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Band names don’t usually refer to the art of songwriting itself, but that’s exactly what Hook & Anchor does. “It kind of refers to the things a good song needs,” says Kati Claborn, singer and guitarist for the band (she also plays banjo and uke).

KMRIA stands for: Kiss My Royal Irish Ass,” says Casey Neill of Portland-based Pogues tribute band KMRIA. “The reference is from James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Neill says, explaining KMRIA is also referenced in Pogues’ song “Transmetropolitan.” 

If life were fair, the proceedings of grand juries would be broadcast on Comedy Central.

Though Wikipedia deems Portland-based acoustic five-piece Horse Feathers “indie folk,” frontman Justin Ringle is less sure. “I don’t even look at it as folk or neo-folk, necessarily,” Ringle tells EW

A good friend of mine in Seattle — an Eritrean immigrant who helped pen that country’s as yet unratified constitution — once pointed out that, should I really want to understand the collision of race and politics in the U.S., read the sports pages. I figured he was being coy, but the more I think about it, the more I comprehend sports as a microcosm of society, where all sorts of racial and social tensions play out, often in the subterranean codes of privilege, ability and competition.

It’s a timeless literary trope, from Ecclesiastes to Groundhog Day: A cynical man, mired in despair and the funk of worldly resentments, is confronted with the error of his ways to such an extent that he undergoes an immediate and permanent transformation, emerging from darkness into light. Such victories of the spirit are the epitome of happily ever after, and we never tire of their telling.

PASSION FOR TEACHING

You broke my heart. You took what I loved away from me. I’m talking to you, UO. You have taken my work, my motivation, my passion and my dreams and thrown them away without care, without regret.

My work is teaching. My motivation is the improvement of my students’ lives. My passion is seeing students understand something they didn’t understand before, and feeling like a better person because of that. My dreams are to improve as a teacher for the rest of my life.

Bob, Phil and Larry are in the existential hell that is the 26th-floor suite of a Holiday Inn overlooking Wichita, Kansas. Their JCPenney grey suits and their hopes of selling industrial lubricant set the prosaic scene for this morality tale. 

You might think while watching James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything that the people who made this movie have never been in a bar. There are several pub scenes, each lit in a filmy sort of blue probably meant to evoke the smoky drinking establishments of a previous era. Instead, it suggests the faux-night of a B movie.  It’s indicative of much of the film: excellent actors, ever-so-English settings and something just not quite right.

In the Kingdom of God, there are pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs a-plenty. In the Kingdom of God, plastic flowers sit in clear glass vases to cheer up the fluorescent-lit room. In the Kingdom of God, a man named Lucky plays ragtime piano, and elderly ladies smile dreamily as they tap their fingers to the music.

Early every Sunday in the basement of First Christian Church on 11th and Oak, hundreds of transient, homeless and hungry people of Eugene line up to receive an offering of food, coffee and juice. For some it’s simply a free meal. For others it’s a brief respite from being hassled out of downtown, and a moment to sit and talk with other street folk and volunteers from the congregation.

It’s 9 am on a Wednesday in November; a dozen people gather under an awning around a fire in a metal drum with a Union Pacific locomotive rumbling loudly in the background. They shuffle around to form something close to a circle to talk about how it’s going at the Eugene Safe Spot for veterans. This tent community, focused on helping homeless veterans get into housing, is nestled into a low-lying pie-slice of land just west of Chambers Street between the Northwest Expressway and the train tracks. 

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

The duckweed and mosquito fern have been blown to the southeast corner of the pond. It means the wind is coming out of the northwest and it will be cold and rainy. I can feel it in the air; I can smell it swirling around me. It is the source of my joy of walking outdoors. I believe that the feel and smell of nature constitute a subliminal elixir to counteract the poisons of urban living. 

In the spacious yurt at the center of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), Father Brent Was rummages through his bag with a red-and-white “OCCUPY” screenprint safety-pinned to it. Seated in a wobbly plastic chair, the bearded Episcopal reverend pulls out a simple wooden rosary and begins thumbing the blue beads from his left hand to his right, listening intently to the villager’s council meeting. 

Marcie Stout says if she knew then what she knows now, she would have stood in the lobby at Sacred Heart Medical Center screaming that December night until they admitted her brother, Darwin Stout, even if it meant she too would wind up on a psychiatric hold.

To UO landscape architecture student Gwynne Mhuireach, the seemingly clear air in Eugene is vibrantly alive. “There are all sizes of particles floating around,” the doctoral student says. “The heavier ones tend to stay more locally dispersed, and the lighter ones tend to be more long distance — there are some particles we’ve been getting from Japan.” 

Registered nurse Matthew Calzia works 12-hour shifts in the ICU at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, where he cares for critically ill patients. Calzia says that due to staffing shortages over the past few years, he and his fellow nurses have consistently worked at a frantic pace and skipped breaks in order to provide patients with the care they need. 

In September, following up on rumors that a private jet had been donated to the University of Oregon, EW made a public records request for “non-monetary gifts/donations made to the UO, the UO Athletic Department and the UO Foundation valued over $10,000 from Jan. 1, 2013 through Aug. 2014.”

Carly Aquilino has been doing standup for less than three years and she’s already got a hit show — millennial favorite Girl Code, a comedy series where women in entertainment “weigh in on the sisterhood that all girls share” — and a cult following: In a recent episode, a fan gets Aquilino’s face tattooed on her thigh (another fan shaved her face into his back…). EW caught up with Aquilino over the phone from her New York apartment. She brings her act to Eugene for the first time Dec. 6 at McDonald Theatre.

• The Graduate Teaching Fellows’ strike on the UO campus is still on as we go to press this week. Our sympathies have been with the GTF Federation since negotiations began, and we are baffled by the UO administration’s response, considering interim President Scott Coltrane’s background. Coltrane is described in a recent New York Times article as a sociologist who has done extensive research on issues central to these negotiations. He should have led the way in giving the GTFs two weeks of paid sick  and parental leave and a pay raise.

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

A background in and understanding of grand juries has led me to be very suspicious about the recent grand jury proceedings regarding Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Over the last 17 years I have represented dozens and dozens of clients who were subpoenaed to testify as witnesses at state and federal grand juries regarding government investigations. 

• The Metropolitan Policy Committee meets 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Eugene Public Library. On the agenda is the Oregon Transportation Forum legislative priorities. Contact is Paul Thompson, 682-4405.

• A town hall on the VA Roseburg Healthcare System will be from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Elks Lodge, 2470 W. 11th Ave. Veterans, their families and other stakeholders are invited to an open dialog on VA health care issues locally and statewide. 

SHOW CANCELED. What would legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr now in his fifties — say to his 19-year-old self, just about to embark on a career that would lead him to become one of the most widely acclaimed and respected rock musicians of his generation?