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September 22, 2016 01:00 AM

Eugene tech torchbearer Cale Bruckner had Middle Earth in mind four years ago when he dreamed up the term “Silicon Shire,” because of course he did. And he was correct if he thought it would strike the precise subliminal chords to produce charming pastoral visions of prosperity, while shoving Silicon Valley pitfalls out of the mental picture.

Bruckner himself got his start at Eugene’s Palo Alto Software before graduating from the University of Oregon in ’96. He launched the Silicon Shire online tech directory in 2012 to promote local tech companies and capture graduating talent from UO, Oregon State University and Lane Community College and keep it here.

At the time, California-based businesses were snatching the brightest tech-bulbs out of the lower Willamette Valley before the ink on their diplomas dried, Bruckner says. He wanted local up-and-comers to see what they were missing in and around Eugene before making up their minds.

Eugene tech torchbearer Cale Bruckner had Middle Earth in mind four years ago when he dreamed up the term “Silicon Shire,” because of course he did. And he was correct if he thought it would strike the precise subliminal chords to produce charming pastoral visions of prosperity, while shoving Silicon Valley pitfalls out of the mental picture.

September 22, 2016 01:00 AM

Made of almost 200 illuminated glass panels lined with 120 specialized lights, the “Radiance Dome” is approximately 40 feet across and 20 feet tall. It’s crystal clear when the lights are off, but when the lights flicker on, it glows in swirling psychedelic patterns.

Yona Appletree and Wayne Skipper, co-founders of Eugene art-tech fusion company Light at Play, just came back from famed alt-culture gathering Burning Man, where they displayed the dome. Their work has appeared around the country, from Nevada to Washington, D.C., and soon it may appear in front of local cannabis shops.

Made of almost 200 illuminated glass panels lined with 120 specialized lights, the “Radiance Dome” is approximately 40 feet across and 20 feet tall. It’s crystal clear when the lights are off, but when the lights flicker on, it glows in swirling psychedelic patterns.

September 22, 2016 01:00 AM

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Communication, up to 40 percent of parents are taught how to use computers by their children.

Whether you think kids are tech zombies or you think computer coding should be taught as a second language, tech is here. And kids love it.

Video games have infiltrated schools for decades — the widely adored Oregon Trail game launched in 1971 — but as technology advances, game developers and researchers, including ones here in Eugene, see an opportunity to combine play and learning through educational gaming, or gamification. 

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Communication, up to 40 percent of parents are taught how to use computers by their children.

Whether you think kids are tech zombies or you think computer coding should be taught as a second language, tech is here. And kids love it.

September 15, 2016 01:00 AM

It’s 1938 in Eugene, and Spencer Butte is in danger. If Eugeneans can’t raise $7,000, Spencer Butte and its iconic trees will be on the chopping block for the logging industry. 

Peeling through archived newspaper articles, Heather Kliever, curator of education and registrar at Lane County Historical Society, reads aloud descriptions of a daunting fate for the prominent Eugene landmark. 

The Eugene community succeeded in saving Spencer Butte, she says, with help from the Eugene Business and Professional Women’s Club and chairman of the Eugene city park commission, F.M. Wilkins, a local businessman who was the driving force and voice for the cause.

In the winter of 1938, after a series of town meetings, news stories and donations, the park fund reached its halfway point in eight days, according to Kliever. To make up the rest of the money needed to purchase the land, the city proposed and later voted through a tax levy.

It’s 1938 in Eugene, and Spencer Butte is in danger. If Eugeneans can’t raise $7,000, Spencer Butte and its iconic trees will be on the chopping block for the logging industry. 

Peeling through archived newspaper articles, Heather Kliever, curator of education and registrar at Lane County Historical Society, reads aloud descriptions of a daunting fate for the prominent Eugene landmark. 

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

Since inaugurating the monthly SPIN dance roundup in 2014, we’re pleased as punch that it’s taken off, gathering enough momentum to warrant two columns per month. Hopefully you’re clipping it out and tacking it to your fridge or sharing it online: We want this to be an inclusive, fun way to keep up with what’s happening in the world of local dance. 

And if you’re an artist or presenter, we sincerely hope that this regular coverage brings some shiny new participants and patrons right to your door. 

In this issue we’ll shine a spotlight on dancer and teacher Bonnie Simoa. We’ll see what’s new with the West African Cultural Arts Institute and we’ll groove with Coalessence Dance. We’re also taking a longer look at the state of dance in our little burg, asking questions about where dance in Eugene has been, and considering how to protect and encourage our community’s artistic future. 

