On Exhibit: Strip Weaving by Jeanette Cole
Feb20

On Exhibit: Strip Weaving by Jeanette Cole

Moving On UpThe works on paper in this exhibition represent “my desire and hope for a place called ‘home,’” says Jeanette Cole, a professor in the art department at UMass. The collection, she says, is based on imagery from a West African robe given to her father by his co-workers after 15 years of missionary and literacy work, which was then inherited by her when he passed away. Cole traced the seams holding the strip-woven fabric...

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Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series
Feb20

Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series

The Katz and the FiddleClick Workspace, downtown Northampton’s coworking HQ, drew a big enough crowd at a January concert to warrant a brand-new live music series. This month’s concert at Click features accomplished local stringster Zoë Darrow on fiddle and Stephen Katz on cello. Darrow, who grew up playing Cape Breton and other Celtic music on a sheep farm in Blandford, released her first album at the age of 12. Katz, an...

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Now Playing: I Am Not Your Negro
Feb13

Now Playing: I Am Not Your Negro

The Fire This TimeThe writer and social critic James Baldwin died 30 years ago, but his powerful critiques of authority, ignorance, and racial injustice in America are still cited by poets, parents, protestors, and many others who feel, now more than ever, the need to fight for progressive ideals. As Baldwin’s legacy continues to slide more fully into mainstream culture — where his essays and books, including Notes of a Native Son...

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Between the Lines: Love in the Time of Climate Change
Feb13

Between the Lines: Love in the Time of Climate Change

At the bottom of the stairwell behind my apartment building, a baby stroller sat for weeks. Every time I carried a laundry basket down the back steps, I had an opportunity to read the cardboard sign strapped to the side of the stroller. In rigid capital letters scrawled with Sharpie, it read: “The World Doesn’t Have Four More Years.”The first blizzard since Inauguration Day prompted someone to toss the protest sign and bring that...

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Saturday: Fabulous February Fringe Festival in Shelburne Falls
Feb06

Saturday: Fabulous February Fringe Festival in Shelburne Falls

Quick FlicksFebruary is typically rather bleak, and this year – once again – even Punxsutawney Phil can’t hack it. We don’t blame him. We’d be headed back to the burrow too, if not for a concerted effort up and down the Valley this year to make the coldest winter days feel a bit more warm and communal. Case in point: the new Fabulous February Fringe Festival, a Shelburne Falls event that seeks to promote films written or directed by...

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Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2017
Feb06

Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2017

Local brewers share their predictions and plansLast year, the Beerhunter offered some “brew year’s resolutions” to serve as a checklist for craft beer enthusiasts on a year-long quest to try new things. This year, it seemed prudent to put the question to the brewers themselves. I asked them: what might craft beer lovers expect to see from you this year? In other words: what are your new year’s resolutions? Many responded with exciting...

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Scary Movie Club: Split
Feb06

Scary Movie Club: Split

Horror auteur M. Night Shyamalan returns to what he does bestSpoilers ahead!A pumpkin won the presidency, the Power Rangers are returning to theaters, and the Pats came back from 19 points behind in the fourth quarter to win the Super Bowl. To this list of bizarre upsets, add one more: M. Night Shyamalan is back to making good horror movies. After an early trifecta of good flicks with great twists (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable,...

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Feb. 9: Stand-Up Comic Eugene Mirman Plays Turners Falls
Jan30

Feb. 9: Stand-Up Comic Eugene Mirman Plays Turners Falls

Beyond the BurgerIf you knew only that Eugene Boris Mirman was born in the Soviet Union in the mid 1970s, you might be skeptical of the quality of his stand-up comedy. If you knew Mirman only from the animated FOX show Bob’s Burgers, where he portrays an 11-year-old boy who plays a keyboard that makes fart noises, you might be very skeptical of the quality of his stand-up comedy. Thankfully, Mirman — who spent most of his childhood in...

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Sunday Performance: Exploded View
Jan23

Sunday Performance: Exploded View

Reflective CollectiveWhat happens when eight talented women — all of whom are involved in creative communities across Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties — meet to make poetry and art together? In the case of Exploded View, they create multimedia exhibits and spoken-word performances unlike anything else in the Valley.Exploded View was conceived by Candace Curran, who showed up at Samantha Wood’s studio one day last spring...

