Month: April 2016

April 25th – May 1st

The Valley Nerd Watch!


This week in nerd-related stuff: we’re jealous of anyone who got to check out PaxEast because we like being in gigantic stuffy rooms full of blooming, buzzing confusion. Also, the Indie Megabooth stuff is always fascinating!

We’d also like to draw your attention to a few interesting local things! In addition to the ones below. You know what we mean. First of all: the Kickstarter for Noirlandia by local creators Make Big Things has been rolling along all week, blasting through stretch goals like a slug through the shoulder of a detective who never meant to get this deep into the weeds but sure as hell ain’t gonna give up until someone answers for what happened to that poor kid.

What is Noirlandia? It’s first of all the second in what is now definitely a series of RPGs with -landia as a suffix, following after the last effort by Make Big Things called “Questlandia”, which is just great! Second of all it’s an RPG about being a noir detective in a strange, hostile city.

Your characters will fight for answers and question their principles. After 3-4 hours, you’ll have either found the truth, or lost the chance forever.

Noirlandia doesn’t have a game master, so nobody knows the answers in advance—your mystery will be created and solved at the table.

Finding the answers doesn’t mean you win. Dying doesn’t mean you lose. It’s not about justice, it’s about what you’re willing to give up to get it. It’s just another day in Noirlandia…

It sounds lovely, and you can still get some sweet prizes in addition to supporting the publishing by pledging support to their Kickstarter now!

Also, we want to draw attention to this interesting series of posts about game design by local creator Rebecca Slitt over at Choice of Games. It covers how she went about writing her newest release “First Year Demons”, and what challenges that presented. Her posts cover how and why the project got started as an attempt to teach cultural literacy through interactive fiction, what setting was chosen and how she dealt with writing about a culture with which she had little experience, and what it meant to make an educational game rather than a strictly story-focused one.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List! Make sure to Submit an Event if you want people to hear about it!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Tuesday, April 26th
Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Miller Lecture – Candice Breitz: From A to B and Back Again
Candice Breitz is a Berlin-based artist who’s well know for her moving image installations that explore pop culture and contemporary identity. She’ll speak about her work!

Board Games:

Saturday, April 30th
Off the Wall Games [41 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035] at 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Dark Age Tournament
For a paltry $10 you can get in on this 750-point battle royale! If they get at least 24 folks in the game, this event will be officially sanctioned as a March to Immortality, and the winner will get a free ticket to Gencon! That’s something you can’t put a price on! Oh wait no it’s about $90 or so.
Sunday, May 1st
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday Heroclix!
Heros! Clicking! What more could you possibly ask for in a game? We recommend making a team based around people with Dr. in their name. Dr. Fate, Dr. Strange, Dr. Doom, Dr. Octopus, Dr. Sivana… lots of support for higher education in the superhero universe.

Books:

Thursday, April 28th
Packards [14 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Sci-fi Novellas Book Discussion and Dinner
Two novellas are the topic of discussion, ‘On a Red Station Drifting’ by Aliette de Bodard, and ‘True Names’ by Vernor Vinge. The meetup will take place in the Packard’s Library Room, and it’s expected that people attending will order a meal. To get one of the 12 slots available, check out the meetup page

Entertainment:

Thursday, April 28th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anime Club
Anime! Anime is animation that you and ME and watch, hence Anime. Hang out with some fellow fans in beautiful Palmer!
Saturday, April 30th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Eating New England: Key Foods of the Commonwealth
Rob Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst, will give an illustrated talk about the development of some of the signature foods of New England! He’s written a bunch of books, he seems pretty smart and well-researched, and he’ll give you insight into how our local cuisine developed and what it tells us about New England’s history and culture.
Sunday, May 1st
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Open House
A bunch of events, all free and open to the publc! Including: The 2016 Melinda Rosenblatt Lecture: “Is There Such a Thing as Jewish Literature?”, Oral History Films, a tour of the world’s first Yiddish museum, and general merrymaking!

Movies:

Monday, April 25th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Big Night
For the first part of the Food Film Series, Sunderland Public Library will be showing Big Night, a charming movie starring Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci as put-upon owners of a failing Italian restaurant trying to get back on track with one big event night with a celebrity!
Wednesday, April 27th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Inhabit
A documentary about a wide array of permaculture projects! What’s permaculture? Kind of trying to live without actively destroying the area in which you live, we’ think. Ideally, helping the natural world rather than hurting it! An interesting concept, sounds like it will be neat to see some examples of it working out! Free, handicap accessible, and hosted by the Northampton Committee to Stop Wars!
Saturday, April 30th
MYSTERY LOCATION at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Strange Frame showing and Cookout
Come hang out with folks from the Western Mass Sci-Fi Meetup Group, watch a frankly weird looking animated movie with an all-star cast! Bring something to toss on the grill or something to drink! In order to find out where to go, join the meetup group!

RPGs:

Thursday, April 28th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
RPG Club
Dance the dance that makes the world with a bunch of nice folks in Palmer! Maybe make an Elf, have that elf use a bow to shoot Orcs? Maybe later on you can play upcoming Valley-Created game Noirlandia! That looks like it’ll be fun.
Friday, April 29th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Rd., Chesterfield, MA] at 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Magestry LARP 2016 Spring Season – Game 2
Magestry! Spring returns to Elmerton, bringing new diseases and a strange fungus. The war between the Shadows and the candidates for their Queen means new villains are in store, and Dreamweaver Hearkin maintains a firm grip on the dreams of Elmerton! Elmerton frankly seems like an awful place to live. Come be a part of an amazing roleplaying experience as a player or a volunteer! Check out more at Magestry.com!
Saturday, April 30th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Call of Cthulhu
Have you ever wanted to play a game where basically the best thing that can happen to your character is that they claw out their own eyeballs? This is the game for you! It’s going to be 6 sessions of organized play with local GM Tegan presiding over the horrorific consequences of your foolish meddling.

Science:

Monday, April 25th
Union Station [125 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Moneyball Revisited: Sabermetrics Today
What is sabermetrics? How is sabermetrics being used by MLB teams? What is your quest? What are some open questions in Sabermetrics? What is the average air speed of an unladen swallow? Answer all these questions and more with Professor of Data Sciences Ben Baumer from Smith College at the SciTech Cafe!
Tuesday, April 26th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Getting Started with Genealogy
Genealogy is basically the process of looking for evidence that you weren’t flash-grown in a vat and released upon an unsuspecting world. This is a beginner class that will help you figure out how to look into your past using library resources!
Wednesday, April 27th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
The Geology of the Connecticut Valley: 600 Million Years of History as Told Through its Rocks
The Meadow City Conservation Coalition is sponsoring an illustrated talk about rocks! There are going to be specimens available for viewing, too! The speakers will be Dr. Harry Sharbaugh, a guide at Historic Deerfield with expertise in the natural history of the area as well as Steven Winters, an Assistant Professor of Earth Science at Holyoke Community College!

Video Games:

Monday, April 25th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Minecraft Group
Not into clubs? More into groups? Well give that Minecraft CLUB down the page a pass and hang out in the Minecraft Group! It’s got Minecraft and it’s got other human beings to play with, a recipe for a great time!
Friday, April 29th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Minecraft Club
Registration is both limited and required for the 15 scant spots in this club for miners who craft! It’s got free play, group games, challenges, and MineCrafts, which we though was obvious given the name!
Sunday, May 1st
The Quarters [8 Railroad St., Hadley, MA] at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
MAKE TALK PLAY – Mike Levine on Augmented Reality
Local hero Mike Levine of the game studio HappyGiant is back for another round! He’s going to show off some of his work in AR games and showcase his latest project: a board game/collectible card game/digital game all in one! It’s going to be a blast!

April 18th – April 24th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


We’re pretty sure you already know this but we just want to take a second to say that Broadside Bookshop are good people.

We hate to admit it, but we became poor readers over the past few years. We wound up using our personal time in grad school mostly to play videogames until our eyes bled, and as fun as that is it just doesn’t usually give the same sort of intellectual thrill a decent book provides. Nor does it do much to improve your vocabulary. Though we do have Crusader Kings II to thank for teaching us way more about lines of succession than we’ll ever need to know, and also Zunism.

So we’re making a concerted effort to devour books as we used to, starting with two sort of horror-ish we’re pretty sure books by Peter Clines: “14” and “The Fold”. They’re both centered on “lots of odd little things build up to something something the world’s in danger” and we’re into that, though it remains to be seen if either manage to stick the landing. Being compared to Lost is both a compliment and a warning.

Our initial assumption was that we’d grab them off Amazon because it’s the default. But we figured it wasn’t a bad idea to check our local shops. Turns out, Broadside works as a more convenient Amazon that also gives us an excuse to step out of work for a coffee! Check out their site to search the catalog, order stuff, and either ship things to you at a decent rate (free for anything over $25) or just have them hold them in the store. Heck you can even delay payment until you pick them up, and you get a danged phone call when they’re all set.

It’s kind of silly to be bowled over by this, but it was a nice reminder that part of what we like about the Valley are all the independent operators doing what they can to provide useful services.

Also a brief review of The Witcher 3 which we’ve been playing for what feels like a decade: this game is good and pretty but holy heck could it use maybe 1/5 of the stuff. Too much of the things that the game makes a point of showing your are just fluff. We gave up diving the depths for the Witcher equivalent of $5 and some buttons a while back, and the map is still chock-full of little ?s. A focus on the main story broken up by contracts would make a lot more sense.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Monday, April 18th
FPH East Lecture Hall, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The Poetics of Queer Futurity: A Reading with Poet and Novelist Andrea Lawlor
Andrea Lawlor got an MFA at UMass Amherst and teaches writing at Mount Holyoke. She edits fiction for Fence and her work has appeared in literary journals. Join her for a night of poetry!
Wednesday, April 20th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
In Celebration of Emily Dickinson: A Reading with Jane Yolen and Burleigh Muten
People who enjoy poetry boy do we have an event for you. A free reading from works about Emily Dickinson by two local authors! Jany Yolen is the author of “My Uncle Emily” and “The Emily Sonnets, The Life of Emily Dickinson” and Burleigh Muten is the author of “Miss Emily”. Both of them are going to get some awards which is nice for them and you should clap and then they’re going to let you in on some secrets about one of the most influential and interesting artists to ever make a home in the Valley.

Board Games:

Tuesday, April 19th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Game Night
Games! Games can be anything, really. From hoop-and-stick to stick-and-hoop to hoops-on-the-ground you can use almost any comindation of rounded and straightened sticks to have a good time! It’s possible there exist other games that somehow use non-hooped items to generate fun, but we’ve not heard of them. Bring your hoop and your stick to the Game Night at Palmer and impress your new friends!

Books:

Tuesday, April 19th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Magdalena Gomez, author of ‘Shameless Woman’
An evening of poetry with a local author! Her newest collection has been praised by a lot of folks, and she’s been a performance poet, playwright, and keynote speaker since the 70’s. That means this will be a good show of some great work.
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Children’s Book Writers Group
Do you write books for children? Do you WANT to write books for children, like you’re working on it but maybe not professionally employed? Talk to other people about it! Talk about what makes a good children’s book, talk about what it takes to get published, trade ideas, trade critiques, basically make yourself better by helping others! The best of times.
Wednesday, April 20th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Shel Horowitz, author of Guerilla Marketing to heal the World: Combining Principles and Profit to Create the World We Want
Learn from author Shel Horowitz about how you can potentially leverage capitalism to cause actually good things to happen but hey worst-case you make a faustian bargain to make money while abandoning your every principle. But for real! This is something we think about a lot, worth finding out if there’s useful advice.
Thursday, April 21st
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Daniel Czitrom, author of New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal that Launched the Progressive Era
A local author! Mount Holyoke history professor Daniel Czitrom talks about the first major crusade to clean up Gotham, before Batman started his poorly planned bat-based scheme. He goes into great detail to provide the full story of how the effort to root out crooked cops and politicians became a more throrough reckoning of everything that New York had come to mean.
Friday, April 22nd
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Sujani Reddy, Author of Nursing and Empire: Gendered Labor and Migration from India to the United States
Professor Sujani Reddy will discuss her recent interdisciplinary study about the lives of Indian nurses whose careers have unfolded in the contexts of empire, migration, familial relations, race, and gender. Reddy shows how the nursing profession developed against a complex backdrop of imperialism in India. After WW2, facing limited work at home, a growing number of nurses migrated from India to the US during the Cold War.
Saturday, April 23rd
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Lisa Yee, Wonder Woman at Super Hero High
The Odyssey is SUPER excited to welcome SUPER author Lisa “SUPER” Yee to the SUPER store! Oh gosh we can’t keep that up. Check out a fresh take on Wonder Woman’s origin, where she’s a teenager and therfore more directly relatable as she solves problems familiar to you, the youth! The event is for kids 8+, but young and old, superfans and convert, are welcome to join in on the SUPER fun!

