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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Moxie on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage – Our 100th Sessions Video!
Oct12

Moxie on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage – Our 100th Sessions Video!

Moxie is a soulful teenage indie pop and rock group from Brattleboro, VT, and also our 100th act to be featured on Advocate Sessions. Check out Moxie’s set below alongside an interview with the band and a special 100th Sessions Video Retrospective in which David Newland (NCTV), Jared Libby (Signature Sounds Recordings) and Valley Advocate staff writer/ Sessions host Chris Goudreau share their favorite moments over the past two...

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Valley Show Girl: Neon Fauna’s Bootleg Debut
Oct11

Valley Show Girl: Neon Fauna’s Bootleg Debut

On January 13, 2017, Neon Fauna played a gig at 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence in the midst of recording sessions for the full-length album “Drag Beach.” Like all of their shows, the band felt it was a burst of energy and thought of bootlegging it. Sound engineer guru, Rob Ives “Robo Sound” usually records the multi-tracks for shows at the venue, so the band later asked him for some of the tracks. They brought the selected six...

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The V-Spot: Oops, I Had a Threesome
Oct11

The V-Spot: Oops, I Had a Threesome

Hi Yana, I made a rookie mistake. I had a spur-of-the-moment, sober threesome with a couple I’ve been friends with for over 12 years. They visited me from across the country. We are very close friends and I’m feeling very tender now. I’m feeling like it wasn’t a big deal for them, so I’m a bit nervous to bring up my feelings. Do you have any tools for unicorns about self-care as aftercare? Unicorns just have to be so self-sufficient...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Wineing at Gypsy Apple
Oct11

Monte Belmonte Wines: Wineing at Gypsy Apple

“It’s a white boys’ game, dude. When I first went to take the somm exam, I had this idea that there is going to be one other black person there and it’s going to be a woman. And there’ll be, like, two Indian guys and everyone else will be white. There was actually one other black guy. One guy who came up from Brazil. One black woman. And three guys from Asia. Out of 70 people.” Wine may be a white boys’ game (says this white boy with...

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Cinemadope: Legends onscreen and off
Oct11

Cinemadope: Legends onscreen and off

Even as a young actor, Robert Redford often carried himself with the quiet dignity of an old-timer. In films like The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Redford combined his boyish charm and good looks with a steady center that seemed borrowed from an older man; the combination of wise and wise-cracking enriched both sides of his personality, and helped make him a star. Many years later, and Redford, now 82, has grown up to...

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Longmeadow artist Max Rudolph wants you to draw in his community-wide giant coloring book project
Oct09

Longmeadow artist Max Rudolph wants you to draw in his community-wide giant coloring book project

Every Tuesday during open mic night at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, Longmeadow artist Max Rudolph rolls out dozens of pages of artwork—each spanning more than 10 feet long—across the tables in back and asks people to pick up a crayon or marker and draw whatever comes to mind. For more than a year, Rudolph, 49, has been working on a collaborative art project in the form of a giant coloring book, which weighs more than 60 pounds and...

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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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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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Valley Show Girl: Behind the scenes of booking shows
Sep28

Valley Show Girl: Behind the scenes of booking shows

Since this past March/April time-frame, I’ve been booking some shows at 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence. The shows started in July, but it took months to get to the actual show part of it. I wanted to curate these shows a little differently, and put a somewhat mixed genre set into play. However, I didn’t want to go crazy, especially for the first couple. So there was a lot of cultivating involved just to come up with a list of...

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The Beerhunter: What the hell is a Milkshake IPA?
Sep28

The Beerhunter: What the hell is a Milkshake IPA?

The mountain drive from Montpelier up to Burlington is, of course, beautifully scenic. But a Valley Beerhunter has homework to do, even on the occasional summer camping trip. So I pulled off the highway last month in Williston, VT to stop in at Burlington Beer Company, where I got to know the milkshake IPA. A few local brewers make milkshake IPAs here in the Valley — I’ve tried and enjoyed several — but Burlington is the place to...

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The V-Spot: My Libido’s Got the Post-Birth Blues
Sep28

The V-Spot: My Libido’s Got the Post-Birth Blues

Hi Yana, I gave birth a beautiful baby girl about three months ago. And it’s wonderful! She is a good sleeper and I generally feel like “we got this.” Problem is, I’ve had, like, zero libido since I gave birth. My husband is clearly (politely) dying to get back to what was a very satisfying sex life. From what I’ve read, it isn’t uncommon for birth and breastfeeding to cause a low libido, but I miss...

