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

MRG Foundation, once known as the McKenzie River Gathering, began on the banks on the river for which the foundation was named, says the group’s communications manager Alison Wandschneider. 

Founders Leslie Brocklebank and her husband Charles Gray came into an inheritance of about $500,000, Wandschneider says, and brought a group of activists and philanthropists together to figure out how the money could have the deepest impact on the root causes of social inequity and environmental degradation.

When Kate Sullivan got the postcard last month notifying her of a proposal to place a cell phone tower at the church near her Jefferson Westside Neighborhood home, she was concerned. 

“It’s going to be in our backyard,” she remembers thinking.

Journey was pregnant when she was dumped at a high-kill shelter in California. Eugene-based Luvable Dog Rescue saved her just hours before she was due to be euthanized, together with her unborn puppies. 

Months later and miles from that crowded shelter, Journey and her puppies have been living at Luvable’s dog haven in the south hills and have had their portraits done wearing crowns of flowers by famed photographer Sophie Gamand. 

Gamand and Luvable’s executive director, Liesl Wilhardt, hope that Gamand’s soft and sweet portraits will help maligned pit bulls like Journey find their forever homes through the magic of the photos and social media. Gamand made a trip to Eugene in June to photograph the dogs of Luvable. 

The McKenzie River is more than just a line on the map. It is a living river, constantly shifting and forming the surrounding land, creating a dynamic habitat for hundreds of native species. Sitting atop this vibrant river is Green Island, home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the Willamette Valley.

The McKenzie River Trust is hosting its 8th annual Living River Celebration from 7 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 25, on Green Island.

McKenzie River Trust (MRT) is a nonprofit land trust that works to protect and conserve thousands of acres of land in Western Oregon.

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. Hwy. 36 was recently sprayed.

Weyerhaeuser Company, 746-2511, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation Services LLC, 554-0489, to backpack foliar spray and hack and squirt 932.1 acres west of Marcola Road with aminopyralid, metsulfuron methyl, sulfometuron methyl, glyphosate, imazapyr, Hi-Light Blue and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2016-771-07490, call Brian Dally at 541-726-3588 with questions.

• Eugene Weekly headed to Seattle June 18 for the annual Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards, which are, according to SPJ, the “the largest of its kind in the nation, with 2,300 entrants and 150 categories.” In the category of Health Reporting, EW staff writer Rick Levin took home a second place award for “The Art of Recovery: Turning Addiction into Art with Transformational Personal Theater,” a feature from January 2015 about a local theater group who uses art therapy for people in recovery.

Kim Nelson, Oregon State University, will talk about the ecology of marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus)and the effect of forest landscape patterns and predators on their survival. Her presentation, “Marbled Murrelets, Landscapes and Predators” is 7-9 pm Thursday, June 23, in room 184 at the UO School of Law.

I have followed with frustration and sadness the response to the film Vaxxed which has been showing at the David Minor Theater in Eugene. The film inaccurately represents the science of vaccines and autism, and I worry that it may mislead parents in Lane County.  

I am a mother to two young children, and I feel the weight of responsibility to make wise decisions about their healthcare. I am also trained as a scientist, and I’ve found that my background in the scientific process has been a valuable tool in helping me to make smart choices for my family. 

This summer, Oregon Bach Festival’s theme could have been “Generations.” The fest features a father-and-son team — Jeffrey and Gabriel Kahane; leaders of two generations of historically informed Baroque violin — Monica Huggett and Rachel Podger; old and new music — from Baroque and early Romantic masters to contemporary composers; veteran visitors conductor Anton Armstrong, pianist Robert Levin and organist Paul Jacobs; as well as today’s rising stars — the terrific singer Nicholas Phan and Artistic Director Matthew Halls; and tomorrow’s musical leaders — Youth Choral Academy, Berwick Academy and more.

Ever since his sly 2007 breakthrough — the witty Craigslistlieder — songwriter-guitarist-pianist-composer Gabriel Kahane has rightly resisted the classical label originally affixed because of his music’s relatively sophisticated arrangements and instrumentation and the fact that his dad, Jeffrey (with whom he’ll share the stage at the Oregon Bach Festival), is a renowned classical pianist and conductor.

Mandolinist whiz Chris Thile did not begin his career with an innate love of classical music.

“Until I was 15 or 16, I couldn’t have cared less about classical music,” Thile tells EW. “I grew up playing fiddle tunes where the whole point is getting people’s bodies to move, and I thought classical music was completely divorced from the body.”

What was the last puppet show you saw? An after-school special maybe? Or perhaps a storybook hour staged by librarians with their hands stuck up some glorified socks?

Portland’s Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre wants you to throw out that imagery entirely. 

Finally the insane national primary season is over; we have “presumptive” candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We also have upcoming conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia that might not be presumptively conventional. 

Some Republicans continue to bid for a “no trump” hand in Cleveland, and geezers like me remember the police riots during the divided 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Presumably, Bernie’s army will stage its battle for development of a progressive party platform in a reasonable manner, and the Philadelphia police won’t riot. 

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.

NEVER FORGET

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.