Cinemadope: Outside Chance, screenings under the summer stars
May20

Cinemadope: Outside Chance, screenings under the summer stars

Even as they fade from our landscape, there is something quintessentially American about drive-in theaters. They seem, somehow, to contain all the great stages of our lives in one place; in one car, the reckless romance of youth; in another — probably a station wagon — the steady pulse of family life. For a long time, I thought the pull was because of our strong national love affair with the car, and that the drive-in was simply a...

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CD Shorts: The Replacements, The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990
May20

CD Shorts: The Replacements, The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990

The Replacements The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990 (Rhino) The ’80s dealt some major blows to rock ’n’ roll. Not only did the synth gain a measure of ascendancy in a genre that had, ’til then, been primarily about the ragged tones of the electric guitar, something really weird happened to hard rock. Somehow, much of metal turned into something far more inexplicable, with tough guy strutting turning, sans irony, to androgyny wrapped...

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Scene Here: Beyond the Division

Hampshire College’s commencement ceremony is a social justice rally. About 350 people pack the graduation tent on the campus commons. As president Jonathan Lash begins his speech, more guests arrive. They spill out into the lawn outside the tent. Few of the students wear the traditional robe and mortarboard — khakis, business suits and many-colored spring dresses abound. Some wear purple sashes. The student speakers really dig into...

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Summer Art
May20

Summer Art

There are plenty of ways to tell we’re on the cusp of summer in the Valley. There are the many shades of green, the blooms bursting into view, and the green clouds of marauding pollen. Among the most reliable ways to note that Memorial Day is about to arrive to welcome the heat is the Paradise City Arts Festival. It happens more than once a year, and in more than one place. But it always shows up in Northampton this time of year,...

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Nightcrawler: Linking In, Music aplenty at Kielbasa Fest; Travelers’ golf tourney; Barlow & betrothed tie knot
May20

Nightcrawler: Linking In, Music aplenty at Kielbasa Fest; Travelers’ golf tourney; Barlow & betrothed tie knot

Last year, local musician/promoter Thomas Kielbania Jr. believed there was enough interest to resurrect the fabled “Kielbasa Fest” in his hometown of Chicopee after it lay dormant for nearly two decades. Gate totals of nearly 20,000 meat-seekers at the city’s Szot Park not only confirmed his hunch, they inspired him to stretch the 2015 installment to a five-day event. “Hey, at the end of the day, it’s a Kielbasa Fest,” he says. “So I...

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Between the Lines: Advocate Grand Band Slam Is Back, now with more slam!
May12

Between the Lines: Advocate Grand Band Slam Is Back, now with more slam!

Back in the final year of the 1900s, I stood, guitar in hand, on the steps of Northampton’s old courthouse at the main intersection. The occasion was the (then new) Valley Advocate Grand Band Slam. My bandmates and I had won top honors in the “experimental/progressive” category. The proceedings were festive, and they were modest in a small-town way. I didn’t work at the Advocate then, but I was intrigued to meet some of the staff,...

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