March 6th – March 12th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


So hey here’s a thing we just found out about recently despite ostensibly being a news source: due to a variety of circumstances both unforeseen and ultraforeseen the lovably local game shop co-op Worlds Apart Games is going to cease to exist soon. Like, by the end of March. So that’s a really unfortunate thing, right? It’s very important to our continued steadiness of mind that there exist Game Places in all Valley towns so that we have ample reason to go putter around somewhere should we find ourselves out and about.

The nice thing is that it seems like some very dedicated people of various stripes and interest categories are of the same opinion and working to figure out how to fill the void that will be left and with what to do the filling. Community game space? Event-hosting space? Something that lets a bunch of people play Magic the Gathering there really often seems like it could garner a decent amount of support.

Which is what they need! Support from you! Interested in playing a boardgame in Amherst that doesn’t involve being at someone’s house? Then go to their Facebook page and check out what’s up and head to their meetup at 5pm this Wednesday the 8th at The Works in Amherst to talk through things.

At a very minimum you’ll get to meet nice people and talk to them so that’s decent you know? Also maybe you’re independently wealthy and have a weird interest in sustaining a game shop in Amherst we don’t know our audience that well.

And finally check out NERDSummit.org! Again, if you’ve already seen it! The schedule’s up and it is going to be great and you should attend because it’ll be great and also full disclosure because they paid us money to tell you to attend so the more of you who attend the more obvious it becomes that giving us cash is met with great success and happiness. If you could carry signs or wear shirts saying “We came here because of the wonderful marketing of the folks at Valley Nerd Watch” we would appreciate it.

Have a lovely week, folks!

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out our Patreon and 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, March 6th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Makerspace Monday
A weekly group gathering to play with stuff, make art, and just generally create new things for the joy of it!
Wednesday, March 8th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Knitting Clinic
Neet help knitting? Get help knitting! Know how to knit real real nice? Knit real real nice and help out people who need help knitting! Somehwere in between nice nice and need help? Then enter the Cave of Shadows and brave the trials three for access to the knitting secrets or ask for some tips from fellow knitters!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Forbes Library Zine Club
ZINES! Zines across the nation! Zines in our veins! Zines for teens! Zines for monotremes! Zines for any and all who have access to cheap copiers! Learn how to create a zine and distribute it!
Friday, March 10th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Unidentified Woman an Exhibition by Jodi Colella
In this exhibit the artist takes headwear and photos so old they’re actually daguerreotypes from the collection of Historic Northampton and explores the role of headwear in indicating the class, status, and occupation of the wearer. Collela stitches together the past and future by colorfully exploring women whose names have been forgotten by history.
Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Free Second Friday
Do you want to go to a great local art museum but also you don’t have $5? Go ahead and check out the Free Second Friday! It’s a ton of fun and is totally without cost. Though if you can drop a couple bucks in the donation bin that would be very nice.
Saturday, March 11th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Make Harry Potter Potion Bottles
Do you wish your life involved more slightly-sinister storage, Snape-style? Suffer no longer! You can create some neat distressed bottles and make them look just like Snape’s! And hey if you don’t care about pretending to be a magical folk you can just make neat antique bottles!

Board Games:

Friday, March 10th
Burger King Community Room [344 King St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Tabletop Game Night
Board game meetup by the folks at the Pioneer Valley Geeks & Games at the Burger King! Bring a game if you want to share one or just play what other folks have brought! Beginners welcome, and there’s no better audience if you’ve got a game you’d really like to try!
Saturday, March 11th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
There are four sections, K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. It’s going to be a 4-round Swiss System and there are trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Entry is free but you should definitely bring a chess set and clock if you can and a bagged lunch if you want to eat!

