Scene Here: Birdy It’s Cold Outside
Jan01

Scene Here: Birdy It’s Cold Outside

It’s never cold at Deerfield’s Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. No matter the chill of winter, it’s always hot and humid inside, a high-latitude rain forest. The conservatory houses creatures that would hardly appear on a bobsled team recruitment roster — butterflies, of course, but also plenty of lizards, insects, and even a gang of small brown birds that rampage around underfoot. If the heating system goes...

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Oh, That's Better
Jan01

Oh, That's Better

Another year goes by, another high-tech sex toy hits the market: remote-controlled vibrators that respond to your moan intonations, masturbation sleeves shaped like your favorite porn star, and whatever else the kinky nerds come up with next. Your i-Brain might have you thinking that these futuristic gimmicks will make for a more orgasmic 2015, but if you really want to have better sex this year, it’s time to get back to the basics:...

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One Stop Bar Hop
Nov29

One Stop Bar Hop

If there were a doyen of Valley nightlife, it would probably be Big Rick. If you’ve been dancing in Northampton, chances are you’ve seen Rick Gifford. A fixture since the ’80s, the 51-year-old Gifford is well-known at local hotspots for working it on the dance floor from the moment the DJ starts spinning until the club closes — on weekends and during school breaks, that is. In addition to being an enthusiastic dancer, he’s also a...

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Another Normal
Nov29

Another Normal

Amy Rusiecki laces up her running shoes one foot at a time, just like us mortals. She makes her way to the trailhead, then heads off at a gentle gait. And I follow. We’re at the Notch Visitor’s Center on Route 116 in the Holyoke Range. The autumn leaves, just past peak, are scattered about the forest floor. The sun plays hide and seek behind the ridge. It is late afternoon. It had rained earlier, but now the sky is clear....

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Introducing the Beerhunter
Nov29

Introducing the Beerhunter

Throw down your coasters and pull up your stools — there’s a new beer column in town. You’ll be seeing the Beerhunter every month in the Advocate. But who, exactly, is this wanderer of the night? Well, I could pretend to be a jaded, salt-of-the-earth connoisseur, with decades of experience taste-testing new brews. But you’d see through that pretty quickly. So let’s come clean before we hit the bars: I am...

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Annual Manual
Nov05

Annual Manual

If we had a time machine, we’d go back and grab some of our hilltowns’ founders, then twist the dial forward to 2014. Those old boys drew all the maps, but they’d probably be surprised by what’s popping up on them these days. We’d show them what keeps Pioneer Valley visitors—and residents—happy year after year. We’d wow them with international cuisine cooked up in neighborhood restaurant...

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