Wednesday and Thursday: A Visit From Community Activist Iris Morales
Mar13

Wednesday and Thursday: A Visit From Community Activist Iris Morales

Street Smarts Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, and Smith College host visits this week from community activist Iris Morales, who rose to prominence in the Vietnam era. As a teenage activist in New York City, Morales joined the paramilitary Young Lords Party, a multiethnic, primarily Puerto Rican organization. The party, which disbanded in 1976, addressed the many socioeconomic needs of the working-class Puerto Rican...

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Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend
Mar13

Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend

With the SYRUP Festival, Piti Theatre Company in Shelburne Falls has hit on a tradition that most of us would never have realized we were missing: all-ages live performance, featuring world-class artists, mixed with handcrafted food and sweets from local artisans. Now in its eighth year, SYRUP comes back around this weekend. On Saturday, Jonathan Mirin performs the new solo physical comedy piece Sammy and the Grand Buffet at 2 p.m. An...

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Thursday to Sunday: The Back Porch Festival Returns
Mar06

Thursday to Sunday: The Back Porch Festival Returns

A Porch to be Reckoned With Most Valley radio listeners have spent at least a little time on Jim Olsen’s back porch. For years the president of Northampton-based record label Signature Sounds has hosted a Sunday morning radio program on 93.9 The River that focuses on songs new and old by American roots artists. Inspired by that show, for the past couple of years Signature Sounds has put on The Back Porch Festival, curated to present...

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The Beerhunter: Vanished Valley Brewing Company in Ludlow
Mar06

The Beerhunter: Vanished Valley Brewing Company in Ludlow

Local homebrewer Josh Britton scales up with a low-key launch On quiet winter days between reports of Valley craft beer happenings, your friendly neighborhood Beerhunter has been wandering a bit further afield. Over the past few months, I’ve written articles about my stop-ins at breweries in Worcester, Hartford, and northern Connecticut. But home is where the heart is. So on Instagram the other day, my scrolling thumb paused, hovering...

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We Have Questions About That ’West Mass’ Video
Mar06

We Have Questions About That ’West Mass’ Video

Early last month, the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts announced a new brand identity: West Mass. The groups spent $80,000 on the campaign, hiring Oklahoma-based agency Cubic Creative to lead the re-branding of a region formerly known as the Pioneer Valley. The reaction was swift and unforgiving. Springfield resident Dylan Pilon, whose online petition...

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Thursday Film Screening: A Trailblazing Trans Elder and Activist
Mar06

Thursday Film Screening: A Trailblazing Trans Elder and Activist

Miss Major Known to many simply as “mama,” Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a trans elder and activist who blazed the trail for other high-profile transgender women of color. Griffin-Gracy has been involved, up close and personal, in decades of fights for rights, including at the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. Now 76 years old, she lives in Oakland and serves as the executive director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex...

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On Exhibit: It’s Me, Eloise — The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight
Mar06

On Exhibit: It’s Me, Eloise — The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight

El on Wheels Before President 45 ruined our fantasies about living the carefree life atop a skyscraper, America had Eloise, the children’s book series from the 1950s written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. For someone living the cushy life — this girl lives in the “room on the tippy-top floor” of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her pug Weenie and her turtle Skipperdee — Eloise got around, making her way...

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The Head and the Heart Plays Northampton
Feb27

The Head and the Heart Plays Northampton

Signs of Light Seattle indie folk band The Head and the Heart formed in 2009, and their third album Signs of Light, released this past fall, captures a radio-friendly pop rhythm that Rolling Stone described as “cozy and stylish at the same time.” That album was hard-won. In 2014, exhausted from four years of touring, the six band members parted ways for a while and scattered across the world to pursue individual projects, camp,...

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A Contortionist’s Journey Around the World — and Back to Brattleboro
Feb27

A Contortionist’s Journey Around the World — and Back to Brattleboro

The Body Follows: Inside the mind of professional contortionist Ariana Ferber-Carter Many people would bend over backwards to avoid performing stunts in front of an audience. But Ariana Ferber-Carter — a professional contortionist and circus coach — is far more flexible, and her passion for the circus runs deep. “What I do is intense and extreme, and I love it to death,” she says. “It hurts sometimes when I’m learning something new,...

