Best of the best

Queens honors great women of song

For her one-woman show Queens, Jordan Quinn sets a high bar, channeling iconic singers from Ella Fitzgerald to Adele. Her impressive list also includes Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan and Quinn’s personal favorite, Whitney Houston.

“I save Whitney as the last song of the night because she’s just the best vocalist ever, and her ear is phenomenal,” Quinn said in a recent phone interview. “Of all of those women, it’s always Whitney I relate to most musically.” In particular, she draws inspiration from the story of how Houston came to record “I Will Always Love You,” her biggest hit.

“The first time she heard that song, she rejected it, because it was a country version, Dolly Parton, right? Then her buddy came up to her and … encouraged her to listen to the song with her ears — what would she do with it? She listened again and then decided that she would do it.”

To Quinn, trailblazing is what makes a singer Queens-worthy.

“A woman who was able to influence those to come and who other artists strive to be like,” she said, which explains the inclusion of many contemporary artists. “Lady Gaga is important because she brought a lot of techno to the music. Adele because of all the soul and jazz elements; she kind of keeps that genre alive.”

Though she includes songs from the Queens lineup in her solo act, the show itself is new, first performed Sept. 16 in Dover. Quinn’s father suggested the idea a few years ago. “He presented it to me, and I was just way too shy to even attempt to do this,” she said. “Then I started working with some other tribute bands, and I started learning from them.”

Prominent among those groups is Queen Flash; she sang “Somebody to Love” with them on a few occasions. She opened for them at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, Mass., earlier this year. “Freddie Mercury is my personal Queen,” Quinn said with a laugh.

For Queens’ debut in her hometown of Manchester on Friday, Oct. 13, the audience will be invited to take part, with a Halloween costume element.
“I think it would be super fun to have them come dressed up as their favorite queen,” Quinn said, noting that there will be a red carpet for participants to walk across prior to her performance.

Choosing which song to do was almost harder than picking singers, so she’s decided against locking one tune in for each.

“Now that we have the foundation down, the idea is, let’s learn a couple of songs from each artist,” she said. “Then, night of the show, let’s figure out which ones we want to do. That way, it’s not the same thing every time.”
She’s still looking at adding artists.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I don’t have Britney on there and I don’t know why, but I need her. Christina Aguilera. There’s just so many. Taylor Swift, especially after her tour this year, she’s just totally popping off and I’m like, ‘Great, another woman!’ It’s gonna be a four-hour show.”

A theater kid growing up, Quinn shaped the evening into more than a concert. She had help from her dad, who isn’t a musician but has solid instincts. “It’s insane to me that he’s not in the business,” she said. “He comes up with the ideas and then I take on the theatrical side of it … like 10 to 15 costume changes, an apron and fake prop milkshakes for ‘She Works Hard for the Money.’ It’s a lot of fun.”

Quinn’s group for the show includes guitarist Ben Holiday, Moira Applebaum on keys, a rhythm section of drummer Scott Armstrong and bassist Matt Nemeskal, along with backing vocalists Genesis Toledo and Rebecca Turmel.

“Their talent is just phenomenal,” Quinn said. “I truly wouldn’t be here without them.”

Queens featuring Jordan Quinn
When: Friday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rex Theatre, 21 Amherst St., Manchester
Tickets: $29 at

Featured photo: Jordan Quinn. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/10/12

Local music news & events

  • Spooky: Ease into Halloween season with a themed presentation of Candlelight. The Listeso String Quartet reimagines versions of songs like “Ghostbusters,” “Thriller,” “The Addams Family” theme and “Tubular Bells,” mixing them with classical pieces from Schubert, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich and others. It’s all played on a stage filled with hundreds of lit candles. Thursday, Oct. 12, 6 and 8:30 p.m., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, $43 and up at
  • Lyrical: Along with penning country music hits, Lori McKenna has released several albums; her latest is this year’s 1988. She earned a Grammy nomination for 2016’s The Bird and the Rifle, and the Academy of Country Music named her Songwriter of the Year in 2017. Friday, Oct. 13, 8 p.m., Colonial Theatre, 609 Main St., Laconia, $39 and up at
  • Fraternal: A fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Milford, Decades Birthday Jam has the Ballou Brothers Band, the Pop Farmers and special guests performing. The headlining group has been around since the early ’70s, beginning with rehearsals in an abandoned Hollis chicken coop. They’ve made five albums, while keeping their current lineup for 25 years. Saturday, Oct. 14, 8 pm., Riley’s Place, 29B Mont Vernon St., Milford; more at
  • Timeless: When “American Pie” arrived in 1971, it put Don McLean atop the charts and caused a sensation unlike any song that came before. Scholars analyzed it while fans obsessively pored over each line for hidden meaning, and McLean gave listeners plenty to sift through. His epic tune had humble origins, though; it began with him alone in a writing room and became a cultural touchstone. Saturday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, $48.25 and up at
  • Throwback: In addition to mining the decade’s musical treasures, The Sixties Show is a theatrical production, a rich multimedia trip down memory lane, with audio and video clips from a historical time. The six-piece band includes veteran players who’ve performed with stars like John Fogerty, Steely Dan, Emmitt Rhodes, and Roger Daltrey. Sunday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $29 and up at (also Oct. 14, 8 p.m. at Colonial Theatre)

