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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Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley
Nov20

Having a Slice in the Pie-oneer Valley

A flaky crust, delicious filling, and a bite of nostalgia make pie the dessert of choice for many. Whether it’s pie with a damn fine cup of coffee or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, you’ll instantly be transported to sweet comfort heaven with just a bite … if it’s good pie, that is. At its worst, bad pie can be like a slap across the face, whether it’s nasty ass chemical pie (we’re looking at you McDonald’s) or pie that tastes like...

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Stream Queen: The Film and TV Industry is a Steaming Morass of Iniquity, but I’m Still Thankful
Nov20

Stream Queen: The Film and TV Industry is a Steaming Morass of Iniquity, but I’m Still Thankful

Dearest streamers, as the year draws to a close and we start to gather with our families (chosen or otherwise), it’s customary to take stock of how our lives have changed in the past 365 days. To say that the entertainment industry and all its iterations have changed in even the past month would be an understatement. Reverberations of female resistance can be felt in all areas of the entertainment world, which for so long has silenced...

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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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Stagestruck: Poetry, Puppetry and Attempted Murder
Nov20

Stagestruck: Poetry, Puppetry and Attempted Murder

Crimes of the Heart is an American classic. Beth Henley’s 1980 play garnered a Tony, a Pulitzer and a movie deal, ran on Broadway for over a year and has been a community theater staple ever since. Before catching Cate Damon’s lively production at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield (through Dec. 10) I hadn’t seen it for years, and was surprised at how quaint it now seems. The tumbling dialogue is humorously authentic (we’re in...

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The V-Spot: I Keep Falling for Straight Girls
Nov20

The V-Spot: I Keep Falling for Straight Girls

Hi Yana, I’m a 20-year-old student at one of the local women’s colleges. I’m gay and have been out for five years, though I’ve never dated anyone. I figured that it wouldn’t be too tricky to find someone here, since there’s a pretty large population of people who identify as LGBTQ+. However, despite the fact that I’m pretty social, and part of multiple student groups, I’ve only managed to fall for straight girls. To most people, I...

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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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Valley Show Girl: The Case of the Missing Wiki Edits
Nov13

Valley Show Girl: The Case of the Missing Wiki Edits

Tanya Pearson has been accumulating a continuous list of female musicians for her Women in Rock Oral History Project which she started at Smith College in December 2014. Accompanied by 29 video interviews (so far!) with some of them available on http://www.womenofrock.org, she has set the bar for having underrepresented female musicians speak their truth and tell their story behind what it’s like to be a female musician in a “Man’s...

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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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Klar’s ‘Paradise’ is Poetic and Fiery
Nov13

Klar’s ‘Paradise’ is Poetic and Fiery

Northampton-based singer-songwriter Jake Klar has undergone a metamorphosis from an acoustic driven folk artist to an alternative rock-poet who fuses psychedelic instrumentation with his knack for lyrical storytelling on his newest record, Until the Wild Fire Become Paradise, released on Oct. 20. Klar’s newest album sounds like all the best parts of The Basement Tapes era Bob Dylan, shoegaze rock a la Mazzy Star, and the alt-country...

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The V-Spot: I’m So Excited and…
Nov13

The V-Spot: I’m So Excited and…

Hey Yana, I just read a list of codependent behaviors on the internet and realized a ton of them describe the ways I have navigated/still navigate my relationships. Particularly: getting upset/stressed about other people’s problems and trauma, abandoning my needs to cater to others, and getting strong dips in my self-worth/self-confidence when the people in my life aren’t totally happy/excited about me. I realize these...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim
Nov13

Monte Belmonte Wines: Drink Up, Pilgrim

Thanksgiving: when (non-Native) Americans celebrate their favorite (made up) moments from (revisionist) history. A time when you will sit down to enjoy a feast  (with historically incorrect menu), lovingly seated around the table next to your (mouth-breathing) relatives. So before you begin debating your (racist) uncle about the pros and cons of the football team called the Redskins, raise a glass and drink wine macerated on actual...

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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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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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Basemental: Landowner’s Edgy Riff on the ‘American Dream’
Nov06

Basemental: Landowner’s Edgy Riff on the ‘American Dream’

When I heard there was a local band called Landowner, I thought: “Surely, they’re joking. This is satirical, right?” But punk is weird these days — everyone is on Facebook hoping companies will sponsor them — so I wasn’t completely sure. I started asking friends, “They’re not for real, right?” And no one knew. But what stunned me is that some not only took the name at face value, but thought it had merit, especially those who aspired...

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Valley V-Spot: My Partner is a Porn Addict, Now What?
Nov06

Valley V-Spot: My Partner is a Porn Addict, Now What?

Hi Yana, My partner has struggled with a pornography/masturbation addiction since he was a teen. I’m not against self pleasure. In fact, I believe it’s important and wonderful for everyone to experience, even when partnered. We’ve been together for 4 years, and our sex life is generally great. He was upfront with me about his issues with porn (his words) at an early point, but at the beginning he was contacting people outside of our...

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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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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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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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Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle
Oct30

Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle

As I wait for Brattleboro artist Joan O’Beirne to arrive at her exhibit “The Scarf,” showing now through Feb. 11 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, curator Mara Williams brings a museum guest into the showroom. She gestures to the (at least) 12-foot orange weave of cables winding its way down from an elevated chair to the floor on one side of the room. Williams explains, “she knitted it entirely out of extension cords.”...

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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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How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 
Oct30

How to Navigate Holiday Wine Tastings With Style 

As we tiptoe toward the holiday season, you may find yourself with the opportunity to attend a wine tasting. A chance to try endless, free, tiny pours of wines and other alcoholic beverages in anticipation of having to endure the darkest and saddest time of the year — Christmas. I actually love Christmas. And Hannukah. And Kwanza (not much drinking with that holiday, though). I especially love Thanksgiving. And as we get closer to...

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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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The V-Spot: How Do I Make Sexual Suggestions?
Oct30

The V-Spot: How Do I Make Sexual Suggestions?

Dear Yana, I’m a 30-something guy in a long-term relationship with a bisexual woman. She’s got a high sex drive and wants to have sex almost constantly. My desire doesn’t really match up with hers but I wonder if the issue is really that her sexual techniques don’t really line up with my tastes. Her confidence seems tenuous and I’m worried that my requests will deflate her. How could I best make suggestions towards what I want her to...

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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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V-Spot: Watching Porn in Public with Bella Vendetta (NSFW Trailer Included)
Oct23

V-Spot: Watching Porn in Public with Bella Vendetta (NSFW Trailer Included)

Editor’s note: This week instead of answering a reader question, Yana writes about an event she co-sponsored involving, well … read on! It’s not what you’d expect — this whole watching porn in a room full of strangers with your friends thing. On Saturday night, in an expansive room of the Eastworks building, about 50 of us did just that. And it was a wicked good time. The Training of Poe is an award-winning documentary-style...

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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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