Jul10

Tense Vagina — An Actual Diagnosis The motherhood we see on TV and in the movies has nothing on what it’s like day in and day out to be a mother. For instance, did you know loss of bladder control is pretty common among new mothers? Or that dildos in the nightstand drawers are even more common? Sanitized images that portray motherhood with calm smiles; huge, clean homes; dinner on the table can kick rocks. And the foot behind those...

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Jul10

The ‘J’ in July is for Jazz, Baby! Jazz music may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about UMass Amherst, but the state university has a long and storied history with the art form. This month UMass is celebrating its jazz roots with the annual Jazz in July concert series. UMass has one of the oldest higher-ed jazz programs in the nation. Founded in the ’70s by composer Frederick Tillis, the program attracted...

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Amherst Town Hall: Cherry Press Trio. Contemporary prints. 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. corinne@cherrypress.org. A.P.E. Gallery: ARC. Four projects in dance, installation, video and music. Through Aug. 5. • The Debriti Show. Created by JonMarc Edwards, the show is an interactive installation that comments on the power of language and communication.126 Main St., Northampton. (413) 586-5553, lisathompson@apearts.org, apearts.org. Berkshire...

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THURSDAY 7/13 MUSIC Aidan O’Brien and Friends: 6-9:30 p.m. Acoustic guitar. Free. Luxe Burger Bar, 1200 West Columbus Ave., Springfield. (413) 785-5893, steve@luxeburgerbar.com. Barret Anderson and the Blues: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Free. Forest Park Branch Library, 380 Belmont Ave., Springfield. (413) 263-6843. Eleanor Reissa and Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars: 8-9:30 p.m. $50. Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West St., Amherst....

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Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels
Jul07

Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels

A religious pilgrimage is taking place to oppose fossil fuel use in New England. Members of the New England Yearly Meeting, a group made up of Quakers from the six New England states, plan to walk 60 to 70 miles the week of July 9 from Schiller Station power plant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire — two of the few remaining coal-powered plants in New England (Schiller also burns wood and other...

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Jossie Valentin: I Just Went to Cuba, and Trump Policy is Wrong
Jul03

Jossie Valentin: I Just Went to Cuba, and Trump Policy is Wrong

When Donald Trump was making his announcement about reversing steps his predecessor — Barack Obama — took in normalizing relationships with Cuba, Holyoke City Councilor Jossie Valentin had just returned home from a trip to the island to talk with women there. Valentin, who was first elected as a City Councilor for Ward 4 in November 2013, is a senior academic advisor at Holyoke Community College. She left for Cuba on May 28 — her...

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We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000
Jun30

We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000

Four months ago, then-Advocate arts editor Hunter Styles wrote an excellent take-down of the hugely unpopular ad campaign trying to rebrand our region with the name “West Mass.” The heart of it was a list of questions about a dizzying, poorly-thought-out video released along with the brand name — among them “Did it really need to cost $80,000 and take 11 months to decide to take the letters “-ern” off the existing name?” This week,...

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Are The Dems Doomed? An Advocate Chat
Jun26

Are The Dems Doomed? An Advocate Chat

Each week on valleyadvocate.com, the Advocate staff chats about whatever has us really riled up at the moment. This week’s discussion was on the Democrats’ losing streak in special elections, and what it might mean for 2018. This is an excerpt; the full chat is online. Text below has been edited. Editor-in-Chief Kristin Palpini: I’m pumped! Let’s talk Dems and Reps, donkeys and elephants, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Jon Ossoff lost in...

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STAYCATION … And ALL   The Rest
Jun26

STAYCATION … And ALL The Rest

Every region has its own special and unique places to go. Don’t miss your chance to check out those in your own backyard! Contra Dancing Western Massachusetts is home to some of the best contra dances anywhere in the world. What is contra dancing? It is shocking to me that contra dance, which is sort of the lefty-liberal version of square dancing, remains relatively unknown outside the people who do it. I randomly walked into my first...

