Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera
Apr03

Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera

The Tribe That QuestsIn recent years, ensemble theater group Children of the Wild has managed something nifty: the full integration of the musical band dynamic into their touring acts. Music and theater fused completely in the show The Wastelands, an original experimental folk opera inspired by Dante’s Purgatorio that toured the Great Lakes region from June to October 2016, taking over real-world settings like abandoned factories and...

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Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective
Apr03

Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective

One of the GreatsNew Orleans native Terence Blanchard has become one of America’s most respected jazz musicians, working as a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. He was an integral figure in the 1980s jazz resurgence, and his trumpet can be heard on nearly 50 film scores. But he’s pushing boundaries with his new quintet, The E-Collective — a project that fuses funk, R&B, dance, and blues. The group’s...

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On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”
Apr03

On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”

History Hangs OverheadIf you’re looking to get out this week and into an immersive installation inspired by Islamic architecture — we’ve got just the local exhibit for you (actually, it’s the only one). Soo Sunny Park created ”Luminous Muqarna” for the Islamic Arts Festival in the United Arab Emirates in an effort to transform our experience of light from something merely perceptual into something big, heavy, and physical. The work’s...

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Between the Lines: Western Mass Needs More Rattlesnakes
Apr03

Between the Lines: Western Mass Needs More Rattlesnakes

No one knows how many timber rattlesnakes there are in Massachusetts — and this is a sticking point for opponents of a plan to boost the endangered species population.Does this species of venomous snakes really need saving? Over the past few years, state scientists and conservationists have been devising plans to increase the what they’re calling an “endangered” timber rattlesnake population by creating a breeding ground for the...

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‘Fat Feminist’ Lindy West, Author of Shrill, Reads in South Hadley Saturday
Apr03

‘Fat Feminist’ Lindy West, Author of Shrill, Reads in South Hadley Saturday

The word “shrill” makes some people want to instinctively cover their ears, but Lindy West decided to make it the title to her 2016 book Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman. The self-identified fat feminist will be reading from her book Saturday, 7 p.m., at the Hooker Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. The event is open to the public.West said she chose the word for her recently published book of personal essays because...

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Tick, Tick, Tick … Boom? No bumper crop of ticks this year, but keep your socks tucked into your pants anyway
Apr03

Tick, Tick, Tick … Boom? No bumper crop of ticks this year, but keep your socks tucked into your pants anyway

Every year billions of ticks creep through wooded areas across Massachusetts and New England, feeding vampirically off the blood of wildlife, pets, and humans. With ticks comes the most obvious fear: Lyme disease. But how much of what seems like common knowledge about ticks is really true? Do cold winters or mild winters affect tick populations? Is it really the smallest ticks that carry diseases most of time? “They’re always...

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News of the Weird: TP Goes High Tech
Apr03

News of the Weird: TP Goes High Tech

China’s public-park restrooms have for years suffered toilet-paper theft by local residents who raid dispensers for their own homes — a cultural habit, wrote Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, expressing taxpayer feelings of “owning” public facilities — but the government recently fought back with technology. At Beijing’s popular Temple of Heaven park, dispensers now have facial-recognition scanners beside the six toilets, with...

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The V-Spot: When Did I Get on the Relationship Escalator?
Apr03

The V-Spot: When Did I Get on the Relationship Escalator?

I have a few questions about monogamy. I guess, part of it stemming from a recent post I saw on your Instagram — @the_vspot — about “The Relationship Escalator,” polyamory, and monogamy. In my last partnership, my partner and I were very intentional about not falling into that trajectory, but now I think that The Relationship Escalator is something that I want.Can The Relationship Escalator coexist alongside actively constructing your...

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The Pour Man: Transitional Weather Needs a Transitional Wine
Apr03

The Pour Man: Transitional Weather Needs a Transitional Wine

Les Hauts de Lagarde, Rouge Bordeaux, France; 2015. $12.99This is a period of transition on many fronts.    There still may be snow on the ground and temperatures in the teens, but the warm spring sun is a clear signal that it’s time to start trimming down, putting away rich food, and switching from heavy, higher-alcohol red wines to something lighter and brighter. Oh, there are still days left to finish off those thick Cabs, Shirazes...

