Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage
Jul20

Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage

Reid Thompson’s setting for Speech & Debate, now receiving a near-perfect production at Barrington Stage Company, is a high school classroom. Maps and historical posters line the walls and headshots of famous Americans form a frieze above a pair of whiteboards – which become screens for Alex Basco Koch’s witty between-scenes animated projections. Lighting by Burke Brown also divides the room into discrete areas representing the...

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Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys
Jul17

Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys

Draco and the Malfoys • Saturday  I held out on Harry Potter mania for years, but finally succumbed when the last book came out in 2007. I read them all in a matter of months, but I didn’t go as far as these folks, who wrote albums of Harry Potter-inspired music. I can’t think of a better venue to appreciate this band than a library, and that’s exactly where they’re having the show. Hoping they play “All...

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Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers
Jul17

Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers

“Wimps and Wanna-Be’s need not apply!” That was the tagline of a print ad announcing an open audition for “FIERCE Male Dancers” who wanted to earn a spot on Madonna’s controversial, ground-breaking Blond Ambition Tour in 1990. It would have been a dream job for any dancer, but nobody — certainly not the seven young men, most barely 20 at the time, who ended up touring the globe with the pop star — could have predicted the impact the...

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Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed
Jul18

Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed

Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s “romances,” those late works in which comedy blends with tragedy and the endings are neither strewn with corpses nor aclang with wedding bells, but suffused with poignancy and forgiveness. The Tempest is the most popular of this group – in fact, it inaugurates the company’s new outdoor performance space next month – and Cymbeline runs a close second to Pericles as the least performed.So...

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Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday
Jul17

Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday

Cinematic Pop MusicBoston/Western Mass’ Eddie Japan combines that feel good ‘60s pop with a splash of ‘80s alternative new wave that’s a blast. In 2013, Eddie Japan won Boston’s ultra cool Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, and picked up a Boston Music Award for “Live Artist of the Year.” That sold me. I’m going to check them out for my column next week, Valley Show Girl, when the band comes to town on Saturday night. Eddie Japan is...

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V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle
Jul17

V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle

Hi Yana,My partner and I have different sex drives. I could have sex four to six times a week, while he feels more comfortable with about two. In the beginning, we had a lot of sex and I was ecstatic thinking that our sex drives were more matched. Now, not so much.I feel like I’m constantly rejected and he feels pressured to have sex. He’s said he’s afraid to cuddle and kiss me because then he feels he’ll be expected to take it...

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The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved
Jul17

The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved

Mont Gravet, a light, refreshing, low-alcohol white wine, is perfect for drinking on warm summer evenings.It also has the added enjoyment of being a wine of discovery, one from an unfamiliar region, made from a grape that gets little attention and that I know little about. Maybe for the wine experts, it’s old hat, but for me, it’s new and fun.Mont Gravet is made from 100-percent Colombard grapes harvested from vineyards in the Gascony...

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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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Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire
Jul17

Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire

Iron Horse  Entertainment Group Under FireSeveral readers took issue with what they perceived as a lack of interest in the local music scene from IHEG in the comments section and on Facebook in last week’s cover story, “Behind the Music,” July 13-19, 2017. Here are a few examples.Austin Hatch: As a member of a local band, we DO have some power to change this. My band won’t play IHEG venues, and we’ve turned down booking...

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UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp
Jul13

UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with 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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Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident
Jul11

Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident

When he was 15 years old in 1976, Niberd Abdalla immigrated to the United States from Iraq fleeing persecution due to his family’s Kurdish heritage and democratic activism. He’s lived as an undocumented person in the United States for the past 41 years and has complied with biannual immigration enforcement check-ins for the past seven years. On the morning of June 8, when Niberd, a former Florence resident who now lives in...

