The Beerhunter: Shake Your Cabin Fever with a Taproom Day Trip 
Feb19

The Beerhunter: Shake Your Cabin Fever with a Taproom Day Trip 

It is right about now, during the shortest month of the year, that I have sat through some of the longest evenings of my life. Cabin fever is no joke, even if your cabin comes equipped with a fire, good books, and a stockpile of craft beer (plus some loved ones, I guess). February is cold, wet, and boring enough to make you pine for a quick spring thaw. It will come. Until then, remember that most breweries are open, and those valiant...

Read More
Book Bag: ‘Enchantée’ by Gita Trelease; ‘Seven Full days’ by Ferris Shelton
Feb19

Book Bag: ‘Enchantée’ by Gita Trelease; ‘Seven Full days’ by Ferris Shelton

ENCHANTÉE By Gita Trelease Flatiron Books gitatrelease.com In Paris in 1789, as poverty grips most of the populace, and the aristocrats’ indifference to people’s suffering breeds growing anger, 17-year-old Camille Durbonne is struggling to provide for herself and her younger sister, Sophie. The girls’ parents have died from smallpox, and their dissolute brother, Alain, is busy gambling away what little money they have. Camille, the...

Read More
Cinemadope: Natural Causes: The strange beauties of Rosamond Purcell
Feb19

Cinemadope: Natural Causes: The strange beauties of Rosamond Purcell

The photography of Rosamond Purcell is work that often feels plucked from another period. Her artistic impulse — what filmmaker Errol Morris described as “the contemplation of things that other people would normally just ignore” — harkens back to a time when many artists were also de facto naturalists, dealing with cadavers, carcasses, and the process of decay in the service of creating a new way of seeing the world around us. But...

Read More
Wellness: Workouts that actually work out
Feb18

Wellness: Workouts that actually work out

It’s a month and a half into 2019, and what may have seemed like an easily obtainable fitness resolution on New Year’s Day might not seem that way anymore. To encourage those who may need a boost, we asked readers and fitness experts to share their best fitness advice. Siobhan Tripp of Hatfield says she seeks out fitness activities at the gym that she enjoys. “For me, it’s going to classes,” she said. Tripp schedules and tracks her...

Read More
V-Spot: How Do I Stop Faking My Orgasms?
Feb18

V-Spot: How Do I Stop Faking My Orgasms?

Dear Yana, I’m in my early 30s and have been faking orgasms for about a decade of a colorful, explorative — if not straight up hyphy — sex life. I had my first orgasm about 13 years ago with a partner, who helped me discover simultaneous clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex. In the decade since, I’ve gotten down with all kinds of exciting and talented lovers, some of whom I’ve also definitely loved — none of whom got the job...

Read More
Letters to the editor: Passing the volunteer baton
Feb18

Letters to the editor: Passing the volunteer baton

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. Want to get in on this? Email deisen@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject.   Limousine Liberals — a rebuttal What makes those right wingers think that right...

Read More
Advocate Staff Picks: Feb. 15 – 23
Feb15

Advocate Staff Picks: Feb. 15 – 23

Ch’CHUNK! at Luthier’s Co-op // FRIDAY, Feb. 15 Ch’Chunk is self-described as “a modern take on classic swing.” The band plays great original songs as well as Tin Pan Alley classics that instantly transports your mind to a dimly lit speakeasy. So, with that in mind, let guitar bar Luthier’s Co-op on Friday be your mind speakeasy this week from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Plus there’s two other great local bands that have performed on...

Read More
Bizarro Briefs: Nazi Art Not a Winner
Feb15

Bizarro Briefs: Nazi Art Not a Winner

Nazi art not a winner Adolf Hitler can’t seem to catch a break. First, his quest for world domination hit a snag in the 1940s when the Allies defeated him in World War II, and now, no one wants watercolor paintings attributed to him. None of the five paintings believed to be painted by him received a bid at a German auction this week. Some believe that this is because the paintings are suspected fakes. But others just don’t think they...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: There are more galaxies near the big dipper than you think, Gemini
Feb15

Free Will Astrology: There are more galaxies near the big dipper than you think, Gemini

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When directors of movies say, “It’s a wrap,” they mean that the shooting of a scene has been finished. They may use the same expression when the shooting of the entire film is completed. That’s not the end of the creative process, of course. All the editing must still be done. Once that’s accomplished, the producer may declare that the final product is “in the can,” and ready to be released or broadcast....

