Nothing to do this weekend in Western Massachusetts? Not so!

Aug. 10, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

So what are you doing this weekend? We have three major entertainment events, plus the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show at the Big E. See my story on the Dining and Entertainment page.

The latter is where I’ve obtained the fossilized bones I have on my desk at work. I enjoy it when people have asked if they are human. Of course, I always say, “Yes.”

One of the ongoing complaints about Western Massachusetts is that there is “nothing to do.” We naturally don’t have the critical mass of venues that Boston or New York City has, but that doesn’t mean we’re taking Mary Lou over to the county seat for a milkshake and a chance to spoon on the way back as entertainment.

 If you add the events that take place in Northampton, the Berkshires and the Greenfield area in the summer to what is happening in Hampden County, the result is a pretty active schedule.

I have on my desk a calendar sent to me by the folks at the Big E that lists all of the events they host on their grounds throughout the year. It’s impressive and varied.

My friend Brian Hale at the Bing Arts Center offers an equally impressive schedule of art exhibits and musical events at that venue and the Springfield Museums is very active as well in giving us plenty to consider.

Despite all of the events that could fill your calendar, I will readily admit we do suffer from some shortages. The first one that jumps out at me is a venue for live original music.

I applaud Theodore’s for being a showcase for great blues and roots music in Springfield and I wish there were more places for that kind of music. I mourn the death of the Stearns Square concerts that provided some great bands free of charge to the masses and were an integral part of the summer for years in Springfield and the region.

I also appreciate White Lion Wednesdays and Thunderbird Thursdays for providing opportunities for socializing in downtown Springfield, that also includes live music.

More music in more venues would be a great way to increase our music scene here, which would be a tool for economic development.

Of course as a film guy, I wish we had an art house theater in town, or at least for the theater at Eastfield Mall to show it has the spirit of adventurous programming by devoting one screen to independent product. When you have multiple screens it’s not that big a deal to devote one to something other than big Hollywood product.

Now, I’m hoping MGM Springfield will be open to the idea at its movie theater to have such films. I’m not sure how many screens they are going to have, but again having one dedicated to smaller movies would be welcomed. Would they need a consultant to program that screen? A former independent theater manager? I’ll dust off my resume.

This time of year is a difficult time to make the argument that we do not have an entertainment scene.

Mike’s helpful hints to candidates: Hint Number 213
Here’s a little tip to candidates seeking statewide office, free of charge from the old reporter: if you’re going to be in Springfield, you should also hit Northampton, Greenfield and Pittsfield. Make a day of it. Don’t go zigzagging across the Commonwealth and don’t make the assumption that if you appear in Springfield that potential voters in those other communities I mentioned will be taking notice. You need to know a little about the mindset here in the four western counties.

If you find this advice useful, send me a cigar and you may want to speak to your current political consultant who told you to waste time and gasoline.

These are my words alone, so if you have an issue with them, write me at  

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