Comics:

Monday, April 18th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Queers in Comics & Games
A discussion group for those of you who are interested in comics and games, and therefore probably the store that sells both comics and games. The focus is on queer/LGBTQIA+ representation in comics and gaming, and the conversation is lovely! Make new friends, find out about cool things to read and play, have a good time! Admission is $5, but you get it back immediately as store credit.

Computers:

Monday, April 18th
MYSTERY LOCATION at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Configuration Management – Monthly Full Stack Meetup
Join up at the meetup  to discuss configuration management with the Digital Repositories Team Lead/DevOps Team Member Gavin Morris of Common Media Inc. He’ll talk about his decision to use Ansible and show off some demos! He’ll also talk about about and give demos of the most popular alternatives to Ansible: Chef, Puppet, and SaltStack!
Thursday, April 21st
Last Call Media [136 West St., Suite 01, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
April 2016 Western Mass Drupal Users Group
Topics: D8 Theming. They’re looking for people to present, particularly on ‘recipes’, how you created functionality on a particular proect. If you want to present, just let them know at the group

Entertainment:

Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Cookies with a Curator
Preservation of family papers with Archivist Julie Bartlett Nelson! Examples and options will be presented about how to preserve papers and photos from your family. Probably these techniques work on paper items not related to family, but we can’t guarantee it. Also there are cookies! Delightful.

Movies:

Wednesday, April 20th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Film: Easy Rider
The Forbes Film Club brings a free screening of the 84th best American film, Easy Rider! Why not just play the #1 best American film every night? It’s the best, we’re wasting time with the 84th best. Hmph. Well, anyway, Easy Rider is about two counterculture bikers having a road trip that is very difficult and sad. If you like this film, absolutely do not look for the sequel!
Friday, April 22nd
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Big in Japan: Akira
Akira! It’s kind of terrifying and violent but it’s also so well-constructed that it broke into the larger culture of the US like almost no other anime before or since. See it for the first time on the big screen! It’s going to be pretty amazing, folks. We’re going!

Science:

Wednesday, April 20th
CSI Faculty Lounge, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Oral History Symposium: Power, History, & Agency from Below
Featuring speakers and topics as varied as: Dykee Gorrell, From Shackles to More Shackles: The 500 Year Holocaust and the Fight for Black Lives, Jane Pierre: Blackness in Red, White, and Blue: Listening to Black Seventh-day Adventists Immigrants, Grace Ramsay: The New Generation: Voices of the Lesbian Herstory Archives Young Volunteers, Lily Sarosi: Rumbling Noise and Looking Out the Window: An Oral History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and Anastatia Spicer: Tracing Feeling: Silent Betrayal and Sexual Violence in Queer Communities. Interesting speakers discussing important topics.
Thursday, April 21st
FPH Main Lecture Hall, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Will Paris Make a Difference? Living with Climate Change
The 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris ended with an agreement that some are calling a great diplomatic success and others a beacon of false hope. Professor Dale Jamieson of NYU will outline some of the challenges ahead.
Saturday, April 23rd
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
My Buried Life: Adelene Moffat in Crete, 1903
From 1889 to 1907, Adelene Moffat was the moving spirit of the Home Culture Clubs, a social project founded in Northampton by George Cable. She was a lesbian woman, a social service pioneer, a painter, a civil rights activist, and a world traveller. Basically she makes us feel significantly less cool, she’s cool. In 1903 she moved to Crete to work as an archaeological artist in Crete, basically acting as a pre-camera photographer of artifacts. Yeesh that sounds like a great gig. Check out some of her paintings and learn more about her from Senior Lecturer at Northwester Frances Freeman Paden, who’s writing a biography of her!
Sunday, April 24th
Garonzik Auditorium, Deerfield Academy [7 Boyden Ln, Deerfield, MA 01342] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Line of Forts: An Eighteenth Century DEW Line
Right, get it? Haha wow that’s a heck of a spot-on summation of how the Line of Forts worked. It was basically like the DEW line but in the 18th century! What’s that? You doubt we know what either of those mean? Hm. You’re a real perceptive sort. Alright give us a minute with wikipedia. Ahhhh okay we get it now. The DEW Line was the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar installations along the Arctic during the Cold War and the Line of Forts was that, but during the French-Indian War only without any technology beyond like… wood. Learn more at the Deerfield Academy!
Emily Dickinson Museum [280 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
“From off my Father’s Tree!” Apples of New England and the Dickinson Family Orchard
The Dickinsons grew a lot of the produce they ate, which because this is New England meant some danged excellent apples. Pomologist and former executive director of the New England Apple Association Russell Powell will lecture at the museum about the tradition of apple growing and provide a tour of the newly restored Dickinson family orchard! Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for members, and $5 for k-12 students.

April 11th – April 17th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


So we had a great time this weekend, as we’re sure you’ll be excited to hear. We got to play a board game which was one of the very rare ones that is best for three people, called “Maria”. It’s about the succession wars in Europe surrounding the death of the Austrian emperor in 1741 which I apparently first heard about via a damned board game. It also has the best name for a faction ever: the Pragmatic Army.

Without going into the real nitty-gritty of it all, a few things stood out as compelling. First, it’s a 3-player game. These are rare as all get out, as most “2-4” games are really “2 OR 4”, you know? To reflect the tangled alliances of the time, one player is allied with both the Austian and the French players, meaning they play both against the other. It sounds really complicated, but having played as the Prussian/Saxon/Pragmatic Army player it was surprisingly simple to keep track of what I wanted for each of my alliances. There’s a siloing of opportunities and goals that keeps you from getting too tied up.

