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Eugene Weekly : Culture : 09.08.05

Gamin':

Herding Ghosts

A few glitches in Recon 2

Lecture:

Soul Work

Fr. John Malecki in Eugene this weekend.

Books:

An Epic Crossing

The new world of Robin Hobb

Performance:

The Art of Tomorrow


Portland's TBA fest offers NW arts lovers a glimpse of the future.

Theater:

Parody Hilarity


Urinetown the Musical

Morsels:

Strength in Flavors


Penelope's puts its best foot forward.

Gardening:

Tropical Splendor


Heat-loving plants add punch to late summer gardens.

 

 

Herding Ghosts

A few glitches in Recon 2

BY SETH DONLIN

Let's start with the facts. One: Summit Strike is a squad-based first-person-shooter. Two: it's a stand-alone expansion to the popular Ghost Recon 2. And three: legions of Tom Clancy followers are, at this very moment, reconnoitering our newspaper's HQ in preparation for a full frontal assault should I dare to malign their beloved leader's game. With all that in mind, let me just say this: Tom Clancy's Summit Strike is the best damned game I have ever played. No, seriously; it's incredible. It's so good that I couldn't …. What? They're gone? Oh, thank god. The truth is that Summit Strike is a solid expansion to a solid game, but it falls far short of delivering the level of accuracy and realism that one would expect from a Red Storm product.

TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON 2: SUMMIT STRIKE Publisher, UBISOFT • Platform, XBOX. Price, $29.99 • ESRB rating, T (Teen). What's cool: Large maps, open-ended missions and an interesting single-player storyline. Extensive multiplayer content. What's uncool: Poor AI for both enemies and teammates, an extremely high level of difficulty even on normal difficulty levels and frustrating squad management controls. Gameplay 3, Graphics 4, Sound 4

The gist of the single player campaign is this: You play the leader of a team of elite commandoes sent into Kazakstan to help eliminate the threat of Asad Rahil, a Pakistani terrorist with his own private army and a serious grudge against the West. As stories go, it's a bit melodramatic, but it's standard Clancy and it allows the Ghosts plenty of opportunities to strut their stuff.

Missions are varied, from a mountain assault against fixed artillery positions to a nighttime defense of an allied bunker complex. The campaign even gives the player an opportunity to try a few Lone Wolf missions, where the game's main character is on his own without the support of the rest of his four-man fire team. Each missions map is large and open-ended — allowing players to decide on their own how best to accomplish each mission — and scenery is rendered in impressive detail.

The variety of equipment that players can choose from at the outset of each mission is another impressive feature of the game. Prefer a sniper rifle for your team leader? Go ahead and choose from a whole list of them. Decide that sniping isn't for you and instead want to rock and roll with a Squad Assault Weapon? That's fine, too. You can even change what sidearm your character carries as well as which kinds of grenades he has at his disposal. The one thing that you can't seem to change is how amazingly inept your fellow Ghosts often prove themselves to be.

The problem is with the game's AI. While your squad mates do a fine job of locating and eliminating enemy soldiers, they do a piss poor job of keeping their asses out of harms way. Partly, this is due to the way in which you can give your team members orders. Normally the other three Ghosts follow you around and take their cues from what you're doing, but you can also give them other commands, like orders to lay down suppressing fire or to flank out to the left or right. Unfortunately, when ordering them to advance or to head out to a flank, you can't order them to a specific place. You try to send them to a firing position with perfect cover and they'll often stop short or press right on by. The only thing that ends up saving their asses is fact that the enemy's AI is equally pathetic, with opposing soldiers often running around like scared kindergarteners rather than hardened terrorists and trained soldiers.

Then again, when Tom Clancy's forces come for you, maybe everybody turns into a scared kindergartener. After all, Clancy once sold insurance.


Seth Donlin writes for Weekly Dig (www.weeklydig.com) in Boston.

 

Soul Work

Fr. John Malecki in Eugene this weekend.

BY LOIS WADSWORTH

Father John Malecki is a wise man whose life at 84 is still evolving. A Catholic priest since he was ordained at age 26, Malecki completed his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the UO in 1969, followed by a 15-year practice. When he was 70, he began a course of sturdy at the C.G. Jung Institute of Boston, where at age 80 he presented his doctoral dissertation on the inner life of people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, he is a distance runner, whose first race was the New York City Marathon, at age 65.

