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 V-Spot: IPAs Run My Sex Life
Sep11

The V-Spot: IPAs Run My Sex Life

Editor’s Note: This column refers to sexual trauma responses. Hi Yana, My girlfriend and I have been together for four months, but lately I’ve been noticing we’ve only been having sex when we’re drinking. Nothing to put consent into question for either of us, of course, just a couple beers. I asked her about it over dinner, and she said, “It’s nothing you’re doing wrong, I’ve just hated myself lately.” I know she struggles with...

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New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines
Sep05

New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines

You are reading a wine column that was written by a non-expert: a rank novice who has never worked in the wine industry, or the restaurant industry; who has never been to France (outside of Charles de Gaulle) or to California (outside of L.A.); and who, frankly, has never written a column of any kind, for any newspaper, at any time before now. That being said, I am Monte Belmonte — a radio host on 93.9 The River with an extremely tiny...

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Third Eye Roaming: So Over THE Yoga Body
Sep05

Third Eye Roaming: So Over THE Yoga Body

Google yoga images and you’ll find a sea of thin, white women who look as if the road rises to greet them. Their bodies are ideologically perfect. Their yoga attire and accessories are meticulous. They are serene and smiling. Gee — if they’re so perfect, then do they even need yoga? Of course. Even those who ascribe to society’s view of perfection need yoga. Everybody does for better mind and body health. That’s a philosophy that most...

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Valley Show Girl: Watching Punk Docs at Home
Sep05

Valley Show Girl: Watching Punk Docs at Home

Sometimes you wanna make it out to a show, but let’s face it life happens. Maybe you’re sick, or you can’t find a babysitter, or that snowstorm that’s fast approaching cancels everything and you are stuck inside. Have no fear! Documentaries galore are here! If you’re a fan of punk history as much as myself, there are a plethora of gems that are always there for your viewing. I could hibernate for a month straight and still not get...

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The V-Spot: Too Many Orgasms and Leg Cramps
Sep05

The V-Spot: Too Many Orgasms and Leg Cramps

I have a little bit of a problem that most people wouldn’t consider a problem, so there aren’t a lot of resources for me. I am extremely orgasmic. Now, of course, I’m grateful for this and all, but it’s to the point that I usually come like 10-plus times during partnered sex. One drawback is, sometimes, I feel like I can’t focus as much on my partners’ pleasure when I’m experiencing all that sensation and I feel I could be having a...

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Cinemadope: CAAAAAN’T Miss this one
Sep05

Cinemadope: CAAAAAN’T Miss this one

For all its ham-fistedness, the world of Star Trek has done an impressive job of putting important issues in front of its audience over the years. And while the first series was set sometime in the 2200s, it all began, in our world, during the late 1960s — and Star Trek writers were quick to use their platform as a way to craft parables about racism, Vietnam, and more. This week, Cinemark Theaters will be screening Star Trek II: Wrath...

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Basemental: DIY All-Stars: Experimental Audio Damage & Research Control Groop
Aug28

Basemental: DIY All-Stars: Experimental Audio Damage & Research Control Groop

I kept hearing that Ian (Thee Arcadians) and Androo (ex-Spirit Ghost, Nancy Drool) would disappear into different basements and jam on one chord for hours at a time. The roommates tolerated it (within reason), the neighbors were never “chill” to begin with. But that did not deter them. They were riding a wave — or something like that. It wasn’t long before a rotating cast of DIY allstars — including, but likely not limited to, Nina...