It was also a game that required about an hour of talking and explanation to actually get started, but was really simple once it got underway. The fights that take place are all about getting into proper position and then play out as a sort of modified “war”, just placing higher-ranked cards down until you win. Of course, you have to consider whether it’s worth using your best cards in this fight and then being left weakened later and such. It’s a good system that becomes second nature fast.

It’s been a bit since we’ve played a straight-up wargame, and we were delighted to find it was compelling without dragging on too long. If you have any desire to play “Risk” again, or if a friend would like to play “Risk” tell them hey whoa wait a minute there’s a game that’s a lot like Risk except it’s way more interesting and one of the players gets to play the Pragmatic Army.

We also got to speak to the editor and one of the artists of the anthology “APB“, or “Artists against Police Brutality” at Easthampton Arts Night Out in Comics N’ More. The collection is powerful and wide-ranging, and hearing directly from the editor about the process behind putting it together and realities of producing something that comes from someplace deeply personal while managing to also not lose all your money. You should absolutely check out the collection and the rest of the work published by Rosarium.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Friday, April 15th
Mead Art Musuem [41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Arts a la Carte
Amherst College arts faculty and guest artists will present a night of musical and dance performances in the Mead galleries! A lovely night in a beautiful place.

Board Games:

Saturday, April 16th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
Chess! The game of assistant middle-managers, the sport of people who got in line early! Come to Palmer for a 4-round Swiss System tournament, free entry! Bring a bagged lunch, chess set, and chess clock if you’ve got them. There are trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each section! There are 4 sections: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.
Sunday, April 17th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday Heroclix!
Heroclix is the game for you if you find the recent spate of superhero-conflict movies too stodgy and cliche. Iron Man vs. Captain America? Psh. What about Mr. Fantastic vs. Shade, the Changing Man? What about Galactus vs. Ego, The Living Planet? Create the epic match-ups you really want to see!

Books:

Tuesday, April 12th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Iyko Day, Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism
The Odyssey brings Mount Holyoke professor Iyko Day to discuss her new book about the history and logic behind settler colonialism. She explores the ties colonialism has with capitalism and the racialization of Asian immigrants, reworking the traditional Native/settler binary to form instead a triangle of Native/settler/alien populations.
Wednesday, April 13th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Katherine Towler, The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship
Katherine Towler will speak about her new memoir about her friendship with a brilliant poet, Robert Dunn. He lived the majority of his life off the the grid in downtown Portsmouth. Katherine Towler is the author of novels Snow Island, Evening Ferry, and Island Light. She’s also co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky of A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith.
Thursday, April 14th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Tommy Shea, Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs in Baseball History
Local author Tommy Shea will head to the Odyssey to talk about the biggest hits in basebal! Whether it’s the time that Hank Aaron hit a ball so hard that it knocked a satellite out of orbit or the time that Joe Carter hit a baseball that traveled all the way around the world and wound up scoring him a triple during the next inning.
Friday, April 15th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
John Bemelmans Marciano, Witches of Benevento
Benevento is an ancient town in Italy with a Roman theater at the center, a fortress overlooking it, and beautiful farmland. And also witches everywhere! The series follows five cousins as they outwit the sinister witches of Benevento. It’s intended for kids 4-8, but all family members are welcome to the event! Watch out for the Odyssey Witch!
Saturday, April 16th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
April YA Panel: Sarah Rees Brennan & Holly Black
The YA panel convenes two friendly writers who are friends to talk about their latest YA novels, Tell the Wind and the Fire and The Darkest Part of the Forest. Both books involve magic and mysticism and the fantastic and friendship. Holly Black is the author of the best-selling Spiderwick series and Sarah Rees Brennan is the best-selling author of The Demon’s Lexicon! Please RSVP to kids@odysseybks.com!
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Local Author Talk with Marietta Pritchard, The Way To Go
Marietta Pritchard will discuss her book about her experiences as a volunteer at the Hospice at the Fisher Home in Amherst. This includes exerpts from her journal, the life stories of several residents, and stories of professionals who work to provide medical attention and everyday comforts to residents.

Entertainment:

Thursday, April 14th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Film & Discussion Series: American Indian Comedy Slam: Goin’ Native, No Reservations Needed
Join local folks at Jones for a funny film featuring a whole lot of great stand-up as well as a panel discussion with local Native people. Free and open to the public!
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anime Club
Anime! We’re not really certain what Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure is about, but gifs have led us to believe it’s about great hats and posing. Maybe give that a shot? Seems like a solid basis for a few hundred episodes of quality entertainment.
Saturday, April 16th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Murder In A Minute
We have literally nothing to go on here beyond the name. Muder in a minute… but it takes two hours… maybe a movie? Maybe a tutorial? Like you try to figure out the best ways to get your murder times under par? Maybe YOU get murdered in a minute and the rest of the time is blocked out for cleanup? Check it out and report back!
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Very Early Youth Baseball: Games and Sports at the Round Hill School, 1823 to 1834
Before little leagues were the order of the day, the big thing people cared about was keeping those danged ruffian children from busting windows with their stick-balling. The earliest use of the term ‘Baseball’ is actually a Pittsfield bylaw saying hey stop playing near buildings you little monsters. Learn about the history of Baseball at the Northampton Round Hill school in the 1820’s and 30’s with Smith writing instructor Brian Turner!

Movies:

Wednesdsay, April 13th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Film Screening: Hacking Democracy
Hacking Deomcracy is about the privately-owned voting machines that were possibly hacked to alter voting records during certain elections in the US. Free and handicap accessible, hosted by the Northampton Committee to Stop Wars, with a discussion to follow the screening!
Friday, April 15th
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:30 PM to 12:00 PM
Youth of the Beast
Part of the Big in Japan series at Amherst Cinema, see a mysterious stranger muscle into two rival Yakuza gangs and cause an explosion of violence in the Tokyo underworld. Japanese noir at its finest!

RPGs:

Thursday, April 14th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
RPG Club
Play an RPG with folks at Palmer! We know that it’s a lot of fun to be in a long-running group for a standard dungeon-crawl, but consider getting the group to try one of the many shorter RPGs designed by locals such as Dread or Questlandia! That way you can all have fun without needing to be 100% punctual every other week.

