Arts & Culture

• Check out our list of New Hampshire museums, galleries, performance venues & independent bookstores, sorted by region.

• You can also find art exhibits, book readings, live music and more on our Public Events Calendar.

Imane Naji Amrani is in total party planner mode. She wears a pink dress and matching pink headscarf. Focused and firm, she tells a group of teenage helpers where food should go and hurries to get everything done before sunset.

Every night for the month of Ramadan, families at the mosque in Manchester take turns cooking for the Iftar, the evening meal where Muslims break their fast each night during Ramadan. Tonight is Naji Amrani’s night to cook.

The interlude is polished and playful.

“I have something very special coming up here. I just kind of have to set the stage .... we have a giraffe that’s going to be performing with us out here.”

The audience laughs away.

This is the opening of a song track on one of The Shaw Brothers’ records. They’re playing live at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. And if you’ve ever enjoyed a concert at the Prescott Park Arts Festival, you can just imagine the giraffe was either a prop or a set painting for a youth theater act that used the stage earlier.

2018 Summer Book Show

Jun 13, 2018

Whether it's for a tablet, phone, or hardback, booklovers are always on the lookout for what to read when life slows down in the summer.  We hear what's new in fiction,  including a thriller co-written by a best-selling author and a former President.  For non-fiction fans, we review new works of History, Humour and Self-Help.  And as always, some N.H. authors make the list. What's on your reading list for the summer? 

James Napoli

Tad Montgomery can still remember when he first discovered morels.

He was five years old, working in the garden with his mom and siblings, when a thunderstorm suddenly rolled in. They all ran under some nearby trees for shelter.

“Mom, what are these things? They’re really weird!” exclaimed his sister, looking to the ground.

His mom had no idea what to make of the brown, brain-looking things emerging from the soil. But, being an amateur naturalist, she piled all the kids in the car and drove them, soaking wet, to the local library.

A new documentary explores what it means to be a female veteran of the military through the lens of a pageant known as Miss Veteran America.

The participants are veterans, and they help raise awareness of homelessness among female veterans. The film is called "Served Like a Girl," and tomorrow at Red River Theatres in Concord, a screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion of the issues women veterans face.

City of Boston Archives / Flickr Creative Commons

The book Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 is an in-depth look at some famous and-not-so-famous figures that all seemed to converge in and around Boston in that one year. 

The catalyst for author Ryan Walsh’s book was the author’s love for Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks album- what many consider the singer-songwriter’s masterpiece- and the little-known fact that Morrison wrote much of the songs for it in Boston.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Ryan Walsh by Skype to learn more.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When he was a kid, Dan Walker lived in a house on Cottage Street, not far from downtown Littleton. Three doors up the hill from his house, in an old Victorian, was Bishop's Homemade Ice Cream. To young Dan, this seemed normal.

"I thought everyone had an ice cream shop a few houses away," he says, laughing.

Courtesy

Gretchen and the Pickpockets formed about six years ago while front-woman Gretchen Klempa was a student at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Since then the band has been performing in and around the Granite State, pleasing crowds with mostly upbeat funky tunes enriched with lively horn hooks.

Courtesy of Spencer Topel and Seth Parker Woods

An unusual musical spectacle will take place tonight in the Upper Valley. It’s a take on an iconic performance art piece from the 1970s.

In that first version, a woman - naked except for a garland of flowers around her neck - played a “cello” made completely of ice. Now, the piece is being re- imagined to reflect modern themes, and that’s required some modern engineering as well.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Eating local in New Hampshire can mean more than just stopping by the farmers' market. For more adventurous residents, it means foraging for wild ingredients – like seaweed, straight from the Seacoast.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik reports this old culinary tradition is getting a second life. 

Katherine Garrova

At her home studio, embroidery artist Sarah Benning stitches together one of her pieces. It’s a sun-filled room at this time of the morning. The artist’s finished work spills into the space around her with dozens of circular canvases bubbling up onto the walls. There are also plenty of house plants around.

 

“A lot of my work is inspired by my own house plants,” Benning says, “The very first plant pieces I stitched were actually inspired by houseplants that I killed, luckily I’ve gotten better and they’re not all dead plants now.”

Katherine Garrova

The trend of the speakeasy bar - drinking establishments that play with the history of our prohibition days - has taken off in big cities like New York and L.A. But New Hampshire now has at least a couple secretive watering holes of its own.

There’s a new place to grab a drink in Concord called Chuck’s BARbershop. Liu Vaine is the owner and he's started up a similar place in Nashua called CodeX.


Sam Hurley

Concord lost one of its most provocative landmarks last Thursday night when artist Thomas Devaney closed his giant Eye for good.  For the last five years the foam and wood sculpture came to life after dark when Devaney turned on his projector and lit the 6-foot by 8-foot structure with a filmed loop of his own blue right eye. NHPR’s Sean Hurley attended the closing of the Eye and sends us this. 

A lot of people hear "cooperative business" and think of their local food co-ops. But, the co-op model isn't limited to bulk bins of quinoa - it was designed to share profits with workers and give small businesses leverage against megastores.

So, what role do they play in the Granite State? 

