Brews and beyond

New craft beer shop opens in Hudson

Cousins Jay Parajuli and Bik Basnet love trying new kinds of craft beers and had often talked about how to turn that hobby into a business. Then one weekend last fall, Parajuli said, he was en route to another cousin’s home in Hudson when he noticed construction of the town’s new Flagstone Crossing retail plaza.

“We saw the ‘for lease’ sign … and literally jumped into it right there,” he said. “I was working at a family business, a convenience store down in Massachusetts, and with Covid and everything it was tough to stay afloat. The overheads were high to maintain employees. … So we got out of that business and just kind of said this was the right time to get into something we like doing.”

Hudson Brews, which opened on April 16, is New Hampshire’s newest spot to get local and regional craft beers, ciders and hard seltzers, with a constantly rotating selection, Parajuli said, based on both seasonal supply and customer demand.

The shop’s interior is custom-built, featuring two sets of coolers near the front that are dedicated just to single-serve cans and bottles. Beer lovers who want to try single selections of more than one type of craft brew can also create their own custom four-pack carrier at a discount.

“I’m a buyer myself, and I will go to a store and try a four-pack if they don’t have singles … [but] I don’t want to end up spending $20 on something that I didn’t like,” Parajuli said. “So that was the concept. We put out singles of every possible thing that we have … so that people can try it, and if they like it, then they’ll go for the four-pack.”

Past the single selections are dozens of additional offerings in an aisle running near the back of the shop. Most of the coolers are labeled by their state of origin — beers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts make up several of them, including ones from popular local breweries like Concord Craft Brewing, Henniker Brewing Co. and 603 Brewery in Londonderry, as well as harder-to-find selections like from Coos Brewing Co. in Colebrook. Beers from other New England states are available, and there are coolers designated for regional and international options, and craft ciders and seltzers. In addition to its many beers, Hudson Brews sells a limited selection of glassware, canned cocktails and energy drinks, as well as cigars and CBD products.

Parajuli said he’s already had conversations with customers about what types of beers they want to see at the shop.

“We want to talk to people, [and] we want to get involved in the community,” he said. “It’s fantastic when you see people are happy that you have a product they are looking for.”

Hudson Brews
: 6 Flagstone Drive, Unit C, Hudson
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
More info: Find them on Facebook and Instagram @hudsonbrews, or call 417-5528

Featured photo: Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

Tastes of the trucks

Food truck festival to roll into Hampstead

After a lost festival year for local food truckers in 2020, a new event will bring more than half a dozen of them to Hampstead this weekend. The inaugural “Hampstead Eats” food truck festival will be held outside Hampstead Congregational Church on Main Street on Saturday, May 1, also featuring a full afternoon schedule of live music and a food drive to support the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Event coordinator Roxanne McGaffigan said attendees ages 5 and up pay an admission fee to gain entry to the event, with food selections then priced per item. The festival is being held in part as a fundraiser for the renovation and upkeep of the town’s Congregational Church.

“People can bring their own blanket or bring a chair … and hang out and listen to music, or go back to their car,” McGaffigan said. “We are following all of the CDC’s guidelines, so we are asking people to wear a mask or a face-covering when they’re not eating … [and] we’ll also have hand sanitizer stations.”

The trucks, McGaffigan said, will be diverse in their menu offerings. Each will be parked on the driveway just to the left of the church, with lots of open grass nearby for blankets and chairs.

For Christy and Nick Ortins of The Hungry Caterpillar, this will be their first food truck festival since launching their plant-based comfort concept last June. The couple’s original plan had been to secure bookings at festivals, but the pandemic caused them to pivot to contacting nearby business owners about potential parking spots. Their most prevalent location happens to be just a few miles away from the church, in the parking lot of Hampstead Health & Fitness.

Menu items from The Hungry Caterpillar, Christy Ortins said, will likely include Buffalo cauliflower bites, hand-cut french fries, and a sandwich known as the “Patty Mayonnaise,” which features homemade breaded seitan with lettuce, tomato and a plant-based mayo.

“This is very new for us and very exciting,” she said of the festival. “We’ve done a few busy events, but we haven’t had a chance to do a festival yet where we’re with other food trucks.”

Another local vendor that will appear at the festival, Chef Koz’s Crescent City Kitchen, offers scratch-made Cajun, Creole and Caribbean-inspired items. Owner and longtime chef Chris “Koz” Kozlowski, who will likely serve options like fish tacos and chicken jambalaya, only just pulled the 22-foot mobile trailer out of its winter hibernation last week.

“I took my first summer off in 31 years of cooking last year,” Kozlowski said. “Then we got a call for an event on Labor Day weekend, and so we decided we can’t be bogged down forever.”