FATHER JOHN MALECKI

The Eugene Friends of Jung brings Malecki to Eugene this weekend, where he will speak at 7:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 9 at PeaceHealth's auditorium. Whether we are caregivers, the grown children of aging parents or are ourselves elders (as all of us will be eventually), we will find Malecki's approach to dementia different from the medical model. He will share his experiences and studies in "Images from the Unconscious of Early- and Middle-Stage Alzheimer's Patients" on Friday, and Saturday he offers a short workshop from 9 to 11:30 am on how to reach a person suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

I spoke to Malecki by telephone from Teresian House in Albany, New York, where he lives with Alzheimer's patients for whom it is also home. Among the many hats this interesting, life-embracing individual wears is that of staff psychologist at a consultation center, where he runs spiritually based "wellness groups" for people with chronic illnesses. He also serves as chaplain for a community hospice.

I asked Malecki one question: What drew him to develop a respect for suffering, particularly the suffering of Alzheimer's and dementia patients? He paused for a moment, collected his thoughts, thanked me for the question and answered, beginning with the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which opened the door to new ways of practicing for those working in the church.

The response to suffering that had worked for many years, he said, was simply to cite "the will of God." But after Vatican Two, such simple expressions were insufficient, and clergy was encouraged to see the whole problem of suffering as people experienced it.

In the climate of the times, Malecki pursued a doctorate in psychology at UO. Counseling provided a rational understanding of suffering, he said, but the practice left out the spiritual aspect.

"Working in counseling threw me into the cauldron of suffering," he said. "I saw the destructiveness of severe depression, of addiction. This was where I experienced no longer hiding behind theology by working with the dying, those with terminal illnesses — not settling for the ritual. You sat with them, you cried with them. The experience profoundly changed me," he said. "It taught me to empathize."

But by age 70, the cognitive approach was not enough for Malecki, and although it took him 10 years to complete his studies at the Jung Institute of Boston, in part because he commuted from Albany, he said he would do it all again. "I was very challenged," he said. "They took no prisoners."

He found himself at age 80 with the need to present a doctoral dissertation to graduate as a Jungian diplomate. At that time, several interesting things happened all at once. The center where he lived in New York built a new building for Alzhemier's patients. Second, he was invited to a conference on Alzheimer's at Harvard, where he asked the chair of the department, "Do you do any group therapy for Alzheimer's patients?" No, he was told. No medical school in the country does.

Malecki realized that he had a built-in laboratory where he lived. Moreover, it was a place where he could control the variables in the study. So he began his work with Alzheimer's patients.

"I was passionate about the work," he said. "The patients taught me the meaning of suffering. And I saw how deeply we had underestimated the capacity of these people."

Malecki took a moment to tell me that the term "primary process" has a specific meaning in psychology. "You might use it to describe children of a certain age who live in a primarily unconscious state," for example. "At times," he said, "Alzheimer's patients are in primary process, such as when they pray. It's beautiful."

Sounds like grace to me. I've been overwhelmed by the suffering of the people of the Gulf Coast and the death of the historical city of New Orleans for the past 10 days. I welcomed Malecki's blessing as we concluded our interview as a moment of such grace. Friday night you can hear for yourself what this remarkable man has to say.    

 

 

An Epic Crossing

The new world of Robin Hobb

BY MOLLY TEMPLETON

SHAMAN'S CROSSING by Robin Hobb. Eos, 2005. Hardcover, $25.95.

Since her 1995 debut, Assassin's Apprentice, Tacoma fantasy author Robin Hobb has turned out three thick trilogies, each more rich and engrossing than the last. Six books are told in the striking first-person voice of FitzChivalry Farseer; three concern a trader family and the origin of dragons. Hobb's talent for character and for transforming fantasy's common elements into something unexpectedly fresh has turned her books into national bestsellers and left readers asking for more stories about Fitz and his companions. But Hobb has said she's not sure she'll return to that tale; instead, she's started a new one set in an entirely different world.

