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November 3, 2016 03:21 PM

A University of Oregon law professor, who has been identified by The Register-Guard as Nancy Shurtz, sent a note to her students apologizing for her Halloween costume in which she wore blackface in depicting the book Black Man in a White Coat.

I chose my costume based on a book that I read and liked—Black Man in a White Coat. I thought I would be able to teach with this costume as well (or at least tell an interesting story). When I asked my daughter who is at Brown Medical School the demographics of her medical school class, she said “they do not give those statistics out mom”, but later when she asked the administration, they said there was _not one black male _student in the class. She and others were outraged. She was able to get the administration to assign a portion of this book (the one where the black medical student was thought to be the janitor) out to students.

I am sorry if it did not come off well. I, of all people, would not want to offend.

Prof. Shurtz

October 31, 2016 07:37 AM

Featuring haunting music by Adolphe Adam, and original staging by Louis Godfrey after Marius Petipa, Eugene Ballet’s Giselle stands shoulder to shoulder with any production I’ve seen.

            Set against the backdrop of autumnal, pastoral repose - the harvest is finally in, the latest vintage is ready to be poured, the Rhineland has never looked prettier than it does this fall - Giselle plumbs this bucolic moment for all its gothic glory. Giselle is a ghost story, after all. Boo!

            In the title role, dancer Yoshie Oshima is exquisite, possessing an effortless quality, like spun sugar, she dances with lightness and grace. But underpinning her work is a steel cage of emotion, as Oshima delves fully into the character’s transformative emotional range, from giddy peasant girl, to jilted girlfriend, to ultimate redeemer. Oshima finds the perfect, compelling balance for the role.

            Hirofumi Kitazume, as Giselle’s beloved Count Albrecht, is equally riveting. He moves like a coiled spring, synaptic and powerful, packing tremendous force, and yet he also possesses a nuanced tenderness, and an easy, approachable manner. These roles demand acting, as well as dance, and could easy tip over into the maudlin. But Kitazume never indulges in such frivolity, instead displaying genuine feelings: Ardor, shock, grief and fear. He carries the narrative for the audience, from inciting incident, to the last sad moments. (Newsflash: It’s a tragedy.)

            Reed Souther as Hilarion, Albrecht’s counterpart and another of Giselle’s suitors, also anchors the production. He has an earthier quality to his work, a grounded, sensible approach that offers an alternative to the flashy Albrecht. Spoiler alert: Things don’t end well for him, and throughout, Souther astonishes with his physical conviction and emotional conveyance.

            As a whole, this ballet really shows off Toni Pimble’s pitch-perfect musicality, and the ensemble’s flawless timing. Throughout, there’s little for the audience to do but sit back, relax, and take this mesmerizing journey. Pimble’s approach is precise, but always humane. Somehow, she never loses sight of the relational storytelling the dance is meant to convey, even as she dishes out technique that shines.

            The corps in Act One explores pleasing configurations and the geometric shapes, that harken back to the simpler time, and perhaps its folk dances, that this romantic ballet epitomizes. The pas de quatre towards the end of Act One exemplifies the versatility and strength of the dancers, with Victoria Harvey, Suzanne Haag, Mark Tucker and Colton West, all turning in terrific performances.

            And Act Two is all about the ladies: Danielle Tolmie as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, sets a gold standard for the corps, dancing with ferocity and a blithe fragility. Tolmie is a wonder, almost weightless, her technique extraordinary, and the faceless, blank stares of the Wilis that surround her create a sensation of coolness and reproach.  Has your man done you wrong? The ultimate squad, these punishing gals have your back. (Just wait until dark.)

            Costumes by Amy Panganiban and sets by Russell Coburn, lend magic, transporting the viewer from the warmth and conviviality of a Bruegel painting, to the cold, clear twilight of lost love.

            Happy Halloween.

             

           

           

            

October 31, 2016 02:46 PM

Former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury weighs in on Brad Avakian and Dennis Richardson in this year's race for his former position.

