Building 6: Major expansion and a new building at MASS MoCA
Aug14

Building 6: Major expansion and a new building at MASS MoCA

If a white cube is your comfort zone for viewing contemporary art, then the recent expansion of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) pushes well outside the box. “Building 6” is the modest name of an ambitious project that adds 130,000 square feet to nearly double the museum’s gallery space and augments other institutional amenities such as new art fabrication workshops and support facilities for performing artists...

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CANCELLED Valley Advocate Sessions LIVE performance July 12
Jul11

CANCELLED Valley Advocate Sessions LIVE performance July 12

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the live show due to thunderstorms. Sessions will no longer be open to the public tonight. Hopefully we can plan another event sometime soon!

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Advocate Sessions Tease: Sodada
Jun21

Advocate Sessions Tease: Sodada

Sodada is a quintet that plays dreamy jazz meets soulful punk rock. Stay tuned for the band’s full performance out this Friday. Can’t wait for Friday to see more Sessions? Check out some local bands...

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Seth Newton on The Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jun16

Seth Newton on The Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Check out local singer/songwriter and powerhouse alternative rock vocalist Seth Newton perform for the Valley Advocate Sessions recorded on May 30 at the Valley Advocate Offices. BONUS: Interview with Seth Newton Like what you’re listening to? Check out the Valley Advocate Sessions page for bands and artists, including Shokazoba, Flava Evolution, Peter Blanchette, and...

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Stagestruck: “Million Dollar” Duo
Jun12

Stagestruck: “Million Dollar” Duo

As it happens, two different productions of the same show open on area stages on the same day this week. On Wednesday, Million Dollar Quartet premieres in the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, and the Majestic Theater in West Springield revives its sold-out hit from last fall. Here’s a revised version of my review of the Majestic’s original production:   You could call Million Dollar...

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Back Talk
May15

Back Talk

Hope for Better Health Care Thank you for your piece in the Advocate (“Between the Lines: With Obamacare Under Fire, Massachusetts Must Lead on Health Care — Again,” May 11-17, 2017). However, it seems from it that you may not be familiar with House Bill 2987 and Senate Bill 619, Mass-Care, or our WMass network of pro-single-payer advocates and groups.   You may also be interested in the fact that single-payer is in the...

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The DO NOT WATCH List
Apr17

The DO NOT WATCH List

  This week, our resident Stream Queen Lena Wilson offers a journey into some high-minded flicks beyond old Cheech and Chong movies (see pg. 18). But Advocate staff thought it equally important to share a blacklist of movies and TV shows to avoid when high — at all costs. This list was compiled from writers’ personal experience… but that’s probably obvious. Eraserhead (dir. David Lynch, 1977) Watching Lynch work his doomy...

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WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN
Feb20

WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN

Wesley Jillson has been a part of the local metal music scene since the ’80s. He saw Western Mass area metal rise to national prominence in the ’90s, then fade away by 2010. At the fifth annual Promoterhead show at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence in early February, Jillson was standing at the highboy tables, talking with friends he’s met at metal shows and drinking a cocktail while Disguise the Curse was on stage. The scene...

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Muslim Life in the Valley: Alia Al Absi
Feb11

Muslim Life in the Valley: Alia Al Absi

“Islam has rules for us … That makes me feel more strong” Alia Al Absi was born in Jordan several decades after her family was expelled from Palestine, along with 700,000 other Arabs, during the 1948 Palestine War. In 2011, she and her young daughter came to the United States to visit her sister. Alia decided to stay — and she just became a U.S. citizen. Some people think, “Oh, Islam is very strict and forces women...

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Memory Games
Jan25

Memory Games

This year’s National Theatre Live season opens with a contemporary classic and continues with another one, followed by fresh productions of three canonical works. The first is Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land, coming this Saturday from the London stage to the Amherst Cinema. In it we find two old codgers, played by two old masters, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, in what The Guardian called “a faithful and loving production that...

