Tactics

April 3rd – April 9th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


Hello friends! Hope you’re having a lovely start of spring.

Remember to come out to Nerd Nite NoHo next Monday! It’s going to be a very nice time where two excellent people will present about two excellent topics. We’ll have nature guide Kery Emma Ellis discussing the scourge of “Greenwashing” by people attempting to pretend their products and services are “good for nature” despite being “basically just lying and using green and teal on the packaging a lot”! That’s going to be followed up with Greg Dennis, Research Director for Voter Choice Massachusetts, talking about ranked choice voting!

We’d also like to specifically point out the 2017 Pioneer Valley Zine Fest! Zines are fun and neat and there are a ton of folks who are going to be there with really cool artwork so you should go see them and say “Wow, nice job! Here is the amount of money you’ve indicated this zine or other piece of artwork costs!”

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, April 4th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 7:45
Slate Press Poetry Reading
Anna M. Warrock and Cindy Snow will present readings from their new works! Anna M. Warrock has had a poem installed permanently in the Boston subway which means she’s going to probably eventually inspire some kind of post-apocalyptic cult eventually. Cindy Snow has been featured in a bunch of poetry reviews and she does peer tutoring at Greenfield Community College. Both of them have chapbooks out for your reading pleasure!
Wednesday, April 5th
Mead Art Museum [41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Kota Ezawa: Gardner Museum Revisited
Converse with artist Kota Ezawa as he discusses his installation! It’s currently on display and by chatting with the artist you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the art presented!
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The 13th Annual Palmer Public Library Poetry Pageant
The theme this year is friendship! Donate $25 to the library and bring a poem about friendship to share! Listen to your friends talk about friends!
Thursday, April 6th
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
Drop into the museum for an open mic, poetry reading, and one-night art exchange in the museum! Open mic begins at 6pm and the featured readers follow: Jenna Baillargeon is a second year at Hampshire, and is the featured Open Mic reader, and students of The Literacy Project will be reading original memoirs and poems afterward, accompanied by Judith Willams on the keyboard.
Saturday, April 8th
Flywheel Arts Collective [43 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027]
2017 Pioneer Valley Zine Fest
Zines! Zines for miles! Join zine creators and fans from around New England! It’s a great chance to see amazing artwork and give the people who produce it a few bucks! Zines are keen!

Board Games:

Wednesday, April 5th
Brass Cat [65 Cottage St #101, Easthampton, MA 01027] at 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Brass Cat Wednesday Game Night
Games! Beautiful board games! Have a great time playing games and enjoying a friendly community! Have a drink at a nice bar and hang out with people who are nice also. This wee, Forbidden Island and Innovation are the featured games!
Saturday, April 8th
Off The Wall Game Shop [41 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035] at 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Malifaux Tournament
See http://www.the131.com/forum for details! This tournament will test your ability to command the forces of weird grossness in the game Malifaux, which is distinct from other tabletop games in a manner we are not qualified to comment upon. Mostly we notice that there are a lot of Frankenstein monster looking things.
Burger King Community Room [344 King St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Tabletop Gaming Day
Game! At a table! With tops! Play with tops, is what we’re saying. Play with the bet game of all: tabletops. The game of kings! Beyblade we just realized our joke game is also Beyblade. But for actual this meetup usually goes for Euro-games like Settlers/Carcassone etc, but they’re open to whatever you’re interested in!

Books:

Wednesday, April 5th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Ellen Meeropol, Kinship of Clover
How do you stay true to the folks you care about while trying to change the world? That’s what botany major Jeremy has to struggle with when he gets wrapped up with a group of eco-terrorists trying to save the plants he loves, and is inextricably bound to.
Friday, April 7th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
John Scalzi, The Collapsing Empire with Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear
The Odyssey Bookshop is hosting a big ol’ sci-fi hootenanny! John Scalzi will talk about his latest book, and he’ll be joined by fellow wonderful authors Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear! The book’s about a far future where humanity finds a sort of hyperspace river that allows FTL travel, but then finds that it’s slowly moving around and soon the quick travel that maintains an interstellar empire will no longer be where it needs to be! It sounds neat!
Saturday, April 8th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
YA Panel Featuring Kim Savage, Kady Cross, and Eva Darrows
Three excellent YA authors on a panel talking about their three recent books that are all about tragic circumstances and young women dealing with difficult issues.
Hooker Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Lindy West, Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman
Lindy West will speak and read from her memoir! Hilarious tales of how to handle just generally the unfortunate bits of being alive. Lindy West is a prolific writer and generally regarded as “wicked good at writing and also wicked funny”.

