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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Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.
Nov20

Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.

Gun control. It’s a topic that rarely gets any traction at the federal level, even after the most devastating and horrific mass shootings. After the Sandy Hook shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children: nothing. After Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in American history when it happened in on June 12, 2016 (49 killed, two of whom had ties to the Pioneer Valley): nothing. Last month, less than a year and a...

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Smashed Northampton Window brings Biblical Threat
Nov20

Smashed Northampton Window brings Biblical Threat

Two painted planks of wood covered one of the main display windows in front of Shop Therapy in Northampton on Monday morning. The smashed pane, which looked like someone’s elbow or head was pushed through it from the outside, was covered with a message in red capital letters painted on the wood: “Let it be known this is the 3rd broken window — for all those who linger, curse, shout, beg & disrupt this street: the...

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Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley
Nov20

Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley

A flaky crust, delicious filling, and a bite of nostalgia make pie the dessert of choice for many. Whether it’s pie with a damn fine cup of coffee or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, you’ll instantly be transported to sweet comfort heaven with just a bite … if it’s good pie, that is. At its worst, bad pie can be like a slap across the face, whether it’s nasty ass chemical pie (we’re looking at you McDonald’s) or pie that tastes like...

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Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage
Nov15

Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage

In front of Northampton Market, employee Rilshad Azez shoos away potential customers as they pull into the lot. “No power,” he says. The mailman he welcomes, but he asks a question: “You didn’t bring the power?” “Sorry, not today,” is the answer. As Azez enjoys a cigarette, he watches cars at the intersection in front of the store go by. The traffic light is out, but the cars are moving...

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Voters Deliver Left Hook: What it means in Holyoke, Greenfield
Nov13

Voters Deliver Left Hook: What it means in Holyoke, Greenfield

Progressives had reasons to celebrate the morning of Nov. 8 more than at any point in the past year. Not only did the Democrats capture the big prizes of Election Day on Nov. 7 — the governors races in New Jersey and Virginia — but Democratic and progressive candidates prevailed across the nation, including in the Pioneer Valley. Now, a year after the 2016 election, when Donald Trump was elected president and Republicans retained both...

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Valley Show Girl: The Case of the Missing Wiki Edits
Nov13

Valley Show Girl: The Case of the Missing Wiki Edits

Tanya Pearson has been accumulating a continuous list of female musicians for her Women in Rock Oral History Project which she started at Smith College in December 2014. Accompanied by 29 video interviews (so far!) with some of them available on http://www.womenofrock.org, she has set the bar for having underrepresented female musicians speak their truth and tell their story behind what it’s like to be a female musician in a “Man’s...

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The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump
Nov13

The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump

Last week featured two news stories that rocked the political landscape in this country. The first was that Democrats and progressive candidates all but swept the Nov. 7 elections from coast to coast, and the second was that Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of pedophilia. That combination makes the special election for the Alabama Senate, which will take place only weeks from now on Dec. 12, a real shot...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim
Nov13

Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim

Thanksgiving: when (non-Native) Americans celebrate their favorite (made up) moments from (revisionist) history. A time when you will sit down to enjoy a feast  (with historically incorrect menu), lovingly seated around the table next to your (mouth-breathing) relatives. So before you begin debating your (racist) uncle about the pros and cons of the football team called the Redskins, raise a glass and drink wine macerated on actual...

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Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass
Nov06

Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass

This article was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and is the first installment in a series about SWAT deployment and police militarization in Massachusetts. For a police department of only 40 officers, the April 23, 2015 raid by Ludlow Special Response Team (SRT) had to be an all-hands-on-deck affair. At shortly past five o’clock in the morning, a team of 12 Ludlow officers — amounting to...

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Westfield Welcomes Tin Bridge Brewing Company
Nov08

Westfield Welcomes Tin Bridge Brewing Company

Family-run business is the city’s first visitable craft brewery As the Valley’s local craft beer bubble continues to grow, Westfield looks primed for business. Downtown on Elm Street, Skyline Trading Company — a craft beer bar and homebrew shop — has proven a welcome recent addition to Westfield’s nightlife. And residents here often hop in the car (or on a bike) to visit the large barn that houses Westfield River Brewing Company in...

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Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo
Nov06

Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the #metoo tweets and posts make their way through my social media feeds, and I’ve read the articles and stories, mostly from women, about how they have been subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. They bring about mixed emotions in me: sadness that so many close friends and family members have been touched by abuse; anger at the depths to which sexual harassment is embedded in our society;...

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Congressman McGovern Tours Local Breweries to Support Federal Craft Beverage Bill
Nov06

Congressman McGovern Tours Local Breweries to Support Federal Craft Beverage Bill

Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield is celebrating its 23rd year this fall. Despite the company’s success, president and owner Gary Bogoff still feels limited by the strain of state and federal taxes and regulations. If federal excise taxes were reduced, Bogoff already knows how he would use the extra money. “It would give us more capital to invest back in the business, more capital to give employee raises, it would make our...

