Spotlight: Film and theater at Northampton Community Arts Trust; Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band at the Iron Horse

  • A scene from “Get Me Lionel” Image courtesy A.P.E., Ltd.

  • Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Image by Tyler Zoller Photography

Published: 11/29/2018 5:16:23 PM

Film and theater at the Community Arts Trust building

Since opening the doors to its new theatrical “flex” space earlier this fall, Northampton’s Community Arts Trust at 33 Hawley Street has been making good on promises to bring a variety of programming to its building.

This coming week, that trend continues with a presentation of four short films by local filmmakers and a four-day run of a new play by the Valley theater collective Real Live Theatre.

The short films, collectively running about 75 minutes, will be screened Monday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. by  A.P.E., Ltd. and cover a range of topics. “Time to Go,” by Rio Contrada, is a semi-fictional piece about an older man battling dementia and reliving his past; the film is based on the life of Contrada’s father, Fred, the longtime Valley journalist who died earlier this month from a degenerative neurological condition.

“Get Me Lionel,” by Jason Mazzotta, is a mostly dialogue-free mystery, while “Landlord,” by Dylan Kaufman, Keanu Burke and Merle O’Neal, is a dark comedy about a new tenant who finds a surprise guest at her apartment on move-in day. Nicholas Verdi, meantime, will screen a short section of his untitled science-fiction film.

From Thursday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 9, the Northampton Center for the Arts will feature Real Live Theatre’s latest production, “When Last We Flew,” a story the ensemble describes as “a reflection, a holding, a celebration of black, brown, queer, and activist youth coming into their various identities while navigating family, relationships, and seeking connection.”

Written by Harrison David Rivers, “When Last We Flew” follows “misfit teenager” Paul, who steals his local library’s only copy of “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s landmark play about AIDS and homosexuality in America, and holes up in his bathroom to read it. As Paul and his friends in a small Kansas community are about to discover, life is not going to be the same for them, as “over the course of a seemingly ordinary day, extraordinary things start to happen.”

The cast is made up mostly of young people from Holyoke, Springfield, Amherst and Northampton (and New York state and Indiana), and direction is by Ellen Morbyne of Holyoke and Trenda Loftin of Springfield.

Tickets for “When Last We Flew” range from $10 to $25; a $5 donation is requested for the screening of the four short films on Dec. 3. For more information, visit and


Gutbucket country blues and bib overalls

“I never trained at Berkeley, I never went to music school,” Reverend Peyton sings on his tune ‘Front Porch Trained.’ “I never took a lesson from anyone famous or cool.” Then comes the chorus, accompanied by a stinging slide guitar riff: “I’m front porch trained.”

Though he grew up in Indiana, and his introduction to music came from his father’s rock albums, Peyton soon enough was drawn to country blues singers from the South like Mississippi John Hurt and Bukka White and old-style fingerpicked guitar and bottleneck slide.

He’ll bring his so-called “Big Damn Band” to Northampton’s Iron Hall Music Hall Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. for a show that offers a visual complement to his retro sound: Peyton sports a beard that would do a Confederate soldier proud, and he often plays in a pair of bib overalls. His wife, Breezy, plays a washboard, while drummer Max Senteney’s sparse kit includes a five-gallon maple syrup bucket.  

That’s the whole band — that and Peyton’s collection of vintage guitars, with the group offering a biting sound that harkens back to the early days of Chess Records. Big Eyed Rabbit opens the show. Visit for tickets and more information.

— Steve Pfarrer



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