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St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County (SVDP) has received a $2 million donation to build a home for homeless teen boys — the largest single donation it has ever been given.

Modern sewing machines are usually made from plastic and end up in the landfill. But old-school vintage machines are made from metal, and, like the clothing they stitch, they are designed to be repaired. Stagecoach Road Vintage Sewing Machines brings its collection of restored sewing machines dating from the 1900s to 1970s for display and for sale Saturday, Nov. 18, in Eugene. 

Standing chest deep in the chilly waters of the Willamette River, Travis Williams of Willamette Riverkeeper scans the water for mussels. The flow is high on a cold October day, and as I gingerly climb down the muddy bank and into the waters beside him, I too look for the dark shells Williams tells me are there, beneath the surface.

Thinking back to various floats I’ve done on the Willamette, I know I’ve seen mussel shells. I just never thought about them. On some level, I assumed that the bivalve remnants had somehow crept into the waters from the Pacific Ocean. 

And that’s the thing with freshwater mussels. They tend to go unnoticed, unregarded and underappreciated. 

The leadership of a local sustainable business network changed this month in a dramatic meeting that some now-former members are calling a coup. GreenLane Sustainable Business Network is an organization meant to connect businesses that are trying to become more sustainable and give them resources and information that may help them on that path. 

On Nov. 10, several veterans, high school students and advocacy groups showed up at Junction City High School for a town hall hosted by Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden. It was the senator’s 78th town hall of the year, and he began by recognizing veterans who had served from the Korean War to post-Sept. 11 veterans. 

Topics included whistle-blower protection, moving the presidential election away from the Electoral College and single-payer health care. Members from Health Care for All Oregon wore red T-shirts, and some wore hospital gowns calling attention to the shortfalls of health care coverage under the current system. 

Would you buy a ticket to a concert without knowing who was going to perform?

Marlo Vercauteren is betting you would, and so far she’s turned out to be right. Vercauteren, a 25-year-old electrical engineer in Eugene, has signed up with three partners as a local agent for Sofar Sounds, an international network dedicated to the idea that people will show up to hear live music — without knowing who the acts are — so long as they know that the music will be good and the concert vibe will be intimate, friendly and respectful.

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 541-744-4600, plans to spread urea fertilizer pellets on 8,866.9 acres near Dorena and Culp Creek. See ODF notification 2017-771-13353, call stewardship forester Tim Meehan at 541-726-3588 with questions.

• Roseburg Resources Co., 541-679-3311, plans to spread urea fertilizer pellets on 340.0 acres near Alma. See ODF notification 2017-781-13313, call stewardship forester Dan Menk at 541-935-2283 with questions.

With basketball season starting at the UO, it was a curious jolt to see the name William Drozdiak as the author of a new book, Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West, reviewed Nov. 12 in The New York Times.

Don’t call Hari Kondabolu a political comedian.

“I don’t talk about Democrats and Republicans,” the New Yorker says. “I don’t care so much about the ‘inside the Beltway’ stuff.”

Nevertheless, he has built a career observing and lampooning the American social order. Along with W. Kamau Bell he hosts the feisty podcast Politically Re-Active, and this month Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu premiers on truTV. 

Nothing ignites the holiday spirit like music — and you can find plenty of festive music happening around town between now and the start of the New Year.

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

• The Civil Liberties Defense Center is recruiting bilingual people to become Know Your Rights trainers for the immigrant community. CLDC says, “Now more than ever our immigrant neighbors are facing danger when they interact with ICE or law enforcement.” CLDC is seeking to increase its trainer capacity “in order to teach more people what their rights are and how to assert them.” Trainings are 6 to 9 pm Thursdays for six weeks starting Nov. 30, with a break for the holidays. Email info@cldc.org for more information, or to receive an application.

Oregon’s south coast — we’re talking Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston — provides a great holiday getaway for the hardy, with a range of activities from wet weather hiking to candy treats, a holiday light fest like no other, and serious knee-slappin’ live cornball entertainment.

Here’s the plan for your two-and-a-half-day adventure.

