Pick of the Day 2/22: Luvvie Ajayi at Mount Holyoke College
Feb22

Pick of the Day 2/22: Luvvie Ajayi at Mount Holyoke College

Social media expert, New York Times best-selling author, and pop-critic, Luvvie Ajayi takes the stage at Mount Holyoke College as it continues its celebration of Black History Month.  If you’re in the mood for great intelligence, wit, and charm, this is the place to be. Mount Holyoke College, Gamble Auditorium, South Hadley. 7:30...

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The Art of Laughter: A Conversation with Comedian Kim Deshields
Feb20

The Art of Laughter: A Conversation with Comedian Kim Deshields

Comedian Kim “Boney” DeShields is funny, except when she’s talking about making people laugh. “It’s an art,” she says matter of factly. “You have to be smart to make people laugh. You have to be well read and knowledgeable about a lot of things. But most of all, you just have to have the ability to make even the worst things funny.” Deshields has certainly had opportunities to mine sorrow for comedy gold. After her 2007 success...

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Pick of the Day 2/20: March of the Penguins at the Academy of Music
Feb20

Pick of the Day 2/20: March of the Penguins at the Academy of Music

March of the Penguins Just because it’s school vacation doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and play games on your phone all day. Go see the feel good movie March of the Penguins at KidsBestFest at the Academy of Music. It’s a free film festival for kids and families during winter school break. March of the Penguins is narrated by the venerable Morgan Freeman and is an award-winning documentary about the mating...

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Coming Soon: ‘Fields of Flowers’ at the Smith College Bulb Show
Feb19

Coming Soon: ‘Fields of Flowers’ at the Smith College Bulb Show

For those people who just can’t wait for Spring to come, there will be a sneak peek from March 3 to 18 at the Botanical Garden of Smith College, 16 College Lane, Northampton. Fields of Flowers: The Annual Spring Bulb Show will be open to all. Right now, the greenhouses are full of leafy plants, but in just a couple weeks’ time, there will be an explosion of color and fragrant scents. Tim Johnson, the Botanical Garden...

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Pick of the Day 2/19: Hidden Figures at Amherst Cinema
Feb19

Pick of the Day 2/19: Hidden Figures at Amherst Cinema

Hidden Figures As Elon Musk’s Space X program soars, NASA’s illustrious history seems a little dull. One way to put back the shine is to see Hidden Figures, the three time Oscar nominated film starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. It’s the story of three black female mathematicians and their struggles and victories at NASA during the 1960s. A remarkable film with a phenomenal cast, Hidden...

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Pick of the Day 2/18: Liz Longley at Iron Horse
Feb16

Pick of the Day 2/18: Liz Longley at Iron Horse

 Liz Longley A subtle Sunday is in order.  Go check out Berklee College of Music graduate and award-winning songwriter, Liz Longley.  Longley performs at the Iron Horse Music Hall.  Some think of Shawn Colvin or Paula Cole when they think of Langley, but recognize she has a voice all her own. “Her voice and tone, touched with the slightest of country inflections, pours out like clean, crystalline water. Still, she can roar like...

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Pick of the Day 2/17: Nicholas Ryder Quintet at the Bing
Feb16

Pick of the Day 2/17: Nicholas Ryder Quintet at the Bing

Nicholas Ryder Quintet at the Bing Arts Center It’s a good night to check in at the Bing Arts Center and warm up with some cool jazz.  Nicholas Ryder Quintet will dig into some songbook standards and tunes by the legendary likes of “Long Tall Dexter” Gordon, Hank Mobley, and Eddie Harris.  Tenor saxophonist Nicholas Ryder fronts the ensemble which also features Shaun Flynn on alto saxophone: Conor Kennedy on piano;...

