The Art Roundup 21/06/24

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

Two Pippins: The Palace Teen Company will perform Pippin at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. The musical, based on the book by Roger O. Hirson, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, is the story of a young prince searching for meaning in his life, as told by a traveling theater troupe led by the mysterious Leading Player. Tickets cost $12 for children and $15 for adults. Visit or call 668-5588. Pippin is also running at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) now through July 17, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $50. The show is also available to livestream. Visit or call 433-4472.

Call for summer art: There’s still time to submit artwork for consideration in Concord artist and gallery owner Jess Barnett’s first group art exhibit at her gallery. New England artists are invited to submit one or two pieces that interpret the exhibit’s theme, “Summer Haze.” Eligible media include paintings, drawings, collage, encaustic, fiber art, digital art, book and paper art, textiles, mixed media, photography, printmaking and 3D art. The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 30. The exhibit will be on view at the gallery (in the Patriot Investment building at 4 Park St., Suite 216, Concord) from Aug. 6 through Sept. 3, with an opening reception on Friday, Aug. 13 (TBD whether it will be virtual or in person). Barnett, who does primarily abstract art, opened the gallery in December 2019 to provide a venue for herself and other local and regional abstract artists to show their work. Call 393-1340 or visit

The Majestic Theatre presents Steel Magnolias. Photo by Robert Dionne.

A beautiful friendship: Steel Magnolias, presented by the Majestic Theatre, continues with shows on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 27, at 2 p.m., held at the Majestic Theatre Studios (880 Page St., Manchester). The play revolves around a Louisinia beauty parlor where a group of women and close-knit friends lean on each other through love, loss and uncertainty. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for seniors age 65 and up and youth age 17 and under. Call 669-7469 or visit

• Virtual storytelling: True Tales Live, a Seacoast-based monthly storytelling showcase, has its next show, held virtually over Zoom, on Tuesday, June 29, at 7 p.m. Each month’s showcase is centered around a different theme or featured storyteller; the featured storyteller for this show will be Amy Antonucci, co-founder and host of the series, who will share four of her “Dad Stories,” including “Superpowers,” “Birthday Bashes,” “Subtraction” and “Learning to Lie.” The series is free and open to all who want to watch or participate as a storyteller. Additionally, there are free virtual storytelling workshops on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. This is the series’ last show before its summer hiatus; it will return on Sept. 28 with an open theme show. Past virtual shows are available to watch online. Visit to register for a workshop or attend a show, and email if you’re interested in being a storyteller.



NEW HAMPSHIRE SOCIETY OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTISTS’ 21ST ANNUAL EXHIBIT Kimball Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord). On view through June. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit

• “FRESH PERSPECTIVES” Exhibit features works by New Hampshire artists Peter Milton, ​Varujan Boghosian, Robert Hughes and others. New Hampshire Antique Co-op (323 Elm St., Milford). On view in the Co-op’s Tower Gallery now through Aug. 31. Visit

• “FASHION FORWARD: AFRICANA STYLE” Exhibit showcases Black fashion and explores connections between African American and African design aesthetics from past to present. The Seacoast African American Cultural Center (located inside the Portsmouth Historical Society, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth). On view now through Sept. 1. 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 Visit

• “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

• “DON GORVETT: WORKING WATERFRONTS” Exhibit features more than 60 works by the contemporary Seacoast printmaker. The Portsmouth Historical Society (10 Middle St., Portsmouth). On view now through Sept. 12. Gallery hours are daily, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $7.50 for adults and is free for kids under age 18, seniors age 70 and older and active and retired military. Admission is free for all on the first Friday of every month. Visit

• “TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM” Exhibit showcases New England painters and masters of impressionism Alice Ruggles Sohier and Frederick A. Bosley. On view now through Sept. 12. Portsmouth Historical Society (10 Middle St., Portsmouth). Gallery hours are daily, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $7.50 for adults and is free for kids under age 18, seniors age 70 and older and active and retired military. Admission is free for all on the first Friday of every month. Visit

• “ROBERTO LUGO: TE TRAIGO MI LE LO LAI – I BRING YOU MY JOY” Philadelphia-based potter reimagines traditional forms and techniques with inspiration from urban graffiti and hip-hop culture, paying homage to his Puerto Rican heritage and exploring his cultural identity and its connection to family, place and legacy. The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St., Manchester). On view now through Sept. 26. 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

• “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 is $15, $13 for ages 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

ART ON MAIN The City of Concord and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce present a year-round outdoor public art exhibit in Concord’s downtown featuring works by professional sculptors. All sculptures will be for sale. Visit, call 224-2508 or email

• “TENSION: PROCESS IN THE MAKING” The Surface Design Association’s (SDA) New Hampshire Group presents an exhibit featuring fiber art and textiles by New Hampshire artists. July 24 through Sept. 4. Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). Visit or call 975-0015.

• “SUMMER HAZE” Concord artist and gallery owner Jess Barnet hosts her first group art exhibit. Gallery located in the Patriot Investment building, 4 Park St., Suite 216, Concord. On view Aug. 6 through Sept. 3. Visit

Fairs and markets

CONCORD ARTS MARKET Outdoor artisan and fine art market. Every third Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June through October. Rollins Park (33 Bow St., Concord). Visit

ARTS ON THE GREEN Arts and crafts fair will feature painters, potters, artisan jewelers, stained glass makers, bead workers, photographers and metal crafters. Presented by The Center for the Arts Lake Sunapee Region. Sunapee Harbor. Sat., July 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit


NASHUA PUBLIC ART AUDIO TOUR Self-guided audio tours of the sculptures and murals in downtown Nashua, offered via the Distrx app, which uses Bluetooth iBeacon technology to automatically display photos and text and provides audio descriptions at each stop on the tour as tourists approach the works of art. Each tour has 10 to 15 stops. Free and accessible on Android and iOS on demand. Available in English and Spanish. Visit

Workshops and classes

GENERAL ART CLASSES In-person art classes for all levels and two-dimensional media. held with small groups of two to five students. Private classes are also available. Diane Crespo Fine Art Gallery (32 Hanover St., Manchester). Students are asked to wear masks in the gallery. Tuition costs $20 per group class and $28 per private class, with payment due at the beginning of the class. Call 493-1677 or visit for availability.