Since inaugurating the monthly SPIN dance roundup in 2014, we’re pleased as punch that it’s taken off, gathering enough momentum to warrant two columns per month. Hopefully you’re clipping it out and tacking it to your fridge or sharing it online: We want this to be an inclusive, fun way to keep up with what’s happening in the world of local dance. 

And if you’re an artist or presenter, we sincerely hope that this regular coverage brings some shiny new participants and patrons right to your door. 

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

Across the wood floorboards at WOW Hall, there’s a frenzy of writhing limbs, bare feet and butts. In fact, someone farted square in my face while stretching. The crowd is intimate, exchanging kisses on the cheek, sharing bear hugs, grinning widely. Clearly, this is a special gathering. 

This is Coalessence Dance, a bi-weekly “ecstatic” dance gathering centered on building community through motion.

Across the wood floorboards at WOW Hall, there’s a frenzy of writhing limbs, bare feet and butts. In fact, someone farted square in my face while stretching. The crowd is intimate, exchanging kisses on the cheek, sharing bear hugs, grinning widely. Clearly, this is a special gathering. 

This is Coalessence Dance, a bi-weekly “ecstatic” dance gathering centered on building community through motion.

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

All that! Dance Company

Ballet, contemporary jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom

allthatdancecompany.com 541-688-1523

 

Ballet Fantastique

Ballet

balletfantastique.org 541-342-4611

 

Ballet North West Academy

Ballet, tap, modern, jazz and Broadway dance

bnwa.net 541-343-3914

 

Celebration Belly Dance and Yoga

Bollywood, zumba, samba, capoeira, African, 40-plus

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

Mysterious forces drew Bonnie Simoa to Bali, Indonesia to study the legong dance, which she has now been practicing for two decades. 

Simoa founded a dance company in Davis, California, and as the company was beginning its seventh season, she says she needed something more from her dance life. “I wanted to go some place where dance and spirituality and life were more integrated,” she says. By chance, Simoa came across Bali and then disbanded her company, put her things in storage, left her dog in the care of her sister and relocated to Indonesia for six months. 

Mysterious forces drew Bonnie Simoa to Bali, Indonesia to study the legong dance, which she has now been practicing for two decades. 

Simoa founded a dance company in Davis, California, and as the company was beginning its seventh season, she says she needed something more from her dance life. “I wanted to go some place where dance and spirituality and life were more integrated,” she says. By chance, Simoa came across Bali and then disbanded her company, put her things in storage, left her dog in the care of her sister and relocated to Indonesia for six months. 

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

Before moving to Eugene, Alseny Yansane danced for Ballets Africains, the most prestigious dance troupe in the West African nation of Guinea. 

But there’d be no mistaking his moves for anything from Swan Lake

Low squats, flips, rapid sideways motions, windmill arm movements — these are some of the most common hallmarks of the dozens of dances that can be found across Guinea and which Yansane and his wife Andrea Yansane teach at the West African Cultural Arts Institute (WACAI) here in Eugene. 

Before moving to Eugene, Alseny Yansane danced for Ballets Africains, the most prestigious dance troupe in the West African nation of Guinea. 

But there’d be no mistaking his moves for anything from Swan Lake

Low squats, flips, rapid sideways motions, windmill arm movements — these are some of the most common hallmarks of the dozens of dances that can be found across Guinea and which Yansane and his wife Andrea Yansane teach at the West African Cultural Arts Institute (WACAI) here in Eugene. 

September 8, 2016 01:00 AM

Choreographer David Parsons’ signature piece, Caught (1982), features more than 100 leaps in six minutes by a solo dancer who is repeatedly trapped in mid-motion by the strobe lights he controls, creating an illusion of flight. Seen live, the work is unforgettable; I saw it once here, in Eugene, at the Hult Center, danced by Parsons himself.

Caught seems an apt metaphor for dance: vital, powerful yet ephemeral, almost fragile. Dance requires a nutritive base to thrive, constant support and a collaborative spirit. Any dance venture is a leap of faith.

Choreographer David Parsons’ signature piece, Caught (1982), features more than 100 leaps in six minutes by a solo dancer who is repeatedly trapped in mid-motion by the strobe lights he controls, creating an illusion of flight. Seen live, the work is unforgettable; I saw it once here, in Eugene, at the Hult Center, danced by Parsons himself.

Caught seems an apt metaphor for dance: vital, powerful yet ephemeral, almost fragile. Dance requires a nutritive base to thrive, constant support and a collaborative spirit. Any dance venture is a leap of faith.

September 1, 2016 01:00 AM

So often we accept the history served to us. We hold collective truths about our past to be self-evident: Jane Roe and her legal team were brave, honorable women fighting for reproductive rights. Vietnam was a worthless war the U.S. never should have been involved in. Classic theater works are important, but generally not very fun. 

