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I’m a 49-year-old gay man. I’ve become friends with a 21-year-old straight guy. He’s really hot. He’s had to drop out of college and return home. I know he needs money, as he hasn’t found a job yet and has resorted to selling off old music equipment. I would love to have some sweaty clothes of his, namely his underwear, but I’d settle for a sweaty tank top. Is it legal to buy someone’s underwear? He’s a sweet guy, and I don’t want to freak him out by asking something so personal. How do I broach the subject?

It is a peculiarity of art that its failures are often more moving, more profoundly beautiful, than its successes, especially when the artist failing is a great one. Perfection has a monolithic aspect, airtight and intimidating; it can leave us cold. Better, sometimes, the flaw, the frayed end, which reveals the Icarus burn of lofty ambitions. Humanity, you might say, is never more humane than when it strives and crashes.

Eugene Weekly sat down with Grammy Award-winning comedian, activist and stoner legend Tommy Chong this week to discuss his views on cannabis regulation, 6-foot bong rips, the unveiling of “Chong’s Choice” and his comedy partner Cheech Marin overdoing it.

The world lost a beautiful, warm, generous, mischievous, wickedly smart and delightfully cantankerous soul the night of Saturday, April 2, when Oregon artist Rick Bartow passed away after battling congenital heart failure. He was 69. At EW, our hearts are full of sorrow. Bartow will be remembered for his mastery of color and gesture, and his spirited and unflinching work — paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, found in museums and collections around the globe.

April is one of the two busiest months of spring in the Willamette Valley. The native wildflowers are blooming in greater and greater profusion, the peak burst extending into May. With the abundance of flowers, butterflies and other pollinators become increasingly visible.

This issue begins a new era in Eugene Weekly newsroom management as I turn over the editor’s desk to my able colleague Camilla Mortensen. It should be a smooth transition. Camilla has been on staff since March 2007 and knows the community and region well. She has been invaluable as reporter, news editor and associate editor while writing award-winning investigative stories that have made EW one of the leading environmental voices in the Northwest. She has unique qualifications — a Ph.D. in comparative literature and folklore, an inquiring mind, strength of character, organizational chops, a sharp sense of humor — qualities that will help carry this paper on to the next level.

For more than four decades, 82-year-old Howard Purkerson carefully managed his timberland in Crow, Oregon, choosing to selectively thin the 90-acre forest instead of toppling it in a more profitable clearcut. But now almost all of the trees are gone. And Purkerson is furious. 

“I didn’t want some logging company coming in and raping this beautiful parcel,” he told InvestigateWest. “If there was any way I could balance the scales, I would do it.”

Purkerson refused to sell to Lane County land developers Greg Demers, Norman McDougal and Melvin McDougal because he had heard of their well-publicized clearcutting and mining at Parvin Butte, their burning Pilot Rock landfill (which earned Demers a $792,062 state environmental fine) and their efforts to obtain McKenzie River water rights that an administrative law judge denied as water speculation.  

Lane County is considering changes to its longtime ban on spraying roadsides with chemicals. 

The Lane County Vegetation Task Force proposes changing from the current “Roadside Vegetation Management and Last Resort Herbicide Use Policy” to the “Roadside Integrated Vegetation Management Plan” that takes into account using a limited amount of chemicals to control vegetation.

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call (503) 986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99, 101 and 126 East were recently sprayed. We received faxed notification of upcoming spray on Hwy. 36 beginning April 14.

In the aftermath of the Arizona primary election fiasco, with voters waiting in long lines and ballots getting thrown out, Lane County voters are wondering how they can make sure their ballots get counted.

Concerned area residents have contacted EW saying their voter affiliation is incorrect and that they had registered as Democrats but recently received a notice from the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division saying they were unaffiliated.

On April 16, the Portland-based Women’s Foundation of Oregon will arrive in Eugene to listen to local women and girls as part of a statewide tour. The “Listen to Her” tour gives women all around Oregon a chance to share their concerns about pressing issues that affect their lives, including pay equity and living wage jobs, childcare and domestic violence. 

The stories shared on April 16 will be recorded, with permission from participants, and outlined in a Women’s Foundation of Oregon report that will name issues important to female Oregonians. 

• A local politico raises the old question of the city of Eugene buying the EWEB building on the river for the new Eugene City Hall instead of proceeding with the itty-bitty city hall on the former site with all its problems of money, space, seismic safety and so on. Back in the day Councilor Mike Clark (now mayoral candidate) favored buying the EWEB building.

 • Café Soriah at 384 W. 13th Ave. has expanded into the former dress shop next door, adding another dining room with 40 more seats. Owner Ib Hamide tells us Soriah plans to open for lunch Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays starting April 13,  from 11:30 am to 2 pm. The lunch menu will bring back much of what  Hamide served at Casablanca when it was in the 5th Street Public Market, he says, including falafel, shawarma, tabbouleh, hummus “as well as a few interesting and popular additions to complement the Mediterranean menu.” 

• A discussion on “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon? A Hidden History Conversation Project” will be from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Friday, April 8, at the Cottage Grove Community Center, 700 E. Gibbs Ave. Speakers include PSU adjunct professor and author Walidah Imarisha. Sponsored by Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society, the Cottage Grove Library, the Rural Organizing Project and Oregon Humanities. Email blackberrypie@gmail.com for more information.

“I started my study of anthropology at home,” says Stephen Wooten, the youngest of nine children in an Irish Catholic family in Weymouth, Massachusetts. “My dad was on the police force. He was a beat cop, on his feet, building relationships with people.” Wooten continued his study at UMass Amherst and got his masters and Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Illinois. He’s been a professor at the UO since 2001. 

Get ready to feel some serious butterflies from the sensual rock tunes of Cape Cod’s Highly Suspect and Luz Elena Mendoza (of Y La Bamba) coming to WOW Hall April 9.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

G-Eazy is such a big deal that iconic rapper Lil Wayne remixed a song from his new album last week and NBA superstar Kobe Bryant greeted him at a recent Lakers game.

On Billboard’s website, Nielsen Music charts hip-hop and R&B songs using a metric that calculates radio airplay, streaming and music sales. Each week since Feb. 20, G-Eazy’s “Me, Myself & I” ranked higher than any other rap song save Drake’s “Summer 16” and Rihanna’s “Work” (which also features Drake).

From April 12-16, the UO is hosting its first free and open to the public early music conference, Musicking, which includes lecture series, master classes and other coaching opportunities, along with stars from the admittedly geeky early music world, scholarly sessions and, of course, concerts, not to mention a “period-instrument petting zoo.”

VOTE FOR LIVABILITY

I’ve lived in Eugene almost five years and one of the things I love best about this place is the one- and two-story homey feel of this friendly small town. I intend to stay. 

Unfortunately, powers-that-be are working to turn our downtown into Portland’s Pearl District. Yuck! Every time I turn around, City Council has said OK to another eight to 10 or 12 story apartment building close to or inside downtown. Save Kesey Square. The South Willamette scheme is a whole other discussion.

I am a twentysomething, straight, cis-female expat. How long do I have to wait to ask my German lover, who is übersensitive about the Holocaust, to indulge me in my greatest—and, until now, unrealized—fantasy: Nazi role-play? He is very delicate around me because I am a secular Jew and the descendant of Holocaust survivors. (Even though I’ve instructed him to watch The Believer, starring Ryan Gosling as a Jewish neo-Nazi, to get a better grasp on my relationship with Judaism.

Jonathan Gold is the first and only food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. Let that marinate for a moment. 

Then disabuse yourself of any notions of what a food critic of that caliber might be like — perhaps an uptight gourmand enamored with his own palette or some self-important foodie. 

“It’s been some time that I’ve been wanting to have music that gives voice to those who’ve gone through Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” says Eugene Concert Choir artistic director and conductor Diane Retallack, who has poured her energies into making the world premier of composer Joan Szymko’Shadow & Light a reality.

When Floomf and Schmorple descended upon Earth, it was for one specific reason: To investigate a claim made by the city of Eugene in the early aughts.

The two were inspectors for the highly regarded Associated Stars Systems for Cross-cultural Outerspace Propagation (ASSCOP) located in the Boopz Galaxy, and their satellite scanner had intercepted the message:

Eugene is The World’s Greatest City for the Arts and Outdoors.