The Equalizer 3

Robert McCall takes his polite butt-kicking to Italy in The Equalizer 3, a movie that I hope was both a solid paycheck and a nice vacation for everybody involved.

I mean, sure, horrible violence is a big part of this movie but also the Italian coast looks lovely.

This movie doesn’t mess around and jumps right in to McCall (Denzel Washington), mid-butt-kick, at a Sicilian vineyard estate owned by what we find out is some kind of criminal guy who walks onto the scene to find the grounds just littered with gorily dead henchmen. The criminal guy doesn’t fare so well either, though just as McCall is about to make a clean getaway, criminal guy’s young son shoots him in the back. McCall slowly bleeds out as he drives away from the vineyard, onto a ferry, off the ferry and toward, well, who knows, because he passes out. Local police officer Gio (Eugenio Mastrandrea), who later tells “Roberto” to call him Joe, takes Robert to local doctor Enzo (Remo Girone), who patches Robert up and lets him sleep it off in his lovely Italian apartment off a lovely central plaza.

(One might ask, is it weird that the people in this town who seem wary of other violent strangers immediately and warmly accept gun-shot stranger Robert? I mean, this is a movie about a nearly 69-year-old man who can waste literally any opponent of any age or strength level so why go pulling at threads.)

As Robert recovers, he finds himself enjoying the peace and serenity of this cliffside town — Altamonte — with its picturesque streets and its friendly people and its flirty barista (Gaia Scodellaro). When mafia types, led by Marco (Andrea Dodero), show up and start pushing people around, Robert hangs back, giving them glares, but not involving himself until they’ve burned down a business and harassed Joe and his family. Then Robert is compelled to politely explain — well, politely and with a little literal arm twisting — that he likes Altamonte and Marco should take his criminal activity elsewhere. Marco is compliant during the arm-twist-y, nerve-pokey part of the conversation but then later in the street he yells to his henchmen he’s going to murder that American blah blah blah — hope your affairs are in order, Marco.

As part of Robert’s peaceful Italian existence, he had called CIA agent Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning) to tell her about the drugs and money at the Sicilian vineyard. Though Robert didn’t tell her who he was, she used the information to uncover a smuggling operation that had obvious terrorist ties. The two threads of this story come together in Vincent (Andrea Scarduzio), Marco’s brother and the head of their crime family. Collins and her team come to Italy, which puts the squeeze on Vincent’s operation but he’s pretty focused on finding Robert and teaching the people of Altamonte a lesson about standing up to the mob.

Washington is solid here. He knows the work and executes it with precision. Even at under two hours, The Equalizer 3 isn’t without a little flab, mostly in the form of showing us Robert recuperating and underlining how charming the town is. But it doesn’t really get in the way of this movie’s purpose, which is letting Washington absolutely mow down bad guys. It’s the movie’s purpose and kinda all there is to the movie. And that’s fine. That’s why you’re here and the movie knows this and doesn’t try to do a whole lot more. B-

Rated R for strong bloody violence and some language (i.e. the reason you’re watching this movie), according to the MPA on Directed by Antoine Fuqua with a screenplay by Richard Wenk, The Equalizer 3 is an hour and 49 minutes long and is distributed by Columbia Pictures in theaters and for rent or purchase on VOD.

Reptile (R)

Benicio Del Toro plays a police detective with a vexing murder to solve and an outdated kitchen to remodel in Reptile.

You can understand why he looks like a guy in need of a nap and a strong cup of coffee.

