Local Architect John Kuhn Defends His New Amherst Office Building In the Third Episode of LBR

Discussed in this episode of LBR: What is the fate of Amherst’s downtown? Can architecture help us imagine our future? How was the design for the first new office building to be built in Amherst in 30 years arrived at?

Tune in here, or find us on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Below, buildings mentioned in the podcast:


Gazette version of the new Kuhn-Riddle office building.


Original version of the new Kuhn-Riddle office building.


Alternative view of the new Kuhn-Riddle office building.


The Kendrick Place building, designed by Archipelago.


Rendering of 1 East Pleasant, designed by Archipelago.


Pompidou, a spanking new building in the middle of Paris, cited by Kuhn.


Table-top cathedral, designed by a six-year-old.

Second episode of Let’s Be Reasonable now online!

Be advised: the powerful second episode of the Amherst Live-sponsored podcast Let’s Be Reasonable is now online. In this episode, Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee member Vira Douangmany-Cage provides an after action report on the precipitous departure of ARSS superintendent Maria Geryk, and discusses the challenges of building trust on a deeply divided school committee.

Find the latest episode of Let’s Be Reasonable on iTunes or Stitcher, or, right here.

Amherst Live Launches New Podcast

We are very pleased to announce a new, Amherst Live-sponsored podcast called “Let’s Be Reasonable,” a hyperlocal podcast dedicated to one of the greatest challenges facing the people of the Pioneer Valley. Because let’s face it. Despite the Valley’s reputation as a bastion of enlightenment, it’s not easy being reasonable these days.

The first episode of Let’s Be Reasonable, available today, features an in-depth interview with Amherst-Pelham School Committee member Trevor Baptiste on the controversial departure of Maria Geryk from her role as superintendent of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district. Check it out! And don’t forget to subscribe to be notified of future episodes! Or else “like” us on Facebook!

TV Crew Wanted!

Amherst Live is at work on a new project—a nimble, compact, half-hour TV interview show reflecting the sophisticated sensibility of the Pioneer Valley—equal parts Charlie Rose and The Daily Show, with a dash of Portlandia.

Currently, we are looking for a crew:

3 camera operators
1 director
1 floor manager
1 sound person
1 lighting person
1 make-up/wardrobe person

Contact amherstlive@gmail.com to learn more.

The Drive-In is Nigh!

A few tickets remain for Amherst Live‘s “Highbrow at the Drive-In” event, featuring Terrence Malick’s “Badlands” and a little French number called “The Dinner Game” — plus a fever of poets to talk the sun down.

Get your tix here!

Date change for Highbrow at the Drive-In!

It has come to our attention that the initial scheduled date for the Amherst Live cinematic extravaganza at the Northfield Drive-In conflicts with another important event being offered by our good friends at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment: The Battle of the Botanicals — “an evening of botanically inspired cocktail and food pairings” at the newly renovated Powerhouse at Amherst College.


Be it known that in deference to the wonderful people at the Hitchcock Center, and to inspired cocktailry everywhere, Highbrow at the Drive-In will now take place on July 7. Tickets and info available here. And if you’ve got nothing going on June 9, consider checking out the Hitchcock event. It looks supertasty.

Amherst Live presents: Highbrow at the Drive-In

drive_in_theaterWHAT’S IN STORE

ONE incredible venue
TWO fine reminders of what great cinema looks like
SEVERAL uproarious poets
PLENTY of Prosecco*


98% critics score the Tomatometer
• “Among the great American crime movies, 1973’s Badlands stands alone.” —San Francisco Chronicle
• “In Terrence Malick’s cool, sometimes brilliant, always ferociously American film… Kit and Holly take an all-American joyride across the upper Middle West.” —New York Times

90% audience score on the Tomatometer
• “A sip of sparkling champagne in a moviegoing summer of mostly cheap red wine for teenage winos.” —New York Observer
• “The Dinner Game is the funniest film this season.” —San Francisco Chronicle


As we wait for dusk to fall, we will be regaled by some — but not too many — poets, who will show us what happens when you take cinema itself as your muse.


July 7, 2016
Northfield Drive-In Theatre
981 Northfield Road, Hinsdale, NH 03451
(One reasonably interesting conversation away from downtown Amherst)
Doors at 7:00p. Event commences 7:45ish. First movie begins at dusk.
Cinephiles will be gathering at 6:30p on the night in question at the Amherst Middle School parking lot for car-pooling and random high-fiving. Caravan departs at 6:45p, led by the Amherst Live poetry limo.
Rain or shine


1. You have never seen Terrence Malick’s Badlands.

You are done. Your decision is made. Buy your tickets now.

2. You have seen Terrence Malick’s Badlands, but not in a while, and certainly never at a drive-in, where the pines stand dark against the stars.

Again: Done. Get your tickets immediately.

3. You saw Terrence Malick’s Badlands last night, at a drive-in, where the pines stand dark against the stars.

Well, sure, but did you see it alongside a fun, frothy French film and the mad ravings of a squad of lubricated poets?


General Admission
$13 in advance. $15 at the gate, pending availability.

Poetry & Prosecco Package
$50 in advance only. The PPP entitles you to a debauched limo ride to and from the event in the company of our poets, together with certain quantities of Prosecco. Limo departs from the middle school parking lot at 6:45p sharp. Limited tickets available.