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Cinemadope: Whose Streets? Life in Ferguson after fatal shooting of unarmed, black teen by white officer
Aug28

Cinemadope: Whose Streets? Life in Ferguson after fatal shooting of unarmed, black teen by white officer

One of the more disturbing things about cinema is the establishment of who is a hero and who is a villain. Most often this looks like a white man taking down a non-white man. The specifics may change with the era — from the villain being African-American to South American to Middle Eastern to Asian — but the underlying message does not. It’s vital, then, that we seek out work made by the people of color whose voices are so often...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: ‘Horror Express’
Aug28

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: ‘Horror Express’

Allll aboard! Welcome to the Trans-Siberian express. I hope your journey is a pleasant one. Try not to be bothered by the marauding yeti in the baggage department. A bit of background may be in order so you can properly appreciate your trip. Spanish director Eugenio Martin had just finished filming Pancho Villa (1971) with Telly “Kojak” Savalas. Martin had a model train built for the picture and wanted to get as much mileage out of it...

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Craving Cool Independent Films/TV Online? Check Out Seed & Spark
Aug28

Craving Cool Independent Films/TV Online? Check Out Seed & Spark

In this ever-expanding world of streaming platforms, it can be difficult to look outside the Big Three: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Viewers mainly feel constrained to these options because of their connections with major networks, their buying power for big-name film distribution, and their own original productions. However, if you’ve ever tried to find a truly original, interesting independent film on one of these sites, you’ve...

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O Cannabis! : Puff Or Pass? Best and Worst Rolling Papers for Your Weed
Aug28

O Cannabis! : Puff Or Pass? Best and Worst Rolling Papers for Your Weed

Rolling papers and Rodney Dangerfield have long had a lot in common: they didn’t get no respect. But as marijuana’s cultural cachet has risen, so too have the quality and variety of smoking equipment. The humble rolling paper has been elevated to prestige level with Shine, a 24-k gold leafed paper that sells for $12 per sheet and, from what I hear, provides a premium smoking experience as the gold flakes off with the burn. Overall,...

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The V-Spot: My BF Won’t Go Down on Me
Aug28

The V-Spot: My BF Won’t Go Down on Me

Hi Yana, My boyfriend refuses to go down on me. As a bisexual woman who has been in long term relationships with women, it’s something I miss. I bring it up and he gets defensive about it. I’m always down to give the blow jobs and don’t believe in not doing so just because he doesn’t go down on me. He’s tight lipped about why he isn’t interested in it. He makes it seem like we would have to be together for a long time before he does,...

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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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Valley Show Girl: Music That Got Me Through White Supremacy News
Aug21

Valley Show Girl: Music That Got Me Through White Supremacy News

The white supremacy horror show that happened earlier this month in Charlottesville really got to me. That Sunday, I barely left my bed. I mainly watched stupid chick flicks to occupy my mind with less meaningful things. After dinner however, I took my 6-year old son to the all ages show at The Tank in Feeding Hills where The Prozacs were putting on a punk show for the release of their album, Exist, which I reviewed last week. Music...

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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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V-Spot: How Do I Make My Orgasms Come Back?
Aug17

V-Spot: How Do I Make My Orgasms Come Back?

Dear Yana, I’m a single woman in my late twenties, with no relationships on the horizon. But that’s OK, because I have a super intense, cordless Hitachi that I’m in love with. Problem is, recently, whenever I have attempted to reach orgasm, it never comes. I get the brink, right before the fall, but I’m just stuck. This has happened with lovers in the past; one even suggested it was a problem with not being able to “let go.” Perhaps I...

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Nightcrawler: Ringo’s son assumes throne for The Who
Aug17

Nightcrawler: Ringo’s son assumes throne for The Who

The Who certainly aren’t kids anymore, but the iconic British rockers proved more than alright as they absolutely tore through a 21-tune, hit-laden set before a capacity crowd at Mohegan Sun (mohegansun.com) late last month. Catalog spanning radio staples like “I Can’t Explain” and “I Can See for Miles” melded seamlessly into “Behind Blue Eyes,” “You Better You Bet,” “My Generation” and Tommy’s “Pinball Wizard” and...