Tom (Del Toro) is called to the scene of murdered real estate agent Summer (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz). Boyfriend and fellow agent Will Grady (Justin Timberlake) is the one who found her and the natural initial suspect. But soon other suspects surface — Summer’s ex (Karl Glusman), a shifty guy who blames Will for his family’s financial ruin (Michael Pitt).

As mentioned, at the same time, Tom and his wife, Judy (Alicia Silverstone), are redoing their kitchen. They previously lived in Philadelphia, where Tom also worked as a police officer but got tangled up in scandal when his partner was found to be corrupt. Judy seems determined to help Tom find some peace in this new job and hometown.

Tom and Judy — Del Toro and Silverstone — are actually kind of a great couple, with Judy a willing and eager sounding board for Tom’s discussions of the case and considering of theories. I could imagine a procedural where she becomes his sort of unofficial partner in solving cases. That’s not exactly what we get here — we get just enough to see how entertaining something like that could be.

There are a lot of other layers to the way the crime and the movie unfolds and all of it is moderately successful but way too slow. Slice off a good half hour and you might have an energetic who-done-it, but as is, no amount of good performances or fun (if predictable) twists helps inject the kind of liveliness and tension this movie needs. C+

Rated R for language, violence and some nude images, according to the MPA on Directed by Grant Singer with a screenplay by Grant Singer & Benjamin Brewer & Benicio Del Toro, Reptile is two hours and 14 minutes long and distributed by Netflix, where it is streaming.

Featured photo: The Equalizer 3.

The Vaster Wilds, by Lauren Groff

The Vaster Wilds, by Lauren Groff (Riverhead, 253 pages)

In a world populated with doomsday preppers, people embracing life off the grid, and extreme athletes racing for days through the wilderness, there is surely a market for a book about a girl who escapes servitude and lives alone in the wilds of 17th-century America.

Whether there’s a market for such a book written in the language of, say, Chaucer, is harder to predict.

But many people are gushing about Lauren Groff’s latest book, The Vaster Wilds, which is a brutal and bloody survival story wrapped in lyrical Middle Ages prose.

The unnamed girl, in her late teens, had been born in England and “discovered a new born babe, all alone one bad dawn, still in the juices of birth, and naked in the filth of shiteburne lane, and nearly dead of cold.” She was taken in by a church and adopted at age 4 by a minister and his wife, and charged with taking care of their child.

The girl grew attached to her charge, whom she calls repeatedly “the child Bess,” and traveled with the family by boat to the Jamestown colony, not knowing that people were starving in the “new world.” (The novel is set around 1610, a time in which an estimated 80 percent of Jamestown colonists died of starvation and disease.)

For reasons that are slowly revealed, the girl decides that the wilderness of this strange land is better than the colony, so she steals leather gloves and a cloak from her mistress, and boots from a boy who’d died of smallpox that week, and she flees.

“Into the night the girl ran and ran, and the cold and the dark and the wilderness and her fear and the depth of her losses, all things together, dwindled the self she had once known down to nothing. A nothing is no thing, a nothing is a thing with no past. It was also true that with no past, the girl thought, a nothing could be free.”

The dangers awaiting the girl include not just the elements and men sent to pursue her, but continued starvation, wild animals and the fact that she has no compass or roads and no real place to run to. She just goes, intent only on survival.

As her trajectory itself is not much more interesting than a typical NASCAR race — only she is running in a direction, north, and not in circles — part of the story is her recollections of the past, to include a lost love, and her hopes for the future, which involve making it to Canada, getting married and having children in a house that is safe and has food. She recalls various atrocities she witnessed, in England and in the new land. And there are enough heads on sticks and flayed men here to comprise a new episode of Game of Thrones.

There is also the matter of her sustenance, which requires many unsettling scenes, such as a half fileted frozen fish that suddenly, upon thawing, is shocked back to life, and a nest of baby squirrels that she harvests for meat with the angry mother looking on.

But there is transcendence in the wild, too, as when she awakens one night to see a huge bear sitting at the base of a waterfall, looking at it in something that seems to resemble awe. That leads her to contemplate how “if a bear could know god in his own bear way, then a bear had a soul. …. Then she thought that perhaps in the language of bears there was a kind of gospel, also. And perhaps this gospel said to the bears the same thing about god giving bears dominion over the world. And perhaps bears believed that this gave them license to slaughter the living world, including the men in it.”