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Free Will Astrology, April 6-12, 2017
Apr03

Free Will Astrology, April 6-12, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Be interested in first things, Aries. Cultivate your attraction to beginnings. Align yourself with uprisings and breakthroughs. Find out what’s about to hatch, and lend your support. Give your generous attention to potent innocence and novel sources of light. Marvel at people who are rediscovering the sparks that animated them when they first came into their power. Fantasize about being a curious seeker who...

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Cinemadope: Your Nearest Screening of 1984
Mar27

Cinemadope: Your Nearest Screening of 1984

Hurt FeelingsA few weeks back I found myself with a rare night off — the kids asleep early, the house somehow clean, the bills already paid. I was scrolling through my various Netflix queues when a familiar title popped up: V for Vendetta, the Wachowskis’ 2005 adaptation of Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) famous graphic novel. Something in our current climate had me in the mood to revisit this tale of a neo-fascist regime, holding on to power...

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New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage
Mar27

New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage

The World in FrameSince opening its historic church doors in 2011, Next Stage Arts Project has been working to bring world-class events into the small town of Putney, Vermont (just north of Brattleboro). Never has that mission been more clear than with the group’s newest project: a curated screening series for feature-length documentary films called [framed], each one presented by the filmmaker, who will be present at each screening...

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Stagestruck: Force of Nature
Mar27

Stagestruck: Force of Nature

WAM Theatre exists on two levels: to produce work that foregrounds women playwrights and performers, and to tangibly support, with a portion of ticket sales, organizations that work to better the lives of women and girls. Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight brings its own bifurcated story to that mission. First performed here in 2013, WAM is reviving it this weekend and next in a guest appearance at Shakespeare &...

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Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly
Mar27

Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly

Smile! (Or Don’t)Artist, photographer, and punk for the ages Cynthia Connolly made a name for herself in one fell swoop when she published Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the D.C. Punk Underground (79-85). That scrappy yearbook-style achievement snuck into stores in 1988 with a first print run of 2,000 copies, and stayed in print through 2005. Ten years later, it came back into print, so the moment is perfect to catch up with...

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On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton
Mar27

On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton

You’re Wearing That?In her new exhibit, Jodi Colella engages with headwear and daguerreotypes from the collection of the Historic Northampton Museum and responds to forces that have shaped women’s identities since the 18th century. “Headwear has long played a role in indicating the class, status and occupation of the wearer – enforcing conformity and erasing individuality,” reads the gallery statement. “From the 18th-century poke...

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Basemental: Umbral Made Real
Mar27

Basemental: Umbral Made Real

How a fictional psychdrone collective from Berlin took form in GreenfieldIn 2015, a real writer and real College of the Atlantic professor named Daniel Mahoney published a real book called Sunblind Almost Motorcrash. In it, he wrote fictional reviews of imaginary bands. The purpose of the project, he said, was to “investigate the distance between sound and how we use language to describe sound,” which is the crux of this racket we...

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Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst
Mar27

Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst

Guitar Around the WorldTo hear NPR tell it, musician Jason Vieaux is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux’s album Play won the 2015 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo, and he has played in hundreds of orchestras and music festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. He plays a solo concert at UMass on Tuesday that is sure to speak to his remarkably expressive range —...

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David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)
Mar27

David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)

More often than not, the hustle and bustle around me is white noise. Throughout the day I hear a cacophonous array of sounds from outside: cars, dogs, the wind, the mailman, humans in general, and even other cats. I stare out the window for most hours of the day, my curiosity nearly killing me at times.But recently, I found something sweet to the ears — an inspirational body of work that revitalized and changed my opinion on humans...

