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• Introductory meeting of Eugene Downtown Cohousing is 1 pm Saturday, Dec. 3. For info on location, call 541-344-5751, or email: eugenecohousingdowntown@gmail.com.

• Steel Wool, Gumbo Groove and McKayla Webb ask you to bring warm (wool) clothing to donate to the White Bird Clinic 6 pm Dec. 2 at their show at Whirled Pies Downtown, 8th and Charnelton. $8 door. For more info go to steelwoolband.com.

Ah, the holidays! Time for families and friends to get together and celebrate love and friendship and all those other virtues. So what’s the big family-friendly musical onstage this season about? Why, guns, of course. Hey, this is America! 

Portland singer-songwriter Tara Velarde fuses a wide range of vocals and Latin rhythms to create a concoction I can only describe as diva folk. In the course of one album, Velarde maneuvers her voice from feathery to spine-tingling. You could compare her to Ingrid Michaelson or Laura Marling, but she raises the bar for folk-pop with her experimental and multi-influential mash-ups within the genre. 

It’s often said punks and hippies don’t get along. Nevertheless, Blag Dahlia, vocalist and founding member of legendary and, in some circles, notorious San Francisco shock-punk legends Dwarves, would like to extend an olive branch to the hippie girls of Eugene. 

Mike Stortz always dreamt of relocating his band Johnny Raincloud from South Florida to Portland. During a recent visit to Oregon, Stortz caught a show at Portland music venue Crystal Ballroom. What transpired convinced Stortz to take the plunge.

As a young man, Chris Robinson experienced overnight success with his band The Black Crowes. The Crowes had a major hit in the late '80s with their album Shake Your Money Maker, led by the Rolling Stones-esque single “Hard To Handle.” 

David Sedaris is a masterfully droll storyteller, and his one-man play The Santaland Diaries, playing now at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, is the perfect pairing for this heightened holiday season.

My boyfriend of almost two years is wonderful, and we have had very few issues. But there is one thing that has almost been a deal breaker. He fiddles with his penis almost constantly—in front of me and in front of our roommates. I’ve confronted him about it a number of times. He said he should be able to fiddle with his dick in every room of the house if he wants to and he should feel comfortable doing so. I told him that he is being “comfortable” at the expense of the comfort of those around him.

As a critic expected to say something moderately interesting and revealing about the film at hand, I find myself in a difficult position here. I walked into a screening of Moonlight knowing little about the movie, only that it was receiving a good amount of acclaim.

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

The presence of the homeless in downtown Eugene has long been a contentious issue. But the idea of sheltering the unhoused in the heart of the city instead of trying to drive them out has not received much attention. 

The majority of shelter options are in other areas, particularly in Ward 7, home to the Whiteaker, Trainsong, River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods.

When First Lady Michelle Obama issued her “Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” in 2014, Eugene stepped up to the plate, setting a goal of getting 365 of Lane County’s military vets into homes — an average of one per day for a year — through a broad coalition of local government and nonprofit agencies working together to secure funding and real estate.

Eugene knocked it out of the park, exceeding its goal by housing 404 veterans in the span of a year. According to St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Terry McDonald, who participated in the challenge, you can hold that number up to a much larger city like Portland (around 600 vets housed) to understand the success of the local effort.

The recent legal settlement between a tenure-track Pakistani-American Lane Community College instructor and the college adds a renewed focus on safety for minorities at LCC in this post-Trump world. 

In the same month that racial and sexual harassment have seen a definite uptick on campuses around the U.S. after Trump was elected, sociology instructor Nadia Raza reached a legal settlement with LCC that contains provisions for college security to go through threat assessment training and other pro-safety measures by May 2017. 

Springfield School District board member Erik Bishoff says he was “not surprised, but disappointed” that Measure 97 didn’t pass. 

“We might have to make some cuts this year, and it’s likely going to mean class sizes are going to get larger,” Bishoff says.

Now that the measure has failed, members of the education community and supporters of the Measure 97 campaign are working on next steps to push for a fully funded school system, which includes plans to lobby the Oregon Legislature.

A massive earthquake, a toxic chemical spill, a huge forest fire. If a disaster strikes the McKenzie River, it strikes Eugene’s sole source of drinking water. There is also the possibility of a “malevolent attack on the water system,” EWEB says. 

In these worst-case scenarios the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) has only one or two days of drinking water in its 94 million gallons of storage during the summer months.

And to put it simply: Without water, people die.

Oxbow Timber 1, 679-3311, plans to hire RRC Forestry Roseburg Resources, 541-679-3311, to aerially apply urea fertilizer to 708 acres south of Noti and Vaughn Road, near Warden and Hardy Creeks. See ODF notification 2016-781-12752; call Dan Menk at 541-935-2283 with questions.

• It was good to see Nike in the list of American companies urging Donald Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, “saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American  prosperity,” as The New York Times wrote it. And now we have U. S. military leaders putting out their concerns about climate change. We wonder if President-elect Trump has the capacity to understand that climate change is not a “hoax,” as he called it in the campaign?

No one will blame you if 2016 has put you in a less than jolly mood. No matter how much eggnog you pound, there is no changing this steaming pile of ... coal that we call 2016 into a diamond.

So embrace it, spike your cocoa and hit the local stores of Eugene to bring a little holiday spirit to your loved ones this season.

• There will be a “good old-fashioned teach-in” on U.S. civics and fighting oppression 3 pm Friday, Nov. 25, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1685 W. 13th Avenue. Lane County Humans for Respect holds the event the day after Thanksgiving, partnering with the Adult Religious Education program at the church. Search for the event “Teach-in” on Facebook for more info.

As EW readers continue to regain balance after the presidential election, we want to reflect on two education-related measures: Measure 97, the tax on large corporations, and Measure 98, the high school graduation initiative.

There’s something very cheering about fresh flowers in winter, and some of the most reliable providers of cheer in that way are the winter-flowering viburnums. The most familiar of these is Viburnum x bodnantense “Dawn,” sometimes sold, aptly but incorrectly, as “Pink Dawn.” 

New York-born Ian Matthias Bavitz, better known in the alt-rap world as Aesop Rock, is the epitome of a committed artist. Bavitz has been churning out music with mind-blowing word counts and sick rhythms for more than two decades, but there’s something more to his style than hyping up a crowd. This guy is a sculptor; the beat is his foundation, which he cuts and molds with his lyrics to create a work of art.

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley

I’ve occasionally questioned the adage that patience is a virtue, but Brian Rowe has proven its wisdom — at least in the context of pursuing a professional soccer career as a goalkeeper. The route Rowe took from playing youth soccer here in Eugene to playing at the highest level of professional soccer in North America was somewhat slow and sinuous, but his patience and perseverance have paid off.