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Q&A with Pasqualina Azzarello, the New Face of Easthampton City Arts
Feb27

Q&A with Pasqualina Azzarello, the New Face of Easthampton City Arts

In advance of the 1984 Summer Olympics, the city of Los Angeles commissioned 200 public murals. Pasqualina Azzarello remembers that transformation vividly. On hot afternoons, at the end of a long day at elementary school, she would climb into the backseat of her father’s car and sit looking out the window, stuck in traffic, at urban murals being painted. Changing worlds impressed themselves on her young eyes, and got into her head....

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On Stage Now: “Painting Churches” at the Majestic Theater
Feb27

On Stage Now: “Painting Churches” at the Majestic Theater

Home is Where the Art Is The sweet and heartfelt family story Painting Churches, winner of the John Gassner Award and Best Off-Broadway Play, is set in a Beacon Hill townhouse owned by Fanny and Gardner Church. As the play opens, the couple is packing, planning to move to a beach home on Cape Cod. Their daughter, Mags, an artist who lives in New York, arrives to help — and to paint their portrait. Gardner (Anderson Matthews), who has...

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On Exhibit: 100 Photos in the Berkshires
Feb27

On Exhibit: 100 Photos in the Berkshires

Five and Ten Again This month, Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox teams up with the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield for another year of Berkshire County’s 10 x 10 Upstreet Arts Festival. The two galleries are each showing half of a 100-photograph show, comprised of 10 photographs by 10 emerging artists: Bob Avakian, Zachary Burns, Ken Dreyfack, Susan Evans Grove, Roberto Falck, Ralph Mercer, Rebecca Moseman, Astrid...

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Celebrating the Birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois
Feb20

Celebrating the Birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois

Old Soul The iconic American historian, sociologist, writer, and activist W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington on Feb. 23, 1868 — three years after the end of the Civil War — and died in Accra, Ghana in 1963, one year before the passing of the Civil Rights Act. During his accomplished 95 years of life, Du Bois was the first African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, became a professor of history, sociology,...

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Thursday to Saturday: Student Voices on Stage at UMass
Feb20

Thursday to Saturday: Student Voices on Stage at UMass

Our Voices Our new president has committed to limiting access to legal abortions, and explicitly said on the campaign trail that there “has to be some form of punishment” for woman who seek them illegally. Vice President Mike Pence, who signed a bill in his home state of Indiana that would require aborted fetuses be given funerals through burial or cremation, has promised to send Roe v. Wade “to the ash heap of history.” And they...

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On Exhibit: Strip Weaving by Jeanette Cole
Feb20

On Exhibit: Strip Weaving by Jeanette Cole

Moving On Up The works on paper in this exhibition represent “my desire and hope for a place called ‘home,’” says Jeanette Cole, a professor in the art department at UMass. The collection, she says, is based on imagery from a West African robe given to her father by his co-workers after 15 years of missionary and literacy work, which was then inherited by her when he passed away. Cole traced the seams holding the strip-woven fabric...

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Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series
Feb20

Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series

The Katz and the Fiddle Click Workspace, downtown Northampton’s coworking HQ, drew a big enough crowd at a January concert to warrant a brand-new live music series. This month’s concert at Click features accomplished local stringster Zoë Darrow on fiddle and Stephen Katz on cello. Darrow, who grew up playing Cape Breton and other Celtic music on a sheep farm in Blandford, released her first album at the age of 12. Katz, an...

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Now Playing: I Am Not Your Negro
Feb13

Now Playing: I Am Not Your Negro

The Fire This Time The writer and social critic James Baldwin died 30 years ago, but his powerful critiques of authority, ignorance, and racial injustice in America are still cited by poets, parents, protestors, and many others who feel, now more than ever, the need to fight for progressive ideals. As Baldwin’s legacy continues to slide more fully into mainstream culture — where his essays and books, including Notes of a Native Son...

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Between the Lines: Love in the Time of Climate Change
Feb13

Between the Lines: Love in the Time of Climate Change

At the bottom of the stairwell behind my apartment building, a baby stroller sat for weeks. Every time I carried a laundry basket down the back steps, I had an opportunity to read the cardboard sign strapped to the side of the stroller. In rigid capital letters scrawled with Sharpie, it read: “The World Doesn’t Have Four More Years.” The first blizzard since Inauguration Day prompted someone to toss the protest sign and bring that...