Read More
Stagestruck: Big Apple Bites
Feb15

Stagestruck: Big Apple Bites

At first glance, you’d think the two plays I saw in New York City last week have little in common. One is an international import from London to Broadway, the other an Off-Broadway transfer from a small regional theater in Vermont. One is twice as long as the other and fields a cast four times as large (and costs more than twice as much to see). One is set in Northern Ireland in 1981, the other in eastern Massachusetts in the present...

Read More
Purging Plastic: The quest to break the addiction to single-use garbage
Feb14

Purging Plastic: The quest to break the addiction to single-use garbage

Eight billion metric tons. According to Industrial Ecologist Roland Geyer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, that is the amount of plastic that has been produced since the 1950s, and almost half of that, was created after the year 2000, causing plastic pollution and its environmental impacts to explode as well. Many argue that it is our societal addiction to convenience and a lack of forward thinking that has allowed...

Read More
Valley Show Girl: And The Kids’ Whimsical Indie Rock
Feb14

Valley Show Girl: And The Kids’ Whimsical Indie Rock

Signature Sounds recording artists And The Kids from Northampton have made a name for themselves throughout their active musician years in the Valley. They’ve been locally and nationally covered and very recently had a live set at Paste Magazine that was streamed through social media. They are about to release their latest masterpiece on Feb. 22. Guitarist and vocalist Hannah Mohan and drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro first met in junior...

Read More
Editorial: Back in the Weekly Swing
Feb14

Editorial: Back in the Weekly Swing

Excitement. Elation. Eagerness. Those were the emotions that bubbled up when I got the news that the Advocate would be returning to a weekly schedule, and that after six months performing other roles in the company I was being asked to return as its editor. What you now hold in your hands (online readers will have to imagine this) is the last of the Advocate’s biweekly issues. Also, after a stint going purely arts and entertainment,...

Read More
Cinemadope: Movies for winter vacation
Feb14

Cinemadope: Movies for winter vacation

Listen, I love my kids. I do. But it’s been a long winter around here. The holiday season was a terrible round-robin of stomach bugs, the heat went on the fritz in their bedroom, and a cold snap kept us cooped up in the house on days when their energy level could have powered the whole of the Eastern Seaboard for a holiday weekend. Things were just getting back to normal (though let’s be honest, fellow parents: this has all in fact...

Read More
Stagestruck: Mashups in Makeup
Feb11

Stagestruck: Mashups in Makeup

How’s this for genre mashups: Brontë gothic in which two of the characters are animals. Wildean romcom in which all the actors are women. Golden Age Spain in which a woman lives as a man. Multidisciplinary invention in which diversity seeks community. Renaissance tragedy in which the title character uncannily resembles a certain megalomaniac of today. Such are the parameters of upcoming productions on Five College stages this month...

Read More
Basemental: Mibble Q&A – Hadley’s Mike Parham’s solo project, Mibble
Feb08

Basemental: Mibble Q&A – Hadley’s Mike Parham’s solo project, Mibble

Hadley’s Mike Parham, whose solo moniker is Mibble, recently released a new album, “Welcome the Earth Dog.” Parham’s superb home recordings sound like miniature musical collages, complete with sound effects, samples, and a lackadaisical posture towards the constructs of time, money, and fame. Evoking Neil Young and the sonic idea of clouds, Earth Dog builds nicely on Parham’s previous releases — 2016’s Wide Awake Western...

Read More
The V-Spot: Anxious, Preoccupied, and Non-Monogamous?
Feb08

The V-Spot: Anxious, Preoccupied, and Non-Monogamous?

Hi Yana, I’m currently in a long-term monogamous relationship with my partner, and I am really interested in transitioning our relationship from monogamy to non-monogamy. At my request this past summer, we tried non-monogamy after identifying and agreeing to clear boundaries with each other. In this process, we discovered his attachment style is anxious preoccupied. He was really upset about me seeing other people, and that due to his...

