The V-Spot: We’ve Got Different Sex Drives
Jan16

The V-Spot: We’ve Got Different Sex Drives

Hi Yana, My partner and I seem to be in different places when it comes to sex. We have fabulous sex when he’s up to it, but in general I have a higher sex drive and want to be more adventurous. We both have histories of trauma and deal with it in different ways. I’m mostly into reenacting/reclaiming the trauma, and he wants to avoid it. I don’t think either is better, I just want to know if you know a way that we can find some common...

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So … Is Pot Legal or Not in Massachusetts?
Jan16

So … Is Pot Legal or Not in Massachusetts?

Despite the support for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent out a federal memo this month that makes the future of cannabis in Massachusetts even more unsure. According to a Gallup poll from 2017, 64 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, which is the highest level of public support they have found in nearly a half decade. Despite this wide public support and...

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Basemental: Songs about Surveillance
Jan16

Basemental: Songs about Surveillance

The fight to prevent additional police operated surveillance cameras in downtown Northampton has dragged on since September — over four months, two calendar years, and even through a municipal election. The Northampton City Council has voted 7-2 passing first a resolution and then an ordinance strongly limiting downtown cameras. But still, camera advocates insist that we must “compromise” in the spirit of “civility” and start this...

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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: When 90 Minutes is Enough
Jan16

Stagestruck: When 90 Minutes is Enough

Time was, going to the theater took up the whole evening, with built-in pee and bar breaks. That’s been changing recently, as more and more plays clock in at an intermissionless 90 minutes or so. Back in Shakespeare’s day, of course, the show went on all afternoon, broken up by musical interludes, clowning and so forth, but with no formal act breaks (you’d bring your own bottle of sack and pee where you stood). For a long time the...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Wine
Jan16

Monte Belmonte Wines: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Wine

All natural. The kind of buzz words that make my extremely savvy, health-conscious wife cringe. When you see “natural flavors” on raspberry flavored items, it might as well read “flavors expressed from a beaver anus.” It’s true. Or at least it used to be. Google it. “Natural” is often just corporate-speak used for greenwashing. But in the world of wine, “natural” may actually be a word you want to seek out. Wine snobs often eschew the...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy
Jan08

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy

It’s New Year’s Day. With no idea what to watch, I thought I’d go through one of my leaning towers of DVDs and see what I might come up with. Down at the musty bottom of one of the stacks, I found a trove of movies I’d never watched. My candidate for viewing: The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, a 1958 gem from Mexico which you might be familiar with under its alternate titles, “The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot” or “The Aztec...

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Stream Queen: Looking to Defrost This January?
Jan08

Stream Queen: Looking to Defrost This January?

I just returned from a holiday vacation in the Sunshine State, where I grew up among palm trees, dolphins, and hair-perming humidity. Now, as I chisel my car with all the ferocity of a hunter-gatherer, my fingers and toes quietly preparing to fall off of my body despite my layered outerwear, I can’t help but long for that unrelentingly muggy paradise. I’m sure a few of you can sympathize, as we all here in Western Mass lotion up our...

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O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing
Jan08

O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing

Bay Staters are still waiting for finalized regulations for the commercial recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts, but the regulations around adult recreational use for individuals were established in December 2016. After voters passed Question 4 on the 2016 ballot, lawmakers passed the “Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana not Medically Prescribed” law that legalized personal use and possession of up to one...

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The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2018
Jan08

The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2018

Local brewers share their predictions and plans Cheers, America! According to the Brewers Association’s 2017 year-end report, there are now more than 6,000 breweries nationwide — an increase of 500 breweries from just six months ago. And here’s some even better news: 98 percent of those breweries are small and independent, and 83 percent of citizens over the age of 21 now live within ten miles of a brewery. Here’s an early glimpse of...

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Cinemadope: True North
Jan08

Cinemadope: True North

As the father of three little kids, I’ve come to regard the entertainment world — especially television and movie fare — as an ever-shifting battlefront. I’m not interested in shutting them off from the experience, but figuring out how to make it both enjoyable and edifying isn’t always so easy. “YouTube is junky,” my son will often tell me, just before asking if he can watch a particularly junky train video. For my daughters, I’m...

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Valley Show Girl: Guitars and Coffee
Jan08

Valley Show Girl: Guitars and Coffee

The smell of strong coffee warms me from the cold as I open the door to Iconica Social Club for the first time. From the outside, it looks like an odd brick building in the middle of a parking lot behind Haymarket in Northampton. But upon entering, you’re engulfed within an interior designer’s dream. There were a handful of people crowded near the coffee bar, ordering some yummy-smelling concoctions that were served in science lab...

