Expressing a love for humanity through cutting hair in Amherst
Jul24

Expressing a love for humanity through cutting hair in Amherst

You can pretty much get any hair cut or styling that you could think of from around the world at Global Cuts International World of Barber Styling in Amherst, whether that’s highly stylized facial or hair cuts or something out of the ordinary. Khayyam Mahdi, owner of Global Cuts, said he’s seen everything under the sun when it comes to his professional experience as a barber and hair stylist. Everything old becomes new again in terms...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: The Rosé List at The Ashfield Lake House
Jul24

Monte Belmonte Wines: The Rosé List at The Ashfield Lake House

As an aspiring wine snob, ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant can be a risky business. Your abysmal choices may range from overly-oaked Chardonnays to mega-purple, mass produced, fruit bombs to the dreaded Pinot Grigio poured from bottles that have been open two days too long. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise when The Belmontes piled into a booth at The Ashfield Lake House and I took a look at their rosé list. The Lake House...

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Pick of the Day 7/24: After the Rain at the Whately Library
Jul24

Pick of the Day 7/24: After the Rain at the Whately Library

Sometimes you just want to mellow out, right? So why not scoot up (or down) I-91 and check out an outdoor concert by After the Rain at the Whately Library. After The Rain performs acoustic and a cappella arrangements of everything from traditional Appalachian to classic rock and contemporary folk. Think Eagles, Indigo Girls and The Wailin’ Jennys and all the rich wonderful harmonies that make you feel as though every thing is gonna be...

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Fighting back against the fitness summer slide
Jul24

Fighting back against the fitness summer slide

Summer vacation is a much needed break for both kids and parents and often serves as a respite from rigorous schedules that might include music lessons, team sports, and other extracurriculars. But while many parents concern themselves with summer learning loss, or summer slide, fewer focus on the potential decline in their child’s physical fitness. Just as summer brings an end to academics, for many it also closes the door on...

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Podcast: Local author Kathy Harrison discusses being prepared for your own personal apocalypse
Jul23

Podcast: Local author Kathy Harrison discusses being prepared for your own personal apocalypse

Kathy Harrison doesn’t believe the zombies are coming to get us. But she does believe in being prepared for the worst. Harrison, of Cummington, just wrote her fifth book, called Prepping 101: 40 steps you can take to be prepared. Stocking up on necessities might seem obvious, but another thing Harrison takes pride in is stocking up on the good will of her neighbors. “I’m not food secure unless my neighbors are food...

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Pick of the Day 7/23: Leave No Trace
Jul23

Pick of the Day 7/23: Leave No Trace

Amherst Cinema is just a gold mine. No, really, their film curation is the bee’s knees. And my pick, once again, can only be found in the dark.  Leave No Trace is the story of a father and his daughter who have lived off the grid for some time. They make their home in the forests of Portland, Oregon.  When an event disrupts their private and idyllic world, they are both shuttled through the social service maze. Unable to live in...

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Free Will Astrology: Libra, your new nickname is Delicadeza
Jul23

Free Will Astrology: Libra, your new nickname is Delicadeza

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Be extra polite and deferential. Cultivate an exaggerated respect for the status quo. Spend an inordinate amount of time watching dumb TV shows while eating junk food. Make sure you’re exposed to as little natural light and fresh air as possible. JUST KIDDING! I lied! Ignore everything I just said! Here’s my real advice: Dare yourself to feel strong positive emotions. Tell secrets to animals and...

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Local Calendar: Monday 7/23 – Wednesday 7/25
Jul23

Local Calendar: Monday 7/23 – Wednesday 7/25

MONDAY 7/23 MUSIC Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival 2018:   MASS MoCa, 1040 MASS MoCA WAY, North Adams. Kitchen Jam – Local Music Rocks! Concert:  6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 2nd performance of our Local Music Rocks! Concert Series. Happening rain or shine!! Free. Emily Williston Memorial Library, 9 Park St., Easthampton. 413-527-1031. slevine@ewmlibrary.org. Monday Night Music – Jazz Duo Steve Kurtz and Dan Belmont:  7...

