Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young, Playing Aug. 3
Jul31

Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young, Playing Aug. 3

Ray Mason, the Valley’s Neil Young If there’s a mic and some place for him to plug in his old Silvertone guitar, you’ve got a good chance of seeing Ray Mason. The tireless musician gigs up and down the Valley several times a week and for good reason — he’s awesome. Mason, who plays solo and with the Lonesome Brothers, is a talented storyteller and songwriter with a gift for infusing humor and honesty into his roots-style folk rock. Go...

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WOOF: Westfield’s Ales for Tales Pub Crawl Friday
Jul31

WOOF: Westfield’s Ales for Tales Pub Crawl Friday

Ales for Tails Hoist a pint for man’s best friend Friday in downtown Westfield for the third annual Ales for Tails Pub Crawl. Organized by Susie Howard, the roaming pack of beer nuts are raising money for the Westfield Animal Shelter. Things get going at 6 p.m. at Skyline Trading Co. on Elm Street. Then it’s off to Two Rivers Burrito Co., The Maple Leaf (if you didn’t fill your belly with burritos already, The Leaf has excellent...

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Tease Video: Krunkelstiltskin on Sessions Friday
Aug02

Tease Video: Krunkelstiltskin on Sessions Friday

Krunkelstiltskin is a heavy electronic driven eclectic rock band with a sense of humor. The group played on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage on July 12. Krunkelstiltskin’s full performance will be available online this Friday. Until then, here’s a teaser showcasing the...

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Stagestruck: History as a Living Weapon at Double Edge
Aug01

Stagestruck: History as a Living Weapon at Double Edge

A highlight of my summer theater season is always the magical change of pace afforded by Double Edge Theatre’s annual indoor/outdoor performance. This year, that peripatetic spectacle offers its own change of pace. Where previous seasons have given us captivating tales of magic and adventure from world literature and folklore, We The People brings it all back home – literally. Here, instead of the colorful silks and scarves we may...

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‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice
Jul31

‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice

Music is never just some notes of a melody — it’s always something more, says legendary New Orleans jazz saxophonist Charles Neville. Neville, who grew up in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era, but now resides in Huntington with his wife and children, has seen music change America. “I remember when the first black cops were allowed on the police force and one of the things we all as young teenagers laughed at was the fact that they...

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‘Hold These Truths’ Explores Japanese Internment During WWII
Jul31

‘Hold These Truths’ Explores Japanese Internment During WWII

We (Sort Of) Hold These Truths When the U.S. ordered more than 100,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to relocate to internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, Gordon Hirabayashi refused to listen. The son of Japanese immigrants and a legal U.S. resident, Hirabayashi challenged the forced detention in the courts — and lost. “My citizenship didn’t protect me one bit,” Hirabayashi told The New York Times in...

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Tom Wyatt Creates Metal Illusions
Jul31

Tom Wyatt Creates Metal Illusions

Metal Reflections “With bounced light, magic can happen. Curving or bending light and the resulting shapes and forms open a doorway for our subjective minds. Whimsical or mysterious possibilities abound,” says Tom Wyatt in his artist bio on the Salmon Falls Gallery website. Wyatt, of Warwick, is a photographer who experiments with angels and times of day to bring dramatic color and texture to his work.   Tom Wyatt — Illusion and...

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Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache
Jul27

Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache

News of the Weird is no more, but fear not. The Advocate is continuing the tradition of delivering weird news, now as Bizarro Briefs. Perfectly Preserved Surrealist ‘Stache If you thought Salvador Dali’s mustache could not have gotten any more legendary, you were mistaken. Forensic experts in Spain said last week that they found the famous surrealist’s long, waxed mustache completely intact when they exhumed his remains for a...

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Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage
Jul26

Stagestruck: Taking Steps to Hilarity at Barrington Stage

The classic sex farce is set in a large room with about half a dozen doors, in and out of which pop guilty lovers, jealous spouses and other staples of the genre, and behind which most of the shenanigans real and suspected take place. Alan Ayckbourne’s classic Taking Steps (at Barrington Stage Company through August 5) turns that convention on its head. The difference here is that much of what would normally happen offstage (like...

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Stagestruck: Dancing on the Edge at Jacob’s Pillow With Akash Odedra
Jul25

Stagestruck: Dancing on the Edge at Jacob’s Pillow With Akash Odedra

The two mainstage programs at Jacob’s Pillow dance festival last week offered intriguing contrasts in modern dance envelope-pushing. And perhaps surprisingly, it was the simpler, solo show that delivered more variety and excitement. Aakash Odedra is an Englishman of Indian parentage who first trained in the dance traditions of his ancestral culture and then branched out into a stylistic kaleidoscope of world traditions. The pieces he...

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Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group
Jul24

Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group

Letters to the Editor In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group Tiring to see all the IHEG (Iron Horse Entertainment Group) bashing [“Behind the Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG,” July 13-19, 2017]! First, people don’t realize how fortunate we are to have national acts coming to the area. I’ve personally enjoyed many awesome acts throughout the years at all the IHEG venues [Pearl Street, Iron Horse, Calvin,...

