Summer Stage Preview — Part I: The Berkshires
May15

Summer Stage Preview — Part I: The Berkshires

Most theaters in this region have only two seasons: summer and the rest of the year. None of the area’s professional companies are truly year-round. Some focus on intensive summer repertories of multiple shows with two- and three-week runs, while others produce only occasionally or mount fall-to-spring seasons with longer runs. “Intensive” and “multiple” are the key terms here. At least two-thirds of my annual theatergoing happens in...

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TEASE (W/VID) FlavaEvolution’s Funky Jazzy Sessions Set … Full Set Coming Friday
May17

TEASE (W/VID) FlavaEvolution’s Funky Jazzy Sessions Set … Full Set Coming Friday

\/ \/ Scroll down for video. \/ \/ Recorded May 9, 2017, at the party for Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll 2017 first place winners hosted by the Valley Advocate at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.Want more Sessions now? Go to sessions.valleyadvocate.com to hear intimate sets by Valley artists you may not know yet, but are worth discovering – and...

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Cinemadope: It’s Going to Be a Damn Fine Reboot, and FREE Streaming Movies )w/vid)
May15

Cinemadope: It’s Going to Be a Damn Fine Reboot, and FREE Streaming Movies )w/vid)

Amherst Cinema is gearing up for the return of Special Agent Dale Cooper. Kyle MacLachlan returns to TV this week in his early role as Cooper, the FBI man who got tied up in the death of Laura Palmer and the mysteries of Twin Peaks when the show of the same name first aired in the early 1990s on ABC. I was in high school then, and watching the original was a life-changer: it was dark and weird and funny and sweet in a way nothing had...

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Review: Historic Northampton’s ‘Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains.’
May15

Review: Historic Northampton’s ‘Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains.’

The first thing I notice walking into Historic Northampton’s gallery on Bridge Street (besides how interesting the 1800s home is) is that my interpretation of the show’s title is wrong.The exhibit, Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains, is a collection of landscape art by five local artists and curated by Sally Curcio and Anne LaPrade Seuthe. The show name is taken from an Abraham Lincoln quote that is cherished by...

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Poem: A Sunny Reunion in Look Park
May15

Poem: A Sunny Reunion in Look Park

The mesmerizing reversal of icy lunacyfrom sitting in the long-absent sunshineis exactly what his fetus signed up forand intuited long ago in the bogof his mother’s biospheric love. The scent of soil; the touch of heat;the spectacle of black birds mirroredin the glinting pond are all great and gentlecomforts to a boy who has seen sorrow up closeand swallowed his share of shared pain. Having fled the faded nest of domestic...

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Valley Show Girl: Alt Jazz With The Greys at The Still in Agawam (w/vid)
May15

Valley Show Girl: Alt Jazz With The Greys at The Still in Agawam (w/vid)

A couple of weeks ago on The Still’s Instagram page they posted a beautiful picture of a mint julep. I’ve never had one, but always wanted to try the drink simply because that’s what they drank in The Great Gatsby. So, when I saw that The Greys were playing at The Still, I was like “Yes! I get to drink a mint julep while listening to jazz, so Daisy Buchanan of me.” And that I did. Although, I learned I don’t like mint juleps, but I do...

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Valley Music Showcase in Easthampton, Friday (w/vid)
May15

Valley Music Showcase in Easthampton, Friday (w/vid)

Valley Music ShowcaseGenres clash in the most melodic way possible Friday night in Easthampton. The Valley Music Showcase at the New City Brewery is a “bi-monthly mini music fest” — or as I like to call it, the Bi-Mon Min-MuFest — and it pulls from all musical genres, according to organizers. The fest is judged and there are prizes for the winner. This show’s bands include a wealth of Valley Advocate Sessions alumni: Grayson Ty, The...

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Theater: ‘Shipwrecked!’ You Had Me at Giant Killer Octopus
May15

Theater: ‘Shipwrecked!’ You Had Me at Giant Killer Octopus

You Had Me at Giant Killer OctopusRight now, in Trump’s post-truth America, is an excellent time to stage Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself). The play is based on the grandiose stories of a Victorian huckster who fills in the audience about his time as a castaway in the South Pacific, including anecdotes about a killer octopus, cannibals, and buried treasure. Written by Donald Margulies,...

