Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer
Jan16

Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer

I recently got my first pay stub of the year. I was curious to see how the Republican tax plan would affect me, if at all, but it turns out that none of us will see the results until February. So stay tuned. One thing I did notice, however, is that (surprise!) my contribution to the health insurance plan is going up. Over the course of 2017, I paid $4,723.94 toward health insurance for my family, and this year it will top $4,800....

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Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down
Jan02

Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down

I’m in my mid-30s, and “getting fit” is something I think about more now. It took me a long time to come around on the idea of exercise for exercise sake — but it has become something that I actually enjoy (even if I don’t do it as often as I should). In middle school, if memory serves, I was literally the last person to finish our required “mile run” in gym class. I don’t remember my time, but I remember walking for most of the...

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Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …
Dec26

Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …

As we continue the Valley Advocate tradition of awarding halos to the good and horns to the bad in 2017, I reflect on the year’s ups and downs. It didn’t take long to realize that a lot of the “downs” had something in common – they originated with President (for now) Donald Trump. As the hands-down biggest horns-earner of 2017, Trump is getting his own special section for an extended airing of grievances. We don’t have the space to...

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Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option
Dec18

Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option

North Korea’s steps toward accelerating its nuclear program and testing its missiles has been truly horrifying. So has President Donald Trump’s response, with threats to release “fire and fury” upon North Korea. Nuclear devastation is one of the gravest threats we face as a species, as has long been pointed out by the likes of linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Albert Einstein, one of the incredibly irresponsible scientists who...

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Last Minute Gift Guide
Dec18

Last Minute Gift Guide

Well you’ve gone and done it again. Christmas is this weekend and your stockings hung by the chimney with care are going to empty unless you get moving. Fear not procrastinators! The Pioneer Valley is full of places to do your last minute shopping without breaking the bank. Read on for some gifts that you can run out and grab right now for $50 or less. Alcohol and Food If you’re shopping for a friend or a family member over 21 years...

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Editorial: There Goes the Internet
Dec11

Editorial: There Goes the Internet

Let me start by saying that I would avoid the internet if I could. It is creepy to think about huge corporations tracking each page I visit, and, potentially through my smartphone, actually physically tracking me wherever I go. Social media interactions are a far cry from person-to-person interactions. Even the information we get online is suspect and often biased. But the truth is that I can’t avoid it. Just as in the past our urban...

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Back Talk: Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes
Dec11

Back Talk: Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes Climate change skeptics...

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Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity
Dec04

Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity

During now-President Donald Trump’s hateful and divisive campaign, Northampton’s Human Rights Commission noted anecdotally how even in this Western Massachusetts community, there seemed to be an increase in racism, sexism, and anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump’s nationalistic and bullying rhetoric. Now, nearly one year into Trump’s hateful and divisive presidency, the commission is launching a campaign to bring people together and...

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Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad
Nov27

Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad

Each year, Gateway Regional High School in Huntington holds an event welcoming back alumni to share their experiences about college and post-graduate life. This year, however, the event was closed to one graduate: Marcelle LaBrecque, who spent 12 years in the Gateway Regional district, earned a degree in 2014, and is now living in New York City pursuing a career in musical theater. LaBrecque, who prefers being referred to as “they”...

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Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.
Nov20

Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.

Gun control. It’s a topic that rarely gets any traction at the federal level, even after the most devastating and horrific mass shootings. After the Sandy Hook shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children: nothing. After Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in American history when it happened in on June 12, 2016 (49 killed, two of whom had ties to the Pioneer Valley): nothing. Last month, less than a year and a...

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Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage
Nov15

Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage

In front of Northampton Market, employee Rilshad Azez shoos away potential customers as they pull into the lot. “No power,” he says. The mailman he welcomes, but he asks a question: “You didn’t bring the power?” “Sorry, not today,” is the answer. As Azez enjoys a cigarette, he watches cars at the intersection in front of the store go by. The traffic light is out, but the cars are moving...

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The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump
Nov13

The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump

Last week featured two news stories that rocked the political landscape in this country. The first was that Democrats and progressive candidates all but swept the Nov. 7 elections from coast to coast, and the second was that Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of pedophilia. That combination makes the special election for the Alabama Senate, which will take place only weeks from now on Dec. 12, a real shot...

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STAFF PICKS: Jazz, Folk, Funk, and Tattoos for a Cause
Nov13

STAFF PICKS: Jazz, Folk, Funk, and Tattoos for a Cause

Home Brewed Jazz // SATURDAY Hadley singer-songwriter Jacki Odess-Gillett already has a jazz album under her belt. In 2015, she recorded 10 original jazz tunes with local jazz masters, including Charles Neville, Miro Sprague, Dave Wertman (now deceased), and Billy Arnold. Now she’s recording her second with the same crew, and Dave Picci on bass. To celebrate the project, they are putting on a concert at Hawks and Reed at 2 p.m....

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Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo
Nov06

Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the #metoo tweets and posts make their way through my social media feeds, and I’ve read the articles and stories, mostly from women, about how they have been subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. They bring about mixed emotions in me: sadness that so many close friends and family members have been touched by abuse; anger at the depths to which sexual harassment is embedded in our society;...

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Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley
Nov06

Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley

Ted Neeley is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. But he does play one in the extremely popular show and accompanying 1973 movie Jesus Christ Superstar. The show went from being protested in the streets to one of the biggest Broadway sensations, touring around the world. Neeley still plays the part decades later, and participates in talkbacks at screenings of the film, but an upcoming event at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield this...

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Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In
Nov06

Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. A Few (Satirical) Words from A. Dolfhit Ler The alt-right gets a bad rap from the...

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Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus
Nov06

Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Adriana Martinez and Octavio Guillen got engaged to be married when they were both 15 years old. But they kept delaying a more complete unification for 67 years. At last, when they were 82, they celebrated their wedding and pledged their vows to each other. Are there comparable situations in your life, Aries? The coming months will be a favorable time to make deeper commitments. At least some of your reasons...

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Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too
Oct30

Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too

November has rolled around again, and no it’s not a presidential election year. But there are important elections both here and in other parts of the country this week you should be paying attention to. Since Donald Trump was elected president just about a year ago (ugh), he has tried to ban Muslims from coming into the country, fired his own FBI director because of a growing investigation into his campaign’s Russian connection,...

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Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle
Oct30

Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle

As I wait for Brattleboro artist Joan O’Beirne to arrive at her exhibit “The Scarf,” showing now through Feb. 11 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, curator Mara Williams brings a museum guest into the showroom. She gestures to the (at least) 12-foot orange weave of cables winding its way down from an elevated chair to the floor on one side of the room. Williams explains, “she knitted it entirely out of extension cords.”...

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STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s
Oct23

STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s

A Haunted Evening at Gateway City Arts // SATURDAY The weekend before Halloween is usually when all the fun happens. The Valley is full of events going on, and this just happens to be one of them. ​There will be many treats in store. Halloween-inspired cocktails and drinks, yummy food available from The Bistro at Gateway City Arts, and of course live music by jazzy indie rock duo, The Greys. They will be performing a cauldron full of...

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Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant
Oct19

Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant

In an extraordinary step, the First Congregational Church in Amherst is providing physical sanctuary to undocumented immigrant Lucio Perez. Perez, a Springfield resident who has been in the country for 20 years, told a group of about 100 clergy members, activists, reporters, and other interested residents on Thursday, Oct. 19, that he is grateful to the church. Perez was scheduled to be deported this month and on Oct. 18 was denied...

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Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?
Oct23

Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?

Uh, How Did That Get In There? In retrospect, it was a horrible idea, but so many of these entries start that way. A British man fishing on a pier in southern England took a six-inch sole he had just caught and jokingly placed it in front of his open mouth. The fish, seizing the moment, leapt down the man’s throat, blocking his windpipe and sending him into cardiac arrest. Luckily for the 28-year-old man, paramedics were on the scene...

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Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween
Oct23

Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I share Vincent Van Gogh’s belief that “the best way to know life is to love many things.” But I also think that the next twelve months will be an inspiring time for you to be focused and single-minded in your involvement with love. That’s why I encourage you to take an approach articulated by the Russian mystic Anne Sophie Swetchine: “To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.”...

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Pay Gap Holds Women Back: Why It Persists and How to Stop It
Oct16

Pay Gap Holds Women Back: Why It Persists and How to Stop It

As president of the UMass faculty and librarians union, it is Eve Weinbaum’s job to fight for equity of all her union’s members. And beyond that, being a woman in a leadership position, she has thought long and hard about equal pay for equal work and how to achieve it. The problem is a complicated one. The data are out there and very clear. Women make, on average, about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men in the United States for...

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Best of the Valley Annual Manual TRIVIA!
Oct16

Best of the Valley Annual Manual TRIVIA!

Editor’s Note: Check out the links below to find the answers to our trivia questions.  1. You won’t have to ask to turn up the volume at this local used record, CD, and DVD shop. 2. This vape and smokeless tobacco shop is enthusiastic about it’s hookahs and glass pipes. 3. Star Trek actor and famous Facebook user George Takei would probably say his catchphrase after visiting this local adult novelty store. 4. The only place in...

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Free Will Astrology: Stick with Garfunkel For Now, Scorpio
Oct16

Free Will Astrology: Stick with Garfunkel For Now, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I am my own muse,” wrote painter Frida Kahlo. “I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” Would you consider trying out this perspective for a while, Aries? If so, you might generate a few ticklish surprises. You may be led into mysterious areas of your psyche that had previously been off-limits. You could discover secrets you’ve been hiding from yourself. So what would it mean to be...

