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“My mission in life is bringing people to nature in a sacred way,” says Rob Miller, founder, program designer and lead guide for Cascadia Quest, a Eugene nonprofit that offers nine-day small-group wilderness rites of passage for adults and for 14-18 year-old boys. Outings for teenage girls will be added next year. “Music was where I found my voice,” says Miller, a Florida native who started playing clarinet in high school, majored in music performance at the University of Miami, and improvised on saxophone and flute in world beat bands in New York City and on tour.

Every artist wants to build a brand these days, so it takes some courage to change your name after building up a reputation and a fan base. But that’s what Jasnam Daya Singh — previously Weber Iago, and before that called Weber Drummond — has done.

Rockabilly-Americana band Petunia and the Vipers delivers toe-tapping rhythms with lyrics sure to make your spine shiver like a sharp shot of whiskey. Pull out your flask (liquor optional) and slap on your best pair of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas shades to properly experience the Vipers’ latest, hauntingly charismatic album, Dead Bird On the Highway (2016).

Our favorite moments from Pickathon 2017.

All photos by Todd Cooper, except “Priests” by Dmitri Von Klein.

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires

Priests

 

Veteran heavy metal demi-gods Slayer return to Eugene behind their 12th studio album, 2015’s Repentless. And — besides a long and consistent output of some of the most diabolical and scorching heavy music in the game — what makes Slayer metal demi-gods are some truly metal life experiences. 

The trend in Shakespeare performance is to toss off all the “adieus” and “but softs” with the casual tone of a texting teenager. I, for one, love this style. Breaking down the artifice deepens Will’s poetry and warms up his philosophy. And Very Little Theatre’s charming production of Shakespearean rom-com As You Like It is very much in this fashion. 

WE NEED REAL COOLING CENTERS

The recent spate of hot weather is more than something to complain about. For the very young, the very old, the medically fragile, and the poor and unhoused, heat in the 90s and 100s can cause a medical emergency.

The radio stations and the local daily have put out lists of “cooling centers,” but as a friend points out, a serious cooling center must stay open later than 4 or 6 pm, the hottest part of the day. Some churches are open to 8 pm, as are some libraries on certain days, but these are exceptions.

My boyfriend of eight months, K, and I are polyamorous. We started the relationship on that foot, and for a while I was the partner he spent the most time with. There have been ups and downs, but overall our relationship is solid and loving. However, recently we both started dating the same woman, L, and they have been spending more time together than with me due to my work schedule.

On the 17th floor of Eugene’s creakiest high-rise, behind the pebbled-glass door marked “Wine Investigations,” my pal and partner, Mole, set out a display of polished glasses and opened bottles of pink-ish wines.

There is a tendency in Hollywood to profit from Black suffering — think 12 Years a Slave, The Help, Django Unchained. These films are prevalent, but not inherently bad. 

Through these types of films, Black directors, producers and even actors can redirect personal, internal frustrations and struggles into art. Thematic Black suffering doesn’t always have to take the form of traditional slave movies either — see, for example, the complex modern-day symbolism of gaslighting and harmful neo-liberalism that director Jordan Peele portrays in his 2017 psychological horror flick Get Out

• Mayor Lucy Vinis convened her first Auditor Study Committee meeting Aug. 2 at the Eugene Public Library. Norma Greer and Marty Wilde were elected co-chairs, and the group will look at various cities that have independent city auditors to see what might work best for Eugene and wrap up its research with a report in two months or so. The problem is that an initiative petition to create an independent elected performance auditor is already in circulation with a measure expected to go on the ballot next spring.

The first public debate on the proposal to establish an Office of Independent City Auditor did not go well for the opposition. 

The numbers are in: This year’s leaner and smaller Oregon Bach Festival drew just 12,000 in total attendance, the festival says, a 33 percent drop from last year’s 18,000 and a huge drop from the total attendance in 2011 of more than 44,000.

August is a month of tension between the urge to backpack into the high Cascades and the density of mosquitoes near the best campsites around lakes or wet meadows. In most years, the fierceness of mosquito attacks tends to diminish toward the end of August. Mosquitoes proliferate rapidly in snowmelt ponds. The sooner the snow disappears, the sooner mosquito-breeding season diminishes. Our dramatic recovery from recent years of drought and low snow pack was predicted to stimulate a massive resurgence of mosquitoes this summer.

Oregon is in the path of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse with Eugene just on the fringe of the area that will experience totality. If you live in Corvallis you can take off your solar shades once the eclipse is total, but in Eugene, though it will get darker, you will need to wear those special specs while staring at the sun.

There’s a trendy new lunch spot for those who live and work downtown, and the creator behind it is just 24 years old. Poke Stop serves poke bowls, a sort of “Hawaiian fish salad,” according to creative mind and manager Jina Choi. 

Don Andre hacks at an overgrown trail with a machete on a 17-acre community-owned forest, within earshot of Highway 20 a couple miles east of Newport. The machete, which his father found at a yard sale years ago, curves forward at the tip, which helps power the overhead volleys he directs at the branches. 

Andre spent much of his youth exploring forests like this one outside his family’s home in Agate Beach north of Newport. The giant old trees of the coastal rainforest provided an endless playground where he was free to tramp around until his mom called him back home by laying on the horn of the family’s Chevy truck. 

After leaving the sleepy Oregon Coast to travel and pursue higher education, in the mid-’70s Andre came home to a shock: The forest of his youth, where his imagination and young legs once ran wild, was no more. The clearcut land so dismayed and infuriated Andre that, to this day, he’d rather not visit. 

As the temperatures climb over 100 degrees in Lane County, the science continues to mount proving that man-made climate change is a growing catastrophe worldwide. And as the Trump administration reduces and even stops work at the federal level to slow the course of global warming, youth and local governments are using the courts to try to stem the tide of fossil fuel induced disaster. 

• We were excited to hear from Greenhill Humane Society that Tank, the pit bull who has waited more than 500 days to find a home, was adopted by Eugene Weekly readers after his story appeared in our annual Pets issue. Go Tank! 

 

Props to the city of Eugene for heeding the call for innovative, accessible dance programming in our community. 

This summer has featured a variety of emerging and established dance groups from in and out of our local region. And what’s more — performances and workshops are free. This month is no exception, with a visit from the Bay Area’s Embodiment Project

Many of the relatives, friends and colleagues gathered at Tom Giesen’s memorial on a sunny April afternoon at McKenzie River Eco-Lodge had been joggers, cyclists and hikers on the treks Tom led for decades. The adventures they described clearly tested their fortitude and often their patience but ultimately gained their admiration and respect for a man who pushed himself even harder than he did them. Lean as an alley cat, he never seemed to sit still long enough for fat to catch up with him — or complacency either.

Surveying this year’s Whiteaker Block Party music schedule (12 stages!), it’s hard to know where to start. So EW put together its own music itinerary. Call it a tour-guide or a list of must-see acts you don’t want to miss at the year’s biggest — and really only — showcase of local talent. You can’t see it all, but if you see anything, consider these suggestions. The WBP runs noon to 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 5, and revolves around the corner of 3rd and Van Buren in, of course, the Whit. 

Brian Viglioni, drummer with New York four-piece rock band Scarlet Sails, agrees there’s a theatrical edge to his band’s latest release, Future from the Past. Scarlet Sails is fronted by Viglioni’s Russian-American wife, Olya Viglioni, and Brian himself is known for working with well known acts like Dresden Dolls and as a studio musician and touring drummer for Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes. 

THE FACE OF THE FAIR

I wasn’t able to go the Oregon Country Fair this year, so on Saturday afternoon while making lunch I turned to KLCC to hear what was on the Mainstage. A guy was singing about leaving his girl behind. Hmmm.