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In the summer of 2015, Wes Hurd was in a melancholy place. 

“My mom and dad had passed away, and artistically, I wanted to work on some fresh territory,” says the visual artist. 

Hurd decided to challenge himself with a series of large, abstract paintings, each with the same size — 51 by 47 inches — and a unifying palette of black, white and gray. 

We hear University of Oregon professor of dance and Dance in Dialogue co-founder Shannon Mockli recently participated in an open showing at Seattle’s renowned center for contemporary performance On the Boards (OtB). 

“It was an informal showing, so I had to really pare down my work, Finding a Way of Being, to fit within a short timeframe,” Mockli says. “It is so good to show work elsewhere, among a community that doesn’t know you. There is no back history and that means I have to consider new ways in.” 

•The GTFF (Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation) is hosting a Know Your Rights Training for activists and international students, presented by the Civil Liberties Defense Center 5 pm Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 609 E. 13th Street. This event is open to the public and free.

Haven’t heard Ty Segall’s last few records? Don’t worry, he’ll release a few more next week. That’s how it seems with the California singer and guitarist’s wildly prolific output. Segall’s stuff is mischievously tossed-off, with a reckless genius despite Segall’s intentions. Like Ryan Adams — if Adams could give up on his Austin City Limits tendencies. 

Audiences perhaps best know Eugene musician and guitarist Gerry Rempel as resident composer with local ballet company, Ballet Fantastique. Now Rempel, along with his group Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, is celebrating his third release: Sketches from the Underground, a collection of all-original jazz compositions. 

We burst out of the trees, gallop up to a log and jump into a pond of water, then we leap up over the bank before hurtling on to the next obstacle. My horse, Queen of Cairo, flicks her small brown ears back at me, then pricks them forward as she hunts for the next jump.

When I tell people my hobby is competing my horse, I think they picture suit-jacketed velvet-capped champagne-sipping equestrians cantering across manicured lawns. 

But when we are talking about the sport of three-day eventing, it’s more like adrenaline junkies wearing helmets and flak jackets. 

Sweat dripping off his scruffy beard, Zane Sandborg hops over logs on the choker course at Oregon State University’s logging sports arena in the otherwise serene Peavy Arboretum. Teammates Robin Wortman and Calvin Kerr compete to see who can balance longest on a slippery log that revolves a few inches off the ground on a sturdy metal spit. Meanwhile, Morgan Kawakami sends a heavy axe cartwheeling through the air as she refines her axe throw technique.

People collapse. Toenails are turning black and falling off all the time.

And still, long-distance relay races attract enough runners to sell out in Oregon.

In my early relay race outings I’ve tripped, rolled ankles, blacked out, nearly puked and slept like a corpse propped up against walls and in open fields. At one point, after running 11 miles uphill in the sand, my mind left my body; I somehow found myself back in the team van without any recollection of how I got there.

SE BUSCA AYUNDANTE

While walking down a narrow aisle at a local store, I passed a young Latino family. Dad moved aside and mom clutched her young son. Fear was in their eyes. 

Based on Trump-incited anti-immigrant behavior and new immigration policies, their fear is reasonable. Any encounter that may draw attention — a false accusation, a traffic ticket, a misunderstanding or a cheating employer — could lead to jail, deportation and family separation.

Sarah Ruhl is an interesting playwright. Her work achieves emotional valences that, for me, are completely contradicted by her style — a style I find myself hard pressed to describe with any satisfying accuracy. Mamet on anti-depressants? Chekhov lite? Swift with a Swiffer?

Fortyish, straight, white dude here. I have this weird (possibly misogynistic) belief that, when it comes to sex, I can’t win. Actually, I think men in general can’t win. Thoughtful, well-meaning men at least. It comes down to this: During sex, if the man doesn’t come, it’s the man’s fault, because he clearly has problems with his dick and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself. If the woman doesn’t come, it’s also the man’s fault, because he’s clearly bad at sex and doesn’t even care and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself.

Get Out’s opening scene appears, at first, disconnected from the main story — a moment that simply sets the stage. As a young black man lost on suburban streets jokes on his phone, a car pulls up alongside him. Just that is already creepy; it should remind you of countless images of horror — from the movies, and from real life.

How this scene connects to the rest of writer-director Jordan Peele’s debut feature film isn’t immediately clear, but the tone is deftly, elegantly set: What looks like a cozy quiet neighborhood to a white person looks like something else entirely if you’re black.

