Born-Again Buildings: Turning Churches Into Places To Live
May22

Born-Again Buildings: Turning Churches Into Places To Live

Liza King, 66, and Rick Neumann, 71, of Brattleboro, are about to fulfill what has felt like their lifelong ambition. On June 1, after nearly 20 years, they will move into their church sanctuary.“Their” church, by the way, doesn’t mean the church to which they belong, but the church that belongs to them. Liza and Rick are among a small, intrepid bunch across the region who have purchased former churches to convert to spaces to...

Read More
Growing Your Own Weed In Massachusetts: A How-To Guide
May22

Growing Your Own Weed In Massachusetts: A How-To Guide

With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, many people with green thumbs are preparing to put their saplings and seeds into the ground — the beginnings of this season’s garden. It’s usually the same old stuff: tomatoes, green beans, peppers, berries, carrots. But this year there will be an exciting, new addition to many home gardens: the gloriously stank-n-dank flower cannabis.Massachusetts is in a hazy space with marijuana at the...

Read More
Back Talk: Why I Marched For Science
May22

Back Talk: Why I Marched For Science

Why I Marched for ScienceIn 1970, we celebrated the first Earth Day. I remember it vividly as a college student at the University of Michigan. The energy of the first Earth Day, focused on the alarming rate of deterioration of our environment, helped lead to landmark changes in policy such as creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.Earth Day is now a worldwide event...

Read More
Bringing New Life to Old Things
May22

Bringing New Life to Old Things

It’s surprising what you can create from seemingly broken or time weathered objects. From Brattleboro to Palmer artisans are doing just that whether it’s creating human-shaped sculptures from colored pencils wired together or a Victorian inspired lamp made from a fruit bowl and a candle stick.Gallery in the Woods, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Brattleboro includes a plethora of artistic works that were made from...

Read More
Between The Lines: Trans Allies Needed More Than Ever
May22

Between The Lines: Trans Allies Needed More Than Ever

Last week I interviewed an organizer with the “I’ll Go With You” campaign, which sells buttons trans allies can wear to show they are willing to go into a public restroom with a trans man or woman to help keep them safe.That may seem like an extraordinary step to take, but with violence against trans people higher than ever and on the rise, it is an important role an ally of trans people can play.As a cisgender heterosexual caucasian...

Read More
News of the Weird: Speed Bumps For Fast Walkers
May22

News of the Weird: Speed Bumps For Fast Walkers

Officials in charge of a Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed “speed bumps,” similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets — but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People’s Daily China, suggested that officials were irked that “disorderly” tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly...

Read More
The Dizzying And Oh-So-Satisfying Downfall of Trump: An Advocate Chat
May18

The Dizzying And Oh-So-Satisfying Downfall of Trump: An Advocate Chat

The Advocate Chat is a recurring series in which staff members tackle a topic in the news or otherwise of interest. The text below has been lightly edited.dave.eisen (Managing Editor Dave Eisenstadter): It’s the return of the AdvoChat!!!kristinpalpini (Editor-in-Chief Kristin Palpini): Welcome home!cgoudreau (Staff Writer Chris Goudreau): Huzzah!dave.eisen: We were originally going to talk about Trump and Comey. Then we were...

Read More
Remembering the Turners Falls Massacre, Saturday
May15

Remembering the Turners Falls Massacre, Saturday

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the proper date of the remembrance ceremony: Saturday; and provide more info on where the event will take place. The Great Falls MassacreOne of the bloodiest battles during the viscous King Philips War — a conflict over land and revenge between Native Americans and English settlers that lasted three years, 1675-78 — took place in the Peskeompscut-Wissatinnewag community,...

Read More
Local Yemeni Student Wins National Award For Aid Work In Home Country
May15

Local Yemeni Student Wins National Award For Aid Work In Home Country

Protecting children from Al Qaeda and Houthi militias. Persuading boys against joining militant groups. Aiding children traumatized by violence, abduction, and rape.These are some of the things accomplished by 30-year-old Fadia Najib Thabet of Yemen while working as a child protection officer in her home country, starting in 2011. Now she is a student studying peacebuilding and conflict transformation at the School for International...

