Music this week – 21/12/09

Thursday, Dec. 9


Auburn Pitts: open mic jam, 6:30 p.m.


Copper Door: Chad LaMarsh, 7 p.m.


Alamo: Joey Clark, 4:30 p.m.


Area 23: DJ Dicey, 8 p.m.

Hermanos: Paul Bourgelais, 6:30 p.m.


Fody’s: music bingo, 8 p.m.


Telly’s: Tim Theraiult, 7 p.m.


Sawbelly: Max Sullivan, 5 p.m.

Sea Dog: Chad Verbeck, 5 p.m.


Village Trestle: John and Roxanne Man, 6 p.m.


CR’s: Ross McGinnes, 6 p.m.

Whym: music bingo, 6 p.m.


Lynn’s 102: Karaoke w/ George Bisson, 8 p.m.


Saddle Up Saloon: karaoke with DJ Jason, 7 p.m.


Stumble Inn: 21st &1st & Justin Jordan, 7 p.m.


Currier: Ian & Abbi Sleeper & Kent, 5 p.m.

Fratello’s: Ted Solovicos, 5:30 p.m.

KC’s: Paul Lussier, 6 p.m.

Strange Brew: Becca Myari, 8 p.m.


Giuseppe’s: Mary Fagan, 5:45 p.m.


Homestead: Jeff Mrozek, 5:30 p.m.


Stonecutters Pub: Blues Therapy, 8 p.m.


Fody’s: DJ Rich Karaoke, 9:30 p.m.

Fratello’s: Clint Lapointe, 5:30 p.m.

Stones Social: Stephen Decuire, 6:30 p.m.


Stone Church: Akrobatik, 9 p.m.


Boonedoxz: music bingo, 6:30 p.m.


The Goat: Isaiah Bennett, 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues: Scott Sharrard & Friends, 7:30 p.m.


Copper Door: Dave Zangri, 7 p.m.


Red’s: Mica Peterson, 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 10


Auburn Pitts: live music, 7 p.m.


Alamo: Robert Allwarden, 4:30 p.m.


Area 23: Classic Invasion, 8 p.m.

Penuche’s: Duo Del Inferno, 7 p.m.


Lazy Lion: Fagan/O’Neill Honey Bees Duo, 7 p.m.


Fody’s: Pop Rox, 8 p.m.


Telly’s: Tim Theriault, 8 p.m.


Sawbelly: Douglas James, 5 p.m.


Village Trestle: Mr. Doctor Pepper — steel drums, 6 p.m.


CR’s: Sharon Jones, 6 p.m.

The Goat: Alex Anthony, 8 p.m.

North Beach Bar: Mostly Young, 8 p.m.

Tinos: Max Sullivan,7 p.m.

Wally’s: Crooked Coast & The Quins & Supernothing, 8 p.m.

Whym: Steve Haidaichuck, 6:30 p.m.


Lynn’s 102: Karaoke w/ George Bisson, 8 p.m.


Coach Stop: Ted Solovicos, 6 p.m.

Stumble Inn: Mugsy Duo, 8 p.m.


Angel City: The Drift, 9 p.m.

Backyard Brewery: Dwayne Haggins, 6 p.m.

Bonfire: FatBunny, 7 p.m.

Derryfield: Almost Famous, 8 p.m.

The Foundry: Paul Driscoll, 6 p.m.

Fratello’s: Clint Lapointe, 6 p.m.

The Goat: Pop Disaster, 8 p.m.

Strange Brew: Peter Poirie, 8 p.m.


Giuseppe’s: Bob Kroepel, 5:45 p.m.


Homestead: Justin Quinn, 6 p.m.


Pasta Loft: Way Up South, 9 p.m.


Fody’s: DJ Rich Karaoke, 9:30 p.m.

Fratello’s: Dave Zangri, 6 p.m.

New Boston

Molly’s: Ralph Allen, 7 p.m.


Stone Church: Maine Dead Project, 8 p.m.

North Woodstock

Woodstock Inn Brewery: Dancing Madly Backwards, 8:30 p.m.


Boonedoxz Pub: karaoke night, 7 p.m.


Gas Light: Rebecca Turmel, 9:30 p.m.

The Goat: Chris Toler, 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues: Brubeck Brothers Quartet, 8 p.m.

Thirsty Moose: Greg Mattson & Sweep the Leg, 9 p.m.


Red’s: Lisa Love, 7 p.m.


Tailgate Tavern: Chad Verbeck, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 11

Alton Bay

Dockside: Jeff Lines, 8 p.m.


