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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Get Out With Staff Picks: Hang Out With Master Beaders, or Hit Up ShenaNiFest
Jul24

Get Out With Staff Picks: Hang Out With Master Beaders, or Hit Up ShenaNiFest

200 Master Beaders, 1 Project — ALL WEEKEND This weekend maser beadwork artist Darcy Rosner and beaders from SweetBananberry will be at Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen adding another whimsical art installation to the outside gallery. They’ll be assembling a mosaic mannequin out of the beadwork of 200 participating artists from across the globe. The mannequin will become a regular feature at Three Sisters, but if you want to...

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Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females
Jul24

Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females

In its heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s, roller derby was known for fierce females, fishnets, spiked hair and names like “Iron Maven.” After a lull in the ‘90s, roller derby was resurrected in the early 2000s as an all-female, athletic sport. But in the Pioneer Valley, which was at the forefront of the roller derby revival, the sport has evolved from, as Pioneer Valley Roller Derby (PVRD) Team Captain Teresa Huang described it, a...

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Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp
Jul17

Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick. The University of...

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Long Live the Staycation! Why Leave Western Mass?
Jun26

Long Live the Staycation! Why Leave Western Mass?

Hanging around the house is something we all do, but usually in an unfocused, squished-between-chores-and-obligations sort of way. But when you stay home for vacation, your dwelling can become a sanctuary, free from the day-to-day grind. If you can’t afford to get out of town, treat your home like a resort: stock it with your favorite goodies, splurge a bit on something comfy, and postpone responsibilities for a while. Indulge in the...

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What Are Those Flowering Trees/Bushes I Drive By Every Day?
May05

What Are Those Flowering Trees/Bushes I Drive By Every Day?

The bloom is on the branch and spring has sprung. And even in my short commute to work, I pass about a dozen varieties of flowering trees and bushes. It occurred to me that I haven’t the slightest idea what most of them are called. So I took out my phone and took a few photos on my way to work and reached out to some tree aficionados and a local expert at UMass Extension to help me out. What trees do you see in the Pioneer...

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The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t
Apr24

The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t

Writer’s note: This column mentions depression and suicidality. When me and my BF first got together about a year and a half ago, we were having the best sex of our lives! Then I decided with the help of my therapist that I needed to be medicated due to suicidal thoughts and anxiety/depression. The medication helped a lot with my mental illness, but unfortunately it made my sex drive plummet. I was still able and happy to get my man...

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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 People From 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...

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Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within
Mar20

Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within

Mary Kennedy of Northfield says she could barely move her neck before she began taking yoga with Pam Roberts at the YMCA in Greenfield about six years ago. Kennedy, a breast cancer survivor living with torticollis, a painfully twisted neck, says yoga has at times saved her, making her “stronger and stronger. Now, I can actually move my head to the right again. I have a quality of life I didn’t have before yoga.” Cancer is among the...

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The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?
Mar20

The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?

I recently saw a guy friend masturbating with lotion instead of lube and was wondering if lube would be a better alternative for him. If so, could you explain why? — A Little Help for My  Masturbating Friends One of my favorite conversations to strike up with my penis-equipped friends is: What ever did you do with your penis during your sexual exploration period? If I had had a penis during my teenaged sexual development ages, I’m...

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Nightcrawler: Going Gentle Into That Good Night
Jan23

Nightcrawler: Going Gentle Into That Good Night

After more than two decades delivering the music news in print, Nightcrawler moves online Editor’s Note: Scene stalwart Gary Carra’s Nightcrawler column has long been a fixture at the Valley Advocate — a history that goes back, as he explains here, to the bygone era of Advocate branches in Springfield and New Haven. This week, his column transitions into a semi-regular blog on our refreshed and expanding website. Enjoy some farewell...

