Shades of Parrish?
Fred Parsons was always interested in photography, but five years ago, when he picked up a digital camera, he was hooked. He loved the fact he didn’t have to deal with darkrooms (“the pictures looked one color when you printed them, another color when they dried”) and that the camera gave him the ability to hone his images (“you can come closer to your experience”). This red house in a snowy field was shot near his home in Grantham.
You can see more of his work at www.parsonsprints.com or www.pbase.com/fredparsons. You’ll see, especially in his supersaturated summer and autumn shots, shades of the dreamlike work of New Hampshire’s renowned artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966). Parsons says, “A number of people have made the comparison.” He doesn’t mind at all.
A Winter Walk
Every day, from December 2002 to December 2003, Jack Kraichnan of Dublin walked the foothills of Mt. Monadnock. Walking all through the four seasons, he returned home with observations about what he saw.
In his book of poetry “Winter to Winter,” Kraichnan translated those observations into the rigid haiku form — a line of five syllables, a line of seven and then another line of five.
Spare as it is, the poetry paints a colorful and reflective picture, one well worth the reading. From Snow Brook Press, available at the Toadstool Bookshops in Peterborough and Keene, and directly from Snow Brook Press in Dublin, (603) 563-8414.
Say It in Song
You want to do something super special for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, but what?
Here’s a thought. A group of singers from the Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus can serenade your love at a restaurant, at home or at work with the traditional barbershop ballad, “Heart of My Heart.” She (or he) would get a single red rose and a Polaroid photo of the occasion.
Roger Menard, president of the group, says reactions vary: “Some get teary, some get embarrassed. It always gets people’s attention, though. It’s really wonderful.”
The singers — for $39 — are available to go to 35 towns in southern New Hampshire on Valentine’s Day or the evening before. For more information visit www.granitestatesmen.org or call (603) 886-7464.
Lost and Found
Craig Pursley was itching to get a ‘64 Corvair, just like the one he had learned to drive on back in 1966. So the 51-year-old Bath resident did a Google search. He found one that was sitting in a Nebraska pasture, but it was a mess. Oxidized paint, holes in the convertible top, the antenna missing — the usual for a neglected vintage car.
Then he read that the car’s small, round mirrors had been replaced with rectangular, larger ones and moved forward on the car. That’s funny, he thought, just like the mirrors on the Corvair he once owned. Then he read that there was a big dent in the passenger side door panel. That did it.
“Sitting alone in the quiet of my home, illuminated by the glow of the screen,” Pursley says, “I began to tingle.” He had put that dent in the door when he was 18.
Long story short, he bought his old car back and had it restored (see above). Amazingly, he found items in the car that had belonged to his family three decades ago — a hat, golf tee and a key to the house he grew up in. Pursley says: “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, not only because it reconnected me with my past, but because it’s such a great connection to my Dad, who passed away more than a decade ago.”
Going to their heads
You’ve got to wonder what Revolutionary War hero John Stark would think of being a bobblehead, his famous phrase “live free or die” etched in plastic under his feet. If he had a big head before, well …
“History can be fun,” says Bill Veillette, executive director of the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord (www.nhhistory.org), which produced the bobblehead to sell in its museum store.
And there is more fun to come. Orator and statesman Daniel Webster will soon join Stark in what may become a whole parade of bobbleheads that spans New Hampshire’s illustrious history.
The Historical Society plans to leave the decision about who the third bobblehead will be up to voters. So what do you think?
Maybe Molly Stark, a notable figure in her own right, to keep John company? John Sununu (the elder) in his signature red tie? Or how about Jeanne Shaheen, the first (elected) female governor? Though he’s missing a torso and legs, why not the Old Man of the Mountain? (Too ironic?)
For now, there is John Stark, who will cost you $15.95 at the Museum Store, located in Concord’s Eagle Square.
Who’s Got the Button?
You might not think of buttons as works of art, but that just means you haven’t seen Judith Copeland’s buttons. Each one is a colorful collage that’s etched onto dichroic glass, which is coated with many thin layers of quartz crystals or metal oxides. “I draw on the glass with a resist medium and acid-etch to remove some of the coating,” the Manchester resident says. After it is kiln fired, the distinctive sparkle of Copeland’s work emerges.
Some people have used her buttons as cabinet knobs and others have made jewelry with them, but her customers are mostly knitters, quilters and makers of wearable art.
Copeland, a member of the League of N.H. Craftsmen, started to create buttons when she couldn’t find interesting buttons for the knitted clothing she made.
Buttons aren’t the only glasswork Copeland does. In fact, she is better known for her brightly colored tableware with accents that appear to be intricate fabrics, but are hand-done by Copeland.
You can find the buttons at the Center for Traditional Arts in Center Harbor (www.cftarts.com) and the tableware at League shops. For more information call (603) 623-3294.
Deck Your Walls
Ski buff? The New England Ski Museum, located in Franconia Notch, has a variety of posters that tell the story of N.H. skiing. This one, the “New Hampshire,” is $20. If you want it as an Artiplaq (bonded to a hard surface and laminated), the cost is $75. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information or a free catalog, call (800) 639-4181 or visit www.skimuseum.org.
