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Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 10.25.07



BEST OF EUGENE 2007: Tightrope Walkers and Trapeze Artists | Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll |Eat Freaks | The Incredible Shrinking Wallet | Sights, Sounds, Scribbles Everything Else Under the Big Top | Trap Door | We're So Vain | Staff Picks | Best of the Ballots

Sights, Sounds, Scribbles

BEST BLOG

1. Mr. Random's Blog of Randomness

2. Jeffrey Morgenthaler

3. The Crema

Blogs are cool, no matter what you haters say. In Eugene, these blogs are coolest: Mr. Random retains the top spot with his Blog of Randomness, which mostly relates to music one way or the other but also talks about things like Random's vacation from MySpace and his appreciation of LOLcats (oh, we approve!); Jeffrey Morgenthaler comes in second with his fantastic guide to all things bar- and drink-related, which offers recipes for food and cocktails, recommended reading and some lovely photography; and the Wandering Goat staff's The Crema picks up third with their group blog, low on text but full of funky pictures and links.

 

BEST WRITER OR JOURNALIST

1. Bob Welch, The Register-Guard

2. Serena Markstrom, The Register-Guard

3. Sally Sheklow, Eugene Weekly

Aaaaaand after one year of EW dominance (a year in which we topped both the Best Writer and Best Journalist categories, since combined into one), Bob Welch returns to rule his readers' hearts. Rounding out the gang are Ticket writer Serena Markstrom, making her first appearance on the polls (we liked the guy who clearly couldn't remember Markstrom's last name, writing in "Serena Williams" instead), and last year's winner, our own Sally Sheklow, in third.

 

BEST VISUAL ARTIST

Jerry Wagner
Tom Bodhi Reeves

1. TIE: Tom Bodhi Reeves / Jerry Wagner

2. Kiki Metzler

3. TIE: Ellen Gabehart / Adam Grosowsky / Dan Hitchcock / Kari Johnson / Marlis

Oh, Eugene, Eugene, Eugene. You're so cute. You're so … alternative. You vote in two artists who embody the, er, edge that we like to cultivate. Tom Bodhi Reeves takes photos of Burning Man. Yes, it's true, and furthermore, his website/blog says of this year's festival that the moon "modulated the techno into oblivion through intense vibrations." Actually, we want to quote the entire thing ("The moon hid in our shadow as we few lay on the floor of the sapphire portal"), but the man does have an eye for the sweep of the majesterial desert, and his photos of Thailand aren't too shabby either.

Then there's tie winner Jerry Wagner, a painter and poet, who says on his site, "my name is jerry wagner, i have no formal art training. i am completely self-taught and completely naked while i type this." He adds that he paints naked as well, which is at least better than Renoir saying that he painted with his penis, no? And his graphic novel/punkish/graffiti-tinged and color-drenched sensibilities clearly attract many a Eugenean to his Crumb-like work. Coming in second, Kiki Metzler — whose studio is a staple stop on the Last Friday Artwalk — also reflects a Eugene hallmark: strong women who promote the peaceful and loving bonds between humans and nature.

 

BEST PERFORMING ART GROUP

1. Lord Leebrick Theatre

2. Actors Cabaret of Eugene

3. TIE: Very Little Theatre / Samba Ja

Lord Leebrick doesn't claim to be a professional theater, but it does pay its designers, actors and staff members. The Leebrick doesn't have a huge space, but it has a huge heart (hosting free theater night each year and supporting community groups with the use of its space) and an outsized ambition for producing works of reach and courage, like Assassins, Frozen and the upcoming I Am My Own Wife. The Leebrick might only be in its 16th season, but it has transformed theater in Eugene. We retired the "Best Live Theater" category a few years back because the Leebrick won eight years in a row — there wasn't really any competition, according to our readers — but just as soon as we cracked open the performing arts door this year, votes for the Leebrick started pouring in and didn't stop until the last second of balloting. What, you people like thoughtful, incisive work in an intimate space? And thanks to the second and third-place winners, we know that you also appreciate the family-friendly musicals of ACE and the glories both of the Very Little Theatre and Samba Ja.

 

BEST RADIO SHOW OR DJ

The Donkey Show

1. The Donkey Show (KFLY 101.5 FM)

2. Vinne & Icky (KNRQ 97.9 FM)

3. TIE: Breakfast With the Blues (KRVM 91.9 FM) / DJ Jimbo (KWVA 88.1 FM)

Apparently, donkey shows aren't as taboo as we thought. Drew and Tanner over at KFLY 101.5 have warmed the hearts of Eugene listeners with their bro-tastic social commentary and savvy taste in serious hard rock music that conjures up vivid memories for those who once teased their hair, adorned themselves in flannel or still think that Linkin Park has a career. Basically, Bret Michaels wishes he had enough street cred to get a spot on this afternoon show. It's a gem: full of belches, Pamela Anderson fantasies involving hepatitis C and giveaways like cage-fighting tickets — and that's all in one day.

 

BEST STOP ON THE FIRST FRIDAY ARTWALK

1. DIVA

2. New Zone Artist Collective

3. Opus6ix

Eugeneans go to the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (how's that for a nicely wrapped mission statement!) for a one-stop experience for the senses and, occasionally, the intellect. Its quirkiness (the center's MySpace page lists Alabama as its location) combined with its collectivist roots (DIVA relies on membership dues, volunteers and donations) makes it easy to dismiss the center as so Eugene. But to dismiss DIVA would be to dismiss the entire notion that an arts community can, and should, have a thriving center in the heart of its downtown. In addition to showing art in five galleries, the center hosts seminars, classes, workshops, film screenings, panel discussions and a handful of film festivals. But the real reason we suspect readers picked DIVA for this category? Their food platters are always stacked high and the wine is poured with friendly winks.

 

BEST STOP ON THE LAST FRIDAY ARTWALK

1. Wandering Goat Organic Coffee Roasters

2. G Spot/House of Willis

3. Feinstein's Museum of Unfine Art