Joni’s spark

Tribute show recalls landmark album

There’s a line in Joni Mitchell’s song “For the Roses” about a moment when “the lights go down and it’s just you up there, getting them to feel like that.” That’s the challenge for anyone bold enough to launch a tribute act to her. It’s better to try and convey the singular singer-songwriter’s essence. Replication is a fool’s errand; there’s only one Joni.

Further, she’s a moving target. From the spare acoustic era of “Both Sides Now” and “Circle Game” to the ethereal jazz in Hejira and Mingus, Joni Mitchell was and is always moving forward. Yet Big Yellow Taxi, a six-piece group led by singer Teresa Lorenço as Mitchell, accomplishes the not-small miracle of capturing her.

For a show in Dover on May 10, they’ll perform Mitchell’s breakthrough Court and Spark from start to finish. The 1973 album has many moods but contains a common thread, Lorenço said by phone recently: “There’s real, profound honesty and vulnerability to whatever she’s doing …. Hooking into that is what helped me make the whole thing cohesive.”

Lorenço never planned on dedicating herself to performing Mitchell’s music; she arrived by acclimation.

“I’d been singing a little bit of her songs in a duo that I was in, and people kept saying, wow, you can really do her,” she recalled. “I thought, OK, then let’s do it.”

The first iteration of Big Yellow Taxi formed in late 2019 but dissipated as the pandemic took hold. When it got safer to book shows again, she sought out new musicians and hit the jackpot. The current band convincingly channels Tom Scott & the LA Express, who Mitchell worked with on Miles of Aisles, considered by many her best live album, as well as her ethereal late ’70s band featuring Pat Metheny on guitar and bassist Jaco Pastorius.

Guitarist John Cabán has played with many musicians, from Bo Diddley to Gloria Gaynor; Robert Sherwood’s keyboard credits include beloved mid-2000s band Ware River Club. On drums is Joe Fitzpatrick, a veteran of many stage musicals, and backing singer Annie Patterson conveys the multi-tracked vocals on Mitchell’s studio albums. Finally, there’s electric bass player Rich Cahillane, who also accompanies Lorenço on acoustic songs.

Cahillane, who was also at the interview, noted a split between audience members who lean toward early Mitchell albums like Ladies of the Canyon and Blue (a favorite of Lorenço’s) versus later songs.

“Folky fans want to hear Teresa and I play acoustic guitar or dulcimer,” he said. “Then we get those wanting to hear Jaco and the jazz…. It’s hard to satisfy all her fans.”

However, accomplishing that “definitely is our goal,” Lorenço interjected. “We want to have this ability to showcase any of her stuff from any time that she was writing. We don’t really want to focus on one style or the other. It keeps it fresh for us even, because we’re consistently looking at new things.”

One of the most difficult numbers from Court and Spark is “Down To You,” she continued. “We had to make up our own way to do this fully orchestrated part in the middle, and we definitely thought of some new swear words during that time,” she said, adding with a laugh, “If Joni ever calls and needs a backup band, we want to be prepared. Only about a hundred songs more to go.”

Taking on the catalog of an icon, Lorenço understands her primary task.

“Everyone really gets the emotionality of the music, and I think that’s the most important piece, that is what I focus on,” she said. “I’m no trained musician compared to these incredible people that bless me by working with me. They talk about music theory, and I sit there with static in my mind. All I know for sure is the way she’s expressing her emotions in song. That’s what I get; that’s what I feel in me.

Big Yellow Taxi – The Music of Joni Mitchell
When: Friday, May 10, 8 p.m.
Where: The Strand, 20 Third St., Dover
Tickets: $22 and up at eventbrite.com

Featured photo: Big Yellow Taxi. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 24/05/09

Local music news & events

Musical meetup: This week’s Blues Therapy gathering has Willie J. Laws, a Texas guitar slinger who’s been in New Hampshire long enough to win a New England Music Award twice. Hosted by local maven Mickey Maguire, currently bass player for Frankie Boy & The Blues Express, the regular event always has a headliner and is a hub for the regional blues scene. Thursday, May 9, 8 p.m., Stonecutters Pub, Downstairs, 63 Union Square, Milford. See williejlawsband.com.

Classic brand: With drummer Phil Ehart sidelined by a heart attack, Kansas has one remaining original member, lead guitarist Rich Williams. Beginning as a progressive rock band, and one of the first to feature violin as a lead instrument, the group streamlined its sound and had a series of AOR and Top 40 hits starting with 1977’s “Carry On My Wayward Son.” Friday, May 10, 8 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, $67.75 and up at ccanh.com.

