The crux of the City Hall debate appears to be what makes sense economically: tear down or rebuild? And appearance: Can we sustain the function of this building and upgrade its tattered look? That’s what the Eugene City Council will be considering when it meets for a work session and regular meeting Sept. 22 and additional work session Sept. 24.
Cortney Grim, like her artist alias suggests (“Grimmdiana Bones,” a Beetlejuice reference), sees art as a way to make people laugh and improve lives. For her box, Grim created a whimsical old dude named Abe who embodies the uniqueness of the people of Eugene: a mix of unconventionality and humor with a twist of craziness.
With his gold-rimmed glasses and striped tank top, this grandpa is playing with a balloon — a reminder for people to stay playful with childlike wonder. “We’re definitely a quirky town,” Grim says.
Eugene may no longer be deemed the world’s greatestcity of the arts and outdoors (in 2010, the city tagline shifted to “a great city for the arts and outdoors”), but more than ever our town is gilded with murals, sculptures, mosaics and other public art, which can mostly be enjoyed en plein air. EW reached out to local leaders in arts and culture and asked them to pick one must-see piece in the city.
At first glance, someone simply piled junk in a corner: burned furniture, broken picture frames, shattered glass — debris from a house fire or human detritus stumbled upon in an abandoned home.
Upon closer inspection, there’s method in the flow of objects; the process of devastation and decay is rendered in stark and arresting three dimensions and symmetry among the chaos. This is “Mourning the Ephemeral,” a 2011 installation from Eugene artist and UO MFA printmaking graduate Allison Hyde.
In mid-July, Eugene resident David Nickles was at the canoe landing below the River House on the Willamette River, a stretch of water he visits with his son two or three times a week, when he alleges he saw the city essentially “dumping trash into the river.”
Portland School Board member Steve Buel has a reputation for stirring things up with his vocal criticisms of the Common Core State Standards. On Sept. 24, he’ll bring his thoughts on high-stakes standardized testing to Eugene, the first talk in this year’s series of Community Alliance for Public Education’s community dialogues.
• A group of local architects is deeply concerned about what is planned for Eugene City Hall, and we outline their perspectives this week on page 9. Further discussion on tearing down City Hall has been delayed until the City Council’s Sept. 22nd and 24th meetings and will hopefully be delayed again for re-evaluation. The council and administration have been debating what to do with City Hall for about 15 years, but we have a different city council now, and it will be different again 15 years from now. This is a time for leadership.
StoveTec, a local for-profit stove enterprise, is pledging financial support for StoveTeam International, a nonprofit organization that brings safe, fuel-efficient and low-emission stoves to communities in Mexico and Central America. Under the new sponsorship, StoveTec — which markets wood cook stoves developed at Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove — will donate a portion of its domestic for-profit sales to support StoveTeam International.
• Peace Week in Eugene began Sept. 14 and continues with the Sweet Peace Festival from noon to 5 pm Saturday, Sept. 20, at Whiteaker Community Head Start Center at 21 N. Grand St. The People’s Climate March (see below) is part of the series. The finale will be from 3 to 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Nobel Laureate Peace Park at Alton Baker Park. Call 485-1755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The speculation of Scotland as a sovereign state has brought up questions about the future: its economy, military, and standing amongst international organizations, to only name a few. In a sentence, the argument of the pro-independence side can be succinctly summarized to: Scotland is better off on its own.
Bay-Area singer-songwriter Sean Hayes released his last album, Before We Turned to Dust, in 2012. Dust is an engaging collection of indie folk and soul — cooler than skinny-dipping off the Northern California coast. Since then, Hayes tells EW via email, he’s left San Francisco, had another baby and began work on Dust’s follow-up.
Many are saying that Mad Decent Block Party is going to be the biggest, bestest music event of the (end of) summer. Tickets have been sold out for some time for this all-star, all-boy “block party” boasting some of the leading names in a scene all the cool kids are talking about: EDM.
For sisters Leah and Chloe Smith of Rising Appalachia, there was no “aha” moment when they realized they could sing. They simply grew up doing it. “Our family was very musical and our mother used to sing harmony notes into our ears so we would begin hearing the many layers of sound organically,” Chloe Smith says. “She also had a fantastic women’s singing group meet at the house once a week for years for simply the joy of singing in harmony, and Leah and I sat in with them as late teenagers to try out our own voices.”
Whatever you might think Fly Moon Royalty sounds like because of their odd-couple image, ignore it. This duo surprises with frenetic soulful performances; they get down like it’s 1953 — before TV was in most American living rooms. “Back in the day you could have an ugly motherfucker singing like an angel on the radio, not needing to look like a movie star,” says Mike Sylvester, producer and MC for the Seattle duo. Adra Boo fills out the act with upbeat vocals.
Within minutes of meeting Becky (Storm Kennedy), the modern-day Madame Bovary at the center of Steven Dietz’s comedy Becky’s New Car, this frenetic, chatty woman has addressed the congregated, welcomed us into her cluttered living room and even enlisted an unsuspecting audience member in helping her stop a drip in the ceiling. It’s always a risky proposition breaking down that proverbial fourth wall in theater, and you’d be forgiven for wondering just how cute and coy playwright Steven Dietz intends to be here: Is Becky’s intrusive engagement simply neurotic bargaining, a co-dependent shuffle meant to disguise a cloying lack of purpose? Is the audience being disarmed before we are hogwashed?
To the mayor and councilors: Most of us who have lived and worked in Eugene since the 1960s remember the “urban renewal” that took the lives of historic structures that should have been updated — no longer “viable,” they said. Let’s build what so-and-so city has built, they lauded. Buildings have come and gone in Eugene — the city is not know for its sympathy to commercial and civic structures (e.g., its history).
Cartoonist Charles “Chas” Addams shared his penchant for the macabre in The New Yorker for more than five decades. Who can forget Wednesday Addams and her brother Pugsley gleefully playing with a tiny guillotine on Christmas morning? Or Uncle Fester opening up the medicine chest only to reveal it’s full of poison?
Terry Gilliam is never going to make Brazil again, so put that thought, that impossible comparison, right out of your head. He’s going to make mad trifles and appealing visions that don’t speak to everyone — but if you’ve seen any of his more recent films, you probably already know whether they speak to you.
Neighbors were curious to say the least last year when Clay Gautier and Gail Baker decided to demolish a single-story house on 32nd Street in southeast Eugene and custom-build a net-zero home in its place. A net-zero home produces as much or more energy than it uses, and the homeowners were happy to answer the questions of inquisitive passersby. “Everybody has always been welcome to come take a look and walk around,” Baker says.
Barely a year after hosting a Sunday neighborhood potluck when the foundation was first laid last August, the now-completed net-zero energy house will be featured in this year’s BRING Home and Garden Tour Sunday, Sept. 14.
The female squash bee rises from her nest at dawn, earlier than any honeybee or bumblebee buzzes awake. She leaves her young in a nest tunneled about a foot beneath the ground to attend to her daily tasks of sipping nectar and gathering pollen grains. She only has eyes for golden pumpkin and butternut squash blossoms flush with nectar reaching from sprawling, hairy plants.
The solitary male squash bee lives on his own; he spends his time wooing female squash bees and filling up on nectar. When the industrious lady bee buzzes up to a sun-yellow blossom unfurling from the cool night before, she hears a tiny buzzing sound — a little male squash bee that passed out in the flower after his last meal.
“Probably some of my fondest olfactory memories are the smell of burning marijuana at the University of Oregon,” says Joshua Marquis, district attorney for Clatsop County. “I smoked dope when I was a freshman, and it didn’t kill me, and it didn’t turn me into a drug addict.”