T H E S Q UA R E fa l l 2014
THE SQUARE A Magazine for the Heart and the Horizons of the New Hampshire Seacoast
H a l l o w e e n pa r a d e b e a u t y o f s ta r i s l a n d kittery’s foreside soggy po’ boys top 10 concerts events portsmouth museum of art
Halloween Parade Turns Twenty 10 Stark Beauty of Star Island 16 Kittery’s Foreside on the Rise 22 Tasty Sounds from Soggy Po’ Boys 58 PLUS: Shopping, Shelter, Dining, Drinking, Music, Movies & More Mild Mayhem
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A note from the publisher
From thought to reality I’m glad you’re reading this and hope you enjoy The Square cover to cover. If you like it, pass it on and consider sharing a good word about it. It has taken a rare combination of people and passion to bring to life McLean Communications’ long-imagined vision of an arts, culture and lifestyle magazine for and about the Seacoast. Something that truly reflects the scene. Something that resonates with those who appreciate the area most. We’ve worked with a handful of Portsmouth insiders to make sure we get it right. Hats off to those folks! Thanks also to all of those listed in the masthead, especially Rick, Matt, Chip and Susan for their conviction and talent to make this launch happen. With almost two decades experience publishing New Hampshire’s top lifestyle magazines — New Hampshire Magazine, New Hampshire Home and Parenting New Hampshire — we are genuinely excited to launch a new publication that we hope captures and illustrates the unique style and flavor of the Greater Portsmouth area, the place that attracts so many visitors and keeps locals rooted to New Hampshire’s beautiful seacoast. I invite you to visit some of the area’s unique people, places and
creations brought to you in this premier issue of The Square, featuring the Seacoast’s most talented writers, photographers and artists (see page 6). I also encourage you to visit the businesses to whom we are grateful for making the launch of The Square possible, especially our charter advertisers who you will learn more about as you read through the issue: • • • • • • • • • •
The Hotel Portsmouth Giblees Menswear SIS Bank The Music Hall Popovers on the Square Portsmouth Bath Co. Learning Skills Academy Strawbery Banke Museum Easter Seals’ Veterans Count UNH Professional Development & Training • Seacoast Helicopters
Be on the lookout for our next issue in the spring. In the meantime, be sure to let me know what you think.
Sharron McCarthy Publisher
POPOVERS ON THE SQUARE
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inside Volume 01
10 Trick Our Streets
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, nothing brings out the weird and wonderful spirit of Portsmouth like the Halloween parade. Story by Larry Clow
16 Island Solitude
Alexandra de Steiguer serves as winter caretaker at Star Island and captures the vacant Isles of Shoals in black-and-white photographs. Story by Denise Wheeler
56 3s Artspace
After four years of planning, fundraising and hosting cool events, 3S has broken ground on its permanent space. Story by Matt Kanner
62 Back to the Foreside
During the Memorial Bridge’s closure, Kittery made big strides toward establishing its own unique identity. Story by Larry Clow
Portsmouth Museum of Art
Cathy Sununu aims to bolster the city’s art landscape.
UNH exhibit features “Unnaturally Beautiful” drawings.
10 Books with Seacoast Ties
Literature aficionado Liberty Hardy points us to 10 great books with local connections.
In with the Old
Resale clothing stores are a growing trend in fashion.
Caffe Kilim barista Jessica Colon does portraiture on lattes.
Golden Age of Brewing
Smuttynose has opened a new brewery and retail store, adding to the region’s beer boom.
A documentary film in the works highlights five of the area’s most innovative chefs.
Mixing Magic Cocktails
Four inventive bartenders share their secret recipes.
Soggy Po’ Boys
The Seacoast’s hottest band releases its second album.
In Danger of Being Discovered
A newly completed documentary recalls Portsmouth’s bustling music scene in the 1990s.
Nuggets of news about Seacoast musicians
Cult Film at the Rep
The Let’s “B” Reel film series keeps Portsmouth weird.
Furnishing with David Leach
At home with a master furniture maker
Entertaining with Renee Plummer
At home with a host of elegant dinners and soirées
Penney from Heaven
Actor Christine Penney helps anchor a vibrant theatre scene.
Top 10 Fall Concerts
The shows you don’t want to miss
Fall and Winter Events
Fight the cold with these warm events.
Where to eat on the Seacoast
Squareogami Fun Page
Your prize hidden in this issue of The Square
What the ...?
About the Cover This issue’s cover by Jo Ann Snover, was not our first choice, or our second or third for a cover of this first issue of The Square. In the months leading up to publication our picks changed almost weekly. A few of the previous favorites appear below with shots by Michael Winters, David Mendelsohn and Philip Case Cohen all briefly holding the lead. But when we asked people to chime in via social media, Snover’s lovely blue morning in Puddle Dock won out by such a huge margin that we decided to let the people’s choice be the face of The Square. But the challenge continues as we look ahead to our spring issue. Send your own best shots to us at email@example.com.
THE SQUARE A Magazine for the Heart
and the Horizons of the
New Hampshire Seacoas
Halloween Parade Turns Twenty 10 Stark Beauty of Star Island 16 Kittery’s Foreside on the Rise 22 Tasty Sounds from Soggy Po Boys 58
PLUS: Shopping, Shelter, Dining, Beer, Music, Movies & Mild Mayhem
THE SQUARE THE SQUARE From the Heart to the Horizons
of the New Hampshire Seacoast
ARE THE SQU THE SQ
e for the
A Magazine for the Heart and the Horizons of the
Halloween Parade Turn Stark Beau s Twenty 10 ty Kittery’s Fore of Star Island 16 side on the Tasty Soun Rise 22 ds from Boys 58
From the Heart to the Horizons of the
10 Halloween Parade Turns Twenty 16 Stark Beauty of Star Island 22 Kittery’s Foreside on the Rise 58 Tasty Sounds from Soggy Po Boys PLUS: Shopping, Shelter, Dining, Beer, Music, Movies & Mild Mayhem
SHOP Giblees is the largest men’s store in New England featuring over 11,000 square feet of menswear, an in-house tailor shop and free alterations!
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Contributors Larry Clow is a writer and editor living in Dover. He’s currently working on his first book, “People You May Know,” about how the Internet and social media have changed adoption in America. Photo by Jason Santo Rachel Forrest is a food writer and restaurant critic who lives in Exeter, and Austin, Texas. She is the co-author of “Maine Classics: More than 150 Delicious Recipes from Down East” and writes for newspapers and magazines. See her work at rachelforrest. com. Photo by Rich Beauchesne
Rodeo & Co. Photography and its founder, Meg Hamilton, provide honest photography for happy people. Established in 2003, Rodeo & Co. has been rated one of Martha Stewart’s top photographers for New England and beyond.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Debbie Kane writes, lives and runs on the Seacoast. When she’s not writing about home, design, spirits, weddings, education and miscellaneous other subjects, she provides strategic communications help for small businesses and nonprofits and muses about communications at debbiekanewriter.com.
Chloe Kanner likes stories of all kinds, but the true ones most of all. She is co-founder of The Sound newspaper, a freelance reporter, photographer and designer, and a mom.
Adam Krauss is a high school social studies teacher and former reporter. He lives on the Seacoast, and enjoys taking pictures and eating Indian food.
By day, Sarah Lachance manages software projects for an international technology corporation. In her free time, she travels, discovers new ways to prepare local seasonal ingredients, uses varied two-wheeled modes of transport and enjoys as many of the Seacoast’s restaurants, events and locales as possible. David Mendelsohn’s work has graced the walls of numerous galleries and many personal collections. He has been the subject of features in Zoom, Nikon World, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, Professional Photographer and Digital Photo Pro.
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. Photo by Rebecca Stumpf
J.L. Stevens meets and writes about interesting folks. E-mail her at jlstevens659@gmail. com.
Denise Wheeler is a media generalist with a specialty in integrating technology for the Rye school district. Formerly an arts editor in Portsmouth, she continues to write, shoot photographs and advocate for community arts and hunger relief organizations. Photo by Bushor Photography
Michael Winters is a photographer and a counselor at Portsmouth High School. Check out his work at michaelwintersphotography.com.
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From the Editor
I was talking to a friend recently about the fate of Portsmouth’s scrap metal pile. You know, that mountain of twisted steel just upriver from the salt piles at the Port of New Hampshire. We were having a beer on the deck of Harpoon Willy’s, staring out across the sunlit water to the scrap pile. The Pease Development Authority decided in May not to renew Grimmel Industries’ lease to continue its scrap operation at the port, meaning that landmark heap of rusted metal will soon disappear from the waterfront. This was probably a good decision. Dust and pollutants from the scrap pile have been contaminating the Piscataqua River and the surrounding area. Plus, to most eyes, the pile is not pretty, and its removal will create opportunities for new maritime uses at the port. But I can’t help feeling let down. We need at least a few reminders in this town that Portsmouth was for centuries — and to some degree still is — a gritty industrial town with a working port, a naval shipyard, a commercial fishing pier and a host of old, re-purposed mill buildings crafted in red brick. Portsmouth is now much more than an industrial town. Among other things, it’s the cultural hub of New Hampshire, a celebrated destination for fine dining, a renowned tourist getaway and a growing bastion of affluence. The city’s thriving evolution is giving rise to luxury condo complexes, hotels, countless retail shops and restaurants. The rapid development in Portsmouth is the subject of daily discussions around town and on social media. The development, while positive from an economic standpoint and reflective of Portsmouth’s sparkling reputation, has brought a torrent of concerns, from parking and traffic problems to noise complaints to the rising cost of living and a general sense of gentrification. Some even wonder
if Portsmouth is losing its very soul, its creative spirit crushed under so much brick and concrete. But Portsmouth’s spirit is stronger than that. Its soul is manifest all around us, in myriad events and happenings, people and places, businesses and organizations, many of which are chronicled in the pages of this magazine. The city’s creative spirit is evident in long-standing traditions like the Portsmouth Halloween Parade, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. And in newer traditions like the Let’s B Reel cult film series at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre. Its spirit is showcased at nascent organizations like 3S Artspace and the Portsmouth Museum of Art, which will supplement core cultural institutions like The Music Hall, Strawbery Banke Museum and the Prescott Park Arts Festival. It can be seen in the eyes of artists and entrepreneurs, farmers and restaurateurs, fishermen and mariners, baristas and bartenders. It’s embedded in the stone and soil and salt of this small city, even as the landscape changes. Change is good, after all, as long as it’s properly guided. So, back to that conversation with my friend. The scrap metal pile will be gone by year’s end, and I find that a little bit sad. But I’m encouraged thinking of all the smart, creative, caring, wild, wonderful people of Portsmouth, and of the inspiring art and businesses and atmosphere they create. They are the guardians of the Seacoast’s soul, and they can’t be discarded like a pile of rusty metal. We’ve tried to capture the enduring spirit of the Seacoast in this magazine — or at least a healthy sampling of it — and we hope you will enjoy the stories and images we’ve shared. So let’s drink to Portsmouth’s mad old soul; it’s our soul, too.
Matt Kanner Editor
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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
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By Larry Clow, Photo by P.T. Sullivan
. Fall 2014
he Portsmouth Halloween Parade’s unofficial motto is, “What are you gonna be?” It’s a question that reveals almost everything you need to know about the event. First off, it’s not so much a question about what costume you’ll wear as it is an existential query: When you slip on a mask for a night, what will you become? Secondly, it’s the parade’s “unofficial” motto because there’s very little that’s official about the event. “It is a night the creative forces of Portsmouth can take back the streets for themselves and reclaim [the city], its scrappy old soul. … It’s a day to be weird,” says Trevor Bartlett, one of the parade’s legion of minions (otherwise known as volunteers). This year, the parade celebrates its 20th anniversary, and though much about Portsmouth has changed, the parade remains refreshingly familiar and delightfully strange. The sight of thousands of people dressed as monsters, Doctors Who, ghouls, ghosts, goblins, zombies, superheroes, pharaohs, Batmen and Batwomen is magical — it’s a primal, mysterious force, a power that’s at once unexplainable and entirely self-evident. And, it’s a blast. “There’s something really fun about mischief making; there’s something kind of rock ’n’ roll about what we’re doing,” Bartlett says. “Whatever someone brings to it, whatever they want to be, they can shed their skin for a night and be more authentic because they’re wearing a mask.” The parade was conceived at The Press Room two decades ago. Chris Smith remembers hanging out in the bar with friends, talking about Halloween, how the holiday had, over the years, become only for children. The discussion turned to Mardi Gras and how, in that holiday’s parades, it’s fine for adults to don costumes and take to the streets. “We started to equate that with Halloween,” Smith says. Why not have a Halloween parade that would en-
Photo by P.T. Sullivan
Photo by P.T. Sullivan
courage grown-ups to embrace the creative side of the holiday — making masks and building costumes — and let loose, they thought. “It gives people the ability to put on a certain aspect of their personality. That’s what the masks are all about,” Smith explains. “It’s an ability to come out and be free to be what you want to be and do it in a way that you’re not judged, but celebrated and reconnected with people in the community.” The first parade set off from behind The Friendly Toast on a rainy Halloween night in 1994. There were only two-dozen people in the parade, and most of them were involved in planning the event, Smith says. A single police escort followed the small parade as the masked marchers stomped through the city streets and howled at the moon. Though the parade is something of a free-for-all for participants, there are some rules that have guided its direction: It’s held on Halloween night, rain or shine, every year, and motorized vehicles, open flames and corporate sponsors are not allowed. The parade is much the same today, except bigger. Now, the parade steps off from Pierce Island and winds its way through downtown Portsmouth as thousands of spectators watch, take photos and cheer. How many people participate? Nobody knows, because nobody keeps count.That’s part of the beauty of the parade: it is amorphous, unquan tifiable and completely free-form. “Everything it took to get this parade off the ground 20 years ago, it’s the same exact mechanism,” Smith says.“It’s a testament to the creativity of the parade; you don’t have to have a ton of money to have a good time.You can create pretty much anything.” The parade’s “spokeswoman” is Madame Sloat. But, in true parade fashion, Sloat isn’t a single person; she’s legion, representing anyone who pitches in to help. Each year, throughout October, the parade hosts and sponsors various events. They’re all ostensibly fundraisers, but each acts in its own way as a celebration of the season’s spirit. There’s the annual rock show at the Coat of Arms, the pumpkin smash at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market and the parade after-party, featurin g the Jumbo Circus Peanuts. “Out of all those voices, this thing just happens,” Bartlett says. “It’s a celebration of making something out of nothing, which is the spirit of Portsmouth itself. It was a pile of rocks and trees when they parked here 400 years ago.” For Smith, the parade is a yearly reminder that underneath the hotels and pricey developments and glossy finish is Portsmouth’s weird, beating heart, one whose lifeblood is the city’s long history as a scrappy port town and creative community. “It’s active and alive and instantly transports you back 20 years,” he says.“It shows that growth doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lose anything of intrinsic value.” p
d a e D g in iv L e h t f o h c Mar
species, which is to be By Matt Kanner are generally a lethargic They e. mov bies zom way the y stud It’s fascinating to ation between the unique gaits of each Photo by Roger Goun imated corpse. But there is much vari expected from a decomposing, rean erative appendage along the asphalt. y, perhaps dragging a limp, uncoop lazil le amb e Som n. ime spec al vidu indi But they all march relentlessly, nded, desperately groping for a victim. exte s arm on, essi aggr e mor with Others walk , Oct. 25. In a gropurposefully, unstoppably onward. Zombie Walk, coming up on Saturday er Dov ual ann h nint the rve obse For a demonstration, at 2 p.m. (or thereabouts, the undead oozing, moaning zombies will gather id, putr of e hord a l, ritua ly year ue tesq at 550 Central Ave. From there, er Chamber of Commerce parking lot Dov the at lity) ctua pun r thei for w are not kno ouse at 3 Hale St. walks until they reach Adelle’s Coffeeh a costume contest, they’ll stagger and lurch along the side in all kinds of zombie fun, including age eng ’ll they lair, r thei at ed Once they have arriv splendidly revolting activities. brain-eating competition and other other non-human edibles), so (the brains are made of Jell-O and ch bun e tam ly tive rela a are bies These zom ession pass through icipate, or just watch the ghastly proc part to out ily fam le who the g brin don’t be afraid to appetite for fright. en hors d’oeuvre to help build your downtown Dover. It’s a nice Hallowe Visit facebook.com/doverzombiewalk.
e Sloat, m Madam A note Thefro de is free Para n wee Portsmouth Hallo
Just because We do everything doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost money. ains a complete rem de para in our power to ensure the but we still need to , word the of e free-for-all in every sens its and insurance. generate the cash to cover cops, perm ded artists, freaks, We do this by partnering with like-min s of fundraising serie businesses and venues to produce a ween party Hallo ng th-lo and fiend-raising events in a mon ld: Beho . town that just about devours the
UNDEAD BEAT NIGHT
Ancient wailings, withering curses and the scribblings of madmen living, dead and otherwise all converge to curdle your blood and spoil your beer. Great fun! Open mic! The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, donations encouraged Thursday, Oct. 23, 7–9 p.m.
A screening of the 1922 silent thriller with a live score by Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, $13 Wednesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. Advance tickets at www.themusichall.organd updates.
Try to keep up!
And after the Parade...
JUMBO CIRCUS PEANUTS HALLOWEEN BALL
We got the grooves, you bring the moves. Dance, baby. Dance.
LET’S B REEL MOVIE SERIES
Celebrate some great witchy cult classics with these goony PICKWICK’S PSYCHIC PARLOUR Portsmouth VFW Post 186, 238 Deer St., Portsmouth, $10 Learn your past, present and future, Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m. combinations of film screening, live performance and a and a few spells while you’re at it. fully stocked bar. October’s lineup includes: LADY LUCK BURLESQUE A limited ticket event, focusing on • “Suspiria” — Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. Singers, dancers, hoopers, comedians... Showgirls gonna and fortune telling. magic folk • “The Craft” — Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. show. Pickwick’s Gift Shop at Strawbery • “Hocus
Pocus” — Wednesday, Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. All shows at The Rep, 125 Bow St., Portsmouth, pay what you can Banke, Court Street, Portsmouth, $20 Sunday, Oct. 26, 6–10 p.m. Get advance tickets in person at THE FUNK OF FORTY THOUSAND BEERS Pickwick’s Mercantile
Presented by the Portsmouth Thriller Dancers Eat, drink and be scary! Special cask beer, tasty foods, Halloween Trivia, heaping raffle baskets and an “MJ for a Day” dance-off contest. WHYM Craft Beer Cafe, 3548 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7–10 p.m.
Only you can conjure your dreams into reality, but the mad inventors at the Makerspace sure can help show you how to get it done. They’ve got the tools to unleash your talent.
FLATBREAD COMMUNITY BITE
A percentage of the evening’s pizza sales will be donated to the parade. The more you eat, the fatter WE get!
Portsmouth Flatbread, 138 Congress St., Portsmouth Tuesday, Oct. 28, 5–9 p.m.
The Rep, 125 Bow St., Portsmouth, $20 Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets at seacoastrep.org
GOT ANOTHER ROCK SHOW
We honestly don’t even know who’s playing. But the room is always packed to the gills. Coat of Arms, 174 Fleet St., Portsmouth Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m.
Check out spookyportsmouth.com and follow the Portsmouth Halloween Parade on Facebook for details and updates. Try to keep up!
SMASH!a PUMPKpIN in umpkin! W
Port City Makerspace, 68 Morning St., Portsmouth, donations accepted Saturday, Oct. 11, 3–6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, 3–6 p.m.
Smash a Halloween rtsmouth prize! A Po has become the at tradition th rsis of choice for a th a c r e Octob ld alike. o young and rket, 1
by andre a abbott
a Farmers’ M Portsmouth Portsmouth (City ., Junkins Ave pkin, smashing m u /p 5 $ Hall), d ts supplie n e .m. m le p im a.m. – 1 p 7 Oct. 25, y, a rd tu a S
photos by denise wheeler
GOTTA ROCK SHOW
-off features a lineup of some of Our 10th annual Halloween season kick shals. our loudest previous Parade Grand Mar uth, donations vigorously encouraged
Coat of Arms, 174 Fleet St., Portsmo Monday, Oct. 6, 7–11 p.m.
. Fall 2014
Photo by Michael Winters
A New Knight
The title of grand marshal of the 20th annual Portsmouth Halloween Parade goes to Trevor Bartlett, and a worthy marshal he is. In addition to being a long-time parade volunteer, Bartlett is a mask-maker, arts-promoter and general rabble-rouser of prodigious and unspeakable talent. Here we see him in his custom-made rockabilly batman costume for the 2012 parade. This year, heâ€™s cooking up a Mad Max-themed getup. Itâ€™s gonna be good.
. Fall 2014
Gift of Solitude
An Artist Celebrates the Beauty of Star Island in Winter By Denise J. Wheeler
he rocky, wave-washed Isles of Shoals are flecks along the horizon about 10 miles out from Portsmouth Harbor. Once home to a thriving fishermen’s community in the 17th and 18th centuries and now a haven for tourists and marine biologists, the islands bustle with activity each summer. But, come winter, this place, described by historians as “cruel but exquisite,” braves the winds and snow in peace. When the nine islands are deserted and at their most vulnerable, Alexandra de Steiguer arrives as caretaker on Star Island. She brings with her a knowledge of solar energy, generators and power tools and a background as a sailor on tall ships. She also brings a camera and a journal. While the first two traits keep her and the buildings on Star safe, the latter devices feed her soul. For 17 years, de Steiguer has spent the winter as the solitary person on the Isles. During this time she has taken hundreds of black and white images with a medium-format camera, shooting with film, and filled volumes of journals. Last year her thoughts on secluded island living and 69 duotone photographs were published in “Small Island, Big Picture — Winters of Solitude Teach an Artist to See.” The book’s launch was accompanied by exhibits at Drift Gallery in Portsmouth and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Where once 19th-century poet and painter Celia Thaxter was the Isles’ most famous resident, de Steiguer now fills that role, calling attention not only to the timeless, majestic beauty of these climes, but also to a philosophy about the inner peace that comes with connectedness to nature. “Living on the island for five full months is the most special time,” de Steiguer says. “Solitude is something I quickly came to appreciate and to need in my life. It’s a time for letting go of the unimportant things, and of re-centering upon the meaningful. Because there it is, all around you — nature, and the vastness of time and space. And there, too, are all the other, non-human species that share your island, and because you can’t help being a social creature, they become your community, and you realize that you are home.” Her days on the island begin before dawn. “I love the early morning dark and then watching the world slowly lighten as the sun rises over the sea,” she says. “If it’s not storming or way below zero with the windchill, and sometimes when
it is, I go out, bringing the camera, but not with the purpose of ‘shooting,’ just to enjoy, and then possibly making images if so moved. Then maybe some guitar playing is in order, some songwriting, reading, walking the island and taking note of anything amiss, fixing things, writing in my journal while looking out at the expansive view. That’s a typical day.” Storms do not dampen her spirit. “With wind battering the house, making it shake slightly, and I can’t hear above the noise of the storm — I love those days too, that slight shiver, that feeling of being totally alive.” While consistently stirring and dramatic, de Steiguer’s photography has evolved over the years. In a more recent series entitled “Stories — Isles of Shoals,” she adds humans, or their shadows, to the landscape, creating a scene that sparks the viewer’s imagination. “Most of my images convey the enduring qualities of the landscape, the time-worn rocks and ledges of the islands, the old and weathered buildings, the ever-present and ancient ocean,” she says. “The ‘Stories’ series is an attempt to portray the fleetingness of each human drama when juxtaposed against the island’s centuries-old buildings that have witnessed many lives come and gone, and even more so, the landscape, which is truly ancient. “There is something poignant and beautiful about it all — the fact of our transience, and yet the continuing story; no matter what century, each emotion felt, over and over again.” For de Steiguer, photography is a way of connecting personally with the world, and then, by sharing her work, extending that connection. “I have an appreciation for the gifts of solitude and the deeper connection with the world around me. And because of this, I create, expressing what I’ve received from these islands, which, hopefully, is a way of giving a little bit back.” Her work can be seen and purchased at the Ogunquit Museum, which kept some of her images after her exhibit ended, and also at Drift Gallery, which will continue to feature some of her photographs through the fall and winter. De Steiguer will also be working in her gallery at Chase’s Garage in York until she leaves for Star Island on Nov. 1. Her photographs and book can be purchased at alexdesteiguer.com. p
“With wind battering the house, making it shake slightly, and I can’t hear above the noise of the storm — I love those days too, that slight shiver, that feeling of being totally alive.” All photos by Alexandra de Steiguer from her book, “Small Island, Big Picture — Winters of Solitude Teach an Artist to See” thesquarenh.com
Portsmouth Museum of Art aims to broaden the cityâ€™s visual offerings By Debbie Kane, photo by David Mendelsohn
Starting a Conversation about Art Sununu is photographed within the spacious new home of the Portsmouth Museum of Art. <HairCathy by Loretta Tower and makeup by Laurie Hoey, Wendy Mendelsohn and Katie Benway assistants
athy Sununu wants to have a serious conversation about visual art. She’s interested in the role it plays in our lives, how it fosters conversation and, most importantly, how it changes perceptions, especially in a historically significant city like Portsmouth. “There’s a general lack of understanding about what the visual arts are,” says Sununu, a member of New Hampshire’s politically connected Sununu family and an energetic woman. “It’s often relegated to something trivial and frivolous. It has a tremendous impact on this area financially, as well as on our quality of life.” As director of the Portsmouth Museum of Art (PMA), Sununu is doing what she can to keep the conversation going. It hasn’t always been easy. For years, Portsmouth has been closely associated with the performing arts through such live theatre and music venues as Prescott Park, The Music Hall and its accompanying Loft space, Seacoast Repertory Theatre, the Players’ Ring and others. History is a driving cultural force as well, with numerous historic homes and sites such as Strawbery Banke Museum. Despite a handful of well-respected galleries in town, such as Nahcotta and the New Hampshire Art Association’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, visual art, especially contemporary art, is “a missing slice of the pie,” Sununu says. Together with 3S Artspace, an arts and performance venue and restaurant opening next year in downtown Portsmouth, PMA and its new building bring a major visual arts presence to the city.
Establishing a Museum Founded in 2009, PMA’s mission is to exhibit emerging 21st century artists from around the world. Unlike most art museums, it does not have a permanent collection. The “museum” designation underscores the organization’s mission to serve as an educational resource through its exhibitions, programming and online presence. “We don’t need a collection to do that,” says Sununu. The result: a small museum with low overhead. The staff consists of Sununu, an exhibitions manager and a programs/ education coordinator, all of whom, until recently, were volunteers. “We intend to stay small physically and we’re rethinking the model of a small museum,” Sununu says. “We want to bring in work people haven’t seen. We’ll curate our own shows but also open them up to guest curators.” She also wants to focus on reaching visitors under age 40, a group she considers underserved in the area. A challenge for PMA has been maintaining its visibility with no useable exhibition space for the last two years. Its first home was downtown at Harbor Place on Bow Street. The museum produced eight very different exhibitions, including shows on figurative painting, contemporary photography, anime and manga, and portraiture. It was a hard sell at first. “Portsmouth’s identity is so tied into history. Lots of people couldn’t see how the museum could fit into the community,” Sununu says. Then came “Street a.k.a. Museum,” a show organized by PMA that introduced graffiti and
urban art to outdoor walls around Portsmouth. The exhibit generated passionate debate among residents over whether the murals were art or eyesores, a conversation that, to Sununu’s delight, stimulated a vigorous dialog about public art. “It’s part of PMA’s responsibility to educate the community about public art,” she says. “The exhibit broadened the community’s perspective.” In 2012, PMA relocated to 909 Islington St., signing a 10-year lease on approximately 5,000 square feet of industrial space in the Button Factory mill complex. Located in the city’s burgeoning “creative district,” the new space offers a number of advantages, including space for large-scale exhibitions, a loading dock, parking and a dedicated visitor’s entry. The museum is trying to raise $750,000 to complete renovations and provide two years of operating income. While there’s not a confirmed re-opening date, 300-plus visitors had an early peak at the space during a weekend-long exhibition in March. An opening exhibit of contemporary Tibetan art is also in the works.
A Passionate Following In addition to sparking conversation, PMA ignites passion among its followers. Collaborations with organizations like Arts in Reach (AIR), a local nonprofit that provides mentoring and arts programs for teen girls, enable the museum to work directly with the young people it wants to serve. In 2011,AIR teens created their own self-portraits, inspired by a PMA exhibit on portraiture, which were in turn exhibited at the museum.
“Partnerships with local art institutions like PMA are very important to our curriculum,” says Mary-Jo Monusky, AIR’s executive director. “The new space on Islington Street offers exciting opportunities to expose our teens to contemporary art.” Then there are the museum’s volunteers, a key group during the organization’s early years that also figures prominently in PMA’s future plans. Brett Davis, a graphic designer from Dover, volunteered at the museum when he first started working in Portsmouth.“It was the best two years of my life here on the Seacoast,” he says. A recent art school graduate, he was struggling with how to be a fine artist while pursuing a graphic design career and pay his rent (as well as student loans). “Volunteering at the museum was a great way to work through my thoughts. Since the museum’s been in limbo, I definitely feel like there’s something missing,” he says.“We’re all waiting for it to re-open.” Sununu is eager, too. “We only need 60 percent of our funding in order to get the doors open,” she says. “We’ve been testing our small museum concept for the last two years. We know it works.” p
Portsmouth’s ‘Creative Corridor’ Islington Street, sometimes referred to as Portsmouth’s new “creative corridor,” is home to an eclectic collection of restaurants, pizza joints, coffee shops, retail stores, nonprofit arts organizations, marketing/design businesses and residences. Many have left downtown Portsmouth in pursuit of lower rents and larger spaces. Here’s a sampling of the arts institutions currently located on the corridor.
