Movies are grand, but theater is alive — something to remember as the 2013-2014 season settles into its groove. When we recline in our cozy seats before the big screen, we are supplicating before a product, a bit of prefabricated horseplay that, despite our various responses, is as inflexible and immutable as a ride on a roller coaster.
I recently ended a relationship that lasted a year and five months. While I loved this woman, for much of the relationship she was, to varying degrees, depressed. I tried to be as helpful and patient as possible with the hope and expectation that she would get better. I got her into counseling. We went to couples counseling together. She got on medication. I encouraged her to eat well (I cooked her many healthy meals) and exercise daily (which she was never able to do). I tried to get her out into nature. I tried to listen and practice strong communication skills.
If Gary Ross’s Hunger Games was a solid piece of entertainment with a sort of finger-wagging moral streak (Look how bad this is! This society is sooooo corrupt!), Francis Lawrence’s Catching Fire is its older sibling, an honest-to-goodness movie (as opposed to just an adaptation) with a nasty dark side and a sullen but fierce heart.
First-time writer, director and actor Alex Richanbach has gone a long way to revive the true spirit of romantic comedies. His debut film, We Are Young, is a wry, smart and, yes, romantic updating of this much-maligned and greatly desecrated form. What this means, in short, is that Richanbach’s movie is dialogue driven, sharply acted and full of moments that are by turns uncomfortably real and deeply touching, and always authentic.
How has recent growth been shaping Eugene’s neighborhoods? It’s hard to know without data, and the city no longer provides reporting of residential building permits issued by year — let alone by type and neighborhood.
This year’s annual Project Censored list of the most underreported news stories includes the widening wealth gap, the trial of Chelsea (formerly known as Bradley) Manning for leaking classified documents and President Obama’s war on whistleblowers — all stories that actually received considerable news coverage.
So how exactly were they “censored” and what does that say of this venerable media watchdog project?
Project Censored isn’t only about stories that were deliberately buried or ignored. It’s about stories the media has covered poorly through a sort of false objectivity that skews the truth. Journalists do cry out against injustice, on occasion, but they don’t always do it well.
Can small sea birds save a forest? Conservation groups like Cascadia Wildlands hope so. Next month the State Land Board decides whether or not to dispose of three parcels of the Elliott State Forest by selling to private buyers, which include interested parties from the timber industry. In a Nov. 10 letter, Cascadia Wildlands and other conservation groups asked the State Land Board, which includes Gov.
In the midst of the city’s budget crisis, the Library Journal rated Eugene Public Library a three-star library. The journal looks per capita at circulation, visits, program attendance and public internet terminal use and ranks libraries across the U.S according to their budget class. By the Library Journal’s metrics, a three-star rating equates to being in the top 3 percent of a library’s budget class in terms of cost-effectiveness.
On Nov. 17 a mural sprung up on the side of Arriving by Bike on 27th Avenue and Willamette. Far from graffiti, this work speaks to the civic engagement that a group of Eugene youth been involved in the last three months.
A group of students ranging in age from 8 to 18, with the support of local nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, have attended every Eugene City Council meeting since Sept. 23 to present their argument for solidifying law on climate change in the city. On Nov. 11 the group submitted a Climate Recovery Ordinance for the council to consider.
On Nov. 24 massive loads of tar sands equipment — some as long as a football field — will hit the roads of rural Eastern Oregon, traveling from Umatilla through the small towns of Prairie City and John Day to Homedale, Idaho. Activists, Native Americans, rural dwellers and more have been fighting the so-called megaload shipments for three years now in Idaho and Montana, and now the fight has come to Oregon.
Last year at the West Coast College Open in Monterey, Calif., the UO Disc Golf Club didn’t win a match, finishing dead last in the tournament. This time around, it was a different story for a program that not long ago was struggling for its survival. Paul Fraser and Cory Higdon both joined in February and have watched the roster quadruple in size. They were part of a teamwide effort to not only win a match but also win the Open. Despite being deep and talented, that they had this much success took them by surprise.
Over the past couple years there have been cuts in Lane County’s budget to the animal shelter, cuts in funding for Womenspace and cuts to other groups that provide aid to women, children and others in need, while at the same time the Lane County administrator who was making more than $150,000 a year was seeking to have her salary raised. If these county financial issues have raised your ire, now is the time to do something about it and weigh in.
