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.

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.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

If you move from Korea, Pakistan, or Senegal to New York City, you’ll find a whole neighborhood of shops with foods from home. Move to New Hampshire from just about anywhere else -- and there’s pretty much just Saigon Market.

Saigon Market opened twelve years ago in Manchester, but had to close in 2013 after owner Thanh Ho’s lease was not renewed.

The Caped Crusade, Dark Heart, & Alexander Chee

Mar 25, 2016
nur_h via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6c3Msd

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.

Jack Rodolico

Odds are at some point, you've paid good money for a really bad cup of coffee. But a cup of coffee is really just ground up beans plus water plus time. And in cold brewing, you just add a lot more time.

"It’s this movement away from your classic World-War-II Folgers," says Connor Roelke, owner of Nobl Coffee.

Tamás Mészáros via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/eimCUu

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*.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

To hear 45 year old ex-restaurant chef Dave Valicenti tell it, making a living selling food at farmer’s markets was far from a master plan.

“In fact I didn’t even want to do farmers markets at all. My mother was like, ‘you know that’s how Stonewall Kitchen started,’ and so I’m like yeah, I don’t want to be one of those carny-weirdos who goes around to farmers markets.”

angeladellatorre via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9Ng42y

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 / https://flic.kr/p/kJ7HVv

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 / https://flic.kr/p/dktav6

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. 

Mary via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/ZnDmU

  What happens when a school takes one of those lunchroom staples off the menu?

Something big – at least if you look at recent events at schools in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

David Hale Smith via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/ecEZWt

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.”

When you imagine the daily tasks of a farmer in New Hampshire, scheduling Facebook posts probably doesn’t come to mind. But it turns out that social media skills have become an important part of the modern farmer’s resume.

Inside a large reception hall at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, about fifty farmers from around the Monadnock Region gather for a meeting of the minds. But they’re not here to talk about the growing season, the price of grain, or animal husbandry -- though that sort of thing does come up.

What to Read Now: Spring Book Picks, 2016

Mar 8, 2016
NHPR

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.

TexasGOPVote.com via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9mNV9x

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 / https://flic.kr/p/9fEAzN

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 / https://flic.kr/p/5oEJxb

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. 

A&E Coffee

That cup of coffee you had this morning came a long way before you poured it.

Certified coffee taster Emeran Langmaid has spent the past 15 years getting to know coffee growers in Latin America, and mastering the art of roasting coffee here in New Hampshire. She owns A&E Coffee in Amherst, and Manchester New Hampshire. 

Langmaid flies to Honduras to judge a coffee competition in a couple of weeks, but NHPR's Natasha Haverty caught up with her right here in New Hampshire as she sampled her latest batch.

click-see via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/V62An

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 / https://flic.kr/p/7MUrSR

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.

Elodie Reed / Courtesy of The Concord Monitor

When you’re about to sit down to a meal, and that meal involves a piece of meat—a steak, some chicken, or pork chops, for example—how much do you think about the animal it came from? We all bring a different level of awareness to the dinner table, and it can be uncomfortable for some people to think deeply about the chicken, cow, or pig that was killed to become someone’s food. 

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.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Summer may be a ways off yet, but in Portsmouth, restaurant owners Matt Louis and Jay McSharry are already anxious about staffing their kitchens. That's because there’s a shortage of line cooks in restaurants all across the country, especially on the Seacoast, where unemployment is particularly low.

“Come May when the beaches open, it’s a mad sprint to make sure you have enough staff to be ready for summer,” McSharry says.

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?

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

You can only buy Canterbury Aleworks beer in one place – at the brewery in the woods.

"I like the little saying, a little out of the way, a lot out of the ordinary. But you could swap those off one way or the other. Some people say, 'Oh it’s a lot out of the way.'"

That’s Steve Allman, brewer and owner of Canterbury Aleworks. He’s behind the bar in his taproom. And he doesn’t look like a bartender – no crisp white shirt and pressed black pants. He looks like a carpenter. Which he is.

L: Chris R: Camilo Rueda López via flickr Creative Commons / L: https://flic.kr/p/hZL67 | R: https://flic.kr/p/7YY4d7

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.

Reviving Robie's: A Primary Landmark Set To Reopen

Feb 4, 2016
Brady Carlson / NHPR

For more than a year one of the most-visited stops on the New Hampshire primary trail has been closed. But this old-time shop may have some new life in it after all. 

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