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Pick of the Day 2/16: Robin Hood at New England Youth Theater
Feb16

Pick of the Day 2/16: Robin Hood at New England Youth Theater

Robin Hood Sherwood Forest never gets old. Since the 15 century, Robin Hood (dressed in Lincoln green) and his lovable merry band have been roving the forest robbing the rich and giving to the poor in swashbuckling heroic style. Throughout film and theater, this character and cast of outlaws remain an all time favorite. You can catch New England Youth Theater perform this classic tonight in Brattleboro. Grab dinner, before or after,...

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Stagestruck: Marx and Sparks
Feb13

Stagestruck: Marx and Sparks

If, like me, you thought the National Theatre’s production of One Man, Two Guv’nors, either on NT Live or Broadway, was the funniest, wittiest farce you’ve ever seen (with Noises Off a close second), chances are you’ll enjoy Young Marx. It’s on this weekend at Amherst Cinema, beamed in HD from London courtesy of NT Live. Young Marx is the work of Richard Bean, who wrote 1M2G, and directed by Nicholas Hytner, who helmed that production...

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Poste Nebleux: Ben Banville’s Life in Art
Feb08

Poste Nebleux: Ben Banville’s Life in Art

Bernard “Ben” Banville’s life sounds as if it was an unfettered celebration of creativity.  Born in Quebec, for many years Banville made his home in Greenfield. He was a musician, a photographer, and an artist who spent years on the Pioneer Valley artscape developing and refining his talents.  In a photo taken prior to his death last year, Banville is a gray bearded gentleman with salt and pepper hair and a slightly mischievous...

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Things To Do: Love, Anime Style, at Tower Theaters
Feb08

Things To Do: Love, Anime Style, at Tower Theaters

Valentines Day, February 14, catch Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card. Romance and intrigue, Japanese anime style. South Hadley’s Tower Theaters, 19 College Street, South Hadley. 9 p.m. $12.50 in advance; $14 at the door. towertheaters.com. — Gina...

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Introducing the Valley Advocate Podcast – a chat with provocative artist Imo Imeh
Feb06

Introducing the Valley Advocate Podcast – a chat with provocative artist Imo Imeh

Recently, the Advocate wrote about President Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador during an immigration discussion – calling them shithole countries. Now we are pleased to continue the conversation and simultaneously introduce our first Valley Advocate podcast – in video form below. In partnership with Amherst Media, Advocate Editor Dave Eisenstadter and Arts and Culture Editor Gina...

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Color and Heat: Pan American Prints at Smith College Museum of Art
Feb01

Color and Heat: Pan American Prints at Smith College Museum of Art

The great mysteries of the southernmost countries of Pan America lie in the enormity of its territory, its rich history, and the shroud of chaos and human suffering. But Nobel-winning Mexican poet Octavio Paz beautifully sums up the artistic heritage of these nations. In his preface for the art book Agpa: Artes Gràficas Panamericanas Paz wrote, “printmaking, like the poetry and novels of Latin America; gives us back our confidence in...

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Stagestruck: Something Rotten! — a tasty musical dish
Jan31

Stagestruck: Something Rotten! — a tasty musical dish

I grew up on Shakespeare and musicals, so what was I to make of Something Rotten!, the hit musical that mercilessly lampoons both? Love it for its origins or hate it for its irreverence? Having missed it on Broadway, where it earned a double handful of Tony nominations in 2015 but lost out to Fun Home, I caught up with the national tour at the Bushnell in Hartford, where it’s running through Sunday. Verdict? I loved it – especially...

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Stagestruck: Love in the Multiverse
Jan29

Stagestruck: Love in the Multiverse

Constellations, playing at TheaterWorks in Hartford through Feb. 18, looks at love and second chances through a prism of reflecting and refracting fun-house mirrors – or more accurately, through a spectrum of infinite chances. Nick Payne’s two-hander isn’t exactly a play of ideas, though it’s plenty smart. It springs from one idea – the possibility imagined by theoretical physics that the singular life we experience takes place in...

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Cost of Contentment:  The Crossroads of Art, Addiction,  Mental Illness
Jan30

Cost of Contentment: The Crossroads of Art, Addiction, Mental Illness

The nondescript building in which Anchor House of Artists  is located is misleading. It’s exterior is plain and white, sitting on the very edge of Pleasant Street seconds from the highway. There is no extra signage to alert visitors that they have, indeed, arrived. And there is no indication that the galleries and studio work spaces inside are literally warehouses of paintings and sculptures. Once inside, you are surrounded by...

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Stagestruck: High Drama in the Library
Jan24

Stagestruck: High Drama in the Library

You wouldn’t think a library would be a likely setting for high drama, but here we are with two playing at once. In Hartford, Sharon Washington is telling the story of her girlhood, when she lived, not virtually but literally, in a library. And in West Springfield, another real-life tale focuses on a political battle over racial insinuations, led by a librarian. Alabama Story, we’re told at the outset, is “the story of a story” — a...

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Review: Forgotten Girls: Lives In Peril
Jan23

Review: Forgotten Girls: Lives In Peril

Walking into the genteel Von Auersperg Gallery, one is reminded that Western Massachusetts is truly a bastion for visual arts venues. One is also reminded of how many choose to host phlegmatic collections of New England landscapes rather than those that may court controversy. But the Von Auersperg, a teaching gallery, housed on the tony Deerfield Academy campus, has chosen to take a chance. Gallery Director Lydia Hemphill is hosting...

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Henry Rollins on Travel, Photography, and Running for President
Jan16

Henry Rollins on Travel, Photography, and Running for President

Henry Rollins embodies the punk ethos in more ways than one — he’s well known for his role as vocalist for 1980s hardcore punk band, Black Flag, and he’s also an actor, orator, photographer, writer, television and radio host, as well as a comedian. Rollins is stopping by the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Jan. 19 during his Travel Slideshow tour — an intimate evening of stories showcasing photos he’s taken across the...

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Staff Picks: Official After Party of the Women’s March, Thrill Mill Comedy Show, Eric Carle
Jan16

Staff Picks: Official After Party of the Women’s March, Thrill Mill Comedy Show, Eric Carle

Lilith of the Valley: Fierce Femmes of the 413 // SATURDAY The official after-party for the Pioneer Valley Women’s March this year being held in Northampton, brings even more woman power to close out the day. A night of music and activism will continue to pump through your already fiery veins as you enjoy the talented musicians of the evening. Performances by Ursula Elmes, Emma June, Courtney Parker, along with guitar and synth-driven...

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Cinemadope: Different Strokes
Jan16

Cinemadope: Different Strokes

Few artists have captured the public’s fancy like Vincent Van Gogh. His richly textured landscapes, interiors, and portraits, built up with a painterly impasto as inviting as a rich ganache, seem to grow in popularity with every passing year. And while the calendar and coffee mug industries wouldn’t be the same without him, even his most accessible work has always felt like it contained hidden meaning in the ridges and valleys of his...

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Stagestruck: Gender Parity Still Elusive in Theater
Dec26

Stagestruck: Gender Parity Still Elusive in Theater

In this time of long-overdue comeuppance for sexual harassment and assault, I approached my annual reckoning of gender equity in theater with fresh eyes. Nationwide, women continue to be devalued and underrepresented in almost all areas of theatrical creation, on and off stage. Surveys have found, for instance, that over three-quarters of professionally produced plays are written by men and focus primarily on male characters — despite...

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VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul
Dec11

VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul

About a month ago, Valley musician Nate Martel came into the Advocate office to drop off his debut solo album “Short Stay.” Being a fan of his role in rock group, Outer Stylie, I was pumped to get the CD into my car as soon as I left work. And that I did. Recorded at Barnhouse Recording in Chicopee and engineered and mixed at Sonelab in Easthampton, all 11 songs are written and performed by Martel. Additional musical contributions...