Presently, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is in the business of shaking up our assumptions. The current lineup of 10 plays at OSF offers a cacophony of history and legend alongside classics reinterpreted for a modern audience. The season is smart, entertaining and worth the three-hour trek to Ashland.

So often we accept the history served to us. We hold collective truths about our past to be self-evident: Jane Roe and her legal team were brave, honorable women fighting for reproductive rights. Vietnam was a worthless war the U.S. never should have been involved in. Classic theater works are important, but generally not very fun. 

August 25, 2016 01:00 AM

Standing in a cavernous St. Vincent de Paul warehouse on Chad Drive, executive director Terry McDonald and I survey stacks upon stacks of identical cardboard boxes, each one the size of a watermelon crate. It’s quite a sight. The stacks tower toward the ceiling and stretch horizontally wall to wall, and their Lego-like arrangement creates the shadowy alleys of a deserted city at sundown.

All told, the boxes contain more than one million pounds of used books.

McDonald tells me matter-of-factly that St. Vinnie’s receives about 30,000 pounds of books a day. The discarded books are sorted and priced and placed and sold, each one turned for a small profit that eventually circles back as some form of help for the community’s needful — as housing, clothing, food, jobs.

Standing in a cavernous St. Vincent de Paul warehouse on Chad Drive, executive director Terry McDonald and I survey stacks upon stacks of identical cardboard boxes, each one the size of a watermelon crate. It’s quite a sight. The stacks tower toward the ceiling and stretch horizontally wall to wall, and their Lego-like arrangement creates the shadowy alleys of a deserted city at sundown.

All told, the boxes contain more than one million pounds of used books.

August 18, 2016 01:00 AM

The funny thing is, this time last year Emerald Empire HempFest founder Dan “DanK” Koozer was ready to call it quits. 

The 71-year-old pot activist launched Eugene’s annual cannabis celebration in 2003. With help from volunteers, Koozer — who hosts the weekly public access talk show Eugene Cannabis TV — lines up vendors, books three days of live music and arranges educational lectures. He even sets up a temporary employment agency for folks looking to join the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry.

The funny thing is, this time last year Emerald Empire HempFest founder Dan “DanK” Koozer was ready to call it quits. 

August 18, 2016 01:00 AM

After the fireworks, there’s still the smoke. The legalization of retail weed in Oregon — a real Fourth of July moment for potheads — has left in its wake an enduring fug of legal, political and commercial questions that can make prohibition look like a cheerful stroll to the neighborhood dealer in comparison.

One of the major selling points for going legal, at least from the legislative standpoint, was the notion that hauling weed aboveboard would put the screws to the black market, eventually paralyzing all the criminal shenanigans that come with the illegal distribution of drugs.

After the fireworks, there’s still the smoke. The legalization of retail weed in Oregon — a real Fourth of July moment for potheads — has left in its wake an enduring fug of legal, political and commercial questions that can make prohibition look like a cheerful stroll to the neighborhood dealer in comparison.

August 18, 2016 01:00 AM

Contrary to Oregon’s generally retail-tax-free-and-proud lifestyle, Eugeneans pay sales tax on four common purchases: alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and pot. 

Since recreational pot sales went legit last year, Oregonians pay a whopping 25 percent state sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Contrary to Oregon’s generally retail-tax-free-and-proud lifestyle, Eugeneans pay sales tax on four common purchases: alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and pot. 

Since recreational pot sales went legit last year, Oregonians pay a whopping 25 percent state sales tax on recreational marijuana.

August 18, 2016 01:00 AM

If renowned astrophysicist and admitted pot smoker Carl Sagan could toke up before expanding our grasp of the known universe, who’s to say you can’t lead a successful career while relishing the latest indica strain?

If renowned astrophysicist and admitted pot smoker Carl Sagan could toke up before expanding our grasp of the known universe, who’s to say you can’t lead a successful career while relishing the latest indica strain?

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

While planning EW’s second annual PRIDE issue, we made no deliberate decision to focus on trans women; the stories just emerged organically. Why? we wondered.

The answer was obvious to many trans women, scholars and activists who contributed to this issue. 

“Trans women are in the spotlight nationally, especially with Caitlyn Jenner and her entire show,” says Jam Tolles, a local artist beginning her transition. 

While planning EW’s second annual PRIDE issue, we made no deliberate decision to focus on trans women; the stories just emerged organically. Why? we wondered.

The answer was obvious to many trans women, scholars and activists who contributed to this issue. 

“Trans women are in the spotlight nationally, especially with Caitlyn Jenner and her entire show,” says Jam Tolles, a local artist beginning her transition (see "Contemporary Calico" this issue). 

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

It would be cliché to say that transitioning is no day at the beach. It would also be wrong.