Read More
Monte Belmonte Wines: #winehero
Feb04

Monte Belmonte Wines: #winehero

In my last column, I gave you a brief how-to in regards to opening a bottle of wine. It’s a seemingly easy enterprise that is terrifying for far too many people. For some reason, wine and all that surrounds wine is just like that. Complicated. Confusing. Unapproachable. Maybe it’s the centuries of history behind the vine that intimidates people. Maybe it’s the snobs who look down their noses, pinky extended, and make you second-guess...

Read More
Stagestruck: Hi, Honey, I’m Home!
Feb04

Stagestruck: Hi, Honey, I’m Home!

When Nora Helmer famously slammed the door on her empty marriage at the end of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, she changed the course of theatrical history, and social history as well. But shutting the door on one story implicitly opened another, and thus left a question hanging. What became of Nora after she claimed her freedom, leaving her husband and children to plunge into a world where women were largely defined by their marital...

Read More
Cinemadope: Fish Out of Water – Two animated classics from Japan
Feb01

Cinemadope: Fish Out of Water – Two animated classics from Japan

Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has always kept a close tether to the world around him. In wonderfully thoughtful films like My Neighbor Totoro and Pom Poko, beloved by young and old (and crowds and critics) alike, he has eagerly yet tenderly explored our human connection and disconnect with our wider natural habitat. The often hidden worlds around us may be too often overlooked, but in Miyazaki’s worlds, as in our own, they can...

Read More
Stagestruck: Conversations and Conflicts
Jan27

Stagestruck: Conversations and Conflicts

Theater, Sheryl Stoodley firmly believes, “can be the starting point for conversations – much-needed at this point in our United States and in the world.” To that end, Serious Play, the theater Stoodley leads, “works toward reshaping society’s conversation on prominent social issues through the art of ensemble theater.” Her new initiative, under the umbrella title Conversations For Our Times Through Theatre, aims to involve...

Read More
Stagestruck: Found and Lost
Jan22

Stagestruck: Found and Lost

In a program note for The Engagement Party, Samuel Baum says his play is “an exploration of secrets and lies.” Which puts it right in his wheelhouse, as his credits include the TV psycho-crime drama Lie to Me and the movie Wizard of Lies. He says he’s also interested in the notion of “how in relationships it takes years to build trust but only seconds to destroy it.” Those seconds quickly count down in this brief, absorbing play,...

Read More
Monte Belmonte Wines: How NOT to Open Wine Like an Ah-So
Jan21

Monte Belmonte Wines: How NOT to Open Wine Like an Ah-So

“How do I use this wine opening contraption?” “What if I get cork in the wine?” “What if the cork breaks in half?” “Why didn’t I just buy the one with the screw-cap?” “Can you please open this for me?” Being the closest thing my family has to a “wine expert,” it became clear this past holiday season how terrified some people are to OPEN a bottle of wine. No need to fret. Opening a bottle of wine should not be cause for alarm. With a...

Read More
Brew Years Resolutions 2019 – Local brewers share their plans for the coming year
Jan18

Brew Years Resolutions 2019 – Local brewers share their plans for the coming year

More than two dozen breweries opened in Massachusetts last year, and we should expect even more growth in 2019. If we see fewer brewery openings over time, it will be because craft beer fans have so many locally-loved businesses to buy from. More than ever, we’re spoiled for choice, and the Valley is no exception. The brewers in this non-exhaustive list are looking hopefully into 2019. Here’s a peek at their planning. Brick and...

Read More
Valley Show Girl: Mystical Musical Man
Jan18

Valley Show Girl: Mystical Musical Man

While exploring the rainforest and meeting up with friends in beach towns in Puerto Rico, Matthew King sipped on mojitos while chatting with me via email about his latest musical conquest, TapRoots. Since 2009, Matthew has been playing percussion with both The Alchemystics and local super group, Dave Noonan’s Green Island. About two years ago, Matthew, along with good friend and Alchemystics’ drummer Demse Zullo, discussed some new...

Read More
Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll 2019 VOTE!
Dec20

Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll 2019 VOTE!

Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll The poll will be open from noon on December 20th through 5 p.m. on January 31st. For over thirty years, the people of Western Massachusetts have been making their voice heard by voting in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll. From favorite art museum and pizza place, to hair salon and dentist, Best Of voters have been showing their support for those businesses that...