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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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AmeRican Migration: Fleeing Devastation, Many Puerto Ricans Expected In Western Mass
Oct09

AmeRican Migration: Fleeing Devastation, Many Puerto Ricans Expected In Western Mass

These weren’t the circumstances in which Holyoke resident Israel Rivera had imagined he would be meeting his nieces — ages 13 and 17 — for the first time. Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, recently agreed to house his sister’s children after his sister Amarilis De Léom and her family endured devastation from Hurricane Maria on the island. They arrived on a flight to Teterboro, N.J., on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The trip down and back...

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Editor Kristin Palpini’s Advocate Farewell: Riding Off Into The Sunset, Y’all
Oct09

Editor Kristin Palpini’s Advocate Farewell: Riding Off Into The Sunset, Y’all

It’s been real, but it’s time for me to be moving on. I’ve stepped down as editor to pursue other writing opportunities and I’m looking forward to getting back into reporting on, rather than assigning, stories. Reporting is how I got my start in the business back in 2003 at the Advocate’s sister pub, the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Good God, what can I say about 15 years with the same company, the last three of them leading the Valley...

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Your Advocate Guide to the Pioneer Valley in the Fall
Oct02

Your Advocate Guide to the Pioneer Valley in the Fall

For many New Englanders, fall is a special time that people living in the sun year-round don’t get to experience. The air gets crisp; the leaves blaze bright orange, yellow, and red; apples reach their peak of juicy, crunchy goodness; the smell of harvest is all around; and people are busy enjoying the perfect weather and preparing for the winter hibernation. Fall is for New Englanders, we know how to revel in the season, but in case...

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Valley Advocate Fall Arts Preview of Western Mass
Oct02

Valley Advocate Fall Arts Preview of Western Mass

Fall 2017 in the Valley is stuffed with anticipated moments of cultural and artistic profundity; below is just a taste of all the amazing events taking place October into early-December across the three counties, and southern Vermont. Fragile Freedom After the U.S. entered WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the evacuation and imprisonment of 120,000 mostly Japanese-Americans into 10...

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How to Help Puerto Rico while Trump Golfs
Oct02

How to Help Puerto Rico while Trump Golfs

Ripped apart by Hurricane Maria about two weeks ago, Puerto Rico is suffering from a severe lack of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Only 5 percent of the nation has electricity, according to the Associated Press. Federal aid is slow to arrive, people on the island say. On Sept. 27, CNN reported that more than 10,000 containers of supplies were sitting on the docks in San Juan unable to get to people in need due to damaged roads, a...

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Zapping Depression
Oct02

Zapping Depression

Armené Margosian, 52, of Greenfield, sat waiting in a medical chair at Achieve TMS East’s Northampton office on Pleasant Street, her hands holding a pillow alongside her car keys. Her head was covered in a dark blue cap, while strapped into a metal, robotic-looking helmet. A magnetic pulse the machine delivered 36 times over the span of two seconds caused her right eye to twitch, but didn’t cause her any pain. Margosian is...

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Yea-Hoo and Rockabilly, too: Flathead Rodeo Friday in Easthampton
Sep11

Yea-Hoo and Rockabilly, too: Flathead Rodeo Friday in Easthampton

Songs From the Rodeo Flathead Rodeo is Northampton-based roots rockabilly band recently won Mark Sherry’s Valley Musical Showcase in July, a regular, judged competition at New City Brewery in Easthampton. So, now they have the honor of opening and closing this week’s Showcase. Go see ‘em: They’re rocking, fun, and funny. Mistress Miriam (who got her name from Iggy Pop) has a long history of singing and performing improv — a...

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Basemental: The Ups and Downs of Touring
Sep11

Basemental: The Ups and Downs of Touring

I used to think touring was excessive, stupid, and generally felt existentially conflicted about it. Why should I leave the house and use fossil fuels to do anything that’s trivial? Why should we impose our music on these seemingly nice people when there’s so much better music out there to listen to? Why should we take up space — any space — when there’s more people far more deserving? Should we be investing in our community instead?...

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Selfie Indulgent? UMass show explores the self portrait
Sep11

Selfie Indulgent? UMass show explores the self portrait

No one gives Picasso shit for all the self portraits he’s painted. And I’m yet to hear someone call Frida Kahlo’s self portraits “navel gazing.” But right now, the self portrait is under fire. People like to heap a lot of scorn on selfie-takers, folks who have read up on how to pose for the best pic and keep their smartphone cameras set to “Beauty” mode. The selfie is often derided as being selfish and trite, but people’s desire to be...

