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Author reveals the cartoonist behind 'Archie'

LACONIA — Bob Montana, creator of "Archie" comics, was much more than a cartoonist, and the author of a new biography of the man focused on those other aspects of his life during a presentation and book-signing at the Belknap Mill on Oct. 23.

Carol Lee Anderson's book, published by the History Press, is entitled The New England Life of Cartoonist Bob Montana and she said she purposely avoided using original cartoons, although his family made some available.

Anderson told her audience that she wanted to present the story as a sort of history of the area, pointing out that the comic strip he created and continued drawing until his death in 1975 was filled with references to people and businesses in the Lakes Region, and the clothing reflected the styles of the time.

Drawing upon family interviews and private photographs, Anderson presented a portrait of the artist as a man who volunteered his time and talents to many causes, including the saving of the Belknap Mill where her program was taking place. She showed an unfinished cartoon he had created to support the Save the Mill project, initiated when the historic textile mill was in danger of being demolished to make way for newer buildings. There was no historic preservation agency at the time and Montana was among those at the forefront of the movement to preserve historic landmarks.

Anderson credited Montana's daughter, Lynn, and her siblings with providing access to the materials that showed who Bob Montana really was. Prior to her book, information on Bob Montana was limited to his having been a resident of Haverhill, Mass. Anderson noted that he lived in Haverhill for only three years and, while Archie's high school experiences were based on his own days as a student in Haverhill, many of the references in the comics were to people and places in the Meredith area, where he lived and raised his family.

Bob Montana was active in the community, starting a theatre group and filming a movie there, and he loved to share his talents with children. People in the audience agreed, many of them having met him as children and some had postcards and drawings he had given them.

Copies of Anderson's book are available at the Belknap Mill and from the History Press.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 08:36

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Early childhood educators’ conference utilizes ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

PLYMOUTH — Using a much-loved book "Where the Wild Things Are" for arts-based learning is the subject of a lively, participatory and fun Arts in Early Learning conference to be held on Saturday, November 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plymouth.

The conference is designed for early‑childhood educators (pre‑K to grade 2), librarians, teaching artists, pre‑school and child‑care administrators and care providers, as well as parents and grandparents.

Using visual arts, music, creative drama and movement, participants will explore how all kinds of activities flowing from one book can unlock self-expression and positive group dynamics, and advance language and literacy learning in preschools and elementary schools, libraries and child-care centers.

"While we'll use this familiar and wonderful book for the day's activities," notes lead trainer Deborah Stuart, "we'll also be looking at a wide range of books and stories that lend themselves to an arts-based approach to building both language and social skills."

Particular attention will be given to meeting the needs of children with developmental and learning differences and to connections to the Common Core.

Registration is $35 for the first registrant from a school, library, or center; reduced rates are offered for each additional registrant from the same site as well as for Arts Alliance members and students. Scholarships are available on request. Professional development credits are offered; the workshop has been approved for credits by the Child Care Licensing Bureau.

Deborah Stuart, who was the editor and contributing writer for Start with the Arts, is a folk musician who has worked with children for 40 years and is active around the country as a speaker, trainer and children's musician. She will be joined by Will Cabell, a professional puppeteer, actor, musician and educator, by dancer and movement educator Kelly Doremus Stuart, and by theater artist Richard Moses.

Morning snacks will be provided. Participants are asked to bring a lunch. Pre-registration for the conference is required; register online at www.aannh.org. For additional information, contact the Arts Alliance at 323-7302, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 08:31

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This November, write your novel at the Meredith Public Library

MEREDITH — This November, the Meredith Public Library will be hosting a variety of events as part of National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month - also known as NaNoWriMo - is an organization that "believes that your story matters." Founded in 1999 by freelance writer Chris Baty along with 20 of his friends, NaNoWriMo is both a challenge and a system of support. By signing up on their website, NaNoWriMo.org, participants are challenging themselves  to finish a  novel in one month.

An Adult Writer's Group will take place atthe library on the first three Thursdays in November (11/7, 11/14, 11/21) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. At the first meeting we will discuss how we want our group to function and decide whose work will be critiqued for the next meeting, when we'll be workshopping and discussing our progress so far. If we get enough interest after our third meeting during National Novel Writer's Month, we will meet monthly after that and have an online presence where we can submit and critique each other's work.
Youth writers age 18 and under, who can sign up for NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program at ywp.nanowrimo.org, will also have a chance to work on their first novel at the library. The Young Writer's Group will meet on the first three Wednesdays in November (11/6, 11/13, and 11/20) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This group will also focus on peer workshops, along with gaining valuable fiction skills, such as writing compelling characters and settings, establishing classic dramatic structure, and utilizing powerful, descriptive language.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 08:10

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Pitman's Hosting Halloween Party featuring LA East Blues Band

LACONIA — Pitman's Freight Room at 94 New Salem Street in Laconia has recovered from the arson fire and will host a Halloween Party featuring the LA East Blues Band on Thursday, October 31 at 8 p.m.

LA East has been one of New Hampshire's premiere blues bands for several decades. Throughout the years they have excited crowds, both with their own shows or as an opening act for a national Blues artist. The band rarely does shows anymore due to front man Arthur James' busy schedule. However the last several years has seen the band reunite at least once or twice during the year. Joining Arthur will be Ray Corliss on drums and Bill Fitzmaurice on bass.

''We opened for people like Richie Havens and Joe Perry of Aerosmith,'' says Corliss, who says LA East has been playing for over 30 years.

This year's reunion at Pitman's Freight Room is also a potluck, so everyone is encouraged to bring a dish.

Corliss says that he will have a Vista shopping cart at the venue and is encouraging people to bring non-perishable food items for distribution to local food pantries.

Costumes are also encouraged.

Admission is $12. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and Pitman's is a BYOB venue. For more information check www.pitmansfreightroom.com

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 07:59

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