The Art Roundup 23/02/08

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Own an original Tomie dePaola: The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; Currier.org, 669-6144) is selling 200 tickets at $50 each for a raffle of two original artworks by artist, author and illustrator Tomie dePaola. The sale runs through Feb. 29. See the website for a look at the pieces being raffled and to purchase tickets. The funds raised support the Tomie dePaola Art Education Fund, which was “created by the Currier in Tomie’s memory” and “awards scholarships to lower-income families and disadvantaged youth, allowing them to participate in our classes and camps throughout the year,” according to the website.

Save the date for Chris Bohjalian: Author Chris Bohjalian will discuss his new novel The Princess of Las Vegas and more at the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; ccanh.com) on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. The event is part of Authors on Main and is a collaboration between Gibson’s Bookstore, New Hampshire Public Radio and the Capitol Center for the Arts and will feature Bohjalian in conversation with NHPR’s Rick Ganley, according to a press release. Tickets cost $39 (one admission and one hardcover copy of The Princess of Las Vegas) and $49 (for two admissions and one book).

More coming up at Gibson’s: Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord; gibsonsbookstore.com, 224-0562) has several author events coming up. On Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. Margo Cooper will discuss her book of photographs and interviews Deep Inside the Blues with Holly Harris, host of WUMB’s Spinning the Blues. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. Leila Philip will discuss her book Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m., Matthew J.C. Clark, a Maine carpenter, will discuss Bjarki, Not Bjarki: On Floorboards, Love, and Irreconcilable Differences. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m., Pembroke-based author Avree Kelly Cark will discuss her book Malice Aforethought: A True Story of the Shocking Double Crime That Horrified Nineteenth-Century New England. On Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. author and gardener Jane Hawley Stevens will discuss her new book The Celestial Garden: Growing Herbs, Vegetables and Flowers According to the Moon and Zodiac. On Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. Casey Sherman will discuss her book A Murder in Hollywood: The Untold Story of Tinseltown’s Most Shocking Crime.

New exhibit: Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center (26 Main St. in Peterborough; 924-455, mariposamuseum.org) features an exhibit from New Hampshire photographer Becky Field called “Crying in the Wilderness” that illustrates “the physical and emotional toll of immigrant detention,” according to a press release. The exhibit features the story of an African man who sought asylum in the U.S. in 2018 and moved in 2020 to the Seacoast, where his movements were tracked via an ankle monitor, according to a press release. Admission to the museum costs $8 for adults, $6 for seniors. The exhibit will be on display through Sunday, April 14. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On display in Rochester: The Rochester Museum of Fine Arts (rochestermfa.org) exhibition “Neither Created Nor Destroyed” featuring works by Julie K. Gray is on display in the Bernier Room at the James W. Foley Memorial Community Center (150 Wakefield St. in Rochester) through Friday, March 1. The building is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION
Celebrate Mardi Gras (Tuesday, Feb. 13) with a performance by the Soggy Po Boys at the Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org) on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The show will feature New Orleans-style jazz, Caribbean music, funk, soul and brass band/street beat music, according to the website. Tickets cost $29.
CIRQUE US
Circus company Cirque Us, featuring “acrobats, aerials and quirky clowns,” will present One Man’s Trash on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St. in Derry; stockbridgetheatre.showare.com, 437-5210), according to a press release. Tickets cost $22.


Not all hearts and flowers

Mosaic Art Collective takes on Valentine’s Day

In its latest month-long themed exhibition, Mosaic Art Collective in Manchester turns to matters of the heart; fitting, given Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of February. However, the pieces submitted thus far — photos, sculptures, paintings and prints — cover the spectrum of emotions, and the depth of feelings.

“It’s not just lovey-dovey,” Mosaic’s founder and president Liz Pieroni said by phone recently. “I would say the ones that are depicting heartache are more definitely gripping.” One example of this is “Release,” a jarring graphite-on-paper drawing by Jaida Mei that depicts a woman facing a powerful wind that’s literally tearing her up.

“This is a new artist to us, so I haven’t met them,” Pieroni said, calling Mei’s work “really, really powerful and almost a little bit scary, almost surreal.”

More playful is “The Love Letter,” from New Hampshire Institute of Art graduate Andrew Freshour. The ink and watercolor print is reminiscent of a Tomie dePaola illustration. It shows a royal coach carried by two dogs in powder wigs. “It’s about self-love, self-indulgence … living your most authentic life,” Pieroni opined, calling its style “like a fairy tale but also very over the top … kind of like the Muppets meet real life.”

Yes, there are flowers as well, Pieroni continued.

“We also have some beautiful botanical paintings that are probably more palatable to some people, they’re just really beautiful,” she said. “Red Between the Lines,” from Manchester painter Susanne Larkham, is a zoomed-in pastel of a rose in many shades of red. Jonathan Pereira’s “Love in the Form of Time and Growth,” on the other hand, is multicolored and brimming with childlike innocence.