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The V-Spot: Changed and Confused
Jan08

The V-Spot: Changed and Confused

Hi Yana, I’m a queer non-binary femme. My partner (also queer and non-binary) and I have been together for just about three years. In the past year, I have been doing a lot of emotional work — processing lots of trauma, shame and doing a lot of digging and learning. It’s also been a year of more depression and anxiety on my part. The first year and a half of our relationship we were incredibly sexual, we enjoyed sex a lot, loved to...

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Basemental: Love Sung EP is Calm, Tender, and Soothing
Jan02

Basemental: Love Sung EP is Calm, Tender, and Soothing

Listening to Northampton-based Izy Coffey’s new EP, Love Sung, feels like a warm sweater — one you were wearing when you were broken and then put back together again, and its thread the commonality between your disparate emotions. It’s calm, tender, and has a graceful and soothing forward momentum. While the songs may be about heartbreak, Coffey’s voice and pointed, well-crafted lyrics bring the authority and confidence to make them...

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The V-Spot: I Get Ghosted After One Night
Jan02

The V-Spot: I Get Ghosted After One Night

Hi Yana, I’ve had an above-average number of sexual partners (70+) and at least half have been one night stands. The pattern is: I start talking to someone on OKCupid, we arrange for a date, we have a few drinks, have sex. Sometimes, it’s more mutual, and neither of us wants to see the other again. More often, I’ve enjoyed the sex (and they have too) but are not interested in meeting up again. Among those are situations where I’m...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: This January, Give Dry a Try 
Jan02

Monte Belmonte Wines: This January, Give Dry a Try 

It is possible that you have spent the last month and a half punishing your liver. Look, I get it. You only drink socially and you are a very social person who went to three holiday office parties and 17 family get-togethers between Thanksgiving and New Years. But the holidays are over. Your liver may need some time to recover. A recent trend, especially popular in the U.K., is “Dry January.” Or the painful to look at (and endure)...

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Cinemadope: Guiding Light
Jan02

Cinemadope: Guiding Light

It’s tough to start a new year on a sad note, but it was only after the last Cinemadope’s deadline that I got the news that Duane Robinson had passed away. The driving force behind the revival of the Academy of Music in Northampton, and its enthusiastic and dedicated director for three and a half vital decades, Duane did more for the city’s cultural scene than many will ever know. We’ve just finished another season of The Nutcracker...

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Cannabis Consultant Ezra Parzybok Talks Marijuana as Medicine in New Book
Jan02

Cannabis Consultant Ezra Parzybok Talks Marijuana as Medicine in New Book

As its medical uses evolve and marijuana becomes legally available for recreation in Massachusetts, an area cannabis consultant is working to fill an information hole he thinks is undermining its use. “In our culture, marijuana is known for all the bad reasons because of its psychoactive abilities,” said Ezra Parzybok of Northampton, author of Cannabis Consulting: Helping Patients, Parents, and Practitioners Understand Medical...

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V-Spot: How Do We Weather the Storm?
Dec26

V-Spot: How Do We Weather the Storm?

Hi Yana, My boyfriend of three years and I are both going through a really tough time. My parents are divorcing, he’s applying to schools, and plus our relationship has been long distance for the past two years. We’re both depressed, and I’ve been asking him to go to therapy lately. What advice would you give to a couple who’s going through a tough time, and how to weather the storm together? I’ve been terribly hurt in the past, so my...

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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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A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations
Dec26

A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations

Last week I sat down with Karima Rizk for a cup of coffee in her kitchen in Easthampton to discuss her new business, Cafe Vert. The coffee was like many other homebrewed cups of coffee: it was rich, balanced, and welcoming on the brisk December morning. But unlike most cups of coffee, the coffee beans that Rizk used were roasted with CBD (a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis). “What is new, and what we have a gold opportunity to...

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Valley Show Girl: Party Time! Excellent!
Dec26

Valley Show Girl: Party Time! Excellent!

I don’t know about any of you, but 2017 kicked my ass. But, as always, one of the things that keeps me sane, is music. So let’s bid a farewell to this year with some kick ass shows that are sprinkled throughout the Valley. There is literally something for everyone, and this list isn’t even all of it!     Bring the Kids! Perfect for the family day, just dress the kids warm. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has been filling...

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Cinemadope: Changing Focus
Dec26

Cinemadope: Changing Focus

With the new year scratching at the door, it’s natural to take a reckoning of the one gone by. People tend to focus on the big changes — smoking, the gym, a reading list — but mixing up the smaller things can make a big difference too. Try getting your coffee at a different spot every morning. Start wearing a tie on Thursdays. Jot down poems — short poems are still poems — about the person in front of you while waiting in line. Do it...

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V-Spot: How Do I Tell Dates I’m Heartless?
Dec18

V-Spot: How Do I Tell Dates I’m Heartless?

Dear Yana, I have a cold, dead heart. Well, not really but pretty much, yeah. I was married to my ex-wife for nearly a decade and the end of our relationship was really complicated. I feel almost certain that I don’t have the capacity to be in love or be in a relationship ever again. That being said, I still want to get laid, of course. But my issue is this: I feel as though I’m being pretty up front with my dates about my emotional...