DRAWING & PAINTING CLASSES Art House Studios, 66 Hanover St., Suite 202, Manchester. Classes include Drawing Fundamentals, Painting in Acrylic, Drawing: Observation to Abstraction, Exploring Mixed Media, and Figure Drawing. Class sizes are limited to six students. Visit



HEATHERS THE MUSICAL Presented by Cue Zero Theatre Company. Auditions held Tues., July 27. Granite State Arts Academy, 19 Keewaydin Drive, Salem. Performers must be age 18+. Signups for a time slot in advance are required. Visit


COMEDY OUT OF THE ’BOX The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). 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

PIPPIN The Palace Teen Company presents. Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. Fri., June 25, and Sat., June 26, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for children and $15 for adults. Visit

•​ STEEL MAGNOLIAS The Majestic Theatre presents. Majestic Studio Theatre, 880 Page St., Manchester. Now through June 27, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit or call 669-7469.

BETRAYAL The Winnipesaukee Playhouse presents. 33 Footlight Circle, Meredith. Now through July 3, with showtimes Tuesday through Saturday, at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $27 to $37. Visit

•​ PIPPIN The Seacoast Repertory Theatre PAPA Jr. presents. Virtual and in person at 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Now through July 18. Visit or call 433-4472.

•​ BRING IT ON Kids Coop Theatre presents. Fri., June 25, and Sat., June 26. More information is TBA. Visit

TRUE TALES LIVE Monthly showcase of storytellers. Held virtually via Zoom. Last Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., now through June, and September through December. Visit

SLEUTH The Winnipesaukee Playhouse presents. 33 Footlight Circle, Meredith. June 30 through July 17, with showtimes Tuesday through Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., plus matinees on Tuesday, July 6, and Thursday, July 8, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $37. Visit

•​ MAD HAUS The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Wed., June 30, and Sun., Aug. 18, 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. The show is also available to livestream. Visit

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS The 2021 Bank of New Hampshire Children’s Summer Series presents. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). Tues., July 6, through Thurs., July 8, 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Visit

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN Prescott Park Arts Festival (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth). July 9 through Aug. 15, with shows daily at 7 p.m. More information is TBA. Visit

PETER PAN The 2021 Bank of New Hampshire Children’s Summer Series presents. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). Tues., July 13, through Thurs., July 15, 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Visit

DANI GIRL The Winnipesaukee Playhouse presents. 33 Footlight Circle, Meredith. July 14 through July 31, with showtimes Tuesday through Saturday, at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $29 to $39. Visit

•​ ‘TIL BETH DO US PART The Majestic Theatre presents. Virtual and in person at Majestic Studio Theatre, 880 Page St., Manchester. July 16 through July 25, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit or call 669-7469.

WIZARD OF OZ The 2021 Bank of New Hampshire Children’s Summer Series presents. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). Tues., July 20, through Thurs., July 22, 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Visit

•​ CABARET The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. July 22 through Sept. 5. Visit or call 433-4472.

Creature Feature

New Art Fest celebrates pets and farm animals

Art and animals are brought together at the first-ever Art Fest at Twiggs Gallery in Boscawen, happening Saturday, June 26. The outdoor event will feature booths with local artists and animal organizations, live animals, a make-and-take craft and more.

“Fur & Feathers/Paws & Claws” exhibit. Courtesy photo.

“We’ve always had small things at the gallery, like an artisan who comes and sets up a little booth, or some sort of make-and-take craft for people to do,” gallery director Laura Morrison said, “but this is the first time we’ve really expanded everything into one big full-day event.”

Six New Hampshire artists and craftspeople will show and sell their work at the Art Fest: Melanie Deshaies, who creates watercolor paintings focused on nature; leatherworker Diane Louise, whose work includes belts, dog collars, leashes, bracelets and more; Cheryl Miller, a textile artist who crafts machine-stitched fiber collages with hand-dyed fabrics and paper; jewelry maker Jo Shields, who specializes in organic sculptural jewelry inspired by nature; Keira Chin, a glass artist who makes glass whimsical beach scenes; and Ty Meier, a pen-and-ink artist.

Meier, of Hopkinton, will be selling his greeting cards, which feature unique animal designs like a squirrel playing the violin, two crows in love and a snail with a fairy house on its back, and he’ll be taking orders for custom pet portraits, a service he started offering during the pandemic that has received a lot of demand, he said.

“I’ve developed a style with pen-and-ink and watercolor, doing almost tattoo-y kind of designs, so it’s a little bit different than your typical pet painting,” he said. “I especially love to do ones where the pet is doing something cute or is flopped over or in some weird pose.”

Two local animal nonprofits will have information booths and pets for people to meet: Pope Memorial SPCA will be there from 10 a.m. to noon and will have a donation bin set up on site collecting canned dog food, dry cat food, soft dog treats, cat toys, small animal toys and durable dog toys; and For the Love of Dog Rottweiler & Pitbull Rescue of New Hampshire will be there from 1 to 3 p.m.

Additionally there will be free draft horse cart rides on the field by the gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., as well as a demonstration by the 4-H Steer Club.

Inside the gallery from 1 to 3 p.m. visitors can do a free paper pet make-and-take craft. Using one of the pet portraits provided or a small picture of their own pet’s head (about 1.5 inches wide) that they bring, they can create a paper doll version of their pet.

“We have pictures of different dogs, cats and birds that we cut out … and old paper doll patterns to match them up with, so people can dress up their pet in a fashionable wardrobe,” Morrison said. “It’s a fun little craft.”

Attendees can also take part in “Route 3 Art Trail – Rocks!” a community art project organized by Twiggs and Concord arts organizations Making Matters and Kimball Jenkins. The project invites people to paint “kindness rocks” that will be placed randomly throughout the community. Rocks painted at Twiggs will be put on display in an installation circle outside the gallery until they get distributed this fall.

