Holiday Events Across the Valley to Beat the Winter Blues
Nov21

Holiday Events Across the Valley to Beat the Winter Blues

Even though the holiday lights were strung up before the kids even trick-or-treated for their Halloween candy this year, the official start to the holiday season is this weekend by most people’s assessment. The Pioneer Valley will be abuzz with activity over the next few weeks, and choosing which events to attend can be a tough decision. To make it a bit easier, we’ve picked out a few events across the Pioneer Valley that are...

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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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Back Talk: Misquotes, misuse of media, and misallocation of tax cuts
Nov20

Back Talk: Misquotes, misuse of media, and misallocation of tax cuts

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 editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. Thoreau Didn’t Say That In response to Rob Brezsny’s astrology column, posted online as...

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Bizarro Briefs: Venomous Snails, Baby Language, and Cats in Space

Many people know that the opioid crisis has been linked to over-the-counter pain medication being over prescribed by doctors. The problem is that there is not a practical solution for people with chronic pain. Brain scientists have been studying this question and are looking for a substance that can decrease pain without engaging the pleasure receptors that opioids do. Luckily, snail venom might do just that. We didn’t even know...

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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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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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Bizarro Briefs: It’s Good to Laugh Again
Nov13

Bizarro Briefs: It’s Good to Laugh Again

The woman arrested for laughing at the hilarious statement that Jeff Sessions has a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law” at Sessions confirmation hearing (Sessions in fact was rejected as a federal judge in the 1980s over concerns about his past comments on race) is now free to laugh again. The charges against activist Desiree Fairooz, who was attending the hearing as a member of women’s...

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Back Talk: Respect for Immigrants and Recommended Reading on Porn
Nov13

Back Talk: Respect for Immigrants and Recommended Reading on Porn

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 editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. Immigrants Deserve Respect, Not a Life of Fear Over the last number of months, the...

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Immigrant Father takes Sanctuary in Amherst Church
Nov13

Immigrant Father takes Sanctuary in Amherst Church

When her four children go to sleep at night, Dora Gonzalez says her youngest, 8-year-old Lucy, often wakes up around 1 a.m. and says, “I miss my dad.” Her oldest son is graduating high school this spring, and Gonzalez worries his father, Lucio Perez, won’t be able to watch him receive his diploma. “It’s not easy being away from family,” she said in a recent interview. “More for the kids, because they need him. They need his help and...

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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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Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In
Nov06

Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In

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 editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. A Few (Satirical) Words from A. Dolfhit Ler The alt-right gets a bad rap from the...

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Bizarro Briefs: Sunscreen Snow and Robot Horror Stories

The fear of robots and artificial intelligence taking away your job and your livelihood just got real, folks. A new AI bot created by Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology writes it’s own horror stories. The bot, “Shelley’, named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, has been trained on more than 140,000 horror stories posted on Reddit. Every hour, the AI starts a new story on Twitter and others are encouraged...

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Beerhunter: Unique Sour Beer Pairings at The Foundry
Nov06

Beerhunter: Unique Sour Beer Pairings at The Foundry

If you weren’t expecting this craft beer column to start with a plate of silkworm larvae, believe me, I’m as surprised as you are. But there they were, next to my glass: half a dozen off-white baby bugs, each about an inch long and doused with a honey balsamic sauce. I had no idea how this snack would go down (answer: soft and crispy) or whether the larvae would pair well with my short pour of Madrugada Oscura, a Belgian-style sour...

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Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide
Nov01

Southern Vermont Fatal House Fire Now Looks Like Double Homicide

Justin Orwat, 46 of Springfield, has been charged with aggravated murder and first degree arson as a result of a previously reported house fire on the morning of Oct. 27 in Townshend, Vermont. Orwat is currently being held at the Hampden County Jail in Ludlow for unrelated criminal charges. The Vermont State Police and the Windham County State Attorney’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Orwat after the Office of the Chief...

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Get Writing! National Novel Writing Month Starts Soon
Oct30

Get Writing! National Novel Writing Month Starts Soon

Art flourishes in uncertain times. From the critical poetry of World War I and the post World War II Beat Generation to the innovative music of the Beatles and the Stones and beyond, during and after strife, creative types will make art. They rush to prove Jonathan Larson right when the “Rent” creator wrote “the opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.” This November, about 120 Pioneer Valley creative types will join that rush,...

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Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too
Oct30

Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too

November has rolled around again, and no it’s not a presidential election year. But there are important elections both here and in other parts of the country this week you should be paying attention to. Since Donald Trump was elected president just about a year ago (ugh), he has tried to ban Muslims from coming into the country, fired his own FBI director because of a growing investigation into his campaign’s Russian connection,...

