Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?
Jun19

Can Rankled Rural Voters Dethrone Congressman Neal?

When Sara Weinberger moved from her longtime community of Northampton to neighboring Easthampton three years ago, she mostly loved it. The worst part, she said, was changing congressional districts — going from being represented by Worcester Democrat James McGovern to Springfield Democrat Richard Neal.After having a responsive congressman in McGovern, who Weinberger said listened to what she had to say, she was surprised to have the...

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Springfield Church To Offer Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants
Jun19

Springfield Church To Offer Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants

Faith leaders from six churches in Springfield have formed a “sanctuary network,” to provide shelter to undocumented immigrants in response to increasingly aggressive deportation tactics from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), including waiting outside court rooms and schools.South Congregational Church, 45 Maple St., would lead the network and provide housing for the undocumented. The other churches — Holy...

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How To Cut Unemployment — No, Really
Jun19

How To Cut Unemployment — No, Really

Whether you’re a 20-something fresh out of college looking for work or near retirement age and can’t find a job at your skill level, the trials and tribulations of unemployment are very real. It’s an issue that most people face in their adult lives and an age old problem without an easy solutions.Finding a job can be especially challenging if you have a criminal record. In the city of Holyoke, a local advocacy group, Neighbor to...

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Review: ‘Mikhail and Margarita’
Jun19

Review: ‘Mikhail and Margarita’

Though he is commonly considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, due to Soviet censorship, Mikhail Bulgakov never saw his most famous work published in his lifetime.Now, more than 40 years after its publication, and 70 years after Bulgakov’s death, Julie Lekstrom Himes, a Massachusetts fiction writer, is bringing Bulgakov into the 21st century.Bulgakov, (1891-1928), lived in Russia during the height of Joseph Stalin’s...

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Missed Connections: Loving You Leering At Me
Jun19

Missed Connections: Loving You Leering At Me

Compiled by Kristin PalpiniThe 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. You look over the fence — m4w (Springfield)I don’t mind really. Caught you a few times. It’s okay. I kind of like...

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Stream Queen: The ‘F’ Word
Jun19

Stream Queen: The ‘F’ Word

Feminism is a word that has puzzled/infuriated/strengthened so many people in this country. Debates over the goals of feminism rage on, while popular media outlets inject the word into their headlines for maximum clicks. Are selfies feminist? Is makeup feminist? Am I anti-feminist for making fun of Ann Coulter’s reanimated corpse?In my opinion, “feminist” is no longer a particularly useful adjective, unless it precedes words like...

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Basemental: The Leafies are a Guerilla Band
Jun19

Basemental: The Leafies are a Guerilla Band

Some might describe The Leafies You Gave Me as a “band,” but that would be an understatement. At least in the musical sense.Yes, they are musicians. And yes, they make music. But they are a band more like New Oxford American Dictionary’s second definition of the word band: “a group of people who have a common interest or purpose.” It cites the example of a “guerilla band,” which does seem fitting for this 10-piece avant garde...

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Should I Date Someone I’m Not Attracted To?
Jun19

Should I Date Someone I’m Not Attracted To?

I met a girl on a dating app. It was sort of an accidental swipe, but we started chatting and met up. She was really cool to hang out with, but physically, I didn’t find her very attractive. We kept talking and started spending time together.Now it has been a couple of months, and I’m having some reservations. Even though we really enjoy spending time together, I’m just not attracted to her physically, and it is...

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Django This Weekend: You’ve Never Heard an Accordion Rock Like This (w/vid)
Jun12

Django This Weekend: You’ve Never Heard an Accordion Rock Like This (w/vid)

Hot Gypsy JazzNorthampton’s annual Django in June is a week-long bonanza of Gypsy jazz workshops, concerts, and jamming with artists from across the globe. The event celebrates the musical stylings of Django Reinhardt. The music has been described as hot jazz or Gypsy swing, either way the sound is jolly, accessible, and unique. There’s a camp for “djam” musicians that runs throughout the celebration, but for the rest of us, there’s...

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What Was That All About? Weird Weed Maneuvers in the State House
Jun15

What Was That All About? Weird Weed Maneuvers in the State House

By Kristin PalpiniThe late-Wednesday delay of the House vote on recreational marijuana legislation signals politicians are taking weed — and the up-coming weed tax — seriously. The House bill would have levied up to a 28 percent tax rate on recreational sales, though opponents of the bill said language politicians have since called a “drafting error,” would allow for up to a 55 percent tax rate. The...