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After Orlando: Short Plays Pay Respects on Friday night
Jan09

After Orlando: Short Plays Pay Respects on Friday night

Reflecting on a Tragedy The night of June 12, 2016, news of a horrific shooting unfolding in an Orlando gay nightclub sent shockwaves around the world, leaving collective heartbreak in its wake for the 49 lives cut cruelly short that fateful night. The pain cut especially deep in the Valley as one of the victims, Kimberley “KJ” Morris, lived and performed as drag king “Daddy K” in Northampton. Since then, there has been much somber...

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Cinemadope: Is Spielberg Corny?
Jan09

Cinemadope: Is Spielberg Corny?

There are times when I look back on my youth and shake my head at my younger self. Mostly, it’s when I think about the dreck that was on in the after-school hours on the local UHF stations: sugar-cereal cartoons that were a 12-year-old’s forbidden fruit. It is with a heavy heart that I try to estimate the amount of time I spent glued, wide-eyed, to episodes of ThunderCats. But there are other stories from those days that have stayed...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: When Brad Pitt Was the Pits
Jan09

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: When Brad Pitt Was the Pits

Recently, I visited the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington where my sister and her family helped to lavishly decorate the rooms with Yuletide trimmings. Yet my mind was not on sugarplums. Instead, it was on the movie I knew I was going to review for this column, which is set in a very unfestive place. Brad Pitt currently stars in — and has received high critical marks for — the new movie Allied. But while I’m sure the...

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A Mid-winter Night’s Read
Jan09

A Mid-winter Night’s Read

This weekend, Shakespeare & Company presents a Winter Studio Festival of Plays, five diverse readings as interpreted by five local directors. Works range from classics by playwrights like Anton Chekhov to established contemporaries like Sam Shepard and emerging talent like Emily DeVoti. Winter Studio Festival of Plays: Jan. 14-15, 1 p.m. Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre,70 Kemble St, Lenox. $10-$25. (413) 637-3353. shakespeare.org —...

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Jammin’ for Justice
Jan09

Jammin’ for Justice

Jammin’ for Justice The nonprofit Watermelon Wednesdays has been providing musical education and holding concerts for the past 17 years. This Wednesday, the group is putting on In It Together, a fundraiser for community, diversity, and social justice to benefit the Markham-Nathan Fund. Guests include Chris Brashear and Ben Demerath, Wisteria String Quartet, Charles Neville Quartet, Mister Sun, and Valley Jazz Divas and Friends....

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Artists of a Feather
Jan09

Artists of a Feather

The Hosmer Gallery at the Forbes Library is hosting exhibitions this month from three talented local artists. Janice Doppler blends a love of ornithology and wood carving to create stunningly lifelike sculptures of a myriad of bird species, while Patricia Dorr Parker captures moments in nature through her Close to Home series of paintings and drawings. Finally, the paintings and drawings of Miriam Wells focus on American labor and...

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Halos & Horns: Our 2016 List of Who’s Been Good or Bad… or Worse
Dec27

Halos & Horns: Our 2016 List of Who’s Been Good or Bad… or Worse

How Does This Work? Who on earth do we think we are, doling out judgement left and right? Find out here. The List HALOS // The People of East Longmeadow — For creating a seven-member Town Council in the wake of a coup on the now-defunct three-member Board of Selectmen. This March, two board members teamed up to overthrow the chairman and hire a new police chief and town administrator. During the annual town election in April, East...

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Cinemadope: Wild Things
Dec19

Cinemadope: Wild Things

Director Garth Jennings has had an interesting, if short, career. Coming out of the gate with an adaptation of the Douglas Adams cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in 2005, his first big film grossed many millions, starred people like Zooey Deschanel and John Malkovich, and opened its first weekend atop the North American box office. It seemed like a good start, even if you weren’t a fan of the Adams book. Two years...

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Winter Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (Jan-Mar 2017)
Nov28

Winter Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (Jan-Mar 2017)

A Spirited Debate One of two things will happen to you when confronted with the bold and brassy acts of clairvoyance that Rebecca Anne LoCicero whips up onstage. One will be a sense of reluctant amazement. The other will be a deep, head-shaking skepticism. LoCicero has been working in the New England area, nationally, and worldwide for more than two decades, and the funny, occasionally outrageous impromptu readings she performs on...

