“Water, water everywhere”: Mass. program helps towns prepare for climate change
Apr25

“Water, water everywhere”: Mass. program helps towns prepare for climate change

Over 20 municipal leaders from all over Western Mass attended an April 24 meeting with state environmental officials to discuss a state grant program that will help communities all over the Commonwealth to prepare for their unique climate change needs. Katie Theoharides, assistant secretary of climate change at the state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs department, opened the meeting in Greenfield with two powerful images. The...

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May 1 will be final Valley Gives Day as organizers shift to year-round strategy
Apr25

May 1 will be final Valley Gives Day as organizers shift to year-round strategy

Valley Gives Day, the day in which Pioneer Valley residents are encouraged to support local nonprofit organizations, will likely be happening for the last time on Tuesday, May 1. Springfield-based nonprofit Community Foundation of Western Mass has run the event since 2012, and announced recently that after this year’s event, the focus would be on a year-round support model for local nonprofit organizations rather than a single...

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Staff Picks: Donnie Darko, The Gaslight Tinkers, OroborO, John Trudeau, Rebel Base, and Joy on Fire
Apr25

Staff Picks: Donnie Darko, The Gaslight Tinkers, OroborO, John Trudeau, Rebel Base, and Joy on Fire

Far Out Film Discussion: Donnie Darko // MONDAY, April 30 Forbes Library in Northampton hosts the Far Out Film Discussion, which is basically a book club for weird cult classic and art house films. The next meeting the group will be discussing 2001’s cult classic, Donnie Darko, written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character. The film is somewhat science fiction, but is dream-like and...

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Valley made sex toys fill gaps in the market
Apr24

Valley made sex toys fill gaps in the market

Over the past 20 years, people have begun to care more and more about what goes into their bodies. Most think about this in terms of the food they eat, but for customers of Oh My Sensuality Shop in Northampton, the same can be said for sex toys. “Most companies have become more aware of what they’re selling,” said Beth Meyers, co-owner of Oh My. “I feel like the retailers really pushed this movement through.” With that in mind, it...

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Editorial: Listening to people from ‘coal country’ our best chance to change minds
Apr24

Editorial: Listening to people from ‘coal country’ our best chance to change minds

Smith College hosted a fascinating speaker earlier this month who addressed a topic that’s been on my mind for several months leading up to the 2018 midterms: communicating and collaborating with people in what’s called “Trump country.” Without their help, we’re all likely destined for more divisiveness and hate-fueled policy from Washington. Hailing from Appalachia, Nick Mullins used to work for a coal mining company. Now he gives...

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Letters to the editor: King Sarno overstepping his royal office
Apr24

Letters to the editor: King Sarno overstepping his royal office

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 deisen@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. King Sarno overstepping his royal office Jesus Christ!! Springfield has anointed a...

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Stagestruck: Post-Apocalyptic Foolery
Apr23

Stagestruck: Post-Apocalyptic Foolery

The scene: desolation. The time: the aftermath of a cataclysm that has destroyed civilization and left only industrial scaffolding and piles of junk. Piles that include, let’s see, a bucketful of juggling clubs, a couple of unicycles, a teeter board and, oh yes, a drum kit. In the whimsical imagination of Machine de Cirque, this wasteland provides the raw material for rebuilding the world. It may have ended with a whimper but it’s...

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Calendar: Thursday 4/19 – Sunday 4/22
Apr19

Calendar: Thursday 4/19 – Sunday 4/22

THURSDAY 4/19 MUSIC Bill Charlap Trio: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton. Dirk Quinn Band w/ The Franz Robert Quartet: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. The Stone Church, 210 Main St., Brattleboro. Luke Baillargeon: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free. Live Italian music with Luke Baillargeon in The Mick. The Mick, 3 Country Club Rd., Holyoke. 413-532-1800. info@logcabin-delaney.com. Open Mic Night at The Taproom...

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UMass unions take contract demands to trustees
Apr10

UMass unions take contract demands to trustees

The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees meet at UMass Amherst once a year, and this year, on April 6, they were met by union employees from all over the state demanding “respect and fair contracts.” “Our belts are as tight as they’re going to get,” said Eve Weinbaum, president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors union and a associate professor in the department of sociology at UMass Amherst. “We’re expecting them to...

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Russian-born undocumented immigrant gets sanctuary in Northampton church amid supportive community
Apr10

Russian-born undocumented immigrant gets sanctuary in Northampton church amid supportive community

Irida Kakhtiranova faced discrimination in her home in the Ural region of Russia due to her same-sex relationship with the woman she loved. In 2003, she left to come to the United States. Fifteen years later, she is married to U.S born man and has three children, but faces the threat of deportation due to her undocumented status. On April 6, Kakhtiranova entered into sanctuary at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence at...