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A Heartbeat (or Impeachment) Away from the Presidency: We went to VP Mike Pence’s hometown to learn about him
Mar27

A Heartbeat (or Impeachment) Away from the Presidency: We went to VP Mike Pence’s hometown to learn about him

COLUMBUS, Indiana — While Vice President Pence’s gubernatorial career earned national controversy, his hometown and closest friends vouch for his character. Columbus, Indiana, fits the image he presents: practical, family-oriented, and subject to change over the decades since his childhood there.In the late-1970s, Pence and his friends were the picture of midwestern adolescence: basketball camp, drive-ins, and revved-up cars. But for...

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Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline: Springfield reduces in-school arrests, but is it enough?
Mar27

Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline: Springfield reduces in-school arrests, but is it enough?

You’re a teenager in high school. You’ve been texting on your smartphone when you shouldn’t be or otherwise refusing to listen to your teacher. You think you’ll probably get berated, maybe detention, but never thought you’d be handcuffed and taken into police custody. That’s the reality for some students who find themselves caught in the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline” – an acknowledgement of the increased rate of incarceration...

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Between the Lines: Is Boston Super Racist?
Mar27

Between the Lines: Is Boston Super Racist?

Is Boston a racist city?    If you’ve been watching         Saturday Night Live lately, you probably caught “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che give Boston that dubious title.Prior to the Super Bowl clash between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, Che dropped this line: “I just want to relax, turn my brain off, and watch the blackest city in America beat the most racist city I’ve ever been to.”Che’s comment roiled...

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O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro
Mar27

O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro

Now that marijuana is legal, the perception of the drug is changing. We’re on the road of cannabis no longer being thought of as some seedy contraband in a sandwich bag tossed through a car window to potheads, but a varied, quality — and dare I say, refined — hobby.With the ability to purchase and grow identified strains with known THC and other compound levels, weed smokers can zero-in on the buds they like and sample the best of...

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News of the Weird: Location, Location, Location
Mar27

News of the Weird: Location, Location, Location

A highlight of the recent upmarket surge in Brooklyn, New York, as a residential and retail favorite, was the asking price for an ordinary parking space in the garage at 845 Union St. in the Park Slope neighborhood: $300,000 — also carrying a $240-a-month condominium fee and $50 monthly taxes. That’s similar to the price of an actual one-bedroom apartment in less ritzy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Gravesend — a few miles away....

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The V-Spot: Our Sex Is All About Him
Mar27

The V-Spot: Our Sex Is All About Him

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and we’re best friends. Mutual respect exists in almost every way between us. Sometimes, however, the sex feels, well, sexist. First, he enjoys watching porn together, but I really don’t. However, he always tries to initiate porn watching even though I’ve told him I don’t enjoy it. Secondly, I perform far more oral sex than he does. He rarely performs oral or hand sex on me, and when...

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Back Talk: Call out Anti-Semitism and Avoiding Fire Disasters
Mar27

Back Talk: Call out Anti-Semitism and Avoiding Fire Disasters

Tell it Like it IsEditor’s Note: This comment is in response to “Cinemadope: In Plain Site: Stories from overlooked worlds,” March 9-15, 2017, and the author’s statement, “Over the last few months, it has become impossible to ignore the rising tides of xenophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry and hatred that have suddenly made America a much scarier place …” In the future could you include the word “anti-Semitism”? It...

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Free Will Astrology: March 30-April 5, 2017
Mar27

Free Will Astrology: March 30-April 5, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The dragon that stole your treasure will return it. Tulips and snapdragons will blossom in a field you thought was a wasteland. Gargoyles from the abyss will crawl into view, but then meekly lick your hand and reveal secrets you can really use. The dour troll that guards the bridge to the next big thing will let you pass even though you don’t have the password. April Fool! Everything I just described is only...

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VIDEO Valley Show Girl: Experiencing an Album Live; Disguise the Curse’s Release Party
Mar20

VIDEO Valley Show Girl: Experiencing an Album Live; Disguise the Curse’s Release Party

A couple weeks ago I picked up Echoes of the Dying Light by local metal titans, Disguise the Curse. “Holy shit, this is amazing,” I said to myself while drumming on my steering wheel with the music blasting through my car speakers. Produced by Chris Daniele at Yucky Studios, the quality of the album is superb with not one track worth skipping. The album is still in my car stereo on repeat.The opening track “Caverns” sets the tone for...

