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December 4, 2014 11:47 AM

Local longtime Native American activist Alfred Leo Smith died Nov. 19 two weeks after his 95th birthday. Smith was an influential voice in society and in the courts in support of Native American religious rites, such as peyote ceremonies. This video tells part of his remarkable life story. See also http://wkly.ws/1up

December 3, 2014 01:35 PM

Graduate teaching fellows and their faculty supporters put out this statement today regarding their stalemate and strike with the UO administration. At the bottom is a  list of signers.

To the University of Oregon Administration: A Call for Ethical Discourse

An open letter by instructors in the University of Oregon Composition Program

Each year, roughly 6,000 undergraduate students take a course in the University of Oregon Composition Program.  More than one hundred instructors teach these courses, all of which are founded on the bedrock principle of ethical argumentation. Upholding this principle requires that we not only acknowledge positions that differ from our own, but that we make an effort to treat those differences charitably and interpret the stakes of the argument as honestly and openly as possible. Ethical discourse is the foundation for how composition instructors teach their students to participate in the academic community with respect, empathy, and integrity.

 

In their dealings with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) over the past year, certain members of the University of Oregon administration and its bargaining team (“the administration”) have not engaged in ethical argumentation. Examples are numerous, but three stand out as particularly egregious.

1.     The administration’s representatives failed to offer the GTFF’s platform an open-minded reception. Jeff Matthews, an attorney for the administration, asserted at the bargaining table last May that bargaining does not require both sides to meet in the middle, implying a refusal to compromise. For much of the bargaining process, the administration’s representatives returned to the table with unchanged proposals and reasoning that demonstrated this inflexibility. Productive dialogue cannot happen without genuine engagement.

2.     During negotiation, the administration’s bargaining team often treated the GTFF’s bargaining team with condescension, dismissal, and disrespect.

3.     Recent emails sent by provosts to the entire university paint a limited and misleading view of the bargaining process and the GTFF. Since the GTFF has no way of addressing the entire community, these emails are, by definition, one-sided. Ethical argumentation cannot occur when one side is portrayed as unreasonable and then given no means through which to respond.

 

Through such actions, the administration has violated the principles of responsible discourse essential at a top-tier university. Indeed, such practices are not merely a suggested form of writing; they are fundamental to the meaningful and respectful exchange of ideas. These ideals ground the mission statement of our university, which includes a commitment to helping individuals “question critically, think logically, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.” The administration has modeled the opposite.

 

As instructors of record (past, present, and in-training) teaching in the Composition Program, we are obligated to address the administration when it breaks its promise to uphold the ideals of civil discourse and ethical argumentation. The Composition Program is not solely responsible for teaching students the skills and the responsibilities of ethical argumentation. Professors, instructors, and graduate students from all departments are also teaching these practices. We who teach in the Composition Program tell our students, “In academia, we write and speak to each other with thoughtfulness and integrity.” We cannot say this in good faith when the administration’s actions are sending a much different message.

 

The university’s stated goal is to offer its students access to a “world-class education.” In order to enhance the university’s status as an internationally-renowned institution, all those affiliated with this university must hold themselves to high standards of ethical argumentation. The majority of UO students want to hold themselves to high standards. They hold us, their teachers, to high standards. And thus we must hold our own administration to high standards as well. Let us all, as representatives of the University of Oregon, model for our students that the skills they learn in the classroom have real-world implications. It is time for the University of Oregon administration to practice what it asks us to teach.

 

We invite members of the administration to respond to these concerns.

