August 21st – August 27th

The Valley Nerd Watch!

We had a wonderful time at Nerd Nite this past week! And guess what we made a special announcement and we’re going to re-make that announcement here, but later! Next time attend Nerd Nite if you want the scoop, folks.

Nerd Nite NoHo is going to have a special show at the Academy of Music! In anticipation of the Academy’s putting on the play Einstein! by Jack Fry on November 18th we’re going to do an Einstein-focused Nerd Nite on Monday, October 23rd! Two local physics professors – Dr. Gary Felder and Dr. Brokk Toggerson – are going to discuss cosmology and how it relates to relativity and the sometimes unsolved mysteries of the physics of the mundane!

It’ll be the best opportunity you have to take your friends and family to a Nerd Nite! You’ll be able to pretend it’s a way classier event! We’re excited!

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!



Tuesday, August 22nd
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece Writing Workshop
Create a god or goddess to add to the pantheon, young writers ages 9 – 12! Children’s author Burleigh Muten will help you create a new myth! Don’t go too hard on the mythmaking though you don’t want to wake up to a knock on the door from the Un-Council of No-Space, they keep a lid on the power levels of most gods. Pre-registration only, $100, call 413-657-7721 to pre-register!
Wednesday, August 23rd
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece Writing Workshop
More gods! The mind boggles at all these ancient deities!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Forbes Library Zine Club
Zine fiends clean your spleens and eat some greens on the way to the zine club! It’s the most important night of the week! Let us know if you make a zine and we will maybe feature it in the Nerd Watch? Yeah why not that sounds fun. Zines!
Thursday, August 24th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece Writing Workshop
We suggest creating a god or goddess of some abstract thought process. Like the goddess of being quite happy but low-key nervous that you’ve forgotten a deadline.
Saturday, August 26th
Unitarian Society [220 Main Street, Northampton] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Scarlet Professor: An Evening of Discussion & Song
Award-winning biographer Barry Werth and composer Eric Sawyer will describe how they and the librettist Harley Erdman transformed the powerful story of Newton Arvin, a Smith professor who was persecuted in the 60s for ‘possession of lewd photos of men’, into an opera. We’re going to assume they made it somewhat like the Scarlet Letter, because of the name!

Board Games:

Saturday, August 26th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Board Game Night
Play board games at a wonderful local store! The staff will help you set yourself up, and you’ll quickly be exploring fun new games with a whole bunch of other friendly Valley residents! There’s also always a game demo available to show you something new! Beginners welcome, ages 13+ recommended, younger folks welcome with a parent!


Thursday, August 24th
Packards [14 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA] at 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Hugo Award nominated short fiction + dinner
Read a bunch of excellent short fiction works and then talk about them with a group of friendly people at a nice local restaurant! You can find a link to each of the stories discussed on the meetup page! https://www.meetup.com/4scifi/events/242268636/
Friday, August 25th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Meet The Author/Illustrator Mark Parisi
Ages 8+! Also their families! Meet an author and illustrator who is lovely and then have a writing and illustration lab and some snacks! What a delightful afternoon this sounds like, good job Mark Parisi!
Saturday, August 26th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Tim Burke Book Talk | Deception
Deception is a book with a cover image of what look like some snappily-dressed mob people pointing guns while competing to be in the most photogenic shadows so we’re assuming kind of a noir adventure/thriller? Really long talk, too! Maybe it’s just someone recording an audio-book while you’re in the room.

Card Games:

Friday, August 25th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM
Friday Night Magic BOOSTER DRAFT
Play Magic in the Booster Draft format which we are not super familiar with but it seems like you basically get a bunch of booster packs and draft a deck from them. Your $16 entry fee includes MA Sales Tax and purchases your 3 boosters, as well as adding a pack to the prize pool! Everyone who participates will get at least one prize pack, and special promos will go to exceptional players! This is an intermediate-level event, ages 13+ recommended! Younger players allowed with an adult accompanying them!
Saturday, August 26th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Human Era Playtest
From the creators of the spectacular DRAGOON, check out and provide excellent and useful feedback about Human Era! It’s a competitive time-travelling card game which sounds pretty neat. Stop by any time from one to four to help out and play a fun game!


Wednesday, August 23rd
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Moms of Color Western Mass
A weekly support group for moms of color. Pregnant women and children welcome. This group is an intentional space for Women of Color. Free and open to the public.
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Volunteer to Become a Special Education Surrogate Parent
Are you interested in supporting students in your community? You can help by volunteering to become a Special Education Surrogate Parent (SESP) for a student in state care that requires special education supports and whose parents are unknown or unavailable. These children depend on SESPs to protect their legal right to a free and appropriate education.
Saturday, August 26th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Franklin County League of Women Voters
Get together with the wonderful folks who like to vote! Get informed, get involved, get ready to keep working for your ideals!


Wednesday, August 23rd
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Film: The Coming War on China
The Northampton Committee to Stop War offers a fee and accessible screening of John Pilger’s 60th film for ITV. Pilger dives deep into the US’s belligerence toward the world’s second economic power, and why it seems like we’re on the long road to a short and horrific war. Discussion will follow the film!


Thursday, August 24th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Dungeons & Dragons
Play the old familiar, the classic, the one with dungeons and also dragons! You’ll be exploring the Dwarven fortress Stone Tooth! The adventure is recommended for characters of at least level 3. To enter, you need to get a $5 day pass, but that becomes store credit immediately!