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Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival
Jul11

Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival

The KO Festival of Performance opened last weekend, kicking off a diverse five-week season clustered around the theme “Tactics for Trying Times.” First up was Jimmy & Lorraine, written by Talvin Wilks and developed with Hartford’s HartBeat Ensemble. The playwright describes his scrapbook drama as a “dramatic reflection” and “a type of mashup,” culled from the writings and correspondence of two great African-American artist/activists:...

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Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic
Jul10

Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic

At the risk of sounding impossibly out-of-touch, let me tell you something: I sure do miss Dialing for Dollars. That syndicated TV program — in which an afternoon movie was chopped into a few hundred pieces, allowing host George Allen to pick a number out of the area phone book and call cash-hungry viewers during the many breaks — did more for my early interest in movies than it had any right doing.Maybe it was because it was on in...

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Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG
Jul10

Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG

For years the Iron Horse Entertainment Group with its quintet of venues — Pearl Street Nightclub, The Calvin, The Basement, The Iron Horse Music Hall, and Mountain Park — reigned over the Pioneer Valley music scene.IHEG’s rule has irked some people.Frustration with the entertainment group boiled over recently leading to a guerilla campaign against IHEG owner Eric Suher, and two widely circulated news stories about crumby conditions at...

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Beerhunter: From Homebrew to Hotspot
Jul10

Beerhunter: From Homebrew to Hotspot

Don’t let the name of their new Westfield brewery fool you — Mark Avery and Rich DeSousa aren’t preparing to quit their day jobs. But the two friends and business partners are still opening up every spare hour, every day they can, to get Two Weeks Notice Brewing Company off the ground.Avery’s beers proved a hit during Western Mass Beer Week in June, when Two Weeks Notice collaborated on an IPA with Ludlow’s Vanished Valley Brewing and...

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Review: ‘In a Different Light’ at Easthampton City Arts Gallery
Jul10

Review: ‘In a Different Light’ at Easthampton City Arts Gallery

Thirteen of America’s presidents gather for a summit. They listen as Thomas Jefferson explains this new majesty before them — a giant, wonderfully fluffy chocolate-glazed doughnut with rainbow sprinkles. Teddy Roosevelt gathers his jacket at the hip judging the round table’s character. Ulysses S. Grant looks dumbfounded. George Washington, with his clenched fists and downcast eyes, appears to be looking for an excuse to leave.This is...

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At Play: All Things Scottish and Great
Jul10

At Play: All Things Scottish and Great

Get your Scot on at the 24th annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival Saturday at Look Park in Northampton. The day-long event is jammed with all things Celtic and “tidy” (that’s Scottish slang for excellent).The day will feature Scottish music, athletic feats of strength, vendors, historical recreations, food, and beer.Don’t miss Albannach (that’s them in front of that rippin’ hawk). The band is straight outta Scotland and features...

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Valley Show Girl: Khalif Neville and Ian Haas Are Musical Chameleons
Jul10

Valley Show Girl: Khalif Neville and Ian Haas Are Musical Chameleons

I hear the sound of jazz in the parking lot as I walk towards New City Brewery in Easthampton last Thursday night. People are gathered in the patio area enjoying the music while also enjoying the summer night air. Inside, the old factory building with exposed beams, pulleys, and brick walls are inviting as I look at the multi-colored handwritten beer specials on the chalkboard at the bar. I order the Original Ginger Beer (which is...

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The V-Spot: Do I Talk Too Much in Bed?
Jul10

The V-Spot: Do I Talk Too Much in Bed?

I recently started going out with this girl, but it already feels like we are magnets to one another (both inside and outside of the bedroom). But the last time we had sex an issue came up that broke up that magnet-like feeling for me.I’m someone who really wants to communicate about sex so I know how to make partners feel good in all the ways they want. So I was really confused when, during sex, my communication caused her...