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Show Us Your Tattoos
Dec12

Show Us Your Tattoos

If you’ve ever seen a jumping cow, then you’ve been in the right place at the right time. It’s quite a spectacle to see a big, meaty rectangle defying gravity. This tattoo on my left forearm of a young jumping bull reminds me to embody spontaneous joy. It was graciously inked by Noel’le Longhaul of Charon Art in Turners Falls. — Ellerie Ruth Ballard,...

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Know Your Drones
Sep12

Know Your Drones

Small UAVs come in all shapes and sizes with models varying by application. Here are a few of the designs you’re likely to see overhead sometime soon.     Multicopters are the most well-known and most popular. This DJI Phantom series quadcopter is a best-seller for applications that require aerial photography.           This 3DR Robotic Solo is a good pick for construction sites and other...

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Call of the Wild

Master Falconer Chris Davis is on a mission to help you understand birds of prey by letting you join the hunt At the edge of a shady green grove in Hadley, light streams through the forest canopy in thin shafts. It speckles the grassy floor below, where three large birds of prey sit awkwardly, tethered with thin leather straps to their short wooden perches. They look out of place on the ground, sitting idly like chickens at the edge...

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Taste-Off: Crunchies for the Munchies
Aug15

Taste-Off: Crunchies for the Munchies

One classic question among lazy, hungry people goes like this: if you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? It’s a fun question — and, if the Trumpocalypse triggers the end of global food supply lines, possibly a relevant one. But there is only one correct answer: salad. Why? Because a “salad” is just a mixture of more than one chopped-up thing, usually served with dressing. See? No contest. This has...

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The Pour Man: Special Night? Try an Oregon Noir
Aug15

The Pour Man: Special Night? Try an Oregon Noir

Erath Oregon Pinot Noir is priced above my usual comfort level, but so are most exceptional Pinot Noirs from Oregon. So, without hesitation, I recommend Erath as an excellent choice for those special occasions when you don’t want to break the bank on a fine wine or when you’re buying an under-$20-gift for friends who fancy dry, well-made, Burgundy-style red wines. Winemaker Gary Horner, who has been with Erath since 2003, produces...

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The V-Spot: New Pornographer Interested in Sex Ed
Aug15

The V-Spot: New Pornographer Interested in Sex Ed

Hi Yana! I saw your TEDx talk in Vienna and was copiously taking notes. The content was an eye-opener for me. I had never thought that both of our basic information sources about sex [school-sanctioned sex education and online pornography] are running their very own twisted agenda. I started working in the porn industry six weeks ago — hey, the money is fantastic! — and my consumption of porn has gone way up as a side effect....

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Local Artist Q&A: Scout Cuomo
Aug08

Local Artist Q&A: Scout Cuomo

Leading Light Scout Cuomo finds inspiration along a vivid spectrum Rivers and forests, serene and idyllic. Portraits of swimmers in neon acrylic. Sculptures and painted glass mounted with string. These are a few of Scout’s favorite things. And the body of work grows larger every year. Scout Cuomo, you see, is something of a renaissance woman. She’s waited tables, apprenticed as a tattoo artist, and written essays on living with...

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Author Q&A: Scott Haas Explores Achievement Among Indian Americans
Jul25

Author Q&A: Scott Haas Explores Achievement Among Indian Americans

A Sea of Stories “There came a point where I got tired of hearing, ‘Why is your English so good?’ I felt like a novelty at times. But now it’s better.” – Vaishali Sinha, filmmaker “Because I grew up in India, I have comfort with people across generations, and I have carried this with me.” – Priya Natarajan, physicist “I’m the Boston Raj. There’s a Chennai Raj as...

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Lionel Smit’s South African Portraits
Jul25

Lionel Smit’s South African Portraits

Windows Inward One of South Africa’s most noteworthy young artists, Lionel Smit creates sculptures and paintings on canvas — done in bronze or in painted resin — that manifest his ongoing fascination and respect for the indigenous peoples of his country, notably the Cape Malayan peoples. In his sensitive but bold works, Smit — who grew up in the era of Apartheid — reveals layers of undiscovered richness that lie beneath each face he...

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Tonight: Eavesdrop Trio plays Brattleboro
Jul25

Tonight: Eavesdrop Trio plays Brattleboro

Sweet and Lowdown  Fans of acts like The Civil Wars, Fleetwood Mac, and The Lone Bellow would do well to cozy up with some recordings by the Northampton-based Eavesdrop Trio — or, better yet, check them out live in Brattleboro this Thursday. Musicians Kara Rose Jurkowski, Laura Marie Picchi, and Kerrie T. Bowden — all of whom sing — play what they rightly call “indie folk soul with a dash of country and a splash of pop.” Soulful,...

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Texas Roadhouse and the End of America
Jul25

Texas Roadhouse and the End of America

My gut told me that I should tune in to the Republican Convention last Thursday night for Donald Trump’s acceptance speech. So I tried, but I just couldn’t hack it. Every time the Donald opens his mouth for another ramped-up round of free-associative shouting, my senses only register one thing: steak. To me, Trump will always be the quixotic dreamer who came up with the plan to hawk Trump Steaks — a line of 100-percent Angus beef...

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The CityBlock Summer Concert Series is back! Again.
Jul19

The CityBlock Summer Concert Series is back! Again.

Springfield’s Summer Concert Series at Stearns Square has undergone its fair share of transformations since it was founded in 1999. The latest happened last year when the concert series shed its title as the Stearns Square Concert Series and reclaiming its original moniker: the CityBlock Concert Series. In years past, the concerts had drawn out motorcyclists by the hundreds — even thousands, by some accounts — to the point where it...

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Up Next at Stearns Square
Jul19

Up Next at Stearns Square

Member Login Username: Password: JULY 21  The Machine performs Pink Floyd This four-member tribute band has played theaters, casinos, and festivals across the country for 25 years. Plenty of needed time to practice, given Pink Floyd’s rather jaw-dropping 16-album repertoire. Adding to the fun: The Machine’s love of trippy, colorful visual and theatrical elements onstage.  JULY 28  Natalie Stovall and The Drive Tennessee native Natalie...

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Flashback: Stearns Square Over Time
Jul20

Flashback: Stearns Square Over Time

1881 — Chester W. Chapin, a railroad tycoon and congressman from Springfield, commissions renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create a bronze statue of his ancestor and early city settler, Deacon Samuel Chapin. Springfield builds a small park, Stearns Square, to showcase the artwork. 1887 — Saint-Gaudens’ statue, The Puritan, is unveiled in Stearns Square. The square, which is most likely named for real estate speculator...

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This Weekend: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Jul19

This Weekend: Paul Taylor Dance Company

Taylor Made  It’s just a hop, skip, and a flying leap from Manhattan to the Berkshires, at least for the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The group has been trucking up shows to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center for nine years running now, but the good thing about a creative bunch with decades of experience shaping the world of modern dance — legendary founder Paul Taylor has been dancing and choreographing since 1954 — is that both old...

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Club Picks: July 21 to July 27
Jul19

Club Picks: July 21 to July 27

SUNDAY: Build it Yourself Sunday is for relaxing — and that includes a day of rest for the bartenders at Arkham at Harmony Place in Brattleboro. The quintessential hipster dive bar, complete with air hockey and arcade games, has a Build Your Own Bloody Mary party. It’s $5 a Mary while supplies last. Doors open at 3 p.m.     SATURDAY: And Friends! Whenever a musician is accompanied by “And Friends” you know it’s going to be a jovial...

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Seuss Day: Tue July 26
Jul19

Seuss Day: Tue July 26

The Doctor Is Out and About And to think that he grew up on Fairfield Street! Theodor Seuss Geisel — a.k.a. Dr. Seuss — was born in Springfield to German immigrants in 1904, and although he moved to California for much of his adult life, it is on these local blocks that he attended high school, took his first art classes, and wandered through the neighborhoods that would inspire him to write his first children’s book, And to Think...