Community:

Thursday, April 6th
Sacred Heart Church [395 Chestnut St., Springfield, MA] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
End Mass Incarceration in Massachusetts
Pioneer Valley Project invites you to join them in the fight to end mass incarceration in Massachusetts! If you’re into the idea of repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses, changing some felony thresholds, increasing funding for re-entry programs and education during incarceration then you should help them fight for these reforms!

Computers:

Tuesday, April 4th
The Foundry [24 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Northampton Webdive – After Work
A regular meetup of coders and web developers that heads to the Foundry and hangs out and just generally chats and has a good time. You can join them to have a nice time as well!

Entertainment:

Monday, April 3rd
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Staged Reading of Getting Out
A staged read by the Holyoke Community College theater department of the play Getting Out, a play by the Pulitzer-winning author of ‘Night Mother. The play is the story of Arlene, a woman struggling to survive on the outside after being incarcerated for eight years in a Kentucky Prison.
Tuesday, April 4th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The Wonderful World of Model Railroading
Have you ever wanted to make a tiny world that’s entirely comprised of people frozen in time save for the trains? Are the trains the masters of this world, or do they merely exist in some other state of being? Well two railroad enthusiasts, George Reneris and Harry Ruddock, will help answer questions about how you can put together a sweet model railroad!
Wednesday, April 5th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
First Wednesday Speaker Series: Clutter Control 101
Figure out how to get your stuff to stop being a gigantic terrible pile of nonsense that you don’t need or want! Dave Downs will offer some upbeat tips for getting all your various junk into a place where it can no loner bother you!
Friday, April 7th
UMass Center at Springfield [1500 Main St., Springfield, MA 01115] at 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Less Medicine, More Health
Dr. Gilbery Welch, author of “Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions that Drive Too Much Medical Care” will present in a free public forum! He’s a general internist with an interest in the issues created by overzealous efforts to detect early disease, mostly over-screening for cancer. It’s worth taking a look, maybe you’ll be less inclined to freak out over your own health!
Saturday, April 8th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Community Building as Resistance: The Northampton Association at 175 years.
Commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry! First you’ll get a walking tour of the Northampton Association Lands, and then you’ll see two lectures and a panel, about Abolition and Community in Northampton in the 1840s and construction of the progressive industrial village of Florence. And finally, a panel about the meaning of the Northampton Association Experiment!

History:

Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Free Community Day
This is a huge day! There’s a bunch to learn about ancient Rome! Inspired by the exhibition of the Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii that’s currently ongoing at the museum, there are a ton of things going on! Make your own fresco! Tour with a docent! Watch seventh-graders perform skits about ancient Rome! Stroll through a recreated Roman Garden!

Kids:

Monday, April 3rd
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA 01375] at 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Mucho Gusto Spanish Free Sample Classes
A free bilingual Spanish/English story hour with Laurie Davidson of Mucho Gusto Spanish! It’s for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers!
Saturday, April 8th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Explore Music and Sound! Presented by UMass Music Educators
Students ages 9-12 are invited to try instruments and see demos performed by students from the UMass School of Education. Thinking about learning to play? Give it a shot today!

Movies:

Tuesday, April 4th
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Finding Babel
Finding Babel chronicles a grandson’s search for the legacy of the greatest prose writer of the Russian Jewish community, and whose subversive work led t his tragic end. Isaac Babel is best known for his short story collections Odessa Stories and Red Cavalry, he challenged the ideology of the early Soviet Union and that challenging writing resulted in his execution in 1940 by the Soviet Regime. This movie tracks his grandson’s journeys through Ukraine, France, and Russian to confront the relevance of his ancestor’s work.
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
GPL Teen Pizza and Movie Night
Pizza and a movie: the ultimate chance to have pizza and also watch a movie. Teens, don’t let this slip by! This is your chance to have pizza and watch a film! It’s a hoot to do so with pals!