This year, 14 states around the country will have voting restrictions that make it more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote. Some sharply limit early voting, some make registration more difficult, and some have enacted strict photo ID requirements that disempower voters and erode participation in our democratic process.

At the same time, our state has moved in a better direction, rejecting voter suppression efforts and instead working to break down barriers to our democracy. Expanding voter participation has been a central goal of Oregon's system of elections for a generation.

It’s why I support Brad Avakian for secretary of state.

As the state’s chief elections officer, Brad will work for fair elections that give everyone a voice. He’ll build on our landmark motor voter law and work for greater transparency in campaigns. Significantly, he’ll fight to pass meaningful campaign finance limits that reduce the influence of corporate money in Oregon elections.

Dennis Richardson offers a different approach. And it seems in this campaign, he’s desperate to talk about anything but his record.

The truth is that time and again, Richardson has voted for more barriers to voting, more roadblocks to participation, and less transparency in our elections:  For three legislative sessions in a row — in 2005, 2007 and 2009 — Richardson led the charge for voter identification laws like the ones that have been ruled unconstitutional in recent court decisions. Don’t be fooled. These measures aren’t about “voter integrity”; they’re about disenfranchising poor and minority voters for partisan political advantage.

In striking down a similar North Carolina voter ID law, the court noted that this Republican-led effort suppressed African-American voter turnout “with almost surgical precision.”

Richardson has also stood against common-sense voter registration efforts that make it easier for Oregonians to have a say in our elections.

In 2013, Richardson opposed a measure to strengthen voter registration programs at universities and community colleges, HB 3175. Richardson voted against Oregon’s electronic voter registration system, a measure that passed 45-9. Richardson even voted against greater transparency for out-of-state political contributions, putting him in the extreme minority on a measure that passed 49-8.

Certainly, there’s plenty to be wary about when it comes to Dennis Richardson’s hardline views on marriage equality and reproductive rights. Richardson’s views on man-made climate change – which have more in common with Donald Trump than 97 percent of the world’s scientists — make him ill-suited for the State Land Board.

But voters who care about fair and open elections deserve to know the truth about Richardson’s record of right-wing extremism.

I trust Brad Avakian to protect and strengthen the integrity of our elections. I know that he’ll fight to get big money out of politics and work for a system that gives everyday Oregonians a voice in our democracy.

The next secretary of state can either build on Oregon’s approach or turn back the clock on the progress we've made.

Vote for Brad Avakian for secretary of state.

Bill Bradbury served as Secretary of State from 1999 to 2009.

October 31, 2016 01:47 PM

Below is a viewpoint written by Josh Proudfoot of the Good Company

The truth about Joshua Skov and Seneca

By Josh Proudfoot

I worked with my friend, Joshua Skov, for twelve years as co-founders and co-owners of Good Company, a sustainability research and consulting firm. In 2009, we evaluated the Seneca project on behalf of EWEB, one of the hundreds of projects our firm has done for public infrastructure agencies and food systems. 

Recently, Brian Weaver, in a guest viewpoint in Eugene Weekly (“Rezoning and the Ward 1 Election”) and others supporting Emily Semple have made false claims about our work and about Joshua Skov in the Eugene Council Ward 1 race. Let me set the record straight.

First, Good Company did not “recommend,” “greenwash” or “approve” the Seneca combined heat and power plant on behalf of EWEB. Instead, we were hired by EWEB staff to benchmark and characterize wind, solar, nuclear, gas, coal, and the Seneca project without recommendations so that the EWEB board could make their own choice. Further, we’re proud of our Triple Bottom Line analysis. I challenge anyone to find another utility in the entire United States that has compared the multiple economic, social and environmental aspects that carefully and benchmarked them before engaging a power purchase agreement. Kudos to EWEB for looking well beyond what is required of them. Read our report yourself: www.eweb.org/public/documents/seneca/goodCo.pdf.