The Button Factory Artist Studios 855 Islington St. buttonfactorystudios.com
Photos by Zoe T. L. Kirkpatrick
Artists Judith Braun and Aaron Li-Hill created site-specific installations in the museum space during the Here Now: Weekend Art Installation March 29-30, 2014. The scale and scope of their work offered a preview for the public to begin to imagine the exhibition possibilities in the museum’s future home. It was also an opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse into the artists’ creative process and to meet and talk with them.
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Pontine Theatre/West End Studio Theatre 959 Islington St. (603) 436-6660 pontine.org
Portsmouth Museum of Art 909 Islington St. portsmouthmfa.org (603) 436-0332
Portsmouth Music and Arts Center 973 Islington St. (603) 431-4278 pmaconline.org
WSCA – Portsmouth Community Radio 909 Islington St. (603) 430-9722 portsmouthcommunityradio.org
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Judy Schubert Portrait Paintings in Oil 917-822-3748 firstname.lastname@example.org www.judyschubert.com thesquarenh.com
Mutated Nature Drawings at UNH Expect the unexpected — that’s sound advice for viewing the “Joo Lee Kang: Unnaturally Beautiful” exhibition, on display at the University of New Hampshire’s Museum of Art from Nov. 1 to Dec. 16. Mastering the detail of Audubon and the precision of Durer, Boston-based artist Joo Lee Kang’s meticulously rendered ballpoint pen drawings of flowers, insects and animals seduce with their lavishly embellished subject matter. While the viewer is initially charmed by her baroque hand-drawn swags and wreaths reminiscent of Victorian wallpaper, a closer inspection is startling. One notices the turtles may have two heads, the fluffy ducklings four legs. The images reflect Kang’s concerns about genetic engineering, crossbreeding and other human-developed processes to alter nature. Kang explains, “By drawing mutated animals and plants, I question nature’s place in the modern context. What is nature? My drawings reflect the ambiguity of such definitions.” The unnaturally beautiful genetic mutations that Kang creates attract as much as they repel the viewer’s attention, leaving one wondering about human intervention in the natural selection process. Whichever side of the fence you rest on, the show is bound to stimulate reaction. Kang, earned her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. — Linda Chestney 26
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Seacoast Reads 10 great books with ties to the Portsmouth area By Liberty Hardy
The Seacoast area is bursting with talented writers, and great books. Here are a few recommended novels by writers who live in the area, or that take place on our Seacoast.
“The Emperor’s Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book I” by Brian Staveley Staveley, a Rye native, scored a sweet publishing deal for this series. In this, the first book, the children of an assassinated king must fight to stay alive while trying to solve their father’s murder. With a first book this fantastic, Staveley is sure to have a long and prosperous career.
“Invisible Streets” by Toby Ball The third book in Ball’s wonderful, highly lauded City trilogy just came out, and it’s his best yet! All the books in the gritty urban noir series are marvelous (including “The Vaults” and “Scorch City”), and they also hold up on their own, so you don’t necessarily have to read them in order.
The “Snow Island” trilogy by Katherine Towler Towler’s triumphant trilogy — “Snow Island,” “Evening Ferry” and “Island Light” — follows generations of characters through their decades on the fictitious island. Towler, a Seacoast resident, is now finishing up her next book, about former Portsmouth Poet Laureate Robert Dunn.
“The Anthologist” and “Traveling Sprinkler” by Nicholson Baker New York Times best-selling author Baker is a Maine resident, and his books featuring Paul Clowder, a frustrated poet who also lives in Maine, include many Seacoast locations. (His book, “The Mezzanine,” is also a gem not to be missed!)
“Dangerous Denials” by Amy Ray In this local author’s debut thriller, released this spring, a rising star at a public relations firm and the man she loves are put in harm’s way when an act of vengeance is carried out at a charity ball. Fast-paced action with tons of twists!
The “Jack Beale” mystery series by K. D. Mason In this fun mystery series by a local author, Jack Beale fights crime in Rye Harbor while trying to keep his true love, Max, out of harm’s way. Residents of the area will recognize a lot of the Seacoast locales.
“Inferno” by Dan Brown A list about Seacoast authors and books would be incomplete without mentioning that one of the world’s best-selling authors lives among us. Brown’s most recent novel starts with his famous protagonist, Robert Langdon, waking up in an Italian hospital with no recollection of the past 36 hours.
“Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God” by Joe Coomer Where better to look for history than in one of the country’s oldest towns? This novel, about an archeologist digging in Portsmouth — and her trip aboard a yacht with some unlikely shipmates — mentions several Seacoast landmarks you may recognize.
YOUR P O T S E ON TGAGES R
gLiberty Hardy of Kittery is an alarmin ng ly prolific consumer of books. Amo ks other book-related activities, she wor n ntow dow in re ksto at RiverRun Boo or Portsmouth and is a contributing edit esobs She m). t.co at Book Riot (bookrio (@ sively writes and tweets about books t mos than e MissLiberty), and reads mor . people would consider healthy â€œEven in Paradiseâ€? by Chelsea Philpot (out Oct. 14) This debut novel is about a young girl who befriends a troubled fellow student and her handsome brother, who come from a rich, famous family with a dark secret. Philpot, a New Hampshire native, lives in the Seacoast area, and like her main characters, attended a boarding school in New England.
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Resale Clothing Stores are a Growing Trend in Fashion
At left, a model dons a dress from Concetta’s Closet in downtown Portsmouth (courtesy photo). On preceding pages, racks of clothing at Second Time Around.
ennifer Moore, an assistant at the Portsmouth Public Library and writer of recovergirl, a sustainable fashion blog, grew up combing through thrift stores. One of eight children, she learned early how to be a frugal shopper and identify the differences between well-made and cheap clothing. “I’m a big second-hand, thrift, consignment shopper,” Moore says. “I like everything to be authentic and high quality. New things are actually weird to me.” Moore’s not alone. According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, resale is a multibillion-dollar industry.The number of resale stores nationally has grown seven percent annually since 2010; in 2012, the industry generated $13 billion in sales. The trend is visible in Portsmouth, where there is a growing number of resale stores, from on-trend consignment clothing shops and unique, niche-driven vintage clothing shops to large thrift stores. Why are Seacoast fashionistas flocking to resale? The lingering recession is one reason, and there are always shoppers who appreciate the thrill of a bargain. But there’s a growing appreciation for the three Rs: reuse, recycle and re-purpose, to minimize human impact on the earth. “The secondhand market is significant,” says Ken Christian, senior director of communications for Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. “I think it’s both because the economy stumbled in the late 2000s, and there’s an increased interest in reuse and re-purposing.” Other advantages include tax deductions for donations, and making money or receiving credit toward new items at consignment stores. Not all resale stores are the same.What’s the difference? A lot, as it turns out.
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High-end Fashion Resale shops buy merchandise from individual owners or wholesalers and then re-sell it to the public. Consignment shops are also resale shops but accept items on a consignment basis from individual owners or wholesalers, paying them a percentage when the items sell. The power of consignment shopping is reflected in the longevity of Second Time Around, one of Portsmouth’s original clothing consignment stores. Part of a national chain, it specializes in high-end fashion, from BCBG, Eileen Fisher and Prada to J. Crew, Talbots and Ann Taylor. Second Time Around pays consignors a 40 percent commission. “We get a lot of foot traffic,” says store manager Maria Grassi. “We don’t really have a typical customer. We see a lot of teens and older individuals in their 70s and 80s. It really runs the gamut.” The store also has a healthy online business, selling merchandise on Facebook and Instagram. Although their standards for clothing are high — only name-brand clothing that’s current within the last two years is accepted — it’s what cus-
Clothing, shoes an d jewelry are among the off erings at Second Time Around .
tomers want. “To us, consignment clothing is something that’s really quality,” says Grassi. “We try to present ourselves as personal shoppers because we know what’s in the store and we can help people find exactly what they want.That’s fun.” Personalized service and quality is also a calling card for the Wear House, a women’s clothing consignment store in Portsmouth that offers ontrend merchandise. Wear House inventory includes upscale casual brands like Lucky and Free People. Owner Angela Theos considers consignment shopping a win-win for everyone involved. “It’s like a dream,” she says.“You can make money off that Coach bag or the jeans that don’t fit right.” And do some good at the same time. Both Second Time Around and the Wear House donate clothing that doesn’t sell to nonprofit resale stores.
Wearing History Vintage clothing is a completely different category. Concetta’s Closet sells one-of-a-kind women’s clothing — dresses, hats, and accessories — that runs the gamut from a stunning lace wedding dress from the 1890s to a sleek green and white gown from the 1930s to a bright turquoise and yellow flowered dress from the 1970s. “A 1930s bias-cut gown is not something you find in a thrift store,” says owner Dana Hanson. “I tell customers what I sell is one-of-a-kind. It’s like collecting art.” Hanson grew up wearing and collecting vintage clothing. She started selling vintage cloththesquarenh.com
Colorful clothes, br acelets and more at Second Tim e Around.
ing on Etsy.com and opened a brick-and-mortar store in Newmarket in 2010. The store quickly outgrew its space and she relocated to Portsmouth in 2013. Her typical customer varies, from a quirky, fashionable 19-year-old to a cultured 50-year-old (her best buyers online are Japanese and Australian).
Selling true vintage clothing in New England can be tough, she says. First of all, there’s sizing. Americans have gotten larger over the decades, and clothing made before the 1950s is sized for smaller people. Then there’s the market. New Englanders are a thrifty lot, and Hanson often has to explain why some of her wares are priced higher
than those found at thrift stores. “It’s all perception,” she says. “A person sees a dress and thinks it’s great; someone else sees it as an old dress. It’s not thrift and it’s not costume. It’s the real thing and priced accordingly.” Adam Irish, owner of Old as Adam, a shop specializing in vintage menswear and antiques, has had similar experiences. His shop, tucked away in an alley on Ceres Street in Portsmouth, features menswear from the 19th century to the 1960s (including a towering collection of hats and a rack of interesting ties) as well as an eclectic collection of antiques. “I sell items like an 1890s British coat and 19th-century top hats,” Irish says. “I’m not in the same category as a thrift store. Vintage clothing can cost thousands of dollars.” Irish also sells online — Japanese collectors drive the vintage menswear market — and to design companies like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, who purchase particular cuts of clothing and fabrics as inspiration pieces for their designers. His typical in-store customers are a cross-section of ages and income levels.
“Initially, I thought my primary customer would be young, hip and educated,” Irish says.“I was wrong. Someone who’s not a regular vintage shopper will buy a pair of 1940s work boots because they caught their fancy or they’ll buy a top hat because they remember the one their grandfather wore.” Concetta’s Closet owner Dana Hanson fills her store with unique vintage dresses, hats and accessories.
The thrift stores of 20 years ago — cluttered, musty-smelling and poorly lit — are long gone. Thrift store institutions like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers are cleaner, brighter and offer more variety than ever, from clothes and shoes to housewares and kitchen goods. Their customers are not only bargain-hunters; they’re folks passionate about the reuse and recycling movement. Goodwill noticed. The nonprofit thrift store targets sustainability-minded consumers with 100% Neighbor-Made, a line of jewelry, crafts, furniture, and more made by craftspeople from northern New England. Another popular program is the Portsmouth Public Library’s Annual Women’s Clothing Swap, an event organized by Jennifer Moore in partnership with Goodwill. More than 200 women came to the library one day last spring, each bringing a bag of gently used clothing and accessories. They swapped their clothes for “new to you” items and the leftover clothing was donated to Goodwill (this year, Goodwill received 1,800 pounds of clothing). “It’s so fun. You see 16-year-olds and grannies and everything in between,” Moore says. “And Goodwill makes it easy to run.” p
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s s e r p s E s el f r u o Y
A Portsmouth barista makes latte portraits
By J.L. Stevens
affe Kilim is the least touristy coffee shop in Portsmouth. This is evidenced by the fact that you have to be looking for it to find it, and by the sheer number of locals who pledge their allegiance to the Turkish spot on Islington Street. Along with its signature blend of Dancing Goats coffee (strong and robust) and its personable patriarch (co-owner Yelcin Yazgin), the shop at 163 Islington St. has another claim to fame: latte artist Jessica Colon. If you’re thinking of ferns drawn in foam, stop. Colon’s works are more personal. The 25-year-old barista specializes in portraits of her Portsmouth customers (and occasionally their cats in fluffed-up foam or chocolate, designed with a metal stylus). Also a painter and mixed-media artist, she’s been caffeinating with her craft at Kilim for six years now. Before even heading to Kilim, you might have seen some of Colon’s work. It’s pretty hard to resist taking a picture of your mug drawn on your mocha latte. Dropkick Murphys’ lead singer Al Barr, a proud Portsmouth citizen, has one on his Instagram page, and social media darling Geoffrey Palmer, of local
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A Caffe Kilim customer enjoys a latte decorated with her portrait. Courtesy photo
Kilim barista Jessica Colon is also an artist, and latte foam is often her medium. Photo by J.L. Stevens
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Colon also dabbles in latte sculpture. (Courtesy photo)
pop-punk band The Connection, has one on his Facebook page as well. A typical portrait takes “oh, about 30 to 45 seconds,” and Colon knows not to hold up the line for the morning crowd. The way her latte art is received is really special. “One time, this lady gave me a hug,” she says. “I just love surprising people. I always got really good surprises on my birthdays, and to have something like that out of context be a surprise, it’s always really cool to do because it takes people out of their own heads and they’re like,‘whoa,’ like a mirror sort of effect.” Colon is from Kennebunk, Maine, originally, but found the town’s artwork too rigid“It’s all lighthouses and flowers and 50 percent commission.” Having relocated to Rye, she is happy to call the Seacoast home. And it seems the Seacoast is happy to have her. Her work was even featured in a Portsmouth indie film. Google “Tech Roulette” and look for Colon and a latte in the opening credits. And, in August, some of her non-latte artwork was on display at Kilim. p Visit Colon at Caffe Kilim Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Service with a surprise, and a warm heart. Visit her Etsy page at canyoujustexistt for an eyeful.
