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EW! A Blog.

August 13, 2014 11:20 AM

Seattle singer-songwriter and rising star Shelby Earl will be hitting up Sam Bond’s Sunday night, Aug.17 (see “Burn Boats, Not Bridges” in the Aug. 14 issue of Eugene Weekly). While catching up with Earl over the phone last week, I had to ask her about the music video (posted below) for her hit song “Swift Arrows,” a video that is at once a hilarious, heartbreaking and disturbing David Lynchian vignette of a couple’s anniversary gone awry.

“Essentially, it is in no way autobiographical,” Earl says, laughing. “The guy who directed it, Neil Ferron — we were sitting drinking wine one night coming up with ideas. And he’s a weirdo. He’s kind of a weird genius.”

Earl and Ferron, a Seattle-based writer and filmmaker, discussed the goal of music videos. “Why make a music video unless it’s going to be really interesting and have depth.”

Ferron pitched the anniversary idea to Earl.

“It struck this chord with me. It made me feel the way the song makes me feel. It’s an outrageous thing,” Earl says. “The storyline is absurd. The song came from a life that’s absurd — a stranger-than-fiction type thing.”

 Earl says that all the actors are professional Seattle theatre people. Amy Thone, an actor and casting director for the Seattle Shakespeare Company, plays the lead and steals the show. Peter Crook’s shit-eating grin as the adulterous husband also deserves a nod.

“I was on set for all the filming. I just started to bawl,” Earl says of Thone’s performance. “She gets it.”


Photo by Francisco Macias

June 4, 2014 05:00 PM

Local rock-grass band Alder Street is hosting their CD release party Friday, June 6, for the new album Americannibal (read story on Alder Street here). Take a look at the album art when you get a chance because the front jacket of the CD was created by well known French illustrator Olivier Bonhomme. Bonhomme often illustrates political cartoons for Le Monde, perhaps the mostly widely read newspaper in France.

In fact, Alder Street guitar player and singer-songwriter Ian Royer spent much of his youth in Montpellier, a university city in Southern France, and he speaks French fluently. 

"I'm half French. I grew up in the South of France," Royer tells me over the phone. "[Bonhomme] was a high school buddy of mine. He was actually in my first band. He's truly talented."

Royer says that when he does visit France, his French friends tease him about playing bluegrass music. "My friends purposefully annoy me by calling it country," he says, laughing. 

Royer plans to return this summer. To see more of Bonhomme's artwork, find his portfolio here.

May 13, 2014 11:50 AM

Before telling the crowd at the Hult Saturday night “I consider myself a citizen of the world, but I was born in Eugene, Oregon” (to huge applause), RJD2  said what was on everyone’s mind: “This is really fucking awesome.”

(Photo collage by Athena Delene)

The show started with a few hiccups; backstage, several of the musicians, dancers and artists of the 100-plus motley crew seemed confused about where to be and when. And for the first third of the show, there were more people partying in the lobby then there were in the concert hall. But, once the show gained momentum, it took off like a rocket.

Here are some of the highlights:

-The guys of Medium Troy sported some sweet Sgt. Pepper-style waist coasts. JoJo Ferreira’s coat was embellished with splashes of gold sequins — he had to wear something to match his gold-sequined thong (worn over pantaloons, mind you).

-The band brought bundles of energy to the stage, sending the audience along on a beautiful, crazy trip. And the guest vocals of Bettreena Jaeger (the Betty of Betty and the Boy) brought their music to a new, ephemeral level.

-Devin the Dude (pictured below) added a playful hip-hop edge to the evening, driving the fans in front (the first 30 rows of seats were cleared for a dance floor) absolutely batty. And then he lit up on stage, soliciting roars from the crowd, filling the hall with puffs of smoke that floated up to Light at Play’s LED Radiance Dome, emitting a certain sweet aroma.  Word is that Devin the Dude filmed a music video with local production company Artistic Outlet Media while he was in town.

-The Space Invaders (a local breakdancing crew) and contemporary ballet dancer Katie Scherman’s whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their Chopin-meets-glitch-hop dance numbers. When they came back for an encore performance during RJD2’s set, RJD2 threw up his arms in can-you-believe-this-is-happening amusement, turning around to see if the Dub Orchestra had the same reaction.

