Scene Here: Shamrock in the Wind
Mar24

Scene Here: Shamrock in the Wind

I’m at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and there are more plastic cups whipping down High Street in the wind than there are people waiting for the parade to turn the corner. I’m beginning to think the parade has been delayed by the 30-plus mph wind gusts, when I spy some resolute revelers claiming their spots along the sidewalk. Donning heavy coats, gloves, and hats for the 30-degree weather, they drop their chairs on the curb closest to...

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Taste-Off! Slice Showdown, Part 1: Which Northampton by-the-slice pizza joint lays claim to the best?
Mar24

Taste-Off! Slice Showdown, Part 1: Which Northampton by-the-slice pizza joint lays claim to the best?

Pizza — it’s as American as, well, burritos and frankenfurters. Determining what’s the best pizza is a heady, touchy business. And in an area where there’s a pizza joint every 50 feet or so, the stakes are high. For something that is, at its most elemental, just cheese, sauce, and crust, pizza is also subject to plenty of variations. Some of them are variations that aren’t necessarily obvious — what makes (an American) pizza “Greek”...

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VIDEO Jailhouse Rock: What do a dozen Northampton inmates and a chorus of senior citizens have in common?
Mar24

VIDEO Jailhouse Rock: What do a dozen Northampton inmates and a chorus of senior citizens have in common?

It’s mid-morning at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. Eight inmates are gathered around an electric keyboard in the visiting room, laughing and talking quietly. Keyboard player Ken Maiuri hits middle C, and together they warm up with some scales. Up and down, they sing: “la-la-la-la-LA-la-la-la-la,” then one note higher: “mi-mi-mi-mi-MI-mi-mi-mi-mi.” Then one note higher, and higher again. Up front, next to Maiuri,...

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Nightcrawler: Fire Power, Bash benefits Christmas Eve fire victims; Amy Fairchild joins members of Extreme, The Allmans, Megadeth and more for Boston charity
Mar24

Nightcrawler: Fire Power, Bash benefits Christmas Eve fire victims; Amy Fairchild joins members of Extreme, The Allmans, Megadeth and more for Boston charity

She’s seen fire. She’s seen (freezing) rain. But Kristy Librera Chapman remains undaunted in her quest to aid her family and her community. A cousin to one of the families affected by a tragic Christmas Eve fire in Southwick, Chapman says that she knew she needed to do something about it. “Since I had been involved in previous benefits, a concert seemed to make the most sense,” she explains. “And I since I was a former member of The...

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An Open Letter to Sandwich-makers: It’s time to ratify sandwich standards
Mar24

An Open Letter to Sandwich-makers: It’s time to ratify sandwich standards

Since the first time an Arab stuffed meat into a pita, the sandwich has been awesome. Sure, the Earl of Sandwich gave the lunchtime staple it’s name during a furious poker match, but the first recording of someone putting food between bread and eating it dates back to 110 BC when Hillel the Elder came up with the dish for Passover. There’s no question why the sandwich has such international staying power: It’s simple, versatile,...

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Raise Your Glass: Organic Wines That Are Well Worth a Try
Mar24

Raise Your Glass: Organic Wines That Are Well Worth a Try

Natura Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Chile, $9.99-11.99 Natura Chardonnay 2013, Chile, $9.99-11.99 About a decade ago, I tried an organic wine. It was expensive and bad. I didn’t spit it out or even pour it down the drain, probably because of my Scots heritage, but I didn’t like it. So when friends recently suggested that I write about organic wine, I was reluctant. The organic wine I’d tried back then was overpriced for the quality. It...

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