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T H E S Q UA R E fa l l / w i n t e r 2015 – FREE

THE SQUARE The Magazine for Seacoast Creativity, Culture & Community


Square style artist profiles fa i l m o r e a l l t h e s e a c o a s t i s t h e i r s ta g e the collector’s eye a slice of the real

Square Style: Cozy Finds to Warm Up Winter 8 Fail More. It could be your breakthrough. 30 All the Seacoast is Their Stage: Small Companies Go Big 36 A Slice of the Real: Ceres Bakery Turns 35 44 PLUS: Shopping, Shelter, Dining & Events

ay not be This is Todd. He m s, but around in 100 year ll be. Applecrest Farm wi



603.559.2626 | 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH Located inside the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel

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Portsmouth Harbor Cruise

Fall/Winter 2015


inside Volume 02

Number 02

Fall /Winter 2015-16 on the cover

Todd Wagner of Applecrest Farms Photo by Greta Rybus

07 Square One

Start here for everything you need to know about the Seacoast.

18 Arts Profile

Thérèse LaGamma shakes things up for the Portsmouth music scene


Truth Teller — Lauren Gillette will use any medium in her art to get to what’s real.


Musician and artist Greg Baldi shares some insights without talking about himself.

For these local theater companies, all the Seacoast is their stage. Story by Debbie Kane

44 A Slice of the Real

photo by liz davenport

36 Take a Bow

photo by mattlavigne

28 Community Profile

Brad Paige of Kennebunk Savings on why giving back is part of his company’s culture

30 Fail More

Want to succeed creatively? Start by failing more often. Five artists go public on the power of failure.

36 All The Seacoast is their Stage

Ceres Bakery has fed the soul of Portsmouth for over 35 years. Story by Sherrie Flick

It’s somethimes hard to tell where the stage ends and the audience begins on NH’s seacoast.

44 Ceres Bakery

The yeasty fragrant heart of Portsmouth is found in this 35-year-old bakery and beloved “third place.”

52 Collectors Eye — Greg Komposov

This seacoast artist likes his coffee strong and his art collections dense with color and significance.

58 Applecrest

After a century of apple growing, this family farm isn’t going anywhere, but you should go there now.

68 Distilleries

58 The New Familiar 52 Collector’s Eye Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls grows up and digs in for a new generation. Story by Craig Robert Brown


Fall/Winter 2015

Russian Oleg Kompasov makes a home in Portsmouth’s South End. Story by Carrie Sherman

photo by greg west

photo by greta rybus

Apparently the revolutionary spirit of our region can, in fact, be bottled.

74 Good Eats

A roundup of some top pubs and taverns serving hearty fare fit for the season.

76 Events

A curated roster of what’s happening on the Seacoast

80 What The?

Can you solve this photographic mystery?

Contributors Jennifer Moore is a library clerk, maker and sustainable style blogger. Find her via Twitter @recovergirl. Jennifer lives in Kittery with her husband, two boys, and two cats, Cocoa & Scratch.

John Benford is a commercial and fine art photographer, specializing in on-location photography of places and people. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife and their 2-year-old son. Check out his work at

Kelly Wright is the director for Freeman’s Trusts & Estates (New England) and a current appraiser on the “Antiques Roadshow.” He lives in Portsmouth with his family. He is happy to provide free and confidential advice. Wright can be reached at 603-4989530 or e-mail him at Jen Rose Smith writes about drinks and travel from her home base in Winooski, Vermont. When not exploring every corner of New England, she can be found in the kitchen, wielding a whisk and a cocktail shaker. She’s the author of the upcoming “Moon Handbook to Vermont,” which will be published in Spring 2016. Read more of Jen’s writing at:

john benford by celeste ladd, stephanie simpson lazenby by misa erder, greta rybus contributor photo by rebecca stumpf, jennifer moore by kirsten elfe, nancy horton by tsar fdorsky, sherrie flick photo by heather mull

Greg West has been photographing architecture & interior design for over 27 years. He strives to capture the magic of each space and the personality of its inhabitants. Visit gregwestphotography. com to learn more.

Liz Davenport has been a photographer for 20 years and is the proud owner of Convinced Photography. “There is always a story to be told in every image and I am privileged to share it with you.” Visit Liz and her work at

Greta Rybus is a photographer who specializes in editorial, portrait, food and travel photography. Originally from Idaho, she bounced around a bit before landing in Portland, Maine.

Kevin Hardman is a professional photographer based out of the New Hampshire seacoast region specializing in portraiture and head shots with a passion for creating images that make you feel.

Debbie Kane writes, lives and runs on the Seacoast. She balances writing about various lifestyle topics with attempts at parenting two daughters. The best part of her job is sharing stories about the unique people who live and work here. More at Stephanie Simpson Lazenby is a writer, educator and performer. She runs enrichment workshops at local elementary schools, helping students learn through writing and acting. Performances include, “Listen to Your Mother,” telling true, NSFW tales of the aftermath of childbirth. She also makes a helluva good spaghetti and meatballs. Michael Winters is a photographer and a counselor at Portsmouth High School. Check out his work at

Chris Hislop has been writing and conversing about the Seacoast music scene for more than a decade. He loves music. And his 2-year-old son. And his wife. And his dog, Red. And people ... He’s pretty friendly. Reach him at Craig Robert Brown is a freelance arts, culture and travel writer. Craig’s writing has appeared in various publications including Dispatch magazine, The Sound, The Wire, Neutrons/Protons literary journal, The Higgs Weldon, Atlas Obscura and more. He is also the Director of Media at the Green Alliance in Portsmouth. Find him on Twitter: @craigiswriting. Guy Capecelatro III is a storyteller and songwriter in Portsmouth who owns the record label Two Ton Santa. He is the creator of “Some Women” and guest curator of “Songwriters in the Round” at The Music Hall Loft. His latest release is “Scatter the Remains” through Burst & Bloom records. Amy Jane Larkin lives and works on the river in Kittery. She is a visual artist specializing in illustration and teams up with her husband to tell stories through animation and motion graphics. You can see highlights of her work at

Sherrie Flick is a fiction and freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. Her debut novel, “Reconsidering Happiness,” is half-set in Portsmouth, NH, where she lived for many years. Her story collection “Whiskey, Etc.” will be out in March 2016 with Queen’s Ferry Press.

Carrie Sherman works as a freelance writer/editor and lives on the Seacoast. She writes about education, design and New England. Latest project: learning how to repair a stone foundation. She can be reached at

Nancy Grace Horton holds an MFA in Visual Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University College of Art and Design. She has been working as a freelance photographer and educator for over 20 years and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Her photographs question gender roles and engage viewers in feminist dialog. Her website is

Annie Noonan is a freelance editor and writer living in York, Maine. She works with a wide variety of content but has a particular interest in art. Originally from Vermont, Annie is inspired by the beauty of the natural world and by interesting people. She writes, draws, paints and photographs to make connections and find meaning. You can reach her at

Fall/Winter 2015



n the introduction to her new book “The Art of Memoir,” Mary Karr writes “As with everything I’ve ever written, I start out paralyzed by the fear of failure. The tarantula ego — starving to be shored up by praise — tries to scare me away from saying simply whatever small, true thing is standing in line for me to say.” While in this case Karr refers to the act of writing, the spirit of what she says could be applicable to the small leaps of faith an artist takes on any given day. The pressure in our society to constantly be at the top of our game is so great that many people give up on their dream — to paint, to write, to create — before they even pick up a brush or a pen. As I look around the Seacoast of New Hampshire I see the dreams of artists and entrepreneurs come to life every day, and it gives me great pleasure to share some of these stories with you in The Square. There are the stories of artists such as Lauren Gillette, whose hard work was rewarded with a New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant in 2014. There are community members such as Brad Paige of Kennebunk Savings, who in the face of a recession decided to give more back to a community that was faced with the prospect of less. There’s entrepreneur Penny Brewster, who made the leap from jewelry making to bread baking 35 years ago and is still behind the counter of Ceres Bakery today. We asked local artists to pose for photographer Nancy Grace Horton in their workspaces and tell us what failure


Fall/Winter 2015

means to them and to their work processes. One sentiment became very clear: that success — personal, financial, artistic — does not exist without failure of one kind or another. As I walked the fields of Applecrest Farm with photographer Greta Rybus and admired the new red roofrising high on the horizon, I marveled at the memory of the family farmstand of my youth that had grown to not just survive, but thrive, in this new century. I also never imagined that the Seacoast would be home to a new generation of distillers, long past the days of rum runners and Prohibition. Our dining section explores these stories of culinary success. I’d like to thank the contributors and advertisers that have made The Square such a hit. Many of the voices and visions you see in here are about and by artists from our little slice of creative heaven, supported by businesses and nonprofits that provide a solid foundation for our community. As we were discussing the prospect of the “Fail More” piece in this issue, our Art Director, Chip Allen, said “Hey, wouldn’t it be so meta if the piece were a failure?” As we laughed, I had a moment of panic. Oh my God, can we really pull this off? What the heck am I thinking? But then, after a couple of deep breaths, we discussed the photos and the essays and dove back into the great unknown. I hope this issue inspires you to fail at something, knowing that it is the path to success. Please share your own endeavors, creative and otherwise, with me at

Meganne Fabrega Editor

photo by alyssa alameida duncan

From the Editor

President/Publisher Sharron R. McCarthy x5117

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Editor Meganne Fabrega Art Director Chip Allen x5128

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Associate Editor Erica Thoits x5130 Creative Assistant Candace Gendron x5137 Production Manager Jodie Hall x5122 Senior Graphic Designer Wendy Wood x5126 Graphic Designer Nancy Tichanuk x5116 Office Manager Mista McDonnell x5114 Sales Executive Tal Hauch x5145 Events/Marketing Manager Erica Hanson x5125 Marketing Services Manager Heather Rood x5115 Sales/Events Coordinator Amanda Andrews x5113

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VP/Retail Sales Sherin Pierce

Administrative Assistant Wendy Brien-Baker x5110 Digital Media Specialist Morgen Connor x5140

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© 2015 McLean Communications, Inc. The Square® is published by McLean Communications, Inc., 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101, (603) 624-1442. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for any mistakes in advertisements or editorial. Statements/opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect or represent those of this publication or its officers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, McLean Communications, Inc.: The Square disclaims all responsibility for omissions and errors.

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Fall/Winter 2015


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Fall/Winter 2015

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8 style 14 five faves 12 seacoast shopkeepers 16 vintage seacoast 17 words about pictures

Borrow a stack of books from your local library. All the kids are doing it. Pick your poison – fiction or nonfiction. Portsmouth Public Library Free to Portsmouth residents $90/year for nonresidents Portsmouth, NH

. Fall/Winter 2015


Style contributor and local sustainable style blogger, Jennifer Moore, shares her top picks from around the Seacoast and why she is loving them.

McVities Digestives Milk Chocolate These not-too-sweet biscuits (also known as cookies) are the perfect thing to hide in your desk drawer. The cookie part tastes practically healthy and the thin layer of chocolate adds just the right amount of sweetness. Perfect with your afternoon tea or coffee.

Moore is a library clerk, maker, and mindful gadabout. Find her via Twitter @recovergirl. She lives in Kittery with her husband, two boys and two cats, Cocoa and Scratch.

