Cinemadope: Life Goes On
Dec18

Cinemadope: Life Goes On

Speak of nuclear winter, and my thoughts go not to bleak, windswept plains. There are no undead hordes clawing at my clapboards, no marauding gangs out collecting rainwater. In my (admittedly hopeful) imagined ruins, we can all rely on the safety of one thing: the climate-controlled vaults of the National Film Registry. As I write, the Registry is home to some 700 films that the Board has deemed “culturally, historically, or...

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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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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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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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Stagestruck: Diversifying Nostalgia in Western Mass Theater
Dec11

Stagestruck: Diversifying Nostalgia in Western Mass Theater

In this season of holiday entertainments that cater to our appetite for cozy tradition (I’m talking about you, Nutcracker, Messiah, and Christmas Carol), two shows this weekend hit the nostalgia nerve from contrary angles. In the Berkshires, a new play adds a “What next?” sequel to a classic love story. And in the Valley, a variety show takes inspiration from old-time vaudeville. Wholly Communion Following on from its annual series of...

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Stream Queen: Distract Your Family with These Jolly Seasonal Picks
Dec11

Stream Queen: Distract Your Family with These Jolly Seasonal Picks

If you’ve turned on a radio recently or gone into any store, you may have noticed that the holidays are approaching — some faster than others, as Hanukkah began this week. For most of us, that means that it’s time to prepare for family gatherings, gift exchanges, and overeating. We had our warm-up during Thanksgiving, but the winter holidays are when capitalism goes full bonkers, constantly reminding us that this is a time to be with...

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The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice
Dec11

The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice

Hi Yana, So, I was recently dumped. Woo! During “the conversation,” my now-ex told me a lot of confusing reasons as to why he thought we should break up, but the one that I can’t stop thinking about: “You’re too nice.” He said that he didn’t know how to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t mean to him, or how to navigate a relationship with someone who wanted to provide and care for him and take his feelings seriously. This is...

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Down to Earth: The Assault on Knowledge
Dec11

Down to Earth: The Assault on Knowledge

Well, Congressional Republicans have passed the tax bill. The only thing remaining before it becomes law is reconciliation between the House and Senate versions of the bill. I’m not the columnist to describe the full span of ways this bill will hurt the middle class. If you haven’t read about that yet, you should — I recommend a great piece written by historian Robert S. McElvaine in the Washington Post...

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Cinemadope: Beuys Club
Dec11

Cinemadope: Beuys Club

Even among artists, Joseph Beuys has often flown under the radar, someone known more for his enduring impact than his individual works. During my days in art school, Beuys was a name dropped conspicuously into conversations by those who wanted to make sure you knew that they had gone deeper than most. Warhol, Duchamp? Beginner stuff, they seemed to say. If you wanted to get to the richer veins of art history goodness, you should be...

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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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VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul
Dec11

VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul

About a month ago, Valley musician Nate Martel came into the Advocate office to drop off his debut solo album “Short Stay.” Being a fan of his role in rock group, Outer Stylie, I was pumped to get the CD into my car as soon as I left work. And that I did. Recorded at Barnhouse Recording in Chicopee and engineered and mixed at Sonelab in Easthampton, all 11 songs are written and performed by Martel. Additional musical contributions...

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The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!
Dec11

The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!

Now that the colder months have blown in, bar managers across the Valley are pulling IPAs, pale ales, and pilsners from their tap handles to make room for some thicker, darker brews like stouts, porters, and barrel-aged specials. Seasonal variety is all well and good, but I’m not always in the mood for a beer that eats like a meal. Most winter beer styles are as filling and thick as those hazy, juicy New England IPAs we can’t stop...

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Advocate Guide to Giving Back
Dec11

Advocate Guide to Giving Back

Many people call this the season of giving. The Network for Good Digital Giving Index found that in 2015, 29 percent of giving occurred in December alone, and that 11 percent of giving happened in the last three days of the year. With those three days fast approaching, I wanted to shed a light on places where you can make non-monetary donations locally. Donating money to local organizations is a fantastic way to give back, and many...

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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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Stagestruck: It’s Bedlam on These Stages
Dec07

Stagestruck: It’s Bedlam on These Stages

“Bedlam” is an apt moniker for the ever-adventurous theater company going by that name. Their whirlwind adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility recently wowed New York (and comes to Cambridge beginning this weekend – see below). Now they’re back on sort-of Broadway with an equally inventive, if less affectionate – and less effective – version of another treasured classic: Peter Pan. Bedlam is a peripatetic troupe, performing...

