Ursula Elmes on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Dec15

Ursula Elmes on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Ursula Elmes is a local singer-songwriter and member of progressive folk group, Mad Habits, who has powerhouse soul vocals with a dash of honky-tonk twang. Elmes performed her solo material on Valley Advocate Sessions on Nov. 28. Interview with Ursula...

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VIDEO: Ursula Elmes on Sessions Friday
Dec13

VIDEO: Ursula Elmes on Sessions Friday

Ursula Elmes is a local singer-songwriter and member of progressive folk group, Mad Habits, who has powerhouse soul vocals with a dash of honky-tonk twang. Check out a trailer for her full Valley Advocate Sessions performance online this...

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Column: Eversource Screws Mass Consumers
Dec11

Column: Eversource Screws Mass Consumers

With a little help from its friends, the “regulators” at the Department of Public Utilities It is perhaps understandable that one of the most important Massachusetts news stories of the year was buried in the avalanche of reports coming out of Washington last week. But Eversource Energy, a large investor-owned utility serving much of Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, just got a big rate hike approved by the Commonwealth’s...

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STAFF PICKS: Snow White, Christmas Metal, Eavesdrop, and Art After Depression Treatment
Dec11

STAFF PICKS: Snow White, Christmas Metal, Eavesdrop, and Art After Depression Treatment

  Overcoming Depression // SATURDAY Chris Goudreau wrote a great piece on transcranial magnetic stimulation (in a crude sense getting zapped by a magnet) as a way to treat depression. The treatment has been shown to be effective enough that the FDA approved its use in 2008. But the FDA never said one of the side effects might be a rekindled interest in the arts. That was a discovery Atkinson Family Practice patient Catherine...

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The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace
Dec11

The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace

Celebrating 10 years of performance theater, The Royal Frog Ballet trades the wild outdoors for the pristine white walls of A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton this month. Their retrospective, HINDSIGHT/FORESIGHT, is a thoughtful and vivid collection of paintings, costumes, masks, and three-dimensional effects that tell the story of an ambitious troupe dedicated to promoting “aliveness through creativity, community, and curiosity.”...

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Bizarro Briefs: Foxy Lady of Fortune
Dec11

Bizarro Briefs: Foxy Lady of Fortune

For more than 40 years, Mumtaz Begum has been reading the fortunes of visitors from within the cage of a Pakistani zoo. With a body of a fox and a head of a woman, Begum is one of the oddest attractions at the zoo. However, the fortune teller is actually played by performer Murad Ali, who inherited the role from his father. Every day, Ali cakes his face with a thick layer of makeup and bright red lipstick, and then crawls into a box...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Listen to Mozart, Scorpio
Dec11

Free Will Astrology: Don’t Listen to Mozart, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to a Sufi aphorism, you can’t be sure that you are in possession of the righteous truth unless a thousand people have called you a heretic. If that’s accurate, you still have a ways to go before you can be certified. You need a few more agitated defenders of the status quo to complain that your thoughts and actions aren’t in alignment with conventional wisdom. Go round them up! Ironically, those...

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Esperanto on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Dec08

Esperanto on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Esperanto is a blues-driven alternative rock band from Westfield. Check out the band’s full Valley Advocate Sessions in the video below. Interview with...

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VIDEO: Esperanto on Advocate Sessions Friday
Dec06

VIDEO: Esperanto on Advocate Sessions Friday

Esperanto is a blues-driven alternative rock band from Westfield. Check out a teaser video for the band’s Valley Advocate Sessions performance, which will be online this Friday.

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The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass
Dec04

The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass

We know our winters in Western Massachusetts. As the last of the color fades from the leaves, the realization sets in that it’s going to be a while before the warm and colorful days of spring. But winter doesn’t have to be all about darkness and cold. Winter is a time of roaring fires and warm soups and teas. The colorful twinkle of holiday lights are already brightening the longer nights and the New Year offers a chance for a fresh...

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Staff Picks: Music Across the Valley and Ladies Arm Wrestling
Dec04

Staff Picks: Music Across the Valley and Ladies Arm Wrestling

Nate Martel Album Release at Hawks & Reed // SUNDAY Nate Martel, best known for being the singer/guitarist of Northampton rock group Outer Stylie is releasing his debut solo album — and it’s on his birthday! The release show will feature a handful of musicians that are featured on the album, including cellist Matthew Thornton. The two recently came in for an Advocate Sessions (look out for that at the end of the month). Along with...

