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Our summer kicks off in the most perfect way possible — a visit from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on June 16. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. We’ve worked hard to make sure these pages are chockfull of all the best, most summery activities imaginable. Food festivals, hikes, arts, swimming, bike rides, movies: Let’s just say we’ve got you covered for the next four months. 

 

Wet Hot Art-merican Summer
EW's top summer picks for the visual arts

Coming To America
Copa América soccer

The Tastes of Summer
Eat, drink and be merry with new food-centric gatherings

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

Local soccer fans will be spoiled this summer with several Lane United FC matches at the Willamalane Center as well as the July 24 International Champions Cup match between Paris Saint-Germain and F.C. Internazionale Milano, to be played in Autzen Stadium.

And yet, if Eugene soccer fans are as passionate about the beautiful game as I am, they might be most excited about the Copa América, to be hosted in the U.S. for the first time in its long and influential history, with the closest matches being played in Seattle and Santa Clara, California.

Summer solstice is arguably the most significant of all solar events. That the sun shone straight down a well in Syrene, Egypt, every summer solstice day gave Eratosthenes the insight for determining the Earth’s circumference 2,200 years ago. Stone monuments worldwide are aligned to commemorate this longest day of the year. The bronze sighting monument on the summit of Mount Pisgah has slots that line up with sunrise and sunset on the solstice.

As summer nears, people start heading for wineries like King Estate to sit on the patio, drink wine and admire the view of the hills out Lorane Highway. 

However, out in Oakridge, some residents worry their views and summer days will be spoiled if a gravel mine, an investment of Ed King’s Crown Properties LLC, begins to bite into 46 acres of a hillside known locally as TV Butte on the edge of town.

Initiative Petition 28 is either a savior for Oregon schools or a doomsday tax that will ruin Oregon’s economy, depending on what you’ve read. As it turns out, it’s not so simple.

IP 28 is a proposed “gross receipts” tax — a tax on a corporation’s sales without deducting costs and expenses — on businesses making $25 million or more in Oregon sales. It would generate $3 billion per year, and the petition to get it on the ballot asks that the money be used for education, health care and senior services.

According to a 2015 article in Business Insider, the median sale price for a home in Silicon Valley is $1.05 million, and you’d have to make $212,800 a year just to afford the mortgage. Nationwide, technology has been a double-sided coin for communities, but here in the “Silicon Shire” we haven’t yet seen those kinds of astronomical leaps in the cost of living. 

“I’m quite comfortable now talking about menstruation,” journalist and author Jonathan Eig tells EW. Eig is the author of New York Times bestseller The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, and he came to Eugene May 25 as the keynote speaker for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon’s annual gala.

The tastes of summer beckon — this year, two brand-new foodie shindigs splash onto the scene. Look forward to a season’s worth of eating, drinking and living it up. And the best part is, you don’t even have to trek to Portland.

Many head for the hills, beaches, mountains and rivers to bask in what is the Great Oregon Summer. Others run for their paints, chalks, clays, sewing machines and cameras to capture the spirit of summer. Or dive into exhibits in museums and galleries (mmm, air conditioning). Summer in Oregon is  prime time to explore the arts, from Springfield to Coos Bay to Portland. Here are EW’s top summer picks for the arts.

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call (503) 986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. 36, 101 and 126 were recently sprayed.

Established power and corporate Oregon are mobilizing strategically to defeat IP 28, the value-added tax almost sure to be on the ballot in November. The Oregonian in Portland has been editorializing and writing against it for months. The strategy is to convince voters that this is really only a sales tax, not exactly a favorite in this state.

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

 • Reality Kitchen, a nonprofit bakery that employs young adults with learning disabilities, is holding its inaugural “Dough Raiser” 3 pm Sunday, June 5, at Rye restaurant, 444 E. 3rd Ave. Reality Kitchen founder Jim Evangelista says the fundraiser will include a raffle and live music, as well as free hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. For more info, call 541-337-1323 or email realitykitchen@gmail.com.

May was National Preservation Month. I’m a little late writing this, as I’ve been so distracted with the elections and gardening. I’m also still peeved by that hatchet job on Springfield EW recently published, so writing this got sidetracked. 

On April 10, Eugene First Christian Church celebrated its 150th anniversary. You’ve probably seen the church building — white columns under a massive dome, bronze-capped bell tower, stained glass windows everywhere you look. 

And maybe you’ve even heard about some of the work this congregation does: the Helping Hands Room, the Interfaith Shelter and Egan Warming Center (side by side with other outstanding local congregations) and, most recently, its sponsorship of Opportunity Village. 

Sometimes extremely revealing insights pop up in places where you least expect them. Such was the case of a recent Fairmount Neighborhood Association meeting. City Councilor Alan Zelenka gave a report on a variety of current topics facing the Eugene City Council, and in the process revealed some very dark and disturbing insights into the dysfunctions in our local government, particularly regarding the controversy surrounding the newly revealed information that there were $7 million of previously unaccounted-for overruns in the construction of the new Eugene City Hall.

Growing up in Nevada City in Northern California, Lisa Shea-Blanchard got her start in community theater at age 9 with the Foothill Theatre Company. “It was a big part of my childhood,” she says. “My sister and my parents were involved.” Shea studied for a degree in theater at UC Davis and an MFA at the University of Wisconsin, then moved to Seattle and took a job at the Museum of Flight, where she met exhibit manager Ken Blanchard. They got married and moved to Eugene in 1995. 

The scene for Oregon’s November general election just got clearer with the primary results. Although I haven’t seen detailed demographics, one statewide fact sticks out: Democrats turned out; Republicans didn’t. According to the Oregon secretary of state’s office, Dems turned out more than 66 percent of their party members, while R’s turned out less than 58 percent. Doesn’t sound like much of a margin until you consider that statewide the D’s turned out more than 230,000 more voters than the R’s. 

It was the early 2010s when the fountain of indie and alternative bands touring Eugene started to run dry. The new decade instead spewed more touring hip-hop, rap and pop artists until the floodgates finally burst with the eruption of the EDM scene. 

While certain politicians make political hay by advocating divisions among Americans based on race, language and origin, artists and musicians are demonstrating the value of joining diverse American traditions. 

Over the phone, Ruth Moody very sweetly and very quietly asks me to remind people that she recently collaborated with Mark Knopfler, as in of the Dire Straits, and as in: She thinks she needs the extra cred to fill the seats at Moody’s show June 9 at Tsunami Books.

In any era, Bob Dylan is a transcending icon of cool. Other ’60s-era musicians tried to break the rules but Dylan, rebellious and irreverent, made up a whole new game. At this point, Dylan is everywhere; many of his tunes are as ubiquitous as “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.”

Almost everyone’s life seems to intersect with this jangly-limbed trickster from Minnesota. So the question is not so much are you a Dylan fan, but what is your Dylan discovery story? 

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