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Saturday: Fabulous February Fringe Festival in Shelburne Falls
Feb06

Saturday: Fabulous February Fringe Festival in Shelburne Falls

Quick Flicks February is typically rather bleak, and this year – once again – even Punxsutawney Phil can’t hack it. We don’t blame him. We’d be headed back to the burrow too, if not for a concerted effort up and down the Valley this year to make the coldest winter days feel a bit more warm and communal. Case in point: the new Fabulous February Fringe Festival, a Shelburne Falls event that seeks to promote films written or directed by...

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The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2017
Feb06

The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2017

Local brewers share their predictions and plans Last year, the Beerhunter offered some “brew year’s resolutions” to serve as a checklist for craft beer enthusiasts on a year-long quest to try new things. This year, it seemed prudent to put the question to the brewers themselves. I asked them: what might craft beer lovers expect to see from you this year? In other words: what are your new year’s resolutions? Many responded with...

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Scary Movie Club: Split
Feb06

Scary Movie Club: Split

Horror auteur M. Night Shyamalan returns to what he does best Spoilers ahead! A pumpkin won the presidency, the Power Rangers are returning to theaters, and the Pats came back from 19 points behind in the fourth quarter to win the Super Bowl. To this list of bizarre upsets, add one more: M. Night Shyamalan is back to making good horror movies. After an early trifecta of good flicks with great twists (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable,...

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Feb. 9: Stand-Up Comic Eugene Mirman Plays Turners Falls
Jan30

Feb. 9: Stand-Up Comic Eugene Mirman Plays Turners Falls

Beyond the Burger If you knew only that Eugene Boris Mirman was born in the Soviet Union in the mid 1970s, you might be skeptical of the quality of his stand-up comedy. If you knew Mirman only from the animated FOX show Bob’s Burgers, where he portrays an 11-year-old boy who plays a keyboard that makes fart noises, you might be very skeptical of the quality of his stand-up comedy. Thankfully, Mirman — who spent most of his...

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Sunday Performance: Exploded View
Jan23

Sunday Performance: Exploded View

Reflective Collective What happens when eight talented women — all of whom are involved in creative communities across Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties — meet to make poetry and art together? In the case of Exploded View, they create multimedia exhibits and spoken-word performances unlike anything else in the Valley. Exploded View was conceived by Candace Curran, who showed up at Samantha Wood’s studio one day last spring...

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Music Reviews: New albums from Spiritual Rez and Rebecca Joy
Jan23

Music Reviews: New albums from Spiritual Rez and Rebecca Joy

Spiritual Rez Setting in the West Self-released People love reggae songs for the same reason people hate reggae songs: every slow, delirious second laid down is in service to the beat. Everyone from Bob Marley on down has brought flair, trippy switch-ups, and instrumental variety to their tunes, but the response from non-fans is predictable: it all still sounds the same. If anyone can shoot a cannonball through that stereotype, it’s...

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On Exhibit: Paintings by Susan Valentine
Jan16

On Exhibit: Paintings by Susan Valentine

We All Float On Leverett artist Susan Valentine acquired a kayak last summer. It was worth it. “Leverett Pond is a tiny walk from my studio,” she explains. “On the pond, I was inspired to slow down. I spent many a day on the water’s surface, tooling around and being nurtured by the views, the creatures, the plant life … These vertical canvases arose from those experiences.” Valentine used her smartphone camera to take reference photos...

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Album Review: East Coast New England Boy
Jan16

Album Review: East Coast New England Boy

EAST COAST NEW ENGLAND BOY Ian Cat Salieri Records If you pick up a copy of Ian Cat’s new album, grab a pair of headphones, too. Or, at the very least, play East Coast New England Boy with the volume turned way up. Within this static and fuzz beats the meticulous rhythm of something special. Is space-folk a genre? It is now. Massachusetts musician Ian Laczynski croons mellow lyrics over the strum of his acoustic guitar, but atop that...