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STAYCATION — TREAT YO SELF

During  your staycation you might be tempted to  make the same old stuff at home for dinner. But think about it for a second: If you were traveling on vacation would you be cooking dinner or would you be feasting and letting someone else do the dishes? Why not explore your own backyard? Treat yourself. Jumbo Culinary Curiosities In Chicopee, one of the most distinctive restaurants is Bernie’s Dining Depot. It’s a former passenger...

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STAYCATION — WESTERN MASS TOURISTS
Jun26

STAYCATION — WESTERN MASS TOURISTS

Real New Yorkers don’t visit the Statue of Liberty, so they say. Why bother? It’s always right there. We, too, have our own tourist destinations often taken for granted by the residents here. Staycations offer a chance to become a tourist and check out the famous sites of Western Mass (or “West Mass” if you’re a real tourist). Tanglewood I went once for a recording of the NPR show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I’d long heard about...

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STAYCATION — OUTDOORS

The great outdoors — a majestic beauty that has been captured in poems and songs since the dawn of recorded history. Why sit inside all day and binge watch your favorite crime drama when you could spend your staycation out in the glorious bounty of nature? Hiking Trail Adventures Whether you’re up for a quick jaunt through the woods or out to climb a steep rocky trail, there are plenty of places to go hiking that will satiate your...

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STAYCATION — SUMMER ESCAPES
Jun26

STAYCATION — SUMMER ESCAPES

The idea of a staycation is all very well and good, until you find yourself on your third day and all you’ve done is binge watch Netflix. The whole point of a vacation is to escape the humdrum of your daily life right? Escaping routine or stress or pressure or — yikes! — people. These summer escapes can offer you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and try something new with your family, friends or solo. Northfield Drive-In,...

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Fourth of July Fireworks: Where and When
Jun26

Fourth of July Fireworks: Where and When

It’s Going to be a Blast Communities all over the region are lighting off fireworks this week to celebrate America’s independence — July 4, the day, back in 1776, the 13 colonies told King George to kick rocks. It’s a good time to party and reflect on what made the colonists risk their lives for freedom. There are about two dozen grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence, here’s a few (the “he” is England’s King George):...

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Hip-Hop Workshop for the Family
Jun26

Hip-Hop Workshop for the Family

The Family That Rhymes Together … This hip-hop workshop is family-friendly and focused on training young people in fashion, rhythmic poetry, and visual arts. The weekly class integrates inner-city arts and graffiti using constructive “off the wall” methods. Hosted by Sheldon Smith, who’s been producing art and clothing since the ’90s, the workshop seeks to help people of all ages find their creative voices. Off the Wall: Visual...

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RISE UP Board Game Is All About Fighting The System
Jun26

RISE UP Board Game Is All About Fighting The System

What do you do when the state of the world makes you so angry and/or demoralized that you don’t even want to leave the house? A new board game called Rise Up: The Game of People & Power, and created by former Hampshire College students, is the answer! Rise Up is a collaborative board game in which you and your fellow players are activists fighting against “the system.” So, of course, the Advocate had to play! Before the game...

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STAYCATION — ARTS & CULTURE
Jun26

STAYCATION — ARTS & CULTURE

We’re lucky to live in an area where most towns organize summer concert series, summer theater is plentiful, and mind-blowing museums are just a short drive away. Summer Theater The Valley can has a right to brag about its theater scene: how many rural areas can boast a dozen or more theater companies? We’ve got: TheatreTruck, Silverthorne, Hampshire Shakespeare, the Majestic Theater, Stageloft Repertory Theater, Hampshire Shakespeare...

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STAYCATION — FAMILY FUN
Jun26

STAYCATION — FAMILY FUN

If you’re doing a staycation with kids, it’s going to be hell without activities: So, get planning. The following are some places to be and things to do with children that are also parent-friendly. The beach You don’t have to drive to Cape Cod, New Hampshire or Connecticut to hit sandy beaches, we’ve got some right here in the Valley. Beaches were made for family fun: there’s nothing out there the kids can break, they can be as loud...