Second, Good Company took a close look at the sources of local air pollution sources and scaled them in juxtaposition to the Seneca project and scaled potential pollution reduction projects. We also highlighted the importance of forest stewardship and that biomass combined heat and power from sawmill waste and forest slash is an extremely efficient energy source, with lower net carbon emissions than fossil fuels. Note that forest slash, by law, must be burned in the field, which contributes substantially more air pollution than a biomass facility. Read here for a more recent meta analysis of life cycle studies of all of power sources to see for yourself: nrel.gov/analysis/sustain_lca_results.html and dx.doi.org/10.5849/jof.14-009

So how does Skov’s work with Good Company and sustainability actually relate to the Ward 1 race?

First, Skov has dedicated his life to the pursuit of sustainability and social equity—in his personal life and in his professional life. It is not something he does in his spare time. It is what he does full time, and it is what he has done for his entire adult life. 

Second, Skov has systematically contributed to the public, while learning more about how the city works to prepare himself for leadership. He has contributed to many citizen committees on sustainability, land use, transportation, energy and wastewater. Isn’t it a good thing to have experience? I know if I was needing a surgeon, lawyer, plumber, electrician, sustainability consultant, or a city councilor, I would pick the one that has relevant experience.

I am proud to support Joshua Skov for Eugene City Council Ward 1.

Josh Proudfoot is the principal of Eugene-based consulting firm Good Company, which he co-founded with Joshua Skov in 2000.

October 28, 2016 02:28 PM

After eight years at its spot on Willamette Street downtown, secondhand shop and costume mecca Kitsch-22 will be closing in November, the Kitsch-22 team tells EW.

This feels a little bit like the end of an era for designer-run thrift stores. In the past few years, Deluxe — which was just a couple blocks south on Willamette and operated by Eugene designer Mitra Chester (who is now the fashion guru for St. Vincent de Paul’s) — closed, as well as The Redoux Parlour in the Whiteaker, which was headed by designer Laura Lee Laroux, who now lives in Montana. And in fact, Chester originally started Kitsch-22.

The Kitsch-22 team tells EW that the space it has leased at 1022 Willamette is too small for the way the business has expanded, while it would “cost too much money to move somewhere else.” So, owner Norman Lent has decided to close up shop and retire. They aren't the only ones leaving the block: Harlequin Beads & Jewelry, across the street from Kitsch-22, is moving to a South Eugene location, the R-G reported Oct. 21, making way for a dispensary.

Kitsch-22 has been a cultural staple in the local thrift, costume and designer scene, having just last year won Best Clothing Store in Eugene Weekly’s Best of Eugene reader’s poll.

Kitsch-22 will close in about two weeks, so now is the time to check out this sartorial treasure chest, packed to the gills and the ceilings with Halloween masks and costumes, all the plaid you could ever dream of, pretty and ugly sweaters, gowns, platform heals, candy-colored wigs and offbeat accessories. Kitsch-22 has also opened its off-limits basement to customers, and it’s bursting with sequined getups, onesies and flapper dresses. The Kitsch-22 team says post-Halloween, sales will begin, starting with 25 percent off and eventually increasing to 50 percent off.

October 27, 2016 04:29 PM

Press release on the Malheur Occupation is below.

WTF.

JURY DELIVERS VERDICTS IN OREGON STANDOFF TRIAL

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A federal jury today delivered its verdicts against seven defendants charged with conspiracy, possession of firearms on federal property, and theft during the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Jurors found Ammon Bundy, Shawna Cox, David Lee Fry, Jeff Wayne Banta, Kenneth Medenbach, and Neil Wampler not guilty on all counts. Jurors found Ryan Bundy not guilty on charges of conspiracy and possession of firearms, but were unable to reach a verdict on the charge of theft. 