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Contemporary Stillness: Larry Preston’s Solo Exhibit Rethinks the Silent Ordinary (w/vid)
May15

Contemporary Stillness: Larry Preston’s Solo Exhibit Rethinks the Silent Ordinary (w/vid)

Be Still (Life), My HeartContemporary still life artist Larry Preston paints solely for himself and what he interprets as beautiful. Beauty is often lost in ordinary objects you see all the time. Preston’s art focuses on bringing out those details and you’ll surely view them from a different perspective. Preston’s recent oil paintings will be showcased through a solo exhibit at William Baczek Fine Arts. Larry Preston solo show:...

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TEASE: Appalachian Still, Jamming Bluegrass on the Sessions Stage (w/vid)
May11

TEASE: Appalachian Still, Jamming Bluegrass on the Sessions Stage (w/vid)

Check out the full Appalachian Still Sessions concert Friday online at valleyadvocate.com. Can’t wait for Friday to hear more Sessions? Great! Head over to the archive and listen to sets by the likes of The Suitcase Junket, Ray Mason, Eavesdrop Trio, Hannah & Maggie, Eric Lee, the Merrill Shepard Show, Mammal Dap, Fancy Trash, And the Neighbors and...

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Cinemadope: Would You Take a Bullet for Art? Documentary on full-throttle artist Chris Burden (w/vid)
May08

Cinemadope: Would You Take a Bullet for Art? Documentary on full-throttle artist Chris Burden (w/vid)

For such a rich subject, films about art and the people that make it all too often feel either forced and flat or ridiculously over the top. Better, usually, to take the documentary route, and let the art speak for itself.That’s the course taken by directors Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey, whose film Burden — screening this week at the Little Cinema in the Berkshire Museum — takes a good long look at the life and times of...

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Kitchen Dwellers Bring ‘Galaxy Grass’ to Northampton (w/vid)
May08

Kitchen Dwellers Bring ‘Galaxy Grass’ to Northampton (w/vid)

Got that Galaxy GrassA Kitchen Dwellers show is a true Montana bluegrass experience … that’s been strapped to a rocket, shot into space, and looped around Saturn a few times. Dubbed “galaxy grass,” the band’s sound is high-energy and exploratory jamming with just a touch of funk. Each song has a story pushed by a chugging mandolin-fiddle section. Torrin Daniels’ vocals growl like a spirit stitched out of Appalachia and fast...

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Basemental: You Know Amber Wolfe Now See Her Arresting Video for ‘No Thorn’
May08

Basemental: You Know Amber Wolfe Now See Her Arresting Video for ‘No Thorn’

You may know Amber Wolfe. She fronted the “speakeasy, post-apocalyptic band,” O You Villain, books shows at Amherst Coffee, and is a veteran of the Institute for Musical Arts, where she found “some of the foremothers of local music.”Despite strong roots here in the Valley, last year, Wolfe went home to the Washington, D.C., area to record her debut solo EP, I Left the City. What followed was a full circle collaborative return with...

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UMass Student Exhibit Elevates Street Art Friday
May08

UMass Student Exhibit Elevates Street Art Friday

Occupy.A joint art show by Eric Mandeville and McKenzie Stuetzel makes a powerful statement, but only for a short time — so be sure to see it. By utilizing imagery from street art in contrasting colors, their show explores the idea of living in society, but outside of its boundaries. Mandeville will use a projection of a time-lapse video of the creation of his mural, Occupy Your Street, in the hope of changing the thinking of street...

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Join the Herd: Donna the Buffalo Stampedes Into Town (w/vid)
May08

Join the Herd: Donna the Buffalo Stampedes Into Town (w/vid)

Join the HerdQuintessential ’90s folk rock band Donna the Buffalo is coming to Holyoke as part of the group’s politically-active Stampede Tour. In addition to providing groove-heavy dance-able tunes, Donna the Buffalo seeks to bring attention to the inappropriate use of money to influence politics. DtB’s music is a mix of electric Americana, Cajun/Zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country that produces a high-energy sound. Call out your...