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Cinemadope: All Together Now
Nov28

Cinemadope: All Together Now

Whatever your thoughts are about the outcome of last month’s election, it seems fair to say that a Trump presidency will be less welcoming of — if not downright hostile to — many of the world’s cultures. As a film writer, that leaves me feeling both deflated (will foreign films find it even more of a struggle to distribute stateside now?) and, paradoxically, a bit hopeful. Film often captures something in us that we didn’t know was...

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Third Eye Roaming: Only the Yoga Should be Hot
Nov28

Third Eye Roaming: Only the Yoga Should be Hot

Studio owner Audrey Blaisdell says she fell for the yoga behind Bikram, not the “cultish belief system.” It became necessary to draw the line, she says, about a year ago. Prospective students came to fear the authoritarian reputation and mistrust the brand increasingly associated with sexual assault. So, she relaunched, tossing Bikram aside and renaming her Northampton studio at 375 South St., Valley Hot Yoga. In doing so Blaisdell...

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The Pour Man: Cheap Chianti for Sophisticated Adults
Nov28

The Pour Man: Cheap Chianti for Sophisticated Adults

My first recollection of Chianti, as it is for many people, was the iconic straw-wrapped bottle, not the wine. Occasionally, an unopened bottle would show up at our house, usually a gift from a friend coming to dinner, and by the end of the adult evening, it would be empty. The bottle would hang around for a few days. My mother would say she wanted to put a candle in it to decorate the table the next time she served spaghetti and...

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Electrifying the Vinyl: Electric Eye Records in Florence is a vinyl lover’s go-to destination
Nov21

Electrifying the Vinyl: Electric Eye Records in Florence is a vinyl lover’s go-to destination

That slight scratching sound the needle makes when you gently place it on the record. The brief static that comes through the speakers before the music hits. Then: bam! Just like magic, music emerges from my vintage suitcase record player, sounding like nothing else. It was my mother’s. She gave it to me when I was a child, and I was immediately drawn to it. Surely the ’70s rainbow design on the inside lid was the initial culprit....

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O, Cannabis!: Getting the Best Deal on Medical Marijuana
Nov21

O, Cannabis!: Getting the Best Deal on Medical Marijuana

If you get up real close to the New England Treatment Access medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton, you can smell the earthy aroma of cannabis through the brick walls. Established in 2015, NETA’s Conz Street dispensary is, so far, the only medical Mary Jane shop west of Worcester. In August, I obtained my Massachusetts medical marijuana card — and I used it this past week. The dispensary is a weed oasis behind a fortified gate....

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The Pour Man: Wines With Turkey
Nov21

The Pour Man: Wines With Turkey

Finding a wine that goes with every course of the Thanksgiving dinner can be a bit dodgy because the meal is a hodgepodge of dishes with distinctive flavors. Viognier, Cava, Pinot Noir and Cotes du Rhone have been my favorites in the past, but this year I’m trying a couple of very nice California blends with our meal, wines that don’t stray too far from my traditional standbys and that go very well with a variety of foods. Of course,...

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Springfield’s own Macy’s Day parade
Nov21

Springfield’s own Macy’s Day parade

The Cat, Back Out of the Bag How did huge inflatable balloons become such a cherished part of Thanksgiving week? Don’t wait on us for a clear answer — we’re still trying to suss out what bunnies and plastic grass have to do with the resurrection of Jesus — but Americans have clearly latched onto it, and at this point, a 75-foot Cat in the Hat seems like a pretty harmless tradition. In Springfield, The Cat has plenty of company...