Funny women: Celebrate the maternal side of life at Mother of a Comedy Show, with Kerri Louise, Christine Hurley and Kelly MacFarland providing the laughs. For those who prefer their entertainment before dinner, there’s a late afternoon matinee along with an evening set. Saturday, May 11, 5 and 8 pm., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, $30 at palacetheatre.org.

Treasured songs: A reunion with producer Russ Titelman helped Rickie Lee Jones earn a Grammy nomination for her 2023 album Pieces of Treasure, her first foray into the Great American Songbook. Titelman helmed Jones’ eponymous debut, with the hit “Chuck E’s In Love,” and her follow-up, Pirates. Jones is a celebrated writer; her memoir Last Chance Texaco won several awards. Sunday, May 12, 8 p.m., Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, $45 and up at tupelohall.com.

Country kid: Up and coming singer-songwriter Taylor Hughes plays an intimate midweek set at a favorite restaurant and bar. Hughes offers up aching originals like “Dear Today” and “Deadman” along with covers of Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers, and the buzz on him is so strong that his upcoming showcase at Bank of NH Stage in Concord is close to sold out. Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m., The Forum Pub, 15 Village St., Concord. See facebook.com/tayhughesmusic.

The Fall Guy (PG-13)

Ryan Gosling says “I’ll save you, movie!” in The Fall Guy, a rompy movie with nods to the 1980s TV show.

Gosling brings the soft-serve swirl of good-humored goofiness and slightly winky competence from 2016’s The Nice Guys to the role of Colt Seaver, a crackerjack stunt man. Colt has found professional success by being a stunt man for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a megawatt star with an even more blinding ego. Personally, Colt has found romantic success with Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), a camerawoman with directing dreams. When the movie starts, the two are working together on a Tom Ryder movie — but not for long. Colt has a devastating accident and, humiliated and unable to deal with what he sees as a professional failure, he disappears, even from Jody.

A year and a half later he is working as a valet when Gail (Hannah Waddingham), Tom’s producer and fixer, calls to Colt to get him to come to Australia to work on Tom’s new movie. Jody, who is directing, asked for him in particular, Gail says. When Colt shows up on set, he quickly finds that this is not true. But, with the head of the stunt department, Dan Tucker (Winston Duke), who is also Colt’s longtime friend, insisting that Colt is the only stuntman available, Jody reluctantly agrees to let him stay to work on Metalstorm, a sci-fi alien love-story something.

That’s all kind of a lot of setup that feels like it takes a lot of time to get to the real reason Colt has been called to Australia: Tom is missing and Gail wants Colt to find him before someone notices he is gone and the movie is stalled.

So while Colt is working with Jody, who sees new story possibilities for Tom’s Metalstorm character now that Colt is around to do more thrilling stunts — with Tom’s face to be pasted on digitally in post — and Colt is trying to find a way to make up with the woman he still loves, Colt is also doing some basic detectiving of the “look for clues, go see a guy at a club” variety.

For me, the movie has the most mission clarity during the “Colt Seaver, stunt man detective” scenes. Elsewhere, it felt like there was a lot of piling on of Things: rom-com-iness, meta commentary on movies, stunt man process-y stuff (which I also liked), Emily Blunt’s whatever she’s doing with Jody, Hannah Waddingham doing like 1980s businesswoman, a bit of buddy business between Colt and Dan. It’s a “three songs playing at once” effect to have all of these things happening at once, at the same volume, in one scene. When Colt is looking for clues or trying to find a guy who last saw Tom and the movie’s other elements are more packed in around that, things seem to click together better.

That said, I basically liked those other elements. I just wished they’d been put together a bit better. Blunt’s Jody has perfectly fine chemistry with Gosling’s Colt; Dan and Colt have some good buddy moments; there is, in classic movie fashion, a bit with a dog. It’s all fine, and without Gosling this would have been a perfectly satisfactory Netflix-movie type outing. Gosling elevates it all. He brings a sparkle, a tonally perfect approach to the movie’s humor and an energy that helps the movie transcend some of its overstuffed-combo-platter feel. B

Rated PG-13 for action and violence, drug content and some strong language, according to the MPA on filmratings.com. Directed by David Leitch and written by Drew Pearce, The Fall Guy is two hours and six minutes long and distributed by Universal Studios.

