I Saw The Sign: The Old-Fashioned Art Of Sign-Painting

Apr 10, 2013
Photo By Stephanie Booth, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Hand-painted signs once dotted the landscape. They brought color, style, and distinction to stores and products, and were the nation’s first form of advertising…and today, with computer graphics and large-scale printing available for cheap, they are pretty much going the way of the horse and buggy… But a number of hand-painting holdouts are sticking with brushes – and are the subject of Sign Painters, a new documentary film about the craft directed by Sam Macon and Faythe Levine.  

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

We bring you a collection of tasty segments we know you'll love, using the powers of public radio telepathy. 

The Invisible War

Mar 20, 2013
The U.S. Army vis Flickr Creative Commons

Testimony by victims and military officials in front of congress this month has shed light on the scope of sexual assault in the military service. Men and women who sign up for military service put their lives on the line for our country. Yet a woman serving in the military is more likely to be sexually assaulted than killed by enemy fire.

Girl Rising” is a new documentary directed by Academy-Award nominee Richard Robbins and the centerpiece of a global campaign called 10X10 (“Ten Times Ten”), which is dedicated to educating and empowering girls. The film is premiering this Thursday, March 7th, at hundreds of simultaneous public screenings across the U.S, including one at Fox Run Stadium in Newington, New Hampshire.


Ai Weiwei is China’s best known artist and the sharpest thorn in the side of its government. He’s a humorous and clever digital dissident, whose installations, viral videos, and tweets mock Chinese censors, and have made him an international symbol for freedom.      

After years of attempting to cozy up to him with bribes and favors, the Chinese government turned on Ai Weiwei, charging him with tax evasion and bulldozing his freshly built studio in Shanghai. Then, on April 3, 2011, he disappeared.

The Tuareg have been fighting the government of Mali on and off for more than a century. Their rebellion intensified when the fiercely independent Tuareg allied themselves with Islamic Jihadists to fight the government and made huge territorial gains in the north of the country.

This week, the French launched a military intervention in Mali- once a French colony. The U.S. State Department is also considering limited involvement, including logistical support and training for intervention forces in the region. The Tuareg, however, just want to continue eeking out their lives in the desert.

Filmmaker Ron Wyman tracked Bombino down in Burkina Faso, where he was living in exile. That was the beginning of a creative collaboration that produced the iTunes best-selling album, Agadez and the feature film, Agadez: The Music and the Rebellion. We spoke with Ron in March about discovering Bombino, and we thought hearing him again would provide a timely window into a little known tribe of nomads who are now in the news.

Audio Pending...

Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?

Dec 15, 2012

What doesn't say Christmas like a terrorist plot foiled by Bruce Willis? - Author Kevin Flynn, Die Hard die-hard

To many, any best-of action film list would ring hollow with the exclusion of Die Hard - but each year, as the holiday season approaches, it begins to fly under a different flag:  an admittedly less warm, less traditional Christmas classic.

Hobbit Still MGM Studios

Corey Olsen, English Professor at Washington College and author of the book “Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit”, discusses the lasting appeal and tonal evolution of the classic children’s novel. 

Virginia Prescott notices that recent movie reviews include as much critical analysis into facial hair as they do to cinematography, sound design and acting. Check out Virginia's take on the phenomenon here:

Rene S / Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Pimpin' Your Thanskgiving Faves

A.P. food writer and cookbook author J.M. Hirsch shares his tips on how to “pimp” your Thanksgiving dinner to make it impress without stress. Make your own butter in five minutes, stuff your turkey with fresh herbs, and make sure to dry your potatoes before you mash them. And as far as salad? Forget it. Thanksgiving comes but once a year, so splurge.

Part 2: A Vegan Thanksgiving???/Chocolate... Yum

The 2012 Short Short Story Film Festival comes to New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Sweeney Auditorium in Concord this Friday and Saturday. Now in its sixth year, the festival explores a form of film-making that values depth and story over screen-time.

We hear the words honor, duty and sacrifice a lot around Veteran’s Day – and rightly so. What we rarely hear about are the individual, human stories that lead men and women to pick up the mantle of those powerful words and to fight in America’s name. “Where Soldiers Come From” follows a pack of close friends from Michigan’s icy Upper Peninsula as they transform from small town teenagers to National Guardsmen fighting in Afghanistan.

Check out the trailer for Where Soldiers Come From:

ww_whist via Flickr Creative Commons

Chances are you’ve never heard of the disease known as XP.  It’s a very rare, usually fatal genetic disease affecting one in one million children in the United States…a disproportionate number of Navajo people living on a reservation in the western United States suffer from the disease…which makes exposure to sunlight fatal.  Adi Lavi  along with Maya Stark, is co-producer and co-director of Sun Kissed, which follows a family on the Coyote Canyon Navajo Reservation, as they confront cultural taboos, t

Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa is home to one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels and the heart of darkness in the nation’s drug war.  El Velador, The Night Watchman, is a deceptively quiet documentary film about a country devolving into chaos and violence and makes its debut on PBS POV series Thursday September 27th. Filmmaker Natalia Almada joins us from WCBE studios in Columbus, Ohio to talk about the film.

