Together Again: Songwriters Mark Herschler and John Cruz reunite and offer two new solo albums
Jul28

Together Again: Songwriters Mark Herschler and John Cruz reunite and offer two new solo albums

Near the back door of Mark Herschler’s Northampton house and studio sits a group of boulders. “I think there might be Native American spirits in there,” Herschler says with a smile. “I think it’s helping with the recording.” Sitting inside, we can hear a commotion from other current residents of the large Laurel Park house, mostly from the basement studio. “I’m hoping to repeat the Home for Wayward Musicians idea, like I did in...

Read More
Can I Do It? A half-ass guide to canning
Jul28

Can I Do It? A half-ass guide to canning

I always feel bad when the tomatoes from my garden rot on the counter waiting in vain for me to chop them up into salsa or boil them into a marinara. I have the best of intentions in May when I ask my husband to plant boccu tomatoes in our garden, but come the sticky hot months of July and August and the appeal of sweating it in the kitchen has lost its luster. And the rotting tomatoes are attracting flies. So this year I vowed to...

Read More
Book Review: Between Me and the World, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Jul28

Book Review: Between Me and the World, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

On the night of Nov. 24, 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates found his teenage son Samori glued to the television, eager to see whether white police officer Darren Wilson would be indicted for fatally shooting black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. No indictment came down. Samori said, “I’ve got to go,” went to his room and cried. “It was not my expectation that anyone would ever be punished,” Coates writes in his rough-hewn,...

Read More
What Goes Here? In a time of dwindling support for public art, Brattleboro has $100K to spend
Jul28

What Goes Here? In a time of dwindling support for public art, Brattleboro has $100K to spend

The past five years were rough on Brattleboro. In the summer of 2011, tragedy struck the town several times: Tropical Storm Irene caused extensive flood damage, a five-alarm fire destroyed much of Main Street’s historic Brooks House building, and the Brattleboro Food Co-op suffered a fatal workplace shooting. The southern Vermont town enjoys a strong reputation as a hotbed for live music, performance, and studio art. But the violence...

Read More
The Uncanny Valley: Why are there ads on Springfield buses asking, ‘Do you know who murdered me’?
Jul28

The Uncanny Valley: Why are there ads on Springfield buses asking, ‘Do you know who murdered me’?

Buses are big and so are the advertisements they often host — that’s no surprise. What is jolting, however, is when the typical music or beverage ad is replaced with a giant placard offering a $50,000 reward for information regarding an unsolved murder from 2013. According to the Hampden County District Attorney’s office, there are more than 60 unsolved Hampden County murders dating back to 2000. Some victims on this list will likely...

Read More
Between the Lines: Why I Am Pro-Abortion And You Should Be Too
Jul28

Between the Lines: Why I Am Pro-Abortion And You Should Be Too

I am pro-abortion in the same way I am pro-triple bypass surgery and chemotherapy. In general, I am “pro” any helpful, legal medical procedure. Being pro-abortion is different than being pro-angioplasty, though, and that’s because, ostensibly, there is a second human being — with all the attendant rights — involved. But I don’t believe that. Abortion is a medically necessary procedure that women have a right to access, but obtaining...

Read More