The V-Spot: Exploring Kink After Trauma
Jul03

The V-Spot: Exploring Kink After Trauma

Writer’s note: this column discusses sexual assault and trauma. Hey Yana! I’ve been seeing/having sex with this guy for a little while now. I really (really really) like him and feel super comfortable with him and we’ve had super good conversations about boundaries and consent. I tend to dissociate a bit when I start having sex with a new person, and I’ve been really open about that with him and about past trauma. (I was physically...

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Stagestruck: WTF is going on
Jul02

Stagestruck: WTF is going on

Two world premieres kick off the season at Williamstown Theatre Festival, one a raucous comedy, the other a brief, intimate tragedy. The Closet holds forth on WTF’s Main Stage through July 14th, while The Sound Inside plays through the 8th on the smaller Nikos Stage. Both feature bona fide stars in roles that fit them well. Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside, unfolding over an intermissionless 90 minutes, is is a rather bleak...

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Cinemadope: The private life of iconoclast Grace Jones
Jul02

Cinemadope: The private life of iconoclast Grace Jones

Growing up, I wasn’t often presented with images of strong women. You’d see the occasional Rosie the Riveter magnet here and there, but even then it seemed odd to me that it required sending most of the male population to an overseas war before a woman got a chance to take charge. In media, when there was a female role that wasn’t just arm candy to a higher-paid actor, it often meant the character was de-sexed as much as possible, as...

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Stagestruck: Hip-Hop Hybrid — Ephrat Asherie Dance at Jacob’s Pillow
Jun29

Stagestruck: Hip-Hop Hybrid — Ephrat Asherie Dance at Jacob’s Pillow

The dance companies that opened this year’s season at Jacob’s Pillow epitomize the festival’s enduring mission. This week the mainstage hosts Pilobolus, one of the pillars of modern dance and still innovating after 45 years. And in the Pillow’s intimate Doris Duke Theatre, Ephrat Asherie Dance exemplifies the festival’s ongoing commitment to stylistic and thematic boundary-pushing. Both shows run through Sunday July 1st. I was at...

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The CDs You Gave Me: Colorway’s ‘These Are The Days’ will give you hope for humanity
Jun28

The CDs You Gave Me: Colorway’s ‘These Are The Days’ will give you hope for humanity

Northampton-based pop rock trio Colorway embodies the spirit of summer on its new nine-track record, “These Are The Days,” with inventive shredding guitar solos and catchy earworm melodies that for better or for worse promotes a simple message of peace, love, and understanding. These Are The Days by Colorway The album opens with the title track, an upbeat rock tune with an XTC-ish drumming intro from Riley Godleski (drums/vocals)...

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O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower
Jun27

O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower

Chris Hubbard has been crafting artisanal glass pipes for marijuana smokers with his Florence-based business Akame Glass for more than a decade and thinks the stigma against weed-related glassblowing is shifting, and his industry is starting to be legitimized by the larger art world. “Before the world considered us artists, we were drug paraphernalia makers,” he said. “Now that weed is legal. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re an artist.’ I’ve...

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Bizarro Briefs: Keep your eyes off the road
Jun27

Bizarro Briefs: Keep your eyes off the road

A county coroner in Kentucky has been accused of working with at least two others — a retired police colonel and a current state police trooper — of illegally transporting a number of items. The most serious appeared to be $40,000 worth of illegally obtained weapons and ammunition, but the most eye-popping was a literal pair of eyeballs. Prosecutors allege the coroner, who is running to be re-elected as Coroner in Kentucky, took the...

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 The V-Spot: I’m The Other Woman
Jun26

 The V-Spot: I’m The Other Woman

Hi Yana, I want to avoid having an emotional (or sexual) affair without ending a friendship. I have a friend who I really like, and am attracted to, but he’s married. I’ve known him for a couple of years, and we always hang out with his wife, who I don’t click with. I’m polyamorous and have other partners, but I respect that he and his wife are monogamous. Recently he’s said and done a handful of things...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The potential of Massachusetts wine
Jun26

Monte Belmonte Wines: The potential of Massachusetts wine

Massachusetts is no Bordeaux. It’s no Napa. Perhaps with global warming, someday it will rival the great wine regions of the world, which is why I keep a tire fire burning in my backyard at all times. But given the limitations of our climate, are our burgeoning vineyards in Massachusetts able to produce great wine? If you read my last column, you’ll know I was recently illegally drinking canned wine on the beaches of Cape Cod. Route...