More submissions are expected for the open call event, Pieroni continued.

“We don’t really know what we’re going to get until the night before we select pieces,” she said, adding that invitational shows like the one in March with Manchester high school students to celebrate Youth Art Month are more predictable.

A Hooksett native and an artist herself, Pieroni moved back home from Vermont in the wake of the pandemic. “I have three small kids, [and] after homeschooling and trying to figure out all that, we were really in need of a little bit more help … and we wanted to be closer to family,” she said.

Searching for a gallery and realizing that the closest ones were either on the Seacoast or in Boston, she opened Mosaic Art Collective in September 2022.

“I was searching for a place to show my work locally, but I also needed an art studio,” she said. “I felt like I couldn’t be the only one in that same boat; ultimately, I was correct.”

Recently Mosaic began offering live music, and Pieroni is planning more.

“We’re trying to open up the gallery as much as possible,” she said. “The music event was one way, but then we’re also offering art talks. The Struggle Bus improv group did a performance here, and we also have run some workshops. We’re trying to find different ways of bringing people in, for all sorts of reasons.”

Art is available for purchase at Mosaic; some pieces can be acquired for as little as $36.

“The majority of things that we hang on the wall are under $500 typically, so they’re pretty reasonably priced,” Pieroni said. “Ultimately, you’re supporting a local artist, so you get good-person points.”

She urged anyone with uncertainty about ownership to consider Mosaic.

“Our biggest challenge is trying to bring people in who maybe haven’t purchased art before or considered themselves as collectors,” she said. “Finding those people and making it relevant to them and, also, a little less scary than walking into a gallery.”

ALL Heart Statuses
Where: Mosaic Art Collective, 66 Hanover St., Suite 201, Manchester
When: Through Wednesday, Feb. 28 (opening reception Saturday, Feb. 10, at noon

Featured photo: The Love Letter – Andrew Freshour Courtesy photo.

Cook for your Valentine

How to impress with fancy eats, cozy eats and a decadent dessert

Generally speaking, as a grownup on Valentine’s Day, you have four paths open to you:

(1) Sitting alone on your couch, in the dark, eating ice cream and watching kung fu movies. This will seem very familiar, as this was probably how you spent New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago.

(2) If you are young, enthusiastic and employed, there are Champagne, jewelry and optimistically intimate undergarments. These are grand, romantic gestures. They are undeniably effective, but also set expectations for the evening uncomfortably high, and at the same time make you look bad on the next gift-giving holiday, when you aren’t so demonstrative. It’s a risk.

(3) If you are older, and somewhat trampled upon by Life, there is the panicked last-minute purchase of traditional gestures of romance — grocery store roses ($15), a heart-shaped box of chocolates from the drug store ($25 for a big one), or getting a heart tattooed on your butt, with your loved one’s name on it (around $150, plus tip).

(4) Or, if you have been with your loved one for a while, a greeting card and dinner. This has some advantages:

(a) Nobody expects anything profound on a card. You can buy a generically romantic or even blank one, then look up a poem on the internet and copy a couple of stanzas into the card. Don’t try to take credit for good poetry. Cite your source, and you’ll look classy. Alternatively, you can try to be funny. Your joke might not go over, but you will still get points for trying, even if you’ve drawn a zombie holding a bouquet of dead roses, with a caption that says, “I love you for your brain.”

(b) Dinner is a winning strategy; we all like food. Even if you’ve been arguing with your loved one and things have been a little tense, we all have to eat sometime, and your sincere cooking gesture will not go unappreciated.

So if you’ve decided to cook a Valentine’s Day dinner, again, you have a few different approaches.

Plated fancy dinner with asparagus and mashed potatoes
Grilled portabella mushroom, mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. Photo by John Fladd.

A FANCY DINNER

As Valentine’s Day cooking goes, this is a big swing. If you pull it off, you will look confident and accomplished. If you and your dining companion are still getting to know one another, this will hint that you have hidden depths.

Even if things go spectacularly wrong — even if there are billows of smoke from the kitchen, even if the dog races through the living room with your main course in his mouth, even if you injure yourself dramatically in some way — you can smile gamely, wipe a tear from the corner of your eye, and ask, “How do you feel about pizza?” You will still come out ahead.

You want to cook something that is legitimately delicious, grown up, and impressive, but not actually very hard to make.

Steak

If your Valentine is a fan of red meat, this is the time to double down on a really good piece of beef. Here’s the recipe for a truly excellent steak:

Go to a real butcher. Describe how you’d like your evening to go. He or she will show you some steaks. To you, they will look like most of the meat in the case. Trust the professional. Say, “Yes, please,” then ask them how to cook it. They know meat better than you ever will. Write down their directions, go home, and do what they told you to do.