Auburn Pitts: live music, 7 p.m.


Chen Yang Li: Amanda Adams, 7 p.m.


Alamo: Chris Perkins, 4:30 p.m.


Area 23: Crazy Steve, 1 p.m.; Undaunted Professor Harp, 8 p.m.

Concord Craft Brewing: Ryan Williamson, 3 p.m.

Hermanos: Eugene Durkee, 7 p.m.

Penuche’s: The Honeybees, 7 p.m.


Cider Co.: Alex Cohen, 1 p.m.


Lazy Lion: live music, 5 p.m.


Telly’s: Chris Fraga, 8 p.m.


Fody’s: Kevin Haverty, 8 p.m.


Sawbelly: Red Tail Hawk Duo, 1 p.m.; Rich Amorim, 5 p.m.


Village Trestle: Off Duty Angels Trio, 6 p.m.


Smuttynose: live music, 6 p.m.

Wally’s: One More Time, 9 p.m.

Whym: Gabby Martin, 6:30 p.m.


Colby Hill Inn: Brad Myrick Duo, 1 p.m.


Saddle Up Saloon: Ryan Palma, 8 p.m.


Tower Hill Tavern: karaoke w/ DJ Tim, 8 p.m.


Coach Stop: Paul Lussier, 6 p.m.

Stumble Inn: Little Kings, 8 p.m.


Backyard Brewery: Andrew Geano, 6 p.m.

Bonfire: Houston Bernard Band, 7 p.m.

Derryfield: Last Kid Picked, 8 p.m.

The Foundry: Kimayo, 6 p.m.

Fratello’s: Jodee Frawlee,6 p.m.

Great North Aleworks: Alli Beaudry, 4 p.m.

The Goat: Alex Anthony, 7 p.m.

Strange Brew: Mike and Howie, 9 p.m.


Giuseppe’s: Sweetbloods, 5:45 p.m.


Homestead: Clint Lapointe, 6 p.m.


Pasta Loft: Compaq Big Band, 9 p.m.


Fody’s: Occam’s Razor, 9:30 p.m.

Fratello’s: Justin Jordan, 6 p.m.

Liquid Therapy: Kevin Horan, 6 p.m.

Millyard Brewery: Bradley Copper Kettle, 5 p.m.

The Peddler’s Daughter: Take 4, 9:30 p.m.

San Francisco Kitchen: April Cushman, 6 p.m.

North Woodstock

Woodstock Inn Brewery: Dancing Madly Backwards, 8:30 p.m.


Boonedoxz Pub: live music, 7 p.m.


Gas Light: Rebecca Turmel, 9:30 p.m.; Max Sullivan, 9:30 p.m.

The Goat: Mike Forgette, 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues: Brubeck Brothers Quartet, 7:30 p.m

Press Room: Truffle, 8 p.m.

Thirsty Moose: Clique, 9 p.m.


Porter’s Pub: Max Sullivan, 6 p.m.


Chop Shop: Bulletproof, 7 p.m.

Red’s: Kaleidoscope, 8 p.m.


Speakeasy: karaoke, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 12

Alton Bay

Dockside: Jackie Lee, 4 p.m.


Auburn Pitts: live music, 2 p.m.


Copper Door: Nate Comp, 11 a.m.


Alamo: Jae Minnion, 4:30 p.m.


Flannel Tavern: McAdams Duo, 4 p.m.


Sawbelly: Max Sullivan, 11 a.m.; Tombstone, 3 p.m.


Village Trestle: David Papa, 3:30 p.m.


CR’s: Gerry Beaudoin 4 p.m.

Whym: Phil Jakes, 12 p.m.


Colby Hill Inn: Brad Myrick Duo, 12:30 p.m.


Saddle Up Saloon: video music bingo, 5 p.m.


Stumble Inn: Jonny Friday, 2 p.m.


The Goat: Mike Forgette, 10 a.m.

Strange Brew: jam, 7 p.m.


Giuseppe’s: Lou Porrazzo, 5:45 p.m.


The Stone Church: Dan Blakeslee, 2 p.m.; Jim Prendergast, 5 p.m.


Boonedoxz Pub: open mic, 4 p.m.


The Goat: Rob Pagnano, 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues: Brass (R)Evolution, 5:30 p.m


Copper Door: Steve Prisby, 11 a.m.


Red’s: Birchwood Blaze, 8 p.m.


Reed’s: Tequila Jim, 4 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 13


The Bar: karaoke with Phil


Patrick’s Pub: open mic w/ Paul Luff, 6 p.m.


