San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz to Speak in Holyoke on April 25
Jan24

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz to Speak in Holyoke on April 25

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz,  will visit the Pioneer Valley and make a stop on April 25 at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke to speak about the transformation of her city and Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Holyoke City Councilor Jossie Valentin, who volunteered as a relief worker in Puerto Rico for three weeks in November and organized the event, said she’ll be interviewing...

Read More
Western Mass Dreamers Fight for Immigrant Rights in D.C.
Jan23

Western Mass Dreamers Fight for Immigrant Rights in D.C.

Eduardo Samaniego, a 25-year-old Hampshire College student and undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was one of hundreds of thousands of people to travel to Washington D.C. this past week to advocate for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Samaniego said he hopes Democrats would “continue to stay strong and represent the best values and best traditions of this country” by supporting the DREAM Act, which...

Read More
In Uncertain Political Climate, Democratic Challengers Hope to Unseat Popular Gov. Baker
Jan22

In Uncertain Political Climate, Democratic Challengers Hope to Unseat Popular Gov. Baker

By most accounts, Gov. Charlie Baker is popular with the people of Massachusetts despite being a Republican in a state that’s known to be one of the bluest in the country. Baker’s popularity has survived his mediocre environmental record and his bill mandating state cooperation with federal immigration officers, but we have yet to see whether what looks to be a growing Democratic wave election might knock him off his perch. Three...

Read More
Jewish Day School in Northampton to Hold First ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ Saturday
Jan18

Jewish Day School in Northampton to Hold First ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ Saturday

The Lander-Grinspoon Academy, a K-6 Jewish day school in Northampton, is celebrating the Jewish ceremony of Havdallah with music and a Drag Queen Story Hour featuring local drag queen Jenayah De Rosario this Saturday on Jan. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. “I hope that the children come away feeling like they’re more comfortable with people who are different than they are, and also to participate in Havdallah with us,” Ellen Frank, executive...

Read More
Northampton Resident Challenges Mayor to Race Over Plastic Bag Ban
Jan17

Northampton Resident Challenges Mayor to Race Over Plastic Bag Ban

Northampton’s two-year-old plastic bag ban has an outspoken opponent in McDonald House resident John Gibney, who gets around using a cane. Gibney, who wrote the Advocate an email this week with the subject “paper bags suck,” challenged Mayor David Narkewicz and members of the City Council to a race from State Street Fruit Store to City Hall. He would use plastic bags and the officials could use paper. “I will provide the canes,” he...

Read More
Henry Rollins on Travel, Photography, and Running for President
Jan16

Henry Rollins on Travel, Photography, and Running for President

Henry Rollins embodies the punk ethos in more ways than one — he’s well known for his role as vocalist for 1980s hardcore punk band, Black Flag, and he’s also an actor, orator, photographer, writer, television and radio host, as well as a comedian. Rollins is stopping by the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Jan. 19 during his Travel Slideshow tour — an intimate evening of stories showcasing photos he’s taken across the...

Read More
OroborO’s Laughing Death is an Impact Crater of Hardcore Punk and Math Rock
Jan16

OroborO’s Laughing Death is an Impact Crater of Hardcore Punk and Math Rock

Amherst-based OroborO’s debut album, Laughing Death, is a furiously upbeat apocalyptic vision of doom metal, hardcore punk, math rock, and jazzy psychedelia with a wry dark sense of humor that’s like going for a quaint and pleasant stroll while sirens wail and mushroom cloud explosions dot the horizon. OroborO consists of Nate Kellogg (guitars and synth), Jordan Frick (drums), Emily Carter (vocals), and Spencer Gusha (bass), and plays...

Read More
Trump Rhetoric Simmers During MLK Event
Jan15

Trump Rhetoric Simmers During MLK Event

Hundreds of the people gathered in the auditorium of the MassMutual to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his ideals to fight against racial injustice on Jan. 15 in downtown Springfield. Young musicians from the Community Music School of Springfield performed orchestral and jazz music; there were interpretive dancers from the Dramatic Reaching Everyone’s Artistic Mentality, and gospel music performed by the...

Read More
Panhandlers Find Loophole in Holyoke Law
Jan08

Panhandlers Find Loophole in Holyoke Law

Matt LeBlanc stood near the Interstate 391 exit near High Street in Holyoke, holding a sign that read, “Homeless vet — hungry and cold” while heavy snowfall rained down in the frigid afternoon of Jan. 4. LeBlanc started panhandling at around 10:30 a.m. and by 1 p.m. had only made $1. On Nov. 21,  Holyoke City Council voted unanimously, 12-0, to adopt a state ordinance that would fine panhandlers up to $50. According to Chapter 85,...

Read More
Editorial: Lawsuit may help recovery of those affected by opioid addiction
Jan08

Editorial: Lawsuit may help recovery of those affected by opioid addiction

Treating America’s opioid addiction crisis is, tragically, creating a growth industry that provides long-term intervention and treatment for millions of our fellow citizens. But who is going to pay the tab? Families? Insurance companies? State, local and federal governments? Big Pharma has a responsibility and will join the list, especially if many of the nation’s cities and states have their way, in court. Greenfield has become the...

Read More
Iron Horse Entertainment Group Marketing Director Jim Neill Leaves For DSP Shows
Jan03

Iron Horse Entertainment Group Marketing Director Jim Neill Leaves For DSP Shows

For more than a decade, Jim Neill has worked as the marketing director of the Iron Horse Entertainment Group (IHEG),  promoting shows featuring local and national acts, acting as a spokesperson for the venue group, a media liaison, and one of the most prominent faces of IHEG. Neill recently left IHEG to become director of marketing for Ithaca, N.Y.,-based DSP Shows’ Northampton office. He didn’t apply for the job, but was asked to...

Read More
Changing Lives While Living With Chronic Illness
Jan02

Changing Lives While Living With Chronic Illness

Erica Verrillo of Whatley has written more than half a dozen books and launched a non-profit national organization, all while being partially bedridden for the past three decades. Verillo has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), a chronic and fluctuating neurological disease characterized by extreme exhaustion, muscle weakness, sensitivity to pain, confusion, forgetfulness, a weak immune system, and a lack of concentration. In 1998,...

Read More
Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills
Jan02

Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills

This past year Winterpills member and Northampton-based singer-songwriter Phillip B. Price remastered a dozen of his past solo albums recorded from 1988 to 2004, which had never seen the light of day. With a back catalogue of more than a hundred songs to choose from, Price released his own hand picked greatest hits collection called, Without Your Love I’d Be Nowhere At All: 1988- 2004. This is a 39-song double record that’s staggering...

Read More
Fat freezing: Non-surgical process said to eliminate flab that’s hard to lose
Jan02

Fat freezing: Non-surgical process said to eliminate flab that’s hard to lose

There is a way to actually to get rid of your fat while lying down. It’s a method called CoolSculpting and it’s a machine connected to a hose with a plastic suction cup that hums as it vacuums up and freezes fat. Patients recline on a table as the cold kills the fat cells, without harming the surrounding tissue, says Dr. Katherine White in Northampton, who has had a dermatology practice in the area for over a decade. It’s an...

Read More

va01thurs

THURSDAY 1/4 MUSIC Luke Baillargeon: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Live Italian music. Free. The Mick, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke. 413-532-1800. info@logcabin-delaney.com. Thursday Night Karaoke: 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. Pulaski Club, 79 Maple St., Easthampton. STAGE/FILM/DANCE Screenagers: Viewing and Moderated Discussion: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Northampton Prevention Coalition hosts viewing of documentary. Moderated discussion to follow....

Read More
Behold! True Genre-Benders
Dec26

Behold! True Genre-Benders

Holyoke-based Behold! True Believers combines genres that you wouldn’t initially think would pair well together — pop punk, alternative rock, psychedelic pop, doo-wop, and experimental rock. This synthesis of influences works surprising well on the sextet’s recent 11-track album, Broken Bow, released on Nov. 21. The band is composed of Aaron Borucki (songwriting, guitars, synths, programming, percussion, vocals), Mike Benoit (drums,...

Read More
‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’
Dec18

‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’

Joe Louis Walker has a voice out of classic soul and blues guitar chops that were inspired by some of the greats — B.B. King, Muddy Waters, the list goes on. Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in San Francisco playing blues before entering into the psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s, rooming with blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and hanging out with the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. He...

