Ninja Turtles Take Over the Springfield Museums!
Jan23

Ninja Turtles Take Over the Springfield Museums!

From Kuniyoshi to Cowabunga I have to admit that it seemed odd walking through a hall of classical Greek sculptures in the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum to visit an exhibit devoted to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book art. The whole thing felt suspiciously like a ploy to get me to eat my high-culture vegetables by plying me with the sugary pop culture I craved. But I was happy to take the bait. I’m what you might call a...

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After Orlando: Short Plays Pay Respects on Friday night
Jan09

After Orlando: Short Plays Pay Respects on Friday night

Reflecting on a Tragedy The night of June 12, 2016, news of a horrific shooting unfolding in an Orlando gay nightclub sent shockwaves around the world, leaving collective heartbreak in its wake for the 49 lives cut cruelly short that fateful night. The pain cut especially deep in the Valley as one of the victims, Kimberley “KJ” Morris, lived and performed as drag king “Daddy K” in Northampton. Since then, there has been much somber...

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Scene Here: Frostilicus
Jan09

Scene Here: Frostilicus

As temperatures dip and the ice thickens on Heritage Park in East Longmeadow, ice skaters and hockey players of all ages lace up their freshly sharpened skates and brave the cold to carry on a generations-old winter tradition. Just ask Ryan Morton. He used to play here when he was a kid. Today, he’s shoveling off the ice for his three-year-old son, five-year-old daughter, and two older nephews, helping to ensure that the...

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A Mid-winter Night’s Read
Jan09

A Mid-winter Night’s Read

This weekend, Shakespeare & Company presents a Winter Studio Festival of Plays, five diverse readings as interpreted by five local directors. Works range from classics by playwrights like Anton Chekhov to established contemporaries like Sam Shepard and emerging talent like Emily DeVoti. Winter Studio Festival of Plays: Jan. 14-15, 1 p.m. Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre,70 Kemble St, Lenox. $10-$25. (413) 637-3353. shakespeare.org —...

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Jammin’ for Justice
Jan09

Jammin’ for Justice

Jammin’ for Justice The nonprofit Watermelon Wednesdays has been providing musical education and holding concerts for the past 17 years. This Wednesday, the group is putting on In It Together, a fundraiser for community, diversity, and social justice to benefit the Markham-Nathan Fund. Guests include Chris Brashear and Ben Demerath, Wisteria String Quartet, Charles Neville Quartet, Mister Sun, and Valley Jazz Divas and Friends....

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Artists of a Feather
Jan09

Artists of a Feather

The Hosmer Gallery at the Forbes Library is hosting exhibitions this month from three talented local artists. Janice Doppler blends a love of ornithology and wood carving to create stunningly lifelike sculptures of a myriad of bird species, while Patricia Dorr Parker captures moments in nature through her Close to Home series of paintings and drawings. Finally, the paintings and drawings of Miriam Wells focus on American labor and...

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Opioid Deaths in Massachusetts Skyrocket by 70 Percent in Two Years
Jan03

Opioid Deaths in Massachusetts Skyrocket by 70 Percent in Two Years

Between 2013 and 2015, the number of opioid-related deaths state- wide surged from 918 to 1,578 — an increase of over 70 percent in two years. The opioid crisis in Massachusetts has reached epidemic proportions, according to the findings of a report out this past September from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Opioids are a class of addictive painkiller that includes common drugs like morphine, codeine, heroin,...

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Scene Here: A Respite from the Cold
Jan03

Scene Here: A Respite from the Cold

There’s always a little bit of added electricity in the air when a Nor’easter is bearing down on New England and the snowflakes start to fly. The cold brings out a sense of camaraderie in people: us v. the snow. Sometimes the best thing to do is to find a cozy corner (like this one at The Roost in Northampton), nestle in with your work, a cup of coffee, and a view of the outside, and watch others bundled up in their winter parkas and...

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Scene Here: Extinguished Solstice
Dec27

Scene Here: Extinguished Solstice

Steam and smoke rise from the smoldering embers of the annual Solstice bonfire, silhouetting a local firefighter as he extinguishes the blaze at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton last Wednesday. An estimated 1,000 people turned out to mark the shortest day of the year and celebrate the human connection to nature. — Peter Vancini,...