RPGs:

Sunday, April 9th
Camp Timber Trails [1266 East Otis Road, Tolland, MA] at 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Magestry LARP Spring Game #1
Magestry is looking for anyone interested in being an orc, a monster, a brigand, a barbarian, a general-purpose rough customer! They need a lot of NPCs to take care of an increasing number of PCs! You can play for free and even get food! You don’t even need to stay the whole weekend, a couple of hours would be a big help! Find out more by contacting NPC@Magestry.com or checking out the meetup at https://www.meetup.com/larping/events/238838016/

October 17th – October 23rd

The Valley Nerd Watch!


It’s our birthday weekend! We’re having a great time, which is nice! Birthdays are usually a good time thanks to our very kind friends and family and we really appreciate them all.

ALSO we’re definitely having a bunch of fun picking out what games we’re going to get because we are very functional and attractive adults who are aware that when it is your birthday you get to buy toys.

We hope all of your weekends are going well, whether or not they involve birthdays!

Also you should check out these local Kickstarters that are still going on, they seem neat!

Broker – a quick party card game about trying to keep a straight face while you cheat your undies off!

A.E.G.I.S – a quick fun tactical combat game where the gimmick is that your units can combine together like Voltron to become more powerful!

Rise Up: The Game of People and Power – a game about building successful social movements to create positive change!

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:

Friday, October 21st
Mead Art Museum [41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Materiality at the Mead with Julia A. Ream
Thinking of a career in art conservation? Maybe just curious about the processes and materials involved? The independent conservator of Asian works on paper, Julia A. Ream, will lead a conservation workshop for students and deliver a lecture on her career trajectory and recent work on manuscripts and paintings from the Middle East and South Asia!
Saturday, October 22nd
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Fact or Fiction? The Reality of Clothes in Portraits by Edward Maeder
Textile and costume historian Edward Maeder will examine some of the methods in which early fashion information was distributed from the late middle ages until the middle of the nineteenth century. He will also present and discuss a brief survey of publications that included or were based entirely on dress from the 15th to the 19th century. It’s interesting to consider how eras before really convenient mass-distribution media managed to impart a cultural style to people!
Sunday, October 23rd
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Guerilla Portraiture at the Political Conventions by Barry Goldstein
Barry Goldstein interviewed and photographed participants at the 2016 Republican National Convention for The American Scholar magazine. He also covered the demonstrations in Philadelphia during the Democratic Convention. Barry will describe the technical and logistical challenges of what he calls his on-the-fly “guerrilla portraiture.” See this really interesting set of portrait photos along with audio excerpts from his interviews!
Emily Dickinson Museum [280 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
The Poet and the Bard
Join a tour of the Dickinson estate that focuses on her love for the Bard! It’s $15 for nonmember adults, $10 for museum members, and $5 for students K-12.

Board Games:

Tuesday, October 18th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Palmer Library Game Night
They’ve got games for you to play, or you can feel free to bring your own! We recommend King of Tokyo for a nice quick game that’s easy for everyone to understand, and it’s got cool giant monsters.

Books:

Tuesday, October 18th
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 children’s books? Talk to other folks who write children’s books! It’s a good opportunity to hang out and discuss the art and business of writing and illustrating books for kids!
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Medea Benjamin, author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, has become famous for direct action protests, mostly against actions by the military that we tend to take for granted. In this book, she researches the nature of the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, detailing what she sees as the current problems with the US support of the extremely repressive Saudi regime, and what possible paths to change exist.
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA] at 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Local Author Ellen Wittlinger: Reading from her new novel Local Girl Swept Away
Ellen Wittlinger is the author of fifteen YA and middle-grade novels, and her novel Hard Love won both a Printz Honor Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her books have been on numerous ALA Best Books lists, Bank Street College of Education lists, and state award lists. Local Girl Swept Away is the story of four friends, two boys and two girls, who in the wake of tragedy and revealed secrets must deal with grief, love, and betrayal. The book is set in the small, beautiful community of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Wednesday, October 19th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Paul Staiti, author of Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes
Author Paul Staiti brings five great artists of the Revolutionary period to live, and shows their lives were every bit as eventful as those of the founders with whom they interacted. These painters contributed immensely to the spirit of a new nation, with their painting providing “a means of narrating the revolution to themselves and to citizens of the new republic” by virtue of how they chose to present the actions and character of the leaders of that revolution. Paul Staiti teaches at Mount Holyoke College and is the author of several books and essays on American artists.
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Reading by State-honored Writers and Poets
Every two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awards grants to some of the most talented writers and poets working in the Commonwealth. Literary artists awarded through MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program will read their work at the Forbes Library!
Thursday, October 20th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
George Lakey, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right – and How We Can, Too
George Lakey’s book is a clear-eyed look at how Nordic countries have achieved a lot of positive social goals, and it’s fun! He takes a look at what has changed and why, and how it’s been an inspiringly short time that these snowy lands have actually been Utopian.
Saturday, October 22nd
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Book Party with Mo Willems!
Join the Carle for an exclusive preview of Mo Willems’ new book, Nanette’s Baguette, set in a meticulously paper-crafted French village, the book follows a plucky heroine on her first solo trip to the bakery! Mo will read from his new book, and you can meet Elephant and Piggie, watch films, and create art of your own!
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Why Only Women Should Vote
Join a humorous and timely discussion led by Tom Fitzgerald, author of Poor Richard’s Lament. Human Males have been in charge of a lot of things for a long time, and Tom thinks it’s becoming obvious they’re not really doing a top quality job. What to do? Maybe just have women run everything? Audience participation is encouraged at this book reading!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Book Launch and Author Reading with John Sheirer: Make Common Sense Common Again
John Sheirer agrees with you, The Voice of the Common Folk, when you say the United States has gone all cuckoo recently and is definitely a real circus unlike other periods in our history during which we were totally not the worst. He’s here to tell you how core American values can overcome the silliness by laughing at ourselves and finding common sense solutions. We’re really looking forward to the Utopian period that will begin immediately after this presentation!

Card Games:

Saturday, October 22nd
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Kaladesh Game Day
Play Magic: The Gathering! Experience the wonder that is card-gaming! Win some prizes! It’s a blast and a half.

Comic Books:

Monday, October 17th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Queers in Comics & Games
Talk to interesting people about comics and games! It’s a freewheeling discussion group led by the absolutely excellent manager of Modern Myths and it is a wonderful opportunity to meet new folks and learn about comics and games.

Community:

Saturday, October 22nd
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA] at 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Iron Chef Fall Edition
The SECRET ingredient THIS WEEK will be…. AAAAAPPLES! The teens will choose at least three different ingredients to pair with the apples, one ingredient at least will have to come from the “Strange” food category, foods you wouldn’t normally pair with apples! Sign up in advance at the Sunderland Public Library or call (413) 665-2642.
Sunday, October 23rd
Yiddish Book Center [1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Community Open House
A day of events for the whole family! There’s an oral history presentation, a tour of the world’s first Yiddish museum, demonstrations in the reproduction Yiddish print shop, a talk by Aaron Lansky, a concert with the Schaechter Sisters and Binyumen, and it’ll be an amazing time!

Computers:

Thursday, October 20th
Northampton Community TV [380 Elm St., Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
WordPress Developers and Admins
WordPress is the world’s most popular web framework, powering 26% of websites, everything from personal blogs to business websites. Do you own or administer a WordPress site? Are you a WordPress developer? Learn from other people in the Valley, and talk about WordPress! The room seats 20, so sign up on the Meetup page if you plan to come! http://www.meetup.com/wmasswebdev/events/234654923/

History:

Wednesday, October 19th
Greenfield Public Library [402 Main St, Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Music to Get Elected By: Wayne Haskin
A lecture and multimedia presentation about the history of American campaign music with Wayne Hankin, a nationally recognized music performer and educator! The presentation will trace the origins of our unique American genre, and will show major music events that shaped the American political landscape!

Kids:

Monday, October 17th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Rad Women Worldwide
A new collection of 40 biographical profiles from the authors of bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z! Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl tell inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched biographies with powerful cut-paper portraits. Featuring figures from Hatshepsut to Malala Yousafzi to Poly Styrene, this book is a compelling addition to women’s history. The authors will be there to read, sign, and answer questions!
Saturday, October 22nd
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St., Sunderland, MA] at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Meet a Therapy Dog!
Meet Cynthia Hinckley and her extraordinary Therapy Dog Lily! Learn what Therapy Dogs do, find out how they’re trained, and discover where these special dogs visit! Heck if you’ve got a particularly awesome doggie, maybe they’ll be a candidate to be a great Therapy dog!