Read More
Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage
Dec04

Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage

Northampton-based funk sextet Fat Bradley’s new self-titled five-song extended play (EP) recording is an acid jazz fusion of instrumental kaleidoscopic funky rock that grooves along with frantic energy and a sense of reckless abandon that’s downright entertaining. This is virtuosic showmanship that’ll get you jumping. Fat Bradley is comprised of Jeff Ritterson (keys), Tyler Silva (drums), Matt Postel (bass), Josh Hirst (guitar), Kat...

Read More
Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview
Dec04

Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview

Winter 2018 in the Pioneer Valley is bursting at the seams with interesting cultural and artistic events. Whether that’s checking out the latest art exhibit at MASSMoca or seeing a performance by world renowned musicians. This is just a snippet of what’s taking place across the four counties of Western Mass from early December until late March. The Queen of Alt-Country Alternative country singer-songwriter Neko Case is a tour de...

Read More
Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee gets Giving Tuesday boost from huge charity
Nov27

Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee gets Giving Tuesday boost from huge charity

When Andrea Marian, executive director of Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee, first read an email offering to match the funds the pantry raises over Facebook this Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28, she thought it was a spam message. “We got an email from Facebook saying it was happening,” she said. “At first I didn’t believe it.” The email turned out to be a legitimate communiqué from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which...

Read More
Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options
Nov27

Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options

It’s been more than two years, since former Valley Advocate staff writer Amanda Drane wrote an article about residents in the Mason Square neighborhood of Springfield who rallied together, collecting 1,300 grocery receipts totaling more than $50,000, to entice businesses to build a grocery store in the community. But that hasn’t happened yet. Organizers with Gardening the Community and the Food Policy Council in the city of...

Read More
Hammydown’s “Pizzaface” a dose of slacker rock nostalgia
Nov27

Hammydown’s “Pizzaface” a dose of slacker rock nostalgia

Northampton-based garage pop and indie rock trio Hammydown excels at tapping into youthful angst with charming, sarcastic glee on its debut five-song extended play recording, “Pizzaface,” released July 21. At its heart, Pizzaface is a record about dual identities and hidden personas — the disgruntled demeanor of working a shitty day job is often masked by a smiling face. This is a record that speaks in a universal language about deep...

Read More
The Advocate Guide to Open Mics in the Pioneer Valley!
Nov20

The Advocate Guide to Open Mics in the Pioneer Valley!

The Pioneer Valley is home not only to a bountiful music scene, but to dozens of open mics where artistic communities blossom. Open mics are places where the generational lines between artists blur while they’re jamming out to a bluesy ballad or talking about their favorite Beatles album. Open mics can be a mixed bag at times — you might hear a jaw dropping original song followed by one of worst renditions of your favorite song. But...

Read More
Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley
Nov20

Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley

A flaky crust, delicious filling, and a bite of nostalgia make pie the dessert of choice for many. Whether it’s pie with a damn fine cup of coffee or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, you’ll instantly be transported to sweet comfort heaven with just a bite … if it’s good pie, that is. At its worst, bad pie can be like a slap across the face, whether it’s nasty ass chemical pie (we’re looking at you McDonald’s) or pie that tastes like...

Read More
Klar’s ‘Paradise’ is Poetic and Fiery
Nov13

Klar’s ‘Paradise’ is Poetic and Fiery

Northampton-based singer-songwriter Jake Klar has undergone a metamorphosis from an acoustic driven folk artist to an alternative rock-poet who fuses psychedelic instrumentation with his knack for lyrical storytelling on his newest record, Until the Wild Fire Become Paradise, released on Oct. 20. Klar’s newest album sounds like all the best parts of The Basement Tapes era Bob Dylan, shoegaze rock a la Mazzy Star, and the alt-country...

Read More
Inside Art IV Review
Nov06

Inside Art IV Review

Many say that art is therapeutic; that it helps the artist reflect on their thoughts, actions and the world in which they live. But how does art impact someone who is incarcerated? “Inside Art IV,” now on display at Art Space in Greenfield displays photography and poetry by people incarcerated at the Franklin County Jail. This is the fourth year that Joan O’Beirne, a professor of photography at Greenfield Community College, has taught...

Read More
Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide
Nov01

Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide

Justin Orwat, 46 of Springfield, has been charged with aggravated murder and first degree arson as a result of a previously reported house fire on the morning of Oct. 27 in Townshend, Vermont. Orwat is currently being held at the Hampden County Jail in Ludlow for unrelated criminal charges. The Vermont State Police and the Windham County State Attorney’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Orwat after the Office of the Chief...

