Bizarro briefs: A waking nightmare
Jul13

Bizarro briefs: A waking nightmare

A waking nightmare Don’t you hate it when you wake up to find a six-foot-long snake has fallen from the ceiling into your bed? An Albany-area man certainly did. He called the police in a panicked state after finding himself next to a red-tailed boa constrictor. The boa, it turned out, was the pet of the tenant above him and had escaped from its enclosure. It then fell through the floor and into the man’s bed. After the ordeal, the...

Read More
O Cannabis: The craftsmanship of hand trimming
Jul12

O Cannabis: The craftsmanship of hand trimming

Most people, even non-cannabis smokers, could pretty easily recognize two parts of the cannabis plant: the flower, or bud, that is dried and sold for consumption, and the fan shaped leaves that are often used in advertisements. An important aspect of turning the flower of the cannabis plant into the dried bud that most people are familiar with is trimming. In order to get the bud to look how the consumer expects, cannabis growers need...

Read More
Letters to the Editor: Why is Massachusetts putting up obstacles to solar?
Jul12

Letters to the Editor: Why is Massachusetts putting up obstacles to solar?

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. Why is Massachusetts putting up obstacles to solar? I began working as a rooftop solar...

Read More
Down to Earth: The Ocean Alongside Us
Jul11

Down to Earth: The Ocean Alongside Us

It’s summer, and with these golden months for many of us come trips to the seaside. As much as I love the Pioneer Valley, one of my regrets in choosing this home is its landlocked geography.  Out here in Western Massachusetts, the ocean can feel almost infinitely far away. I miss the swash and leap of waves on white boulders.  Breathing in a humid hang of pollen, dust, and soot blown north from New York City, I long for the bracing...

Read More
9/11 memorial made from Twin Towers I-beam to be unveiled in Springfield
Jul11

9/11 memorial made from Twin Towers I-beam to be unveiled in Springfield

A memorial to first responders who gave their lives saving others on Sept. 11, 2001, that includes a large section of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center in New York City will be a installed at the soon to be renovated Riverfront Park on West Columbus Avenue in Springfield by Sept. 11. A special preview of the monument was given to local elected officials, police and fire department heads, media, and others on July 10 at...

Read More
Staff Picks: Next Wave Stage, Artney Jackson, and violinist Kristin Lee
Jul11

Staff Picks: Next Wave Stage, Artney Jackson, and violinist Kristin Lee

Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest // FRIDAY, July 13 Signature Sounds Recordings will continue its Next Wave Stage this year at the 2018 Green River Festival, highlighting up and coming teenage bands across the Pioneer Valley and northern Vermont. The lineup this year includes Amherst-based classic rock influenced band Glass House, indie pop/rock outfit Moxie from Brattleboro, VT, indie rock band Raspberry Jam from Greenfield, and...

Read More
The V-Spot: How Do I NOT Squirt, Though?
Jul10

The V-Spot: How Do I NOT Squirt, Though?

Hi Yana! I recently entered a new relationship and my new partner finally helped me cum for the very first time! Recently though we discovered that I sometimes squirt and now I’ve been absolutely terrified of cumming since I’m anxious about making a mess. My partner says he doesn’t mind, but I’m still so anxious! Any advice for relaxing so that I can re-enjoy finishing? Anxiously Orgasming   Dear Anxiously, Partnered in a new...

Read More
A chat with medieval folk rocker Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night
Jul10

A chat with medieval folk rocker Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night

For more than two decades medieval folk rock duo Blackmore’s Night has been performing its unique blend of rock meets medieval folk on authentic period instruments. The band is led by husband and wife duo Ritchie Blackmore (formerly of Deep Purple and Rainbow), who plays guitar and an assortment of medieval stringed instruments and lead vocalist Candice Night, who also performs woodwind instruments. Ahead of the band’s upcoming...

Read More
Stagestruck: Exciting new ideas from well-worn material
Jul10

Stagestruck: Exciting new ideas from well-worn material

A new thriller, a boundary-breaking dance form, a classic tragedy, and a dramatic sequel, all on area stages this month, illustrate the creative urge to mold existing materials into new forms. In the Valley, Silverthorne Theater Company presents White, Black and Blue, a new play by Steve Henderson and Will Chalmus. It’s a thriller with a sense of humor, a different kind of mistaken-identity adventure involving an unlikely trio. In the...