Books:

Monday, March 6th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Poetry Discussion Group
A weekly poetry discussion group open to regulars and drop-ins! This week they’re going to discuss poems about Climate Change!
Wednesday, March 8th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Garry Brown Talk and Book Signing
Garry Brown will talk about the best stories he’s written over the past fifty-danged-nine years writing at Springfield newspapers which what the heck he has written an infinite amount we’re pretty sure. If we’re still writing these newsletters in fifty-nine years we’d just yell at people to give us a medal at any sort of signing.
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Warm up with Kestrel Land Trust’s Love the Land Book Share
Grab a favorite read related to nature, land, or the nature of land and share it in an informal gathering! Heck you don’t even need to grab the book, just have a title and an author and a short bit about why you liked it and share it with the group! RSVP required but it is free! Email katy [at] kestreltrust [dot] org!
Thursday, March 9th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Ani Tuzman, The Temble of Love: A Novel of the Baal Shem Tov
In partnership with the Yiddish Book Center for an evening, the Odyssey will host a novel inspired by Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezar, known as the Ball Shem Tov or the Good Master of the Name. Set in the 1700s Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth this reimagining of one of the most revered of history’s mystics allows readers to experience the timelessness and grace of unrestrained love! Which is pretty impressive for a novel, most of the ones we read just allow us to experience how cool lasers are.
Sunday, March 12th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
A love story, a magical realist story, a sci-fi story, a story about being a refugee… this book is a lot of things! Nadia and Saeed are young lovers thrust into an uncertain existence during a civil war and given the option to escape through a mysterious doorway. Emerging somewhere alien, they try to hold on to each other. It sounds like it’s worth a read! Buy it at Odyssey and get it signed!

Comic Books:

Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Comic Creator’s Jam
Are you a comicser? A comicilizer? Someone who makes artwork or writes stories and then slaps them together into a single thing? Hang out with a bunch of really nice creators who travel from near and like slightly less near but still pretty near to discuss the craft and business of comics! All it takes to get in is a $5 day pass that immediately becomes store credit!

Community:

Wednesday, March 8th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
National Women’s Strike
From the description: “In support of International Women’s Day, join the conversation after the demonstration on the Greenfield Town Common!”

Computers:

Monday, March 6th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
One-on-one Tech Tutoring
Tech tutoring in English and Spanish! Register for an hour one-on-one session at least 24 hours in advance every weekday from 11:30am – 1:30pm or 4:30pm – 6:30pm! Sign up by calling 413-420-8118 or write to grivera [at] holyokelibrary [dot] org!
Tuesday, March 7th
The Foundry [24 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Northampton Webdive – After Work
Designers regular a coder nendezvous makers of web! It’s a good time to hang out and talk to folks who work on web-dev stuff and just generally have an alright time at a nice bar.
Thursday, March 9th
Cultivate and Nest [2 Bay Rd., Suite 100, Hadley, MA] at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Hack for Western Mass Meetup
After a couple quick updates about ongoing projects, there will be a discussion about potential future options and then people are going to join teams and get hacking to make the community a bit better! It’s a really great group and they’re doing interesting stuff, you should join! Also dinner and drinks are on them so like there’s literally no reason to not go to this thing and say hi!
Friday, March 10th
North Amherst Library [8 Montague Rd, Amherst, MA 01002] at 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Drop-in Tech Support with PC Doctor Hank
PC Doctor Hank will put a stethoscope on your PC and diagnose what woes it! Hank knows what’s up with PC innards and is happy to help you understand it all!

Entertainment:

Thursday, March 9th
Franklin Patterson Main Lecture Hall at Hampshire College at 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
No More Talk About Us, Without Us!
The real women of the hit TV show and book “Orange is the New Black” discuss the reality of prison life and the way it feels to have people take a look at your own harrowing actual experiences though the lens of entertainment in a panel discussion that seems informative and necessary.
Saturday, March 11th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Doctor Who Club
Doctor Which is at it again with his scarfs! Free and open to all, snacks “strongly encouraged”! Watch some classic episodes of the show that’s endured for so long our parents were fans when they were our age!
Sunday, March 12th
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
“The Real Deal Purim-Shpil” with the Wandering Jew Players of the Congress for Jewish Culture
A musical mash-up featuring Purim plays, drinking songs, and general holiday cheer by great Yiddish writers including Sholem Aleichem, Itzik Manger, Moyshe Nadir, and more! It’s $8 for students, $10 for members, and $12 for general admission!

Kids:

Saturday, March 11th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Saturday Morning Kids Arts and Crafts
St. Patrick’s Day themed readings and arts and crafts! Make a Shamrock, or a pot of gold, or any of the innumerable items appropriate for children during this, the easiest holiday to make child-friendly!

