Stagestruck: ‘Life in the (413)’ skewers local culture Saturday
Apr24

Stagestruck: ‘Life in the (413)’ skewers local culture Saturday

Back in the day — way, way back — live radio drama was a staple of the airwaves. As script-toting actors gathered around microphones, their dialogue was peppered with live sound effects, backed by a live band and punctuated with live commercial breaks, often with a live studio audience looking on.Lately, New Century Theatre, in partnership with radio station WHMP, has joined in the genre’s recent rebirth as a staged theatrical event....

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Staff picks: Get out there and enjoy the Valley!
Apr25

Staff picks: Get out there and enjoy the Valley!

Upper Valley Music Festival – Saturday, April 29My wife is going to be participating in an all-day yoga event Saturday, leaving me with our 3-month-old. What better way to entertain the little guy than 12 hours of live music in Greenfield with dozens of acts on five stages? Tickets are $20. Venues throughout downtown Greenfield. Music goes from noon to midnight. More information at http://www.uppervalleymusicfest.com. -Dave...

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Cinemadope: This Is Spinal Tap deadpans for gold
Apr24

Cinemadope: This Is Spinal Tap deadpans for gold

While the idea of a “mockumentary” now seems almost old-hat, in 1984 director Rob Reiner gave birth to the zany medium.His ridiculously entertaining satire about life on the road with aging, British metal band Spinal Tap during their American comeback tour was mostly improvpotised, with stars Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer leading the charge. At the time, it was almost puzzling in the strength of its deadpan.Not...

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Nice Pot! The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail open studios this weekend
Apr24

Nice Pot! The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail open studios this weekend

Nice Pot! Flowers are blooming on the trees, the sun is shining, and asparagus are being planted in the Valley, which means it’s time for the annual springtime Asparagus Valley Potter Trail. Every year the self-guided tour takes place across nine pottery studios in Western Mass. This year 13 guest artists will also be displaying their work. Witness the elegance of a sassy red clay robot by Francine & Frank Ozereko or creations such as...

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Just a Taste (VIDEO): Hannah and Maggie, folk pop duo, to be featured on Sessions Friday
Apr26

Just a Taste (VIDEO): Hannah and Maggie, folk pop duo, to be featured on Sessions Friday

Nice photo ^^ Nice video vvCan’t wait for more Sessions? Head over to the Sessions page and listen to more of the best local bands you might not have heard of – and a couple you probably...

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Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place
Apr24

Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place

For writer Elinam Agbo, words are like air.“If I go too long without expressing my thoughts in one way or another, I begin to feel suffocated and distant from my memories as well as my lived moments,” said Agbo, this year’s winner of the Valley Advocate’s Juniper Summer Writing Program scholarship at UMass Amherst.The Juniper program focuses on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and is hosted by the UMass Master of Fine Arts program for...

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Basemental: Bella’s Wild Rose Reviewed
Apr24

Basemental: Bella’s Wild Rose Reviewed

Editor’s note: Bella Ortia-Wren uses they/their pronouns.Bella Ortia-Wren, who goes by just “Bella” on stage, plays a blue Fender Mustang, a small-bodied guitar with single coil pickups, that sounds shimmery and crisp through a few hot-tempered distortion boxes. Decadent chords cut through creating a wild, untamed haze which is the foundation for Wild Rose , their new album to be released on Bandcamp later this week. Ortiz-Wren...

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Review: Krakatoa Picnic Got Me Lit, Check out James Heflin’s palpable poetry Friday
Apr24

Review: Krakatoa Picnic Got Me Lit, Check out James Heflin’s palpable poetry Friday

The first thing you need to know about Krakatoa Picnic is that the imagery in this book of poems, by James Heflin, will sear you to the side of the Indonesian volcano.The collection of sci-fi-influenced prose is vivid in its tactile descriptions of place, people, and time. Heflin, a Deerfield resident and former Advocate arts editor, creates scenarios that are lyrical and triple-doused in meaning, yet nimble and often a little...

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Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan
Apr24

Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan

Earth First & Last Like children       in summertime,       our planet thrives on vivid evidence that there is always something to be. Unlike fools who amass acres by way of massacres, nature plants herself in one area and creates worlds around her. Earth itself (like birds and wisdom) feeds on uncertainty and sees death for what it is: the freedom to erode. — Connolly Ryan Connolly Ryan is a poet and senior lecturer at UMass Amherst...

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Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018
Apr19

Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018

Democrat and political newcomer Jon Ossoff failed to capture Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in the first round. But Tuesday’s special election results may give Democrats across the country hopes of recapturing the House in 2018 and thwarting the second half of Donald Trump’s term as president.Ossoff reached just above 48 percent of the vote; one vote above 50 percent would have earned him a seat right away....

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In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program
Apr18

In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program

It was a terrible way to start the New Year.Three people died and nearly 50 were displaced as a fire consumed the five-story building at 106 North East Street on January 1, 2017.Looking for a quick way to respond, the City of Holyoke has expanded its federally funded Rental Neighborhood Improvement Program to provide financial incentive to rental property owners to include more robust fire alarm systems.The program already provided...