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Cocktail of the Month Club: Dec. 2016
Dec21

Cocktail of the Month Club: Dec. 2016

This month, the Advocate visited the Five Eyed Fox in Turners Falls, where co-owner Aric Binaco showed us how to make a Bison Sour, a velvety, pleasantly sweet cocktail with a hint of spice. Here’s the recipe: The Bison Sour 2 ounces bison grass-infused vodka (infuse your own or buy Zu bison grass-vodka) 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1/2 ounce simple syrup (aka sugar water) 1/2 ounce egg white (optional, for texture) 1 or 2...

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Scene Here: Holidays in Whoville
Dec19

Scene Here: Holidays in Whoville

The quadrangle at the Springfield Museums, with its many sculptures of Dr. Seuss’ most famous characters, can inspire wonder in most visitors any day of the year, but there’s an extra bit of Seussian whimsy about it around the holidays. The characters — The Grinch, Max, Cindy Lou Who, Things 1 &2 — bathed in the glow of gently rotating colors, seem to come to life. Anyone pausing for a moment to revel quietly in the magic could be...

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Labor Activist and Bridge-builder Jon Weissman Set to Retire
Dec19

Labor Activist and Bridge-builder Jon Weissman Set to Retire

After being at the heart of the labor movement in Western Mass for over 40 years, Jon Weissman is retiring as the coordinator of Western Mass Jobs With Justice at the end of this year at age 70. Over the course of his career, Weissman served in the trenches of the labor movement as the President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, secretary/treasurer of the Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO, and was active in a number of nonprofit...

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Get In? Uber’s popularity outpaces regulation
Dec12

Get In? Uber’s popularity outpaces regulation

Like many college students in the Valley, Ellen Brancart and Lupe Valle rely on Uber — a smartphone app that allows users to catch rides from local drivers — to get around the Five College area after the buses have stopped running at night. On average, the Smith College students say, they use it about once a month, especially if they go out partying. “When I’m too stoned to function or when I’m drunk, that’s like my go to,” says...

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Juárez: A Documentary Mythology
Nov28

Juárez: A Documentary Mythology

A Tale of Two Cities: Murdertown and Safeville It’s a tale of two cities: one is the self-declared “Safest Large City in America” while right next door, the other has earned the dubious distinction of “Murder Capital of the World.” Director Ruben Polendo and Theater Mitu have distilled hundreds of hours of interviews and audio recordings from Juárez, Mexico, and its neighbor to the north — El Paso, Texas, — into a theater stage...

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Scene Here: The Rift in Holyoke
Nov28

Scene Here: The Rift in Holyoke

Reports of hate crimes have spiked across the nation in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, and dozens of people marched through Holyoke on the evening of Friday, Nov. 18, to protest the president elect’s campaign promises and policies that many say have fueled a spike in bigotry. Among the more colorful protesters is a person in a Spiderman costume, another in a Guy Faux mask, and a young man in a beret proudly...

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Sweep it Under the River: Berkshire County’s Battle with GE Over the Housatonic River Cleanup Continues
Nov21

Sweep it Under the River: Berkshire County’s Battle with GE Over the Housatonic River Cleanup Continues

Decades later and General Electric still hasn’t remedied its contamination of the Housatonic. Woods Pond in Lenox is the picture of quaint backwoods New England: the kind of place leaf-peepers flock annually to the Berkshires to behold. The golden yellows and fiery oranges of the remaining foliage pop from the gray sky and cast their reflection on the water’s surface, but beneath the tranquil veneer lies a hidden danger: This...

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Between the Lines: One Nation Under Trump?
Nov14

Between the Lines: One Nation Under Trump?

Hillary Clinton voters: It’s time to get on with it. Donald Trump is our next president, whether we like it or not, and the great American experiment in democracy is going to continue. Please, stop protesting the free and fair election of Donald Trump and petitioning electors to vote Clinton. Maybe we’ll reform the electoral college someday, but today is not that day. Stop talking about moving to Canada: You’re just fanning the flames...

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If You Brew It, They Will Come: Tree House Brewing in Monson attracts international recognition
Nov14

If You Brew It, They Will Come: Tree House Brewing in Monson attracts international recognition

It isn’t hard to pick Dean Rohan out of a crowd. He’s the tall guy with glasses in the muck boots and ratty work pants. And he’s wearing a red T-shirt with his own face on it that reads “I’m with Dean.” Today, he’s overseeing the arrival of a tanker truck filled with grain as it offloads its cargo into a giant stainless steel silo emblazoned with the logo of Tree House Brewing. Rohan is one of the brewery’s three co-founders, who grew...