 

 

Endorsed by:

 

 

1.     April Anson, Graduate Teaching Fellow

2.     Amanda Bartenstein, Adjunct Instructor

3.     Rachel Bash, Post Doctoral Scholar

4.     Jacob Berns, Instructor

5.     Margaret Bostrom, Graduate Teaching Fellow

6.     Allison Bray, Graduate Teaching Fellow

7.     Elizabeth Bruno, Graduate Teaching Fellow

8.     Zach Cheney, Graduate Teaching Fellow

9.     Elise Choi, Graduate Teaching Fellow

10.  Teresa Coronado, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow

11.  Elizabeth Curry, Graduate Teaching Fellow

12.  Rosemary DeBell, Adjunct Instructor

13.  Courtney Floyd, Graduate Teaching Fellow

14.  Bill Fogarty, Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director, Composition

15.  Mary Ganster, Graduate Teaching Fellow

16.  Brian Gazaille, Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Teaching Fellow

17.  Susana Gómez, Graduate Teaching Fellow

18.  Claire Graman, Graduate Teaching Fellow

19.  Jordan Green, Graduate Teaching Fellow

20.  Joe Griffin, Graduate Teaching Fellow

21.  Shane Hall, Graduate Teaching Fellow

22.  Darlene Hampton, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow

23.  Rachel Ann Hanan, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow

24.  Matthew Hannah, Graduate Teaching Fellow

25.  Nicholas Henson, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition 2009-2010

26.  Christy Hoffman, Tutor for the Center for Teaching Writing

27.  Elizabeth Howard, Graduate Teaching Fellow

28.  Helen Huang, Graduate Teaching Fellow

29.  Bethany Jacobs, Postdoctoral Fellow

30.  Remy Jewell, Tutor for the Center for Teaching Writing

31.  Kristy Kelly, Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition

32.  C. Parker Krieg, Graduate Teaching Fellow

33.  Katie Jo LaRiviere, Graduate Teaching Fellow

34.  Lizzy LeRud, Graduate Teaching Fellow

35.  Mitchell Macrae, Graduate Teaching Fellow

36.  Karl McKimpson, Graduate Teaching Fellow, PhD Candidate

37.  Martina Miles, Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Teaching Fellow

38.  Erica Morton-Starner, Graduate Teaching Fellow

39.  Bess Myers, Graduate Teaching Fellow

40.  Katie Myers, Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition

41.  Ryleigh E. Nucilli, Graduate Teaching Fellow

42.  Carmel Ohman, Tutor for the Center for Teaching Writing

43.  Daniel Platt, Former Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Writing

44.  Brian Psiropoulos, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow

45.  Nick Recktenwald, Adjunct Instructor

46.  Rosalie Roberts, Graduate Teaching Fellow

47.  Rachel Rochester, Graduate Teaching Fellow

48.  Angela Rovak, Tutor for the Center for Teaching Writing

49.  Heather Ryan, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow

50.  Danielle Seid, Graduate Teaching Fellow

51.  Stephen Siperstein, Graduate Teaching Fellow

52.  Bjorn Smars, Instructor

53.  Michael Bennet Smith, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition from 2008-2009

54.  Britta Spann, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition from 2008-2009

55.  Alison Lau Stephens, Instructor

56.  Kaitlin Stodola, Instructor

57.  Rachel Tanner, Graduate Teaching Fellow

58.  Jenna Tucker, Graduate Teaching Fellow

59.  Corbett Upton, Former Graduate Teaching Fellow, Assistant Director of Composition (2007-2008), Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies

60.  Eleanor Wakefield, Graduate Teaching Fellow

61.  Kristin Wilkes, Graduate Teaching Fellow

62.  Paula Wright, Graduate Teaching Fellow

63.  JungYeon Min Yoon, Graduate Teaching Fellow

64.  Robert Zandstra, Graduate Teaching Fellow


 

December 3, 2014 04:51 PM

Once upon a time, a weasel-like animal called a fisher roamed Lane County forests, but now, there are only pockets of fishers left scattered along the West Coast, with anywhere from a few hundred to 4,000 of them in the southern Oregon and northern California population. 