Kilim co-owner Yelcin Yazgin with his portrait. Photo by J.L. Stevens
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What do you see when you stare into this latte? Courtesy photo
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New Smuttynose Brewery Highlights the Seacoast’s
Beer Renaissance By Adam D. Krauss | photo by Michael Winters
On a hill next to an 1850s barn and a Pontiac Chieftain trailer waiting for another go at life sits the crown jewel of the Seacoast craft beer scene: the new home of the Smuttynose Brewing Company. Set upon 14 acres of former farmland and open since late May, the Hampton headquarters is a working symbol of Smuttynose’s commitment to sustainability, and of the steady growth the brewery has seen since opening in 1994. The unveiling of Smutty’s new home comes as the region is experiencing something of a beer boom. Smuttynose 40
Smuttynose owner Peter Egelston at his new brewing facility in Hampton with a freshly bottled beer thesquarenh.com
owner (or “Dear Leader,” as he’s called in-house) Peter Egelston says that boom reflects consumers’ refined taste buds and desire for handcrafted fare, especially here on the Seacoast. “When I got into this business in 1987 … people’s concept of beer was that it was just innocuous, light-colored, carbonated, fuzzy stuff that didn’t have much flavor to it and came from some factory off in Amsterdam or St. Louis,” Egelston says. “People’s understanding of beer is so much more sophisticated and nuanced now, and it’s gotten to the point where people are really curious about who’s making their beer and how it’s made.” That curiosity has spawned beer tourism, which now has an economic ripple effect across the Seacoast. Among those riding that tide are lifelong friends Dave Adams and Mark Chag Jr., who operate Granite State Growler Tours, a Seacoast brewery tour service. Running since spring 2013, the business was a natural response to the pitch of local beer activity, says Adams, who conducts the tours. “We thought it was something that needed to happen,” he says. And the local beer scene just keeps heating up. “It’s on fire,” says Tod Mott, who opened Tributary Brewing Company in Kittery, Maine, this past summer. He was previously head brewer at the region’s first brewpub, the Portsmouth Brewery (also owned by Egelston), where he created the famed Kate the Great. Mott’s brews will be served at area establishments, but Tributary will also have a tasting room and offer growlers, and there may be a bottling line in the future. Mott says it’s taken about a decade for the local beer scene to catch up
with West Coast trends. “Welcome to the next generation of Maine brewers. All these guys are throwing so much hops in their beer it’s just incredible,” he says. “People’s palettes have come so far.” Mott’s business joins a growing list of breweries that have set up shop here in recent years.They include Blue Lobster Brewing Company in Hampton, Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, 7th Settlement and One Love Brewery in Dover, Stoneface Brewing Company in Newington, and Earth Eagle Brewings and Beara Irish Brewing Co. in Portsmouth, among others. Also coming soon is Neighborhood Beer Company in Exeter.
When touring the area, it makes sense to start with Smuttynose, the region’s first craft brewery. Inside the new Towle Farm Road facility, visitors are greeted by something sure to delight any beer-drinker — beer in the making, as in 300 bottles every minute. The 40,000-square-foot, $24-million brewery has the ability to produce 65,000 barrels of beer annually, the equivalent of 16 million pints, with room to expand. Behind giant glass windows, conveyor belts push along the bottles while some of the 60 employees — brewers, quality-control technicians, tour guides and “lab rats” — zigzag between fermentation tanks, pallets stacked with ingredients and brewing equipment shipped in from Germany. Out of room at its previous brewing facility off Rte. 1 in Portsmouth, Smuttynose was limited in its ability to release new products and move into new markets (which now include about two dozen states and several foreign countries). But, more than that,“We wanted a facility that was more energy efficient,” Egelston says. “We really wanted to encourage people to visit the brewery, to see what we do.” Stone paths and gardens line the walkways. An 1870s Victorian farmhouse that was formerly next to the barn has been moved across the property to make way for the main building. That farmhouse will soon be converted into a 95-seat restaurant with outdoor seating and a seasonal beer garden. There are also plans to use the barn for beer festivals, music events, crafts outings and other social gatherings. Down a ways from the barn is the iconic trailer pictured on the label of Smutty’s Finestkind IPA. Egelston says that, too, will serve as a seasonal food services area. It will also be the last stop on a nine-hole disc golf course. Fun facts posted throughout the building highlight Smuttynose’s “ongoing journey toward becoming a more sustainable company,” Egelston says.Among the takeaways: the facility is saving enough energy over the lifetime of the building to power 1,500 homes a year. That sign is posted near the sample station, the last stop on the facility’s free tours. On those tours, guests can get a taste of what Egelston describes as the “art and craft” and “science and photo by lussier photography romance” of brewing beer. p
Craft Destinations These are hoppy times for beer lovers visiting and living on New Hampshire’s Seacoast. Whether you’re looking to tour a brewery, sample beer, grab a growler or a little bit of each, there are a number of establishments, big and small, to check out — and all within a few miles of each other. Here are some of the breweries, brewpubs and microbreweries making the region a burgeoning bastion for quality craft beer. Contact each business or visit the website for tour information and hours.
One Love Brewery
47 Washington St., Dover onelovebrewery.com
wery Redhook Bre Pease International ay dhook W ,
1 Re rtsmouth Tradeport, Po m redhook.co
Beara Irish Brewin
Portsmouth 2800 Lafayette Rd., m .co rew bearairishb
28 Levesque Dr ., Eliot Common s Eliot, Maine shipyardbrewpu b.com
Blue Lobster Brewing Co
n 845 Lafayette Rd., Hampto rew erB bst eLo facebook.com/Blu
ton Towle Farm Rd., Hamp
Earth Eagle Brewings
165 High St., Portsmouth eartheaglebrewings.com
Great Rhythm Brewing Co.
Stoneface Brewing Comp
436 Shattuck Way, Newing ton stonefacebrewing.com
., North 121 Lafayette Rd ry.com we re kb ac wb thro
47 Washington St., Dover 7thsettlement.com
uth 56 Market St., Portsmo om ry.c we bre portsmouth
Tributary Brewing Company
10 Shapleigh Rd., Kittery, Mai ne tributarybrewingcompany.com
For all the latest and greatest on the suds of our times, visit nhmagazine.com/beer
A Culinary Community in Cinq Filmmakers Focus the Lens on Five Seacoast Chefs
By Rachel Forrest
salon City Grit in New York in July. Something important is happening in the Seacoast culinary scene. And, while all this recognition seems sudden, it was a long time coming. So why now? Two filmmakers, Kathleen Cavalaro and Brian Kelly of Eight/one Productions, are making a documentary that could answer that question. “The Kitchen Cinq” is about five of the chefs influencing our culinary landscape — Louis from Moxy, Mallett from Black Trumpet, Hennessey from Stages at One Washington, Mark Segal from Demeters Steakhouse and Gregg Sessler from Cava. The filmmakers believe these chefs excel because they cooperate, and that “this spirit of cooperation is what makes them work so hard, what pushes them toward greatness and
In February 2011, the Seacoast restaurant community received stunning news. Portsmouth chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro was named a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef, Northeast. It was a big deal. No New Hampshire chef had made the list before, and while Mallett didn’t get on the finalist list, he was again nominated in 2013. Then, in 2014, chef Evan Hennessey joined Mallett on the semi-finalist list. Two New Hampshire chefs up for the “Oscar of the Food World,” the award any chef wants to win. A very, very big deal. That first nomination was a turning point. All at once, it seemed, a handful of Seacoast chefs were included in the national culinary arena. Chef Matt Louis of Moxy was a finalist for Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef — twice. He was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City in 2014, as was Hennessey, who was also honored by StarChefs and who cooked at the renowned
what makes them thrive.” Now, they’re following these chefs to the kitchen, the farm and to innovative events. It’s a story of community, and it started with social media. “I noticed the chefs’ social media,” says Cavalaro. “They posted about food and responsibility — photos and updates that were bold and daring, and then they started to do these events together. It was something I’d not seen in any other business before.” All five chefs post photos of their dishes, rare ingredients they use and good-natured challenges to each other. They’ve launched events like In the Moment, an improvisational evening of cooking with mystery ingredients, and Hennessey’s Stages Projects, a workshop evening to share ideas. At Kittery’s Anneke Jans, the chefs compete in Chefs After Dark.
Above, filmmakers Kathleen Cavalaro and Brian Kelly of Eight/one Productions At left, filming “The Kitchen Cinq”
The film team chose these five chefs based on what they’d seen from all of this activity. “There are artificial lines around these chefs if you’re paying attention,” says Kelly. “They’ve taken responsibility for the chef community in Portsmouth. They realize their place and people look to them. They’ve owned that responsibility and recognize it in each other.When we got all five in a room, it continued to feel right.” The filmmakers say one of the characteristics that made these chefs stand out is their willingness to share resources and grow a network that raises the quality of ingredients for everyone.Another is collaboration. “At Stages Projects, at Chefs After Dark, they learn from each other,” says Kelly.“They compete, but it helps them advance, and all of the kitchen staff is involved and witness it, so this results in new chefs learning.” The filmmakers will follow the chefs throughout the next year, including through the next round of James Beard Award nominations in March.Their approach is to shoot unobtrusively to see what themes come out. “We didn’t want to go in with a story all made up already,” says Kelly. “We’re just getting as much footage as we can, hundreds of hours of footage by just being flies on the wall. We also interview them one-onone and have them tell their stories in a colloquial way, asking them questions like, ‘What would you tell a younger version of yourself?’ Small questions, big answers. We have some great, compelling stuff.”
Something important is happening in the Seacoast culinary scene. And, while all this recognition seems sudden, it was a long time coming. “We’re seeing such different stories,” says Cavalaro. “They’re all working together but they’re in different places in their lives, so they’re on different paths. We have Gregg and both of the Evans who have families, and Mark Segal who has been around much longer.They all want to progress but they’re in different places.” They hope to show the documentary at events like the New Hampshire Film Festival and perhaps get a distribution deal through Netflix. They also hope to raise funds to get more equipment. In July, they launched a Kickstarter campaign, which didn’t reach its funding goal but might start up again. In the meantime, they continue to film these chefs, asking questions to find out if their theory plays out — that it’s “the story of five chefs that do better together than they would apart.” p Find Eight/one Productions on Facebook.
Mix Masters Four Innovative Bartenders Share their Secret Recipes Story by Rachel Forrest, photos by Chloe Kanner
Bartenders RJ Joyce (left) and James Woodhouse behind the bar at Gigiâ€™s
ast’s most innoCotton candy-flavored vodka has no place on the shelves behind the Seaco , they might get a vative bartenders. They rarely make a Cosmo or a Lemon Drop, but if asked on your “usual.” gleam in the eye and suggest you try something a little different, a variation to cocktails made Plant- and herb-based bitters are in the tool kit, a savory, aromatic layer classic cocktails, from with “old school” spirits like rye, bourbon and absinthe in variations on Manhattans to the Old Fashioned. just for you. Meet four Seacoast bartenders who would love to mix up something tasty Gavin Beaudry the black birch Kittery, Maine
RJ Joyce gigi’s York Beach, Maine What’s Shaking: His own line of bitters — some savory, some fruit or astringent — made with ingredients from his family farm. Vermouths like Aperitivo Cappelletti, a cool, drier version of Campari, and Aperol.
Tequila Drink 1.5 oz. Reposado Tequila or Anejo (if budget allows) 1 oz. Aperitivo Cappelletti or Campari 3 oz. Fresca Stir and strain over fresh ice.
James Woodhouse gigi’s York Beach, Maine What’s Shaking: Tequilas, mezcals and RJ’s Bitters
Laird’s Straight Bonded “AppleJack” Brandy Manhattan Woodhouse says he likes this Manhattan because of its balance, depth of flavor and comfort. This will take you through a nice, cool night. 3 oz. Laird’s Straight Bonded Apple Brandy (or AppleJack) 1.5 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino 5 dashes of RJ’s Pear-Bourbon bitters Flamed orange peel (the oils alight on the drink) Place ingredients into a large glass. Stir and strain into a cocktail or rocks glass. Flame the orange zest on the orange peel by squeezing the citrus zest into the drink while holding a lighter under it. Garnish with the orange zest.
What’s Shaking: Americano-style wines such as Cocchi Americano, which work with many different styles of drinks — spirit-driven, sours or on their own over ice with a twist. And bitters in almost every drink he makes.
1.5 oz. Contratto Americano Rosso 1 oz. blanco tequila 1/2 oz. lemon 1/2 oz. grapefruit 2 dashes homemade aromatic bitters 2 dashes Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Cassis 1 pinch salt
Combine all ingredients in shaker, shake with purpose and enthusiasm. Strain into an ice-filled cocktail glass. Spritz a wide strip of grapefruit zest over the top. Smile.
Michael Gehron the 100 club Portsmouth What’s Shaking: Fee Brothers Black Walnut and Scrappy’s Cardamom bitters. He’s looking forward to a new trend in artisanal liqueurs or “lost spirits” like cream gin being produced in England.
Behind the Veil
Gehron says he’s most proud of this drink because it can be done as a cocktail or as a temperance drink. It’s so named because it’s made with flavors typical of the Middle East. 1.5 oz. Stoli Vanil Vodka 1/2 oz. lime juice 1/2 oz. rose syrup (available at Taj Mahal grocery or Pickwick’s Mercantile in Portsmouth) 4-6 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters Ginger beer (Barritt’s preferred) In a tall, iced glass, add all ingredients and top with ginger beer. Pour all into a second glass to gently mix and garnish with fresh lime and a candied rose petal, if available. For the temperance version, simply omit the vodka and build the same. thesquarenh.com
A Beautiful The Soggy Poâ€™ Boys drench the Seacoast in soul By Larry Clow, photo by Shawn E. Dailey 48
oggy Po’ Boys is the type of band that doesn’t need an audience. That’s not to say they don’t love their fans — they do, and the bigger, more raucous and ready to dance an audience is, the better — but they don’t need a packed house in order to tear up a venue. “It’s really hard for some bands when a room’s not packed,” says guitarist and lead singer Stu Dias.“But, for the Po’ Boys, that’s the genius of the band. We don’t need an audience to have a good time.” Of course, an audience helps, especially for a band that plays New Orleans-style jazz “served messy.” Dias recalls a stop in Asheville, NC, during their summer tour. The band played the after-party for a burlesque festival, and by the end of their set, “people were dancing on tables and eating stuff off of each other,” Dias says, smiling.“It was nuts.” The show in Asheville was part of the band’s first tour for “Perhaps It Is Time To Go Home,” their second album. The tour and the album, comprised of original songs by the band’s eight members, are the next steps in the band’s growth. The Po’ Boys are Dias, Mike Effenberger on keys, Jim Rudolf on drums, Eric Klaxton on saxophone, Colin Mainella and Zach Lange on trumpet, Nick Mainella on saxophone and Claude Fried on sousaphone. The band formed in 2012 for a oneoff Mardi Gras show at the Barley Pub in Dover. They played their set, packed up and were ready to leave when the pub’s owner, Scott Mason, asked them to stick around and play a few more songs. And so they gathered around a piano and improvised a second set. The secret ingredient of that set was the pure, unabashed enjoyment that happens when artists are free to goof around and riff off each other without the pressure of expectation. And so the Po’ Boys stuck together. They started a weekly Tuesday night residency at the Barley Pub, and when the
pub closed last year, they moved across the street to Sonny’s Tavern. For the last two years, the Po’ Boys have simmered; they played regular gigs throughout the Seacoast, released their first album,“Seedy Business,” and gained a strong following. “This is roots music,” says Effenberger. “A lot of music out there came out of this music, and I think there’s a connection made with the continuing evolution of music through that.” “There is some special stuff that happens when the whole group is really working well, and if it’s half the fun to hear as it is to play, then that would be a major factor, too,” he continues. “It’s a beautiful mess in the best sense.”
