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Late October, three years ago, Eric Kissell built his daughter a coffin. 

Money’s always tight, so he used some distressed cedar planks pitted with holes bored by carpenter ants and wood beetles. Then he filled the casket with cold beers and added some dry ice for a spooky fog effect.

Horror movie fans, listen up: If your idea of a perfect Halloween is watching fright flicks non-stop, you’re in luck. Eugene Film Society (EFS) brings you the Third Annual 72 Hour Horror Film Competition, part of All Hallows’ Eugene — an annual series of Halloween-themed events occurring all over downtown.

Terry Kennon isn’t on the clock, but she’s at work anyway — because why not. What the hell else is there to do Wednesday night in Lebanon?

She hops down from her barstool, walks outside and lights a cigarette under a sign that reads Merlin’s Bar and Grill.

“I’ve worked here forever,” Kennon says, matter-of-factly. “Don’t tell me this place isn’t haunted.”

Colton Thompson is 6 years old. He has a mop of light blonde hair and a mischievous look in his eyes. He goes to school in Springfield.

One day during school, a classmate came up to Colton with a message from Colton’s dad. Colton and his family are fleeing domestic abuse, so the message scared him. Colton’s mom has a restraining order against his dad, and his family is staying in a safe house. 

Colton spent the rest of the night throwing up. He feared that his dad would take him from school. Ever since then, Colton hasn’t liked school very much.

When I got to the morning writing course I teach at Lane Community College on Tuesday, I asked my students, “How many of you were worried about coming to class today?” Several students raised their hands. Looking around at their peers, several more put their hands in the air. 

It was the first time our class met after a student in a writing course at Umpqua Community College came to class Oct. 1 armed with six guns and used them to kill eight fellow students, his writing instructor and finally, himself. He also wounded nine other students in a shooting spree he appears to have foreshadowed with threats on the internet bulletin board 4Chan.

Campuses in Oregon and around the country are mourning the news coming out of Umpqua Community College Oct. 1 after word of the mass shooting spread. The first week of class is often a time of newness, learning and excitement. This year, it has brought great sadness.

But it also brings a sense of unity. Football players from longtime rivals Oregon State University and the University of Oregon wore “UCC” decals on their helmets in a sign of solidarity. The UO, OSU, Lane Community College and others all held vigils on their respective campuses in remembrance of those lost, and #RoseburgStrong was joined by #IamUCC to support a grieving community. 

Many OSU and UO students really are UCC — the community college’s graduates go on to earn their bachelor’s and graduate degrees from Oregon’s state universities. When so much talk is made of rivalries and civil wars, it’s heartening to see collaboration and unification in our places of learning.

This year’s Back to Campus issue features EW’s ever-entertaining student Q&As, advice for Ducks new or old, a look at OSU’s seven hubs of cultural learning and more. Remember, no matter what your school colors, we’re all in this together.

It’s that time of year again! Time to crack open some beers … I mean books. 

This is the first fall in four years that I won’t be returning to campus. So now, as a grad, I’m passing on my top five things you need to know about being a Duck. 

When you’re a student, things get busy. Maybe you’re stuck studying in your apartment and, while starving, find the prospect of going out into the world for food unbearable. Maybe you just want to “Netflix and chill” without leaving the couch. 

If so, you can utilize HungryDucks as your take-out shortcut, or contact Cascadian Courier Collective to get almost anything delivered, so long as it isn’t more than 300 pounds and can fit on one of its freight bicycles.

Brandon Hosea

Major: Economics and public relations

Year: Senior

Age: 21

Hometown: Bend, Oregon

 

Would you vote for Donald Trump?

Yeah.

Why?

Because I respect his ambition. Honestly, I agree with some of the stuff he says, some of it I don’t — you can’t agree with everything.

Lane Community College’s water conservation technician program — one of only a few like it in the country — hasn’t had enough students to fill a cohort since 2012.

The college is still offering it — though enrollment is zero — because skills in water conservation may soon be in demand as communities reassess how they think about water, in part due to drought. 

Sometimes in our fair valley, it seems the only cultures deemed worthy of attention, or investment, are football and beer. Another gallery falls; another brewery rises. One more great local artist is lost to Portland — to opportunity — while Eugene funnels in more star players, more zealous fans and more Duck stuff.

Artists take heed: Paint your palettes yellow and green and let your kilns cook only the most bulbous growlers.

Oh, we tease. But in our third year of producing the visual arts issue, ArtsHound, it’s become clear that the best things — art that moves, heals, inspires and connects — come in quiet packages without much fanfare.