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Bizarro Briefs: Quench Your Thirst With Celery
Dec04

Bizarro Briefs: Quench Your Thirst With Celery

Celery isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a flavor of soft drink, but surprisingly it was one of the first. In 1869, Dr. Brown (Is that you, Doc?!) founded the Cel-Ray soda company. The good doctor made tonics intended to alleviate bowel and stomach discomforts and decided to make a tonic made from sugar, carbonated water, and crushed celery speeds. Dr. Brown’s tonic was renamed Cel-Ray in the early 1900s and...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Sell Out, Aries; You’ll Get Rich Quicker
Dec04

Free Will Astrology: Don’t Sell Out, Aries; You’ll Get Rich Quicker

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You may get richer quicker in 2018, Aries — especially if you refuse to sell out. You may accumulate more clout — especially if you treat everyone as your equal and always wield your power responsibly. I bet you will also experience deeper, richer emotions — especially if you avoid people who have low levels of emotional intelligence. Finally, I predict you will get the best sex of your life in the next 12...

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Nomad vs. Settler on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Dec01

Nomad vs. Settler on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Check out the full Valley Advocate Sessions performance for Brattleboro-based indie jazz-tinged rock group, Nomad v. Settler. The band, consisting of local teens, performed a set at the Valley Advocate Offices in November. Interview with Nomad vs....

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VIDEO: Nomad v. Settler on Sessions Friday
Nov30

VIDEO: Nomad v. Settler on Sessions Friday

Check out Brattleboro-based indie jazz-tinged rock group, Nomad v. Settler. The band, consisting of local teens, performed a set at the Valley Advocate Offices in November. Check out our teaser video filmed by Northampton Community Television and recorded by Signature Sounds. The band’s full performance will be released this...

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Bizzaro Briefs: Holy Bong Water

Two churches in San Jose, California, have a whole new take on the Bible’s burning bush. In Coachella Valley Church, cannabis is treated as a sacrament. For a $10 donation you get an identification card and become a lifetime member, with access to a store in the back of the church. Authorities think that the churches are fronts for dispensaries, which, let’s be honest, is probably true given their television advertisement features...

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Advocate Staff Picks: Cotton Mill, Debussy, Elephants for Autism, and Valley Music Showcase Finals
Nov27

Advocate Staff Picks: Cotton Mill, Debussy, Elephants for Autism, and Valley Music Showcase Finals

Cotton Mill Open Studio & Holiday Sale // FRIDAY – SUNDAY Put simply, open studios are awesome. The chance to peek in at an artist’s work space and see how they set things up and where the do their creative work really gets the creative juices flowing for me. This weekend at the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro, a more than 100-year-old mill building off of Exit 1 on 91, there’s an opportunity not only to check out the studios,...

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Free Will Astrology: Leos Probably Won’t Date Models or Millionaires
Nov27

Free Will Astrology: Leos Probably Won’t Date Models or Millionaires

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hope that everything doesn’t come too easily for you in the coming weeks. I’m worried you will meet with no obstructions and face no challenges. And that wouldn’t be good. It might weaken your willpower and cause your puzzle-solving skills to atrophy. Let me add a small caveat, however. It’s also true that right about now you deserve a whoosh of slack. I’d love for you to be able to relax and enjoy your...

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Celseigh on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Nov24

Celseigh on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Kelsey Birk, who goes by her stage name Celseigh, is a local singer-songwriter who writes doom drenched murder ballads with acoustic bluegrass inspired guitar. Interview with...

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VIDEO: Celseigh on Sessions Friday
Nov22

VIDEO: Celseigh on Sessions Friday

Kelsey Birk, who goes by her stage name Celseigh, is a local singer-songwriter who writes doom drenched murder ballads with acoustic bluegrass inspired guitar. Check out a teaser video of Celesigh’s full Valley Advocate Sessions performance set to be released online this...

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STAFF PICKS: Snow Farm, Labyrinth Walk, a Hendrix Tribute, and Eddie Japan
Nov20

STAFF PICKS: Snow Farm, Labyrinth Walk, a Hendrix Tribute, and Eddie Japan

Snow Farm Seconds Sale // FRIDAY-SUNDAY My number one goal for the holiday season is to get as much of my shopping done before December as possible. Shopping in December is the worst, and I am trying to avoid giving Amazon my money so I’m heading to the last Snow Farm seconds sale on Thanksgiving weekend. There are locally made crafts from all over the county, but because they’re technically “seconds,”...

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Bizarro Briefs: Venomous Snails, Baby Language, and Cats in Space

Many people know that the opioid crisis has been linked to over-the-counter pain medication being over prescribed by doctors. The problem is that there is not a practical solution for people with chronic pain. Brain scientists have been studying this question and are looking for a substance that can decrease pain without engaging the pleasure receptors that opioids do. Luckily, snail venom might do just that. We didn’t even know...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Hang Dildos from your Christmas Tree, Gemini

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In alignment with the current astrological omens, I have prepared your horoscope using five hand-plucked aphorisms by Aries poet Charles Bernstein. 1.) “You never know what invention will look like or else it wouldn’t be invention.” 2.) “So much depends on what you are expecting.” 3.) “What’s missing from the bird’s eye view is plain to see on the ground.” 4.) “The questioning of the beautiful is always at...