Science:

Monday, April 11th
The World War 2 Club [50 Conz St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite NoHo
Nerd Nite! The best Nite of the whole month. This month your charming host will guide you through a lovely evening with presenters Max Price and Muira McCammon. Max will present his research into the history of pigs as livestock in the Middle East, and Muria will talk about her research into the Gitmo Prisoner Library!
Tuesday, April 12th
Adele Simmons Hall Auditorium, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Neuroscience in the Age of Big Data
New technologies are making great strides for neuroscience, but they’re also making for new challenges for analysis. Dr. Robert E. Kass will talk about taking a Bayesian approach to analysis, visual perception and what happens when we pay attention, and some comments on scientific reproducibility. Sounds like a far-ranging talk about a lot of intriguing neuroscience!
Wednesday, April 13th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Wednesday Wizards Science Fun
Learning, fun, and general delight! Learn about an interesting science concept, talk about a book that’ll give you a better idea of the underlying principle, and do a fun activity! Open to all and free.
FPH West Lecture Hall, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
What We Mean When We Talk About Land: Climate Change, Colonialism, and Indigenous Resistance. A lecture with Erica Violet Lee, Idle No More.
Wow, that’s a heck of a title. Anyway, in the face of a climate catastrophe brought on in large part via colonialsm, indigenous women are at the forefront of resistance. Hear about the indigenous philosophies that can provide a framework for the rights of nature and a reminder of our responsibility to fight for climate justice.

Video Games:

Monday, April 11th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Minecraft Group
Hey! You like Minecraft? Computer games? You a kid, I’m guessing? Just based on context? Library Minecraft groups seem to tend toward like 8-12. Anyway, here’s a library Minecraft group! Hang out and have a good time!

Speaking with Isaiah Mann and Chandra Hughes of GlowLime Games

Recently I made my way to a local watering hole to interview the two minds behind Hampshire College’s own independent game development studio, GlowLime.

Specifically, I made my way straight past the two kind folks I was planning to interview, which I blame on Isaiah recently having cut his hair and my own natural tendency to avoid eye contact with anyone in public. Eventually, I found my way to their table and sat down with the two of them to talk about what GlowLime is and what it’s doing for Hampshire students.


 

James Olchowski: Thank you both for meeting with me!

Chandra Hughes: Thank you for having us.

Isaiah Mann: It’s nice to be here!

JO: What is GlowLime?

IM:  GlowLime Games is a collective of student game developers that just formed last semester, and the goal is that we’re a matchmaking service that gets people paired into teams working on student concepts. We try to be a mock industry process for game production, they’re accountable to deadlines and they work in a hierarchy and bring the builds back to us. We’re trying to simulate real workflow.

JO:  So GlowLime isn’t a development studio, it’s a publisher?

IM:  We’re both, the main goal is providing student teams the resources. We have our own management team to provide support but they have their own teams.

CH:  All the students that work do work as ‘collaborators’ under GlowLime, so technically they do develop games for us, but they are separate teams.

JO: So is this a Hampshire organization? A club? An independent company?

IM: The goal is to integrate it with Hampshire as a student group, it’s not a profit-making enterprise. Any money just goes toward providing people with more resources. Long term we’re trying to get student groupship at Hampshire and to expand to the rest of the five colleges.

JO: So what’s the end goal here? How many more years are you here?

IM: This is my second to last year, so two more semesters for me, three more for Chandra.

JO: So what makes this not implode after two or three semesters?

IM: We try to stagger people across years so that as people leave we have other students waiting to replace them. We’ve got everything from seniors to first years as collaborators, and we have people from multiple years on the management team.

CH:  The goal is to have younger students, freshman, come on and act as assistants so that eventually they’re ready to take over management tasks. We did start up last October and established the management team from October to January and just started dev work this semester, so it’s hard to say exactly what the plan is at the moment but the goal is to have GlowLime exist without us.

Isaiah

JO: Is the goal to continue as an exclusively student organization? As a curriculum piece?

CH: Right now anyone on the team can get credit for it, a lot of people are doing it as an independent study and some people are doing it as community engagement. One of the goals is to have advisors from the community, like Pat King and Ira Fay, and we have some people helping us who aren’t students. Ideally we’re trying to bring in people from the academic community in the five colleges, but we’re open to anyone with experience.

IM: We’ve talked to Hampshire’s school of Cognitive Science about getting a course together using GlowLime, too. Really the reason we started was because we noticed a gap in terms of game development classes available. We’ve got Ira Fay and we have Rob Daviau and Pat King, and then we’ve got Joshua Newman at UMass, but not much else.

CH: For our Fall semester classes, there’s no game project class.

IM: Right there’s no class that involves getting a team together with the goal of making a finished product.

JO: So why did you start GlowLime instead of just working on your own independent work outside of school? If you have an interest in developing games, why not pursue that exclusively instead of trying to insert it into the curriculum?

IM: There’s just not enough of an integration of the local game development community. I’ve met so many great people by bringing together this group that I’d never have met solo, and we’re meeting a need for other students by bringing together this broader network.

JO: So I know Chandra is already hip-deep in Chisa Studios. What brought you two together to found GlowLime?

IM: Well, I was the person who initially had the idea while I was at MassDiGi this past summer, and brought together the initial management team, but I credit Chandra as being a co-founder alongside the rest of our excellent management team.

CH: And well, Isaiah and I have been friends for years.

JO: Well yep that’ll do it I suppose!

CH: I’ve also always been interested in the production and management end of things more than strictly development work, and this was a way to get more deeply involved in that across a wide variety of games and teams.

JO: So I know you’re specifically interested in producing games, Chandra. Are you finding a lot of people come to GlowLime interested in management and production rather than development work?

CH:  A lot of our collaborators are interested in a specific field and also interested in management which is hard for me. I’ve dabbled in audio and took an animation class – never doing that again – but not really much development.

All of our teams have leads, too. We have a producer, assistant producer, and then leads for art and programming. The people who are producers are also usually interested in another field. Like Isaiah is the producer for Lex The Wizard but is also involved in development. We have Noah, who’s the producer for Winter Break. Joel and Sean are producers for The Experiment, and Sean’s really interested in design and Joel’s a programmer, but they’re also really interested in management. Currently I’m the only one interested solely in production.