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Stagestruck: It’s Bedlam on These Stages
Dec07

Stagestruck: It’s Bedlam on These Stages

“Bedlam” is an apt moniker for the ever-adventurous theater company going by that name. Their whirlwind adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility recently wowed New York (and comes to Cambridge beginning this weekend – see below). Now they’re back on sort-of Broadway with an equally inventive, if less affectionate – and less effective – version of another treasured classic: Peter Pan. Bedlam is a peripatetic troupe, performing...

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Back Talk: Where do we go with this?
Dec04

Back Talk: Where do we go with this?

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. Where Do We Go With This? Do we laugh to stop the pain? Do we weep because it isn’t...

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Stagestruck: Sondheim’s Follies, onstage, on screen
Nov30

Stagestruck: Sondheim’s Follies, onstage, on screen

Perhaps surprisingly, the Brits do American musicals really well. The National Theatre, in particular, has a long history of reinvigorating Broadway classics. The theater’s extensive relationship with Stephen Sondheim’s works continues with its current hit production of Follies. It comes to the Amherst Cinema’s screen next week in the National Theatre Live series of HD broadcasts from the London stage. Sondheim’s 1971 show-biz...

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Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots
Nov27

Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots

Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, rooted in the Valley for over two decades, is spreading its limbs. Long the area’s prime site for physical-theater training and performance that explores the reaches of expression through voice and movement, the company has lately embraced theater genres that tell their stories primarily through music. Several Serious Play! productions have traveled to Scotland’s fabled Edinburgh Fringe Festival over...

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The Advocate Guide to Open Mics in the Pioneer Valley!
Nov20

The Advocate Guide to Open Mics in the Pioneer Valley!

The Pioneer Valley is home not only to a bountiful music scene, but to dozens of open mics where artistic communities blossom. Open mics are places where the generational lines between artists blur while they’re jamming out to a bluesy ballad or talking about their favorite Beatles album. Open mics can be a mixed bag at times — you might hear a jaw dropping original song followed by one of worst renditions of your favorite song. But...

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Stream Queen: The Film and TV Industry is a Steaming Morass of Iniquity, but I’m Still Thankful
Nov20

Stream Queen: The Film and TV Industry is a Steaming Morass of Iniquity, but I’m Still Thankful

Dearest streamers, as the year draws to a close and we start to gather with our families (chosen or otherwise), it’s customary to take stock of how our lives have changed in the past 365 days. To say that the entertainment industry and all its iterations have changed in even the past month would be an understatement. Reverberations of female resistance can be felt in all areas of the entertainment world, which for so long has silenced...

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Stagestruck: Not Your Bobble-head Einstein
Nov14

Stagestruck: Not Your Bobble-head Einstein

Though it harks back more than 100 years, Jack Fry’s Einstein! shuns the usual retrospective approach to solo shows portraying celebrities. This one is both timeless and time-stamped. The title character appears to us “from the beyond,” complaining about the popular caricature he’s become after death, presenting as evidence his wild-haired likeness on a t-shirt and a bobble-head. But he also situates us in his Berlin study in August...

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Stagestruck: The Fruits of Poetry
Nov08

Stagestruck: The Fruits of Poetry

Note: An earlier version of this article contained several errors. They have now been corrected. In 1999, Time magazine named its pick for “the song of the century.” That song was “Strange Fruit,” perhaps an odd choice from the songbook of the era that gave birth to blues, jazz, musical comedy and rock’n’roll. Written in the late 1930s by a schoolteacher named Abel Meeropol, it’s a mournful tune set to a bitter lyric about an...

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Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley
Nov06

Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley

Ted Neeley is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. But he does play one in the extremely popular show and accompanying 1973 movie Jesus Christ Superstar. The show went from being protested in the streets to one of the biggest Broadway sensations, touring around the world. Neeley still plays the part decades later, and participates in talkbacks at screenings of the film, but an upcoming event at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield this...

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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,...

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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...

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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,...

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