There is some special stuff that happens when the whole group is really working well. A typical Po’ Boys show, as Dias describes it, is somewhere between a family reunion and an old-time church revival. Guests are likely to hear Depression-era standards and traditional gospel songs alongside covers of contemporary tunes and the band’s original music. The Po’ Boys’ cover of musician Roy Zimmerman’s song “Dick Cheney,” which lampoons the former vice president, is a particular crowd favorite, and Dias says audiences connect so strongly with the band’s sound because it’s “user-friendly music. It’s soulful and really fun to play and jump in on. Everyone will know at least one song.” Two years of weekly gigs helped bring the band’s second album to life. Fried thesquarenh.com
Mike Effenberger. He’s more than just a beard. He’s more than the hefty handful of syllables found in his last name. He’s a true musical freak. He’s the master of fingered key instruments. He’s the master of staring contests. He can make just about any other working musician feel inferior about their creative output. That’s because Effenberger, a local pianist and keyboardist, plays and records with a staggering number of Seacoast-area bands, spanning just about every musical genre. Our hypothesis is that every band on the greater Seacoast can be connected to Effenberger, through shared band members, within seven degrees. On the next page is a list of some of Eff’s bands (it’s probably incomplete; even he can’t recall all the bands he plays in). Take a look and connect the dots. – Chris Hislop
When Tan Vampires released their music video for the song “Into the West” late last year, they sank their teeth a little deeper into the hearts of Seacoast music fans. The song is the opening track on “Ephemera,” the Dover-based indie rock band’s follow-up to its 2011 debut, “For Physical Fitness.” Heading toward 2015, Tan Vampires remains one of the Seacoast’s most cherished musical acts. Featuring (left to right) Mike Effenberger on keys, Nick Phaneuf on guitar, Chris Klaxton on trumpet and guitar, Jake Mehrmann on guitar and vocals, Mike Filitis on bass, and Jim Rudolf on drums, the group has been tracking some new tunes and continues to gig with regularity across the region. Tan Vamps have a couple of New Hampshire gigs lined up this fall, including a show at The Shaskeen in Manchester on Oct. 10 and at The Press Room in Portsmouth on Dec. 5. Check them out on Facebook or at tanvampires.com.
photo courtesy of Jesus Hidalgo Photography www.jesushphoto.com
Seven Degrees of Mike Effenberger
calls the transition from standards to original material “a long process, but a very natural one.” “We created a giant binder full of tunes that we covered regularly for months and months before we had a collective understanding of the music and ourselves, before we ventured heavily into performing originals,” he says. The weekly residency at Sonny’s, and weekends spent busking in Portsmouth’s Market Square, are a workshop, Dias says, a way to try out new songs or arrangements without any pressure. That’s the thing about the Po’ Boys: you’ll never hear the same song done the same way twice. The band keeps moving and adapting. Part of that stems from the heady mixture of personalities and musical influences in the band. Of the eight members, seven are in other Seacoast bands, and all come from diverse musical backgrounds. And so, on “Perhaps It Is Time To Go Home,” you’ll hear the influence of Tom Waits in the songs that Zach Lange wrote, while Effenberger’s songs include an Irving Berlin-style ballad and a frenetic Caribbean tango. “This record contains each of our voices as well as our voice as a group, “Dias says. “The [band’s] growth is very organic. It has its own voice now, and it sounds like it’s in that world, but also sounds unique.” It’s strange territory for a band to stake out, a small plot on the musical landscape that sounds so familiar and yet is something entirely new. But it’s a good home for a band with rhythm in their feet, tradition in their hearts, and mischief in their eyes. p Aporkalypse Now Bad News Orchestra Bing and Ruth Chris Klaxton Group Chris Klaxton & The State Line Big Band Cirque Desolate Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club Dr. Gasp fiveighthirteen ftet Gerrymander Jazzputin and the Jug
Skunks Kurt Weill Night Little Lebowksi Achievers Living Room Special Matt Young and his Command of the English Language MMF Mother Superior Rock My Soul Shango Soggy Po’ Boys Tan Vampires
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GOOD ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
By Denise J. Wheeler
Documentary Looks Back on a Golden Era in Portsmouth’s Music Scene There’s no question Portsmouth, with all its cul- of the live footage as a young music video protural, culinary and natural trappings, has been ducer trying to get discovered himself. “The film is really a love letter to our young“discovered.” Residents here have watched their artistically lush, working port city morph into a er days and the music that so many — but not enough — got a chance to witness and fall in boutique destination. Flash back 20 years, though, and the city’s em- love with,” he says.“We then wrapped that in the barrassment of riches was primarily the locals’ framework of success being subjective from each hallowed secret. Ringing from the treasure trove person’s point of view.” was a rock music scene full of so much color, talent and passion that it would have been on par with the Seattle grunge wave — if only it had been made manifest to the rest of the world. Like Portsmouth itself in the early ’90s, the city’s rock scene was gritty, eclectic and locally owned and operated. Live music venues included restaurants, a beloved coffee shop called The Elvis Room, a brewery, the University of New Hampshire’s community center, nightclubs and a renovated church. A record store, a rock radio station and several arts publications promoted the music. Fans flocked to shows. At the heart of all this, soaring with creativity, debauched beauty and an unexpected, almost spiritual kick, was a diverse cadre of bands. That scene is chronicled in a documentary released this summer called “In Danger of Being Discovered.” The 58-minute film features live concert footage culled from 30 hours of video shot between 1990 and 1994 and interviews with about 50 musicians and industry professionals. The archival performance clips, at once feral, deft and hopeful, are linked by interviews with the musicians today, bringing the story full circle. The documentary is the brainchild of local di- Directors Michael Venn and Marc Dole soak up some rays rector/producer Marc Dole, who captured much in Market Square. Photo by Denise Wheeler
The film revolves primarily around five bands key to the rock movement then: Thanks to Gravity (the only one to sign with a major label), Groovechild, Fly Spinach Fly, Heavens to Murgatroid and Scissorfight. Some of the musicians from that scene have achieved acclaim individually — Al Barr fronts The Dropkick Murphys, Tim Theriault has toured
The film is really a love letter to our younger days and the music that so many – but not enough – got a chance to witness and fall in love with. and recorded with Godsmack’s Sully Erna and guitarist Mark Damon is playing internationally with The Pretty Reckless. But the documentary shows that even the musicians who did not achieve that level of success have a sense of being part of something dynamic and special. Take, for example, the lead singer of Groovechild, Jeff Bibbo. In the early ’90s, his band’s song “Riverside” was in heavy rotation at local rock station 100.3 WHEB. His band was selling out shows throughout the Seacoast. Record company execs were wooing him. Yet the band never signed with a major label. “In my experience, in my life, we were huge,” Bibbo recalls in the documentary.“So, what is success? We got to play music. We got to make peoDangerously Good continued on page 55 thesquarenh.com
A Roundup of News from the Local Music Scene By Matt Kanner
Baldwin Enters the Hollows
Nationally, Kittery’s Nat Baldwin is best known as bassist for indie darlings the Dirty Projectors, but around these parts he’s just known as Nat Baldwin. For the last decade or so, when not touring or recording with the Projectors, Baldwin has been making his own original music, establishing himself as one of the region’s most innovative and creative singers, bassists and composers. Baldwin’s latest release, “In the Hollows,” came out in April. Like his previous efforts, it’s a record with raw feeling, harnessing both the strange complexity and simple beauty of human emotion. Listening to Baldwin’s latest work, it’s as if the strings of his double base run up through your spinal column and into your skull, tuned tightly around your brain. When Baldwin slides his bow across those strings, the vibrations echo through your body, gently rattling your bones and organs. It’s a visceral thrum that pleasantly reverberates through all nine original tracks. His slow, meticulous vocals have a similar effect, climbing and descending and dancing around your blood cells with haunting familiarity. Most of the album was written while Baldwin was at home in Maine training for a marathon. Following its release, Baldwin toured heavily up and down the Eastern US and into Canada. A member of the Dirty Projectors since 2005, Baldwin is a hometown hero with a spot on the national music map. Learn more at westernvinyl.com/artists/natbaldwin.html. And check out the fantastically bizarre video for the song “Knockout” at wonderingsound.com/news/video-premiere-nat-baldwin-knockout. – Photo by Lindsay Metivier
The Connection keeps rockin’
The Connection is on a roll. Really, the Portsmouth-based power-pop band has been on a continuous roll since its formation about three years ago. The group, consisting of Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer on guitar and vocals, Bobby Davis on bass, Zack Sprague on drums, Kris “Fingers” Rodgers on keys and Lil Zach Uncles on pedal steel, has rocked its way around the US and has twice toured Europe, and they keep building rock ’n’ roll momentum. On June 30, their cover of The Boys song “First Time” was named “Coolest Song in the World” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, a Sirius XM radio show hosted by “The Sopranos” star and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt. It was the fifth time Van Zandt has pegged a Connection tune for “Coolest Song” honors. New Hampshire Magazine named The Connection “Best Power Pop Band” in the state this year and invited them to play at Verizon Wireless Arena for the 2014 Best of NH Party in June. And, in May, they played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “It’s Only Rock and Roll” spring benefit concert at the Cleveland Convention Center. So, what’s next for The Connection? Marino and Palmer have been writing songs for a new album, and the band plans to release its latest Christmas EP (an annual holiday tradition) sometime in November. They’ll likely hit the road again after the new album comes out early in 2015. Stay connected at theconnectionofficial.com.
Blakeslee’s Blowin’ in the Wind
Though he has now called Somerville, Mass., home for several years, we will always think of singer-songwriter Dan Blakeslee as a Portsmouth-area musician. So, when Blakeslee puts out a new album, it’s cause for celebration on the Seacoast. The South Berwick, Maine, native launched a pledge drive this summer and raised the funds he needed to put out his latest work, “Owed to the Tanglin Wind,” on both compact disc and vinyl. It came out in August, and a release show took place at The Press Room in Portsmouth in September. Recorded in Providence, RI, the new album was engineered by Ben Knox Miller of The Low Anthem and features Miller and fellow Anthem member Jeffrey Prystowsky, among several other musicians. Like all Blakeslee’s records, “Owed to the Tanglin’ Wind” is brimming with lush, heart-strumming melodies and vivid, evocative lyrics, worthy of the American folk canon. Brilliant acoustic instrumentation and heartfelt vocals bring the album’s 10 original songs to life, and, in the process, remind us that we’re alive. And that’s the very function of good music. The album is available at Bull Moose in Portsmouth and from iTunes. Visit danblakeslee.com.
Bob Halperin Can’t Stop
Bob Halperin has been playing the blues in the Portsmouth area for so long that it’s easy to take for granted his exceptional talent. But Halperin’s latest recording, “I Just Can’t Stop,” is spellbinding evidence that he remains one of the region’s premier guitarists. When it comes to playing fiery licks around a raw blues riff, Halperin’s equals are few, here or anywhere. The new disc’s 13 tracks include a handful of originals interspersed between inspired renditions of songs by blues pioneers like Lead Belly, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and others. The album is aptly named, as it’s clear that Halperin is constitutionally unable to lay down his guitar — and that’s for the best. A slide guitar specialist, he wields both electric and acoustic axes to stunning effect on the record. There’s old-timey blues played sans percussion, and rocking blues with a full band, all anchored by Halperin’s deep, growling vocals. His strong supporting cast includes mandolinist Jon Ross, bassists Brian Williams and Rick Kline, and drummer Charlie Shaw. Halperin also remains active with all-star blues band Wooden Eye, which appeared in both Portsmouth’s Summer in the Street series and Dover’s Cochecho Summer Music Festival in July. After countless gigs and recordings, Halperin just can’t stop, and we hope he never does. Check him out at facebook.com/bob.halperin.
Dangerously Good continued from page 53
ple happy, create good memories for people. To achieve that was more valuable than any money that was ever offered to me to sign a contract.” “All these great musicians are content with their lives,” Dole says. “I am sure there were some feelings of ‘we almost made it,’ but I truly believe they all looked at that time in their lives as great.” Many of the featured musicians are still perBack in the groove: Bryan Killough (left) and Jeff Bibbo forming, he notes, and they are thankful they of Groovechild play together during their interview. can still “feel the joy” of playing out. A shorter version of “In Danger of Being Dis- then. If you took that music scene and gave covered” premiered to a sold-out audience of those musicians all the digital tools we have more than 800 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth now, like YouTube and Facebook, every single in January 2012. The evening included a concert one of these bands would be huge.” p where Groovechild and Thanks to Gravity reunit- The “In Danger of Being Discovered” ed after years apart. The documentary was then double DVD can be purchased for $25 at completed with footage from that event. Those indangerofbeingdiscovered.com. buying the DVD will receive a second disc featuring the reunion concert. “The Music Hall was one of the most memorable experiences and one that I’m so proud of,” recalls Michael Venn, who co-produced and co-directed the film with Dole.“Not just because of the turnout and the energy of the night, but because of the community that came out in support of it, and the amount of love and respect there still was for that time and place in our local history.” The film won “Best Documentary” at the 2012 New Hampshire Film Festival and was shown this summer at the Granite State Music Festival. Venn describes the movie as a time capsule designed to showcase an epic era in Portsmouth’s cultural history. “Portsmouth could have exploded like Seattle or Austin or New York, Boston, Chicago, Nashville — any of them,” Venn says. “All a music scene really needs to grow is the support of its music community. We had that, but it didn’t extend far enough.” One key ingredient, he says, might have completed Portsmouth’s rock renaissance and exposed it to the rest of the world. “The Internet was still evolving back Reunited members of Thanks to Gravity at The Stone Church thesquarenh.com
3S By Matt Kanner
he minds behind 3S Artspace conducted an online survey this year to get a sense of what people want to see at the forthcoming arts, performance and dining venue. The responses were numerous and varied, but one in particular stood out to founder and executive director Chris Greiner. “My hope is that Portsmouth holds on to its soul as it continues to grow,” the response read. It’s a salient sentiment among Portsmouth residents, many of whom sincerely worry that, in the face of so much new development — so many towering brick hotels and ritzy condo complexes — the city is losing its creative, blue-collar identity. But Portsmouth will inevitably keep growing, and Greiner knows it. He also knows that growth is good, as long as it’s smart, balanced growth. “It should be natural that as Portsmouth expands, our arts and culture offerings expand,” Greiner says. “It comes down to this idea of balancing the growth across all sectors, and arts and culture is just one of them.” That’s where 3S comes in. The nonprofit venue, currently under construction at 319 Vaughan St., will include a mid-size performance space, a non-commercial art gallery and a locally sourced restaurant. There will also be 12 artist studios on the second floor of the renovated building. Organizers estimate that 3S will bring roughly 60,000 visitors to town each year, with an annual economic impact of more than $2 million. Greiner’s hope is that 3S will be more than an
AIMS TO SAVE
arts venue; it will be a place where people of different artistic persuasions cross paths, interact, share ideas and collaborate in ways that radiate out across the city, pumping fresh creative energy and vibrancy into Portsmouth’s soul. “I truly believe that putting creative people in proximity to one another is the best thing you can do for an arts scene,” Greiner says. “That’s ultimately the thing that gets me super excited about 3S.”
Making space Portsmouth is already home to a number of iconic cultural institutions — The Music Hall, Seacoast Repertory Theatre, Strawbery Banke Museum, the Prescott Park Arts Festival. It also has plenty of smaller art galleries, live music venues and historic homes and landmarks, as well as a renowned dining scene with dozens of restaurants. But when 3S opens its doors early in 2015, Greiner believes it will fill a unique niche that is currently lacking on the Seacoast. The 3,320-square-foot performance space will have standing-room capacity for 425 people, about half the capacity of The Music Hall, but at least double the size of most other local music venues. They can also put in tables and chairs for a cabaret-style show, film screening or lecture. They plan to install a modular stage that expands to host dance performances or theatric productions, contracts for smaller bands, or can be removed entirely to open up the floor space.