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What Will the Hatchery Do Next? Inventive Dance Performance This Weekend
May08

What Will the Hatchery Do Next? Inventive Dance Performance This Weekend

So, You Know They Can DanceAn homage to Wes Anderson’s highly stylized films and a self-reflective, choreographed spoken-word piece called “Perception” were among the performances featured in Hatchery’s debut show this winter. The pre-professional dance troupe’s second show is coming up this weekend, and it’s exciting to think about what this 10-person group of 13- to 19-year-olds have created. Part of the School for Contemporary...

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VIDEO Sessions Preview of Singer/Songwriter Eric Lee
May01

VIDEO Sessions Preview of Singer/Songwriter Eric Lee

Check back for the full mini concert and an interview with Lee Friday afternoon at sessions.valleyadvocate.com. Listen to past Sessions performers including Hannah & Maggie, Mammal Dap, The Suitcase Junket, Ray Mason, and The Eavesdrop Trio, head over to the Sessions site...

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The Thunder Down East Music Fest in Easthampton Saturday
May01

The Thunder Down East Music Fest in Easthampton Saturday

The Thunder Down EastIf you hear rumblings coming from Easthampton Saturday, come running — it’s the Thunder in the Valley Festival. This all-ages event will feature rock and roll, food trucks, craft beer, wrestling — with students from Kevin Landry’s Pro Wrestling Combine in Holyoke — Knockerball, and a “glorious” motorcycle ride over the Mount Tom reservation. Musicians slated to perform include LA Backstage Pass, Decades, B-Movie...

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Art TRACK: Three Rivers fest Saturday
May01

Art TRACK: Three Rivers fest Saturday

Art TRACK More than 50 artists from around New England will participate in this year’s TRACK Artisan Fair in Three Rivers. The day will feature live music and food vendors. TRACK Artisan Fair: Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. Free. Rain or shine. Palmer Historical & Cultural Center, 2072 Main St., Three Rivers. (413) 967-3001. threeriverstrack.org. — Kristin...

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Wit, the Smartest, Funniest Play About Dying of Cancer, Performed in Springfield
May01

Wit, the Smartest, Funniest Play About Dying of Cancer, Performed in Springfield

Get Wit ItWit may be the smartest, funniest one-act play about a woman dying of ovarian cancer. Focusing on the final hours of Dr. Vivian Bearing’s life, the English professor reflects on the similarities between how the doctors view her — as a piece of work to be studied — and how she has lived her academic life. The production, directed by theater professor Phil O’Donoghue, will feature 12 students from the STCC College Theater...

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Young@Heart Celebrates 35 Years Saturday
May01

Young@Heart Celebrates 35 Years Saturday

Forever Young@HeartYoung@Heart, a chorus of people age 70 and older who love singing contemporary tunes, is celebrating 35 years of belting out the hits with a show this Saturday at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton. Hear new arrangements of songs by Psychedelic Furs, Los Lobos, Radiohead, Tears for Fears, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and more.Young@Heart Celebrates 35 Years: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. Academy of Music...

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River Roll and Stroll on on the Holyoke-South Hadley Bridge this Weekend
May01

River Roll and Stroll on on the Holyoke-South Hadley Bridge this Weekend

No Cars AllowedThe Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge that connects Holyoke and South Hadley will be closed Sunday afternoon for the River Roll and Stroll open street festival. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the bridge will be open to pedestrians, bicyclists, dog-walkers, joggers, and roller skaters. There will be musical acts and street buskers, entertainers and arts activists, food trucks, and a parade honoring military veterans....

