Eugene Weekly : Arts Shorts : 12.06.07

A Book for Me, a Book for You …

More than 50 Oregon authors and artists converge on the Lane County Fairgrounds this Saturday for the 8th Annual Authors and Artists Fair, a one-stop shopping trip for holiday gift givers looking to bestow art and signed books on friends and family. The list of participants is astonishingly long, and includes the likes of artists Tallmadge Doyle and Ellen Gabehart, cartoonists Jan Eliot and Jesse Springer and authors Tom Hager (The Demon Under the Microscope), Lauren Kessler (Dancing with Rose), Kenny Moore (Readin’ in the Rain pick Bowerman and the Men of Oregon), Dorcas Smucker (Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting), William Sullivan (The Case of Einstein’s Violin), Shannon Applegate (Living Among Headstones), Linda Crew (A Heart For Any Fate), Ehud Havazelet (Bearing the Body), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Catalyst), Kate Wilhelm (A Wrongful Death) and cookbook author Maryana Vollstedt (Meatloaf) — among many others.

One thing is different about the fair this year: Rather than benefiting the Eugene Public Library, as it has in the past, this year’s fair benefits the summer reading programs of the Lane Library League, a “a non-profit citizens group working to expand and improve library service throughout Lane County,” according to the group’s website, which notes that more than 80,000 people in the county don’t have access to public libraries. The summer reading program, the site goes on to say, provides free books and programs to children throughout the county.

The 8th Annual Authors and Artists Fair takes place from 10 am-6 pm Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Lane County Fairgrounds. $1-$6 sug. don. — Molly Templeton


Happy Woofday

I’ll be honest: It never occurred to me that there might be a need for a book about, um, dog parties. Dog parties? It’s an awkward phrase, for one thing. But if anyone can tell us how to go about throwing such things, it’s doubtless PETA founder and president Ingrid E. Newkirk, whose new book, Let’s Have a Dog Party! 20 Tail-Wagging Celebrations to Share with Your Best Friend, does just that. In the book’s preface, Newkirk explains how she came to throw a dog party in the first place: She met two dogs in a hotel in England who needed more love, and she threw the dogs a party in her room.

That party was a fairly simple affair, whereas there are some more complicated offerings in Let’s Have a Dog Party, from “Bark Mitzvahs” to Oktoberfests and beyond. The book covers menu planning, etiquette, party gifts and, well, everything you might possibly need to consider before having your dog party.

I just can’t get used to that phrase. But hey! I’m a cat person. And cats don’t like parties. Unless the parties offer stable laps. And possibly fish. You dog folks, with your enthusiastic, party-lovin’ creatures? You’ll have fun with this. Ingrid E. Newkirk signs books at a PETA fundraiser at 4 pm Sunday, Dec. 9, at Books Without Borders. One dollar from the sale of each copy of Let’s Have a Dog Party! will be donated directly to PETA; there will also be a raffle for a Doggie Party Pack. Alas, your pups can’t come; only assistance animals are permitted in the building Books Without Borders shares with Theo’s Coffeehouse and Cozmic Pizza. For more information or tickets (which are free but required due to limited space), call 284-2838. — Molly Templeton


DIVA Granted

Executive Director Mary Unruh and the big check

Been downtown for an art lesson, an ARTWalk, a movie or some noise music lately? Then you’ve probably been to DIVA, the little art initiative that could. With a new $35,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, the bustling spot and its hugely busy staff plan to do even more.

At a champagne celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 4, longtime local real estate broker Jean Tate handed over the OCF’s check to DIVA executive director Mary Unruh. The three-person staff, all of whom have been part-time, will now work full time in the gallery/classroom/movie/music space.

“We have been at 1.6 FTE,” Unruh said, “and we’ve done an awful lot with that.” But, she explained, she will be able to turn over some of the day-to-day adminstration to staffers Eric Ostlind and Becky Guy. As Ostlind focuses on programming for artists and improving the sound quality for various media presentations, Unruh’s job will include making improvements to the infrastructure of the space and helping to secure future funding. One thing she’ll be searching for is money “to spruce up the lobby and make it look more like a visual arts organization,” she said with a wry look at the utilitarian space.

“DIVA has done an incredible job of offering exhibits, education and more,” Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy told Stender and Unruh. “You never take ‘Slow down’ as an answer; you just keep on going.” As she offered her congratulations, glasses clinked.

Unruh joked, “We have champagne! That’s why we won ‘Best Stop on the First Friday ARTWalk!'” That, and the little matter of the number and quality of DIVA’s shows and programs.

Randy Stender, chair of DIVA’s board (and EW Happening Person on Nov. 26, 2006), said he was happy about the capacity-building grant, which helps DIVA get on the road to one of his goals: a permanent visual arts center downtown. “We have a performing arts center, the Hult, and a humanities center, the library, and the thing that was missing was a visual arts center,” he said. Now DIVA may leverage this grant into fulfilling Stender’s dream. — Suzi Steffen



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