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Stagestruck: At a Crossroads on “The Road to Mecca”
Jun25

Stagestruck: At a Crossroads on “The Road to Mecca”

Silverthorne Theater Company has come a long way since its founding five summers ago. Struggling at first with difficult venues and miniscule audiences, the company, under the leadership of Lucinda Kidder, is now celebrating the half-decade mark with a permanent home and full houses. It’s the resident theater in Greenfield’s cultural hub, the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center. (Full disclosure: I’ve worked there as a director.)...

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Cinemadope: Animated summer fare in the Valley
Jun25

Cinemadope: Animated summer fare in the Valley

It’s finally getting into the full swing of summer here in the Valley — the asparagus festival has come and gone, the colleges have mostly emptied out, and keeping up with the yard work is beginning to turn  downright Sisyphean. If you find yourself longing for a little getaway, who could blame you? If a return to the simple pleasures of a cartoon-soaked youth sounds enticing, Valley theaters have you covered in the coming weeks. Find...

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Stagestruck: A lawyer walks into a rabbi’s office…
Jun23

Stagestruck: A lawyer walks into a rabbi’s office…

Bar Mitzvah Boy is a comedy that looks seriously at faith, community, and loss. Its premise contains the seeds of sitcom: A middle-aged Jewish lawyer who hasn’t set foot in a synagogue since he was a boy is suddenly in a rush to have his way-overdue becoming-a-man ceremony. He convinces (or rather bullies) the rabbi, who has her – yes, her – own more pressing needs, to be his personal tutor. Chester Theatre Company’s season opener, by...

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Stagestruck: “Tight Pants” and strong bonds
Jun20

Stagestruck: “Tight Pants” and strong bonds

A six-week workshop for first-time playwrights taught by the Majestic Theater’s Danny Eaton has borne unexpected fruit. It has not only brought forth a full-length play, but has inspired Eaton to establish an annual “new works” week at the theater. Betel Arnold’s Tight Pants, which grew out of that workshop, inaugurates the projected series this weekend. Arnold’s play is set in the Dominican Republic, her mother’s homeland. It’s an...

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Stagestruck: A Crisis of Faith, with Laughs
Jun18

Stagestruck: A Crisis of Faith, with Laughs

Church & State is the funniest play about a serious issue I have ever seen. The issue is gun violence, specifically mass shootings, and the humor is threaded into the storyline so organically that, far from cheapening the theme, it lends to it a richer, more deeply human heart. The central figure in the Berkshire Theatre Group’s thrilling production is North Carolina’s (fictitious) junior senator, Republican Charles Whitmore, who...

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Podcast: Beerhunter Hunter Styles and Beer Week co-founder Sally Noble talk beer
Jun18

Podcast: Beerhunter Hunter Styles and Beer Week co-founder Sally Noble talk beer

Advocate alumnus Hunter Styles, who still writes our Beerhunter column, and Sally Noble, co-founder of Western Mass Beer Week, tell us about the embarrassment of riches of beer we have in the Valley. Hear about Sally’s beer beginnings and the start of Western Mass Beer Week, of Hunter’s recent travels (and beer sampling) in Norway, and see whether the pair can convince Gina that beer is actually...

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The V-Spot: How Do I Move Past Old Heartbreak?
Jun18

The V-Spot: How Do I Move Past Old Heartbreak?

Hi Yana, I’m a dude in my mid-thirties struggling to recover from a sort of recent break-up (over a year ago). We were together for seven years. The last three of those years were spent in couples therapy and the last year of our relationship was spent trying to be non-monogamous (her idea). Long, painful story short: she ended up falling in love with the other person she was dating outside of our relationship during our...

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Cinemadope: A great time for film lovers to check out Forbes Library
Jun18

Cinemadope: A great time for film lovers to check out Forbes Library

Something I’ve come to love about Father’s Day weekend is my own dad’s profound disinterest in the world of the internet. He doesn’t give a fig for Facebook, has no email address, and if he were ever involved with something viral it would be cause for a trip to the doctor’s office. The man is so offline that he doesn’t even have a debit card. What he does have is a library card. And for as long as I can remember, he has made the...