Brahms Mount Cotton Herringbone Throw This grown-up blanket is just what you need for the back of your couch. It’ll add a little bit of color and style to your living room. Plus it’ll be right there waiting for you when you get chilly while binge watching your favorite new show. Baja Blue/White $243 The Clean Bedroom Kittery, Maine


Kazimierz European Market $4.99 Kittery, Maine

Maileg Squirrel Don’t forget that boys like stuffed toys, too. This squirrel softie might be just the thing for that little guy who is struggling to find his way. Maileg toys are designed in Denmark and sold around the world. $30 Treehouse Toys Portsmouth, NH

. Fall/Winter 2015

courtesy photos


noteworthy items from around the Seacoast to add to your shopping list.

Lulu (or one of her feline friends) Do the right thing! Give a mature cat a forever home. In return you’ll get a grateful companion. $90 Adoption Fee New Hampshire SPCA Stratham, NH

DreamTime Eye Pillow Start your bedtime routine or meditation session with this luxurious eye pillow. It’s filled with flax, lavender, chamomile and orange granules. The filling creates the perfect weight for gentle acupressure, and the scent helps you relax.

Gus Modern Atwood Sofa in Berkeley Coral This sofa has style and substance. The upholstery fill is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. If you can’t buy vintage, buy something of quality that can be handed down.

$21/bunch Flower Kiosk Portsmouth, NH

$1,999 Amy Dutton Home Kittery, Maine

courtesy photos

$14.25 Portsmouth Health Food Store Portsmouth, NH

Bouquet of Eucalyptus Next time you’re invited to a housewarming party consider bringing a generous bouquet of eucalyptus. When hung upside down in a steamy shower, eucalyptus will release essential oils, making the bathroom smell like a lavish spa.

Fall/Winter 2015


Lambs Throw Add a lambs throw to a mid-century modern chair to make it more comfortable and Nordic chic. Fair warning — it may become your pet’s favorite chair.

Cafe Tea Cup by Tea Forté Keep your tea hot while it steeps. The minimalist design of this practical cup fits nicely in your hands and will mix well with any décor. $16.95 The Willow Exeter, NH

$60 Riverslea Farm Epping, NH

Glerups Unisex Slip On Felt Boot Slipper Made from 100 percent pure, natural wool, these slippers will be the only thing you’ll want before your morning coffee. Over time these slippers form to your feet, making them even more comfortable.

Champ Eco-Fleece Sweatshirt You need this classic gray sweatshirt. Wear it to Sunday brunch with skinny jeans and desert boots and you’ll look like you’re not trying too hard. As much as you’ll want to — don’t sleep in it. Keep it nice for weekend wear. Alternative Apparel $50 SAULT New England Portsmouth, NH


. Fall/Winter 2015

E-Z See LoVision Playing Cards Put your phone down and reconnect with friends and family. These cards were designed to be easy to see. A delightful byproduct of that design is that they look like pop art. $4.95 Diversions Puzzles and Games Portsmouth, NH

courtesy photos

$114.89 Kittery Trading Post Kittery, Maine

Fall/Winter 2015


aren’t they divine!” She’s right — they are divine. Ambrosia Gardens has been designing floral arrangements for weddings, local restaurants, art openings and everyday life moments for 18 years. Most of that time, Ambrosia Gardens was located downtown on Daniel Street. Two years ago, Kim realized that she was growing out of the space and moved to her current location at 933 Route One Bypass. When asked if it was difficult to leave downtown, her bright blue eyes danced around the spacious store around her and answered, “Nope! Love it! I have my own building, easy parking for customers and I can go anywhere from here. And it doesn’t take me a half hour just to leave downtown!” The new location has provided her access to restaurants in Kittery, such as Anneke Jans and AJ’s Wood Grilled Pizza. They join an already impressive list of eateries that she delivers to on a weekly basis such as

Seacoast Shopkeepers: A

Ristorante Massimo, Rudi’s and The Library. Easy delivery is crucial to her continued success. “If we’re not early, we’re late. We have to be to the church on time, we can never be late at all. All of our events are timely — weddings, funerals, birthdays. There is a lot of meaning behind sending flowers for an anniversary or sitting at a table with a lovely bouquet. Flowers can be underappreciated, but you to notice if they are not present. It is the unnecessary necessary. You have have them.” From the time she started working for a local florist in high school, Kim knew that she wanted to run her own business and be her own boss, “It’s the more fun that way!” Don’t let her fun-loving exterior fool you; she has business savvy to understand what it takes to keep her business a success. ? “Anyone can make an arrangement pretty, but can you make it profitable with family your feed you can yourself, ask You have to do the math and her flowers? Also, the secret of my success is I have a robot working for me: name is Lisa.” Lisa Howard has worked with Kim for over nine years. Lisa’s creativity, strong work ethic and impressive background as a graduate of UNH’s and Thompson School, with an Associate’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture run a Bachelor’s in Business management, help to make Ambrosia Gardens kick full steam on all cylinders. The two of them link arms and declare, “We butt together!” Kim continued, “Flowers remind me every single day about life, the short, to the sweet and the beautiful: on the same day we have delivered flowers of part are all are funerals hospitals for births and to hospice. Weddings and at Fibonacci It’s . perfection nature’s are they this cycle. Flowers are beautiful, who tician mathema Italian an was i (Fibonacc ” everyday. here, its finest, right as discovered a repeating number sequence that is prevalent in nature, such

swirls in a nautilus shell and leaves on flowers.) are While most people may have a favorite flower, Kim cannot choose. “They this love do I happy? they aren’t Daisies, Gerber these at Look all so special. to her rose called a Pink Floyd. It’s so pink you can see the blue vibrate.” Equal doesn’t she that plant or joyous inability to pick a favorite, there isn’t a flower Certainly respect. “I used to have snobbery in flowers, but I appreciate them all. Lace? Anne’s Queen and breath baby’s Even all.” them love truly I as I get older “Gypsophila, Daucus carota, I love them all.”


. Fall/Winter 2015

— Stephanie Simpson Lazenby

photos by stephanie simpson lazenby

mbrosia Gardens


im Cady, owner of Ambrosia Gardens, is as vibrant as the flowers she uses in her designs. She zig zags through her store, proudly showing off her impressive and well-thought-out displays, her hands flying around punctuating her conversation, “Look at these succulents — we have them on the table at Anneke Jans –

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Fall/Winter 2015


Five Faves 1

When the trees are bare and the wind is blowing outside, the last thing you want to do is leave the comfort of your home. But with all there is to do around the Seacoast we wouldn’t want you to hibernate for too long, so here are five favorite ways we like to spend a winter’s afternoon. Illustrations by Amy Jane Larkin

Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke Museum (14 Hancock St., Portsmouth,, 422-0600) is the place to be, whether it’s your first time on ice skates or you’ve been skating area ponds your whole life. After you’ve warmed your toes at the fire pit and perfected your triple Lutz,

Watch the ice flow by on the Exeter River as you eat lunch at The Green Bean (33 Water St., Exeter, 7787585), then head past the gazebo for an afternoon of art at the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy (Frederick R. Mayer Art Center, 11 Tan Lane, Exeter, 777-3461). Admire the Louis I. Kahn-designed Class of 1945 Library as you stroll back into town for an expertly made cup of rich hot chocolate at D Squared Java (155 Water St., Exeter,, 583-5646).


You might be longing for your summer CSA (community-supported agriculture) share, but over the fall and winter months you can visit the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmer’s Markets at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollingsford and the Exeter High School beginning in November (go to for dates and alternating locations). After you’ve gathered your root veggies and local honey, bundle up and go to Garrison Hill (Abbie Sawyer Dr., Dover) for free sledding and snowboarding fun. Since you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to lunch at 7th Settlement Brewery (47 Washington St., Dover,, 373-1001) where the potato dumplings have a loyal following.


zig zag your way across town to the BRGR BAR (34 Portwalk Pl., Portsmouth,, 2940902) and enjoy some of their famous ricotta sweet potato tots with a local IPA on tap. Then, amble on over to Book & Bar (40 Pleasant St., Portsmouth,, 427-9197) for a cappuccino and some leisurely book browsing.

Fall/Winter 2015



Your Comfort Store. Now Open!

If you need to stoke your creative spirit it’s time to take a class: try Sanctuary Arts (117 Bolt Hill Rd., Eliot, ME,, 207-438-9826) or Chases Garage (16 Maine St. York, ME, chasesgarage. com, 207-361-4162), which offers regular classes or weekend workshops in a variety of mediums. If you’re more interested in the culinary arts, then Stonewall Kitchen (2 Stonewall Lane, York, ME,, 207-351-2719) offers cooking and baking classes in their Cooking School, conveniently located next to their café where you can indulge in a treat with your afternoon tea.


Wondering what to do with your Saturday afternoon? Met @ The Music Hall broadcasts opera live from Lincoln Center on screen in HD and offers champagne, chocolate and an Opera Box Lunch (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth,, 436-2400). After the show, layer up and go to the Urban Forestry Center (45 Elwyn Rd, Portsmouth, 431-6774) to explore the woods on cross-country skis, snowshoes, or just take a winter’s walk with your dog in tow along the shores of Sagamore Creek. Stop in for a après-ski cup of chowder down the road at the Atlantic Grill (5 Pioneer Rd., Portsmouth,, 433-3000).

ip r t r u yo Make fy. m o C ) fe (or li

Specialty Gifts · Men’s & Women’s Clothing · Designer Jeans 46 Market Street · Portsmouth, NH · 603.294.9913

Fall/Winter 2015


Vintage Seacoast

From the Far East to the Northeast


Fall/Winter 2015

This late 17th-century Chinese huanghuali (exotic hardwood) kang table came out of a house on Pray Street in Portsmouth. It sold for $60,000 at auction in 2012. Photo courtesy of Freeman’s Auction.

courtesy photos

In the 1780s, John and Elizabeth Langdon decorated their best parlor boldly with pink wallpaper and purple-and-white curtains and slipcovers. Physical evidence indicates that a set of ceramic vases originally stood on the parlor mantelpiece. To replicate this element of the Langdons’ decorative scheme, Historic New England purchased a Chinese export porcelain garniture, c.1750, and installed the vases in their allotted places. Photo courtesy of Historic New England.