The Art Fest coincides with the gallery’s new animal-themed art exhibit that’s on view now through July 18.

“We tied it all together,” Morrison said, “and I think that will give a good boost to the exhibit.”

“Fur & Feathers/Paws & Claws” showcases paintings, drawings, prints, photography, jewelry and artist books by nine local artists reflecting on the world of domesticated pets and work and farm animals.

“For about a year now, I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do a pet art show, and to expand it to also [include] other domesticated animals people have at home, like farm animals and work animals,” Morrison said.

Meier has two of his works in the exhibit: one depicting a chicken under a sunrise, and the other a goat against a backdrop of a sun-and-moon symbol.

“I love drawing goats because there’s a lot of crazy mythology … and history behind them,” he said. “I put a lot of that ancient mythology-type symbolism and stuff like that in my art.”

“[The exhibit] is definitely quite an eclectic mix of styles and mediums,” Morrison said.

In addition to the exhibit, the gallery has on display “Our Village Square … a Celebration,” an accordion-style sculptural artist book created collaboratively by members of Artists’ Meeting Point, an artists group that normally meets at Twiggs, over virtual Zoom meetings during the pandemic.

“They did it all together; each artist took one panel in the book,” Morrison said. “When you fold it all out, it looks like a little village.”

Morrison said she’s looking forward to having Twiggs engage with the community on a larger scale.

“We just love connecting and sharing local art and artists with people,” she said. “If all goes well, we hope to continue to do the Art Fest every year.”

Art Fest at Twiggs Gallery

Where: 254 King St., Boscawen
When: Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain date is Sunday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Cost: Free
More info: Visit or call 975-0015.

“Fur & Feathers/Paws & Claws” exhibit
On view at Twiggs now through July 18. Regular gallery hours are Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Featured photo: Art by Ty Meier, on display in the exhibit. Courtesy Photo.

Well blended

Creamery Station returns to Manchester

The two groups sharing the Jewel Music Venue stage on June 26 go together like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and Phish Food Not Fade Away Band celebrates the Grateful Dead’s music, while Creamery Station brings together all the elements loved by fans of the Dead, Allman Brothers and other heroes of the jam scene.

While plenty of performing units boast about coming together organically, it’s really true of Connecticut-based Creamery Station. Dylan Kader “grew up side stage” watching his father Jim play in The Bernadettes, a regional R&B group. But Kader was more drawn to sports as a youngster.

In his teens, guided by a “big things start small” philosophy, Kader began honing his guitar skills.

“I wanted to get good enough to play around a campfire and have my friends smile,” he said in a recent phone interview, “but as soon as I started, I fell in love with it.”

One night at a house party, Kader, his dad and a drummer friend started jamming. Soon, the living room was packed with dancing revelers.

“It felt really right,” Kader said. “We got excited and started inviting other musicians.”

The first was his dad’s Bernadettes band mate Don DeStafano, a harmonica player who’d appeared on albums by Johnny Cash and B.B. King. Then Kader’s elementary school pal Harry Cooper joined on drums.

Crucially, keyboard player Jon Truelson, a Berklee grad with music theory skills, came on board. “He’s the Garth in our band he really pulls our harmonies together, and has an ear like I’ve never heard,” Kader said. The group later welcomed percussionist Mike Ryan, bass player Alex Wu and Bobby Pickett, who plays lap steel and violin.

“It was almost a natural occurrence how everybody started coming together like that,” Kader said.

After hundreds of shows, some EPs and the 2017 demo collection Pastures of Plenty, Creamery Station put out its first proper studio album, Walk With Me, last year. Though the pandemic forced them to cancel a planned tour, Kader was sanguine.

“We had something to release at a time when so many bands were completely out of work with nothing to do,” he said. “So at least it gave us something.”

The new record’s dozen tracks reflect a collaborative nature. Kader wrote most, with Pickett, Cooper, Ryan and Truelson all contributing Truelson’s harmony-rich “I’d Be Pleased” is a highlight.

“We’re lucky enough we have eight musicians and all of them are phenomenal,” Kader said. “Although not all of us end up starting the songs, we all have a big piece in the writing of them.”

Another standout is Kader’s “Fernwood,” written about a stop in Big Sur while the band was on tour in California. “We go out there a lot and we love it,” he said. “We were all just sitting around the fire and wrote the song about the whole trip it was a fun little jig.”

Producer Vic Steffens (Rory Block, Lita Ford) did a great job of recreating the band’s live sound on Walk With Me, but the group is anxious to get back in front of fans to see how the new material evolves.

“I love bouncing back and forth between musicians, but there’s still a whole element that’s missing,” Kader said. “Things go to really cool and weird places on stage; that’s what makes it so special. A lot of it is driven by the energy of the audience, where the show and the night’s going down. So it’s really cool to get time on the road … playing the songs, and really see what comes of them.”

Not Fade Away Band w/ Creamery Station
Saturday, June 26, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester
Tickets: $20 at

Featured photo: Creamery Station. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 21/06/24

Local music news & events

Southern sound: Country rocking family band Parmalee performs on the deck for a beach crowd. Led by Matt and Scott Thomas, along with their cousin Barry, the group broke through with 2013’s Feels Like Carolina. Last year they received their first CMT nomination, for a video of their duet with Blanco Brown, “Just The Way.” Thursday, June 24, 8 p.m., Bernie’s Beach Bar, 73 Ocean Ave., Hampton, tickets $35 at

Shed season: Early shows at New Hampshire’s largest outdoor venue, including two from Brantley Gilbert, are socially distanced events with pod seating, but the amphitheater plans full-capacity events later in the summer, and many are sold out already. Gilbert recently released “Worst Country Song of All Time,” a goofy collaboration with Hardy and Toby Keith. Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m., Bank of NH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, tickets $29 and up at

Funday sun: It’s al fresco laughs as comedian Marty Caproni holds forth on a cozy restaurant’s outdoor deck. As cohost of the Good Advice For Bad Ideas podcast, Caproni welcomes guests like fellow comic Jessimae Peluso and explores getting better at bank robbing, grifting and other murky skills with purported experts. He’s opened for Russell Brand and Dave Attel. Sunday, June 27, 7 p.m., East Derry Tavern, 50 East Derry Road, Derry, tickets $25 via Venmo @woodiewheatonlandtrust.