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THURSDAY MUSIC Gillian Welch: 7 p.m. Concert with David Welch. $39.50-$45. Look Park, 300 N. Main St., Florence. dspshows.com. Greenfield Coop Concerts: 6-8 p.m. Featuring Charlie Conant, She Said. Free. Energy Park, Greenfield. Marc Delgado: 5-7 p.m. Fort Hill Brewery, 30 Fort Hill Road, Easthampton. Luke Baillargeon: 6-8 p.m. Italian music. Free. The Mick, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke. (413) 532-1800. info@logcabin-delaney.com. The...

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Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?
Jun19

Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?

When Sara Weinberger moved from her longtime community of Northampton to neighboring Easthampton three years ago, she mostly loved it. The worst part, she said, was changing congressional districts — going from being represented by Worcester Democrat James McGovern to Springfield Democrat Richard Neal. After having a responsive congressman in McGovern, who Weinberger said listened to what she had to say, she was surprised to have the...

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Easthampton Couple Builds Garden — And Relationship — Based On What They Can Find
Jun09

Easthampton Couple Builds Garden — And Relationship — Based On What They Can Find

The way Faith Manning Enuol tells it, she went to work one afternoon, and when she returned, the garden she was building with her husband Rich Enuol tripled in size. In actuality, Rich spent the day foraging for materials, finding everything they needed — including the nails — in the woods behind their Easthampton home. Newly married, Faith, 27, comes from Connecticut, while Rich, 31, is a political refugee from south of Vietnam....

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Boston Just Got A Free College Plan. Can Western Mass, Too?
Jun05

Boston Just Got A Free College Plan. Can Western Mass, Too?

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker just announced a low-income, free-tuition program for the city of Boston that sounds like it came from the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Four years of college education in Massachusetts public colleges without tuition or mandatory fees for low income students eligible for federal Pell Grants. The question many in western Massachusetts are asking is, “Can we get a piece of that, too?” In a...

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Now Fulfilling The Provisions of the Paris Agreement Is Up To Us
Jun02

Now Fulfilling The Provisions of the Paris Agreement Is Up To Us

It probably shouldn’t have been a surprise. Donald Trump ran a campaign based on denying climate science, so his Thursday announcement that he would be pulling out of the international climate agreement represents a promise fulfilled. But the advantage of having a president who was elected by a minority of voters (3 million less than Hillary Clinton) is that the majority of the voting public actually disagrees with the policies Trump...

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New Springfield Drug Court Offers Addicts An Alternative To Prison
May30

New Springfield Drug Court Offers Addicts An Alternative To Prison

It looks like a normal courtroom, but once a week, Courtroom 10 in Hampden District Court hosts a legal session that is anything but typical. Rather than be shamed from the bench for crimes committed, a group of recovering addicts speaks to a judge eye-to-eye and receives a round of applause for the progress they have made. Gone is the judge’s austere black robe. He just wears a suit during the session. The Springfield drug...

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Working Against Bad Political Actors Is Not Bias — It’s Journalism
May30

Working Against Bad Political Actors Is Not Bias — It’s Journalism

Well, it has happened again. Another person who appears to be a sociopath caught in an act of hatred has been elevated to a position of power in our government. And this despite what we must call an alleged (though it was caught on tape and corroborated at the scene) attack against a reporter. This election, much like Trump’s election, has brought to mind the role of the journalist. Why do we put ourselves in situations where we could...

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Born-Again Buildings: Turning Churches Into Places To Live
May22

Born-Again Buildings: Turning Churches Into Places To Live

Liza King, 66, and Rick Neumann, 71, of Brattleboro, are about to fulfill what has felt like their lifelong ambition. On June 1, after nearly 20 years, they will move into their church sanctuary. “Their” church, by the way, doesn’t mean the church to which they belong, but the church that belongs to them. Liza and Rick are among a small, intrepid bunch across the region who have purchased former churches to convert to spaces to live....