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StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See
Jul24

StreamQueen: Indie Films Coming Off the Festival Circuit You’ve Gotta See

Though digital media has forever changed the face of filmmaking, there’s still one key way independent filmmakers can premiere their work: by entering it into the festival circuit. Each year many films, spanning all lengths and genres, debut to those lucky minority able to attend the most established festivals. Independent film festivals offer the world’s first look at the year’s best films. Moonlight first screened at the Telluride...

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The Buddy McEarns Band Playing Friday
Jul24

The Buddy McEarns Band Playing Friday

Buddy McEarns Your Musical Respect Good time, blusey bar band Buddy McEarns rocks with driving, classical guitar riffs and just the tiniest dash of hippie jam. There’s something comforting about The Buddy McEarns Band, like looking at an old friend named nostaligia through beer goggles. Catch them once, or twice this weekend! The Buddy McEarns Band: Friday (with the full band), 6-9 p.m. Free. Luxe Burger Bar, 1200 W. Columbus...

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Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens
Jul24

Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens

Charlie Brown Would Be So Emo If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Good ‘ol Chuck, from the Peanuts comics, Gateway City Arts can fill you in; A week-long run of Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead begins Friday. Satirizing the Peanuts, the play imagines the characters as teenagers dealing with an existential crisis — so, in a lot of ways, it’s similar to the strip. The play gets...

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The Original Game of Thrones: Queen Margaret Takes Center Stage in Springfield/Turners
Jul24

The Original Game of Thrones: Queen Margaret Takes Center Stage in Springfield/Turners

Queen Margaret, Historical Bad-Ass Before there was Game of Thrones and Cersei, there was the War of the Roses and Queen Margaret of Anjou. In fact, many people believe the hit HBO show was based on the War of the Roses, a 30-year war (of which Margaret was a key player) fought between enemy houses — the Yorks and the Lancasters — for control of the English throne. Margaret was queen of England for 17 nonconsecutive years. She led the...

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Get Out With Staff Picks: Hang Out With Master Beaders, or Hit Up ShenaNiFest
Jul24

Get Out With Staff Picks: Hang Out With Master Beaders, or Hit Up ShenaNiFest

200 Master Beaders, 1 Project — ALL WEEKEND This weekend maser beadwork artist Darcy Rosner and beaders from SweetBananberry will be at Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen adding another whimsical art installation to the outside gallery. They’ll be assembling a mosaic mannequin out of the beadwork of 200 participating artists from across the globe. The mannequin will become a regular feature at Three Sisters, but if you want to...

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Western Mass Missed Connections — 1st dates SUCK
Jul24

Western Mass Missed Connections — 1st dates SUCK

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. 1st dates SUCK — m4w (eastside grill) Yeah, I texted you too soon after it ended. I seemed desperate probably. Whatever. I just thought you were cool and...

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Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females
Jul24

Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females

In its heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s, roller derby was known for fierce females, fishnets, spiked hair and names like “Iron Maven.” After a lull in the ‘90s, roller derby was resurrected in the early 2000s as an all-female, athletic sport. But in the Pioneer Valley, which was at the forefront of the roller derby revival, the sport has evolved from, as Pioneer Valley Roller Derby (PVRD) Team Captain Teresa Huang described it, a...

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Cinemadope: That Time the MoMA Refused to Return Nazi-Stolen Art
Jul24

Cinemadope: That Time the MoMA Refused to Return Nazi-Stolen Art

My first exposure to Egon Schiele came via Deane G. Keller, an artist and professor whose figure drawing classes remain one of my most lasting memories of art school. We had been working on some hand studies when he suggested I might enjoy the Austrian artist’s work, and when class let out I cut through the trees to the school library to look up the man with the strange name. The collection of work I found amazed me: drawings,...

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Valley Show Girl: Soundtracking Life with Eddie Japan
Jul24

Valley Show Girl: Soundtracking Life with Eddie Japan

Ahead of their show at the Iron Horse, I plug my purple Skull Candies into my ears, and click play on the intro track to Eddie Japan’s Golden Age. The sound of static pulls me in, reminding me of vinyl, so I pretend I’m listening on a record player, not my computer at work. “E-Cabaret /When the Morning Comes” jumps right into a blend of genres: I hear’ bits of ’70s pop, ’80s new wave, a hint of Latin, and a dash of big band, all on a...

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O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul21

O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

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Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage
Jul20

Stagestruck: Misfit Millennials – “Speech & Debate” at Barrington Stage

Reid Thompson’s setting for Speech & Debate, now receiving a near-perfect production at Barrington Stage Company, is a high school classroom. Maps and historical posters line the walls and headshots of famous Americans form a frieze above a pair of whiteboards – which become screens for Alex Basco Koch’s witty between-scenes animated projections. Lighting by Burke Brown also divides the room into discrete areas representing the...