Read More
Stagestruck: Having a Go, Script in Hand
Jan17

Stagestruck: Having a Go, Script in Hand

Allyn Burrows, Shakespeare & Company’s artistic director, calls it “a great way to get out in the middle of winter … a great opportunity for the audience to let their imaginations just run wild.” It’s the theater’s annual Studio Festival, a weekend of bare-bones readings of plays brand-new and not-so-old, performed by company members and guest artists. This year’s lineup, Saturday and Sunday Jan. 19-20, reflects the...

Read More
Stagestruck: Happening New Year — Valley stages ring in the 2019 season
Jan13

Stagestruck: Happening New Year — Valley stages ring in the 2019 season

Barely two weeks into the new year and already my theatergoing calendar is crowded with upcoming shows. From an operatic Sweeney Todd to a historical fantasy to a “pseudo-historical psycho-romance,” to pick three for this month, 2019 is off to a promising start. The Mountaintop is already playing at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield, and runs through February 10. It takes place on an April midnight in 1968 in Martin Luther King...

Read More
Basemental: Hampshire Mall Punx
Jan10

Basemental: Hampshire Mall Punx

Earlier this month, the inconceivable happened. I got word that my friends were playing a punk show in the Hampshire Mall, in the sports bar arm of “PINZ”— a combination boutique bowling alley, arcade, and faux-industrial looking bar decorated with enough flat-screen TVs to give you a headache; the type of place that probably sells super overpriced buffalo chicken fingers or something. It was the last place I would have never imagined...

Read More
Stagestruck: Six Degrees of Connection – The Berkshires’ Year in Theater
Dec30

Stagestruck: Six Degrees of Connection – The Berkshires’ Year in Theater

Six theater companies form a kind of chain across the southern and western Berkshires. From the closest to the Valley to the farthest, they are the hilltowns’ Chester Theatre Company, then westward (passing dance mecca Jacob’s Pillow) to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox and its neighbor, the Stockbridge campus of the Berkshire Theatre Festival, now headquartered to the north in Pittsfield, which is also home to Barrington Stage...

Read More
The Beerhunter: A Pint of Perseverance
Dec24

The Beerhunter: A Pint of Perseverance

Delayed breweries in Buckland and West Springfield open their doors The craft beer tide is rising, and it is lifting many local brewers into the role of small business owners. But this work isn’t always smooth sailing. In recent weeks, I’ve been chatting with the owners of two newly-opened local breweries that faced some extra hurdles along the way: Two Weeks Notice Brewing Company in West Springfield and Floodwater Brewing Company in...

Read More
Monte Belmonte Wines: The Wine Nativity
Dec24

Monte Belmonte Wines: The Wine Nativity

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. A miracle he performed at the request of his mother. His mother who, as the story goes, was subjected to the shame and embarrassment of being Jane The Virgin-ed at the hands (or perhaps the divine genitals) of Mary’s baby daddy-who was alleged to be God. Jesus (also allegedly God) certainly owed her one. And the only “one” we know she asked for was at a...

Read More
Valley Variety — 2018 in Review
Dec19

Valley Variety — 2018 in Review

I attended over 30 theater productions in the Valley this year, but that wasn’t half of what was on stage. What struck me most was the variety of fare – from the breadth of established companies’ seasons, to the ethnic and gender diversity on campus stages, to community theaters’ daring departures, to the exciting expansion of theater venues. Here, then, a partial but appreciative backward glance as the curtain falls on 2018. The...

Read More
Ali Kat and the Revelators on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Dec14

Ali Kat and the Revelators on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Ali Kat and the Revelators perform rocking funk and soul with sax, guitars, and high energy vocals. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Ali Kat and the...

Read More
Stagestruck:  Not Throwin’ Away My Shot on “Hamilton”
Dec14

Stagestruck: Not Throwin’ Away My Shot on “Hamilton”

What is there to say that you don’t already know about Hamilton, the game-changing musical that costs a bank loan to see on Broadway and is now on tour, where this month it’s at the Bushnell in Hartford for only an ATM max-out? Playing through Dec. 30 (by far the longest run in this road house’s recent history), it was all but sold out as soon as tickets went on sale, though I’m told “there are always five or six tickets available...

Read More