JO: Is the goal to eventually have producers who aren’t directly involved with projects? An actual external producer rather than people working on their own games?

IM:  This semester the teams were set up by our excellent hiring manager, Grace Barrett-Snyder, from Smith College. All the teams and roles assigned were carefully set up by her, Chandra, and myself based on their skills and interests. We have a two-tiered setup. Chandra is specifically the Operations Manager who serves as the liaison between the management and development teams.

It can also depend on the size of the project. People working with a smaller team need more direct help. I’m producing Lex The Wizard, created by Marcus Maulucci which is a cross between Harry Potter and Hearthstone, and I’ve  worked with the game’s code as well.

JO: So are you only looking for students? Is GlowLime designed specifically for students from the Five Colleges to take their projects?

CH: Explaining MassDiGi might help a lot.

IM: The basic concept of MassDiGi is that they’ve identified a gap between what colleges teach and what companies look for in terms of professionalism. One of the main inspirations behind  GlowLime was their Summer Innovation Program, which I was involved in last summer. It takes teams of five students from colleges around the world and tasks them with developing a mobile game. MassDiGI also do run a similar program during the school year, more part-time. We’re imitating that model more closely. MassDiGI is  currently based out of Becker College, and they’re looking to expand to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and Hampshire.

We do have a lot of students involved with GlowLime, but we have also have a few developers who aren’t associated with a college. We have advisors from local industry and local game developers like Marcus  the creator of Lex, and Timothy Adan one of the audio designers for Lex.

download

JO: What’s the life cycle of a game that gets produced via GlowLime? Once someone gets a game accepted, where will it be in a year?

IM: That’s kind of variable. Right now we’re working on a semester-by-semester timeline. We started with a deadline of April 22nd, but we’re revising that.

JO: [audible laughter]

CH: Well, we’ve actually got a couple games on track to hit that deadline.

JO: Really? That’s impressive!

CH: Well, we did make Word Snack in a semester during the game dev course at Hampshire. It’s doable, it’s just hard.

JO: So once you’ve hit that deadline and shipped in a semester, what’s the end state? Do you publish to Steam or what?

IM: Well we try to keep people on their goals, and those goals can be varied. We want people working with deadlines that work for them. In terms of a final product, we’re trying to get published through the App Store, Google Play, and Steam Greenlight. But we’re a non-profit, so there’s no actual revenue to distribute. If individual teams want to go to a for-profit model all we ask is that they give a nod to GlowLime in some way.

JO: So the non-profit status allows you to simplify a bit, there’s no reason to deal with revenue, you’re just getting grants and working through the colleges.

IM: Exactly, yeah.

JO: So releasing doesn’t necessarily net you any profit. What about the people who work with you? What if they have a big success, do they get anything out of it?

CH: I don’t know if this completely answers your question but for example GlowLime just brought 13 people to the MassDiGi Challenge, to get funding via grants. It was a game pitch competition, and there was a first prize award of $2,000 on the table. And we had a conversation about where that might go. Now we weren’t planning on selling the game, but if we got this money we felt like it should be distributed by the winning team as they see fit.

JO: So if any individual team is responsible for some windfall, the team is responsible for figuring it out? Including “never mind, we’re going to go for-profit instead”?

IM: Yeah, if someone is ready to move into the next phase and develop professionally, we’re happy to let them fly free with that. Even if that’s a bit beyond our scope as an organization.

JO: So do you have official measures to deal with copyright?

IM: We set up a pretty simple copyright agreement. Basically just “we have rights to work on the games you bring to us”.

CH: We’re also looking to get things set up as open source.

IM: Yeah we’re not really looking to take any rights away from anyone, just making sure that we can work on and publish the game without issue. If they want to do something else with it afterward they can go for it.

JO: So after speaking with Chandra, I know she’s mostly into production. What got you interested in gaming, Isaiah?

IM: Well I did play a lot of Age of Empires, but as far as game development it was mostly Ira Fay’s course at Hampshire. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed programming in Unity and I really wanted to pursue that.

JO: That’s interesting. I know very few people who weren’t aware they enjoyed programming until college, it seems like most people I know either get into it early or avoided it altogether. When you got to Hampshire what was the plan?

IM: Actually I was into theater. The plan was to be a playwright and actor, and it just turned out I was terrible at that. I liked coding so I’ve been pursuing that.

JO: So you guys each have a few semesters left at GlowLime. What’s the plan after that for you two?

IM: For me I’m definitely looking to go into software development. I’d like to start as a software engineer at someplace larger so that I can get used to working with other developers. Maybe after I’ve got some experience under my belt I can go for something smaller and more independent.

JO: So is your ultimate goal to stay in games? Or are you interested in software engineering in general?

IM: Preferrably game development, but I’m not picky.

JO: Has Hampshire prepped you for that sort of work well?

IM: Hampshire really stresses independence. That can be a perk, and it can make you a bit of an odd duck. But I feel like I’ve had a wide variety of practical experiences that mean I’ll be ready to work somewhere after college.

JO: So what about you, Chandra?

CH: Well, I have 3 semesters left, so I still have Div III to work on.

JO: And what’s Div III?

CH: Well, at Hampshire your entire last year is big sort of senior project. Isaiah’s using GlowLime as his Div III, and I don’t know what I’m doing. So that’s step one. As of right now I’m looking for a production internship, and I’ve applied to the Summer Innovation Program at MassDiGi. But because the projects are so small, production experience alone isn’t enough. So I’m interested in trying to learn the bare minimum of UI design to be able to apply and have a better chance of getting into the program.

Overall, I’m interested in being a producer for a smaller studio. I feel like in larger organizations it’s a bit too profit-focused to offer interesting decisions. Also, just applying to a lot of jobs post-graduation.

JO: Yeah there’s sort of an understanding that included in any post-graduation plan is “try to not starve to death via getting some job somewhere”.

JO: So the thing is what I usually hear as the story of an independent studio is ‘I’ve paid myself $10,000 a year for 5 years to get this out’, not necessarily having a producer. Do you think Kickstarter/IndieGoGo stuff has altered this, made it more necessary for even small studios to have a producer?

CH: I actually think for games Kickstarter is kind of on the way out. As for me personally the thing I’ve noticed for smaller companies is that there’s a more homey environment. Petricore, for instance, is a pretty successful company that I got to see some of and they seemed to work well.

IM: Yeah I actually interned at Petricore. They came out of the Summer Innovation Program as well, and they were just a few months out of college when they created their studio. They’re a team of five developers who are close friends and actually live together. They’re really pleasant to work with and it’s impressive how hard they’ve worked to release games. Barely six months out they’ve already released two titles, Mind the Arrow and Gelato Flicker.

JO: So is GlowLime exclusively digital, or is it platform-agnostic?

IM: So far we’ve gone all-digital because that’s my wheelhouse. But Sean Billson, our Projects Manager is really pushing for analog games. Joshua Newman has also spoken to us about hybrid games, for example adding some digital component to a boardgame.

JO: Sort of like the XCOM boardgame?

IM: Exactly yeah. We’re interested in trying to expand as far as we can while keeping our scope reasonable for a team our size.

JO: So Chandra, are you interested in analog games?

CH: Not really. I’m taking a course about narrative in boardgames right now, because narrative is important to me. That’s why I’m so into visual novels. I couldn’t see myself doing tabletop as a career. The whole time I’m just like ‘but if you could CODE this…’, it’s just frustrating.

JO: So to both of you, are there any games that you think people should see that they haven’t yet?

IM: Well I haven’t really been keeping up, but I’ve seen some impressive stuff done with VR. There was a team, Intern Astronaut that won at a MassDiGi competition: Games Challenge 2016. The title was very impressive. There’s also Flora Fiora by Zephyr Workshop which another winner at the same pitch event. And then there’s new a game from Petricore: Travelling Merchant,  selling items to heroes in a fantasy world that’s looking very neat.

CH: Clannad, again!


Thank you for speaking to the Valley Nerd Watch, GlowLime! Best of luck to everyone on the team. Right now you can check out glowlime.com  to see the full lineup of games GlowLime is developing and you should make sure to attend their Pitch & Interest  meeting tomorrow, April 9th if you’re interested in pitching them a game or learning more about the organization!

April 4th – April 10th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


This is a late one on account of our needing to take last-ditch action against the Dread Winter! It was a heck of a fight but we have good news! It’s only going to be freezing cold for another couple of months. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

Remember that NEXT Monday, April 11th, is going to be another excellent Nerd Nite! There are two great speakers this month and we’re excited to have them. We’ve got Max Price, an anthropologist who’s going to discuss ancient livestock practices in the Middle East with a particular focus on pig husbandry. We also have Muira McCammon, who’s going to discuss the topic of her M.A., the Guantanomo Bay Detainee Library.

You should read the comic “The Anchor and Owl“! It’s by a local and it’s neat. It centers around a young woman fleeing something terrible who takes a position as the innkeeper of the Anchor and Owl Inn. The inn is more mysterious than it might seem, though! Lots of characters and situations and mystery. It’s still just at the start, but that just means you can say you got in on the ground floor!

Also we just read this rather distressing article that’s worth reading if you’re into these hobbies: Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem.

Annnd finally we kind of totally missed ConBust on account of nothing more than our thinking it was supposed to be in May. We hope it was lovely and everyone had a fun time. ConBust is pretty great! Sorry!

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


Art:

Wednesday, April 6th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Submissions and Revisions
A free drop-in group gathering to polish and send out submissions of work to literary magazines, agents, and editors! It’s a tough process that’s made a lot easier with a bunch of pals around to give you support.
Thursday, April 7th
Emily Dickinson Museum [280 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Amherst Art Walk and Poetry Night
A free art exhibit, open mic, and poetry reading! Held in conjunction with the Amherst Art Walk.
Friday, April 8th
Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Free Second Friday
Superheroes of Art and Nature is the threme for the 4pm – 6pm art making session, during which you can create an Earth Day superhero! Also you can just see a cool art museum for free, so that’s great too!
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Jewelry Making Class
Join Cindy Bennett in a jewelry making class, where you’ll learn to make everything from earrings to bracelets! Please sign up in advance at the library. Also wait until you get home to enchant the jewlery, the magical energies released attract specters and ghouls.
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Children of the Game: Northampton Little League Baseball Portraits
Check out some photos of super intense little league players at Arts Night Out with Robert Aller’s new exhibit!
Saturday, April 9th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Art Walk/APB Show
Art Walk Easthampton means that Comics N’ More will host art that you can walk around and look at. This month the creators of the comic collection Against Police Brutality, or APB. All proceeds from the sale of APB will go toward the Innocence Project.
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Jones Library Makerspace (Ages 8-12)
The ongoing Makerspace program gives children a place to explore with a lot of tools and techniques in order to create awesome things! Pre-register in the youth room!
Sunday, April 10th
Florence Civic Center [90 Park St., Florence, MA] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Edible Books
So this is a weird little event that is wonderful. Basically people cook food or prepare food or whatnot up some food that is somehow representative of a book whether directly or via some intervening theme. Also you get to eat them! Entry fee is $10 to enter a book, $5 to attend the event.

Board Games:

Saturday, April 9th
Burger King Community Room [344 King St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Tabletop Gaming Day
Take your favorite game to this pleasant and private community room and meet up with fellow players! They tend to do Catan-style Euro games, but bring whatever tickles your fancy! They’re friendly, they’ll be happy to give it a shot.

Books:

Tuesday, April 5th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Indira Viswanathan Peterson: Arjuna and the Hunter
Author Indira Peterson is going to speak about the difficulties of translating an ancient Sanskrit poem for 21st century readers. She’ll also be talking about the story itself and the impact of Harvard University Press’s new Indian classics in translation series, the Murty Classical Library of India. There’s also a reception with Indian snacks!
Wednesday, April 6th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Paul Mariani: The Whole Harmonium
Paul Mariani will discuss his new biography of Wallace Stevens. Who we will fully admit we just ofund out is one of the most important American poets of the 20th century. We should probably read more poetry. Interestingly Stevens was an insurance exec in Connecticut back when the state was The Center of the Insurance World. He didn’t publish his first poems until he was 44. Should be interesting to hear about!

Comics:

Sunday, April 10th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Comic Creator’s Jam
Do you create art in the form of comics? Do you create art, and think comics are fun? Hang out with a bunch of other artists at a big table and have fun drawing and talking and sharing pictures of Gundams. It’s like being at a cool camp for a few hours.

