Pixies at Smith College
Sep21

Pixies at Smith College

The Pixies rocked out a 31-song set, which was close to 2 hours of non-stop jams last night at the John M. Greene Hall, at Smith College in Northampton. Here’s a sample of some pictures and video from their show. — Jennifer Levesque, jlevesque@valleyadvocate.com          ...

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Stagestruck: Culture Clashes on the Border and on the Island
Sep20

Stagestruck: Culture Clashes on the Border and on the Island

Two plays in the Valley this weekend couldn’t be more different but at the same time so close to the bone of our current national  crisis of xenophobia and identity. Building the Wall, in Northampton, is a tense confrontation that touches on today’s headlines and then reaches beyond them. La Gringa, in Holyoke, is an unabashed comedy about a Puerto Rican woman caught between two homelands. Building the Wall (the very title sends...

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Stories From The Stoop a Nuanced Look at Growing Up in 1960s New York
Sep18

Stories From The Stoop a Nuanced Look at Growing Up in 1960s New York

I first met Steve Bernstein when I was working at a small library in Marlborough, New Hampshire, a little more than a decade ago. In the newsletter I put a note in for a writers’ group without knowing if anyone from the little town would show up. Steve was among the small handful who did. Two things immediately stood out about Steve — his strong Bronx accent, and the quality of his work. The stories he brought in over the weeks were...

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Stagestruck: Summer Theater Wrap Party, in Living Color
Sep18

Stagestruck: Summer Theater Wrap Party, in Living Color

The area’s summer theaters have folded their metaphorical tents for the year, though three of the Berkshire companies are also mounting fall shows. For this critic, it was a Sergio Leone season: good, bad, and occasionally ugly. (An example of the extremes — Silverthorne Theater Company’s Chekhov mashup Stupid Fucking Bird, which played metatheatrically with The Seagull, and Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow...

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BrattRock
Sep18

BrattRock

In its second year, the Brattleboro Youth Rock Festival has a killer line up of below-the-drinking-age talent. Saturday features a full day of rock with performances by local bands Impending Exorcism, Gabe Brodeur (frontman for Court Etiquette, which P.S. performed on the Advocate Sessions stage recently – the video will be out on the 29th), Moxie, Felixis Jinx, Parlicium (Sessions alumni), Outer Space, Oak Groove Blues Groove,...

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Yea-Hoo and Rockabilly, too: Flathead Rodeo Friday in Easthampton
Sep11

Yea-Hoo and Rockabilly, too: Flathead Rodeo Friday in Easthampton

Songs From the Rodeo Flathead Rodeo is Northampton-based roots rockabilly band recently won Mark Sherry’s Valley Musical Showcase in July, a regular, judged competition at New City Brewery in Easthampton. So, now they have the honor of opening and closing this week’s Showcase. Go see ‘em: They’re rocking, fun, and funny. Mistress Miriam (who got her name from Iggy Pop) has a long history of singing and performing improv — a...

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Springfield Puerto Rican Parade SUNDAY
Sep11

Springfield Puerto Rican Parade SUNDAY

The annual Puerto Rican Parade kicks off Sunday in Springfield. The parade, which featured more than 100 marching contingents and floats last year, will start at 11 a.m. and go down Main Street, from Wason Avenue to Boland Way. Expect to get your dance on and enjoy some killer empanadas. There will be a main stage and celebration outside at 1500 Main St. Puerto Rican Parade: 11 a.m. Main Street, Springfield, from Wason Avenue to...

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Selfie Indulgent? UMass show explores the self portrait
Sep11

Selfie Indulgent? UMass show explores the self portrait

No one gives Picasso shit for all the self portraits he’s painted. And I’m yet to hear someone call Frida Kahlo’s self portraits “navel gazing.” But right now, the self portrait is under fire. People like to heap a lot of scorn on selfie-takers, folks who have read up on how to pose for the best pic and keep their smartphone cameras set to “Beauty” mode. The selfie is often derided as being selfish and trite, but people’s desire to be...

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Amherst Emily Dickinson FEST!!!! Now Through the Weekend
Sep11

Amherst Emily Dickinson FEST!!!! Now Through the Weekend

Kindly Stopping for Emily Dickinson Amherst’s annual celebration of one of its most famed artists begins Thursday, Sept. 14, and carries on through the weekend with the Amherst Poetry Festival and Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon. The fest, held at various locations, features a day-long marathon of reading Dickinson’s 1,789 poems aloud (starts at 6 a.m. Saturday at the Emily Dickinson Museum); Poetry in the Planetarium with Dara Wier...

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Hidden Figures in the Silent Sky
Sep12

Hidden Figures in the Silent Sky

When Robert Freedman tells people about Silent Sky, the play he directs this weekend at the Shea Theater, they often think he’s talking about Hidden Figures, the recent movie about black women mathematicians who worked as “computers” for NASA in the 1960s. But, he explains, “While that movie told an incredible story about brilliant women facing sexism and racism to pursue their highest God-given talents,” this play looks back a...

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Go See: Museum and Gallery Exhibits on Sept. 14-20, 2017
Sep11

Go See: Museum and Gallery Exhibits on Sept. 14-20, 2017

Alumnae House Gallery: Greenhouse Panoramas — A Process of Reinvention. Large-scale greenhouse images by photographer/artist Esther Pullman. Through Jan. 8. Free. 33 Elm St., Northampton. (413) 585-2190. mhobbes@smith.edu. Amherst Town Hall: Changing Landscapes. By Janet Pozar paintings from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where she grew up. Through Oct. 31. 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. janet-pozar.squarespace.com. Anchor House: 5...

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Northampton’s ‘Beefcake’ Scandal
Sep11

Northampton’s ‘Beefcake’ Scandal

Fifty-seven years ago this month, agents of the Anti-Smut Unit of the Massachusetts State Police raided the Northampton apartment of Smith College literature professor Newton Arvin and discovered copies of “beefcake” magazines he had collected and shared with friends. He was arrested, not for homosexual activity — which was still largely outlawed in the Eisenhower-era U.S. — but for possessing “obscene materials” received through the...

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The Sacred Space in Between: Auferoth Exhibit in Easthampton
Sep11

The Sacred Space in Between: Auferoth Exhibit in Easthampton

The paintings in Susannah Auferoth’s exhibit at the Grubbs Gallery in Easthampton, have one thing in common: They all use the template of three exact lines, two thick, the middle one thin, in colors with cavernous depth. But that’s it. Within this framework Auferoth has created individual expressions of movement and reflection on three plains: Earth, sky, and the space in between where life happens. Seven of these pieces are on view...

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Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors
Sep05

Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors

There’s no band quite like the Pixies with its blend of dissonant noise pop, psychedelic hard rock, surf-drenched reverb, punk rock-ish DIY leanings, and surreal lyrics that cover bizarre topics from extraterrestrials to biblical violence. Since the band’s 1986 formation at UMass Amherst, the Pixies have played thousands of shows across the world and on Sept. 20, the band returns to Western Mass to play Smith College’s John Greene...

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Michael Ruffino of the Unband: All Rock, No Bullshit
Sep05

Michael Ruffino of the Unband: All Rock, No Bullshit

Unband bassist Michael Ruffino doesn’t bullshit. Outside on the deck at Northampton Brewery,  I ask the rocker with a new memoir about music, the Valley, LA, the creative process, his book; and he’s refreshingly candid. How do you feel about the music in the ‘90s, Mike? “Just self-centered people, trying to be deep, but not being deep. It’s like, talk to a professional about this instead; don’t make me sit through it.” What do you...

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Between The Lines: Will Greenfield Get Hooked Up Like The Shea?
Sep05

Between The Lines: Will Greenfield Get Hooked Up Like The Shea?

Forty years ago, the Shea Theater building in downtown Turners Falls was a shell about to collapse in on itself. But Montague leaders saw the building’s potential to boost the village’s economic fortunes and acquired the Shea. With help from grants, Montague rejuvenated the Avenue A landmark into the small downtown arts and cultural engine it has been since the 1980s. In the past few years, a new Shea Theater board of directors has...

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Tundrastomper’s Psychedelic, Math Rocking ‘O’ Reviewed
Sep05

Tundrastomper’s Psychedelic, Math Rocking ‘O’ Reviewed

Easthampton-based basement rock band Tundrastomper is an experimental psychedelia mutant grown from a vat of math rock that explodes into a storm with manic ferocity. There’s more than a glob of progressive rock stylings thrown into the mixer with the band’s new album, “O,” released on July 7. Tundrastomper is a four piece group comprised of Sam Brivic on guitar, Max Goldstein on drums, Andrew Jones on bass, and Skyler Lloyd on guitar...

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Staff PICKS! Lady Snowblood in Amherst, Freak Folkers, Orchard Ballet, and Yucks
Sep05

Staff PICKS! Lady Snowblood in Amherst, Freak Folkers, Orchard Ballet, and Yucks

Lady Snowblood at Amherst Cinema // FRIDAY Ah, the classic story of bloody and brutal revenge. There’s nothing quite like it. Although many think Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films are the peak of stylized action in the sub-genre, there is another film ready to climb a metaphorical mountain of gore. That film is Lady Snowblood (1973) by Toshiya Fujita, which raises gory revenge to a level of visual poetry. Lady Snowblood...

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Blandford Fair: All’s Fair in Love and Corn Dogs
Aug28

Blandford Fair: All’s Fair in Love and Corn Dogs

What can you say about how much fun the Blandford Fair is that hasn’t been said 150 times before? The four-day agricultural fair has been going strong for a century and a half, tweaking the format a little every year to keep up with the times while staying firmly rooted in local heritage. This year’s highlights include: horse shows, an art show and sale, historical re-enactments, carnival rides and games, country-fried...

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Go See: Exhibits at Local Museums and Galleries
Aug28

Go See: Exhibits at Local Museums and Galleries

Amherst Town Hall: Echoes of the Past — Photographs of Abandoned Places explores the beauty of decay and what’s been left behind. Through Sept. 4. Free. Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. (413) 222-4924. echoesofthepast2014@gmail.com. A.P.E. Gallery: The Neural Architecture Sees Itself in Patterns. Paintings by John Aiken. • Incision Objects/ Sound Installation by Jake Meginsky: Sound installation, sinewaves,...

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On  Repeat: DJs, Karaoke, and Open Mics, R-SU
Aug28

On Repeat: DJs, Karaoke, and Open Mics, R-SU

THURSDAY 8/31 Buccaneer Lounge: DJ. 86 Maple St., Agawam. Christy’s Lounge: DJ. 278 Main St., Indian Orchard. Doc’s Place: Karaoke. 1264 Granby Road, Chicopee. Froggy’s Saloon: DJ karaoke. 846 Airport Industrial Park, Westfield. Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center: Open mic. 289 Main St., Greenfield. Hot Shot Billiards: DJ. 1440 North Main St., Palmer. Hu Ke Lau: Karaoke. 705 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. J.J.’s Tavern: Karaoke. 99 Main...

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The Futuristic Art of Christina Gusek
Aug21

The Futuristic Art of Christina Gusek

2050 and Beyond Christina Gusek is a futurist. She looks to what will be instead of what is. Her exhibit at Holyoke Hummus Company, Year 2050 and Beyond, is a vividly terrifying vision of people distorted with machines on a psychedelic event horizon. This exploration of people and our relationships with the increasingly advanced machines we rely on, is full of beauty and wit. The artwork is fluid and hypnotic. Gusek’s humor and smart...

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Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend
Aug21

Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend

Chicopee’s Downtown GetDown The Downtown GetDown is funneling people in this weekend to check out all the cool stuff going on in The Pee. This year’s GetDown will feature a Bike Rodeo, an event usually for kids under age 13 that teaches them good ridership skills and provides a sweet cycling course on which to practice. Musical acts will include 2 Free Spirits, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push, Sky Highway, Trailer Trash,...

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Cinemadope: Human Smuggling Just to Get By
Aug21

Cinemadope: Human Smuggling Just to Get By

Shelburne Falls Pothole Pictures continues its summer movie series with something frosty: a screening of Frozen River. This 2008 film, written and directed by Courtney Hunt, was the hit of the festival circuit when it debuted, winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and nabbing a “Top Ten Films” spot from the American Film Institute — not too shabby for a first outing. And while Hunt’s story and direction are top notch, it is star...

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The Button Lady: Wearing Dissent on Your Sleeve
Aug21

The Button Lady: Wearing Dissent on Your Sleeve

Print artist Leni Fried is standing over a silk-screen printer flipping through a stack of stencils of peace signs and words such as “nasty,” “peace,” and “freedom,” but she’s looking for the stencil she uses most often these days: “RESIST.” Fried, a printmaker and co-founder of the Adams-based BagShare Project to reduce plastic shopping bag waste, has been putting the word on anything she can lately. It appears on T-shirts (including...

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Valley Roller Derby Superbowl SMACK  DOWN Saturday
Aug21

Valley Roller Derby Superbowl SMACK DOWN Saturday

Don’t Disappoint Halle PAIN Yo; To the Derby We Must Go On Saturday what may be the most anticipated rematch of the roller derby season is going down in Wilbraham when the Western Mass Furies go head-to-head against the Hartford Wailers. Hailed as the “Superbowl” of roller derby, digital smack talk has been laid down: “How are you feeling?” asks Western Mass Roller Derby of the Hartford club. “Because we are ready to fight, skate,...

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149th Cummington Festival TODAY through Sunday
Aug21

149th Cummington Festival TODAY through Sunday

A Fair-ly Long Run Celebrating its 149th year, the 2017 annual Cummington Fair will feature music, movement, agriculture, and competitions. Spanning four days, each date has a theme: Thursday is truck night, Friday is children’s night/cruise night, Saturday is agriculture day/demo night, and Sunday is old fashion fair day. Entertainers will include Kenya Acrobats, 4×4 truck pull, Moonshine Holler, Vic and Sticks Family Singers,...

