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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Stagestruck: Ending on a Laugh
Aug14

Stagestruck: Ending on a Laugh

New Century Theatre is closing its summer season as it began — with “a full-out comedy,” as director Sam Rush puts it. This one is The 39 Steps, a jokey reconstruction of Alfred Hitchcock’s epic 1935 thriller. Or perhaps I should say deconstruction, since it’s performed by just four actors and played strictly for laughs. The now-classic scenario in which an innocent bystander is caught up in a mysterious and increasingly perilous...

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Basemental: Nanny’s “Nowhere” Is Vulnerable Grunge Rock Not To Be Missed
Aug11

Basemental: Nanny’s “Nowhere” Is Vulnerable Grunge Rock Not To Be Missed

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. Nowhere by Nanny This new EP, named for closing track six, Nowhere, recalls...

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LISTEN Jack Dwyers’ Sessions Set: Blues, folk, n’ jazz
Aug11

LISTEN Jack Dwyers’ Sessions Set: Blues, folk, n’ jazz

Click the image to hear Jack Dwyer’s style of jazz, folk, and blues in the spirit of Tin Pan...

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Stream Queen: Movies And Shows The Critics Got Wrong
Aug11

Stream Queen: Movies And Shows The Critics Got Wrong

Since its inception in the late 19th century, film has evolved from a seemingly trivial medium into one of the most wide-reaching and popular industries. Film criticism has grown right along with it, as academic and journalistic reviewers endlessly argue over film’s true purpose. Though film and TV criticism depends entirely on the biases and opinions of the critic herself, we all value critics’ opinions over our own. They know what...

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Stagestruck: Old-Fashioned Fun
Aug10

Stagestruck: Old-Fashioned Fun

The Fitzpatrick Mainstage on the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Stockbridge campus is the site of what I’m told is the country’s oldest continuously operating summer theater. For 89 years the building, converted from a former casino in 1928 by Broadway star Eva Le Gallienne, has staged a wide-ranging repertoire and launched dozens of stage and screen stars. This season BTG, perhaps looking ahead to next year’s 90th anniversary, has...

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Stagestruck: ‘This’ Drama as Sitcom Is ‘Too Snappy, Too Loud’
Aug08

Stagestruck: ‘This’ Drama as Sitcom Is ‘Too Snappy, Too Loud’

This is the title of the play now running at Barrington Stage Company (through August 27). But it might be more accurately called This and That. Melissa James Gibson’s script is a grab-bag of seriocomic situations, satirical barbs and personal anguish that harks back to the ’80s TV series thirtysomething. Her characters, approaching middle age – i.e., their forties – are preoccupied with marital, parental, ethical, sexual and...

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Love, Hate, and Horniness With Sondheim’s ‘Company’!
Aug07

Love, Hate, and Horniness With Sondheim’s ‘Company’!

Company, one of Stephen Sondheim’s early musicals, is a funny, relatable, and insightful look at marriage, divorce, and single life. The story follows Bobby, a single man on his 35th birthday, who is celebrating with his married friends — who are all in various states of love, hate, and horniness. The audience is treated to a series of vignettes featuring Bobby during visits with one of the couples or alone with a girlfriend....

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Staff Picks: Smell You Later in Williamstown
Aug07

Staff Picks: Smell You Later in Williamstown

Smell You Later // Thursday  The Osmotheque in Versailles, France, brings visitors to the museum on a journey of smells, cataloging the historic smells of perfumes. It’s name comes from the Greek words meaning “smell storehouse.” Now Williams College is taking a stab at its own Osmotheque to transform works in Museum of Art’s collection into scents. Perfumers Christopher Draghi and Robert Dobay lead the tour, starting at 5 p.m....

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Ballerinas in the Wild this Saturday in Brattleboro
Aug07

Ballerinas in the Wild this Saturday in Brattleboro

Ballet and farming go together like fine art and craft beer — the combo isn’t typical, but it should be. On Saturday, Vermont’s Farm to Ballet troupe will perform at Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, an historic farm dating back to 1836 that has long shared a connection with the patients of Brattleboro Retreat. Each of the company’s seasonal performances take place at and tell the stories of various local farms. Instead on focusing on the...

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On View: Exhibits at the area’s museums and galleries
Aug07

On View: Exhibits at the area’s museums and galleries

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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LISTEN UP: Krunkelstiltskin plays that heavy rock with humor for you (SESSIONS VIDEO)
Aug04
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Valley Show Girl: A Jam Session in the Forest With Staind Singer Aaron Lewis
Aug07

Valley Show Girl: A Jam Session in the Forest With Staind Singer Aaron Lewis

Staind. Remember them? I think at one point in our late-’90s lives we were all blasting “Tormented” or “Dysfunction” and relating to the ultra-sensitive alternative rock that was birthed right here in the Valley. Well, times have changed, and people change. Aaron Lewis, singer of the now-retired Staind has gone on to other things, including switching up musical genres to country. Lewis also puts on an amazing benefit concert once a...

