the festival, under the cut.

Alex Giron via Flickr Creative Commons

Our favorite content, all in one spit-polished piece of ear candy. 

This week, a program pairs juvenile delinquents with Russian literature, a musician asking NYC commuters what inspires them, a play about traumatic brain injury, Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth, and the healing power of a special horse named Chester.

Courtesy LesliePasternack.com

The novelist and former television producer Kate Wenner is the writer behind “Make Sure It’s Me,” a play about five Iraq War veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and the doctor devoted to helping them. The play is premiering in New Hampshire on June 1st at Portsmouth’s West End Studio Theatre. Leslie Pasternack is the show’s director – she’s also associate director of “Act One”. 

Tristan Omand

May 23, 2013
Logan Shannon

Tristan Omand, a Manchester based singer-songwriter tells stories of America’s rough edges, his songs tend towards characters who’ve been kicked around by life, their surfaces hardened by  booze, women, and lives spent on the road. Last week Tristan came in to play a few songs in Studio D and talk about the characters and stories in his songs.

via lifesupportmusic.org

We dug up this interview from 2008 with Jason Crigler, the composer of the musical score for Make Sure it’s Me.

In August of 2004, Jason Crigler, a highly-regarded guitarist, suffered a brain hemorrhage during a gig in New York City. His pregnant wife rushed him to the hospital and got the bad news: doctors told Jason’s family that he might not live through the night, and if he did, little of the Jason they knew would be left.

vinx.com

Vinx has performed, recorded and toured as a singer and percussionist with Sting, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and many others.  As far as we know,  he's the only R&B crooners of his caliber currently working and residing in the state of the New Hampshire.  This memorial day weekend he’ll be leading Soul Kitchen Volume 29 – that’s three days of collaborative jams and songwriting workshops hosted at Dreamsicle Arts and Entertainment Studios in Suncook Village.  But first, we invited Vinx to our Concord studio to tell us a little bit about the event, and maybe even give us a lesson or two.

Geraldine Petrovic via CathyGrier.com

While everyone else is going somewhere, musician Cathy Grier is staying still. She's the New York City Subway Girl.

“Books Behind Bars” is program which pairs undergraduates from the University of Virginia with inmates at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center to read classic Russian literature. Prison staff notice a marked change in behavior among inmates who take the class, and researchers have documented similar improvements in decision-making, social skill, and civic engagement among prisoners and undergrads who participate in the class.

Blue Window Creative

Artists from one hundred and thirty-five countries have submitted sketches, doodles and ambitious notebook illustrations to The Sketchbook Project, a crowd-sourced art project that’s been exhibiting collective creativity from contributors worldwide since 2006. With more than twenty-seven thousand sketchbooks housed in its Brooklyn Art Library and a trusty mobile library hitting the road for a nation-wide summer tour, Sketchbook’s ever-growing collection of art shows no signs of slowing down; Steven Peterman, founder and director of operations for “The Sketchbook Project”, joins the program to tell us more.

via masoncurrey.com

Hemingway, Darwin, Joyce, Tesla and Picasso were all remarkably different in their temperament and creative output, but they had one thing in common: a successful routine. From Franklin’s solitary nude reading hour to Picasso’s silent lunch gatherings, the outstanding rituals and habits that created genius are as fascinating as they are unexpected. Combing through over 160 accounts of creative minds, Mason Currey’s new book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” uncovers the daily almanac of history’s most eccentric, troubled and genius figures. Mason’s writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years.

Greta Rybus

The works of two important Chinese artists, the return of a festival of experimental sound, and a retrospective by a legend of pop art are all on the summer events radar of Michelle Aldredge.  She’s a writer and photographer and the creator of the Gwarlingo website and podcast. It’s an online resource for conversations about creativity and finds in the world of contemporary art.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

In this special edition of Word of Mouth: Girl Power Interrupted.

Photo Courtesy Augusten Burroughs

It's been ten years since Augusten Burroughs' memoir Dry was published. In that decade, the author of Running With Scissors has gotten married, stayed sober, and written a self-help book, This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't, now out in paperback.