Pond party: One of the region’s most versatile musicians, fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki is joined by Matt Jensen on guitar for an early evening performance surrounded by history. Weaving traditional Celtic music with tuneful original songs, the pair present a lively repertoire that encourages dancing and singing along. Guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs to watch the duo perform on the Puddle Dock terrace. Tuesday, June 29, 6 p.m., Strawberry Banke, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth, $5 in advance at

Quality of Life 21/06/24

Success in the sand

“empty.” Courtesy photo.

Last week’s Hampton Beach’s Sand Sculpting Classic was a success, held as scheduled (as opposed to being pushed to September, like it was last year) and with beautiful weather. The professional sculptors carved over three days, from June 17 to June 19, and voting took place and awards were given out on Saturday, June 19. According to a press release, the first-place winner was “empty” by Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada. His sculpture featured two faces, a double-sided piece that was over 10 feet tall with connecting tears spilling from the eyes, plus a male with his head in his hands on one side and a female laying in a fetal position on the other, representing the feelings of sadness Waterman experienced from a breakup with his wife, the release said. “Nearly every piece was doubled-sided this year, which, although it wasn’t a requirement, points are always given when both sides are completed. So this was a step up,” Lisa Martineau, co-marketing director of the Hampton Beach Village District, said in the release.

Score: +1

Comment: The sculptures will remain on display through Sunday, June 27, and will be lit for night viewing.

Blood shortages at critical levels

Like the rest of New England, New Hampshire is facing a critical blood shortage in its hospitals and health care systems, and the American Red Cross of Northern New England is collaborating with state hospital associations in the region to address the need for all types of blood. According to a joint statement from the hospital associations, donating blood takes only about an hour but is a life-saving gift for someone awaiting a transfusion. “We are experiencing such significant blood shortages that many of our hospitals are down to critical levels,” Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said in the statement. “We continue to collaborate with our American Red Cross partners and encourage every Granite Stater who is able to donate blood to do so soon so that we can increase blood supplies across the state.” As part of the effort to get more people to give blood, $5 Amazon gift cards are being offered to those who donate through June 30.

Score: -2

Comment: To make an appointment to donate blood, or to find out how to host a blood drive, visit and enter your zip code.

Community healing

Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one is invited to a free community event on Sunday, June 27, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. Organized by Friends of Aine, a nonprofit organization providing bereavement support services to grieving children, teens and families, “Gathering in Remembrance: Sharing Grief. Honoring Love. Inspiring Hope.” is a chance for the community to join together to pay tribute to those they have lost. According to a press release, it will feature a remembrance tribute with inspirational guest speakers, community support, a butterfly release, kids activities and light refreshments, including free hot dog meals for children under 18. The event is free, but registration is encouraged at, where all registered participants will have the opportunity to submit the name and photo of their loved one for display on the stadium’s jumbotron and for inclusion in the tribute portion of the event, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment:“Gathering in Remembrance will offer attendees the opportunity to remove the isolation of grief — no matter when or how their loved ones passed away,” Christine Phillips, co-founder of Friends of Aine, said in the release.

QOL score: 77
Net change: 0
QOL this week: 77

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at

Luca (PG) | The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (R)

Luca (PG)

A young sea creature explores land and makes friends in Luca, an animated Pixar movie about a lot of things that I would lump in the “growing up” category.

I think Luca might be part of a good double feature with Inside Out, another Pixar movie about moving from little kid to an older and more aware phase of life. Where that movie was focused on the internal mechanics of that process — what does it feel like to grow and change and accept sadness and bittersweetness as part of life — Luca feels more like the external mechanics of growing up, learning to take chances but also take care of yourself, be a part of your family but still separate from your family, find friends who share your values, stand up for what you know is right and make things right when you make a mistake. How to approach and operate in the world feels like the broad ground covered in Luca.

Luca (voice of Jacob Tremblay) is a young sea creature (picture a water dragon crossed with a sea monkey but in bold tropical colors) who lives with his family in the bright sapphire-blue waters off the Italian coast. He spends his days herding the family’s flock of sheep-like fish — at least that’s what his mother (voice of Maya Rudolph) and father (voice of Jim Gaffigan) think he’s doing. His grandmother (voice of Sandy Martin) sees the gleam of curiosity in his eyes when she tells stories of visiting the human town on land where sea creatures, when dry, transform to look like people.

When Luca finds a few human items that have fallen off a fishing boat, he is intrigued. He meets Alberto (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer), a fellow kid sea creature and collector of all manner of human stuff. Hesitantly, Luca follows Alberto to the surface. After Luca gets the hang of walking with legs, he and Alberto spend time hanging out on a small island where Alberto lives, building rickety but (briefly) ride-able Vespa-like contraptions and dreaming of the day when they can get a cherry-red scooter and ride off together to see the world.

Soon, however, Luca’s parents find out what he’s been doing and they’re terrified and angry — humans have a long history of killing sea creatures, and land is no place for someone like Luca, who turns blue and green anytime water splashes on him. To keep him safe, they say, they’re sending him to the deep with weird, see-through uncle Ugo (voice of Sacha Baron Cohen).

Luca is definitely not interested in a life eating passing bits of whale carcass and listening to Ugo’s stories in the dark, so he takes off. He and Alberto decide to go where they’re certain Luca’s parents will never look — the human town.

The human town, which is called Portorosso (on, as the Disney Wiki explains, the Italian Riviera; circa, based on music and television snippets, maybe 1950s-early 1960s?), is a bright and sunny place with a disturbing amount of fish-spearing imagery. The boys get a glimpse of a real Vespa, a thing of beauty owned by the boasting, bullying teen Ercole (voiced by Saverio Raimondo). Ercole turns his viciousness on Luca and Alberto when a ball Luca kicks accidentally hits Ercole’s scooter. Before Ercole can dunk them in the town fountain (which would make their sea creature secret visible to all), they are rescued by Guilia (voice of Emma Berman), a plucky red-haired girl who is Ercole’s fiercest competitor in an annual triathlon. Guilia has never won, in part because she has always competed alone in the swimming/pasta-eating/biking competition and tends to spend the bike ride puking, but she is determined to end Ercole’s reign of kid-terror.