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The Absorbing Animations of Sachio Cook
Jan09

The Absorbing Animations of Sachio Cook

Fine Tooning One morning in early October, I was flipping through local events online to assemble our calendar listings. That process becomes a bit of a blur sometimes, but my eye stopped short on a striking color cartoon — part of an announcement for an animation exhibit that month by Sachio Cook at the Hosmer Gallery in Northampton. In the drawing, a wide-eyed woman crawls on her hands and knees through a forest, searching for...

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The Beerhunter: Cold Weather Craft
Jan09

The Beerhunter: Cold Weather Craft

The best seasonal beers for winter months When predictions of blizzards rolled into town, our parents and grandparents ran to the package store and grabbed a 30-pack of cheap lager cans (we used to call them “dad soda”) along with bread, milk, and eggs. These days, the Nor’easter stockpile options are a bit more refined, and many newer craft breweries produce darker, spicier beers for winter — complemented by older holiday mainstays...

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Between the Lines: Our 2017 Wish List
Jan09

Between the Lines: Our 2017 Wish List

Our annual December Halos and Horns issue of the paper, which sums up staffers’ thoughts on who in the Valley (and the world) has been naughty and nice for the past year, only allows us to look backward. But with a new year rolled out before us, Advocate writers decided to look ahead at what we’re hoping for in 2017. Call it our New Years resolutions list — only this one goes beyond the kitchen and gym.   ▩ We’re wishing that...

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Julian’s Gift: Shutesbury sculptor plans to donate his land to conservation
Jan03

Julian’s Gift: Shutesbury sculptor plans to donate his land to conservation

The weird and wonderful artwork of Julian Janowitz only starts to reveal itself once visitors pull onto the long driveway of his Shutesbury home. That bumpy, meandering dirt road leads through a small clearing, then along twists and turns through a tall forest of conifers. In a meadow, far off to the left, a translucent red block of glass mosaic comes into view, perched on a stone pedestal the size of a golf cart. Around the bend is a...

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Through Monday: Instagrammers Take Northampton
Jan03

Through Monday: Instagrammers Take Northampton

Watch Your ’Grammers @igers413 is an online community of Western Mass Instagram users who gather regularly on their phones — and, somewhat less frequently, in person — for local events, challenges, and photo chats. #CHASINGLIGHT, the fourth installation of what has become a traveling exhibit, features a collection of photos from this community, shot with a variety of cameras ranging from an iPhone to a traditional film camera. Come...

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Folk quartet Driftwood comes to town with a new LP
Jan03

Folk quartet Driftwood comes to town with a new LP

Floating Rock and Rolling Folk From year to year, over hundreds of live sets, Driftwood has proved a cohesive quartet since its members first gathered in Binghamton, NY in 2005. But the band’s sound, rather aptly, is a shifting, constant collision of styles, from old-time bluegrass and folk to country, punk, and rock. “It’s sometimes tough to keep any sort of focus on style or sound when you have three different songwriters,”...

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On Exhibit: Hanna-Barbera Animation at the Norman Rockwell Museum
Dec27

On Exhibit: Hanna-Barbera Animation at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Zoinks! In an era before we burrowed into our choice cable channels, American kids grew up watching cartoons on one of three network TV stations. From 1958 through the 1980s, most options on Saturday mornings were products of the Hanna-Barbera company — the creator of shows like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, and The Smurfs. This winter, the Norman Rockwell Museum presents the country’s first...

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Friday Music: Rice at Bishop’s Lounge
Dec27

Friday Music: Rice at Bishop’s Lounge

Rice, Rice, Baby Who knew there were enough people in Warwick, MA (population 780) to start a great rock band? Rice proves the skeptics wrong. Formed at a house party in 2014, the group infuses Americana and jam music with rock sensibilities. It’s not too much of a stretch to compare them to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Talking Heads, and Fleetwood Mac — plus an added edge of fresh, devil-may-care attitude. We’re talking chill...

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The Valley’s End-of-Year Gallery Art Sales
Dec27

The Valley’s End-of-Year Gallery Art Sales

Rogue Galleries Supporting local artists isn’t just for the holidays. Last-minute shopping needs aside, there are hundreds of cool pieces on gallery walls, ceilings, floors, and shelves during all of the Valley’s year-end art shows. The tradition of using these final chilly weeks of the year to showcase collections of smaller pieces is alive and well, and an afternoon of stop-in browsing provides a chance to see what everyone has been...

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