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.

On this episode, author, columnist and critic Olivia Laing. Her most recent work, The Lonely City, is part memoir, part searching exploration of loneliness and artists whose outsider experience inspired and fed  their creativity - from seeming social gadfly Andy Warhol to the reclusive Henry Darger. She is also the author of To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring.

Shane Burkhardt via Flickr CC /

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status.

Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

takomabibelot via Flickr CC /

A while ago came the news that the US is in grave danger of a clown shortage. Today we'll get a report from a clown convention and find out why membership is down, but why clowns are still unlikely to completely disappear. 

We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality.

Plus, the latest 10-Minute Writer's Workshop with anatomical historian Alice Dreger. 

Alice Dreger is a historian of science, anatomy, and medicine, known for her work studying and advocating for people born with atypical sex disorders. She famously resigned from Northwestern University in protest of academic censorship, and gained some infamy on Twitter for live-tweeting her son's sex education class. We had a delightful chat with her about her writing process in advance of the paperback release of her book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.

I first noticed it in a neighborhood of Boston aptly called the "Innovation District." On a crumbling corner of an old brick building, there was a gaping hole created by about 15 missing clay bricks, filled in with about 500 Lego blocks.

I was determined to find out who the artist was.

"I don't know!" I was told by folks working in the building. Their property manager had no clue, nor did the people at Lego. "If you hear, let us know," said brand relations manager Amanda Santoro.

The Caped Crusade, Dark Heart, & Alexander Chee

Mar 25, 2016
nur_h via Flickr CC /

Today, from TV's campy crusader to the Dark Knight, Batman has been reflected American anxieties and social norms for almost 80 years. We'll explore his appeal as a mere mortal among superhumans, making him a magnet for our heroic dreams. 

Then, the phrase, "if it bleeds, it leads" has long been a critique of journalism, but a new book of pulp-fiction style stories by New England reporters plays up the lurid, sensational, side of following crime. Today, we'll talk to two of the veteran reporters behind Murder Ink.

Plus, a pair of true crime writers comb through the dark fantasies exposed at the trial of Seth Mazzalia.

Tamás Mészáros via Flickr CC /

The phrase, "if it bleeds, it leads" has long been a critique of journalism, but a new book of pulp-fiction style stories by New England reporters plays up the lurid, sensational, side of following crime. Today, we'll talk to two of the veteran reporters behind Murder Ink.

Also today, a look back at the roots of film noir, and a pair of true crime writers comb through the dark fantasies exposed at the trial of Seth Mazzalia.

M. Sharkey

Alexander Chee is a careful craftsman of language. As we came to find out, when we talked to him from Argot Studios in NYC, he is as measured, unassuming and thoughtful in his speech. A retiring man, who prefers to write in transient spaces, he also just so happens to have penned the most hotly anticipated literary novel of 2016 - The Queen of the Night, a sophomore work fifteen years in the making*.

angeladellatorre via Flickr CC /

Studying medicine requires intelligence, discipline and considerable expense, making it one of the most prestigious professions in America. But that wasn’t always the case.  We take a look into the shady practices that lead the people of New York City to riot against doctors in the eighteenth-century. 

Simon & Schuster

Long-time NPR reporter and five-time author Tom Gjelten recently visited the studios here at NHPR. We, of course, couldn't resist talking to him about his latest book, A Nation of Nations, and asking him for ten minutes.

What's harder to write - the first sentence, or the last?

I Want a Poster via Flickr CC /

Today, what's the point of being internet famous if you can't pay the bills? We’ll talk to a YouTube star about the sad economics of internet celebrity.

Plus, "Cash for Your Warhol",  the story of a fake business that became surprisingly real.

3.14.16: Lists of Note & The Ghost in the MP3

Mar 14, 2016
Pekka Nikrus via Flickr CC /

Grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists – human beings are compelled to put things into manageable order…and sometimes the result is anything but mundane. Today we look at some of the most memorable lists ever written – from Walt Disney’s un-used dwarf names, to a day in the life of country legend Johnny Cash. 

David Hale Smith via Flickr CC /

From solitary poets to reclusive painters, loneliness is a rich vein for artists. Today, writer Olivia Laing meditates on this essential part of the human condition.

Then - we'll talk to the designer behind one of NASA's viral ad campaigns, a beautiful set of travel posters that put a mid-century spin on the future of space tourism. And, we’ll delve into the history of the iconic NASA logo known as "the meatball" and its doomed successor "the worm.”

What to Read Now: Spring Book Picks, 2016

Mar 8, 2016

We'll hear about some of the best new books coming out this spring. Also, check out NHPR's other book-related series: The Bookshelf is an NHPR project featuring authors from around New Hampshire and the region, as well as books about New Hampshire by authors from anywhere. And the 10 Minute Writer's Workshop is a new podcast featuring interviews with writers about their writing process. via Flickr CC /

Mid-life crises are embarrassing and all-too-common...but surely not among the prudent judges of nation's highest court? On today’s show, a former court clerk's new novel imagines a Supreme Court justice going off the rails.

Then, we'll hear about how today's gyms are building personal bathrooms and shower stalls for body shy millennials -- one writer thinks it's absurd for adults to fear getting undressed in front of others.

