Arts & Life

Speaking of Nature: Too slow to survive? All porcupines want is a peaceful life in the country woods

06-11-2024 2:27 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

I was on my way to work the other day and, at least initially, I was enjoying the morning drive. The sun rises just after 5:00 a.m. these days and the approach of my last day of school added a little buoyancy to the otherwise monotonous commute. I...


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A house guest with a dangerous bite: Easthampton Theater Company revives vintage screwball comedy, ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’

06-07-2024 12:42 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

At some point in our lives, most of us have the misfortune to have someone come to our home who quickly wears out their welcome, for dinner or a party or maybe a weekend visit: an obnoxious uncle, your daughter’s new boyfriend, a neighbor’s work...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: ‘This is my playground’: Saturday’s Northampton Garden Tour grants access to six beautiful home gardens

06-07-2024 12:38 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

I recently heard about a practice called Forest Bathing, which involves spending a few hours in a forest, or at least a sheltered patch of trees, and allowing one’s awareness to settle on all the immediate sensory surroundings. Forest Bathing is...


Bring on the summer music and arts: Concert series and more return to Hadley and Huntington

06-07-2024 12:33 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Summer brings outdoor music as well as any number of artistic performances, including theater, literary readings, dances and more.And it’s not just big blowout events like the Green River Festival.In Hadley, the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum has...


A burst of hot pink in Old Deerfield: Extensive Barbie collection on view at PVMA before heading to auction

06-07-2024 12:31 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

At the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s upcoming garden party this weekend for its new “Barbie – All Dolled Up” gallery exhibit, it’s BYOB: Bring Your Own Barbie.The museum is welcoming folks on Sunday, June 9, to the official opening of the...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Tobi Sznajderman of Amherst

06-07-2024 12:29 PM

Behold, “the first local strawberry rhubarb compote of the season,” served over vanilla ice cream! Tobi Sznajderman of Amherst says the rhubarb and strawberries came from Warner Farm in Sunderland, and were purchased at Millstone Market. How to...


A half-century of photography: Forbes Library exhibit showcases the vintage work and world views of photographer and digital printmaker Stan Sherer

06-06-2024 3:43 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

When Stan Sherer was growing up in the Bronx in New York City in the 1950s, an uncle paid a visit to his family one day and brought along some World War II-era darkroom equipment.Sherer didn’t know it just then, but he was about to find his life’s...


Arts Briefs: A Sojourner Truth biographer comes to the Valley, a new take on a noted play, and more

06-06-2024 3:36 PM

Truth biographer comes to townFLORENCE — Historian Nell Irvin Painter, the author of an acclaimed biography of Sojourner Truth, will visit the town where the famed abolitionist once lived to talk about her newest book and about some of the ideas that...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: ‘You’re a strong man to do that’: Observations from this side of the shuffleboard court

06-06-2024 3:33 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

When I was 18 years old, I hitchhiked alone from western Massachusetts to St. Petersburg, Florida and back. Hitchhiking was fairly common among young people then, although not typically for such a long distance. I had some trials along the way, not...


Earth Matters: Swamps, stewardship and conservation: What does it mean to care for a forest?

06-06-2024 3:32 PM

By CHRISTINE HATCH

Swamps are great story villains. They are notoriously difficult to navigate due to their sinking sticky mud, spiked vines and dense vegetation; they are neither fully land nor water, negating boats and footwear as helpful vessels for traversing them;...


Speaking of Nature: The return of some familiar feathered faces: Tree swallows come home to the same fields they used the previous year

06-04-2024 1:38 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

One of the great joys of the spring is the year’s first appearance of the tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). In my yard this event almost always occurs in the first week of April and this year was no exception. It was a close call, but the first...


Stepping onto summer stage: Silverthorne Theater Company debuting three plays in its first full summer season

05-31-2024 3:56 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Time was when summer theater in the Valley was typically produced by a number of mainstays, including Chester Theatre Company, New Century Theatre, and the Ko Festival at Amherst College.But New Century Theatre shut down a few years ago, as did the Ko...


A unique Father’s Day gift: The music of 20th century pop composer Johnny Anz to be celebrated at South Hadley concert

05-31-2024 3:44 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

When he was growing up, John Anz knew that his father, Johnny Anz, played piano and sang. But he didn’t know much about his dad’s musical background, especially as Johnny Anz died when his son was just 7 years old.But a little over 50 years later,...


Across the great white north: New children’s book chronicles epic Alaskan trip by dog sled

05-30-2024 3:03 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Crossing the snowy wastes of Alaska in deep winter, when the temperature is plunging past 40 below zero, might not be everybody’s cup of tea.But for Marla BB, it was a little bit of paradise — a three-week sojourn with her own Alaskan sled dogs,...


The many faces of food insecurity: Exhibit at Forbes Library shares diverse stories of access issues in our community

05-30-2024 3:02 PM

By JACOB NELSON

History is everyone’s story. Its lessons can inform a bright future for everyone, but only if we truly listen to everyone.For almost a year, members of the Storytelling Circle of the Hampshire County Food Policy Council (HCFPC) have been collecting...


The Beat Goes On: One banjo master salutes another in Amherst, big stage in Deerfield opening for the summer, and more

05-30-2024 2:49 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Over the past few years, Tony Trischka, considered one of the most influential banjo players around, has been delving deep into the music of another banjo master: the late Earl Scruggs.Scruggs, in the 1940s, developed a unique three-finger style of...


Chalk Talk: ‘Investigators of our own practice’: The transformative power of Teacher Action Research

05-30-2024 2:46 PM

By WESTERN MASS WRITING PROJECT

Jennifer DiGrazia, English professor at Westfield State University and co-site director of WMWP: In the Western Mass Writing Project (WMWP) Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), we think that good teaching begins with good questions, the sorts of complex...


Speaking of Nature: The telltale song of summer: Singing green frogs welcome me back to the Thinking Chair

05-28-2024 12:19 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

For most people, Memorial Day marks the first day of summer. The official first day may not actually be observed until three weeks later, but the three-day weekend gives people a chance to get outside and fire up the grill, or perhaps even go camping....


Live from Argentina: Acclaimed tango guitarists to play in Northampton for dancers and music lovers alike

05-24-2024 1:27 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

If you go to a milonga, or social dance, to do tango dancing in Buenos Aires, you’ll likely be doing it to live music.In western Massachusetts? No so much.Now, though, Western Mass Tango, which has hosted tango lessons and dances in the region for...


Valley Bounty: Resourceful and really delicious: The Upper Bend in Turners Falls serves classics with local seasonal add-ons

05-24-2024 1:25 PM

By JACOB NELSON

The Upper Bend Cafe and Bruncheonette in Turners Falls aims to be reliably amazing. That means serving familiar breakfast and lunch favorites while unleashing their creativity, squeezing every drop of goodness from farm-fresh local food.“Using as many...



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