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Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys
Jul17

Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys

Draco and the Malfoys • Saturday  I held out on Harry Potter mania for years, but finally succumbed when the last book came out in 2007. I read them all in a matter of months, but I didn’t go as far as these folks, who wrote albums of Harry Potter-inspired music. I can’t think of a better venue to appreciate this band than a library, and that’s exactly where they’re having the show. Hoping they play “All...

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Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers
Jul17

Cinemadope: ‘Wanna-Bes Need Not Apply,’ Documentary on Madonna’s Back-up Voguers

“Wimps and Wanna-Be’s need not apply!” That was the tagline of a print ad announcing an open audition for “FIERCE Male Dancers” who wanted to earn a spot on Madonna’s controversial, ground-breaking Blond Ambition Tour in 1990. It would have been a dream job for any dancer, but nobody — certainly not the seven young men, most barely 20 at the time, who ended up touring the globe with the pop star — could have predicted the impact the...

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Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed
Jul18

Stagestruck: Bare Bard at Shakespeare & Co., Cymbeline Reviewed

Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s “romances,” those late works in which comedy blends with tragedy and the endings are neither strewn with corpses nor aclang with wedding bells, but suffused with poignancy and forgiveness. The Tempest is the most popular of this group – in fact, it inaugurates the company’s new outdoor performance space next month – and Cymbeline runs a close second to Pericles as the least performed. So...

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Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday
Jul17

Eddie Japan Bringing 60s Pop With 80s New Wave to Northampton Saturday

Cinematic Pop Music Boston/Western Mass’ Eddie Japan combines that feel good ‘60s pop with a splash of ‘80s alternative new wave that’s a blast. In 2013, Eddie Japan won Boston’s ultra cool Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, and picked up a Boston Music Award for “Live Artist of the Year.” That sold me. I’m going to check them out for my column next week, Valley Show Girl, when the band comes to town on Saturday night. Eddie Japan is...

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V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle
Jul17

V-Spot: He’s Afraid to Cuddle

Hi Yana, My partner and I have different sex drives. I could have sex four to six times a week, while he feels more comfortable with about two. In the beginning, we had a lot of sex and I was ecstatic thinking that our sex drives were more matched. Now, not so much. I feel like I’m constantly rejected and he feels pressured to have sex. He’s said he’s afraid to cuddle and kiss me because then he feels he’ll be expected to take it...

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The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved
Jul17

The Pour Man: Columbard, The Grape I Never Knew I Loved

Mont Gravet, a light, refreshing, low-alcohol white wine, is perfect for drinking on warm summer evenings. It also has the added enjoyment of being a wine of discovery, one from an unfamiliar region, made from a grape that gets little attention and that I know little about. Maybe for the wine experts, it’s old hat, but for me, it’s new and fun. Mont Gravet is made from 100-percent Colombard grapes harvested from vineyards in the...

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Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp
Jul17

Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick. The University of...

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Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire
Jul17

Back Talk: IHEG Under Fire

Iron Horse  Entertainment Group Under Fire Several readers took issue with what they perceived as a lack of interest in the local music scene from IHEG in the comments section and on Facebook in last week’s cover story, “Behind the Music,” July 13-19, 2017. Here are a few examples. Austin Hatch: As a member of a local band, we DO have some power to change this. My band won’t play IHEG venues, and we’ve turned down booking...

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UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp
Jul13

UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick. The University of...

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Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident
Jul11

Northampton Activists Demands ICE Release Former Florence Resident

When he was 15 years old in 1976, Niberd Abdalla immigrated to the United States from Iraq fleeing persecution due to his family’s Kurdish heritage and democratic activism. He’s lived as an undocumented person in the United States for the past 41 years and has complied with biannual immigration enforcement check-ins for the past seven years. On the morning of June 8, when Niberd, a former Florence resident who now lives in...

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Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival
Jul11

Stagestruck: Art as Activism – Creative tactics at KO Festival

The KO Festival of Performance opened last weekend, kicking off a diverse five-week season clustered around the theme “Tactics for Trying Times.” First up was Jimmy & Lorraine, written by Talvin Wilks and developed with Hartford’s HartBeat Ensemble. The playwright describes his scrapbook drama as a “dramatic reflection” and “a type of mashup,” culled from the writings and correspondence of two great African-American...

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Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic
Jul10

Cinemadope: A ‘Damned Dirty’ Future Classic

At the risk of sounding impossibly out-of-touch, let me tell you something: I sure do miss Dialing for Dollars. That syndicated TV program — in which an afternoon movie was chopped into a few hundred pieces, allowing host George Allen to pick a number out of the area phone book and call cash-hungry viewers during the many breaks — did more for my early interest in movies than it had any right doing. Maybe it was because it was on in...

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Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG
Jul10

Behind The Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG

For years the Iron Horse Entertainment Group with its quintet of venues — Pearl Street Nightclub, The Calvin, The Basement, The Iron Horse Music Hall, and Mountain Park — reigned over the Pioneer Valley music scene. IHEG’s rule has irked some people. Frustration with the entertainment group boiled over recently leading to a guerilla campaign against IHEG owner Eric Suher, and two widely circulated news stories about crumby conditions...

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