Arts & Life

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

06-13-2024 7:44 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...


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

06-13-2024 7:59 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;...


Book Bag: ‘Sandwich’ by Catherine Newman; ‘The Man Who Loved Trees’ by Annaliese Bischoff

06-13-2024 7:59 PM

By STEVE PFARRER | Staff Writer

SandwichBy Catherine Newman; HarperCollins In late 2022, Amherst writer Catherine Newman released her first adult novel, “We All Want Impossible Things,” after previously publishing a number of nonfiction titles, a middle grade novel, and quite a bit...


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

06-13-2024 7:58 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...


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 7:32 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...


Valley Bounty: A farm stand in good hands: Wanczyk Produce in Hadley delivers quality, care, and has big dreams for the future

06-06-2024 7:30 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Jackie Pliska, owner of Wanczyk Produce in Hadley, has dreams of keeping the farm stand business open year-round instead of just even months each year. But first, she has to finish college.Pliska started working at the family business when she was 11....


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

06-06-2024 7:30 PM

AMHERST — Kristina L. Durocher, who earned an master’s degree in art history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has over two decades of experience leading museums, has joined the leadership team of the school’s Fine Arts Center.Durocher...


Civil War tablets honoring Amherst veterans help open high schoolers’ eyes to unsung Black history

06-06-2024 7:30 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

African American soldiers from Amherst who served in the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment and 5th Calvary were among those who arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and to announce that slavery had...


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

06-06-2024 7:22 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...


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

05-30-2024 5:38 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...


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

05-30-2024 5:31 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...


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

05-30-2024 5:29 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...


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

05-28-2024 10:48 AM

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...


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

05-28-2024 10:46 AM

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,...


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

05-28-2024 10:39 AM

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...


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

05-20-2024 10:08 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Journeys of Voices & ChoicesBy Ernie BrillHuman Error Publishing Northampton 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...


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

05-20-2024 10:08 AM

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...


Overlooked no more: Leverett artist’s woodcut prints celebrate remarkable women of the past

05-20-2024 10:04 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

It started in early 2018 with a special New York Times series of articles, “Overlooked,” obituaries about notable people whose deaths had gone unreported in the newspaper, which first began publishing obits in 1851.Leverett printmaker and collage...


Time to celebrate kids and books: Mass Kids Lit Fest offers a wealth of programs in Valley during Children’s Book Week

05-10-2024 9:20 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Just in time to coincide with Children’s Book Week, a national event established in 1905, the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) has created a children’s literary showcase here in the Valley.The Mass Kids Lit Fest, a new book festival taking...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Coffee at the pearly gates: The importance of a moment of connection, even with a stranger

05-10-2024 9:20 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

About a mile from where I live, there is a convenience store and a doughnut shop. For a period of a few years, a woman of perhaps 60 years of age could be found standing outside one of these establishments on most days. She would be shuffling her...



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