"The soldier sons of soldier sons are soldiers before they are sons," one character says to another early in Shaman's Crossing, the just-released first book in the Soldier Son trilogy. In Gernian nobility, first sons inherit, second sons become soldiers, third sons become priests, and so it is down the line, each son's future determined at birth. Nevare Burwell is a solider son, bound by tradition to follow in his father's footsteps and join the cavalla (horse soldiers). His father is a "new noble," a soldier recently raised to lordship as a result of exceptional service in the war against the Plainsmen, native tribes that resist Gernia's westward expansion. Nevare's father, hoping to instill in Nevare a lesson about leadership and decision-making, sends his son to learn from Dewara, a Plainsman who was the elder Burwell's fiercest enemy. The strange events that follow shape Nevare in inexplicable ways as he lives through his first year in the King's Cavalla Academy, making friends among the other new nobility (segregated neatly and confrontationally from the old) and having his eyes opened to certain flaws in his world by his schooling and his cousin Epiny, a headstrong young woman with underestimated talents of her own.

Nevare's story, like Fitz's, is a coming-of-age tale told by a young man finding his place in a unsteady world. But unlike many fantasy characters, Nevare is deeply driven by tradition and duty, determined to follow the path that's been set for him. Asked (via email) if there was any conscious decision involved in the evolution of a character so different than her earlier protagonists, Hobb wrote, "Oh, I'm not that organized!" She continued, "Looking back, I can pick out bits and pieces of what started the story in my head, such as driving past a French cemetery with a high wall, or the portrait of a nobleman in the lobby of a hotel in England, but those things don't really add up to the whole of what Nevare is. As I'm working on book two, he continues to evolve and surprise me. At this point, I can only hope that readers will like him as much as they did Fitz."

Thus far, reaction has been positive, though readers seem to be seeing in Nevare's land more of the American West than Hobb intended. "In many ways, it doesn't surprise me," Hobb wrote. "If you say the word 'cavalry' that is the first image that comes to mind for most people." A broader influence colored Hobb's creation of this new land and its society. "The traditions are a mix of things. The military tradition of buying a commission comes not from the U.S. so much as from the British military. The society Nevare moves in is one based on a hereditary aristocracy. The incursions of the Gernians into the plains reminds me of colonialism in many different settings rather than the settling of the new world."

Nevare's world is stunningly realized, from the traditions of the cavalla to the surprising, earthy magic of the Specks, the dappled forest people who live beyond the plains. Still, it's thoughtful, conflicted Nevare and the other characters in Hobb's tale that are the driving force. "I don't do 'world building' in the way that most writers speak about it," she wrote. "For me, it always starts with the characters and expands from there. I don't draw the maps or devise the magic first. It always unfolds from the characters."


Robin Hobb reads at 7 pm Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Powell's Books in Beaverton.

BOOK NOTES: Tom Spanbauer speaks on "Dangerous Fiction: What Is It?," 6:30 pm 9/8, Baker Downtown Center. $10 donation for non-Mid-Valley Willamette Writers members … Sara Halprin reads from Seema's Show, 7:30 pm 9/8, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Young literary hotshot Nick McDonnell reads from The Third Brother, 7:30 pm 9/9, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Much-loved children's writer Tomie dePaola reads from Angels, Angels Everywhere, 3 pm 9/10, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Laura Numeroff reads from the newest in her If You Give a Pig… series, 1 pm 9/11, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Jacqueline Winspear reads, 7:30 pm 9/12, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … John Baur & Mark Summers discuss Pirattitude! So You Wanna Be a Pirate? Here's How!, 7 pm 9/14, Borders … Robin Hobb reads, 7 pm 9/14, Powell's in Beaverton … Jean Shinoda Bolen reads, 7:30 pm 9/15, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Mary Matsuda Grunewald reads from Looking Like the Enemy, 7:30 pm 9/16, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Craig Lesley reads, 7:30 pm 9/18, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Annie Duke reads from How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker, 7:30 pm 9/19, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Windfall Reading Series: Gary J. Whitehead and Laurie Lynn Drummond read, 7 pm 9/20, Downtown Library … Barbara Ehrenreich discusses Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, 7 pm 9/20, Bagdad Theater, Portland … Former Oregonian reporter Jim Lynch reads from The Highest Tide, 7:30 pm 9/21, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Lydia Millet reads from Oh Pure and Radiant
Heart
, 7:30 pm 9/22, Powell's on Burnside, Portland … Cynthia Ozick speaks, 7:30 pm 9/22, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. $25, college/seniors $18, high school $5.

 

 

The Art of Tomorrow

Portland's TBA fest offers NW arts lovers a glimpse of the future.

BY BRETT CAMPBELL AND RACHEL CARNES

Ten years ago, Kristy Edmunds had a vision: that Oregon could support a cutting edge art performance scene. The odds were against her. Edmunds, a native Northwesterner and visual artist who'd established a strong performance arts series with the Portland Art Museum, had left that job after differences with the museum leaders. Several other attempts to create such institutions had recently foundered, in part because arts funding in Oregon — already among the nation's lowest — was drying up.

STREB

A decade later, Edmunds' vision is still going strong. PICA, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts, is one of the nation's most visionary community arts organizations. With a $1.6 million budget, PICA has a history of bringing some of the world's most out-there artists to Portland, from Philip Glass, John Zorn and Bill Frisell to the late Spalding Gray, David Sedaris, Miranda July, Diamanda Galas and Karen Finley as well as dozens of less widely known (so far) explorers of art's frontiers.

Now, Edmunds is leaving PICA to settle full-time in Melbourne, Australia, where for the past five years she has also directed a similarly renowned arts festival and where her life partner has recently given birth to the couple's first child. Edmund is leaving in a final burst of glory: PICA's third annual Time– Based Arts (TBA) festival, which carpet-bombs the city with performances by local, regional and international dancers, musicians, filmmakers, and multimedia artists. From Sept. 9-18, Eugeneans can drive a couple hours north and find themselves immersed in the future of art.

With several world or U.S. premieres, TBA is rapidly becoming to avant garde performance what Austin's SXSW is to indie rock. This year's model is certainly one of the most exciting arts festivals on the West Coast, maybe in the world. Besides bringing path-breaking art from around the world, TBA also helps jumpstart the Northwest arts scene by featuring more than 80 local and regional artists and by connecting up-and-coming Northwest artists with national artists and curators, with audiences and with each other.

TBA, Edmunds wrote in an email from Melbourne, "is an important opportunity for artists who have developed an authentic vision for where they are headed, and have a demonstrated track record and a commitment to pursuing ideas that are artistically consequential to their form, but not necessarily geared for a 'commercial' or 'creative' market." Here's a brief overview of some of the main staged performances Sept. 9 –18.

• Sound & Vision. One sign of TBA's success is the difficulty of defining exactly what pigeonhole fits many of the performances. Some of the most intriguing musicians combine music with video: DJ Spooky's "remix" of the classic (and racist) film Birth of a Nation; Daniel Bernard Roumain's marriage of violin and video portraiture in Vision Blinding; aphids' Skin Quartet.

• Music & Dance. The new music string quartet Ethel returns to TBA with original music by hot composer Phil Kline (who set Zippo and Rumsfeld "poetry" to engaging scores) and dance by Wally Cardona. Locust's Convenience is a new work presented by Seattle choreographer and videographer Amy O'Neal and composer Zeke Keeble.

• Bodies in Motion. If it's high-flying postmodern dance aerialists you want, then look no further than STREB at 8 pm on 9/8 in Pioneer Courthouse Square. This free concert features Elizabeth Streb's NY-based company that defies gravity and the boundaries of self-punishment as they hurl themselves through space and crash onto a variety of surfaces.

Eugene's own Tiffany Mills and her company present Elegy and Godard. Mills earned her BA in dance from the UO and now makes good use of it in NYC. With music by John Zorn and film accompaniment by Ela Troyano, based on works by Jean Genet and the films of Jean-Luc Godard, it's clear this former Duck ain't sippin' lattes at Allann Bros. anymore.

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Faustin Linyekula/Les Studios Kabako weaves a dance-theater dream in Triptique Sans Titre. Scraping through the political and economic realities of war-torn colonialism and oppression, Linyekula offers a provocative story of collective amnesia.

Need a little Butoh in your life? Kota Yamazaki/Fluid Hug Hug will wither their way to existential bliss in Rise: Rose. Blending Japanese Butoh, modern dance and hip-hop, Yamazaki explores the human form that's at once powerful and meek.

Then fling like a Streb dancer back to Carl Hancock Rux's Mycenaean, tethering together movement, opera, video and a little Greek tragedy for good measure. Rux delves into the rise and fall of civilizations, the pulse of the new and the crumbling of the old, and throughout, the push to survive.