Horia Varlan, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

A group of arts and media business owners have formed a coalition hoping to encourage film and TV production in the Granite State. 

The New Hampshire Production Coalition is currently developing a legislative plan that would help New Hampshire compete with more film-friendly states like Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and Louisiana.

Tim Egan, of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, is the coalition’s president.

“Film, television, digital design, video gamers…  All the creative economy type industries don’t really have a trade association.”

Produced with Emma Ruddock

As a music video director Dan Huiting has worked with many prominent musicians such as Bon Iver and Andrew Bird. In addition to directing music videos Huiting is the senior producer of the "City of Music" series on Pitchfork.TV, photography director and editor at MN Original on TPT, and a filmmaker.  

Longtime residents of Manchester may remember a large, stylized sign in the mill district, for Pandora sweaters, one of the area's biggest operations. A recent documentary tells the story of Pandora and of its longtime owner, May Gruber. It’s called “Sweater Queen.”

Nancy Beach is producer of the film, which is screening later this week in Manchester. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about May Gruber's life and career.

Courtesy The Work of 1000 Civic Engagement Program

June is National Rivers Month, which means it’s a good time to talk about a recent film chronicling the effort to clean up the Nashua River. It’s called “Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000” and has been screened at a number of environmental film festivals.

Susan Edwards is the film’s producer, and she talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about, the film, Marion Stoddard and the Nashua River.

Pamela Yates was a young, idealistic filmmaker when she went to Guatemala in 1982 to make a documentary about a hidden war. 200,000 people were murdered in the Guatemalan conflict, many indigenous people living in the highlands. Pamela and her colleagues met guerilla fighters, and tagged along on army sweeps…she even interviewed then President of the Republic, General Efrain Rios Montt.

J.D. Salinger famously refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye, saying it was "unactable." It's true the subtleties of such great novels can get lost in translation. But I thought I'd take a look at three of my favorite novels that have never made it to the multiplex in wide release. Each of these will transport you to another time and another place.

Here’s the set-up…a doomed group of teens isolated on location X -- a campsite, fairground..dorm. A psychopathic killer, often disfigured, stalks them…brandishing sharp weapon X…many are killed in graphic, gory ways until only final girl X survives…cheered on by the adrenaline-surged audience...

The Syrian uprising has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives. And since foreign journalists are rarely allowed in, many reports provide little beyond the number of people killed. But behind the numbers are lives. As part of an occasional series on those who have died, NPR's Kelly McEvers has this report.

Bassel Shehadeh started out as an IT major in Syria. But it became clear that what he really wanted to do was make films.

Photo by Andrea Metz, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Now that The Hunger Games has killed off the competition for spring box office, Hollywood is gearing up for summer. We’ll get the Batman finale, a Spiderman re-boot, new animated heroes from Pixar and Disney, and comedies from Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler.  Garen Daly is film consultant for Zeotrope Media is here to preview of some films that won’t break box office records.

Time now for a home viewing recommendation from NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello. He's found himself swept up this week by the 70th Anniversary edition boxed set of Casablanca.

By now, you may have heard of Bombino, his album, Agadez was a hot seller on i-tunes and named one of NPR’s 50 favorite albums of 2011. Bombino, whose given name is Omara Moctar, is a guitarist from the Tuareg tribe, African nomads who have been persecuted by the government of Niger, especially, who reportedly fought for Gaddafi in Libya and are now considered rebels by the government of Mali, but their real fidelity is to eking out their lives in the desert

Hollywood is dominated at the moment by the upcoming release of The Hunger Games, the first film adaptation of a phenomenally successful series of young adult novels set in a dystopian, divided America, where teenagers from different regions are pitted against each other for survival.

Still from the movie "Connected."
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The theme of this year’s New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival is connection. Its films explore connections between cultures, between countries, between the past and the present and more.

Linda Gerson is co-chair of the festival, which is taking place all week at venues in Manchester, Concord and Merrimack. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson more about this year’s films.

Some of the films they discuss:

Choreographer Allison Orr assembled dancers neither lithe nor acrobatic but with a distinct grace of their own for her latest project. Allison corralled 16 hulking trucks, and 24 employees from the City of Austin’s Department of Solid Waste to perform The Trash Project on an old airport runway.   

Alexander Payne watches a movie every day — or tries to, anyway. Lately, the writer and director of The Descendants has been busy going to nomination and awards dinners, in advance of Sunday's Oscar night — when the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay prizes could be his.

With Town Meeting Day set for March, February is when towns hold public meetings about the budget items and warrant articles that will go before voters.

Mont Vernon, in southern New Hampshire, is no exception; its public hearing is tonight. And one of the items drawing the most attention is a request to change the name of a small body of water known as Jew Pond.