Read More
Monte Belmonte Wines: The brilliant 23 year old ordering bottles for ConVino
Jul10

Monte Belmonte Wines: The brilliant 23 year old ordering bottles for ConVino

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you remind me of Rachel Maddow.” That was my reaction after meeting Franchesca Thepenier, the 23 year old certified Sommelier and beverage director for ConVino Wine Bar in Northampton. I worked with Rachel for two years over a decade and a half ago, and it was clear then that Rachel’s brilliance was not going to be contained to our subterranean radio studio on Main Street in Northampton...

Read More
Podcast: Beverly Ketch and Hannah Brookman talk about Greenfield art space Looky Here
Jul09

Podcast: Beverly Ketch and Hannah Brookman talk about Greenfield art space Looky Here

Recently opened nonprofit artist space Looky Here in Greenfield is a place for workshops, art making, thrift shopping, and most things you can (or can’t) think of. Leaders Beverly Ketch and Hannah Brookman talk about how they got started, what to expect, and their new children’s TV...

Read More
Cinemadope: Mama Africa Miriam Makeba continues to inspire
Jul09

Cinemadope: Mama Africa Miriam Makeba continues to inspire

When the world lost Miriam Makeba in 2008, we lost a great musical and political voice. The first African musician to become a solid international star, her powerful singing crossed national divides without ever losing touch with her South African roots — no mean feat, as she was banished from the country early in life, after starring in the 1959 documentary Come Back Africa, which turned a bright light on the harsh reality of...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: What’s the biggest lie in your life, Sagittarius?
Jul09

Free Will Astrology: What’s the biggest lie in your life, Sagittarius?

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your key theme right now is growth. Let’s dig in and analyze its nuances. 1.) Not all growth is good for you. It may stretch you too far too fast — beyond your capacity to integrate and use it. 2.) Some growth that is good for you doesn’t feel good to you. It might force you to transcend comforts that are making you stagnant, and that can be painful. 3.) Some growth that’s good for you may...

Read More
Bizarro Briefs
Jul06

Bizarro Briefs

Lay your hands off my moon dust, NASA A woman from Tennessee is proactively suing NASA to keep what she says is a vial of moon dust that astronaut Neil Armstrong gave to her has a gift. Apparently, Armstrong was a family friend who gave her a piece of the moon when she was 10 years old along with an autographed note from the first person to walk on the moon. The woman’s attorney has authenticized Armstrong’s signature through...

Read More
The V-Spot: Exploring kink after trauma
Jul06

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...

Read More
Independent Streak: Against the odds, small book stores are on the rise
Jul05

Independent Streak: Against the odds, small book stores are on the rise

Raven Books in Northampton is the quintessential New England used bookstore. Winding stacks of books create a delightful maze that loops in and out of corners. There doesn’t seem to be a square inch of wall that remains unoccupied, and tables of books, live plants, and suspended artifacts makes for a satisfying and unique browsing experience. Raven’s owner Betsy Frederick publishes a simple trifold brochure called Bookstores of the...

Read More
Wellness: Harnessing the Power of Communication
Jul05

Wellness: Harnessing the Power of Communication

The goal of speech-language pathology is to give patients back the power of communication, which can be empowering not only for adults, but for children as well. “They’re incredibly empowered,” said Rick Carpenter, a Northampton-based speech-language pathologist who has been treating children ages 2 to 10 years old for the past 26 years. “Contrary to that, when you don’t have that ability it creates anxiety and ultimately a feeling of...

Read More
Letters to the editor: What ever happened to ‘Give us your tired, your poor’…
Jul04

Letters to the editor: What ever happened to ‘Give us your tired, your poor’…

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. What ever happened to ‘Give us your tired, your poor’… In response to “Separation...