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Nice Pot! The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail open studios this weekend
Apr24

Nice Pot! The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail open studios this weekend

Nice Pot! Flowers are blooming on the trees, the sun is shining, and asparagus are being planted in the Valley, which means it’s time for the annual springtime Asparagus Valley Potter Trail. Every year the self-guided tour takes place across nine pottery studios in Western Mass. This year 13 guest artists will also be displaying their work. Witness the elegance of a sassy red clay robot by Francine & Frank Ozereko or creations such as...

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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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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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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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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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Review: Art Stop(s) on Main Street, Springfield, from magnificent to meh
Apr10

Review: Art Stop(s) on Main Street, Springfield, from magnificent to meh

I love the idea of art galleries everywhere — in empty downtown storefronts, in the halls of hospitals and the community rooms of nonprofit agencies — but it’s always a bit awkward, at first, to enjoy them.There’s a buzzer to hit, or a camera to stare into, or a front desk administrator from whom you need to request access or directions.But we should all hang that wariness at home — more than ever art is everywhere and we should take...

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Basemental: From Northampton to Nashville
Apr10

Basemental: From Northampton to Nashville

On the road with The Sun ParadeFrom the streets of Nashville I called Lynne Bertrand, who manages the Northampton band The Sun Parade. There was a problem.I had stopped by the venue earlier and noticed the sign outside said they were going first. This wasn’t going to fly, because the people the band had driven from Northampton to play for — an A&R rep and the president of New West, a Nashville based record label who is interested in...

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Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College
Apr10

Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College

Our Lady LaverneLaverne Cox grew up in Mobile, Alabama, raised by a single mother in a Christian family. Back then, it wasn’t at all clear that she would end up attending college in New York City and pursuing a career as an actress, let alone that she would become one of the most celebrated names on television (notably for her role as Sophia Burset on the series Orange is the New Black, for which she became the first openly...

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Calling All New Bands!
Apr10

Calling All New Bands!

We’re still a few months out from July’s annual Green River Festival in Greenfield, but we’re right on time to share a special early announcement from producers Signature Sounds. This year, the festival will add a new stage called the Next Wave Stage, which will host a youth band contest to showcase five of the most promising up-and-coming young Western New England music groups. The Next Wave Stage is open to musical acts from Western...

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Film Screening: Holding Hands with Ilse
Apr10

Film Screening: Holding Hands with Ilse

Strangers No MoreIn the 1950s, Hampshire College professor Abraham Ravett relocated with his Polish Jewish family from Eastern Europe to the United States. Ravett was just three at the time of the move, but he carried with him a memory — and a single black-and-white photograph — of the German teenage girl who used to care for him while his parents were at work. He knew only her first name: Ilse. Fast-forward to 2011, when “a major...

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On Exhibit: Mary Witt and Brianna Ashe at Oxbow Gallery
Apr10

On Exhibit: Mary Witt and Brianna Ashe at Oxbow Gallery

Full SpectrumPainter Mary Witt (who composed the piece on the left) and multimedia artist Brianna Ashe (the piece on the right) are showing their new work in a playful exhibit called Colorplay, in the front room of Oxbow Gallery this month. They both love working and playing with color in their abstract artwork. Although different, their art sets up an interesting dynamic, and a stylistic conversation. Colorplay: Through April 30....

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Stagestruck: The Trump Effect
Apr10

Stagestruck: The Trump Effect

It seems that lately, every time I go to a play — or a movie, for that matter — it gets me thinking about Donald Trump. Ever since he and his goon squad have taken over in Washington, I’ve noticed that so much of what we see and create seems newly topical and timely. Everything is now filtered through a horrifying new prism, taking on fresh meaning and urgency, whether it was explicitly created in reaction to the current state of...

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Cinemadope: Hopptornet, a documentary that pushes people to jump
Apr10

Cinemadope: Hopptornet, a documentary that pushes people to jump

Maine CourseLike so many of my middle-aged compatriots, I seem to have adopted food as a new hobby. Not cooking, necessarily — quite a bit of this particular enterprise is taken up simply by watching other people cook, it turns out — but eating, at least. And what I’ve come to realize about myself is that I’m addicted to those smallest of plates, the hors d’oeuvre. My dear mother-in-law may work for half a day assembling a...

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