Arts & Life

Book Bag: ‘Pickett’s Dream’ by Christopher Carlisle; ‘Like Father, Like Son’ by Lesléa Newman; ‘Sabor Judío: The Jewish Mexican Cookbook’ by Ilan Stavans & Margaret E. Boyle

07-18-2024 1:01 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Pickett’s DreamBy Christopher CarlisleAustin Macauley PublishersChristopher Carlisle, at one time the Episcopal chaplain for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, later co-founded Cathedral in the Night, a Christian outdoor service and community in...


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Knitters’ paradise: Webs, ‘America’s Yarn Store’ and a mainstay for Valley crafters for generations, turns 50

07-18-2024 1:01 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

When Webs opened their doors on May 16, the first day of the store’s annual tent sale, store manager Angela Cheek watched as a rush of people flowed through the doors for three whole continuous minutes on a Thursday morning. Within an hour, the...


‘It’s not as hard as it looks’: Stompin’ Boots weekly line dances and classes rapidly growing in popularity

07-17-2024 9:25 PM

By ALEXA LEWIS

When Shellie Stone went to Nashville two years ago, she was intoxicated with the city’s quintessential culture of  music and dancing, and immediately took to the dance floor. Stone, who had been line dancing for fun since attending her first class...


A trip down memory lane: A memory of visiting the Leverett Sawmill, in honor of the town 250th anniversary

07-17-2024 9:24 PM

By ALICE CARMICHAEL HARRIS

I fastened my helmet and threw my leg over the back of my boyfriend’s big BMW motorcycle. We had a perfect sunny day as we rode out of Amherst, past neat houses and farms, past acres of serene woodlands. It was July 4, 1974, and when Russ had read the...


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

07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

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...


$1.4M coming to region for trail work in six communities

07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — More than $1.4 million in MassTrail state grants are heading to six communities in the region for projects ranging from an accessible trail system at the former Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Amherst to additional work on a sensory trail...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Handling our devices: Or, are our devices handling us?

07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

When I was a teenager, among the last things in the world I thought would render me uncool and out-of-it when I got older was technology. In fact, I don’t remember ever using, or even coming across the word “technology,” except my knowing MIT stood...


CISA reaches Growing Resilience campaign goal, awards more no-interest loans to farmers

07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Fresh off awarding $222,000 in no-interest loans to farmers affected by 2023’s flooding, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has also reached its $1.8 million goal in its Growing Resilience capacity-building...


Meet the dinosaurs of western Mass: The Rock Fossil and Dinosaur Shop makes the prehistoric accessible for kids and adults

07-11-2024 8:49 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

Driving down the road on Route 5 in South Deerfield, commuters are met with a prehistoric surprise: a giant volcano with a huge dinosaur statue smack in front of a bright-green shack. Most find themselves asking, “What in the world is this...


A history of satire, lampoons and lawsuits: Rockwell Museum celebrates Mad magazine’s 72nd year with first major retrospective

07-11-2024 8:44 PM

By DON STEWART

“Working for Mad means never having to grow up.” John Ficarra, Mad magazine editor-in-chief 1985-2018 The Norman Rockwell Museum’s current exhibit provides a nostalgic voyage for Baby Boomers, a gold mine for pop historians and a wellspring of ideas...


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

07-05-2024 7:34 PM

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...


The long view: Reflecting on 30 years in local journalism

07-05-2024 7:33 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

In the early 1990s, I answered an ad for a reporting job at the Gazette. I had editorial experience — I’d worked as a copywriter, a copy editor, and a proofreader — and I liked writing, but I’d never worked for a newspaper, unless you counted a few...


A blooming movement: Pollinator gardens proliferate as homeowners, others look to create ecosystems on their properties

07-05-2024 7:32 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

Morey Phippen and Brian Adams’ yard in Florence looks nothing like the traditional blanket of green grass associated with suburban lawns.Instead, bumblebees and butterflies bob and weave around her destined for the nearby foxglove, pink primrose, red...


Colorful visions from Brazil: Eric Carle Museum hosts first U.S. exhibit of Brazilian artist and children’s author Roger Mello

06-27-2024 7:20 PM

STEVE PFARRER

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has displayed the work of dozens and dozens — or more likely hundreds — of illustrators and writers over the years, in solo exhibits and group shows.Among them have been a fair number of artists from other...


Staying busy in summer: Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares stages new concert series in July

06-27-2024 7:18 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Fresh on the heels of Django in June, Northampton’s annual celebration of jazz manouche and Django Reinhardt, Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares has organized its own summer jazz series for July, both to say “thank you” to supporters and to give local...


The Beat Goes On: Friends and fellow musicians reunite at the Iron Horse, an outdoor summer music series resumes in Hatfield, and more

06-27-2024 7:18 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

When folk rockers Eavesdrop and singer-songwriter Grayson Ty come to the Iron Horse on June 28, the fellow Valley artists won’t just be sharing the bill: They’ll be celebrating a reunion of sorts, looking back to the night a little over eight years...


Valley Bounty: Pea time is upon us: Dave’s Natural Garden in Granby grows a variety of the seasonal favorite

06-27-2024 7:18 PM

By LISA GOODRICH

After the cold of winter in New England, spring on our region’s farms is a treat for the senses. While residents may argue over whether asparagus or strawberries declare the arrival of spring, Meghan Hastings, owner and farm manager of Dave’s Natural...


‘Janet Planet’ comes into orbit: Annie Baker’s debut film, about to open in Valley, features performances and input from some area residents

06-27-2024 7:14 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

After generating some local news in 2022 when scenes were filmed in a number of locations around the Valley, “Janet Planet,” the debut film by celebrated playwright Annie Baker, made its deThursday.The movie, first screened last summer at the...


Green River Festival perseveres amid harsh weather

06-27-2024 7:13 PM

By ERIN-LEIGH HOFFMAN

The 38th annual Green River Festival persevered through two days of severe weather last weekend as rain and thunderstorms brought delays and schedule changes for performers and festival-goers.Friday’s programming began when the gates to the Franklin...


Fourth fireworks and much more Tuesday at McGuirk Alumni Stadium

06-27-2024 7:11 PM

Staff Report

AMHERST — An annual fireworks display for Independence Day takes place Tuesday at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the University of Massachusetts campus.Festivities kick off at 6 p.m., with fireworks set off when it is dark. The event is free, though...



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