Last week the Eugene/Springfield area held various events to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students spent the days leading up to the celebration creating poems and artwork in their classrooms. They read stories and did assignments that described how Martin Luther King Jr. has influenced and inspired them. In Springfield the MLK march made its way through downtown ending at Springfield High School. We gathered to see the student’s artwork, hear music and celebrate together as a community. The crowd walked together listening to the beautiful sounds of drumming and singing, by just one man at the march. He sang “Freedom” and other civil rights march music from the 1960s. Like many years before, it was a truly powerful and moving experience.
Seattle surf rock revivalists La Luz are lucky to be alive. Just this past November, on the way home after a gig in Boise, the band was involved in a serious car wreck. Their van was totaled and their gear ruined. Luckily, the band members incurred relatively minor injuries. Undeterred, La Luz recouped and is now back out on the road.
When people talk about the glory years of alternative music, most of the bands that get mentioned are from the alternative rock, Brit-rock or grunge strain — Pearl Jam, Oasis, Soundgarden, Nirvana. But the alternative pop bands who came in a shade before these guys made quite the impact on the Generation X music scene too; Toad the Wet Sprocket was among the most notable.
For a town who voted Sol Seed EW’s Next Big Thing 2013, and whose big summer concerts included Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution and Matisyahu, the Passafire-Ballyhoo! double bill Feb. 6 at Cozmic is bound to be a big show.
After joining and then replacing the great Thomas Mapfumo in the Zimbabwean band Wagon Wheels in the late 1970s, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi became one of Southern Africa’s most popular singers, rasping his uplifting lyrics in his native Shona language, as well as in Ndebele and English, over a bubbling beat of compulsively danceable mbaqanga and other African rhythms and American R&B-influenced grooves.
Some things never change, especially in Eugene, where great pockets of time stop and drop into a sinkhole of self-fertilization. Look at our eternal perpetuation of hippie nostalgia, which has become a cottage industry in itself, for better and worse. Marx noted that all great historical moments — like the long-gone Age of Aquarius, for instance — occur twice, the first time as tragedy and the second as farce, and for those among us who forget that Easy Rider did not have a happy ending, a pair of plays currently in production carry a strong corrective message.
I’m what was once quaintly called a “woman of a certain age” who started reading your column to broaden my horizons. As a result, some curiosities peeped their heads over the boundaries of my once happily repressed existence. I summoned the courage to join an online BDSM dating site. I got a response almost immediately from a man who decided to fill me in on how things worked. He proceeded to tell me my name would henceforth be Sub, advised me that he was to be addressed as His Majesty King Something, and ordered me to phone him.
Spike Jonze’s Her takes place in a clearly futuristic Los Angeles, a spotless, sparse playground for disconnected souls, filmed as a place that is perpetually sunny and disconcertingly sad. Through this shiny, metal-and-glass metropolis march hundreds of humans having the sort of disconcerting earbud conversations we’re becoming accustomed to now. These folks aren’t talking to a friend on the other side of the country, though; they’re talking to their operating systems.
Few things are as starkly inconvenient to our collective perception of well-being than the ongoing existence of homelessness and mental illness. They baffle our understanding.
And so, when these two uncomfortable facts collide in a very public way — say, in the form of a ragged man screaming at ghosts in Kesey Square — we reach a level of collective dismay that approaches hysteria. Hysteria, which is just fear, drives us to extremes: anger, pity, denial, paralysis.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival kicks off once again Feb. 14. Our internationally recognized theater down I-5 is entertaining with plays ranging from 400 years old to fresh off the press, dark dramas to Marx brothers comedies. I got in touch with a few notable theater artists from Eugene to see what’s on their list to see this season.
They’re pretty, they’re loud and they can be dangerous. The Eugene City Council has been discussing changes to fireworks rules for more than a decade, but when the council called for the Jan. 27 work session on the topic after a fireworks-induced blaze destroyed a home in July, the discussion pointed to problems getting worse.
Cultural background can affect legal decisions in the courtroom. Alison Dundes Renteln, a professor of political science and anthropology at the University of Southern California will be speaking on minority rights and cultural bias in the courtroom in her talk “The Right to Culture as a Human Right: Religious Liberty, Gender Violence and the Cultural Defense,” at the UO Jan. 29.
Dark of night, light of day. These are the times we come out to play. No cars, no trains, no first-class flights, no neon signs or big bright lights. We creep and crawl from the highs of the treetops to the jungle floor … We are ferocious and in many ways distinct. Now come with us on our journey, make sure you bring your … ANIMAL INSTINCT!
Author and social activist Harsha Walia is best known for co-founding the Vancouver chapter of the movement No One Is Illegal, a network of anti-racist groups that campaign for and represent non-resident immigrants. Her book explores immigrant rights movements through an international look at capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building and racialized empire. In it, she offers strategies for social movement organizers to develop strong communities whose ultimate goal is liberation.
Just eight months ago, the campaign for the failed city service fee focused on the non-essential spending that the city could curtail before increasing taxes or fees on residents and businesses or cutting essential services. But the city, enabled by the Financial Investigative Team (FIT, mostly connected insiders), has taken all the strategies that resonated with voters off the table. The 2015 Options for Budget Reductions are almost identical to the city’s original ballot proposal: recycled service cuts and a new fee. Neither is necessary.
The Hult Center stands as the Grand Dame of the Lane County performing arts scene — known more for highbrow ballet, opera and classical music than contemporary or avant-garde work. Brad Garner of the Eugene-based interdisciplinary arts organization Harmonic Laboratory hopes to change that … well, at least in the lobby.
The Eugene Ballet Company is perhaps best known for its professional approach to traditional ballets, perfecting performances like The Nutcracker for the past 32 years. Yet occasionally, artistic director Toni Pimble likes to shake things up by exploring a new artistic vision or collaboration. Following collaborations with bands The Freudian Slips, Pink Martini and The Jazz Kings, the EBC will team up with local boys the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies for Zoot Suit Riot, a visual storytelling told through dance and set to the tune of the band’s extensive musical cache.
More than 40 percent of people who are transgender have attempted suicide, and about 80 percent have considered it. The attempt rate is 1.6 percent for the general population, and mental health experts say ongoing discrimination is one contributor to the large disparity. On Monday, Jan. 27, the Eugene City Council is scheduled to vote on amending the city code and adding gender identity to the definition of sexual orientation. The amendment applies to protections against discrimination in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodation.
All the Whos down in Whoville are hoping the city of Eugene’s heart grows a couple sizes very soon. The city has posted notices that the site of the homeless protest camp at Hilyard and Broadway is no longer open for public use and it will “clear and clean the site,” according to a press release that went out to the media before the campers themselves were notified, a move Alley Valkyrie of the Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective called “disrespectful and dehumanizing.”
Divas and prima donnas rule the opera stage. But in real life, not so much, no matter what happens with Hillary in 2016. On Feb. 8 and 9, the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble presents “A Tale of Two Women: The Old Maid and the Thief and Trouble in Tahiti,” a pair of delightful American one-act operas that explore — sometimes hilariously, ultimately poignantly — the psychology of mid-20th-century women and their roles in a changing America.