courtesy photos


t seems as if every auction house in New England is now offering incredible and rare items of Chinese origin, but the current market fascination with antique works of art from China is not new. The Portuguese and Dutch traders were the first to introduce the West to Chinese wares in the 16th century and the demand was immediate. In 1784 after the revolution, as soon as it was able, the United States sent its first merchant ship to China. Among the cargo were primarily teas, but other goods in great demand such as silk and the eponymous “china” were also on board. So highly prized was Chinese porcelain, that founding fathers such as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson had collections, as did New Hampshire’s Governor John Langdon. Examples of Langdon family china can be seen today at the governor’s house in Portsmouth. Known now as Chinese Export porcelain, these pieces were manufactured in China, often to the specifications and tastes of the American market. Ironically, the audience for great works from China today aren’t Europeans and Americans, but the Chinese themselves. Beginning with the destruction of the Summer Palace by French and British forces in the Opium War of the1860s and continuing with the American-led occupation of Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion around 1900, the exporting of plundered goods from China reached epic proportions. Tens of thousands of precious objects from palaces, temples and mansions were seized by various armies as the spoils of war and introduced the West to jades, ivories, bronzes and exotic woods. These same authentic objects are now making their way back to Chinese collectors, often from collections right here in New Hampshire. At a sale at Northeast Auctions in Portsmouth last November a wonderful 19th-century Qing Dynasty porcelain plaque exceeded its modest estimate and soared to a hammer price of $57,000. The framed poetry plaque from a New Hampshire consignor originated from the collection of

noted dealer and historian Alma Cleveland Porter. The provenance, or historical record, for the object and the auction house couldn’t have been better. And provenance these days is paramount. Wherever there is profit to be made in This porcelain plaque honest sales, fakes and resold for $57,000 productions are never far beat auction. Photo courtesy of Freeman’s hind. Reproductions in China Auction. are not new and not necessarily seen as bad. Chinese Emperors have long copied the styles of their ancestors, in homage, but in the 20th and 21st century, the reproduction market in China has taken on a life of its own. So much so that container loads of reproductions are being shipped to auction houses in the United States, particularly New England, in order to gain New England provenance. At these less-than-scrupulous houses often times the consigner and the buyer are one and the same: a Chinese businessman. The shipping, auction and taxes are a small price to pay for a “provenance” that will yield 10-100 times the value from shoppers back in China. If you’re out there bidding, rule number one is to trust your auction house and stick with those that have a history and expertise in selling Asian items. If the number and quality of items on offer seem too good to be true, they often are. It’s not all bad news though. Time and again, New Hampshire and New England yield “attic” finds that make their way to local auction houses. And if you’re looking for a lottery ticket in grandma’s attic or at your neighbor’s tag sale, chances are it will come in the form of an authentic Chinese antique.

words about pictures

by Guy Capecelatro III


There were small things at first; some slurring, bloodshot eyes, stumbles. Gerald’s father teased him, as he’d always been something of an awkward boy. And nervous. He was never much for sports, preferring to work on his various collections: stamps and coins then matchboxes from amusement parks, bugs, old door knobs. So many but when it grew more serious he stopped teasing. Gerald had filled the shed in the back of the house and tended to spend most of his spare time there cataloguing, cleaning and meticulously arranging and rearranging his ever-growing collections. Composition notebooks with beautifully rudimentary drawings lined the shelves in his room and to look through them was to catch a glimpse of the small boy’s careful mind. He missed the start of school, spending days at

home with his mother tending to Gerald and knitting beside the open window as he worked on his collections. They would while the hours away, hardly talking, each engaged in their respective worlds. The neighbor from across the street dropped off an early pumpkin along with a blueberry crisp and they decided to carve it even though the air was still thick with summer heat. It was his father that came up with the idea and went around and asked the neighbors to join in a last, early Halloween, Gerald’s favorite holiday. His mother and father helped him slip on the bunny suit then each took a frail elbow and set off slowly down the front steps and across the street. Guy Capecelatro III is a Seacoast songwriter/performer / landscaper who occasionally allows old photos to arouse his literary muse.

Kelly Wright is the Director for Freeman’s Trusts & Estates (New England) and a current appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow. If you have an item or collection that you are curious about, he is happy to provide free and confidential advice. Kelly can be reached at 603-498-9530 or email him at

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Thérèse LaGamma An Instrument of Change in the Portsmouth Music Scene By Guy Capecelatro III, Photos by Michael Winters here’s certainly something of a resurgence in the music scene here on the Seacoast, and having witnessed and been a part of the local music community for the past 25 years, it’s staggering to see the proliferation of venues and the abundance of incredible shows. If 20 years ago someone had suggested I’d be able to walk downtown and see Patti Smith, Mission of Burma, Richard Thompson, Jonathan Richman, Buffalo Tom, Thurston Moore, Wynton Marsalis, Joan Armatrading or Juliana Hatfield, along with a freakish slew of amazing new bands, I’d have thought them insane. At the heart of it stands The Music Hall: With a rich history dating back to its inception in 1878, this magnificent 900-seat capacity theater has survived destruction because of an amazing outpouring of community support and gone on to host a wide range of events. In 2011 they opened a more intimate space around the corner, The Music Hall Loft, where they are able to host smaller emerging acts. As deputy director of programming and curator at The Music Hall, Thérèse LaGamma has been instrumental in bringing a diverse range of performers to town. She co-produces the popular Songwriter Festival, champions the many up-and-coming artists that show at both Music Hall venues and has recently started DJing on WUNH at The University of New Hampshire. I spoke with Thérèse about her 11 years in the Seacoast area and the history that informs her performance choices. Guy Capecelatro III: What are the ways in which you discover new music? Thérèse LaGamma: I attend live shows frequently throughout New England, New York City and Austin, Texas and I reach out to music festivals. I’ve been in the business long enough to have developed relationships with people in the performing arts

and whose tastes I trust. My newfound connection with WUNH has become a tremendous resource. GC III: I’ve been really impressed over the last couple of years with the acts you’ve brought to town; you seem to be on the cutting edge with emerging bands. TL: It’s been so wonderful to see some of the smaller bands we have worked to bring through town take off and headline bigger festivals or move to

independent films, literary writers or performing artists, both emerging and established. We strive to engage creative artists of all kinds and to expose our audiences to new and innovative experiences that will resonate over long periods of time. Every year thousands of schoolchildren cross our threshold to attend our School Days Series. I am part of a focused team under the leadership of Executive Director, Patricia Lynch, that works to identify these opportunities. We’ve been able to bring artists who’d

We see an audience we wouldn’t necessarily see at the Historic Theater. We’re drawing people from Boston, Portland and other environs. mid-size venues. Sharon Van Etten shared the stage with Aimee Mann a couple of years ago as part of the Portsmouth Singer Songwriter Festival, and her career appears to be taking off. It’s been fun to see the music scene in downtown Portsmouth continue to grow more vibrant. GC III: With all that’s happening, it’s obviously a real boon to the community. What do you feel The Music Hall’s role is in this kind of growth? TL: We have a huge responsibility to present the best of the best, whether we are talking about

ordinarily play major cities to Portsmouth. When they get here they never want to leave. GC III: As a musician it’s been fun see the wide range of people who show up to my Music Hall Loft shows in terms of age and socio-demographics; it’s not something you see at most other venues. TL: I’m glad to hear it. I find that with the Loft we see an audience we wouldn’t necessarily see at the Historic Theater. We’re drawing people from Boston, Portland and other environs. GC III: Do you feel a responsibility, as a curator,

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to educate the community about different kinds of music? TL: Yes, I do. And it isn’t just in music. The Moth Mainstage came about because I had been a fan of the radio show and wondered what it would take to get it onto our stage. I managed to get to the live show during its debut in Portland. You could hear a pin drop during the actual storytelling and the audience wept and laughed along with the storytellers. I wanted for our audience to have that same shared experience. The Ukranian punk band DakhaBraka mesmerized audiences at a world music festival in NYC. They had the same effect when they performed the Loft a few months later. Reggie Watts is another artist whose voice deserved to be heard

here. He’s a comedian and performing artist who improvises so that every show is a unique experience. The audience reaction is what I get the most satisfaction from. I think that’s why getting out to see live shows independent of The Music Hall is so important; you have the gratification of seeing how an audience reacts and interacts with the performer as a pure observer. GC III: Did you grow up in a musical household? TL: I was always encouraged to study music and the arts in general. It was something I was passionate about from an early age. In Italy I sang in church choirs, and then later in high school I performed in musicals and sang in bands. I studied the business side of music at Berklee College of Music. My dad

had a huge record collection that included Bob Dylan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Miles Davis and Bessie Smith. My mother listened to classical music and Gregorian chants. I have cousins who are working musicians in Manhattan. My Uncle Victor had a beautiful tenor voice that was broadcast live on radio in the ‘50s. During my years living in Italy and Africa my parents went out of their way to expose me and my siblings to the arts. GC III: That must have really cultivated your interest in world music. TL: I spent my formative years traveling between Italy and West Africa. The soundtrack of my childhood included traditional Italian folks songs as well as popular West African music that included Youssou N’Dour and Fela Kuti. GC III: And before The Music Hall you worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; how did that come about? TL: I found myself gravitating toward the MFA because of my love for the arts. I started out in the box office and eventually worked my way up to helping with gallery talks and artist lectures, which eventually led to my role as the performing arts manager. The music series started out being very jazz and folk oriented and had become quite repetitive from year to year. I was able to bring in more of a variety that included local artists as well as national acts from New Orleans, Montreal and Brooklyn, and I did so on a shoestring budget. GC III: It was fun at the Red Baraat show at The Music Hall Loft to see the whole audience get up and start dancing. TLG: Yes, it’s a great space that has given us the freedom to try out things and we’ve had a great response! It’s enabled us to bring in artists on the verge and opened up more opportunities to showcase local and regional talent. GC III: What was the catalyst for your move to New Hampshire? TLG: My husband and I had been coming up for years to escape the hustle and bustle of big-city living. I knew I wanted to work in a theater that was devoted solely to the performing arts and I had been impressed with The Music Hall. When the opportunity presented itself 11 years ago I jumped at the chance to make the move. p


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T T “The Mochida Family Moves to Utah” 28” x 27 x 5, 2012 22

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Truth Teller Lauren Gillette will use any medium in her art to get to what’s real By Annie Noonan, Photos courtesy of Lauren Gillette

rtist Lauren Gillette’s work has taken many forms over the years, from painting to photography to tactile exhibits and wearable art. “I was a portrait painter and photographer for a long time,” explains Gillette, who graduated from RISD with a degree in graphic design. But while she was busy in the world of galleries and commissions, something new was percolating. “I think I was working on the jackets for a long time before I started actually working on them.” Gillette’s jackets are a blend of personal storytelling and unique design. Each one is carefully crafted from an article of clothing — and a person — that inspires her. “The jackets are truly something that I feel has changed my life. And the relationships that I have developed

around them over a long period of time are very dear to me.” Gillette seems to inspire a deep level of trust in her subjects. Another of her projects, called “Wish/Regret,” involves mugshot–style photographs of individuals of varying ages, each displaying one wish and one regret. “I’m always slayed by people’s generosity,” she says. “They don’t know me. I’d set up their board, they’d come in and say something really profound and then they’d go. That amazed me.” Storytelling is a uniting theme in Gillette’s art. “If you look at the physicality of the work, it all looks very different. But in reality, I’m telling a story. And I will use anything that helps me tell it. If I don’t know how to do it, I will figure it out just to push the story forward.” She says she

learned to love storytelling at an early age. “My mother was a folk singer slash costume designer slash painter,” Gillette says. “She never met a murder ballad she didn’t like.” Her mother also instilled a sense of freedom and a willingness to experiment. “She used to tell me, ‘Never be intimidated by your materials. They are there to serve you.’ ” That mind-set allows Gillette to start with an idea without knowing exactly where she’s going with it. She emphasizes that she likes to let ideas shift through her consciousness. One way she does this is by writing and drawing in her Moleskine notebooks. “I’m possessed,” she says. “I take them with me everywhere.” Gillette explains that the notebooks are a good place to build on her ideas, which may start as “strands”