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Go: Revelations on Picasso’s Passion at The Clark
Jun12

Go: Revelations on Picasso’s Passion at The Clark

Pablo Picasso often painted himself as a bull.A fan of attending bullfights in his native Spain, the Cubist master saw himself as the hulking beast with big muscles, wild eyes, and swinging genitalia.In a piece now on view at The Clark in Williamstown, Large Bullfight With Female Bullfighter — a work largely interpreted to feature the artist, his wife, and his lover — the face of the bull is wild with smoothed-back curling hair. His...

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Rock, Paper, Scissors, NO Dynamite: Turners Falls to Unveil New Public Art
Jun12

Rock, Paper, Scissors, NO Dynamite: Turners Falls to Unveil New Public Art

The Art of Rock, Paper, ScissorsTake part in celebrating the newest sculpture in downtown Turners Falls — Rock, Paper, Scissors, a new work by artist Tim de Christopher. Christopher’s work was selected last spring as an addition to Avenue A from 30 proposals submitted to the Town of Montague and Turners Falls RiverCulture. The sculpture (above is a photo of the model Christopher made for his proposal) will make the new pedestrian...

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Staff Picks: A Movie About Obituary Writers Is Actually Awesome
Jun12

Staff Picks: A Movie About Obituary Writers Is Actually Awesome

Led Zeppelin Acoustic Tribute • Saturday The Acoustic Led Zeppelin Tribute Orchestra Project (TALZTOP, of course) will be performing the songs of Led Zeppelin without the use of electricity. The show will feature Houses of the Holy and the band’s strangely titled fourth album. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door of The Gathering. 700 Southbridge St., Worcester. 8 p.m. — Dave Eisenstadter Amherst Cinema • Thursday A...

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Rally for ‘God-Given Right’ to Guns Planned for Belchertown
Jun13

Rally for ‘God-Given Right’ to Guns Planned for Belchertown

By Chris Goudreau“America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio — the controversial right wing former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who is known for placing prisoners in tents under temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, forcing inmates to wear pink underwear, and has been criticized for human rights violations in his tenure, will be the headline speaker at a conservative rally in Belchertown on Saturday.The “4th Annual Flag Day...

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Franklin County Pride is On; Holyoke Has Month of LGBTQIA Events
Jun12

Franklin County Pride is On; Holyoke Has Month of LGBTQIA Events

Across the country celebrations are taking place for national Pride month, and the Pioneer Valley is no exception. Franklin County and the city of Holyoke are hosting events to bring together the LGBTQIA community.This year marks the return of Franklin Country Pride, which will take place in Greenfield on June 24th, after taking a year or two off. Organized and lead by a team of volunteers, the celebration will occur in two parts.The...

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Bloom! at Gallery A3 in Amherst
Jun12

Bloom! at Gallery A3 in Amherst

Current BloomersBloom is a loaded word. Stuffed with all the meaning we attach to it — hope for new beginnings, youth, mortality, inspiration — ‘bloom’ says more than its five letters. Gallery A3 is exploring this concept in their June exhibit: Bloom! Featuring two artists — painter Tom Morton and painter/mosaicmaker Nancy Meagher — Bloom! focuses on interpretations of landscapes. Meagher’s contribution includes paintings of local...

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Worthy Beer Fest in Springfield Saturday
Jun12

Worthy Beer Fest in Springfield Saturday

Are You Worthy?Yes, yes you are — if you’re 21 or over. The Worthy is back, ya’ll, and sudsier than ever for this year’s outdoors craft beer showcase.The Springfield brewfest, in the city’s most entertaining neighborhood: Worthington Street, is going down Saturday and will feature more than 20 local brewers. Old favorites like Amherst Brewing, Stone Brewing, and Berkshire Brewing Company will be there as well as some newer names: Iron...

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Why The Hell Aren’t There More Feminist Movies? An Advocate Chat
Jun08

Why The Hell Aren’t There More Feminist Movies? An Advocate Chat

The Advocate Chat is a recurring series where the Valley Advocate staff talks about a topic on their minds. The text below has been lightly edited. kristinpalpini (Editor-in-Chief Kristin Palpini): To set the mood on this feminist convo, a story from our buds at The Onion, which apparently has been making me laugh for the past two years. dave.eisen (Managing Editor Dave Eisenstadter): Nice, I love how this is set in Portland,...

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The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers, Western Mass Beer Week is Upon Us
Jun05

The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers, Western Mass Beer Week is Upon Us

Any out-of-towner who would guess Western Mass has a quiet craft beer scene is bound for a rude, brewed awakening. But even locals may be surprised at the scope of the second annual Western Mass Beer Week, which runs June 10-17. Last year’s series of events at breweries, bars and restaurants around the Valley attracted 35 businesses, which hosted (by my count) 52 events. This year, more than 50 businesses are participating in 70...

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Together at Last: Rockwell and Warhol Side-by-Side Exhibit
Jun05

Together at Last: Rockwell and Warhol Side-by-Side Exhibit

An exhibit featuring Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol might seem like polar opposite artists sharing a space, but that’s selling both of these geniuses short.Rockwell is best known for a “wholesome” style that doesn’t have a hint of subversion. But a closer look at Rockwell’s photographic, stylized portrayals of American life reveal something a little sickeningly sweet: those smiles, the gun in the cops holster, the dirty nails of the...

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LISTEN UP: The Best Local 18-&-Under Bands to Play Green River Fest Revealed!
Jun05

LISTEN UP: The Best Local 18-&-Under Bands to Play Green River Fest Revealed!

In a new addition to the 30-plus -year-old Green River Fest, Signature Sounds has found the best local bands with musicians ages 18 and under to be featured performers Friday night on the Next Wave Stage.But wait there’s more! Friday night admission will be free to anyone under age 18.Sponsored by the Valley Advocate, the five winners of The Next Wave competition will each play a set July 14 on, where else, the longrunning...

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Basemental: Dump Him’s New Record Is Really Freaking Good
Jun05

Basemental: Dump Him’s New Record Is Really Freaking Good

Editor’s note: Jaclyn Walsh uses they/them pronouns.Valley musician, student, and DIY booker Jaclyn Walsh wants you to dump your boyfriend so much that they named their band Dump Him.On the surface such a statement might charm the misandrists and queercore punks more than it appeals to standard bearing capitalist-hetero-patriarchs. But to only look so far would be to miss the point — or the attitude and ethic behind the band. Just...

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Valley Advocate Sessions TEASE: Spirit Ghost
Jun07

Valley Advocate Sessions TEASE: Spirit Ghost

Spirit Ghost, an Amherst-based indie garage rock band with a splash of surf, came into the Valley Advocate Offices to record for Valley Advocate Sessions on May 23. The band’s full performance and interview will be available on Valley Advocate’s website and the Valley Advocate Sessions page on Friday. Until then, here’s a teaser to satiate your ghostly hunger. Can’t wait for Spirit Ghost’s full...

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Cinemadope: City Mouse, Rat Film exposes who the rodents really are in Baltimore
Jun05

Cinemadope: City Mouse, Rat Film exposes who the rodents really are in Baltimore

Fans of filmmaker John Waters might be familiar with the director’s odd fascination with rats. They crop up with some regularity in his life and work — from the original poster for 1977’s Desperate Living, which featured a cooked rat on a restaurant dinner plate, to the opening scenes of his film Pecker some two decades later, which zoomed in on a pair of the rodents in flagrante delicto, the humble rat has become Waters’ spirit...

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News Of The Weird: Worshiping Hadley Grass
Jun05

News Of The Weird: Worshiping Hadley Grass

Reverence for the lineage of asparagus continues in epic yearly Anglican church festivities in Worcester, England, where in April celebrants obtained a special blessing for the vegetable by local priests as a costumed asparagus pranced through the street praising the stalks as representing “the generosity of God.” Critics (including clergy from other parishes) likened the parades to a Monty Python sketch, and “an infantile pantomime,”...

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Get Out: Pioneer Valley Summer Arts & Culture Preview 2017
Jun01

Get Out: Pioneer Valley Summer Arts & Culture Preview 2017

The Valley is home to a wealth of arts and cultural events. So many, in fact, that the Advocate prints four seasonal arts preview editions every year — and really we could do one every month. This edition is all about what you can expect to see in the Valley, plus the Berkshires, this summer. We picked some of the biggest, best, and potentially overlooked events happening from now through September. We couldn’t list everything, so...

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Stagestruck: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Alive! and Playing in Amherst – Times Two
May30

Stagestruck: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Alive! and Playing in Amherst – Times Two

“We do on stage the things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else.” That line, spoken by a traveling player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, could well be the elevator pitch for Tom Stoppard’s audaciously meta-theatrical play. Because that’s what it is: a backstage tour of Hamlet conducted by the pair of pawns who are summoned by the king to...