Stumble Inn: Lisa Guyer, 7 p.m.


Fratello’s: Phil Jakes, 5:30 p.m.

The Goat: live band karaoke, 8 p.m.

Spotlight Room: D-Comp, 6 p.m.


Homestead: Chris Cavanaugh, 5:30 p.m.


Fody’s: karaoke night, 9:30 p.m.

Fratello’s: Austin McCarthy, 5:30 p.m.


The Goat: Musical Bingo Nation, 7 p.m.; Alex Anthony, 9 p.m.

Press Room: open mic, 6 p.m.; Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec 14


Hermanos: State Street Combo, 6:30 p.m.

Tandy’s: open mic night, 8 p.m.


Shane’s: music bingo, 7 p.m.

Wally’s: Musical Bingo Nation, 7 p.m.


Saddle Up Saloon: line dancing, 7 p.m.


Fratello’s: Ryan Williamson, 5:30 p.m.

The Goat: Rob Pagnano, 9 p.m.

KC’s Rib Shack: Paul & Nate open mic, 7 p.m.

Strange Brew: David Rousseau, 7 p.m.

Stark Brewing: David Rousseau, 8 p.m.


Homestead: Joe Winslow, 5:30 p.m.


Fratello’s: Jeff Mrozek, 5:30 p.m.


The Goat: Isaiah Bennett, 9 p.m.

Press Room: Wiki X Navy Blue, 9 p.m.


Tailgate Tavern: Musical Bingo Nation, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 15


Alamo: Jeff Mrozek, 4:30 p.m.


Area 23: open mic night, 7 p.m.

Hermanos: John Franzosa, 6:30 p.m.

Tandy’s: karaoke, 8 p.m.


Bogie’s: open mic, 7 p.m.

North Beach Bar & Grill: Mikey J, 6:30 p.m.

Wally’s: Chris Toler, 7 p.m.


Saddle Up Saloon: Musical Bingo Nation, 7 p.m.


Fratello’s: Austin McCarthy, 5:30 p.m.

The Goat: country line dancing, 7 p.m.

Stark Brewing: Cox Karaoke, 8 p.m.

Strange Brew: Howard & Mike’s Acoustic Jam, 8 p.m.


Giuseppe’s: Paul Warnick, 5:45 p.m.


Homestead: Ralph Allen, 5:30 p.m.


Stonecutters Pub: open mic, 8 p.m.


Fratello’s: Doug Thompson, 5:30 p.m.


Stone Church: Eleanor Elktra, 7 p.m.


The Goat: Alex Anthony, 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues: Kandace Springs, 7:30 p.m

Press Room: Pressing Strings, 8 p.m.


Porter’s: karaoke night, 6:30 p.m.


Red’s: Max Sullivan Trio


Speakeasy: open mic night, 7 p.m.

Classical hip-hop

Black Violin transcends genres

Black Violin earned a Grammy nomination for its 2020 album, Take The Stairs — a fitting title, given the band’s challenging journey to success.

Led by Kev Marcus on violin and Wil Baptiste on viola, the group mashes up classical music and hip-hop. They invented their innovative genre years before YouTube, Twitter and TikTok virality existed, when making it in the world of music came from wearing out shoe leather, not web clicks.

Their first big break came as the new millennium was unfolding, and it’s illustrative. Hoping to perform at basketball star Allen Iverson’s birthday bash, they got a meeting with the promoter of Teasers nightclub in Miami.

“He laughed us out the door,” Marcus said in a recent phone interview. “He said, ‘What am I gonna do with violins?’”

Their irate manager responded by opening the back of his Ford Expedition, cranking up the sound system, and instructing the pair to play on the sidewalk in front of the club. A crowd quickly formed that soon included the shocked promoter. He got it, and agreed to hire them — as long as they promised to stay in flow.

“We needed to create a set for the DJ to mix in [so] our music didn’t stop everyone dancing,” Marcus said. “It’s the same kind of hip-hop music, except now you’re hearing violins, and you’re like, where is that? Then once they see us, they start crowding around. That was sort of the beginning.”

A couple of years later, they earned a spot on Showtime At The Apollo, a talent contest famous for unforgiving audiences.

“They boo you off the stage if they don’t like you,” Marcus said. “I mean, they are legendarily ruthless.”

The two waited in the green room as four acts went out ahead of them and were quickly dispensed by the crowd.