This will be a Very Good Steak.

Chicken

If you are a strong and confident cook, roast a whole chicken. Stuff the cavity with lemon quarters and thyme, and baste it with olive oil and garlic.

If you aren’t quite that confident, your best bet is Chicken Piccata.

Chicken Piccata

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half –you can buy them this way at the grocery store

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

all-purpose flour, for coating

6 Tablespoons (¾ stick) butter

5 Tablespoons (3 big glugs) olive oil

⅓ cup (75 grams) fresh squeezed lemon juice

½ cup (113 g) chicken stock

¼ cup (55 g) brined capers, rinsed

chopped parsley for garnish

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Coat them with flour, dusting off the excess.

Fry the chicken over medium heat in 4 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil, until both sides are golden brown, about three minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the lemon juice, chicken stock and capers to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the little bits of fried chicken — if you want to impress people, call this fond — and incorporate it into the sauce.

Return the chicken to the pan and give it a brief spa day in the sauce, five minutes or so.

Remove the chicken again. At this point it is probably getting confused and a little frustrated, trying to figure out what you want from it. Plate it with your apologies.

Add the last 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce and whisk it vigorously, like it owes you money. Again, if you want to use a fancy cooking term, this is called mounting the sauce. If you tried to work that term into a joke later on, who could blame you? If you whisk briskly enough that your sauce doesn’t break, you’ll probably get away with making a mounting joke.

Pour the sauce — the piccata sauce — over the chicken, and top with the chopped parsley. Congratulations, you’ve made Chicken Piccata.

This is delicious. It is a classic but went out of style 20 or 30 years ago, so there’s a good chance your dining companion hasn’t heard of this before. The acid from the lemon juice plays off the bright, salty flavor of the capers. This would be a bit too sharp, but the butter has rounded off the edges and given the sauce a richness that complements the chicken. The effort-to-deliciousness ratio of this dish is excellent.

Vegetarian

Your best bet here is an omelet or roasted portabella mushrooms. The mushrooms will have a rich flavor and a meaty texture. The eggs are dependably delicious and look good on the plate. If you mess them up it will only take a couple of minutes to redo them.

Grilled Asparagus

Some people find asparagus intimidating. Cooked properly it is probably the easiest vegetable to cook. It looks good on the plate. It tastes good and establishes your grown-up credentials.

Buy a bunch of baby asparagus, the pencil-thin ones.

Rinse the stalks, then break off the woody base of each spear. Bend it like you are going to break it in half. Surprisingly, it won’t actually break halfway across the spear, but toward the end, where it starts to get woody.

Soak the stalks in bottled balsamic vinaigrette for about an hour.

Spread the asparagus on a baking sheet, then broil it in the oven under high heat for about four minutes, until it looks cooked and the vinaigrette looks foamy.

That’s it. It is incredibly easy. The asparagus actually tastes like something, unlike when you were a child and one of your relatives boiled it for an hour or so. This is a sophisticated side dish.

Your Starch

Two straightforward side dishes are mashed potatoes and couscous.

The secret to excellent mashed potatoes is boiling the potatoes until they start to fall apart. Drain them, then return them to the pot and stir them to dry them out. They will continue to fall apart. When they look dry — well, drier — mash them with a potato masher, then add a truly injudicious amount of butter and cream. Season it, and again you look like a pro. If nothing else goes right tonight, good mashed potatoes will save you.

On the other hand, there’s couscous. It looks like rice. It’s faster and easier than rice. It’s not rice. Mix dry couscous with an equal amount of boiling water or broth and a little butter. Cover it and leave it alone for seven minutes. Stir it with a fork and boom, you’ve cooked couscous, baby!

Toasted ravioli. Photo by John Fladd.

A COMFORT FOOD DINNER

Valentine’s Day comfort tastes delicious, is bad for you and doesn’t have to be paired with anything. However, here are some notes.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Don’t believe what anybody has told you: Do not spread mayonnaise on the bread instead of butter. No, it is not “just as good.” Try to remember to leave butter out in the morning to soften up. Make sure you thoroughly butter each exterior side of the sandwich before you grill it in a pan. Fancy cheese doesn’t make for a better grilled cheese. Don’t let anyone shame you out of using American, if that’s how you roll. Cheddar or pepper jack are always good. Edam is about as fancy as you want to go. Serve your sandwich with a crunchy pickle.

Tater Tots

Don’t try to save time or energy by using your air fryer. That’s fine 364 days a year, but on Valentine’s Day, actually bake your Tater Tots in the oven. Cook them on a wire cooling rack that you’ve placed inside a baking sheet. This will let the hot air get to all sides of the Tots, and you won’t have to flip them halfway through cooking.