The race comes with prize money — money, as Alberto and Luca figure out, that can be spent on a not entirely decrepit used Vespa — and the three kids decide to team up and work together to try to beat Ercole.

Luca is a truly beautiful movie with lots of bright sunny colors, both in the rendering of the sea creatures and in the richly illustrated vacation poster settings. It’s fun — with a sense of adventure and a kind of boisterousness that isn’t Peter Rabbit 2-style jokey but does keep the energy up. Luca’s thoughtfulness doesn’t weigh down its funness.

And there is a lot of deeper thinking going on here. As much as the blowhard Ercole is the movie’s main antagonist, the movie’s true villain is probably something like fear — fear of people who are different, fear of the unknown, fear that keeps you from standing up for someone. Learning how to deal with different types of fear and how to respond is the real quest that Luca goes on. He easily faces the parent-instilled fears of going to the surface, but other kinds of fears prove harder to navigate. There is also a bit about learning to be yourself and make decisions for yourself, not just following what parents or friends want but also figuring out how to make your own way while still keeping your parents and friends close. It’s a lot of stuff, some of it rather subtle, to be happening in one cartoon that’s not quite two hours long, but I feel like Luca does a good job of setting the scene for the things it’s putting out there for moviegoers to consider (moviegoers of all ages; as much as Luca and Inside Out are about kids, I always feel like there’s a good bit to consider for parents as well). The movie leaves you with good feelings and plenty to talk about without presenting pat answers to big “how to live life” questions.

Luca feels like a more subdued kind of Pixar movie than, say, the big extravaganza-like franchises of Toy Story or Cars. But it has that quality of a really good storybook, with lots of elements that will stick with you long after the movie is over. A

Rated PG for rude humor, language, some thematic elements and brief violence, according to the MPA on Directed by Enrico Casarosa with a screenplay by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones, Luca is an hour and 36 minutes long and distributed by Walt Disney Studios on Disney+.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (R)

Remember that Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson/Salma Hayek movie from 2017? It was an action comedy that used shooting and swear words in a way that felt like they were placeholders for dialogue nobody got around to writing? Vaguely? Well that movie was called The Hitman’s Bodyguard and now it has a clunkily named sequel: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

And now I know I’m really back at the movies. For other films I’ve seen at theaters since March 2020 I was often at least as aware of my surroundings as I was of the movie itself. Or the movie I was watching was loaded with some kind of “the movie that will save cinema” importance. But with this movie, with this gloriously not-quite-good-enough-to-be-mediocre movie, I was just in a theater, frequently bored and regularly checking my watch. What, it’s only been five minutes? Sigh. And, just like that, a bit of normality returns.

That the 2017 first film (in what I really hope isn’t a franchise) was sorta half-baked and leaned too much on general loudness is something I only remember because I recently reread my review. I don’t think this movie expects you to remember all that much about plot or character. Generally: Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a Type A bodyguard who lost his license and top shelf status due to the assassination of a client by Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a top-flight hitman. For convoluted reasons, Bryce (in the first movie) had to protect Kincaid so he could testify in a war crimes trial. Sonia (Hayek), Darius’s wife, is a con woman and just sort of loud and big in a way the movie clearly finds hilarious.

Here, a despondent Michael, still unable to regain his bodyguard license, is advised to take a violence-free sabbatical and therefore goes to Italy to relax by the ocean and think self-affirming thoughts. It’s there, with his eyes closed and noise-canceling headphones keeping out the sound of bullets flying and people screaming, that Michael is found by Sonia. As she’s chased by, er, I forget who exactly, she grabs Michael and drags him along with her. Darius has been kidnapped and she wants Michael’s help finding him. Micheal doesn’t want to help and is determined not to handle any guns or perpetrate any violence but he eventually goes along.

Meanwhile, discount Bond villain Aristotle Papdopolous (Antonio Banderas) is trying to steal the information that will allow him to plunge all of Europe — except for Greece — into chaos by destroying its power grid. Interpol, in the form of a Boston detective (or something? He mentions Boston a lot, it’s weird) named Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo), is trying to chase down the group behind an attack on the power grid in Croatia, which was a sort of demonstration for Aristotle. When Darius gets mixed up with (and then kills) someone O’Neill was using as an informant, O’Neill uses the threat of arrest to force Sonia, Darius and Michael to be part of a sting to capture a MacGuffin that will lead them to Aristotle.

This movie doesn’t take itself all that seriously and occasionally leans in to the absurdity of its characters and story just enough to have a moment of cleverness or genuine (stupid but enjoyable) humor. A lot of other times, though, it just hangs a whole scene on, like, Samuel L. Jackson’s laugh or Salma Hayek spinning off in high-energy anger. This movie’s three leads are very much reduced to their one or two character actions — Hayek is basically a violent tornado or weirdly trying to be motherly, Jackson is being “a Samuel L. Jackson character” and Reynolds is doing a flatter, more anxious turn of his Deadpool patter. You get the sense that somebody wanted to shoot a movie in Italy and then this sequel was sort of reverse engineered from there. This movie has car chases and characters shooting at people in helicopters and yet it frequently feels slow; it’s only an hour and 39 minutes long but it often feels like it is just grinding through those minutes like a weak blender through large chunks of ice and frozen strawberries, never quite making it to smoothie territory. C-

Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexual content, according to the MPA on Directed by Patrick Hughes with a screenplay by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is an hour and 39 minutes extremely long and distributed by Lionsgate.

Featured photo: Luca

Hour of the Witch, by Chris Bohjalian

Hour of the Witch, by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday, 400 pages)

I do love me some Chris Bohjalian, but I had forgotten how riled up I get by his stories, which always focus on some aspect of social injustice. Such is the case with his newest release, Hour of the Witch.

