Stagestruck: Moonlight and Music
Oct17

Stagestruck: Moonlight and Music

Two moonlit pieces of music theater hit Valley stages this weekend. The Smith College Theatre Department premieres Moonlight on the Miskatonic, a musical based on the creepy tales of H. P. Lovecraft. And Pilgrim Theatre revives Moon Over Dark Street, a cabaret of songs by the jaunty genius Bertolt Brecht.   Songs weave through all of Brecht’s plays, part of his “epic theater” approach to stagecraft. They comment on and provide...

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Bizarro Briefs: Singing Locusts
Oct11

Bizarro Briefs: Singing Locusts

An opera about locusts in the Rocky Mountains? You bet. Locust: The Opera premiered on Sept. 28 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. The piece tells the tale of the lost Rocky Mountain locust through arias and recitatives. Locusts disappeared in the Rockies during the early 20th century and no one’s 100 percent why. For decades, the insect could be found by the trillions. During the 19th century, they were...

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Bizarro Briefs: Welcome to Jurassic … Er? Hotel
Oct09

Bizarro Briefs: Welcome to Jurassic … Er? Hotel

A hotel in Japan has a very weird and niche schtick, and that’s saying a lot considering Japan is known for many things wonderfully weird. This hotel has a reception desk manned by robot dinosaurs. Whether you speak Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean, the pair of robo-dinos are more than happy to assist their customers at the east Tokyo hotel through the use of a tablet system. The hotel belongs to the Henn na (weird in English)...

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Stagestruck: Valley Variations — Celebrating words and music, autumn and murder
Oct09

Stagestruck: Valley Variations — Celebrating words and music, autumn and murder

A demon barber, a cockroach killer, a charitable speller, a balletic frog. This month, up and down the Valley, indoors and out, intimate and expansive, there’s a seasonal bounty of performances to choose from.   The Royal Frog Ballet is an  “amoeba of collaborators” who “create performance and installation art for community gatherings.” This weekend and next, Oct. 12-14 and 19- 21 at 5pm, the group’s tenth annual Surrealist...

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Scott Cadwallader on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Oct05

Scott Cadwallader on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Scott Cadwallader is a folk/country singer-songwriter from Northampton and host of the weekly Thursday Yellow Sofa open mic at the Thirsty Mind. Cadwallader is a prolific songwriter, who has published dozens of his own original songs on YouTube. Check out his Advocate Sessions performance below. Interview with Scott...

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Stagestruck Weekend: Coming Back to Life, in the (413)
Oct05

Stagestruck Weekend: Coming Back to Life, in the (413)

In the past, Life in the (413), New Century Theatre’s live-on-stage roast of all things Valley, was aimed at boosting its upcoming summer program. The sixth iteration, at the Academy of Music on Sunday, is aimed at reviving the company after its sudden collapse a year ago and the cancellation of this year’s season. “New Century Theatre has been a part of our home for 28 years and we hope to see it continue,” says Jarice Hanson, the...

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Stagestruck: Two in the Berkshires – Naked & The Glass Menagerie
Oct03

Stagestruck: Two in the Berkshires – Naked & The Glass Menagerie

A desperate young woman, Ersilia Drei, has attempted suicide. From her hospital bed, she spins a heartrending, headline-grabbing story for an opportunistic reporter. His article draws a circle of interested parties into her twisting orbit: The novelist who sees in her story the germ of a terrific plot and who takes her under his wing and, as he intends, into his bed. His landlady, who’s scandalized by the arrangement – until she...

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Stagestruck: Stage to Screen
Sep28

Stagestruck: Stage to Screen

The live-capture stage-to-screen season at the Amherst Cinema has begun, with a lineup of adaptations of world classics from the London stage – a dance-happy movie musical, a steamy exploration of transgressive desire, a surreal whodunnit, a Gothic horror story – plus a modern-dress Shakespeare. Most come courtesy of the ongoing National Theatre Live series. Here they are, in upcoming  order.   Sept. 29, 12:30pm — The Broadway...

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Cinemadope: A filmmaker gets her due
Sep28

Cinemadope: A filmmaker gets her due

In the world of filmmaking, the French New Wave is the Dylan-goes-electric moment. Rejecting the period dramas that had theretofore dominated screens, the group of European filmmakers who led the new artistic charge instead found inspiration in the modern world, and they believed in the power of the singular auteur — that a film director, like a novelist, is an author whose style should be evident in the film itself. It was a rebuke...

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Anjali Rose on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Sep28

Anjali Rose on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Local singer-songwriter Anjali Rose Kumar performs a melange of indie folk-tinged looped vocals and guitar with a world music perspective. Interview with Anjali...