• The fate of Civic Stadium has stirred a plethora of news stories, letters and op-eds and we keep looking for perspectives that get little attention. Jim Watson of Friends of Civic Stadium sent a letter to the mayor and Eugene City Council this week talking about the environmental impact of trashing a huge wooden stadium that’s still in good condition and replacing it with new concrete, steel and pavement.
For-profit banks are losing billions as more and more people discover not-for-profit credit unions which often offer better savings and loan rates, and fewer of those fees that irritate bank customers. Bankers, naturally, have big clout in Congress and regulations are being proposed that would require credit unions to pay the same taxes as for-profit banks. Several of our local credit unions are joining to educate their members and the public about the issues.
As any owner of a house cat knows, it’s difficult to get cats to do anything — much less perform for an audience. But award-winning performer Gregory Popovich of The Popovich Comedy Pet Theaterthinks he knows the secret: “You cannot push a cat to do something,” says Popovich, whose act has been voted Las Vegas’ Best New Family Show. “As a trainer I have to see what [the cats] like to do and then create tricks” based on the natural habits of the animal.
A few years ago some friends and I were driving around on a cold wintry day and stopped by a popular place for hot cocoa, just for fun. The waiter, with great aplomb, opened a pack of Swiss Miss into a paper cup! We were astonished, and not just because of the flair with which he tore the paper packet, but because my friend spoke at length on the drive about how great the cocoa at this particular place was. How could she have been so wrong?
An ugly holiday sweater is like eggnog and Macaulay Culkin — once a year they reappear and are enjoyed. “Tis the season, Marge! We only get 30 sweet noggy days. Then the government takes it away again,” Homer Simpson once pined, and few can match Homer’s lust for the holiday spirit(s). Except perhaps for one Derek Zinser, the man behind the inaugural Oregon’s Ugliest Sweater Run 5K on Dec. 15.
Like fragrant pines, candy canes and twinkle lights, The Nutcracker is a perennial symbol of the holiday season. Toni Pimble, artistic director for the Eugene Ballet Company, agrees. Most people tell her that without the ballet company’s annual performance, Christmas just wouldn’t be complete. This December, audiences in Eugene, Corvallis, Salem and across the Northwest are invited to join the dancers of EBC as they journey to the Land of Sweets with Clara (the young, nightgown-clad heroine), the Sugar Plum Fairy and, of course, the Nutcracker Prince for the 32nd consecutive year.
Today, Nov. 21, thousands of elected officials, community leaders and respected elders from around Afghanistan will gather at Kabul Polytechnic University, braving IEDs that already targeted the gathering, to discuss and debate the U.S.-Afghan relationship beyond 2014. Five hundred miles away in Herat, U.S. forces wait to find out if our current tours will mark the last of this 13-year mission or if we keep our Roshan phone contact list up-to-date for the replacements coming behind us.
Warren Weathers served as Lowell’s mayor for nearly 20 years, and though he’s hung up his municipal duties, he hasn’t abandoned one very important job: “I have to go out and cut the Christmas tree for inside the bridge,” he says. Weathers grew up in Lowell, and though his early adult years flung him as far as Eastern Oregon and Alaska, when he came back to the area for graduate school, he stayed in Lowell to raise a family of his own. “We try to have fun in Lowell,” Weathers says, “and to celebrate every holiday.” And in this season, that means decorating a beloved old bridge with holiday lights and good cheer.
• Robert Anderson, professor of law and director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, will present “A Problem-Prone Promise: Recurring Issues in Fulfilling the Federal Trust Responsibility to Indian Nations” at 5 pm Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Knight Law Center, Room 110.
Combining history and outstanding hiking, the Santiam Wagon Road from Mountain House to House Rock passes through impressive old-growth Douglas fir forest and passes a waterfall and a large boulder that both Native Americans and American settlers used for shelter.
The Shook Twins live a charmed life. Whether performing their quirky brand of indie folk pop solo, opening for Blitzen Trapper or the Carolina Chocolate Drops or partaking in side projects like Morning Ritual with Portland jazz luminary Ben Darwish, people love them to death.