It would be cliché to say that transitioning is no day at the beach. It would also be wrong.

I went to Maui once. What I remember most was the sand, the finest I’d ever encountered.

I remember it most in the breaking surf. Omnipresent, it surrounded me, pummeled me, though I refused to acknowledge it. I love the surf, and I was having fun.

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

A painting by Jam Tolles reminds me of “Las Meninas,” the enigmatic 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, even though visually the two have little in common.

Velázquez's oil masterpiece depicts members of the Spanish Court in a grand drawing room with a mirror, the figures peering back at you as if you were some sort of peculiar guest popping in. 

A painting by Jam Tolles reminds me of “Las Meninas,” the enigmatic 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, even though visually the two have little in common.

Velázquez's oil masterpiece depicts members of the Spanish Court in a grand drawing room with a mirror, the figures peering back at you as if you were some sort of peculiar guest popping in. 

Tolles filled ketchup bottles with acrylic paint and gooped hundreds of flowers on reflective mylar panels, creating amorphous mirrored pools that reflect the viewer between the blooms.

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

For most, a morning ritual consists of brushing one’s teeth, eating breakfast, maybe a cup of coffee or two and, of course, getting dressed before heading out the door. But imagine not being able to put on clothing that expresses who you  really are. 

For most, a morning ritual consists of brushing one’s teeth, eating breakfast, maybe a cup of coffee or two and, of course, getting dressed before heading out the door. But imagine not being able to put on clothing that expresses who you  really are. 

For Dr. Brianna Stiller, age 61, a transgender woman and coordinator for positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) in the Eugene 4J School District, it wasn’t until she was 53 when she decided to publicly dress as a woman.

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

Jane Andres isn’t religious, but she has a lot of what she calls “woo-woo ideas.” She’s really into astrology, for one. And she’s fascinated by Norse mythology — especially the goddess Freyja.

“Most people don’t know this,” Andres explains, “but only half of the warriors went to Valhalla, the realm ruled by Odin. The other half went to Freyja.”

Jane Andres isn’t religious, but she has a lot of what she calls “woo-woo ideas.” She’s really into astrology, for one. And she’s fascinated by Norse mythology — especially the goddess Freyja.

“Most people don’t know this,” Andres explains, “but only half of the warriors went to Valhalla, the realm ruled by Odin. The other half went to Freyja.”

August 11, 2016 01:00 AM

Pride 2016 is slated to be bigger than ever. 

“Both the Wayward Lamb and the Pride festival are working together to expand events around Pride,” says Vincent Mays, an organizer for the Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year at Alton Baker Park.

Pride 2016 is slated to be bigger than ever. 

“Both the Wayward Lamb and the Pride festival are working together to expand events around Pride,” says Vincent Mays, an organizer for the Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year at Alton Baker Park.

The Wayward Lamb kicks off the celebration early with a 21-plus block party 5 to 10 pm Friday, Aug. 12, on Broadway between Olive and Charnelton. 

August 4, 2016 01:00 AM

They grow up so fast. The Whiteaker Block Party turns 10 this year and it’s bound to be one for the books — more than 120 years after Oregon’s first governor, John Whiteaker, procured 10 blocks in the neighborhood. To celebrate, EW pays homage to some of the people who keep the Whiteaker weird, whimsical, wayward and wonderful, as well as offering some tips to squeezing the most out of your block party experience. Here’s to the next 10 years.

They grow up so fast. The Whiteaker Block Party turns 10 this year and it’s bound to be one for the books — more than 120 years after Oregon’s first governor, John Whiteaker, procured 10 blocks in the neighborhood. To celebrate, EW pays homage to some of the people who keep the Whiteaker weird, whimsical, wayward and wonderful, as well as offering some tips to squeezing the most out of your block party experience. Here’s to the next 10 years.

 

August 4, 2016 01:00 AM

The greatest cultural riches of the Whiteaker reside in the neighborhood’s nooks and crannies and offbeat details — the funky designs on a painted mailbox, the kitschy pop art on a hillbilly porch, a makeshift lounge plopped along the sidewalk. 

The same goes for the Whiteaker Block Party, returning for its 10th year noon to 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 6; FREE. If you stick to the beaten path of the hoi polloi trudging between Ninkasi and Oakshire, you’re going to miss just about everything that makes the Whit so unique. Be an urban adventurer: Keep an eye out for renegade backyard parties, check out the side streets and alleyways, and stay alert to what’s behind the hedge and down the path least taken. 

The greatest cultural riches of the Whiteaker reside in the neighborhood’s nooks and crannies and offbeat details — the funky designs on a painted mailbox, the kitschy pop art on a hillbilly porch, a makeshift lounge plopped along the sidewalk.