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Discussing Far Out Films in the Forbes Library Basement
Aug07

Discussing Far Out Films in the Forbes Library Basement

I’ve always been interested in surrealism, but never quite enough to actually do any research into it beyond looking at some Salvador Dali paintings. But one reference to a surrealist work stuck with me. In the 2011 Woody Allen movie Midnight In Paris, the surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel makes an appearance and an allusion is made to one of his more famous films — the one in which a roomful of party guests are unable to leave after...

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Stagestruck: Chekhov in Middle School – WTF…
Aug03

Stagestruck: Chekhov in Middle School – WTF…

What is it with all the Chekhov parodies? Just this summer Silverthorne Theater Company gave us Stupid Fucking Bird, Aaron Posner’s metatheatrical riff on The Seagull. There’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang’s Uncle Vanya mashup. And last year I directed Nagle Jackson’s The Quick-Change Room, about a Russian theater turning The Three Sisters into a musical comedy. Now comes Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow,...

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Cinemadope: It Takes Two To Go Down In A Bloody Shootout
Aug02

Cinemadope: It Takes Two To Go Down In A Bloody Shootout

For as long as stories have been told, they have been told about pairs: Odysseus and Penelope, Arthur and Merlin, Bugs and Elmer. It’s a rare tale that doesn’t focus, in some way, on that essential human desire to connect. It can bring us to ecstasy or despair — sometimes both — but there’s no escaping our need for each other. This week, Valley filmgoers have a chance to catch famous pairs on screens all over the area. Some of them...

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STAFF PICKS! Roger Salloom Free Concert, DreamCycle, and more
Jul31

STAFF PICKS! Roger Salloom Free Concert, DreamCycle, and more

DreamCycle at the Academy of Music // SATURDAY You won’t find any creepy clowns here. DreamCycle is a traditional circus with acrobats, jugglers, and aerial stunts complete with tightrope walkers tiptoeing across a narrow wire. Acrophobes be warned: you’ll want to cover your eyes. The Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton, 7 p.m. $15 kids, $18 adults. — Dave Eisenstadter Free Annual Roger Salloom Concert // WEDNESDAY...

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Stagestruck: This Weekend Features ‘Slowgirl’ and ‘Doctor Doolitte’
Aug03

Stagestruck: This Weekend Features ‘Slowgirl’ and ‘Doctor Doolitte’

Two small-scale productions playing in the area this weekend have one thing in common. They both take place in the jungle. Apart from that, they couldn’t be more different. Slowgirl traces a tentative, emotionally fraught encounter between a motormouth teenager and her reclusive uncle through the terrain of traumas past and present in the aftermath of a sudden tragedy. Doctor Doolittle is PaintBox Theatre’s season-ending performance,...

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Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young, Playing Aug. 3
Jul31

Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young, Playing Aug. 3

Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young If there’s a mic and some place for him to plug in his old Silvertone guitar, you’ve got a good chance of seeing Ray Mason. The tireless musician gigs up and down the Valley several times a week and for good reason — he’s awesome. Mason, who plays solo and with the Lonesome Brothers, is a talented storyteller and songwriter with a gift for infusing humor and honesty into his roots-style folk rock. Go...

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WOOF: Westfield’s Ales for Tales Pub Crawl Friday
Jul31

WOOF: Westfield’s Ales for Tales Pub Crawl Friday

Ales for Tails Hoist a pint for man’s best friend Friday in downtown Westfield for the third annual Ales for Tails Pub Crawl. Organized by Susie Howard, the roaming pack of beer nuts are raising money for the Westfield Animal Shelter. Things get going at 6 p.m. at Skyline Trading Co. on Elm Street. Then it’s off to Two Rivers Burrito Co., The Maple Leaf (if you didn’t fill your belly with burritos already, The Leaf has excellent...

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Tease Video: Krunkelstiltskin on Sessions Friday
Aug02

Tease Video: Krunkelstiltskin on Sessions Friday

Krunkelstiltskin is a heavy electronic driven eclectic rock band with a sense of humor. The group played on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage on July 12. Krunkelstiltskin’s full performance will be available online this Friday. Until then, here’s a teaser showcasing the...

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Stagestruck: History as a Living Weapon at Double Edge
Aug01

Stagestruck: History as a Living Weapon at Double Edge

A highlight of my summer theater season is always the magical change of pace afforded by Double Edge Theatre’s annual indoor/outdoor performance. This year, that peripatetic spectacle offers its own change of pace. Where previous seasons have given us captivating tales of magic and adventure from world literature and folklore, We The People brings it all back home – literally. Here, instead of the colorful silks and scarves we may...

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‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice
Jul31

‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice

Music is never just some notes of a melody — it’s always something more, says legendary New Orleans jazz saxophonist Charles Neville. Neville, who grew up in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era, but now resides in Huntington with his wife and children, has seen music change America. “I remember when the first black cops were allowed on the police force and one of the things we all as young teenagers laughed at was the fact that they...

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A Look Inside Marc Chagall’s World at Springfield Museums
Jul31

A Look Inside Marc Chagall’s World at Springfield Museums

Put several dozen artists in a building called “The Beehive,” and what do you get? A space brimming and buzzing with new ideas and fresh perspectives on art, as a new exhibit at the Springfield Museums illustrates. Marc Chagall and Friends, a display of prints drawn from the collection of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, shines a light on a group of artists who, living in close quarters in Paris in the early 20th century, played a big...