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If You Brew It, They Will Come: Tree House Brewing in Monson attracts international recognition
Nov14

If You Brew It, They Will Come: Tree House Brewing in Monson attracts international recognition

It isn’t hard to pick Dean Rohan out of a crowd. He’s the tall guy with glasses in the muck boots and ratty work pants. And he’s wearing a red T-shirt with his own face on it that reads “I’m with Dean.” Today, he’s overseeing the arrival of a tanker truck filled with grain as it offloads its cargo into a giant stainless steel silo emblazoned with the logo of Tree House Brewing. Rohan is one of the brewery’s three co-founders, who grew...

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Beerhunter: Hartford Beer Fans, Take Heart
Nov07

Beerhunter: Hartford Beer Fans, Take Heart

In the two years since I took on the role of Valley beer reporter, I’ve tried to keep things local whenever possible. Aside from an international sojourn or two — like when I tried a mug of saliva-fermented ‘chicha’ corn beer in Peru last year — I’ve generally been happy to stay close to home, and the talent of Valley brewers keeps the beat from growing stale. But wandering out to Worcester last month piqued my interest in those New...

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Cinemadope: Continental Divide
Nov07

Cinemadope: Continental Divide

Strike up a conversation about foreign film with most American film buffs, and the discussion will almost certainly travel East, over the Atlantic, on a European course. Those buffs with enough wind in them might even reach the Middle East and parts of Asia, but few take the detour south to Africa. It’s a bias that I suspect many filmgoers don’t even realize they have, but one that keeps some great films from finding an audience. This...

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Cocktail of the Month Club: A Piney October Surprise
Nov03

Cocktail of the Month Club: A Piney October Surprise

  “Riding the Pine” Brought to you by Lincoln Allen, bar manager at The Alvah Stone in Montague.   Ingredients: 1 ½ Ounces St. George Terroir Gin 1 ounce Zirbenz Pine Liqueur ½ ounce yellow chartreuse ¾ ounce lemon juice Lemon peel garnish To Make: • Mix in shaker with ice. Double strain into chilled coupe glass or any available vessel. Garnish with lemon. Enjoy!       — Peter Vancini...

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Top 12 Halloween Events in the Valley This Weekend
Oct24

Top 12 Halloween Events in the Valley This Weekend

Calling All Hallows Admit it: we’re a happy Valley because we’re all a bunch of freaks. And Halloween seems to be the time of year we most like to let those flags fly. The night is a dark, blank canvas for creative expression and demonic possession. That’s why it proved hard for us to spotlight one event this week. So we dedicate this page to a bunch of ungodly fun that we’ll have to check out, or curse ourselves for skipping. Here...

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Now Haunted: The Springfield Museums
Oct24

Now Haunted: The Springfield Museums

Day Screaming Ghosts are scary. Zombies are scary. Being surrounded by too many kids in Disney princess costumes is scary. If you’d rather run into any of these frightening folks in the daytime rather than in the late night hours, check out the Springfield Museum’s Halloween celebration. On Saturday the Springfield Museums will host a “haunting,” featuring an interesting round of Halloween-themed entertainment....

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Best of 2016 Readers’ Poll Winners (Now a Board Game!)
Oct17

Best of 2016 Readers’ Poll Winners (Now a Board Game!)

Game by Kristin Palpini, Kyle Olsen, Jennifer Levesque, and Hunter Styles In celebration of the Annual Manual — a condensed version of the Advocate’s yearly Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll — we’ve created a board game featuring some of the Best Of winners. Race your friends and family around the board and try to collect items/complete tasks from each color category. The first one to collect items from all six...

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One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer: George Thorogood and the Destroyers take the Big E
Sep26

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer: George Thorogood and the Destroyers take the Big E

If anyone can lay claim to writing the neo American classic drinking songbook, it’s George Thorogood and The Destroyers. The band’s hits include “I Drink Alone,” “If You Don’t Start Drinkin’,” “Bad to the Bone” (that’s pronounced “B-b-b-b-bad to the Bone”), “Move it on Over,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” On Saturday the rock ‘n’ roll band you either grew up grooving to live or in your dad’s car with the radio up, will be...

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