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Oregon’s rivers aren’t meant to flow in straight lines. They are meant to meander and twist under the shade of native trees, giving fish like threatened upper Willamette spring Chinook a safe route to the ocean and back. Humans haven’t just dammed and straightened the Willamette — we’ve boxed it in with construction and with the gravel mines fueling that construction. 

“Buffalo, for Lakota people, are our relatives,” Goodshield Aguilar says of his tribe’s origin story. “Because if it wasn’t for the buffalo, we wouldn’t exist.” Around 30-60 million bison (often referred to as buffalo) once thundered through the Great Plains of North America. Today only 4,900 unfenced, wild plains bison remain, most of them huddled within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. 

After eight months and 11 meetings, the Bethel School District and its teachers union are still at a standstill in their bargaining process and will need a mediator to continue. The teachers union is asking for a 2 percent cost of living adjustment and a 3 percent insurance adjustment, but the district says it needs to reduce furlough days and lower class sizes before adding back dollars to the salary schedule.

Did you drive to the Eugene People’s Climate March? That’s one of the questions being hotly debated in web comments and listserv discussions following the climate rally and march in Eugene Sunday, Sept. 21, corresponding with rallies in New York City and in 130 countries around the world. Some Eugeneans even flew to New York for the massive march there.

ODOT recently sprayed Highways 36 and 126. For daily information call ODOT Herbicide Application Information Line (888) 996-8080. Or call Tony Kilmer at the Springfield office at 744-8080 for herbicide and additives information and to ask what time a highway was sprayed.

Four historical narratives, Russian fatalism and strong ties to his family’s pioneering and Native American heritage drive Howard W. Robertson’s newest work, Peculiar Pioneer. He and several other local writers will be reading from their recent work Sunday, Sept. 28, at the inaugural Lane Writer’s Reading Series event.

A decision on Eugene City Hall is expected by the City Council after we go to press this week, and it could go either way (see our story last week). City staff and Rowell Brokaw Architects have the advantage of the final word. Rowell Brokaw has a vested interest in making the old City Hall look bad and making the proposed new City Hall look wonderful. But design and environmental issues aside, the elephant in the room is Phase II of a new City Hall.

Tsunami Books is in a pickle. Owner Scott Landfield tells us the building that has housed Tsunami Books on South Willamette  for 20 years is up for sale through Evans, Elder & Brown. Landfield says he has decided to keep the business going, “but where and how are now up in the air.” Ideally, he says, someone would buy the building and keep him as a tenant. “We here at Tsunami Books are totally focused on having our best holiday season ever, beginning today,” he says.

When it comes to indie rap, few MCs boast the candid storytelling of Brother Ali. The rapper sees himself as a messenger of hope, faith and belief. Some of his songs are about the art of rapping. Others are autobiographical; some are pure poetry.

Just as the arrival of shorter, cooler days signal autumn, the arrival of some big names, at least in the little world of classical music, tells us that the 2014-15 classical music season is underway. The Sept. 28 Eugene Symphony concert featuring the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Beethoven’s majestic Violin Concerto offers a chance to see one of the last of the really big-name classical soloists (there’s Yo Yo Ma and not many others left) who can fill up a venue as cavernous as the Hult Center on reputation alone. 

K Records recording artists The Shivas nod toward vintage psyche and garage rock, but Jared Molyneux says his band isn’t merely a nostalgia act. 

Among guitarists, if not across the wide world, Dave Rawlings is recognized as a stylist of the highest order, a folk traditionalist who is also a supreme innovator. For evidence of what this man can do with his 1935 arch-top Epiphone, witness “Revelator,” the first track on 2001’s Time (The Revelator) by singer and songwriter Gillian Welch, with whom Rawlings frequently collaborates.

A ONE-TIME GIFT

Regarding City Hall, it’s important to understand that steel and concrete are inevitably desirable building materials because they are so structural. Unfortunately, they are also very energy intensive to produce. Therefore, from a standpoint of green building (to say nothing of climate change), concrete and steel should only be used as a last resort and only in the context of extreme building longevity during which the embodied energy costs can “amortize out” over time. 

The Ghosts of Tonkin, a dramatic work about the Vietnam War by Bellingham, Washington-based playwright Steve Lyons, will show Sunday, Sept. 28, at Wildish Theatre. Lyon’s play is a behind-closed-doors investigation of the political maneuvering that led to the conflict, focusing on such historical figures as Robert McNamara, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and Oregon Senator Wayne Morse, one of only two U.S. senators to vote against the war.

One recent sunny day, my family enjoyed one of our regular trips to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the UO campus. It didn’t take long to find some nifty stuff, including a 1981 Basquiat, a 1972 Miró and, be still my heart, a 1963 Giacometti. This isn’t New York City. This is Eugene! And yet here were representative pieces from some of the world’s most beloved artists, on display thanks to the museum’s Masterworks on Loan program, which exhibits art borrowed from private collections.

I’m a 28-year-old pan-curious married guy from the Midwest about to move to San Francisco. I’ve been with my wife for 10 years (married four), and we’ve started to explore being monogamish. I am also reexploring my bi attractions. I’ve been thinking a lot about the opportunities for reinvention that our cross-country move might provide. My wife is GGG and fully supportive, but I still feel apprehensive about getting back out there.

At once uplifting and infuriating, Alive Inside is a new documentary that can’t help but tell two stories at once. On the one hand, this film is about Dan Cohen, a former social worker who some three years ago began bringing iPods loaded with music into nursing homes, where “patients” with dementia were suddenly awakened by the simple act of hearing the songs that once brought them joy.

University of Oregon professor emeritus Cheyney Ryan was a consultant in settling a 2011 federal case against Yale that led to changes in how that school addresses sexual violence. But last week the UO sent out an email to alumni in the Portland area appearing to criticize Ryan’s competence, saying that TV station KATU had misrepresented “the expertise of a retired UO faculty member” in a series on sexual assaults and the university. 

In 2013, EW debuted ArtsHound, our first-ever special issue devoted solely to the visual arts. In my letter last year, I outlined an ongoing problem I’d seen in Eugene and Springfield — artphobia. Oh how far we’ve come: Art walks are bustling and sprouting up all over the city, local arts orgs and schools have received hundreds of thousands in grant funds and new murals seem to pop up every week. EW even got into the game with our ArtsHound box series now on display downtown through the end of September. 

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

The Stag Queen emerges from the icy blue abyss. Sword in hand, she hovers over a huddled little girl. Bruised and beaten, scared and forgotten, no one will ever be able to lay a finger on her again. The queen has returned for answers, for retribution, and will forever guard this child in the recesses of one woman’s mind. Every time artist Tracy Sydor recalls her childhood, this guardian also returns, protecting her younger self from the residual pain of childhood abuse.

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 greatest city 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.