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Bizarro Briefs: Bowling Ball Bear Tongue
Oct30

Bizarro Briefs: Bowling Ball Bear Tongue

You know how when you used to stick your tongue out, your grandma would say that it was going to get stuck that way? One asiatic black bear, which are more commonly called moon bears, in Myanmar found this out the hard way. The bear, named Nyan Htoo, had to have an emergency surgery to have his tongue removed earlier this month because it became so heavy that it had to be dragged along the ground. The tongue, weighing in at 6.5...

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Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering
Oct30

Loretta Ross and Sustainable Activism to be Highlighted at UMass Gathering

Loretta Ross, an author, feminist, and expert on human rights and racism now teaching at Hampshire College, is clear on her views about President Donald Trump’s election: “The sky fell,” she said in a recent interview. But the point she really wants to drive home as keynote speaker of an upcoming social justice event at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is that Trump is an outcome — he’s not the cause. “America has a long and...

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STAFF PICKS: Incarcerated artists, Roxane Gay, and dinner and a show
Oct30

STAFF PICKS: Incarcerated artists, Roxane Gay, and dinner and a show

Inside Art IV // FRIDAY The Elm Street Think Tank is a group of incarcerated locals and community educators who meet weekly inside the jail to have discussions, raise awareness, and work on a collection of different projects. The fourth annual “Inside Art,” an art exhibit featuring art and writings by residents incarcerated at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, is now available for public viewing. This year’s show focuses on the...

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Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria
Oct30

Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria

Madeleine Vanstory was visiting her sister, Melissa Redwin of Westhampton, when they decided to come to Nourish Wellness Cafe in Northampton for lunch with Melissa’s newborn, Lucena. “I finally made the connection, after decades of bad eating, (between) how you nourish your body with food and how you feel,” said Vanstory, a physician and health consultant in Oregon. “And I just know that I feel better when I eat things that require...

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Back Talk: Disgusting Tabloid News in Western Mass
Oct30

Back Talk: Disgusting Tabloid News in Western Mass

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 editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. ‘Disgusting’ ‘Tabloid’ News Many readers commented and wrote in about Andy Castillo’s...

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Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?
Oct23

Will Western Mass Ever Get High-Speed Rail?

Jim Emerson, 53, wakes up at 5 a.m. three or four days out of the work week to make the commute from his home in Wilbraham to Boston. He’s typically out the door around 5:45 a.m. and is on the road driving east on the Massachusetts Turnpike for 50 minutes in his 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid to catch an hour-and-a-half-long train ride from Worcester. “I’ve traveled for work nationally and internationally. I’ve seen rail systems and transit...

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Back Talk: Amherst is Made Out of Particle Board
Oct23

Back Talk: Amherst is Made Out of Particle Board

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 editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. They Might Be Giant Eyesores Particle board, particle board. Amherst is made out of...

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Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity
Oct23

Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity

As a newspaper journalist who cares deeply about good, necessary and morally grounded journalism, I must decry a recent trend of sleazy, tabloid-like reporting I now frequently see from trusted local television news stations: the act of sharing irrelevant articles, often about minorities who’ve committed horrific crimes, to increase website traffic. In other words, click-bait (often racially charged) from (previously) reputable...

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Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant
Oct19

Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant

In an extraordinary step, the First Congregational Church in Amherst is providing physical sanctuary to undocumented immigrant Lucio Perez. Perez, a Springfield resident who has been in the country for 20 years, told a group of about 100 clergy members, activists, reporters, and other interested residents on Thursday, Oct. 19, that he is grateful to the church. Perez was scheduled to be deported this month and on Oct. 18 was denied...

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O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 
Oct23

O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 

The harvest is in and I can’t believe the results. My husband and I didn’t weigh our cannabis haul from our home garden, but we were able to fill a bunch of regular-size salsa jars with marijuana. This is more than good enough for me! Like many weed enthusiasts in the state, we enjoyed our first home-grown harvest in October. Strike up the weed exchanges! It’s kind of like a cookie exchange — and there may be cookies — but way danker....

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Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?
Oct23

Bizarro Briefs: Uh, How Did That Get In There?

Uh, How Did That Get In There? In retrospect, it was a horrible idea, but so many of these entries start that way. A British man fishing on a pier in southern England took a six-inch sole he had just caught and jokingly placed it in front of his open mouth. The fish, seizing the moment, leapt down the man’s throat, blocking his windpipe and sending him into cardiac arrest. Luckily for the 28-year-old man, paramedics were on the scene...

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Concert to Support Puerto Rico to be Held Saturday in Greenfield
Oct20

Concert to Support Puerto Rico to be Held Saturday in Greenfield

Activist Doug Wight is hosting a fundraiser for he and engineer Garrett Connelly to fly to Puerto Rico to help install two-tank rainwater-fed drinking water systems. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21, from 7 to 11 p.m. at 237 Conway St. in Greenfield. “Our huge performance tent is waiting for you in the back yard,” he wrote in a statement. Tickets can be purchased for $10 by calling Wight at 413-320-3653 or can...

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