Movies:

Tuesday, October 18th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Scary Movies for Teens
Are you a teen? Do you like scary movies? Join other scary teens and watch scary films in a scary library! Wait no it’s a normal library. Still, fun times!
Wednesday, October 19th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Watch the classic tale of a gaudily-dressed serial murderer who definitely seems to kill like 90% of the people in the movie but then everyone’s cool with it? Roald Dahl was a really odd children’s book author yeah? The late great Gene Wilder makes this role his own, and it’s a really amazing movie. All are welcome to this free screening!
Thursday, October 20th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Film Screening: Bernadette
A portrait of the Irish dissident and political activist, Bernadette Devlin, by artist Duncan Campbell. She was instrumental in a lot of the most contentious years of modern Irish political history, and helped form the Irish Republican Socialist Party and supported prisoner rights.
Sunday, October 23rd
Amherst Cinema [28 Amity St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM
Forbidden Planet
See a one-time showing of an absolutely classic bit of science-fiction! It’s loosely based on The Tempest, and it’s just really damned good. It also stars Leslie Nielsen in the only serious role you’re likely to watch him play!

Science:

Monday, October 17th
FPH Main Lecture Hall [893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Theory of Brain Network Control: First-Principles Computations and Ethical Considerations. A Lecture by Dr. Danielle Bassett
Dr. Danielle Bassett is the Skirkanich Professor of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania and she’s the youngest person to ever be awarded a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant! She’ll talk about how the “network control theory” of mental functioning might provide us with a better way of anticipating the effect of targeted interventions into mental functioning, and damned if it isn’t super neat this is happening in town she’s a big deal!
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Researching your French Canadian Ancestors
By 1900, one third of Holyoke’s population was of French Canadian descent. This evening’s special guest Pauline Cusson, editor of the journal American-Canadian Genealogist, will share her expertise in the field of French Canadian genealogical research, drawing on both U.S. and Quebec resources. We don’t think we’re French Canadian, but French Canada is real neat.

October 10th – October 16th

The Valley Nerd Watch!


Wow! Tons of neat events this week, over thirty! Be sure to check out Nerd Nite NoHo, because it’s excellent and everyone has a great time and it’s the third anniversary this week! It’s going to be about toxoplasmosis, diversity, and tropical bird conservation!

We just had a chance to check out the Puzzled Escape Games room at Eastworks and dang if that wasn’t a great time! We’ll have a more comprehensive review of it later this week but wow, it was honestly just fun. All the good bits of an adventure game shoved into an hour, and the hosts were quite nice.

It’s pretty well-paced to deliver epiphanies and we had more than a few moments where we screamed in glee at newly revealed features of the room! Super great, highly recommended. We hadn’t realized it was a local operation until looking up the site, either! Neat!

We also want to alert you to a few ongoing Kickstarters we’ve been alerted to by locals:

Broker – a quick party card game about trying to keep a straight face while you cheat your undies off!

A.E.G.I.S – a quick fun tactical combat game where the gimmick is that your units can combine together like Voltron to become more powerful!

Rise Up: The Game of People and Power – a game about building successful social movements to create positive change!

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:

Thursday, October 13th
Mead Art Museum [41 Quadrangle Dr, Amherst, MA 01002] at 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Materiality at the Mead with scientist Bruce Kaiser
Bruce Kaiser, chief scientist at the Bruker Corporation, will explain the process of X-ray Florencent testing using the Mead’s bronze sculptures by A. Phimister Proctor. He’ll explain the tool’s value to the field of art conservation and how it advances understanding! Science and art, together and loving it!
Friday, October 14th
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Mask by Jenni Sussman Opening Reception
Jenni Sussman will be displaying her collection of paintings that question early photographs and the people depicted therein! What’s on display and what remains hidden, and why? She’s a regionally recognized artist living and working in delightful Northampton!
Smith College Museum of Art [20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063] at 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Free Second Friday
Do you love museums but not like $5 love museums? This is the night for you! For real it’s an amazing museum and you can visit it and do some activities for free this Friday!
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Arts Night Out Reception: Fractal Art by Bob LaClair, Diorama by Judith Abraham
Judith looks justifiably proud of her diorama, you should check that out. It’s neat and it’s got a bunch of tiny books in it, mimicking the larger books on display around the library! Also fractals are never not cool, math is great. Add Forbes to a fun Arts Night Out!
Saturday, October 15th
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Northampton Community Music Center Family Concert Series: The Return of the Flannery Brothers
For just $5 you and your kids can see some real fun songsters sing delightful songs!

