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March 11, 2014 10:59 AM

Well, President Obama made an appearance on Zach Galifianakis' irreverant talk show Between Two Ferns to plug healthcare.gov, and he nailed it. Some of the highlights:

ZF: You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President? I would make same-sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they want it.

POTUS: I think that's why you're not President, and that's a good thing.

...

POTUS: Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd? Why don’t you ask her whether she thinks I’m a nerd.

ZF: Could I?

POTUS: No, I'm not going to let her near you.

Watch it in full below:

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

January 31, 2014 05:40 PM

Last night, (sub)Urban Projections in conjunction with the city of Eugene (and help from Harmonic Laboratory, hosted one of the best art events of 2014 thus far (people should not forget this event when "Best of Eugene" rolls around). At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I would say it was transcendent. The Hult Center's lobby, a marvel of architecture with it's M.C. Escherian staircases and soaring, multilevel ceilings, became a trippy wonderland filled with some of the town's best modern dancers, digital artists and musicians.  In a perfectly paced one-hour event, (sub)Urban Projections guided a huge crowd through the nine different acts that made up  the digital art festival. Each act took place at a different spot, spanning levels and staircases, at five minute intervals. Meanwhile, there was also interactive ambient art that people could play around with. The crowd, which was much younger than the average audience that frequents the Hult, was captivated. Let's hope there's much more of these city-sponsored events to come.

Ninkasi is hosting a "Projection Reception" for the digital arts festival tonight.

January 16, 2014 05:13 PM

If you're curious about "School Days," the Linda Cunningham  artwork that was banned from an Emerald Art Center show for its commentary on gun violence, head to New Zone Gallery, where's its now on display. Our Slant column from the 1-9 issue made an open plea calling for another gallery to display the work. Kudos to New Zone Gallery, home of the Salon de Refusés, for embracing thought-provoking art.

The local case of censorship is also getting national attention.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) — "an alliance of over 50 national non-profit organizations united in defense of free expression" — blogged about the censorship incident here. Today, Jan. 16, the NCAC Arts Advocacy Project sent a letter to the Emerald Art Center board. The NCAC writes:

"We urge you to revise your exhibition policies toassure that the Emerald Art Center does not become a repressive censor, trampling the artistic freedom of its own members. Such a revision would assure the continuing viability and prosperity of the EAC as a place of artistic excellence thatwould attract new members, rather than lose current ones.

'School Days' brings awareness to the continuing threat of gun violence in schools, a message that the Center’s coordinator agreed was 'important' and that most people considered 'powerful.' According to press reports, however, the Board found the piece 'too controversial' and 'inappropriate' for the members’ show.

Art that engages in issues that we all care about inevitably elicits emotional response: sometimes it elates, at other times it disturbs, but it always provokes though: this is what art is supposed to do. By labeling such art as inappropriate andcensoring it, the Emerald Art Center is doing a disservice to all Association members and is also jeopardizing its position as a relevant cultural institution."

The letter was signed by over 10 local artists including Rogene Manas and Jud Turner, who cancled an upcoming show at the EAC because of the censorship.

You can read the entire NCAC letter here

January 8, 2014 01:54 PM

It's true. SNL realized it's 2014 (but really, insert any year here) and there are funny people who are not white males — even though four of the five original new hires for the 2013-2014 season are white men (the fifth is a white woman). After much backlash, and one hilarious episode hosted by Kerry Washington, SNL has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata. And she's hilarious:

Zamata is the first black woman on SNL since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. I almost wanted to boycott SNL this winter after SNL cast member Kenan Thompson told TV Guide in reference to the lack of black women in the cast: "It's just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they never find ones that are ready." Oh sweet, sweet patronization.

But, especially with the addition of Zamata, SNL's female cast members are stealing the season and I will keep tuning in. For more on Zamata, Salon.com does a nice roundup of her standup and skits here.

December 11, 2013 01:30 PM

UPDATE: The Boreal surpassed its goal $3,500 with time to spare!

A much needed new venue has been proposed for Eugene: The Boreal will be an all-ages, DIY, collectively-run music and art space at 450 W. 3rd St. near Crux Rock Climbing Gym and REI. The venue will have a capacity for about 80 people, expects to host upwards of 10 shows a month and plans to open in January 2014. As The Boreal Kickstarter page stages:

"This sort of space is important because it provides a safe, drug and alcohol free environment where people of any age can enjoy and participate in music and art." 

Currently, The Boreal is about halfway to meeting their $3,500 fundraising goal with one week left for the Kickstarter (the Kickstarter closes Dec. 19). To find out more, visit The Boreal Kickstarter here and the facebook page here.

December 5, 2013 05:17 PM

This morning I caught up with Ricky Carlson of Corvallis' The Crescendo Show  (runners up for Eugene Weekly's Next Big Thing 2013) contest. They have a show at Sam Bond's with Caroline Bauer on Dec. 19 but the band is mostly prepping for their first professionally recorded album at Jackpot! Recording Studio in Portland. They head into the studio Jan. 2. Check out the 12/12 issue of EW for our interview with Carlson but first check out their firstever, recently released music video for the sweet, sweet song "Volcanoes":

October 23, 2013 10:32 AM

Paramount has released one Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues trailer in the U.S. and another internationally. This one is airing in Ireland and it's funnier than the one airing here. The trailers also focus on different characters. I wonder what focus groups they used to determine this kind of marketing? See for yourself below. Anchorman 2 comes to theaters Dec. 20.

October 20, 2013 09:22 PM

I didn't expect a ballet would make me laugh out loud, but Zorro did. Today was the last performance of the Ballet Fantastique's season opener Zorro: The Ballet at the Hult's Soreng Theater; it was a zesty, fresh, fantastic treat. Fábio Simões, who flew in from Portugal, danced the part of Zorro with a dashing, silly and playful flair. Hannah Bontrager was his perfect foil as the cheeky, funny and independent love interest Juliana. The costumes and choreography were bright, innovative and fearless. All set against a music backdrop by the California-based Incendion Band, an exhilirating mix of Spanish guitar, violin and a dash of rock 'n' roll. We can't wait to see what Ballet Fantastique does with their next production, Tales from a Floating World, which according to BF, will bring to life "ancient Asian legends of samurai adventure, romance and the supernatural." To see find out more, see our preview coverage: "The Man, and Women, Behind the Mask."

October 18, 2013 03:16 PM

Boo, the Bijou wants you! Thursday, Oct. 24, is the kick off for the Bijou Metro’s first 72-Hour Horror Film Festival and Competition. Attention amateur and pro-filmmakers alike, here’s your chance to get screen time in our fair city with a fairly low commitment. From the Bijou’s website:

"Contestants will have 72 hours to write, shoot and edit a 2-3 minute horror film utilizing a mandated prop and line of dialogue. Films submitted by deadline will be eligible for a $500 cash prize awarded to the “Jury Prize Winner” and exhibition prior to the Bijou Metro’s Halloween screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining."

Joshua Purvis of Bijou Art Cinemas says that the festival/competition sprang from his own interest in horror flicks, as well as “creating the opportunities I wish I had had as a filmmaker.” Adding that horror is the perfect entry point for movie makers because the genre is celebrated for being “low brow.” Who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for low-tech horror films? Look for our story on it in the Oct. 24 issue.

For more info, visit: http://bijou-cinemas.com/bijoumetro/?p=1348
 

August 19, 2013 01:35 PM

Lady Gaga stays true to her inner art freak with her new music video "Applause," which was released today. I love Lady Gaga and her cheekiness, and I like someof her "art pop" music, but this video, while successfully showcasing Gaga as the glam chameleon that she is,  is not the narrative gold of some her past work. Watch below and decide for yourself.

August 7, 2013 10:01 AM

Meet the new members of Mumford & Sons: comedians Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Ed Helms and Will Forte. Raise a pint to banjo pelvic thrusts! Cheers!

July 24, 2013 01:59 PM

Leave it to the PNW to make a progressive parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" — the ubiquitous summer hit (they play it in my Barre3 class pretty  much every time I go) that critics have deemed mysognist and "rape-y." Seattle's boylesque troupe Mod Carousel plays with gender stereotypes in their version of the video and song with locals singers Caela Bailey (as Robin Thicke), Sydni Deveraux (as Pharrell) and Dalish Phillips (as T.I.).  (See the Mod Carousel and Thicke videos belows.) Mod Carousel writes of their depiction:

"It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions."

May 23, 2013 01:43 PM

Seattle Folklife Festival 2012

Seattle Folklife Festival 2012, photo by Alex Notman

Our 5-23 issue was jam packed so, unfortunately, we couldn't squeeze in BackBeat this week. Here are some more notes and news to pay attention to this weekend:

I know I got a bad reputation … It’s been almost 20 years since Freedy Johnston’s hit “Bad Reputation” — featured in Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming (1995) — was saturating the airwaves, and eight albums later, the original indie rocker is touring the West Coast. Catch Johnston at 10 pm Thursday, May 23, at Luckey’s.

Don’t miss this week: Anna Fritz (of Portland Cello Project) takes her solo album on a West Coast tour with a stop at 7 pm Friday, May 24, for a Springfield house concert (see annafritz.com for tickets); Banjo player Kendl Winter (formerly of The Blackberry Bushes) 9:30 pm Friday, May 24, at Sam Bond’s; the twinkling stringed ballads of Kingdom County at 4 pm Saturday, May 25, at Oakshire Public House; Up-and-coming Portland band The Ecstatics plays  The Campbell Club's annual "Halloween in Spring" night 7 pm Friday, May 25; $3 with costume, $5 with no costume. Disclosure is back to play its postponed show (originally set for April 17) 9 pm Tuesday, May 28, at WOW Hall.

This weekend is the 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle and many Eugene bands are making the trek north joining the over 6,000 music and dance acts. EW will be following the musical caravan that includes Betty and the Boy, Alder Street All Stars, Conjugal Visitors, Tara Stonecipher and the Tall Grass, Dirty Spoon, Breakers Yard and The Whiskey Chasers. Looks for updates on the EW blog this weekend.

May 16, 2013 04:47 PM

If you haven't read this week's BackBeat, than maybe you have no idea that there's a new festival coming to town this August. The first Kaleidoscope Music Festival will be hosted at Mt. Pisgah with onsite camping, and they just released their lineup via viral video. Headliners include Bassnectar, Paper Diamond and Blue Scholars. Watch the video to find out the rest.  We have to give Kaleidoscope producers OneEleven props, this is one hell of a creative press release.