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Music Reviews: New albums from Spiritual Rez and Rebecca Joy
Jan23

Music Reviews: New albums from Spiritual Rez and Rebecca Joy

Spiritual Rez Setting in the West Self-releasedPeople love reggae songs for the same reason people hate reggae songs: every slow, delirious second laid down is in service to the beat. Everyone from Bob Marley on down has brought flair, trippy switch-ups, and instrumental variety to their tunes, but the response from non-fans is predictable: it all still sounds the same. If anyone can shoot a cannonball through that stereotype, it’s...

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On Exhibit: Paintings by Susan Valentine
Jan16

On Exhibit: Paintings by Susan Valentine

We All Float OnLeverett artist Susan Valentine acquired a kayak last summer. It was worth it. “Leverett Pond is a tiny walk from my studio,” she explains. “On the pond, I was inspired to slow down. I spent many a day on the water’s surface, tooling around and being nurtured by the views, the creatures, the plant life … These vertical canvases arose from those experiences.” Valentine used her smartphone camera to take reference photos...

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Album Review: East Coast New England Boy
Jan16

Album Review: East Coast New England Boy

EAST COAST NEW ENGLAND BOY Ian Cat Salieri RecordsIf you pick up a copy of Ian Cat’s new album, grab a pair of headphones, too. Or, at the very least, play East Coast New England Boy with the volume turned way up. Within this static and fuzz beats the meticulous rhythm of something special.Is space-folk a genre? It is now. Massachusetts musician Ian Laczynski croons mellow lyrics over the strum of his acoustic guitar, but atop that...

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The Absorbing Animations of Sachio Cook
Jan09

The Absorbing Animations of Sachio Cook

Fine TooningOne morning in early October, I was flipping through local events online to assemble our calendar listings. That process becomes a bit of a blur sometimes, but my eye stopped short on a striking color cartoon — part of an announcement for an animation exhibit that month by Sachio Cook at the Hosmer Gallery in Northampton.In the drawing, a wide-eyed woman crawls on her hands and knees through a forest, searching for...

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Cold Weather Craft: The best seasonal beers for winter months
Jan09

Cold Weather Craft: The best seasonal beers for winter months

When predictions of blizzards rolled into town, our parents and grandparents ran to the package store and grabbed a 30-pack of cheap lager cans (we used to call them “dad soda”) along with bread, milk, and eggs. These days, the Nor’easter stockpile options are a bit more refined, and many newer craft breweries produce darker, spicier beers for winter — complemented by older holiday mainstays like Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale, first...

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Between the Lines: Our 2017 Wish List
Jan09

Between the Lines: Our 2017 Wish List

Our annual December Halos and Horns issue of the paper, which sums up staffers’ thoughts on who in the Valley (and the world) has been naughty and nice for the past year, only allows us to look backward. But with a new year rolled out before us, Advocate writers decided to look ahead at what we’re hoping for in 2017. Call it our New Years resolutions list — only this one goes beyond the kitchen and gym.  ▩ We’re wishing that...

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Julian’s Gift: Shutesbury sculptor plans to donate his land to conservation
Jan03

Julian’s Gift: Shutesbury sculptor plans to donate his land to conservation

The weird and wonderful artwork of Julian Janowitz only starts to reveal itself once visitors pull onto the long driveway of his Shutesbury home. That bumpy, meandering dirt road leads through a small clearing, then along twists and turns through a tall forest of conifers. In a meadow, far off to the left, a translucent red block of glass mosaic comes into view, perched on a stone pedestal the size of a golf cart. Around the bend is a...

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Through Monday: Instagrammers Take Northampton
Jan03

Through Monday: Instagrammers Take Northampton

Watch Your ’Grammers@igers413 is an online community of Western Mass Instagram users who gather regularly on their phones — and, somewhat less frequently, in person — for local events, challenges, and photo chats. #CHASINGLIGHT, the fourth installation of what has become a traveling exhibit, features a collection of photos from this community, shot with a variety of cameras ranging from an iPhone to a traditional film camera. Come out...

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Folk quartet Driftwood comes to town with a new LP
Jan03

Folk quartet Driftwood comes to town with a new LP

Floating Rock and Rolling FolkFrom year to year, over hundreds of live sets, Driftwood has proved a cohesive quartet since its members first gathered in Binghamton, NY in 2005. But the band’s sound, rather aptly, is a shifting, constant collision of styles, from old-time bluegrass and folk to country, punk, and rock.“It’s sometimes tough to keep any sort of focus on style or sound when you have three different songwriters,” guitarist...