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How to Fight Big Beer
Mar07

How to Fight Big Beer

In 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev bought the Chicago craft brewery Goose Island. Today, the international conglomerate owns stake in a dozen formerly-craft American breweries. (Leah Kelley photo)   I used to bartend at one of the oldest dive bars in Western Mass, pouring drinks for the proudly unhip. Such neighborhood joints watch the decades pass with a warm and studied slowness. Behind these doors, familiar routines trump most...

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Free Will Astrology: Have the Patience of Peter Parker, Libra
Mar05

Free Will Astrology: Have the Patience of Peter Parker, Libra

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The men who work on offshore oil rigs perform demanding, dangerous tasks on a regular basis. If they make mistakes, they may get injured or befoul the sea with petroleum. As you might guess, the culture on these rigs has traditionally been macho, stoic, and hard-driving. But in recent years, that has changed at one company. Shell Oil’s workers in the U.S. were trained by Holocaust survivor Claire Nuer...

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Video Podcast – A Cannabis Chat with Meg Bantle
Feb12

Video Podcast – A Cannabis Chat with Meg Bantle

There never fails to be a whole lot of news about everyone’s favorite sort-of legal recreational/medicinal substance: cannabis. This week on our new Valley Advocate Podcast, produced in collaboration with Amherst Media, we speak with columnist Meg Bantle about cannabis in the news. Meg tells us about the novel way the state of Vermont joined the recreational bandwagon, the confusing legal status in Massachusetts, how to use...

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Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown
Feb12

Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown

Chris Peterson tweaks his craft beer recipes the same way he works on multimillion-dollar military aircraft: very, very carefully. Peterson is a tech sergeant in the 439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. As a technician and avionics expert, it’s his job to ensure that a plane’s communication, navigation, and guidance control systems are running smoothly. Peterson and his fellow Air Reserve...

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The V-Spot: Oceans Apart
Feb05

The V-Spot: Oceans Apart

Hi Yana, We met when we were 15 years old on the other side of the world. We were instantly attracted to each other and even made out on the first night. Saw each other over the years randomly on vacations, weddings etc. Tried to stay in touch and hang on to something we weren’t even sure was real. We’ve always had oceans between us and no way to cross it permanently. We lost touch seven years ago. Met each other again two...

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Cinemadope: KidsBestFest a February Tradition
Feb05

Cinemadope: KidsBestFest a February Tradition

We parents of the Pioneer Valley have a pretty sweet deal. You might not realize it if you don’t have kids in your life, but once you’re clued into it you begin to discover that there is a near-endless list of things to do with your little ones. Hayrides, science workshops, and puppet theater are just the start of an ever-expanding slate. Heck, we literally have an entire museum in Amherst devoted to the wonders of picture-book art...

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Vote Here for Best Of The Valley
Jan04

Vote Here for Best Of The Valley

Best Of The Valley Readers’ Poll 2018 ballot voting is now live!! Click here to vote!

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Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills
Jan02

Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills

This past year Winterpills member and Northampton-based singer-songwriter Phillip B. Price remastered a dozen of his past solo albums recorded from 1988 to 2004, which had never seen the light of day. With a back catalogue of more than a hundred songs to choose from, Price released his own hand picked greatest hits collection called, Without Your Love I’d Be Nowhere At All: 1988- 2004. This is a 39-song double record that’s staggering...

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The Top 9 Ways to Get Fit in Western Mass this Winter
Jan02

The Top 9 Ways to Get Fit in Western Mass this Winter

The warmer fall was nice and December was capped off by a white Christmas. But now that we’re in the heart of winter, it might be a bit harder to get outside for your usual walks or bike rides. And meanwhile, one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get fit. So how to go about it? Here are a few ideas from your friends at the Advocate. 1) Join a Gym The Valley has plenty of places to train to get and stay fit. The 2017...

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Halos & Horns: A look back at the good, the bad, and the dead of 2017
Dec26

Halos & Horns: A look back at the good, the bad, and the dead of 2017

It’s Halos and Horns with a side of hashtags this year. While President Donald Trump was busy tweeting from the White House throughout 2017 (we gave him his own whole article), the rest of the world had their own Twitter responses, many of which inspired the Advocate’s yearly doling out of halos to the good and horns to the bad. So we took that # symbol and made glowing, yellow-ringed hashtag halos and stretched red hashtag horns....