“A guy called the Sandman jumps from his box, hits the stage, and starts tap dancing you off,” Marcus said. “I remember being underneath … and just seeing the dust fall from the green room ceiling.”

Staring down at their violins, the two feared they’d been set up. But that feeling soon vanished.

“We walk on stage and we never lose,” Marcus said. “We won four straight competitions, we got standing ovations. It was the ‘we call home and quit our jobs’ moment. … If this crowd is gonna take us, then any crowd is gonna take us.”

The spark for their unique sound came when Marcus and Baptiste were in high school together — via a Sony Ericsson cell phone.

“Before ringtones, you could program notes,” Marcus said. “Busta Rhymes took the theme from Psycho and made a hip-hop beat, and it was the No. 1 song in the country…. I thought that was cool, so I created the notes for it and put it in my phone.”

When it rang in orchestra class, Marcus’s teacher predictably confiscated it, but not before his intrigued fellow musicians started replicating the digital sounds on their own instruments.

“The violinist next to me started playing the notes from my phone, and he went, ‘What if the violinist played?’ The next thing you know, the whole orchestra is playing,” he said.

Although Black Violin’s first Grammy nomination came for Best Instrumental Album, there’s an uplifting lyrical message throughout Take The Stairs, particularly on “Impossible Is Possible” and “One Step.” The latter song was made into a hard-hitting video, reminiscent of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.”

C&I Studio CEO Joshua Miller wrote a short film that touched on racial profiling, the immigration crisis, and the scourge of gun violence in schools.

“We wanted it to be really controversial,” Miller said in a ‘making of’ video. “Our whole pitch was really telling the story of what’s happening in America right now.”

“One Step” had been written two years earlier, with a different message in mind, Marcus explained, but they also felt a need to update it for the present moment.

“Everything you see in the video … we’re dealing with directly,” he said. “We wanted to show our reality, and if we can’t do that within our own art then we’re in the wrong business.”

Black Violin

When: Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $35 and up at

Featured photo: Black Violin. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 21/12/09

Local music news & events

Side to front: A rock guitarist takes a jazz direction as Scott Sharrard & Friends pay tribute to bop and soul legend Grant Green in an evening dubbed Green Is Beautiful. Beginning in 2008, Sharrard was musical director for the Gregg Allman Band. Currently he plays lead for Little Feat, stepping in after the passing of Paul Barrere in 2019. His presence gives that band new velocity. Thursday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club, 135 Congress St., Portsmouth, $20 and $30 at

State repping: A packed lineup of hardcore talent drives 603 Strong, with Great American Ghost performing a holiday show, the original lineup of metal band Vanna rebranded as Inspirit for its first New Hampshire appearance, Kaonashi, In Remembrance doing a reunion show, Katahdin, Martial Law and Underthrow. The 18+ show has an early start to provide each act with enough time to stretch out. Friday, Dec. 10, 5 p.m., Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester, $20 advance at ($25 day of show).

Peanuts gang: The music from a beloved 1965 Christmas special is revisited by the Heather Pierson Trio. When A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired, the network complained about inexperienced child voice actors, poor sound and choppy animation. They wanted a laugh track in and the Gospel of Luke out. The jazz soundtrack was most troubling, but it sparked an interest by a young Pierson that’s still enduring. Saturday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., The Word Barn, 66 Newfields Road, Exeter, $25 at

Holiday swing: Symphony NH performs its annual Holiday Pops Concert, playing favorite classic Christmas songs led by conductor Roger Kalia. This year’s program begins with “A Christmas Scherzo” followed by music from the motion picture Frozen and a reading of The Night Before Christmas. The show’s second half offers seven selections from The Nutcracker, “Deck the Halls” and, finally, an audience sing-along. Sunday, Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord, $35 and up at

Dynamic duo: Touring in support of Noon, their first new album since 2005, Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon perform an evening of acoustic music. Phish drummer Jon Fishman recalled seeing virtuoso guitarist Kottke in a Vermont club in the 1980s and thinking if he ever connected with his bandmate Gordon, “that might be the end of the world.” The two joined up in the early 2000s, making a pair of albums before their hiatus. Monday, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., Lebanon Opera House, 51 N. Park St., Lebanon, $38 to $58 at

At the Sofaplex 21/12/09

8-Bit Christmas (PG)

Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Zahn.

I’ve seen this movie described as an update of A Christmas Story and it definitely has shades of that, though it may be even more family-friendly. Here, present-day dad Jake Doyle (Harris) tells his young, iPhone-wanting daughter Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert) about a Christmas back in the 1980s when he desperately wanted a Nintendo. His parents, Kathy (June Diane Raphael) and John (Zahn), go from not exactly knowing how to pronounce “Nintendo” to being violently opposed to ever having one in their house. Young Jake (Winslow Fegley) and his friends try a variety of schemes to ensure that one of them will wind up with a Nintendo while Jake’s younger sister Lizzy (Bellaluna Resnick) works on getting that equally rare item, the Cabbage Patch Kid.

I thoroughly enjoyed this family comedy, with its Harris-narrated tale of life in the 1980s, occasionally edited to explain to his daughter that “of course all kids wore bike helmets.” The story features plucky kid-quests in search of the game system or the money to buy it while also offering really good-hearted examinations of kid social relationships — the bullies, the perceived weirdos, the habitual liars. It also does a good job with the age-old struggle between the “why can’t you and your friends just play outside” parents and the “X piece of tech is the Most Important Thing Ever” kids. A Available on HBO Max.

A Boy Called Christmas (PG)

Henry Lawfull, voice of Stephen Merchant.

Maggie Smith is the dour-seeming great-aunt of three gloomy and grieving children who comes to their house to babysit. Though they want nothing to do with Christmas this year, having recently lost their mother, she settles in to tell them a story about a boy named Nikolas (Lawfull) who lives deep in the woods in Finland in olden days. The king (Jim Broadbent) asks people to go on quests to the farthest reaches of his realm in search of something that will bring magic and hope into people’s lives. Nikolas’ father (Michiel Huisman) sets out in search of a magical place that Nikolas’ mother used to talk about, Elfhelm. After running away from the horrible aunt (Kristen Wiig) left to care for him, Nikolas also goes in search of his father and Elfhelm, taking along with him Miika (Merchant), a mouse that, to his great surprise, he’s taught how to talk.

Along the way they help a reindeer that Nikolas starts calling Blitzen and they meet a community of elves who are part of the resistance to an oppressive new elf regime run by Mother Vodol (Sally Hawkins).

This is a darker live-action Christmas tale, with orphans and parents who have died and discussions of grief and sadness. But in that dark fairy tale way, and for kids maybe in the 9-years-old-and-up range who don’t mind that kind of story, the movie is also sweet, adventure-packed and straightforward in how it deals with kids’ emotions. I think Maggie Smith’s narration, with its Princess Bride-style interruptions, helps sell that particular mood of kids working through stuff and of kids learning how to stay hopeful in the face of a world that isn’t always about loving moms and happy elves. B+ Available at Netflix.

Waffles + Mochi’s Holiday Feast (TV-Y)

The humans here include Tracee Ellis Ross, Samin Nosrat and Mrs. O (Michelle Obama), the owner of the market where Waffles and Mochi normally hang out to learn about food. In this half-hour holiday special, the market is closed for the holiday season and Waffles and Mochi, enamored of all the talk about special holiday foods, tell their friends it’s Freezie Day and accidentally invite the whole gang over for a Freezie Day feast. This leads Mochi to set out around the world to learn about a few winter-solstice-season celebrations and gather some holiday treats while back at Waffles’ house the guests talk about their own cultural winter holiday traditions. Like the show Waffles + Mochi, the holiday special is the right mix of learning, puppet-y fun, food, silliness and sweetness. B+ Available on Netflix.

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas (TV-Y)

Voices of Justin Fletcher, Kate Harbour.

Shaun, his sheep friends, the dog who watches after them and their farmer, with another harebrained scheme to make money, return in this charming 30-minute Christmas-themed special. The farmer’s attempts to sell soda at a local Christmas fair and the littlest sheep’s curiosity about gifts come together, resulting in the whole flock riding a Santa sleigh on their way to heist-like hijinks at the home of a little girl who thinks she’s been gifted a robot sheep. As usual, this story has no real words, just lots of grunts and meeps and British-y noises. Sheep silliness is the star of this very all-ages-friendly holiday fare with, as always, top-notch Aardman animation. A Available on Netflix.

Encanto (PG)

Encanto (PG)

A girl growing up in a magical family with a magical house tries to find her place in the world in Encanto, a lovely new animated movie from Disney.