Jason Michael via Flickr CC /

Baby Boomers like to thumb their nose at Millennials for being entitled narcissists who refuse to grow up, and Millennials tend to poo-poo the Boomers because they're out of touch old folks. But one group seems to get left out of the conversation entirely. Today, what ever happened to Generation X?

Then, many people would rather just say nothing than take a stab at saying something shallow, boring, or potentially offensive, but small talk does have its merits. So what are they? 

Kent Kanouse via Flickr CC /

Picture this: the nation listens spell-bound - to a stand-off on the interstate between state police, the national guard and an organized group...helicopters swirl in the sky. The rebels are angry, they're fortified by heavy machinery, a truckload of explosives and are threatening to break through every blockade the cops set up. 

click-see via Flickr CC /

From the solitary writer to the reclusive painter, loneliness is a rich vein for artists. Today, Olivia Laing meditates on her own bouts of loneliness, what it has meant to the world's great creative minds and why such an essential human experience cannot be wholly worthless.

Then, a historian on what ads seeking the capture of runaway slaves reveal about the identity, character and lives of runaways. 

We're talking with the author of a new book on the unlikely ways in which inventors think up groundbreaking ideas.

3.01.16: The Art of Moderating & the Confidence Game

Mar 1, 2016
Peter Roberts via Flickr CC /

Last week's debate among republican presidential candidates was so raucous that at one point, the closed captions couldn't keep up and simply read "unintelligible yelling". Today, a seasoned debate moderator sheds light on the tough task of keeping onstage arguments civil, and what makes for a great debate.

Then, are human beings wired to be swindled? Later in the show we'll explore the psychology of con artists and why it's so easy to fall for them.

Logan Shannon

We spoke to YouTube superstar and writer of books Grace Helbig after the publication of her second tongue-in-cheek guide, Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It. She gave us a glimpse at her writing process backstage at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH before a Writers on a New England Stage event.

Chris Bohjalian has written some thrilling novels tackling some tough subjects - Armenian genocide, the ethics of midwifery, and, most recently, in The Guest Room, sex trafficking - but he speaks about the process of writing with humor and aplomb.

What's harder to write - the first sentence or the last?

L: Chris R: Camilo Rueda López via flickr Creative Commons / L: | R:

Most Americans know far more about the names of the royals than how British democracy works, but many Brits are closely following the presidential primary here in the U.S. On today’s show, The Guardian's man in NH gives us a British perspective on America’s election.

Then, between the paltry snow cover and spring-like temperatures, suffice it to say, this has been a very strange New Hampshire winter, and the unseasonable temperatures have put a dent in many winter activities. Among the hardest hit? Ice fishing. We'll get the fisherman's perspective on the winter that hasn't really started.

Group learning and collaborative skills are status quo in today's classrooms - which can be tough on introverts, especially when they're the teacher.  On today’s show, the high burnout rate for introverted teachers.

Then, politicians have a long and storied past with music, from Bill Clinton playing saxophone on late night TV to Mike Huckabee playing bass in his band Capital Offense. But perhaps the most perplexing display of musical...uh...prowess: Bernie Sanders' folk album.

Bart Everson via flickr Creative Commons /

Group learning and collaborative skills are status quo in today's classrooms - which can be tough on introverts, especially when they're the teacher.  On today’s show, the high burnout rate for introverted teachers.

Also, remember the days of The Shadow, and The Green Hornet? We'll hear about a live stage show that takes comic book radio drama to a new level.

And "Cash for Your Warhol",  the story of a fake business that became surprisingly real.

2.1.16: Dead Presidents & Killer Heels

Feb 1, 2016
Brady Carlson /

After Iowans caucus tonight, the candidates will be back in New Hampshire, making a case for why they deserve to be president. The job's got plenty of perks, but it also means giving over your life, and your death. On today’s show, from mountainside monuments to commemorative sandwiches, we'll explore how America remembers its dead presidents.

Also today, high heeled shoes: mocked, coveted, and symbolic to feminists and fashionistas. We'll learn about the history of high heel shoes and why they haven’t always been a symbol of feminine status.

A place can shape the music created there. And the music can return the favor and shape the place.

That’s the concept at the heart of Seacoast musician Mike Dunbar's new EP “Suitcase and Guitar in Hand.”

Sara Plourde, NHPR

Tom Perrotta is the author behind, among others, Little Children, The Abstinence Teacher, and The Leftovers, now a hit HBO drama which he co-writes. Recently, he provided the foreword to a new Penguin edition of The Scarlet Letter. For this episode of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop, we made a date with him and settled into a corner of Harvard Book Store to ask him about his writing process.

Plenty of would-be presidents are criss-crossing New Hampshire these days, each hoping he or she will be the one moving into the White House next January.

But plenty of sitting presidents have made their way through this state as well, going all the way back to the first one.

Drew Reilly

Described as "David Lynch for teenagers," award-winning crime writer Megan Abbott. Her latest, The Fever, seemed to make every Best of 2014 list, from the Village Voice, to Amazon, to NPR. Her forthcoming novel, You Will Know Me, is out in July 2016.

We spoke to Megan from Manhattan on a busy NYC New Year's Eve, 2015.