Here Comes Everybody: Setting James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ to music
May27

Here Comes Everybody: Setting James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ to music

Early 20th-century Modernist literature, at its worst, is uninviting and impenetrable. Take the work of Ezra Pound — at one extreme is his beautiful and accessible imagist poem “In A Station of the Metro”: The apparition of these faces in the crowd; petals on a wet, black bough. At the other is one of his “Cantos” which is yet shorter, but not easily reproduced — it’s a single Chinese character. Imbuing it with meaning is hardly easy,...

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Cinemadope: Keys to Success, a piano prodigy takes lessons
May27

Cinemadope: Keys to Success, a piano prodigy takes lessons

Jazz and film have a great history together. In the early days, jazz was a boon to the young film industry, providing a seemingly endless collection of tunes for hit musicals. Indeed, in those days a great soundtrack was not merely something to sing; in many cases the songs became a bigger part of the story than the rest of the movie. Look at any Fred and Ginger classic, and you’ll find that the emotional high point is just about...

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Nightcrawler: Blocked In, Janet Monheit, Tom Keifer, and FAT join the 2015 Cityblock Series; Mason and friends peddle their musical wares
May27

Nightcrawler: Blocked In, Janet Monheit, Tom Keifer, and FAT join the 2015 Cityblock Series; Mason and friends peddle their musical wares

We knew that the powers that be were reverting back to the old name. Then we found out that they were getting a new logo. In fact, until recently, the only thing we didn’t know about Springfield’s Cityblock-turned-Bike Nite-back-to-Cityblock was who would be gracing the Stearns Square Stage this summer. But that’s all changed due to one long-awaited post at springfielddowntown.com by the sponsors of said annual event, The Springfield...

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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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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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