Read More
Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?
Oct23

Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?

Jim Emerson, 53, wakes up at 5 a.m. three or four days out of the work week to make the commute from his home in Wilbraham to Boston. He’s typically out the door around 5:45 a.m. and is on the road driving east on the Massachusetts Turnpike for 50 minutes in his 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid to catch an hour-and-a-half-long train ride from Worcester. “I’ve traveled for work nationally and internationally. I’ve seen rail systems and transit...

Read More
Progressive Candidates Storm Greenfield
Oct16

Progressive Candidates Storm Greenfield

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Precinct 8 candidate Kelly Dixon. Following the failure over the summer of a safe city ordinance in Greenfield, which would have offered additional support and protection to residents regardless of immigration status, progressive Democratic candidates are making a run at the town council. If they sweep the Nov. 7 election, meaning candidates are elected to two...

Read More
LuxDeluxe’s Let’s Do Lunch is a bite of pure nostalgia
Oct16

LuxDeluxe’s Let’s Do Lunch is a bite of pure nostalgia

Northampton-based indie rock band LuxDeluxe’s newest 12-track record, Let’s Do Lunch, is a meditation on crafting the perfect two to three minute pop song. The group draws its influence from classic bands like the Beatles, NRBQ, and the Rolling Stones, and excels at crafting songs that sound like they’re off a late 1960s rock record that has just been unearthed from a time capsule. LuxDeluxe consists of lead singer Ned King, Jacob...

Read More
AmeRican Migration: Fleeing Devastation, Many Puerto Ricans Expected In Western Mass
Oct09

AmeRican Migration: Fleeing Devastation, Many Puerto Ricans Expected In Western Mass

These weren’t the circumstances in which Holyoke resident Israel Rivera had imagined he would be meeting his nieces — ages 13 and 17 — for the first time. Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, recently agreed to house his sister’s children after his sister Amarilis De Léom and her family endured devastation from Hurricane Maria on the island. They arrived on a flight to Teterboro, N.J., on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The trip down and back...

Read More
Sun Parade’s newest record an instant classic with local roots
Oct09

Sun Parade’s newest record an instant classic with local roots

Northampton-based psychedelic pop and garage grunge quintet, Sun Parade, delivers a hard rocking album that doesn’t skimp on delivering quiet moments of poignancy on its 12-track record, Shuggy Mtn. Breakdown, released on Oct. 12. Sun Parade consists of Chris Marlon Jennings (vocals, guitar), Jeff Lewis (vocals, guitar), Max Wareham (bass, vocals), Karl Helander (drums, vocals), and Eli Salus-Kleiner (keyboard). The band has its...

Read More
Zapping Depression
Oct02

Zapping Depression

Armené Margosian, 52, of Greenfield, sat waiting in a medical chair at Achieve TMS East’s Northampton office on Pleasant Street, her hands holding a pillow alongside her car keys. Her head was covered in a dark blue cap, while strapped into a metal, robotic-looking helmet. A magnetic pulse the machine delivered 36 times over the span of two seconds caused her right eye to twitch, but didn’t cause her any pain. Margosian is...

Read More
Between the Lines: Honoring Beloved Activist Jafet Robles
Sep25

Between the Lines: Honoring Beloved Activist Jafet Robles

At St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield more than 200 people mourned the loss of well-known and beloved activist and community leader Jafet Robles. Robles, 33, was involved with Neighbor to Neighbor and other groups with initiatives to end mass incarceration. For close to two hours the line of people stretching out the door was nearly constant as people made their way to the open casket with tears in their eyes. Robles was...

Read More
Mama’s Marmalade’s Goodbye, Black Velvet Reviewed
Sep25

Mama’s Marmalade’s Goodbye, Black Velvet Reviewed

Mama’s Marmalade is a burst of sunshine that makes dark clouds dissipate with the band’s lush vocal harmonies and jammy acoustic newgrass blend of mandolin, banjo, violin, bass, and guitar. On June 2, the Northampton-based bluegrass quintet released its debut 10-track album, Goodbye, Black Velvet, which evokes the feeling of a Sunday drive on a warm summer evening. The band consists of Rich Hennessy on banjo/vocals, Lily Sexton on...

Read More