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Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?
Apr18

Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?

From the outside, 5 Appleton St. in Holyoke looks like any number of towering, brick artifacts from a time when Holyoke earned its unofficial title “The Paper City.” But looks can be deceiving. New life is being breathed into the 200,000 square-foot facility and that’s all due to recreational marijuana.Unlike some of the neighboring buildings, this 125-year-old mill, located in the downtown canal district, has been busy since starting...

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Is this World War III? Not yet
Apr17

Is this World War III? Not yet

A chemical weapons attack in Syria, a missile strike from the United States and worsening relations with Russia have made this month a serious pivot point in the protracted Syrian conflict.Is this the moment future historians will identify as the start to a new Cold War with Russia, the beginning of a larger U.S. intervention in Syria or even World War III? (Will there be any future historians at that point?) A short recap of what has...

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Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue
Apr18

Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue

Welcome, to this week’s jam-packed Advocate. We’ve got the winners of our annual Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll, 4/20-themed stories in celebration of Massachusetts’ first year of legal recreational weed, more about our new online Friday music concerts, Sessions, and news about what’s going on at the paper.First up: The Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll is a who’s who and what’s what of all the top people, places, and businesses...

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Stream Queen: Blazing flicks to watch while high
Apr18

Stream Queen: Blazing flicks to watch while high

It’s 4/20, and whether you consider today a national holiday or just a chance to gather some friends and smoke, you’ll probably end up watching something. Thankfully, now that it’s no longer the ’70s, stoners can open Netflix or YouTube and watch something unique and outlandish, instead of just staring at a psychedelic Grateful Dead poster.Some high wisdom is obvious. For instance, if you’ve eaten an edible and you’re wondering...

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V-Spot: Am I Queer or a Fraud?
Apr18

V-Spot: Am I Queer or a Fraud?

Over the past year, I’ve thought a lot about my sexuality. Recently, I came across the term “heteroflexible” and immediately, I felt like I identified with it more than any other sexual orientation I previously knew about.However, I continue to feel invalidated by my lack of sexual experience with people who are the same gender. I know sexuality isn’t defined by our experiences but by what we think and how we feel. But I can’t help...

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Cinemadope: TED talks live on the Cinemark screen
Apr18

Cinemadope: TED talks live on the Cinemark screen

TED talks — the bite-sized presentations given at the organization’s annual Technology, Education, and Design conference — have become an oddly popular cultural phenomenon. At once elitist and public-spirited (a standard conference membership will run you 10 grand, yet thousands of the famous talks are available for free on TED.com), it has become a sort of intellectual snack food, shared on social media with attention-grabbing titles...

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From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches
Apr17

From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches

Hot HaikusIn response to our call on our Facebook page “It is in the 80s today. Someone write a haiku about the weather in the comments”, here’s a few entries from the community:Massachusetts spring No rhyme or reason to it Roller coaster ride— Frank GiulianoHot enough to swim Spring has only just started Be prepared for snow— Wil KingHey, now I can use all of these ice cubes in my refrigerator.— Corey Plucker  Not so Rattled by...

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News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed
Apr17

News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed

If at first you don’t succeed…Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes. Among the initial exhibits: coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic “For Her” pen (because women’s handwriting needs are surely unique); the Twitter Peek (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and receive...

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Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield
Apr17

Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield

After a full day of sitting inside a dankly weed-scented office — we did a photo shoot of some nuggets for this 4/20 issue — my first thought walking into The Root Cellar in Greenfield for an experimental show is “damn this place smells good” … and familiar. I’m fashionably late and, regrettably, miss the first set by Fully Glazed (Richie Records, Members of Watery Love). After ordering a well-deserved beer, I sit at the wooden...

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Jill Stein will speak at Smith Wednesday
Apr16

Jill Stein will speak at Smith Wednesday

Dr. Jill Stein, activist and third party presidential candidate extraordinaire, will speak at Smith College on Wednesday, April 19.The talk will take place from 7 to 9 at the Weinstein Auditorium and is free and open to the public.Stein was the Green-Rainbow Party presidential candidate in the 2012 and 2016 elections and has been, throughout her life, a notable and accomplished environmental activist. The public is welcome to come to...

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That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me
Apr14

That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me

I had never read Noam Chomsky before or seen him speak, but I’d definitely heard about him over the years. Most recently when watching the movie “Captain Fantastic,” when the main characters — a super smart, back-to-the-land family — all celebrate “Chomsky Day” as if it was Christmas.There was a lot of hype for his talk at the UMass Amherst Mullins Center on Thursday night and the line to get in stretched well down the...

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Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home
Apr10

Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home

Machakos is a city and county in Kenya. It’s a beautiful place. The large palms, and safari grass are strong and bright, the blue sky dominates the flat and open landscape. But the beauty of Machakos can be deceiving: poverty is a struggle many people face. Because money and time means survival, there are few resources to invest in the arts. It’s not to say that Machakos doesn’t appreciate creativity, there just often isn’t the space...

