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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Stagestruck: Stage on Screen
Apr06

Stagestruck: Stage on Screen

Movies are not my beat, but I often go to the theater at the Amherst Cinema. The ongoing National Theatre Live series of big-screen, high-def broadcasts from the London stage is a staple of my playgoing schedule. This month and next, the cinema screens encores of five shows in the spring season. I’ve seen two of them in previous screenings, and I’m eagerly awaiting the others.And this Saturday the cinema hosts a one-time,...

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Spring Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (April-June 2017)
Apr03

Spring Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (April-June 2017)

Tweet Puppets for the PeopleFrom its founding in New York’s Lower East Side in 1963 to its decades-long residence in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Bread & Puppet Theater remains one of the country’s most inventive and internationally recognized performing arts troupes. The company’s instantly familiar style of street theater shows — which mix music and dance with drama, puppetry, satire, and slapstick — are always a spectacle and,...

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Stream Queen: From Low-Budget Dreams to Indie Esteem
Apr03

Stream Queen: From Low-Budget Dreams to Indie Esteem

In our world of studio filmmaking driven by franchises and sequels, creators looking to develop original ideas are often restricted to independent production. While indie filmmaking means working on a shoestring budget, it also often means the cast and crew are creating a passion project, working to make something cinephiles have never seen before. Despite what Netflix tells you, “indie” is less a genre and more a means of film...

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Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts
Apr03

Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts

A Woman AliveAs I walked into Gateway City Arts in Holyoke for the first time, I came to a dead stop to admire the factory-style architecture. The ceilings are very high, with a huge industrial ceiling fan staring down. The large stage was lit up awaiting performers, with just a few dozen people starting to gather in the metal folding chairs.I made my way to the bar at the back of the venue to check out the list of appetizer specials...

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On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music
Apr03

On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music

War and MusicPlaywright Quiara Alegría Hudes has jumped onto our cultural radar many times over the years — she received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful, and she wrote the book for the musical In The Heights alongside future Hamilton star Lin-Manual Miranda — but we get to delve into a somewhat quieter (but no less powerful) part of her repertoire this month with the UMass production of her...

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Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman
Apr03

Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman

Dynamic DuoEasthampton City Arts+ kicks off the third annual Easthampton Book Fest with the first installment of the new Grist for the Mill speaker series, with inaugural guests Michael Musto (a longtime writer at The Village Voice) and Mickey Boardman, the editorial director of PAPER Magazine. Musto and Boardman riff off each other hilariously, like professional verbal ping pong players, and they’re sure to add a big dose of levity...

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Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera
Apr03

Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera

The Tribe That QuestsIn recent years, ensemble theater group Children of the Wild has managed something nifty: the full integration of the musical band dynamic into their touring acts. Music and theater fused completely in the show The Wastelands, an original experimental folk opera inspired by Dante’s Purgatorio that toured the Great Lakes region from June to October 2016, taking over real-world settings like abandoned factories and...

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Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective
Apr03

Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective

One of the GreatsNew Orleans native Terence Blanchard has become one of America’s most respected jazz musicians, working as a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. He was an integral figure in the 1980s jazz resurgence, and his trumpet can be heard on nearly 50 film scores. But he’s pushing boundaries with his new quintet, The E-Collective — a project that fuses funk, R&B, dance, and blues. The group’s...

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On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”
Apr03

On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”

History Hangs OverheadIf you’re looking to get out this week and into an immersive installation inspired by Islamic architecture — we’ve got just the local exhibit for you (actually, it’s the only one). Soo Sunny Park created ”Luminous Muqarna” for the Islamic Arts Festival in the United Arab Emirates in an effort to transform our experience of light from something merely perceptual into something big, heavy, and physical. The work’s...

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Cinemadope: Your Nearest Screening of 1984
Mar27

Cinemadope: Your Nearest Screening of 1984

Hurt FeelingsA few weeks back I found myself with a rare night off — the kids asleep early, the house somehow clean, the bills already paid. I was scrolling through my various Netflix queues when a familiar title popped up: V for Vendetta, the Wachowskis’ 2005 adaptation of Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) famous graphic novel. Something in our current climate had me in the mood to revisit this tale of a neo-fascist regime, holding on to power...