Featured photo: The Fall Guy.

Twelve Trees, by Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis is a tree nerd, and I say that affectionately, from one tree nerd to another. By this, I mean my house is filled with odd pieces of wood collected in forests and on beaches for no reason other than the beauty I see in their gnarled and twisty forms. Lewis, however, is the guy who could probably identify the type of tree these bits of wood come from and then launch into a lecture on the genus of the tree and its prospects for survival on a warming planet.

An environmental historian and college professor who lives in Southern California, Lewis has built his latest book around 12 trees he finds most interesting and important. Disappointingly, although New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the U.S. according to the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, the 12 do not include the sugar maple, Eastern hemlock or any other of the most prevalent trees in New England.

Lewis’s picks are a disparate tribe flung around the planet — in some cases, literally, by seed dispersal. They include the bristlecone pine, the coast redwood, the East Indian sandalwood tree, the African baobab, the blue gum eucalyptus and the olive tree. Each tree gets its own chapter, in which Lewis tells stories about the tree’s history, its uses and abuses by humans, and its outlook. Along the way, he ventures merrily off the beaten path in order to share nuggets of information he has gleaned during his research.

As an example, Lewis wanted to confirm that products of the olive tree, which mainly grows in the Mediterranean and in California, are found on all the continents. So he tracked down the person in charge of supplying food to the largest year-round encampment in the Antarctic, and we subsequently learn how the 150 to 900 people at the McMurdo Station are fed. Food is delivered there just once a year, in January or February, and it sounds like they eat better there than many of us do. “When you’re stuck in a vast, tree-free tract of wind-driven snow and ice, you need good olives and their oil. Green, black, and Kalamata olives are the three varieties usually on hand. Olive oil and olives are also a staple for their pizza station, which bakes up sixteen thousand to eighteen thousand pizzas annually,” Lewis writes.

Due to the popularity of its drupe — that is the new word we learn for pitted fruits like the olive, peach or apricot — the actual olive tree doesn’t get as much attention in its chapter as the other 11 trees, as Lewis delves mainly into the production of olive oil. The demand for olive oil is so great that just 10 percent of harvested olives are consumed as olives; the rest is pressed into oil in a mind-bogglingly complex and regulated process that explains why the product is so expensive.

More focus on the tree itself is given in chapters of two threatened species of trees: the African baobab (you might not recognize the name, but Google it, and you will most likely recognize the tree) and the toromiro tree, once common on a Pacific island.

The African baobab is a source of water to elephants during times of drought, which is interesting, because the baobab, for reasons scientists can’t explain, stores much more water than an individual tree needs for itself. But as tempting as it is to think that the tree is, on some level, being helpful to elephants or other living things with its excess hydration, it is the elephants’ violent assault on the trees to obtain water that is contributing to the trees’ demise.

Equally interesting is the story of what Lewis calls “the nearly lost tree of Rapa Nui.”

Rapa Nui is the Pacific island more commonly known as Easter Island. It was once resplendent with the Sophora toromiro, which doesn’t have a common name or nickname like other trees and is simply known (by the tree nerds who pay attention to it) as the toromiro.

The toromiro is a small flowering tree that was part of a “painful drop in biodiversity” after humans arrived there around the 12th century. In the case of the toromiro, however, its gradual decline wasn’t all human-driven; Lewis explains how other factors were likely at play, including dozens of devastating tsunamis that have hit the island over time. But the trees were harvested too, for firewood and building material. By the 1600s wood was so scarce on the island that it became the most valuable commodity there, Lewis writes. Even driftwood was “precious.”

Today, more than six decades after the last toromiro tree mysteriously disappeared from the island, attempts are being made to re-introduce the tree to the island from toromiros found growing elsewhere, the seeds carried by birds or ocean currents. It’s not as easy as just planting seedlings. The soil composition has changed so much that cultivated trees have not yet taken root.

These are the sorts of stories that make Twelve Trees an unexpectedly fascinating read, although it’s not necessarily the sort of book that you’d recommend, for example, to your Bruins-obsessed neighborhood. It’s a book to be read slowly and thoughtfully, and would appeal most to those who think businesses should close for Arbor Day. (April 26 this year, in case you didn’t know.)

