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Monday, Jan. 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” or his “I Have a Dream” speech and remind yourself of how far we have come and how very far we still have to go when it comes to race and racism in this country. The Eugene-Springfield NAACP says that the 2017 MLK Jr. March shaping up to be biggest to date, and as well it should. Black Lives Matter.

It’s a new year, and you should be dancing:  

Ballet Fantastique Academy’s winter session has begun, and BFan offers a Free Dance Week, Jan. 9-14, at their studio.

Eugene Ballet Academy (EBC) offers a full slate of classes, too, with ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern, tap and creative movement for all ages. 

One goal of Oregon’s statewide land use program is “citizen involvement,” providing opportunities for public participation in all phases of the regulatory system. Public awareness and engagement are essential to a functional democracy.

When statewide goals and the regulations meant to support them have been corrupted, and when, as a consequence, the health, safety and welfare of the public and the environment are endangered, it is incumbent upon injured parties to seek redress through formal judicial procedures and/or by initiative petition.

Just to be clear about my biases: I despise The Oregonian editorial board because it despises public employees and it misrepresents Oregon political reality because of it. And I’m also a retired Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) parasite, as my friends refer to me.

Ever since Oregon Democrats won control of both chambers of the Legislature in 2007, The Oregonian incessantly accuses Dems of monolithic control of the state without Republican input. That’s pure bullpucky! 

Watching Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals on stage, you’re never sure if the spotlight shines on her or if she shines a spotlight on the crowd. The singer-guitarist has that kind of presence. She’s a firecracker, whipping and thrashing around on stage, mercilessly high-energy yet deceptively simple punk rock — occasionally throwing in an Elvis hip-sway for good measure. 

This Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15, at the Church of the Resurrection (3925 Hilyard St.), the Oregon Bach Collegium whisks us back to the 18th century and across the ocean to Germany through music by J. S. Bach, his student Carl Friedrich Abel, Bach’s fifth son Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and one of the latter’s contemporaries, Carl Heinrich Graun.

RENAME SKINNER’S BUTTE

I live next to Skinner’s Butte and propose that we restore its name to what it was called by the Native Americans who lived here before us: Ya-Po-Ah, meaning “the high point” in their Kalapuya language. We’d be following Alaska’s example in its name change of Mount McKinley to Denali, the mountain’s Native American name meaning “big” for the highest mountain in the country. 

ONCE, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, comes to the Hult Center Jan. 17-18.

EW recently caught up with its star, Mackenzie Lesser-Roy, 21, who plays the show’s lead, known as “Girl.” 

My partner and I have been playing with male chastity devices. We’ve been considering going to a strip club while his cock is caged up and getting him lap dances. Is there some etiquette for this with the dancers? Do we let the dancer know before she is on his lap? Or do we not mention it? Is it rude to get a dancer involved at all? I’ve not yet found an etiquette guide for this situation.

Letting Our Cage Kink Show

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in a Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963 was a national tragedy, but it was also a nightmare, and one from which we’ve never recovered. The parameters of tragedy are timeless and defined, but a nightmare is a different beast altogether: disorienting, chaotic, darkly impressionistic and symbolic of reality in a way that is ominous, apocalyptic and forever ill at ease.

This Friday, Jan. 6, is the first ArtWalk of 2017. So let’s start 2017 right: Let’s make it a wildly creative, challenging, innovative year for local arts. Less schmaltz, less macaroni art, less half-rendered fairy paintings and more grit.

Outgoing Eugene City Councilor George Brown is not a politician; he’s a city government nerd, a bespectacled wonk. Not in the wide-eyed, soaked-in-sunny-positivity vein of Leslie Knope (of Parks and Recreation fame), but in a gruff, pragmatic, detail-oriented fashion. 

After eight years on the council, the Wichita native (he’s lived in Eugene since 1970) has a basement-full of papers in his home from completed, bygone or stalled city projects. There’s a waist-high tower of documents pertaining to Civic Stadium alone, which he describes as “nostalgic” after the historic venue burned down. 

Political leaders leave legacies — Eugene’s first woman mayor Ruth Bascom is remembered as the “bicycling mayor” after establishing bike and pedestrian paths around town during her tenure from 1993-96. 

As now-former mayor Kitty Piercy winds down her stint from January 2005 to January 2017 as Eugene’s second-longest serving mayor, many have wondered what her legacy will be.

The natural world has its regular rhythms disrupted by natural disasters like ice storms, much the way human environments change.