Mirabel (voice of Stephanie Beatriz) is a member of the “magical Madrigal” family, whose members all live together in a large house in an idyllic Colombian valley. All of the adult members have their own superpowers that they call their “gift.” Mirabel’s mom, Julieta (voice of Angie Cepeda), can heal people with her cooking. Her sister Luisa (voice of Jessica Darrow) has superhuman strength. Her “perfect” sister Isabela (voice of Diane Guerrero) can make gardens of beautiful flowers grow and bloom at will. Her aunt Pepa (voice of Carolina Gaitán) can control the weather. Pepa’s children, Mirabel’s cousins, Dolores (voice of Adassa) and Camilo (voice of Rhenzy Feliz), have superhearing and shape-shifting powers, respectively. Only Pepa’s and Julieta’s husbands (voiced by Mauro Castillo and Wilmer Valderrama) are non-magical, having just married into the family.

Abuela (voice by María Cecila Botero) is in charge of the house and the family and her power seems to be having the triplets — Julieta, Pepa and Bruno (voice of John Leguizamo), “we don’t talk about Bruno” is the family’s position about that brother — that kicked off the family’s magic and caring for the family and the town that grew up around the house.

The house, which has a magic of its own, responding to voice commands and occasionally being a little sassy, and the family get their magic from a long-burning candle that became charmed as a sort of miracle after the death of Abuela’s husband long ago. He died helping his wife and children — and the people who became the townsfolk — escape from the bad guys on horseback who had chased them out of their former hometown and into the jungle. His sacrifice leads to the miracle of the magic-giving candle and a forest that grows to create a hidden valley where the people can live safely.

Abuela is determined to keep the house, the family and the magic going so that they can all stay safe in this green, beautiful and, it’s implied, somewhat hidden valley. But as the years go by, Mirabel never develops her gift. When she starts to see some cracks in the house, Abuela secretly fears that the house, the magic and the family could be falling apart but is determined for the town to see only the strong, magical family they’ve always been.

Mirabel’s quest — because these movies always have a quest — is to figure out what is putting the magic in danger and to save the family’s miracle. To do this, she sets out to find clues about Uncle Bruno, whose power was seeing the future and who vanished years ago.

Encanto is a truly beautiful movie — beautiful all the way around, beautiful music, beautiful songs that play with South American musical elements, beautiful jewel-toned visuals, beautiful characters that display a wide diversity of the people you might find in one Latin American family. And it has some really beautiful messages about being yourself, figuring out your place in the world, loving and celebrating family not for the image we want to project but for what it and its members truly are. And it has a fair amount of humor. There isn’t a wisecracking dragon or snowman but the cousins bring plenty of their own quirky senses of humor to the situation.

I feel like there is a lot here that I appreciated initially and that I will only grow to enjoy more with subsequent viewings (and I’m sure there will be subsequent viewings, as this movie comes to Disney+ on Dec. 24).

But — and it kills me that there’s a “but” — there is also something off about Encanto, like a cake where one layer is way too thick and one layer is way too thin and the whole thing is leveled off with large frosting patches. The movie takes a long time to get to the central problem — and I’m still not entirely certain I understand what that problem was — and rushes through things such as Isabela’s discovery that she can make things other than soft, rose-like flowers and Luisa’s stress at having to carry so much weight all the time. Bruno is a really well-developed and intriguing character that the movie doesn’t always seem to know what to do with. I would have loved Mirabel as a child, with her curly hair and her glasses and her lack of a discernible Thing, and she’s a great character to build an adventure around but, as with so many other elements in this movie, her whole arc seems rushed. We see her worry A Lot about her place in the family if she is not gifted like everyone else but the resolution of this comes very fast and feels unfinished. Maybe there are so many good characters, so many ideas, that the movie spends too long setting up all its pieces and leaves not enough time to play out their stories? So many times it feels like a really interesting point or a fairly big character development is sort of sewed up with one very fast line of dialogue.

I feel like I need to watch Encanto again to really figure out how I feel about this movie. But I guess the best recommendation I can give for it is that I look forward to another viewing. I may not have always understood what Encanto is doing but it’s such a lovely world to spend time in. B

Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild peril, according to the MPA on Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith with a screenplay by Charise Castro Smith & Jared Bush, Encanto is an hour and 42 minutes long and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in theaters (and on Disney+ starting Dec. 24).