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5 1 “E is for Et Tu Brute?” (Truman Capote) (artist accordion book version of the Scarlet Thread quilt narratives.), 8.5” x 11”, 2015 2 “U is for Uppity” detail image, (Jack Johnson), 20” x 24”, 2015 3 Artist Lauren Gillette surrounded by her work 4 Phipps Regret 5 “Jordan Kelley: The Volunteer”, 23” x 26 x 5 2010


that need to be brought together. “Once I get an idea, I’ll go back through the Moleskines and see what I can grab.” And making mistakes, says Gillette, is an important part of that process. “I just screw it up and start over, screw it up and start over.” While her process involves experimentation, Gillette’s work habits are strict. “I have to stop myself from bringing my lunch pail with me to work each day. I’m traditional in my work habits.” Her tenacity and drive won her a sizeable grant last year from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Artist Advancement Grant, which, according to the foundation “awards up to $25,000 to a seacoast area visual artist to promote his or her artistic growth,” was featured last fall in the Discover Portsmouth Center and in a show this spring at the George Marshall Gallery, in York, Maine. The project, titled “The Scarlet Thread: The ABCs of Sexual Shaming,” features intricate narrative quilt panels. “There was a lot of research, writing, drawing and quilting involved, so I had to be really disciplined,” she says. “I had to stay on task and not allow myself to look left or right.” The project was inspired by Gillette’s observation of how divisively both men and women were treated during the 2012 presidential election. “I thought about my own teenage daughter. What will the future be like for her? So I started collecting stories about people from the past. For each letter of the alphabet, I focused on a man and a woman from history and explored a different aspect of sexuality.” Gillette’s pool of subjects is broad, ranging from Cleopatra to Roman Polanski. She tries to use humor in her quilt panels, but it’s not always easy. “None of the women were really great girls. But when you get to the men! To get noticed in this group they basically had to be doing something illegal. And I don’t mean illegal in a cute way.” Gillette acknowledges that not all of her work is made to hang on a living room wall. She’s looking for something authentic, and the viewer plays a critical role in that experience. She hopes that her pieces — especially the jackets — will eventually land somewhere permanent. “They tell a truth that isn’t mine,” she urges. “They belong in a museum.” p Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip-toe if you must, but take that step and call Lisa. A seacoast native and local Realtor, Lisa is ready to help you make your dreams of living here come true.

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musician and artist

Greg Baldi doesn’t like talking about himself

By Christopher Hislop Photo by Kevin Hardman 26

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reg Baldi doesn’t like talking about himself. In fact, the 27-year-old musician, guitar repairman and arts advocate flat out proclaims that exact sentiment. “I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to talk about other people. Other people inspire me. I wouldn’t mind dying, knowing that I helped a bunch of people out. I know what my friends are doing can change the world, so I want to promote that as best I can.” It’s not a bad outlook: and in order to fully appreciate it, one needs to understand the wealth of talent that Baldi himself exudes. Be it through his work with the nonprofit Wrong Brain (founded by his longtime significant other, Sam Paolini), playing instruments (his current bands include Comma and People Skills) or fixing them (he’s a “guitar-tech” at Scott Miller’s shop, Naked Guitar Repair), Baldi is tackling the perspective of “working artist” from myriad vantage points. “My mom snuck me into Shooters Pub in Exeter to see Satan’s Teardrops when I was 14. I thought, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. People spilling beer all over the place, people smoking weed in the corner, people getting kicked out, people standing on top of upright basses… I was just like, I think I know what I want to do. And that’s where this whole thing started. That’s when I really dedicated myself to art, to music.” Comma is one the most original and powerfully heavy bands the Seacoast has ever seen or heard. What started out as an instrumental trio morphed into a band that included lyrics, which was both advantageous and uncomfortable for Baldi. The band shelved an EP over a year ago that showcased the new approach the band had been presenting live to ravenous reception. Not long afterwards the band took a break, but it has recently resurfaced and is re-recording the EP which will see a release through the Salty Speakers label somewhere in the near future. “I feel fortunate every day to be able to play music with Andrew [Paolini] and Brent [Glidde]. We’ve experienced very organic growth over the years. Nothing is forced. If we don’t want to do something, we don’t. That makes it enjoyable. I don’t need to make a ton of money, I just need more people to hear it.”

photo by kevin hardman

A recent community project by Wrong Brain was meant to rejuvenate the Dover Skate Park.

As a tech at Scott Miller’s Naked Guitar Repair shop, Baldi is happy to help the Seacoast sound better through servicing the community’s instruments. “It’s a dream job really… I get to educate myself on being a better musician by working on other musicians’ gear. I don’t think most people in this world understand what it’s like to take someone’s baby, pull its teeth out and then put new teeth back in. Then you hand it back to them and it’s a lot better. There’s certainly some anxiety for both sides in that respect.” Baldi, an Exeter native and Dover resident, expands on the reciprocal feel-good outlook that permeates the Seacoast scene. “Sam (Paolini) and Ryan Harrison are doing the biggest service to our community right now. Ryan and his work under the Salty Speakers name, putting together house shows and gigs for local, regional and national acts at the Red Door: those are the best events going on, in my opinion, for bands and local music fans alike. With Sam, Wrong Brain is one of the most incredibly important organizations out there. I honestly feel humbled having anything to do with it.” After Wrong Brain became a non-profit organization (thanks to funds donated by Cody John Laplante’s parents following his recent passing) Baldi was designated the Director of Projects for the busy organization. One of their recent projects was to clean up and rejuvenate the Dover Skate Park through the act of communal art. “It’s emotional, and it’s terribly important. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sam and Cody. They both inspire me immensely. It’s all about homies. That’s what keeps me here in this area. I have so many amazing friends that are so

Why would I go anywhere else? Why would I want to? Out of all the gigs that I’ve played in all the states I’ve played in — all the cities and clubs that people claim are amazing — nothing is better than home and the community that exists here. amazing at what they do. Why would I go anywhere else? Why would I want to? Out of all the gigs that I’ve played in all the states I’ve played in — all the cities and clubs that people claim are amazing — nothing is better than home and the community that exists here. I want Ryan and Sam to be understood. I think helping your friends out is the most important thing in life. You know, selfless acts. Help your friends. For me, it just so happens that my friends create the best stuff I’ve ever experienced.” p

Examples from non-profit Wrong Brain’s zine, with cover art by the late Cody John Laplante

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When Giving Back is Part of Company Culture CEO Brad Paige of Kennebunk Savings Leads by Example By Craig Robert Brown, Photo by John Benford Photography


rad Paige is reserved, leaning over a table at Block Six, the restaurant and bar inside Portsmouth’s 3S Artspace, competing to be heard against the sound of the kitchen and wait staff preparing for the dinner rush. It’s noisy but in that business-is-good kind of way. Paige, dressed in a button-down shirt, suit, close-cropped hair and conservative glasses is modest about Kennebunk Savings’ successful Community Promise program, which gives back 10 percent of the bank’s earnings to nonprofits such as 3S. Though the program precedes Paige’s tenure as CEO — it started in 1995 while Paige has been the CEO since 2009 — it was Paige’s leadership during the peak of the economic downturn his first year that kept it as a priority within the company. “In 2009 we technically didn’t have any money to give out,” Paige says. “We had a rainy day fund, so we still gave out $400,000 but that’s compared to the $700,000 we had done the year before.” To counter the reduction in monetary funding, Paige, an avid volunteer and mentor throughout most of his life, conceived of an idea to add volunteerism as part of the bank’s giveback program. “Brad doesn’t like to promote himself,” Heather Harris, Kennebunk Savings’ vice president and corporate communications manager, says. “But Brad was committed to the program and said, ‘It’s really important to me that we continue to give back in the same way. If we can’t give as much financially, we could at least give of our time.’” By 2014, after the economy had crawled back from the recession and Kennebunk Savings


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returned to its profitable ways, they wrote nearly 600 checks to more than 400 nonprofits and organizations, totaling $770,000. Additionally, that year over 150 Kennebunk Savings’ employees volunteered more than 8,600 hours total. This year Kennebunk Savings’ Community Promise program will reach a milestone of having given back $10 million to nonprofits since the program’s inception. Kennebunk Savings has also aligned itself with local businesses and community organizations such as Portsmouth’s Green Alliance, sponsoring the PARMA Music Festival, 3S Artspace, the Music Hall, area

as volunteers on behalf of their communities. It’s what he believes sets his bank apart from the others. Though he recognizes other banks have their own give back programs, Paige says Kennebunk Savings’ program is successful because of its employees’ passion for effecting change within their community, and not because their CEO told them to volunteer. “I don’t care where [they] volunteer, period. Do something you’re passionate about,” Paige says. “It’s not a line item. It’s culture. It’s just what we do.” For Paige personally, that passion ranges

“I don’t care where [they] volunteer, period. Do something you’re passionate about,” Rotaries and other organizations focused on community building. Paige says that nonprofits, such as 3S, historical societies and libraries in cities such as Portsmouth and other small towns around southern Maine and the New Hampshire Seacoast, are culturally significant to the growth and development of those areas, and residents want to see those organizations supported. As Paige says, with its Community Promise program, Kennebunk Savings is able to help organizations regardless of size or focus. “We’ve always wanted to have that commitment where we could support those types of entities. The 10 percent give back and our volunteering allows us to do that,” he says. Humble as he is, Paige is proud when he talks about the hard work his employees do

from sitting on the board of youth sports teams to mentoring programs throughout southern Maine. As a local of Kennebunk, Maine, Paige knows the importance that being active in the community has on the people who live there, especially among its youth. As a teen, Paige received a scholarship from Kennebunk Savings when he graduated from Kennebunk High School — he still has the letter framed in his office. Kennebunk Savings’ Community Promise program is also another way for Paige to stay connected to the community that supported him growing up. “I’ve got those connections. I know the area and I still know what high school my customers went to,” he says. “I just really like that community connection.” p

worth the trip from anywhere!

Kennebunk Saving’s CEO Brad Paige stands in front of the box office at 3S Artspace, just one of the many area nonprofits KS supports.

35 Broadway Dover, NH Route 125 Plaistow, NH

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fail more Photos by Nancy Grace H0rton

In an age of #humblebrags and seemingly endless self-promotion online as well as off, the act of failure, especially in the arts world, seems forbidden. Very few people are willing to discuss, let alone show, the role of failure in their work. But as many successful artists will tell you, the fear of failure is present every time they approach a new canvas or a blank page. Longtime Seacoast summer resident and internationally known sculptor Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966) was brave enough to tackle the subject head on in the foreword to the “American Sculpture Series” edition of her work published in 1948: “When confronted with a collection of photographs of his work, covering a long period of years, an artist is apt to be dismayed and rather discouraged by the record of so many hours of study and effort, which to his own most critical eye have so often missed hitting the mark at which his vision had aimed.


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“And yet there remains the evidence of effort, the consolation that perhaps when our practical projects evaporate we find at the heart we are really working for the angels, and they take so little note of such details as contracts or prizes, or so-called success. “In spite of disappointments we keep on forever hoping that the next time we shall do better, and by this stimulus we are happily driven along and filled with even more determination and higher aims.” With this in mind, we asked five area artists to tell us how the thought of failure — in the abstract or as a piece of artwork in front of them — plays into their work lives. As Hoffman ends her foreword, she writes, “If we carve even a few footsteps along the way by which others may attain a glimpse of the elusive Goddess called Beauty it will be worth all the heartaches.” So heed the call to fail more, Seacoast artists, and by doing so you will continue to introduce us all to the Goddess of Beauty every day. — Meganne Fabrega

Kristina Logan, Glassworker and Jeweler I love process, but I do not love failure. I love being lost in my work with a sense of time standing still and all my concentration on a single task with everything going just right. Small failures and big failures are always present along the way whether I like it or not. This is what process is for me

— a couple of steps forward and a step or two backwards. ‘I learn from my mistakes’ is such a simple thing to say, but honestly it is true, and it not only makes me a better teacher but helps me make better choices the next time around. Sometimes what I do feels effortless, but it would not be that way unless countless hours of success and failure were not already behind me.