This piece of historical fiction centers around a young woman, Mary Deerfield. who lives with her abusive and alcoholic husband in 17th-century Massachusetts. Mary is much younger than her husband. She is worldly, having come from England with her parents, is well-spoken and well-read, and she speaks her mind. Boy, does she speak her mind.

After five years of marriage Mary is barren but not devoid of sexual desire. The guilt from that makes even her question her worthiness — a bad situation that is soon made worse.

After hitting her on several occasions, Mary’s husband impales her hand with a fork (the three-pronged tool of the devil), after which Mary moves back in with her wealthy parents and decides to divorce her husband. Not unheard of at the time, but certainly not considered the norm.

It wasn’t exactly the best time in history to stand up to male oppression, especially when women around you were being tried as witches. But Mary would rather take her chances with the courts because she knows her husband is wrong.

Because we are privy to Mary’s reasoning we understand why she makes the decisions she does. Her community, a male-dominated society, does not. Instead of people understanding that she is abused, it is far easier to think that her husband has his hands full with such a strong-willed young woman. Surely Mary deserves any kind of “fatherly correction” that is administered to her by her husband.

And besides, while her husband does tend to drink a bit, he’s such a nice guy.

Mary tries to ease a deathly ill young boy’s agony by administering herbs; people use that to call her a witch. Mary finds those three-pronged forks planted in her garden and after confronting her servant and husband makes the decision to replant them, in the hopes that maybe they can make her fertile, because why not give it a try? She is clearly a witch. Mary is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

And when Mary tells her side of the story of her abusive situation, she is doubted and called a liar and sinner — traits of a witch or certainly a woman who deserves to be punished. Many of her neighbors end up siding with the husband, praising him for putting up with a woman who doesn’t know her place.

Eventually the divorce proceedings turn into a full witch trial with the very real threat that Mary might hang from the gallows for the crime of not wanting to be married to an abusive monster.

Hour of the Witch is a hefty book — at 400 pages you’ll want to set aside time to read it — but the plot moves so quickly and the details are so realistic that you will find yourself sailing through the story. Bohjalian is known for doing a tremendous amount of research for each of his books, and the effort shows in this one. It’s convincingly written and it reads like a current story about abused women — how they are doubted, mistreated and made to feel like they are at fault for the actions of others. On one level, reading Hour of the Witch can be depressing — it felt to me like very little has changed since 1662 — but on another level it’s a skillfully written story worth the read. Put it on your list. A


Author events

PAUL DOIRON Author presents Dead by Dawn. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. Thurs., July 1, 6 p.m. Tickets cost $60 to $180 per table. Visit or call 436-2400.

TERRY FARISH Meet-and-greet with picture book and young adult author. Kingston Community Library, 2 Library Lane, Kingston. Thurs., July 8, 3:30 p.m. Registration required. Visit

CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE Author presents The Exiles. Hosted by The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Tues., July 13, 7 p.m. Virtual. Tickets cost $5. Visit or call 436-2400.

MEGAN MIRANDA Author presents Such a Quiet Place. Hosted by The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Tues., July 20, 7 p.m. Virtual. Tickets $5. Visit or call 436-2400.


DOWN CELLAR POETRY SALON Poetry event series presented by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Monthly. First Sunday. Visit

Book Clubs

BOOKERY Online. Monthly. Third Thursday, 6 p.m. Bookstore based in Manchester. Visit or call 836-6600.

GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE Online, via Zoom. Monthly. First Monday, 5:30 p.m. Bookstore based in Concord. Visit or call 224-0562.

TO SHARE BREWING CO. 720 Union St., Manchester. Monthly. Second Thursday, 6 p.m. RSVP required. Visit or call 836-6947.

Featured photo: Hour of the Witch

Album Reviews 21/06/24

Lara Hope And The Ark-Tones, Here to Tell the Tale (Sower Records)

From the Catskills comes this oddball rockabilly thingamajig, featuring our intrepid heroine, totally making $10 mail-order red cat-eye spectacle frames a thing again for all you lonely NASA incels out there. Oh, I know, I’m a jerk, but that’s literally a checkbox on the job application, and whatever, someone had to do something like this, mildly feisty eight-bar ’50s-rock sung by, you know, a cute girl with a fashion Achilles heel that’s truly epic. Where were we, oh yes, rockabilly. These people have opened for Brian Setzer Orchestra, which is about as big as this genre can get these days, but wait, there’s more, Ms. Hope won an Ameripolitan Best Female Rockabilly Artist award in 2017, so these ain’t no pikers (I assume). Standard stuff on board here of course, songs about falling in love with idiots, being an idiot in love, and, spoiler, drinking alcohol; Hope’s voice nasally befits her stage look, but wait, act now because the bass player plays an upright bass. A

Maria Grand, Reciprocity (Biophilia Records)

If you’ve ever wanted to hear a top-drawer saxophone player try to put her pregnancy into musical expression, that’d be this, the second full-length from this avant edge-lady. Supported only by bass and drums, Grand nevertheless keeps listeners on their toes and paying attention, as it’s hard to guess what she’ll try next. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind my echoing the reviewer and inferring that these pieces are textures more than songs, loaded up with impossible runs (and a few moments where Savannah Harris’s drums really stand out) and yes, some googly-eyed, Bjork-like weirdness (“Fundamental Pt. 1,” “Prayer”), but that’s something of an oversimplification. Despite all the controlled chaos, it’s still very musical, and one does find one’s ears trying to keep pace. “Creation: Interlude” is particularly compelling, utilizing a stop-and-start pattern to great effect; “Now Take Your Day” stands out as a trademark clinic in effortless virtuosity. A


• Fonzie just said to me “Eyyy, Saeger, how about you lay those bad albums on me like a hepcat,” and so I am here to oblige, with all the new albums slated for a June 25 release date that (at this writing) seem noteworthy enough to motivate me to dream up a few expert-level critiques and insults! But we won’t get to the dissin’ quite yet, unless Dark In Here, the upcoming new album from hilariously overrated hipster band The Mountain Goats, is massively disappointing (and trust me, we’re talkin’ about a really low bar here, folks)! They’re from Claremont, California, a suburban city near Los Angeles, and they’ve been the talk of the Pitchfork cognoscenti, even after the band allowed fewer weird tunes onto their second 2020 album, Getting Into Knives. In other words, they’re basically this year’s Grizzly Bear or whatever; going by their (debatably) most popular tune, “No Children,” which was about all I could stomach from them in 2015, I’ve always thought of them as a cross between Violent Femmes and Deep Blue Something, a joke band of sorts but one we’re supposed to take seriously because, you know, whatever. Anyway, the latest single from the new album is called “Mobile,” and it’s basically what you’d expect to hear from Crash Test Dummies doing a folk-pop song, a little bit twee and a lotta bit unlistenable. This too shall pass, of course, and hopefully quickly.

• Speaking of tedious folkie-hipster bands, I’m almost positive that one of my public relations pests is pushing me to listen to Durham, N.C.-based Hiss Golden Messenger, but since it’s nowadays pretty stupid for them to waste time sending me emails instead of social media DMs, I can’t find hide nor hair of it, meaning any announcements/download links were probably deleted, so I’ll just start from scratch with regard to “their” forthcoming new LP, Quietly Blowing It. The “band” is basically just singer-songwriter MC Taylor and whatever random dudes end up playing onstage with him in exchange for cans of Hobo Beans and Dinty Moore or whatever. The new single, “Glory Strums (Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner),” has bad harmonica, a 1970s-pop vibe (think sleepy radio nonsense like Ambrosia), and Taylor’s decent-enough Bob Dylan-style voice. I do not hate it.

• Next we have Gang Of Four wannabes Modest Mouse, with their new album, The Golden Casket! I know, it’s been too long since their 2015 full-length Strangers To Ourselves, an album that was dissed by some hack Spin critic as “rudderless,” not that there were any Modest Mouse fans even remaining on the planet who hadn’t yet grown up and taken to pushing baby carriages; the band’s strategy appears to be “do an album and wait seven years before doing another,” which, any musician could tell you, is super dumb. The new single, “We Are Between,” starts with a Joy Division part, then turns into a Sting B-side. It’s actually OK, if you’ve even bothered reading this far.

• We’ll wrap things up with Boy From Michigan, the new LP from ironic synthpop guy John Grant! The title track is basically Madonna’s “True Blue” in a fake beard, although Grant’s mush-mouthed Jose Gonzalez imitation will probably appeal to you if you have bad taste in music.

Retro Playlist

Let us cast off these chains of pandemic discontent and harken to the year 2013, almost exactly eight years ago this week, when Massachusetts-based band Scud Mountain Boys officially became un-defunct upon the release of their fourth album, Do You Love The Sun. Having been exposed to their intensely uninteresting version of the preview single, a rub of the Cher classic “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves,” I feigned anticipation, noting that I could hardly wait to be lulled into blissful unconsciousness by the band’s next “bundle of Statler-Brothers-on-Quaaludes boring-itude,” and was, of course, not disappointed.
One of the featured records that week was The Terror, from LSD-powered wingnut band Flaming Lips. Normal people who read this space for whatever reason have for 15-or-so years watched in gleeful delight as I’ve tried to suppress my feelings for this band, but I’m glad to announce today that I really can’t stand them and never really could. Hence I was bald-faced lying when I said that it was “great for what it is,” possibly because I feared some sort of backlash from the five brain-damaged Americans who actually listen to Flaming Lips for the music instead being like everyone else and only cranking that crummy nonsense in order to annoy their grandmothers. I really should have stopped trying to appear interested after I noted that “there aren’t nearly as many Boredoms-style noise-wave moments nor graspable grooves as 2009’s Embryonic” with regard to this album, but I didn’t. But now I can rectify that error: I absolutely detest the Flaming Lips. Come at me, 98-pound weaklings.
Ha ha, the other “slab” I had on the coroner’s table that week was Deafheaven’s confounding breakthrough album, Sunbather. For those who’ve forgotten — and I always love telling this story — the San Francisco fivesome were somehow able to take their wearisome extreme-metal tuneage and convince the Grizzly Bear/Animal Collective-loving dingbats of the early-Aughts Brooklyn Vegan crowd that they’d invented something new and kooky, when in fact their music was just (and here’s my favorite part of the story) 1980s Bathory black-metal, but really boring. I’m seriously surprised there’s never been a class-action suit against those guys.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

Celtics reconstruction starts

The reshaping of the Celtics began late last week when Brad Stevens sent Kemba Walker and his 2021 first-round pick to Oak City for old friend Al Horford, 21-year-old seven-footer Moses Brown, and swapped 2022 second-round picks. There were all kinds of rationales for why it was a solid deal, including from media sage Kendrick Perkins, who is worth listening to, but when I was asked about it the next day I said I don’t know.

I don’t think you can judge it until you see what Oak City GM Sam Presti gets back for Kemba when he re-gifts him to a contender in need of a scorer. And if it’s another first-round pick – Brad got taken. Though, to be fair, Presti has the luxury of letting Kemba rehabilitate his value by showing people he’s healthy next year while Brad had to move on now.

I know Kemba makes a lot of money, and the financial flexibility/relief the deal provides is hailed as why it’s a good deal. But it seems odd to me that the Celtics had to also include their 2021 first-round draft and take back another bad contract as well to give Oak City a 20-point-a-game scorer, big contract or not. A contract I might point out they didn’t want to give two years ago, because they felt Horford would be too old in the second half of the four-year deal he got from Philly to justify paying him $27 million a year, which was smart thinking then. But now it’s not? I don’t get that.
They say it’s in the numbers, so let’s look at them. Boston saves $9 million this year. Which for the moment takes them out of luxury tax territory, but with Jayson Tatum’s max contract extension kicking in not under the cap. But assuming he wants to return, it lets them re-sign Evan Fournier to give them a proven scorer off the bench. Thus the deal’s net is Horford, Brown and Fournier for their first-round pick and Kemba. They can save another $13 million next year by buying out Horford. But that still doesn’t get them under the cap, meaning the real relief doesn’t come until 2023-24, which is when Kemba’s deal comes off the books as well for wherever he winds up. Which doesn’t add up to being worth that first-round pick, unless the throw in guy turns out to be something akin to the (holy) Moses Brown, who looked like Wilt Chamberlain grabbing 19 first-half rebounds against the Cs in March. Not likely, but that would make the deal more to my liking. And it’s worth noting Brad was there, so maybe he saw something he really liked.
Here are a few more thoughts on stories related to the deal.