Board Games:

Wednesday, October 12th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Games for Teens
Teens only! But they can be any type of teen. Tall, short, fire-type, steel-type, paladin… any combination of teen traits are cool to play boardgames together and have a fun time!
Saturday, October 15th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Palmer Scholastic Chess Tournament
There are 4 sections, K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. It’s a 4-round Swiss System with a trophy to everyone who’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each section and entry is free! Bring a set and a clock if you’ve got them, and a bagged lunch!
Sunday, October 16th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday Heroclix!
Sundays are for hero-clicking! This time you should create a team entirely out of people who wear tiaras! That means at a minimum Wonder Woman and Luke Cage!

Books:

Tuesday, October 11th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Okey Ndibe, author of Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American
A fascinating and hilarious look at a journey to a new place, Okey Ndibe talks about his fear of encountering the obviously common threat according to American movies of black-hat gunslingers and the fact that after he made it to New England where he learned actually no it’s winter that’s trying to kill you.
Wednesday, October 12th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
One City One Story: The Faery Handbag
Pick up a copy of a fantasy novelette, the Faery Handbag, or read it for free online, then join in a discussion! You can read it here: https://bostonbookfest.org/one-city-one-story/
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Tracy Kidder, A Truck Full of Money
Soul of the New Machine, only about Kayak that travel website that you maybe use but was bought for two BILLION dollars. It’s primarily focused on a biographical account of Paul English, who came up with the site, and how he dealt with the aftermath of stupendous success. Tracy will be there to read excerpts and answer questions!
Thursday, October 13th
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Margot Livesey, author of Mercury: A Novel
Two people have complex and emotionally affecting life moments dealing with a lot things! Donald Stevenson is a disaffected eye doctor trying to stay the course and his wife Viv is a vibrant woman dealing with giving up her dreams when she encounters a horse, Mercury, who she thinks might be capable of making her a championship rider.
Friday, October 14th
Amherst College Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Did Emily Dickinson Really Exist? An Evening with Jerome Charyn
Now we weren’t even aware this was even a question but wow okay oh wait no no okay it’s just a provocative title folks she definitely did exist! Yay! It sounds like a great book of Dickinson scholarship, though! She seems like she was a real awesome person.
Odyssey Bookshop [9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
YA Panel: Dawn Kurtagich (And the Trees Crept In) and Dawn Metcalf (Twixt series)
Two authors of dark fiction, psychological horror, and romance will talk about you know all that sort of thing! It’ll be a good time, they both write neat stories and panel discussions are usually fun. Get some books signed and come with interesting questions prepared!
Saturday, October 15th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St, Sunderland, MA] at 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Book and Bake Sale
Buy books, buy treats, support a great local library. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done to improve this! Grocery-bags of books for only $7!
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art [125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Special Storytime: Angela DiTerlizzi
Angela DiTerlizzi will talk about her book Some Pets and read from it! There will also be adorable reading therapy dogs there!

Community:

Wednesday, October 12th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St, Sunderland, MA] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Drop-In FAFSA Help
College is incredibly expensive and it should be your goal to minimize that to any extent you are able. College debt follows you through the veil of death, it torments you beyond the dimensions we know. It’s a super good idea to get everything you can out of FAFSA!
Thursday, October 13th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Kids Voting in the Presidential Library
Who represents you? What’s voting about anyway? What does election cake taste like? Find out the answers to these questions, kids, and meet the mayor! Also kids talk to your parents before reading news about the current presidential election!

Computers:

Tuesday, October 11th
MYSTERY LOCATION at 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Functional Programming with CLojure – Monthly Full Stack Meetup
Learn how to put functional programming to work for you with lessons from local developer Jochen Rau! He’ll explain the basic concepts of functional programming like lazy evaluation and tail recursion and he’ll also walk you through a real-world web application! A great opportunity to get started on the path to a new skillset and ask questions of a professional!
Wednesday, October 12th
Last Call Media [136 West St., Suite 01, Northampton, MA 01060] at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Agile Methods Meetup
October is going to focus on Story Points, Velocity and #NoEstimates why is only one of these a hashtag do they mean the like social interaction that involved the hashtag or are we actually starting to hashtag conceptual things now? Mostly it’ll be a discussion of best practices around these concepts, and everyone’s quite nice and there’s pizza. Really, can’t recommend it enough to people who want to learn to use or learn to improve Agile development processes!

