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.

Victoria Schwab... V.E. Schwab... V... the author's name depends on her audience, which, like the dark worlds she builds, is a well-thought out design.

Ms. Schwab, we'll say, burst onto the scene in 2011 with The Near Witch. A dozen books later, adult, young adult and middle grade readers have followed her into supernatural worlds, sinister scenarios and richly formed fantasy worlds.

Kusakabe via flickr Creative Commons

On the weekend show:

New Hampshire is a rural state, which is great for recreation, but not so great if you are a foodie, at least when it comes to shopping for gourmet ingredients.  

But some savvy shoppers have discovered that fancy food can also be found at  couple of accessible and unexpected emporiums: Ocean State Job Lots (“Home of Adventure Shopping”) and Marshalls  (“Your Surprise is Waiting”).  

Steven Nichols via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/59y3nV

On today's show: 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Ottessa Moshfegh says she writes to explore why people do weird things. The daughter of a Croatian mother and Iranian father, she was a serious piano student who knew she didn't want to be a pianist when she felt the call to write - and not just write, but be bold.

We spoke to her before her reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

Episode Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Trio for Piano, Violin and Viola"
Credit Music: Uncanny Valleys, "Curious or Disconcerting"

Daniel Gregory via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/o4fTvk

On today’s show, we’ll talk to the host of The Lonely Palette, a podcast that aims to put art appreciation back in the hands of the masses, one painting at a time.

Plus, the Grammy-award winning group OutKast has had an undeniable impact on hip-hop, and put southern hip-hop on the map. Now that musical legacy is being deconstructed for college credit. We’ll talk to the professor behind a new upper level English class that puts OutKast on the syllabus.

And we get ready to kick off the 12th year of the Portsmouth-based RPM challenge, when artists around the world try to write and record an album in just 28 days.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Caitlin Moran is the best-selling author of How to Be a Woman, Moranthology, and columnist for the Times of London. She and her sister developed and write 'raised by wolves" --a British television series loosely based on their experience in a family of ten growing up in a tiny subsidized flat in the English midlands. She is also a mother of two, an unapologetic feminist, and really, really funny. Caitlin Moran is now out with Moranifesto, her second collection of columns and essays.

Pien Huang

Dr. Alan Chong took over as the Director and CEO of the Currier Museum of Art last September. His job includes budgets, publicity, and fundraising. But what he’s really excited about is the art.

Logan Shannon

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

And, eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is down to pre-recession levels. Another indicator has not faired as well: underemployment. Is part-time work the new normal?

Jennifer Mei/Creative Commons

Between 2009 and 2011, a local art history professor sold two dozen paintings from her personal collection. The works were all by a major American artist she claimed to know personally. The purchaser was a wealthy Wall Street commodities trader.

Now, it appears these paintings--valued at nearly $700,000--may have been forgeries. 

nhia.edu

The New Year brings many resolutions, most involving food and exercise.  Another way to renew one’s self is through art. 

1.05.17: Presidential Kids, Half Wild, & 10MWW

Jan 5, 2017
msrivergirl via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/ac7qJT

The framers of American democracy rejected monarchy and its tradition of passing power through bloodline ...that has not stopped presidents past from relying on their kids. Today, Brady Carlson on first children who've made presidential politics a family business. 

Also today, hold-outs, hippies, haves and have-nots live side-by-side in a collection of stories set in Vermont...not the picture postcard version.

Plus, the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop talks with a longtime copy writer for the LL Bean catalog.  

1.03.17: Exploring Cahokia & Layla and Majnun

Jan 3, 2017
Dayna Bateman via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2hGD6G

Asked to imagine a "medieval city", you probably think of Europe or the Middle East - walled fiefdoms, bustling market stalls, maybe a castle, cathedral or dome of a mosque - not the American plains. Today, we'll learn about the Native American mega city that was bigger than contemporary London and Paris.

Plus: a boy. A girl. A forbidden love. The tragic storyline transcends time and place. The folktale of "Layla and Majnun" inspired the first Middle Eastern opera, the classic rock song "Layla", and now, a multi-media collaboration between the Silk Road Ensemble and choreographer Mark Morris - and now you can see it close to home. 

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty on Reimagining Midlife

Dec 30, 2016
Michael Garcia Novak / Flickr/CC

Even with all the angst about mid-life crises, and birthday cards calling you over the hill, the author says the middle years are most often about renewal. Today we're talking with former NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty on what she discovered about middle age in America.


Shelby El Otmani / NHPR

If you’re in Concord and in the mood for some homemade Korean food, you might be able to find exactly what you’re looking for in the same place you get your late night snacks and drinks.  Go Food Basket is more than a corner store.  It’s also where you can get a jar of kimchi or a warm Korean meal on the go.

The woman behind this kimchi goes by the American name, "Helen." 

"My Korean name is Hye-Sook," she says, "but when I tell my costumers my name is Hye-Sook, they say 'Hye- what?'  So my husband made me an easy, American name: Helen."

