Arts & Culture

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

• Visit our NHPR Arts & Culture Facebook page to connect with us and share your arts events!

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

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Word of Mouth
4:51 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Why Is There A Dearth Of New Holiday Songs?

Credit mariahcarey.com

The song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey was released in 1994, and has become a Christmas standard, consistently topping the billboard holiday charts. Despite the sleigh load of holiday albums released every winter, there hasn’t been an original holiday single with the staying power of Mariah Carey’s hit for nineteen years.

So, has our culture stopped welcoming new holiday songs? Has our Christmas carol quota been met?  Chris Klimek, is here to weigh in, his article for Slate:  “All I Want For Christmas Is A New Christmas Song,” pretty much says it all.

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Word of Mouth
11:55 am
Thu December 19, 2013

The Story Behind "The Christmas La La Song"

Credit Sherwin Sleeves

Christmas songs can quickly puncture the spirit of the season with deep rancor. NHPR’s Sean Hurley found this out for himself, when he decided to compose a new Christmas carol. Sean's song, “The Christmas La La Song” was picked up by Sirius XM shock jocks Opie and Anthony. We’ll let Sean pick it up from there. And a reminder that these are the kind of radio personalities that love to inflame…

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Word of Mouth
11:54 am
Thu December 19, 2013

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Presents "Creole Christmas"

Credit Shannon Brinkman / preservationhalljazzband.com

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, one of New Orlean’s most legendary bands, will be rousing the crowds at The Music Hall in Portsmouth this Saturday with its “Creole Christmas” show… a joyful mix of Christmas tunes, jazz standards, and original music that busts out of the nutcracker and King Wenceslas mold. 

Ben Jaffe is creative director and sousaphone player for the band and joined us from the road.

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Word of Mouth
2:04 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Best Overlooked Books Of 2013

Credit Dan Klimke via flickr Creative Commons

Well, the holidays are upon us and there’s nothing quite like a well-told story for seeking refuge from the chaos or a little too much quality time with family. A lot of big-name authors had terrific new titles out this year, but we have a fondness for books that don’t get full page ads or window displays – call it the literary equivalent of the island of misfit toys – great books waiting for a good home; you just have to know that they are there. 

With us today are two seasoned purveyors of overlooked books. Michele Filgate is a writer and critic as well as the events coordinator at community bookstore in Brooklyn. Liberty Hardy is events coordinator at Riverrun bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She’s also contributing editor for Book Riot.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

StoryCorps Founder David Isay

Credit storycorps.org

We're speaking with David Isay, StoryCorps founder and frequent contributor to NPR. His StoryCorps project's mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories about their lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews. They are all preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and many have aired on NPR's Morning Edition. David Isay has written a new book, "Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude From the First Ten Years of StoryCorps".

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Word of Mouth
1:53 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

What Does Quality Mean In the Age Of Hi-Def?

Will TVs get even larger than this 75" Samsung? It's hard to imagine.
Credit SamsungTomorrow via flickr Creative Commons

Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics.  We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600.  So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?  

Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.

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Word of Mouth
1:48 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Paper Is Dead! Long Live Paper!

Credit pawpaw67 via flickr Creative Commons

The digital age has rendered letter writing, paperboys, and checkbooks as old-fashioned as the rotary phone. While the proliferation of e-books, e-mail, and online newspapers appear to be hastening the death of the printed page, Nicholas Basbanes argues that we are far from becoming a paperless society. Nicholas is an impassioned bibliophile and author of On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand-Year History.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Currier Museum Celebrates Pop Artist Robert Indiana

1960 The American Dream
Robert Indiana, 1971 Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, N.H.

When you think of the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup prints or Roy Lichtenstein's comic book paintings might come to mind.  But recently, one of their peers has been getting more attention than usual.  

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Word of Mouth
12:32 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

The World's First Skiers...Ever

Blasting through powder on wooden, horsehide-bottomed skis with a single pole for balance, an Altay skier shows off the skills and equipment his distant ancestors perfected.
©Jonas Bendiksen/National Geographic

As the first snows fall, weekend warriors from all over New England will pack up the car, strap the skis to the roof and hit the slopes for a fairly expensive getaway. But in some places, skiing is a strategy for staying alive. Mark Jenkins, a contributing writer for National Geographic traveled to the northern most fringe of western China where skiing was invented many millennia ago. He spoke with the people who carry on the earliest skiing traditions, using the same resources and methods as their ancestors.

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Word of Mouth
12:30 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Princesses Behaving Badly

Credit lindarodriguezmcrobbie.com/

As long as there have been stories of princesses, there have been little girls to love them. The Disney princess phenomenon seeds young imaginations with shiny pink costumes, and gossip magazines continue the fantasy with pages devoted to Kate Middleton, and before her, Princesses Grace and Diana – the latter proving that becoming royalty is no guarantee of living happily ever after. Beyond these two dimensional characters are scores of real princesses  -- sometimes tragic, often extraordinary human beings who left scant record of their lives. Mental Floss columnist Linda Rodriguez McRobbie scoured through history for stories of women who fought, stole, schemed and survived, and pulls them together in her new book, Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History – Without The Fairy-Tale Endings.

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Word of Mouth
12:29 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

NH Magician Performs As 19th Century Illusionist

Courtesy of Andrew Pinard

Andrew Pinard’s website features video from the kinds of performances you might expect from a contemporary working magician: entertaining audiences at conventions, business meetings and a group of teens at a post-graduation party.

On Saturday, Andrew will take on another guise, and another century. He’ll be performing as the 19th century magician Jonathan Harrington at Canterbury Shaker Village, and he’s here to give us a preview, and a little bit of information on just who this Harrington is.

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Word of Mouth
11:27 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Live Free Or Sci-Fi: Speculative Fiction Set In The Granite State

In early September, 1965 a UFO sighting was reported near Exeter, New Hampshire.  Air force investigators were sent to question several eye witnesses who reported a “big orange ball” and a “huge dark object as big as a barn with flashing red lights” in the sky.  They dismissed the sighting as “nothing more than stars and planets twinkling…owing to a temperature inversion.” The incident is one of the best documented accounts of an alleged close encounter with the paranormal.  New Hampshire’s brush with paranormal fame makes it the perfect setting for a new compilation of short stories called Live Free or Sci-Fi. The book features stories that bend science and reality together into hair raising tales of speculative fiction.

Rick Broussard is the editor of Live Free or Sci-Fi and creator of the New Hampshire pulp fiction series. He is also the editor of New Hampshire Magazine.

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Word of Mouth
9:55 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Inside The World Of Competitive Laughing

Credit Arnett Gill via Flickr Creative Commons

We all know laughter can be contagious. But can it be a good workout?  A form of therapy?  Even a skill?  Many happy devotees think, yes. Inspired in part by the growing popularity of laughter yoga, filmmaker and journalist Albert Nerenberg hosted the first official laughing contest in Montreal back in 2011. He’s also the director of the 2009 documentary, Laughology.

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