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Basemental: Wendy Eisenberg just wants to be a good person and make very complicated music
Jun15

Basemental: Wendy Eisenberg just wants to be a good person and make very complicated music

Wendy Eisenberg has made a name for herself in the amalgamated DIY, jazz, and improvisation scenes in New England and beyond. Coming via Rochester and then Boston, Eisenberg now lives in Amherst. Eisenberg has a variety of tactics in her artist’s toolbox. Among them are songwriter, teacher, improvisor, session musician, and heady writer on musical theory. She has played with the likes of the alto-saxophonist-and-jack-of-all-trades...

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Stagestruck: Barrington’s world premiere musical — not ready for prime time
Jun15

Stagestruck: Barrington’s world premiere musical — not ready for prime time

The “royal family” of Broadway in the early 20th century was the Barrymores – Ethel, “first lady of the American theater,” John the swashbuckling Shakespearean, and Lionel, best remembered now as mean old Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. The hit Broadway comedy of 1927 was The Royal Family, an affectionate sendup of the Barrymores and the showbiz aristocracy they embodied. Now it’s a musical, The Royal Family of Broadway, which...

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Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On
Jun13

Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On

A theater story: For three years in the mid-’70s, Anthony Perkins starred in the long-running Broadway production of Equus, playing the psychiatrist Dr. Dysart (pause for Psycho jokes). Just before one matinee came an announcement: “Anthony Perkins will not be appearing in this performance.” Groans of disappointment! “His role will be played by Richard Burton.” Buzz of excitement! At the time, Burton, who had played the part in...

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Stagestruck: What’s on stage this summer — Berkshire edition
Jun13

Stagestruck: What’s on stage this summer — Berkshire edition

Time was, summer theater was pretty predictable. Two comedies, a drama and a whodunit was the standard lineup when I was in summer stock way back in the day. Even the major venues — of which the Williamstown and Berkshire Theater Festivals were the grande dames — attracted audiences with familiar work and famous names. Those days are gone, summer theater having become just as varied and adventurous as any cold-weather stage. While...

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Stagestruck: The Scotsman and “The Curious Incident”
Jun12

Stagestruck: The Scotsman and “The Curious Incident”

If you’re a regular at the NT Live series of high-def broadcasts from the London stage, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rory Kinnear is under exclusive contract to the National Theatre. (He’s not, as you’ll know if you’re also a fan of the recent James Bond films, in which he played Bill Tanner.) Kinnear has starred in National Theatre productions on an almost yearly basis since the late aughts, his staccato speech and London vowels...

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O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states
Jun12

O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states

Local marijuana businesses — and federal legislators — are supporting bipartisan legislation that would leave marijuana regulation up to the states, a change from the blanket federal prohibition now in place. That’s a positive sign for Easthampton resident Karima Rizk, whose dream of opening a local cannabis cafe has been stifled both by state and federal laws. “I think it’s great news and it’s showing there is an increasing level of...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?
Jun12

Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?

I am a proponent of Massachusetts becoming an open carry state. Not with guns. But with alcoholic beverages. Unless you happen to find yourself on the Buckland side of Shelburne Falls, where you are permitted to carry an open container of alcohol on the street, you might find yourself in trouble if you decide to imbibe outside — say, at one of our fine Massachusetts beaches. You could choose to obey posted laws about where alcohol is...

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Cinemadope: A filmmaker becomes part of an immigrant’s harrowing journey
Jun12

Cinemadope: A filmmaker becomes part of an immigrant’s harrowing journey

Open a newspaper, turn on your television, scroll through your Facebook feed: it won’t be long before you’re face to face with the ongoing discussion of the state of immigration in America. To be sure, the current resident of the White House — whose policies have broadened the debate into a referendum on more basic human rights — has made it an issue that can’t be ignored. But for all the heat generated by the ongoing arguments, it’s...

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Podcast: Jennifer Levesque on music in the Valley and 10 years of Advocate cover designs
Jun11

Podcast: Jennifer Levesque on music in the Valley and 10 years of Advocate cover designs

Jennifer Levesque brings the Valley’s music shows to life as the Advocate’s Valley Show Girl columnist. She’s also been designing the Advocate’s covers for more than 10 years. She tells us about her favorite Advocate issues and what’s going on in the Valley’s music scene, especially with new Valley Show Girl concerts starting this...