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Stagestruck: Murdering the Play
Sep26

Stagestruck: Murdering the Play

Even before the houselights dim, The Play That Goes Wrong is going wrong. On the uncurtained stage, a techie is still working on the floorboards and the stage manager is frantically trying to secure a part of the set. She recruits an audience member to help out while she goes in search of the dog who’s supposed to appear in Act Two. This is a preview of things to come in this English import and current Broadway hit, whose national...

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Stagestruck: “Hir” and Now
Sep26

Stagestruck: “Hir” and Now

Playwright Taylor Mac has described Hir as “a kitchen-sink drama.” Which is fair, as long as you understand that the sink in question is full of filthy dishes and fresh vomit. The genre- and gender-bending play, at Shakespeare & Company through October 7, begins with a homecoming and ends with an expulsion. In between, it tackles themes of gender and identity, power and privilege, dysfunction and abuse, love and hate – and one of...

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Stagestruck: Eight Shows for the Price of Two
Sep24

Stagestruck: Eight Shows for the Price of Two

This weekend and next, two theater companies demonstrate, once again, the breadth and variety of Valley stages. In Greenfield, Silverthorne Theater Company opens a two-week run of “six unruly comedies” by America’s cheekiest stage satirist, Christopher Durang. In Northampton, Serious Play Theatre Ensemble makes a triumphant return from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a pair of pieces that marry words and music in unique ways....

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Eva Cappelli on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Sep21

Eva Cappelli on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Eva Cappelli is a local songwriting queen who plays everything from blues and country to jazz and rock. Check out her Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Eva...

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Stagestruck: Play by Play by Playwrights
Sep20

Stagestruck: Play by Play by Playwrights

Before a play hits the stage, it goes through several other stages. The first is the opposite of public performance – the writing, solo and in private. Then, for the members of the Northampton Playwrights Lab, it’s shared with a small circle of fellow dramatists, who offer insights and suggestions to the work in progress. Then, usually after several revisions and further feedback, it’s put on its feet for the first time in a reading....

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Stagestruck: Hometown Tales & Terrors
Sep19

Stagestruck: Hometown Tales & Terrors

Walk down Main Street in any small American town and look around. There are the unassuming shopfronts and placid homes, holding private, ordinary lives. But behind the doors lie extraordinary secrets and dreams. Three plays this weekend in our not-so-ordinary Valley take us down some increasingly twisty side streets, from Thornton Wilder’s deceptively tranquil village, to a high school that hides the portal to an underworld of...

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Cinemadope: The Informant – A drug war casualty
Sep17

Cinemadope: The Informant – A drug war casualty

In regional conflicts around the world, the use of child soldiers has become a sadly common phenomenon. Boys and girls — some still under ten — are pulled or forced into violent, dangerous situations far beyond anything they are prepared for physically or emotionally. When Americans hear these children’s stories, they are usually set in far-off jungles or forests, where charismatic and threatening leaders create a self-contained world...

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Stagestruck: Puppets in the Green Mountains
Sep15

Stagestruck: Puppets in the Green Mountains

For two decades, Sandglass Theater, the justly world-renowned puppetry troupe headquartered in Putney, Vermont, has produced an international festival that serves as a gathering and showcase for masters of the form. The tenth biennial “Puppets in the Green Mountains” festival, Sept. 20-23 in Putney and Brattleboro, offers a variety of cross-disciplinary performances, some “for all ages” and some primarily for grownups. The performers,...

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Riley Godleski on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Sep14

Riley Godleski on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Riley Godleski is a local singer-songwriter who perfroms indie pop mixed with bittersweet melodies and melancholy alternative folk. Interview with Riley...

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VIDEO: Riley Godleski on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Sep12

VIDEO: Riley Godleski on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Check out a teaser video for Riley Godleski – indie pop mixed with bittersweet melodies and melancholy alternative folk.

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Stagestruck: Women in the Saddle
Sep12

Stagestruck: Women in the Saddle

Hot on the heels of my recent rundown of women’s representation in the area’s summer theaters comes more encouraging evidence from some of the fall season’s first shows. The Majestic Theater is playing a cowboy musical in which the lead is not a boy. WAM Theater, which provides on- and offstage opportunities for women, continues its popular staged-reading series. And Pittsfield’s Whitney Center for the Arts revives the classic...

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Austin & Elliott on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Sep07

Austin & Elliott on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Austin & Elliott are an acoustic folk duo who write ballads about love and death. Check out their complete Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Austin &...

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Stagestruck: An Extraordinary Ordinary Man
Sep06

Stagestruck: An Extraordinary Ordinary Man

Two years ago I reviewed A Fiery and Still Voice, a living-history performance at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Mass. The delightfully engaging show by Enchanted Circle Theater is back for four Saturdays this fall – Sept. 8th & 15th and Oct. 13th & 27th, two shows a day, 11 and 1. Info and tickets here. Here’s what I wrote about it at its premiere. If you’re like me, you studied William Cullen...