AMC Londonderry
16 Orchard View Dr., Londonderry

Bank of NH Stage in Concord
16 S. Main St., Concord

Capitol Center for the Arts
44 S. Main St., Concord

Cinemark Rockingham Park 12
15 Mall Road, Salem

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
707 Huse Road, Manchester; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua; 150 Bridge St., Pelham,

Dana Center
Saint Anselm College
100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester,

Fathom Events

The Flying Monkey
39 Main St., Plymouth

LaBelle Winery
345 Route 101, Amherst

The Music Hall
28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth

O’neil Cinemas
24 Calef Hwy., Epping

Red River Theatres
11 S. Main St., Concord

Regal Fox Run Stadium 15
45 Gosling Road, Newington

Rex Theatre
23 Amherst St., Manchester

The Strand
20 Third St., Dover

Wilton Town Hall Theatre
40 Main St., Wilton, 654-3456


House of Gucci (R, 2021) screening at Red River Theatres on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 3:30 & 7 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. (vaccinated guests); Friday, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 12, at noon, 3:30 & 7 p.m.

Elf (PG, 2003) 21+ screening at all three Chunky’s locations on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

Straight Is the Way (1921) This silent crime drama set in New Hampshire will screen Thursday, Dec. 9, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. (for vaccinated guests) at Red River Theatres with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis.

The Polar Express (G, 2004) will screen multiple times at all three Chunky’s locations Friday, Dec. 10, through Thursday, Dec. 16. Tickets cost $5.99.

Belfast (PG-13, 2021) screening at Red River Theatres on Friday, Dec. 10, at 1 & 4 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m.

The French Dispatch(R, 2021) screening at Red River Theatres on Friday, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Winter Starts Soon (NR, 2021) screening at Red River Theatres in Concord on Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m.

Featured photo: Encanto. Courtesy photo.

Gift Guide – A book and a …

Gift ideas for book lovers

As holiday gifts go, you can’t do much better than books. They’re easy to wrap, cheap to mail, and for the most part, unperishable.

That said, they’re so easy to give that givers of books can come off looking cheap, not so much for the money they spent but for the lack of effort involved. But that’s a problem easily solved by adding a “plus one” to your gift — a complementary knickknack or two. (Think a decorative spatula attached to a cookbook.) Conversely, a book can add physical heft to an otherwise generous gift that looks unsubstantial by itself, such as a ticket to a game or a concert.

Here’s a guide to the best books for everyone on your list; we did the heavy lifting for you. Buy local if you can because Jeff Bezos is set for the year. (Note: These suggestions are all new releases, or new in paperback, although publishing information is for hardcover editions. Don’t give paperbacks if you can help it.)

For football enthusiasts: History Through the Headsets: Inside Notre Dame’s Playoff Run During the Craziest Season in College Football History by Reed Gregory and John Mahoney (Triumph, 256 pages) or It’s Better to Be Feared, The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness by Seth Wickersham (Liveright, 528 pages). Plus one: game ticket or team-branded merch.

For baseball lovers: The Baseball 100 by Joe Posnanski (Avid Reader Press, 880 pages) Plus one: MLB Ballpark Traveler’s Map from the website and catalog Uncommon Goods.

For hockey freaks: Beauties: Hockey’s Greatest Untold Stories by James Duthie (HarperCollins, 320 pages). Plus one: warm gloves and a hat.

For horse lovers: The Last Diving Horse in America, Rescuing Gamal and Other Animals by Cynthia A. Branigan (Pantheon, 288 pages) and/or Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley (Knopf, 288 pages). Plus one: (for horse owners) bag of peppermint horse treats or (for non-horse owners) gift certificate for a riding lesson or trail ride.

For dog lovers: A Dog’s World, Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World Without Humans by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff (Princeton University Press, 240 pages). Plus one: nice leash.

For lovers of animals in general: On Animals, by Susan Orlean (Avid Reader Press, 256 pages) or National Geographic’s Photo Ark Wonders (National Geographic, 400 pages). Plus one: ticket to local zoo, or animal socks from the World Wildlife Fund.

For music lovers: The Beatles: Get Back, edited by John Harris (Callaway Arts & Entertainment, 240 pages) or Rock Concert, an Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There by Marc Myers (Grove Press, 400 pages). Plus one: gift subscription to Spotify or Apple music.

For lovers of comics: The DC Comics Encyclopedia by Matthew K. Manning and Jim Lee (DK, 384 pages). Plus one: vintage comic book or gift card to Newbury Comics.

For the Fox News enthusiast: All-American Christmas by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy (Broadside Books, 272 pages). Plus one: American flag.

For the MSNBC fan: Rachel Maddow, a Biography by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books, 288 pages). Plus one: MSNBC baseball cap from the network’s online store.

For lovers of literature: A Literary Holiday Cookbook, Festive Meals for the Snow Queen, Gandalf, Sherlock, Scrooge and Book Lovers Everywhere by Alison Walsh and Haley Stewart (Skyhorse, 272 pages). Plus one: gift certificate to a local bookstore or fingerless gloves from the website Storiarts.