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On Exhibit: Hanna-Barbera Animation at the Norman Rockwell Museum
Dec27

On Exhibit: Hanna-Barbera Animation at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Zoinks!In an era before we burrowed into our choice cable channels, American kids grew up watching cartoons on one of three network TV stations. From 1958 through the 1980s, most options on Saturday mornings were products of the Hanna-Barbera company — the creator of shows like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, and The Smurfs. This winter, the Norman Rockwell Museum presents the country’s first...

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Friday Music: Rice at Bishop’s Lounge
Dec27

Friday Music: Rice at Bishop’s Lounge

Rice, Rice, BabyWho knew there were enough people in Warwick, MA (population 780) to start a great rock band? Rice proves the skeptics wrong. Formed at a house party in 2014, the group infuses Americana and jam music with rock sensibilities. It’s not too much of a stretch to compare them to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Talking Heads, and Fleetwood Mac — plus an added edge of fresh, devil-may-care attitude. We’re talking chill...

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The Valley’s End-of-Year Gallery Art Sales
Dec27

The Valley’s End-of-Year Gallery Art Sales

Rogue GalleriesSupporting local artists isn’t just for the holidays. Last-minute shopping needs aside, there are hundreds of cool pieces on gallery walls, ceilings, floors, and shelves during all of the Valley’s year-end art shows. The tradition of using these final chilly weeks of the year to showcase collections of smaller pieces is alive and well, and an afternoon of stop-in browsing provides a chance to see what everyone has been...

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For the Kids: New Year’s Morning Music Party
Dec27

For the Kids: New Year’s Morning Music Party

Sleeping In? That’s So 2016Get those kids out of bed (it’s not like they stayed awake until midnight, anyway) and let them dive into a new year the fun way: with puppets and breakfast. Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved “Morning Music Party” series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids. After a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and...

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Kids Stage Pick: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Dec27

Kids Stage Pick: The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Rug RatsIf that godawful stop-motion Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer movie from 1964 has coursed through your eyeballs a few too many times, consider taking the kids to see CactusHead Puppets, who present The Pied Piper of Hamelin for two days only at the Eric Carle Museum. The West Springfield-based company has put together a comedic, updated adaptation of the traditional folktale. Now, not only does the town find a musical solution...

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Q&A with Ruth Sanderson, Children’s Author and Illustrator
Dec19

Q&A with Ruth Sanderson, Children’s Author and Illustrator

Ruth Sanderson’s Magic EyeEasthampton author Ruth Sanderson says she has nearly lost track of the number of children’s picture books she has published over the past three decades (she counts 85, at least). But every one of those books conjures a fully-realized world, where humans, animals, mythic creatures, and fantastical landscapes come alive within the span of a few dozen pages.Quick, cartoonish illustration seems to be the...

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On Exhibit: Sandy Alpert’s Haunting Photography
Dec19

On Exhibit: Sandy Alpert’s Haunting Photography

Here in SpiritPhotographer Sandy Alpert’s new exhibition reveals a project she first began gathering imagery for in 1998. Back then, she writes, “I was haunted by the ghosts of my past.” As she worked to capture fellow citizens moving, ghostly and detached, through public spaces, she found that “feelings of isolation and loss infused these images. I was too close to it. It was too close to me. I had to leave it — unexpressed.” She...

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New Albums and live shows by Megan Burtt and Freevolt
Dec19

New Albums and live shows by Megan Burtt and Freevolt

THE BARGAIN Megan Burtt Self-releasedRock musicians with something to prove sometimes lean too heavily on a dark, distressed demeanor. But it’s not hard to spot which artists take up that pre-fab attitude like an expensive frayed coat, and which artists are simply, naturally, touched with trouble. There’s nothing put-upon about Megan Burtt’s outlook lately — her second album, 2015’s The Bargain, charts her recovery from a serious...