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Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels
Jul07

Quakers Make Coal Plant Pilgrimage To Fight Fossil Fuels

A religious pilgrimage is taking place to oppose fossil fuel use in New England.Members of the New England Yearly Meeting, a group made up of Quakers from the six New England states, plan to walk 60 to 70 miles the week of July 9 from Schiller Station power plant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire — two of the few remaining coal-powered plants in New England (Schiller also burns wood and other...

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Tundrastomper Are Good Musical Neighbors in Western Mass
Jul03

Tundrastomper Are Good Musical Neighbors in Western Mass

Tundrastomper, an explosive, chaotic, and notey rock band, formed about 10 years ago when Skyler Lloyd, Sam Brivic, Andrew Jones, and Max Goldstein were teenagers — about 13 years old each. They grew up in a town in Westchester, New York, called Ardsley. I looked it up on Google Maps and, well, it is what you might expect for New York City suburbs: the green space is evenly split between golf clubs and public parks, and the houses...

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Get Pumped for Green River Fest With Pre-Show at The Root Friday
Jul03

Get Pumped for Green River Fest With Pre-Show at The Root Friday

Before the sounds of mic checks and inflating balloons echo over the Greenfield Community College verdant field to signal the start of Green River Fest next weekend (July 14-16), this Friday (July 7) Sun Parade and Twisted Pine will give the Valley a taste of the the genre-bending rock that’s in store with a show at The Root Cellar.Sun Parade’s music is chill and groovy with hypnotic melodies under a soft-fuzzy coo on the mic. Their...

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VIDEO Coming to Sessions: Brickabrack is basement rock with grunge attitude
Jul05

VIDEO Coming to Sessions: Brickabrack is basement rock with grunge attitude

Brickabrack is an indie basement rock band with plenty of grunge rock attitude. The local trio played a set on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage and the full performance will be released this Friday on July 7. Until then, here’s a teaser for Brickabrack.Can’t wait for Friday to see more Sessions? Check out some local bands...

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The Future of Western Mass Music Is Here: Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest
Jul03

The Future of Western Mass Music Is Here: Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest

On July 14, attendees of the Green River Festival will get a taste of the future of music in the Valley. The Next Wave Stage will feature a five-band concert with local bands with members ages 18 and younger. As a bonus, anyone 18 and under gets into the festival for free that day.During the spring, bands from Western Mass and Southern Vermont applied to get on the stage’s debut lineup. Jim Olsen, president of Signature Sounds and the...

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Cinemadope: I Like Mike, Michael Keaton doesn’t get enough credit
Jul03

Cinemadope: I Like Mike, Michael Keaton doesn’t get enough credit

In film, there have always been levels of stardom. There are those stars whose wattage is measured in tooth whiteness, and whose films are expected to earn many millions based more or less on their mere presence — your Pitts, your Cruises, your Lawrences. Then there are those whose star power is moodier, imbued with more actorly gravitas — the Day Lewises, for short. It’s okay if their films don’t always make millions, because they...

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Lexi Weege Plays Homefield Brewing Sunday
Jul03

Lexi Weege Plays Homefield Brewing Sunday

Woman of RockLexi Weege has picked up on how solo female acts are received: they’re objectified, controlled, censored, and restrained — but you won’t see any of that at a Weege show or hear it in her music. She’s punk AF in that way. Weege’s sound is bold, alive, and woke as hell. Her powerful voice and jazz-inspired compositions are just one aspect of Weege’s electric performances. Weege is a regular on...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Wonder Woman’s Got Nothing on Feline Empowerment
Jul03

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Wonder Woman’s Got Nothing on Feline Empowerment

For Father’s Day, I was treated to a screening of the new Wonder Woman movie. My daughter summed it up well: It was better than good, but not great.What I cannot understand is the fever this movie has generated. Women-only showings? Were there any women-only showings for Tomb Raider? One reviewer is said to have bawled her eyes out when Wonder Woman decked some bad dudes. Did anyone cry during Red Sonja?Wonder Woman has been touted as...