While Twelve Trees has its “Bueller? Bueller?” moments — most notably when Lewis delivers what is best described as a rapturous ode to lichens — it will make you think that maybe you care more about trees than you know. B

Album Reviews 24/05/09

Taylor Swift, The Tortured Poets Department (Republic Records)

In case you’re new to this planet, the patriarchal establishment wants women to be obedient second-class citizens, focused on tedious, badly matched, purely sexual relationships, like 11-year-olds experiencing first crushes. That’s what this album accomplishes. It’s about private, individualist, closeted empowerment for enduring all the horribleness all women experience on a daily basis, and in that, it’s not the call to arms that the gender actually needs in a time of ever-dwindling rights for women. I will say that at least the record isn’t as embarrassingly hormonal as what Adele puts out, which is who TayTay’s trying to undercut with this stuff. Musically it’s decent, largely composed of hypnotic, post-coital musings that are a lot less grown-up than Tay (read: her producers, who write all this stuff) thinks they are. The melodic verisimilitude hides itself under “hmm, what’s that sample” moments and controlled bursts of primal, from-the-mountaintop, wild-woman battle cries signifying nothing. A-

Good Morning, Good Morning Seven (Polyvinyl Records)

Not only did Rolling Stone compare this Australian duo quite favorably to fellow Aussie bands Royel Otis and Budjerah; they went so far as to declare them the “future of music.” Hyperbolic much, I know, but they’re hitting the road with Waxahatchee soon, which should be a good fit. This LP opens with “Arcade,” which has a swampy-ethereal ambiance to it, techno-cheese and reverb-smothered vocals conjuring a half-plugged Kings Of Leon collaborating with Air, something of that sort. “Monster Of The Week” is like a more muscular Chris Isaak, for want of any better comparison. In that regard it’s definitely booze-soaked and faraway, an interesting but acquired taste that wouldn’t prompt me to yammer something like “the future of music” but definitely the type of thing that’ll please listeners who like their tuneage Pink Floyd-slow. A-

PLAYLIST

A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Yippee-ki-yay, my little trolls, it’s the May 10 music-CD drop date and I can’t wait to preview all the hot new songs that’ll be playing at the Fun-Ride Center in downtown Old Orchard Beach during the summer! I haven’t even gone to the mall to buy my swimsuit attire yet, would day-glo green look good on me, please be honest! But there’s some hum-ding-dang-er butt-kickers coming at us this week, fam, so let me put aside this “Swimsuit Attire For 2024’s Hot Guys” catalog and go check it out (when I was in my 20s I used to troll people by saying that the Nashua Chamber of Commerce asked me to be Mr. October in the “Men Of Nashua” calendar and no one ever laughed, so I must have been quite the cutie back when I still had to take dating seriously, so don’t be sending laughing emojis to me on my social media, it won’t work). Holy catfish, not a lot of new albums this week, but the ones that are on my super-secret list of new albums seem pretty interesting. In fact, let’s start with totally edgy Scottish slowcore/post-rock band Arab Strap, I’m Totally Fine With It Don’t Give A F— Anymore. I don’t know, these guys are usually mentioned in the same breath as Swans and the Throbbing Lobster family of musical products and such, but I’ve never taken the plunge all the way with them. But I will try doing that today, bear with me a second while I listen to the new single, “Bliss.” Right, so the video has some girl doing a weird interpretive dance to a noisy-ish beat, and the singer sounds like Iggy Pop in mellow mode. It makes me want to say it sounds like Simple Minds doing krautrock, but that might inspire readers to go check it out, which isn’t my intention at all.

• Uh oh, look out, millennials, it’s your favorite arena-folk band, Kings of Leon, with a new album, titled Can We Please Have Fun. Wait, just a second, this just in: Yes, roger that, the band’s last album, whatever its name was, was so terrible that Kings Of Leon is no longer the favorite band of any generation. In that, they’re like Mastodon and Trent Reznor, a band that sold out and let the dummies at the record label take artistic control of their, you know, artistry. Oh, definitely, I’m sure this will be just scintillating stuff, let’s go listen to the advance cut, “Mustang,” and see what the dilly is with these jive turkeys. Ugh, so gross, it sounds like Pavement at the beginning, but then it gets a little more boisterous, and then the singing Hollowill brother starts rocking out to a not very catchy part. It does have a pulse to it and will probably be a lot cooler when they play it live, but at first listen it’s not as great as their earlier hit, the one with the Millennial Whoop in it, you know, the decent one.