The New Year is a time to look ahead, but this week we’re looking back. Today a selection of our favorite stories and interviews of 2016. First up, we revisit a conversation about the global disappearance industry that plots, facilitates and documents fake deaths - and the investigators who track them down. 

Then, we'll reminisce about some of the strangest school assemblies we endured growing up.

And  Roman Mars of 99% Invisible looks into the origins of those inflatable tube men you see outside of car washes.

Holiday Book Show: December 6, 2016

Dec 25, 2016
Christina Phillips; NHPR

Our popular holiday tradition takes place on December 6.  We look at the top books of 2016 and discuss best books for gift-giving...and receiving.  Let us know what books you've enjoyed this year by email, by tagging us in a tweet, or sending a message to our Facebook page.

This show originally aired on December 6, 2016. 

Prescott Farm

Good news for those of you who detest the early darkness—the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice will occur on Wednesday, December 21, at 5:44 a.m. EST. If you can’t make it to Stonehenge, there are plenty of places in New Hampshire to celebrate like a Druid.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/epy8go

The holidays are fast approaching, and for the procrastinators among us, the online retailer Amazon.com offers a ray hope. But what if the gift you've purchased isn't what it claims to be? Today, the supply and demand chain for counterfeit goods

Then, in the early days of cinema, soundtracks were played live.  A single pianist or orchestra accompanied those early silent films with sometimes written and sometimes improvised, music and sound effects. The Alloy Orchestra keeps that tradition alive by live scoring old silent films using state of the art electronics, and...a rack of junk. 

Irish author Emma Donoghue may be best known for Room,  her novel written in the voice of a young boy confined with his mother in a single room.  It was nominated for a Man Booker prize and made into an Oscar-winning film, for which she wrote the screenplay. Her most recent novel is The Wonder, about a "fasting girl" in 1850s Ireland.

Global Panorama via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/r2nw3q

Someone suffering from a major depressive episode may have trouble getting out of bed - sleep too much during the day, and then suffer from insomnia at night. Today, an experimental, and counter-intuitive treatment for depression.

Plus, the benefits of being bored. Whether we're sitting quietly for a cup of coffee, or taking a walk without a destination, one author argues that setting aside time to do nothing can make us more creative, and teach us more about who we really are - she even has some handy tips for how foster a bit of boredom.

Malmark Handbells

If you need a break from baking, wrapping and card-writing, you can immerse yourself in one of the many seasonal performances on offer this weekend.

Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln is presenting The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Musical, on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.  An adaptation of the children’s book by Barbara Robinson, this “bad kids crash local Christmas pageant and chaos ensues” is high energy and madcap.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Enna Grazier's kitchen is a lot like a normal home kitchen, except she's got a few things most people don't have at home: a commercial food production license, and countertop-sized tools that turn cocoa beans into carefully crafted chocolate bars. 

There you'll find, among other gadgets, machines that look like they belong in a chemist's lab. 

"This is my winnower," she says. "It’s a kind of MacGyvered contraption of a shop vac, a piece off of a Champion juicer, some PVC parts... and a bucket."

Frank Maurer via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/83biv

Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

Then, in the early 1800s, America was new - a wide and blank slate for backwoods prophets, reformers and salvation seekers to create their own versions of paradise. Today, from Shakers to radicals to polygamists, a road trip through some of the nearly 200 utopian communities that emerged in the 19th century.

James Vaughan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/c83XTb

What do McDonalds hamburgers and NPR underwriting have in common? Ray and Joan Kroc.  One, a business tycoon responsible for building a world-wide brand and the other a strong woman with a passion for progressive causes. Today we’re learning about the odd couple pairing of a billionaire-entrepreneur and peace-loving philanthropist.

Plus, a collection of stories follows characters down the slippery slope of technological dependency -  and how to slow it down.

Virginia Prescott

Tom Gauld -- a cartoonist, illustrator of comics and covers for the New Yorker and The Believer. His weekly cartoon about the arts for The Guardian newspaper is a wry, often deadpan favorite among writers. He is extremely prolific, author of more than a dozen books of comics, including You're Just Jealous of My Jetpack and most recently Mooncop.

Writers on a New England Stage: Mario Batali

Nov 30, 2016
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Today, NHPR and the music hall present Writers on a New England Stage with Mario Batali recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Batali is a celebrity chef, entrepreneur, restaurateur, television star and passionate advocate for simple, regional food. He is author, or co-author, of 7 cookbooks on Italian food, wine and culture, one on Spanish specialties, and three of American recipes, including his most recent Big American Cookbook.

MWV Chamber of Commerce via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/DCd9Ju

Yellowstone may be the first national park, but it was New Hampshire's White Mountains that for decades prior captured the imagination of American tourists, scientists, and artists. Today, a portrait of Mount Washington's artistic history.

Plus, from Bob Dylan to Yoko Ono, audiences have long had a fascination with the off-beat or out of tune - so why do we love some bad singers and love to hate others?

Then, America's great repository of world knowledge faces an existential predicament. In a world where information is stored in servers and googled at will, can the Library of Congress really keep up?

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