Hannah & Maggie on the Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr28

Hannah & Maggie on the Advocate Sessions Stage

Bright-eyed and bolstered by a rapidly growing fan base, the award winning NYC duo has set out to make the world of singer-songwriters a more cheerful place. Although they’ve been favorably compared to Simon & Garfunkel and The Indigo Girls, these ladies have an undeniable originality and a sound all their own. Their efforts to blend the folk music they were raised on with a modern-day melodic energy prove successful time and...

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Staff picks: Get out there and enjoy the Valley!
Apr25

Staff picks: Get out there and enjoy the Valley!

Upper Valley Music Festival – Saturday, April 29My wife is going to be participating in an all-day yoga event Saturday, leaving me with our 3-month-old. What better way to entertain the little guy than 12 hours of live music in Greenfield with dozens of acts on five stages? Tickets are $20. Venues throughout downtown Greenfield. Music goes from noon to midnight. More information at http://www.uppervalleymusicfest.com. -Dave...

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Cinemadope: This Is Spinal Tap deadpans for gold
Apr24

Cinemadope: This Is Spinal Tap deadpans for gold

While the idea of a “mockumentary” now seems almost old-hat, in 1984 director Rob Reiner gave birth to the zany medium.His ridiculously entertaining satire about life on the road with aging, British metal band Spinal Tap during their American comeback tour was mostly improvpotised, with stars Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer leading the charge. At the time, it was almost puzzling in the strength of its deadpan.Not...

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Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place
Apr24

Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place

For writer Elinam Agbo, words are like air.“If I go too long without expressing my thoughts in one way or another, I begin to feel suffocated and distant from my memories as well as my lived moments,” said Agbo, this year’s winner of the Valley Advocate’s Juniper Summer Writing Program scholarship at UMass Amherst.The Juniper program focuses on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and is hosted by the UMass Master of Fine Arts program for...

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The Resistance is Just Getting Started: Today Science, Tomorrow (May  Day) Workers’ Rights
Apr24

The Resistance is Just Getting Started: Today Science, Tomorrow (May Day) Workers’ Rights

On a hill of gravelly mud in Kendrick Park — that little strip of grass in downtown Amherst flanked by Triangle and Pleasant streets — a family of protesters are passing around plastic instruments and bird masks in preparation for the March for Science.“Everyone got one?” the mother asks. “Just like we practiced.”And the big plastic band starts playing a buzzy, flatulent “When the Saints Go Marching In.”A man with a tambourine and a...

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The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t
Apr24

The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t

Writer’s note: This column mentions depression and suicidality. When me and my BF first got together about a year and a half ago, we were having the best sex of our lives! Then I decided with the help of my therapist that I needed to be medicated due to suicidal thoughts and anxiety/depression. The medication helped a lot with my mental illness, but unfortunately it made my sex drive plummet. I was still able and happy to get my man...

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Basemental: Bella’s Wild Rose Reviewed
Apr24

Basemental: Bella’s Wild Rose Reviewed

Editor’s note: Bella Ortia-Wren uses they/their pronouns.Bella Ortia-Wren, who goes by just “Bella” on stage, plays a blue Fender Mustang, a small-bodied guitar with single coil pickups, that sounds shimmery and crisp through a few hot-tempered distortion boxes. Decadent chords cut through creating a wild, untamed haze which is the foundation for Wild Rose , their new album to be released on Bandcamp later this week. Ortiz-Wren...

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Review: Krakatoa Picnic Got Me Lit, Check out James Heflin’s palpable poetry Friday
Apr24

Review: Krakatoa Picnic Got Me Lit, Check out James Heflin’s palpable poetry Friday

The first thing you need to know about Krakatoa Picnic is that the imagery in this book of poems, by James Heflin, will sear you to the side of the Indonesian volcano.The collection of sci-fi-influenced prose is vivid in its tactile descriptions of place, people, and time. Heflin, a Deerfield resident and former Advocate arts editor, creates scenarios that are lyrical and triple-doused in meaning, yet nimble and often a little...

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Nuclear Activists Raise Concerns Over Vermont Yankee Quick Fix
Apr24

Nuclear Activists Raise Concerns Over Vermont Yankee Quick Fix

Over the last few months, a proposal to sell the now-closed Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant to a company called NorthStar has gotten some attention.Vermont Yankee shut down in 2014 and is in Vernon, a town at the southeastern corner of Vermont. Most of Franklin County in Massachusetts fell within the plant’s recently discontinued 10-mile evacuation zone.Entergy, which now owns the plant, had originally proposed completing the...

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Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan
Apr24

Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan

Earth First & Last Like children       in summertime,       our planet thrives on vivid evidence that there is always something to be. Unlike fools who amass acres by way of massacres, nature plants herself in one area and creates worlds around her. Earth itself (like birds and wisdom) feeds on uncertainty and sees death for what it is: the freedom to erode. — Connolly Ryan Connolly Ryan is a poet and senior lecturer at UMass Amherst...

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News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder
Apr24

News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder

A June 2016 police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County (California) farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess when sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Department officers “rescued” it from a trespassing homeless man — with the massive destruction leading to Jessen’s lawsuit announced in March. The misdemeanant helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but was otherwise “unarmed.” However, by the time the police...

