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London’s many squares, parks and gardens are planted with a good deal of ingenuity and flair, always with an eye to ease of maintenance and year-round visual value. I have spent quite a bit of time there in recent years, mostly in the colder months, so I have had a chance to observe how much use is made of woody plants that are especially striking in winter.

“I had an Irish Catholic upbringing,” says Maggie Donahue, who grew up in Chicago and attended an all-girls high school. “When I was 9, I did therapy, every day, at the home of a child in the parish who had brain damage. It led to a career in special ed.” She spent two years at an all-girls college in Colorado, then returned to Chicago and Loyola U for a degree in psychology.

What better way to celebrate the passing of Measure 91 than warmly welcoming the chart-topping roots-reggae band Fortunate Youth, whose sponsors include RAW Rolling Papers and Cannabliss Clothing and whose merch includes T-shirts emblazoned with “Love is the Most High.”

The music oozed by Radiation City is so warm and romantic that it’s a bit tedious to see the Portland band categorized time and again as indie rock, a genre that at times feels like it’s been hijacked by aloof, sullen drones. 

“Everyone loved The Milkmen in the early ’80s — the blues-ers, the punkers” says Dan Schmid, bass player for legendary Eugene band the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. On Nov. 15, The Milkmen are reuniting for a one-night-only performance at Mac’s Restaurant at the Vet’s Club in Eugene. “It’d be nostalgic for sure,” Schmid continues. “[The Milkmen] were great. They rocked!”

Jake Smith, the singer-songwriter and mastermind behind L.A.-based trio The White Buffalo, sings in a rich, oatmeal baritone. And White Buffalo’s 2014 release, Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways — a loose concept record based around the characters Joe and Jolene — is a fitting backdrop for Smith, who looks like a Viking from Texas.

Well, this is certainly not your grandmother’s Jane Austen. With overt sexuality, barebones plotting and updated humor, University Theatre has taken Austen’s beloved classic out for a new spin that, depending on your sensibility, may or may not make sense.

GAME VS. BIKE

While riding my bicycle home from work Sunday evening, I found myself immersed in the buzz and hum of a most important event. Car after car after bus after 4x4 pickup after SUV were gleefully, if a bit impatiently and aggressively, packing the road, apparently on the hunt for a place to park to get to a big game at Knight Arena.

When the new musical Constance & Sinestra and the Cabinet of Screams premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2011, Lane Community College student Anna Parks happened to catch a performance of the quirky show. Parks later brought the idea of presenting the offbeat musical to LCC’s Student Production Association, and after clearing sizeable hurdles to secure the rights to the play, the LCC theater will be among the first venues outside of the UK to debut this darkly twisted fairy tale. 

I’m a pretty quiet Midwestern woman currently wracked by a guilty Catholic conscience. My last boyfriend and I were in an open, long-distance relationship. We were together for a year and a half, and things were great fun. We considered each other our primary partners, but I met his other partners and felt fine about most of them, and I got to have some fun playtime back in my own city. Then I finished grad school and wanted to talk about moving to his city. He simply refused to have that conversation, and we broke up.

Alejandro González Iñárritu hasn’t directed a feature film since 2010’s Biutiful, an agonizing, overworked downer made bearable by Javier Bardem’s mournful performance. His latest, Birdman, also rests squarely on the shoulders of one put-upon fellow, but this one has a different set of problems: Actor-writer-director Riggin Thomson is struggling to open a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” He’s got all the normal problems — needy actors, budgetary concerns — as well as an alter ego that speaks to him in the form of Birdman, the superhero character with which he made his name years ago. 

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

Oh, Eugene. We love you, we really do. For as much as we criticize, cajole and complain, this town of ours is near and dear to our hearts. EW considers Best of Eugene a giant shout-out to our Emerald City, and this year, we’re taking it a step further by using our staff picks to highlight some examples of what we think Eugene is doing right. It isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, and we could fill pages extolling the accomplishments that Eugeneans have made this year: We banned neonicotinoids to help save the bees, opened a one-of-a-kind skatepark in the Whit and added another gem to our crown of award-winning breweries with Elk Horn Brewery, voted Best New Business and Best New Restaurant this year. The Eug life is a pretty good one, and we’re happy to present your top picks for 2014.

His calm, measured tones discussing coal mine safety or preventable grain silo deaths can make the heart of any news geek with an NPR tote bag go pitter-pat. National Public Radio listeners have heard Howard Berkes’ voice on Morning EditionAll Things Considered and Weekend Edition and will hear that voice in the coming weeks when his latest investigation into mine safety hits the airwaves. 

The extended summer dry spell has turned into a warm rainy period. No frost yet, nor even any really cold nights, although the average first frost date is long past. It means the leaves on the bigleaf maples haven’t been triggered to produce the golden color seen in most years. Instead, the dry leaves just turn brown and fall off while the rest are still green. The tar spot fungus doesn’t have its usual green halo on a golden background because its spores are maturing early, sustained by the whole green leaf.

Former county administrator Liane Inkster (previously Richardson) was fired by Lane County more than a year ago, but questions from her uneasy departure still linger, most recently due to a letter from the Oregon State Bar (OSB) clearing her in a disciplinary investigation. 

Everybody sleeps. But for people who are unhoused, sleeping can be controversial and even illegal, due to city ordinances that ban lying down, sleeping or camping.

Those ordinances might be based on bad philosophy, according to Chad Kautzer, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, who argues that such ordinances outlaw activities that are fundamental to survival.

The city of Eugene recently sent the following Eugene businesses “pre-enforcement notices” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to conduct required monitoring of industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Al’s Sheet Metal, Apex Machinery, Armur Coatings, Bulk Handling Systems (two locations), Mohawk Metal Company, Rolling Frito-Lay Sales, The Truss Company, Tyree Oil and Zip-O-Log Mills (two locations).

It was ugly out there across America Tuesday night, but let’s give a cheer for Oregon, Washington and California, the left bank. Our state voted for legalized marijuana, for equal rights for women and against top-two primaries. We made some mistakes such as voting against increased student financial aid and denying legal driving to immigrants. We held the Democratic Legislature and supported reasonable people like Phil Barnhart, Peter DeFazio, Jeff Merkley and John Kitzhaber.

A Whiteaker neighborhood building and land at 252 Lawrence St., across the street from Crux Rock Climbing Gym, has been sold to Rick Wright, the CEO of Market of Choice, to become an events center, and we heard from one small business being evicted, Bohemia Café & Apothecary. Co-owner Felicia Parra-Colden tells us the eviction was given with short notice, but she was able to negotiate more time to relocate.

Who’s who and what’s what in dance this month

Councilor Alan Zelenka’s Oct. 16 Viewpoint was a good summary of the Eugene City Council majority’s rationalizations about tearing down and replacing City Hall. The smaller building would be more energy efficient. We wouldn’t need to consolidate city services in the future at City Hall because no one was complaining and people were getting used to running around town. 

• Supreme Court journalist and author Garrett Epps is back in Eugene this week to speak about his new book, American Justice 2014: Nine Clashing Visions on the Supreme Court. Epps will speak at 4:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Knight Law Center Wayne Morse Commons. Epps is a former UO law professor who now teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He covers the Supreme Court for The Atlantic and contributes to The American Prospect. See waynemorsecenter.uo.edu. 

There are 85 miles of trail that cross nearly every part of the Waldo Lake Wilderness, but the Black Creek Trail is one of the best. After a short walk through an older plantation, the forest quickly transitions to a very impressive forest dominated by ancient Douglas fir nearly 7 feet in diameter and 250 feet tall.