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Through Tuesday at ECA+ Gallery
Jul19

Through Tuesday at ECA+ Gallery

Creative Inlets Aya Yamasaki and Jason Brown know how to flow. Working as a creative duo called Operatura, the two artists create hand-drawn animation, illustrations, comics, and installations, drawing inspiration from the natural and magical worlds, the humorous and tragic, and folk storytelling traditions. Their work has screened and been presented domestically and abroad. Now Operatura comes to the ECA+ Gallery with Fecund Opening,...

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Nightcrawler: Root Effect
Jul19

Nightcrawler: Root Effect

Musician and artist Wendell Rheinheimer, the owner of Moonlight Designs screenprinting in Easthampton, has been doing a little moonlighting of his own in recent months. The fruits of a new collaborative effort with his partner, organic vegetable farmer Shana Totino, will be unearthed for public consumption this Thursday, July 21 when Greenfield’s newest music venue — The Root Cellar — sprouts up on Fiske Avenue. Nestled beneath...

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Club Picks for the Weekend
Jul11

Club Picks for the Weekend

Swing and a Hit Singer and guitarist Erin Harpe formed her Delta blues quintet in Jamaica Plain in 2010, and the group has been all over since then, winning the Boston Blues Challenge three times, playing the five-day International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2015, and touring to support their debut album Love Whip Blues. With “a golden voice and guitar chops that dazzle” (Living Blues Magazine), Harpe and company bask in a vintage...

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Libations and Ciders and Beers, Oh My!
Jul11

Libations and Ciders and Beers, Oh My!

Magic on the Mountain The lower Valley has plenty of reasons to boast about its brews, but this weekend, it’s Franklin County’s turn. Hilltown pride and local products prevail at the first-ever On Tap festival at Berkshire East, featuring local beer, mead, cider, and libations from Artisan Beverage Coop, Bear Swamp Cidery, Berkshire Brewing, Brick & Feather, Headwater Cider, Hitchchock Brewing, Honest Weight, Lefty’s Brewing, The...

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Northampton’s Scottish Invasion
Jul11

Northampton’s Scottish Invasion

Great Scots You thought your Independence Day was wild, food-stuffed fun? Just stop by the annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival to see how the brave of heart really get down. Highland dancers, pipers, and drummers (like Albannach, pictured here) cast a spell of sound and dance, while the grounds come alive with sheep herding, a clan parade, Scottish dogs and assorted animals, wool spinners, weavers, Celtic harp, games and...

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MarKamusic Rocks Black Birch Vineyard
Jul11

MarKamusic Rocks Black Birch Vineyard

Music and Memory Southampton has many a quiet corner, but the grounds of Black Birch Vineyard will be lively on Saturday as the winery hosts a summer concert benefit to raise funds for the Northampton Survival Center. Local food trucks will help to keep visitors fed and watered, but the main event is MarKamusic, a high-energy, multinational musical ensemble — founded in Western Mass in 1999 — performing songs rooted in the traditions...

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Music Review: Haas Kowert Tice
Jul11

Music Review: Haas Kowert Tice

Triple Threat I tried to be open-minded as a young music lover, but despite the curious sonic wanderings of my teenage years, my ears could never quite latch onto songs with no vocals. As soon as I’d hit a track called “Instrumental,” I’d stubbornly skip it (the decline of cassettes during that time and the rise of CDs made this all too easy). I thought nothing of my blind spot. Instead, I wondered: what’s the point? Without lyrics,...

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Basemental: Inside the Western Mass DIY Music Calendar
Jul11

Basemental: Inside the Western Mass DIY Music Calendar

Book It Yourself The Western Mass DIY music calendar does what Facebook can’t Amherst punk musician Will Killingsworth and Belchertown visual artist, musician, and show-booker Miranda Wiley have noticed a disconnect between subsets of the DIY music scene in Western Mass. Killingsworth – who plays in Longings, Demonbrother, and No Faith – created a blog in 2013 after feeling like “I was forgetting about shows that I meant to go...

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