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Winners of the Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll Announced, top local businesses in 160+ categories
Apr19

Winners of the Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll Announced, top local businesses in 160+ categories

 The Valley Advocate would like to thank everyone that took time to vote in the 2017 Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll.This year you will notice that we have changed how the winners are displayed on our new website. We hope that you will find our new format to be more user and mobile friendly.Thank you again for voting and please let the businesses know that you saw them on our website as you congratulate...

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Eight Western Mass Towns Considering Fees for Carbon Emissions
Apr25

Eight Western Mass Towns Considering Fees for Carbon Emissions

This spring, voters in eight towns in Western Massachusetts may pass resolutions requiring fossil fuel companies to pay fees to its citizens.The resolutions are non-binding, so the votes will be more about sending a message than actually leveraging the fees, according to a statement from Ashfield Citizens’ Climate Lobby.The towns of Amherst, Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Plainfield, Shutesbury, and Whatley have all placed...

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Free Will Astrology: Virgo, cook an omelet over Niagara gorge
Apr24

Free Will Astrology: Virgo, cook an omelet over Niagara gorge

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have misgivings when I witness bears riding bicycles or tigers dancing on their hind legs or Aries people wielding diplomatic phrases and making careful compromises at committee meetings. While I am impressed by the disciplined expression of primal power, I worry for the soul of the creature that is behaving with such civilized restraint. So here’s my advice for you in the coming weeks: Take advantage of...

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Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018
Apr19

Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018

Democrat and political newcomer Jon Ossoff failed to capture Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in the first round. But Tuesday’s special election results may give Democrats across the country hopes of recapturing the House in 2018 and thwarting the second half of Donald Trump’s term as president.Ossoff reached just above 48 percent of the vote; one vote above 50 percent would have earned him a seat right away....

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Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman speaks today at Mount Holyoke
Apr25

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman speaks today at Mount Holyoke

Amy Goodman, host of radio program Democracy Now!, will speak at Mount Holyoke College at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25.Goodman will speak at the Gamble Auditorium at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum about increased threats to freedom of the press and the importance of truly independent media to hold those in power accountable. She is also presenting her new book, “The Enemy is not the Enemy.”Doors open at 7 p.m. and...

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Baker gets a ‘C’ in environmental protection
Apr21

Baker gets a ‘C’ in environmental protection

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has been deemed mediocre – receiving a “C” for the second year in a row for its environmental policies and leadership, according to a report card from seven leading environmental organizations. “Unfortunately, once again we are seeing the Baker Administration fall short. From climate preparedness to toxic landfill emissions, there are serious challenges ahead for our state, and it’s critical...

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UMass student tries to combine online anonymity and positivity
Apr21

UMass student tries to combine online anonymity and positivity

The Internet has a problem, and that problem is that many of the people who use it are bullies and cowardly naysayers who hide behind their anonymity.On the other hand, Peter Tao, a junior and biochemistry major at UMass Amherst, is upbeat and positive to a fault. I am skeptical as I sit across from him at the Blue Wall when he tells me an iPhone app he developed called Spotlight is designed specifically to let people post photos...

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Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour to speak at UMass
Apr20

Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour to speak at UMass

In the age of President Trump, many people are stepping up to organize and counter the rising tide nationalism, xenophobia, racism and hate fueled far-right flirtations with Nazism. Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim civil rights and racial justice activist who was one of the organizers for the Women’s March on Washington, is one such person.She’ll be speaking at UMass Amherst in Mahar Auditorium April 28 at 3:30...

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Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday
Apr19

Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday

Who is Hammydown?To see more come back Friday afternoon when we’ll post the full 20 minute concert and interview with Hammydown. Want more Sessions? Check out past performances from bands that include Mammal Dap, The Suitcase Junket, Mikey Sweet, Ray Mason, The Eavesdrop Trio, and Fancy Trash at...

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In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program
Apr18

In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program

It was a terrible way to start the New Year.Three people died and nearly 50 were displaced as a fire consumed the five-story building at 106 North East Street on January 1, 2017.Looking for a quick way to respond, the City of Holyoke has expanded its federally funded Rental Neighborhood Improvement Program to provide financial incentive to rental property owners to include more robust fire alarm systems.The program already provided...

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UMass Amherst starts new School of Earth and Sustainability
Apr18

UMass Amherst starts new School of Earth and Sustainability

UMass Amherst is getting a School of Earth and Sustainability and it will launch Wednesday, April 19.The keynote speaker at Wednesday’s event, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will be Yale law and psychology professor Dan Kahan. Other speakers are expected to include Secretary of Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Matt Beaton, UMass Amherst Provost Katherine S. Newman and Dean Steven Goodwin of the...

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Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?
Apr18

Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?

From the outside, 5 Appleton St. in Holyoke looks like any number of towering, brick artifacts from a time when Holyoke earned its unofficial title “The Paper City.” But looks can be deceiving. New life is being breathed into the 200,000 square-foot facility and that’s all due to recreational marijuana.Unlike some of the neighboring buildings, this 125-year-old mill, located in the downtown canal district, has been busy since starting...

