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.

Sean Hurley

 

Vladimir Popov is known around Waterville Valley as the opera singing chairlift operator.  Although Popov sings strictly in the mountains now, as he told NHPR's Sean Hurley, he once sang in the world's great opera houses.

Leo Newball Jr. via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/6j8MRH

No matter how polished, prepped, and put together he or she may be, every presidential candidate copes with an Achilles heel. On today’s show, we'll find out how Marco Rubio capitalized on reaching for the water bottle...again and again and again. Then, need a gift idea for the book lover in your life? We'll go beyond the best seller list for a sampling of the best overlooked books of 2015, including a collection of short stories from Kelly Link.

Kenny Louie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/eaGPCC

The annual tsunami of best-of book lists is upon us - a time for critics to tell us what we should have been reading, watching and listening to in 2015. Here at Word of Mouth, we tend to root for the underdog...so we are proud to present a sort-of Island of Misfit Toys equivalent of the year's best. 

Sebastian via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/8ypYMW

The skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. On today's show, we’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

Best Books for the Holidays, 2015

Dec 9, 2015

It’s our annual holiday book show: two N.H. independent booksellers give us their picks for the best reads of 2015. 

Guests:  

Fiona Wen Hui C via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/8cnsk4

At 5,525 miles, the US and Canadian border is the longest and friendliest in the world, but the long relationship between the two nations is not without conflict. Today, a history of US-Canadian skirmishes and why a war between neighbors isn’t out of the question. Plus, researchers in Virginia may be turning a long held belief about early America on its head. 

Marcelo Lima via Flickr CC https://flic.kr/p/zF352E

A new study has confirmed a sad truth about our listening habits - people stop discovering new music around age 33.  Today on Word of Mouth, a seasoned music editor offers tips on how not to get stuck listening to the songs you loved in high school for the rest of your life. Plus, Song Exploder takes apart a track by Chet Faker, and a comedian wrestles with how the world should think of Bill Cosby's decades of standup material. 

Staff Picks: What We're "Gobbling" Up This November

Nov 18, 2015
http://gph.is/1AXFSlG

David Bowie Is Waiting: The above David Bowie gif was submitted for Staff Picks without comment by Maureen, our fearless leader, though not before she sent it around to ask about assignment updates. 

John W. Iwanski via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/adzSde

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In times of mourning, we emphasize the cyclical nature of life and death - and yet, American burial practices are mostly designed to halt the natural process of decomposition. Today on Word of Mouth, a look at the historical forces that pushed America towards embalming and containment, and the growing "green burial" movement. Plus, how American judges are grappling with a difficult to interpret form of evidence that's starting to be introduced in the courtroom - the emoji.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Recently, the multi-talented poet/artist/rock legend Patti Smith joined us to discuss her latest memoir, M Train, for our program Writers on a New England Stage. Before the show, we sat down with Patti in the greenroom of the Music Hall to talk about her writing process. The conversation is part of a series we call the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop.

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

Hoffnungsschimmer via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/fuPPuF

Four more women just joined the federal defamation suit being brought against Bill Cosby. Even as fans and colleagues and celebrities distance themselves from the once beloved Cosby, there's still the question of how to handle his comedic legacy. Today, can you separate an artist's work from their deeds? Plus, when was the last time you really got into a new album or musician? If you're an adult, it's probably been a while. We're speaking with a life-long music lover about how to keep growing your musical tastes. 

rachel a. k. via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/zJNSNf

Garamond, Times New Roman, Helvetica. We use them so often, it’s easy to forget that typefaces are licensed products – and just like other forms of media, they can be pirated and plagiarized. Today, we confront the rampant problem of typeface piracy. Then, the founder of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, urges our inner-writer out of its shell. 

Writers On A New England Stage: Stacy Schiff

Nov 9, 2015
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

On today's show it's Writers on a New England Stage with Stacy Schiff, recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of biographies of Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov, Benjamin Franklin, and Cleopatra, is known for discovering the real overlaid by popular mythologies. Her most recent book takes on the enduring fictions of one of the most confounding and hysterical events in American history: the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Jeff Myers via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5UcE7V

When it comes to stump speeches, presidential contenders want their words to resonate with as many voters as possible – which may explain why Donald Trump speaks to the public at a 4th grade reading level. Today, the strategy of simplicity. Then, from speech to song…later in the show we go behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture.