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V-Spot: My BF’s Been Sexting Other Women
Jun11

V-Spot: My BF’s Been Sexting Other Women

Hi Yana, I was recently informed by someone that my boyfriend has been sexually texting another girl for several months, as well as had an active profile on dating site Plenty of Fish. When confronted, it took a few days but he did admit the truth to me. I am devastated and hurt; we have a very loving relationship and have built a very wonderful life together. When he was explaining everything to me, he broke down and told me how he...

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Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves
Jun07

Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves

In a show of bipartisan support for clarity around marijuana laws, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado held a joint press conference about a bill they are sponsoring to allow states to make their own decisions regarding marijuana legislation. Massachusetts and Colorado are two of a growing number of states to have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and Warren said that...

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Stagestruck: Lessons in Survival
Jun04

Stagestruck: Lessons in Survival

Two plays now running in Hartford are framed by resistance movements against political and economic oppression, and both carry weighty metaphors. At TheaterWorks through June 23, a lesson in global economics is tucked into a torn-from-the-headlines thriller, and at Hartford Stage through this weekend, a lesson in trust and betrayal is wrapped around a tenacious plant. That plant is the aloe, the spiny green succulent that manages to...

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Cinemadope: Lowest to Highest at the Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival at the Academy of Music
Jun04

Cinemadope: Lowest to Highest at the Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival at the Academy of Music

Unless you’re a diehard cyclist, we are just now into the high season for bikes. (You’ll know you’re a diehard if you own snow tires for your ride.) For many, it’s one of the rare enjoyments that span a lifetime; our first great sense of freedom is often found when a parent lets go of the back of the bike, and that same feeling of endless possibility keeps millions riding for the rest of their lives. Our bikes may get bigger, and our...

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The V-Spot: My Boyfriend Read My Journal
Jun01

The V-Spot: My Boyfriend Read My Journal

Hi Yana, I was dating a guy for about year when he told me he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore, but wouldn’t give me a concrete answer as to why. A few months later I found out he had read my journal (ugh) where I was comparing sex with him to sex with my previous partners. Obviously his feelings are hurt and now I don’t know how to talk to him about it because I am just as upset about my invasion of privacy. Do you think it’s...

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Stagestruck: Summer Theater Preview — The Valley
Jun01

Stagestruck: Summer Theater Preview — The Valley

I’m always excited as the summer-theater season approaches, even though it means I’ll be spending even more of my entertainment hours indoors than during the dark winter. In a brief three months, we theatergoers are treated to a greater variety of fare — not to mention a greater quantity — than in the other nine combined. On this summer’s calendar, I’m looking forward to 20 productions from seven different companies in the Valley...

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O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone
May31

O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone

A new start-up cannabis business called Treeworks is taking a grassroots approach to the burgeoning legalized marijuana industry in Massachusetts by working out of a home kitchen to develop a line of locally sourced products, including cannabis oils, edibles such as gummies, tinctures, topicals, and cannabinoid infused Kombucha. Treeworks is the brainchild of three Pioneer Valley residents in their mid-to-late 20s – Timothy...

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Stagestruck: Deadly Denial — Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage
May30

Stagestruck: Deadly Denial — Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage

Barrington Stage Company’s summer season launched on Sunday in the troupe’s St. Germain Stage, with a play by its eponym, Mark St. Germain. In her curtain speech, artistic director Julianne Boyd proudly announced that Typhoid Mary is the ninth play of his that Barrington has produced (I make it 10, but who’s counting?). She also told us it’s a play that “has to be done now,” adding, “You’ll see why.” Mary Mallon earned her...

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The Beerhunter’s guide to the 2018 Western Mass Beer Week
May30

The Beerhunter’s guide to the 2018 Western Mass Beer Week

Raise a glass across the Valley (and throughout the Berkshires, too!) as the third annual Western Mass Beer Week rolls in this month. The eight-day celebration of local craft beer — which runs June 9 to 16 — is jam-packed with limited releases, special collaborations, beer dinners, cask tappings, and local products at breweries, bars, and restaurants across Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire counties. Typically, we might say...

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