Pimp My Cane

May 2, 2013
Rusty Clark via flickr Creative Commons

We may associate canes with old age and physical decline, but 150 years ago the cane held a much more dashing and flamboyant place among the fashionable elite. Wildly decorated and splendidly diverse, canes were associated with prestige, power, and youth, and were extremely trendy. The demand for canes made of allspice wood nearly drove the West Indian trees into extinction. Here to discuss the 19th century version of twenty-two inch rims is Wayne Curtis, a freelance journalist who has written for The Atlantic, Preservation, and Down East magazines. We found his recent article, “Pimp My Walk” on The Smart Set blog.


drinksmachine via Flickr Creative Commons

Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO hit series Girls, recently signed 3.5 million dollar book contact for a memoir. When published, Dunham’s book will share shelf space with bestsellers like Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  A Mostly True Memoir and Heather McDonald’s My Inapropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable For Small Children, Nuns Or Mature Adults.  Part humor, part memoir, books in this category are almost always written by women and openly explore sex, drinking and even mental illness in a brazen and unrepentant manner.  And readers, especially those that are not offended easily, are snapping them up. 

Jean Railla, a writer and cultural observer is here to tell us more.  

Related: Gawker's viral blog about Lena Dunham's book deal.

via indiebound.org

Throughout her career the poet Sharon Olds has been asked if her poems were true or autobiographical. There are poems about mothering and domesticity and eroticism filled with personal details and described with remarkable directness and insight. Sharon Olds has rejected the auto-biographical characterization and resisted talking about her life while her children were young, and her parents were alive. She even kept the disillusion of her 32 year marriage from the public; waiting more than a decade to publish Stag's Leap, a collection of poems that is being praised as the best book of her career, and earlier this month won the Pullitzer Prize for poetry.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  For the past 25 years, New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm College has hosted a celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday with period music, theatrical renditions, and public readings of all 154 of the bard's famously melancholic and romantic sonnets. Ryan Lessard brings us this audio postcard.

The Audio Orchard for May

Apr 26, 2013

1.Vampire Weekend, Diane Young

New Album: Modern Vampires of the City

May 15, Agganis Arena, Boston, MA

2.Iron and Wine, Grace for Saints and Ramblers

Darlingside

Apr 24, 2013
Logan Shannon

VIDEO: The New England based band Darlingside has long been a favorite here at Word of Mouth, so on their recent visit to a song writing and music business summit at the Concord Community Music School, we invited them to play a few tunes live in Studio D. Afterwards producer Zach Nugent sat down to chat with guitarist Don Mitchell and drummer and Concord area native son Sam Kapala.

Production help from Logan Shannon and Taylor Quimby

"Blow the House Down"

Images courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly. Copyright Tom Gauld.

Tom Gauld's cartoon panels have been described as bleak, minimalist, sweet and funny. The London-based cartoonist and illustrator draws a weekly cartoon for The Guardian newspaper’s book review section, and has cracked the US market with comic strips in The New York Times Magazine.  A new collection of those strips called, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, will be released in the US on April 30th.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Behold! This week's Saturday show focuses on a bevy of our favorite segments that investigate "Art in the Real World."

Gabriel Kahane

Apr 18, 2013
Gabriel Kahane via gabrielkahane.tumblr.com

Gabriel Kahane made his recital debut as a composer and performer at Carnegie Hall, played piano for Mark Morris Dance Company, premiered a song cycle with John Adams conducting the LA Philharmonic, and performed his “Craigslistlieder” at a number of New York City bars. It’s little wonder the NY Times called Gabriel Kahane a one-man cultural Cuisinart. He’ll be mixing it up Friday, April 19th at the HOP with the premiere of “Gabriel’s Guide to the 48 States”. It’s the culmination of two years as composer-in-residence with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Heather Maloney

Apr 11, 2013
Zach Nugent / NHPR

Heather Maloney's music has been described as “adventurous folk", pushing the boundaries of the folk genre with lush, full-band arrangements and playful vocal runs. Heather visited the NHPR studios last week to play a few songs and chat with producer Zach Nugent about music, spirituality, and being partial to ramblers.  She will be playing at The Big Room in Barrington New Hampshire on April 20th and at The Music Hall in Portsmouth on May 17th.

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