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New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage
Mar27

New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage

The World in FrameSince opening its historic church doors in 2011, Next Stage Arts Project has been working to bring world-class events into the small town of Putney, Vermont (just north of Brattleboro). Never has that mission been more clear than with the group’s newest project: a curated screening series for feature-length documentary films called [framed], each one presented by the filmmaker, who will be present at each screening...

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Stagestruck: Force of Nature
Mar27

Stagestruck: Force of Nature

WAM Theatre exists on two levels: to produce work that foregrounds women playwrights and performers, and to tangibly support, with a portion of ticket sales, organizations that work to better the lives of women and girls. Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight brings its own bifurcated story to that mission. First performed here in 2013, WAM is reviving it this weekend and next in a guest appearance at Shakespeare &...

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Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly
Mar27

Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly

Smile! (Or Don’t)Artist, photographer, and punk for the ages Cynthia Connolly made a name for herself in one fell swoop when she published Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the D.C. Punk Underground (79-85). That scrappy yearbook-style achievement snuck into stores in 1988 with a first print run of 2,000 copies, and stayed in print through 2005. Ten years later, it came back into print, so the moment is perfect to catch up with...

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VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions
Mar29

VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions

Jazz-inspired indie duo on vocals and bassWhen Cait Simpson sings and Chris Merritt plucks his upright bass, something simple and enchanting happens. The friends just released their first EP, The Landing, available on iTunes and Spotify.Catch the full video this Friday on Advocate Sessions, and browse full-set videos of your favorite local musical acts! Click to visit:...

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On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton
Mar27

On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton

You’re Wearing That?In her new exhibit, Jodi Colella engages with headwear and daguerreotypes from the collection of the Historic Northampton Museum and responds to forces that have shaped women’s identities since the 18th century. “Headwear has long played a role in indicating the class, status and occupation of the wearer – enforcing conformity and erasing individuality,” reads the gallery statement. “From the 18th-century poke...

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Basemental: Umbral Made Real
Mar27

Basemental: Umbral Made Real

How a fictional psychdrone collective from Berlin took form in GreenfieldIn 2015, a real writer and real College of the Atlantic professor named Daniel Mahoney published a real book called Sunblind Almost Motorcrash. In it, he wrote fictional reviews of imaginary bands. The purpose of the project, he said, was to “investigate the distance between sound and how we use language to describe sound,” which is the crux of this racket we...

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Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst
Mar27

Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst

Guitar Around the WorldTo hear NPR tell it, musician Jason Vieaux is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux’s album Play won the 2015 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo, and he has played in hundreds of orchestras and music festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. He plays a solo concert at UMass on Tuesday that is sure to speak to his remarkably expressive range —...

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David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)
Mar27

David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)

More often than not, the hustle and bustle around me is white noise. Throughout the day I hear a cacophonous array of sounds from outside: cars, dogs, the wind, the mailman, humans in general, and even other cats. I stare out the window for most hours of the day, my curiosity nearly killing me at times.But recently, I found something sweet to the ears — an inspirational body of work that revitalized and changed my opinion on humans...

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Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out
Mar20

Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out

One-man band plays blues, rock, and folk on improvised instrumentsSome of us spend our days sitting at computers in nondescript rooms. In the new, handmade music video for his love song “Beta Star,” Matt Lorenz gives that a shot. He wakes up in the morning, washes his face, twizzles his long mustache into shape, puts on a tie, grabs a coffee, and sits down to type. It doesn’t go well. In his mind, he’s wearing a tutu and romping...

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Music Review: “15 Sunrise” by Calico Blue
Mar20

Music Review: “15 Sunrise” by Calico Blue

Amherst-based psychedelic dream-pop and surf-blues infused band Calico Blue released its second album early this month, 15 Sunrise, which presents songs that could be best described as meditations on life. They confront the ghosts that live in the corridors of the mind: regret, heartbreak, and solitude. But in the darkness of the lyrics there is hidden light, which builds to bring about a dawning, as the title suggests.Vocalist Sarah...