For an uneducated girl of 17 or 18, she is deeply spiritual, in part because of the religion pressed upon her in servitude, in part because of the voices that she converses with while she runs. At one point, the voice scornfully interrogates her about why she thinks she can survive in such harsh conditions, alone. “And she wanted to weep but she did not and instead she said, But I am not alone for I carry my god in my heart always. And she did, she felt god, a pinprick of light deep within her.”

The Vaster Wilds is not an easy read, despite the beauty of its language. It wasn’t until I was more than a third through the book that I grew comfortable enough with the style and language that I wasn’t actively observing it. But once you get to that point — and maybe it will be sooner for you than me — it’s like getting a second wind on a run, or getting into “flow” in an activity. Still, it’s a book that, like poetry, requires you to take it in slowly for effect. Unfortunately, it’s also a book that requires readers to suffer with the protagonist, from beginning to merciful end. You’ll love it or hate it, but will not forget it. Which also might be good or bad. B

Album Reviews 23/10/12

Diamond Dogs, About the Hardest Nut to Crack (Wild Kingdom Records)

I don’t get too many rootsy honky-tonk-punk records in here, but point of order, they’re always welcome. Formed way back in 1991, this Swedish rock group attempts to revive the soul of borderline Stiv Bators/New York Dolls-style pre-punk, not the least melodic thing you’ve ever heard, but certainly awash in attitude. “Blight The Life” is all that and more in the form of purebred bluegrass punkabilly, and by that I mean of the purest original Hank Williams Sr. sort, the type of mayhemic cowpunch-rock that evokes an odd combination of barns and chickens and imminent danger from carelessly flung slam-dancers; similarly, “Wring It Out” is a hilariously anachronistic cross between the Stones and Black Crowes, which isn’t to imply that there’s anything wrong with it. If you need a legitimacy check, the band’s OG posturing earned them a brief moment of fame on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in 1993 when one of their tunes somehow snuck into the show. A

The Nervous Eaters, “Kelly’s Sixteen” (Wicked Cool Records)

I didn’t hate this band all that much back when I was even younger than you are today, when idiotic soul-sucking working-class assembly-line jobs were depressingly plentiful (you unemployed kids living in your moms’ basements really need to count your blessings) and WBCN was the Boston radio station to listen to if you wanted people to think you were cool. This local-to-Boston band was a one-hit local-radio wonder (unless I’m missing something) whose big single, “Loretta,” was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars in the early ’80s; the tune was, like most Boston rock was in that halcyon era, ’50s-tinged, mildly punkish and sublimely tuneless, but there were a lot worse bands to “experience” at the Rathskellar and whatnot, and so the Eaters made their mark, not that anything ever came of it. And so, yadda yadda, here’s a new single by them, a corporate-punk-speed snoozer that sounds somewhat Gang Of Four-ish and Buzzcocks-ish at first, and then, right when you think a giant-ass hook-fadeout is coming, it just flops and expires. Nothing changes, folks, remember that. C


  • Yay, Oct. 13 is a Friday the Thirteenth, I’m sure all the new albums coming out that day will jibe with the occasion in a manner most apropos! But first things first, fam, wait till I tell you about my visit to Manchvegas’ new rock club, Angel City Music Hall, the other week! It takes a lot to get me out of my trash-pile, um, I mean my ultra-modern, totally organized office, but when my PR friends the Brenners in New York City told me that Crowbar was coming to play their crazy sludge-metal tuneage right here in da city, I was like “I’m your huckleberry!” So I contacted a couple of bros to go see them, like our local rock ’n’ roll mastermind Otto Kinzel of Dust Prophet and friend of the Hippo Dan Szczesny, but they made up excuses, so I went by myself. The band was deafeningly loud, which was nice, and the lady who runs the place calls people “Hon,” which is also nice.
  • OK, I don’t know if you people remember that techno soundsystem called Justice, and how they named one of their albums “†” (you know, like, “cross”) just to be a pain to everyone who had to write an article about them and hunt down that particular ASCII character. If you do, you also remember that they tried to make the super-noisy Ed Banger sound happen, which it did for little while, but — oh for pete’s sake, I’m going totally off-track, whatever, there’s a band that started up around the same time as “†”, called †††, a darkwave/dream-pop/witch-house project often referred to as Crosses by journos who hate hunting for ASCII characters, and guess who’s in it, that’s right, it’s Deftones singer Chino Moreno and his buddy Shaun Lopez, from the band Far! I’m sure you’ve heard about them if you’re a ‘Tones-head, amirite, but this is news to me, so in order to catch up to all you hippies I’m going to go listen to a single from their new album, Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete, called “Invisible Hand.” So it starts off with some sort of glitchy-ish techno beat, and then the Deftones guy suddenly starts jumping up and down all hip-hop style, yelling and ranting about something, and then there’s a barrage of angry Death Grips-inspired haunted-house-metal. I don’t really hear anything compelling going on here, but feel free to pretend to find something redeemable about it.
  • Oh no, come on, not another Canadian indie band, I’m really not in the mood! OK, it’s Metric, so there’s an outside chance that this might be salvageable, even though the singer is involved with Broken Social Scene, I don’t really know right now. The band’s new album, Formentera II, features the single “Who Would You Be For Me,” a sort of ’90s cowboy-goth-tinged chill-pop jam that’s not unlistenable, it’s OK.
  • We’ll wrap up the week with Australian/South African singing man Troye Sivan, who portrayed young Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. OK, so Something To Give Each Other, his new full-length, includes the single “Rush,” a house-chilldown whose video features Sivan smoking weed out of a banana and singing gently through his Auto-Tune. Yay, Auto-Tune, what would we do with it!