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Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …
Dec26

Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …

As we continue the Valley Advocate tradition of awarding halos to the good and horns to the bad in 2017, I reflect on the year’s ups and downs. It didn’t take long to realize that a lot of the “downs” had something in common – they originated with President (for now) Donald Trump. As the hands-down biggest horns-earner of 2017, Trump is getting his own special section for an extended airing of grievances. We don’t have the space to...

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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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The Valley Advocate’s Apocalypse Survival Guide
Dec18

The Valley Advocate’s Apocalypse Survival Guide

Let’s face it: We live in uncertain times. Seas are rising. The climate is changing. Nuclear-armed countries are escalating their rhetoric, with our own president making threats of nuclear strikes. Increased dependence on automation is making us ever more vulnerable to a robot uprising. Scientists tinkering with “superbugs” and years of antibacterial soap use could lead to a disease outbreak. And on top of all that is the ever-present...

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‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’
Dec18

‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’

Joe Louis Walker has a voice out of classic soul and blues guitar chops that were inspired by some of the greats — B.B. King, Muddy Waters, the list goes on. Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in San Francisco playing blues before entering into the psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s, rooming with blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and hanging out with the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. He...

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Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option
Dec18

Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option

North Korea’s steps toward accelerating its nuclear program and testing its missiles has been truly horrifying. So has President Donald Trump’s response, with threats to release “fire and fury” upon North Korea. Nuclear devastation is one of the gravest threats we face as a species, as has long been pointed out by the likes of linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Albert Einstein, one of the incredibly irresponsible scientists who...

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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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Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth
Dec11

Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth

Emily Cooper, 23, is a graduate student at UMass Amherst who has taken oral contraceptives since she was 15 years old. In 2013, when a condom failed during a snowstorm, University Health Services (UHS) and the university bus system were both closed due to the weather. Even though Cooper was also on the pill, she and her partner walked nearly two miles in the snow to get Plan B One-Step emergency contraception at CVS. Cooper said that...

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Editorial: There Goes the Internet
Dec11

Editorial: There Goes the Internet

Let me start by saying that I would avoid the internet if I could. It is creepy to think about huge corporations tracking each page I visit, and, potentially through my smartphone, actually physically tracking me wherever I go. Social media interactions are a far cry from person-to-person interactions. Even the information we get online is suspect and often biased. But the truth is that I can’t avoid it. Just as in the past our urban...

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The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace
Dec11

The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace

Celebrating 10 years of performance theater, The Royal Frog Ballet trades the wild outdoors for the pristine white walls of A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton this month. Their retrospective, HINDSIGHT/FORESIGHT, is a thoughtful and vivid collection of paintings, costumes, masks, and three-dimensional effects that tell the story of an ambitious troupe dedicated to promoting “aliveness through creativity, community, and curiosity.”...

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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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The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass
Dec04

The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass

We know our winters in Western Massachusetts. As the last of the color fades from the leaves, the realization sets in that it’s going to be a while before the warm and colorful days of spring. But winter doesn’t have to be all about darkness and cold. Winter is a time of roaring fires and warm soups and teas. The colorful twinkle of holiday lights are already brightening the longer nights and the New Year offers a chance for a fresh...

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Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity
Dec04

Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity

During now-President Donald Trump’s hateful and divisive campaign, Northampton’s Human Rights Commission noted anecdotally how even in this Western Massachusetts community, there seemed to be an increase in racism, sexism, and anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump’s nationalistic and bullying rhetoric. Now, nearly one year into Trump’s hateful and divisive presidency, the commission is launching a campaign to bring people together and...

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Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage
Dec04

Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage

Northampton-based funk sextet Fat Bradley’s new self-titled five-song extended play (EP) recording is an acid jazz fusion of instrumental kaleidoscopic funky rock that grooves along with frantic energy and a sense of reckless abandon that’s downright entertaining. This is virtuosic showmanship that’ll get you jumping. Fat Bradley is comprised of Jeff Ritterson (keys), Tyler Silva (drums), Matt Postel (bass), Josh Hirst (guitar), Kat...

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V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut
Dec04

V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut

Hi Yana, I’m with a guy with an uncircumcised penis for the first time in my 16 years of being sexually active. I love how he looks, and it feels great when we can have sex. But, after three years, we haven’t been able to get into a good rhythm, sex-wise. I’m not naturally super wet, so I’m used to using lube, but often we have to stop because he starts to tear. It’s basically almost every time that he’s either getting injured or we...

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