Kozlowski would go on to generate more sales in three months from September to November than almost two-thirds of the year in 2019. With the help of his wife, he also ran Koz’s Haute Box, a second smaller food trailer serving New England regional comfort foods, in the winter.

This season, he said, he expects the food truck to continue to be mostly a family affair.

“It’s going to be a different structure,” he said. “Most of the gigs we have booked right now are days my wife has off, and I’ve got two kids that help out too.”

Kona Ice, which offers multiple flavors of tropical-themed shaved ice, will be providing free cup upgrades for festival-goers who bring an item to donate to the New Hampshire Food Bank. McGaffigan said the Food Bank will be accepting donations of nonperishable items.

Featured live performances throughout the afternoon will include Let’s Play Music from noon to 2 p.m., followed by The Sons of the Solstice from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., and Michael Wingate and Chris Cyrus of the band Slack Tide from 3:30 to 5 p.m. McGaffigan said church members and volunteers will also be selling flowers ahead of Mother’s Day.

“Hampstead Eats” food truck festival
Saturday, May 1, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Hampstead Congregational Church, 61 Main St., Hampstead
Hours: $5 admission fee for ages 5 and up (cash or check only); foods are priced per item
More info: Search “Hampstead Eats” on Facebook, or call the church office at 329-6985
Event is rain or shine. CDC social distancing guidelines will be observed.

Participating vendors
Boogalows Island BBQ (
Chef Koz’s Crescent City Kitchen (find them on Facebook @crescentcitykitchennh)
Chubb’s Fries & Dough (find them on Facebook @eddiemencis)
The Hungry Caterpillar (find them on Facebook @thehungrycaterpillarnh)
Kona Ice (
The Traveling Foodie Cart (
The Whoo(pie) Wagon (

Feautred photo: The “Patty Mayonnaise” sandwich, featuring homemade breaded seitan with lettuce, tomato and plant-based mayo, from The Hungry Caterpillar plant-based food truck. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

The Weekly Dish 21/04/29

News from the local food scene

Menus for moms: Now is the time to make your plans to treat mom on her special day — visit for our annual Mother’s Day listings, which include details on local restaurants and function centers serving brunches and other specialty menus, with some available for socially distancing dining in and others for takeout. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9, so be sure to make those reservations or place those takeout orders soon. Be sure to check the websites or social media pages of participating restaurants for their most up-to-date availability, or call them directly.

Summer market returns: The Concord Farmers Market will kick off its summer season on Saturday, May 1, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on Capitol Street in Concord (near the Statehouse), president Wayne Hall confirmed. One of the first markets to resume operations outdoors this year, the Concord market features a variety of local vendors over the course of its season, selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meat, eggs, baked goods, maple syrup, dog treats and personal care products. More vendors will likely join the market later this summer as certain produce reaches its peak harvesting season. The market will continue every Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, through October. Visit or find them on Facebook @concordfarmersmarketnh.

Commemorative whiskeys: The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has entered a multi-year partnership with Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, to launch a series of single-barrel, cask-finished Thomas S. Moore Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys, according to a press release. Limited quantities of the 86-proof whiskeys are currently available in sherry casks at select New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet stores, to commemorate the Liquor Commission’s 86th anniversary. According to the release, the Liquor Commission and Barton 1792 Distillery will offer a new release each fall over the next four years leading up to its 90th anniversary, including an 87-proof merlot cask finish in 2021, an 88-proof pinot noir cask finish in 2022, an 89-proof cabernet sauvignon cask finish in 2023 and a 90-proof port cask finish in 2024. Visit to find a store selling them near you.

Sparkling sodas: Salem limoncello producer Fabrizia Spirits has recently introduced a new line of canned sparkling vodka sodas, according to a press release. Available in three flavors — Sicilian lemon, blood orange and raspberry — each cocktail is 4.5 percent ABV and made with all-natural fruit juices, containing 100 calories and only one gram of sugar. They’re sold in mixed eight-packs and are currently available in retail stores across several states, as well as online. Visit

On The Job – Felix Alvarado, Jr.

Felix Alvarado, Jr.

Founder/director, Straight “A” Academy

Felix Alvarado Jr., better known on the job as Mr. “A,” is a professional educator and director of Straight “A” Academy, a college preparation education service in southern New Hampshire.

Explain your job and what it entails.

January through April, my job is all about working directly with students, helping them improve their SAT and ACT prep scores. … Then there’s a period of time where I’m able to focus more on business and professional development, staying on top of the latest trends and what’s new with the testing and college admissions process. … Late summer through October is another big testing season, so I’m back to primarily working with students.

How long have you had this job?

I’ve been a professional educator for 35 years, but I started focusing on test prep and college admissions and launched Straight “A” Academy in 2008.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I started out in pre-med. … After a couple of years at [college], I was doing a lot of soul-searching, and I took one of those skills tests, and it told me, ‘teacher.’ I looked at it and said, ‘That resonates. … That’s what I’ve known all along.’ … I transitioned out of pre-med into education. … I had been a classroom teacher for 20-some years when I decided to launch a tutoring center in Bedford. I … started specializing in SAT and ACT test preparation, because there was a strong demand. … I ended up getting enough business after that first year that I had to leave the classroom.

What kind of training did you need?

In terms of being a test prep or college admissions coach, there’s not a specific certification out there. The training that I found was most important to me as a test prep coach was … my professional training in education in college, but beyond that, just experience [teaching] … and learning how to … read my students to find the best way to help them understand.

What is your typical at-work attire?

Business-casual to casual. I try not to be too formal with my students because one of my objectives is to make them feel comfortable.

How has your job changed over the last year?

Believe it or not, all the Covid [changes] have been seamless for me. I’ve been using platforms like Zoom to work with students around the world … for many years. The biggest change for me is that I had to totally close down my physical office in Merrimack last year, and now all my work is done in cyberspace. … I’m waiting to find the right time and place to reopen a physical office, but honestly, I don’t know that I really need to, because … I’m as effective in my Zoom room as I am in my office.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

I wish I had known about all of the opportunities in education other than just [being a] classroom teacher. … I would have specialized [in college prep coaching] sooner.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

I think some people have this feeling that tutors are [educators who] weren’t good enough to be a classroom teacher, and that’s obviously not fair or true. I wish people knew that tutoring is, in many ways, much more challenging. You have to be very skilled to do it well … and you feel more pressure to help your student succeed when it’s just you [one-on-one with] your student.

What was the first job you ever had?

The summer after seventh grade, I worked in a restaurant, busing tables, cleaning bathrooms and sometimes helping in the kitchen.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Specialize in one thing, and be the best you can be at that one thing

Five favorites
Favorite book: The Bible and A Tale of Two Cities.
Favorite movie: The Man Who Knew Too Little.
Favorite music: Handel’s Water Music and, being Latino, I have to give a nod to salsa, merengue and bachata.
Favorite food: Mexican food.
Favorite thing about NH: The proximity to a wide array of activities.

Featured photo: Felix Alvarado, Jr.

Treasure Hunt 21/04/29

Dear Donna,

I have a set of clear Pyrex bowls that I got at a yard sale. I’m wondering if they have value to them, being a set of three. All are in really great unused condition. I have seen pattern Pyrex pieces for much more than I paid for these, so I am curious.

Dear Linda,
I think the set of bowls is sweet, and being Pyrex is a plus. But keep in mind Pyrex is still produced today. Many patterns have changed and there have been some different styles as well over time. The company started in Corning, N.Y., but now is in Pennsylvania. Can’t think of any home that doesn’t have a piece or several in it. The stuff was made to last, and that it did.

I would say that values are in the patterns, age, condition and rarity of production of pieces. So clear and common form at any age would be in the lower end of values. Not knowing what you paid I still think in today’s secondary market the set of three would be in the range of $25. You can’t buy a good set of bowls cheaper these days.

Kiddie Pool 21/04/29

Family fun for the weekend

New Hampshire Children’s Trust is offering a free download of its Strengthening Families Across NH Activity Book. Courtesy image.

Animal fun

A traveling petting zoo and horse and pony rides will be part of the Power of Angels Kitty Angels Fundraiser, which takes place Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Treasures, Antiques, Collectibles & More (106 Ponemah Road, Amherst, 672-2535, The weekend will also feature artists and artisans, live entertainment, food vendors, flea market and yard sales and a raffle — and of course, adoptable kitties. Proceeds go to Kitty Angels, a no-kill cat shelter that rescues stray and abandoned cats and kittens, treats their injuries or health issues and then places them into new homes.

Explore the live animal exhibit trail, which features a new raptor exhibit, when Squam Lakes Natural Science Center (23 Science Center Road, Holderness, 968-7194) opens for the season on Saturday, May 1. The raptor complex includes nine raptor species in new aviaries, including a bald eagle and great horned owl. At another exhibit, children can imagine themselves as baby birds hatching out of giant eggs, and there’s a new Songbird Feeding Station for visitors to observe wild birds that visit the Science Center. The Hidden Stories Exhibit, which opened in 2020, uses trail cameras to observe red fox, white-tailed deer, coyote and black bear. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with the last trail admission in the 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. time slot. Trail admission is $18 for adults and seniors (age 16+), $13 for youth ages 3 to 15, and free to children 2 and younger. Tickets must be purchased in advance at The center’s Squam Lake Cruises, which feature lake wildlife, will begin in mid-May. Tickets are available online.

Family activity

New Hampshire Children’s Trust is offering a free download of its Strengthening Families Across NH Activity Book, which is designed for young children and early adolescents and features activities like word searches, mazes, coloring pages and drawing pages, all with messages that promote things like resilience and positive relationships. New Hampshire Children’s Trust works to prevent child abuse by strengthening families with basic supports, parenting education and more. Download the activity book at

Featured photo: New Hampshire Children’s Trust is offering a free download of its Strengthening Families Across NH Activity Book. Courtesy image.

So Khaotic

New comic book store opens in Dover

Jason Lindahl bought his first comic book when he was 6 years old. More than 40 years later, he still loves those brightly colored pages and has found a way to surround himself with them: by opening a comic book store in downtown Dover.

Khaotic Comics opened April 17, the location chosen because of the city’s lack of comics.

“There’s been a huge need for it in this area,” he said. “People in the Dover area had to go to Rochester or Newington to buy comic books. … I’ve got customers that used to take buses over to Newington because that was the only place they could get the stuff they wanted to read.”

Lindahl believes that comic books have been and still are making a comeback.

“The industry is building up,” he said. “There’s more and more movies coming out. Comic books are becoming more and more popular.”

The shop’s name is inspired by the nature of comic book stores, with the purposeful misspelling adding to the meaning.

“When you look in a comic book store, it can look kind of chaotic,” he said with a laugh.

Lindahl and his wife already have experience with owning and operating businesses: He runs a generator company and she runs a health care company. Still, opening a new business in these times was nerve-wracking, despite the field’s growing popularity, Lindahl said. Between financial concerns, community interest and finding a location, there was no shortage of stress.

But so far, it’s all been worth it. Opening day was met with great success.

“We had over 400 people show up at the store,” Lindahl said. “My wife served over 200 [free] hot dogs to anybody that wanted them.”

Lindahl hopes that Khaotic Comics can be a meaningful addition to the Dover community.

“I’d like to help out the library and youth groups,” he said. “I can give them free comic books to help with education and reading.”

The shop also plans to offer tabletop gaming, such as Pokemon and Dungeons & Dragons.

“Kids will have a place to come and hang out and relax and be in a safe environment,” he said.

-Sadie Burgess

Khaotic Comics
: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week
Where: 590 Central Ave., Dover
More info:

Spring allergy season

Which plants are making you sneeze

If you suffer from spring allergies, this would be a good time to know what plants are affecting your comfort. Right now, many trees are dumping their pollen. Most trees are wind-pollinated and produce lots of pollen. They depend on the wind to move pollen around — and up your nose.

Although some trees and shrubs produce both male and female flowers, many are dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers are on separate plants. It is thus to their advantage to produce their (insignificant-looking) flowers and lots of pollen before the leaves get in the way. Which for me is right now. Showy flowers do not necessarily mean that trees like catalpa are low on the aggravation index (they are rated 8 of 10 on the index), but others like magnolias are lower. Both of those are pollinated by insects.

Of the trees, male poplars are among the worst — and in my area, they are just starting to bloom. Other culprits include willows, birches, oaks and some maples, but not all. If you are buying trees, look for trees that have separate male and female plants (as opposed to both on one). Always buy the female specimen if you can, as it is the males that produce the pollen and cause the allergic reactions. Not all plant tags will tell you if the plant is male or female, but good nurseries may know.

Very popular in the landscape industry right now is the Hakuru nashiki willow. It has tri-colored (green, white and pink) leaves in June and is sold either as a multi-stemmed shrub or as a “standard.” Standards are created by grafting branches on the top of a straight, bare-of-branches stem that is generally about 4 feet tall. As far as I know, Hakuru nashiki willows are all female, so they do not create the pollen that a pussy willow produces.

Want a nice pussy willow? Not all are bad for the allergy-prone. It is worth consulting a book like Tom Ogren’s Allergy-Free Gardening that lists trees and flowers species by species (and often with cultivars) with their potential for making you miserable. Ogren’s book lists “Weeping Sally” as a pussy willow with the lowest rating for causing allergies, while the male forms of white willow are among the worst rated. Even so, many of the males are sold as named cultivars for decorative purposes.

Not all pollen is created equal. Each spring I notice all the yellow pollen dropped on my car by pine trees. Pines produce huge amounts of pollen, but it is waxy and not very irritating to your nasal membranes. And it’s heavy, so it doesn’t fly far.

After the trees do their thing, along come the grasses. The seven worst offenders are introduced species of grass, including orchard grass, bluegrasses and timothy grass, which is commonly grown for animal feed. Grasses are wind-pollinated, and their pollen can float long distances. Your lawn should not be a problem so long as you never let the grass get tall enough to blossom. But fungal spores in the lawn can cause allergic reactions and can be stirred up by mowing, so if you get hay fever, you have a good excuse to get your spouse or kid to do the mowing.

