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July 30, 2015

The real G-spot of the block party isn’t just at the G-Spot stage, but rather among all those dwellings lining the Whiteaker streets that host shows featuring everything from screamo country to good ol’ garage rock.

Folks attending these renegade shows can be a bit rough around the edges, including the man with a tattooed head who told me last year that I have “crazy eyes.” But, in between the aerial ballet and the art auction, stop by one of the block party’s nine stages for tunes ranging from a marimba orchestra to EDM. 

 

July 30, 2015

Standing beneath the oculus of the church dome with lazy afternoon sunlight filtering through its circular opening, artist Daniel Balter points to a 6-foot-tall figure he sketched in charcoal on the walls the night before. It’s archangel Michael, complete with flowing robes, wings and halo. 

Balter motions to the room and the iconostasis — a red-and-gold wall adorned with saints that traditionally separates a church's nave from its sanctuary. It was in this room, he tells me, that he used to see punk bands play.

July 30, 2015

At one end, the blue-and-white Tacovore calavera grins down upon tattooed neo-yuppies lined up to swill cocktails and scarf quasi-Mexican style grub. Follow the acrid scent of fermenting mash north to where the brilliant Ninkasi marquee lights up the sidewalk. Late-model cars stamped with Lexus and Mercedes logos pepper the side streets along the way. On a Saturday evening, Eugeneans from all corners of the city crisscross the northern stretch of Blair Boulevard, comparing lengthy waiting lists at boutique restaurants.

July 23, 2015

Lane County dog owners have plenty of off-leash dog park options when it comes to letting their pooches run free. 

And who better to explore our many dog park choices than my trusty canine interns: Huckleberry, a teddy bear-Ewok hybrid from the shelter, and Togo, an Alaskan husky with legs like stilts.

In the long shadow of Woodward and Bernstein, we three set off to investigate just what makes each local dog park special for our four-footed friends:  

July 23, 2015

With cooped birds all around me, I wasn’t prepared when pigeon enthusiast Rod Workman quickly encouraged his two doves to jump from his hands to my shoulder and arm. But there they sat, one with a single wing stretched out lazily, soaking up the sun as it perched on my shoulder. 

July 23, 2015

Inevitably when I come home from a horse show and my friends ask me how I fared, my response starts off with, “Well, my dressage score sucked.” Or I tell them, “I swear that judge hates my horse.” (It’s more probable my high-strung horse Cairo hates dressage, a sport of athleticism and endless patience. She sorely lacks the latter.)

July 23, 2015

Congrats to the furry, fluffy and adorable winners of our photo contest, and thank you to all who entered!

 

Most Attitude:

First Place: Lucy

Second Place: Bella

Third Place: Mrs. Foxy

 

July 23, 2015

Cats are winning. As I write this, my cat, Elsie, slinks around my legs, looking up at me, knowingly. Cats have always known they were winners; it just took society, with a helpful boop from the internet, some time to catch up.

Dogs, however, in all their earnest, loyal, slopping glory, have long ruled the hearts of the majority, from “man’s best friend” to Old Yeller. For millennia, dogs have stood by as our companions, our families, our heroes.

July 23, 2015

Billy the Jack Russell terrier mix bounds fearlessly over a stream bank and into the water, plunging after a stick and bringing it back to the feet of Briana Kemp, who tosses the stick back into the water. Elsewhere, Norwich terrier mix Penny has her nose to the ground, sniffing out all there is to sniff. 

Terrier mixes Mouser, Frankie and Buffy fill out this pack of five, four of them rescue dogs, as they roam the landscape of Buford Park. They’re all out adventuring instead of sitting at home with nothing to do. 

July 16, 2015
Illustration by Trask Bedortha

 

July 9, 2015

“The thing I love most about the Fair,” says Charlie Ruff, Oregon Country Fair’s outgoing general manager “is that, at its best, as a community, people can come and be themselves — they can express themselves in an environment as free from judgment as you’ll find.” 

Ruff steps down later this summer after 12 years on staff, the last seven of which he served as GM. He will remain, for the time being, a Fair volunteer. Ruff's replacement is Tom Gannon, a longtime Seattle resident who recently relocated to the area.

July 9, 2015

Shirley Musgrove is a costume designer and puppeteer, most known for her elaborate Oregon Country Fair costumes, which include a unicorn and fiery phoenix. One year, she dressed as a wolf and made people howl if they wanted a photo with her. 

Musgrove first attended Fair in 1978 as a merchant with The Great Hooey Man, a puppeteer she met in her hometown of Spokane. She sold puppets and performed puppet shows for her first four years at the Fair, before spending time in New York to work with Muppeteer Jim Henson.

July 9, 2015

You’ve bought a ticket to the Oregon Country Fair and chances are high that at some point during the three-day odyssey, you will develop the munchies, suddenly needing a place to satiate this supernatural hunger.

But with the fair hosting more than 50 food vendors — including the addition of new vendors to its roster for the first time in many years — how ever will you decide where to pig out?

July 9, 2015

Just a few weeks back on a hot Friday morning, I stood in a field with outgoing Oregon Country Fair general manager Charlie Ruff and his replacement, Tom Gannon, the three of us surveying the “New Area,” a 6-acre expanse that opens this year as a brand new part of the Fair’s general stomping grounds.

July 9, 2015

Walking down the trodden dirt path of the Oregon Country Fair can be intimidating at first. To your left, there’s a beeswax candle merchant; to your right is a group of leather-clad didgeridoo players. Straight ahead, on a wooden stage in a meadow, a jam band that may or not be the Grateful Dead reincarnated plays.

The Fair offers a ton of great live music from which to chose, and here are a few acts you won't want to miss. 

 

TAARKA

July 9, 2015

“Childcare has been a part of the Oregon Country Fair for 37 years,” co-coordinator Johnny Whiddon says. “Parents need a break, kids need a break. We try to provide a Fair experience, tailored to the little guys.” 

Children who are potty-trained, up to age 12 or 13, can come to one of two childcare locations for two hours at a time, to enjoy live music, face painting, entertainment, acrobatics, arts and crafts, quiet activities like board games and chess and good ol’ story time. 

July 2, 2015

In 1994, I was one year old, sitting in the grass wearing a blue floral dress and eating a Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Peace Pop. This made sense: Like many children of Deadheads, my parents had brought me to the Grateful Dead show at Autzen Stadium on June 17, 1994. 

My parents met in the summer of ’88 on their way to a Dead show at Autzen. My mom had never been to Oregon and needed a ride from Los Angeles; my dad gave her one. 

Five years later, I was born and they were taking me to Grateful Dead concerts.  

June 25, 2015

Five years ago a friend handed Will Thysell a piece of “shatter.” The glossy golden marijuana extract immediately intrigued him.

“I just had never seen anything like it,” Thysell says. “The look, the taste, the feel, was completely new.” He tried the potent extract and knew it could help a loved one in chronic pain. His godfather had scarring on his heart and lungs caused by severe shingles — a condition he described as a million burning-hot needles poking him.

June 25, 2015
Illustration courtesy whatslegaloregon.com

 

“Legalize it …” Peter Tosh sang in 1976 and, nearly 40 years later, Oregon did.

June 25, 2015

Let’s face it: Marijuana use among teenagers is not a rarity in Lane County. According to Lane County Public Health, 18 percent of Lane County high school juniors surveyed in 2014 had used pot in the past 30 days. 

June 25, 2015

Used to be pot was just pot. Two dimes to the neighborhood hesher back in the day bought you a generic baggie of the giggle weed — that crispy, brown-green shake you’d smoke all afternoon without suffering anything other than the munchies.

These days, however, smokers arriving fresh to the scene best beware: One hit of the modern chronic and you’ll figure you’ve dropped a hit of window pane, the way it splits your cerebellum and sends you galloping into the wonky-doodle. The shit’s strong, boy.

June 25, 2015

Well, Oregon, we’ve come a long way. As of July 1, recreational marijuana use is legal for adults. Prohibition ends at last. Reefer madness, at least for now, has found its antidote, and it turns out it was legal, regulated marijuana all along.

We hope that this will be the start of a greener, brighter chapter in pot’s problematic history — an era in which cannabis research proliferates and the number of people in prison for marijuana offenses drops off; when all the benefits of marijuana are explored without fear or resistance.

June 18, 2015
The Al-Jadani Family. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

June 11, 2015
Andy Zuñiga in mid-swing as he passes the ball up field. Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

Like many children, Tunde Jowosimi grew up playing soccer, and he continued playing when he moved from Nigeria to England.