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What To See at Local Museums and Galleries: Aug. 24-30, 2017
Aug21

What To See at Local Museums and Galleries: Aug. 24-30, 2017

Amherst Visitor’s Center: Pioneer Valley Perspectives II. Susan Dion will share art depicting local scenes in Western Mass. Portion of proceeds goes to Trustees of Reservations. Aug. 3-25. Free. 35 South Pleasant St., Amherst. sue1952us@yahoo.com. Anchor House of Artists: Kevin Bouricius — 50 Visions. Painter Bouricius (b. 1951) has developed his visionary oeuvre in relative obscurity since he began painting in 1968. Through Aug. 12....

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Gotta Get ‘Back To The Future’
Aug21

Gotta Get ‘Back To The Future’

Northampton Community TV’s Crowdsourced Cinema project has spawned shot-for-shot remakes of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Princess Bride. But this year’s title — the time travel epic Back to the Future (aka my favorite movie OF ALL TIME) — meant the Advocate wasn’t sitting this one out. The way the project works is people volunteer to shoot a scene, then NCTV cuts the movie into 30-second to three-minute chunks and...

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Stagestruck: Angels & Obsessions at NT Live
Aug18

Stagestruck: Angels & Obsessions at NT Live

If there is a genuine epic in American drama −  its ideas as expansive as its scope −  it is surely Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s two-part, eight-hour “gay fantasia on national themes.” And if there is a consummate example of cross-disciplinary provenance on the English-speaking stage these days, it must be Obsession, the London production of a Dutch adaptation of an Italian movie version of an American novel. Both shows share...

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Stagestruck: Two Women, Intimate dramas explore shifting connections
Aug14

Stagestruck: Two Women, Intimate dramas explore shifting connections

A pair of two-handers, playing through this month and just next weekend respectively, examine intimate, intricate relationships between women. Harbor Stage Company, one of the region’s most reliably stimulating summer theaters, premieres its adaption of a cinema classic (see below) and the Valley’s adventurous Clementine Theater Collective celebrates its second season with a “sharp, moving almost-love story.” The Clementine...

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Basemental: Nanny’s ‘Nowhere’ Reviewed
Aug14

Basemental: Nanny’s ‘Nowhere’ Reviewed

I first caught Nanny at the 13th Floor in Northampton this past March; one of my bands was sharing a bill with them. Earlier this summer, I saw them again and had that feeling I was starting to grasp the songs. It wasn’t long before I learned a debut EP was right around the bend, too. This weekend it will be released at a show to celebrate the accomplishment. This new EP, named for closing track six, Nowhere, recalls stripped down...

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Staff Picks: Transperformance, Leafies, Surf Rock God Dick Dale+
Aug14

Staff Picks: Transperformance, Leafies, Surf Rock God Dick Dale+

Top events of the coming week chosen by Advocate Staff: TUESDAY // This Must Be Heaven On Tuesday at Look Park you may be able to catch a glimpse of Cher, Kurt Cobain, a Beatle, Sharon Jones, Chris Cornell, Johnny Cash, or Amy Winehouse as this year’s Transperformance is dedicated to rockers who climbed up that stairway to heaven. Transperformance is a long-running show in which local musicians choose an on-theme, popular band (this...

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FRIDAY Classic Rap With Masta Ace
Aug14

FRIDAY Classic Rap With Masta Ace

Living hip-hop legend Masta Ace blends classic rap rhythms with modern beats and messages, and he’ll be performing in Greenfield this weekend. A major player on the underground hip-hop scene since the ‘90s. His most acclaimed release is Disposable Arts, a concept album about a kid at a satirical rap school, the School for the Disposable Arts. Since this time Ace has been touring on the East Coast and Europe, most recently he’s been...

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SATURDAY: Boogaloo Bash is First in Free Concert Series Millpond.Live, Easthampton
Aug14

SATURDAY: Boogaloo Bash is First in Free Concert Series Millpond.Live, Easthampton

The Millpond.Live Concert series is getting started in a big, booty-shakin’, celebratin’ kind of way this year by featuring a boogaloo bash. What’s boogaloo? A blend of mambo, doo-wop, R&B, and funk that was hot in the 1960s, but for some unthinkable reason (this music is jam-groovin-get-out-your-seat-fantastic!) fell out of favor with pop culture. No matter, there are still plenty of people playing those funkin’ rhythms. Featured...

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