Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus
Nov06

Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Adriana Martinez and Octavio Guillen got engaged to be married when they were both 15 years old. But they kept delaying a more complete unification for 67 years. At last, when they were 82, they celebrated their wedding and pledged their vows to each other. Are there comparable situations in your life, Aries? The coming months will be a favorable time to make deeper commitments. At least some of your reasons...

Read More
Stagestruck: House of Terrors
Nov05

Stagestruck: House of Terrors

The current world-premiere production at Hartford Stage (through Nov. 12) is “based on a true story,” according to the publicity, which is otherwise unforthcoming about its real-life inspiration. No matter. The premise for Sarah Gancher’s Seder is dramatic enough to pass for fiction, but has an unmistakable ring of authenticity. Fact or fantasy, it’s one of the smartest, most engaging and provocative new plays I’ve seen. It’s 2002,...

Read More
Lisa Martin on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Nov03

Lisa Martin on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Lisa Martin writes original songs ranging from country to folk roots music, but with a dash of bluesy rock. Check out Lisa Martin’s complete Valley Advocate Sessions performance below. Interview with Lisa...

Read More
VIDEO: Lisa Martin on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Nov01

VIDEO: Lisa Martin on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Check out a video teaser for Lisa Martin trio’s upcoming Valley Advocate Sessions performance, which will be released this Friday. Martin plays country, folk roots with a dash of bluesy rock.  ...

Read More
Stagestruck: Babylon in Vermont
Nov01

Stagestruck: Babylon in Vermont

As artists, how can one watch the millions of refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, not to mention countries in Africa and Asia, and not want to address this issue?  That question provoked the latest handmade production from Sandglass Theater, the world-class puppetry troupe headquartered in Putney, Vermont. The floods of refugees flowing from the Near East into an often hostile Europe, coupled with the travel bans on people...

Read More
Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide
Nov01

Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide

Justin Orwat, 46 of Springfield, has been charged with aggravated murder and first degree arson as a result of a previously reported house fire on the morning of Oct. 27 in Townshend, Vermont. Orwat is currently being held at the Hampden County Jail in Ludlow for unrelated criminal charges. The Vermont State Police and the Windham County State Attorney’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Orwat after the Office of the Chief...

Read More
Get Writing! National Novel Writing Month Starts Soon
Oct30

Get Writing! National Novel Writing Month Starts Soon

Art flourishes in uncertain times. From the critical poetry of World War I and the post World War II Beat Generation to the innovative music of the Beatles and the Stones and beyond, during and after strife, creative types will make art. They rush to prove Jonathan Larson right when the “Rent” creator wrote “the opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.” This November, about 120 Pioneer Valley creative types will join that rush,...

Read More
Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too
Oct30

Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too

November has rolled around again, and no it’s not a presidential election year. But there are important elections both here and in other parts of the country this week you should be paying attention to. Since Donald Trump was elected president just about a year ago (ugh), he has tried to ban Muslims from coming into the country, fired his own FBI director because of a growing investigation into his campaign’s Russian connection,...

Read More
Valley Show Girl: A Bloody Good Time
Oct30

Valley Show Girl: A Bloody Good Time

Later this month, Chicopee’s Maximum Capacity will close and open at some point in the future with new ownership. Will there still be shows? If so, will they include metal/rock shows? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, you still have a chance to get to “one last show.” Over the years of going to certain clubs/venues, you develop memories that either bring a smile to your face, or a head shake, like “wow, yeah, that totally...

Read More
Bizarro Briefs: Bowling Ball Bear Tongue
Oct30

Bizarro Briefs: Bowling Ball Bear Tongue

You know how when you used to stick your tongue out, your grandma would say that it was going to get stuck that way? One asiatic black bear, which are more commonly called moon bears, in Myanmar found this out the hard way. The bear, named Nyan Htoo, had to have an emergency surgery to have his tongue removed earlier this month because it became so heavy that it had to be dragged along the ground. The tongue, weighing in at 6.5...

Read More
Stagestruck: Runaways and Refugees
Oct30

Stagestruck: Runaways and Refugees

“Once upon a time / There was a boy or a girl / Who ran far away from home …” But this is no fairy tale. Runaways, which opens this week at UMass, is a grown-up musical about homeless children — kids who have fled from home and are living on the street. Created by Elizabeth Swados, it premiered in 1978 at the Public Theater, which had midwifed Hair a decade earlier, and soon moved to Broadway. It was based on Swados’...

Read More
Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering
Oct30

Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering

Loretta Ross, an author, feminist, and expert on human rights and racism now teaching at Hampshire College, is clear on her views about President Donald Trump’s election: “The sky fell,” she said in a recent interview. But the point she really wants to drive home as keynote speaker of an upcoming social justice event at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is that Trump is an outcome — he’s not the cause. “America has a long and...