Read More
Beerhunter: A Bright New Berkshires
Jul04

Beerhunter: A Bright New Berkshires

Putting shake-ups behind them, two brewers plan for the future Massachusetts has more than 120 visitable breweries, 19 of which are in the Valley. That’s a lot of taprooms to keep a Beerhunter busy around Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties. Still, you can’t cover beer news in Western Mass without fully appreciating what “west” means. Berkshire County boasts five breweries. The oldest is Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington,...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Valley Advocate Podcast: Artist Dara Herman Zierlein on cutting plastic out of her life
Jul02

Valley Advocate Podcast: Artist Dara Herman Zierlein on cutting plastic out of her life

Dara Herman Zierlein made a choice to have an affect on the planet by eliminating plastic from her life. Even despite that decision, she sometimes does use plastic. But she holds onto it rather than throwing it away or recycling. She says that only about 9 percent of plastic that is sent to be recycled actually gets recycled. Zierlein is also an artist and her art tackles environmental issues, which was recently on display at the...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Listen to your hives, Aquarius
Jul02

Free Will Astrology: Listen to your hives, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Twentieth-century French novelist Marcel Proust described nineteenth-century novelist Gustave Flaubert as a trottoire roulant, or “rolling sidewalk”: plodding, toneless, droning. Meanwhile, critic Roger Shattuck compared Proust’s writing to an “electric generator” from which flows a “powerful current always ready to shock not only our morality but our very sense of humanity.” In the coming weeks, I encourage...

Read More
Springfield celebration honors students who earned their high school equivalency
Jun29

Springfield celebration honors students who earned their high school equivalency

In the midst of the season of high school graduations, a group of dedicated students who had failed to get through high school the first time around earned recognition for passing their high school equivalency test, known as the HiSET, at the Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) Adult Learning Center. Among those present during the ceremony on Tuesday, June 26, was Morgan LaBelle, 26, of Feeding Hills in Agawam. She said she...

Read More
Editorial: A Supremely Bad Decision
Jun28

Editorial: A Supremely Bad Decision

They say that elections have consequences. This is one of the terrible ones. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, June 27, effective the end of July. With Donald Trump in the Oval Office, and control of the Senate in the hands of Republican lackeys ready to bend to his every whim — and the decision Senate Republicans made last year to eliminate the need for 60 votes to confirm judicial...

Read More
Activists with children in their arms protest family separations at Springfield ICE office
Jun28

Activists with children in their arms protest family separations at Springfield ICE office

In an effort to combat families being torn apart through American immigration policy, activists with the Pioneer Valley activist network supporting undocumented immigrants called Sanctuary in the Streets came with their children to a small rally at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Springfield. Sienna Baskin, an immigrant rights attorney who lives in Northampton, brought her daughter to the event, held Thursday,...

Read More
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)...

Read More
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...

Read More
Pioneer Valley Project and Stop & Shop union partner to host job fair for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricanes
Jun27

Pioneer Valley Project and Stop & Shop union partner to host job fair for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricanes

A partnership between grassroots activism group, the Pioneer Valley Project, and UFCW Local 1459, a union that represents workers with regional grocery chain Stop & Shop, yielded potential job opportunities for local Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria during a job fair at the Clarion Hotel in West Springfield on June 26. “[UFCW Local 1459] is a member of the Pioneer Valley Project and we brought up the issue of a...

Read More
 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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Valley Advocate Q&A with Klezperanto – klezmer, surf, funk, Columbia big band music, and cop show themes all in one
Jun26

Valley Advocate Q&A with Klezperanto – klezmer, surf, funk, Columbia big band music, and cop show themes all in one

Klezmer music is by its nature a joyous high energy form of music, but what do you get when you add in Mediterranean melodies, Romanian surf tunes, covers of cop show theme songs, and a funk groove? You get Boston-based band Klezperanto.  They’re set to play Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Sunday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. Virtuoso clarinetist Ilene Stahl, who founded the group in 1998 with accordionist Evan...

Read More
Podcast: Undocumented immigrant Eduardo Samaniego discusses family separations
Jun25

Podcast: Undocumented immigrant Eduardo Samaniego discusses family separations

Eduardo Samaniego is an undocumented Hampshire College student turned immigrant rights activist at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Having arrived in Georgia at the age of 16, he graduated high school as student president, but was precluded from attending the University of Georgia because of his immigration status. Now in Massachusetts, Samaniego has been active in trying to get the state Legislature to pass an immigrant bill of...

Read More
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...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Even cigarette butts can be useful, Aquarius
Jun25

Free Will Astrology: Even cigarette butts can be useful, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your best ideas and soundest decisions will materialize as if by magic while you’re lounging around doing nothing in a worry-free environment. So please make sure you have an abundance of relaxed slack and unhurried grace. Treat yourself to record-setting levels of comfort and self-care. Do whatever’s necessary for you to feel as safe as you have ever felt. I realize these prescriptions might...

Read More