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The Pacific International Choral Festivals (PICFEST) celebrates its 18th season this summer with the premier of Shakespeare & All That Jazz, Sunday, June 26, featuring jazz greats the Yellowjackets, and a 300-voice Youth Festival Chorus, all under the direction of guest conductor and composer Bob Chilcott.

Stephen Buettler is the principal provocateur behind rising Eugene band Pancho + The Factory. He’s also the primary songwriter and vocalist. Sitting next to me at the bar in Eugene’s Wayward Lamb, Buettler vibes like an off-duty, dock-working Pagliacci with a rock ‘n’ roll edge — due in no small part to his blue-collar handlebar moustache and black fingernail polish. He has a malleable, expressive face, a gentle, kindhearted sadness in his eyes and a soft, teddy bear-like physique that some might call cuddly.


In response to Keith Southworth’s letter “Rape Confusion” [June 9], I was shocked when I read it. I’m not disputing that police should investigate rape, but the rest of his letter doesn’t support that point.

Josh Krute likes wood — I mean, he really, really likes it. We sat in a coffee shop (at a wooden table, of course) and he ran his hands over the tabletop’s grain, sputtering off details about it with a pretty serious expression on his face. 

It’s always wonderful to be reminded that Kate Beckinsale is an excellent actress.

In 2003, Beckinsale became the face of the Underworld franchise, and people seemed to stop taking her the least bit seriously. She’s too often cast in dopey rom-coms (Serendipity) or knock-off action flicks (Van Helsing), and so we forget that she was great as Hero in Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing and as Charlotte in Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco.

In December of 2015, Eileen Chanti’s preschool program for unhoused children, First Place Kids, looked in danger of closing. The program had recently lost a staff member, and Chanti only had six months to find funding before she ran out of money.

Orlando has a welcoming LGBTQIA community, but so does Eugene. 

Local John O’Malley made this point while addressing a small crowd and TV crews Sunday, June 12, outside The Wayward Lamb — a dedicated queer space and bar in downtown Eugene.

Eugene painter Ellen Gabehart’s home is far from a Martha Stewart-esque suburban rambler stocked with Ikea purchases. Gabehart has art covering every inch of her cozy space, furniture included. She reminds me to check the art in the bathroom before we sit down in her studio.

Gabehart strikes me as the epitome of a Eugene artist with a history of activist work, community building and a mix of both trippy and political art pieces. 

“Realism with impressionism,” she says of her style. “I’m not photographic, but you’ll recognize my works.”

There’s no question that the crisis of the unhoused, the homeless, people on the street — however we want to designate those in need — has reached a critical moment in Eugene and Lane County.

And when it comes to the unhoused, kids and teens are the most vulnerable.

A Junction City biogas plant that’s already received millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies is now more than $325,000 behind on its property tax bill and is fighting Lane County in court over making good on what it owes.

JC-Biomethane opened its plant in 2013 with the promise it would generate electricity to power homes by burning off gases from food wastes. The plant is the first in Oregon to use wastes from businesses and restaurants to generate power, according to records and interviews.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Junction City $1,000 last week for discharging elevated levels of ammonia to Flat Creek from its wastewater treatment plant in December, January, February and April. The city’s discharges take place pursuant to an expired Clean Water Act permit issued by DEQ in 2007.

You know those puzzles where you push one piece out of the way in order to place another? 

It all started out by pushing the old block-sized Eugene City Hall out of the way to make way for the new. Putting a new four-story, 30,000 square foot City Hall on the southwest corner quarter of that old block left behind three quarters of a blank block to fill. 

• Guns and hate. We are so tired of being speechless about mass murders. The June 12 attack on the gay and Latinx (aka Latino/a) community at a gay Orlando nightclub by an American man of Afghan heritage has been called a case of “homegrown terrorism.” Look at Orlando (current toll 49 dead, more than 50 wounded), look at San Bernardino, (14 dead, 20 wounded), Colorado (12 dead, 58 wounded), Newtown (28 dead, 2 wounded). All massacres with assault-style rifles. This was an act of hate at a place the queer community should have felt safe.

For professional dancer and choreographer Brad Garner, inspiration comes directly from community.

“I’m inspired by community and the relationships among members of a community,” says Garner, whose dance company GARNERDANCES premieres Strings! An Evening of Dance at Oregon Contemporary Theatre June 17-18. 

Eugene’s own hula school, Na Pua O Hawai’i Nei (The Flowers of Hawai’i), presents its annual ho’ike exhibition June 25 at Cascade Middle School auditorium, 1525 Echo Hollow Road. All classes will perform, from preschoolers through kupuna (elders). 

• Between 4 and 6 pm on June 19, the Peace and Dignity Indigenous Runners will be stopping in Eugene at the Lane Community College Longhouse. “Peace and Dignity Journeys are spiritual runs that embody the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor,” according to information from local organizers.

The Eugene City Council, Lane County Commission, Lane Community College and 4J are all on board with diverting your tax dollars to benefit private property and businesses in the Downtown Urban Renewal District (DTURD) — even though you paid those taxes assuming you were funding education, public safety, libraries, parks and other essential services.

Not every garden in the Willamette Valley has super river-bottom silty loam. If your soil sets up like concrete when it’s dry it probably holds lots of moisture in the winter. Some wonderful summer blooming perennials have a problem with that. I’m thinking in particular of the many ravishing cultivars of agastache (ag-ah-STAK-ee) and salvia that have hit the market in recent decades. Lots of them need really good drainage to over-winter reliably in our region. 

In the spring of 2015, Samantha Wise took a job delivering The Register-Guard newspaper. She had a 5-mile route that took four hours to walk in the early morning. “I had painful knees from jogging,” she says. “I learned about barefooting, and I went without shoes around the house and doing errands.” 

What historically informed European musicians have done for Baroque music, James Ralph does for American musical theater. For years, the Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM) impresario has been painstakingly supervising the reconstruction of the original scores of George and Ira Gershwin’s classic 1920s musicals, which have been performed for decades only in relatively bastardized remakes for stage or screen. 

California’s Sonny & The Sunsets current release, Moods Baby Moods, is a contender for 2016’s album of the year. The record’s elements are familiar: ’70s and ’80s English New Wave and New York art-pop grooves mix with Lee Scratch Perry-style studio experimentation and wubba-wubba dub atmosphere.

Bravo, Scapino! Based on Molière’s 1671 comedy Les Fourberies de Scapin, Cottage Theatre’s presentation of Scapino! — directed by George Comstock — is a quirky tale of love and mischief. The play is set in Naples, and the frantic plot is fairly easy to follow, assuming you’ve had enough coffee that day. 


Finally a homophobic, religion-based murder of American gay men and women has been labeled “terrorism.” Islam is no worse than Protestant Christianity in this regard.

Tim Hilton, Springfield



My heart is with the victims and survivors of the massacre in Orlando, Florida, an act of terror now being reported as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.