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As the tilted Earth spins and progresses through her orbit, late February brings light and warmth flooding back to us. But spring is not the only fresh thing bubbling up from all points the south. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland soon greets the lengthening days, buzzing with new stories that are beautifully staged.

How to Be a Sissy, a new solo work by actor-writer Brian Haimbach, opens with the memory of a little boy wearing a towel on his head and imagining that he has long, glorious hair. 

STOP FAT HATING

At first glance, Cuba doesn’t quite seem like a developed nation but it’s not exactly Third World either. In Havana, even off the tourist track, there tends to be air conditioning and indoor plumbing, and ordinary people in public places look healthy and reasonably well fed. True, most of the cars whizzing past are battered relics of the 1950s but, thanks to Cuban resourcefulness, they’re still running — often powered by a newer Toyota or Soviet-era engine hidden under the hood. 

Gay, thirtysomething male in DC. My boyfriend of three years has been acting strange—not taking his antidepression meds, says he’s feeling weird. He has withdrawn from me, sleeps 15 hours a day, and has been canceling on commitments to socialize with friends. That I am fine with—he’s blue and I get it. Here’s why I’m writing: He was doing an online crossword, and when he got up, I was going to write a message in it—to be funny and sweet. What I saw messed me up. There was a browser window open about meth and depression.

After more than a decade of writing about movies, the Oscars, somehow, still raise a fire in me. I know I will be disappointed. I know there will be one or two wins that seem perfect, one or two speeches that surprise, just like I know that most of the lauded films will be about white men enduring something.

I know the Oscars matter, on a business and cultural level, no matter what the Coen brothers — who’ve conveniently already earned a few — say. Winning is power and power is money, and money lets people decide which stories get told.

Lush, brooding and contagiously creepy, The Witch is just the sort of spooky gem that fans of horror clamor for but rarely get. The film neither shocks nor bludgeons you. It does not beg indulgence, nor does it paint its grotesqueries in broad strokes.

The earworm train is coming to Eugene: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”— the list goes on. Song after song, hook after hook, all from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from their glory days in the ’60s and ’70s.

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

On Jan. 21, “Berners” commandeered the Cozmic building on 8th and Charnelton in downtown Eugene. There were about 30 people at Cozmic when the Lane County for Bernie Sanders meeting began. The space, often used for concerts, might have been quieter than usual, but the atmosphere was a mixture of excitement and optimism. 

The Sanders supporters were diverse in age, ranging from teens, not yet old enough to vote, to senior citizens, as one woman humorously described herself. After the meeting, volunteers made posters, wrote letters to local publications or joined the phone-banking team. 

Oregon State University is hosting doctor, author and New Age spiritualist Deepak Chopra in collaboration with the I Am Genie Foundation at the LaSells Stewart Center across from Reser Stadium in Corvallis Feb. 23. 

“I’ll be speaking about the topics from my last two books, which were called Super Genes and Super Brain,” Chopra tells EW from the Chopra Center for Well Being in Carlsbad, California. 

Frustration is growing with the way Lane County Animal Services is handling horse neglect cases, says horse rescuer Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. 

Although Clark is in Douglas County, she gets frequent calls from concerned Lane County residents about horse neglect situations here, including a case in which horses were wandering on a roadway near a school in Cottage Grove and another situation in Elmira in which a herd of horses were alleged to be starving. Many of the Elmira horses were sold at the Eugene Livestock Auction on Feb. 14.

Kesey Square was originally intended to be a dedicated public space when a building was removed from the site in 1970. According to a Feb. 13 article in the Register-Guard, the deed to the square has surfaced and it says the area, also known as Broadway Plaza, is supposed to stay public permanently. 

The R-G reported that it found a copy of the 1971 deed, committing the city-owned land parcel at Broadway and Willamette to be “forever dedicated to the use of the public.”

A Victorian-style apothecary with steampunk-inspired, post-Industrial flair will soon join the businesses in the Farmers’ Union Marketplace at Fifth Avenue and Olive Street in downtown Eugene.

Mountain Rose Herbs, national purveyor of tea, spices and other herbal offerings, moved to Eugene in 2010, but the company has never before operated a formal storefront.

Hey, hold on just a second before you fire up that weed — it could be toxic as hell.

A shiver ran through Eugene’s marijuana community Feb. 5 when the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) ordered the stop-sale of Guardian, a popular pesticide, after it was discovered the product contained abamectin, an insecticide that is highly toxic to bees and marine life, and which in high doses may lower sperm count in men.

Eugene Weekly does not condone or encourage acts of violence or destruction in the name of any cause. We were dismayed to find out that someone threw a large rock through the glass door of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce building in the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 13. The perpetrator also placed several copies of the Feb.

• Oregon industrial hemp growers will likely be happy with amendments to House Bill 4060 which passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Feb. 11, has had its third reading and is up for a vote in the full House soon. The new hemp rules are significantly relaxed over existing rules and an earlier version of the bill. Growing or handling hemp will still require an annual state license, record-keeping and random testing for maximum THC levels.

• The League of Women Voters of Lane County meets at 11 am Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Valley River Inn. Joy Marshall, director of Stand for Children for Lane County, will talk on “How Can We Improve Oregon’s High School Graduation Rate?” Open to the public and free. Call 343-7917.

• The city of Eugene Public Art Committee will meet at 3:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Eugene Public Library, Singer Conference Room. Call 682-2057 or email isaac.r.marquez@ci.eugene.or.us.

Negro History Week started as an internal Negro Community Celebration, remembering the birthday and the difference between Frederick Douglass (my personal favorite Republican) and Lincoln (my least favorite Republican who edges out Ben Carson and Donald Trump). Douglass was part of a pre-Civil War meeting in which Lincoln suggested the solution to slavery was to ship all four million black people to Costa Rica. 

In Afghanistan

• 2,349 U.S. troops killed (2,349 last month)

• 20,071 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,071)

• 1,629 U.S. contractors killed (1,629)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $728.2 billion cost of war ($725.3 billion)

• $291.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($290.1 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $8.3 billion cost of military action ($7.9 billion last month)

• $3.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($3.1 million)

Just when you thought that the only strange birdwatching this time of year occurred at the Malheur Refuge — two strange red and blue flocks were spotted last week at the state Capitol. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Metric always seemed a bit timeless to me, which might explain why it freaks me out that the Canadian band has been together for nearly two decades. How have they managed to continue headlining theaters like the McDonald even as fellow Canadian contemporaries like Broken Social Scene and Stars faded from view?

L.A.-based instrumental jazz-rock outfit Kneebody and electronic producer and muttonchops enthusiast Daedelus are the kind of musicians who blow apart any form of genre classification.