Computers:

Monday, April 4th
MYSTERY LOCATION at 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Configuration Management – Monthly Full Stack Meetup
Join up at the meetup [http://www.meetup.com/nohowebdev/events/229787156/] to discuss configuration management with the Digital Repositories Team Lead/DevOps Team Member Gavin Morris of Common Media Inc. He’ll talk about his decision to use Ansible and show off some demos!
Tuesday, April 5th
Amherst Media [246 College St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Western Mass CiviCRM Meetup
Do you use CiviCRM or have any interest in using it? Then talk to these people! Open to everyone, regardless of skill level or experience! What is CiviCRM? It’s an open source Constituent Relationship Management software geared toward the needs of non-profit and other civic organizations!
The Foundry [24 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Talk to coders and web designers and all the sorts of kindly folks who make the web not so terrible to take a look at! They will explain the best possible time to deploy the [blink] tag!

Entertainment:

Wednesday, April 6th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
ABCs of Genealogy With Dave Robison
Do you want to know where your family is from? Do you want to know why the sea calls to you? Do you want to know why you dream of cyclopean altars calm beneath the waves, raditiating a terrible energy? Do you want to know why your eyes bleed at high altitudes? Come talk to Dave Robison!
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
David Polansky: Music Through the Ages
Is he playing music? Is he discussing music? Is he doing both? What kind of music? All of it? Some of it? Is he the Source of music? We know the answers to none of these questions, because the whole of the description is just “music through the ages”. Solve the mystery for us, dear readers!
Saturday, April 9th
Mama Iguana’s [274 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Meet and Greet (new members welcome!)
Meet new people! Make new friends! Friends who like sci-fi a ton! Hang out at the private room in Mama Iguana’s and chit-chat about whatever it is you find most interesting. Odds are someone else in the group will also find that interesting! In this way you will forge a lasting friendship!
The David Ruggles Center [225 Nonotuck St, Northampton, MA 01062] at 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Northampton Association Walking Tour
Take a look at the historic places in Northampton with knowledgeable guides! Possibly. We know literally nothing about this but the title. Could be they take you on a tour of the history of walking.
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
UMass Quidditch
Remember that game from Harry Potter that explicitly did not make any reasonable sense and was designed around allowing the protagonist to be decisive in every match? Play that with other people only none of you fly! It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a bit silly and fun.
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Forbes Doctor Who Club
Doctor Who? The Doctor, of course! Hahaha make that joke every 3 minutes and you will be the toast of the Doctor Who Club. All are welcome to come talk and watch Doctor Who!
Sunday, April 10th
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Talk: The New World Haggadah with Ilan Stavans
Author and scholar Ilan Stavans talks about his noew book, a contemporary Haggadah that focuses on the Jewish experience from Moses to the Americas. What’s a Haggadah? It’s the text recited at a Passover Seder, including the story of Exodus.
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Bookshop Music Session: Sugar Foot Singers
Music in the bookstore! Pandemonium! Terror! Fun creative live music surrounded by nice books. If you buy a ticket you’ll get an extra 20% off in-store purchases beginning an hour before the performance. It’s $10 for general admission, $6 for students and seniors.

RPGs:

Thursday, April 7th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Indie RPG Night
Indie RPGs! Do you like D&D? You’ll love these small and interesting games that explore areas D&D fears to tread! Do you not like D&D? Yeah also this you’ll like this too. Do you not know what D&D is? This’ll still be fun!

Science:

Monday, April 4th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Meet Percy: Therapy Dog Extraordinaire
Percy Jackson is a therapy dog who visits teens and adults in the community with his owner Cathy Beck. He’s a 6 year-old Border Collie who has a bunch of training to work as a therapy dog and a service dog for Cathy who’s legally blind. He’s pretty frigging cute too! Learn how he’s been trained to work as a therapy dog in this free chance to meet a cute smart dog that does lots of cool stuff!
APH Lobby, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Jay McClelland on Cognitive Science and Deep Learning
Explore the exciting new science on the horrifying homonculi we’re building to replace us no matter how vehement our screamed protestations become! Learn about how machines might begin to take advantage of human learning techniques, and what differences may remain between us and machines once SkyNet comes online. Mostly about how our weak bones will be comparatively easy for iron-people to snap?
FPH West Lecture Hall, Hampshire College [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Heidi Feldman Talk – Redesigning Health Care for Children with Disabilities
In a talk focusing on how to improve the lives of children with disabilities, Professor Heidi Feldman will disuss the limitations of traditional health-care approaches to chronic disabilities and offer alternatives that can help children lead better lives. Sounds nifty!
Wednesday, April 6th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
When the Road Came Through: How Construction of I-91 Changed Western Massachusetts
An enormous number of miles of road were constructed as a result of the Interestate Highway Plan from the 50’s to the 70’s. It changed things a lot. Learn how a new highway cutting across the farms and towns of Western Massachusetts changed a heck of a lot about how the Valley works from historian Barry Deitz’s illustrated talk! It’s free and open to all and refreshments will be served!
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
First Wednesday Speaker Series: Discovering New England’s Stone Walls
Kevin Garnder will give an informal talk about the main topics of his book “The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls” The basic technique is hitting a stone with a plow, going “God’s teeth! This is horrible! Farming in this area is the hardest and worst!” Then wrenching the stone out of the ground and tossing it onto the wall that’s being built next to you as you go. He’ll build a miniature one to show the techniques off!
Thursday, April 7th
Nacul Center [592 Main St., Amherst, MA] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
OEB Science Cafe – Fast & Furious: Physical Extremes of Animal Movement
When we think about extremes of animal movement usually it’s cheetahs. Basically it is always cheetahs. But they’re slowpokes compared to… JELLYFISH? But for real we had no idea, that’s neat. Learn about the downsides to life at highway speeds, and what we can learn by studying these animals with Zanne Cox at the OEB Science Cafe!

Video Games:

Saturday, April 9th
Prescott Tavern, Hampshire College [893 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
GlowLime Games: Pitch & Interest Meeting
Hear about the Hampshire student game development studio GlowLime Games! Pitch a game, get involved with the projects they’re already doing, and meet dedicated game devs!