Movies:

Tuesday, March 7th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
GPL Teen Pizza and Movie Night
Join librarians Francesca and Steve for the delicious combination of pizza and a film, open to ages 12 and up!
Wednesday, March 8th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Which Way Home
This film tackles immigration issues by focusing on the youngest victims of the struggle to just exist in the world. The film follows some of the thousands of unaccompanied children from all over Latin America who fled from their homes as they attempt to make the trecharous journey across the US border.
Sunday, March 12th
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Film Screening, “There Are Jews Here”
More than a million American Jews live in small towns around the country, and this movie explores people working ot keep the Jewish spirit alive in places like Laredo Texas and Dothan Alabama. It’s $4 for students, $6 for members, and $8 for everyone else!

Science:

Tuesday, March 7th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Diabetes: Our Journey to Improve Our Health
This week, you’ll learn about diabetes and the effects carbohydrates have on it! Anne Bernardin will educate you and share her success story, as well as recap the other lessons in case you’re just coming in this week!
Thursday, March 9th
Nacul Center [592 Main St., Amherst, MA] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
OEB Science Cafe: Is it hot in here? Thinking about the evolution of menopause.
With Dr Lynnette Sievert this cafe will explore the evolution of mopause and post-reproductive aging as a human trait! She’ll talk about how humans as individuals and different cultures deal with menopause and the fact that we’re as species that oulives our reproductive years!

Valley Nerd Watch Game Pack Giveaway!

We’re starting something new!

After realizing that our total pile of “Things We Got In a Bundle That We Either Already Have or Don’t Really Think Are Our Cup Of Tea” is standing at over 100 games we have decided to do the only sensible thing: give them away to subscribers!

Valley Nerd Watch Game Giveaway: Stay Silent!

What games are included in this first pack?

Mark of the Ninja: Hide and seek your way through some really well-made maps that are a lot of fun. Probably our favorite recent stealth/action game.

LIMBO: A game about being a small child who mostly tries to not get killed by a terrifying, uncaring world!

Sir, You Are Being Hunted: A very British stealth/survival game about eating cakes and drinking tea and avoiding terrifying robotic hunters on a mysterious island you’ve teleported to!

Invisible, Inc.: Rebuild your spy agency by stealing from mega-corporations and break into the secret supercomputer that can wipe your agents personal data from the grid! It’s really amazing and we love it.

Good luck, and have a great month!

February 27th – March 5th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


Hello folks! Short top-matter today because we were at my mom’s and hanging out with her all weekend.

Just want to let everyone know that Nerd Nite is next Monday, March 6th! It’ll be a fun time because it is generally a fun time and we can extrapolate from experience.

Also, NERDSummit is coming up the 18th and 19th of March! It’ll be a delightful time where you can learn interesting things about web development and related technology.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out our Patreon and 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, February 27th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Drop In Sit and Knit Group
Drop what you’re doing, come in, sit down, and knit some things!
Wednesday, March 1st
Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College at 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Conversations with Alison Saar
Alison Saar will mark the installation of Sleeping Beauty by talking to you and with you about mostly art things like rtistic practice and identity, followed by a reception.
Thursday, March 2nd
Emily Dickinson Museum [280 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Amherst Arts Night Plus: Poetry Night and Art Exhibition
The Emily Dickinson Museum will be doing a poetry reading, open mic, and a one-night art exhibit! Featured poets include Allison O’Shea, Robbie Dunning, and Lauren Singer. The Featured Artist is Rhys Davies! Free and open to the public!
Friday, March 3rd
Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM
Spotlight Gallery Talk in the exhibition “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii”
Bettina Bergmann, professor of Art History at Mount Holyoke College, will give a spotlight tour so you can get a close look at the wall paintings of Villa A at Oplontis, and understand them better! Free with museum admission! Meet in the lobby.

Books:

Tuesday, February 28th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Local Author Jono Neiger Presents The Permaculture Promise
Conservation Biologist, permaculture educator, and designer Jono neiger will talk about how to create human ecosystems that don’t slowly kill all of us!
Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Amara Lakhous
Writer Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970, and moved to Rome after spending time in Algerian radio putting up with constant death threats. His first novel Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio was awarded the Flaiano Prize in Italy.
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Conversation with Author Series: Derek Strahan’s new book “Lost Springfield, Massachusetts”
Derek Strahan will talk about the City of Firts as it is, was, and might be!
Thursday, March 2nd
Hope & Feathers Gallery, Amherst MA at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
David Hyde Costello Artist Reception
Odyssey Bookshop will be at this Arts Night Plus reception for Miniature Menagerie, paintings by David Hyde Costello, selling his books! See cute as heck watercolors and then buy some books that have cute as heck watercolors in them!
Saturday, March 4th
Hope & Feathers Gallery, Amherst MA at 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
David Hyde Costello Artist Reception
The same thing as the other one with this name! Only it’s not on Arts Night Plus so your power armor will only have half the charge it normally does and you’ll only be able to use your vison augs 3 times before triggering the alarm.
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Meet the Author: Jan Maher
Jan Maher will read from her book Earth As It Is, which you can fact-check live by keeping a watch on the window.