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Nancy Grace Horton, Photographer


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Allowing myself room for exploration within my original concepts for a piece provokes me to be open to what may happen. In some instances, what first may appear to be an error, can then become incorporated into a composition, adding a layer I had not anticipated.

John-Michael Albert, 8th Portsmouth Poet Laureate Growth and change, which are fueled by failure, define living. Failure propels us into the future, demands that we do more and do it differently. The object of our lives is to die having completed nothing, being so insatiably

involved in the process of making that the problem of satisfaction with the end product of any phase of that process is entirely the problem of those who outlive us — and only if they wish.

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Lisa Noonis, Painter

I don’t view failure as negative. It’s an essential part of my learning process. It’s not easy, but it’s a great teacher. For me, the key is to be in right-relationship with failure. Just like anything else in life that feels like a challenge. To accept it as something


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that stretches you. To engage it in a conversation. To have tea with it. This requires fortitude and a great deal of patience. My paintings are a culmination of success and failure whose layers create effects that I could not intentionally set out to make. I am grateful for failure.

Dylan Haigh, Designer and Printmaker To me, failure is part of being curious as an artist and without an enduring curiosity, I’m afraid I’d bore myself and everyone else. I love exploring peripheral art forms, none of which I’ve ever been very good at, and that

exploration has led to plenty of failures. Those failures have had a profound impact in informing my work in ways that staying confined to one medium could never create. Failures are small victories in themselves and without them, I’m doomed to be a bore.

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All the Seacoast is their Stage i By Debbie Kane Photo by Matt Lavigne


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t’s a warm, sticky afternoon as the cast of 7Stages Shakespeare Company mills around a grassy area behind the Throwback Brewery in North Hampton. Actors in Hawaiian shirts and actresses in bright sundresses wander through the crowd, balancing scripts with sweating glasses of beer. The feeling is more backyard barbecue than Shakespeare, but that’s the point. This informal beer garden, with its patio tables and plastic Adirondack chairs, is the latest venue employed by 7Stages Shakespeare for its monthly ShakesBEERience, a Shakespeare reading (in this case, “Love’s Labour’s Lost”) held at a local bar. “ShakesBEERience came about because we wanted a program that builds an audience, is easy to produce and doesn’t bankrupt us,” says 7Stages co-founder Dan Beaulieu. Beaulieu could be describing any of the small performing arts groups that have emerged on the Seacoast during the last decade. Whether it’s a brewery, bar, park or historic site, all the Seacoast

Neoteric Dance Collaborative

. Fall/Winter 2015


is a stage to these theatrical companies. Most of them don’t have a home stage, nor can they afford one; in fact, many prefer alternative spaces for the potential to reach new audiences and forge new friendships. “It’s hugely important to meet audiences where they are,” says Catherine Stewart, a Portsmouth filmmaker, theater director and writer. “That could be a bar, a local VFW hall, the Music Hall or 3S Artspace. We rely on open doors all over.” A few doors are already open. 3S Artspace and The Players’ Ring, both in Portsmouth, offer space and amenities to “homeless” performing arts’ organizations, sharing promotional and production costs. There’s also the outdoor stage at Prescott Park, or traditional venues such as The Music Hall, The Music Hall Loft or the Rochester Opera House, which hosts an annual musical theater production by the Millworks Theater Troupe. Comedy troupe Darwin’s Waiting Room has traveled to many theaters, most regularly The Players’ Ring and the Loft, but that’s fine, says Darwin’s executive producer, Kaitlyn Huwe. “For Neoteric Dance Collaborative


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photo by matt lavigne

Whether it’s a brewery, bar, park or historic site, all the Seacoast is a stage to these theatrical companies.

a theater company to grow, it’s essential to be a chameleon and move around,” says Huwe. The biggest challenge: adapting to different spaces. “It forces you to be creative,” she says. “Each space has a different feel.” Kent Stephens, founder of Stage Force, has produced shows on both sides of the Piscataqua River, in venues as diverse as the Kittery Art Association, a Masonic lodge and a 19th-century barn (the company’s play reading series is now ensconced at the Loft; main stage productions are now at Kittery’s Star Theatre). Stage Force also partners with Strawbery Banke Museum to produce original plays inspired by local events or history. One production, Lamplight Dialogues, drew audience members through six of the museum’s historic properties and removing the traditional boundaries between actors and visitors. “It’s a great way to present history,” says Strawbery Banke CEO and President Larry Yerdon. “Kent’s plays complement what we do and fit our site perfectly.”

photos by nicole gregory

Raising the bar

If performing Shakespeare in a bar seems out of context, consider that 7Stages Shakespeare’s mission to create programming that reaches different ages and demographics is critical to its success. The company performed “Twelfth Night or What You Will” this spring at 3S Artspace and has performed numerous summer productions at Prescott Park. It’s greatest success, however, has been ShakesBEERience, which “lives” at The Press Room and allows actors to mingle with bar patrons. “It really belongs there,” Beaulieu says. “It’s usually standing room only.” Tiny Mayhem, a themed series showcasing contemporary, short-form performance by artists of all kinds, launched last fall at the Red Door, a Portsmouth bar that accommodates less than 50 people. “We didn’t want a traditional theater, we wanted an immersive experience,” says co-founder Emily Karelitz. There’s no set, so performers must use existing furniture and space, which includes a dance floor, a sitting area with couches, a small stage as well as the bar. “It’s pretty bare bones,” says Karelitz. “People work with what they have.” Ultimately, it works. Audience members chat with performers before and after the show.

7 Stages Shakespeare Company performs at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton.

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photo by wayne mckay

Neoteric Dance Collaborative merged audience participation and performance during Let’s Dance: Soul Edition, a hybrid dance party and performance held last fall at the Portsmouth VFW. Attendees danced while a DJ spun soul records; every 30 minutes, the company performed a choreographed routine, then taught their dance moves to guests. The finale brought dancers and audience together in a soul version of the Electric Slide. “That’s a completely different experience than looking at dancers from afar in a dark theater,” says Neoteric founder Sarah Duclos. “We wouldn’t have put on that event if we hadn’t been able to perform it that way.” For Throwback Brewery and 7Stages, ShakesBEERience in the beer garden was a winning combination. “They enjoyed it, we enjoyed it,” says Throwback’s Nicole Carrier. “I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our beer garden.” A sentiment even William Shakespeare could drink to. p

Neoteric Dance Collaborative


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photo by matt lavigne

Neoteric Dance Collaborative merged audience participation and performance.

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Fall/Winter 2015


See the companies we featured at the following performances this fall:

Stage Force

photo by david murray

Coming to a Theater Near You


Neoteric Dance Collaborative 3S Artspace, Portsmouth November 14 — Let’s Dance: ‘80s Edition A reprise of the company’s ( successful Let’s Dance performance, set to ‘80s music. ShakesBEERience The Press Room, Portsmouth Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., October 19 — “Doctor Faustus” November 16 — “Pericles” Grab a beer, soak up some culture at this free (or pay what you will) monthly reading of a different Shakespeare play by professional area actors.

photo by wayne mckay

Kent Stephens’ Stage Force The Music Hall Loft, Portsmouth Go to for a list of dates and times The Star Theatre, Kittery, Maine November 13-22 — The Seafarer Stage Force (, founded by Kent Stephens, presents monthly play readings throughout the year as well as its live Main Stage production at The Star Theatre at the Kittery Community Center.

Darwin’s Waiting Room Their next performance isn’t until next May but learn more about Darwin’s Waiting Room at

Darwin’s Waiting Room 42

Fall/Winter 2015

photo by kaitlyn huwe

Tiny Mayhem Go to for up-to-date performance details In October look for a preview of an adaption of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” written by Tiny Mayhem co-founders Emily Karelitz and Catherine Stewart.

Fall/Winter 2015


A SLICE OF THE REAL 35 Years of Nourishing Portsmouth’s Soul by Sherrie Flick, Photos by Liz Davenport

Owner Penny Brewster has built up a bakery that also plays a vital role in the Portsmouth community.


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worked at Ceres Bakery in the late ‘80s, and as I clomped through the mysterious night-morning toward my 5 a.m. shift — as I neared the building aglow with a bread baker already at work inside — I felt it, even then: a coming home. Today as I approach Ceres there’s a handwritten “help wanted” sign tacked to the door, and I’m tempted to fill out a paper bag application, as I did almost 30 years ago. I’m not the only one with a soft spot for Ceres. If you talk about the bakery to anyone who has spent time there — in front of or behind the counter — conversation quickly veers away from the delicious home-style baked goods and into the idea of community. Local artist Patrick Healey, a regular’s regular, is part of The Morning Customer Shift, which meets at 7 a.m. these days. He’s been coming to Ceres since 1990. He quickly points out that there are two thriving worlds. “We’re all innocent over here,” he says motioning to himself and the other seated customers. “What we want to know is what’s going on on the other side of the counter.” He nods to the workers near the oven, smiles, looks back at me. “This place is a last little slice of the real,” he says. “But you already know that.” Steve Pesci, an urban planner at the University of New Hampshire and my old housemate, sits with me at my table as I talk to Patrick. Actually, his table — his regular table. Steve is also a member of The Morning Customer Shift. He’s been coming to Ceres for 25 years and is still upset that they no longer open at 5 a.m. “I still haven’t forgiven them for that,” he says, laughing. Then, “God, that bread slicer is so friggin’ loud.” Patrick leans in, interrupting reassuringly, “We all love that bread machine.” “It’s an oasis that hasn’t changed,” Steve says, eating his cranberry sunflower scone. “A planner would call this a Third Place. It’s a hub, a meet up. People don’t pull out laptops and work. There aren’t even any outlets readily available for charging. It’s a place where people talk. It exudes anti-tech. It’s such

A planner would call this a Third Place. It’s a hub, a meet up. People don’t pull out laptops and work. a special place. All of us who come here are very aware of that. We try not to forget it.” The screen door slaps and squeaks as people enter, eyes turned to the packed display case. I’ve ordered a piece of cardamom coffee cake for nostalgia’s sake. A sticker in a big stack of them near the counter reads, “Eat something. You’ll feel better.” And it’s true: Ceres is all about improving your day with good food made with love. I overhear a customer ask, “Which do you like better? The lemon or the strawberry muffins?” The counterperson leans her head to one side and answers, “Hmmm. How about one of each?” And why not get them both? Why not take a minute to say hello, to make eye contact, to nestle in at home here where there are no credit cards, no wi-fi, and no espresso? Who created this utopia-that-could and what was she thinking? The answer is Penelope Brewster. She has been at the helm for 35 years. It started on Ceres Street proper, in 1980 in a small storefront


where are they now? Charlyn Ellis I teach high school English and act as union rep. I also work as a neighborhood activist with the city on town/ gown issues because the state college has added 10,000 kids in about 10 years and I grow and process much of our food for the year and strive to source the rest of it locally. We were Mother Earth News’ “Homesteaders of the Year” in 2012 and I have a blog: 21ststreeturbanhomestead.blogspot. com. Working at Ceres for five years was really profound, and I still use many of the skills I developed there. Food is community, and art and life.