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2017 Best of the Valley Annual Manual
Oct16

2017 Best of the Valley Annual Manual

Get Out! Place to see local bands 1. Iron Horse Music Hall 2. The Parlor Room at Signature Sounds 3. Luthiers Co-op Place for karaoke 1. World War II Club 2. Amy’s Place 3. Doc’s Place   Neighborhood bar 1. Amy’s Place 2. Packards Bar 3. The Brass Cat   Brew pub 1. Northampton Brewery 2. The People’s Pint 3. Amherst Brewing/Hangar Pub and Grill   Winery 1. Black Birch Winery 2. Mineral Hills...

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Review: Art in the Orchard is a Museum that Breathes
Oct02

Review: Art in the Orchard is a Museum that Breathes

Captivating. Whimsical. An idea at once exotic and comforting. Art in the Orchard is a curatorial triumph striking a perfect balance between art and nature. This was my first visit to Art in the Orchard, which has been hosted by Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton in odd number years since 2011. An orchard, where you go to pick fruit from the tree, seems the perfect locale for an art exhibition. Rather than being stuffed into the rigid...

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Free Will Astrology: Follow Samsung By Transcending Dried Fish
Oct02

Free Will Astrology: Follow Samsung By Transcending Dried Fish

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You wouldn’t expect a five-year-old child to paint a facsimile of Picasso’s Guernica or sing Puccini’s opera, La Boheme. Similarly, you shouldn’t fault your companions and you for not being perfect masters of the art of intimate relationships. In fact, most of us are amateurs. We may have taken countless classes in math, science, literature, and history, but have never had a single lesson from teachers whose...

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THURSDAY MUSIC Khalif Neville: 7 p.m. Brewmasters jazz workshop. New City Brewery, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. (413) 529-2000. Fantastic Partnerz: 8 p.m. Four dudes and Trishy Trish. Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, 36 Bridge St., Brattleboro. Gilberto Santa Rosa: 8-11 p.m. Iron Horse Entertainment/IHEG, 20 Center St., Northampton. Mad Habits, Old Flame, The Greys, Flame N’ Peach, and the Liberated Waffles: 7:30 p.m....

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Drug Implants Could Be the Future of Opioid Addiction Treatment
Sep25

Drug Implants Could Be the Future of Opioid Addiction Treatment

Jamey Summers is in a good mood for someone about to have surgery. Beside the 41-year-old Northampton resident, who sits on an exam chair, Dr. Kate Atkinson is going over the procedure with her staff — they will insert four small rods containing drugs to curb opioid dependence into the crook of Summers’ left arm. She’s never done it before. “Ouch!” Summers exclaims as Atkinson uses a black marker on his arm to show where the rods will...

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Sanctuary in the Streets a Growing and Vital Movement
Sep18

Sanctuary in the Streets a Growing and Vital Movement

A Pioneer Valley activist network to support local undocumented immigrants — Sanctuary in the Streets — went into action this week to accompany Springfield resident Lucio Enrique Perez Ortiz on his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. Perez, who has lived and worked in the United States nearly 20 years and has a wife and four children — three of whom are U.S. citizens in Springfield public schools — is...

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Northampton Bike Path Update: Yanking Our Chain
Sep18

Northampton Bike Path Update: Yanking Our Chain

The long-planned railroad underpass for the Northampton bike path is nearing completion, but still faces a twisted bureaucratic obstacle course before its final stretch. To learn about the project’s progress, the Advocate first contacted the City Council of Northampton, which directed us to Wayne Feiden, director of planning and sustainability, who in turn directed us to the power company. “We are now waiting for National Grid to...

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Stories From The Stoop a Nuanced Look at Growing Up in 1960s New York
Sep18

Stories From The Stoop a Nuanced Look at Growing Up in 1960s New York

I first met Steve Bernstein when I was working at a small library in Marlborough, New Hampshire, a little more than a decade ago. In the newsletter I put a note in for a writers’ group without knowing if anyone from the little town would show up. Steve was among the small handful who did. Two things immediately stood out about Steve — his strong Bronx accent, and the quality of his work. The stories he brought in over the weeks were...

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BrattRock
Sep18

BrattRock

In its second year, the Brattleboro Youth Rock Festival has a killer line up of below-the-drinking-age talent. Saturday features a full day of rock with performances by local bands Impending Exorcism, Gabe Brodeur (frontman for Court Etiquette, which P.S. performed on the Advocate Sessions stage recently – the video will be out on the 29th), Moxie, Felixis Jinx, Parlicium (Sessions alumni), Outer Space, Oak Groove Blues Groove,...

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