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Stagestruck: Minority Report — Women and people of color on summer-theater stages
Sep05

Stagestruck: Minority Report — Women and people of color on summer-theater stages

Readers of this column will know my practice of periodically reporting on the progress (or not) in the representation of women and people of color in area theaters. The summer season has recently ended, so I’ve been making a tally of this summer’s shows. The news is good. My usual accounting falls into three categories — plays written by, directed by, and centrally featuring women and/or “minorities.” This year the results are better...

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Mike Spector on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Aug31

Mike Spector on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Mike Spector is a local singer-songwriter who writes soulful folk ballads about love and heartache. Check out his complete Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Mike...

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Cinemadope: Starman – the undeniable talents of David Bowie
Aug31

Cinemadope: Starman – the undeniable talents of David Bowie

For all his undeniable talent as a musician and songwriter, the late David Bowie was always an incredibly visual creature. His many guises onstage and off told the story of an artist completely comfortable with the process of reinventing himself, and while some might see it as mere resurfacing — the suit and tie that gave way to the glam of Ziggy Stardust that morphed into The Thin White Duke — Bowie never let it stop at skin-deep....

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Bizarro Briefs: A Mammoth Hat
Aug31

Bizarro Briefs: A Mammoth Hat

If you suddenly came into possession of a bag of woolly mammoth hair, the first thing to come to mind likely wouldn’t be a hat. A man in Yakutsk, the capital of one of Russia’s eastern provinces, created a traditional style hat, usually reserved for horse hair, from woolly mammoth hairs. The bag of ancient fur had been sold to the man from a relative in need of funds after it was discovered on a permafrost melt hunt. Now, the man is...

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Back Talk: Support for Eric Nakajima and thanks to the League of Women Voters
Aug31

Back Talk: Support for Eric Nakajima and thanks to the League of Women Voters

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com.  Vote for Eric Nakajima on Sept. 4  As a longtime local progressive activist, and Democratic Party leader and friend in Hampshire County and beyond, I strongly encourage residents of Amherst, Pelham, and...

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Free Will Astrology: Unleash your bravado without getting yourself kidnapped, Leo
Aug31

Free Will Astrology: Unleash your bravado without getting yourself kidnapped, Leo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” our heroine encounters a talking caterpillar as he smokes a hookah on top of a tall mushroom. “Who are you?” he asks her. Alice is honest: “I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” She says this with uneasiness. In the last few hours, she has twice been shrunken down to a...

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VIDEO: Mike Spector on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Aug30

VIDEO: Mike Spector on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Check out a teaser video of this week’s Advocate Sessions performer – soulful folk singer-songwriter Mike Spector. His full Valley Advocate Sessions video and interview will be released this...

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Pick of the Day 8/29: Betty: They Say I’m Different
Aug29

Pick of the Day 8/29: Betty: They Say I’m Different

Betty Davis was more than just Miles Davis’ wife; she was a funky musical force who was a head of her time when it came to demanding control over her image and her recordings. In the early 1980s Betty disappeared from public life.  In 2012 filmmakers discovered Betty living in Pittsburgh and eventually captured her story. Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St.,...

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Pick of the Day 8/28: Mama Caught Fire, Kimaya Diggs, and Emma June at the Iron Horse
Aug28

Pick of the Day 8/28: Mama Caught Fire, Kimaya Diggs, and Emma June at the Iron Horse

 Minneapolis trio Mama Caught Fire heads a line up of girl power tonight! Kimaya Diggs and Emma June complete the trifecta. Iron Horse Music Hall, 10 Center St.,...

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Stagestruck: Physick and Physics at Shakespeare & Company
Aug25

Stagestruck: Physick and Physics at Shakespeare & Company

A few years ago, when I told my brother I was directing a production of As You Like It, he said, “That’s the one about Beatrice and Benedick, isn’t it?” Well, no, but the confusion is understandable. Several of Shakespeare’s comedies have interchangeable titles: As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing (the one my brother was thinking of), All’s Well That Ends Well, and for that matter, Twelfth Night. As You Like It is the one about the...

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Pick of the Day 8/25: BSO celebrates Bernstein Centennial at Tanglewood
Aug25

Pick of the Day 8/25: BSO celebrates Bernstein Centennial at Tanglewood

The great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein would be 100 this year! Happy birthday, Maestro! Celebrate with the BSO at Tanglewood tonight. 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Shed. 297 West St., Lenox.

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Pick of the Day 8/24: RPM
Aug25

Pick of the Day 8/24: RPM

Three days of metal, punk, and rock? Could it be? Yes! And it happening NOW!!  RPM Fest is New England’s biggest heavy music and camping festival, featuring 50 bands including Black Tusk, Tombs, Whores, Acid Witch, Child Bite, INCITE, Against the Grain, S.N.A.F.U. , Dead Empires, BARISHI, Heavy Temple, Worshipper, and more!  Performances on three stages, beer, food, vendors, games, and more.  Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. 210...

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