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...

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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...

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Western Mass Missed Connections: To The Welcoming Hippies Who Generously Dosed Me…
May22

Western Mass Missed Connections: To The Welcoming Hippies Who Generously Dosed Me…

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.Berkshire co-op deli bar — m42 (Great Barrington)Incredible lady. I think you noticed me seeing you as you were ordering at the deli/sandwich bar in the...

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The V-Spot: Does That Guy Ask Everyone Out?
May22

The V-Spot: Does That Guy Ask Everyone Out?

Where is the line between “If you like someone, ask them out!” and “Oh, that guy asks everyone out”???— Master DaterFrom your question, it sounds like you like a lot of people. Maybe you’re getting some flack for that from friends or foes? True, you don’t want to make your potential dates feel somehow unspecial because they saw you on campus asking out everyone else around you — and left them as the 24th person you’ve asked out in a...

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Cinemadope: Northampton Movie Night
May22

Cinemadope: Northampton Movie Night

An evening in Northampton has never been boring. Meet your date for a cocktail or a glass of wine, move on to dinner at any number of downtown bites, catch a concert, go to an art opening. Stroll the streets, duck into the renovated Pulaski Park, circle Paradise Pond on the Smith campus. They weren’t kidding when they settled on “walk into something wonderful” as the slogan for downtown.But get the itch to see a movie, and your...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Summer Stage Preview — Part I: The Berkshires
May15

Summer Stage Preview — Part I: The Berkshires

Most theaters in this region have only two seasons: summer and the rest of the year. None of the area’s professional companies are truly year-round. Some focus on intensive summer repertories of multiple shows with two- and three-week runs, while others produce only occasionally or mount fall-to-spring seasons with longer runs. “Intensive” and “multiple” are the key terms here. At least two-thirds of my annual theatergoing happens in...

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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,...

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Cinemadope: It’s Going to Be a Damn Fine Reboot, and FREE Streaming Movies )w/vid)
May15

Cinemadope: It’s Going to Be a Damn Fine Reboot, and FREE Streaming Movies )w/vid)

Amherst Cinema is gearing up for the return of Special Agent Dale Cooper. Kyle MacLachlan returns to TV this week in his early role as Cooper, the FBI man who got tied up in the death of Laura Palmer and the mysteries of Twin Peaks when the show of the same name first aired in the early 1990s on ABC. I was in high school then, and watching the original was a life-changer: it was dark and weird and funny and sweet in a way nothing had...

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Review: Historic Northampton’s ‘Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains.’
May15

Review: Historic Northampton’s ‘Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains.’

The first thing I notice walking into Historic Northampton’s gallery on Bridge Street (besides how interesting the 1800s home is) is that my interpretation of the show’s title is wrong.The exhibit, Laws Change. People Die. The Land Remains, is a collection of landscape art by five local artists and curated by Sally Curcio and Anne LaPrade Seuthe. The show name is taken from an Abraham Lincoln quote that is cherished by...

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Poem: A Sunny Reunion in Look Park
May15

Poem: A Sunny Reunion in Look Park

The mesmerizing reversal of icy lunacyfrom sitting in the long-absent sunshineis exactly what his fetus signed up forand intuited long ago in the bogof his mother’s biospheric love. The scent of soil; the touch of heat;the spectacle of black birds mirroredin the glinting pond are all great and gentlecomforts to a boy who has seen sorrow up closeand swallowed his share of shared pain. Having fled the faded nest of domestic...

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Valley Show Girl: Alt Jazz With The Greys at The Still in Agawam (w/vid)
May15

Valley Show Girl: Alt Jazz With The Greys at The Still in Agawam (w/vid)

A couple of weeks ago on The Still’s Instagram page they posted a beautiful picture of a mint julep. I’ve never had one, but always wanted to try the drink simply because that’s what they drank in The Great Gatsby. So, when I saw that The Greys were playing at The Still, I was like “Yes! I get to drink a mint julep while listening to jazz, so Daisy Buchanan of me.” And that I did. Although, I learned I don’t like mint juleps, but I do...

