Tease VIDEO Feel Good Drift on Sessions Friday
Jul20
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Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage
Jul20

Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage

Reid Thompson’s setting for Speech & Debate, now receiving a near-perfect production at Barrington Stage Company, is a high school classroom. Maps and historical posters line the walls and headshots of famous Americans form a frieze above a pair of whiteboards – which become screens for Alex Basco Koch’s witty between-scenes animated projections. Lighting by Burke Brown also divides the room into discrete areas representing the...

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Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys
Jul17

Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys

Draco and the Malfoys • Saturday  I held out on Harry Potter mania for years, but finally succumbed when the last book came out in 2007. I read them all in a matter of months, but I didn’t go as far as these folks, who wrote albums of Harry Potter-inspired music. I can’t think of a better venue to appreciate this band than a library, and that’s exactly where they’re having the show. Hoping they play “All...

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Basemental: Young Musicians Deserve Pay, Too
Jul17

Basemental: Young Musicians Deserve Pay, Too

I’ve played in about a half dozen bands over the past seven years here in the Valley. I’ve played on the steps of my beloved Goodwin Memorial Library in Hadley (for free) and I’ve played The Calvin (for $250); I’ve played countless basements (including “The Basement”), colleges, and plenty of bar shows to boot. With the exception of the very occasional, yet lucrative, college show or an exceptionally good night at a bar, which does...

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Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers
Jul17

Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers

“Wimps and Wanna-Be’s need not apply!” That was the tagline of a print ad announcing an open audition for “FIERCE Male Dancers” who wanted to earn a spot on Madonna’s controversial, ground-breaking Blond Ambition Tour in 1990. It would have been a dream job for any dancer, but nobody — certainly not the seven young men, most barely 20 at the time, who ended up touring the globe with the pop star — could have predicted the impact the...

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Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed
Jul18

Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed

Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s “romances,” those late works in which comedy blends with tragedy and the endings are neither strewn with corpses nor aclang with wedding bells, but suffused with poignancy and forgiveness. The Tempest is the most popular of this group – in fact, it inaugurates the company’s new outdoor performance space next month – and Cymbeline runs a close second to Pericles as the least performed.So...

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Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday
Jul17

Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday

Cinematic Pop MusicBoston/Western Mass’ Eddie Japan combines that feel good ‘60s pop with a splash of ‘80s alternative new wave that’s a blast. In 2013, Eddie Japan won Boston’s ultra cool Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, and picked up a Boston Music Award for “Live Artist of the Year.” That sold me. I’m going to check them out for my column next week, Valley Show Girl, when the band comes to town on Saturday night. Eddie Japan is...

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Stagestruck: Wizard of Arrrrrs — PaintBox Theatre
Jul19

Stagestruck: Wizard of Arrrrrs — PaintBox Theatre

“Oh dear, the Wicked Witch is coming!” cried the Mayor of Munchkin City. “In that case,” responded Good Witch Glinda, “I’ve got to go.” “But why?” asked Dorothy, who was just starting to get used to not being in Kansas anymore. “Because she and I can’t be onstage at the same time. You’ll see why in a minute.”That meta-moment is part of why I love Tom McCabe’s PaintBox Theatre. The troupe’s inspired approach to kids’ shows combines...

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Stream Queen: Video Soundtrack Of Your Summer
Jul17

Stream Queen: Video Soundtrack Of Your Summer

When Queen released their music video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” back in the ‘70s, it’s doubtful they thought the medium would ever become as quintessential as it has today. In this millennium of viral content and streaming video, music videos have become an artist’s best tool when packaging a song. Though these shorts used to mostly depict artists’ performances, music and video have since coalesced into one discrete, enchanting...

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“Recipes from the Herbalists Kitchen” Great for Herb-an Renewal
Jul17

“Recipes from the Herbalists Kitchen” Great for Herb-an Renewal

Yes, I had cooked with herbs before, or I thought I had. But the first lesson that Conway author Brittany Wood Nickerson’s Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen (just out from Storey Publishing in North Adams http://www.storey.com) taught me is that my prior forays in cooking with basil, oregano, and thyme were feeble attempts at best.My wife and I picked a recipe for miso peanut sauce and the first ingredient was two full cups of...

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V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle
Jul17

V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle

Hi Yana,My partner and I have different sex drives. I could have sex four to six times a week, while he feels more comfortable with about two. In the beginning, we had a lot of sex and I was ecstatic thinking that our sex drives were more matched. Now, not so much.I feel like I’m constantly rejected and he feels pressured to have sex. He’s said he’s afraid to cuddle and kiss me because then he feels he’ll be expected to take it...

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The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved
Jul17

The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved

Mont Gravet, a light, refreshing, low-alcohol white wine, is perfect for drinking on warm summer evenings.It also has the added enjoyment of being a wine of discovery, one from an unfamiliar region, made from a grape that gets little attention and that I know little about. Maybe for the wine experts, it’s old hat, but for me, it’s new and fun.Mont Gravet is made from 100-percent Colombard grapes harvested from vineyards in the Gascony...

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Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp
Jul17

Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick.The University of...

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Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!
Jul17

Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!

A man and woman dressed as Batman characters were shot by police while having sex in an Australian nightclub. The man, dressed as the Joker, was shot in the stomach after police mistook his fake gun for a real one. The woman was dressed as Harley Quinn, and was shot in the leg. Roughly 40 police officers raided the event, called the Saints and Sinners Ball — and reportedly billed as a “no-holds-barred extravaganza of adult fun,” on...

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Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire
Jul17

Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire

Iron Horse  Entertainment Group Under FireSeveral readers took issue with what they perceived as a lack of interest in the local music scene from IHEG in the comments section and on Facebook in last week’s cover story, “Behind the Music,” July 13-19, 2017. Here are a few examples.Austin Hatch: As a member of a local band, we DO have some power to change this. My band won’t play IHEG venues, and we’ve turned down booking...

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Between the Lines: Peacefully Resisting ICE Raids
Jul17

Between the Lines: Peacefully Resisting ICE Raids

Western Massachusetts advocacy groups know that there are many in immigrant communities living in fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and arrests, and over the course of this year have been working to do something about it — particularly in light of President Donald Trump’s stances on immigration.Groups including the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Jobs with Justice have begun training people to be part of a...

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Choosing Abortion In Massachusetts: Stigma and Obstacles Remain
Jul17

Choosing Abortion In Massachusetts: Stigma and Obstacles Remain

“Everyone thinks of Massachusetts as such a liberal place, but I don’t think they realize how big the stigma is even here.”Those words were spoken by Alice, who will begin her third year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst this fall. Now 21, Alice chose to get an abortion when she was 19 and became pregnant with her boyfriend during her senior year in high school.Alice, who agreed to speak with the Advocate only if we...

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Free Will Astrology:Strawberry Is Your Power Fruit, Pisces
Jul17

Free Will Astrology:Strawberry Is Your Power Fruit, Pisces

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Greek word philokalia is translated as the “love of the beautiful, the exalted, the excellent.” I propose that we make it your keyword for the next three weeks — the theme you keep at the forefront of your awareness everywhere you go. But think a while before you say yes to my invitation. To commit yourself to being so relentlessly in quest of the sublime would be a demanding job. Are you truly prepared...

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Stagestruck: Lives on the Line
Jul15

Stagestruck: Lives on the Line

In her “Detroit Trilogy” of plays, Dominique Morisseau looks at black lives in that once-vibrant city through the lens of three distinct eras and groups of people.  Paradise Blue takes place in a 1949 jazz club in the city’s historic Black Bottom district, which is threatened by gentrification. Detroit ’67 is set in a “blind pig,” an unlicensed after-hours bar, during that summer’s deadly riots – which were triggered by a police raid...

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The Mary Jane Jones on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jul14

The Mary Jane Jones on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

The Mary Jane Jones blends vintage soul, jazz, and blues together with heavy horns, intricate guitar-work, and vocals that transport you back in time to a dimly lit speakeasy. The group performed for Valley Advocate Sessions LIVE on the front lawn of the Daily Hampshire Gazette on June 29.Like what you’re listening to? Check out the Valley Advocate Sessions page for bands and artists, including Shokazoba, Flava Evolution, Peter...

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Stagestruck: Shakespearean Double Act
Jul13

Stagestruck: Shakespearean Double Act

Think of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as fan fiction – Tom Stoppard’s contribution to the “greatest-play-ever-written” phenomenon. That is, Hamlet.  In fact, though they were written centuries apart (around 1599 and 1966, respectively), the two make a well-matched repertory duet for an adventurous theater company, as minor characters in the elder become leads in the upstart, and vice versa.That’s just what Hampshire...

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UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp
Jul13

UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick. The University of...

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VIDEO Coming to Sessions: The Mary Jane Jones
Jul12

VIDEO Coming to Sessions: The Mary Jane Jones

The Mary Jane Jones is vintage soul, blues, and jazz with heavy horns. The band played at LIVE set on the front lawn of the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the full performance will be released this Friday on July 14. Until then, here’s a teaser for the The Mary Jane Jones.Can’t wait for Friday to see more Sessions? Check out some local bands...

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Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident
Jul11

Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident

When he was 15 years old in 1976, Niberd Abdalla immigrated to the United States from Iraq fleeing persecution due to his family’s Kurdish heritage and democratic activism. He’s lived as an undocumented person in the United States for the past 41 years and has complied with biannual immigration enforcement check-ins for the past seven years. On the morning of June 8, when Niberd, a former Florence resident who now lives in...

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Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival
Jul11

Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival

The KO Festival of Performance opened last weekend, kicking off a diverse five-week season clustered around the theme “Tactics for Trying Times.” First up was Jimmy & Lorraine, written by Talvin Wilks and developed with Hartford’s HartBeat Ensemble. The playwright describes his scrapbook drama as a “dramatic reflection” and “a type of mashup,” culled from the writings and correspondence of two great African-American artist/activists:...

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Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic
Jul10

Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic

At the risk of sounding impossibly out-of-touch, let me tell you something: I sure do miss Dialing for Dollars. That syndicated TV program — in which an afternoon movie was chopped into a few hundred pieces, allowing host George Allen to pick a number out of the area phone book and call cash-hungry viewers during the many breaks — did more for my early interest in movies than it had any right doing.Maybe it was because it was on in...

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Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG
Jul10

Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG

For years the Iron Horse Entertainment Group with its quintet of venues — Pearl Street Nightclub, The Calvin, The Basement, The Iron Horse Music Hall, and Mountain Park — reigned over the Pioneer Valley music scene.IHEG’s rule has irked some people.Frustration with the entertainment group boiled over recently leading to a guerilla campaign against IHEG owner Eric Suher, and two widely circulated news stories about crumby conditions at...

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Stagestruck: The Foreigner Hits Close To Home
Jul10

Stagestruck: The Foreigner Hits Close To Home

There’s a disclaimer of sorts in Jack Neary’s director’s note for The Foreigner, New Century Theatre’s season opener, playing through this weekend in its temporary digs at PVPA, the area’s performing arts high school in South Hadley. In it, Neary acknowledges that Larry Shue’s popular comedy “can easily be interpreted as an incisive commentary on our current political climate,” but “Me, I just think it’s funny.”Yes, certain aspects of...

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Between the Lines: Frances Crowe Has The Right Idea
Jul10

Between the Lines: Frances Crowe Has The Right Idea

In the small Berkshire County town of Sandisfield, there’s a battle being waged over public lands and environmental concerns stemming from a natural gas pipeline being installed in Otis State Forest.More than 30 protesters have been arrested this year for trespassing on an easement granted to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, for construction of its $93 million Connecticut Expansion Project that would run...

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Beerhunter: From Homebrew to Hotspot
Jul10

Beerhunter: From Homebrew to Hotspot

Don’t let the name of their new Westfield brewery fool you — Mark Avery and Rich DeSousa aren’t preparing to quit their day jobs. But the two friends and business partners are still opening up every spare hour, every day they can, to get Two Weeks Notice Brewing Company off the ground.Avery’s beers proved a hit during Western Mass Beer Week in June, when Two Weeks Notice collaborated on an IPA with Ludlow’s Vanished Valley Brewing and...

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Review: ‘In a Different Light’ at Easthampton City Arts Gallery
Jul10

Review: ‘In a Different Light’ at Easthampton City Arts Gallery

Thirteen of America’s presidents gather for a summit. They listen as Thomas Jefferson explains this new majesty before them — a giant, wonderfully fluffy chocolate-glazed doughnut with rainbow sprinkles. Teddy Roosevelt gathers his jacket at the hip judging the round table’s character. Ulysses S. Grant looks dumbfounded. George Washington, with his clenched fists and downcast eyes, appears to be looking for an excuse to leave.This is...

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At Play: All Things Scottish and Great
Jul10

At Play: All Things Scottish and Great

Get your Scot on at the 24th annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival Saturday at Look Park in Northampton. The day-long event is jammed with all things Celtic and “tidy” (that’s Scottish slang for excellent).The day will feature Scottish music, athletic feats of strength, vendors, historical recreations, food, and beer.Don’t miss Albannach (that’s them in front of that rippin’ hawk). The band is straight outta Scotland and features...

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Introducing … Bizarro Briefs
Jul10

Introducing … Bizarro Briefs

Last week we got the surprising news that longtime News of the Weird feature writer Chuck Shepherd is retiring! Like, very surprising, because we had no idea this was coming. BUT, the Advocate is all about weird news, so we’re going to keep it going ourselves!Without further ado, the following are the strange, eclectic, zany, madcap, and — as Chuck might describe them — weird stories we found in the news this week: Putting The Weed In...

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Down to Earth: No, The Car Is Not King
Jul10

Down to Earth: No, The Car Is Not King

We’re in the middle of a national crisis of public life. The idea that we can make life better by sharing our collective wealth (money and natural resources) and brainpower (science, engineering, literature and the arts) is under threat.In a recent article for Salon, Henry A. Giroux called it “the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared...

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Leo, Press 3 For Fresh Inspiration
Jul10

Leo, Press 3 For Fresh Inspiration

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s not your birthday, but I feel like you need to get presents. The astrological omens agree with me. In fact, they suggest you should show people this horoscope to motivate them to do the right thing and shower you with practical blessings. And why exactly do you need these rewards? Here’s one reason: Now is a pivotal moment in the development of your own ability to give the unique gifts you have to give....

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