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Cinemadope: Christopher Robin explores what stays with us from childhood
Jul23

Cinemadope: Christopher Robin explores what stays with us from childhood

Close your eyes, and think back to the stories of your youth. It’s remarkable, how strongly they stay with us. The recent release of Morgan Neville’s Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? put a spell on me, casting me back to my own childhood — Fred Rogers and his neighborhood friends were a big part of those years — and reminding me of just how much I took from the man and his manner. Even today, I love a good zip-up...

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Parents bring their small children to rally at Greenfield jail and ICE facility opposing family separation practices
Jul20

Parents bring their small children to rally at Greenfield jail and ICE facility opposing family separation practices

Two days after the state Legislature removed a set of provisions in its budget that would have protected immigrants in Massachusetts, a group of activists met in front of an immigrant detainment center in Greenfield to sing songs and demand an end to cruel treatment of immigrant families. More than 50 people participated in the action, which took place at 11 a.m. Friday, July 20, at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and jail...

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Infrared saunas: Sweating it out — in a dry heat
Jul20

Infrared saunas: Sweating it out — in a dry heat

It’s warm — very warm. I’m sitting on a wooden bench leaning against an ergonomic backrest. The small room within a room is lined on three sides by cedar paneling with a glass door looking out into a small dim entryway where towels had been provided to wrap myself in. There is a chromotherapy light on the ceiling designed to provide different colored lighting to ease various ailments: blue light to fight inflammation, orange for...

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Western Mass millenials find fitness in the extreme
Jul20

Western Mass millenials find fitness in the extreme

Think of a gym. Muscle-bound men do tricep curls while women in spandex pedal endless miles on exercise bikes. Now forget all that. Those things may still happen, but you’re more likely to see it with people over 50. Those in their 20s and 30s, known as millennials, have something different in mind. Nicole Harvey, the manager and a certified personal trainer at Asylum Fitness in Palmer, said their clients range in age from 12-92,...

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Pick of the Day 7/22: The Southern Vermont Dance Festival
Jul20

Pick of the Day 7/22: The Southern Vermont Dance Festival

The Southern Vermont Dance Festival 2018 is all day today! From 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Take your pick of over “113 dance classes, two Galas at the Latchis, an outdoor Promenade Performance and picnic, two Informal Showings, and lots of free community events!”  The event includes both free and ticketed events. Now that sounds like a good day!  The River Garden, 157 Main St.,...

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Pick of the Day 7/21: Lempicka at the Williamstown Theatre
Jul20

Pick of the Day 7/21: Lempicka at the Williamstown Theatre

Williamstown is definitely one of the places to be this summer if you love the stage! And one of my favorite artists is the inspiration for Lempicka, a world premiere musical. Tamara de Lempicka was a war time painter who created beautiful (and frosty) portraits of aristocrats and others. Her Art Deco style is beautiful and her story is compelling. Lempicka and her husband fled the Russian revolution and she turned to painting to...

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Make your own dog food? Some local pet owners swear by it
Jul19

Make your own dog food? Some local pet owners swear by it

A big yellow lab named Jack laid down on the couch while his black litter-mate, Sophie, slept stretched out on the floor. At 11 years old, both dogs are old for their breed but aside for some arthritis in Jack’s hips and a diagnosis of Lyme disease for Sophie, they are in remarkably good health. Their owner, Amy Ingalls, 45, of Ware, attributes this to their diet, a homemade mixture of pig and cow hearts and livers from the butcher,...

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Local Calendar: Thursday 7/19 to Sunday 7/22
Jul19

Local Calendar: Thursday 7/19 to Sunday 7/22

THURSDAY 7/19 MUSIC A Little Night Music: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church will present “A Little Night Music” every Thursday during the month of July at 6:00pm. Free. Free, donations accepted for all food items. Trinity United Methodist Church, 361 Sumner Ave, Springfield. 413-737-5311. Amherst Downtown Beats – Mister G and In The Nick of Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Grammy-award winning entertainer Mister G...

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Pick of the Day 7/20: Valley Music Showcase
Jul19

Pick of the Day 7/20: Valley Music Showcase

This Friday, the Valley Music Showcase will feature original local bands live onstage in a variety of genres as they compete for prizes such as recording time or a slot on our own Valley Advocate Sessions. The special guest for the evening is Advocate Sessions alumnus, psych blues rock group Old Flame. Contestants include indie pop band Moxie, alt country group Matchstick Architects, alternative rock band Auguste and Alden,...