According to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishers have slim bodies and short legs, with rounded ears and a bushy tail. Trappers sought after their soft coats in the 18th century, and now habitat loss and rodenticides pose a further threat to the species, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

On Oct. 7, nearly 15 years after receiving the first petition to list the fisher as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally proposed that the fisher should be listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. This would give further protections to the fisher, which is currently not protected under Oregon's Endangered Species Act. 

The public can comment on the proposal until Jan. 5, 2015. Comments can be made here

November 26, 2014 10:34 AM

Violence in Ferguson stirs memories of the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965.

November 26, 2014 12:00 AM

Sturgill Simpson with Lucette live at Mississippi Studios in portland TUE, NOVEMBER 25, 2014

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-1

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-6

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-13

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-14

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-44

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-12

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-59

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-28

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-31

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-33

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-21

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-65

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-40

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-22

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-41

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-52

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-48

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-63

Sturgill Simpson live in Portland OR-61

November 21, 2014 12:02 PM

UO Ducks football player Marcus Mariota got a speeding ticket. And paid his fine, the R-G reports. Not only is he good with the law now. He's good with God.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota on Thursday quickly put a speeding ticket behind him, pleading “no contest” to the traffic violation and paying off a $260 fine, according to Lane County Circuit Court records.

Mariota, 21, could have asked a judge to reduce the penalty he faced after a state trooper ticketed him during the early morning hours of Nov. 12 for driving 80 mph in a 55-mph zone on Highway 126W near Veneta.

Speeding is news when you're up for a Heisman trophy. And when other Ducks sports stars caught speeding have said things like, "We smoked it all."

But Mariota is OK because not only did he win the R-G's approbation for paying off the ticket, and the state trooper said he was polite and respectful, but also televangelist Pat Robertson says speeding is not a sin — so take a deep breath Mariota, you are good with God, even at 80 mph.

"Is it a sin? I think it's a sin to hurt somebody. I think it's a sin to drive recklessly ... If your driving imperils other people, you are sinning, there's no question about it. But in an open stretch of road, you go to Texas, I think some areas, there's no speed limit at all. There are times when police do pick you up, but I better not say any more. But the whole idea of traffic — it is... sin or not sin — it is to regulate the flow of traffic to keep people from hurting each other."

 

h/t The Oregonian for the Robertson info.

November 20, 2014 10:42 AM

Fortunate Youth, New Kingston, and THRIVE! live at Cozmic

November 20, 2014 08:47 AM

Here are some insights into our weird weather from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the blog of Roberto Mera. See http://wkly.ws/1uk

November 19, 2014 09:09 AM

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Words by Rick Levin • Photos by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf has finally come home. You can see it in his face these days, in his open smile, in the relaxed clarity of the blue eyes he locks on you when he speaks, and you can hear it in his voice — especially in his voice, that cool, smooth instrument with the drawling lilt which, at the drop of a hat, can erupt in rapid, punctuated syllables that spit a kind of embattled authenticity, equal parts urge and urgency.

Home, in this instance, is less about place than a state of mind, though certainly the place of his birth is all over Yelawolf's latest single. From it's opening chords, all slapping bass and apocalyptic bayou rhythms, "Till It's Gone" is a pure piece of Southern gothic: a hip-hop song that is so genre-defying it seems to found a brand-new style, blending rat-a-tat verses with the atmospheric hum of R.E.M. and the twang of country, and anchored by a dark, catchy chorus that has taken alternative radio by storm. "Just because you got yourself in some shit," Yela sings in his cautionary tale about lives lived wrong, "It doesn't mean I have to come deal with it."

Yes, at 34, the Southern hip-hop artist born Michael Wayne Atha has come full circle, having released several mix tapes between 2005 and 2010, one of which, Trunk Muzik, revealed an artist whose talent for penning powerful lyrics was matched by his fierce gift for delivery, language being both Yela's vehicle and the high octane that fuels it. Not since the ascendance of his label founder Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, had the world encountered a rapper whose wordsmithing — aside from being madly slammed and cleverly curlicued -— created such complex layers of meaning. The man is a writer's writer, capable of evoking atmosphere and scene and character with concision and dark beauty.

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

But if, artistically speaking, Eminem and Yelawolf share a common caliber of verbal genius, there the similarities begin to end. Whereas Eminem carved an identity and a voice for himself out of the gritty life of Detroit’s 8 Mile, spewing relentlessly brilliant diatribes that bounced between anxious grandiosity and satirical self-immolation before spinning out into homicidal fantasias of surreal wordplay, Yelawolf’s perspective is less confessional, more straight-up reportorial, more literary: He peers outward at the world, with curiosity, compassion and angst, bringing his songs to bear upon intimate and often grotesque scenes of real life. Yelawolf is hip hop’s low-beat author, its Townes Van Zandt, telling sad stories in a honed, poetic language drawn from dirt and rust and empty shell casings.

For the get-go, what distinguished Yelawolf from the often indistinguishable swarm of rappers rapping up in the club about shit and shinola were his strong roots in Southern culture, a kind of fidelity to the Deep South that found its perfect expression in a song like "Pop the Trunk" off Trunk Muzik: "He got an old Mossberg in a Mossy Oak duffel bag laying in the back of the donk, boy," could be a line from a William Faulkner short story updated to the Age of Scabs, where meth has replaced moonshine and the Hatfield and McCoys have swapped sawed-offs for semi-automatics.

With his alliterative knack and natural narrative abilities, combined with his unique vision of life as it's truly lived among the downtrodden and dispossessed of rural America — what he calls Slumerica —Yelawolf has always promised something explosively new in hip hop, and not just hip hop but popular music in general. Which made it all the more confusing when, in 2011, he released his Interscope debut, Radioactive. Despite some standout tracks, Radioactive seemed an album created at a remove, and it felt like Yelawolf might have lost his way, having been wedged into a glitzy pre-fab machine of synched beats and klieg lights that fit him like a hair shirt.

Sometimes, though, even bullshit moves, whether enforced from without or attempted from within, are a necessary phase in a true artist's development. Rather than throwing in the towel or, worse yet, succumbing to the sell-out, Yelawolf assessed the false step of Radioactive and decided what he did not want to be. This process of deconstruction compelled him to strip it all down, to go back to where he started in the humid swamp of his childhood Alabama digs and the stuff he grew up with: down-home people living their lives amid everyday defeat and ragged glories, country style, set to the big bad thunder of rock (AC/DC, Skynyrd, Nirvana) and the sad waltz of country (Waylon, Johnny, Willie), and shot through with that distinct verbal assault.

So that, in the end, is home for Yelawolf. It's a place of integrity and truth, where the man is what he is, and proud of it. Fuck it. Take it or leave it, he seems to say, ‘cause I'm done playing. Such defiance is triumphant, a rebel yell of liberation, and its sound obviously reverberates with fans, old and new, who have turned "Till It's Gone" into an unexpected radio hit. Radioactive, indeed. According to Yelawolf, that singe is the first in a series of songs that will lead up to the release of a new record, Love Story, sometime after the holidays. So Merry Christmas, y'all. It's going to be a good year.

EW caught up with Yelawolf before his recent sold-out show at WOW Hall. As he fielded questions inside the tour bus, Yela occupied himself with dinner, cooking up in the toaster oven an open faced sandwich of Swiss cheese and jalapenos. "That's how I rock this boat, son," he said.

 

You mentioned something early about 'the evolution' of your band. What’s the evolution?

Basically, you know, before Trunk Muzik I had a full band. The first time we met, my first deejay, Artime, he was a part of that band. We were making music, you know, like, bluegrass, rock, rap shit, but we couldn’t get a deal for it. So they told me, the people I was with, “If you can go make a rap album, we’ll give you a record deal.” So, I was like, alright, and I went and did Trunk Muzik and I turned it in and it got me a deal. I got into this zone of hip hop and it got me all the way to Shady Records, thankfully. Now I’m just trying to reintroduce those early ideas I that was having, just polished, you know what I mean? Yeah, just bringing it all back together. The evolution is definitely the perfect deejay, the perfect guitar player, not for-hire band bullshit. These are my boys.