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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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Back Talk: Where do we go with this?
Dec04

Back Talk: Where do we go with this?

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. Where Do We Go With This? Do we laugh to stop the pain? Do we weep because it isn’t...

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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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Basemental: Hush is culmination of Kindling’s hard work
Dec04

Basemental: Hush is culmination of Kindling’s hard work

The joke about Eastampton shoegazers Kindling is that if they play a house show, some uptight neighbor might call the cops. There’s a reason for this: Kindling is very loud. Too loud for poorly insulated residential basements. When they play gigs, their three guitarists and bassist — Stephen Pierce, Gretchen Williams, Jeff Stevens, and Aaron Snow — bring a whole showroom worth of amps; probably equivalent to every member’s...

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Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age
Dec04

Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age

On a blustery and cold November morning last week, people inside the Northampton Senior Center were keeping warm in a group exercise class and in the fitness room. Stan Plaza and his wife, Darlene Plaza, try to come to the Fitness Center a few times a week to use the exercise machines in addition to participating in outdoor activities. Stan Plaza was using a machine to do arm curls while Darlene Plaza used an elliptical. “It’s a good...

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Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview
Dec04

Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview

Winter 2018 in the Pioneer Valley is bursting at the seams with interesting cultural and artistic events. Whether that’s checking out the latest art exhibit at MASSMoca or seeing a performance by world renowned musicians. This is just a snippet of what’s taking place across the four counties of Western Mass from early December until late March. The Queen of Alt-Country Alternative country singer-songwriter Neko Case is a tour de...

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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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Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield
Dec04

Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield

Holiday get-togethers are like a minefield of bad wines. A winefield, if you will. You are casually exchanging theories about The Last Jedi with your nephew when a well-intentioned relative hands you a glass of “red” because they know you like “red wine.” What on earth is in this glass? Don’t they know wine is so much more than just red or white? You are now in a live, active winefield. What do you do? As most people know, when you’ve...

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Cinemadope: Into the Woods
Dec04

Cinemadope: Into the Woods

The Valley and the Berkshires have long offered a snug home — or a cozy getaway — for artists, musicians, and playwrights looking for a nourishing balance of quiet and culture. For visiting New Yorkers, especially, it seems to be an irresistible draw as a spot to workshop new ideas without the harsh glare of city lights. Call it summer camp for grown-ups. But there are also those moments when city folk and townies rub each other the...

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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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Stagestruck: Sondheim’s Follies, onstage, on screen
Nov30

Stagestruck: Sondheim’s Follies, onstage, on screen

Perhaps surprisingly, the Brits do American musicals really well. The National Theatre, in particular, has a long history of reinvigorating Broadway classics. The theater’s extensive relationship with Stephen Sondheim’s works continues with its current hit production of Follies. It comes to the Amherst Cinema’s screen next week in the National Theatre Live series of HD broadcasts from the London stage. Sondheim’s 1971 show-biz...

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Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee gets Giving Tuesday boost from huge charity
Nov27

Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee gets Giving Tuesday boost from huge charity

When Andrea Marian, executive director of Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee, first read an email offering to match the funds the pantry raises over Facebook this Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28, she thought it was a spam message. “We got an email from Facebook saying it was happening,” she said. “At first I didn’t believe it.” The email turned out to be a legitimate communiqué from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which...

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Hammydown’s “Pizzaface” a dose of slacker rock nostalgia
Nov27

Hammydown’s “Pizzaface” a dose of slacker rock nostalgia

Northampton-based garage pop and indie rock trio Hammydown excels at tapping into youthful angst with charming, sarcastic glee on its debut five-song extended play recording, “Pizzaface,” released July 21. At its heart, Pizzaface is a record about dual identities and hidden personas — the disgruntled demeanor of working a shitty day job is often masked by a smiling face. This is a record that speaks in a universal language about deep...

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Back Talk: Where are police when downtown violence breaks out
Nov27

Back Talk: Where are police when downtown violence breaks out

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. Where are police when downtown violence breaks out? Responses to “Smashed Northampton...

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Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots
Nov27

Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots

Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, rooted in the Valley for over two decades, is spreading its limbs. Long the area’s prime site for physical-theater training and performance that explores the reaches of expression through voice and movement, the company has lately embraced theater genres that tell their stories primarily through music. Several Serious Play! productions have traveled to Scotland’s fabled Edinburgh Fringe Festival over...

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