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Pick of the Day 7/19: The Beggar’s Opera Cabaret
Jul19

Pick of the Day 7/19: The Beggar’s Opera Cabaret

Tonight at Eastworks in Easthampton is Gina Kaufmann’s intimate adaptation of a comedy from 1728. The production is a retelling of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, which satirizes operatic conventions, gender, and class with a three-woman cast. The production runs from July 19 to 21 at 7 p.m. at 116 Pleasant St., in the west end event space at Eastworks in Easthampton....

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VIDEO: Christa Joy on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Jul19

VIDEO: Christa Joy on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Christa Joy is a singer-songwriter who writes bittersweet country folk music with songs about everyday life and impermanence. Check out a short video teaser of Christa Joy’s upcoming Valley Advocate Sessions performance available online this...

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V-Spot: So I Looked At My BF’s Google History…
Jul18

V-Spot: So I Looked At My BF’s Google History…

Hi Yana, This is a really hard thing to write. I recently went through my partner’s phone. (Yikes I know. I wanted to know what he got for my birthday). While scrolling in the web history I found he’s been watching gay porn and Googling personal ads on Craigslist. He’s in his fifties and I’m about two decades younger than him so I’m a little bit more open about my sexuality. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the porn he’s...

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Staff Picks: Jazz in July, Poetic Recovery, and Shakespeare Under the Stars
Jul18

Staff Picks: Jazz in July, Poetic Recovery, and Shakespeare Under the Stars

Jazz in July Week 2 All Star Faculty Concert // THURSDAY, July 19 It’s not truly July until UMass launches the Jazz in July program in Amherst. And The Jazz in July faculty concerts are always showstoppers. Greg Caputo, Steve Davis, Bob Ferrier, Catherine Jensen-Hole, Jeff Holmes, Steve Johns, Genevieve Rose, Felipe Salles, Christian Sands and Shigefumi “Fumi” Tomita are scheduled to take the stage at Bezanson Recital...

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Pick of the Day 7/18: Shakespeare Under the Stars: Othello
Jul18

Pick of the Day 7/18: Shakespeare Under the Stars: Othello

Shakespeare’s Othello is a remarkable play that hinges upon (gulp) racist stereotypes. Othello is, after all black, and his wife Desdemona is white.  Her father is none too happy and it doesn’t help that Othello’s standard bearer, Iago, is a master at stirring the racist pot.  There’s a lot of charged language in this play that sounds much prettier in Elizabethan English than in current slang, but the damage is...

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Out of the spotlight: Sexual assault lurks in the Pioneer Valley local music scene
Jul17

Out of the spotlight: Sexual assault lurks in the Pioneer Valley local music scene

Author’s note: This article discusses sexual assault and trauma and includes personal stories from victims of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. The Pioneer Valley is unique for its thriving and diverse music scene with dozens of venues and hundreds of local musicians. Groups like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and Staind all got their start in the area in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2015 online music magazine Pitchfork declared that...

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Massachusetts high court provides cover for those who want to stop you from voting
Jul17

Massachusetts high court provides cover for those who want to stop you from voting

Sometimes living in deep blue Massachusetts can feel comforting when observing the daily horror show that now passes for our federal government. A case in point: as the U.S. Senate edges toward nominating President Donald Trump’s second arch-conservative Supreme Court pick, who could seriously endanger the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the Massachusetts House is working to pass a bill to protect abortion rights in...

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Valley Show Girl: Family Fun Day at Green River Festival
Jul17

Valley Show Girl: Family Fun Day at Green River Festival

For the past 32 years, the Green River Festival has taken over a weekend in July, spreading out over the fields at Greenfield Community College — three days filled to the brim with music, food, drinks, art, crafts, vendors, hot air balloons, and community. This year, I brought my 7-year-old son on Saturday for his first festival. In the six hours that we were there, it was a nonstop colorful ride. We parked down the street and were...

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Evolution of a Star: Dwight Pogue’s retrospective at Smith College Museum of Art
Jul17

Evolution of a Star: Dwight Pogue’s retrospective at Smith College Museum of Art

Printmaker and Smith College art professor Dwight Pogue is retiring and he’s having quite a send off. His opus, if you will, is called Flowering Stars and is on view at The Smith College Museum of Art. Pogue’s collection is a retrospective of his lithographs and screenprints over almost 40 years at Smith College, and it’s something to behold. ; and his changing styles are evident from the samples taken from his portfolio between the...

