Backtalk: Independent Media More Reliable Than Mainstream Lemmings
Jul10

Backtalk: Independent Media More Reliable Than Mainstream Lemmings

Independent Media for the WinDuring this past presidential election season mainstream media focused their cameras on an empty podium waiting for Donald Trump to give a speech. They could have broadcast images of Bernie Sanders giving his message to the people but they chose not to do so. This decision was made by mainstream media officials.The present situation has gotten worse. The White House Press Corps has become a bunch of weak...

Read More
Valley Show Girl: Khalif Neville and Ian Haas Are Musical Chameleons
Jul10

Valley Show Girl: Khalif Neville and Ian Haas Are Musical Chameleons

I hear the sound of jazz in the parking lot as I walk towards New City Brewery in Easthampton last Thursday night. People are gathered in the patio area enjoying the music while also enjoying the summer night air. Inside, the old factory building with exposed beams, pulleys, and brick walls are inviting as I look at the multi-colored handwritten beer specials on the chalkboard at the bar. I order the Original Ginger Beer (which is...

Read More
The V-Spot: Do I Talk Too Much in Bed?
Jul10

The V-Spot: Do I Talk Too Much in Bed?

I recently started going out with this girl, but it already feels like we are magnets to one another (both inside and outside of the bedroom). But the last time we had sex an issue came up that broke up that magnet-like feeling for me.I’m someone who really wants to communicate about sex so I know how to make partners feel good in all the ways they want. So I was really confused when, during sex, my communication caused her...

Read More
Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels
Jul07

Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels

A religious pilgrimage is taking place to oppose fossil fuel use in New England.Members of the New England Yearly Meeting, a group made up of Quakers from the six New England states, plan to walk 60 to 70 miles the week of July 9 from Schiller Station power plant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire — two of the few remaining coal-powered plants in New England (Schiller also burns wood and other...

Read More
Brickabrack on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jul07

Brickabrack on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Brickabrack is a indie garage rock/pop band with a lot of grunge attitude. The band draws its inspiration from popular culture with song names such as “The Abe Vigoda Birthday Bash” and “Tina Fey,” which are featured on their debut album Irrelevant Thoughts released on October 31, 2016. Brickabrack was recorded at the Valley Advocate Offices on June 13.Bonus interview with Brickabrack:Like what you’re listening to? Check out...

Read More
Tundrastomper Are Good Musical Neighbors in Western Mass
Jul03

Tundrastomper Are Good Musical Neighbors in Western Mass

Tundrastomper, an explosive, chaotic, and notey rock band, formed about 10 years ago when Skyler Lloyd, Sam Brivic, Andrew Jones, and Max Goldstein were teenagers — about 13 years old each. They grew up in a town in Westchester, New York, called Ardsley. I looked it up on Google Maps and, well, it is what you might expect for New York City suburbs: the green space is evenly split between golf clubs and public parks, and the houses...

Read More
Get Pumped for Green River Fest With Pre-Show at The Root Friday
Jul03

Get Pumped for Green River Fest With Pre-Show at The Root Friday

Before the sounds of mic checks and inflating balloons echo over the Greenfield Community College verdant field to signal the start of Green River Fest next weekend (July 14-16), this Friday (July 7) Sun Parade and Twisted Pine will give the Valley a taste of the the genre-bending rock that’s in store with a show at The Root Cellar.Sun Parade’s music is chill and groovy with hypnotic melodies under a soft-fuzzy coo on the mic. Their...

Read More
VIDEO Coming to Sessions: Brickabrack is basement rock with grunge attitude
Jul05

VIDEO Coming to Sessions: Brickabrack is basement rock with grunge attitude

Brickabrack is an indie basement rock band with plenty of grunge rock attitude. The local trio played a set on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage and the full performance will be released this Friday on July 7. Until then, here’s a teaser for Brickabrack.Can’t wait for Friday to see more Sessions? Check out some local bands...

Read More
The Future of Western Mass Music Is Here: Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest
Jul03

The Future of Western Mass Music Is Here: Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest

On July 14, attendees of the Green River Festival will get a taste of the future of music in the Valley. The Next Wave Stage will feature a five-band concert with local bands with members ages 18 and younger. As a bonus, anyone 18 and under gets into the festival for free that day.During the spring, bands from Western Mass and Southern Vermont applied to get on the stage’s debut lineup. Jim Olsen, president of Signature Sounds and the...

Read More
Cinemadope: I Like Mike, Michael Keaton doesn’t get enough credit
Jul03

Cinemadope: I Like Mike, Michael Keaton doesn’t get enough credit

In film, there have always been levels of stardom. There are those stars whose wattage is measured in tooth whiteness, and whose films are expected to earn many millions based more or less on their mere presence — your Pitts, your Cruises, your Lawrences. Then there are those whose star power is moodier, imbued with more actorly gravitas — the Day Lewises, for short. It’s okay if their films don’t always make millions, because they...

Read More
What’s Next for Weird (Zany) News: An Advocate Chat
Jul05

What’s Next for Weird (Zany) News: An Advocate Chat

The Advocate Chat is a recurring series where the Valley Advocate staff talks about a topic on their minds. The text below has been lightly edited. dave.eisen (Managing Editor Dave Eisenstadter): 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...

Read More
Third Eye Roaming: Passing Gas In Yoga Class
Jul03

Third Eye Roaming: Passing Gas In Yoga Class

Ah, farts. Can’t live with ’em and can’t live without passing ’em. When I started this column nearly two years ago, I knew that at some point I would have to broach the issue of passing gas in yoga class. It’s an endless point of fascination for folks who don’t do yoga in a class setting, and even some who do.“What if I fart?” is a question I get all the time when I’m encouraging someone to try a yoga class for the first time. Or: “Do...

Read More
Lexi Weege Plays Homefield Brewing Sunday
Jul03

Lexi Weege Plays Homefield Brewing Sunday

Woman of RockLexi Weege has picked up on how solo female acts are received: they’re objectified, controlled, censored, and restrained — but you won’t see any of that at a Weege show or hear it in her music. She’s punk AF in that way. Weege’s sound is bold, alive, and woke as hell. Her powerful voice and jazz-inspired compositions are just one aspect of Weege’s electric performances. Weege is a regular on...

Read More
Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Wonder Woman’s Got Nothing on Feline Empowerment
Jul03

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Wonder Woman’s Got Nothing on Feline Empowerment

For Father’s Day, I was treated to a screening of the new Wonder Woman movie. My daughter summed it up well: It was better than good, but not great.What I cannot understand is the fever this movie has generated. Women-only showings? Were there any women-only showings for Tomb Raider? One reviewer is said to have bawled her eyes out when Wonder Woman decked some bad dudes. Did anyone cry during Red Sonja?Wonder Woman has been touted as...

Read More
Wizard of Oz Performed by Plucky PaintBox Theatre
Jul03

Wizard of Oz Performed by Plucky PaintBox Theatre

Do You Represent the Lollipop Guild?After more than 70 years since the film’s release (and more than 100 since the book’s), is there any more magic to be wrung from The Wizard of Oz? PaintBox Theatre has answered this jaded question with a resounding, Absolutely! With just three actors, a few props and a whole lot of cleverness and children’s art, the PaintBox troupe is going to recreate the wonderful world of Oz....

Read More
Back Talk: With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?
Jul03

Back Talk: With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?

With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?Thank you for the excellent article on Representative Richard Neal (“Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?” June 22-28, 2017). I remember when the state redrew our districts so that Northampton and Amherst, both from the 5 Collegeliberal quadrant, were separated. This thrust Northampton, where I lived, into Neal’s district, something at the time I was not happy about...

Read More
Jossie Valentin: I Just Went to Cuba, and Trump Policy is Wrong
Jul03

Jossie Valentin: I Just Went to Cuba, and Trump Policy is Wrong

When Donald Trump was making his announcement about reversing steps his predecessor — Barack Obama — took in normalizing relationships with Cuba, Holyoke City Councilor Jossie Valentin had just returned home from a trip to the island to talk with women there.Valentin, who was first elected as a City Councilor for Ward 4 in November 2013, is a senior academic advisor at Holyoke Community College. She left for Cuba on May 28 — her first...

Read More
How Does a Shy Girl Ask for the Sex She Wants?
Jul03

How Does a Shy Girl Ask for the Sex She Wants?

Check out a video of Yana’s Q&A with the Valley Advocate.Hi Yana,I’m a bisexual woman in a LTR with another woman. My issue is that I’m super bashful when it comes to asking for what I want during sex. I’ve been partnered for a while now and even though I’m really comfortable with her and trust her, it’s hard for me to drum up the confidence to speak up. She’s great at asking me what I want from her but in the moment I freeze up...

Read More
The Pour Man: Wine That Took 2,600 Years To Perfect
Jul03

The Pour Man: Wine That Took 2,600 Years To Perfect

Vintners have been making dry, pink wine in Provence since 600 B.C., and they have gotten pretty good at it.In fact, the region’s winemakers would say that Cotes de Provence makes the best rosé in the world, and I agree that the crisp, bright wines are awfully good.One outstanding, undisputed feature about the wines from Cote de Provence is the elegant, personalized bottles — often tall and curvy, with long, thin necks. They can be...

Read More
The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective
Jul03

The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective

Editors Note: News of the Weird is ending, but we’ll be continuing the tradition at the Advocate, starting our own feature highlighting the oddities we find in the news. Watch for it next week!Weird News is forever, but this is my last “News of the Weird” column, as I am now exhausted after almost 30 years in the racket. In this final edition, I remember a few of my favorites. My deep thanks to Andrews McMeel Syndication and to...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Make Fun Of Your Zealotry, Aquarius
Jul03

Free Will Astrology: Make Fun Of Your Zealotry, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Unless you were raised by a pack of feral raccoons or a fundamentalist cult, now is a perfect time to dive in to your second childhood. Is there a toy you wanted as a kid but never got? Buy it for yourself now! What were the delicious foods you craved back then? Eat them! Where were the special places you loved? Go there, or to spots that remind you of them. Who were the people you were excited to be with?...

Read More
Sticks & Stones Won’t Break Your Bones at Hope and Feathers, Amherst
Jul03

Sticks & Stones Won’t Break Your Bones at Hope and Feathers, Amherst

Sticks and Stones II, the new exhibit at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery, is a contemplation of the very small and natural. The four artists contributing to this show meditated on things like pebbles, pieces of cloth, terra cotta, and textiles. The end result is a celebration of the little ones we take for granted.Look for terra cotta pieces by Mary Carroll, textile constructions by Sharon McCartney, mixed media/ assemblages by...

Read More
Stagestruck: Stellar Casts Overcome Awkward Plot Points at Chester and Williamstown Theatres
Jul03

Stagestruck: Stellar Casts Overcome Awkward Plot Points at Chester and Williamstown Theatres

Are we finally breaking through the color bar in American theater? Is the tokenism represented by theaters programming one “diverse” play during Black History Month giving way to broader representation and bolder casting choices? Judging from the area’s summer theater lineup, it just might be.In late June, for example, three plays focusing on people of color opened in Western Mass. One of them stipulates only that its two characters...

Read More
We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000
Jun30

We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000

Four months ago, then-Advocate arts editor Hunter Styles wrote an excellent take-down of the hugely unpopular ad campaign trying to rebrand our region with the name “West Mass.” The heart of it was a list of questions about a dizzying, poorly-thought-out video released along with the brand name — among them “Did it really need to cost $80,000 and take 11 months to decide to take the letters “-ern” off the existing name?”This week, the...

Read More
EYES on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jun30

EYES on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

EYES is a post-rock/experimental band that excels at creating poly-rhythmic soundscapes and walls of sound that are meditative and engaging. Check out the band’s full performance recorded on June 13 at the Valley Advocate Offices.BONUS: Interview with EYESLike what you’re listening to? Check out the Valley Advocate Sessions page for bands and artists, including Shokazoba, Flava Evolution, Peter Blanchette, and...

Read More
Stagestruck: Song & Dance
Jun30

Stagestruck: Song & Dance

Two shows now running in the Berkshires are rooted in the past but right up to the minute. Both Tireless, playing this week at Jacob’s Pillow, and Ragtime, at Barrington Stage through July 15, take their inspiration from the music of a bygone era while inviting us, implicitly but exuberantly, to reflect on our own times.I don’t know why or when Ragtime was chosen as this season’s mainstage musical at Barrington Stage, but I’ll bet the...

Read More
Protesters want Baystate Medical Center to stop killing pigs for surgical training
Jun29

Protesters want Baystate Medical Center to stop killing pigs for surgical training

Over the last 20 years, medical education institutions across the nation have been phasing out the practicing of surgical procedures on live animals, but Baystate Medical Center in Springfield is bucking the trend and keeping it old school.The protest on June 29 outside Baystate was organized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to rail against the hospital’s practice of using live pigs to train the next generation of...

Read More
Valley Advocate Sessions Tease: poly-rhythmic post-rock with EYES
Jun28

Valley Advocate Sessions Tease: poly-rhythmic post-rock with EYES

EYES is a post-rock band that excels at creating sonic soundscapes; walls of sound that are meditative and engaging. There are a lot of epic moments with EYES’ music that defy genre conventions. This local experimental quartet appeared on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage and the band’s full performance will be released on Friday, June 30. Until then, here’s a teaser to keep you wanting more.Can’t wait for Friday to...

Read More
Staff Picks: Math Rock Rocks!
Jun27

Staff Picks: Math Rock Rocks!

Giraffes? Giraffes! + More Math — FridayIt’s a night of awesome math rock at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield this Friday. Expect unusual time signatures, angular guitar lines, and sheer epic experimental forays into the boundaries of rock n’ roll. Giraffes? Giraffes! is an immensely popular Western Mass-based math rock duo that headlines the night. Other great acts include the jazzy, mathy, and intensely...

Read More
Stagestruck: Brother/Sister Act — The New Theresa Rebeck Play Gets World Debut in VT
Jun27

Stagestruck: Brother/Sister Act — The New Theresa Rebeck Play Gets World Debut in VT

The publicity for Downstairs, which opened at the Dorset (VT) Theatre Festival last week, gives rather short shrift to the fact that it’s a world premiere by the prolific Theresa Rebeck, whose plays Bad Dates and Mauritius are also being produced in the region this summer (at Shakespeare & Company and Oldcastle Theatre, respectively). Most of the attention has been showered on another first: Tyne Daly and her brother, Tim Daly,...

Read More
A Review Of Sodada’s “Sunshine EP”
Jun26

A Review Of Sodada’s “Sunshine EP”

What do you get when you combine Pink Floyd’s brand of jazzy progressive rock; the bittersweet melodies of The Beatles; soulful R&B a la Stevie Wonder; and a punk rock attitude? You find a band like Sodada, which succeeds in being much more than the sum of its parts.The local quartet, which was recently featured on the Advocate Sessions stage, released a new seven-song extended play (EP) called Sunshine EP on April 1 that features...

Read More
News Of The Weird: Carrier Pigeons Carrying Drugs
Jun26

News Of The Weird: Carrier Pigeons Carrying Drugs

Customs officials in Abdali, Kuwait, apprehended a pigeon in May with 178 ketamine pills inside a fabric pocket attached to its back. UpdateThree weeks ago, News of the Weird touted the “genderless,” extraterrestrial-appearing Hollywood makeup artist known as Vinny Ohh, but then Marcela Iglesias announced (following a leaked TV clip) that she had formed an agency for would-be celebrities who had radically transformed their bodies (and...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: The Tides Of Destiny Shouting For Scorpio
Jun26

Free Will Astrology: The Tides Of Destiny Shouting For Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This is a perfect moment to create a new tradition, Aries. You intuitively know how to turn one of your recent breakthroughs into a good habit that will provide continuity and stability for a long time to come. You can make a permanent upgrade in your life by capitalizing on an accidental discovery you made during a spontaneous episode. It’s time, in other words, to convert the temporary assistance you...

Read More
Cinemadope: Better Than Finding A 45-Year-Old Porno
Jun26

Cinemadope: Better Than Finding A 45-Year-Old Porno

Many years ago, I found myself deep in the basement of the old Pleasant Street Theater (now the location of McLadden’s pub in Northampton), cleaning out some old storage lockers. From one of them, I pulled out a dented, dusty, film can, a flat circle of metal about 15 inches across and an inch or so deep. On its side was a peeling piece of yellowed masking tape with a single, suggestive word scrawled across it in marker:...

Read More
Stream Queen: Butch Lesbians, Streaming, and Straight Clubs
Jun26

Stream Queen: Butch Lesbians, Streaming, and Straight Clubs

Filmmaker Michelle Ehlen practically invented multitasking. Her IMdB profile stretches on with credits that range from editing and production to cinematography and soundtrack. Though she’s had a hand in other LGBT films, like the popular Eating Out series, Ehlen is best known for her work as actor/director/writer/editor/producer on her lesbian film trilogy, comprised of Butch Jamie, Heterosexual Jill, and S&M Sally.You might remember...

Read More