Arts & Life

The ABCs of children’s books: ‘Alphabet Soup’ at the Eric Carle Museum looks at how picture books come to life

02-23-2024 9:40 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has no shortage of material to draw on for exhibits.Aside from highlighting work from traveling exhibits, or showcasing illustrations of specific artists drawn from various sources, the Amherst museum can...


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Earth Matters: A world where we aren’t at the center?

02-23-2024 9:43 PM

By MONYA RELLES

Over the summer, I read and enjoyed “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us” by Ed Yong. One of Yong’s central theses is that animal senses are so different from our own that it’s almost impossible to imagine the ways...


Valley Bounty: Micro but mighty: At a new farm in South Hadley, small is beautiful — and delicious

02-15-2024 8:18 PM

By JACOB NELSON

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Love Leaf Farm in South Hadley, it’s this: don’t judge a farm by its size … or the size of their crops, for that matter.In the words of farmer-owner Michael Fredette, “Love Leaf Farm is a very small, indoor...


Art Briefs: Classical music in Hadley, jazz in Amherst, and a unique art exhibit in Northampton 

02-15-2024 8:17 PM

Haydn and Hummel in Hadley (with Beethoven)HADLEY — Arcadia Players will give an early boost to spring, or least to the spirit of spring, on Feb. 18 with a performance of chamber works from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including Beethoven’s...


Best Bites: Where to eat dinner right now: The top 35 Valley spots for dinner and what you should order

02-15-2024 8:16 PM

By ROBIN GOLDSTEIN

If I were writing the Pioneer Valley chapter of a travel guide to New England, this would be its section for “dinner with table service.” I list restaurants first that I feel are most essential to the local dining scene, the ones we can’t live...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Plane of dreams: Cheering on young athletes as they gain life experiences

02-08-2024 8:37 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

Recently, I was at an airport and waiting for the same plane was a group of what looked to be about 12-to-14-year-old boys, all wearing the same black sweatsuits, with the same logo on the front of the sweatshirt. You could feel the electricity...


The Beat Goes On: Acclaimed dobro player shows her singer-songwriter side in Northampton, an eclectic duo comes to Florence, and more

02-08-2024 8:37 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Parlor Room features a steady stream of singer-songwriters, given the Northampton club’s intimate setting is ideal for acoustic music.The vast majority of those performers come bearing acoustic guitars. But Abbie Gardner will bring her dobro, or...


Book Bag: ‘The Sacred Dog’ by Joan Livingston; ‘Mud Pie’ by Lauren Arienzale

02-08-2024 8:37 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Sacred DogBy Joan Livingston; Darkstroke Books Franklin County author Joan Livingston, a former reporter and editor who once covered the Hilltowns for the Gazette, has used her experience to create a series of mystery novels set in similar towns,...


A new chapter begins at renovated, expanded North Amherst Library

02-08-2024 8:34 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Arriving at the North Amherst Library from their home a short distance away Monday afternoon, Zahir Kazazi, 5, and Elsia Kazazi, 7, parked their scooters at the base of a new staircase and chairlift, excitedly looking up from the $1.7...


ARHS grad Ebon Moss-Bachrach wins best supporting actor in a comedy series for ‘The Bear’

01-25-2024 11:11 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A 1995 Amherst Regional High School graduate’s work on the first season of the FX/Hulu television series “The Bear” has earned him a Primetime Emmy Award.Ebon Moss-Bachrach took home the best supporting actor in a comedy series award at the...


The Beat Goes On: A busy couple of weeks at The Drake, a new acoustic music series in Holyoke, and more

01-25-2024 11:08 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

In my last column, I mentioned that The Parlor Room in Northampton and the Marigold Theater are maintaining busy schedules right through these early, dead-of-winter days.Another area venue that keeps pumping up the music is The Drake in Amherst, and...


Book Bag: ‘Kindling’ by Kathleen Jennings; ‘And the Trees Talked Back’ by Frederick J. Burns

01-25-2024 11:06 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

KindlingBy Kathleen JenningsSmall Beer Press Kathleen Jennings had already made a name for herself as a talented illustrator of fantasy books when she began writing her own stories some years back — and it turns out she can spin some magical tales of...


Chalk Talk: The debate around ‘early college’: The success of these programs hinges on cross-school collaboration

01-25-2024 11:06 AM

By JOE COURCHESNE

If you’ve been near a high school for any significant amount of time in the last 10 years, you’ve likely encountered the often abstract idea of “early college.” It’s certainly an important buzzword in education these days, but what is it exactly? Does...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: Thoughts of the garden in winter: Gardening has its discouraging moments, yet we persevere

01-22-2024 10:42 AM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

There’s not a lot going on in my garden, now blanketed under a foot of snow, to inspire this month’s column. So I took a break from dreaming over the spring promise of seed catalogs and went in search of a soul-satisfying poem about the garden in...


Hitting it big for wrong reasons: In ‘American Fiction,’ Black writer’s pastiche hailed as authentic

01-17-2024 7:09 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Though it had only an initial limited theatrical release, and did not appear until December, “American Fiction” has already popped up on a number of critics’ “best films of 2023” lists, and the movie has been nominated for a slew of awards.The buzz is...


Valley Bounty: Mass Food Delivery service maximizes access to farms

01-17-2024 7:08 PM

By LISA GOODRICH

Farms are the foundation of our local food system, with farmers markets, farm stands, and community markets providing the predominant means of providing local food to customers. And for some members of the community, the ability to order fresh, local...


Arts Briefs: An Emily Dickinson drama in Holyoke, a closing art exhibit in Amherst, and more

01-11-2024 11:46 AM

The poet Emily in the Paper CityHOLYOKE — MIFA Victory Theatre is combining forces with the Emily Dickinson Museum and a New York theater company for a fresh look at The Belle of Amherst and her poetic legacy.“Because I Could Not Stop: An Encounter...


The Beat Goes On: Busy schedules at The Parlor Room and Marigold Theater, a ‘solo ensemble’ guitar concert in Greenfield, and more

01-11-2024 11:15 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Early January, just after the holidays and New Year’s Eve have run their course, can be a quiet time for a lot of music venues.But The Parlor Room in Northampton has put together a pretty jam-packed schedule right through this month, starting with a...


Crossing borders: Hadley author’s short story collection explores the human stories behind immigration

01-11-2024 11:09 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

On the U.S.-Mexican border, a desperate mother sends her young daughter alone across a bridge over the Rio Grande to try make it into Texas. In New York City, a Jewish woman confronts the hole in her heart when she thinks of her former Muslim husband,...


Book Bag: ‘Finding Home’ by Gwen Agna and Shelley Rotner; ‘In Praise of Listening’ by Christian McEwen

01-05-2024 9:11 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Finding Home: Words From Kids Seeking SanctuaryBy Gwen Agna and Shelley Rotner; Clarion Books Headlines inform us every day of the crises many people face around the world — war, climate disasters, violent crime — that force them to flee their homes....



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