Esther the Lionhearted and Twinkle-Toed

Ballet Fantastique’s rock gospel ballet goes biblical

Ballet Fantastique company dancer Leanne Mizzoni as Esther

A local mother-daughter team is pushing the limits of ballet by finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places. For The Book of Esther, Ballet Fantastique’s Donna Bontrager and her daughter Hannah Bontrager go way, way back — to approximately 486 BC — for the finale of their 2013-2014 season. What better way to end the company’s “New Legends” series than with a story from one of the oldest existing works of literature: The Old Testament? Continue reading 

The Daddies Do Ballet

Eugene Ballet Company brings out the softer side of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies with Zoot Suit Riot

EBC dancers Mark Tucker, Danielle Tomie and Reed Souther

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. Continue reading 

Americana Realized


After hitting major gigs like the Northwest String Summit and the High Sierra Music Festival this summer, the whiskey-shooting, feet-stomping, heart-pounding Americana group Fruition returns to Eugene to tour its new album Just One of Them Nights. Stomp-worthy tracks like “The Wanter” and “Boil Over” showcase the group’s signature high energy, but where Nights shines is in its more thoughtful, introspective folk moments. “We enjoy the space of a song and the intimacy of a song,” vocalist and guitarist Kellen Asebroek explains. Continue reading 

Pressed Into Beautiful Service

Twin Ravens Press preserves an ancient art

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Anybody with a Pinterest account can attest that the holidays are no longer about giving the perfect gift — they’re about the gift-wrap, tag and greeting cards that go along with it. If the mundane store-bought cards won’t quite make the cut this year, you’re in luck. The beautiful letterpress holiday greeting cards from Eugene’s own Twin Ravens Press, available at Out On A Limb Gallery, are sure to satisfy the inner Martha Stewart in anyone. Continue reading 

Sister Act

Douglas County Daughters

Douglas County Daughters

Douglas County Daughters is another firm example that music is a place where sibling rivalries can fall by the wayside. After growing up in Douglas County, Neb., surrounded by their mother’s passion for 1940s music, sisters Mollie Ziegler and Emily West became classically trained musicians. The two pursued professional music careers with different groups before coming together to form Daughters, honing in on the vintage Americana sound originating from their roots.  Continue reading 

PNW Underbelly

Anna and the Underbelly

Anna and the Underbelly

Lyrics like: “bridges hold a sky of tired birds”; “come October we’ll fill our blankets up with leaves”; and “we sway until the moon is on our shoulders” go to show Anna Tivel, known on stage as Anna and the Underbelly, has arrived as a songwriter. Dripping with imagery, the Portland-based singer-songwriter’s first album, Brimstone Lullaby, whisks listeners away to the gray rainy streets and golden-brown autumns of the Pacific Northwest, Tivel’s main muse.   Continue reading 

Gone Grrrlz?

Male musicians wildly outnumber females in the local music scene

On the Billboard Hot 100 charts — ranking song popularity across genres — the top three slots are currently filled by Lorde (“Royals”), Katy Perry (“Roar”) and Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball”). On the radio, that trio plus Lady Gaga and Lana Del Ray all place in the top 10 played artists. Over the past year, other female-centric acts have made many more a top 10 list: Alabama Shakes, Beyoncé, Fiona Apple, Cher, Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Beach House, CHVRCHES. These trends, however, are not reflected in the Eugene music scene. Continue reading 

Festival of Lights

Shore Acres State Park becomes an illuminated holiday wonderland

You won’t find any lights decorating the exterior of David and Shirley Bridgham’s Coos Bay home this December. That’s because the couple is far too burnt out from months of spreading holiday cheer throughout the decadent formal gardens of Shore Acres State Park for its annual Holiday Lights event.   For 27 years, the couple has worked to transform the park into an illuminated wonderland. “We started with 6,000 little white lights,” Shirley Bridgham says. “And now we’re up to 300,000.”  Continue reading 

The Man, and Women, Behind the Mask

Ballet Fantastique produces and performs first-ever authorized ballet of Zorro

Zorro had some pretty good genes. On one side his father: Alejandro de la Vega, a soldier with ties to Spanish aristocracy. On the other his mother: Toypurnia, a powerful Tongva warrior who led her tribe into battle against the Spaniards. With parents from conflicting cultures, it’s no wonder Zorro (real name Diego de la Vega) had an identity crisis, growing up to be the swashbuckling, masked crusader who leaves Z’s in his wake. Continue reading