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reporting on Kemba’s departure almost sounded like his eulogy. Here’s mine. While the classy Kemba had some major positives, he wasn’t the right fit because they needed a real point guard and he’s not that. Not his fault. He is what he is, a Ray Allen-like 2 guard scorer/slasher who’s called a point guard because he’s just 6 feet tall and too small to cover big guards.

But they went after him in the wake of losing Kyrie, due to Danny Ainge’s misguided obsession with shoot-first point guards. That dates back to constant rumors he was trying to move Rajon Rondo for Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, despite Rajon being a playoff star and the other two being regular playoff busts in championship-less careers. It also led to the disastrous Irving trade and then after losing Kyrie in free agency Kemba. I wrote at the time I’d rather keep Terry Rozier, who has outplayed Kemba since, and use the money saved to sign free agent seven-footer Clint Capela, now with rampaging Atlanta after leading the NBA in rebounding at 14 per. No guarantee they’d have gotten Capela, but if they had they’d be much better off with those two than where they are now.

It would also make it easier now to give up Marcus Smart, whose point guard/top defender role likely goes to (gulp) Romeo Langford if a trade goes down.

Moses, incidentally, is a 21-year-old 7-foot-2 rookie who averaged nine rebounds in just 21 minutes per after that record-setting game vs. the Cs. Combined with Robert Williams’ seven boards per over 18 minutes, it’s a 16-rebound combo from their centers, which isn’t bad.

I doubt they’ll make that leap of faith before seeing more, but if they do, it puts Tristan Thompson in play after his strong playoff performance.

With the reconstruction underway, here are the top four priorities as I saw it at season’s end. (1) Get a new coach that drives this team harder — halfway there. (2) Get bigger — with Horford at PF, a new 7’2” backup center and a point guard who’ll likely be bigger than Kemba they will be. (3) Restructure the half-court offense — mission is to get a point guard whose first job is to run the offense to get Tatum, Jaylen Brown and others the ball where they can do something with it. Halfway done. (4) Get consistent bench scoring.

The top three on my point guard wish list are Indiana’s Malcom Brogdon, free agent Derrick Rose and getting Rozier back from Charlotte. All can run the offense first, score second and are better defensively than Kemba. With the Gordon Hayward trade exception they can get Brogdon on a deal involving young players, Rose would have to be willing to sign for the veteran level $9 million exception while Thompson and the Hayward exception might do it for Rozier. Yes, Rozier isn’t perfect. But the last time they seemed whole was when he was the point guard in the exciting playoff run of 2017 that ended a game away from the NBA Finals.

Cool off with spritzers

A crisp bubbly drink in red or white

Spritzers are quite common in Europe, where their name began as Gespritzer, a noun derived from the German past participle of spritzen, or “to squirt.”

Popular in central Europe, spritzers have gained worldwide attention as ready-mixed in cans, with their low alcoholic and caloric content. They are the perfect afternoon beverage for a hot summer day for anyone wanting relief from the hot sun without the prospect of dulling their senses or imbibing unnecessary calories.

Spritzers should not be confused with wine coolers, which contain fruit juice and sugar, or sangria, which lacks carbonation but also contains a fair amount of carbohydrates. Spritzers should just be a simple combination of wine and carbonated water or club soda, with perhaps a slice of orange, served in a tall glass of ice. Both the wine and the soda should be well-chilled.

Originating in the 19th century, spritzers were traditionally made with white wine, but a full-fruited red wine can also be employed. Your imagination should be your guide, but remember, keep it simple! We bought our own SodaStream sparkling water maker a couple of years ago. I daily thank the esteemed scientist Joseph Priestley, who in his limitless energy discovered many gases, including oxygen and nitrous oxide, but most importantly invented carbonated water. Keeping a bottle of the sparkling water in the refrigerator makes preparing a spritzer an exercise of just a minute!

We have two spritzers to try. Our first is made with an imported Chablis. Antonin Rodet 2019 Chablis (originally priced at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets at $28.99 and reduced to $13.99) is in my estimation an excellent selection of a white wine for a spritzer; others include sauvignon blanc and riesling. Some acidity in the wine is important, as it works with the sparkling water to quench one’s thirst. Our wine comes from Chablis, in the far northern regions of Burgundy. Produced from the chardonnay grape, it is bone dry while not harsh, steely with mineral notes but not austere. It is rich, but not buttery like California chardonnays. Its color is the lightest of straw with a slight green cast. It has a tart lime-like nose, with an even yellow plum and minerality to the tongue; this is not the chardonnay that many would disdain. It is a perfect wine to mix with sparkling water for that thirst-quenching beverage.

Our second spritzer is made with Australia’s Limestone Coast Greg Norman Estates 2015 Reserve Shiraz (originally priced at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets at $49.99, reduced to $19.99). It is the perfect fruity-red wine for a spritzer! This vintage has been rated in the top 10 percent of all wines from this region. Like a rich Australian grenache, this shiraz has abundant fruit with soft tannins. It has a rich, dense red color, with bold plum fruit to the nose and palate.

This is a wine that, if you take advantage of the price and purchase several to set some aside, will cellar well for several years to come, netting repeated summers of red, healthy spritzers. Like the Chablis, this red should also be chilled prior to mixing.

So cool off this summer with some healthier alternatives, spritzers made with excellent red and white wines, crisp and clean, low in alcohol and calories! Simple to make with a 2:1 ratio of wine to sparkling water, poured over a tall glass of ice. Add a slice of orange for additional fruit and vitamin C!

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