Cinemadope: Rise and Shine, undocumented workers unionize
Apr28

Cinemadope: Rise and Shine, undocumented workers unionize

When we talk about unions, the images that are usually called to mind are those of the Rust Belt —a ging steel mills and auto plants whose unionized workforces were long considered the backbone of American industry. And while the allure of collective bargaining may have faded a bit in an era where workers are job-hopping more often, the truth is that a union can still bring about considerable change in the American workplace. But...

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Pinkies Out, People!
Apr28

Pinkies Out, People!

WEB TEXT FOR ARTS PAGE 1

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Scene Here: Spectacular, Spectacular
Apr28

Scene Here: Spectacular, Spectacular

Lively organ music floated through the air, and I followed it in from the parking lot. Why, exactly, had I opted to spend Friday night at the circus? I wasn??t sure, other than the fact that I was drawn here to the Eastern States Expo in West Springfield by faint, happy childhood memories. The 61st annual Melha Shrine Circus, April 23-26, is produced by the Melha Shrine Center in Springfield — a non-religious fraternity — to raise...

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Listen Up: Jack Simons “The Ballad of John Simons”
Apr28

Listen Up: Jack Simons “The Ballad of John Simons”

Jack Simons The Ballad of John Simons Todd Rundgren, Prince, Stevie Wonder, R. Stevie Moore, Adam Elk of the Mommyheads in his “Swiss Army Knife” phase, Ray Mason in his ’80s, homespun days, XTC’s Andy Partridge out in his demo-writing shed — they’re all one-stop pop music wizards who can write/sing/play/record everything themselves. Their recordings crackle and flow with unfiltered energy, playful and vibrant. Add Jack Simons to that...

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CD Shorts: April Verch ‘The Newpart’
Apr21

CD Shorts: April Verch ‘The Newpart’

April Verch The Newpart (Slab Town) The title track of April Verch’s new album refers to the family room her parents added in the 1970s, where she learned and honed her fiddle, step dance, and vocal skills. It and “Belle Election” are rooted in the Ontario countryside where she grew up, but this album’s true “new part” is material that is more Tin Pan Alley, Appalachian, and Austin than Ottawa Valley. Verch’s bandmates Hayes Griffin...

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Can an Artist Survive in the Valley? Young local creatives reinvent their careers for changing times
Apr21

Can an Artist Survive in the Valley? Young local creatives reinvent their careers for changing times

Kamil Peters steps away from his metal shop to lead me on a walk through 17,000 square feet of new working space. He saunters from room to room in a cavernous old industrial mill building along the canal in Holyoke, pointing out the work spaces for artists: an oil painter and a printmaker here, a glass blower and a jewelry maker there, and rooms around the next corner for photography, horticulture, commercial products design — even...

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