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...

Read More
The V-Spot: Aftercare Is Not  a Grey Area
Mar24

The V-Spot: Aftercare Is Not a Grey Area

A housewife’s wet dream, Fifty Shades of Grey, hit the big screen this past month — and hit it hard. The popularity of the book series, and now movie, has caused quite the stir in the practicing BDSM (bondage, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism) community, specifically around the movie overlooking what makes BDSM different from domestic violence, coercion, and abuse; namely, informed consent and responsible aftercare. No matter...

Read More
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...

Read More
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”...

Read More
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,...

Read More
Comedy’s Smooth Sailor: Sinbad at the Calvin Theatre
Mar24

Comedy’s Smooth Sailor: Sinbad at the Calvin Theatre

Sinbad is the older, bigger version of that cut-up from grade school that you either adored or avoided: an irrepressible tease, hyperactive and loud, with a brash baritone laugh and a tireless eye for odd social moments. Best known for his TV appearances, the 58-year-old comedian starred in the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World beginning in 1986. HBO aired four of his comedy specials between 1993 and 1998, and FOX aired his...

Read More