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Ritmo Gitano on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Nov17

Ritmo Gitano on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Ritmo Gitano is a local duo that plays traditional gitano and Romani music on fiddle (Zoe Darrow) and Spanish guitar (Tony Silva). Check out the group’s complete Valley Advocate Sessions performance in video below. Interview with Ritmo...

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Voters Deliver Left Hook: What it means in Holyoke, Greenfield
Nov13

Voters Deliver Left Hook: What it means in Holyoke, Greenfield

Progressives had reasons to celebrate the morning of Nov. 8 more than at any point in the past year. Not only did the Democrats capture the big prizes of Election Day on Nov. 7 — the governors races in New Jersey and Virginia — but Democratic and progressive candidates prevailed across the nation, including in the Pioneer Valley. Now, a year after the 2016 election, when Donald Trump was elected president and Republicans retained both...

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Bizarro Briefs: It’s Good to Laugh Again
Nov13

Bizarro Briefs: It’s Good to Laugh Again

The woman arrested for laughing at the hilarious statement that Jeff Sessions has a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law” at Sessions confirmation hearing (Sessions in fact was rejected as a federal judge in the 1980s over concerns about his past comments on race) is now free to laugh again. The charges against activist Desiree Fairooz, who was attending the hearing as a member of women’s...

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Immigrant Father takes Sanctuary in Amherst Church
Nov13

Immigrant Father takes Sanctuary in Amherst Church

When her four children go to sleep at night, Dora Gonzalez says her youngest, 8-year-old Lucy, often wakes up around 1 a.m. and says, “I miss my dad.” Her oldest son is graduating high school this spring, and Gonzalez worries his father, Lucio Perez, won’t be able to watch him receive his diploma. “It’s not easy being away from family,” she said in a recent interview. “More for the kids, because they need him. They need his help and...

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Free Will Astrology: Don’t Lose Your Lotto Ticket, Sagittarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Many people go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after,” observed Henry David Thoreau. The spirit of Thoreau’s observation is true about every one of us to some extent. From time to time, we all try to satisfy our desires in the wrong location, with the wrong tools, and with the wrong people. But I’m happy to announce that his epigram is less true for you now than it has...

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Hannah Rose on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Nov10

Hannah Rose on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Hannah Rose is an electric rock singer-songwriter with plenty of soul. She plays with her band Sodada, but also performs solo material that’s geared towards indie rock. Interview with Hannah...

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VIDEO: Hannah Rose on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Nov09

VIDEO: Hannah Rose on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Hannah Rose is an electric rock singer-songwriter with plenty of soul. Her band Sodada previously performed on Valley Advocate Sessions. Check out a preview of some of her soon to be released Sessions performance featuring her original solo...

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Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass
Nov06

Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass

This article was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and is the first installment in a series about SWAT deployment and police militarization in Massachusetts. For a police department of only 40 officers, the April 23, 2015 raid by Ludlow Special Response Team (SRT) had to be an all-hands-on-deck affair. At shortly past five o’clock in the morning, a team of 12 Ludlow officers — amounting to...

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STAFF PICKS: A Week’s Worth of Films, Blues, and the New England Neck Wrecker
Nov06

STAFF PICKS: A Week’s Worth of Films, Blues, and the New England Neck Wrecker

Brattleboro Film Fest // THROUGH SUNDAY I haven’t been to a film festival in awhile, but it only took one look at the lineup for this week’s sixth annual Brattleboro Film Festival to seal the deal. The festival takes place at the historic Latchis Theatre in downtown Brattleboro and runs through Sunday, Nov. 12. What really excites me about the films featured this year is their diversity. There are films and filmmakers from places...

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Bizarro Briefs: Sunscreen Snow and Robot Horror Stories

The fear of robots and artificial intelligence taking away your job and your livelihood just got real, folks. A new AI bot created by Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology writes it’s own horror stories. The bot, “Shelley’, named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, has been trained on more than 140,000 horror stories posted on Reddit. Every hour, the AI starts a new story on Twitter and others are encouraged...

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Lisa Martin on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Nov03

Lisa Martin on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Lisa Martin writes original songs ranging from country to folk roots music, but with a dash of bluesy rock. Check out Lisa Martin’s complete Valley Advocate Sessions performance below. Interview with Lisa...

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VIDEO: Lisa Martin on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Nov01

VIDEO: Lisa Martin on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Check out a video teaser for Lisa Martin trio’s upcoming Valley Advocate Sessions performance, which will be released this Friday. Martin plays country, folk roots with a dash of bluesy rock.  ...

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