Best of NH 2017 This & That
The murals at The Little Grille in Littleton
Mind-boggling Murals: It was once the Littleton train depot where Bette Davis arrived to attend the world premiere of “The Great Lie” at the local Jax Theater. Now it’s The Little Grille Brazilian restaurant, and the interior walls are covered in murals painted by local artist Rick Hunt. Hunt, famous for psychedelic album cover art for bands like Elephant’s Memory (John Lennon’s backup band), has gone all out to dazzle. Many local celebs are woven into his fantastic painting, including (we hear) our own editor, Rick Broussard.
Hope for the Future: The Youth Leadership Academy is the creation of the late Nabil Migalli in conjunction with the Manchester Police and City Hall. The program provides leadership training and inspiration to a diverse group of inner-city young people. Migalli devoted his life to improving communications and relations between people with radically different backgrounds. In a life of accomplishments, this could be his true legacy. The Youth Leadership Academy is part of the Manchester Police Department’s Community Advisory Board, and is open to young men and women from the ages of 15-21.
Legendary Gift: Want to tell your old man (or lady) that he (or she) is legendary? Buy a memorial paver from the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund. It’s not cheap (small pavers are all sold and a medium one costs $500), but it’s about as perfect a gesture as you can make to tell someone that they’ll never be forgotten.
White Mountain Radio: The Cold River Radio Show hasn’t turned Intervale, NH, into the next Lake Wobegon, but comparisons are natural with the folksy variety show format and the high level of talent on display for their “broadcasts,” which are hosted by North Conway’s Jonathan Sarty and the Cold River Radio Band.
Pipe Organ: The First Church Congregational, United Church of Christ in Nashua is famous for its pitch-perfect choirs and lush orchestral arrangements that elevate the spirits of the parishioners but the physical heart of the sanctuary is the Anderson Memorial Pipe Organ. The magnificent organ was dedicated to the church in 1926 and recently, under the leadership of Music Director Joseph Olefirowicz (who happens to be internet-famous as “The Dancing Conductor” – look it up), has undergone a restoration and “tonal expansion.” To get a taste of heaven, get yourself back in the pew some Sunday and experience the harmonies and colors of sound when both the congregation and the very church building itself unite their hearts in song.
City on the Rise: About 20 years ago, Nashua was on top of the world. It had been selected (twice!) as the best place to live in America and it was the stem of the growing New Hampshire economy. Things haven’t been quite so bright in the intervening years, and improvements in the Queen City and the capital have eclipsed some of Nashua’s glory, but we’re happy to see that the Gate City is back in the groove. With big plans for art, culture, dining and family life underway, Nashua is making its move to once again lead the state in livability, charm and economic wherewithal.
Local Satire: For the barb of satire to exist, there must be a certain air-pressure of pomposity on hand for it to deflate. Fortunately, Portsmouth has both the adequate atmosphere of hipster-infused self-importance and plenty of savvy commentators eager to stir things up. Toss in some serious concerns about parking, noise and the creeping conformity of gentrification, and along comes The Tug. It’s the hyper-local version of internet info-prank site The Onion. Topics featured on The Tug are often more funny to insiders than to the masses, but the writing is tight and many subjects are universal enough that, even if you don’t know the names and places, you recognize the situations. Warning: The Tug is neither family-friendly nor particularly safe for reading at work — if only because folks in neighboring cubicles might hear you when you snort coffee up your nose.
Daring Do Goodery: Fans of Justin Spencer and his bucket- banging band Recycled Percussion know he’s full of surprises. In recent years, he’s parlayed the band’s fame and acclaim to start his Legacy X Foundation to involve people in acts of self-help and charity, creating a secret “cult of kindness” that performs positive works for one another and their communities. It was just a matter of time before he took that to the next step. And the next step is (drum roll) “Chaos and Kindness” — a monthly television program that he produces to air on WMUR-TV in which Spencer and his merry band of do-gooders seek out a worthy individual in great need, plan a spectacular way to raise spirits (and often needed funds) and then spring the whole thing on the unsuspecting person (or family) while video cameras are rolling. Chaos and Kindness is professionally produced, with Spencer’s humor and kinetic energy on display. And in Recycled Percussion’s patented “kitchen sink” approach to props and effects, you never know what or who will get swept up into the action. This is one show that really must go on.