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On Exhibit: Unseen Ruins Near Pompeii
Mar20

On Exhibit: Unseen Ruins Near Pompeii

From Italy With AshFeaturing works seen for the first time outside Italy, this exhibit contains pieces from the ancient town of Oplontis. When Mount Vesuvius blew in 79 CE it buried more than just Pompeii. Pieces excavated from Oplontis reveal a life of luxury and shopping. The artwork is drool-worthy: so fine, precise, soft, and powerful. After centuries underground, the pieces — which range from statues, to lamps, to mortars, to...

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Saturday: Nasty Women Take the Stage
Mar20

Saturday: Nasty Women Take the Stage

Nasty JazzThe Ladies of Jazz music series is dedicating its Saturday, March 25, concert to all the “nasty” (aka “strong”) women fighting for female and reproductive rights. And all proceeds are going to benefit Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Brattleboro. Organized by the Valley’s First Lady of Jazz (FLo-J?), Samirah Evans, the show will feature women musicians performing jazz and rock classics written by women. There...

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Stan and Ollie, Meet Punch and Judy — Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, with a touch of slapstick
Mar21

Stan and Ollie, Meet Punch and Judy — Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, with a touch of slapstick

The story goes that Samuel Beckett was walking through a London park with a friend on a glorious spring morning when his companion exclaimed, “Isn’t this just the kind of day that makes you glad to be alive?” To which Beckett replied, “Oh, I don’t think I’d go that far.”For me, that moment of self-satire goes a long way toward explaining the connection between Beckett’s famously gloomy view of the human condition and his...

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VIDEO Valley Show Girl: Experiencing an Album Live; Disguise the Curse’s Release Party
Mar20

VIDEO Valley Show Girl: Experiencing an Album Live; Disguise the Curse’s Release Party

A couple weeks ago I picked up Echoes of the Dying Light by local metal titans, Disguise the Curse. “Holy shit, this is amazing,” I said to myself while drumming on my steering wheel with the music blasting through my car speakers. Produced by Chris Daniele at Yucky Studios, the quality of the album is superb with not one track worth skipping. The album is still in my car stereo on repeat.The opening track “Caverns” sets the tone for...

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Stream Queen: Women’s Work, rediscovering female directors
Mar20

Stream Queen: Women’s Work, rediscovering female directors

Whether or not Western Mass has gotten the meteorological memo, we’ve officially sprung forward. That means it’s time to emerge from hibernation, put on our rubber gloves, and get ready for some spring cleaning. In my case, I’ve decided to dust off some groundbreaking works by female directors, in honor of Women’s History Month.The cinematic history of female directors is woefully short, and very much still in progress. It took the...

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Nerding Out: Building a Passion, 120 hours drawing an historic court house
Mar20

Nerding Out: Building a Passion, 120 hours drawing an historic court house

Andrew Quient is celebrated for his geometrical-style pottery. Quient, 66, of Florence, even has some of his pieces in the national White House archives. But if you run into him working in Northampton, it’s unlikely he’ll be at a potter’s wheel. You’re probably going to find him at Forbes Library painstakingly drawing exact architectural pencil sketches of buildings he finds interesting and beautiful. Because not every building is...

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DIO Comes to Town
Mar20

DIO Comes to Town

DIO know DIO is coming to town?Jump on your tiger, Holy Diver, because DIO is coming to town. Last in Line, a DIO cover band that includes members of the original DIO, is playing the Waterfront Tavern in Holyoke on Wednesday, March 29. The group will play some classic DIO as well as new tunes the band has written since forming in 2011. DIO bandmates Vivian Campbell and Vinny Appice and vocalist Andrew Freeman along with Phil Soussan...

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On Screens: Antarctica Ice and Sky
Mar20

On Screens: Antarctica Ice and Sky

Antarctica’s isolation and cold have always been attractive to me. A land of rolling ice mountains, silence, and snow where Mother Nature is commander in chief. In Antarctica — Ice and Sky, Oscar-winning director Luc Jacquet creates a portrait of French glaciologist Claude Lorius — one of the first scientists to start warning people about climate change. Lorius was among a vanguard of scientists studying ice cores in Antarctica, which...

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