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

 Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Is "Till It’s Gone" pretty representative of the album?

Well, you know, it’s kind of like it’s its own thing. We kept it all in the same vibe, but every song’s different. In it’s own right, it kind of encompasses everything: the hip hop, the country, the rock. It’s kind of got all of that in there — rhythmically, and songwriting wise, you know what I mean? That’s also another thing that I’m challenging myself with on this album. To write songs, not just spit quick, sixteen rap type hooks and trying to be lyrically impressive more than I am just trying to write a good song, you know?

 

So you’ve gotten more into the narrative side? Telling a story?

Well, I’ll always be into the m.c. challenge, rappin’ this shit. But yeah, I’m really paying more close attention to the power of the song. And it’s great, because this particular song was never intended for that. That’s what’s so cool. It’s a song that I’m passionate about, that I was passionate about shooting my first video for. It was like, dude, we put out "Box Chevy 5" to be reminiscent of what we were kind of leaving, and then we were like, “Yeah, the first record’s going to be ‘Till It’s Gone.’” But the fact that it’s fucking making traction on radio? Fucking new alternative radio? Are you kidding me? I’m the happiest man ever. Especially because it’s that song. Really, man, it’s like, to do something that’s dope, that breaks on radio, that you don’t have to say “V.I.P,” “in the club,” fucking all the other fucking bullshit nonsense that it usually takes to break in radio, is like the best feeling. Especially when, with my last album when they were trying to push me toward that with the wrong music, and people weren’t buyin’ it. It was like, “Dude, I mean, I’ll try it if that’s what y’all say is what’s up…” and I was right. And then their favorite records were, you know, the ones that I was passionate about off that album. The other shit, they were like, “Ah, man…” Fans are smart. They're not fuckin’ dummies. We’re not dealing with a bunch of fucking do boys. Fans are intelligent, and they’re getting smarter, because it’s so fucking available. My little sister's iPod is, like, Zeppelin, Mobb Deep, Blink 182, Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison, James Taylor, you know, Muddy Waters, fucking Justin Bieber. It's just like, bing! It's not like how we had it. I didn't have Internet growing up. So in short, the point of what I was saying is that I'm just really stoked that it's that record and it's not a record that's, you know, attempting to be on the radio. It just happened to make it there. Even the label didn't see [“Till It’s Gone] coming. Australia picked it up. Canada picked it up. And then the states were the actual last.

 

Has the songwriting process changed for you a little bit?

Yeah, absolutely it did. A good example is I walked into the studio [for Radioactive], and Lil’ Jon was already on the record. The hook was already there, you know? The beat was already done. That’s multiple records. But those people are fired. Done. You know? They don’t even exist any more. So this time, it was literally, like, “Marshall, please, just – that wasn’t me, man.” And he knew it. He knew it, because he was a fan of Trunk Muzik. But, you know, he’s the homie, he’s like, “Alright, man, if this is what you want to do.” It was my production crew that was creating these sounds and bringing in all these writers and bringing all this shit in that I had to get rid of. So I just said, “Man, just give me the key to the studio in Nashville, we’re gonna go back, I’m gonna put this shit together, and then, when I turn out the album, then it’ll just be you and I. We’ll take it from there.” So that’s when the process was closed-door, invite-only. You know, everything made from scratch. It took us five months to get the first record. We recorded thirty, forty ideas before we were like, “Boom. That’s the sound of the album—that’s what it’s gotta be.” So we set a bar and made records after that. It took a while, because, you know, it’s finding the right musicians in Nashville, finding the right sound out of the right musician, not to compromise the roots of my music and making it blend. ‘Cause it can be really corny when you do live music to hip hop, or try to – the art is to try to make it fuckin’ stay cool without killing it. And God, it’s been done wrong so many times, man. So, it is the challenge, you know? That was the whole challenge of that album—bringing everything we’ve done, from Psycho White to Arena Rap to Stereo to fuckin’ Trunk Muzik, polishing it, and making it the best that we can do. And not—with our fingers crossed, too, ‘cause I hope people love this. Because I’m passionate about this.