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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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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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Basemental: Pussyvision Debuts Self-Release, Replicate
Sep17

Basemental: Pussyvision Debuts Self-Release, Replicate

Two years ago when I wrote a profile about Finley Janes’ project Pussyvision, she was just getting started. A year prior, they didn’t know they were a musician. They had yet to go on multiple tours, one of which took them as far as Mexico, and release her self-produced debut album, Replicate, which came out earlier this summer. Coming up in the local experimental/noise scene, sharing bills with musicians spanning many genres and...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Day Drinking – Solving The Problems of the World
Sep17

Monte Belmonte Wines: Day Drinking – Solving The Problems of the World

Some of the greatest ideas in human history were concocted while cocked. Allegedly, Grant won the Civil War while entirely inebriated. Kruschev avoided war while gently jingled. And Iron Butterfly wrote their biggest hit, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, while thoroughly chateaued. Now, I am not advocating for daily debauchery. But I am advocating for more day drinking during the workweek. This may allow you to loosen up, be more creative, and...

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The V-Spot: Is a Good Lay The ONE?
Sep14

The V-Spot: Is a Good Lay The ONE?

Hi Yana, Can you even find The ONE when searching for The One? I know that when searching for The One, you have a list of all the things you’re attracted to, but what if those things are what are bad for you? Like, when you’re into hot and rough sex and you find the person who gives it to you just right, but then it causes you to not be able to see who they really are…is that bad? I mean you feel like you know them and that they...

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Cinemadope: Hollywood Hilltown — A small town with a big festival
Sep11

Cinemadope: Hollywood Hilltown — A small town with a big festival

Pull up the details on the Franklin County town of Ashfield, and it might look like a sleepy little drive-through of a place: population hovering somewhere under two thousand, a pizza place that gets good reviews, a lot of trees. You could be forgiven for thinking that it didn’t have a lot going on. But boy, would you ever be wrong. The town has always been the sort of tight-knit place that makes its own fun. But for the last eleven...

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Basemental: The swampy grunge anthems of Owen Manure
Aug31

Basemental: The swampy grunge anthems of Owen Manure

Western Massachusetts is known for its rich lineage of foundational bands that have defined underground music from different eras. Of course Dinosaur Jr. comes to mind, not to mention Pixies. While the shadow of bands like that certainly looms large (“omg, Murph just came into the bakery where I work!”), it’s hard to deny the depth of talent that often seems endless — always appearing in musty basements when you don’t expect it: From...

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Patty Schemel — drummer of Hole — is coming to the Valley, thanks to Women Of Rock Oral History Project and Amherst Cinema
Aug29

Patty Schemel — drummer of Hole — is coming to the Valley, thanks to Women Of Rock Oral History Project and Amherst Cinema

On a stormy Wednesday afternoon, I huddled in my car, pushed the driver’s seat back to get comfy and opened up my Wonder Woman notebook, clicked my pen and put my phone on ‘do not disturb.’ After a failed attempt to reach her, she called me back two minutes later and the name “Patty Schemel” popped up on my phone. Her pleasant, friendly voice on the other side — all the way from California to my Massachusetts — calmed my nerves as I...

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Student-led group SALT brings alternative music to UMass Amherst
Aug29

Student-led group SALT brings alternative music to UMass Amherst

For the past four years, students at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst have been bringing alternative DIY local and regional music to the college through a student organization called Students For Alternative Music (SALT). Whether it’s heady math rock, cool indie rock, intense hardcore music, experimental bands, or psychedelic rock, students involved with SALT have developed hands-on skills for booking and hosting local...

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The Beerhunter: New neighboring breweries find homes in old industry buildings
Aug29

The Beerhunter: New neighboring breweries find homes in old industry buildings

This month’s local craft beer update highlights a pair of new Valley breweries that are opening soon. If your first thought is ‘Oh man, not again,’ this probably isn’t the column for you. Massachusetts is in the midst of another wave of entries into the craft beer market, and tracking the progress of these newcomers will be taking up a lot of this Beerhunter’s time for the next few months. The arrival of these new companies — some...

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Cinemadope: Women Rockers in Film
Aug24

Cinemadope: Women Rockers in Film

When I opened Instagram over my morning coffee one recent morning, the first face staring back at me was that of a blue-haired Alice Bag, the fifty-nine year old punk icon and activist. Still a force after some four decades in the game, Bag and her band had played a show in Greenfield the night before — that Instagram shot was snapped by the Advocate’s own Valley Show Girl Jennifer Levesque — before continuing on to New York for the...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Your Election 2018 Wine Ballot
Aug24

Monte Belmonte Wines: Your Election 2018 Wine Ballot

The morning after the 2016 election, I was grateful that one of the disc jockeys at the radio station where I work kept a bottle of Jägermeister stashed in our freezer. And while these 2018 midterms are not necessarily driving me to drink, things are pretty wild here in Western Mass. With virtually all of our Beacon Hill delegation up for grabs, we at the station have been referring to this election cycle as “Wild West Mass” (with...