The 2,240-square-foot gallery has 25-foot ceilings, offering ample wall space and volume for sculptural work and hanging installations. In both the performance space and the gallery, Greiner plans to feature a mix of international, national and regional talent, often pairing touring acts with local artists and performers. But being local does not guarantee you a spotlight at 3S. Greiner plans to highlight emerging artists who are experimenting with new ideas. “We want people who are pushing the envelope, testing the boundaries, who are doing something different,” he says. Greiner hopes to diversify the artistic offerings on the Seacoast, and he’ll do it by taking risks. “It’s important to make no mistake that we’re going to be out there presenting the community with challenging experiences as part of what we do,” Greiner says. “We want to be the organization that spends most of its time outside the mainstream.” They have been testing the waters with sporadic shows and exhibits over the last several years. Project manager Celeste Ladd says the community has welcomed the challenge. “Every time we do kind of push the envelope and do programming that’s a little more outside the box, I’m always really surprised at the support that we get and the people that come out,” she says.“I think there’s a groundswell of support for something like this.” The 2,610-square-foot restaurant will offer sim-
E PORTSMOUTHâ€™S SOUL
A crowd gathers outside 3S Artspace in Portsmouth during its groundbreaking celebration in June. Photo by David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com thesquarenh.com
Chris Greiner, founder and owner of 3S, and project manager Celeste Ladd stand inside the Vaughan Street venue as renovation work gets under way.
Photo by Michael Winters 58
Renderings of the finished 3S Artspace building, designed by McHenry Architecture. Renderings by Shaun Donnelly
ple cuisine at affordable prices. In order to keep the prices reasonable, Greiner has backed away from his original vision of an entirely farm-to-table menu, though he will use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. He hopes the restaurant will serve as “a hub for the creative community, and then, by extension, the community at large.” “I think it’s important to think of the restaurant not just as a place to eat, but as a place to gather, a place where people network. We don’t really have that hub [in Portsmouth],” he says.
Breaking ground More than 100 people gathered on Vaughan Street in late June for a groundbreaking celebration and community photo. A drone buzzed overhead snapping pictures from the sky as photographer David J. Murray instructed guests to huddle in front of the building and raise their arms. A few weeks later, work would begin to transform this derelict concrete building into a bustling hive of creative activity. The June event also marked the launch of the community phase of 3S Artspace’s capital campaign. Greiner and his team had already raised about $2.3 million toward their ultimate target of $3.3 million — about 70 percent of the goal. It had been almost exactly four years since Greiner, himself a musician, left his job at The Music Hall to pursue his dreams with 3S. During that four years, Greiner assembled a dedicated team of about 30 volunteers, plus a 16-member board of directors. Together, they have held numerous events to help build awareness about 3S. In 2011, they transformed a motel in York into an interactive 21-room art exhibit, and brought Fountains
of Wayne to The Press Room. In 2012, having secured their space on Vaughan Street, they hosted an outdoor concert series and several art exhibits. Now they’re looking forward to inhabiting their permanent building. That building, itself, will stand out as something different amid the red-brick landscape of downtown Portsmouth. McHenry Architecture’s design,
The 3,320-squarefoot performance space will have standing-room capacity for 425 people, about half the capacity of The Music Hall, but at least double the size of most other local music venues.
while unique, is responsive to Portsmouth’s history as a working waterfront community. For instance, steel panels with exposed rivets and fasteners pay homage to the city’s shipbuilding heritage. “We’re trying to create a contemporary, edgy feel to this building that’s not typically found in Portsmouth,” says Brandon Holben of McHenry Architecture.“We’re kind of pulling from the grittier parts of Portsmouth to tie in with the design aesthetic here.” After more than four years of planning and fundraising, Greiner says the prospect of finally opening is “equal parts thrilling and terrifying.” Ladd, too, says it feels “pretty surreal” to have construction work under way. But both have been comforted by the city’s unflagging support. “It’s been such a community effort,” Ladd says. “It will be a big celebration once we open our doors.” p 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St. 3Sarts.org thesquarenh.com
Let’s “B” Reel co-hosts Bunny Wonderland (aka Knate Higgins) and Timothy Fife Photo by Michael Winters 60 The Square Fall 2014
Keeping Portsmouth Weird
One Movie at a Time i Cult Film Series at the Rep Has Heads Turning – in Horror By Larry Clow
photo by matt kanner
t’s a summer evening in Portsmouth and takes it to the next level,” Higgins says.“People are champion of indie filmmaking and cult cinema, masked maniacs are afoot. They’re scat- shocked that things like this are happening. I like turned out for the series. Troma-Fest was a suctered throughout downtown — there’s to think we’re Portsmouth’s best-kept secret.” cess, and a few months later, Let’s “B” Reel beThe series stems from Fife and Higgins’ shared came official. one walking past the Worth Lot; a few blocks away, a dozen are congregating love for midnight movies and underground enSince then, the series has screened everything in the Hanover Street Parking Garage. They’re all tertainment. Higgins hosts each show under the from forgotten cult gems like “The Stuff,” about a wearing the same white hockey mask made fa- guise of his drag persona, Bunny Wonderland, deadly yogurt-like dessert that turns consumers mous by Jason, the unstoppable killer in the “Fri- while Fife acts as the duo’s straight man. Let’s “B” into zombies, to popular films like “Labyrinth” and day the 13th” horror films. And they’re freaking Reel is part of the Rep’s Red Light series, a collec- “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” Along the way, they’ve out the tourists. “What’s with the hockey masks?” tion of productions and programs that step out- brought in guests like “Gremlins” producer Miasks one woman, nervously eyeing the masked side the traditional theatre boundaries. chael Finnell, exhibited Pee-Wee’s iconic red biman walking near her. Elsewhere, a mother glanc“Tim and I come from very different back- cycle and done Skype interviews with “The Stuff” es over her shoulder, catches a glimpse of a man grounds in film,” Higgins explains.“I’m from more director Larry Cohen and “Lost Boys” star Jamison in a Jason costume behind her, and abruptly yanks of the nostalgic, camp, pop [film] background, and Newlander. For both Fife and Higgins, cult movies create her 20-something daughter off the sidewalk and he has more of the grindhouse sensibility.We’re an out of the way. unlikely pair. It’s a very non-sequitur relationship.” a bond among audiences, a sort of alchemy that What had been a normal July night in PortsBut it works, and the result is a series that mix- occurs when you mix together a willing audience, mouth has suddenly become very weird, and es the midnight movie experience with a dash of a few drinks and an offbeat movie. “In a way, it’s a form of escapism, revisiting mothat’s just how Timothy Fife and Knate Higgins vaudeville, a pinch of burlesque and a lot of fun. like it. The series got its unofficial start in 2013 when ments that were really great and bring up strong They are the two twisted minds behind Let’s “B” Fife and Higgins produced Troma-Fest, a month- memories of your past,” Fife says. “Like the first Reel, a monthly cult movie series at the Seacoast long celebration of “The Toxic Avenger” and time you saw ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Escape Repertory Theatre that aims to “Keep Portsmouth other legendary low-budget flicks from Troma from New York’ or ‘Suspiria.’ … I think we’re tryWeird.” Now in its second year, Let’s “B” Reel takes Studios. Lloyd Kaufmann, Troma’s founder and a ing to harness that kind of sentimental feeling in the time-honored tradition of watching strange, our screenings.” bad, fondly remembered movies with your friends What’s next? Let’s “B” Reel is dedicating the and turns it into an event. month of October to witches, with screenings of Take Higgins and Fife’s July screening of the “The Craft,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Teen Witch,” and 1980 horror classic “Friday the 13th,” which feain November, the series will screen its first — and likely only — Oscar-winning film, “The Silence of tured a guest appearance by actor and musician the Lambs.” Ari Lehman, who played Jason in the franchise’s “I’m hoping that the more people learn first entry. Lehman signed autographs and perabout our series, the more people will dress formed a few songs before the movie, sat down up, and scream and laugh during the movie for an interview with Higgins and Fife following and get involved as much as possible,” Fife says. the film (fun facts: he’s a vegan, loves juice box“It’s great to watch these movies on your own, es, and is an acclaimed jazz musician) and stuck but there’s nothing like connecting around afterward to chat with fans and share Jas0n (aka Michael Merrigan) gets an autograph from the original Jason, with a lot of people over something “Friday the 13th” lore. Ari Lehman (right), who played the infamous monster in the first “Friday you all mutually love.” p “Having a person from the film there really the 13th.” Lehman was the special guest during a screening of the film at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in July. thesquarenh.com
Back to the Foreside With an influx of creative businesses, downtown Kittery has established its identity Story by Larry Clow, photos by Greta Rybus
MEat co-owner Shannon Hill
MEat co-owner Jarrod Spangler
Anju co-owners Gary Kim (left) and Julian Armstrong
. Fall 2014
Loco Coco’s Tacos 36 Walker St. (207) 438-9322 locococos.com
The Black Birch
2 Government St. (207) 703-2294 theblackbirch.com
25 Government St. (207) 439-4009
g h t Ave .
Anju Noodle Bar
2 Government St. buoygallery.org
Ave . Otis e Bridg orial Mem
20 Walker St. (207) 451-9511 tulsiindianrestaurant.com
1 Government St. (207) 703-2990
7 Wallingford Sq., Unit 102 (207) 703-4298 7 Wallingford Sq. (207) 703-2800 lilscafe.com
7 Wallingford Sq., #104 (207) 703-0219 memeat.com
Stella’s Sweet Café
8 10 9 11
7 Walker St. (207) 703-2083 thedancehallkittery.org
The Dance Hall
Wh ar Town
Though Foreside’s revitalization seems sudden, it’s the culmination of at least a decade of work. Loco Coco’s Tacos, a popular Mexican restaurant, opened back in 2004. Anneka Jans, a gourmet restaurant that counts the owners of The Black Birch, MEat and Anju among its former employees, opened in 2005. Tulsi, recently named by Travel + Leisure as one of the country’s best Indian restaurants, opened in 2008, as did Buoy Gallery and DOO, a salon.AJ’s Wood Grill Pizza opened its doors two years later, in 2010. Meanwhile, just outside Foreside on Rte. 1, the collection of businesses known as “Gourmet Alley,” which includes Carl’s Meat Market, Golden Harvest Produce, Beach Pea Baking, Terra Cotta Pasta Co. and Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier, developed a strong local and regional following. Foreside became something of a creative hothouse in those years. And yet the changes in the
Center of community
meat coming from behind The Black Birch. “There’s a sense of community that’s really just energized,” says Overton, who opened The Dance Hall in Foreside’s former Grange Hall in 2011.The performing arts venue offers classes in everything from African drumming to tap dancing. In the last three years, that energy has helped open a number of new businesses, including Lil’s Café, Anju, The Black Birch, MEat butcher shop, Tributary Brewing Company and others. It’s also helped bring new customers to restaurants and pubs that have called Foreside home for years. Spend a few hours in Kittery Foreside and it won’t be long until everyone knows your name. “I think Kittery’s always had more of a laidback, community-oriented feel,” says Jarrod Spangler, who opened MEat with his fiancé, Shannon Hill, earlier this year. “Foreside itself is not tourist-driven; it’s more for the locals.”
ber 2011. Instead of venturing into Portsmouth for dinner, shopping and shows, residents turned their attention back to Kittery. By the time the Memorial Bridge reopened in the summer of 2013, Kittery had discovered its own unique identity. The town, once known primarily for its outlet malls and as home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, had become a destination for food, art and music. “It gave the area a nice incubation period,” says Julian Armstrong, co-owner of Anju, a noodle bar that opened in Foreside’s Wallingford Square in 2014. On a humid Thursday afternoon in early July, Foreside was buzzing. Mothers pushed children in strollers on the sidewalk outside the Masonic building in Wallingford Square. Inside Lil’s Café, one of the new businesses that opened in the building after Michael Landgarten redeveloped it, volunteers from a political campaign stopped in for coffee. A block away, outside Stella’s Sweet Café on Government Street, an older couple bought ice creams for themselves and their two dogs. A slight breeze mixed the brackish air blowing off the Pisca19 taqua River with the smell of smoked
Shapleigh Roa d
hen the Memorial Bridge closed to vehicle traffic in the summer of 2011, business owners in Kittery’s Foreside neighborhood were nervous. A few blocks away from Rte. 1 and a short walk from downtown Portsmouth, Foreside was in the early stages of revitalization. Restaurants like Tulsi and Anneka Jans and arts venues like The Dance Hall and Buoy, a contemporary art gallery and performance space, were generating buzz around the neighborhood. But, with the bridge closed, Drika Overton remembers, “Everyone was thinking it was going to sink us.” Without the bridge, there’d be no direct link to the neighborhood, no cars, pedestrians or cyclists crossing over from Portsmouth. And that meant the Foreside revitalization would stop before it really took hold. Except that didn’t happen. “People rallied around the neighborhood and the town,” says Gavin Beaudry, co-owner of The Black Birch restaurant, which opened in Decem-
Dec Sq. 7 Wallingford (207) 703-2526 shop-folk.com
60 Wallingford Sq. (207) 439-0001 annekejans.net
AJ’s Wood Grill Pizza 68 Wallingford Sq. (207) 439-9700 ajswoodgrillpizza.com
Carl’s Meat Market
Golden Harvest Produce
25 State Rd. (207) 439-1557 47 State Rd. (207) 439-2113
Terra Cotta Pasta Co.
Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier
Tributary Brewing Company
Beach Pea Baking Co.