Read More
Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle
Oct30

Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle

As I wait for Brattleboro artist Joan O’Beirne to arrive at her exhibit “The Scarf,” showing now through Feb. 11 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, curator Mara Williams brings a museum guest into the showroom. She gestures to the (at least) 12-foot orange weave of cables winding its way down from an elevated chair to the floor on one side of the room. Williams explains, “she knitted it entirely out of extension cords.”...

Read More
STAFF PICKS: Incarcerated artists, Roxane Gay, and dinner and a show
Oct30

STAFF PICKS: Incarcerated artists, Roxane Gay, and dinner and a show

Inside Art IV // FRIDAY The Elm Street Think Tank is a group of incarcerated locals and community educators who meet weekly inside the jail to have discussions, raise awareness, and work on a collection of different projects. The fourth annual “Inside Art,” an art exhibit featuring art and writings by residents incarcerated at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, is now available for public viewing. This year’s show focuses on the...

Read More
Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria
Oct30

Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria

Madeleine Vanstory was visiting her sister, Melissa Redwin of Westhampton, when they decided to come to Nourish Wellness Cafe in Northampton for lunch with Melissa’s newborn, Lucena. “I finally made the connection, after decades of bad eating, (between) how you nourish your body with food and how you feel,” said Vanstory, a physician and health consultant in Oregon. “And I just know that I feel better when I eat things that require...

Read More
How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 
Oct30

How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 

As we tiptoe toward the holiday season, you may find yourself with the opportunity to attend a wine tasting. A chance to try endless, free, tiny pours of wines and other alcoholic beverages in anticipation of having to endure the darkest and saddest time of the year — Christmas. I actually love Christmas. And Hannukah. And Kwanza (not much drinking with that holiday, though). I especially love Thanksgiving. And as we get closer to...

Read More
Back Talk: Disgusting Tabloid News in Western Mass
Oct30

Back Talk: Disgusting Tabloid News in Western Mass

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. ‘Disgusting’ ‘Tabloid’ News Many readers commented and wrote in about Andy Castillo’s...

Read More
The V-Spot: How Do I Make Sexual Suggestions?
Oct30

The V-Spot: How Do I Make Sexual Suggestions?

Dear Yana, I’m a 30-something guy in a long-term relationship with a bisexual woman. She’s got a high sex drive and wants to have sex almost constantly. My desire doesn’t really match up with hers but I wonder if the issue is really that her sexual techniques don’t really line up with my tastes. Her confidence seems tenuous and I’m worried that my requests will deflate her. How could I best make suggestions towards what I want her to...

Read More
Cinemadope: Decay Okay
Oct30

Cinemadope: Decay Okay

When my grandfather died, some years ago now, my mother and I spent the days that followed going through his apartment to sort through the belongings he’d left behind, trying to figure out what we should keep and what we could safely shunt along to the garbage heap. It was a daunting but fascinating task; my grandfather wasn’t exactly a hoarder, but he was a man of many and widely varied interests, and his little second-floor nest was...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Johnny Cash Didn’t Take Voice Lessons Either, Scorpio
Oct30

Free Will Astrology: Johnny Cash Didn’t Take Voice Lessons Either, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): America’s Civil War ended in 1865. A veteran from that conflict later produced a daughter, Irene Triplett, who is still alive today and collecting his pension. In the coming months, I foresee you being able to take advantage of a comparable phenomenon, although it may be more metaphorical. Blessings from bygone times, perhaps even from the distant past, will be available to you. But you’ll have to be alert...

Read More
Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism on Advocate Sessions Stage
Oct27

Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism on Advocate Sessions Stage

Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism, Springfield-based preacher rock n’ roll with a side of post punk. BONUS: Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism interview: Check out our past Sessions performers, including Seth Newton, Old Flame, Shokazoba, and Tang...

Read More
VIDEO TEASER: Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism
Oct26

VIDEO TEASER: Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism

This week’s Valley Advocate Sessions artist is Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism, preacher rock n’ roll with a side of post punk. RD&tDC’s full Sessions performance will be released this Friday. Until then, here’s a teaser...

Read More
Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?
Oct23

Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?

Jim Emerson, 53, wakes up at 5 a.m. three or four days out of the work week to make the commute from his home in Wilbraham to Boston. He’s typically out the door around 5:45 a.m. and is on the road driving east on the Massachusetts Turnpike for 50 minutes in his 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid to catch an hour-and-a-half-long train ride from Worcester. “I’ve traveled for work nationally and internationally. I’ve seen rail systems and transit...