Read More
News of the Weird: Hello, My Name is Isis Harambe
May15

News of the Weird: Hello, My Name is Isis Harambe

The word “Isis” arrived in Western dialogue only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as an acronym for the Islamic State, and the Swahili word “Harambe” was known to almost no one until May 2016 when the gorilla “Harambe” (named via a local contest) was put down by a Cincinnati zoo worker after it had dragged an adventurous 3-year-old boy away. In April, a Twitter user and the website Daily Dot happened upon a 19-year-old California...

Read More
Addiction Response Milestone: Spike In Local ODs Non-Fatal
May15

Addiction Response Milestone: Spike In Local ODs Non-Fatal

An unprecedented cluster of drug overdoses in Northampton late last month tested the city’s first responders. Their preparation — including training in the use of Narcan — helped prevent any fatalities.As the abuse of prescription and illegal opioids continues to plague the Valley, state and nation, the response has become more sophisticated and effective. That is largely due to emergency networks such as the one established in...

Read More
Figures … New England In Climate Change’s Crosshairs
May15

Figures … New England In Climate Change’s Crosshairs

New Englanders are trained from a young age to expect the unexpected when it comes to weather, but according to a new UMass study, we ain’t seen nothing yet.Flooding, extreme heat, and unusually warm winter weather — all effects of climate change — are anticipated to wallop New England 20 years earlier than most of the rest of the country, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Northeast Climate Science...

Read More
Yep, Climate Change Is Real … We Checked It Ourselves
May15

Yep, Climate Change Is Real … We Checked It Ourselves

Climate change is a worldwide problem, and we often hear of how it is affecting low-lying countries in Asia and the melting polar ice caps, but local climate data shows us how things are changing right here in the Pioneer Valley.And changing they are.The National Centers for Environmental Information, run by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, collects station data all over the world, and has for more than 100...

Read More
Missed Connections: The Lunch Counter Where I Often Showed Up In Your Bed
May15

Missed Connections: The Lunch Counter Where I Often Showed Up In Your Bed

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus.PS — Rabbit where are you? — w4m (Easthampton)We met on Pleasant St in the late 70’s or early 80’s. I last met you at my place in the late...

Read More
Back Talk: Hope for Better Health Care
May15

Back Talk: Hope for Better Health Care

Hope for Better Health CareThank you for your piece in the Advocate (“Between the Lines: With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again,” May 11-17, 2017). However, it seems from it that you may not be familiar with House Bill 2987 and Senate Bill 619, Mass-Care, or our WMass network of pro-single-payer advocates and groups.You may also be interested in the fact that single-payer is in the Massachusetts Dems...

Read More
Air Sexus Interruptus
May15

Air Sexus Interruptus

In a staggering blow to anyone looking for a weird experience on a Monday evening, tonight’s air sex tournament (think air guitar, but with sex) has been mysteriously cancelled.The event was going to take place at 7 p.m. at the Iron Horse, but a message on the Iron Horse Entertainment Group website says in red letters, “This event has been cancelled due to reasons beyond the control of mere mortals. Refunds can be obtained...

Read More
With Criminal Charges Dropped, Pipeline Protesters Vow to Fight On
May12

With Criminal Charges Dropped, Pipeline Protesters Vow to Fight On

Protesters looking to use climate change as a legal defense of their actions to try to stop a natural gas pipeline expansion project through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield won’t need to bother. Charges against them, which included trespassing and disorderly conduct, were downgraded from criminal to civil infractions this week. Now, members of the anti-pipeline Sugar Shack Alliance, which had planned to offer testimony establishing...

Read More
Cinemadope: Would You Take a Bullet for Art? Documentary on full-throttle artist Chris Burden (w/vid)
May08

Cinemadope: Would You Take a Bullet for Art? Documentary on full-throttle artist Chris Burden (w/vid)

For such a rich subject, films about art and the people that make it all too often feel either forced and flat or ridiculously over the top. Better, usually, to take the documentary route, and let the art speak for itself.That’s the course taken by directors Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey, whose film Burden — screening this week at the Little Cinema in the Berkshire Museum — takes a good long look at the life and times of...