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Amherst’s Andrea Dezsö works across different media, public art spaces — and the world
Aug21

Amherst’s Andrea Dezsö works across different media, public art spaces — and the world

There was a time earlier in her career, Andrea Dezsö recalls, when people told her that if she wanted to succeed as an artist, she needed to find something to specialize in — and to stick with it. That idea never appealed to her, though. As Dezsö puts it, “I like a lot of stuff … I’m really interested in material, I’m interested in ideas and process, in working across a range of media. I knew even then I can’t commit myself to...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Bonjour, Monsieur Touton
Aug14

Monte Belmonte Wines: Bonjour, Monsieur Touton

I ain’t gonna lie. I got into this wine writing racket for three reasons: 1) as an attempt to write off all of my alcoholic beverage purchases, which I will list as “considerable,” 2) to see my name in print, and 3) in the hopes that I would receive free wine on a regular basis. I know basically every wine purveyor in the 413 area code. Many of them have been on my radio show. I assumed if I put out the word that I would like to do a...

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The V-Spot: Help My Partner Help Me
Aug14

The V-Spot: Help My Partner Help Me

Dear Yana, I’m a queer woman in my late 20s living in the U.S., and my girlfriend lives overseas. In the 2.5 years we’ve been together, about half that time has been long distance, and about half together. We’re absolutely crazy about each other and we want to get married and have babies. The problem: we fight. A lot. The germ of our fights is almost always: I have issues with anxiety and depression and am an empath...

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Cinemadope: Art and the business of art
Aug14

Cinemadope: Art and the business of art

Like musicians and record labels, the worlds of artists and art dealers have never been quite in the same business. Despite all the often necessary crossover and interaction, there is often a nagging feeling (if our films are to be believed) that while one half of the relationship is interested in a full palette of colors, the other just wants to see green. It’s probably an unfair depiction, but one that was exacerbated by the ghastly...

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Valley Show Girl: Reliving childhood punk nostalgia with Blondie at MassMoCA
Aug09

Valley Show Girl: Reliving childhood punk nostalgia with Blondie at MassMoCA

I’d just devoured a bowlful of multi-colored Chicklet gum, then jumped up and down on the couch with my blonde pigtails smacking up against my cheeks. Blondie’s “Rapture” blared from the 80’s radio/boombox in the kitchen while my mother was either cooking or cleaning. I sang along to the lyrics, through my gum-infused sugar high. That is one of the first happy memories I can remember. Blondie has always been one of those bands...

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Bizarro Briefs
Aug02

Bizarro Briefs

The Early Snail Gets the Lettuce What probably seemed like the slowest race ever recently took place in Congham, England. More than 150 snails took part in the annual Snail Racing Championship with the grand prize being a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce. The snails were placed on a damp cloth marked with three concentric circles and the gastropods raced 13 inches to the outer ring. Apparently, English snail trainers take this sort...

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Out of the Box in the Hill Towns: Inspiration strikes in out-of-the-way places
Aug01

Out of the Box in the Hill Towns: Inspiration strikes in out-of-the-way places

Western Massachusetts is well known as fertile ground for farming, but also for ideas. Sometimes these ideas come from the many classrooms and laboratories of our institutions of higher learning, but if you look carefully, you can find them in some pretty unexpected places, too. This issue, we scoured the Hill Towns to find some out-of-the-box thinkers and now present to you our findings: an eccentric inventor in Ashfield, a visionary...

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Editorial: Vote for Chelsea Kline for State Senate on Sept. 4
Jul29

Editorial: Vote for Chelsea Kline for State Senate on Sept. 4

So often with candidates running for public office, one must rest the decision to vote for them primarily on their words. In her short political career as a candidate for state Senate, however, Chelsea Kline has amassed some impressive actions. Kline is running in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary to replace former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, who resigned following censure by an independent ethics investigation. Kline will be the...

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V-Spot: Are We Screwed if We Stop Screwing?
Jul29

V-Spot: Are We Screwed if We Stop Screwing?

Hi Yana! My partner and I have been dating since October and from the beginning have had really intense sexual energy for each other (like every day, sometimes multiple times). But in the last week or two it’s sort of died out for a number of reasons. I can’t help but feel unattractive to my partner when I’m ready to go and he’s not. But, at the same time, I never ever want to guilt or manipulate him into having sex. Further, as a...

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