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Yep, Climate Change Is Real … We Checked It Ourselves
May15

Yep, Climate Change Is Real … We Checked It Ourselves

Climate change is a worldwide problem, and we often hear of how it is affecting low-lying countries in Asia and the melting polar ice caps, but local climate data shows us how things are changing right here in the Pioneer Valley. And changing they are. The National Centers for Environmental Information, run by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, collects station data all over the world, and has for more than 100...

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Air Sexus Interruptus
May15

Air Sexus Interruptus

In a staggering blow to anyone looking for a weird experience on a Monday evening, tonight’s air sex tournament (think air guitar, but with sex) has been mysteriously cancelled. The event was going to take place at 7 p.m. at the Iron Horse, but a message on the Iron Horse Entertainment Group website says in red letters, “This event has been cancelled due to reasons beyond the control of mere mortals. Refunds can be...

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With Criminal Charges Dropped, Pipeline Protesters Vow to Fight On
May12

With Criminal Charges Dropped, Pipeline Protesters Vow to Fight On

Protesters looking to use climate change as a legal defense of their actions to try to stop a natural gas pipeline expansion project through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield won’t need to bother. Charges against them, which included trespassing and disorderly conduct, were downgraded from criminal to civil infractions this week. Now, members of the anti-pipeline Sugar Shack Alliance, which had planned to offer testimony establishing...

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With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again
May08

With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again

The Republicans did it. They cobbled together an Obamacare replacement bill so bad that they got the most conservative members of the House to vote for it — people like Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who implied the majority of people with pre-existing conditions have them because they don’t “lead good lives,” and like Raul Labrador of Idaho, who recently said that “no one dies because they don’t have health care.” Now we in...

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And To Think That I Saw It At Northampton Pride – Photos and 360 Video
May06

And To Think That I Saw It At Northampton Pride – Photos and 360 Video

The rain made way for the rainbows, as it always does. Not half-an-hour after the thousands of rainbow shirts, flags, balloons, and all manner of rainbow apparel hit the streets to begin the Northampton Pride Parade on Saturday, the morning’s rain was a memory and blue skies prevailed. The Advocate was there with a 360 camera borrowed from Northampton Community Television, and, of course, with my phone, too. Without further ado,...

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What Are Those Flowering Trees/Bushes I Drive By Every Day?
May05

What Are Those Flowering Trees/Bushes I Drive By Every Day?

The bloom is on the branch and spring has sprung. And even in my short commute to work, I pass about a dozen varieties of flowering trees and bushes. It occurred to me that I haven’t the slightest idea what most of them are called. So I took out my phone and took a few photos on my way to work and reached out to some tree aficionados and a local expert at UMass Extension to help me out. What trees do you see in the Pioneer...

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5 Philippine Leaders Who Actually Deserve An Invitation To The White House
May01

5 Philippine Leaders Who Actually Deserve An Invitation To The White House

I can’t say I was surprised when I read over the weekend that President Donald Trump had invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte – who has advocated extrajudicial killings of drug users in his home country – to the White House. But I was deeply disturbed. Duterte has joked about rape and claimed that as president he would kill as many drug addicts as Hitler killed Jews. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there is 3...

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5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health
May01

5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health

Each week on Thursday afternoons is a Beyond Birth group in the little yellow house by Cooley-Dickinson Hospital. While my wife and I were on leave following the birth of our son, we tried to attend this group as often as we could. The group welcomes parents of babies up to six months to share the triumphs and challenges of those exciting and very difficult first months of parenting. Among the biggest surprises — both for my wife and...

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UMass Data Students Rub Elbows With Industry Leaders
Apr28

UMass Data Students Rub Elbows With Industry Leaders

Aditya Shastry of India had two years of statistics experience in the finance field, the start of what would have seemed a lucrative career. But he found his work limiting; he wanted to work on his own project. He applied to the University of Massachusetts Amherst master’s degree program in data science. “Instead of learning in the industry specific programs where you have one model you develop, I wanted to get a broader...

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