Community:

Tuesday, February 28th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Diabetes: Our Journey to Improve Our Health
Learn about diabetes and how to keep healthy as a person with diabetes. Anne Vernardin, a former high school nutrition teacher will educate you and share her success story! This week, learn about glucose!

Computers:

MYSTERY LOCATION at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The Quiet Revolution in the Client – Monthly Full Stack Meetup
There’s a revolution happening in the client! The client has gone from being a backwater to a focus of development in a very little bit of time, and new approaches are needed to deal with it! Tagore Smith will talk about new approaches to web and application development in this turbulent time.
Sunday, March 5th
The Quarters [8 Railroad St., Hadley, MA] at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
MAKE TALK PLAY – Petricore Games w/Ryan Canuel
This month Ryan Canuel will talk about how to think about what you’re doing AFTER you’ve made a fun game or in some rare cases of forethinking even beforehand. Do you start a studio? How does that even work? Do you sell the game? How? All kind of scary questions!

Entertainment:

Thursday, March 2nd
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anime Club
Watch anime! Anime is according to some people quite good, and there’s sure as heck a whole bunch of it. Find some you like and share it with friendly people!

Kids:

Saturday, March 4th
Springfield Museums [21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA 01103] at 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Pajama Party
Wear your pajamas! Get comfy and celebrate one of our local creative heroes! See a bunch of neat sculptures and other creations, and meet a lot of local illustrators! Buy some books, get them autographed, generally have a good cozy time celebrating great books!

Movies:

Wednesday, March 1st
Holyoke Community College’s Fine & Performing Arts Building at 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Viewing of 13th
A documentary about the 13th amendment that will make you angry and sad in some sort of combination!
Thursday, March 2nd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Viewing of The Lorax
See the movie version of the children’s classic The Lorax! Drop in early if you want to make a Dr. Seuss themed craft!

RPGs:

Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
RPG Club
Play RPGs with friends! It is a good time and there are many wonderful options for creative pretending-to-be-other-people in interesting settings!

Science:

Monday, February 27th
Union Station [125 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
SciTech Cafe: You’re Never Too Old to Play in the Sandbox: The Physics of Soft Materials
Is toothpaste liquid or solid? What makes it so tough to run on sand? What’s “squishy”? What’s the point of knowing the answer to any of these questions? Kerstin Nordstrom is going to explain! She’s a professor at Mount Holyoke who studies fluid flow, and she’ll talk about all the fascinating ways that soft materials behave!
Tuesday, February 28th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Diabetes: Our Journey to Improve Our Health
This session will cover one of the ways that you can help to make your experience with diabetes easier! Understand the effect of diabetes on your body and the importance of exercise. Each session has a short review in case you can’t make it to every one!
Wednesday, March 1st
Franklin Patterson East Lecture Hall at Hampshire College at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Showing of the documentary film Sonic Sea
A showing of the hour-long film Sonic Sea, a documentary about how much industrial noise pollution negatively affects the ocean biomes we rely on to continue to exist and not die, as well as a Q&A afterward with guest Leila Hatch, Marine Ecologist at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

NERDSummit Announces Sessions!

[Once again full disclosure the folks at NERD give me some money in exchange for marketing stuff, but fuller disclosure it’s not like this isn’t basically what I’d write for free regardless so they’re kind of paying me just to remind me to do that thing I meant to do anyway PLEASE no one tell them that.-Ed.]

NERDSummit is coming up March 18th – 19th at the UMass Integrated Sciences Building! It’s going to be no cost, a heck of a time, and it’s going to have food for attendees but some people say even more importantly than the food they are also going to have some really excellent speakers! We’ve chosen to highlight a few of the ones for each day that caught our eye.