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).

In the kitchen with Jennifer Stone-Grimaldi

Jennifer Stone-Grimaldi bought Crosby’s Bakery, established in 1947 in Nashua, five years ago after working there for over a decade. She says she has PBS programming to thank for her interest in food; after the airing of children’s shows, she would be fascinated by chef Julia Child on the screen. As she got older she would turn to her mother’s magazines to look for a recipe she could make with the ingredients she had on hand.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
My must-have kitchen item is a sharp chef’s knife. Unfortunately most people don’t keep sharp knives in their kitchens. Not only does this make chopping more difficult, but often dull knives are more likely to slip and cause injury. I bring my own knife now when I’m planning on cooking in someone else’s kitchen.

What would you have for your last meal?
I would have Thanksgiving dinner cooked by my mom. She makes the best turkey and gravy and I love all the sides.

What is your favorite local eatery?
I can’t pick one favorite eatery, but my two favorites are both within a stone’s throw of each other in Milford, N.H. Riverhouse Café for breakfast and Greenleaf for dinner.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?
I wish Conan O’Brien would bring his travel show to my bakery. I would love to teach him how to make doughnuts.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?
My favorite products in the bakery are the specials we run and the new items we make. I prefer having variety. But my favorite old-school pastry that we’ve made forever and ever has to be the apple strudel. I remember I used to eat those as a special treat when I worked the afternoon shift out front many years ago.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
One of the trends I’ve seen lately is having individual pastries for dessert at a wedding instead of serving a giant cake to everyone. A lot of couples are doing a smaller cake for display and cutting purposes and then giving their guests a choice of mini pastries, pies or doughnuts for dessert. It’s really fun.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
My favorite thing to cook at home is anything that cooks on the stove all day when the weather’s cool. It could be marinara sauce with sausage and meatballs, pot roast, Burgundy mushrooms, etc. Anything that makes the house smell amazing until dinnertime. — Mya Blanchard

House Hot Cocoa Mix
From Jennifer Stone-Grimaldi

6 ounces cocoa powder
16 ounces milk powder
12 ounces granulated sugar
2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1½ teaspoons salt

Whisk ingredients together and sift three times to ensure even blending. Add two to three heaping tablespoons of mix to a mug of hot water. Add a splash of light cream for a creamier drink.

Featured photo: Jennifer Stone-Grimaldi, owner of Crosby’s Bakery. Courtesy photo.


Some people are remembered by History and become household names, sometimes for silly reasons. Other, more worthy men and women are washed away in the River of Time and are undeservedly forgotten.

Nobody has been cheated out of a legacy more cruelly than Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813), one of the advisors to doomed king Louis XVI of France.Very few historians would make the case that Louis was a wise and competent king, but by the 1780s even he could see that things were going badly. France was overpopulated and underfed. The People, seeing the example set by the American colonists, were talking about overthrowing their ruler. (The irony that the American Revolution had been largely financed by Louis himself was not lost on him.)

The upshot was that the French people were as angry as they were hungry, which is to say, very.

There was actually a partial solution available, however: potatoes. The Spanish had brought potatoes back to Europe from South America a century or more previously, but most European peasants could not be enticed to eat them. Even though they would have provided a welcome boost of calories and carbohydrates, most peasants were convinced that they were deadly poisonous. (To be fair, the actual fruit of the potato is; only the tuber is edible.)

