Arts and Culture

Word of Mouth
9:45 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Debo Band Comes To New Hampshire

Credit Deboband.com

One of NPR’s Fifty Favorite Albums of 2012 was the self-titled debut album from Debo Band. The eleven member band, based in Boston, blends 1960’s Ethiopian music with American funk, brass band music, and rock. Tonight, the Debo Band is playing on the Dartmouth Green in Hanover. Band leader and saxophonist is Ethiopian-American Danny Mekonnen, who we spoke with about the band and their unique sound.

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Writers On A New England Stage
9:13 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen
David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

The #1 New York Times bestselling author is back doing what he does best: spinning a wickedly funny, fiercely pointed Florida tale in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of pristine land get their comeuppance in a mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.

Hiaasen joined us in Portsmouth to talk about Bad Monkey and his other books on Friday, June 14th.  First, he shared his thoughts on storm-chasers, Hollywood monkeys, and what not to do with a dead raccoon.  Then he sat down with Virginia Prescott for a great interview about Florida scam artists, his foray into YA, and the twisted true stories behind his twisted fictional plots.

Writers on a New England Stage is a co-production of New Hampshire Public Radio and The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

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Word of Mouth
1:37 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

A Font Designed For Dyslexics

"For a dyslexic who does not yet know they are dyslexic, life is like a big high wall you never think you will be able to climb or get over. The moment you understand there is something called dyslexia, and there are ways of getting around the problem, the whole world opens up." - Sir Jackie Stewart
Credit Andrew Wilkin via flickr Creative Commons

Developmental reading disorder, or dyslexia, is the most common  learning disability. It often manifests as difficulty in learning to read or spell fluently, resulting in poor performance on written tests. Abelardo Gonzalez is a software developer based in New Hampshire and the creator of Open-Dyslexic – an open source computer font designed to help make reading easier for those with dyslexia.

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Word of Mouth
12:51 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

The Search For The Next Big (Dog) Star

Carly Gendell with winner Buckley
Sara Plourde

The musical “Annie” opens this Friday at the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth…more than 60 dogs barked their way through an open audition for the role of Sandy, little orphan Annie’s loveable and loyal canine sidekick. Producer Zach Nugent went to the Sandy Search  to get a look at the next big doggie sensation.

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Word of Mouth
12:44 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Reggie Watts: Beatboxer, Comedian, Musician

Credit Hopkins Center TEST

We spoke with beatboxer, comedian, musician, and kinda TV talk show host Reggie Watts about his music and other ongoing projects. Reggie takes suggestions submitted via Youtube and turns them into original songs which have never before been performed, and may never be performed again. It’s all part of his online comedy collective called Jash with comedians Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, and actor Michael Cera. In addition to his online performances, Reggie has also been playing shows and festivals around the country. He’ll be at the Portsmouth Music Hall in the fall.

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Word of Mouth
12:14 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

The Secret Lives Of Sports Fans

Credit ericsimons.net

If you’re a New England sports fan of a certain age, chances are you can describe exactly what happened during game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner missed a roller at first.

That error allowed the Mets a winning run and further cemented the “Curse of the Bambino” in the minds of Red Sox fans…many of those same fans still get weepy when thinking of 2004 – when the Sox finally reversed the curse and won the World Series.

Along with the thrill comes the agony …just ask any Bruins fan who watched Boston’s 2 - 1 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals squandered  by two Blackhawk goals in the last 76 seconds of the game.

We spoke to science writer and Radiolab contributor Eric Simons before the Bruins crushing defeat. Eric’s latest book “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” is his attempt to figure out the science and psychology of sports fans…and it begins with a play-by-play of heartbreak.

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Word of Mouth
10:08 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Baz Luhrmann On Transforming Beyonce Into 1920's Jazz

Credit via amazon.com

“Yellow Cocktail Music: The Great Gatsby Jazz Recordings”, is a kind of way-back machine for the contemporary songs featured in the new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Jay-Z, Will-I-Am, and Beyoncé, are featured on the original soundtrack and this follow-up album imagines what the songs might have sounded like coming out of a Victrola in 1922…with help from the Bryan Ferry Orchestra. Joining us to discuss the album is Baz Luhrmann; the distinctive director, producer, and screenwriter for Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, among others, including the movie that kicked off the summer blockbuster season – The Great Gatsby.

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Word of Mouth
10:06 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Kickstarting The Colonial Theatre

Credit via bethlehemcolonialtheatre.org

The Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, is among the oldest continually running movie theatres in the country, and is currently the only venue for showing independent movies in northern New Hampshire. Now, nearly 100 years after opening its doors, The Colonial may have to stop showing films. Like many indie theaters across the country, The Colonial has to convert to the digital format adopted by the film industry if it wants to show new releases. The theatre recently launched a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign to help pay for and install digital projection equipment. Stephen Dignazio is executive director of The Colonial Theatre and joins us to discuss the campaign.

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Word of Mouth
2:36 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Word Of Mouth 06.22.2013

Credit Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Our favorite content from Word of Mouth's weekday show...all wrapped up in one gratifying and glam program.

This week: The emerging forum for high school confessions on Facebook; a sunny picture for the relationship success of online daters; a documentary looks at the life of experiential journalist George Plimpton; Dr. Who's potential recast as a woman; and Glam Rock...it matters more than you know.

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Word of Mouth
9:43 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Glam Rock: Why It Matters

Credit boingboing.net

Glam rock paraded its outrageous self across the stage between the early and late 1970s… David Bowie, Lou Reed, and bands like T-Rex, and Roxy Music traded in mad men and hippy era masculinity for flamboyant hairstyles, blue eyeshadow and platforms shoes. Glam came from Britain, but conspired with America’s Me Generation…dropping a glitter bomb of theatrics, androgyny and gay camp on a country lurching between deprivation and hedonism. Without glam, there would be no punk, no Flock of Seagulls hair bands, goth rock or KISS…  cultural critic Mark Dery argues that glam was surprisingly radical…planting the seeds of genderplay in the minds of middle class kids, one guitar riff at a time. Mark is author of “All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters,” the inaugural e-reader release from the new Boing Boing imprint.

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Word of Mouth
9:38 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Plimpton! Comes To Massachusetts

Credit Plimptonmovie.com

If there was ever a man who knew how to fail fabulously, it was writer, journalist, and editor George Plimpton.  Ten years after his death, and sixty since he helped launch esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review, Plimpton is probably best known for his amateur antics among pro athletes – taking hits from light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore, playing quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and taking the mound at Yankee Stadium. His accounts of these stories, now acknowledged as the beginning of participatory journalism, effectively transformed Plimpton one of the greatest everyman writers in modern memory. 

For the new documentary Plimpton!, directors Tom Bean and Luke Polling combed through countless hours of footage to create a film posthumously narrated by its own subject.  Already out in select cities, Plimpton! opens Friday, June 21st at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

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Word of Mouth
9:53 am
Mon June 10, 2013

It's Only Slow Food Until You Try To Eat It

Credit © 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.

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Word of Mouth
9:51 am
Thu June 6, 2013

David Blistein Reading At Gibson's Bookstore

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.

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Word of Mouth
10:37 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Funspot's 15th Annual International Classic Video Game Tourney

Nick Lombardo - Long Island, NY
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.

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Word of Mouth
10:11 am
Wed June 5, 2013

The New Literary Sensation Rising From The Street: Thug Lit

Credit 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.

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