Saturday, March 18th

First off is the one we’re most excited about, Richard Stallman & Micky Metts! They’re going to be giving a talk called The JavaScript Trap about how horrible JavaScript can be and we are interested in hearing knowledgeable people explain that to us. We already kind of hate JavaScript because people toss it about like it’s necessary for every danged button but we also know there are some more technical reasons that ubiquitous JavaScript isn’t a great idea from a useability or security perspective. Richard Stallman is one of the founders of the Free Software movement and the GNU project, so you 100% used something he helped create when you were in college and first found out that Photoshop costs $800. Micky Metts is a free software activist who has done a lot of great work cooperatively developing using free software for you, personally! Very kind of her.

Mike Miles will be giving a talk called Inclusive Design: Thinking Beyond Accessibility. What’s interesting about this talk is the fact that it goes further than just how to make your work functionally accessible to people who aren’t exactly like you. Thinking about how to include other folks to the extent that they actively find your work easy to use and joyful is important and it’s easy to let it slide because you don’t necessarily think about how other people are going to interact with your creations every time you make something.

Finally The Modern Woman in Tech with Christina Gleason seems like a good chance to look beyond specific technologies and to think about the culture surrounding a lot of the work that folks at NERDSummit will be discussing. What barriers exist for women, and what unique challenges do they face? How can we handle the current environment while working to break down walls? All important questions that deserve a lot of attention!

Sunday, March 19th

Thomas Dodson will discuss DIY Digital Signage, something that we’ve noticed more often recently. Lots of organizations buy expensive signs that are kind of both ugly and not all that flexible. Thomas has some solutions that are cheap and flexible, and shares some lessons that the folks at the Harvard Library learned implementing a DIY signage system.

Anne Merritt will be talking about Visual Programming with Scratch, a great way to introduce coding concepts to folks without requiring a lot of syntactical expertise early. Scratch uses literal building blocks of code to create basically anything you can think of, making it a lot easier for people new to programming concepts to start and finish useful projects quickly.

Finally Jeremy Kauffman will be giving a presentation called Content Freedom: An Introduction to LBRY which is appropriately enough about LBRY, an open-source protocol that’s supposed to make it easy to find, distribute, and purchase content. As we’re always really happy that we have a ton of comic photos we don’t need to attribute because we took them, the idea of finding a nice way to actually find content from other people sounds delightful!

So that’s a rundown of a few really neat sounding sessions out of a whole bunch! There are a total of 42 sessions on the site so if the above don’t catch your interest something probably will!

Graphic Novelist Joel Christian Gill at UMass Amherst ILC This Thursday

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Just received via a kindly member of the public, transmitted in full:

Tomorrow (2/23) afternoon at 4 PM in ILC Integrated Learning Center S240 at UMass Amherst graphic novelist and art professor Joel Christian Gill will appear in a conversation about his work with Tony Davis of Boston’s Million Year Picnic. Prof. Gill’s work Strange Fruit, Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, is featured in the exhibition Direct Action Comics in Herter Art Gallery.

Nine stories are collected in his graphic anthology Strange Fruit, Volume 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History — named after the Abel Meeropol poem and Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit,” including the story about Box Brown, a slave who escaped to freedom by mailing himself in a box, then became an abolitionist speaker, and of the first American stage magician, Richard Potter, a black man from New Hampshire.

The New York Times said, “Strange Fruit unpacks its power through drawings and pointed text that chronicle the trials and triumphs of black Americans who struggled against prejudice more than a century ago. At a moment when racial inequities have ignited this nation, Mr. Gill offers direction for the road ahead from the road behind.”

Joel Christian Gill is the Chair of Foundations at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and  member of The Boston Comics Roundtable.  He received his MFA from Boston University. Tony Davis is the owner of Cambridge’s storied Million Year Picnic, the oldest comic book store in the United States.

Thank you for the alert, friendly Valley person! This sounds like a good time if you’re into comic books or history or both. One of the things we like about historical comics in particular is that they can manage to insert a lot more characterization into stories that are often retold as just sequence of dates..

The Second Anniversary!

Hello! My name is James and I am the person who writes these newsletters and posts!

I actually kind of got distracted and forgot that the anniversary was on the 8th but hey whatever I got the month right!

I want to thank you, my loyal readership, for giving me a reason to keep writing because I really enjoy it. I’m also just generally happy to see that people are getting something out of them!

