WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMHERST?

Photo: Wikimedia commons.

There are lots of interesting things happening in Amherst this fall. A small sample of select events follows.

Saturday, November. 2. UMass Chamber Choir. 7:30pm, Grace Church, 
14 Boltwood Ave, Amherst, Free and open to the public.Celebrating Tony Thornton’s 10th Anniversary as Director of Choral Activities.Music of Fauré, Brahms, Mozart, Palestrina, Matamoros & Elder: Ballade to the MoonFor a full listing of UMass Department of Music and Dance Events, look here.


Saturday, November 2. UMass DanceFest. 6:30 p.m. Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, Free and open to the public.
 A collection of performers from Dhadak, Minutemen Dancers, Hip-Hop Culture Organization, Pulse Dance Company, K-Pop Dance Club, Indian Classical Arts Society, and the Stage Crew Dance Team present a festival of student dance.For a full listing of UMass Department of Music and Dance Events, look here.

Monday, November 4.  6:45-9:00 PM.  Amherst Affordable Housing Forum.   A public forum entitled Act Locally to Create Affordable Housing is scheduled for Monday, November 4 in the Social Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst.  The event is organized by the League of Women Voters of Amherst, the Amherst Coalition for Affordable Housing, and the Amherst Municipal AffordableHousing Trust.. The forum will focus on current housing problems in Amherst, gather support for a town-adopted affordable housing policy,  and examine other initiatives for the development of affordable housing.  State representative, Mindy Domb and State Senator Jo Comerford will offer their perspectives from the State House, presenting on both pending legislation and recent budget changes at the state level which could affect affordable housing locally. There will also be an update on the state of housing and homelessness in Amherst and how this affects the town and its residents. After the formal presentations, attendees will break into small groups to discuss improving affordability and availability of housing in Amherst and to suggest plans to achieve these goals.

Tuesday November 5.  Election Day. Polls open 7:00 AM – 8:00 PMFor the League of Women Voters Election Guide, listing polling places and candidates’ statements,  look here. For Amherst Indy’s candidates’ for School committee statements look here , for candidates’ statements for Library Trustee look here .

Wednesday, November 6. Celebration of the Arts in Amherst. 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at Bistro 63.  Food, panelists and live art demonstrations at this free event. Panelists: Michel Moushabeck, Publisher/Editor @ Interlink Publishing, Amanda Herman, Education Curator @ UMCA, Danielle Amodeo, Marketing/Public Programs @ Mead Art Museum,Lisa Thompson, Associate Director, A.P.E. Gallery.  LIVE ART DEMONSTRATIONS: Wouter Schievink of Rust Temple: Electro-Salt Water Etchings Naya Gabriel: Painting Demonstration.

Thursday, November 7. Marajuana: Opportunities and Challenges.  4-6 PM, Woodbury Room,  Jones Library. Hear from Town of Amherst Economic Development Director Geoff Kravitz about the status of retail marijuana locations in Amherst as well as Amherst Town Councilor Alisa Brewer reporting out on her work on the Cannabis Control Commission’s Municipal Working Group on Social Consumption. RiSE Amherst will have information about their North Amherst medical and recreational retail facility.

Thursday November 7. Public Forum on Town Budget. 6-8 PM. Town Room, Town Hall. A public discussion on the financial condition of the town will be held on Thursday, November 7th at 6 p.min the Town Room of Town Hall.  It will be followed, at 7 PM by a public forum on the town budget.The discussion at 6 PM, referred to as the Financial Indicators Meeting, is the first step in building the FY21 budget for the Town and the schools. (In previous years, this has been called the “Four Boards” meeting.) Members of the Town Council, Library Board of Trustees, and elementary and regional School Committees will be in attendance. The public is welcome to attend to listen to the presentation by the Town Manager and finance staff. The public forum that follows will afford the public and opportunity to comment on the budget, on town spending priorities, and on reports made in the Financial Indicators meeting.  These public forums are mandated by Section 5.3 of the Amherst Charter. Past and current budget information can be found here

Thursday November 7. Amherst Arts Night. 5-8 PM in Downtown Amherst. Amherst Arts Night Plus is a free cultural event held in and around downtown Amherst, MA. Each first Thursday of every month, from 5-8PM, participating venues host gallery openings, concerts, lectures, and other creative events. For more information, look here.