Fall/Winter 2015


where are they now? Esther Root I worked at Ceres Bakery in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. (During that time I was also fortunate to cook with my mentor chef James Haller.) I left New Hampshire for New Orleans, then returned to the Bay Area and worked as a line cook in a variety of restaurants. In 1994, I began volunteering for Market Cooking for Kids, a program that linked local farmers, chefs and public schools. Then in 1997 I was hired by Alice Waters as the founding chef teacher of the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. For the last 18 years I have developed and taught kitchen lessons that integrate academic curriculum and life skills into hands on cooking classes for 1,000 middle school students. Penny Brewster remains one of my heroes.

Jennifer Richmond prepares pizza and flats for the busy lunch hour.


Fall/Winter 2015

where are they now? Kris “Kris the Girl” Lanzer I maintain the ongoing “garden of sustenance” (and blog: gardenofsustenance.tumblr. com) in Dover at my home that I have shared with Andy Lanzer for 25 years. I still call owner and chief baker Penny “Beeeautiful-Bossss” even though it’s been close to 20 years since I have worked there. I can see a person downtown, say, crossing the street, and I’ll remember that guy is “raisin danish,” he is “raspberry crumble,” she is “orange poppyseed cookie,” they like “oat molasses bread, sliced.”

David Anderson unwraps butter for the many cookies and cakes to be baked that day. Lunch specials are always written on the outside chalkboard, sunny days will find all chairs occupied.

Fall/Winter 2015


where are they now?

Anita Rosencrantz (Original Co-owner with Penny) With my husband Bob, I now design and fabricate cushions and canvas products for our business Shoals Marine Canvas and Interiors. We also make a line of canvas tote bags from recycled sails (

A tray of croissants will likely disappear before 11 a.m.

Megan Stelzer prepares a cake for the bakery case.


Fall/Winter 2015

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Fall/Winter 2015


where are they now?

Ceres Bakery bakes and sells up to 70 loaves of bread a day.

Joe Leone In 1989, I was the only male working at Ceres Bakery. I worked the counter for most of my shifts, but what I liked best was the one night a week when I got to go in at midnight and bake all the bread for the following day. Now I live in San Francisco, where I currently operate an independent coffee shop owned by my partner. In addition to managing the shop, I bake, write and occasionally copy edit. I made it back to Ceres a few years ago for the first time in well over a decade. It was wonderful to see the place was still thriving, and it still felt like home.


where The Oar House’s kitchen is now located. The bakery operated there for three years before Penny bought the buildings on Penhallow Street and moved the bakery there. Penny and Anita Rosencrantz started the bakery with a simple idea: make some bread for the new restaurants opening up in Portsmouth. “Our idea was to go slow and stay under the radar,” Penny says. Naturally frugal, Penny bought equipment at auctions (remember that rumbling bread slicer?) and asked people whose businesses hadn’t made it what happened. Penny cites Chef James Haller when asked about her biggest influence. His famous Blue Strawbery restaurant opened on Ceres Street in 1970. “Ceres was and still is the first bakery that brought us wonderful cakes and breads and croissants, and they continue to delight and amaze everyone,” Chef Haller wrote when I reached him via email. “They first opened … down the block from the Blue Strawbery, and I will never forget seeing Anita walking down Ceres [Street] with a tray filled with lemon and chocolate meringue pies.” Although Penny is a fantastic baker, she is the first to admit that her best skill is hiring. “I try to find who I need,” she says. “A firecracker or someone calm. I can show anyone how to bake. What I need is a good crew.” Penny hires people who have rich lives outside the bakery and oftentimes liberal arts degrees under



Fall/Winter 2015


their belts: artists and musicians, historians and craftspeople. As Patrick suggested, the conversation back at the baking table can be dynamic. “I want to work with people who enjoy what they do,” Penny says. “We’re all co-workers here. There isn’t a hierarchy. There aren’t job descriptions. You write out your own application on a brown paper bag. We want people who are self-motivated and who maybe prefer chaos to order,” she says laughing. “We want people to flourish.” Penny’s very first hire, Lyn Voss, still works at the bakery. She started over at Ceres Street and moved to Penhallow and has been a pie-baking wonder ever since. “Nothing is set,” Lyn says when we meet at the Oar House deck for a drink to talk Ceres, facing the old storefront. “Penny still hand writes orders on scrap paper,” she says, showing her bright smile. “We don’t know the lunch special ahead of time. I think that’s great. There’s a kind of feminist lifestyle behind it all. It was built organically — scheduling, the food, the community. And it happens across generations.” Lyn loves working with young people. Penny does too. “Some people stick, others fade away. But we embrace fiercely those who stay,” Lyn says. “We’re ready to fill shifts, give advice or support.” And it’s true. These women have served as big sisters to me all these years, even after I moved far away. “There’s an ongoing curiosity for everyone who works there,” Lyn says. “There’s a kind of learning always going on. Food is just a backdrop,” She sips her cocktail. “It’s so good to see you. You know, you could put on an apron and step right back in.” p

where are they now? Christopher “Chris the Boy” Fortier I was a night baker at Ceres Bakery from 1988 to 1992 or so. The staff at the time was comprised of 15 women and me, so I was affectionately known as Chris, The Boy, or (sometimes) CTB. Now I compose, record and perform music, primarily on the guitar, but on other stuff too. Professionally, I am a freelance audio engineer and sometimes there is travel. Cooking and baking make my brain happy, and it’s a strong reminder that I am home after living in hotels.

Penny has a reputation for finding the frendliest, and most artistic, bakers and counterpeople in town.

Fall/Winter 2015


The Collector’s Eye Artist Oleg Kompasov turns his eye on his South End Home By Carrie Sherman, Photos by Greg West

Kompasov’s gift of a small cat figurine to his wife spawned an entire collection, now housed in this custom-built cabinet. The original cat sits squarely at the center.


Fall/Winter 2015

A collection of antique bells lines a beam in the Kompasov kitchen.

ussian artist Oleg Kompasov offers coffee with a warning: “I like my coffee very, very strong.” Then he moves quickly to the next subject: “The house? The collections? OK, the house.” He reaches up to touch a thick beam running from kitchen to dining room. At one juncture the beams are notched, fitted together and carved. It doesn’t look like a 17th-century New England detail. “I did that,” Kompasov says of the carving. “The stain? It’s coffee. The coffee lets the structure of the wood show through.” Kompasov was born in Electrostal, an industrial town about 30 miles east of Moscow. When his mother remarried, the family moved to Lithuania. As a teenager, he returned to Electrostal to attend art school, graduating at 16. After a mandatory stint in the army, he enrolled in Moscow Architectural College. “All of my education was free,” Kompasov says. “That was the beauty of the Soviet Union. But it was very severe.” In Moscow, he worked in advertising and then as a director in both television and movies. Kompasov met his wife Hilary, an American, in the city, and they lived there for six years. In 2002, they moved to the US. Their first perch here was with Hilary’s mother in York, Maine. Looking for a new home, the couple explored towns along the coast. Portsmouth seemed right, and in 2004, the Kompasov family moved to the city’s South End. Here Kompasov has returned to his first artistic disciplines: painting, photography, and sculpting. Like many old houses in the South End, Kompasov’s house has low ceilings. “I’m a tall guy and when we first moved in, I felt like I was in a submarine,” Kompasov says. “But I love the old feel of things in New England. I looked up the records on this house at City Hall. The first mention of this lot is 1678.” When Kompasov met Iain Moodie, Portsmouth builder and transplanted Scottish islander, he met a kindred spirit. Moodie worked on the house and they became great friends.

Artist Oleg Kompasov catches one of his copper fish sculptures.

Fall/Winter 2015


Kompasov paints in his light-filled home studio.

This hand-carved chess set was made by Russian artist Irec Klimentov and depicts the 1242 Battle of the Ice.


Fall/Winter 2015

Many of the family’s collections have a Russian element to them. These wooden figures are framed by paintings, including work by Kompasov.

Fall/Winter 2015


Iain Moodie built lockers for the family’s belongings out of the original attic flooring. The vintage hardware was found by Kompasov.


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“Oleg’s house is an ancient piece of Portsmouth,” Moodie says. “It was stitched together, but not really joined. Still it was a surprisingly strong post-and-beam house.” “Sometimes we’d find that a beam had just been cut out!” Kompasov says, “We added beams and we put in nice wooden windows. Now I’m not worried about the house falling on our heads. OK, the lockers.” Padding out to the back hallway, Kompasov points out the lockers, numbered from 0 to 4, one for himself, his wife, son and daughter. They are made with wide pieces of rich brown wood. “Attic flooring,” he explains. Then he makes his way to the living room at the front of the house. “So, here’s how the cat collection starts,” Kompasov begins. “My wife loves cats. When we first started dating, I gave her this little china cat. Since then we’ve collected cats from India, Sri Lanka, Sweden, England and Russia.” To honor the cat collection, Kompasov designed shelves that outline a cat’s face, complete with pointy ears and whiskers. Kompasov also made the copper fish that decorate and light the doorways to his house. Displayed in sturdy frames in the kitchen and dining room are collections of wine corks and bottle caps, but the matchbooks are just in a bag. As he holds one, he muses, “This is from the Georgian Restaurant in Moscow. We ate there all the time.” He describes his collections simply: “I want to keep memories of the places we’ve been.” His bell collection hangs in a neat row along one beam. “This one is from Crimea — about 150 years old,” Kompasov says, giving it a gentle tap. In the parlor, Kompasov has an old Russian icon with a gold-leaf halo. It evokes Kompasov’s own work, which often incorporates gold leaf. Woodcarvings by Moscow sculptor Irec Klimentov decorate one wall and include a carved relief of Saint George, the dragon slayer; a small traveling altar; and wooden toys. Nearby a hand-carved wooden chess set by Klimentov commemorates the famous Battle of the Ice in 1242. While Kompasov returns often to Russian to visit family and friends, Portsmouth is home now. “It reminds me of Klaipėda, where I grew up in Lithuania,” Kompasov says. “It’s an old seaport and the downtown is very similar to Portsmouth’s. Just like here, you can hear the gulls screaming overhead, and you can smell the ocean.” p To view artwork by Oleg Kompasov, visit

Woodcarvings by Moscow sculptor Irec Klimentov decorate one wall and include a carved relief of Saint George, the dragon slayer.

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Fall/Winter 2015


The New Familiar Revisiting Applecrest Farm and Why “It Will Be Around for Another 100 Years By Craig Robert Brown, Photos by Grety Rybus


’ve been on the road that leads to Applecrest Farm many times. Even when I wasn’t driving, sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Ford Escort, I’d watch as maple and pine trees gave way to acres of orchards. In the backseat I’d salivate thinking about the halfdozen apple cider donuts we’d buy. Today, I pull my car in into a spot in front of a brand-new white building with a red roof that mimics the turn-ofthe-century structures that surround it. At first glance the building, which houses an updated market and farm-totable bistro, seems out of place compared to my childhood memories. But I’m glad it’s there, because without this new market there may not be an Applecrest for me to come back to, or future generations to discover its rich traditions.


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Applecrest’s roots dig deep into the soil of colonial New Hampshire, but its heritage as an orchard can be traced back to 1913 when Walter D. Farmer planted the first apple tree on the property. Its storied history and continued operation is why Applecrest is considered one of the oldest continuously run orchards in the United States with Todd Wagner as the third-generation farmer of its land. His family purchased the farm in 1954 and it’s where he grew up. For Wagner, building the new market and bistro wasn’t a crafty way to stake his claim in the chic farm-to-table movement that’s swept through foodie scenes across the country. It simply made fiscal sense if he wanted Applecrest to continue to operate as it has for generations. “The retail component of the farm is one of the strongest

Todd Wagner works side-by-side with his father, Peter Wagner.

