Darling of the North Coast

Norma Fraser

“I met Sam Cooke and his wife Barbara, and he turned to her and said, ‘Why don’t you bring her to America with us? We like her,’” Norma Fraser recounts, bursting into laughter.   Fraser has lived in Eugene for a decade and has a lifetime of stories like this, including recording with Bob Marley. Fraser’s parents didn’t even know she could sing until they heard her song on the radio; they wanted her to be a doctor. She didn’t plan to be a singer, much less a reggae legend, not singing a note until she was 14.  Continue reading 

Badass Burlesque

SuicideGirls brings its deliciously freaky boudoir romp to the McDonald Theatre

BlackHeart Burlesque hits up Eugene Sept. 17

Combine Planet of the Apes, The Simpsons, electronic duo Disclosure and 20 burlesque dancers in silver bikinis and monkey masks — and you get the Blackheart Burlesque, a SuicideGirls show set out to beat back traditional beauty standards.   Fourteen years ago, Selena Mooney, aka Missy Suicide, came up with the idea for a website that would showcase alternative beauty, not conforming to the ubiquitous standard of blonde hair and big boobs pushed by the media.  Continue reading 

Tapped Out

Is tap — one of dance’s most accessible and affordable forms — fading out?

Erin hennessey practices tap routine with Jean Nelson at eugene ballet academy

Tap has long held both the glamour of Fred Astaire and the grit of early vaudeville. Even so, its popularity has been inconsistent in the history of dance. Tap has enjoyed peaks on Broadway in the 1920s, the funk tap show Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk in the ’90s and even made appearances on So You Think You Can Dance as of late. As a whole, however, the scuffs and stamps of tap don’t seem to compete with the pirouettes of ballet or the chest pops of hip hop — especially in Eugene.  Continue reading 

Folk-Rock Supergroup

Session Americana

Session Americana

Not many band names are as accurate as Session Americana. The six-piece musical collective, made up of some of Boston’s best folk, rock and roots musicians, promises a gathering of down-home music. What the name doesn’t tell you is that Session Americana plays face to face in an Irish-style jam, which you can see up close and personal when the band comes to Tsunami Books promoting their recently released sixth album, Pack Up the Circus, produced by Anais Mitchell. Continue reading 

Get Whit It

Bands galore at the Block Party

Dick Dägger and the C Monsters

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.    Continue reading 

Peach Pit Jams

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 Continue reading 

Flown the Coop

Bird Woman, disillusioned, skips out on Fair this year

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. Continue reading