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News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai
Apr10

News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai

Recently, in Dubai — the largest city in the United Arab Emirates — Dubai Civil Defense started using water jetpacks that lift firefighters off the ground to hover in advantageous positions as they work the hoses. Also, using jet skis, rescuers can avoid traffic altogether by using the city’s rivers to arrive at fires and, if close enough to a waterway, can pump water without hydrants. Even more spectacularly, as early as this summer,...

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Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College
Apr10

Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College

Our Lady LaverneLaverne Cox grew up in Mobile, Alabama, raised by a single mother in a Christian family. Back then, it wasn’t at all clear that she would end up attending college in New York City and pursuing a career as an actress, let alone that she would become one of the most celebrated names on television (notably for her role as Sophia Burset on the series Orange is the New Black, for which she became the first openly...

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April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst
Apr10

April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst

Close to NoamLeftist hero Noam Chomsky, now 88, has been around the block a few times, picking up new fields of expertise like normal people pick up groceries. He’s a world-renowned linguist, philosopher, author, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, analytic philosopher, political activist, and libertarian socialist who has written more than 100 books. His talk at UMass this week, sponsored by the Political Economy Research...

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BTL: How Democrats can get their Supreme Court Revenge
Apr10

BTL: How Democrats can get their Supreme Court Revenge

Thanks to Republican dirty tricks, Trump-nominee Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. But a little-known political maneuver from the 1930s might be the Democrat’s ticket to wresting back Court control.Gorsuch will be seated on the court with 54 “Yea” votes, fewer than any justice except for Clarence Thomas, who got 52. Senate ‘Yes’ votes for Supreme Court nominees since JFK  The vote, which took...

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MISSED CONNECTIONS: ‘you are sooooooo attractive’
Apr10

MISSED CONNECTIONS: ‘you are sooooooo attractive’

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed Connection forum, you really should. The following is a samples from the Western Mass forum. Post dates have been added.RR Restaurant 3/26 — m4w (Spfld)You are soooo attractive! We exchanged glances multiple times. I don’t want to get into details because that might be embarrassing. I was with … Oops. Well, just though, if anything, you should know how hot you are. We can talk...

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Down to Earth: Trump’s cuts to science are a knife to my heart
Apr10

Down to Earth: Trump’s cuts to science are a knife to my heart

We tell stories to know who we are. Speaking our own stories, we rediscover ourselves. And by hearing and identifying with one another’s journeys, we discover and reach each other, too.My world — my story — is one of science.I birdwatch. I teach students how to write about science. As a graduate student, I studied geology — the science of the vast, beautiful, complicated earth — then applied it as an environmental consultant helping...

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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 PeopleFrom 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 and,...

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Stream Queen: From Low-Budget Dreams to Indie Esteem
Apr03

Stream Queen: From Low-Budget Dreams to Indie Esteem

In our world of studio filmmaking driven by franchises and sequels, creators looking to develop original ideas are often restricted to independent production. While indie filmmaking means working on a shoestring budget, it also often means the cast and crew are creating a passion project, working to make something cinephiles have never seen before. Despite what Netflix tells you, “indie” is less a genre and more a means of film...

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Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts
Apr03

Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts

A Woman AliveAs I walked into Gateway City Arts in Holyoke for the first time, I came to a dead stop to admire the factory-style architecture. The ceilings are very high, with a huge industrial ceiling fan staring down. The large stage was lit up awaiting performers, with just a few dozen people starting to gather in the metal folding chairs.I made my way to the bar at the back of the venue to check out the list of appetizer specials...

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On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music
Apr03

On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music

War and MusicPlaywright Quiara Alegría Hudes has jumped onto our cultural radar many times over the years — she received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful, and she wrote the book for the musical In The Heights alongside future Hamilton star Lin-Manual Miranda — but we get to delve into a somewhat quieter (but no less powerful) part of her repertoire this month with the UMass production of her...

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Letters to the Editor: ‘Achievers have been out bred and out voted’
Apr10

Letters to the Editor: ‘Achievers have been out bred and out voted’

Stay Home From SchoolBetter questions for the article (“Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline: Springfield reduces in-school arrests, but is it enough?”, March 30-April 5, 2017) would have been: Why were the students arrested? Did anyone do the same thing and were not arrested?We had children in schools when Dr. Peter Negroni was superintendent of Springfield schools [in the 1990s]. Crime in the schools was a regular occurrence. A...

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Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman
Apr03

Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman

Dynamic DuoEasthampton City Arts+ kicks off the third annual Easthampton Book Fest with the first installment of the new Grist for the Mill speaker series, with inaugural guests Michael Musto (a longtime writer at The Village Voice) and Mickey Boardman, the editorial director of PAPER Magazine. Musto and Boardman riff off each other hilariously, like professional verbal ping pong players, and they’re sure to add a big dose of levity...

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