A Touching Gift
There are many ways to say “I love you” — this pendant, designed by Hanover artist Kim Christiansen, says it in braille. He has created a whole line of braille jewelry — earrings, bracelets, pins and cuff links. A pair of his earrings are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. This piece says LOVE, but you can pick the letters you want. $30 and up. For more information, visit www.christiansendesigns.com and check out the other lovely and peculiar works of this imaginative artist.
N.H.’s Rugged Places
Feast your eyes on the striking photographs in “White Mountain Wilderness” and you’ll understand the majesty — and mystery — of the state you live in.
#Jerry and Marcy Monkman, both professional photographers, take you on a visual tour through the fragile environments of the mountains’ alpine zones and the few remaining stands of old-growth forest. The book also provides historical photographs and documents the history of human activity — and its impact.
Published by University Press of New England, Lebanon, N.H., www.upne.com, $35. Visit http://whitemountainwild.com.
Hug a Soldier
Elegant Swarovski crystals and silver are not typically expressions of patriotism and military pride, but jewelry designer (and former Marine) Cathi Remington of Hampton wants to change that. Her “Soldier’s Hug” bracelet, necklace and earrings were created to honor our armed forces and still impart a touch of bling to the wearer. To help raise money for a fund that goes to the families of soldiers killed in action, she wanted to make an object that was highly desirable in its own right. Apparently she has succeeded. Oprah has two bracelets, Laura Bush has one, Bono’s wife wanted one with pink crystals. There are 48 colors to choose from, to match birthstones, team colors or the eyes of your true love. Bracelets are $90, necklaces $135 and earrings are $25. Proceeds go to a fund administered by Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks (www.fallenpatriotfund.org). Soldier’s Hug jewelry can be purchased from Cathi at her shop in Hampton (www.cathiscrystals.com) or by calling (603) 926-8844.
A stand-up comedienne, an actress and a rabbi walk into a theater. It’s not a joke, but a description of what happened at the New Hampshire Theatre Awards a couple of years ago when Beth Ann O’Hara received the event’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her long-time role as a purveyor of great community theatre and as founder of Manchester’s New Thalian Players. The three characters mentioned above are her three talented and lovely daughters who presented her award. They are all accomplished women, but one of them, Sarah Silverman, is well on her way to becoming a household word, even though she is famous for using words forbidden in some “decent” homes. Silverman and her boyfriend, late-night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel frequently travel to Manchester to visit the woman she calls “Mom.” So we tracked Mom down to ask her a few questions about her celebrated daughter.
Do you remember the first shocking thing Sarah ever said?
Her father, Don Silverman, thought it was hilarious to teach 3-year-old Sarah to say "bitchbastarddamnsh*t" to his mother, who was easily shocked, but also easily delighted by anything her grandchildren said. So, I suppose, Nana's shocked laughter was Sarah's first encouragement.
When did you know that she was funny?
Well, she was a naturally social child, as easy with adults as with her peers. She seems to have been born with a talent for entertaining, and making people laugh is the most rewarding form of entertainment. Then again, we were a funny family ... I guess they all were destined (or maybe doomed) to a life among clowns.
She's the baby. What kind of special treatment did she demand?
Special treatment? Only complete adoration — which she got from everyone —including her doting big sisters. But it was easy to adore her, she was a charmer!
Is she becoming a big pain at holiday gatherings now that she's famous?
Sarah seems to be happiest at family gatherings. She and her sisters adore all the nieces and nephews from the Silverman and O'Hara families. She is quite content to let the next generation take centerstage.
What's your least favorite joke in her routine?
I'm very visual and have to live with some graphic pictures that I'd rather not have floating around in my head. Also, I am hoping that people realize that the references to her dad and me in her jokes are purely fictional.
Is there a story you always love to tell about her that she hates to hear?
No, not really. She tells the most embarrassing ones on herself!
Eight is enough? The Concord Eight (some with pedigrees that go back to the Seabrook days) tried to camp out in Sen. Judd Gregg’s office. The police were called, and charges filed. By all reports the eight were cordial and just wanted to grill the Senator about the Iraq war. They even brought cookies. Maybe some crusty grayheads with a touch of righteous indignation can provide a little lift to the state’s left wing.
Presidents have long graced our currency, but who would have predicted that our lackluster only-real-president-from-N.H. Franklin Pierce would ever see his face inscribed in currency? With the new dollar coin, Pierce (along with all the dead presidents) joins the only other N.H.-born celebrity to achieve such a place in history: Former Sec. of the Treasury Salmon Chase, whose mug graces the $10,000 bill.
Speaking of politics, Illinois recently approved a state amphibian, the Eastern tiger salamander, after it won 51 percent of Internet voters, beating the gray tree frog and the American toad. "The toad and the frog kind of split up the vote and allowed the salamander to slip in," Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. N.H.’s Red Spotted Newt sends greetings to its Illinois cousin.
The Editor Sez: Wings Your Way in Durham is the Baskin Robbins of chicken wings, with flavors domestic and exotic and a variety of heat levels. These wings are slow cooked in a way that minimizes such “carnal” aspects as skin and gristle and actually seem to melt in your mouth. Crisp fresh salads, too. (www.wingsyourway.com)
This article appears in the February 2006 issue of New Hampshire Magazine