Forgotten: Springfield’s Black History Is Nowhere In Sight
Jun05

Forgotten: Springfield’s Black History Is Nowhere In Sight

Springfield, Massachusetts, was a big abolitionist hub during the days of the Underground Railroad — not that many people know this.When talking about Massachusetts history, Western Mass isn’t well represented in historical texts — they’re more focused on Boston. And even less well represented is Pioneer Valley black history.Springfield, Massachusetts, was an early safe haven for refugees. In 1783, Massachusetts was one of the first...

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All Weed, Scant Politics: Extravaganja With Legal Pot
Apr30

All Weed, Scant Politics: Extravaganja With Legal Pot

At one point gathering in crowds and smoking weed was a radical thing. Extravaganja participants would congregate in groups to sit and watch bands play in the unforgiving sun, dust kicked up by the constant flow of excited stoners ready to revel in their forbidden fruit.With political winds bringing recreational marijuana to Massachusetts, the festival has transitioned from a party day to a business opportunity.Four years ago,...

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Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home
Apr10

Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home

Machakos is a city and county in Kenya. It’s a beautiful place. The large palms, and safari grass are strong and bright, the blue sky dominates the flat and open landscape. But the beauty of Machakos can be deceiving: poverty is a struggle many people face. Because money and time means survival, there are few resources to invest in the arts. It’s not to say that Machakos doesn’t appreciate creativity, there just often isn’t the space...

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WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN
Feb20

WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN

Wesley Jillson has been a part of the local metal music scene since the ’80s. He saw Western Mass area metal rise to national prominence in the ’90s, then fade away by 2010.At the fifth annual Promoterhead show at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence in early February, Jillson was standing at the highboy tables, talking with friends he’s met at metal shows and drinking a cocktail while Disguise the Curse was on stage. The scene has...

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Friday Folk: James Hill and Anne Janelle
Feb06

Friday Folk: James Hill and Anne Janelle

HeartstringsJames Hill and Anne Janelle are set to bless Vermont with their folk music this week. Winners of the Canadian Folk Music Award for traditional album of the year, Hill and Janelle focus on traditional folk with an interesting twist. The low sounds of Janelle’s cello provide a unique and refreshing complement to Hill’s twangy and high-pitched ukelele. What seems like an odd combination is actually their strength: Hill brings...

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On Exhibit: Judaicas by Marius Sznajderman
Feb06

On Exhibit: Judaicas by Marius Sznajderman

Meditating with MariusArtist Marius Sznajderman will be hosting his third solo art show at the Jewish Community of Amherst through April 30. Sznajderman focuses on art highlighting “judaicas,” or artwork that reflects and comments on Jewish life and culture. Sznajderman creates his judaicas through contemporary media like acrylics and ink on paper collage. Since the artist has lived in Spain and Venezuela, guests can expect artwork...

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