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The Last Unicorn: The Platinum Pony Will Not Reopen
Oct31

The Last Unicorn: The Platinum Pony Will Not Reopen

It’s official: Easthampton’s Platinum Pony has taken its last ride. The business’ former owner Kristen Davis announced that the bar, which closed its 30 Cottage St. location last fall following a suspected electrical fire, would not reopen as planned. The Platinum Pony had earned a following for its queer-friendly atmosphere and events before the fire on Oct. 5, 2015. According to Davis it wasn’t practical to reopen the business...

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Springfield Police Shake-Up: City Council says it has the votes to overhaul the department
Nov09

Springfield Police Shake-Up: City Council says it has the votes to overhaul the department

In the wake of complaints about officer discipline, the latest development in a long-running dispute over organization of the Springfield Police Department is going down: City Council President Michael Fenton said that he has the votes necessary to shut down the Community Police Hearing Board and reinstate a civilian police commission in the city. In a Nov. 9 press conference, Fenton announced that 10 members of the city council plan...

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Cocktail of the Month Club: A Piney October Surprise
Nov03

Cocktail of the Month Club: A Piney October Surprise

  “Riding the Pine” Brought to you by Lincoln Allen, bar manager at The Alvah Stone in Montague.   Ingredients: 1 ½ Ounces St. George Terroir Gin 1 ounce Zirbenz Pine Liqueur ½ ounce yellow chartreuse ¾ ounce lemon juice Lemon peel garnish To Make: • Mix in shaker with ice. Double strain into chilled coupe glass or any available vessel. Garnish with lemon. Enjoy!       — Peter Vancini...

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Gasoline Alley: Joe Sibilia’s dedication to Springfield fuels new business and entrepreneurial spirit
Oct17

Gasoline Alley: Joe Sibilia’s dedication to Springfield fuels new business and entrepreneurial spirit

On an unseasonably warm day in late September, Joe Sibilia is roaming the Gasoline Alley mill building complex on Albany Street in Springfield. The 59-year-old is wearing a pair of loose fitting yoga pants and his body and shaved bald head have been tanned to a deep umber from a long summer working in the sun. Sibilia walks briskly around the building toward the back of the facility. He’s met with good-natured jokes and laughter from...

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Stagestruck: An Immersive “Winter’s Tale” in Greenfield
Sep26

Stagestruck: An Immersive “Winter’s Tale” in Greenfield

Walking Through Time “In Scene 13, Leontes mourning his wife, things get a little more dialog-y. That needs to be run and worked on today,” says John Bechtold, creator of the immersive production of The Winter’s Tale that performs in downtown Greenfield this weekend. Leading a rehearsal earlier this month, he’s surrounded by his large cast on an upper floor of The Arts Block, laying out assignments for today’s multitasking rehearsal....

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Million Dollar Quartet: Four legendary musicians, one fateful day
Sep26

Million Dollar Quartet: Four legendary musicians, one fateful day

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: So, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis walk into a recording studio …. But in December of 1956, this foursome just happened to all be in the same recording studio — Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in Memphis — at the same time and all in the mood to jam. A recording and rock ‘n’ roll history was made that day. Million Dollar Quartet by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott is...

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va39-clublife-2016
Sep26

va39-clublife-2016

Doomed Saturday Maximum Capacity has a mega metal lineup slated for Oct. 1 with 10 bands ready to rock. Bang your head, raise your fist, and stomp your feet for One Ton Tommy Gun, As Misery Fades, Begat the Nephilim, My Missing Half, Comatose, To Kill Again, and more. The 21-plus mayhem starts at 6 p.m., Saturday at Max Cap, 116 School St., Chicopee. Tickets are $10 before and $12 at the door. O … King Jackass is coming to town...

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Bike On: Massachusetts invests in bike lanes, but construction funding dips
Oct03

Bike On: Massachusetts invests in bike lanes, but construction funding dips

Massachusetts is among the top five states where bicycle ridership is growing, but it lags in developing the infrastructure to keep riders safe. The lack of bike lanes and trails is a nationwide problem. Massachusetts ranks 15th in the nation for the most bike commuters per capita, according to a 2016 report by the League of American Bicyclists, a nonprofit advocacy group that produces bike “report cards” for each state. Yet only 0.8...