53 Blue Star Memorial Hwy. (207) 439-3555 beachpeabaking.com
52A Rte. 1 (207) 475-3025 terracottapastacompany.com 60 State Rd. (207) 439-0096 byrneandcarlson.com
10 Shapleigh Rd. (207) 703-0093 tributarybrewingcompany.com
neighborhood have felt organic. The new businesses aren’t opening because of an influx of tourists or out-of-towners, but because locals who live and work in Kittery want to see the neighborhood thrive. “We’re definitely a Kittery-centric restaurant,” says Armstrong, who co-owns Anju with Gary Kim. “We both worked in Kittery prior and lived here. It’s an inspiring place to be. We didn’t consider [opening the restaurant] anywhere else.” It’s a sentiment echoed by many Foreside business owners.“I live in Kittery and I love the community here,” says Amelia Davis, owner of Folk, a shop and gallery that sells locally made art. “I definitely see it becoming more of a destination. Maine has a reputation of having small towns with good food and art, and finally, Kittery, the first town in Maine, is jumping on that.” In a way, Foreside is returning to its roots. Until the outlet malls began opening on Rte. 1 in the 1950s and ’60s, “Foreside was a thriving center of the community. It’s where all the shops were, all the business happened. The Grange Hall was the center of community life,” says Overton, who, through The Dance Hall, is currently working on a project documenting the history of Foreside.“It’s very cool, because that’s what I see in this revitalization:We’ve come back to being that center of community.” That sense of community is evident during large events like the annual Kittery Block Party, which began in 2011, and in small moments around town, like when someone from The Black Birch pops into Anju to return a plate they borrowed a few nights earlier. Al Mead opened Buoy in 2008. He grew up in Kittery Point and, when he came back home after graduating from college in Pennsylvania, couldn’t find a local venue hosting the kind of art and music he wanted to create and see. So he started his own. “All the things fell into place,” says Mead, who also tends bar at The Black Birch. “I like how surprised people are to see what’s going on here.” As more people learn about Foreside, the neighborhood is likely to grow. No one knows what that growth will lead to, but Foreside business owners are optimistic. “One attractive thing about Foreside is that it’s only so big. They’re not going to be putting up four-story hotels and parking lots here,” says Spangler. “I think it will stay small. It’s not going to explode.” p
Lil’s Café Folk owner Amelia Davis in her shop
Furnishing with David Leach
At Home with a Master Furniture Maker By Chloe Kanner Photos by Meg Hamilton of Rodeo & Co. Photography
David Leach continues a furniture-making tradition that’s hundreds of years old, with modern equipment and a modern eye. “In New England, we’re surrounded by historical preservation,” he says. “But that was beautiful 200 years ago. I’m trying to do what would be relevant in today’s world.” So, while his furniture is crafted traditionally and with a quality that’s time-tested in his own home, the look is clean and inventive. “To me, beauty in a piece of furniture is all about proportions and form,” Leach says. “I don’t like to see them interrupted with what I think is unnecessary ornamentation.” He recently built a work shed on his Kittery property so he can get up early and start working whenever “the muse” calls him in, even if it’s 3 a.m.
Leach sees furniture as a composition where each element relates to the others. He views art in much the same way, which is why he especially likes work by Shiao-Ping Wang, who sometimes approaches painting as if building. It also helps that they are friends, so he has a sense of the meaning behind it and the work that went into it. thesquarenh.com
Leach says it’s inspiring to see the completed work of people he knows and it helps create a fertile environment. He has a print by George Longfish, whom he met when they both had studios at the Salmon Falls Mill in Rollinsford. And he has two pieces by longtime friend Michelle Oosterbaan, including the painting in his shed.
The shed is surrounded by gardens and trees, and Leach is always thoughtful of the living material he uses, as well as the people who will use his furniture. He has to allow for wood to expand and contract, and knows the grain is vital, both visually and structurally. Despite the notion that it’s hard to improve on mid-century Danish design, the way a chair supports the body makes it a favorite of his to get just right. “Maybe that’s why I wanted to be a shoemaker first,” he says.
He’s working on a custom 18-foot dining table and a set of chairs with a hybrid construction of his own making. The chair seats will be comprised of 40 pieces of sustainably harvested American black walnut, sliced thin and numbered in order, then molded into a radial pattern veneer. Leach anticipates this commissioned work to take about two years. “It’s a slow-going process,” he says. “There’s nothing fast about it.”
The wood-cutting equipment at the center of the shed is surrounded by quieter, simpler tools that fill every wall and shelf. The nonliving thing he couldn’t live without is his No. 4 smoothing plane made in Warren, Maine. Leach and his wife Katherine Ciak (shown above) live with furniture he made, including the first piece he made in college, a sparse side table. He also made their dining table and chairs, which remain in remarkable condition, and several other things that didn’t sell or were experimental. Leach says using his furniture informs his decisions going forward. He compares his home to a three-dimensional sketchbook, where he can look back, re-evaluate and make changes. “My work is a continuum. Each piece is connected to what I did before,” he says.
See davidleachfurniture.com for more photos of his work and contact information.
“Two Line Reading Chair” was inspired by the way old cars can be defined by their roof and fender lines. His wife weaved the Dane cord for the seat and also made the pottery on the nearby table. “It’s the chair I’m going to get right someday,” Leach says. thesquarenh.com
. Fall 2014
Entertaining with Renee and Dan Plummer
By Rachel Forrest, photos by Meg Hamilton of Rodeo & Co. Photography The walls of the penthouse home of Renee and Dan Plummer don’t need artwork to create a mood. While there are a few beautiful paintings in hallways and bedrooms, the stunning panoramic views of the Memorial Bridge and Portsmouth city landmarks create the perfect background for the couple’s fabulous parties and family dinners.The Plummers moved into the Harbor Place condo in 2010 and designed an environment that makes entertaining easy and relaxed for guests and hosts alike. Renee is vice president of marketing for Two International Group, a commercial real estate development firm. She could do all the cooking in her large and efficient kitchen, but for many events she hires local caterers so she can enjoy the festivities herself. “If it’s a small party of six, I’ll do an olive oil poached halibut with orzo. I’ve been working all day so it needs to be easy,” she says.“With all the parties, I’ll make you your first drink and then you make the rest. I’ll have wine on ice nearby and a small bar with top-shelf liquor. But if I’m in the mood to make a Manhattan, I make them really well.” Wine is stored all over the home, in upstairs and downstairs pantries, closets and racks in the kitchen. For larger
gatherings, Renee will call Relic Wines in California to send cases of her favorites. Cocktail parties for up to 60 might begin with cheese and sushi, and move on to heavy hors d’oeuvres. More formal dinner parties for up to 24 allow Renee to decorate with some cherished items from afar. “I bring out some of my favorite pieces for the dinner parties,” she says.“I have gold-stemmed Venetian glassware and these gorgeous antique linens we bought from a flea market in Paris. … I’ll also bring out the African and Asian pieces I just get at Home Goods. I always have to have fresh flowers.” Renee says her goal is to make everyone happy, whether it’s a formal dinner or a family gathering with hot dogs and burgers on the rooftop deck.There’s a TV in every room for watching football during casual gatherings, and at the end of an evening, Renee will make each guest a frothy cappuccino with a built-in Miele cappuccino machine. “I let people enjoy themselves and I want them to love it, from coming into our home to that cup of cappuccino,” she says.“I like to spoil people.”
ABOVE, a room with a view: Large windows bring the outdoors and the Seacoastâ€™s most striking landmarks inside. The windows have remote-controlled shades to let in light but not glare. Off the kitchen is a balcony room with clear plastic roll-down coverings for the windows so guests may enjoy a cigar or an after-dinner drink in all weather. The balcony also holds two large grills. LEFT, your hosts: Renee and Dan Plummer welcome guests into their home for many occasions during the month, from formal sit-down dinners to casual hot dog and burger nights on the rooftop. While they are dressed in pink in this photo, Renee has decorated in blues and muted orange hues, no pink allowed â€” and that includes the flowers. thesquarenh.com
Efficiency and beauty: The kitchen is designed for cooks. Pullout shelving and spice racks are unobtrusively constructed next to the stove so herbs, spices, vinegar and oils are within easy reach. There are two dishwashers (one just for glassware), a microwave and a steam oven, great for the hot dogs. Opposite the stove is a bar where guests can sit and chat with the cook, and the kitchen opens to the living area so Renee can see her guests while cooking.
ABOVE, a rooftop soirĂŠe: On warm evenings, guests might gather on the rooftop at One Harbor Place, where the family can grill and enjoy cocktails while watching the boats along the Piscataqua River motor under the new Memorial Bridge, which is beautifully lit at night. BELOW, upscale/downscale: This gold-stemmed glass is part of a set from Venice that matches the dining room chandelier (above right). But many decorative accents and furniture pieces come from more affordable stores like Home Goods and Frontgate.
BELOW, room for 14: The main dining room table can seat 14 and is used for both formal gatherings and family Sunday dinners, when Italian fare is usually on the menu. The open dining area leads to the living room, where the couple will place a round table to accommodate eight more, and then, if needed, a table for four. On the wall is a decorative garden.
Parting words: A guest book filled with warm praise for a wonderful evening sits at the entrance to the Plummersâ€™ home. Renee says she loves to spoil people, and it shows in her guestsâ€™ comments and memories. thesquarenh.com
Pe n ney for your thoughts?
Christine Penney keeps Seacoast theatre in touch with past and present By Sarah Lachance
When an artist packs up and heads to California, it’s usually to realize a lifelong dream, whether selling a movie script, delivering a breakout performance in a quiet little indie film, or directing. Not Christine Penney. After living in Portsmouth for a while after graduating from the University of New Hampshire, the actor and director headed to California determined to get away from the stage — and to get away from Portsmouth. “I think I needed to leave here to know that it would be a place where I wanted to plant roots when I came back,” she says.“I loved [California], but I’m a New England girl through and through.” Penney’s temporary departure from both the Seacoast and the stage was emblematic. She left what she knew so that she could return to it. She came back to New Hampshire in 2007, and has since been an integral player in the Seacoast’s theatre community. Both before and after her westward journey, Penney worked at UNH and The Music Hall in Portsmouth, and acted in productions at The Players’ Ring. Upon her return, she built on her network of connections by establishing new ones. She started acting with Kent Stephens’ Stage Force, then joined the staff, first as director of development and then as associate artistic developer, a position she still holds. Stephens says his memory of interviewing CP (as he likes to call her) is “ringed in gold.” “There was just a sync; we have since articu-
Christine Penney performs in the ShakesBEERience play-reading series at The Gas Light in Portsmouth. Photo by Monica Bushor, Bushor Photography
lated it as a kind of mind-meld we have,” he says. What’s unique about Penney is her growth into new areas while maintaining her roots in the community: acting in and directing productions at The Players’ Ring, the Shakespeare shows at the Prescott Park Arts Festival and co-founding the Seven Stages Shakespeare Company in 2012. The name “Seven Stages,” a riff on the “Seven Ages of Man” monologue from “Much Ado about Nothing,” reflects a mission to appeal to all ages. It also reflects the notion that they are not tied to any one theater; all the city is their stage. “[Artistic director] Dan Beaulieu and I were doing ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ in Prescott Park in 2012,” she says.“We thought that no one had committed to doing Shakespeare on the Seacoast yearround, and we saw this as a giant opportunity.” Kevin Condardo came on board as managing director of Seven Stages in 2013.“We are dedicated to welcoming the entire community to Shakespeare,” he says. “Chrissie is integral to this, and she goes out of her way to know and welcome everyone. When her name is attached to something, people know it’s worth being a part of.” In fall and winter, Seven Stages presents ShakesBEERience, reading Shakespeare’s plays among the bricks and beams of The Press Room. It’s part
of their mission to bring the bard to the masses. “Accessibility is a huge part of what we do,” Penney says. “People see Shakespeare as something up high and it’s not. He was writing for the people, and that gets lost in our culture. As does anything old.” Making the old new requires creativity. Says Beaulieu of Penney: “She thinks outside the box, is wildly creative and leads with her heart.” Penney’s push to reinvent and expand is evident in her own work, as well. In 2014 she directed her first main-stage event for Stage Force with the “Sharp Dressed Men Trilogy.” In March, Penney will headline the Stage Force production of Tennessee Williams’ “Night of the Iguana” at the Kittery Community Center. Directed by Stephens, Penney predicts that her Maxine and co-star Matthew Delamater’s Reverend Shannon will require an emotional all-in — cast, director and audience. You can’t walk far in Portsmouth without coming upon a space where Penney has performed, produced or directed. Seeing the old with new eyes, inviting new perspectives, and weaving disparate pieces and places together is what allows her to grow. It’s this cultural foraging that makes CP click. “How interesting is a garden with only one flower?” she remarks. p
ShakesBEERience To get a taste of Christine Penney’s work in the local theatre community, check out ShakesBEERience. Season Three Line-up: • Sept. 22, 2014: “King John” directed by Dan Beaulieu • Oct. 20, 2014: “Macbeth” directed by Kevin Condardo • Nov. 24, 2014: “The Merry Wives Of Windsor,” directed by Andrew Codispoti • Jan. 26, 2015: “Troilus & Cressida” directed by Geoffrey Pingree • Feb. 23, 2015: “Hamlet” directed by Christine Penney The Press Room, 55 Daniel St., Portsmouth 7stagesshakespeare.org
Top 10 Fall Concerts
Here are 10 shows not to miss this fall — because the local music scene is a real-life social network that you can be a part of. Know what I’m saying?
By Chris Hislop
Shango The Dance Hall, Kittery, Maine, Oct. 24 The ultimate in local afrobeat. Like Fela Kuti? You’ll love Shango. Not sure who Fela Kuti is? You’ll love Shango. Do you like shakin’ it like you just don’t care? You’ll love Shango. Shango. M’kay?
Chris Klaxton CD Release Celebration
Dead Winter Carpenters The Stone Church, Newmarket, Oct. 9 An old-timey string band with contemporary Americana edge.They hail from California; let’s give ’em an excuse to love the East Coast.
Roy Zimmerman Tribute Night Sonny’s Tavern, Dover, Oct. 17 Roy Zimmerman is one of the best political satire singer-songwriters on the planet. He’s made pals with local band the Soggy Po’ Boys, who covered his tune “Dick Cheney” on their debut album.The Po’ Boys will pay tribute to Zimmerman on this special night.
Twiddle The Stone Church, Newmarket, Oct. 17 Admittedly, I don’t understand the whole “jam” scene.There are bands that I like that exist in said “jam” bucket, and there are great moments that stem from “jamming.”Twiddle is considered a “jam” band.The first time Twiddle played the Stone Church back in 2007 my jaw hit the floor. I’ve been dragging it along ever since.
The Dance Hall, Kittery, Maine, Oct. 25 You might as well just camp out in front of The Dance Hall to assure back-to-back nights of musical bliss. Last winter, local trumpeter Chris Klaxton invited an incredible band of his friends from Miami to the Seacoast.They recorded an album of his original compositions/arrangements and will release the final product on this night. And, while the band is in town, they’ll record a follow-up.
Mike and Ruthy The Music Hall Loft, Portsmouth, Nov. 8 Much different than The Pretty Reckless, but oh, so mighty fine. Mike and Ruthy Merenda are making their way back to Portsmouth for a homecoming gig of their own (Mike is from Durham). If you’re a fan of beautiful acoustic music and lush vocal harmonies, this is where you want to be.
The Pretty Reckless Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Nov. 7 It’s local rock heroes Jamie Perkins and Mark Damon! They’re still hanging out with that Gossip Girl,Taylor Momsen! They’re still touring the world, belting out their brand of contemporary rock anthems! They’re making a stop on their home turf! Yay!
Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra The Music Hall, Portsmouth, Nov. 9 Remember when I said I didn’t know anything about the “jam” world but had found a jam band that left me digging around on the floor for my jaw? Well, I don’t know much about classical music either, but boy do I love me some PSO magic. I never walk away from one of their performances with my mind fully intact.They’re a local treasure that you should seek out.
Peter Rowan The Press Room, Portsmouth, Nov. 13 The word “legend” is tossed around pretty liberally these days. In regards to Peter Rowan, the word is justified. He is a legendary bluegrass/ country musician who is deeply connected to much of American roots music history.You’d be hard-pressed to find him playing a smaller, more intimate space than The Press Room.
