• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Articles

Born in Sonora, California, to a Native American mother and a European-American dad, Sara Billdt grew up in several small towns in the Sierra foothills. After her parents divorced, she and her father, Luther Billdt, moved to Phoenix, Oregon, near Medford. “My father sold cars,” she says. “We were poor, but we had everything we needed.” After high school graduation in 2003, she and her father moved to Eugene, where he has retired. She held a series of food service jobs and began to sing and play guitar on open mic nights at Cafe Paradiso.

As you know, dear readers, the Hot Air Society is not only a social drinking club; we are also a 527 Super-PAC. We secretly authorized the distribution of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to the Donald Trump, Bud Pierce, Art Robinson and Dennis Richardson campaigns. The incendiary phone has been blamed for one house fire, a burning Jeep and several alarming moments on airplanes. We felt it was the least we could do for them.

Cherub (an electro-indie band, not a naked angel baby) made me a little weary at first listen. It’s a group of dudes that seem like unruly, rich suburban kids — but don’t judge a bro by his neon tee. Cherub provides a breath of funky fresh air if you’re in the mood to dance away a night of electro-pop debauchery.  

Sometimes, Tucker Alley even scares his girlfriend with his lyrics.

“Weren’t you writing a song about drowning children?” she asks as Alley flips through his notebook. “It sounds really bad when I say it, but …”

A new season, new cellist and new album featuring new music: Eugene’s Delgani String Quartet just keeps refuting the outdated notion that classical music is all about old stuff. 

Dan LeFranc’s quickly dives into a chaotic script with his play, The Big Meal, which features an otherwise mellow plot. Two young lovebirds meet and begin the dance of a relationship, sparking a tale that unfolds over the next five generations — all at the same restaurant table. 

SKOV FOR COUNCIL

Congratulations on your masterful promotion of Emily Semple in the Oct. 20 issue. You not only gave her the cover but also quoted her in the article “Who Runs the City.”

I love my wife, but I have a lot of resentment, disappointment, and insecurity over our sex life. After four years of marriage, huge angst remains that I have yet to get a handle on. Right now, with kids and our busy lives, she’s content with sex once a week or so, and I need relief pretty much every night to help with my insomnia. What’s more, I really don’t enjoy porn at all, but if we aren’t having intercourse, there’s pretty much no other way for me to get off.

“Not all opinions are equal.” This statement, tucked into Denial with little fanfare, forms the meat of the film’s focus. A sturdy yet affecting courtroom drama, Denial is about a lot of things, including a man’s desire to be bigoted and racist without being called out for bigotry and racism. 

U.S. President 

Hillary Clinton (D) vs. Donald Trump (R), Gary Johnson (L), Jill Stein (G)

When Mark Beudert arrived as its artistic director in 2006, Eugene Opera was in trouble. It was losing so much money that it could only afford to stage a single production in 2006-7, down from its average of three per year.

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

This election year feels toxic. The current rhetoric and anger of the presidential race seems to be permeating everything. How did we wind up with a reality TV star, who admits to grabbing at the vaginas of women he finds attractive, running for our highest office? Where did all the starry-eyed Berners go? Where are we going, and how did we get in this handbasket?

As former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’̓Neil once said, “all politics is local,” and if we want better politicians at the top, we need to start getting involved in politics at the local level. But jumping into politics can be intimidating — just understanding how our Eugene City Council operates can be confusing. 

So we present you with this brief guide to local politics, how to get involved and how to watchdog your government.

Don’t let this election get you down. Instead, let it be the spark to make positive change. — Camilla Mortensen

Who runs the city?

Public records keep the government transparent

Why care about the county commission?

School board powers and planning

Why don't you run for office?

Beatlemaniacs should get their Sergeant Pepper jackets dry-cleaned for this one.

Local up-and-coming radio station KEPW hosts an Oct. 29 Beatles-themed Halloween party to celebrate the launch of its web platform.

The United States, it turns out, is not the best at everything.

“Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making the U.S. an outlier among developed nations.

The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has allowed the public to request documents from any federal agency since 1967. In 1973, Oregon enacted its own Public Records and Public Meetings Laws, modeling it on the FOIA. These laws allow the media and the public to act as “watchdogs” over government, though Oregon’s law has weakened over the years.

The workings of a school district can appear mysterious to the uninitiated. School boards most often appear in the public eye when they make a controversial decision or take a position on something of a political nature, like a ballot measure or federal mandate.

In its most rudimentary function, a school board sets a school district’s budget, chooses its superintendent and sets policy, but local school board members say there’s a lot more to it than that.

“Are my children safe?” 

It’s a thought that crosses the mind of Eugene School District 4J parent Constance Van Flandern when she drops her kids off at school. 

“Nobody wants to talk about children dying,” Van Flandern notes, but with a massive earthquake predicted to hit Oregon, she says the time has come to have a community conversation about the earthquake resilience of Eugene’s schools.

With elections just around the corner, it’s time to examine how Eugene’s city government works, and what we’re electing these folks to do.

Eugene has a city manager form of government, meaning that the City Council and mayor decide legislative goals and ordinances, and then hire a city manager (Eugene’s is John Ruiz) to see those goals through and run the day-to-day bureaucracy of government. The city manager is one of only three direct employees to the council and mayor, and he is in charge of the city staff in all departments. Councilors and the mayor go through the city manager to work within departments. 

The five member Lane County Commission administers the approximately $450 million that federal, state and local taxpayers provide to Lane County, South Lane Commissioner Pete Sorenson tells EW

While a couple local positions were hard-fought races in the primary election in May — the Eugene mayor’s race and the Ward 1 City Council seat, for example — there were also a lot of candidates running unopposed here in Lane County. Eugene City Council Seats 1, 7 and 8 had no opposition, and neither did Ward 6 in Springfield. The South Eugene Lane County Commission seat was unopposed. 

Sometimes a candidate is unopposed because he or she is just that good, and constituents are happy. Other times it’s hard to say if it’s apathy in the community, lack of funds to run or simply because the average voter doesn’t know how to run. Many voters in the county don’t realize that under Oregon law, for both nonpartisan county and city elections, if a candidate gets 50 percent of the vote plus one — a majority — then that candidate essentially wins because only that name goes on the ballot in the November election. Write-ins are allowed, but basically, if you want to run for the City Council in November, you needed to have started planning and campaigning for the May primary.

As a kid, Eugene-based stand-up comedian Seth Milstein watched Saturday Night Live religiously. “I thought it was the greatest,” Milstein recalls of NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show.

Then one night Milstein, who grew up in New York, stayed up late enough to catch Comic Strip Live, a late night TV stand-up comedy showcase popular in the ’80s and ’90s. “It was just a guy and a microphone,” Milstein describes. “That was amazing to me.”

Next spring, Eugene Ballet Company will stage the biggest project the outfit has undertaken in its 38-year history — a brand new, quarter-million-dollar envisioning of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, with all original music, choreography, sets and costumes.

From screwball comedies to hardboiled gumshoes to fantasy, science fiction and holiday fare, Radio Redux brings the past into the present.  

“We’re exploring great stories, great literature, and we want to expose that to our audience” says Radio Redux artistic director Fred Crafts. “It’s our mission to preserve and advance radio theater.”