• Lawn chairs (so you can sit close — there will be subtitles)
• Bug repellent
• Refreshments of your choosing (Pairing tip: Prosecco + house fries)
• Sweatshirt and/or lap blanket
• Ticket stubs
• That wide-eyed childlike wonder


Camden Sound: providing professional sound engineering for live performance in the Valley!

Michael’s Limo: limousines for any occasion! (Limos, we feel, are a tragically underutilized luxury.)

Amherst Copy & Designworks: happiness guaranteed!

* VIP ticket holders only!

Live-Blogging the Parking Forum 2.0

Parking Forum 2.0 baby! It’s on!

First the good news: “We do believe this should require at least one more session.” Yes! Parking Forum 3.0! [OB]

We open with a word cloud. In which every word is the same size except for ‘parking’, ‘management’, and ‘system’. Which are larger. Still, the cloud imagery is calming. [OB]

The Unitarian is the ideal venue for a parking forum, it bears pointing out. What other denomination has the resilience to accommodate the subtleties and contradictions of parking? [OB]

Ah, talk now turns to the mythical 9-hour meters. Yes, they exist. They are out there. And color-coding them would certainly help make their location more obvious. But wouldn’t that also level the playing field rather too much? [OB]

Prominent ‘Parking’ signs expected to be completed by spring. This should help visitors, if not residents…

Talking of creating a visitor’s map of Amherst that highlights parking and other attractions. Paging Rhys Davies… [OB] http://bit.ly/1AJYG3q

Evidently there are areas that are ‘regulated by the absence of signs.’ This strikes one as a highly efficient form of regulation. Anyway, if there are no signs, you can park there. Assuming where the signs aren’t is on a street, presumably. [OB]

Here we go. The big ticket item. Talk of a new parking facility. Do we need it and where would it go. Must obtain new data. We think we have a lot of supply now but what of the future? May need to re-establish parking commission or parking committee to carry this forward. Don’t all jump up at once. [OB]

As for where… Confirmed that Boltwood Garage was constructed to support 2nd level. CVS lot another oppt. 1989-90 Facilities Study found that CVS lot was more suitable, but for a variety of reasons ‘which some of you are aware of’ (euphemism?) Boltwood was chosen instead. [OB]

Currently 328 rental units downtown. Adding 120 units, making up 4.5% of all town rental units downtown. Whatever this may mean… Anyway, parking forum 3.0 will be middle or end of March. Now, comment period! [OB]

Three comments in and Nick is already holding his head. Suffice to say that someone compared building a new parking garage to putting in a pipeline.

Tamsin Ely points out that the Mass Board of Library Commissioners recommends that public libraries have one parking place for each 400 sq ft of library space. Given current space, the Jones should have 200 parking places. If Jones is renovated, as is hoped, they’d need 300 places. If they can’t demonstrate they have parking, they have less chance of getting construction grant in which state would pay 50% of reno costs.

Dick Bentley. “You mentioned that plans for an earlier parking garage fell thru for reasons we’re all aware of. What is it we’re all aware of?” “It’s a long complicated answer,” is his answer. [OB]

We’ve lost Nick. After 20 years, he can’t hack it anymore. Parking forums are a young man’s game. [OB]

Mary Wentworth. We should have had all this discussion abt parking before the planning board decided to waive the parking requirements and allow these 2 huge buildings, with the 3rd abt to go up, in the downtown. I think the planning board and select board and town mgr must really be nuts to think that the residents of Amherst are going to pay tax money for the construction of a parking garage. It’s just not going to happen. [OB]

Sarah LaCour. BID director, town mtg member. We do need a garage, and it should be in the CVS lot. We can’t expect each new development to create their own parking. There’s simply no room to do that. If we did that we’d have no development of any kind. We have identified the need to put density in our village ctrs. That’s what we’re doing. And making sure we have parking to go w it is an important tandem step. [OB]

Final remarks include an older woman who is pushing public transport, and little electric cars. And a younger man who claims there’s a secret spot behind the Lone Wolf. Is he to be believed? I hope someone told Obama to postpone the SOTU… [OB]

And the winner is…

James Heflin takes home the 2nd Annual Amherst Live Poetry Prize!

Thanks to Matthew Duncan for his memorable performance of the poem Saturday night at the Kirby Theater, and to our audience for adjudicating the outcome. Here now is Heflin’s poem in full:

All West

At first I hardly noticed the itching of my heels.
I thought “bad socks” or “uh-oh! Fungus!”
I spotted a silver tip, subtle, undeniable,
nudging its way through the skin.
I thought, “What fair light in yonder window breaks now?!”

It wasn’t long till a couple more showed.
It got a little tough to explain my pacing
to the ladies in Accounts Receivable.
At last, upon flinging off my Florsheims,
the gig was up. Spurs. Silver. Clanky.

I’m not one to jump to conclusions,
but this struck me as unusual.
Why would I, so far from the prairie,
grow these rustic appendages?

No one seemed to catch the gleam beneath my cuffs,
but the itching wouldn’t stop.
Soon it was boots,
pointy-toed and creaky.
I was polishing like mad
all morning and night.
I figured a meeting with the gentleman
in the executive suite wasn’t far away.
Whispers filled the cubicles when I clunked by.

Soon enough, chaps sprouted and my knees spread.
A handlebar moustache waxed into curls that couldn’t be stopped.
My buckle weighed heavy and I pulled my Stetson low.
Somewhere out there I knew
was a cowboy fire and a cowboy cook,
and a cowboy airing out his feet while the cattle bedded down.

“Not long now,” I said to the horse, “it’s all West from here.”