• Oh, please stop, what’s this, it’s hair-rock children’s-party-clown Sebastian Bach, even he has a new album, and this one’s called Child Within The Man! Now I feel compelled to find out what he’s been doing since his “acting stint” on Gilmore Girls, do you guys even remember that, or did your brain work properly and erase it the way brains are supposed to work when you get abducted by aliens or watch Gilmore Girls? The single, “Everybody Bleeds,” is hair-metal-y but old ’Bastian wants it to be kind of Alice in Chains-ish, so it’s not too — wait, what’s he doing with the high voice thing, stop that this instant.

• And finally we have How to Dress Well, the stage name of Colorado’s Tom Krell. His new album, I Am Toward You, includes a decent neo-AOR tune, “New Confusion.” He sings like trip-hop superstar Jose Gonzalez on this pretty, fractal-filled joint, it’s cool.

Magnolia Maiden

Sometimes something is perfectly fine on a small scale, but all in all just Too Much — saunas, triplets, you get it.

This classic cocktail is Just Enough.

Magnolia Maiden

  • 1½ ounce bourbon
  • 1½ ounce orange liqueur – Grand Marnier or Orange Curacao
  • 1/3 ounce simple syrup (see below)
  • splash (about 1 ounce) plain seltzer or club soda

Combine bourbon, orange liqueur and simple syrup over ice in a cocktail shaker. There are several types of shakers, but I like something called a Boston shaker. It consists of two cups, one large and one smaller. When you’ve added everything you want to shake to the large cup, turn the little one upside-down and wedge it into the big one. This will create an airtight seal and allow you to shake a drink without it making a break for freedom and drenching your kitchen with bourbon.

Shake the cocktail thoroughly. When the mystic voice of the cocktail lets you know that it is ready (or when you feel the ice start to break up inside the shaker) break the seal on the shaker. As you’ve chilled the cocktail, you’ve also chilled the air inside the shaker, which has contracted, tightening the already air-tight seal.

Strain the cocktail over fresh ice in a rocks glass. If you’re using a Boston shaker, pull the two halves apart slightly, making a shallow V shape. Your drink will pour out, leaving the ice behind. “There, there,” you can say to the shaker, “doesn’t that feel better?”

Top it off with a generous splash of club soda, and stir gently.

The only thing about this drink that is too much is its name. The bourbon isn’t too bourbony. The orange liqueur isn’t too sweet. It is neither too flat nor too bubbly. It tastes like something a relaxed person would drink.

Simple syrup

Drink recipes throw around the term “simple syrup” like everyone knows what that means. It’s one of those phrases like “slip differential” or “antioxidant” that everyone pretends to understand, but I think a surprising percentage of people don’t.

Have you ever added a packet of natural sugar to an iced coffee, and some of it ends up in a little pile at the bottom of the cup? Simple syrup is sugar that has been put into a solution with water, so that won’t happen to your cocktails.

The reason it is called “simple syrup” is that it consists of equal amounts of water and sugar; there is no recipe to memorize. Add equal amounts of white, granulated sugar and water — this can be by weight, or by volume — to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil on your stove, at whatever temperature you want, stirring occasionally. Let it boil for a few seconds to make sure all the sugar has gone into solution; then remove it from heat, let it cool, and store it in your refrigerator indefinitely. Don’t worry about it getting lonely; it’s very approachable and will make friends with your condiments quickly.

Featured Photo: Photo by John Fladd.

Grilling with heat

Spice things up by adding some hot sauce to your grilled eats

A classic rite of passage each spring is bringing a grill out of storage and getting ready for the first outside cooking of the year. Nobody looks forward to this more than Phil Pelletier, owner of Smokin’ Tin Roof, a hot sauce company based in Manchester. He says that grilling season brings out a whole new side of his company’s hot sauces.

“Most of our stuff is designed to use any way you want,” he said, “so grilling is a great use for it.”

Smokin’ Tin Roof makes nine products of different heat levels — four sauces, three condiments, and hot pepper jelly. Although only one of the products is a barbecue sauce — the blueberry-based Northwoods BBQ — the other products have qualities that lend themselves to grilling.

North Carolina-style barbecue sauces are vinegar-based. The vinegar might be balanced out with something sweet, such as molasses or fruit, but the acidity is a fundamental characteristic of that type of sauce. Similarly, most hot sauces are vinegar-based as well.