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Stream Queen: Classic Movies for the Apocalypse
Dec18

Stream Queen: Classic Movies for the Apocalypse

As the embers of 2017 dwindle, many are reflecting on what great media the year has had to offer. Was A Ghost Story actually a good movie? Did we all sleep on Top of the Lake: China Girl? What will win Best Picture, Get Out or Lady Bird? It’s a time to fondly recall all the great things we’ve watched this year. But if, like us here at the Valley Advocate, you’re hunkering down for the nuclear winter, you might be making a different...

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Basemental: All I Want For Christmas is Lowered Expectations
Dec18

Basemental: All I Want For Christmas is Lowered Expectations

I am the Grinch. People who know me know this — my mom better than anyone. I scoff at Christmas songs and “holiday cheer,” wanting nothing to do with a holiday that is closely aligned with capitalism, patriarchy, and bad parties. But nothing warms my Grinch heart like a sarcastic and funny Christmas song. Specifically, the 2013 track “All I Want for Christmas is Lowered Expectations” by local awk-pop-slops-rock band Bunny’s A...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Champagne to Toast the End of the World
Dec18

Monte Belmonte Wines: Champagne to Toast the End of the World

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is set at two and a half minutes until midnight. This is the closest to nuclear annihilation we have been since the clock was created in 1947. Time to prepare for the countdown to end all countdowns. And when our Doddard-In-Chief finally provokes Rocket Man to push the button on the New Year’s Eve of our destruction, I know what I will be doing — drinking Champagne. I’m not sure what...

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Cinemadope: Life Goes On
Dec18

Cinemadope: Life Goes On

Speak of nuclear winter, and my thoughts go not to bleak, windswept plains. There are no undead hordes clawing at my clapboards, no marauding gangs out collecting rainwater. In my (admittedly hopeful) imagined ruins, we can all rely on the safety of one thing: the climate-controlled vaults of the National Film Registry. As I write, the Registry is home to some 700 films that the Board has deemed “culturally, historically, or...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Lassie, The Painted Hills
Dec18

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Lassie, The Painted Hills

The holidays are almost upon us, so I decided to curl up with my dog Sasha and watch a 1951 festive Christmas movie. Titled The Painted Hills, this western tells the story of two gold prospectors on the verge of striking it rich. Except that one gets a tad greedy and pushes his partner off a cliff. The deceased man’s old friend gets wind of what happened and goes after the murderer, with plenty of gunfire and brawls. Can you guess who...

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Stagestruck: Diversifying Nostalgia in Western Mass Theater
Dec11

Stagestruck: Diversifying Nostalgia in Western Mass Theater

In this season of holiday entertainments that cater to our appetite for cozy tradition (I’m talking about you, Nutcracker, Messiah, and Christmas Carol), two shows this weekend hit the nostalgia nerve from contrary angles. In the Berkshires, a new play adds a “What next?” sequel to a classic love story. And in the Valley, a variety show takes inspiration from old-time vaudeville. Wholly Communion Following on from its annual series of...

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Stream Queen: Distract Your Family with These Jolly Seasonal Picks
Dec11

Stream Queen: Distract Your Family with These Jolly Seasonal Picks

If you’ve turned on a radio recently or gone into any store, you may have noticed that the holidays are approaching — some faster than others, as Hanukkah began this week. For most of us, that means that it’s time to prepare for family gatherings, gift exchanges, and overeating. We had our warm-up during Thanksgiving, but the winter holidays are when capitalism goes full bonkers, constantly reminding us that this is a time to be with...

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Cinemadope: Beuys Club
Dec11

Cinemadope: Beuys Club

Even among artists, Joseph Beuys has often flown under the radar, someone known more for his enduring impact than his individual works. During my days in art school, Beuys was a name dropped conspicuously into conversations by those who wanted to make sure you knew that they had gone deeper than most. Warhol, Duchamp? Beginner stuff, they seemed to say. If you wanted to get to the richer veins of art history goodness, you should be...

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The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice
Dec11

The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice

Hi Yana, So, I was recently dumped. Woo! During “the conversation,” my now-ex told me a lot of confusing reasons as to why he thought we should break up, but the one that I can’t stop thinking about: “You’re too nice.” He said that he didn’t know how to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t mean to him, or how to navigate a relationship with someone who wanted to provide and care for him and take his feelings seriously. This is...

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Down to Earth: The Assault on Knowledge
Dec11

Down to Earth: The Assault on Knowledge

Well, Congressional Republicans have passed the tax bill. The only thing remaining before it becomes law is reconciliation between the House and Senate versions of the bill. I’m not the columnist to describe the full span of ways this bill will hurt the middle class. If you haven’t read about that yet, you should — I recommend a great piece written by historian Robert S. McElvaine in the Washington Post...

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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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