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Lead Stories

All that! Dance Company

Ballet, contemporary jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom

allthatdancecompany.com 541-688-1523


Ballet Fantastique


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

On a hot, sticky summer day, three dancers move with all their might through intricate and instinctual movement exploring relationships and memory. The piece they’re working on is for an informal performance the following night, but the work they’re doing, the act of creating, is for something much bigger. They’re building community, one move at a time. 

No wonder local swing dancer Nick Davis has fallen hard for Lindy hop. It’s sexy, funny and fresh. It’s the most goddamn exhilarating movement I’ve seen. Watching a video of dancer Frankie Manning swing his partner with such centripetal force — linked solely by fingertips, momentum building like a merry-go-round — it’s easy to imagine that, were they to let go, each dancer would ricochet into outer space. 

Tap has long held both the glamour of Fred Astaire and the grit of early vaudeville. Even so, its popularity has been inconsistent in the history of dance.

Tap has enjoyed peaks on Broadway in the 1920s, the funk tap show Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk in the ’90s and even made appearances on So You Think You Can Dance as of late.

Decked in sequins, wearing deep shades of purple and draped in iridescent green fabric, Mark Roberts is so radiant he might be faintly visible from Earth’s moon. Peering out from under the wide brim of his battered leopard-print fedora through a pair of wide, silvery lenses, he says: “I’ve always been kind of a shy person.”

 Roberts’ life took a peculiar turn Friday, Aug. 14, when members of the Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod (SLUG) crowned him Eugene’s 33rd SLUG queen. 

A date night at the Bijou Art Cinemas on East 13th Avenue: I feel flustered and find myself battling between excitement and insecurity. I take my time getting ready: hair and makeup, on point. Outfit: classy with a pinch of sex appeal. I'm not worried about my looks — the worry comes from the date itself and where this night might lead (and the last-minute conundrum: not being able to recall the last time I washed this thong.)

Walk through downtown Eugene and you’ll see shops, restaurants, bars, kids on bikes, artists, business people, random pedestrians … and part of this quirky city scene is an assortment of panhandlers, travelers and unhoused residents not unlike those seen in downtowns across America.

Walk though downtown Salt Lake City and it feels a bit like Disneyland. Weirdly clean, it too has bars, restaurants and shops. The downtown mall, City Creek Center, has a manufactured creek running charmingly through its tidy, paved center. 

Let’s produce ideas instead of timber.

That’s something FertiLab Thinkubator mentor Shane Johnson says could help transition Eugene and Springfield from resource-based communities to hubs of business and idea production.

 “There are a lot of people with ideas here,” Johnson says. “Culturally, getting the momentum to grow beyond Lane County is difficult. We’re an understated town, so even though there’s success here, it’s not visible and there aren’t a lot of models.”

In the early ’90s, when Eugene’s Pride celebrations were first taking shape, David McCallum remembers telling a local news station, “Yes, some day gays and lesbians will be able to marry.” 

Back then, a prediction like that amounted to radical speculation. 

I can’t think of a more queer place to spend my Friday night — save re-animating Liberace for a wild cavort on the Riviera — than Freek Nite at Cowfish in downtown Eugene.

“Whatever Freek Nite means to you, go for it. There’s no wrong way,” says Rhea Della Vera, who produces and promotes the weekly dance party that runs 9 pm to close.

Bisexuals don’t eat cheeseburgers.

This thought had never crossed my mind in 20 years of advocating for LGBTQ people and issues. But having come out of the closet as a bisexual just a few days earlier, it seemed like this might be true.

Beth Pinkerton’s first time performing standup comedy was in March. As of June 28, she was opening for a national act — comedian Jen Kirkman — at Cozmic, where Pinkerton brought down the house with her outsider views of Eugene. It takes some serious chutzpah to tell a Chaco-wearing, CSA-subscribing crowd of the hippie noblesse that you buy your produce at Walmart, you eat at Taco Bell and that you, Eugene, can go fuck yourself already. 

On the morning of Friday, June 26, my girlfriend coaxed me awake, smiling, eager for me to hear the decision from SCOTUS that state-level bans on same-sex marriage were declared unconstitutional. In our groggy relief, we held each other quietly, then got ready for the day.

It was hot — three-digits hot — and we were on our way to a friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Our phones buzzed with texts and updates. My ex-husband called, excitedly asking me if I heard the news. 

Standing beneath the oculus of the church dome with lazy afternoon sunlight filtering through its circular opening, artist Daniel Balter points to a 6-foot-tall figure he sketched in charcoal on the walls the night before. It’s archangel Michael, complete with flowing robes, wings and halo. 

The Whiteaker Block Party will not be televised.

As an annual expression of the contested soul of the Whit, the block party is a shot in the arm for the communal side of neighborhood living, in all its sloppy, carnal, artistic glory. It’s at the Whiteaker Block Party that seething, sweaty mobs — gawkers and gackers, locals and carpetbaggers, heps and asshats — coalesce in celebration of the creativity that springs up when a once-and-former slum becomes home to a ragtag coalition of beautiful losers.

The real G-spot of the block party isn’t just at the G-Spot stage, but rather among all those dwellings lining the Whiteaker streets that host shows featuring everything from screamo country to good ol’ garage rock.

At one end, the blue-and-white Tacovore calavera grins down upon tattooed neo-yuppies lined up to swill cocktails and scarf quasi-Mexican style grub. Follow the acrid scent of fermenting mash north to where the brilliant Ninkasi marquee lights up the sidewalk. Late-model cars stamped with Lexus and Mercedes logos pepper the side streets along the way. On a Saturday evening, Eugeneans from all corners of the city crisscross the northern stretch of Blair Boulevard, comparing lengthy waiting lists at boutique restaurants.

Billy the Jack Russell terrier mix bounds fearlessly over a stream bank and into the water, plunging after a stick and bringing it back to the feet of Briana Kemp, who tosses the stick back into the water. Elsewhere, Norwich terrier mix Penny has her nose to the ground, sniffing out all there is to sniff. 

Lane County dog owners have plenty of off-leash dog park options when it comes to letting their pooches run free. 

And who better to explore our many dog park choices than my trusty canine interns: Huckleberry, a teddy bear-Ewok hybrid from the shelter, and Togo, an Alaskan husky with legs like stilts.

With cooped birds all around me, I wasn’t prepared when pigeon enthusiast Rod Workman quickly encouraged his two doves to jump from his hands to my shoulder and arm. But there they sat, one with a single wing stretched out lazily, soaking up the sun as it perched on my shoulder. 

Inevitably when I come home from a horse show and my friends ask me how I fared, my response starts off with, “Well, my dressage score sucked.” Or I tell them, “I swear that judge hates my horse.” (It’s more probable my high-strung horse Cairo hates dressage, a sport of athleticism and endless patience. She sorely lacks the latter.)

Congrats to the furry, fluffy and adorable winners of our photo contest, and thank you to all who entered!

Cats are winning. As I write this, my cat, Elsie, slinks around my legs, looking up at me, knowingly. Cats have always known they were winners; it just took society, with a helpful boop from the internet, some time to catch up.

Most of us have figured out by now that we are toast: Humanity will be wiped out by an asteroid, supernova, massive volcanic eruptions, global axis shift, some untreatable virus, nuclear war or climate change. Our sun is going supernova. We’ve seen the disaster movies, read the books and laughed at the cartoons. 

But how quickly?