“If you teach ethnic studies to students, teach them about their culture, get them involved, they start caring more about their education and are able to succeed,” says Johanis Tadeo, organizer of Springfield/Eugene’s City Wide MEChA and community organizer at Community Alliance of Lane County. 

Tadeo organizes for the local chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, a nation-wide student-run organization. MEChA focuses on education and history, specifically Chicano history — a curriculum that isn’t taught in most classrooms.

“I was contacted by a student a year ago, around this time, they were talking about how they were facing a lot of racism and discrimination,” Tadeo says. Meeting the Latino students at Thurston High School was life changing. The students had no support at all and didn’t know what their identities were, he says. 

Kelly Kenoyer

 et al.

This past September, Brenda went to pick up her 5-year-old son from kindergarten at McCormick grade school. “The principal said he was at the office and to come get him,” she says. Brenda followed the principal to an office containing her son, locked in and crying. "She felt like he was going to hurt her and she said she didn’t know what to do,” Brenda says. 

Her son ended up suspended within a week of joining the kindergarten class and was removed to a one-on-one program at Fox Hollow Elementary School. He was the only Hispanic student in the class at McCormick. 

Local marijuana retailers have been waiting close to a year for the city of Eugene to adopt an ordinance requiring a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries. 

Eugene remains the only major municipality in the state that has yet to adopt a buffer, and while City Council is deliberating the issue, corporate-owned dispensaries with out-of-state money are flooding into the market, and local businesses say they are being displaced.

Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden entered a crowded Lane Community College gymnasium Feb. 19 with the statement that “no topic is off limits.” He was met with loud applause and cheering from the packed town hall meeting. 

An estimated 1,500 people showed up at LCC on Sunday afternoon. Since the inauguration, thousands of people in the Eugene community have shown up to protests, marches and activism workshops to denounce recent actions taken by President Donald Trump.

Candidates in the race for the Eugene’s 4J School District board — a four-year-long commitment — are not happy about the Feb. 7 appointment of Betsy DeVos as the nation’s secretary of education.

Add to this the recent protests of Latino families lobbying the 4J school board to do more against the harassment of immigrants, and the May 16 board election has some weighty issues to address. 

Surely that’s not new news, but what is new is the approach our schools are taking to not just pump up grad rates, but also to help kids give a damn about their education. 

Perhaps the reason our high school grad rates have lagged behind some neighboring counties (not to mention they pale in comparison to the national average) is because we’ve failed to put the students first. Programs like Career and Technical Education (CTE) are working their butts off to change that.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined the city of Cottage Grove $4,500 for Clean Water Act violations committed in the city’s operation of its wastewater treatment plant, which is located along the Coast Fork Willamette River on North Douglas Avenue. Specifically, the city discharged high temperature effluent to the river on multiple occasions in June; applied “recycled water” that was high in bacteria to land on multiple occasions in July; and was late in submitting annual reports to DEQ for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

• A campaign already is coming together to take on County Commissioner Faye Stewart in the May 2018 election. James Barber, who lives in Walterville, handed out cards at the Feb. 17 City Club of Eugene meeting that say he’s a candidate for the East Lane county commission position with the slogan “Voice for the People.” Lots of energy there. Stewart is long entrenched in the conservative-leaning Lane County Commission, so this should be interesting.

What a great and glorious world we live in, when deliciously guilty pleasures from the ’80s are rehashed for the stage: Johnny and Baby are back, and now they’re singing and dancing? Yes, please! 

The Theater League presents Dirty Dancing 7:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 28-March 2, at the Hult.

What do kids typically experience the first day of school? Nerves. Will I make friends? Will my teacher like me? Where is the bathroom? These are the typical concerns that you’d imagine.

EW runs “Activist Alert” in our pages and online as often as space allows and events demand. Wondering what you can do to battle the evils and insecurities of a Trump administration? Activist Alert is a list of the actions people around Lane County are undertaking to make the world a better place. Send events to editor@eugeneweekly.com with Activist Alert in the subject line.

In the flurry of disturbing and provocative executive orders coming out of the new presidential administration, it is understandable that some of us may have lost sight of the greatest fear that many of us had at the prospect of a Trump presidency: that a thin-skinned ill-informed man would be in control of our devastating arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, recently released a report, “10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President,” with contributions from a broad range of experts on nuclear policy. In a synopsis of that report, Ploughshares lists five policy areas where we could try to steer the Trump administration to improve our nuclear policy: