Gazette/Advocate Pay Equity Meeting Postponed to Next Week
Feb08

Gazette/Advocate Pay Equity Meeting Postponed to Next Week

A staff meeting on the topic of pay equity for women staff members has been postponed for a week, but staff members believe progress is being made. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m., but Gazette and Advocate publisher Michael Rifanburg wrote staff members an email Wednesday evening that the meeting would have to be postponed due to schedule conflicts and would be rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15. Rifanburg...

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Poste Nebleux: Ben Banville’s Life in Art
Feb08

Poste Nebleux: Ben Banville’s Life in Art

Bernard “Ben” Banville’s life sounds as if it was an unfettered celebration of creativity.  Born in Quebec, for many years Banville made his home in Greenfield. He was a musician, a photographer, and an artist who spent years on the Pioneer Valley artscape developing and refining his talents.  In a photo taken prior to his death last year, Banville is a gray bearded gentleman with salt and pepper hair and a slightly mischievous...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: “Son of The Pink Panther” falls far from the tree
Feb08

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: “Son of The Pink Panther” falls far from the tree

It may come as a surprise to my faithful readers that I actually own a few classy movies — notably, the well-regarded “Pink Panther” series starring the great Peter Sellers as Detective Inspector Clouseau. After Sellers’ death, the producers unwisely decided to try to keep the series going with a “Son Of” sequel. Alas, I am forced to quote the immortal Rocky the Squirrel: “But that trick never works, Bullwinkle!” You know you’re in...

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VIDEO: Kalliope Jones on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Feb07

VIDEO: Kalliope Jones on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Kalliope Jones is teenaged post rock band with lush harmonies and an eclectic spirit. Check out a teaser video for the group’s upcoming Valley Advocate Session to be released this...

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Rosenberg Out as Senate President for Rest of Term
Feb07

Rosenberg Out as Senate President for Rest of Term

The Massachusetts State Senate voted to make Worcester Democrat Harriette Chandler the permanent Senate President today, as the investigation into the husband of former state Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst continues. “I am confident that Senate President Chandler will serve the Senate and the Commonwealth with distinction,” Rosenberg wrote in a statement. “I support what’s best for the Senate and the...

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Things To Do: Love, Anime Style, at Tower Theaters
Feb08

Things To Do: Love, Anime Style, at Tower Theaters

Valentines Day, February 14, catch Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card. Romance and intrigue, Japanese anime style. South Hadley’s Tower Theaters, 19 College Street, South Hadley. 9 p.m. $12.50 in advance; $14 at the door. towertheaters.com. — Gina...

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O Cannabis: How to use marijuana at home without smoking it
Feb07

O Cannabis: How to use marijuana at home without smoking it

As recreational and medical marijuana legalization laws continue to pass state by state, more and more people are curious about cannabis. As different people are willing to try cannabis for recreation or medicine, the image from That ’70s Show of a group of people in smoke filled basement passing around a joint no longer dominates as the picture of cannabis consumers. Many people don’t like smoking but are interested in the medicinal...

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Bizarro Briefs: Grenade Launcher Donated to Florida Goodwill
Feb07

Bizarro Briefs: Grenade Launcher Donated to Florida Goodwill

One heck of an explosive donation In Bradenton, Florida, authorities say a grenade launcher, loaded with a live grenade, was left with other donated items at a Goodwill store. The Bradenton Herald reports that The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office says the store manager told deputies that the grenade launcher had come in a shipment from another store several days earlier. The employees at the other location said they sent it along...

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Stream Queen: Essential Picks for Black History Month
Feb07

Stream Queen: Essential Picks for Black History Month

The year is already sailing by. I was celebrating Christmas, then I blinked, and now it’s February. I couldn’t be happier, though, as this is one of my favorite months! Valentine’s Day turns everything gooey next week, and we’re at peak Oscar season. Perhaps most importantly, though, February offers us an opportunity to celebrate one of America’s richest histories and asks us to learn more about a marginalized culture. Though...