The bright red roof of the market and farm bistro signals a new era at Applecrest Farm.

Fall/Winter 2015


revenue streams,” says Wagner, covered in dirt from spending the first half of the day in the field. He’s sitting at a long wooden communal table in the bistro’s dining room. Behind him, a large window overlooks the seasonal dining patio, the rolling hills of the orchard and the original farm market where I’d wait in line as a kid for the warm, fresh apple cider donuts. “That old space, for what it’s worth, was just leaving a lot of dollars on the table,” says Wagner, referring to the market’s former location. “There wasn’t enough room. It was poorly laid out, very inefficient. Guests couldn’t come in. And then this whole farm-to-table bistro seemed to us a very natural extension of what we’re doing.” Farms throughout New England aren’t completely disappearing, but they are shrinking. Building the new market and bistro is Wagner’s way of ensuring that Applecrest wouldn’t have to sell off land to developers to survive. With over 200 acres for agriculture, and just over 100 acres at the farm proper, Applecrest remains one of the largest working orchards in the area. The new market space feels cavernous. Its bones are made of exposed wood beams and ceilings. It’s welcoming and warm, authentically and aesthetically pleasing right down to the old apple bins used as display stands. Much of the wood in the bistro was sourced from fallen local barns, some over 200 years old. According to Wagner, a lot of old-time farmers told

A vintage sign directs customers to the best use for their apples of choice.


Fall/Winter 2015

Peter Wagner uses a “loupe” magnifier to scout for (almost) microscopic mites on the underside of an apple leaf.

“We can pick just what we need. Every day. Seven days a week,” he says. “From a chef’s standpoint, I’m extremely spoiled.”

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“100 years from now when we’re all gone…this will be the Provence of the East”

Jams and jellies from Applecrest make up a colorful display.

Fall at Applecrest — a Seacoast Tradition For 41 years, families have enjoyed Applecrest’s Fall festivals starting the first weekend in September every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. Each weekend includes a variety of activities such as pie eating contests, live bluegrass music, face painting, horse-drawn hayrides, children’s petting zoo, press-your-own apple cider and make your own scarecrow, food and much more! Call 603-926-3721 for weekend festival details or visit

Soup is made daily from farm-fresh ingredients.


Fall/Winter 2015

Building community through the Arts.


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Fall/Winter 2015


L to R: Alison Weismantel, Alexis DeLuca and Emily Cooper prepare the CSA farm share distribution.

Mussels and grilled bread are a popular pick for diners.

Mac McNamara, vegetable production manager, harvests microgreens.


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“We’re really able to give people more of what they wanted to begin with.”

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him he’d sold out by building the new facility, outfitting it with advanced refrigeration units, a large selection of hard cider, craft beers, wines and adding the bistro. But Wagner doesn’t buy into that. He sees it as a reinvestment in the farm, not a reinvention. “Every single detail in this building was pored over 10 times trying to make sure we did stay true to that vision of who we are,” he says. The ace up Wagner’s sleeve is executive chef Patrick Soucy, who for the last decade prior to working there spent his mornings at Applecrest picking the freshest, seasonal produce for the restaurant where he worked. “I used this place as inspiration,” Soucy says. Many of the bistro’s menu items are picked the morning before they’re prepared. For Soucy, this gives him the freedom to change the menu at will — sometimes the same day. “We can pick just what we need. Every day. Seven days a week,” he says. “From a chef ’s standpoint, I’m extremely spoiled.” Soucy has been coming to Applecrest since the age of five and says that stepping out of his role as a chef, even with the changes, it is still the Applecrest he knew in his youth. As a craftsman in the kitchen and a student of the land, Soucy is optimistic about the future of New England farming. “One hundred years from now when we’re all gone… this will be the Provence of the East,” Soucy says, referring to the southeast region of France, known for its natural beauty, abundant produce and fine dining. And that’s the goal for Wagner: to keep the land and his farm a vibrant source for food and agriculture for another century. “With a new facility, it’s really just an extension…it’s allowing us to do all those things we weren’t able to do well or couldn’t do,” Wagner says. “We’re really able to give people more of what they wanted to begin with.” It’s late in the afternoon, but the day’s work isn’t done. Soucy has to prepare for dinner and put together a list of produce he needs picked the following morning for breakfast and lunch. Wagner heads back out into the field. I take my time wandering through the market space picking out some fruit and greedily eyeing a selection of pies before leaving. Halfway home I realize I forgot to buy any apple cider donuts. But I’ll be back, driving that same road, watching out the window for the orchard fields, excited to experience something familiar and completely new. Applecrest Farm is located at 133 Exeter Road (Rt. 88), Hampton Falls. For more information visit and p


Fall/Winter 2015

Orlando Slater, a.k.a. Scatter, is one of the many seasonal Jamaican workers who have helped with Applecrest’s harvest over the last 60 years.

Giblees is New England’s largest men’s store with over 11,000 square feet of world famous brands, an in-house tailor shop and free alterations!

85 Andover Street, Route 114, Danvers 978-774-4080

Fall/Winter 2015


by Jen Rose Smith

By Jen Rose Smith Photo by Vera Chang

courtesy photo


“Anybody who was near a dock and could get some barrels and molasses could make rum, and probably did.”

n 2008, airman Kevin Kurland was waiting out an attack in Baghdad, reading the Wall Street Journal and listening to artillery fire. In between paragraphs — and explosions — he decided to start a distillery; Kurland liked spirits, and needed a livelihood when he returned home from Iraq. On July 4, 2014, he opened for business in Seabrook, welcoming customers to Smoky Quartz: A distillery and tasting room lined with bottles of vodka he’d made from locally sourced corn. Senior Master Sergeant Kurland is one of a handful of distillers on the Seacoast who are crafting spirits with everything from Louisiana molasses to Maine blueberries. And while these artisanal startups are a recent phenomenon, the Seacoast has a long history of producing liquor, especially rum. “There were about 159 stills in New England at the eve of the American Revolution,” said Wayne Curtis, author of “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.” “Anybody who was near a dock and could get some barrels and molasses could make rum, and probably did.” Revolutionary rum might sound intriguing, but Curtis isn’t nostalgic. “I’m sure most of the rum was disgusting, and probably really inconsistent from barrel to barrel,” he notes. At the time, distillers didn’t know to discard the first liquid that trickles from the still, called “heads.” That portion is tainted with methanol, and according to Curtis, the resulting spirit was probably “a little bit nasty, and a little bit toxic.” Smoky Quartz’s vodka is a far cry from that colonial-era booze; it’s smooth and a little sweet, with a lingering taste of grain. And unlike those long-ago rum producers, Kurland and his peers have learned their trade without the benefit of a local distilling tradition. During Prohibition, having a still became a liability, and New England’s distillers quit or went underground. When Prohibition was repealed, distilling was mostly left to large producers, with few artisanal distillers to pass on the craft. Today, upstart distillers learn from books, classes and trial and error. Kurland’s may be the only New England distillery conceived in a bunker: When Heather Hughes decided to start North Hampton’s Sea Hagg, she and partner Ron Vars were sitting on a Caribbean beach. They’d long dreamt of importing rum from the islands, but finally decided to make it themselves. Their curvaceous alembic still is similar to those used by early American distillers; it’s a brick-insulated copper pot heated with a direct flame that evaporates — then condenses — the alcohol. Like colonial versions, Sea Hagg’s flagship Silver Rum is made with molasses, but the resemblance ends there; early rum was sold in unbranded barrels, so manufacturers had little incentive to innovate. Hughes and Vars, on the other hand, blend their spirits with fruit; fresh blueberries, peaches

and strawberries add fruity vibrancy to the bottle. Blueberries aside, rum making — and drinking — is a long-standing nautical tradition that has long tied New England to the Caribbean islands. Those ties — and that history — permeate today’s Seacoast spirits, like those from Dover’s Tall Ship Distillery and York’s Wiggly Bridge Distillery. According to Tall Ship owner John Pantelakos, it’s the city’s first distillery since the 18th century, and one that wouldn’t exist without an inspiring trip to the Caribbean. “I wanted to open a distillery for years, and finally, a distiller in St. Martin told me ‘You’re not getting any younger!’” says Pantelekos, “So I decided to build a 250-gallon copper still with my own hands.” His unaged White Island Rum is bright and clean tasting, a versatile mixer that’s got enough body to drink on the rocks. Pantelakos plans to expand his production to vodka and gin, and has already developed a spiced rum, infused with cinnamon, orange zest, clove and lemon that give the spirit a sweet, warming quality.


Sea Hagg’s alembic still

Fall/Winter 2015


East Coast rum was eventually replaced by bourbon whiskey.

Kendra White pours a glass at Wiggly Bridge Distillery.

recipes York and Stormy Smoky the Courtesy of Wiggly Angry Bear Bridge Distillery

Courtesy of Smoky Quartz Distillery

2 ounces Wiggly Bridge Small Barrel Bourbon 4 ounces Maine Root Ginger Brew Pour Ginger Brew into an ice filled Collins glass, and pour bourbon gently on top. Garnish with a lime.


Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a citrus twist.

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Wiggly Bridge’s copper still

courtesy photo

1/2 ounce Solid Granite Vodka 1/2 ounce Spiced Rum 1/2 ounce amaretto 4 ounces lemon-lime soda

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A column still at Smoky Quartz Distillery


The father-and-son distilling team at Wiggly Bridge Distillery has also brought island expertise to bear on Seacoast spirits; they learned their trade during research trips to the island of Montserrat. The tiny distillery makes aged and unaged versions of rum and bourbon whiskey, a lineup that speaks volumes about the history — and future — of New England distilling. East coast rum was eventually replaced by bourbon whiskey as early Americans’ drink of choice, while the sugar-producing Caribbean became the world’s leading rum producer. These days, bourbon is an all-American drink, while rum is seen as the quintessential island spirit, but New England’s distillers are working hard to bring the original spirit of the East Coast home. “When people think of rum they think of palm trees,” says Sea Hagg’s Heather Hughes, “We want them to think of a lobster.” p

Kevin Kurland, Smoky Quartz 603-474-4229 Heather Hughes, Sea Hagg 603-379-2274 John Pantelekos, Tall Ship 603-842-0098

photo by vera chang

Heather Hughes with her Alembic Still


Fall/Winter 2015

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Fall/Winter 2015


Good Eats!

When the cold winds start blowing, Seacoast residents look for a warm place to enjoy some comfort food with a robust brew to accompany the meal. Here’s a roundup of some of our top pubs and taverns serving up some hearty fare. Coat of Arms 174 Fleet St., Portsmouth 603-431-0407, If you crave an old-fashioned British pub, the Coat of Arms is the place with classics like the Ploughman’s Farmer’s Platter and bangers and mash to fill you up. Ask for a Black & Black — Guinness stout combined with blackcurrent cordial.

Thirsty Moose Taphouse 21 Congress St., Portsmouth 83 Washington St., Dover 603-427-8645, Your biggest problem at the Thirsty Moose will be which beer to choose from the 70+ different brews on tap. Or whether to order the poutine or the buffalo chicken dip. Wait a minute... those aren’t problems! Just tasty opportunities.

The Press Room

7th Settlement 47 Washington St., Dover 603-373-1001, Craft beers and local flavor is the order of the day at this go-to Dover pub. Eat your potato dumplings on your own, or share space and converstaion with mug-club members at the community table — you won’t be disappointed.