“Our ‘Grow a Pear’ is made with pears,” Pelletier said as an example, “but it’s based on apple cider vinegar. You need that acidity for shelf-stability.”

South Carolina-style sauces, on the other hand, lean heavily into mustard. Smokin’ Tin Roof’s Bacon Stout Mustard works well as a wet rub for grillers who like to build layers of flavor.

Pelletier recommended against using too spicy a hot sauce for grilling, at least at first.

“Extreme heat gets in the way of the flavor you’re using, and you want a solid taste to stand up to the smoke from the grill,” he said. This is something that has come up while developing recipes for hot sauces.

“We use ghost pepper powder to vary the heat levels in our sauces, and we were really surprised that, aside from the heat, it neutralized the flavor of lemon. We ended up going in a completely different direction for that recipe; we used roasted garlic,” Pelletier said.

What a griller has to do, he says, is similar to what they do when working up a new recipe: work backward.

“You have to keep the final flavor in mind, then ask yourself, ‘What do I have to do to get that flavor?’” he said.

He gave the example of when his wife, Melissa, was developing a smokey pepper hot sauce.

“There were so many iterations of that sauce. She would get to a certain point in the recipe, and then it would suddenly go in a different direction, and we’d have to start over, focusing on her vision of a final flavor,” he said.

Keeping complementary flavors in mind — what goes with what — helps simplify choosing a grilling sauce. He uses some of Smokin’ Tin Roof’s products as examples:

Green Monstah is a verde-style sauce with pineapple. It has a bright flavor that is excellent with fish. Grow a Pear, on the other hand, has a fruity sweetness that plays well with the flavor of smoke. Pork is a natural with anything fruity, so Pelletier recommended using his Burnin’ Raspberry sauce with it.

(In a side note, Pelletier said the raspberry sauce might be his most versatile one. “We make it in two levels of heat,” he said, “which opens up a lot of directions you can take it. There is an ice cream business that buys it by the case from us to use as a sundae topping.”)

Smokin’ Tin Roof products are made with food-lovers in mind, Pelletier said, rather than chili-heads who are focused on extreme heat, which makes it a natural for grilling.

“Most serious grillers want to do something different. They want to make a unique match to whatever they want to grill,” he said.

The Weekly Dish 24/05/09

News from the local food scene

Cake for Mom: Flight Coffee Co. (209 Route 101 in Bedford; flightcoffeeco.com, 836-6228) has two layer cakes, chocolate or vanilla with chocolate or vanilla buttercream, that can be ordered by Thursday, May 9, for a Saturday, May 11, pickup, according to a post on Flight’s Facebook page. Email catering@flightcoffeecompany.com or call 836-6228 to order a cake, which costs $45, the post said. Find more special brunches, dinners and other eats for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12) in the May 2 issue of the Hippo. Find the e-edition at hippopress.com; the story starts on page 24.

Coffee weekend: The Northeast Coffee Festival runs Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, in Concord. The event, which takes place at locations in downtown Concord including South Main Street, the Bank of NH Stage and Red River Theatres, will feature live music, coffee workshops, an outdoor community market and on Saturday a latte art throwdown at 4 p.m. Attending the market and the music is free; passes to other events are available at northeastcoffeefestival.com, where you can also find a map, schedule and more.

Bacon! Tickets — and merch — are on sale now for the NH Bacon & Beer Festival ,which will be held Saturday, June 1, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Anheuser-Busch fields in Merrimack. Tickets in advance cost $60 for general admission and $100 for VIP admission, which includes a 12:30 p.m. admission time, according to nhbaconbeer.com. The event features live music from The Slakas as well as, of course, bacon (from 20 samplers), beer (from 60 craft brewers) and 25 teams competing in a pulled pork contest, according to the website. The event benefits the High Hopes Foundation.

Berry informative: The NH Audubon will hold a “Growing Backyard Berries” workshop on Thursday, May 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn). The cost is $15. The presenter is Steph Sosinski, UNH Extension Home Horticulture Program Manager. Register by May 14 at the UNH Extension site, which you can reach via nhaudubon.org.

On The Job – Corey McNabb

Owner of Dragon’s Den Candles in Nashua

Explain your job and what it entails.

I own and operate Dragon’s Den Candles [DragonsDenCandles.com]. I make fantasy, tabletop gaming themed candles that are all designed with a certain sense in mind to give ambiance when you’re playing a game, or reading a book, watching a movie, that kind of thing.