Toasted Ravioli or Pierogi

Don’t worry about thawing or pre-cooking them. Fry them — frozen — in butter over medium-low heat. By the time they are golden brown on both sides, the insides will be warm and creamy. If you’re making pierogi, spend 20 minutes beforehand and caramelize some onions to go with them.

Buttered Noodles

Follow the instructions on the box. Boil the pasta for that long; don’t depend on your memory. Drain it and add real, full-fat, salted butter. I recommend radiatori, but you know what kind of noodle your loved one likes. If you don’t, you need to do some hard thinking about your place in the World.

Ultra-rich brownie with melted ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce. Photo by John Fladd.

A DECADENT DESSERT

Maybe you want to make some kind of romantic gesture but you’d really rather not make a huge production out of it. There is a middle ground: a decadent dessert — something rich and chocolatey. You want it to be a celebration, just not with trumpets and confetti — maybe something you can share with the lights low and the music romantic.

Ultra-Rich Brownies with Malted Ice Cream & Homemade Chocolate Sauce

The Brownies

6 ounces (1½ of the big bars you find at the supermarket) 99 percent dark or unsweetened chocolate, broken up

18 Tablespoons (2¼ sticks) butter

4 eggs

2½ cups (495 g) sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Butter a 9”x 9” baking pan, and line it with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave. Heat them in a plastic or glass bowl for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave them for another 20 or 30 seconds, stir, then another 15 or so, until they have melted and combined. Set aside.

With an electric beater or in a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt at high speed for three minutes, until the mixture is extremely light and creamy. There isn’t any leavener in this recipe, so the air you beat in now will do any raising these brownies get.

Turn down the speed on your mixer, and blend in the chocolate mixture. Wish it luck and Godspeed. Salute it, if you feel so inclined.

At very slow speed, add the flour, a couple of spoonfuls at a time. More flour or a higher speed will cover you with flour.

When the flour is completely mixed in, stop the mixer. Stir the mixture once or twice with a rubber spatula to make sure everything gets combined thoroughly, then pour the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Set aside to cool.

The Ice Cream

Plain, store-bought vanilla ice cream is just about perfect for this dish. If you wanted to go a step further — make a semi-grand gesture, perhaps — homemade malted milk ice cream might be 10 percent more delicious.

3 cups (680 g) half-and-half

¾ cup (106 g) malted milk powder

3 egg yolks

½ cup (99 g) sugar

¼ cup (53 g) brown sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Heat the half-and-half and malted milk powder, stirring, over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugars together.

When the cream has come to a simmer, very, very slowly pour it into the egg mixture, stirring vigorously. You’re adding the cream slowly to keep it from scrambling the eggs.

When everything is mixed together, return it to the saucepan and heat it again until it has thickened slightly. If you are keeping track of the temperature, this will be at around 175ºF.

Remove your ice cream base from the heat, and strain it into a one-quart container. Let it cool, then stir in the vanilla, and store, covered, in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. It has had a traumatic day. Say something comforting to it as you close the refrigerator door.

When the ice cream base has thoroughly chilled, churn it in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer the soft ice cream to a container, then put it in your freezer to harden up.

This is a delicious, fairly subtly flavored ice cream that will complement the rich chocolate in the brownie and the chocolate sauce.

The Chocolate Sauce

1 cup (250 g) water

½ cup (160 g) corn syrup

½ cup (100 g) sugar

¾ cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

⅓ cup (2 ounces, 55 g) chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine everything but the chocolate chips. The cocoa is hydrophobic, which makes it sound like it has rabies, but that just means that it doesn’t like to mix with water. It will take some energetic whisking and a stern look to bring everything together.

Keep whisking the sauce over medium heat, until it just starts to boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips. They will melt and incorporate within a few seconds.

Let the sauce sit for an hour or two to thicken and for the ingredients to get to know each other. Let’s face it; you forced the issue with your whisking. It’s only fair to give everyone time to calm down and settle in.

This is not an overly sweet chocolate sauce. It’s definitely a dessert sauce, but there’s a seriousness about it. It tastes like chocolate, not like candy. You may have noticed that there is no vanilla in the ingredients; that would have rounded out the edges of the chocolate and given it a mellowness. Without it, this sauce is a handsome man in a dark suit.

Putting It All Together

It’s pretty straightforward. Plate a brownie, top it with slightly more ice cream than you might think, and spoon your homemade chocolate sauce on top. You might want to heat the brownie for a few seconds in the microwave, but just until it is gently warm, not hot and gooey. That’s for another occasion.

This dessert is all about contrast. There are chocolate purists who insist that you should use all chocolate — the brownie, the ice cream and the sauce — chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. That would be too much here. The brownie and the sauce are two shades of very serious chocolate. They need vanilla or malted ice cream to stand out and show off their depth.

