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Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

When Sam Gehrke peers through a camera lens, he’s taken to a new realm where anxieties dwindle and Eugene’s same tired vistas turn into hidden treasures. 

“I’m not the most social person,” Gehrke says, his kind eyes hiding behind thick, black frames. His time spent shooting skaters at WJ Skatepark, he says, helped him feel comfortable capturing human subjects — now his forte. 

The world can feel like a pretty nasty place. Local glass artist Jamie Burress is here to help. 

“I’m talking to my friend, who’s also a glass artist, about putting on a show that’s focused on desserts,” Burress says of a tentative upcoming exhibit with fellow glass artist Renee Patula. “There’s so much bad stuff going on in the world. We thought: Let’s just make a happy show!”

Well, the summer has slipped past the equinox without much fanfare, as usual. All we need is for the rainy season to begin and fall will be here. When the bigleaf maple loses its leaves, the licorice ferns uncurl on its branches. Or, as they say in Alaska, “when the fireweed goes to cotton, the summer’s soon forgotten.”

Eugene artist Perry Johnson has a gift. His work is inquisitive and multidimensional, at once rooted in a folk art tradition while branching out towards something more visceral and visionary. 

Employing color, shape and text, Johnson’s pieces are composed, developed and hauntingly autobiographical. 

At the beginning of summer, after scouring art shows, Instagram and online artists’ networks, Eugene Weekly found four local artists that truly inspired us and asked them to design original art for our ubiquitous little red boxes. The artists will reveal their art boxes at 6 pm Oct. 2 for Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk downtown. A corresponding show of their work spanning the month of October will also be on view at Noisette Pastry Kitchen.

Not often do you hear something like “we had a small philosophical discussion of positive and negative space” in a typical middle school classroom. 

But then again, the class that artist and educator Milla Oliviera is explaining isn’t anywhere in the realm of typical. Teaching a room of sixth graders at Cascade Middle School last year, her lesson combined Oregon ecology, Egyptian art and visual cognition to provoke students into thinking about space in completely new ways. 

Dr. Julian Bell is all fired up about climate change. But rather than lobby politicians to enact laws cracking down on fossil fuels causing greenhouse gas, he’s decided to dive right into politics and run for governor against incumbent Kate Brown in the Democratic primary. 

As Linda Wheatley stood on the edges of the Civic Stadium site on June 29 and watched the structure become engulfed by flames, she felt sick. “It was as if something I owned myself were burning,” she says. 

It’s the opposite of Citizens United and then some. Corporations have rights beyond personhood, according to Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Those rights allow corporations to run roughshod over local communities, affecting everything from their drinking water (think of Nestlé in the Columbia Gorge) to their homes (as with coal trains running through towns). 

Two big conventions — or “cons,” as attendees call them — hit Eugene this weekend, one focused on gaming and the other revolving around comics and pop culture. 

The emergence of tech-centric events is great for the area economically, but the question of whether this town is too small for multiple cons has led to a little drama, according to event organizers.

It’s party time for the “kayaktivists,” some from Eugene, and “#ShellNo” protesters who delayed Royal Dutch Shell’s push into the Arctic from Seattle last summer, perhaps contributing to Shell’s decision Sept. 28 to indefinitely suspend drilling in that fragile region. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley also cheered, saying “This is tremendous news, and a credit to the many people who made clear that offshore Arctic drilling in unacceptable.” In July, Merkley introduced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015.

Don’t miss the chance to see classical South Indian dance, Bharathanatyam, one of the world’s most ancient dance forms, performed by seven dancers and led by Portland’s Jayanthi Raman 7 pm Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Hult Center.

• Lane County’s new Performance Auditor Shanda Miller will be available to talk about her work in a series of public meetings that will include at least one county commissioner. The next will be at 3 pm and again at 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence. Future meetings will be at 5:30 pm Monday, Oct. 19, at the Brewstation in Cottage Grove; 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 20, at South Eugene High School cafeteria; and noon Thursday, Nov. 19, at Springfield City Club.

You don’t have to be a fundamentalist, evangelical, Catholic Christian or an ancient Jew to wonder whether we’re in a “culture of death,” “the sixth extinction” or some kind of universal cataclysm.

It’s Brooklyn rap at its finest, sprinkled with philosophical musing and psychedelic influence. Often mentioned with Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers are at the forefront of new-wave rap from the other side of the country — known as the “Beast Coast” movement. 

At this point, do we really need to talk about Neil Young’s music? The musician, author and all-around pain-in-the-establishment’s-ass has a back catalog that qualifies his craggy mug to be carved into the Mount Rushmore of American music. 

On Oct. 4, newcomers to the electronic world domination, Purity Ring, will take over McDonald Theatre. The Canadian duo, made up of Megan James and Corin Roddick, has been on a steady incline since their 2012 record deal.


The media generally goes for the sensational on any topic, but there was a good balance in the EW articles on mental health in Lane County as far as the articles went. However, mental health is much more than schizophrenia and commitment in psychiatric hospitals, and mental health is not just an adult issue.

The enthusiastic reaction of the Friday, Sept. 25, audience to Mary Poppins, currently playing at the Shedd, indicated the musical was “practically perfect” in every way. Children and adults — mesmerized by the spectacle of flight, animated props, song-and-dance numbers as well as period-invoking sets and costumes — seemed to thoroughly  enjoy themselves.

I’ve been dating this guy for almost two months. It’s been pretty good, except the sex isn’t really the best. I have this other male friend who has had a crush on me. Long story short: My friend made a move on me the other night. I told him I couldn’t, and he knew why, but to be honest, I was insanely turned on by his forwardness. He apologized, but a week later we hung out, and I told him that it really intrigued me, and we ended up having crazy cool sex — satisfying in all the ways the guy I’m dating isn’t.

Summer’s astrally over, and autumn’s cosmically begun. Grand times for grand wines, good time for Mole and me to issue apologies, make course corrections, loop into big red wines, all that change-of-season kinda thing.

The idea of dance on film is as old as film itself. More than a century ago, artists experimented with capturing lush, elusive movement using a wonderful new technology: film. 

The documentary Best of Enemies explores the significance of a series of debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. held during both the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1968. The intellectual titans of both the new left and the new right square off in a scheme meant to boost ratings and cut the costs of convention coverage by the perennially-broke ABC network. By that metric, the plan was a success.