Arts

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....


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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...


Book Bag: ‘Journeys of Voices & Choices’ by Ernie Brill; ‘Here in Sanctuary — Whirling’ by D. Dina Friedman

05-24-2024 11:15 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Journeys of Voices & ChoicesBy Ernie BrillHuman Error PublishingNorthampton poet Ernie Brill, a former English teacher at Northampton High School, is a longtime writer who has worked with many small presses over the years. A consistent theme of his...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Sheila Ryan of Florence

05-24-2024 11:13 AM

Sheila Ryan of Florence made this strawberry rhubarb pie with rhubarb from her friend Lora’s Leeds garden and “added the hearts as the pie was for a friend undergoing chemotherapy.”How to enter: Snap a pic of something delicious-looking and send it...


There is a Season with Molly Parr: Sweet and simple: A rhubarb spoon bread recipe you can tweak to your liking

05-24-2024 11:12 AM

By MOLLY PARR

If I’m remembering correctly, the last time I came to this space to talk about rhubarb, I mentioned a rhubarb compote from the book “The Lost Kitchen” by Erin French. The recipe leaned into lemon and worked well with ginger and strawberries.This year...


Kayaker’s delight: Best day-paddles along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts

05-23-2024 5:05 PM

By ANNA LAIRD BARTO

Last summer, I chronicled my 68-mile paddle of the Connecticut River through Massachusetts. Along the way, I became very well acquainted with the river, its bends and currents, dams and bridges, trees and wildlife — even its sewage overflows! Here are...


Arts Briefs: The Paradise City Arts Festival returns to Northampton, the MIFA Victory Players perform in Holyoke, and more

05-23-2024 2:41 PM

Paradise by the fairground lightsNORTHAMPTON — One of the area’s largest artistic celebrations returns this weekend, as some 220 artists and craftspeople gather at the Three County Fairgrounds for the Paradise City Arts Festival.The biannual festival,...


Earth Matters: Biodiversity crisis in our backyard: The science behind saving habitat for wildlife

05-23-2024 2:36 PM

By KARI BLOOD

One of the reasons many of us love living in the Valley is being able to see wildlife around us. But those sightings will become increasingly rare if humans don’t take bold steps to slow the loss of species around the world. Scientists are sounding...


Speaking of Nature: Wilson’s warbler sighting my first in a decade: The story of a bird named after the ‘Father Of American Ornithology’

05-21-2024 1:37 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

In 1794, a Scot named Alexander Wilson arrived in the newly-independent nation of the United States of America and got to the business of starting a new life for himself. He had been employed as a weaver back home and thought he could make a go of it...


Rendevous with the paper of record: Northampton artist Katy Schneider paints official portrait of New York Times publisher

05-17-2024 2:23 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Growing up in New York City, Katy Schneider recalls that the New York Times was pretty much sacrosanct in her home. Her late parents read the paper closely, her father often cutting out articles he particularly liked, and both referred to the...


Rattling those musical bones: Folk/blues veteran Chris Smither releases his 20th album ahead of 80th birthday

05-17-2024 2:22 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

When Chris Smither found his live gigs shut down during the worst months of COVID-19, he figured it might at least be a good opportunity to write some new songs — something the veteran folk/blues singer and guitarist admits is not the easiest process...


Valley artists offer new sounds for spring: Singer-songwriter Lisa Bastoni and folk-rockers Eavesdrop release new records

05-17-2024 2:20 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Valley continues to be a fertile place for music, with a number of groups and artists releasing new albums this spring. Here’s a look at two of the records, with female singers at the forefront.On the WaterLisa BastoniLisa Bastoni has been making...


Weekly Food Photo Contest: This week’s winner: Louise Lucht of Northampton

05-17-2024 12:28 PM

This Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake was made by Louise Lucht of Northampton, who noted that “the grated lemon (peel and all) that went into the crust and filling made it tart and delicious.”How to enter: Snap a pic of something delicious-looking and send it...


‘A generational healing experience’: Exhibit documents the struggles of Cambodian families fleeing the Khmer Rouge who found refuge and a new community in Amherst

05-16-2024 3:52 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Not long after 20 years of war finally ended in Vietnam in 1975, another wave of horrendous violence erupted just to the west.The Khmer Rouge, the Communist party of Cambodia, seized control of the country and began a brutal “reeducation” campaign...


M/other’s time to shine: MICAfest runs in three Northampton venues through May

05-16-2024 1:32 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The challenges mothers face can be legion, especially for those who work and have families and, according to any number of studies, still end up doing most of the chores at home, from raising kids to cooking, compared to their husbands and...


The Beat Goes On: The Iron Horse comes back to life, Joni Mitchell’s music is celebrated in Turners Falls, and more

05-16-2024 1:30 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

It’s finally happening. Nearly seven months after ownership officially changed hands, and following extensive renovations, the Iron Horse Music Hall, shuttered since late March 2020, threw open its doors this week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a...


Speaking of Nature: Surprised by strawberries in the grass: Flowers will bloom whether you pay attention or not

05-14-2024 11:47 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Every week I try to end my column with an inspirational line or two in the hopes of motivating my readers to get outside and see what’s going on in their own back yards. As I sit and peck away at the keyboard this morning I realize that the...


Dreams take flight (some assembly required): Local pilots build and help build their own aircraft

05-10-2024 3:09 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

If you build it … you can fly it, too.As Peter Elsea and Jason Lorusso have discovered in recent years, there’s a special satisfaction in building your own plane — or at least assisting in that construction — that can make the experience of flying...


Connected through art: Rocky Hill Cohousing community participates in art exchange with group from Australia

05-10-2024 2:59 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

Residents of the Rocky Hill Cohousing community are no strangers to working on art projects together.But, for the Global Art Project for Peace, they’re taking another step — exchanging artwork with a group in another country.“We’ve done other art...



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