I don’t really know what to say about the second anniversary. I guess mostly what I feel like is that after two years of doing this and a year and a bit of helping with Nerd Nites I have been able to do a little bit to give back to a community that I appreciate.

Also it feels really nice to have written hundreds of thousands of words that were mostly useful or REALLY excellent jokes.

I still have plans for the site that are yet to come to fruition but that’s mostly because there’s a lot of other interesting stuff pulling on my time which is not the worst problem to have!

One thing I’m really invested in figuring out is how to provide a better of picture of the experience of attending a lot of different events. A consistent thing that’s arisen with folks I’ve spoken to is that they wish they could have a better idea of how to approach events that they’ve never been to. I figure I can do something to alleviate that if I work on it. Obviously I can’t do all of them personally, but I think I can figure out something useful.

At this rate a full site redesign will be coming in like a decade but hey what can you do.

If you like this site and this newsletter, I would really appreciate it if you gave me feedback about what all you’d like to see done to improve the layout and formatting or whatnot. Or if you have any feature suggestions, let me know! I’d also love to be alerted to interesting happenings around the Valley that I can post!

Also if you want to toss me money on Patreon I will appreciate it because it’s nice to have extra money to do things I feel are interesting and useful.

You’re great, thank you! Have a wonderful year! Look at the Valley Creators page and find new people whose work you’ll love!

February 20th – February 26th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


Oh jeez we forgot we had our two-year anniversary! Whoops!

Happy two years to the Nerd Watch! We hope that you got something out of it, we’ve been having fun <3. We've written about 150 posts, totaling something like 200,000 words! That's a lot of words, and the best part is that every last one of them is perfect.

On to other matters!

First off: we've been playing Valley Creator Rob Daviau's Seafall recently and dang if that's not a neat game. It's a bit of a bear to read the rulebook at first because there's a lot of if/then/else stuff to do that we had a bit of trouble keeping in our heads but darn it is a fun time once you get going. You sail around in little boats, you give people nicknames, you explore islands, you make friends and enemies, it's a great time and like all Legacy games you'll play it more often than literally any other game you own.

Also we just finished playing like a LOT of Subnautica after purchasing the Humble Freedom Bundle and it is extremely good! The ocean is dark, and the ocean is terrifying, and nothing good lives in the ocean BUT also it is compelling to explore and we love it.

Go check out the Valley Creators page! As always, be sure to check out our Patreon and 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:

Tuesday, February 21st
Herter Hall 231, UMass Amherst at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Dread Scott: On the Impossilibity of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide
Artist Dread Scott will give a public lecture in the company of Associate Professor of History Barbara Krauthamer about his work. he’s an acclaimed American artist wose work has gotten a bunch of attention and addresses a lot of important topics like police brutality and the legacy of slavery and racism in the US. It sounds like an opportunity to educate yourself about some difficult topics.
Friday, February 24th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
BYO Fiber Arts & Crafts Group
For kids and their grownups, make some crafts! Knit, crochet, sew, malinger, spin, unravel, felt, and of course
Saturday, February 25th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Florence at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Goodwin Photographic Collection by Steve Strimer
Steve Strimer will present a selection from the Goodwin Photographic Collection of over 300 glass-plate negatives taken by J.W. Bird and Ferdinand Schadee. See the growth of Florence in the not-too-distant past!
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Young Adult Tween/Teen Craft – Block Printing (Ages 11 – 17)
Whether you rankle at being called a teen or seethe quietly at being called a tween, this is the event for you if you want to do some printing. Printing is a lot of fun and generally it’s not tough to make something that looks really cool so we recommend you take a look.

Books:

Tuesday, February 21st
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Children’s Book Writers Group
Adults who write for children are invited to a critique group! Speak to other people about your work, and trade opportunities for development as well as writing and publishing tips. You can also read and discuss stories with other members! For more info call Jane at the library at 413-772-1544!
Wednesday, February 22nd
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Words in Transit Panel with John Voci
Contributors to the book Words in Transit, a collection of first-person narratives by immigrants to western New England, will present their stories during a panel discussion facilitated by John Voci, the NEPR director of programming and a producer for the Words in Transit project. Learn about your neighbors! They’re nice folks.
Thursday, February 23rd
MYSTERY LOCATION at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Discussion and Dinner
Go to [place] and eat [food] while discussing a very funny book! Get more context https://www.meetup.com/4scifi/events/237092179/ here as it develops. Hitchhiker’s a nice book that we like a lot, one of the first chapter-books our parents read to us. How did we find any humor in jokes about aspects of adult life for which we had no context? Simple, we were small and not very smart yet so we pretty much just laughed whenever our dad laughed.