Entertainment:

Wednesday, October 12th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM
A Ukulele Renaissance with the Well Tempered Ukes
Experience five hundred years of history in song and experience those songs in the most majestic of string instruments: the UKE!
Thursday, October 13th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St, Sunderland, MA] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Laser Tag at the Library!
Shoot your friends with lasers in the library in what we have to say is a very weird turn to high-tech blood-sport on the part of the library.
Saturday, October 15th
Jones Library [43 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002] at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Slavery in the Valley: Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted
Robert H. Romer, physicist and historian, is a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Amherst College. He’ll discuss some of the enslaved people of the Valley and what they did to resist their masters. He’ll explain why it’s so important to remember those who lived in slavery in the Valley, invisible men and women of our colonial past.
Historic Northampton [46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060-2406] at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Wildsboro & Roberts Meadow Walk
Walk along Mosquito Hollow Road with John Clapp to check out the cellar holes, stone walls and stone lined wells of the former residents of Wildsboro, a long-forgotten neighborhood located withing the larger village of Roberts Meadow. Get a peek at the secrets of a town lost to time!

Kids:

Thursday, October 13th
Palmer Public Library [1455 N Main St, Palmer, MA 01069] at 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
3 & 4 Year Old Storytime
Take your kids to story time to delight their imaginations!
Friday, October 14th
Sunderland Public Library [20 School St, Sunderland, MA] at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Fire Prevention Story Time
Fire fighter Megan Ahearn from the Sunderland Fire Department will share stories with you and you’ll get to see a real fire truck! You’ll also learn how to prevent fires and what to do in the case of a fire. This is adorable AND useful!

Movies:

Tuesday, October 11th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke, MA 01040] at 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Scary Movies for Teens
They’re PG-13 at maximum so scary is less likely than funny/creepy but hey that sounds like a danged nice time as well!

RPGs:

Friday, October 14th
Chesterfield Scout Reservation [22 Sugar Hill Rd., Chesterfield, MA] at 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Sins of a Nation LARP Game 2
A “Full Metal Fantasy” full-weekend LARP! Basically you adventure on expeditions into an ancient and ruined kingdom. You can get more information here! https://www.facebook.com/SinsSixthKingdom Start thinking up your character now!
Saturday, October 15th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
D&D Storm King’s Thunder GIANT ADVENTURE
Another GIANT ADVENTURE against the GIANTS! It’s a full day of gaming for only $20, which includes pizza and a soft drink. Hours of fun fighting giants AND food? Good gracious. The attendance is strictly limited to the first 15 signups so pre-register with Modern Myths as soon as you can!

Science:

Monday, October 10th
The World War 2 Club [50 Conz St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Nerd Nite NoHo 3rd Anniversary!
It’s an anniversary bash! Giveaways, treats, and most important of all three amazing presenters! Daniel Vahaba will talk about terrifying/interesting cat disease toxoplasmosis, Presley Pizzo will talk about the power and utility of diversity in a diverse array of situations, and Zeke Jakub will talk about how conservation efforts for birds in Argentina affect us here in the Valley, and vice versa! It’s going to be great tell your friends to come.
Thursday, October 13th
The Nacul Center [592 Main St., Amherst] at 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Matthew Boyer – Unprotected Pollination: How Pollinators Transmit Plant Diseases
Learn about how our little pollinator friends can be hijacked to transmit disease to the plants they pollinate! That’s so sad, they just want delicious pollen, they didn’t mean to hurt a plant. Poor bumblebees!