Monday, August 21st
America [Earth] at 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
The Sun Escapes
It’s done it this time, folks, it’s really gone and done it. We had it for a long time, we kept it here to keep us warm and to help us photosynthesize but it’s gone and slipped the chains and it’s taking the first train to anywhere but here. The portal will open and begin swallowing the sun around 1:30pm, and by about 2:30pm we should all begin to freeze into an endless tableau of eternal night, and then at about 4:00pm the Sun will arrive… somewhere a little bit better than here.
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Community Solar Eclipse Viewing
If you can’t make it to the first viewing, they’ll be doing a repeat viewing 6pm – 9pm.


Monday, August 21st
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Scientific Kids Club: Astronomy and the Solar Eclipse
Astronomy is the study of how to chain stars. Basically it’s a series of elaborate binding rituals that “Astronemeers” use each day to make sure that a new star is available to power Earth for the day. Learn more about this eldritch scientific pursuit and watch as Astronemeers attempt to keep the sun from escaping!


We’re on podcast The Chairmen of the Boards!

Loyal readers! You’ve yearned to hear us speak, wept at the lack of our dulcet tones tickling your eardrums, thrown yourself bodily out of your seats to protest the fact that text is a medium that robs you of the beauty that you know exists just beyond your grasp.

Well now you can hear us talk to local podcaster Jesse Mayhew of the venerable Chairmen of the Boards! It is a relatively freewheeling discussion of how the Nerd Watch got started and what a danged cool place the Valley is in general but particularly if you’re a big old nerd into board game things.

Nerds gather, and now his watch begins.

It shall not end until his death. He shall take no wife, hold no hands, father no children.

He shall wear no crowns and win no glory. (Unless you count the victory point track In Blood Rage or the Crown Counter In Citadels. These are obvious exceptions that we shouldn’t have to point out.)

He shall live and die at his post, He is the Foam LARP sword in the Darkness. The Watcher on the Wall (of discounted non-mint condition pre-owned games).

He is James Olchowski, Lord Commander of the Nerd’s Watch – and you owe him your allegiance!!

Dethroned and dispossessed, robbed of title and station, our intrepid host Jesse was shackled and marched to the wall where he was forced to take the Black (T-shirt with 3 wolves howling at the moon.)

He decided to make the most of it and interview James about The Valley Nerd Watch, The Pioneer Valley’s weekly newsletter and #1 resource for all things nerd!

Jesse was a lovely host, and we hope you have as nice a time listening as we did recording.

So You Would Like To Be Heard


Recently we’ve become aware of the fact that several folks in town do interesting podcasts. That’s delightful! Podcasts are after all the radio of the future.

But have you considered the radio… of the past? Which is to say just plain broadcast radio?

Your local low power FM station – 103.3FM WXOJ Valley Free Radio – has resources for you to use, friendly member of the local community! So what can they do for your podcast? Lots!

Scenario 1: I Want to Start a Podcast… But I Don’t Have Any Good Equipment!

Valley Free Radio is happy to help! You can use their brand new community recording studio! They have mics, they have a computer, they have soundproofing that’s better than your living room.

What are the restrictions?

  • You can only record in the studio when a member of the VFR team is there to actually let you in. For the most part, this should not be an issue. But keep in mind that if a sudden illness hits the staff at VFR, you’ll need to make other plans.
  • You need to add a little stinger to the end of each episode of your podcast noting that this was recorded at the VFR studio.

What are the benefits?

  • You can record audio and then take that audio and do what you want with it, delightful!

Scenario 2: I Have a Podcast, But I Want To Be on the Radio!

Valley Free Radio is looking for new programs, so you’re in luck! You can record at the station or you can do live broadcasts if you’d like! Go to http://valleyfreeradio.org/schedule/new-program-proposal and fill out the online form to get started!

What are the restrictions?

  • No racism/sexism.
  • No swears. Thank the FCC.
  • No promoting products. VFR is a non-profit, and there are rules about this sort of thing!
    • You can probably say “Hi, I’m the creator of the Ice Cream Cone and you can find out more about my invention at icecreamiscool.biz” at the end of your show.
    • You cannot say “Go to Herrell’s and buy an ice cream cone, folks!” or “If ice cream cones sound tasty, go pick one up at your local retailer!”
    • Yes, it’s subjective and a bit thorny at times, but the volunteers at VFR are happy to speak with you about the specific implications for the w
  • You need to go to a training on station practices and equipment usage.
  • You need to sign a contract with the station stating you’ll follow FCC and station guidelines.
  • You need to contribute. Either with some volunteer work at the station or with a flat monthly fee of $20-$30, plus a $30 membership fee.

What are the benefits?

  • Access to the airwaves! VFR, as you can see by the map above, has about a 15-mile radius coverage area centered around Florence.
  • Access to the station! You can record any time day or night in either studio, with the caveat of course that you can’t overlap with another person. You can pre-record your shows at a time that works for you!
  • An audience! VFR already has regular listeners and a bunch of people who listen to the stream online, so you’d be able to start reaching people immediately who might otherwise never hear about your podcast. Some VFR shows have a dedicated international following!
  • A neutral professional space! People aren’t always interested in interviews/guest appearances that take place in a person’s living room. The radio station is a comfortable and convenient place to meet.
  • The ability to have call-in guests easily!
  • The thrill of creating live content!
  • Help from friendly volunteers! The people at VFR are capable radio producers who can help you with any issues that pop up in the process of making, editing, and promoting your show.
  • A specialized @valleyfreeradio.org email address so you can easily communicate with fans of your show!
  • Access to a private Facebook group just for VFR programmers where they talk about the station and answer questions about the work.

So there you have it. Whatever you’d like to do with your podcast, VFR can help you do it. Just talk to the station volunteers! You can get in touch with them here.