Incense cedar trees have proven much more susceptible to damage from an ice load than Douglas fir. The recent ice storm brought down incense cedar branches in much greater numbers than Douglas fir. The incense cedar’s ecological adaptation to the warmer end of the forest zone allowed them to evolve into a species with weak branches. They are not resistant to snow or ice. Key elements to surviving a disaster seem to be adaptability and resilience.

You hear the rhythmic metal tick-tock of armor plates clapping against chainmail from a long way off.

The sun sinks in the west as three swordsmen reach the wide cement platform that covers the College Hill Reservoir. 

Kurt Gerhard Studenroth lifts the steel helm from his cranium and offers his winded fellows hot tea from a half-gallon camping flask slung around his waist.

It’s the neoprene thermos that looks uncannily out of place; all other signs indicate we’re looking at Studenroth through a wormhole that connects South Eugene to medieval Europe.

The reality is much simpler than that, though. Think of it this way: Businessmen dress in suits and carry briefcases; police officers patrol the streets wearing guns on their hips and badges over their hearts; knights put on armor and swing swords.

Christmas-Jesus: A religious message on a banner downtown has stirred controversy this holiday season, with more than 140 comments and replies blowing up a post on outgoing Mayor Kitty Piercy’s official Facebook page.

The sign in question reads, “CHRISTMAS Attend a Church of Your Choice” and “JESUS Celebrate His Birth.” Since the banner is stretched across the public street of 8th Avenue, some citizens argue that it’s in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

An immense old oak tree crushed Kaye Parsons’  garage roof during December’s record-breaking ice storm in Eugene that knocked out power to thousands. 

Parsons can show you the enormous tilted stump of the tree, which also smashed through her wood fence on a hilly part of West 29th Avenue in the Friendly Street neighborhood. Piles of chopped branches from hundreds of fallen trees are stacked in many front yards of this venerable Eugene neighborhood. 

• Eugene got a windfall of sorts with a nearly $19 million Comcast payment from a fee for broadband services. Take $8.7 million of that payment and put it towards a new City Hall and suddenly the Eugene City Council has $27.45 million to play around with. Woohoo! Or wait, not so fast. The citizens of Eugene have a long history of not wanting to spend a bunch of cash on City Hall, and the city has a long history of making rash decisions about City Hall. More urgently than a fancy city hall, what this area needs is a good homeless shelter.

350 Eugene is off and running in the New Year. On Monday, Jan. 9, from 4-5 pm, activists will meet at the Federal Courthouse, 405 E. 8th Avenue, to protest Trump’s climate denier cabinet nominees, 350 organizer Betzi Hitz says. And on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 6-9 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive, the Winter 350 Eugene Meetup will combine a potluck, campaign reports and strategies discussion. “This is the place and time to plug in,” Hitz says. On Friday, Jan. 13 from 6-9 pm also at 1376 Olive non-violent direct action training is offered.

A recent audit of Business Oregon, the state’s economic development department, will likely generate more local debate about economic development incentives. I spent about 15 years working for the state economic development department and, after learning about the state audit, my first reaction was: It’s about time. 

While I know from experience that incentives are an important business recruitment tool, in my time at Business Oregon I saw a lot of abuse of incentives and very little accountability. The audit was right on the mark. Let’s hope that it does some good. Accountability for incentives has been way overdue at Business Oregon. 

Republicans Donald Trump and Dennis Richardson do not lack chutzpah! Both the recently elected president and the recently elected Oregon secretary of state were already making headlines prior to their coronations. 

Trump’s carnival of cabinet picks and the UN-Israeli ruckus speak volumes about what we’re about to hear under Republican control in Washington, D.C. for the next two years. Breitbart News reports that Trump now intends to appoint El Chapo as the next head of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Here at home, Dennis Richardson is demonstrating why he is the first Republican elected to statewide office in Oregon since Abraham Lincoln, according to Breitbart. I love fake news. Actually, the last Republican elected to statewide office in Oregon was U.S. Senator Gordon Smith in 2002. But you have to go back 36 years to Norma Paulus to find a Republican secretary of state.

Mack Gilcrest, primary songwriter with Missoula, Montana-based band Pale People, says his music celebrates the unpopular and disaffected among us.

Eugene is known for a lot of things — its local rap scene is not one of them. Those looking for live lyricism around town usually have to shell out a Jackson at WOW Hall which, granted, attracts an incredible roster of touring rappers year-round. 

PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES

As a third year law student, I find the University of Oregon response to Prof. Nancy Shurtz’ blackface incident disgraceful.

According to the university, the disruption caused by the professor’s costume “was so significant that it outweighed any right that Shurtz has to free speech and academic freedom.” It is patently offensive for the university to assert the right to selectively abide by the Constitution, because state entities have no such ability.