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We recently caught up with Portland composer Kenji Bunch, who wrote the music for Eugene Ballet Company’s new production of The Snow Queen opening at the Hult Center this weekend. It’s not every day someone composes a brand-spankin’ new score, so we had a few questions for Bunch.

Who's who and what’s what in dance this month

It is certainly true that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new U.S. Secretary of Education, poses a distinct threat to the institution of public education. She is intent on advancing the privatization, corporatization, standardization, theocratization and profit-taking that have been part of the decades-long assault on public education. Who in America is going to step up to defend the pillar of our democracy, our precious system of public education?

 “I started out as an ‘A’ student,” says Barb Ryan, who grew up in Schenectady, New York, and lapsed into depression and began using drugs after her best friend’s suicide at age 14 — eventually graduating in the bottom third of her class. “Later, looking back, I learned a lot about life and myself.” In her 20s, she volunteered for a suicide hotline while working for pay at a headshop warehouse. “I was clean,” she says, “and living in a socially active, anti-war Christian community.

First, a Salem legislative update: It ain’t lookin’ good.

Although America seems like a scary place at the moment, we can draw strength and solace from the music of American composers of our own time.

Julien Ehrlich says that when he started writing as a duo with guitarist Max Kakacek, the musicians “wanted the songs to sound like they were coming from one person.”

ANTI-IMMIGRANT NONSENSE

In your March 16 article about House Bill 2921 (“‘Anti-sanctuary’ Legislation Brewing in Oregon”), bill sponsor Rep. Mike Nearman says, “I’m on the budget committee for my school district, and we spend a lot of money to teach students who don’t speak English.”

I’m a woman in my late 40s. In my early 20s, I married a much older man. We did all the requisite things: kids, house, intercourse once a week. When the sex fell off due to his declining health, he surprised me by suggesting we open our marriage. He said I was too young to be limited and he didn’t want me to leave him for sex. I spent time contemplating how to truly fulfill my desires. I read a lot of erotica, indulged in porn, and discovered that what turned me on was Dominance. Not intercourse particularly, but power play with me as the Queen controlling a slave.

Eugene photographer and digital artist Melissa “Mimi” Nolledo began work on this photographic essay shortly after the November election. Since then she has been reaching out to local immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds, photographing and interviewing them and posting their stories, lightly edited here, on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

The premise is just so damn tasty: A teenaged vegan, Justine (Garance Marillier), enters the veterinary school where her sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), is already an upperclassman. The college, a stark, bizarre combination of penitentiary and permanent rave, sports a series of strange hazing rituals, including newbies like Justine getting doused with blood, Carrie style, and being forced to choke down uncooked rabbit kidneys like communion wafers.

In an honest effort to address safety concerns and to spruce up downtown Eugene, a city center littered with empty buildings and unsightly student housing, Eugene City Council voted 6 to 2 to ban dogs from strolling along and occupying city blocks. The ban does not apply to dogs of the gentry with downtown addresses.

Every single day that’s arrived since Jan. 20, we wake up, blink, rub our eyes and remember: It’s all still true. These are the times that call for inspiring words and deep, deep thoughts to live by.

Relax, reader. You won’t find any of them here.

What you will find are shimmering flaky truths that are the best our writers can offer. A young woman’s thoughtful reflections on how deeply she deserves trophies for everything she does in life. An investigation into the incredible space-time warp that passes for entertainment in Eugene. A gentle suggestion for ridding downtown of man and woman’s best friend. And — field trip! — our favorite places in Eugene to cry in public. There’s more, so keep on reading.

Did it all start on November 8? Or was it January 20?

Whenever it happened, there have been gallons of tears flowing around town the last couple months. Here are some of the best places we know of to weep in public:

Physicists at the University of Oregon have discovered a small rip in the space-time continuum that may have resulted in a wormhole opening just above the stage of McDonald Theatre, a venerated music venue in Eugene.

I have exactly 1,476 trophies, and I adore every single one of them. 

I have participation awards from every sports team I’ve been on since kindergarten, eighth-place trophies for speech and debate tournaments, and my well-loved third-place medal for a watermelon-eating competition from third grade.

Several former Duck football players returned to Eugene for the Oregon’s annual Pro Day on Thursday, only to find their once state-of-the-art facilities in shambles.

Players were horrified as they walked through the wreckage of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, Oregon’s $95-million football office building that opened just four years ago.

I LOVE CATS EW HATES CATS

I just read the dog-centric headline of your news story this week and saw the photo, and I’m so angry that you would publish a story about dogs and not mention cats. I love cats. I love every kind of cat. I just really love cats and I just want to hug all of them but can’t. 

Your readership also loves cats. You owe your readers an apology.

Tabitha Catherine, Eugene

Editors Note: The article itself also talked about cats.

 

SLANT IS SLANTED

A large calendar sits on Bonny McCornack’s dinner table. She looks at it, expecting a long process ahead for submitting a ballot measure to the city of Eugene. McCornack says she’s not sure whether the ballot title — to be written by the city attorney — will need to be appealed, which could hold off this measure’s appearance on a ballot or even force it to appear on a low-voter-turnout election. 

In the coming months, all eleven of Douglas County’s public libraries will close due to severe county budget shortfalls brought on by the loss of federal timber revenue.

Beneath Eugene’s Washington Jefferson Bridge, a swath of park stretches from Sixth to First avenues. On a sunny March day, every pillar is occupied — some with tarps, blankets and shopping carts, and some with makeshift shelters constructed from clothing, towels and fabrics. Most people blanketed below these temporary refuges are asleep at 2 pm. 

If you were dismissive, as we were, of the recent rumor that Oregon’s own Art Robinson could be named Trump’s science advisor, you might read Jane Mayer’s brilliant article in the March 27 New Yorker on “Trump’s Money Man.” That’s Robert Mercer, “a reclusive hedge fund tycoon” who rivals the Koch brothers for bankrolling extreme-right politicians. Mercer has funded Robinson in his several failed efforts to beat our Congressman Peter DeFazio. After reading this shocking article, it is clear that