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President of the NAACP in Amherst
Mar20

President of the NAACP in Amherst

President of the NAACP in Amherst President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Cornell William Brooks will be giving a talk at Amherst College Friday night. The event is free and open to the public. What exactly Brooks will discuss is unclear right now, but NAACP members advocate for civil rights, fight against police brutality, and conduct voter mobilization campaigns in their communities —...

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Between the Lines: No Man is an Island; It Takes a Village to Raise a Hero
Mar20

Between the Lines: No Man is an Island; It Takes a Village to Raise a Hero

Pamela Murphy, an Agawam firefighter, was vacationing on the Cape when she jumped into the water to save a six-year-old boy from being smashed against some rocks by the ocean waves.James Chartier, a former Army staff sergeant, completed a 90-mile walk from Western Mass to Boston to raise awareness for homeless military veterans and those struggling with PTSD. Along the way he wore full military gear, hoisted a backpack, slept in a...

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News of the Weird: Entrepreneurial Spirit
Mar20

News of the Weird: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Perhaps there are parents who, according to the Cinepolis movie chain, long to watch movies in theaters while their children, aged 3 and up, frolic in front in a jungle-gym playground inside the same auditorium. If so, the company’s two “junior” movie houses — opening this very week in San Diego and Los Angeles — may bring a new dimension to family entertainment. Another view, though, is that the noise — often screaming — plus the...

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Stream Queen: Women’s Work, rediscovering female directors
Mar20

Stream Queen: Women’s Work, rediscovering female directors

Whether or not Western Mass has gotten the meteorological memo, we’ve officially sprung forward. That means it’s time to emerge from hibernation, put on our rubber gloves, and get ready for some spring cleaning. In my case, I’ve decided to dust off some groundbreaking works by female directors, in honor of Women’s History Month.The cinematic history of female directors is woefully short, and very much still in progress. It took the...

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Nerding Out: Building a Passion, 120 hours drawing an historic court house
Mar20

Nerding Out: Building a Passion, 120 hours drawing an historic court house

Andrew Quient is celebrated for his geometrical-style pottery. Quient, 66, of Florence, even has some of his pieces in the national White House archives. But if you run into him working in Northampton, it’s unlikely he’ll be at a potter’s wheel. You’re probably going to find him at Forbes Library painstakingly drawing exact architectural pencil sketches of buildings he finds interesting and beautiful. Because not every building is...

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MISSED CONNECTIONS: Longing, lust, and WTF?
Mar20

MISSED CONNECTIONS: Longing, lust, and WTF?

If you’ve never checked out Craigslist’s Missed Connection forum, you really should. The site is filled with longing, lust, and miscellaneous statements of the heart. The following is a sample from the Western Mass forum. Post dates have been added. Miss P. — m4w a (Southern Berk) P, you were always so fun. I loved you’re exotic roses.. Love to see you again in 2 weeks… I loved what I learned from you ! March 12, 2017Bad timing...

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Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within
Mar20

Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within

Mary Kennedy of Northfield says she could barely move her neck before she began taking yoga with Pam Roberts at the YMCA in Greenfield about six years ago.Kennedy, a breast cancer survivor living with torticollis, a painfully twisted neck, says yoga has at times saved her, making her “stronger and stronger. Now, I can actually move my head to the right again. I have a quality of life I didn’t have before yoga.”Cancer is among the most...

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The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?
Mar20

The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?

I recently saw a guy friend masturbating with lotion instead of lube and was wondering if lube would be a better alternative for him. If so, could you explain why? — A Little Help for My  Masturbating Friends One of my favorite conversations to strike up with my penis-equipped friends is: What ever did you do with your penis during your sexual exploration period? If I had had a penis during my teenaged sexual development ages, I’m...

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