Besides the 16 stage works, TBA also includes a slew of chats, workshops and lectures, which offer glimpses into the making of avant-garde art. There are 16 more performances at Works, an industrial warehouse transformed into a late-night dancing/dining/drinking hangout. Works features DJs, video, avant-food, with NW musicians and other performers from Tokyo to Mexico.


For more on TBA, log on to www.pica.org

 

 

Parody Hilarity

Urinetown the Musical

BY SHARLEEN NELSON

Actor's Cabaret of Eugene kicks off its "Broadway Blockbuster"-themed 27th season on Sept. 9 with the Tony award-winning hit Urinetown the Musical. Despite its peculiar name, Urinetown incorporates all the necessary elements of every musical ever made — romance, crisis, villainy and many opportune moments for breaking into spontaneous song.

Marc Innocenti as Old Man Strong and Chris McVein as Bobby Strong

"The title is the hard part to sell, but it's a lot of fun," says ACE's Jim Roberts. "It pokes fun at everything — corrupt corporations, politicians and musicals themselves. The more we work on it, the funnier it is."

More than merely an undiluted story about urine, the play, which spoofs nearly all of the theatrical genres, employs tongue-in-cheek satire to raise ethical questions about corporate corruption, energy consumption and the gap between the rich and poor. In this mythical town, a 20-year drought has led to a government ban on the use of private toilets. Capitalizing on the townspeople's misery, a greedy company begins charging a "fee to pee" at their subsidized public restrooms. In response, one brave, young revolutionary takes on the corporation and urges the citizenry to rise up with him in rebellion.

According to Director Joe Zingo, with five choreographers overseeing nine dance numbers and a large cast of 31 members, the production satisfies the requirements of a traditional New York style Broadway show. "It's an exciting, different kind of show: lots of fun, lots of dancing, and we have a chorus with a lot of big voices producing truly a Broadway sound," he said. Indeed, if the enthusiasm among the cast members during rehearsals is any indication, Zingo says that Urinetown may be one of the best musicals produced in Eugene. "I love the show because it's brilliantly written," he said. "It's so much fun and very campy."

Urinetown the Musical runs through Oct. 1 at Actor's Cabaret followed by a special weekend performance Oct. 7–8 at the Hult Center's Soreng Theater. If "urine" town, you won't want to miss it!

Buy tickets online at www.actorscabaret.orgor call 683-4368.

 

 

Strength in Flavors

Penelope's puts its best foot forward.

BY MOLLY TEMPLETON

If you're a fan of the robust, pungent flavors of Mediterranean food, you owe it to yourself to swing by Penelope's, the new restaurant in the old home of Locomotive. While there are still a few bumps and quirks hiding out on the menu, the small, friendly restaurant deserves more patrons than the four of us who were there last Saturday night.

What Penelope's does well, it does very well. Our appetizer, a sampler plate of spreads with toasted pita triangles on a bed of diced tomatoes and hearts of romaine, had us cooing and proclaiming favorites instantly. The eggplant spread, piquant with garlic, and the salty puree of kalamata olives took top honors, though the feta was also delicious and the hummus just fine (if a bit pedestrian in comparison with the rest of the plate). Our pitas were replenished and another basket of homemade bread brought before we'd even thought to ask.

The small wine list was dubbed "well-organized and full of value" by the most knowledgeable of our party, and our 2003 Barbara d'Alba stood up nicely to the array of flavors we'd selected. The Mediterranean combo platter was irresistible, a large plate loaded with moussaka, keftedes (heavily spiced lamb meatballs), spanakopita (slightly disappointing, with damp filo dough) and dolmades. A full order of the moussaka proved to be a little heavy; while the lamb (locally raised) and eggplant were flavorful and cooked to perfection, the layer of béchamel custard that topped the dish was a little thick.

Scampi Mediterranean was good if unremarkable, though the rice and vegetable sides were a perfect companion for the garlicky shrimp. But the real winner was the peppered tenderloin flambé, a sizable slab of filet mignon topped with crushed peppercorns, cooked in a brandy cream sauce with fresh mushrooms and served with a choice of rice or potatoes. The rich, decadent sauce would have made cardboard taste good.

Sadly, our post-entrée selections were on the disappointing side. The chocolate hazelnut mousse torte's cake layers were dry as styrofoam, and the "organic espresso coffee" lacked both crema and flavor.