When Sam Gehrke peers through a camera lens, he’s taken to a new realm where anxieties dwindle and Eugene’s same tired vistas turn into hidden treasures. 

“I’m not the most social person,” Gehrke says, his kind eyes hiding behind thick, black frames. His time spent shooting skaters at WJ Skatepark, he says, helped him feel comfortable capturing human subjects — now his forte. 

The world can feel like a pretty nasty place. Local glass artist Jamie Burress is here to help. 

“I’m talking to my friend, who’s also a glass artist, about putting on a show that’s focused on desserts,” Burress says of a tentative upcoming exhibit with fellow glass artist Renee Patula. “There’s so much bad stuff going on in the world. We thought: Let’s just make a happy show!”

Eugene artist Perry Johnson has a gift. His work is inquisitive and multidimensional, at once rooted in a folk art tradition while branching out towards something more visceral and visionary. 

Employing color, shape and text, Johnson’s pieces are composed, developed and hauntingly autobiographical. 

At the beginning of summer, after scouring art shows, Instagram and online artists’ networks, Eugene Weekly found four local artists that truly inspired us and asked them to design original art for our ubiquitous little red boxes. The artists will reveal their art boxes at 6 pm Oct. 2 for Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk downtown. A corresponding show of their work spanning the month of October will also be on view at Noisette Pastry Kitchen.

Last week I walked through the hallways of the Oregon State Hospital in Junction City. It felt like being locked into a Holiday Inn Suites … with psychiatric workers keeping an eye on you. Earlier in the week, strolling the halls of PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District felt like being in an office building — a little generic with some pleasant extras like art, comfy pillows and tinkling music. 

Oregon’s new mental hospital is a far cry from the notorious scenes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but it’s nonetheless an institution behind locked doors, as is part of the facility replacing PeaceHealth’s circa 1969 Johnson Unit. And the question of institutionalization when it comes to the mentally ill is not an issue that has gone away, though it is trying to become kinder, gentler and more effective.

I spent the early '90s in Seattle working at a gas station just off I-5, near the University District. My co-worker on the morning shift, Pete, was a tall, smart, shy guy with a cynical disposition and a tart sense of humor. He had a troubled home life — wife, a kid, nights of hollering, a visit from the cops once. Pete drank too much sometimes. But he was a gentle soul. I liked him. Lots of people liked Pete.

I knew he was fucked up, but I told myself we were all fucked up. At work, during slow times, Pete and I talked in vague terms about the trials of life, our angst, our martyrdom, the bullshit of existence. Shop talk. That’s what men do, I figured.

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders …”

The police, the DAs and the judges were well represented at the Sept. 11 investiture of Lane County’s new district attorney, Patty Perlow. Perlow, a veteran of the Lane County DA’s office since 1990 and chief deputy since 2009, is also the county’s first female DA and the first woman to head the prosecutor’s office in one of Oregon’s top-five most populous counties. 

“Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made,” choreographer Ted Shawn once said.

It’s a quote that my first dance teacher had on a poster in her studio, and it’s an idea that carries to the dancer, the dance company, even to the community itself.

Welcome to Eugene Weekly’s 3rd annual Dance issue:

Swing Kid  Nick davis shares a lindy hop legacy in track town

Demystifying Dance Dance in Dialogue creates a community for experimental dance

Center Stage Head to Portland’s White Bird for national and international dance companies

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

Dance Listings

Eugene has a thriving dance community, rich with classes and performances of many kinds. But the opportunity to see visiting national or international dance companies has waned in recent years. 

So where else can a dance fan go for the next national or international fix? 

All that! Dance Company

Ballet, contemporary jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom

allthatdancecompany.com 541-688-1523

 

Ballet Fantastique

Ballet

balletfantastique.org 541-342-4611

 

Ballet North West Academy

Ballet, tap, modern, jazz and Broadway dance

bnwa.net 541-343-3914

 

Celebration Belly Dance and Yoga

Bollywood, zumba, samba, capoeira, African, 40-plus

On a hot, sticky summer day, three dancers move with all their might through intricate and instinctual movement exploring relationships and memory. The piece they’re working on is for an informal performance the following night, but the work they’re doing, the act of creating, is for something much bigger. They’re building community, one move at a time. 

No wonder local swing dancer Nick Davis has fallen hard for Lindy hop. It’s sexy, funny and fresh. It’s the most goddamn exhilarating movement I’ve seen. Watching a video of dancer Frankie Manning swing his partner with such centripetal force — linked solely by fingertips, momentum building like a merry-go-round — it’s easy to imagine that, were they to let go, each dancer would ricochet into outer space. 

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.