-Harmonic Laboratory composer and conductor Jeremy Schropp, outfitted in a bright yellow Sgt. Pepper coat, led the Dub Orchestra to RJD2’s 1976 with RJD2 (pictured below). This ushered in the finale with hot and punchy performances by Work Dance Company, Broadway Revue Burlesque, Red Moon Rising and many more. 

-The Aerial Silks dancer defied gravity and human limitations 20 feet above the stage during many of the music sets.

-The costumes. Eugene brought it with costumes ranging from raver chic to 19th-century dapper dub.

And for good measure, here's a shot of RJD2's vinyl stash that he was pulling from throughout the show (photo by Robyn Louden):

More pictures coming soon.

May 9, 2014 05:14 PM

What can I say about the fashion scene in Eugene? It's slowly but surely growing up. Last Sunday night, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art hosted St. Vinnie's Metamorphose Upcycling Design challenge: 10 local designers on a $40 material budget to be spent at St Vincent de Paul were tasked to create three runway-ready looks in the categories of Ready-to-Wear, Evening Wear and Designer’s Choice. You can see the winners from this week’s EW “Project Runway” photo spread here.

All the designers get kudos for creating anything that wasn't just a bunch of sock puppets on that tight of a budget with unconventional material options. The levels of execution of the 30 looks ranged from student work to professional and ready to hit the stores — at least from my vantage point — but all the designs had a wonderful sense of whimsy and spontaneity. I sat next to Portland Fashion Week ambassador Ryan May, who had high marks for Vanessa Froehling (Stiches by V); her strapless fishtail gown (below) made from a lace-patterned bed sheet took home the prize for Evening Wear. “It was exciting for me because I’ve never made a dress like that before. I’m not used to doing something so elegant,” Froehling told me over the phone.

Myself, and several in the audience, were struck by the designs (seen below, model Cathryn Clover with Wade) of Seams Legit designer Courtney Wade, who didn’t take home any prizes but was the EW pick in this week’s issue. Her slick, black dress designs, styled perfectly with simple black heals and a fat white blossom in the model’s chignon, did not look “recycled.” After the show, I got to chat with Wade about her approach.


“I wanted to stick with a classic look,” Wade says, that was “neutral in color but used a lot of texture.” This is a departure from her typically colorful, more embellished designs. She called it vintage glamour and a “grown-up version” of herself.

I was also struck by the Ready-to-Wear (seen below) look by Julia Paige of Tufflove Designs. The beautiful mix of clashing bold patterns, along with a wide trouser pant and fantastic fabric hoop earings, Paige’s look was one of the most on-the-fashion-pulse designs. 

Perhaps the most avant-garde ensembles of the night came from Rhiannon Dark of RHI. Dark took home the prize for Ready-to-Wear made from a wool blanket. “There were holes in it,” Dark says. “It had the feel that maybe someone on the street had worn it, which felt punk to me.”

The outfit was edgy and fresh, but for me, her Evening Wear entry (below) was incredibly memorable. She transformed model Savannah Best into a character à la Tilda Swinton in The Chronicles of Narnia: textured hair, ghostly makeup and some truly imaginative outfits — a sort of punk fairytale.


“My husband lived in Amsterdam for a while,” Dark says of her partner, who was immersed in the Dutch punk subculture. “When we got together I got way into it.”

Kendra Brock (seen below with model Desiree Kuenkele - someone's gotta get this woman a role on Mad Men, right?) of Kendra Grace Designs nabbed the prize for Designer’s Choice with her signature playful take on a t-shirt dress. “It was really nice for me that it did win because it’s what I do most of the time, which is making dresses from upcycled t-shirts. It fit her perfectly,” Brock told me the morning after the show. It was great to see Brock, whose background is in sculpture, push herself to work with other fabrics like linen and denim. But it’s also easy to see the appeal of her dresses: they’re easy, fun and oh-so Eugene.

Hosanna Haines of Royal Macabre, the dark horse of the show, had some show-stopping looks as well. The detailing on her collars and backlines (below) were edgy, fashion-forward and completely different than anything else on the catwalk that night.

Overall, it was a great night for Eugene fashion leaving me hungry for Eugene Fashion Week this fall.

(All photos thanks to the marvelous and talented Athena Delene.)

May 2, 2014 05:15 PM

Nothing says lunch like a "Radiance Orb."

Today over lunch, EW stopped in at Light at Play, an art-technology collective housed at Concentric Sky downtown, to chat with Yona Appletree and Kenyon Acton about the "Radiance Orb," a high-res LED sphere that employs plastic acrylic triangle panels to produce a soothing and psychadellic light-art experience. The Radiance Orb, as well as other LED works by Light at Play, will be part of Bohemian Dub Ball at the Hult May 9. Light at Play's work will also be on display at the Oregon Country Fair and the Mohawk Vally Music Festival this summer, before heading to Burning Man.

Check out the orb below: 

April 25, 2014 04:03 PM

Last week, Jo Hamilton and Irene Hardwicke Olivieri gave an artist talk at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art for their joint exhibit, Contemporary Oregon Visions (see  "A Tale of Two Artists"). It was great to see the huge turnout on a weeknight — all the seats were taken and people were standing in the aisles.

Hamilton spoke first, discussing her background as an artist in Scotland and working as an artist in Portland. Hamilton went into detail about her ongoing “mugshot” portrait series. The audience asked several questions about the identities of the people behind the mug shots. Hamilton explained that the portraits were supposed to capture a fleeting moment in time — an emotion, an expression — but not to capture an exact likeness, so as that it would be difficult to identity the real people behind the portraits; a sort of humanizing-through-art execise.(See mugshot series in photo below.)

After the talk, she mentioned that, at first, Portland audiences were a bit standoffish to her work, which is surprising considering her “crochet paintings” have a distinctly Portland feel; think the craft movement meets classical portraiture. Hamilton also mentioned that she wished there was a museum like the Shnitz in Portland. (Score one for Eugene! Maybe Eugene isn’t “little Portland” but Portland is “big Eugene.”)

Olivieri (seen in photo above next to her painting "I drop everything when I see you") spoke passionately about how many of her paintings are about ridding skeletons from the family closet. If a photo is worth a thousand words then an Olivieri painting is worth a thousand stories. And of course, we got to hear about her great love and admiration for packrats. “Most animals go around looking for food or for a mate,” she said. “Packrats are totally driven by the desire to collect things.” The little critters, she explained, secrete a “honey-gold” substance called amberat to protect all the little treasures in their collections. She told the crowd how archaeologists and biologists have found pack rat nests dating back millennia.

Overall, it was a great talk that demystified the artistic process.
 

April 21, 2014 04:34 PM

Silver Lining Production House has announced its first major client: Nancy's Yogurt. We reported on the opening of the production house in March ("Silver Lining Playbook") when it was too early for Silver Lining to announce its clients publicly. SL has designed and produced Earth Day tote bags for Nancy’s Yogurt, who posted the following on its Facebook page today: 

Enter Nancy’s Yogurt Earth Day Giveaway! Five lucky Nancy’s fans will be selected EACH DAY this week to win a FREE limited-edition Nancy’s tote, made from fabric banners previously used for trade shows and events – now with a second life! These beautiful totes are created with the help of the talented folks at Silver Lining Productions.

Silver Lining hosts its grand opening 6 pm Friday, May 2, at 309 W. 4th Ave., Suite 230.

April 14, 2014 03:49 PM

Tonight is the last night for the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA) at its 280 W. Broadway space downtown and they want you to come party with them for their "Marker Monday" fundraiser; $5 suggested donation at the door. From 6 to 8pm, DJ Chris Long will spin tunes and Blue Dog Mead refreshments will be available. DIVA's press release says a "free Copic marker to first 120 guests - tag and draw on our gallery walls." So skip happy hour and head to DIVA and support your local arts. DIVA is currently looking for a new space downtown.

March 11, 2014 10:59 AM

Well, President Obama made an appearance on Zach Galifianakis' irreverant talk show Between Two Ferns to plug healthcare.gov, and he nailed it. Some of the highlights:

ZF: You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President? I would make same-sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they want it.

POTUS: I think that's why you're not President, and that's a good thing.

...

POTUS: Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd? Why don’t you ask her whether she thinks I’m a nerd.

ZF: Could I?

POTUS: No, I'm not going to let her near you.

Watch it in full below:

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

January 31, 2014 05:40 PM

Last night, (sub)Urban Projections in conjunction with the city of Eugene (and help from Harmonic Laboratory, hosted one of the best art events of 2014 thus far (people should not forget this event when "Best of Eugene" rolls around). At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I would say it was transcendent. The Hult Center's lobby, a marvel of architecture with it's M.C. Escherian staircases and soaring, multilevel ceilings, became a trippy wonderland filled with some of the town's best modern dancers, digital artists and musicians.  In a perfectly paced one-hour event, (sub)Urban Projections guided a huge crowd through the nine different acts that made up  the digital art festival. Each act took place at a different spot, spanning levels and staircases, at five minute intervals. Meanwhile, there was also interactive ambient art that people could play around with. The crowd, which was much younger than the average audience that frequents the Hult, was captivated. Let's hope there's much more of these city-sponsored events to come.

Ninkasi is hosting a "Projection Reception" for the digital arts festival tonight.

January 16, 2014 05:13 PM

If you're curious about "School Days," the Linda Cunningham  artwork that was banned from an Emerald Art Center show for its commentary on gun violence, head to New Zone Gallery, where's its now on display. Our Slant column from the 1-9 issue made an open plea calling for another gallery to display the work. Kudos to New Zone Gallery, home of the Salon de Refusés, for embracing thought-provoking art.

The local case of censorship is also getting national attention.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) — "an alliance of over 50 national non-profit organizations united in defense of free expression" — blogged about the censorship incident here. Today, Jan. 16, the NCAC Arts Advocacy Project sent a letter to the Emerald Art Center board. The NCAC writes:

"We urge you to revise your exhibition policies toassure that the Emerald Art Center does not become a repressive censor, trampling the artistic freedom of its own members. Such a revision would assure the continuing viability and prosperity of the EAC as a place of artistic excellence thatwould attract new members, rather than lose current ones.

'School Days' brings awareness to the continuing threat of gun violence in schools, a message that the Center’s coordinator agreed was 'important' and that most people considered 'powerful.' According to press reports, however, the Board found the piece 'too controversial' and 'inappropriate' for the members’ show.

Art that engages in issues that we all care about inevitably elicits emotional response: sometimes it elates, at other times it disturbs, but it always provokes though: this is what art is supposed to do. By labeling such art as inappropriate andcensoring it, the Emerald Art Center is doing a disservice to all Association members and is also jeopardizing its position as a relevant cultural institution."

The letter was signed by over 10 local artists including Rogene Manas and Jud Turner, who cancled an upcoming show at the EAC because of the censorship.

You can read the entire NCAC letter here

January 8, 2014 01:54 PM

It's true. SNL realized it's 2014 (but really, insert any year here) and there are funny people who are not white males — even though four of the five original new hires for the 2013-2014 season are white men (the fifth is a white woman). After much backlash, and one hilarious episode hosted by Kerry Washington, SNL has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata. And she's hilarious:

Zamata is the first black woman on SNL since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. I almost wanted to boycott SNL this winter after SNL cast member Kenan Thompson told TV Guide in reference to the lack of black women in the cast: "It's just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they never find ones that are ready." Oh sweet, sweet patronization.

But, especially with the addition of Zamata, SNL's female cast members are stealing the season and I will keep tuning in. For more on Zamata, Salon.com does a nice roundup of her standup and skits here.

December 11, 2013 01:30 PM

UPDATE: The Boreal surpassed its goal $3,500 with time to spare!

A much needed new venue has been proposed for Eugene: The Boreal will be an all-ages, DIY, collectively-run music and art space at 450 W. 3rd St. near Crux Rock Climbing Gym and REI. The venue will have a capacity for about 80 people, expects to host upwards of 10 shows a month and plans to open in January 2014. As The Boreal Kickstarter page stages:

"This sort of space is important because it provides a safe, drug and alcohol free environment where people of any age can enjoy and participate in music and art." 

Currently, The Boreal is about halfway to meeting their $3,500 fundraising goal with one week left for the Kickstarter (the Kickstarter closes Dec. 19). To find out more, visit The Boreal Kickstarter here and the facebook page here.

December 5, 2013 05:17 PM

This morning I caught up with Ricky Carlson of Corvallis' The Crescendo Show  (runners up for Eugene Weekly's Next Big Thing 2013) contest. They have a show at Sam Bond's with Caroline Bauer on Dec. 19 but the band is mostly prepping for their first professionally recorded album at Jackpot! Recording Studio in Portland. They head into the studio Jan. 2. Check out the 12/12 issue of EW for our interview with Carlson but first check out their firstever, recently released music video for the sweet, sweet song "Volcanoes":