Friday, Nov. 17

Maude Kerns Art Center presents “Art for All Seasons” show and Club Mud ceramics sale through Dec. 15, opening reception 6-8 pm Friday, Nov. 17, 1910 E. 15th Ave. FREE.

Saturday, Nov. 18

Greeting card extravaganza with original holiday cards by local artists. Noon to 5:30 pm, reception with refreshments at 1 pm, Karin Clarke Gallery, 760 Willamette St. FREE.

I’ve had an exciting couple of months since we last visited. It’s been nice to be away from politics for a while. I did an enjoyable Eugene City Club gig with Jack Roberts. And I attended my 50th high school reunion in Roswell, New Mexico. What a hoot! I was adopted from Ireland at the age of 3 and didn’t become a naturalized U.S. citizen until I was 7; so I was technically a Roswell alien for 4 years. Classmates said it explained my political path later in Oregon.

“Sonder” is defined by The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows as the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Experimental indie musician Kishi Bashi  — that’s the performance name for Kaoru Ishibashi — creates a soundscape as dynamic as the lives of people buzzing around us with his vast array of instruments and meshing of genres. 

From Joseph Joachim to Jascha Heifetz to Itzhak Perlman to Joshua Bell and so many more, solo violinists have been the closest things to rock stars in classical music. Star pianists like Liszt and Glenn Gould and Van Cliburn might argue, but as even flamboyant rock pianists Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elton John discovered, it’s easier to flash your chops onstage when you can stand up and move around.

They don’t make them like Harold Pinter anymore, and right now at Lane Community College you can enjoy Pinter’s masterful The Birthday Party, tenderly cooked to a lustrous crackle. This production whizzes by, with direction and performances that fully embrace Pinter’s penchant for the absurd.  

MEN ARE GOOD

Sunday, Nov. 19 is International Men’s Day. Maybe one day during the year we can stop blaming men, particularly white men, for the ills of the world. You might consider a father who daily went to a job he didn’t like so you could live comfortably. You might consider the men who created all the things you take for granted, like houses, roads, schools, hospitals and pretty much everything else. 

Eugene’s art scene is not dead. While the closing of the Jacobs Gallery dealt a blow to art’s accessibility in the city, a group of ambitious volunteers is fighting back with Euzine Comics & Zine Fest 2017 on Nov. 18. 

This is Euzine’s second annual event and artists have jammed up at the door to get into the Broadway Commerce Center to show off their zines — self-published and printed material, from photographs to illustrations.

I was honored to appear with Esther Perel at the Orpheum Theater in Vancouver, BC, a few weeks ago to discuss her new book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. Questions were submitted on cards before the show — some for me, some for Esther, some for both of us — and we got to as many as we could during the event. Here are some of the questions (mostly for me) that we didn’t get to.


An appealing mix of reality and imagination in each of Jon Jay Cruson’s paintings reminds me of a bit from the first days of the TV show Saturday Night Live. Father Guido Sarducci, a character on SNL, suggested that a planet just like ours existed on the other side of the sun. We couldn’t see it, of course — because the sun is in the way — but this other planet was just like ours in every way except that people who lived there ate their corn on the cob north-south (up-down) instead of east-west (across). Though this was the only difference, Father Sarducci didn’t want to go to this other planet because he said he was a creature of habit and eating corn north-south would just be too messy. 

Take just about any film — Casablanca perhaps, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High — utterly drain it of emotion and affect, and you’d end up with something that feels a lot like a film by Yorgos Lanthimos.

In no way is this meant to diminish Lanthimos’ obvious brilliance; in fact, it redounds to his credit that, as with heavies like Kubrick and Lang, the mannered formalism of his style is becoming so identifiable, so chillingly familiar. You could parody the hell out of Lanthimos.

An official document just obtained by Eugene Weekly from the University of Oregon shows that Oregon Bach Festival artistic director Matthew Halls was fired on Aug. 24 while under investigation for alleged discrimination against women and a person of color.

The six-page document was received late in the day Tuesday, Nov. 14, following a public records request EW made in September.