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Deported from a Sanctuary?
Sep26

Deported from a Sanctuary?

The debate over immigration reform isn’t new, but it’s taken center stage in the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican candidate Donald Trump has made it a central part of his campaign and recently made headlines when he vowed to cut funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” — jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal requests for help in detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants. According to Trump, sanctuary cities...

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Scene Here: Rent Rally
Sep26

Scene Here: Rent Rally

Several dozen protesters gathered this past Friday at Mason Square in Springfield, chanting What Do We Want? Affordable Housing! When Do We Want It? Now! and carrying signs down State Street — through one of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods — to Court Square in the heart of the downtown area. Organized by Arise for Social Justice and No One Leaves — Springfield, it’s no coincidence that the rally is  a stone’s throw from both...

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Scene Here: The Force … Is Getting Sleepy
Oct03

Scene Here: The Force … Is Getting Sleepy

More than 100 people stake out a plot of land at Pulaski Park in Northampton on this crisp Wednesday night for an outdoor screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At the event kicking off this year’s Northampton Film Festival, people dress as Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, and the rest while kids from preschool to pre-teen do battle with light sabers and pose with a “real-life” Stormtrooper. As the trumpet flourish that begins the SW theme...

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Cocktail of the Month Club: Cranberry Cinnamon Whiskey Sour at Osteria Vespa, Amherst
Sep19

Cocktail of the Month Club: Cranberry Cinnamon Whiskey Sour at Osteria Vespa, Amherst

September marks the end of the summer and evenings are starting to bring with them a subtle autumn chill. Chase it away with this month’s cocktail, a cranberry-cinnamon whiskey sour that’s sure to warm you up, brought to you by Josh Draghe, head bartender at Osteria Vespa in Amherst. — Peter Vancini, pvancini@valleyadvocate.com Cranberry-Cinnamon Whiskey Sour Courtesy of Josh Draghe, Head Bartender at Osteria Vespa. 1.5 ounces...

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Learning Falconry with Chris Davis
Sep13

Learning Falconry with Chris Davis

Call of the wild At the edge of a shady green grove in Hadley, light streams through the forest canopy in thin shafts. It speckles the grassy floor below, where three large birds of prey sit awkwardly, tethered with thin leather straps to their short wooden perches. They look out of place on the ground, sitting idly like chickens at the edge of an open field, cocking their heads this way and that, preening occasionally. Soon though,...

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Drones on the Horizon: What It Means for You
Sep12

Drones on the Horizon: What It Means for You

On August 29, new Federal Aviation Administration rules governing the commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, took effect nationwide. Part 107, as it’s known, represents the inaugural effort by the FAA to regulate the commercial use of airspace by UAV users. As a result of the new rules, the FAA estimates that 600,000 commercial UAVs will be in the sky by the end of 2016, and 2.7 million by 2020. By contrast,...

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Know Your Drones
Sep12

Know Your Drones

Small UAVs come in all shapes and sizes with models varying by application. Here are a few of the designs you’re likely to see overhead sometime soon.     Multicopters are the most well-known and most popular. This DJI Phantom series quadcopter is a best-seller for applications that require aerial photography.           This 3DR Robotic Solo is a good pick for construction sites and other...

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Call of the Wild

Master Falconer Chris Davis is on a mission to help you understand birds of prey by letting you join the hunt At the edge of a shady green grove in Hadley, light streams through the forest canopy in thin shafts. It speckles the grassy floor below, where three large birds of prey sit awkwardly, tethered with thin leather straps to their short wooden perches. They look out of place on the ground, sitting idly like chickens at the edge...

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The Lush Garden: Cocktail Recipes
Aug29

The Lush Garden: Cocktail Recipes

A guide to summer cocktails from the garden It’s hard to imagine a better way to top off an afternoon in the garden than by settling into a lawn chair with a refreshing summer cocktail and admiring your work. Even better if you can actually harvest a few ingredients from that garden to add a satisfying twist to that beverage of choice. With that in mind, we asked a few area cocktail aficionados to suggest their favorite recipes. What...

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