A note: These are extremely dense and rich brownies. For Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re sharing, go ahead and plate a conventional-size serving. Even the two of you might not finish it — it’s that rich — but this dessert is a Medium Dramatic Gesture (MDG), so now is not the time to start being practical. When you eat the rest of the brownies over the next few days, you’ll probably want to cut them into 1½-inch squares.

Romantic cocktail. Photo by John Fladd.

A ROMANTIC COCKTAIL

In the end, love is tricky.

Sometimes it sneaks up on you; you wake up one morning and realize that you’ve fallen like a 50-pound sack of cement. Sometimes it hits you between the eyes instantly — again, like a sack of cement. Sometimes it consumes you, filling every cell with fire and bubbles. But not cement.

So how do you express that? Love letters? Fighting a duel? A prenuptial agreement?

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday. That doesn’t leave much opportunity to express what’s in your heart.

But a good cocktail might be a good symbolic gesture.

Unnamed Valentine’s Day Cocktail

3 ounces dry gin – a botanical gin might seem like an obvious choice for this, but you don’t want to muddy the other ingredients; a crisp London-style gin like Fords is just right for this

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

1 ounce elderflower liqueur – I like St. Germain

3 drops rose water – as you add this, it won’t seem like enough, but three drops is just about exactly the right amount; you just want a subtle back-note of roses, you don’t want this to be too perfumey.

Several ounces of Asti spumante – you’ll be tempted to go up-market on this, to break out your expensive bubbly, but the spumante brings a sweetness that really adds to the finished cocktail. If this cocktail goes over well enough, you can save the Dom for another occasion.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lime juice, elderflower liqueur, and rose water over ice. Shake for 30 seconds.

Strain into two cocktail glasses, and top with spumante.

Drink together while listening to Frank Sinatra’s cover of “Fly Me to the Moon.” Warning: This might lead to dancing.

The gin is the driver of this particular limousine. The spumante and the elderflower are the couple in the back seat saying, “Keep your eyes on the road, Fords.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Fords says.

The wine is what you notice in the front end, but with a floral aftertaste. This is not an overly boozy cocktail. (With that said, three of these could lead to questionable decision-making, which in a Valentine’s Day context might be just what you’re looking for.)

After all, isn’t that what Love is? The triumph of the heart over common sense?

This Week 24/02/08

Thursday, Feb. 8

Dancing Queens, the Ultimate ABBA Disco Tribute, begins its final weekend run tonight, with a show at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588). Other shows this weekend include Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $28 to $49. Find Michael Witthaus’ story about the show in the Jan. 25 issue of the Hippo at hippopress.com.

Friday, Feb. 9

Lotus Land, the American Rush tribute band, plays two nights at Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; tupelomusichall.com) — tonight and tomorrow night, Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $39. Find more ticket concerts this weekend and beyond on page 42.

Saturday, Feb. 10

Looking for a new outdoor winter hobby? NH Audubon’s Massabesic Center’s (26 Audubon Way in Auburn; 668- 2045, nhaudubon.org) “Beginner Bird Outing” will be held today from 8:30 to 10 a.m. All ages and skill levels of birders are welcome, according to the website, where you can register for the class, which costs $10 per person.

Saturday, Feb. 10

Join your fellow Swifties at “Swift Me Away,” a dance party featuring the music (but not, it should be noted, the person) of Taylor Swift today at 8 p.m. at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; ccanh.com). Tickets cost $21.75 (plus $5 at the door).

Tuesday, Feb. 13

Learn about the plans of scientists and artists for the April 8 solar eclipse at “Science on Tap: Science in the Shadow of Eclipse 2024” today at 6 p.m. at Stark Brewing Co. (500 Commercial St. in Manchester), an adult program presented by SEE Science Center. The event is free but advance registration is appreciated; go to see-sciencecenter.org.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

Catch a screening of the silent film Speedy (1928), a romantic comedy starring Harold Lloyd and featuring Babe Ruth and presented with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, today at 7 p.m. at the Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org). Tickets cost $10. Find more Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day special screenings in the film listings on page 35.

Save the Date! Saturday, April 6
Comedian Preacher Lawson comes to the Nashua Center for the Arts (201 Main St. in Nashua; nashuacenterforthearts.com) on Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $29 to $49. Find videos of his comedy via preacherlawson.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/08

Child care aid

The New Hampshire Department of Health of Human Services (DHHS) has launched “Child Care Accelerate,” an 8-week business support initiative designed to aid child care providers in the state. According to a press release, the program, created in collaboration with Seed Collective, aims to help these providers improve their business operations and financial management to ensure their long-term viability and to enhance the availability of quality child care. Participants will have the chance to apply for the Opportunities to Succeed (OTS) grant, supported by $5 million from American Rescue Plan Act Discretionary funds, to fund projects like facility improvements. This initiative is a continuation of the state’s efforts to utilize $29.7 million in ARPA-D funds for critical needs within the child care sector, which includes various capacity-building and workforce expansion projects.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Since March 2020, more than $150 million in federal relief funds has been invested in the New Hampshire child care system.