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‘Let My People Stay’: Western Mass Jewish community to rally for DREAM Act
Feb06

‘Let My People Stay’: Western Mass Jewish community to rally for DREAM Act

Members of the Jewish community, faith leaders, immigrant rights activist groups, and local area Dreamers will join together in solidarity to support the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act on Thursday, Feb. 8, with a protest outside Northampton City Hall from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The protest is set to take place while the U.S. Senate votes on a spending bill, which could decide the fate of the hundreds of...

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Introducing the Valley Advocate Podcast – a chat with provocative artist Imo Imeh
Feb06

Introducing the Valley Advocate Podcast – a chat with provocative artist Imo Imeh

Recently, the Advocate wrote about President Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador during an immigration discussion – calling them shithole countries. Now we are pleased to continue the conversation and simultaneously introduce our first Valley Advocate podcast – in video form below. In partnership with Amherst Media, Advocate Editor Dave Eisenstadter and Arts and Culture Editor Gina...

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The magical ménage à trois: Wine, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day
Feb06

The magical ménage à trois: Wine, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day

Roses are red. Wine is red. Violets are violet. Let’s try some chocolate. Valentine’s Day, wine, and chocolate are like a magical ménage à trois. And like that other ménage à trois I was part of, you don’t want to realize in the middle of it all that you have made a tremendous mistake. (Also, the wine called Ménage à Trois? Not a fan.) Find a quality wine. Get some good chocolate. And pick which of the two people is your perfect...

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Free Will Astrology: Check your old pants for winning lottery tickets, Virgo
Feb06

Free Will Astrology: Check your old pants for winning lottery tickets, Virgo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): British athlete Liam Collins is an accomplished hurdler. In 2017, he won two medals at the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in South Korea. Collins is also a stuntman and street performer who does shows in which he hurtles over barriers made of chainsaws and leaps blindfolded through flaming hoops. For the foreseeable future, you may have a dual capacity with some resemblances to his. You could...

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Cinemadope: Playing yourself in an Iranian film on a real crime
Feb06

Cinemadope: Playing yourself in an Iranian film on a real crime

Review movies long enough, and you’ll hear the tale of Taste of Cherry. The 1997 film from Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami won the Palme d’Or at that year’s Cannes Film Festival, and was hailed by many as a masterpiece. But when it hit theaters in the U.S., there was at least one very prominent thumbs down — the famous thumb of The Chicago Sun-Times’ influential film critic Roger Ebert, who called the film (a long, quiet, look at a...

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Stagestruck: In the Not-So-Bleak Midwinter
Feb05

Stagestruck: In the Not-So-Bleak Midwinter

It’s Black History Month — or as African-American actors I know like to call it, “Black Employment Month” — the time of year when many theaters make a point of programming shows by and about people of color. Some scoff at the perceived tokenism, and it does point up the comparative dearth of such material elsewhere in the schedule. But I say get ’em when and where you can, and keep pushing for more representation year-round. Next...

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Free Will Astrology: Should Pluto be a Planet, Gemini?
Feb05

Free Will Astrology: Should Pluto be a Planet, Gemini?

ARIES (March 21-April 19): At 12,388 feet, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest peak. If you’re in good shape, you can reach the top in seven hours. The return trip can be done in half the time — if you’re cautious. The loose rocks on the steep trail are more likely to knock you off your feet on the way down than on the way up. I suspect this is an apt metaphor for you in the coming weeks, Aries. Your necessary descent may...

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Congressman McGovern speaks to students in Northampton
Feb05

Congressman McGovern speaks to students in Northampton

The auditorium at the Northampton High School was filled with students as Congressman Jim McGovern fielded questions in a town hall-style meeting on Friday afternoon. The students were engaged and their questions ran the gamut from what should be done about climate change to whether there should be a federal law mandating that minors be tried as juvenile offenders. McGovern’s overall message for the audience of high-school...

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Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure
Feb02

Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure

Sometimes the great teachers are role models to emulate, and sometimes they are the ones whose unfortunate actions you learn not to repeat. Poynter Institute, which touts itself as the world’s leading instructor for journalists, unfortunately fell into the latter category this week with regard to an important story for this news organization. Poynter writer James Warren was given a copy of an email from our former executive...

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The Screaming Hearts on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Feb02

The Screaming Hearts on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

The Screaming Hearts is edgy alternative rock with indie soul. The band performed a special acoustic set on Valley Advocate Sessions. Check it out in the video below. Interview with the Screaming...

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Color and Heat: Pan American Prints at Smith College Museum of Art
Feb01

Color and Heat: Pan American Prints at Smith College Museum of Art

The great mysteries of the southernmost countries of Pan America lie in the enormity of its territory, its rich history, and the shroud of chaos and human suffering. But Nobel-winning Mexican poet Octavio Paz beautifully sums up the artistic heritage of these nations. In his preface for the art book Agpa: Artes Gràficas Panamericanas Paz wrote, “printmaking, like the poetry and novels of Latin America; gives us back our confidence in...

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Valley Advocate Staff Picks: Hero Hairdressers, Meditation, Archguitar Music, and a Cape Breton Party
Feb01

Valley Advocate Staff Picks: Hero Hairdressers, Meditation, Archguitar Music, and a Cape Breton Party

“Hairdressers Are My Heroes” by Artist Sonya Clark // WEDNESDAY, FEB. 7 The Cowsills sang, “There ain’t no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my Hair,” and as part of “Five Takes on African Art / 42 Paintings by Fred Wilson”, hairstylist Kamala Bhagat will recreate a hairstyle copied from an African sculpture on the head of artist Sonya Clark. Clark believes that hairdressers are artists and, in this performance,...

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Dual wellness center and recreational marijuana lounge proposed in Easthampton
Feb01

Dual wellness center and recreational marijuana lounge proposed in Easthampton

Cannabis isn’t exactly the first thing that you’d think of when the topic of holistic wellness is brought up, but a new Easthampton business called Chronic Trips hope to change some of the dialog about wellness and recreational weed. Seth Frappier, the owner and founder of Chronic Trips, said he’s planning to open a studio in downtown Easthampton that would include a recreational marijuana lounge paired with more traditional elements...

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Former Gazette editor claims he was fired advocating for women, but many women say differently
Feb01

Former Gazette editor claims he was fired advocating for women, but many women say differently

Editor’s note: I have been employed by Newspapers of New England since 2014 and was working for the Daily Hampshire Gazette and then the Valley Advocate at the time that most of the events reported in this story took place. There is some inherent awkwardness of writing about and interviewing my former boss, my current employer, and several former colleagues, but I did the best I could to be fair to all sides. -Dave E. At a few...

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Stagestruck: Something Rotten! — a tasty musical dish
Jan31

Stagestruck: Something Rotten! — a tasty musical dish

I grew up on Shakespeare and musicals, so what was I to make of Something Rotten!, the hit musical that mercilessly lampoons both? Love it for its origins or hate it for its irreverence? Having missed it on Broadway, where it earned a double handful of Tony nominations in 2015 but lost out to Fun Home, I caught up with the national tour at the Bushnell in Hartford, where it’s running through Sunday. Verdict? I loved it – especially...

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Springfield to Boston Passenger Rail Drives Forward with New Study
Jan31

Springfield to Boston Passenger Rail Drives Forward with New Study

A passenger rail service connecting Springfield to Boston is one step closer to becoming reality. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) recently released a draft of its 2018 Rail Plan for the state, which includes a study for rail service connecting the Pioneer Valley with the Greater Boston area. State Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), the chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging...

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VIDEO: The Screaming Hearts on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Jan31

VIDEO: The Screaming Hearts on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

The Screaming Hearts is edgy alternative rock with indie soul. Check out a teaser for the band’s acoustic set, which will be released in full this Friday.

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Pole Fitness: From adult entertainment to an Olympic sport
Jan31

Pole Fitness: From adult entertainment to an Olympic sport

Holly Woods has always loved the art of dance. When she was a young girl in Manhattan, her mother rented an apartment above Alvin Ailey’s studio. “I would go downstairs and hangout and watch the ballet dancers perform,” she recalls. “You would see Debbie Allen and all these people coming and going. It was like Fame; I was fascinated by it.” When her family later moved to Apalachicola, Florida, she did the same thing at the town ballet...

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The Advocate is Turning Bi … Weekly
Jan31

The Advocate is Turning Bi … Weekly

Hello Advocate readers, You may have noticed that something is different here at the Advocate and valleyadvocate.com. We’ve been around for more than 40 years, and the way that people get their news and information has changed. That means we’re making some changes at the Advocate, too. Starting this week, our print edition will come out biweekly and feature a calendar of events that spans two weeks rather than one. Meanwhile, there...

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#MeToo? Black Women on the Periphery of a Movement
Jan31

#MeToo? Black Women on the Periphery of a Movement

As a black woman, I cannot bring myself to seek refuge in the monumental arms of the #MeToo Movement. On the contrary, I often find myself feeling contempt and cynicism. But it’s not because I don’t empathize with the women who have come forward with their experiences of sexual victimization. Rather, in part, it is because the ubiquitous social media campaign was hijacked from a black activist named Tarana Burke who...

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Letters to the Editor: Offensive Language; Excellent Reporting
Jan31

Letters to the Editor: Offensive Language; Excellent Reporting

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 deisen@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. Offensive Language; Excellent Reporting Several people wrote in about our article...

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Storming the Castle: Springfield progressive Amatul-Wadud challenges entrenched Congressman Neal
Jan30

Storming the Castle: Springfield progressive Amatul-Wadud challenges entrenched Congressman Neal

I … I … I believe … I believe … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! So went the call-and-response led by Springfield attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud at a women’s march in Northampton attended by about 2,000 people on the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration day. But despite her words, winning will not be easy...

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Basemental: A country album for the 21st Century
Jan30

Basemental: A country album for the 21st Century

Elliot Hartmann-Russell, a local musician who has quite a big appetite for releasing lots of albums under different aliases and bands—including Sweat Enzo, Thee Arcadians, and Full Grown Cats—and Caleb Rosazza, who plays guitar in Lux Deluxe, have teamed up for a country album under the name Heartman & Russell — which doubles as a pun. This album, titled Kisses in the Wind, is based off a pretty simple concept: How many ‘70s style...

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Bizarro Briefs: Female Cats Are Right
Jan30

Bizarro Briefs: Female Cats Are Right

A new study by Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland shows that right-handedness is popular among female cats. Researchers worked with cat owners, collecting data on 24 male and 20 female domesticated cats. In a press released, the research team stated that they tracked when cats used their left or right paws when going up or down stairs, over objects, and whether they slept on the left or right side of their body. Male cats...

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Stagestruck: Love in the Multiverse
Jan29

Stagestruck: Love in the Multiverse

Constellations, playing at TheaterWorks in Hartford through Feb. 18, looks at love and second chances through a prism of reflecting and refracting fun-house mirrors – or more accurately, through a spectrum of infinite chances. Nick Payne’s two-hander isn’t exactly a play of ideas, though it’s plenty smart. It springs from one idea – the possibility imagined by theoretical physics that the singular life we experience takes place in...

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The V-Spot: My Coitus is Interruptus by Chronic Pain
Jan29

The V-Spot: My Coitus is Interruptus by Chronic Pain

Hello Yana, I’m a college student and I feel like I’m emotionally ready to seek out romantic and sexual relationships. The problem is, I feel like I have a lot stacked against me physically. I’m living with a pelvic floor disorder that requires me to do daily physical therapy in order to keep my vaginal muscles healthy, which can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. I am also on a very high dose of an SSRI (selective serotonin...

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