Plus, we'll hear from area high school students, in this post-Parkland moment, who are organizing to tell lawmakers: Never Again. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

In some countries in Europe, red wine is part of daily life. Not so in the US. And as a result, Americans may be missing out on the health benefit of a particular antioxidant found in the skins of grapes. Now a chemist at UNH is trying to get more of this antixodiant, resveratrol, into the American diet through coffee. 

Glen Miller is chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, and a few years ago, he first got the idea of putting resveratrol into spring water. But when he did, he saw a huge problem. 

James Napoli

There are the mysteries you know about, and then there are the ones lurking in your midst. For the staff at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, it was a bit of both.

The site, run by the National Park Service, is the estate of Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens is behind many iconic monuments still standing today, most famously of Civil War heroes in Chicago and Boston. 


Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is presenting the work of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in an exhibit that runs through May 20th.  Saint-Gaudens was the most important American sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century, and this is the first major museum exhibit of his work in New England in more than 30 years.  

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

Matthew Jones from Hudson and I share a common beef with New Hampshire: a serious lack of great pizza. Matthew reached out to us through our Only in New Hampshire project, in which we do our best to answer listener questions about quirks of the Granite State.

He wrote to us with a question (or three) about New Hampshire pizza:

Why does every town have a House of Pizza? And why is every House of Pizza exclusively the Greek style of pizza? And why is the Greek pizza so popular here?

The Nashua Board of aldermen voted Tuesday to approve a new $15.5 million performing arts center. All but one of the aldermen voted for the complex, which is set to go in at the Alec’s shoe store building on Main Street.

Late last year the Board voted against the project, with some citing cost as a factor.

Big Brother and the Tax Man

Feb 9, 2018

New Hampshire is one of 9 states without a state income tax, and one of just two states without a broad-based sales tax either. 

Democrat or Republican, almost every serious candidate for governor takes the Pledge: a promise that they won't even consider a broad-based state income or sales tax.

When listener Mary Douglas moved to New Hampshire in 2005, she couldn't make sense of the state's strong anti-tax sentiment. For our "Only in NH" series, she asked us: why doesn't New Hampshire have a state income tax?

Peter Biello/NHPR

Last week the VFW Post 168's bar and banquet hall on Deer Street in Portsmouth was sold. Mounting costs and competition prompted the sale, leaving members of the VFW without a permanent home. 

The day after that sale, an NHPR producer and I went to Portsmouth to learn more about what this means for the veterans who used it, and what the new owner has planned. 

 

James Napoli

New works in progress by black playwrights will be performed this weekend in the Upper Valley. The festival is sponsored by JAG productions, a relatively new black theater company that’s been drawing audiences across western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont.


Chris Jensen

When the state of New Hampshire submitted a bid to Amazon , throwing Londonderry into the ring as home for the company’s second headquarters, they summed up their case like this: "All the benefits of Boston… without all the headaches."

Of course, that logic doesn't really apply if you live in New Hampshire's northernmost towns, where the closest city of size is Sherbrooke, Quebec.  In this episode, as part of NHPR's series "The Balance", we look at arts, culture and economy north of the notches.  

Plus, New Hampshire filmmaker and visual artist Amy Jenkins on her film Instructions on Parting, which premiers at MOMA later this month. 

Sara Plourde

After more than two years and 60 episodes, we are signing off, to make room for new projects and podcasts (but episodes will continue to live online if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration). Thanks to everybody who listened and learned from the show! For other literary offerings from NHPR, check out: The Bookshelf, featuring authors from around New Hampshire and the region, as well as books about New Hampshire by authors from anywhere. Writers on a New England Stage

Courtesy

Jeff Rapsis is a hard man to shut up once he gets going on his favorite subject. Ask him about how silent movies used to be staged, and Rapsis overwhelms you with information, a walking Wikipedia entry with actor anecdotes and deep history at his fingertips. He’s been into the genre since he was a kid growing up in Nashua.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Making your own liquor at home is illegal under federal law. A bill in the New Hampshire House right now would legalize the distilling of a limited amount of alcohol in the same way the state regulates in-home production of wine and beer. One local entrepreneur who sells stills is hoping the bill will provide a boost to his business.

In a workshop off Depot Street in Manchester, foreman Jeremy Burrows rolls a beautifully-shined sheet of copper through a machine to emboss it.

Peter Biello / NHPR

When an elementary or middle school student can't pay for lunch, that student will run up lunch debt. Students with debt are sometimes given an "alternative meal" instead of a hot lunch, and that could lead to shame and embarrassment. Recently a man in North Haverhill launched an effort to wipe out kids' lunch debt in his local schools...and is now promoting what he calls "lunch equality." 

Abhi Sharma / Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Manchester and the Millyard have undergone redevelopment over the past decade with the opening of new restaurants and shops. But now residents are getting an independent bookstore.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Liz Hitchcock, co-owner of The Bookery Manchester, which will open this spring. And she plans to make this bookstore more than another retail establishment downtown, but also a gathering place for the community.

Some of you may know Manoush Zomorodi as host of the podcast Note to Self from WNYC. She is also, now, an author. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self came out of her own experience and curiosity about the creative process and confronting digital distractions - one of the biggest challenges for writers. She asked her audience to help her figure out what it would mean to let all of that go and to learn to shut down in order to build your creative juices up.

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