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Stream Queen: All Breasts Are the Best
Sep11

Stream Queen: All Breasts Are the Best

Some documentaries exist to tackle big-picture issues, while others hone in on life’s finer details. The Breast Archives, by local director Meagan Murphy, attempts both tasks at once, as the film delves into the world of feminist body politics vis-a-vis the breasts. The Breast Archives is truly a unique documentary, making it worth seeing for its message alone. Though this film has some growing to do before it really rends the fabric...

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Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors
Sep05

Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors

There’s no band quite like the Pixies with its blend of dissonant noise pop, psychedelic hard rock, surf-drenched reverb, punk rock-ish DIY leanings, and surreal lyrics that cover bizarre topics from extraterrestrials to biblical violence. Since the band’s 1986 formation at UMass Amherst, the Pixies have played thousands of shows across the world and on Sept. 20, the band returns to Western Mass to play Smith College’s John Greene...

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Back Talk: Wypipo Smoking Weed in the Streets and a New Name for Amherst
Sep05

Back Talk: Wypipo Smoking Weed in the Streets and a New Name for Amherst

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers 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. Weed in the Streets (via Facebook) Some reactions to “Smoking Weed in Public:...

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Smoking Weed in Public
Aug28

Smoking Weed in Public

I have a friend, she’s a trip: She loves, LOVES, smoking marijuana where she isn’t supposed to. I call her a guerilla smoker, lighting up any time we’re in public no matter who’s around or what we’re doing. With recreational marijuana now being legal in Massachusetts, I asked her if she’s noticed any difference in how she and other people approach smoking in public. First she laughed, then she said she would show me. While weed is...

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Staff Picks: Old Crow Medicine Show, ET, Tomatoes, and Reggae
Aug21

Staff Picks: Old Crow Medicine Show, ET, Tomatoes, and Reggae

THURSDAY // Old Crow Medicine Show The originators of the open mic sing-a-long phenomenon “Wagon Wheel” are upbeat bluegrass band Old Crow Medicine Show. Although the band’s single is well known, there’s more to Old Crow Medicine Show than just this one tune. They made their start busking on the street corners of New York state and mix an old-time roots music sensibility with bluegrass and a punch of punk rock...

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The Futuristic Art of Christina Gusek
Aug21

The Futuristic Art of Christina Gusek

2050 and Beyond Christina Gusek is a futurist. She looks to what will be instead of what is. Her exhibit at Holyoke Hummus Company, Year 2050 and Beyond, is a vividly terrifying vision of people distorted with machines on a psychedelic event horizon. This exploration of people and our relationships with the increasingly advanced machines we rely on, is full of beauty and wit. The artwork is fluid and hypnotic. Gusek’s humor and smart...

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Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend
Aug21

Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend

Chicopee’s Downtown GetDown The Downtown GetDown is funneling people in this weekend to check out all the cool stuff going on in The Pee. This year’s GetDown will feature a Bike Rodeo, an event usually for kids under age 13 that teaches them good ridership skills and provides a sweet cycling course on which to practice. Musical acts will include 2 Free Spirits, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push, Sky Highway, Trailer Trash,...

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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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Staff Picks: Transperformance, Leafies, Surf Rock God Dick Dale+
Aug14

Staff Picks: Transperformance, Leafies, Surf Rock God Dick Dale+

Top events of the coming week chosen by Advocate Staff: TUESDAY // This Must Be Heaven On Tuesday at Look Park you may be able to catch a glimpse of Cher, Kurt Cobain, a Beatle, Sharon Jones, Chris Cornell, Johnny Cash, or Amy Winehouse as this year’s Transperformance is dedicated to rockers who climbed up that stairway to heaven. Transperformance is a long-running show in which local musicians choose an on-theme, popular band (this...

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Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage
Jul26

Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage

The classic sex farce is set in a large room with about half a dozen doors, in and out of which pop guilty lovers, jealous spouses and other staples of the genre, and behind which most of the shenanigans real and suspected take place. Alan Ayckbourne’s classic Taking Steps (at Barrington Stage Company through August 5) turns that convention on its head. The difference here is that much of what would normally happen offstage (like...

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StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See
Jul24

StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See

Though digital media has forever changed the face of filmmaking, there’s still one key way independent filmmakers can premiere their work: by entering it into the festival circuit. Each year many films, spanning all lengths and genres, debut to those lucky minority able to attend the most established festivals. Independent film festivals offer the world’s first look at the year’s best films. Moonlight first screened at the Telluride...

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The Original Game of Thrones: Queen Margaret Takes Center Stage in Springfield/Turners
Jul24

The Original Game of Thrones: Queen Margaret Takes Center Stage in Springfield/Turners

Queen Margaret, Historical Bad-Ass Before there was Game of Thrones and Cersei, there was the War of the Roses and Queen Margaret of Anjou. In fact, many people believe the hit HBO show was based on the War of the Roses, a 30-year war (of which Margaret was a key player) fought between enemy houses — the Yorks and the Lancasters — for control of the English throne. Margaret was queen of England for 17 nonconsecutive years. She led the...

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