Read More
Kitchen Dwellers Bring ‘Galaxy Grass’ to Northampton (w/vid)
May08

Kitchen Dwellers Bring ‘Galaxy Grass’ to Northampton (w/vid)

Got that Galaxy GrassA Kitchen Dwellers show is a true Montana bluegrass experience … that’s been strapped to a rocket, shot into space, and looped around Saturn a few times. Dubbed “galaxy grass,” the band’s sound is high-energy and exploratory jamming with just a touch of funk. Each song has a story pushed by a chugging mandolin-fiddle section. Torrin Daniels’ vocals growl like a spirit stitched out of Appalachia and fast...

Read More
Basemental: You Know Amber Wolfe Now See Her Arresting Video for ‘No Thorn’
May08

Basemental: You Know Amber Wolfe Now See Her Arresting Video for ‘No Thorn’

You may know Amber Wolfe. She fronted the “speakeasy, post-apocalyptic band,” O You Villain, books shows at Amherst Coffee, and is a veteran of the Institute for Musical Arts, where she found “some of the foremothers of local music.”Despite strong roots here in the Valley, last year, Wolfe went home to the Washington, D.C., area to record her debut solo EP, I Left the City. What followed was a full circle collaborative return with...

Read More
That’s Not an Air Guitar: Air Sex Tournament Comes to Northampton (w/vid)
May08

That’s Not an Air Guitar: Air Sex Tournament Comes to Northampton (w/vid)

That’s Not an Air GuitarThe national Air Sex Tournament is coming to Northampton Monday night and for anyone who thinks they’ve got the pantomime moves to beat the competition, it’s not too late to enter the foray. A fun, and funny, sex-positive show, performers get on stage — alone and clothed enough — to physically demonstrate their craziest, orgasm-inducing moves. Some competitors go for sexy while others go for silly and some mix...

Read More
Missed Connections: Let Me Take You Out, Liar
May08

Missed Connections: Let Me Take You Out, Liar

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus.Grilled Peaches — m4w (Big Y, Southampton) This was my last chance. Instead of asking you for your number in some terribly cheesy way, I invited you over...

Read More
UMass Student Exhibit Elevates Street Art Friday
May08

UMass Student Exhibit Elevates Street Art Friday

Occupy.A joint art show by Eric Mandeville and McKenzie Stuetzel makes a powerful statement, but only for a short time — so be sure to see it. By utilizing imagery from street art in contrasting colors, their show explores the idea of living in society, but outside of its boundaries. Mandeville will use a projection of a time-lapse video of the creation of his mural, Occupy Your Street, in the hope of changing the thinking of street...

Read More
Radical Moms: Using The Power of Motherhood To Make Political Change
May08

Radical Moms: Using The Power of Motherhood To Make Political Change

One of the proudest moments that Madeleine Charney has shared with her son, Eli, is when she got to hold up the front page of the newspaper on Nov. 7, 2015, and show him that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline had been struck down by President Obama.Charney, 51, of Amherst, is a member of the Pioneer Valley chapter of Mothers Out Front, a Boston-based climate activist group. She had protested regularly against the construction...

Read More
Northampton Activists Stage ‘Emergency’ Rally For Investigation of Trump
May10

Northampton Activists Stage ‘Emergency’ Rally For Investigation of Trump

Local activist groups are staging an emergency rally calling for an independent investigation and for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. The planned peaceful demonstration will take place May 10 from 5 to 6 p.m. on the steps of Northampton City Hall.The rally arrives on the heels of Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating the...

Read More
David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash Talks Songwriting, Politics, and Fame
May05

David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash Talks Songwriting, Politics, and Fame

David Crosby — the founding member of legendary 1960s and 1970s rock groups such as the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, & Nash — is coming to Northampton’s Academy of Music Theatre on May 19 for a show with his electric backing band. The two-time Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer singer-songwriter and guitarist is set to release his third album in two years, Sky Trails, sometime this year. The Valley Advocate interviewed Crosby on May 3 to talk...