Friday November 8- Sunday, November 10VISIONS OF LABOR CONFERENCE AND FILM FESTIVAL.  UMass Campus Center. The UMass Labor Center invites you to join us November 8-10 for an exciting event, Visions of Labor: Film and Worker Voices. Together, as workers and social justice activists, we will watch and discuss new and classic labor films, along with worker-created videos, as we explore the power of worker stories and how these stories can be used to inspire reflection and spur creative action. You’ll also have the opportunity to get a sneak preview of a major labor film in-progress, and hear from the film’s award-winning director. The films and videos shown will reflect the diversity of the labor movement and working people, and our discussions together will highlight the many ways in which worker voices can be effectively heard.  For a full program and film schedule look here.

Saturday November 9. Saturday Family Science: Tons of Seeds.
Hitchcock Center for the Environment.  845 West Street. 10-11 AM. The Hitchcock Center is open to families and the community second Saturdays of the month, September thru June from 9am-1pm. Stop by to explore our building, talk with an educator, read a book with your kids or grandkids in our visitor center, and join us for one of our family science programs from 10-11am. Designed for children with their parents, these programs will explore cool topics in nature. November 9: Tons of Seeds Even the largest oak tree begins its life as a tiny seed. For this Saturday Science we’ll be learning all about seeds, what they need, and the tricks plants use to keep them safe and spread them far and wide. Register here:

Sunday, November 10th.  Poetry Reading. 4:00pm at Amherst Books.
The Indy’s Terry Johnson will read from her second poetry collection, Plunge, set in Italy during & after World War II.   Johnson began her career as a concert harpsichordist before finding her true calling as a sixth grade public school teacher.   She received an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts & has published in numerous journals and anthologies.   Johnson loves to travel and still hopes to master the subjunctive tense in Italian. — See here for more information. 

Monday November 11.  Can We Save Democracy and the Rule of Law: Is Impeachment the Solution?  7:00 at the Amherst Women’s Club, 35 Triangle St.  Austin Sarat, Amherst College professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science will speak. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Thursday, November 14, 8-10 PM. FICTION READING: OCEAN VUONG. (UMass best selling author and McArthur Fellow).  at The Old Chapel at UMass. Hosted by UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers and UMass Amherst Libraries.  Free, accessible and open to the public.

Tuesday November 19.  Book Discussion: Democracy in Chains. https://www.umass.edu/history/event/book-discussion-group-democracy-chains-0Jones Library, Woodbury Room.  7-8 PM.  Join the Jones Library’s Civics and Democracy Series, the UMass Amherst History Department and the Center for Popular Economics for a community discussion of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” by award-winning historian Nancy MacLean.  Democracy in Chains is an explosive exposé of the little-known thinker behind the radical right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution. A finalist for the National Book Award, it has been described by Publishers Weekly as “a thoroughly researched and gripping narrative… [and] a feat of American intellectual and political history.” Booklist called it “perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.”

The conversation will be facilitated by economist and educator Francisco Perez of the Center for Popular Economics.  Copies of the book are available at the Jones Library, through the CWMars Library System and at your friendly neighborhood bookseller.

Tuesday, November 19. 7-9 PM. Discussion- Amplifying Hate: White Supremacy and Social Media/ Tuesday,.  Bangs Community Center. Karuna Center for Peacebuilding and Critical Connections are co-convening the discussion series “Understanding the Many Dimensions of White Identity: Politics, Power, and Prejudice,” to explore the history, prevalence, and resurgence of political action based in white identity. This series will examine how white identity has the power to shape violent movements, as well as the root causes, fears, and prejudices that allow white supremacist ideology to exist in its less visible dimensions. Speakers will analyze the manifestation of white supremacist ideology in recent elections and voting patterns, and the pervasiveness of hate speech in social mediawhile discussing means to address these trends, including by understanding our communities’ own role in either perpetuating or countering harmful systems and ideologies. People of all racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds are encouraged and welcomed to attend. Each event will also allow ample opportunity for discussion and dialogue with speakers and among attendees. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.  On November 19 join Dr. Whitney Phillips (Syracuse University), who will discuss how white supremacist groups have used social media platforms to incite violence against communities of color and the challenges inherent in curbing online hate speech. ​

Thursday November 21.  Economics for People and the Planet,  a Book Reading with James Boyce.  Amherst Books. 8 Main Street.  7 PM.

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