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Is this World War III? Not yet
Apr17

Is this World War III? Not yet

A chemical weapons attack in Syria, a missile strike from the United States and worsening relations with Russia have made this month a serious pivot point in the protracted Syrian conflict.Is this the moment future historians will identify as the start to a new Cold War with Russia, the beginning of a larger U.S. intervention in Syria or even World War III? (Will there be any future historians at that point?) A short recap of what has...

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Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue
Apr18

Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue

Welcome, to this week’s jam-packed Advocate. We’ve got the winners of our annual Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll, 4/20-themed stories in celebration of Massachusetts’ first year of legal recreational weed, more about our new online Friday music concerts, Sessions, and news about what’s going on at the paper.First up: The Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll is a who’s who and what’s what of all the top people, places, and businesses...

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Stream Queen: Blazing flicks to watch while high
Apr18

Stream Queen: Blazing flicks to watch while high

It’s 4/20, and whether you consider today a national holiday or just a chance to gather some friends and smoke, you’ll probably end up watching something. Thankfully, now that it’s no longer the ’70s, stoners can open Netflix or YouTube and watch something unique and outlandish, instead of just staring at a psychedelic Grateful Dead poster.Some high wisdom is obvious. For instance, if you’ve eaten an edible and you’re wondering...

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V-Spot: Am I Queer or a Fraud?
Apr18

V-Spot: Am I Queer or a Fraud?

Over the past year, I’ve thought a lot about my sexuality. Recently, I came across the term “heteroflexible” and immediately, I felt like I identified with it more than any other sexual orientation I previously knew about.However, I continue to feel invalidated by my lack of sexual experience with people who are the same gender. I know sexuality isn’t defined by our experiences but by what we think and how we feel. But I can’t help...

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Cinemadope: TED talks live on the Cinemark screen
Apr18

Cinemadope: TED talks live on the Cinemark screen

TED talks — the bite-sized presentations given at the organization’s annual Technology, Education, and Design conference — have become an oddly popular cultural phenomenon. At once elitist and public-spirited (a standard conference membership will run you 10 grand, yet thousands of the famous talks are available for free on TED.com), it has become a sort of intellectual snack food, shared on social media with attention-grabbing titles...

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Piecing together a new Northampton performance space
Apr17

Piecing together a new Northampton performance space

Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, April 17, Owen Wormser changed out of his flip-flops and donned work boots. Fitting pieces of stone together in the lot in front of Ghost Bread and across the street from the former Serio’s market, Wormser is polishing off a five-tiered amphitheater that will house workshops music and puppet shows by the time summer rolls around.The site has been regraded by hand and volunteers have already put in...

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From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches
Apr17

From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches

Hot HaikusIn response to our call on our Facebook page “It is in the 80s today. Someone write a haiku about the weather in the comments”, here’s a few entries from the community:Massachusetts spring No rhyme or reason to it Roller coaster ride— Frank GiulianoHot enough to swim Spring has only just started Be prepared for snow— Wil KingHey, now I can use all of these ice cubes in my refrigerator.— Corey Plucker  Not so Rattled by...

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News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed
Apr17

News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed

If at first you don’t succeed…Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes. Among the initial exhibits: coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic “For Her” pen (because women’s handwriting needs are surely unique); the Twitter Peek (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and receive...

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The DO NOT WATCH List
Apr17

The DO NOT WATCH List

 This week, our resident Stream Queen Lena Wilson offers a journey into some high-minded flicks beyond old Cheech and Chong movies (see pg. 18). But Advocate staff thought it equally important to share a blacklist of movies and TV shows to avoid when high — at all costs.This list was compiled from writers’ personal experience… but that’s probably obvious.Eraserhead (dir. David Lynch, 1977) Watching Lynch work his doomy...

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Free Will Astrology: Aries be like Washington, Sagittarius like Lincoln
Apr18

Free Will Astrology: Aries be like Washington, Sagittarius like Lincoln

ARIES (March 21-April 19): After George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States, he had to move from his home in Virginia to New York City, which at the time was the center of the American government. But there was a problem: He didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for his long-distance relocation, so he was forced to scrape up a loan. Fortunately, he was resourceful and persistent in doing so. The money...

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Western Mass Missed Connections – A Cute House Painter

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed  Connection forum, you really should. The following is a sample from the Western Mass forum. Post dates have been added.Federal St, You were painting your house — m4w (Greenfield)About 3:45, I drove down federal street, saw you painting your homes exterior. You looked pretty darn cute. 🙂 If you need a hand or wanted some help, let me know what you were standing on so I know it’s...

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The Pour Man: La Manarine is French red wine done right
Apr17

The Pour Man: La Manarine is French red wine done right

In the world of wine, Domaine La Manarine is a relatively minor player — about 89 acres of vines, 60,000 bottles of wine a year — and that’s a good thing.Good, because the wines made there by owner Gilles Gasq are well-crafted and a great value, and they reflect the character and attention to detail of other small, family-owned producers in the Rhone region whose wines sell for a lot more.Gasq purchased the vineyard, located in the...

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