11.01.15: Incognito, Jedis, & Daylight Savings

Oct 30, 2015
Leo Reynolds via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6pobVe

Michael Fosberg grew up in a middle-class white family – and didn’t discover until his early 30s that his biological father was black. Today, a conversation about race, identity and personal discovery with actor Michael Fosberg. Plus, whether you’re looking forward to brighter mornings or dreading the dark afternoons, daylight saving time is happening on Sunday. We’ll debunk the myths of daylight saving time., starting with its origins.

Season Of The Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock & Roll

Oct 26, 2015

In 1966, the top of the music charts had a decidedly split personality. Hits like Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees and Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Gang, were sharing the airwaves with The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows and The Rolling Stones Paint it Black

Eric Leslie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8k4TM2

Kids grow up so fast…and it turns out that girls are growing up even faster. Why is this generation of girls going through puberty much earlier than previous ones? Plus, a conversation about magic, the occult, and rock n’ roll – from Robert Johnson’s mythical deal with the devil, to the coded messages in Led Zeppelin songs, we’ll talk about the dark spiritual rebellion that gave rock its musical edge. And, a conversation with one rock star who traded success for autonomy, and a career making kids music.

Neil Howard via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/pSpJ6w

Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” His two years spent in solitude at Walden Pond left an indelible mark on the national psyche – and cemented the relationship between the inner self and the outdoors. Today, a writer reflects on two years in a cabin in the Vermont woods. Then, first we get rid of all the bosses!  We check in on the online retailer, Zappos, six months after their radical shift – getting rid of managers and declaring a self-organizing workforce. 

Writers on a New England Stage: Salman Rushdie

Oct 16, 2015
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Salman Rushdie is a Booker-Award-winning novelist and the prolific author of a number of novels, non-fiction books, children’s books, story collections, and essays. He joined Virginia at the Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about his latest novel, Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.  It’s a fantasy, a fairy tale for grown-ups, and the book, as he told us at the Music Hall, “...may be his weirdest,” adding, “I’m no stranger to weird.”

Kent Wang / https://flic.kr/p/tiQF7

On January 16, 1920, Americans took their last legal drink for 13 years. In New York City, gadflies wore black clothes and funeral robes in anticipation of the Volstead Act kicking off Prohibition at midnight. Reporters for the Daily News imagined the last words of John Barleycorn: “I’ve had more friends in private and more foes in public than any other man in America.” 

10.11.15: Sportsball

Oct 9, 2015
Drew Geraets via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/769ED3

From dreaming of the big leagues to a roller derby revival— today, we enter the wild and wacky world of sports, starting with the origin story of the most successful non-carbonated beverage in the US and a staple of the pro sports sidelines: Gatorade. Plus, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

Roadsidepictures via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/awowKc

As autumn progresses, it’s getting to be time to turn up the thermostat, and pile on the blankets. Or maybe not. On today’s show, we consider the benefits of being cold. And, we explore the curious history of one of sports’ key beverages: Gatorade.

10.07.15: Star Wars, IKEA Hacking, & Flood Watch

Oct 7, 2015
Pineapples101 via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/7xkHz2

The first Star Wars film may have been released 38 years ago, but its hold on the popular imagination remains as strong as Darth Vader’s death-grip. On today’s show, a look at the role fandom has played in the success of the Star Wars franchise. Plus, from data collection to the latest internet tracking technology, online advertisers go to great lengths to find out who we are and what we like. We’ll enter the world of intelligent marketing to find out just how much, or little, they really know about us.

Anders Österberg via Flickr CC / //flic.kr/p/btG1dZ

Stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad. Then: aphonia, flop sweat, mic fright. Call it what you will, stage fright can be crippling for some performers. On today’s show: a pianist delves into the history of performance anxiety, and her own struggle to overcome it.

Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/7xUSvx

The Barbie doll has been targeted for her unrealistic proportions and for setting up an unattainable ideal for girls. Well, meet the new model - equipped with artificial intelligence, Barbie just got even more persuasive. Plus, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” has long kicked off the story of how babies are made.  But what about now,  when surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms? We talk with the author of a series of books about sex for kids without gender, and without judgment. Today, we learn about the birds, bees, and biology.

valiantness via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fRNWA6

This week, a federal judge sentenced peanut executive Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly outbreak of salmonella…the first ever felony conviction for a food safety crime.  Today, we speak with the investigative reporter behind “Food Crimes” – a new video series examining everything from food borne illness, to the illegal saffron trade. Plus, a baffling new literary trend – why millions of Evangelical readers are snatching up Amish romance books.  

thomasglobal via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/9V2sxB

With every internet search come the annoying ads…popping up to obscure your view, streaming sound, or moving around distractingly in the corner. But can the internet survive without them? Today, what a new wave of ad blockers will mean for the future of the internet. Then, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

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