Louis asked his smartest advisor, Parmentier, to try to convince the French peasants to plant potatoes.

Parmentier had his own formal gardens dug up and planted with potatoes, then announced to the locals that nobody was to touch his potatoes under pain of terrible, unspecified punishment. Potatoes were too good for the likes of them; only aristocrats could properly appreciate them. Then, to ensure the security of his potatoes, he placed armed guards around his potato patch for 12 or more hours per day.

Within weeks all the potatoes had been stolen and planted across the French countryside.

The irony of this is that if the French peasantry had not been well-fed on potatoes, they might not have had strength enough to revolt a couple of years later.

Parmentier never got famous, but he did get to keep his head, so he was probably not too bitter about the slight.

In his honor, I have renamed a classic cocktail — The Forbidden Fruit — the Parmentier.

1½ ounces apple brandy – I like Laird’s Applejack
1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
2 dashes each of two different bitters – this recipe traditionally calls for Angostura and Peychaud’s, which is what I’ve used here
3-4 ounces ginger beer to top
Combine all ingredients except the ginger beer with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until bitterly cold.
Strain into a tall glass, over fresh ice, and top with ginger beer.
Stir, and drink wistfully, while listening to Maurice Chevalier sing “C’est Magnifique.”

This is a complex and slightly melancholy drink. Pimm’s is a slightly baroque-tasting base to build any drink on with its own collection of herbs and alcohol. Apple brandy brings its own sophistication with it. Throw in two competing flavors of bitters, and you have dropped yourself into a labyrinth of flavors before you even get to the ginger beer, which has a talent for throwing drinkers for a loop.

Which is not to say that this isn’t delicious, because it is. It’s just that normally, with more straightforward cocktails, you can spend the first half-minute or so making a flavor inventory. With Forbidden Fruit — as with History — you might be better off just surrendering yourself to the experience.

John Fladd is a veteran Hippo writer, a father, writer and cocktail enthusiast, living in New Hampshire.

Featured photo: Parmentier. Photo by John Fladd.

Chocolate extravaganza

The Chocolate Expo comes to the Granite State

The Chocolate Expo has garnered international attention since its start in 2006. This year the Expo will make its Granite State debut on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Expo Center in Manchester.

After organizing the Woodstock 35th Anniversary Celebration in 2004 and switching his company, Baum Image Group, from high technology to event production, Marvin Baum created a chocolate event for New York’s official holiday celebration in 2006.

“That was the kernel of the idea that became The Chocolate Expo,” he said.

What was then a New York chocolate and holiday gift market evolved into what is now the biggest chocolate event in the country.

“We call ourselves the official home of chocolate, food and fun,” Baum said. “It’s basically a tasting and sales event so people can come and try things from a variety of vendors and if they like what they taste they can buy it. This year for New Hampshire I think we have one of our best lineups of vendors that we’ve ever had. It’s just a really nice mix of interesting products.”

The lineup consists of more than 90 vendors, including Kimball Fruit Farm from Hollis, Muncha’s Marshmallows based in Lebanon, Spin Fluff Cotton Candy, The Wine Slushie Guy, Wickedly Wild Waffles as well as wineries, distilleries, bakeries and vendors selling hot sauces, dips and specialty foods.

“We’re trying to help small, local businesses and regional businesses by bringing this all together,” Baum said. “We’re in a very unique position to have things that are different that you’re not going to find if you go to an average street fair. Now we also bring it together with entertainment and celebrity chef demonstrations and things like that.”

Celebrity chefs include Food Network’s Chopped champion Chef Clara, Cutthroat Kitchen winner DJ Chef, who will also be playing music, and Food Network’s Chef Lawrence. There will be a kids zone with crafts, face painting and balloon twisting, and New Hampshire magician Dasean Greene, also known as the Magic Man, will be mingling and demonstrating his talent throughout the event.

In the spirit of Halloween, the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus, impersonated by a group from Massachusetts, will make an appearance, as will Uncle Fester from the Addams family and Star Wars characters.

“Chocolate is something that really unites people,” Baum said. “People associate good times with chocolate. … We probably sold more tickets in advance than we ever have for any other show. I think it’s going to sell out because people are that excited.”