Fall/Winter 2015

77 Daniel St., Portsmouth 603-431-5186, The music pulls locals and others (like the musician Neko Case) in and the pub fare is a bonus. Go for the Fried Oysters with a Dark and Stormy made with Gosling’s Rum and Maine Root Ginger Brew.

Portsmouth Gas Light 64 Market St., Portsmouth 603-430-9122, Whether you eat at the street-level grill or downstairs at the Downtown Pizza & Pub, the Gas Light is a central spot to

the cold and you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time with its brick and stone interior. However, the menu has 21st century options such as gluten-free bread and a portabello Mushroom burger.

ffrost Sawyer Tavern at Three Chimneys Inn

Throwback Brewery 7 Hobbs Rd., North Hampton 603-379-2317, Located on a historic farm in North Hampton, Throwback’s new digs already have a loyal following. Year-round brews, seasonal specials and rare breeds mean there is a flavor for every beer lover. The menu appeals to all ages, so bring the kids along for a family night out. enjoy people watching as well as a tasty hand-tossed pizza (we highly recommend the Badger’s Island).

WHYM Craft Beer Cafe 3548 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth 603-501-0478 This spot is just a short drive from downtown Portsmouth, tucked away like a secret “Eden of Beer” that serves up good eats like truffle frites and gouda stout mac along with the brews.

Two-Fifty Market 250 Market Street, Portsmouth 603-559-2626, With its award-winning chowder and extensive bar menu, Two-Fifty Market serves its modern take on tavern food with views of Portsmouth’s busy harbor. A perfect perch to watch the snow fall on the Piscataqua River.

The Spring Hill Tavern at The Dolphin Striker 15 Bow St., Portsmouth 603-431-5222, Steps away from the tugboats you’ll find this cozy little pub to nestle in for an evening out of the cold. Go old-school with an

order of fish and chips and enjoy the live music. Don’t miss the old well built into the bar!

2-10 Schoolhouse Ln., Durham 603-868-7800 This hidden gem is one of the coziest spots on the Seacoast to spend an evening. Warm up with traditional pub favorites like french onion soup, grilled hanger steak or a gluten-free alternative like stuffed squash with cojita cheese.

Sonny’s Tavern 328 Central Ave, Dover 603-343-4332 If you like live music with fillyou-up dishes like mushroom poutine or the Cuban sandwich, Sonny’s is the place. Pair dinner with one of their specialty cocktails like a smoked Manhattan or their house-made sipping vermouth.

Tributary Brewing Company 10 Shapleigh Rd., Kittery, ME 207-703-0093 The Tributary Brewing Company closes on the early side (hours are currently 12-7 p.m. Wed.-Sat. and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays), which makes this a perfect place for an afternoon glass of Sweet Fern Goose or Wheat IPA. At publication there is no food served here, so make a stop on your way to dinner for a hand-crafted beer to your evening.

Rudders Public House 70 Wallingford Sq., Kittery, Maine 207-703-2324 Straightforward pub food, attentive service and local flair is what you’ll get at Rudder’s. When you stop in, try a hearty plate of meatloaf or the popular pulled pork nachos.

The York River Landing 150 US Route 1, York, Maine 207-351-8430 If you’re looking for a upscale brew with a view, then The York River Landing, which sits right on the water, is your spot. Along with views it serves up craft drafts plus wine and cocktails to accompany a hearty dish of buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese or a fisherman’s platter. Bring your appetite.

Cataqua Public House / Redhook Brewery 1 Redhook Way, Pease International Tradeport, Portsmouth 603-501-3237, Not only does this local institution serve up some delicious eats with its brews, it practices sustainability by giving the spent grain, hops and yeast from its onsite brewing process to a local farm in order to feed the livestock, composts food waste and uses recyclable, compostable materials for all of its take-out containers.

Pimento’s 69 Water St., Exeter 603-583-4501, The downstairs pub has river views and a close, cozy atmosphere for dining or just a drink at the bar. We recommend the pomme frites as a starter (or what the heck, just have them for dinner).

Riverworks Tavern 164 Main St., Newmarket 603-659-6119, Duck into this tavern to escape

Earth Eagle Brewings 165 High St., Portsmouth 603-502-2244, If your taste skews to the unusual, then this is a place you’ll want to experience. From an Amber Gruit named Exhilaration to the wheat pale ale named Shepherd’s Crook, part of the fun of going is never knowing what to expect on tap. Paninis and small plates will fill you up (if the beer doesn’t first).

Fall/Winter 2015


Fall/Winter Events Why hibernate when there are so many amazing events around the Seacoast this season? Here’s a sampling, and for up-to-date event information, like us on Facebook at The Square or follow us on twitter @TheSquareNH. Have an event you’d like to share? Please e-mail details to

OCTOBER Mind to Hand to Paper:

Prints from the Collection October 29-December 13 This exhibition at the University of New Hampshire’s Museum of Art will showcase mid-twentieth century prints acquired through a generous alumni donation, including work by leading American, European and South American painters and sculptors.

Vaud & the Villains January 23rd As part of The Music Hall’s Intimately Yours series, Vaud & the Villains will take the stage at the Historic Theater. The 18-piece 1930s New Orleans orchestra and cabaret show echoes of Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions Band and mines the rich soil of the American songbook ­— roots, traditional jazz, revival music, parlour music, gospel, zydeco, and folk.


Fall/Winter 2015

Mother Falcon and Ben Sollee — The Fall Migration October 25 You’ve never seen an orchestra like the indie favorite Mother Falcon, so get your tickets early for this show as they play with cellist and composer Ben Sollee.

Portsmouth Halloween Parade

October 31 After 20 years of Halloween madness, this Portsmouth tradition is still going strong. Put on a costume (the scarier the better) and head downtown for a raucous good time.


Winter Farmers Markets

Writers on a New England Stage Series at the Historic Theater: Patti Smith November 7 Don’t miss the chance to hear from the legendary artist, the National Book Award-winning author of “Just Kids.” M Train is an unforgettable odyssey into the mind of Patti Smith, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world.

Star Wars Day November 14 This is an all-ages “Star Wars” day at the Portsmouth Public Library celebrating the classic film with costume and trivia contests. Bring your light saber!

Cameron Esposito November 17 Known for her “effervescent storytelling” (AV Club), Cameron is the brains and voice behind revolutionary all-standup podcasts Standup Mixtape (Underground Communique Records), Put Your Hands Together (aspecialthing records) and the founder of the Feminine Comique, the world’s only all-female standup course. Come see this comedian onstage at 3S Artspace.

Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour November 21-23 Visit local artists (including Kristina Logan, featured in this issue) in their studios as they open their doors to the general public and offer artistic gifts for holiday giving.

Starting November 21 The ground may be frozen, but that doesn’t mean that the local farmers put down their spades. Support local food and visit one of the markets held at alternating locations throughout the winter months.

Artists of Salmon Falls Open Studios November 21-22 The Mills at Salmon Falls open to the public for two days of festivities, with lots of creative work to see and buy.

Art on the Hill November 29-30 You’ve driven by the Wentworth Dennett School Building up on the hill in Kittery, but have you ever been inside to visit the artist studios? This weekend is your chance to meet artists and view their work.

DECEMBER “Sematakaki” Indonesian Papermoon Puppet Theater December 2-6 The imagination is a powerful thing and can lead children on adventures through time, space and so many places. What happens when two young children get so wrapped up in play that they are led to a place where there is no more joy? The world premiere production of “SEMATAKAKI” explores this question and more. UNH is proud to welcome the world-renowned Indonesian Papermoon Puppet

Theatre as resident artists and creators of this new play. Papermoon is here as a part of Cultural Stages: Woodward International Drama & Dance Initiative at UNH.

Ring in the Season December 3-6 Exeter rings in the season in style this weekend with a Festival of Trees, a holiday bonfire and a holiday parade. (There’s even a pooch parade! Reindeer antlers optional.)

The Button Factory Open Studios December 5-6 See and be seen at this festive annual event, and take care of your holiday shopping (or pick up a little something for yourself) by purchasing handmade objects and art for the ones on your naughty-or-nice list.

36th Annual Candlelight Stroll December 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20 Strawbery Banke Museum lights up with candles in a grand historic style to celebrate the holidays in historic New England fashion. Bundle up as you walk from house to house, enjoying the sights in between. This is part of Portsmouth’s many Vintage Christmas events that include shows at The Music Hall, a gingerbread house display at the Discover Portsmouth Center and much more.

Eighth Annual


3 Vote online from April 1 to May 31, 2016

For more details and to vote visit

Fall/Winter 2015


New England Christmas December 11-13 To celebrate the Holidays, Pontine Theatre brings seasonal stories and poems to the stage written by some of New England’s favorite authors. This year, Pontine is pleased to present two witty wonders to life: “The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t” by Ogden Nash (1902-1971) and “Christmas Monks” by Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930).

JANUARY “The Crucible”

January 15-31 This classic play by Arthur Miller will be produced by New Hampshire Theatre Project. Make your reservations now.

FEBRUARY The Wondertwins February 6 Six-time Apollo-theater winners The Wondertwins will take the Loft stage by storm, with dance moves and music to wake up your winter.

“Almost, Maine” February 12-20 The Garrison Players present this production of John Carlani’s play “Almost, Maine,” a series of vignettes bound together by the themes of faith, heartache and love-at-first-sight in a small town in Maine.

“Antigone” February 12-28 From the creative team behind “Eurydice” and “Marat/Sade” comes a bold, theatrical take on Sophocles’ great tragedy performed at The Players ring in Portsmouth. As relevant as ever in an age of protest and government action gone awry, “Antigone” promises to challenge audiences. Directed by Bretton Reis.


Fall/Winter 2015




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Fall/Winter 2015


What The? Can you solve this photographic mystery? Plaid pants, a plaid blazer, plaid shorts and a plaid shirt. Two girls, sisters perhaps, wear matching dresses with rick-rack trim and a prairie feel. A kelly-green dress, most likely polyester. Was this a Sunday School event at Portsmouth’s historic South Church, celebrated with pink geraniums? Or Easter Sunday? The late 1960s or the early 1970s?

As is the case with many area nonprofits, the South Church records and photograph collections are on site at the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Almost the entire South Church photograph collection is filled with photos of unidentified people from the mid-20th century, including this one. At there are hundreds of images from the archives of the South Church that need identification, search-


. Fall/Winter 2015

able under the terms “unidentified” and “South Church” or “P28.” Take a browse online and see who you might recognize. Or maybe you are the girl with the red kerchief and glasses in the photo above? James Smith, Photographic Collections Manager at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, would love to hear from you: he can be reached at 603-431-2538 or via email at


Why we’re here. We love the intersection of history and new culture and arts in Portsmouth. Portsmouth is the perfect size. It can feel big when you want it to feel big. But when you need it to feel small and cozy, it can be that too. We’re Kristy and Dylan and that’s why we’re here.

You love it here. We love it here. Kennebunk Savings. The power of local. Member FDIC

New Hampshire: Portsmouth • Dover • Newmarket • Hampton

A 12-MONTH VENUE WITH NEW SHOWS ADDED EACH MONTH! Historic Theater: 28 Chestnut St, Portsmouth, NH Loft: 131 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH Box Office: (603) 436-2400 •

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The Square NH Fall 2015  
The Square NH Fall 2015