UNH deadline extension

Students and their families will have more time to make decisions about their higher education, as the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has extended the application deadline for the 2024-25 academic year. This change comes in response to recent updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), providing applicants with a buffer to understand their financial aid options fully.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Despite the challenges posed by the FAFSA changes, the university has noted an increase in applications.

Sewage in the river

The Merrimack River faced a significant environmental challenge last year, as around 2 billion gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater runoff entered the river, surpassing previous sewer overflow records, NHPR reported. This increase is attributed to factors such as climate change impacts, increased rainfall and ongoing riverfront development. Outdated combined sewer systems struggled to handle heavy rain, leading to untreated sewage entering the river. Sewer overflow advisories were in place for 39 days during June and July. Approximately 500,000 to 700,000 people rely on the Merrimack River for drinking water.

QOL score: -2

Comment: Manchester, one of the most affected areas, is working on a project aimed at reducing sewer overflows into the river, estimated to cost over $300 million and extend over two decades.

QOL score: 55

Net change: 0

QOL this week: 55

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Big game kicks off at 6:30pm Sunday

The Big Story – The Tom Brady Super Bowl: Even though the great man is retired, Sunday’s Big Game between the Chiefs and 49ers is still sorta the Tom Brady SB without him even playing. It features Patrick Mahomes, who’s likely going to break all Brady’s passing records someday. And after being drafted lower than TB-12’s 199 slot, 2022’s Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy is taking his team to the Super Bowl in his second season just as Brady did. So the game’s top storyline is this: Will today’s top QB take another step toward Brady’s seemingly untouchable record total of seven by winning his third SB? Or will Purdy’s Cinderella story match Brady by winning his first in his Year 2? We’ll know on Sunday night.

Sports 101: Only two players have won championships in two different professional sports. Who are they? Hint: One won one of his playing for the Celtics.

News Item – Theo Epstein is Back at Fenway: Everyone is hoping that means as overlord of Fenway Park. But it’s as senior advisor to what John Henry values more than the Red Sox these days, his Fenway Sports Group investment arm. But at a time when co-owner Tom Werner builds ridiculous expectations by saying the rebuild will go “full throttle” this winter and then pass off last week’s signing of 29-year-old reclamation project Melvin Adón as “exciting” after posting a 7.56 ERA with a 2.10 WHIP and .297 batting average against last year in SF because he hits 100 mph on the gun, any news of Theo being close to JH is welcome to a desperate Red Sox Nation.

News Item – Sports Word of the Week: Disgraceful, used to describe the completely unprofessional state of mental readiness and contemptible lack of effort put forth by the Celtics in a 114-105 loss last week to the undermanned L.A. Lakers playing without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The best evidence for their “who gives a bleep” attitude was their mindlessly turning it over nine times in the first quarter.

The Numbers:

Of the Week Awards

Why Can’t We Get Guys Like That Award – Joe Thuney: The guard the Pats cheaped out on in free agency a few years back, sending him to KC, where he made first team All-Pro this year thanks to leading all linemen with an astonishing 99.1 pass block win rate. Though ironically, the incredibly durable Thuney may miss the SB with a pectoral tear.

Nikki Haley Was 100% Correct Award: As if we needed more evidence of what a fool Vivek Ramaswamy is, now we have his conspiracy theory about the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance being part of a plot that involves fixing the NFL playoffs to make sure her boyfriend’s team got to the Super Bowl so a presidential endorsement of Joe Biden during the halftime show would have the biggest possible TV audience. It’s so idiotic it backs up Gov. Haley saying in the first GOP debate, “Every time I hear you I feel a little bit dumber.”

Thumbs Down – Joe Mazzulla: It’s one thing to back your players against an unfair media assault, but to stand up against their, ah, effort being called “embarrassing” by calling that reaction “disrespectful” to a team that clearly mailed in it should be embarrassing to Joe. While losing the locker room is a way to get fired, a quicker way is to let non-efforts like that utter embarrassment slide.

Random Thoughts: Reminder to folks saying Coach B should take a year off to decompress. Moot now, but that’s what people said Andy Reid should do after he bounced out in Philadelphia. Instead he went to KC, where he’s won less than 10 games just once in 10 years, while winning two SB’s, and he’ll be in the big game Sunday for the fourth time in five years.

Sports 101 Answer: The dual title winners are Gene Conley and Otto Graham. Conley pitched for the champion 1957 Milwaukee Braves and won three times as Bill Russell’s backup with the Celtics. For Graham it was for the Cleveland Browns and Rochester Royals of the NBL, which merged with the Basketball Association of America the next year to form the larger NBA.

