Arts & Life

One upon a story slam: This year’s Valley Voices winners head to a final competition

04-11-2024 6:33 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The assignment is pretty straightforward: Tell a concise story about your life, in no more than five minutes, that reflects a certain theme.The challenge is in telling that story with enough heart, spirit, verve, humor or whatever else you can conjure...


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WMass on display in new movie trailer for Annie Baker’s ‘Janet Planet’

04-11-2024 6:30 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Mount Pollux in Amherst and The History of Women Mural in Northampton are among area locations visible in a trailer released for “Janet Planet,” the feature film directorial debut by playwright Annie Baker that is expected to hit theaters on...


April is a theatrical month: Latinx Theater Symposium and Shakespeare on tap at UMass

04-11-2024 6:28 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

April is shaping up to be a busy month for the University of Massachusetts Theater Department, beginning with a symposium that honors Latinx theater and closing with a fresh interpretation of a classic Shakespeare comedy.On April 8-9, theater...


A stuffie bond: Arts collaboration brings high schoolers, kindergartners together in Amherst

04-04-2024 6:19 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Featuring a horn extending from its violet-colored head and a lower body resembling that of a lobster, with elements of a dolphin and turtle thrown in for good measure, the creature is quite a sight in its doll-like form.“It flies. It has wings,”...


The Beat Goes On: Cloudbelly celebrates a new album in Northampton, Brazilian sounds come to Amherst, and more

04-04-2024 6:19 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Just days after former folk and Americana performer turned indie-pop singer Caroline Rose played in Florence, Cloudbelly, the Valley indie folk band led by singer-songwriter Corey Laitman, is set to showcase songs from a new album that has a...


Earth Matters: Living in a recycled material world: Hitchcock Center inspires a fossil free future

04-01-2024 11:48 AM

By MARGAUX PAINE

As the world grapples with environmental challenges, the Fossil Free Zones initiative, championed by the Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO), takes inspiration from the transformative work at The Hitchcock Center for the Environment. The center...


A workplace from hell: Amherst filmmaker Matt Heron-Duranti is part of the team behind independent film “Another Day in America”

04-01-2024 11:46 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

There’s been a lot written about the problems that have plagued many American workplaces in the wake of the pandemic, from employees insisting on continuing to work from home to offices that have mirrored the polarization and social conflicts plaguing...


Arts Briefs: Rising indie pop star Caroline Rose comes to Florence, UMass Amherst hosts a literary festival, and more

04-01-2024 11:46 AM

Verse and melody, in an unusual combinationAMHERST — Poets and composers who teach at Amherst College are joining forces March 30 for a special program, “Words and Music: An Arts Faculty Showcase,” that will feature four musical premieres alongside...


Book Bag: ‘I Could Have Been More Wrong’ by Kevin McCaffrey; ‘Fugitive from Injustice’ by Robert T. McMaster

04-01-2024 11:46 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

I Could Have Been More WrongBy Kevin McCaffrey; Four Winds Press Kevin McCaffrey brings something to his poetry that other poets might consider employing more often: a sense of humor.In “I Could Have Been More Wrong,” McCaffrey, a South Hadley...


Tropical paradise? Not so much: Spring exhibits at Mead Art Museum examine the effect of tourism in the Caribbean, Native American art, and more

04-01-2024 11:43 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

What could be better in winter than a trip to the Caribbean? Warm but not overly hot temperatures, plenty of sun, crystalline waters — sounds like paradise.But as a current exhibit at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst shows, paradise for some can mean...


Book Bag: ‘One of a Kind: The life of Sydney Taylor’ By Richard Michelson; ‘Joyful Song: A Naming Story’ by Lesléa Newman

03-24-2024 2:13 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

One of a Kind: The Life of Sydney TaylorWritten by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Sarah Green; Calkins Creek Amherst poet and children’s author Richard Michelson has often delved into history in some of his books for young readers, such as “The...


The Beat Goes On: A post-Mardi Gras show in Florence, a popular area band celebrates its newest album in Amherst, and more

03-24-2024 2:05 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Mardi Gras took place last month, but you can catch some of its flavor at the Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity on March 24 at 4 p.m. when Jon Cleary & The Monster Gentlemen come to the Florence venue — with the Soggy Po Boys opening the show.Cleary has...


A tale of murderous indifference: ‘The Zone of Interest’ offers a view of the Holocaust as chilling as its architects

03-24-2024 2:03 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Hannah Arendt famously coined the term “the banality of evil” in her book on Adolph Eichmann’s trial in Israel in 1963, where the former Nazi official, a key organizer of the Holocaust, presented himself as a bureaucrat who was “just doing his job” in...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: Become an educated gardener: Three upcoming symposia will answer all your gardening questions

03-14-2024 3:07 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

Most of us humans assume that other creatures experience the world through their senses of sound, taste, smell and touch, the same way we do. But we couldn’t be more wrong, as science writer Ed Yong explains in his fascinating new book, “An Immense...


Earth Matters: In awe of the evolution of seeds: Seeds have lives and ecosystem roles far beyond their use to humans

03-14-2024 3:02 PM

By LAWRENCE WINSHIP

February in New England brings longer days, uncertain weather … and seed catalogs! We gardeners pore over highly anticipated pages of glossy photos offering the promise of gorgeous fruits and flowers, all for the small price of a seed packet.Seed...


Direct from the Sunshine State: Augusta Savage Gallery celebrates its namesake with group show from Florida

03-14-2024 2:47 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Augusta Savage rose to prominence as a sculptor and educator when she moved to New York City in the 1920s, where she soon became a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance.But Savage, who was also a determined advocate for equal rights for African...


Preserving a key part of Emily Dickinson’s legacy: Historic Evergreens house reopens at the Emily Dickinson Museum

03-10-2024 1:48 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Between the “Dickinson” series on Apple TV+ and movies such as 2016’s “A Quiet Passion,” interest in Emily Dickinson has grown in the last several years, even beyond the already intense admiration that existed for her poetry among readers and literary...


Book Bag: ‘The Real Gatsby; George Gordon Moore’ by Mickey Rathbun; ‘The Book Eaters’ by Carolina Hotchandani

03-10-2024 1:46 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Real Gatsby:George Gordon MooreBy Mickey RathbunWhite River Press Just who was the inspiration for the character of the Great Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel of the same name?Scholars and literary detectives have tried for decades to...


The Beat Goes On: Chamber music at The Drake, a Saint Patrick’s weekend musical smorgasbord, and more

03-10-2024 1:44 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Since opening in the spring of 2022, The Drake has featured a wide range of music, from blues to rock to folk (and various combinations thereof), to jazz and more.“More” includes the Amherst club’s periodic forays into classical music, with concerts...


Speaker for the whales: Indigenous artist interprets endangered right whale’s legacy and meaning

03-10-2024 1:43 PM

By NAILA MOREIRA

Two new exhibitions inspired by the life and skeleton of the whale Staccato — a grandmother North Atlantic right whale whose remains came to UMass’ natural history collection after her death in 1999 — are now open to the public.Indigenous artist...



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