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Pick of the Day 7/17: Through the Looking Glass…and What Alice Found There at The Majestic
Jul17

Pick of the Day 7/17: Through the Looking Glass…and What Alice Found There at The Majestic

Probably the best thing about summer is there are no school buses to ruin my commute to work. With that said, that means all the little minions are pulling at somebody’s pants legs lamenting the lack of activity on a steamy July day.  I’m here to solve that problem: Majestic Theater in West Springfield has a children’s theater program. Yep, and today Through the Looking Glass…and what Alice Found There is on...

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Podcast: Ashfield Resident Tom Leue Invents Heating System that Runs on Vegetable Oil
Jul16

Podcast: Ashfield Resident Tom Leue Invents Heating System that Runs on Vegetable Oil

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Ashfield inventor Tom Leue. When making his own brand of biodiesel, an alternative fuel made from plant matter, he accidentally set fire to his workshop and burned it to the ground (hear about the fireball that ensued at minute 15). Still, his commitment to selling biodiesel (made by other people) has lasted 19 years. Now Leue has come up with an invention that will allow users to heat their...

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Cinemadope: The Theme Song’s the Thing in Mission: Impossible
Jul16

Cinemadope: The Theme Song’s the Thing in Mission: Impossible

Film and television may be the land of the moving image, but it has sure given us a lot of great music over the years. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, quietly breathing out Moon River. Shirley Bassey’s brassy, wagging Goldfinger. The many themes and soundtracks that have become cultural touchstones: The Pink Panther. Jaws. Psycho. But while some of those melodies dig deep into our psyches — the ominous see-saw of the Jaws riff kept...

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Pick of the Day 7/16: Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Jul16

Pick of the Day 7/16: Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy

Just in case you missed the memo: It’s going to be hot and humid. Surprise.  The best way to beat the heat (besides a water park) is the movies.  So let’s go indoors for our pick and immerse ourselves in some culture. Andy Goldsworthy is a British sculptor who creates transient, ephemeral site-specific works that have earned him accolades and honors including the O.B.E. (the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). ...

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Local Calendar: Monday 7/16 – Wednesday 7/18
Jul16

Local Calendar: Monday 7/16 – Wednesday 7/18

MONDAY 7/16 MUSIC AMHERST JAZZ ORCHESTRA: July 16, 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. With vocalist Ethel Lee. Great food. Union Station Grand Ballroom, 125A Pleasant St., Northampton. 413-253- 1607. info@amherstjazzorchestra.com. Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: July 16, MASS MoCa, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams. STAGE/FILM/DANCE Artney Jackson: July 16, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown. TUESDAY 7/17 MUSIC Bang on a Can Summer...

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Free Will Astrology: Advice from Kafka, Kahlo, and bodybuilder Kai Greene
Jul16

Free Will Astrology: Advice from Kafka, Kahlo, and bodybuilder Kai Greene

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” Whenever that quote appears on the Internet, it’s falsely attributed to painter Frida Kahlo. In fact, it was originally composed by poet Marty McConnell. In any case, I’ll recommend that you heed it in the coming weeks. You really do need to focus on associating with allies who see the mysterious and lyrical best in you. I will also suggest that you...

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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...

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Pick of the Day 7/15: Three Identical Strangers at Amherst Cinema
Jul13

Pick of the Day 7/15: Three Identical Strangers at Amherst Cinema

Oh boy, I’ve been waiting for this one! This doc is so scathing and mind boggling, you’ll be thinking about it for some time.  And Tim Wardle’s documentary Three Identical Strangers  is described “as the most amazing, incredible, remarkable true story ever told.” Here goes: Identical triplets are separated at birth and adopted by three different families. Somehow two of them find each other on a college campus....

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Pick of the Day 7/14: Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival
Jul13

Pick of the Day 7/14: Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival

The Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA is a week of innovative music making dedicated entirely to “adventurous” contemporary music. For three weeks composers will have their new works performed, and musicians will perform in ensembles sitting alongside their teachers. The Festival includes daily performances in the museum galleries (free with museum admission) and culminates in a six-hour Marathon Concert...

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