A Little History – Otto Graham: He took Cleveland to the championship game 10 times from 1946 to 1955, winning seven times to set the mark TB matched. Except he only played 10 years to Brady’s 23. His winning 81 percent (103-17-6) is the highest winning percentage in NFL history, as is his 8.63 yards career yards per pass attempt. So is Brady the G.O.A.T. or is it Otto?

Final Thought – Super Bowl Prediction: When the young Brady won his first SB he faced football’s best QB in Kurt Warner. That mirrors Purdy’s task and since he’ll get more time to throw from his OL than Mahomes will from his patched up group, I’ll go with the younger Brady version in a, ah, Taylor-made SF win over KC: 27-23. Email Dave Long at dlong@hippopress.com.

Art and wellness

A talk with the new director of the NH State Council on the Arts

Adele Bauman, who recently transitioned from the New Hampshire Division of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to become the director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, shared insights into her career shift, her plans for utilizing the arts to bolster New Hampshire communities and her major goals for the Council, and offered some advice for aspiring artists in the state.

What made you switch from health and human services to the arts sector?

The arts became a part of my life in childhood. They remained a parallel passion throughout my adult life. I worked as a studio photographer and graphic designer prior to my joining NH DHHS. I had been with NH DHHS for almost 16 years when this opportunity arose at the NHSCA. I found myself leaping for the chance to transfer my state level government skillset to a state arts agency. I also had a previous focus on service to New Hampshire’s children and youth as a child protection service worker and then as an administrator at the Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health. My time at the NHSCA offers me the ability to think about ways to support New Hampshire’s residents throughout their entire lifespan through the wellness the arts can bring to each of us.

How do you plan to use the arts to help New Hampshire communities?

The arts can provide wellness to our New Hampshire residents. Stronger individuals lead to stronger communities. Stronger communities lead to a stronger state. The arts can regenerate communities as well as provide opportunities for increased social connection, interface, collaboration and open-mindedness across populations regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Increased arts participation among New Hampshire students could enhance academic performance, increase their chances for success after high school and encourage them to become more dynamically engaged with their communities through participation with such things as voting and volunteerism. The arts are a major player for increasing economic drivers within communities. Increasing access and equity within the arts literally translates into health benefits for the community, which has a positive impact on the quality of life for all residents. This is true whether one is creating or viewing the arts.

What is one major goal you have for the Arts Council?

My major goal is to continue to support and strengthen both the mission and vision of the NHSCA. The State Arts Council provides a wide variety of services, competitive grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, schools, health care facilities and to individual artists with the intent to support the arts to thrive in New Hampshire and increase accessibility to all New Hampshire residents in all ages and stages of their lives.

Are there any specific groups or sectors you’re looking forward to working with?

Not especially. I have been learning so much about New Hampshire in my first few months of work. Seeing New Hampshire through the lens of our many local artists and art organizations fills me with so much pride and hope for what lays ahead.

How has your personal interest in art influenced your approach to this role?

In the same way that I could never fully put my camera down, I cannot take the ‘social worker’ out of who I am. Educating myself about how the arts impact wellness for humans of all ages drives my work. My wish is for all individuals to welcome the arts into their lives. The benefits are there to support and offset some of the more challenging aspects of our daily lives.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring artists in New Hampshire?

We all need you to keep creating, whether we all know it yet or not. Your dedication and hard work makes us all stronger.

Featured photo: Adele Bauman. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 24/02/08

Poetry competition

Due to its growing popularity, the New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud competition will hold four semi-finals this month, as announced by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The program, which involves around 5,000 students from 39 high schools and school groups, encourages the mastery of public speaking skills and self-confidence through the memorization and recitation of classic and contemporary poetry. Open to all high school students, including those from home school groups, the competition will progress from classroom to school championships, and then to regional semi-finals hosted at Rochester Opera House, Silver Center for the Arts in Plymouth, Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, and New England College in Henniker on specified dates in February. Finalists will compete at the state final in Concord on March 15, with the winner advancing to the national finals in Washington, D.C., to compete for $50,000 in awards. These events are free and open to the public. Visit nh.gov/nharts.

Mail concerns

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas expressed their concerns about proposed changes to the Manchester Processing and Distribution Center by the United States Postal Service (USPS). At a press conference in Manchester on Feb. 5, they highlighted the potential negative impact these changes could have on mail service in New Hampshire, especially for rural communities and the elderly. The delegation, having previously sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, urged the USPS to reconsider its plans, warning of significant consequences if the facility’s operations were moved to Boston. They emphasized the importance of timely mail service for New Hampshire residents and businesses, especially for critical deliveries like paychecks and medications. Shaheen and Hassan have been active in supporting USPS reforms to ensure prompt mail delivery across the state and have called for financial relief and operational improvements for the USPS, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, they have addressed issues like security in change of address requests and the timely delivery of ballots during elections. Following a report requested by Sen. Hassan, the USPS hired more than 150 new permanent employees in New Hampshire in 2021 to address staff shortages contributing to postal delays.