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Valley Music Showcase in Easthampton, Friday (w/vid)
May15

Valley Music Showcase in Easthampton, Friday (w/vid)

Valley Music ShowcaseGenres clash in the most melodic way possible Friday night in Easthampton. The Valley Music Showcase at the New City Brewery is a “bi-monthly mini music fest” — or as I like to call it, the Bi-Mon Min-MuFest — and it pulls from all musical genres, according to organizers. The fest is judged and there are prizes for the winner. This show’s bands include a wealth of Valley Advocate Sessions alumni: Grayson Ty, The...

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Theater: ‘Shipwrecked!’ You Had Me at Giant Killer Octopus
May15

Theater: ‘Shipwrecked!’ You Had Me at Giant Killer Octopus

You Had Me at Giant Killer OctopusRight now, in Trump’s post-truth America, is an excellent time to stage Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself). The play is based on the grandiose stories of a Victorian huckster who fills in the audience about his time as a castaway in the South Pacific, including anecdotes about a killer octopus, cannibals, and buried treasure. Written by Donald Margulies,...

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Contemporary Stillness: Larry Preston’s Solo Exhibit Rethinks the Silent Ordinary (w/vid)
May15

Contemporary Stillness: Larry Preston’s Solo Exhibit Rethinks the Silent Ordinary (w/vid)

Be Still (Life), My HeartContemporary still life artist Larry Preston paints solely for himself and what he interprets as beautiful. Beauty is often lost in ordinary objects you see all the time. Preston’s art focuses on bringing out those details and you’ll surely view them from a different perspective. Preston’s recent oil paintings will be showcased through a solo exhibit at William Baczek Fine Arts. Larry Preston solo show:...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Join the Herd: Donna the Buffalo Stampedes Into Town (w/vid)
May08

Join the Herd: Donna the Buffalo Stampedes Into Town (w/vid)

Join the HerdQuintessential ’90s folk rock band Donna the Buffalo is coming to Holyoke as part of the group’s politically-active Stampede Tour. In addition to providing groove-heavy dance-able tunes, Donna the Buffalo seeks to bring attention to the inappropriate use of money to influence politics. DtB’s music is a mix of electric Americana, Cajun/Zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country that produces a high-energy sound. Call out your...

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What Will the Hatchery Do Next? Inventive Dance Performance This Weekend
May08

What Will the Hatchery Do Next? Inventive Dance Performance This Weekend

So, You Know They Can DanceAn homage to Wes Anderson’s highly stylized films and a self-reflective, choreographed spoken-word piece called “Perception” were among the performances featured in Hatchery’s debut show this winter. The pre-professional dance troupe’s second show is coming up this weekend, and it’s exciting to think about what this 10-person group of 13- to 19-year-olds have created. Part of the School for Contemporary...

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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: ‘Bad Channels’ Tune Into 666 … if you dare (w/vid)
May08

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: ‘Bad Channels’ Tune Into 666 … if you dare (w/vid)

I was saddened when I heard the news that Paul O’Neil, the founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, had died. It seems my favorite bands have either passed away (the Ramones, the Cramps), or are eligible for AARP but continue to stumble on. In addition to Sparks and Alice Cooper, the Blue Oyster Cult is a prime example of the latter. Looking to expand their fan base in 1992, BOC produced the soundtrack for a movie called Bad Channels....

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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...

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Staff Picks: See The Greys in Agawam
May09

Staff Picks: See The Greys in Agawam

The Greys at The Still in Agawam • FridayThe Greys came in a couple months ago to perform a Sessions set with us and the duo had me in awe. The powerful, whispering voice of singer Cait Simpson folds perfectly inside the jazz-styled stand up bass plucking of Chris Merritt. They make their debut at The Still this Friday playing some originals along with “haunting renditions” of covers. 7 p.m., The Still, 858 Suffield St. — Jennifer...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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The Beerhunter: Stay Chilled, My Friends
May08

The Beerhunter: Stay Chilled, My Friends

In beer, as in life, context matters. If you crash a friend’s wedding in basketball shorts, you may be riding that easygoing reputation of yours a little too far. Conversely, if you’re mowing your lawn on a hot day, and you decide to dress up your lunch break by popping open a bottle of imperial stout, your chances of getting back off that cool, comfy couch drop to virtually nil.There’s a reason we eat, drink, and make merry by...

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