PMAC Concert of Thanksgiving Star Theatre at the Kittery Community Center, Nov. 21 Performances by the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center’s Adult Student Ensembles, including the Brewery Lane Big Band, New Horizons Band, Bluegrass Band, Flute Choir, Blues Band, Jazz Ensembles and more. Free admission with donation of a non-perishable food item for End 68 Hours of Hunger. I’m thankful for PMAC, I’m thankful for music, and I appreciate helping others in need. Here’s to all of the above! thesquarenh.com
Fall/Winter Events Prescott Park Chili Cook-Off and NH Fall Festival
York beach. yorkharvest.com
October 11 Sample some of the best chili the Seacoast has to offer at Strawbery Banke Museum’s Puddle Dock. Meanwhile, Strawbery Banke will present a traditional New England country fair complete with crafts, demonstrations, farm animals, garden tours and special autumn activities. prescottpark.org strawberybanke.org
Ghosts on the Banke
NH Film Festival
October 25 Sample fine craft beers from dozens of regional breweries and enjoy food and live music on the grounds of the Redhook Ale Brewery. Proceeds benefit the Prescott Park Arts Festival. prescottpark.org
October 16-19 Featuring film screenings, special guests, workshops, panel discussions, festival parties, and an awards ceremony.The events take place at The Music Hall and other downtown venues. nhfilmfestival.com.
October 24 & 25 Go trick or treating back in time at Stawbery Banke.You’ll be greeted by sea captains, 17th century shop keepers and even pirates as you gather goodies from historical homes. strawberybanke.org
New Hampshire Brew Fest
30th Annual York Harvest Fest October 18 Horse and wagon rides, pumpkin strolls, pony rides and more only a walking distance from the scenic
Weekends in October Get your fright on at DeMeritt Hill Farm’s award-winning haunted attraction. hauntedoverload.com
Portsmouth Halloween Parade October 31 Throw on a costume and join in the march through downtown Portsmouth, or just come as a spectator and watch the freak show pass by. spookyportsmouth.com
Lady Luck Burlesque Halloween Spooktacular Celebrate Halloween with the Seacoast’s favorite burlesque troupe. www.seacoastrep.org
Nancy Hill Poetry Celebration November 5-9 The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program presents a city-wide celebration of poetry and art. pplp.org
Restaurant Week Portsmouth November 6-15 For 10 days, participating Seacoast restaurants offer special three-course, prix-fixe menus at bargain prices for lunch and dinner. portsmouthchamber.org
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October 20 No stranger to the New York Times’ best-seller list, Janet Evanovich has sold more than 75 million books and has become one of the defining mystery novelists. She comes to The Music Hall to talk to NHPR host Virginia Prescott about her latest book in the Fox & O’Hare series, “The Job.” themusichall.org
Lighting of the Nubble November 29 Gather around York Beach’s Nubble as we garnish the lighthouse with holiday lights. Enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, carols and even take pictures with Santa Claus. gatewaytomaine.org
35th Annual Candlelight Stroll Weekends throughout December Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through three centuries of history as the village welcomes the season with winter decorations, holiday entertainment and much more. strawberybanke.org
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Players’ Ring Presents: A Christmas Carol December 6-23 The seasonal favorite returns to the Players’ Ring for the 22nd year. playersring.org
Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra December 2-3 The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra presents “Family Holiday Pops,” a collection of holiday-themed songs the whole family will enjoy. Book your tickets early for this popular event. themusichall.org
Portsmouth Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting December 6 Featuring music in Market Square at 5 p.m., the tree lighting at 5:30 and a parade down Islington Street and through Market Square starting at 6. cityofportsmouth.com
York Fesival of Lights December 6 York Village celebrates the holiday season with caroling, church suppers and more as the winter parade marches throughout the town. Even Santa will be there! yorkparksandrec.org
Button Factory Open Studio December 6-7 Artists and craftspeople open up their studio doors at the Button Factory on Islington Street to offer locally made holiday gifts galore. buttonfactorystudios.com
First Night Portsmouth December 31 Celebrate the countdown to the New Year with music, dancing, food, fireworks, ice sculptures and indoor and outdoor activities and performances throughout downtown. proportsmouth.org
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Good Eats! 7th Settlement Brewery
Epoch Restaurant and Bar
The Oar House
BREW PUB 47 Washington St., Dover; (603) 373-1001; 7thsettlement.com — A Community Supported Brewery (CSB) serving their own beer as well as an interesting and ever-changing menu with a big emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients. A late night menu is also offered.
NEW AMERICAN 2 Pine St., Exeter; (603) 772-5901; theexeterinn.com — Fine dining restaurant featuring creative New England cuisine as well as an array of internationally inspired dishes.
SEAFOOD/AMERICAN 55 Ceres St., Portsmouth; (603) 436-4025; portsmouthoarhouse.com — Fine dining featuring seafood served in a maritime setting. Waterfront deck in summer with live music (inside) Thursdays-Saturdays. Lunch and dinner.
INDIAN 80 Hanover St., Portsmouth; (603) 427-2959; shalimarindia.com — Shalimar has been serving authentic cuisine in the style of Northern India since 1992. They are known for their savory tandoori oven dishes and some exotic curries.
900 Degrees PIZZERIA 24 Calef Hwy., Brickyard Sq., Epping; (603) 734-2809; 50 Dow St., Manchester; (603) 641-0900; 900degrees.com — Authentic Neapolitan thin crust pizza.
Black Trumpet Bistro INTERNATIONAL 29 Ceres St., Portsmouth; (603) 431-0887; blacktrumpetbistro.com — Winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.
Brazo LATIN 75 Pleasant St., Portsmouth; (603) 431-0050; brazorestaurant.com –– Features an inventive Latin take on food.
BRGR Bar AMERICAN 34 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth; (603) 294-0902; brgr-bar.com –– The latest restaurant from restaurateur Phelps (Dieck) Craig. Serving thoughtfully prepared, unique creations from appetizers to salads, burgers and 2014 Best of NH Editor’s Pick adult milkshakes. This is a new kind of burger joint.
Cava TAPAS 10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth; (603) 319-1575; cavatapasandwinebar. com — Serving modern and classic Mediterranean cuisine.
Cure AMERICAN 189 State St., Portsmouth; (603) 427-8258; curerestaurant-portsmouth.com — A chef-owned restaurant serving upscale American comfort food. Lunch is served Thursday-Saturday. Dinner is served nightly. Closed Sunday.
Demeters Steakhouse steakhouse 3612 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth; (603) 7666-0001; demeterssteakhouse.com — Upscale classic steakhouse also serving seafood.
The Holy Grail IRISH PUB 64 Main St., Epping; (603) 6799559; theholygrailpub.com — Located in the converted former St. Joseph’s church. The menu is typical pub-style food, but all dishes are made from fresh ingredients, especially the fish.
Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café SEAFOOD 150 Congress St., Portsmouth; (603) 766-3474; jumpinjays.com — Fresh local and exotic fish.
The Kitchen cafe 171 Islington St., Portsmouth; (603) 319-8630; thekitchennh.com — Featuring a huge list of signature sandwiches, burgers, pasta, “haute dawgs,” flatbread pizzas, salads and “spudsters,” deep fried mashed potato cones served with your choice of dipping sauces.
Las Olas Taqueria MEXICAN 30 Portsmouth Ave., Exeter; (603) 418-8901; 356 Lafayette Rd., Hampton; (603) 967-4880; lasolastaqueria.com — The usual taqueria menu with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options as well. Beer is also served.
The Library Restaurant steakhouse 401 State St., Portsmouth; (603) 431-5202; libraryrestaurant.com — Classic steak house that exudes an atmosphere of timeless elegance.
Moxy TAPAS 106 Penhallow St., Portsmouth; (603) 319-8178; moxyrestaurant.com — A modern American tapas restaurant that focuses on small plates meant for sharing. You’ll find plenty of NH and New England ingredients on the menu.
Poco’s Bow Street Cantina TEX-MEX 37 Bow St., Portsmouth; (603) 431-5967; pocosbowstreetcantina.com — Upscale yet comfortable bistro dining features Tex-Mex and Cuban specialties made from scratch. Waterfront and deck dining.
Old Salt Restaurant at Lamie’s Inn AMERICAN 490 Lafayette Rd., Hampton; (603) 926-8322; oldsaltnh.com — Local landmark and favorite with a menu that is sure to offer something for everyone. Located in a historic 1740 home.
Orchard Street Chop Shop STEAKHOUSE 1 Orchard St., Dover; (603) 749-0006; orchardstreetchopshop.com — Chicago-style steakhouse with lots of comfort foods and a protein-packed menu. Wine list features Napa vineyards. Cuban-style lounge.
Ristorante Massimo Italian 59 Penhallow St., Portsmouth; (603) 436-4000; ristorantemassimo. com — Elegant ristorante Italiano with a warm ambiance.
Ronaldo’s Italian 69 Lafayette Rd., North Hampton; (603) 964-5064; ronaldosrest.com — Specialties include Ronaldo’s Festival, a platter of Italian favorites: veal sausage, meatballs and chicken. Italian entrées fill the menu, including highlights such as scallop and lobster casserole.
Rudi’s Portsmouth AMERICAN/WINE BAR 20 High St., Portsmouth; (603) 430-7834; rudisportsmouth. com —Upscale contemporary American dining in downtown Portsmouth. Featuring produce from local farms and fresh local seafood for both lunch and dinner. Main dishes are simple and expertly prepared. Enjoy fine wine in the large wine bar area.
Savory Square Bistro bistro 32 Depot Sq., Hampton; (603) 926-2202; chezboucher.com — Chef Ron Boucher has opened Savory Square Bistro at his culinary school in Hampton.
Shio Japanese Restaurant JAPANESE 2454 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth; (603) 319-1638; shiorestaurant. com — Sushi and sashimi fans will love Shio. The sushi bar serves traditional sushi and sashimi favorites plus a large variety of Maki. Make sure you check the specials menu for the latest creations.
Surf Restaurant SEAFOOD 207 Main St., Nashua; (603) 595-9293; 99 Bow St., Portsmouth; (603) 334-9855; surfseafood.com — Elegant fresh fish restaurant created by Chef Michael Buckley. Surf Sushi is located in the same building as the Portsmouth location.
Tavola ITALIAN 95 Brewery Ln., Portsmouth; (603) 427-5010; tavolaitalian.com — Nice little Italian restaurant tucked away from the downtown Portsmouth area. Closed Tuesdays.
Three Chimneys Inn AMERICAN 17 Newmarket Rd., Durham; (603) 868-7800; threechimneysinn. com — Gourmet dining in The Maples or Coppers dining room, with authentic Colonial atmosphere. Try a signature entrée of Jefferson fried chicken, buttermilk mashed potatoes and peas with maple bourbon cream sauce. More informal dining is available in the ffrost Sawyer Tavern.
WHYM Craft Beer Café Tavern 3548 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth; (603) 501-0478; whymportsmouth. wordpress.com — A smaller but excellent menu where many of the items feature beer in some part of the cooking process. WHYM (stands for wheat, hops, yeast and malt) is known for its outstanding craft beer selection including a number of local brews.
Every issue of The Square contains a special DIY surprise prize! And here it is ...
See next page for details thesquarenh.com
. Fall 2014
This street scene from Portsmouth, retrieved from the Library of Congress Archives, was shot in September 1940 by photographer Walter Payton. Any idea where this row of service stations might have been situated? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page: facebook.com/thesquarenh.
(Find out what’s in the square)
. Fall 2014
The surprise prize on the other side of this page is the perfect companion for you to take to the Portsmouth Halloween Parade. (You can name it “Trevor.”) Or you could just allow it to perch on your finger while watching a Creature Feature at the Seacoast Rep’s Let’s “B” Reel. So, what is it? To find out, visit TheSquareNH.com and look up Squareogami instructions. Cut along the dotted lines and then start folding.
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When leaves turn gold and the air is crisp, why not party outside? J.M. Hirsch shows you how it's done.
FairPoint counting on big ■ LABOR
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VOL . 36, NO. 15, $1.7 5
Now that Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed Senate Bill 215 into law, New Hamp shire businesses are mulling the possibility of converting to benef its corporation status , with some active ly pursuing the change. Benefits corporation s – or B corps for short – are busin two fiduciary purpo esses that have ses: making money and pursuing a social or enviro nmental goal. Whether it be progr ams such as increased benefits for employees or just simply a more green business model, these business have sion to shift their made the decifocus away from simply making a profit. Indeed, it would allow shareholders B CORPORATION, PAGE 14
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ing on reducing labor costs throu gh major the benefits and wage last three years concessions in and – despite labor ne- off gotiations with writing more than $1 its unions in order billion in debt come financially to be- Chapter through stable 11 bankruptcy reorganization The unions have . still owes more – responded by than it has. ening to strike FairPoint, accord , perhaps as soon threating to a BY BOB SAND as Aug. made 2, when the curren ERS in March to invest presentation it t contract expire ors, wants to turn Point has said that s. Fair- its define it would keep opera d benefit pensi Despite cutting during any work on plan into ting 401(k) a fifth of its workf a stoppage. plan, discontinue since emerging orce Such a stalem post-r from bankruptcy etirement health benefits ate could in 2011, mine FairPoint Comm for current emplo unications is still the region’s prima further under- its financial yees, cut obliga count- pany. ry FairPoint has opera phone com- ers in the future tions if it lays off work, and change work ted at a loss for rules “to CO NTE NTS FAIRPOINT, PAGE 15 Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Health . . . . . . . . . . . .25 . Q&A: ‘RECOVERING In Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . SPEEDING UP .4 . 4 Calendar . . . . . . . . POLITICIAN’ . . .27 . 27 The Bottom Line . . . . . ORGA NIZA .8 The Latest. . . . . . . TIONAL CHANGE WAYNE KING . . .28 . 28 PAGE 21 N.H. Opinions . . . . . . .16 PAGE 3 16 Flotsam & Jetsam . . . .30 About Town . . . . . . . . .18 HEALTH FACILITIE 18 Last Word . . . . . . S FACE . . . .31 .
Wage, benefit cost s at heart of contrac t negotiations
More photos inside
TOKOS Working with your hands is even more relevant today with the rise of the “maker movement.” As Mark Hatch writes book, “The Make in r Movement Manif his “making is funda esto,” mental to what it means to be human.” A day spent on one’s feet in a manu ing plant is much facturdifferent than a day spent in an office behin da choice, other times desk. Sometimes it’s by it’s not, but regard the people doing it should be recogn less, and celebrated. ized At D.D. Bean & Sons Co. in Jaffrey , they D.D. BEAN, PAGE 12
SHIRE BUSI N
Businesses weigh conversion under B Corporation law
FOLIAGE COLOR GUARD A FALL YARD PARTY
Follow our veteran bikers (who happen to be vets) on a bitter-sweet tour of autumn splendor
N E W H A M P S H I R E M AG A Z I N E o cto b e r 2 01 4
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Mark and Delcie Bean, who own D.D. Bean & Sons in Jaffrey with their brother Christopher. The company has been manufacturin g matchbooks at the facility since 1938. ■ SOCIAL IMPACT (Photos by Cynthia Tokos) BY MELISSA PROULX
D.D. Bean has been like family to generations of wor ker
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Published on Oct 1, 2014