Video Games:

Thursday, October 13th
Moriarty’s Pub and Grille [755 Liberty St., Springfield, MA 01104] at 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
The Pub Brawl: Super Smash Bros Tournament
A second tournament to follow the successful first outing! There’s two setups for a Super Smash Bros Wii U tournament and another setup for a PS3! There are cheap drinks, snacks, and good times! There’s also a $5 cover, and an $8 fee to enter the tournament officially. The winner gets a cash prize and a chance to fight the reigning champion! Sounds like a lovely time if we’ve ever heard of one.
Saturday, October 15th
Toyota Oakdale Theatre [95 South Turnpike Road, Wallingford, CT] at 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Retro World Expo: New England’s Classic Gaming Expo
The second annual celebration of classic and retro gaming will include an auction, cosplay contest, freeplay arcade and consoles, panels, bands, and tournaments! It’s jam-packed with fun! Check out the meetup to join other locals! http://www.meetup.com/thepvg/events/234339172/

Playing Zephyr Workshop’s A.E.G.I.S.

A.E.G.I.S, coming soon from Greenbriar Games! Not just an annoying as heck name to type, also a great game that was fun times when we got to play it recently at the co-working space Zephyr Workshop calls home.

So we’ve always been huge fans of tactical strategy games, on account of basically having thought we were secret geniuses since we were little kids. There’s something immensely satisfying about thinking about how you’re going to trick another person or best a computer and then seeing everything play out according to your plan. And since Chess seemed wicked boring every time we tried to play it we gravitated toward things that included magical powers or giant robots or huge wars.

The thing is, tactics games that aren’t on the computer tend to cost enormous amounts of money, require ridiculous amounts of time, and generally are closed off to all but the most invested players. And we’re fans of lots of games, which means that getting intensely into a single game kind of cuts into our desire to play literally everything. A.E.G.I.S. is a refreshing change from what we’re used to in tabletop tactics.

Without dumbing down the gameplay, A.E.G.I.S. provides a simple to pick up battle system that’s fast to play through. Our first game with it took about 30-40 minutes start to finish, including pauses for explanations of the rules.

The basic hook is this: it’s a strategy game where your team is Voltron or a bunch of Zords, depending on when you grew up. Or well,  Definitely-Not-Voltron-or-a-Megazord-So-Don’t-Sue-Please we suppose. Each little robot on your team has a store of energy that it contributes to the entire team, as well as individual health points, attacks, and special abilities. In order to move or attack with your robots you spend energy, 1 for one to move and varying amounts for each attack. In general, you can basically only move or attack with a limited number of your team in a single turn. If your energy drops low enough, you’re out of the game.

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Each class of robot is a pretty simple archetype, good at one basic concept with a little variation between each individual bot. G or guard type are tough little buggers with a bunch of health but no reliable attacks and plodding movement speed. E or evasive type are quick as heck and can usually fly over obstacles but are vulnerable and can be hit hard by anything with anti-air. Each class is useful for certain tasks, but comes with significant drawbacks.

But because you’re Voltons/Zords, at any time, you can combine two or more robots into a single bigger robot. The big robots usually have significantly more useful abilities, stronger attacks, fewer weaknesses, and can usually do something special the same turn you create them. The thing is, they contribute less energy to the team and have lower health total than the individual robots that combined to create them. Which means suddenly you’ve got a lot less room to maneuver when it comes to spending energy and getting hurt, so all your attacks had better count.

There’s a pleasant tension between the adaptability afforded to you when you’re fielding a full team of robots and the extra firepower provided by a super-bot. In particular the “on-combination” moves for certain combined bots give you a reason to plan your play a few moves ahead. If you can get a couple potshots off with these 3 robots this turn, then when they combine next turn their special ability will let them hit everyone at once and take out a bunch of bots at the same time!

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We also got to see a fun effect of the various “push/pull” abilities that bots have, when during our game creator Breeze Grigas tried out a strategy of having one of his robots toss another into the middle of the map before having it zip back to the safety of the starting positions. It almost got us, but we were able to force a confrontation near a corner of some Line of Sight blocking mountains that allowed us to combine several bots, use the free activation ability to zip forward and attack, and then zip back behind the lines with our spare energy. And the best part was that it involved one of the robots damaged by his clever little opening gambit, so we got to negate that damage at the same time as zapping one of his bots! After that it was all downhill for him, probably mostly because he was taking it easy on us. Still, we felt like geniuses, which is the point of this sort of game.

We are excited as heck for this to get a wide release, and we look forward to a tactics game that doesn’t take hundreds of dollars and three spare hours to play. If you think this sounds fun too, why not take a look at the free print-and-play version?

FULL DISCLOSURE: Breeze took us out for a nice lunch, which may have powerfully influenced our opinion of this game in manners inconceivable to us.