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Wizard of Oz Performed by Plucky PaintBox Theatre
Jul03

Wizard of Oz Performed by Plucky PaintBox Theatre

Do You Represent the Lollipop Guild?After more than 70 years since the film’s release (and more than 100 since the book’s), is there any more magic to be wrung from The Wizard of Oz? PaintBox Theatre has answered this jaded question with a resounding, Absolutely! With just three actors, a few props and a whole lot of cleverness and children’s art, the PaintBox troupe is going to recreate the wonderful world of Oz....

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Back Talk: With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?
Jul03

Back Talk: With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?

With Rep. Neal in Office, Who Needs a Republican?Thank you for the excellent article on Representative Richard Neal (“Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?” June 22-28, 2017). I remember when the state redrew our districts so that Northampton and Amherst, both from the 5 Collegeliberal quadrant, were separated. This thrust Northampton, where I lived, into Neal’s district, something at the time I was not happy about...

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The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective
Jul03

The News of the Weird Author is Retiring: Here’s a Retrospective

Editors Note: News of the Weird is ending, but we’ll be continuing the tradition at the Advocate, starting our own feature highlighting the oddities we find in the news. Watch for it next week!Weird News is forever, but this is my last “News of the Weird” column, as I am now exhausted after almost 30 years in the racket. In this final edition, I remember a few of my favorites. My deep thanks to Andrews McMeel Syndication and to...

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Sticks & Stones Won’t Break Your Bones at Hope and Feathers, Amherst
Jul03

Sticks & Stones Won’t Break Your Bones at Hope and Feathers, Amherst

Sticks and Stones II, the new exhibit at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery, is a contemplation of the very small and natural. The four artists contributing to this show meditated on things like pebbles, pieces of cloth, terra cotta, and textiles. The end result is a celebration of the little ones we take for granted.Look for terra cotta pieces by Mary Carroll, textile constructions by Sharon McCartney, mixed media/ assemblages by...

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Near-Centenarian Frances Crowe Says Pipeline Threatens Life On Earth
Jul03

Near-Centenarian Frances Crowe Says Pipeline Threatens Life On Earth

Ninety-eight-year-old peace activist Frances Crowe of Northampton is thinking about the future. That’s why she was arrested last month along with seven other people protesting Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s $93 million 13-mile tri-state Connecticut Expansion Project in Sandisfield’s Otis State Forest on June 24. The group, including Crowe, is set to appear in Southern Berkshire District Court for civil violations of trespassing on July 18....

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We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000
Jun30

We Got Our -ERN Back, Now How Bout That $80,000

Four months ago, then-Advocate arts editor Hunter Styles wrote an excellent take-down of the hugely unpopular ad campaign trying to rebrand our region with the name “West Mass.” The heart of it was a list of questions about a dizzying, poorly-thought-out video released along with the brand name — among them “Did it really need to cost $80,000 and take 11 months to decide to take the letters “-ern” off the existing name?”This week, the...

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Valley Advocate Sessions Tease: poly-rhythmic post-rock with EYES
Jun28

Valley Advocate Sessions Tease: poly-rhythmic post-rock with EYES

EYES is a post-rock band that excels at creating sonic soundscapes; walls of sound that are meditative and engaging. There are a lot of epic moments with EYES’ music that defy genre conventions. This local experimental quartet appeared on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage and the band’s full performance will be released on Friday, June 30. Until then, here’s a teaser to keep you wanting more.Can’t wait for Friday to...

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Staff Picks: Math Rock Rocks!
Jun27

Staff Picks: Math Rock Rocks!

Giraffes? Giraffes! + More Math — FridayIt’s a night of awesome math rock at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield this Friday. Expect unusual time signatures, angular guitar lines, and sheer epic experimental forays into the boundaries of rock n’ roll. Giraffes? Giraffes! is an immensely popular Western Mass-based math rock duo that headlines the night. Other great acts include the jazzy, mathy, and intensely...

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