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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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Cinemadope: Actor-in-Chief, Reagan forever changed the role of US President (Spoiler! Not for the Better)
Aug14

Cinemadope: Actor-in-Chief, Reagan forever changed the role of US President (Spoiler! Not for the Better)

With the ongoing avalanche of reporting on Russia and that nation’s relationship with our current president, it feels almost quaint to look back on the days of the Reagan era. Certainly there was international intrigue then, but today, the jelly beans and faux folksiness of Ron and Nancy’s White House sometimes seem — at least to a writer who went from boyhood to teenager under Reagan — like childhood memories from overnights at a...

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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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Cinemadope: How Reagan Forever Changed The Presidency
Aug11

Cinemadope: How Reagan Forever Changed The Presidency

With the ongoing avalanche of reporting on Russia and that nation’s relationship with our current president, it feels almost quaint to look back on the days of the Reagan era. Certainly there was international intrigue then, but today, the jelly beans and faux folksiness of Ron and Nancy’s White House sometimes seem — at least to a writer who went from boyhood to teenager under Reagan — like childhood memories from overnights at a...

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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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V-Spot: My Doc Won’t Give Me A Vasectomy!
Aug09

V-Spot: My Doc Won’t Give Me A Vasectomy!

Hi Yana, What can we do to build our case to hesitant doctors to perform vasectomies on young people (between 18-25 years old)? What would you recommend to someone interested in this procedure? I have been trying to get my GP (general practitioner) on board since my early 20s and I know so many other young men aiming for the same procedure. When I ask for it, I’m chided for my decision, denied the procedure, or told to redirect my...

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Stagestruck: A List Of Things To Live For in ‘Every Brilliant Thing’
Aug07

Stagestruck: A List Of Things To Live For in ‘Every Brilliant Thing’

Everyone needs something to live for. Some of us have a harder time finding it than others. Much harder. So … if you’re a young child and your mom has just tried to kill herself, what can you do about it? Well, you could give her a list of everything that makes the world beautiful and life worth living: 1.) Ice cream. 2.) Water fights. 3.) Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. “All things that, at seven, I...

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The Beerhunter: Roadtrip to The Hudson Valley
Aug04

The Beerhunter: Roadtrip to The Hudson Valley

The thing to remember about summer in the Valley — aside from which SPF to use and which local farm stands sell the best corn — is that it will be over before you know it. Sure, the swimming holes don’t really warm up until September, and the cows at Cook Farm gamely enable our ice cream habit into the chillier months. But that special windows-down, afternoon road trip is a fleeting thing. With that in mind, I’m putting the August...

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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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One Good Tern Deserves Another; Saving The Birds One Nest At A Time
Aug07

One Good Tern Deserves Another; Saving The Birds One Nest At A Time

One favorable consequence of always carrying binoculars in plain view is that they help create an international citizenry of nature lovers. I’ve just returned from a trip to England visiting family. There, we camped in the chilly, Scotland-like region of northeast England called Northumberland – in Latin, the “North Shadows” – an island-pocked coastline of temperamental weather and steep cliffs wedged between rocky and sandy beaches....

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Pour Man: This Fair Trade Wine Might Be The Cheapest Thing At Your Co-op
Aug09

Pour Man: This Fair Trade Wine Might Be The Cheapest Thing At Your Co-op

Riojana; Rosé, 2016; La Rioja, Argentina, $6.99 Not only is Riojana rosé a very good wine that sells for an incredibly low price, but it is also a wine that you can feel good about drinking. Riojana wines are produced by La Riojana, a certified Fairtrade cooperative of more than 500 families in the Rioja region of northwestern Argentina. All of the owners are equal partners, a group of small- and medium-scale farmers, who grow the...

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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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V-Spot: A Question From The Mono-Poly Guy
Aug02

V-Spot: A Question From The Mono-Poly Guy

Hi Yana, I always thought of myself as a monogamous person who sometimes dabbled with non-monogamy, but lately I’ve really been struggling to determine just what my “relationship paradigm” is. It started when I was in a non-mono relationship that transitioned to a mono one. We tried to get our conflicting needs met, but ultimately we made the painful decision to part ways. I then started some casual relationships and developed real...

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