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Conversing with Jeff Geiger is an object lesson in the power of pure enthusiasm. As artistic director of No Shame Eugene, Geiger is a tireless advocate for the sort of populist, no-holds-barred participation in art that defines his outfit, which is less theatrical troupe than a renegade vaudeville venue in which anyone can participate. No Shame Theater, as Geiger describes it, approaches the planned chaos of flash mobs, where minimal rules harness maximum creativity. “We’re much more of an intentionally community theater,” Geiger says of No Shame. “It’s chaos. It’s fun. It’s kind of like putting together a mixed tape.”

Kevin Sullivan

 et al.

The Common Core approacheth: Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon public schools will do away with the old OAKS (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing and usher in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a new standardized test that evaluates student performance by Common Core standards. But with its ties to corporations and its rushed implementation in Oregon, Smarter Balanced is not winning over everyone.

Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans has introduced a downtown smoking ban for the City Council’s discussion. He says the ban is aimed at making downtown more desirable for business and recreation.

 “In downtown areas across the country you have cadres of folks who congregate not necessarily because they’re there to do the right thing, but because they’re there to hang out and do things that are illegal,” Evans says.

A ban on smoking downtown would decrease aggressive behavior and illegal activities such as drug use and dealing, Evans says.

ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 58, 99, 101, 105, 126 and Territorial were sprayed recently. 

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4684, plans to hire Mountainside Spray, 756-1193, to spray 2700 feet of roadsides near Hawley Creek with glyphosate, methylated seed oil and/or triclopyr. See ODF notice 2014-771-00460, call Marvin Vetter at 726-3588 with questions. 

It’s rafting season on Oregon’s rivers, and the last thing water enthusiasts want to see is a dark smear of effluent in the river as they drift by. Travis Williams saw just that — a dark patch of pollutants in the Willamette River — as he paddled past the outflow for Cascade Pacific Pulp in Halsey, south of Corvallis, in May.

As hiking and, for horse lovers, trail-riding season begins, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah (FBPMP) has improved trails at the Howard Buford Recreation Area for humans and habitat. FBPMP has finished work on the north trail network in the park, including parts of trails 3, 4, 7 and 17. The group added materials to the trails in order to withstand use from horses and hikers, and redirected some trails. 

No Eugene Celebration or parade this summer? We broke the news on our blog and Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. Sad news for all of us who are big fans and have been going and volunteering for more than three decades now. Maybe our great and quirky parade can be salvaged. It’s the one time each year when our entire, diverse community comes together — north, south, east and west. What happens now? Will the Whiteaker Block Party (which is free) become the new Eugene Celebration?

Brent Weinbach is goofy, strange and smart — the perfect combo for a comedian coming to Eugene. He’s your Renaissance everyman: A former professional jazz pianist, Weinbach writes and co-directs the web series Pound House, hosts a podcast on video game music that predates the millennium, and has appeared on reigning comedy platforms like Conan, Comedy Central, HBO and IFC as well as touring with the Comedians of Comedy.

The West Eugene EmX expansion is moving forward, despite vocal opposition and efforts to derail it. With this in mind, the nonprofit Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST)  is holding a public forum to “share diverse views on why transit is, or isn’t important to our community” from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Tuesday, June 10, at the LCC Downtown Center, Room 105.

Nancy Chi Cantalupo of Georgetown Law School will speak on “Encouraging Innovation to Prevent and Intervene in Campus Sexual Violence” at 6 pm Thursday, June 5, at the UO Law School, Room 142. Free and open to the public.

For almost 20 years now I have been participating in a personal boycott of professional spectator sports, electing to watch only amateur college sporting events, particularly those that represent the school from which I graduated. But recently, I have decided to refrain from viewing some of the university-based athletic team sports that represent even my own alma mater, specifically the sports that offer multiple scholarships to out-of-state recruits in order to potentially win championships rather than educate our local youth. 

A recent trip to a hiking destination near Oakridge reminded me that early May is peak bloom time for camas lilies. Camas can bloom quite a bit earlier in some locations (on the west-facing grassy slope at the Masonic Cemetery, for instance, and the well-drained, sunny top of the Oak Knoll in Hendricks Park).

Last year’s film Inside Llewyn Davis helped revive memories of one of the great voices of American folk music. The fictionalized Cohen Brothers movie was based on the memoir of New York singer Dave Van Ronk, who mentored a whole generation of young folkies. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Depending on where you’re from, the phrase “women and beer” may conjure up some less than empowering images of women in ads (ahem, Budweiser). You won’t see Eugene’s Barley’s Angels in a centerfold, however, because the group of women is shifting that image by advocating for women to actively engage in beer culture.

Of the hundreds of varieties of craft beers available at microbreweries throughout Oregon, bacon, oyster, horseradish, fig, beet and pork chop are not mouth-watering flavors that often come to mind when craving a cold pint. But according to members of the Cascade Brewers Society (CBS), home-brewed creations like Curry Stout, Licorice Logger or Beet Weiser are mighty tasty. 

The traditional cask-conditioned style of beer is very much alive, and you can see its influence growing in Oregon’s craft beer industry, where local brewers like Plank Town in Springfield and Oakridge’s Brewers Union Local 180 are making concentrated efforts to keep it a living force in the beer world — a time and place far from the English and European pubs where they were once the norm.

Three years have passed since Eugene’s perennial favorite rock-grass outfit, Alder Street (formerly Alder Street All-Stars), released its last album. With the debut this month of Americannibal, rest assured, it was worth the wait.

The city is spending a lot of money to see what happens if it shuts down two of the four travel lanes on South Willamette and adds bike lanes on the outer edges. Motorists turning right would need to cross a bike lane, thereby setting up a risky auto/bike dance. One result is likely to be a hike in insurance premiums. But what are the mysterious unmet needs this plan is trying to address? If I had to guess, it would be: 1) Motorists want more than a shopping experience along South Willamette. They also want a memorable driving experience.

Craft brewing companies like Ninkasi have put Eugene on the map as the place to experience and purchase quality beer as well as support local causes. Now Elk Horn Brewery and Mancäve Brewing hope to make names for themselves by using innovative ideas and supporting the community.

Once upon a time, record label Alive Naturalsound released the debut from a little band called The Black Keys. Now, that same label has released More Primitive from Seattle-based boogie-blues trio Lonesome Shack.

The craft brew renaissance is in full bloom here in Eugene and Springfield, and nothing makes this sudsy success more clear than looking at local breweries and what they’ve been up to.

Portland’s Water Tower has come a long way since stomping the Americana revival boards late last decade. With an all new lineup — excepting frontman Kenny Feinstein, who’s been along from the start and recently signed with Fluff & Gravy Records — the band leaves the old-time ever so slightly to bring a fresher rock ‘n’ roll sound. 

According to Dr. La Donna Forsgren, playwright and associate professor of theater arts at University of Oregon, there are three things newcomers should know when they sit down to enjoy her adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Hope Theatre: