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A cappella singing — that is, voices without instruments — is probably the oldest form of music, but today’s a cappella music scene feels fresh, thanks in part to the latest revival that started on college campuses in the 1990s. Although the tradition never really went away (as demonstrated by classical groups like Anonymous 4 and Chanticleer and neo-doo-woppers like The Persuasions, The Bobs and Take 6), these days find a cappella on TV, in the movies (Pitch Perfect) and on more than 1,000 college campuses. 

When we last checked in with The Crescendo Show, the Corvallis quartet was gearing up to record Jackal’s Kiss — the band’s first studio album. Ricky Carlson (banjo, guitar, drums, backup vocals) says working with professionals, over nine studio sessions at Portland’s Jackpot! Recording Studio, pushed the band to the next level.

After Oklahoma botched an execution using lethal injection, at least one other state is thinking about bringing back the firing squad. That might actually be a step forward if juries that impose the death penalty are required to serve as members of the squad.

Talkative emerges from the same squishy indie-rock primordial ooze as Animal Collective. The Portland-via-Eugene art freaks are test-driving material from their new LP Hot Fruit Barbecue May 23 at Tiny Tavern in the Whit. 

SPORTS VS. DECENCY

I want to know why the three basketball players are not being prosecuted for rape. I find it unfathomable that their word would be taken over the victim’s. Could it be because they are men playing a sport at UO? Just as Josh Huff, UO wide receiver who, despite being clocked at 50 mph down 18th, and having a urine sample that came up positive was acquitted of all charges — and picked up at the jail by a former UO chief of staff.

I am a genetic male with recurrent questions about my gender identity. Straddling desires to maintain my stature in the professional world, keep my wife at my side, and become who I feel like I am, I have experimented with crossdressing, chastity, antiandrogens, and, prior to all that, steroids. While the matrimonial veto has been enacted for some feminine expressions, my wife and I have reached a middle ground where I can pursue sexual and aesthetic androgyny. I have started wearing unisex clothes, stepped up cardio to sculpt a more feminine shape, and am getting hair removal done.

It’s impossible for me to assess my attributes as a film critic, though I can say I’ve mentored with some of the best. My dear friend Richard Jameson, former editor of Film Comment, has taught me more about movies, and how to watch and discuss them, than the thousands of pages I’ve read over the years

Bikes are born in Eugene. Eugene’s relatively good riding conditions draw cyclists to the area, where many innovate and stay. These are three bike builders in Eugene committed to building a bike economy.

A new route is in the works for bicyclists to travel between downtown Eugene and UO. The possibilities the city is considering include bicycle-specific signals and a two-way cycle track — bicycle lanes going both with and against traffic on one side of the street — on 13th Avenue, as well as a concrete barrier between bicycle and car lanes. The parents of a Eugene cyclist who was killed on his bicycle have pledged a large donation to the project.

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

Back in the early ’90s my good friend Mike Ryan and his buddy made it their mission to scout a trail on motorcycles that could be done by bicycle from Junction City to Cape Perpetua. It took some time but they eventually succeeded, and as a personal challenge, Mike promised himself he would ride this same route every year until he turned 60. 

Forget the rain clouds, spring is here and it’s time to pump up your tires and strap on your helmet — the month of May is filled with community bike rides. Take your pick, from biking to music in the moonlight to family rides with an ice cream incentive or a workout that comes with both conversation and a view. It’s up to you. 

 “There’s something about doing active things in a group that is just very powerful, and for Eugene we love to bike and we love to drink beer,” says BikeInShapes founder Ross Kanaga. 

This story contains details of an alleged sexual assault that may be triggering to some readers and rape survivors. EW uses the word “alleges” not to indicate doubt in the survivor but as a legal term for when no charges have been proven in a court of law.

More than 550 people will come to Eugene from across the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands and Japan to learn about community building, according to city neighborhood planner and conference planner Rene Kane. The conference comes to town as Eugene neighborhood leaders fret over proposed funding cuts to eighborhood services. Eugene will host the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) conference May 21 to 24.

Food carts will soon be a regular fixture on the streets of downtown Springfield. Local nonprofit Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) has been working with city staff to create a food cart program in hopes it will encourage downtown revitalization.

“There are a lot of examples around the country of the way that these programs have injected a new life into the community,” says Dave Johnson, NEDCO food hub operations supervisor.

Thursday, May 15, is the last day to safely mail in ballots for the Oregon May Primary, which is Tuesday, May 20. After Thursday, drop off ballots at any of the white ballot boxes around town or on campus. Deadline is 8 pm Tuesday. Postmarks don’t count. 

 

Statewide Offices

U.S. Senator (Democrat) — Jeff Merkley

Merkley has two challengers in the primary, William Bryk and Pavel Goberman. Merkley is a rising star in the Senate and a strong voice for economic justice and health care reform.

 

Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center wants to teach you how to make soap, manage cattle and learn other permaculture-related activities for little cost. Aprovecho began giving workshops this spring on a gift economy basis — the nonprofit education center will teach you permaculture and in return ask that you give back in some way through donating, sharing a skill that you know or even simply bringing a friend. Workshops are held every Sunday. Aprovecho, which was started more than 30 years ago, is on 40 acres of land outside Cottage Grove. 

The city of Eugene recently sent Cascade Plating & Machine a “request for corrective action” letter requesting stabilization of a sizable area at the facility on Cross Street, just off Roosevelt Boulevard.

The University of Oregon community has erupted in the past weeks with outrage over the sexual assault case involving three male student-athletes and a young woman. Students have protested at Johnson Hall, holding signs reading “We demand justice” and “I live in a rape culture,” while chanting “Survivors over sports.” The chant refers to what protesters say is the school’s mishandling of the case by allowing three basketball players to continue playing during March Madness while the sexual assault investigation was already under way.   

Only those who see Brussels sprouts as a subversive food plot are against having a more permanent Farmers Market where the “butterfly lot” sits downtown. The parking lot with the tilted surfaces that give it its name knows that it is years past its shelf life and yearns for removal. Give the city and county the credit they deserve for trying to find a way to tear it down and bring us the courthouse square that the Skinners intended as a center of our civic life.

Election turnout is likely to be awful for the May 20 Primary since there’s not much on the ballot other than County Commission races, so if you’re ever wanted to make a difference, this is your time to shine. Every vote is bigger and badder when the turnout is small. Only about 12 percent of the ballots were in as of May 12. It’s peculiar that Lane County has more Democrats than Republicans and yet we’ve elected a right-wing, anti-environment majority to run the county.

 Two Eugene law firms have filed a class action lawsuit against the owners of the Little Big Burger chain claiming the company does not pay employees for earned overtime wages. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene by Leiman & Johnson, LLC, and Andrew Lewinter, PC, and seeks an unspecified amount in actual damages, liquidated damages, penalties, interest, punitive damages and attorney fees. One of the plaintiffs is Logan Vance, the former manager of the Eugene location at 1404 Orchard St. near campus.

• State Rep. John Lively will be the speaker at City Club of Eugene at noon Friday, May 16, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette. Lively will provide an update on the Lane Metro Partnership and the future of economic development in Lane County. See cityclubofeugene.org. City Club will not have a regular program May 23, but a special program on “Making Great Cities” with Carol Coletta will be at 5 pm May 22. RSVP at rsvp@dxoregon.org.