Read More
V-Spot: Watching Porn in Public with Bella Vendetta (NSFW Trailer Included)
Oct23

V-Spot: Watching Porn in Public with Bella Vendetta (NSFW Trailer Included)

Editor’s note: This week instead of answering a reader question, Yana writes about an event she co-sponsored involving, well … read on! It’s not what you’d expect — this whole watching porn in a room full of strangers with your friends thing. On Saturday night, in an expansive room of the Eastworks building, about 50 of us did just that. And it was a wicked good time. The Training of Poe is an award-winning documentary-style...

Read More
Back Talk: Amherst is Made Out of Particle Board
Oct23

Back Talk: Amherst is Made Out of Particle Board

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. They Might Be Giant Eyesores Particle board, particle board. Amherst is made out of...

Read More
STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s
Oct23

STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s

A Haunted Evening at Gateway City Arts // SATURDAY The weekend before Halloween is usually when all the fun happens. The Valley is full of events going on, and this just happens to be one of them. ​There will be many treats in store. Halloween-inspired cocktails and drinks, yummy food available from The Bistro at Gateway City Arts, and of course live music by jazzy indie rock duo, The Greys. They will be performing a cauldron full of...

Read More
Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: The Crawling Eye
Oct23

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: The Crawling Eye

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and view an exhibit by Kirk Hammett. “Kirk who?” you ask. Why, none other than the lead guitarist for the thrash metal band Metallica. Can’t say I was ever a fan, but Hammett’s collection on display was interesting. Growing up with a love for old horror films, he has amassed a treasure trove of original movie posters. The collection mostly focuses on the...

Read More
Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity
Oct23

Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity

As a newspaper journalist who cares deeply about good, necessary and morally grounded journalism, I must decry a recent trend of sleazy, tabloid-like reporting I now frequently see from trusted local television news stations: the act of sharing irrelevant articles, often about minorities who’ve committed horrific crimes, to increase website traffic. In other words, click-bait (often racially charged) from (previously) reputable...

Read More
Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant
Oct19

Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant

In an extraordinary step, the First Congregational Church in Amherst is providing physical sanctuary to undocumented immigrant Lucio Perez. Perez, a Springfield resident who has been in the country for 20 years, told a group of about 100 clergy members, activists, reporters, and other interested residents on Thursday, Oct. 19, that he is grateful to the church. Perez was scheduled to be deported this month and on Oct. 18 was denied...

Read More
O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 
Oct23

O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 

The harvest is in and I can’t believe the results. My husband and I didn’t weigh our cannabis haul from our home garden, but we were able to fill a bunch of regular-size salsa jars with marijuana. This is more than good enough for me! Like many weed enthusiasts in the state, we enjoyed our first home-grown harvest in October. Strike up the weed exchanges! It’s kind of like a cookie exchange — and there may be cookies — but way danker....

Read More
Basemental: New Tricks from the (not so) Young Tricksters
Oct23

Basemental: New Tricks from the (not so) Young Tricksters

The Young Tricksters have returned. After what felt like forever, the Amherst quartet have broken their quiet to give the people what they want: a full-length album. After releasing a couple self-recorded demos back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth (March 2013 to be exact), the group will be finally posting their magnum opus on Bandcamp this week, before joining And The Kids at the Parlor Room in Northampton on Oct. 27. The...

Read More
Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?
Oct23

Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?

Uh, How Did That Get In There? In retrospect, it was a horrible idea, but so many of these entries start that way. A British man fishing on a pier in southern England took a six-inch sole he had just caught and jokingly placed it in front of his open mouth. The fish, seizing the moment, leapt down the man’s throat, blocking his windpipe and sending him into cardiac arrest. Luckily for the 28-year-old man, paramedics were on the scene...

Read More
Cinemadope: Calling in Sick
Oct23

Cinemadope: Calling in Sick

When we write the history of the last decade, the smartphone will surely loom large. Since 2007, when the iPhone was unveiled, these little packages of silicon and glass have become almost literally an extension of ourselves, attached to the ends of our arms to record, inform, or enhance so many of our moments. We still have some adjustments to make to this new world, to be sure — I long for the day when concerts are not spoiled by...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween
Oct23

Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I share Vincent Van Gogh’s belief that “the best way to know life is to love many things.” But I also think that the next twelve months will be an inspiring time for you to be focused and single-minded in your involvement with love. That’s why I encourage you to take an approach articulated by the Russian mystic Anne Sophie Swetchine: “To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.”...

Read More
This Halloween, Let These Psychological Horror Movies Brainwash You
Oct23

This Halloween, Let These Psychological Horror Movies Brainwash You

The leaves are changing, there’s a chill in the air, and every cafe has restocked their pumpkin spice syrup. Fall is finally here, and if you’re interested in movies, that means two things: nearby Oscar season means there are finally some good films in theatres again, and streaming sites have restocked their horror fodder in honor of Halloween. Netflix has especially stepped up their game this October, with new originals like David...

Read More