How long have you had this job?

It’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple years now, about 2 1/2 years now.

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

I worked in retail for 20 years and I finally got myself out of that…. Trying to come up with something new on a random Sunday my wife and I started making candles just for fun and we both really enjoyed it and it just kind of snowballed from there. I’m a big nerd so I took it in the nerdy direction with the candles I make.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I was mostly all self-taught. Did a lot of research online. We got some candle-making starter kits that had like the basic instructions and just looked up all the different ways people do them and figured out from there, as we narrowed it down and honed our method.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Just my usual casual everyday wear. We do all this right out of our house so … just khakis and a T-shirt.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

We have two different candle lines we mainly sell at conventions and craft fairs and ren faires…. We’re constantly traveling up and all over New England selling at different places. It’s a lot of maintaining the proper amount of stock…

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

Any kind of knowledge into all these different kinds of shows and events that we sell at would have helped tremendously, and just the general knowledge of how much of my house doing this was going to absorb.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

Probably the amount of time that goes into it. It is a long process making all the candles that we make.

What was your first job?

My very first job ever, I worked at when I was 16 years old, Whalom park down in … Mass. It was a little amusement park. It’s no longer there. I did puppet shows, marionette shows and [was one of] the big costume guys that walked around the park.

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

At the start of anything you do, it’s always going to look messy. You just need to keep pushing through. It will eventually get to what it needs to be. —Zachary Lewis

Explain your job and what it entails.

I own and operate Dragon’s Den Candles [DragonsDenCandles.com]. I make fantasy, tabletop gaming themed candles that are all designed with a certain sense in mind to give ambiance when you’re playing a game, or reading a book, watching a movie, that kind of thing.

How long have you had this job?

It’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple years now, about 2 1/2 years now.

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

I worked in retail for 20 years and I finally got myself out of that…. Trying to come up with something new on a random Sunday my wife and I started making candles just for fun and we both really enjoyed it and it just kind of snowballed from there. I’m a big nerd so I took it in the nerdy direction with the candles I make.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I was mostly all self-taught. Did a lot of research online. We got some candle-making starter kits that had like the basic instructions and just looked up all the different ways people do them and figured out from there, as we narrowed it down and honed our method.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Just my usual casual everyday wear. We do all this right out of our house so … just khakis and a T-shirt.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

We have two different candle lines we mainly sell at conventions and craft fairs and ren faires…. We’re constantly traveling up and all over New England selling at different places. It’s a lot of maintaining the proper amount of stock…

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

Any kind of knowledge into all these different kinds of shows and events that we sell at would have helped tremendously, and just the general knowledge of how much of my house doing this was going to absorb.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

Probably the amount of time that goes into it. It is a long process making all the candles that we make.

What was your first job?

My very first job ever, I worked at when I was 16 years old, Whalom park down in … Mass. It was a little amusement park. It’s no longer there. I did puppet shows, marionette shows and [was one of] the big costume guys that walked around the park.

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

At the start of anything you do, it’s always going to look messy. You just need to keep pushing through. It will eventually get to what it needs to be. —Zachary Lewis

Five favorites
Favorite book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Favorite movie: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Favorite music: lo-fi ambient music that I can have going on while I’m doing other stuff
Favorite food: pizza with bacon on top
Favorite thing about NH: I like the environment. It’s hilly, there’s trees, there’s rivers, I like that general atmosphere, that kind of outdoorsy air that it has here.

Featured photo: Corey McNabb. Courtesy photo.

Treasure Hunt 24/05/09

Dear Donna,

I inherited this punch bowl from my grandmother. I have four matching cups with it. Everything is in good shape. Can you give me an evaluation on it?

Thank you, Donna.

Cindy

Dear Cindy,

Thanks for all the photos, Cindy; they really help.

Your Heisey punch bowl is from the early 1900s and is the fluted pattern. Heisey was produced in Ohio and has an interesting history.

Your punch bowl in the fluted pattern most likely had at least a dozen punch cups. You could collect older ones today to complete your set again.

The values used to be at least triple what they are today. Heisey glass was mass-produced along with several others from the same period.

Condition, patterns and rarity all still come into play for pricing. I found values in the range of under $100 for the punch bowl itself. Note: The punch bowl base has a second use when separated from the bowl, as a flower vase. Sweet!

I hope this helped, Cindy, and thanks for sharing.

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