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Stagestruck: Radical Notions, ‘Kunstler’ and ‘Heartbreak House’
May28

Stagestruck: Radical Notions, ‘Kunstler’ and ‘Heartbreak House’

In my column in last week’s Advocate, a preview of the Valley’s summer-theater season, I reported that many of the area’s upcoming shows reflect, indirectly or explicitly, “the political landscape we are all traversing these days.” Sure enough, the first two summer shows out of the gate – not in the Valley but in Pittsfield and Hartford – do indeed invite, and in one case compel, reflections on our perilous present day through the...

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Cinemadope: Mad Max ‘Black & Chrome’ Escapes Hollywood’s Color Crutch
May30

Cinemadope: Mad Max ‘Black & Chrome’ Escapes Hollywood’s Color Crutch

There has been a trend in Hollywood filmmaking that, for the last decade or so, has steadily changed the look of our blockbusters. It’s a pervasive change, but one that has happened gradually enough that many people aren’t even aware that it has been happening, quite literally in front of their eyes. So then, a warning: If you haven’t noticed, and don’t want the way you look at movies to be changed forever, skip the next paragraph.The...

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Staff Picks: Gloom, Death, And Heavy Metal At Stoned To Death II
May30

Staff Picks: Gloom, Death, And Heavy Metal At Stoned To Death II

Karaoke • TuesdaySinging karaoke with DJ Greg Reil sounds like a good way to belt out whatever is in my soul. I don’t take requests. Karaoke with Reil goes down on Tuesday nights, free, at the Platform Sports Grill and Bar, 125A Pleasant St., Northampton. — Dave Eisenstadter Lisa Marie Ellingsen   • Friday Local singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Ellingsen will release her new album, NoLa to NoHo, on June 2 at the Parlor Room in...

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Valley Show Girl: Queer Punk Rocks at Flywheel in Easthampton
May30

Valley Show Girl: Queer Punk Rocks at Flywheel in Easthampton

One of my all-time favorite venues to see local bands will always be Flywheel’s first location. The alternative performing arts space first opened in 1999 on Holyoke Street in downtown Easthampton. During the early 2000’s, it was my sanctuary. I met so many people in those years attending these DIY-styled shows. It’s one of the places that made me fall in love with live music and performance art.Since the 15-plus years since I first...

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A Love Letter to Radio: Johnny Memphis Band’s ‘Rarities’
May30

A Love Letter to Radio: Johnny Memphis Band’s ‘Rarities’

Polka, doo-wop, jazz swing, and country western music — you wouldn’t think one band would cover these eclectic genres across six songs, but The Johnny Memphis Band, based out of Florence, does just that and more on its new record, Rarities.The sole songwriter for the band is Johnny Memphis, aka John Reily, a former WRSI disc jockey who adopted his stage name when he got his start on the airwaves in 1986. The band’s new album is a love...

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News Of The Weird: The Economics Of Asteroid Mining
May30

News Of The Weird: The Economics Of Asteroid Mining

Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak’s 98-page paper (leaked to Business Insider in April) touted the wealth obtainable by capturing the platinum reputed to be in asteroids. The costs to mine the stone (rockets, launch expenses, etc.) might have dropped recently to about $3 billion — a trifle next to the $50 billion worth of platinum Poponak said a single asteroid might contain. (On the other hand, experts point out, such abundance of...

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The Pour Man: Purple Heart Won My Heart
May30

The Pour Man: Purple Heart Won My Heart

Generally, I’m reluctant to get overly excited about wines with a cause. They often seem like gimmicky marketing ploys to promote less than stellar wines by pulling on your philanthropic heart strings.But every rule has a few exceptions: A couple of years ago I recommended Chateau La Paws, which gives money to no-kill shelters for cats and dogs.Purple Heart, too, is worth recommending because it’s a very good wine, and there’s the...

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Leisurely Calves Make for the Best Parades: Strolling of the Heifers This Weekend
May30

Leisurely Calves Make for the Best Parades: Strolling of the Heifers This Weekend

Leisurely Heifers Make for the Best ParadesSpain may have the running of the bulls, but Vermont’s got the strolling of the heifers. What’s the rush, right? The annual Brattleboro Strolling of the Heifers is a weekend-long celebration of agriculture, art, and community. Events start Friday evening with a blockparty/gallery walk and street festival. The big event of the evening is The Great New England Fruit Pie Baking Competition (Not...

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