Comic Books:

Monday, February 20th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Queers in Comics and Games
A great place to discuss topics regarding representation of LGBTQIA+ folks in games and comics! It’s a good discussion with a lot of nice people and you’ll probably have fun. Admission is by day pass, $5 that immediately becomes store credit!

Community:

Tuesday, February 21st
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Animal Communication 101
Learn how to speak to dogs, we can only assume. Why is this not a bigger deal? We had no idea all it took was a two-hour course! But for real learn how to interpret and connect with your animal pals!

Computers:

Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Google Apps and Gmail Workshop: The Ins and Outs of Your Account
Have you just started using a bunch of Google Apps? Want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your various Google-branded things? Learn how to collaboate, make contact lists, organize yourself, share your calendar, and much more!

Entertainment:

Thursday, February 23rd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
New Director Welcome Tea
Join the friends of the Forbes Library for an event that serves refereshments! Yay! Also, you’ll get to meet the newly appointed Library Director Lisa Downing!
Friday, February 24th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Layaali Arabic Music Duo
Tickets are $10, $6 for students and seniors, to this night of delightful music and entertainment with Mohammed Mejaour and Michel Moushabeck! Arrive early to shop at a 20% discount!
Saturday, February 25th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Teen Iron Chef
Ever wanted to try your hand at unseating the Iron Chefs? This is your moment to shine, aspirational teen chef! The main food is going to be chocolate. You’re going to get 8 ingredients, 4 of which will be odd. You need to use at least one of the weird ones and 3 overall to make the best tasting dish! The winner gets a little prize!
MYSTERY LOCATION at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Nintendo Video Game Night
Check out the meetup group https://www.meetup.com/thepvg/ to sign up and get further details if this sounds interesting! Play some classic Nintendo games as you salivate in anticipation of the Switch!

History:

Sunday, February 26th
Deerfield Community Center [80 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA 01342] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Winter Lecture Series: Renounce the Baneful Herb: Colonial Boycotts and the Invention of Liberty Tea
Learn about early American boycotts of British trade goods and how they created a common American identity in a country that was still super super British. Always a good plan to know your history, keeps you from being caught flat-footed if the Doctor ever needs your help.

Kids:

Monday, February 20th
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Special Storytime: Hazel Mitchell
Author/Illustrator Hazel Mitchell will read her new book Toby, a sotry about the bond between a child and an adorable dog!
Tuesday, February 21st
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Kids’ Craft Club
Read a story, make a craft! You know the drill, folks.
Thursday, February 23rd
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Special Storytime: Josh Funk and Anna Staniszewski
Storytime about dinosaurs! Josh Funk will read Pirasaurs, a tale of dinos gon rogue, and Anna Staniszewski will give a sneak peak of her new book Dogosaurus Rex!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
LEGO Club
Build LEGO! It’s the building toy that hurts more than you can possibly imagine when you step on it only you don’t need to imagine because you’ve definitely stepped on it we all have.
Friday, February 24th
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Special Storytime: Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig
This mother-daughter team will teach kids manners via pirates! We should teach more things via pirates, it’s a solid didactic methodology.
Saturday, February 25th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Saturday Morning Kids, Learn Magic Tricks!
Learn some cool magic tricks to keep you feeling cool while the weather’s cool! … cool.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Northampton CommunityMusic Center Family Concert Series: Jason Didner & Jungle Gym Jam
Jungle Gym Jam will delight and entertain your kid while secretly also teaching them to be a bit nicer to folks.

Movies:

Wednesday, February 22nd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
We Need to Talk About Injustice
From the description “In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system”, educate yourself!
Friday, February 24th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Tale of Desperaux
Have some snacks as you watch the a delightful children’s film in the Community Room!

Science:

Thursday, February 23rd
MYSTERY LOCATION at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
OEB Science Cafe: A Day in the Life, Stories from Your Neighborhood Biologists
This one got hit by the SNOWPOCALYPSE and moved to a new date! Still has the same great biologist content though!