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Artist Jan Ruby-Crystal works on a water-based oil painting on handmade paper Friday at her home studio in Northampton.

Art Maker: Jan Ruby-Crystal |Painter

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Before she could even walk, Jan Ruby-Crystal had already started to paint. That early interest, she says, blossomed into a life-long love of painting. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology, both in fine arts, then followed that with a 36-year career as a professor of …

Bruce Watson’s Slice of Life: Campaign-English Dictionary: A translation for Orwellian times

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let the trumpets sound! Let the bloviating blow! The first votes of the endless campaign of 2012-2016 have been cast! And as the contest continues, let my Campaign-English Dictionary help you translate campaign-speak into English. When last seen in these parts, my CED offered some 200 definitions of key campaign buzzwords. Among them: tea party n spontaneous political party, bankrolled by billionaires, consisting …

Tim Driscoll’s Barhopping: But ... watch out for the worm

Thursday, February 4, 2016

“We’re overdue for cocktails,” my friend Amy gently admonished me when we ran into each other recently, and I couldn’t have agreed more. We made plans to meet at Spoleto Restaurant, at One Bridge Street in Northampton, after work the following day. I arrived first and settled in at the bar, where Chris …

Steve Pfarrer’s Best Bets: The Bottle Rockets and Marshall Crenshaw at the Iron Horse; “Take a Seat” exhibit at UMass

Thursday, January 28, 2016

BOTTLED LIGHTNING Roots-rock veterans The Bottle Rockets have been getting a lot of attention, courtesy of a new album, “Lean Forward,” and a catchy single, “Monday (Every Time I Turn Around).” Their populist, guitar-based anthems are like a sound track to small-town America. They’ll bring those tunes to …

Book Bag: ‘The Last Dawn’ by Joe Gannon; ‘Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century’ by Daniel Oppenheimer

Thursday, January 28, 2016

THE LAST DAWN By Joe Gannon Minotaur Books joegannon.wix.com/joe-gannon In the late 1980s, Northampton novelist Joe Gannon spent time in two hot spots — Nicaragua and El Salvador — as a freelance journalist. Two years ago, he drew …

Valley Readings

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The following author appearances, readings and book events are planned for the coming week in the Valley: THE BASEMENT: Straw Dog Writers Guild sponsors “Writer’s Night Out,” a monthly evening of readings, Tuesday, 7-9 p.m., 21 Center St., Northampton. Featured reader: Lisa Taylor. For information, call Jacqueline Sheehan, …

Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: Film, ‘We Like It Like That,” shows boogaloo’s roots

Thursday, January 28, 2016

“Latin soul,” “cha-cha with a back beat” — however you describe it, boogaloo (or, in Spanish, Bugalú) is music that makes chairs and shyness disappear. It’s an all-inclusive, up-on-your-feet party music that’s also a uniquely American sound, a …

Headliners: Campbell Brothers at Buckley Recital Hall; ‘The Randy and Mr. Lahey Show’ at the Iron Horse

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Holy steel A subgenre of African-American gospel music featuring lap and pedal steel guitars, “sacred steel” originated in a schismatic Pentecostal denomination known as the House of God where it was introduced into church services in place of …

Movie times

Thursday, January 28, 2016

AMHERST CINEMA 28 Amity St., Amherst 253-2547 amherstcinema.org 2016 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts (NR) Daily 4:50; Sat. also 2:15 2016 Oscar-Nominated Live Action Shorts (NR) Daily 7:25; Sun. also 2:15 Anomalisa (R) Daily 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:45; Sat.-Sun. also …

Movie Capsules

Thursday, January 7, 2016

THE 5TH WAVE: Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. Also stars Matthew Zuk, Gabriela Lopez. Rated …

New on DVD

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Batman: Bad Blood: In this animated feature, Bruce Wayne (the voice of Jason O’Mara) is missing. Alfred (the voice of James Garrett) covers for him while Nightwing (the voice of Sean Maher) and Robin (the voice of Stuart …

Sundance fest films take on race, sexuality, violence

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The culmination of the Sundance Institute’s year-round work developing fresh perspectives in drama and documentary films has taken over Park City, Utah with a 11-day festival that ends Sunday. Among themes filmmakers explored this year: Sexuality, identity, race …

Jerrey Roberts photo gallery: Hurry up and wait

Thursday, January 28, 2016

As a swim meet between Northampton and Belchertown high schools earlier this month was just about to start, I got into position for the first race. But, there was a delay. Swimmers who had lined up at their …