It’s the perfect storm, dude. Like, gettin’ in the game with fuckin’ “Thunder Rolls” or “Country Boy Can’t Survive.” You want that one first record to be fuckin’ crazy. But the thing about this is, if we’re fortunate enough to break in all those markets – which, country music might not happen – but if it does, we’ll be the first in history. Alternative rock, hip hop and country all at the same time. So that’s exciting.

 

Does country radio seem receptive to that?

I just had a conversation the other day with the homies. They’re going to give it a shot on Monday in Florida. It just starts with one place. It started with KROQ, really. After KROQ picked it up, then, you know, the rest of the country will.

 

Just one taste-maker?

Yeah, like, fuck it, they’re playin’ Nelly. Nelly’s rappin’ ass on the country radio. Why not?

 

How would you describe what you learned over the past two, three years? Back to your roots, or…?

Man, it’s funny. It’s like, yeah, I think that I’m probably closer to my ten-year-old, still-in-Alabama, country self than I ever have been. I just feel comfortable, man. You know, in this game, it’s like when you’re doing something that’s new and shit, for me, it’s just slowly putting together the pieces of the puzzle. It’s kind of like exhaling. Like, if I wanna wear a cowboy hat, boots, then fuck it. You know what I mean? Whatever it’s gonna be. Even when I was entering hip hop, I still had a different style. But it wasn’t too soon after thatm a lot of people started getting that style too. The white boy with the tattoos and the mohawk look. And hip hop and shit, it’s like, man, I gotta fuckin’ figure this shit out. I really need to do some shit that is damn-near impossible to imitate. And I knew what that was. It’s just some shit that you gotta be from where I’m from to even get it in the first fuckin’ place, you know what I mean? And then, to actually be talented enough to compete with it, that’s a whole other level. ‘Cause, you know, I was making – Trunk Muzik is awesome, but I was also making shit that could be easily recreated, stylistically speaking. Maybe not technically, but... And what I’m doing now – again, you know, I’m sure there’ll be people who will come out after with the same kind of shit, but the difference is, I’m so comfortable with it.

 

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

 

How does it feel playing that stuff live?

It’s so much fun, man. Yeah. It’s so much fun... Every show's different, you know? Like sometimes the kids just go off. Sometimes they just chill out... Oh, speaking of, there was a kid in line who said he's coming to five shows, him and all four of his boys. Which is rad as fuck, but to me, I'm like, 'Fuck, dude, I hope you don't get bored.' It made me think, though, it may be time to start switching the set up a little. Shit.

 

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

 

 Dude, that thing's a monster.

It's a manwich. A manwich? How funny was that, a jar of Manwich. Remember that shit? Talk about fuckin' -- what is that -- sexist? You're not a "man" without a jar of Manwich. I'm like fifteen years old (in a squeaky kid's voice): '"I want some Manwich." My mama made some good manwich, yo.

 

You gotta put some mustard in it, some ketchup, some tabasco, some brown sugar...

Brown sugar? Holy shit, that sounds terrible.

 

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

Bones Owens | Photo by Todd Cooper Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper Yelawolf | Photo by Todd Cooper

November 19, 2014 04:13 PM

"I would do it again — as soon as I get this bag of chips open."

"What's queefing?"

Grandmas, weed and Cards Against Humanity

"I don't feel as high as they look to me."

November 17, 2014 11:40 AM

Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper

Words by Bryan Kalbrosky • Photos by Todd Cooper

It was a spectacle of epic proportions at the Valley River Center and Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday, Nov. 15, and the center of attention was comedian and actor Kevin Hart.