Read More
Enough With the Hearts: What Mom REALLY Wants on Mother’s Day
May08

Enough With the Hearts: What Mom REALLY Wants on Mother’s Day

Just a list of stuff any mother could love: An opportunity to finish a book … in less than six months. A box of tissues for those inevitable moments of disappointment in you (plus it’s allergy season). Michelle Obama merch (“When they go low, we go high” tote bag, anyone?) Silk pillow cases. (This is how she saves her hair from becoming a frizzy mess overnight.) A crystal wine glass. (Just one; it’s the queen’s glass.) Gift...

Read More
With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again
May08

With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again

The Republicans did it. They cobbled together an Obamacare replacement bill so bad that they got the most conservative members of the House to vote for it — people like Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who implied the majority of people with pre-existing conditions have them because they don’t “lead good lives,” and like Raul Labrador of Idaho, who recently said that “no one dies because they don’t have health care.”Now we in...

Read More
Total of 24 ‘Sugar Shack’ Protesters Arrested in One Week at Otis Park
May08

Total of 24 ‘Sugar Shack’ Protesters Arrested in One Week at Otis Park

LATEST UPDATE:Twenty-four protesters affiliated with The Sugar Shack Alliance, a Northeast coalition that aims to disrupt the fossil fuel industry, have been arrested thus far at Otis State Forest in Sandisfield. Charges stem from allegations that protesters blocked access roads and barred tree cutters entrance onto an easement in the park — the site where 3.8 miles of natural gas pipeline is slated for construction as part of the $93...

Read More
Investigation: Yes, There Is Lead In Pioneer Valley Schools’ Drinking Water
May01

Investigation: Yes, There Is Lead In Pioneer Valley Schools’ Drinking Water

The very schools we depend on to educate our children could be making them less smart. Drinking water in schools across Massachusetts, including here in the Pioneer Valley, has been found to contain lead significantly exceeding safety standards.  Lead exposure, experts say, can cause lower IQ, increased attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other cognitive problems. Yet many parents don’t realize that a great part of the...

Read More
News of the Weird: A Russian Monument to Flossing
May08

News of the Weird: A Russian Monument to Flossing

Russian artist Mariana Shumkova is certainly doing her part for oral hygiene, publicly unveiling her St. Petersburg statuette of a frightening, malformed head displaying actual extracted human teeth, misaligned and populating holes in the face that represent the mouth and eyes. She told Pravda in April that “only [something with] a strong emotional impact” would make people think about tooth care. Entrepreneurial SpiritA San Francisco...

Read More
Back Talk: Stop Sending Weapons to Syria for an Endless War
May08

Back Talk: Stop Sending Weapons to Syria for an Endless War

Stop Sending Weapons to SyriaAt a presentation given by the Northampton Committee to Stop Wars, I asked two Syrian speakers whether Syrians predominantly support President Assad or the rebels. They both said that the country is extremely divided and that their support goes back and forth depending on who most recently killed a family member. One said that he knew only two people left in Syria, his parents, and the rest were scattered...

Read More
And To Think That I Saw It At Northampton Pride – Photos and 360 Video
May06

And To Think That I Saw It At Northampton Pride – Photos and 360 Video

The rain made way for the rainbows, as it always does.Not half-an-hour after the thousands of rainbow shirts, flags, balloons, and all manner of rainbow apparel hit the streets to begin the Northampton Pride Parade on Saturday, the morning’s rain was a memory and blue skies prevailed.The Advocate was there with a 360 camera borrowed from Northampton Community Television, and, of course, with my phone, too.Without further ado,...

Read More
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...

Read More
Your Guide to Northampton Pride 2017
May02

Your Guide to Northampton Pride 2017

In the last several years, Northampton Pride has been a blowout celebration of all people, places, and things LGBTQI, but this year the event is leaning more toward its political roots. They’re putting the march back into the parade, so to speak.Northampton Pride started in the early 1980s with the Lesbian and Gay Liberation March, said JM Sorrell, spokesperson for NoHoPride, the event’s organizer.“It was all political then. We had no...

Read More