Historic properties

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources recently added five properties to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. According to a press release, the Fitch-Brown-Patten House in Claremont, built in the 1830s with Greek Revival details and renovated in the 1930s, now serves as a space for the Claremont Historical Society. The Bridgman House in Hanover’s Etna Village, dating back to circa 1820, is notable for its association with the education of the deaf-blind, including Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher. The William Peabody House in Milford, constructed around 1740, has historical significance tracing back to the Revolutionary War. The Antrim Grange #98, originally built circa 1791, evolved from a meetinghouse to a town hall and now a Grange hall. Lastly, the Sunset Hill Golf Course and Clubhouse in Sugar Hill, established in 1897, represents one of New Hampshire’s earliest golf courses, with its 1900 clubhouse being a rare example of early golf architecture. These additions aim to celebrate and preserve New Hampshire’s historic resources, and property listing in the State Register does not place restrictions on owners. Visit nhdhr.dncr.nh.gov.

Child care

On Feb. 5, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen visited Easterseals New Hampshire Child Development Center in Manchester to discuss the challenges of the child care crisis in the state, particularly issues related to access and staffing. According to a press release, this visit follows New Hampshire’s loss of nearly 1,500 child care slots since 2019 due to pandemic-related closures. Sen. Shaheen has been involved in advocating for child care solutions, urging Congress to approve a $16 billion funding request for child care stabilization grants and securing federal funding through the American Rescue Plan. She has supported legislation such as the Child Care Stabilization Act, the Child Care for Working Families Act, and the Childcare Workforce and Facilities Act, and contributed to increased funding for child care initiatives in the fiscal year 2023 government funding bill.

Awardee sought

Granite VNA is inviting nominations for the 25th annual Kay Sidway Award until Feb. 16. According to a press release, this accolade recognizes an individual’s commitment to the well-being of children and families within the 82 communities served by Granite VNA in New Hampshire. Established in 1998 and named after educator Kay Sidway, the award celebrates those who have made significant contributions to improving quality of life, health and education for children and families in central New Hampshire and the Lakes Region. Nominees should exemplify leadership, community health and well-being, meaningful contributions to families and collaboration with local agencies. The recipient will be honored an event on May 1 at the Barn at Bull Meadow in Concord. Nominations can be made through Granite VNA’s website at granitevna.org/passionforcaring.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, at 54 Hanover St., Manchester, will host an exhibition showcasing the works of Jane Kaufmann. According to a press release, this event, celebrating the one-year anniversary of art installations at the Chamber’s Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Boardroom, will feature Kaufmann’s artistic journey over 45 years, highlighting her innovative use of materials like cloth and cardboard. The exhibition, a collaboration with curator Yasamin Safarzadeh and Positive Street Art, is free to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Kaufmann’s artwork and enjoy light refreshments.

New Hampshire residents pursuing post-secondary education in medicine, nursing or social work are invited to apply for the Yarnold Scholarship. Funded by a trust established by Rollinsford couple Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold, scholarships are awarded to 30 to 40 students each year in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, according to a press release. Interested students may call Yarnold Scholarship administrative representative Laura Ramsdell at 766-9121 to receive an application.

Frederick’s Pastries in Amherst has been named a winner of The Knot Best of Weddings 2024, an award that honors top local wedding professionals as rated by real couples on The Knot. Frederick’s Pastries, known for collaborating with couples to create custom wedding centerpieces, stood out among thousands of vendors within The Knot’s extensive Vendor Marketplace, which serves as a comprehensive guide for couples looking to book wedding services.

Cook for your Valentine— 02/08/24

10Maybe you want to woo your sweetheart with a big romantic gesture. Maybe you want to cover for the fact that you forgot about Valentine’s Day (Wednesday, Feb. 14). Whatever your reasons for wanting to construct a delicious meal for two, John Fladd walks you through it. And, if that sounds too much, go straight to his recipe for a decadent, chocolatey but surprisingly easy dessert. Or how about a romantic cocktail?

Also on the cover Vote now in Hippo’s Best of 2024 readers poll! Go to hippopress.com to vote for best ice cream, best margaritas and best doughnuts! See page 31 for details.

And in the food section: On Friday, Feb. 9, the Amherst Lions Club holds its annual chili competition and ice cream social (page 27). And next Tuesday, Feb. 13, is Mardi Gras, the annual celebration that calls for a King Cake (page 28).

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