Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Lassie, The Painted Hills
Dec18

Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide: Lassie, The Painted Hills

The holidays are almost upon us, so I decided to curl up with my dog Sasha and watch a 1951 festive Christmas movie. Titled The Painted Hills, this western tells the story of two gold prospectors on the verge of striking it rich. Except that one gets a tad greedy and pushes his partner off a cliff. The deceased man’s old friend gets wind of what happened and goes after the murderer, with plenty of gunfire and brawls. Can you guess who...

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Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth
Dec11

Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth

Emily Cooper, 23, is a graduate student at UMass Amherst who has taken oral contraceptives since she was 15 years old. In 2013, when a condom failed during a snowstorm, University Health Services (UHS) and the university bus system were both closed due to the weather. Even though Cooper was also on the pill, she and her partner walked nearly two miles in the snow to get Plan B One-Step emergency contraception at CVS. Cooper said that...

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Editorial: There Goes the Internet
Dec11

Editorial: There Goes the Internet

Let me start by saying that I would avoid the internet if I could. It is creepy to think about huge corporations tracking each page I visit, and, potentially through my smartphone, actually physically tracking me wherever I go. Social media interactions are a far cry from person-to-person interactions. Even the information we get online is suspect and often biased. But the truth is that I can’t avoid it. Just as in the past our urban...

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Column: Eversource Screws Mass Consumers
Dec11

Column: Eversource Screws Mass Consumers

With a little help from its friends, the “regulators” at the Department of Public Utilities It is perhaps understandable that one of the most important Massachusetts news stories of the year was buried in the avalanche of reports coming out of Washington last week. But Eversource Energy, a large investor-owned utility serving much of Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, just got a big rate hike approved by the Commonwealth’s...

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The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace
Dec11

The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace

Celebrating 10 years of performance theater, The Royal Frog Ballet trades the wild outdoors for the pristine white walls of A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton this month. Their retrospective, HINDSIGHT/FORESIGHT, is a thoughtful and vivid collection of paintings, costumes, masks, and three-dimensional effects that tell the story of an ambitious troupe dedicated to promoting “aliveness through creativity, community, and curiosity.”...

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Cinemadope: Beuys Club
Dec11

Cinemadope: Beuys Club

Even among artists, Joseph Beuys has often flown under the radar, someone known more for his enduring impact than his individual works. During my days in art school, Beuys was a name dropped conspicuously into conversations by those who wanted to make sure you knew that they had gone deeper than most. Warhol, Duchamp? Beginner stuff, they seemed to say. If you wanted to get to the richer veins of art history goodness, you should be...

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The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice
Dec11

The V-Spot: Help! I’m Too F*&%$ng Nice

Hi Yana, So, I was recently dumped. Woo! During “the conversation,” my now-ex told me a lot of confusing reasons as to why he thought we should break up, but the one that I can’t stop thinking about: “You’re too nice.” He said that he didn’t know how to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t mean to him, or how to navigate a relationship with someone who wanted to provide and care for him and take his feelings seriously. This is...

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VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul
Dec11

VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul

About a month ago, Valley musician Nate Martel came into the Advocate office to drop off his debut solo album “Short Stay.” Being a fan of his role in rock group, Outer Stylie, I was pumped to get the CD into my car as soon as I left work. And that I did. Recorded at Barnhouse Recording in Chicopee and engineered and mixed at Sonelab in Easthampton, all 11 songs are written and performed by Martel. Additional musical contributions...

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The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!
Dec11

The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!

Now that the colder months have blown in, bar managers across the Valley are pulling IPAs, pale ales, and pilsners from their tap handles to make room for some thicker, darker brews like stouts, porters, and barrel-aged specials. Seasonal variety is all well and good, but I’m not always in the mood for a beer that eats like a meal. Most winter beer styles are as filling and thick as those hazy, juicy New England IPAs we can’t stop...

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The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass
Dec04

The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass

We know our winters in Western Massachusetts. As the last of the color fades from the leaves, the realization sets in that it’s going to be a while before the warm and colorful days of spring. But winter doesn’t have to be all about darkness and cold. Winter is a time of roaring fires and warm soups and teas. The colorful twinkle of holiday lights are already brightening the longer nights and the New Year offers a chance for a fresh...

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Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity
Dec04

Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity

During now-President Donald Trump’s hateful and divisive campaign, Northampton’s Human Rights Commission noted anecdotally how even in this Western Massachusetts community, there seemed to be an increase in racism, sexism, and anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump’s nationalistic and bullying rhetoric. Now, nearly one year into Trump’s hateful and divisive presidency, the commission is launching a campaign to bring people together and...

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Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage
Dec04

Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage

Northampton-based funk sextet Fat Bradley’s new self-titled five-song extended play (EP) recording is an acid jazz fusion of instrumental kaleidoscopic funky rock that grooves along with frantic energy and a sense of reckless abandon that’s downright entertaining. This is virtuosic showmanship that’ll get you jumping. Fat Bradley is comprised of Jeff Ritterson (keys), Tyler Silva (drums), Matt Postel (bass), Josh Hirst (guitar), Kat...

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Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age
Dec04

Wellness: The Importance of Exercise at Every Age

On a blustery and cold November morning last week, people inside the Northampton Senior Center were keeping warm in a group exercise class and in the fitness room. Stan Plaza and his wife, Darlene Plaza, try to come to the Fitness Center a few times a week to use the exercise machines in addition to participating in outdoor activities. Stan Plaza was using a machine to do arm curls while Darlene Plaza used an elliptical. “It’s a good...

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Bizarro Briefs: Quench Your Thirst With Celery
Dec04

Bizarro Briefs: Quench Your Thirst With Celery

Celery isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a flavor of soft drink, but surprisingly it was one of the first. In 1869, Dr. Brown (Is that you, Doc?!) founded the Cel-Ray soda company. The good doctor made tonics intended to alleviate bowel and stomach discomforts and decided to make a tonic made from sugar, carbonated water, and crushed celery speeds. Dr. Brown’s tonic was renamed Cel-Ray in the early 1900s and...

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Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview
Dec04

Valley Advocate Winter 2018 Arts Preview

Winter 2018 in the Pioneer Valley is bursting at the seams with interesting cultural and artistic events. Whether that’s checking out the latest art exhibit at MASSMoca or seeing a performance by world renowned musicians. This is just a snippet of what’s taking place across the four counties of Western Mass from early December until late March. The Queen of Alt-Country Alternative country singer-songwriter Neko Case is a tour de...

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V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut
Dec04

V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut

Hi Yana, I’m with a guy with an uncircumcised penis for the first time in my 16 years of being sexually active. I love how he looks, and it feels great when we can have sex. But, after three years, we haven’t been able to get into a good rhythm, sex-wise. I’m not naturally super wet, so I’m used to using lube, but often we have to stop because he starts to tear. It’s basically almost every time that he’s either getting injured or we...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield
Dec04

Monte Belmonte Wines: Navigating the Holiday Winefield

Holiday get-togethers are like a minefield of bad wines. A winefield, if you will. You are casually exchanging theories about The Last Jedi with your nephew when a well-intentioned relative hands you a glass of “red” because they know you like “red wine.” What on earth is in this glass? Don’t they know wine is so much more than just red or white? You are now in a live, active winefield. What do you do? As most people know, when you’ve...

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Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options
Nov27

Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options

It’s been more than two years, since former Valley Advocate staff writer Amanda Drane wrote an article about residents in the Mason Square neighborhood of Springfield who rallied together, collecting 1,300 grocery receipts totaling more than $50,000, to entice businesses to build a grocery store in the community. But that hasn’t happened yet. Organizers with Gardening the Community and the Food Policy Council in the city of...

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Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad
Nov27

Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad

Each year, Gateway Regional High School in Huntington holds an event welcoming back alumni to share their experiences about college and post-graduate life. This year, however, the event was closed to one graduate: Marcelle LaBrecque, who spent 12 years in the Gateway Regional district, earned a degree in 2014, and is now living in New York City pursuing a career in musical theater. LaBrecque, who prefers being referred to as “they”...

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Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots
Nov27

Stagestruck: One-woman show ‘Pulse’ shines light on Scottish musical roots

Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, rooted in the Valley for over two decades, is spreading its limbs. Long the area’s prime site for physical-theater training and performance that explores the reaches of expression through voice and movement, the company has lately embraced theater genres that tell their stories primarily through music. Several Serious Play! productions have traveled to Scotland’s fabled Edinburgh Fringe Festival over...

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O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed
Nov27

O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed

To start, an introduction. My name’s Meg, I’m a writer, a farmer, a gardener, a joker, a midnight … I’m the new cannabis columnist. Massachusetts is in the middle of its cannabis revolution and I don’t want you to miss a thing. With a new author comes a new perspective for O, Cannabis! I’m interested in your businesses, your growing techniques, and your medical uses. My hope is that this column will continue to be a hub for...

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Valley Show Girl: Leave it to the Women
Nov27

Valley Show Girl: Leave it to the Women

A couple weeks ago I wrote my column based on the fiasco that is Wikipedia Vs. Women, where locally and nationally non-male musicians are getting edited out of the popular DIY online encyclopedia due to male editors not accepting articles from certain publications (with some being discounted just for having the word “feminist” in the title). Part one of a local event series on the topic was a roundtable discussion put on by Tanya...

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V-Spot: My Boyfriend Just Won’t
Nov27

V-Spot: My Boyfriend Just Won’t

Hi Yana! I am a 21-year-old cisgender female living with my partner of 1.5 years. I’ll make it simple: a partner has never been able to make me orgasm. Either I do it solo or I do all the work for myself during sex with a partner. My partner and I communicate about sex all the time and I enjoy sex with him otherwise. I’ve tried a number of ways to ask him to put in a little more effort in making me feel good and he still doesn’t...

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Former Inmates Launch Greenfield Compost Cooperative
Nov27

Former Inmates Launch Greenfield Compost Cooperative

Many residents of Greenfield will have an additional bucket on their curb next year. The Compost Cooperative is a newly formed worker-owned business that is going to start picking up commercial and residential compost in in Greenfield in 2018. The idea for the Compost Cooperative was born three years ago when a few educators and local cooperative business owners who were teaching at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FSCO) started...

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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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