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Tom Wyatt Creates Metal Illusions
Jul31

Tom Wyatt Creates Metal Illusions

Metal Reflections “With bounced light, magic can happen. Curving or bending light and the resulting shapes and forms open a doorway for our subjective minds. Whimsical or mysterious possibilities abound,” says Tom Wyatt in his artist bio on the Salmon Falls Gallery website. Wyatt, of Warwick, is a photographer who experiments with angels and times of day to bring dramatic color and texture to his work.   Tom Wyatt — Illusion and...

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EXHIBITS: What’s On View at Museums and Galleries
Jul31

EXHIBITS: What’s On View at Museums and Galleries

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...

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Stagestruck: Animal Behavior – An Albee Prequel in Stockbridge
Jul31

Stagestruck: Animal Behavior – An Albee Prequel in Stockbridge

At the beginning of At Home at the Zoo, Ann appears from the kitchen and says to her husband Peter, “We have to talk.” Then they talk for an hour, and by the time Peter leaves their apartment to have a quiet read in Central Park, we know a lot more about him than we did in The Zoo Story. Let me explain. The Zoo Story, Edward Albee’s career-making one-act, takes place on a park bench where mild-mannered Peter is accosted by...

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Stagestruck: Hitting the Nail – New Century’s heroic truths
Jul28

Stagestruck: Hitting the Nail – New Century’s heroic truths

I’ll get right to the point: Hold These Truths, at New Century Theatre, is possibly the most important play of the summer, with certainly one of the season’s most exhilarating performances. It’s not only searingly suggestive of our current national crisis, but is a heartbreaking, infuriating, inspiring and energizing story in its own right. Jeanne Sakata’s one-person play is about one of the most disgraceful (and hidden) episodes in...

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Stagestruck: Gladrags and Ragtime at Shakespeare & Company
Jul27

Stagestruck: Gladrags and Ragtime at Shakespeare & Company

Intimate Apparel is all about fabrics. The silky fabrics draping the figures of elegant Gilded Age matrons and the coarser fabrics worn by their servants, delineating both economic and social standing. The deceptively comfortable fabrics covering the women’s corsets, whose plain or fancy decorations likewise convey status but whose whalebone stays and torturous lacing mean confinement for women of all stations. And then, those...

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Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage
Jul26

Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage

The classic sex farce is set in a large room with about half a dozen doors, in and out of which pop guilty lovers, jealous spouses and other staples of the genre, and behind which most of the shenanigans real and suspected take place. Alan Ayckbourne’s classic Taking Steps (at Barrington Stage Company through August 5) turns that convention on its head. The difference here is that much of what would normally happen offstage (like...

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Stagestruck: Dancing on the Edge at Jacob’s Pillow With Akash Odedra
Jul25

Stagestruck: Dancing on the Edge at Jacob’s Pillow With Akash Odedra

The two mainstage programs at Jacob’s Pillow dance festival last week offered intriguing contrasts in modern dance envelope-pushing. And perhaps surprisingly, it was the simpler, solo show that delivered more variety and excitement. Aakash Odedra is an Englishman of Indian parentage who first trained in the dance traditions of his ancestral culture and then branched out into a stylistic kaleidoscope of world traditions. The pieces he...

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Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group
Jul24

Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group

Letters to the Editor In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group Tiring to see all the IHEG (Iron Horse Entertainment Group) bashing [“Behind the Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG,” July 13-19, 2017]! First, people don’t realize how fortunate we are to have national acts coming to the area. I’ve personally enjoyed many awesome acts throughout the years at all the IHEG venues [Pearl Street, Iron Horse, Calvin,...

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StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See
Jul24

StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See

Though digital media has forever changed the face of filmmaking, there’s still one key way independent filmmakers can premiere their work: by entering it into the festival circuit. Each year many films, spanning all lengths and genres, debut to those lucky minority able to attend the most established festivals. Independent film festivals offer the world’s first look at the year’s best films. Moonlight first screened at the Telluride...

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The Buddy McEarns Band Playing Friday
Jul24

The Buddy McEarns Band Playing Friday

Buddy McEarns Your Musical Respect Good time, blusey bar band Buddy McEarns rocks with driving, classical guitar riffs and just the tiniest dash of hippie jam. There’s something comforting about The Buddy McEarns Band, like looking at an old friend named nostaligia through beer goggles. Catch them once, or twice this weekend! The Buddy McEarns Band: Friday (with the full band), 6-9 p.m. Free. Luxe Burger Bar, 1200 W. Columbus...

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Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens
Jul24

Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens

Charlie Brown Would Be So Emo If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Good ‘ol Chuck, from the Peanuts comics, Gateway City Arts can fill you in; A week-long run of Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead begins Friday. Satirizing the Peanuts, the play imagines the characters as teenagers dealing with an existential crisis — so, in a lot of ways, it’s similar to the strip. The play gets...

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