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• A public work session on wave energy will be from 5:30 to 9:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Eugene City Council Chambers, 777 Pearl St. The meeting will discuss Oregon’s ocean resources and renewable energy development in the territorial sea, which is the area up to 3 nautical miles offshore. Public input is sought on where renewable energy development will occur on Oregon’s Coast. See www.oregonocean.info for more information.

Jerry Smith’s quiet corner of the universe lies down Willamette Street between Cappella Market and Tsunami Books. Like many Eugene hippie-folk, Smith is a private man; he doesn’t reveal much and, until now, has never granted an interview. Even now he tells me he’s been having second thoughts about this.

In Afghanistan

• 1,876 U.S. troops killed* (1,872)

• 15,282 U.S. troops wounded in action (15,262)

• 1,095 U.S. contractors killed (1,095)

• $496.7 billion cost of war ($494.5 billion)

• $146.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($146 million)

In Iraq

Like that one ramshackle, half-collapsed barn you pass on the highway year after year, the music created by veteran Minneapolis band The Jayhawks is timeless — in a fragile, verdigised, sepia-toned, windblown, authentically American melancholia sort of way. Their sweetly bittersweet sound, all honeyed harmonies and landlocked blues and melodic rustic reverie, is like a soundtrack caught gorgeously between a hymn to our better selves and an elegy to how we’ve fallen short.

With R.E.M. having disbanded last year, it would appear that Wilco now stands pretty well unchallenged as the greatest American rock band. Since rising from the ashes of seminal post-punk country/folk/rock pioneers Uncle Tupelo in 1994, this Chicago-based band has released a series of albums that continues, with each successive drop, to challenge, confound, frustrate, mystify and amuse its fans.

There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t like Breathe Owl Breathe. They sound a bit like Jack Johnson meets Feist in a hookah lounge. They have all the hallmarks of easy-goin’ adult contemporary indie-folk. But there are things going on beneath the surface that set Breathe Owl Breathe apart from the “tailor-made-for-Starbucks” scene. 

Like an international sweat fest of nostalgic pleasure, Dengue Fever is better suited as a warmer-upper than a cold. With a gruff, garage-rock spangle slathered in funk, this L.A.-based band welds ’60s Cambodian pop to a surfboard and floats it out to sea. Founded in 2001 after a trip to Cambodia, Ethan and Zac Holtzman met a Cambodian-native lounge singer named Chhom Nimol, a star in her home country, who could sing and write songs in Khmer.

Mitt and Newt are great names for guys who are applying for a job hunting alligators.

Back in the 1970s, one of the major bands leading the welcomed revival of Celtic music was Planxty, a group that recreated the original energy in what could have been musty old tunes and forms and thereby revitalized Irish music.

In a bout marked by blood-splattering hits, a revolving-door penalty box, five ejections, and an appearance by Miss Oregon USA; our hometown men’s roller derby team lost a testosterone-filled event. The Emerald City Roller Girls kicked off their fifth season Jan. 28 at the Lane Events Center before a crowd of 2,000-plus.

Just how bad is Exploding Love, the play? It is so miserably and flatulently bad, in fact, that it’s nearly inconceivable Exploding Love, the actual current LCC student production directed by Michael Watkins, could not also be bad. We’re talking inevitably, ineluctably bad, as in lipstick-on-pig bad. Not just ungood, but bad. Awful.

COAL TRAIN FREE

Thanks for your cover story (1/19) on the coal trains coming soon to dozens of Northwest communities. I wanted to alert you that there’s more that residents can do than to merely plead with their local politicians to pass nonbinding resolutions. They can instead follow the lead of the group Coal-Free-Bellingham.org, which just launched a local ballot initiative campaign.

The dirty streets of London crawl with vermin and their lousy human counterparts. Victorian England is a great place to get rich, a terrible place to be poor and the perfect place for Charles Dickens’ imagination to run wild with an orphan in search of hope.

The play’s refrain echoes over the audience, as though repeating the words enough times will make it true: “Make it so life ain’t printed on dollar bills.”

My husband is a very kinky submissive man. When we were dating, I found out that he had been talking to multiple people online and that he had met up with a professional dom a couple of times. I felt betrayed that he had done this all behind my back, even though I had told him that I would be down with him seeing a dom. (I even offered to buy him a session for his birthday!)

This rap was born when my pal Larry Malmgren asked me to draw readers’ attention to a charity wine auction to benefit SMART (Start Making A Reader Today). It’s a silent auction from 5:30 to 7 pm Tuesday, March 20, at Boulevard Grill, 2123 Franklin Blvd., featuring a wide variety of wines from many sources.

• Roseburg Resources (541) 935-2507: aerial Clopyralid, Hexazinone and Mesulfuron Methyl in the Coast Range on 36 acres above Nelson Mountain Road (2012-781-00193).

• Freres Timber (503-859-2121): aerial by Applebee Aviation (503-647-0404), Metsulfuron Methyl and Hexazinone on 160 acres in the Coast Range above Swartz Creek (2012-781-00207).

 

Being a rock star isn’t about playing rock music. It’s about the unabashed charisma that an exceptional performer guts out into the world and how that magnetism affects listeners and fans over the course of time. An authentic rock star can win our love from beyond the grave. 

That said, and given that rock stars are often fringe personalities who find themselves prematurely on the other side of mortality, there sure are a lot of dead ones. And there is perhaps nothing more romantic in our culture of arts and entertainment than the dead-rock-star archetype.

The Wandering Goat is a place where students, artists, writers, dilettantes and others go and claim to be productive. But it’s questionable how much actually gets done there, aside from indulging in some incredible coffee. That, speaks however, nil to what the Goat’s own herd of employees has been busying itself with leading up to this week’s Last Friday Art Walk exhibit, which features all employee-made art and music. 

 

 Why buy electricity when you can solarize it? Solarize Eugene wants to bring solar energy to your neighborhood to power your home and heat your water.

 

Neighbors of the illegally mined Parvin Butte quarry want to know how the mine operators can apply for a state grant of almost a half million dollars while at the same time one of the mine’s operators, Greg Demers, reportedly owes about $9 million in state and federal taxes.

 

Two years ago at age 13 Kelsey Juliana saw a presentation on climate change featuring NASA scientist James Hansen. On Jan. 23 Juliana and fellow young climate activist Olivia Chernaik, age 11, took their efforts to stop global warming to court. The girls are suing the state of Oregon and Gov. John Kitzhaber for failing to protect their futures against the harmful effects of climate change.

Oh no, where did Wikipedia go? On Jan. 18 more than 115,000 websites, including Wikipedia, Google and Craigslist, either went black or put up banners to protest SOPA (Stop Online Piracy) and PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act).