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Concert Friday: Banda Criolla’s Festive Holiday
Dec19

Concert Friday: Banda Criolla’s Festive Holiday

The Warm-Up ActFighting to regain some of that precious body heat that you lost on the way in from the car? Let master guitarist Jose Gonzalez and Latin jazz virtuoso Ahmed Gonzalez help you out. Together they’ve founded Banda Criolla, a line-up of top rated Latin musicians that brought the crowd to a standing ovation during their recent debut at the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival. Now they’re back on the Arts Block stage for a...

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This Week: Don’t Forget to Give Back
Dec19

This Week: Don’t Forget to Give Back

The Warm FuzziesWe each do a lot of thinking about ourselves this time of year — what didn’t we get around to in 2016, and what new opportunities can we line up for the coming year? — but at risk of sounding too preachy: please look to the neighbor on your left. Now look to the neighbor on your right. It’s the perfect time to do something for them.Volunteer an afternoon to serve a meal (consider, for example, helping  Springfield...

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Holiday Pick: Christmas at Old Sturbridge Village
Dec19

Holiday Pick: Christmas at Old Sturbridge Village

Over the River and Off the GridThe past is still present at Old Sturbridge Village, which has been bringing visitors up close and personal with New England history since 1946. The annual Christmas by Candlelight evenings make good on those old traditions, with live musical performances, storytelling, sleigh rides, festive foods, 19-century cooking demonstrations by costumed historians, a nightly tree lighting and bonfire, carolers, a...

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It’s a Wonderful Time… for It’s a Wonderful Life
Dec19

It’s a Wonderful Time… for It’s a Wonderful Life

Attaboy, ClarenceWhen it comes to holiday classics, I’m partial to the festive antics of Die Hard (“Now I have a machine gun — ho ho ho!”). But many kids and families — and, on wistful days, certain single adults — lean toward Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life. Capra clearly needed a restorative break from the early 1940s, when he was directing wartime propaganda films, and this rather shamelessly wide-eyed, gooey-hearted...

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Concert Friday: Sister Sparrow’s Sweet, Gritty Soul
Dec12

Concert Friday: Sister Sparrow’s Sweet, Gritty Soul

A Songbird’s SoulSinger and songwriter Arleigh Kinchelo’s hard soul collective, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, ​plays guitar, bass, trumpet, saxophone, and drums — plus harmonica, thanks to her brother Jackson. They’ve released three full-length studio albums, plus a new live LP called Fowl Play that captures the band’s unbridled energy. “They may be from Brooklyn,” writes the LA Times, “but the fiery brass-and gospel-infused...

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This Weekend: Northampton’s Newest Dance Troupe Debuts
Dec12

This Weekend: Northampton’s Newest Dance Troupe Debuts

Company TimeBefore her days as the head of Northampton’s School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, Jen Polins directed the Catalyst dancers at South Hadley’s Pioneer Valley Performing Arts charter school for 17 years. In September, craving a return to that rewarding work, Polins founded Hatchery, the valley’s only independent pre-professional dance company for teens ages 13-19. In addition to studying with internationally acclaimed...

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The World’s First Sci-Fi Novel, Reborn
Dec12

The World’s First Sci-Fi Novel, Reborn

In “The Chemical Wedding,” local talent melds 400-year-old text with modern illustrationsIf the long book title, inked in faux-medieval Blackletter, didn’t give it away — let alone the robotic sheep on the back cover — The Chemical Wedding is one of the weirdest and most captivating novels to come out of Easthampton’s Small Beer Press this season.Gavin Grant, who founded the press in 2000 with the novelist (and his wife)...

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Run. Hide. It’s Ugly Sweater Season.
Dec12

Run. Hide. It’s Ugly Sweater Season.

Wow, Congrats — That’s BadThe past decade has seen a rise in fascination with that dumbest of American cultural artifacts: the ugly knit holiday sweater. The stray relative still cranks out a genuine one from time to time, but companies now mass produce them, and ugly sweater parties — even ugly sweater competitions — are now wonderfully, horribly commonplace. Even Ghostface Killah is selling a special limited edition ugly sweater on...

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Let’s Turn This Planet Around on Wednesday
Dec12

Let’s Turn This Planet Around on Wednesday

Let Us Now Praise Longer DaysWe can probably all agree that 2016 was an exhausting year. But it’s not too late to turn this planet around. Next Wednesday marks the winter solstice — the shortest day and the longest night of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere — and from here on out, it all tips back toward sunshine. Thank goodness. Cultures around the world have different associations with the rebirth and reawakening that...

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