While Penelope's might draw more patrons by adding a slightly less expensive lunch hour and using a lighter hand with the béchamel, their short but diverse menu has broad appeal.   

Penelope's Mediterranean Cuisine. 291 E. 5th Ave. 5-10 pm Wednesday through Sunday. $$-$$$.

 

Tropical Splendor

Heat-loving plants add punch to late summer gardens.

BY RACHEL FOSTER

It's taken me a long time to warm to canna lilies. You can't help admiring the large, shapely leaves, sometimes colored deepest burgundy or boldly striped with orange, gold or cream. In general, though, I always thought of them as overbearing plants with lumpish, congested flowers in garish colors. As it happens, the canna that finally won me over has plain green foliage. Although its leaves are particularly graceful, the real distinction of 'Panache' lies in the orderly flowers, which have narrow, peachy-cream petals, flushed with red at the base. When the flowers wither they leave behind red, spiny seed capsules that blend nicely with fresh heads of bloom.

I purchased 'Panache' some years ago from Kenan Rowlett (business name: The Artistic Gardener) back when he sold cannas, grasses and bamboo at the Lane County Farmers Market. Recently he's been phasing out the larger grasses in favor of more bamboo varieties and "hardy tropicals," including cannas. He still sells 'Panache' as well as three more unusually elegant varieties, 'Longwood Yellow,' 'Longwood Pink' and 'Longwood Red.' The Longwood series have narrow, blueish green leaves and flowers with at least a bit of poise. Those of 'Longwood Red' are a soft, pleasing red reminiscent of the inside of a watermelon.

Gardens with tropicalismo style have no difficulty accommodating the orange flowers and huge striped leaves of 'Bengal Tiger' (striated green and yellow) and 'Tropicana' (a melange of peach, red, green and yellow). But the cannas sheltering among the bamboos in Rowlett's garden include some new, gentler varieties with flowers in fabulous pastel shades. 'Princess Di' combines the peachy color of 'Panache' with the showier, broad-petaled flower form more typical of canna hybrids. Another standout is near-white 'Milk Festival'. This would combine brilliantly with 'Dark Knight,' a taller, black-leafed canna with rich red flowers.

Rowlett defines as Hardy Tropicals as "tropical plants that will grow, and even thrive, in colder climates than they are accustomed to in their native habitat". They include some banana trees, taro and ginger, all plants which, like cannas, take a few weeks of genuine warmth to really show their stuff, coming into full glory in August and September. In sheltered coastal and Willamette Valley gardens with well drained soil you can leave them in the ground from year to year. My soil is fairly moisture retentive, but my cannas have made it for several years in gently sloping beds. I bend the lower leaves and stems over the clumps in winter to provide a little protection against frost and wet.

Cannas should grow anywhere that dahlias will. They thrive in sun and tolerate part shade, and they like ample summer moisture. Potted cannas (unlike dahlias, as far as I know) actually enjoy standing in a few inches of water during the growing season. Summer is a good time to figure out which colors you like, but spring is a better time to plant them if you plan to leave them in the ground. Alternatively, store the rhizomes over winter as you would dahlia tubers, in a dry, frost-free place.

The Artistic Gardener operates out of Rowlett's home nursery at 3244 W. 16th. Phone him at 345-4388 or 915-7439 for an appointment, or drop by for a plant sale 8:30 am to 2 pm Saturday, Sept. 10. While there, check out the non-running bamboos, many of which are relatively new to the U.S. market. Rowlett now carries 10 clumping bamboos ranging from 6-10 footers that like shade to 16-20 footers that like sun, such as Fargesia robusta. This one is a good choice for a tall, upright screen that won't run or lean too much. Other fargesias are more petite and finer textured. Chusquea species are interesting clumpers from South America with solid, not hollow, canes from which branches appear all around each node, giving them a sort of giant bottle brush effect.

Don't miss the eighth annual Whiteaker Plant Sale at Scobert Gardens (West 4th Avenue, off Blair Blvd.) 9 am to 2 pm Sunday, Sept. 11. Trees, shrubs, perennials, bamboos, houseplants and more are donated by more than a dozen local nurseries. Proceeds fund activities in the park. For more information, call Ellen Schlesinger, 686-4646.


Rachel Foster of Eugene is a garden consultant and author of All About Gardens, a selection of past EW columns. She can be reached at rfoster@efn.org