A buzz of enthusiastic fervor emanated from the Lane Events Center last weekend as thousands of fans (we hear more than 9,000) intermingled at Eugene Comic Con, aka EUCON, a two-day celebration of comics and pop culture.
Recently the Eugene City Council was scheduled to act on a detailed rezoning ordinance for a large area of south Eugene. However, it raised the ire of local citizens because the issues it addressed had not been adequately presented to the people who would be most affected by its changes.
Attention, comic book fans et al. — here are my credentials to write this nerdy story. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I’ve shed more tears than I’d like to admit over the deaths of Harry Potter characters and I’m engaged to a physicist.
I’ll never forgive Joss Whedon for killing Penny from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from Angel and Wash from Firefly (I know, I know, he wasn’t actually killed until Serenity). I have a Lord of the Rings quote for nearly every occasion.
I believe this is enough to land me in solid nerd territory. I’m OK with that.
So imagine my joy when I heard earlier this year that, after a dry spell of nearly a decade, Eugene would host its very own comic convention, a celebration of all things fantasy, science fiction and beyond. Eugene Comic Con, also known as EUCON, hits Lane Events Center Nov. 14-15, and more than 5,000 people have RSVPed via Facebook.
• Two local events dealing with sexual violence are planned. The first is “Learn, Listen, and Speak Out: A Community Response to Sexual Violence” from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 12, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1465 Coburg Road. Free. The second is a mental health conference, “Addressing Sexual Violence in Our Community: Roadmap to Prevention” from 8 am to 5 pm Friday, Nov. 13, at Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way. Some scholarships available. Contact email@example.com.
Last week was eventful for James Manning. As a candidate for Oregon state representative in House District 14, which covers West Eugene, Bethel and Junction City, he says he was excited to see the Eugene library levy pass, increasing hours of operation for the library in his home neighborhood of Bethel.
As a Eugene Water and Electric Board commissioner, Manning says he spent a lot of time last week talking with people about the $10 fee increase proposed by EWEB that would have charged more to low-energy users and less to high-energy users.
A reshuffling of the criteria for homelessness in Lane County has erased the eligibility of hundreds of people for the county’s central housing list, leaving many expectant homeless people on the list feeling crestfallen.
However, the new county criteria also lifts some of the most urgent, life-threatening cases to the top of the list, to more quickly serve them.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley is feeling the burn — of climate change. But maybe he’s feeling the Bern, too. Merkley teamed up with presidential candidate and fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Nov. 4 to introduce new climate change legislation. The “Keep It In the Ground Act” would end all new federal leases for oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and waters.
• Robin Jaqua died Nov. 8 at age 94, and women and children in this area and beyond lost a fierce and effective advocate. She was well known for her generosity to the Relief Nursery and many other great programs in the arts, athletics and more, but she was best known to a significant segment of Eugene and Springfield as the leader of Jungian analysts. After 25 years of raising her family of four, she earned her Ph.D. from the UO and then went on to Switzerland to the C.G. Jung Institute.
The scams are back. Local businesses are once again getting calls about Best of Eugene awards and offers to ship the awards, for a price. These offers from out of state are copyright violations at best and total scams at worst. One fellow who is soliciting fake awards calls himself Peter Gray and says he works for Eugene Weekly. He’s calling the businesses he sees in our Best of Eugene issue and asking for credit card numbers. Of course we have never charged any business for the awards we give out.
The dance season is lighting up! Mark your calendar for these upcoming events: The Lane Dance Program will host JoAnna Mendl Shaw of The Equus Projects as its fall artist in residence Nov. 16-20. In addition to teaching classes, Mendl will screen her film,Håstdans på Hovdala, about a unique creation process.
Arts funding is important. Without it, even our longest-running institutions close. The Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center is the most recent in a string of examples.
People wring their hands when yet another art venue closes in Eugene, and the standard frustrations are conveyed: “There’s not enough funding!"; “I can’t survive as an artist in Eugene!”; “Nobody buys art!”; “Someone should step up and donate!”
Paul Robeson once observed: “The man who accepts Western values absolutely, finds his creative faculties becoming so warped and stunted that he is almost completely dependent on external satisfactions, and the moment he becomes frustrated in his search for these, he begins to develop neurotic symptoms, to feel that life is not worth living and, in chronic cases, to take his own life.”
On the first track of his latest record Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, singer Sturgill Simpson name-checks alien lizards, psychedelic drug DMT, Buddha and cosmic turtles, all of which are crooned about over a classic country shuffle.
The songs of Brooklyn-based quintet Lucius range from alt-country ballads and ’60s psychedelic to percussive pop with beguiling melodies and dance rhythms. But it’s the powerful harmonizing vocals of lead singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig that really separate their sound from the mainstream.
Article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that every person has the right to leisure. For many people, leisure consists of playing soccer, especially with goals, referees, out-of-bounds lines and other standard conditions — including opponents. These things are not so easy to get at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP), I discovered when I came to play there as an outsider in a prison soccer match.
Playwright David Ives (A Flea in Her Ear, Venus in Fur) calls his play The School for Lies a “translaptation” of French playwright Molière’s classic 1666 farce The Misanthrope. Lies is now playing at University Theatre under the direction of Tricia Rodley.
The most hated tax in English history was called a head tax in which the lord of the manor and peasants were taxed at exactly the same amount. It’s remarkable that EWEB has seen fit to revive that very same concept with a basic charge of $20 a month, which they propose to increase to $25 a month whether you live in a mansion in the hills or in an apartment on 6th Avenue.
I’m a hetero guy in need of advice. Back in college, I met this girl. Suffice it to say she was into me but I had some shit to work through. So we ended up being a missed connection, romantically. Despite that, we still became fast friends. I’m less awkward now, in large part because our friendship changed my life. We each married other people, and everything worked out great. Except I still love her. I think about her often, want to share things about my life with her, find myself wanting to rely on her when things are tough. I don’t know what to do with it.
James Bond is a real son-of-a-bitch. Emotionally withdrawn and given to bouts of depression, the agent known as 007 is a classic anti-hero — sadistic, taciturn and misanthropic, he is an assassin driven by the icy requisites of duty but given to the thrill of stepping outside the lines when he smells a rat within his own intelligence organization.
I can’t say I felt much when I read that the Jacobs Gallery was closing; having never visited, I only knew of it as “that gallery under the Hult.” I could envision the work they presented. You know, the kind of art that could easily hang in a “respectable gallery.”
While that may seem malicious, I approach this prominent closure with the perspective that art here, for the most part, is meant for an older audience. Can you blame the owners of the Jacobs Gallery for giving up? Surveying the art scene of Eugene tells me it’s less relevant and more “over the hill,” at least with regard to its ability to be at all engaging.
We all love Best of Eugene, readers and writers alike. We love seeing joyful social media posts when winners open the pages of this issue and see their names in print. We love the crazy photo shoots. We love all the hilarious and inappropriate votes we get to read.
But just like anything that is deeply beloved, Best of Eugene is so much fun to complain about. Here at EW headquarters, we enjoy complaining about the 40 hours of staff time it takes to count all those votes. Readers seem to revel in accusations of a rigged system and fabricated winners. But hey, what’s a Eugene event without a conspiracy theory?
Lovely readers, you are more than welcome to count the votes yourselves to assure you that we do, in fact, tally all the votes, even the votes for “your mom.” We get thousands of votes every year, but this only represents a small percentage of our readership. There are a whole lot of readers out there who don’t vote at all. This brings tears of sadness to our tired, ballot-counting eyes.
This year, we added a few new categories, and we’re pleased to see some fresh faces grace these pages. Best of Eugene isn’t about us — it’s about you. We love you, Eugene, and we hope this issue is everything you dreamed it would be. And if not, just remember that you have the power to change it next year. OK, OK, enough soapboxing. Let’s get to the fun!
November is the month to drain and roll up the garden hoses. It is important to take timers and other freezing sensitive equipment indoors for the winter. Be prepared to wrap the outside faucets. It wouldn’t hurt to give the plants in the yard one final, gentle feeding of fertilizer.
When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”
Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.