Flowers with flashy form generally are not significant allergy-producers. Tulips, delphinium and peonies are obviously trying to get attention. They are the flirts — and insect-pollinated. Others such as hostas are among those least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

According to Lucy Huntington in her book Creating a Low-Allergen Garden, members of the daisy family have flowers that are insect-pollinated, but their pollen is highly allergenic to most sufferers. Chrysanthemums, asters, marigolds and zinnias can bother folks with allergies. I suppose that is particularly the case if you enjoy sniffing their scents. She also suggests avoiding geraniums (Pelargonium hybrids), strawflowers, dahlia hybrids, foxglove, sunflowers, nicotiana and cosmos.

Huntington’s book is full of lists and suggestions for low-allergen plants. Here are some of her suggestions for plants suitable for people with pollen allergies:

Annuals: Snapdragons, petunias, annual phlox, scarlet sage, purple salvia, pansies, bacopa, California poppies, nasturtiums and verbena

Perennials: columbine, astilbe, bellflowers, bleeding heart, delphinium, daylilies, Siberian iris, peonies, oriental poppies, penstemon, garden phlox, Jacob’s ladder, hollyhocks, alliums, globe flower, lady’s mantle, coral bells, catnip, hosta, foamflower and periwinkle.

The good news is this: Pollen is generally released in the morning, and by evening much of it has settled down, so evening should be a better time to garden. And rain knocks the pollen out of the air, so run outside and pull weeds after a nice downpour. You don’t have to cut down the culprits, and wearing a Covid mask will help if pollen is really bugging you!

Featured photo: Catalpa blossoms are showy and insect-pollinated but still can cause hay fever. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 21/04/29

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

Studio 550 bowls. Courtesy photo.

Group art show: The New Hampshire Art Association presents its “Body of Work: Series I” exhibition, featuring artwork in a variety of media by eight local artists, online and in person at the NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth) now through May 2. NHAA holds several “Body of Work” exhibitions each year. “By exhibiting multiple works, the featured artists are able to present their overall artistic vision, sometimes difficult to do with one or two pieces,” the Association said in a press release. All works are for sale. Gallery hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

Art for sale: Studio 550 Art Center (550 Elm St., Manchester) will have a Spring Cleaning and Community Fundraiser from May 3 through May 8. There will be a variety of handmade items by local artists for sale, including bowls for $15, with proceeds supporting Families in Transition – New Horizons’ efforts to end hunger and homelessness in the local community. A $1 pottery sale of abandoned workshop pottery will benefit Studio 550’s Clay for Kids Scholarship. Fundraiser hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday, from noon to 7:30 p.m., and Wednesday, from 2 to 6 p.m. Call 232-5597 or visit

“The Boundaries of Our Love,” oil painting by Brittany Soucy, featured in NHAA’s “Body of Work” exhibition. Courtesy photo.

African fashion: The Seacoast African American Cultural Center (located inside the Portsmouth Historical Society, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth) presents an exhibit, “Fashion Forward: Africana Style,” on view May 1 through Sept. 1. The exhibit showcases Black fashion and explores connections between African American and African design aesthetics from past to present. See photos from Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo by London-based photographer Tariq Zaidi; vintage African fashion pieces from 1930s Liberia reflecting influences of Islam and African American immigration; and more than a dozen contemporary fashion and fabric art pieces created or owned by African and African American women living and working on the Seacoast and throughout the East Coast. Gallery hours are Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; visitors must reserve a 45-minute time slot in advance. Walk-in guests will be accommodated as space permits. Tickets cost $10 for the general public and $5 for Historical Society members and are available through Call 430-6027 or visit

“Pastoral,” watercolor painting by Ellen Hopkins Fountain, featured in NHAA’s “Body of Work” exhibition. Courtesy photo.

Irish playwright showcase: Manchester-based theater company Theatre Kapow continues its 13th season with a livestreamed production of Room April 30 through May 2, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. The show features three stories by two Irish playwrights: A Girl’s Bedroom and Room 303 by Enda Walsh and the American premiere of I Used to Feel by Ailís Ní Ríain. “What I love about Room is that, at the heart of it, the piece is really just about one character in a single room at one point in his or her life,” artistic director Matt Cahoon said in a press release. Tickets cost $10 per streaming device. Ticket holders will be sent the link to watch the show. Visit


Call for Art

FIBER ART EXHIBIT The Surface Design Association’s (SDA) New Hampshire Group invites New Hampshire fiber artists to submit work for its upcoming exhibit of fiber art and textiles, “Tension: Process in the Making.” Exhibit will run July 24 through Sept. 4 at Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). Submission deadline is Fri., May 1. Visit or call 975-0015.

SUMMER ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road, Canterbury) is accepting applications for its two-week summer residency. Open to visual artists of all media who are interested in creating art inspired by the architecture, landscape, traditional crafts, furniture, artistic endeavors and culture of the Shakers. Resident artists will live and work onsite at the village and talk with visitors about their creative process. To apply, email with a bio or resume, an artist’s statement, a paragraph about why you’re interested in the residency and what you hope to accomplish, and five images of your most recent artwork. Deadline is Fri., May 1. Call 783-9511 or visit


• “BODY OF WORK: SERIES I” New Hampshire Art Association presents an exhibition featuring artwork in a variety of media by eight local artists. On view now through May 2. Online and in person at the NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, 136 State St., Portsmouth. All works are for sale. Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

35TH ANNUAL OMER T. LASSONDE JURIED EXHIBITION The New Hampshire Art Association presents a group art show featuring works in a variety of media by NHAA members and non-members. NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth). On view now through May 30. Call 431-4230 and visit

• “TRANSFORMATIONS: NATURE AND BEYOND” The New Hampshire Art Association presents works by digital artist William Townsend. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 49 S. Main St., Concord. On display now through June 17. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

• “THE BODY IN ART: FROM THE SPIRITUAL TO THE SENSUAL” Exhibit provides a look at how artists through the ages have used the human body as a means of creative expression. On view now through Sept. 1. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “CRITICAL CARTOGRAPHY” Exhibit features immersive large-scale drawings by Larissa Fassler that reflect the Berlin-based artist’s observations of downtown Manchester while she was an artist-in-residence at the Currier Museum in 2019. On view now through fall. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

GALLERY ART A new collection of art by more than 20 area artists on display now in-person and online. Creative Ventures Gallery (411 Nashua St., Milford). Call 672-2500 or visit

• “TOMIE DEPAOLA AT THE CURRIER” Exhibition celebrates the illustrator’s life and legacy through a collection of his original drawings. On view now. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “RETABLOS RECONSIDERED” Exhibit features works by 12 artists inspired by retablos, the honorific art form of devotional paintings that relate to miraculous events. Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). On view now through June 6. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call 975-0015 or visit

Special events

MAGNIFY VOICES EXPRESSIVE ARTS CELEBRATION Youth artwork showcased to help raise awareness and decrease stigma of mental illness and affect change to ensure social and emotional health for all children in New Hampshire. May, date TBA. Visit or email



•​ GODSPELL The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. Virtual and in person at 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Now through May 30. Visit or call 433-4472.

•​ FUN HOME The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Now through May 28. Visit or call 433-4472.

COMEDY OUT OF THE ’BOX The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Sat., May 8, May 22 and June 5, and Thurs., June 24, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

•​ FAME JR. The Seacoast Repertory Theatre PAPA Jr. presents. Virtual and in person at 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. May 5 through May 12. Visit or call 433-4472.

QUEEN CITY IMPROV The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Fri., May 7, May 21 and June 4, and Thurs., June 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

42ND STREET Recorded live in London. Virtual screening presented by Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. May 12 through May 19. $15 per ticket. Call 225-1111 or visit

Keeping NH in the picture

From the 1981 classic On Golden Pond to parts of this year’s Oscar-winning Sound of Metal, New Hampshire has been a filming location for a number of movies. Since 1998, the New Hampshire Film Bureau has assisted filmmakers eyeing the Granite State for their films, serving as the connection between them and the state government and communities. But if the latest state budget proposal is approved, that resource may not be around for much longer. People from the New Hampshire film industry discussed what’s at stake if the Film Bureau is dissolved, and why New Hampshire is a film destination worth fighting for.

The reel deal

Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed state budget for 2022-2023 includes the defunding and elimination of the New Hampshire Film Bureau, currently allocated a $123,000 annual budget.

The budget proposal has been passed by the House and now heads to the Senate, which is scheduled to meet on June 4. If it’s approved, New Hampshire will become one of only five states without an official state film office.

Matt Newton, the New Hampshire Film Bureau’s director and only employee, declined to comment on the office’s future and directed media inquiries to the Division of Travel and Tourism Development, which emailed a statement on behalf of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell:

“While the workload of the Bureau of Film and Digital Media has declined for the past several years, the Governor’s budget proposal ensures that the Division of Travel and Tourism Development will retain sufficient resources to meet the needs of New Hampshire’s film industry,” the statement said. “Further, this consolidation of services ensures a more comprehensive approach, spearheaded by the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, to promote the development of New Hampshire’s travel and tourism industry.”

Jack Northcott, a Hollis resident and senior director of sales at Avid Technology, a media production software company in Burlington, Mass., said he is skeptical that the Division of Travel and Tourism Development will continue the Film Bureau’s work.

“That claim … is very disingenuous, because they aren’t articulating whether or not the Film Bureau will remain in name and the Film Bureau website will still be supported,” he said. “Will there be somebody there who actually cares?”

When the Hippo pressed the Division of Travel and Tourism Development for confirmation that the “consolidation of services” would mean the elimination of the “New Hampshire Film office” in name and as a direct point of contact for filmmakers, Division of Travel and Tourism Development communications manager Kris Neilsen replied via email, “Correct, [filmmakers] will reach out to the NH Travel and Tourism office.”

Tim Messina of Studio Lab, a video production studio in Derry, also expressed concern about the Department’s ability to take over the Film Bureau’s role.

“[How is] someone from the Travel and Tourism department, who doesn’t have any experience in our industry … going to [answer] very industry-specific questions that come up?” he said.

Trigger House commercial shoot for Hisense using volume from Studio Lab in Derry. Photo courtesy of Studio Lab.

The benefits of having a film office

Tim Messina of Studio Lab said he utilized the Film Bureau a few weeks ago when a filmmaker friend of his asked him where to get permits for shooting at Mount Washington.

“The Film office … told me exactly where to go and who to talk to,” he said. “It was a less-than-five-minute conversation.”

Tyler York, senior producer at Big Brick Productions in Manchester, works on commercial and brand video content and short form documentary-style videos for regional, national and international clients, such as New Hampshire Lottery, iRobot, Hasbro Gaming, Red Bull, ESPN, Fox Sports, Chobani and more. He said state film offices are “crucial” to his job as they provide a connection between the film industry and state legislators, municipalities, police forces and town and city officials.

“We do productions all over, and when we’re shooting [in another state], we traditionally reach out to that state’s film office for help with sourcing location permits and things like that.”

Chris Stinson, a producer and line producer at the Portsmouth-based film production company Live Free or Die Films, said he also has depended on the services provided by state film offices for his work. Stinson worked as the line producer for the 2020 film Sound of Metal, which includes a driving scene shot on New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway. The film was nominated for six Oscars and won two — one for Film Editing and one for Sound — at the April 25 awards ceremony.

Stinson recalled a time when representatives from the Massachusetts Film Office joined him at a meeting where he pitched Massachusetts as a shooting location for the 2019 film Knives Out.

“[The filmmakers] were considering shooting it in London, but we convinced them to come to Massachusetts,” he said. “If the Massachusetts Film Office hadn’t helped, that movie definitely would have gone to London.”

In the 2018 Hippo story “Going professional: How to take your creative hobby to the next level,” Newton explained how the Film Bureau assisted and advised filmmakers in hiring a crew, securing a shooting location, and marketing and distributing their films. The Bureau also maintains an online directory of local hireable film crew and film services, including camera operators, directors, editors, casting and talent resources, hair and makeup and wardrobe professionals, sound specialists, stunt people, production managers and assistants, payroll and production accountants, public relations and more.

The Bureau’s primary job is acting as the official liaison between filmmakers and New Hampshire communities and state government, to help filmmakers find shooting locations and acquire permits necessary for road closures and access to public spaces.

“If you have a small film, closing a road might sound like a big deal,” Newton said in the 2018 story, “but working with [the Film Bureau] lends more credibility to your project. We can open doors that you might not be able to open by yourself.”

Losing a NH booster

Northcott said the state has offered little explanation about the reasoning behind the proposal to eliminate the Film Bureau.

“We just haven’t been able to get a lot of feedback or dialogue from them,” he said.

Having worked with more than 30 state film offices over the course of his career, Stinson said he sees no reason New Hampshire wouldn’t be able to maintain its film office.

“A lot of these other states’ film offices don’t have a big budget either; a lot of them are one-person offices, too,” he said, “but they’re still incredibly enthusiastic about bringing productions to their state. New Hampshire doesn’t even offer that.”

Ian Messina, director of virtual production at Studio Lab (and Tim Messina’s nephew), said he, too, is at a loss.

“New Hampshire has so many different pockets of small businesses, and filmmaking is one of them, so why shouldn’t it have the same resources that other businesses have?”

York said he believes a lack of awareness is to blame.

“Many people, [including] legislators, don’t know that there’s a film industry happening here and that there’s potential and opportunity for the film industry to grow here,” he said.

Losing the Film Bureau would be detrimental to the state’s film industry in a big way, Tim Messina said.

“Without [a film office], we just lose our sense of direction as a state in the film world,” he said. “We can make it work [independently] to an extent, but the state is still a big part of it.”

A fear being echoed by many people in the New Hampshire film industry is losing credibility that comes with having an official state film office.

“It’s so much cleaner when you can say, ‘I’m calling from the New Hampshire Film office,’ as opposed to, ‘Hey, I’m Joe Schmo off the street, and we have a production coming to town,’” York said.