For fans of The Sopranos: Woke Up This Morning, the Definitive Oral HIstory of The Sopranos by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schriripa (William Morrow, 528 pages). Plus one: bag of ziti or pasta machine.

For fans of The Office: Welcome to Dunder Mifflin, The Ultimate Oral History of The Office by Brian Baumgartner and Ben Silverman (Custom House, 464 pages). Plus one: Dunder Mifflin socks or shot glasses.

For car enthusiasts: A Man and His Car, Iconic Cars and Stories from the Men Who Love Them by Matt Hranek (Artisan, 240 pages). Plus one: gas card or box of Armor All cleaning wipes.

For birders: The Birds of America, a reissued work by the late John James Audubon, with an introduction by David Allen Sibley (Prestel, 448 pages). Plus one: bird-seed wreath.

For ski buffs: 100 Slopes of a Lifetime, The World’s Ultimate Ski and Snowboard Destinations, by Gordy Megroz (National Geographic, 400 pages). Plus one: ski mittens or box of hand warming packets.

For runners: Running is a Kind of Dreaming: A Memoir by J.M. Thompson (HarperOne, 320 pages). Plus one: Yaxtrax Pros and a stick of BodyGlide.

For bicyclists: The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Getting Lean and Fueling the Machine (Bloomsbury Sport, 192 pages) Plus one: fingerless cycling gloves.

For TikTok addicts: Sympathy. Don’t enable.

For new parents: How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t ***holes by Melinda Wenner Moyer (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 352 pages) Plus one: bottle of vodka and earplugs.

For writers or writer-wannabees: The venerable guide to selling your work released a new edition in November: The Writer’s Market 100th Edition (Writer’s Digest Books, 912 pages). Plus one: a journal or monogrammed pen.

For artists and illustrators: The Writers and Artists Yearbook 2022 (Bloomsbury Yearbooks, 816 pages) Plus one: a box of fine pencils or a sketchpad.

For travel buffs: 1,000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the Globe by George Stone (National Geographic, 704 pages) Plus one: a luggage tag or airline gift card.

For foodies: Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras (Workman Publishing, 448 pages) or The Great British Baking Show: A Bake for All Seasons (Mobius, 288 pages). Plus one: a restaurant gift certificate or gift card for a delivery app.

For everyone else: A generous gift certificate to your local bookseller (or local to the recipient). Plus one: a box of bookplates.

You’re welcome, and happy holidays.

Book Events

Author events

SIMON BROOKS Author presents a storytelling event for ages 16 to adult. Sat., Dec. 11, 6:15 p.m. 185 Main St., Hopkinton. Reservations required. Call 406-4880.

KATHRYN HULICKAuthor presents Welcome to the Future. Sat., Dec. 11, 2 p.m. Toadstool Bookshop, 12 Depot Square, Peterborough. Visit

MEET THE AUTHOR EVENT The Belknap Mill Page Turners Book Club presents authors from Laconia, the Lakes Region and throughout New England, including Larry Frates, MJ Pettengill, Christopher Beyer, Cathy Waldron, Ian Raymond, Heidi Smith and Courtney Parsons, Janice Petrie, Rose-Marie Robichaud, Jane Rice and others. Authors’ books will be for sale. Sat., Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Belknap Mill, 25 Beacon St. East, Laconia. Visit

AUTHOR BOOK SIGNING Featuring New Hampshire authors Dan Szcznesy, Jerry Lofaro, Simon Brooks, Byron Carr. 185 Main St., Hopkinton. Sun., Dec. 12, noon to 2 p.m. Call 406-4880.


NH POET LAUREATE ALEXANDRIA PEARY Poet presents a new collection of poetry, Battle of Silicon Valley at Dawn. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Tues., Dec. 14, 7 p.m. Via Zoom. Registration required. Visit or call 224-0562.

CAROL WESTBURG AND SUE BURTON Virtual poetry reading hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Thurs., Jan. 20, 7 p.m. Via Zoom. Registration required. Visit or call 224-0562.

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.

GOFFSTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 High St., Goffstown. Monthly. Third Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Call 497-2102, email or visit

BELKNAP MILL Online. Monthly. Last Wednesday, 6 p.m. Based in Laconia. Email

NASHUA PUBLIC LIBRARY Online. Monthly. Second Friday, 3 p.m. Call 589-4611, email or visit



Offered remotely by the Franco-American Centre. Six-week session with classes held Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $225. Visit or call 623-1093.

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