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This season, Eugene Ballet Company audiences can look forward to a visit from MOMIX, a creative and divergent company with a long performance history arcing back to the glory days of hooded unitards and colorful amorphousness.

It’s art as splooge, dance as design. It’s the human body, transformed — And MOMIX makes it look easy. 

For Harmonic Laboratory, the concept of “collaboration” keeps getting redefined. 

“It’s been a topic of conversation for six years,” says the group’s inter-media, music and programming expert Jon Bellona who — along with choreographer and lighting designer Brad Garner, animator and digital artist John Park and composer and conductor Jeremy Schropp — will bring a full-length work, Tesla: Sound, Light, Color, to audiences across the region.

In 2013, ballet dancers Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan wanted an alternative to off-season ballet work — an opportunity to continue dancing throughout the summer. Most ballet seasons typically run from fall to spring, Haag says, when dancers try to pick up work in off-season performances or teach classes. 

“We thought, 'Well, why don’t we create our own thing so we can continue performing and providing some work for dancers?'” Haag recalls. 

Sue Sierralupe stands on the trail, looking into the creek-side trees and brush. “Poor man’s opium,” she says, pointing into the brambles at some wild lettuce (Lactuca serriola). Sierralupe explains that the lactucarium, the latex or sap of the plant, can help with pain.

As herb team leader and clinic manager of the free all-volunteer Occupy Medical, Sierralupe says the plant is sometimes given to homeless patients who might be targeted for attacks if given prescription painkillers. Wild lettuce is not related to opium, but for those on the street, whose painkilling drugs might be stolen and sold, the plant is a valuable alternative.

Whole Earth Nature School tries to raise awareness by sending people outside for a better connection to the natural world. “Wildcrafting is a piece of what we do,” Executive Director Rees Maxwell says.

When young actors and actresses think of where to kickstart their careers, what often comes to mind is locations like L.A. or New York. Even though the Conforth sisters may be headed that way, they’ve already made a name for themselves right here in Lane County.

Sisters Cyra, Kenady and Campbell Conforth — ages 18, 14 and 11, respectively — live in Cottage Grove. The trio is heavily involved in dance and musical theater both there and here in Eugene, and the eldest two have taken part in The Shedd’s Musical Theatre Training Academy. 

Theater is a battleground.

As the most atavistic of art forms — live drama in the age of digital clones — theater is in a continual struggle for relevance, now more so than ever. Film is indeed a beautiful medium, but it’s more static than fluid; there will only ever be one Citizen Kane.

Theater, on the other hand, involves a beautiful risk, and that risk is fluid. Theater is a machine of perpetual motion, fraught with all the potential for grace and error of which the human animal is capable.

It’s 10 in the morning on a Saturday last spring, and Very Little Theatre has its doors wide open. Hopeful actors sit inside the building, tapping their feet and talking in quiet whispers. The theater itself is dark like the interior of a ship’s wooden hull, but the stage lights are shining on a set.

This is audition day at one of the oldest community theaters in the country — and hearts are racing. The show these hopefuls are auditioning for is British playwright Robin Hawdon’s Perfect Wedding, the penultimate show in the theater’s 2016-2017 season.

Josh Beals says he doesn’t remember getting the citations that brought him to Eugene’s Community Court — because he was, as he describes it, “on a vodka spree.” What he does remember is waking up in a field, with all his belongings stolen, and a fractured skull. That, he says, was his turning point.

Ten months after the incident, as he stood for the second time before a judge, a group of lawyers and a collection of other defendants, he hoped it would be the last time he found himself on the wrong side of the law.

When Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2015, the state Legislature gave counties and cities the responsibility of setting standards for the industry. Local governments can restrict where and how marijuana can be grown and sold, or choose to opt out of the recreational weed market completely.

Local control gives communities the power to shape the growing industry, but also places a burden on the agencies that manage land and water use decisions and deal with disputes between neighbors.

My dog Rhoda turned 13 this year, and it became more and more apparent that her arthritic hocks (her hind knees) were slowing her down. I didn’t like the idea of starting my frosted-face pup on Rimadyl or some other anti-inflammatory drug that could hurt her liver, but neither did I want my aging boxer/pitbull/who-knows-what rescue dog to be uncomfortable. 

Among the salves, tinctures and bits of shatter, crumble and jars of flower, you’ll see snack items that at first glance would not appear out of place on a shelf at Safeway. These are known as medibles — a portmanteau of marijuana and edible — and they take the form of cookies, gummies, taffy and even soda.

Most American businesses are led by men — only 7 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies are women. Academics don’t fare much better. According to the American Association of University Women, “As of 2012, only 26 percent of colleges and universities were headed by women.” That same study showed that only 1 in 5 members of Congress is a woman. 

So what’s it like to be bisexual? Henry Osborne, 22, says it can be confusing. “It’s weird to be attracted to both, and people don’t believe you a lot of the time,” he says. “People will give you kind of a look if you say you’re bi. Especially people in queer circles — they don’t really believe you.”

Bisexual people, despite having a stable sexual orientation of their own, are often assumed to be “going through a phase” instead of being permanently bi. Some may assume they’re only halfway out of the closet, while others will say they “went through a phase in college” if they end up with a member of the opposite sex. 

Normally, Pride festivals take place in the downtown sector of big cities, or at least nearby — take Portland Pride along the waterfront or Seattle Pride along Fourth Avenue, for example. They’re also traditionally held during June, National LGBT Pride Month. But we all know Eugene isn’t normal. 

As a part of what seems to be Eugene’s tradition for operating outside the norm, the Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival has been held in various spots around town throughout the years, but most recently its home has been in Alton Baker Park. It also traditionally takes place in August.

Dr. Seuss’s classic tale of contrived differences and ultimate acceptance got a fabulous telling at Eugene’s Barnes and Noble store Aug. 5. Faye Kit-Knightly, a debutante of the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire, a local drag queen organization, read The Sneetches and The Zaxs to a crowd of parents and children that swelled to around 70. 

Am I allowed to fall in love with a 60-plus gay man on the dance floor? Can I do that?

I, a person who identifies as a girl, went to a gay square dancing club on July 16 in Springfield with my own partner, who identifies as a boy. I have the dance skills of a large hyena. This soon became apparent as the caller paired us off with separate partners. 

As a student at a local Christian college, I am probably the most conservative person at Eugene Weekly. I want to attend Pride to show my neighbors that they and their concerns are important to me. I suggest other conservatives to do the same.

The 26th annual Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival welcomes hundreds of attendees, especially families, to its Aug. 12 celebration. “This is the one Pride event that is kid friendly, positive and not alcohol focused. Have a good time and make sure we enjoy each other’s company,” says volunteer coordinator Vince Mays. “We are a community of minorities that come together on an annual basis to express who we are and ensure a safe space to celebrate our culture. We welcome everyone.” 

Don Andre hacks at an overgrown trail with a machete on a 17-acre community-owned forest, within earshot of Highway 20 a couple miles east of Newport. The machete, which his father found at a yard sale years ago, curves forward at the tip, which helps power the overhead volleys he directs at the branches. 

Andre spent much of his youth exploring forests like this one outside his family’s home in Agate Beach north of Newport. The giant old trees of the coastal rainforest provided an endless playground where he was free to tramp around until his mom called him back home by laying on the horn of the family’s Chevy truck. 

After leaving the sleepy Oregon Coast to travel and pursue higher education, in the mid-’70s Andre came home to a shock: The forest of his youth, where his imagination and young legs once ran wild, was no more. The clearcut land so dismayed and infuriated Andre that, to this day, he’d rather not visit. 

What are “pets,” anyway?

Humans have kept animals around for just about as long as we’ve been human. Dogs helped us hunt. Cats guarded the granaries.

But the notion of having animals strictly as companions, as opposed to four-legged workers, wasn’t too common until an economic middle class — that stratum between the 1 percent and the serfs — came into its own in the 19th century. That meant a lot of people had the resources to own and take care of animals that weren’t, strictly speaking, useful.

And with the middle class came the idea of pets: Animals with names and individual personalities. Animals we care about for other than utilitarian reasons.

On a stifling summer day in Oregon’s high desert, I drive past several ranches with cattle, horses, goats and a few llamas or alpacas. I arrive at a large gate, where I’m buzzed in, and park at the end of a long rocky driveway.

Massive fences and hot wires mark the boundaries of this animal sanctuary. They tower dozens of feet above me as I walk to meet Marla O’Donnell, the executive director. As we begin our tour, we walk by the window of an indoor habitat and are interrupted by a sudden but distinct raspberry sound. 

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s Pet Photo Contest. Submissions were judged by our staff, with winners selected for the categories of Cutest Pet, Most Intelligent (Looking) Pet and Best Action Shot. Watch for next year’s contest, and be sure to enter your pet-. They just might find themselves in print! Categories may change from year to year.

When you’re looking to adopt a dog, you’re probably thinking of a sweet, quiet dog that comes right up to the cage and gives you those big puppy eyes that plead “take me home!”

But the shelter environment isn’t necessarily conducive to that, says Sasha Elliott, Greenhill Humane Society’s communication and events manager. She says Greenhill’s design, built in the ’50s, is outdated, meaning the kennels are “all facing each other, which can be extremely stressful for dogs that don’t know each other.”

Humans, if we’re very lucky, get to retire in some comfort. Horses — some of humankind’s closest companions for thousands of years — have to be extremely fortunate to be cared for past their productive years.

On 70 rolling acres a little west of Eugene, a former Eugene city councilor and his wife have spent the past five years, with the help of a small army of paid staffers, volunteers and donors, providing what amounts to a retirement home for dozens of lucky horses who might otherwise have been put down.