Eliminating the Film Bureau may also disadvantage young and aspiring filmmakers looking to stay in New Hampshire, Northcott said, or prompt them to move to another state that has more opportunities and a more prominent support system for filmmakers. As a member of the advisory committee for a Nashua-based film education program for high school students, Northcott said he’s seeing it happen already.

“You have all these students who are just dying to get into television and film production, but there’s no outlet for them locally, or they’re very limited in what they can do,” he said. “WMUR can only hire so many people.”

Location, location

While New Hampshire remains largely untouched by out-of-state filmmakers, its southern neighbor boasts one of the most active and fastest growing film landscapes in the country.

“There are four or five movies and TV shows filming in Massachusetts as we speak,” Stinson said. “It just seems crazy to me that New Hampshire gets zero of that action.”

One of Massachusetts’ biggest selling points as a film destination — and the reason New Hampshire is often overlooked — is the 25 percent tax credit it awards filmmakers, Stinson said. New Hampshire, though it offers no tax incentives, has other perks that filmmakers would value just as much as, if not more than, Massachusetts’ tax credit, he said, but most filmmakers never take the time to research New Hampshire or never even consider New Hampshire as an option in the first place.

“They see ‘25 percent tax credit’ and that’s all they’re focused on,” Stinson said.

While filming Knives Out in Massachusetts, Stinson said, the crew stayed in a mansion for three weeks, costing them $500,000. If they had been filming in New Hampshire, he said, he is “absolutely sure” they could have found a comparable mansion for between $50,000 and $100,000.

“By going to a cheaper location you’ve saved 50 percent more money than [you would have saved] with the 25 percent tax credit in Massachusetts,” Stinson said, adding that lodging in New Hampshire usually costs 30 to 50 percent less than in Massachusetts.

Crews would also save money on permitting fees and on parking, which could cost up to $3,000 or $4,000 in Massachusetts, compared to between $500 and $1,000 in New Hampshire.

Massachusetts’ robust film office is also a major contributor to the success of its film industry, York said — and New Hampshire should take notes.

“With Massachusetts performing at the caliber that they are, it’s disappointing and, in my opinion, shortsighted,” York said, “for New Hampshire to forego a film office at this point.”

Shooting on the moon with virtual production volume at Studio Lab in Derry. Photo courtesy of Studio Lab.

Banding together

According to Tim Messina, more than 100 people who work or have an interest in New Hampshire’s film industry have signed on to a grassroots effort to preserve the state film office in some capacity, including acclaimed documentary filmmaker and New Hampshire resident Ken Burns.

“If it does have to [merge with] another department, one of the best solutions would be to create a board of directors — people who are in the industry and understand it — that can help administrate what that [merge] would look like and how it’s going to function,” Tim Messina said.

Some members of the group have been volunteering their time and resources to improve the Film Bureau since before it was at risk of being eliminated.

Stinson, for example, has spent more than a year independently creating a visual database of filming locations in New Hampshire — a project normally shouldered by a state film office, he said.

“When a filmmaker is considering shooting in a state, they go to that state’s film office website to look at film location pictures, so having a location database is huge,” he said, “and if I have to do it on my own, I’m willing to do that.”

Northcott said the group has even gone so far as to offer to fund the film office themselves.

“There are a lot of people who are interested [in] and supportive of the Film Bureau,” he said. “I know we could raise the private funding easily.”

The Division of Travel and Tourism Development “gave no response and had no interest” in the proposition, Northcott said. (Reached shortly before press time, a spokesperson for the Division said they would need time to formulate a comment and couldn’t do so by press time.)

Tim Messina is also seeking the general public’s support in preserving the Film Bureau. On the Studio Labs website (, he outlined a four-point strategy that includes reaching out and advocating to the governor, the Senate Finance Committee, local senators and film and media organizations in the state. He urged advocates to explain how the issue affects them and include financial data about the film industry’s contribution to the state’s creative economy.

New Hampshire film highlights
Here’s a look at some of the most notable movies that were filmed or partially filmed in New Hampshire, according to IMDB and Wikipedia.

The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968, starring Steven McQueen and Faye Dunaway, scenes filmed in Salem
On Golden Pond, 1981, starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and James Fonda, scenes filmed at Squam Lake in Holderness
The Good Son, 1993, starring Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood, scenes filmed at Mirror Lake in Jackson
Jumanji, 1995, starring Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst, scenes filmed in Keene
The Skulls, 2000, starring Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker, scenes filmed at Dartmouth College in Hanover
The Brown Bunny, 2003, starring Vincent Gallo and Chloë Sevigny, scenes filmed in Keene
Live Free or Die, 2006, starring Aaron Stanford, Paul Schneider and Zooey Deschanel, shot in Claremont
Sound of Metal, 2020, starring Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke, scenes filmed on New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway. Chris Stinson of Portsmouth served as line producer for the film.

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