While Hart came to Eugene for his stand-up tour at Matt Knight Arena, he was also promoting his latest acting endeavor. In the afternoon, Hart shared a screening of his new film The Wedding Ringer (2015). An eager Eugene audience began to line up at 10 am, despite the fact that the film was not scheduled to screen until 2 pm. When Hart walked along the “red carpet” for media interviews, his focus was sharp and his demeanor was friendly. His visit turned into a major production, with appearances from hundreds of fans as well as the Oregon football team, the cheer team and, of course, The Duck.

Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper

“It’s amazing,” Hart told EW at the event. “To have people come out to support your craft and you and your talent is a really good feeling. It’s not something that I take for granted.”

Hart is known for roles in films such as Scary Movie 3 (2003) or Think Like A Man (2012) as well as cameo appearances including This Is The End (2013), Workaholics (2012) and even the occasional Sprint NBA pregame broadcast.

First and foremost, however, Hart identifies as a stand-up comedian. “This is what got me to where I am today,” Hart said. “I don’t ever plan on going in a different direction.”

What was most impressive during his time in Eugene was his professionalism. Hart seemed excited to be in Eugene — he took selfies with fans, signed autographs and engaged many in conversation. Hart also proved to be a gracious guest when the UO athletic department gifted him with two pairs of Nike shoes and a custom football uniform. 

Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper

“First of all, I love your school,” said Hart, before his screener at the Valley River Center, when he explained to the audience why he came to Eugene. “I like your fucking uniforms, to be honest.”

His trip to Eugene was the product of a college tour, and his plan is to put his upcoming film directly into the hands of consumers across the country. “I feel like it’s my job to personally meet you and personally shake your hand and do shows and say what’s up.”

Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper

When it was time for his show at Matt Knight, it became clear to the packed house why the “comedian” side of Hart has reached significant fame. His stand-up albums I’m A Grown Little Man (2008) and Seriously Funny (2010) introduced audiences to his talent, but the energy of his live performance separates him from the rest. “This is why I’m different,” Hart said. “This is why I’m a fucking big deal, people. I do things out of the norm.”

“Everybody wants to be funny, but you don’t know that you’re funny until you actually make an attempt,” Hart continued. “Getting on stage is different from being around a group of people.”

His best jokes were the ones about his family, like his “spot on impression of his daughter” or the unique ways in which private school has changed his son.

“That’s what I’m all about,” said Hart. “I’m an entertainer for everybody. I wanted to go to the places that had something for everybody.”

Kevin Hart © Todd Cooper

November 17, 2014 04:04 PM

With International Transgender Day of Remembrance coming up Thursday, Nov. 20, several local orgs and businesses (ASUO Women's Center, LCC Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Eugene Office of Equity and Human Rights, UO LGBTESSP, The Redoux Parlour, Community Alliance of Lane County, and Lane Independent Living Alliance) have teamed up to celebrate with Gender Diversity Awareness Week.

The kick-off event is a panel, "Insight Into Self," about the "journal of self-discovery and what it means to live beyond the gender binary," from 6:30 to 8:30 pm tonight at Lane Independent Living (LILA), 990 Oak St.

Another panel on the transition of gender identity will be at LILA at the same time Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, the UO will screen the documentary American Transgender 6:30 to 8:30 pm, followed by a discussion, in 185 Lillis Hall.

Thursday, Nov. 20, is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was started to memorialize Rita Hester, a transgender African-American woman who was murdered in her apartment in November 1998 — the murder remains unsolved. According to the Trans* Violence Tracking Portal, transgender people are “400 times more likely to be assaulted or murdered than the rest of the population.” A vigil will be held in honor of International Transgender Day of Remembrance 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10 Ave.

Find out more about Gender Diversity Awareness Week in our Nov. 20 issue and at the Facebook event page.

November 17, 2014 01:04 PM

The White Buffalo live at Cozmic, with local support Will Brown and Cold Feet.