The Chocolate Expo
Where: 155 Dow St., Manchester
Cafe hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; closed on Sundays.
Salon hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Sunday

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 23/10/12

News from the local food scene

  • Taste of the Trail: Try free samples from local food vendors and win local auction items at the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association’s annual Taste of the Trail event on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Elks Lodge (125 S Main St., Franklin). All proceeds will go toward maintaining and improving the Winnipesaukee River Trail. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased via eventbrite.
  • Sip and script: Enjoy a beverage and learn the basics of modern calligraphy on Thursday, Oct. 12, at Pipe Dream Brewing in Londonderry (49 Harvey Road) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The class includes a beginner’s calligraphy kit and ends with lettering faux pumpkins. Everything is yours to keep. Tickets are $69 and can be purchased on
  • Oktoberfest: Stop by the Sandown Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 14, from noon to 6 p.m. at Sandlot Sports (8 Sandlot Way, Sandown) for food, music and games followed by a bonfire until 10:30 p.m. Happenings include a German bake-off, children’s races and contests, a beer tent and several food trucks including One Happy Clam, Dancing Donuts and Agape Cakes.
  • Harvest in Hillsborough: The Hillsborough Community Center holds the town’s second annual harvest festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Grimes Field (28 Preston St., Hillsborough) with games, food, vendors, local artisans, art projects and prizes. The event is free to attend.
  • Windham harvest fest: The harvest festival at Griffin Park (101 Range Road, Windham) on Saturday, Oct. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. begins with a doggie costume parade, which is followed by activities from 1 to 3 p.m., and ending with trick-or-treating until the end of the festival. The Women’s Club will be selling baked goods and other treats, and Capri Pizza will be selling pizza.
  • Halloween party: Pipe Dream Brewing in Londonderry (49 Harvey Road) hosts a Halloween costume party on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. with music spun by a DJ, food and drinks. The winner of the best costume award will win a gift card.

Worker bee brewfest

Worker Bee Fund hosts second Mount Uncanoonuc Brewfest

On Saturday, Oct. 14, from 1 to 5 p.m., more than a dozen breweries will come together with music, games and food for the second Mount Uncanoonuc Brewfest in the parking lot of Mountain Base Brewery in Goffstown. Organized by the Worker Bee Fund, the event will raise money for projects performed by the charity.

“The Worker Bee Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) in New Hampshire,” said Brian Hansen, the founder of the charity. “We fix up houses for disabled veterans [by] doing carpentry jobs like [building] ramps, accessible kitchens [and] bathrooms. … Our goal is to help improve people’s houses that they live in so they can stay there a couple of years extra. It’s kind of aimed at elderly folks [and] focused on lower income brackets.”

Last year about 405 people attended, double the number they expected, including veterans for whom they had done projects in the past. This year, breweries will include Mountain Base Brewery, Stark Brewing Co., Henniker Brewing Co. and Spyglass Brewing. There will also be food vendors, like Paulie’s Hot Dogs, Pastry Dream and Squaloo’s BBQ, as well as ax throwing, cornhole and live music performed by The Apostolides Project.

Hansen started the organization shortly before the onslaught of Covid. He wanted to be able to help people age more comfortably in their own home, so he used his skills in architectural design to make this happen. He has enlisted the help of others along the way, adding people to his team and working with other organizations.

“When you start something like this, a little community forms,” he said. “All kinds of things you didn’t expect were going to happen happen. People come out of the woodwork because they want to help, and you learn things about people you thought you knew.”

Hansen says the hardest part of what the Worker Bee Fund does is finding people who need help, as many people who do often don’t reach out. For this reason, they market directly with veteran organizations in the state.

“A lot of the case workers at [Easterseals’] Veterans Count point people to us,” he said. “They’ve referred people to us before, they’ve chipped in funds on some of the projects, which has been great. We really couldn’t do it without them. … Without them pointing people to us, we’re much less of an organization.”

The money to fund the various projects the organization performs, about 10 a year, is raised by the Worker Bee Fund through social media, donations and events, such as the Mount Uncanoonuc Brewfest.

Hansen hopes for the same great weather they had for last year’s event.

He said, “A big turnout would be really nice because we always have lots and lots of beer, [and] a really diverse group of people who are looking to have a good time … and are eager to meet veterans who are superheroes.”

Mount Uncanoonuc Brewfest
: Saturday, Oct. 14, 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: 553 Mast Road, Goffstown
Cost: Tickets are $35 when purchased in advance, $45 on the day of the event and $10 for designated drivers.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

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