Co-defendants Jason Blomgren, Brian Cavalier, Blaine Cooper, Eric Flores, Wesley Kjar, Corey Lequieu, Joseph O'Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, Jon Ritzheimer, Geoffrey Stanek, and Travis Cox previously pled guilty. Co-defendants Dylan Anderson, Sandra Anderson, Sean Anderson, Duane Ehmer, Jason Patrick, Darryl Thorn, and Jake Ryan will stand trial beginning February 14, 2017. Charges against co-defendant Peter Santilli were previously dismissed. 



"While we had hoped for a different outcome, we respect the verdict of the jury and thank them for their dedicated service during this long and difficult trial," said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. "We strongly believe that this case needed to be brought before a Court, publicly tried, and decided by a jury. Despite the verdict reached, I want to personally thank all of the law enforcement personnel who worked tirelessly to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Malheur occupation. I also want to thank the residents of Burns, Hines, and Harney County and members of the Burns Paiute Tribe for their patience and resolve throughout this process." 



"For many weeks, hundreds of law enforcement officers -- federal, state, and local -- worked around-the-clock to resolve the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge peacefully. We believe now -- as we did then -- that protecting and defending this nation through rigorous obedience to the U.S. Constitution is our most important responsibility," said Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Although we are extremely disappointed in the verdict, we respect the court and the role of the jury in the American judicial system." 



The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Geoffrey Barrow, Ethan Knight, and Craig Gabriel, Assistant United States Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

October 26, 2016 09:51 AM

“Don’t play stupid / don’t play dumb / vagina’s where you’re really from!"

Pussy Riot's catchy new peaen to the pussy, "Straight Outta Vagina," takes on Donald Trump and his statement that when he sees beautiful women he "Grabs them by the pussy."

The Russian punk band writes on its YouTube video launch that:

Female power and female sexuality are yet need to be discovered. Discussed. Performed. Lived up.

Women were slaves of the world for centuries. Women’s got their right to vote less than 100 years ago. Russia (1917), US (1919), Switzerland (1971). We’re still just about to build another roles, norms, ethics for vaginas owners.

And the owner of vaginas is not some narcissistic stupid orange ape who’d claim that he could easily grab women by their pussies. The owner of vagina is a woman. Who wears her vag as a badge of honour.

Pussy is the new dick, ladies. Oh bondage, up yours

October 25, 2016 03:03 PM

In the wake of the recent incident in the Park Blocks involving the Eugene police and people who frequent the area, City Manager Job Ruiz's comment at meeting of downtown stakeholder's comparing the summer's to the Iraqi surge has drawn fire.

The R-G reports:

City Manager Jon Ruiz drew criticism during Monday night’s council meeting for comparing last summer’s increased police presence downtown to the “surge” of U.S. military forces in Iraq nearly a decade ago.

Ruiz made the remark at a recent meeting of a group working to improve downtown, and he offered the context of his use of the analogy to city councilors after two speakers condemned the remark during the meeting’s public comment period.

“In essence, it seems that Mr. Ruiz has declared war on some of the most vulnerable people in the community, those without money or shelter,” Eugene resident Lee DeVeau said.

Ruiz made his remarks at meeting of the Downtown Stakeholders Group, which is tied to the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.

See the full story here. 

October 23, 2016 03:06 PM

White Bird Dance presented Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company’s Wallflower, Oct 22, at Lincon Hall on the Portland State University campus.

            A richly luxuriant piece, Wallflower investigates relational connections in and around a contrived space, a two-sided wall, hard-sided and sturdy, that dancers can slide up and across.

            The performers are uniformly strong and committed, wearing brightly colored knit bodysuits, they move with a collective pulse and rhythm through ambient music by Unitaro Abe, Mayu Gonto and Hirofumi Nakamura.

            The piece has a methodical, somber quality, with mysteries and inventions providing some accent from the staid work. At times, the structures of the dance veer into the predictable, as canons and crossings give way not to variation, but simply repetition.

            Would the piece be as effective without these darn cool unitards? It’s hard to say. There is something overly wrought in the characters presented. Zvi Fishvon wears an enormous knitted costume, and seems to swallow other dancers whole, transforming into a monstrous, grub-like visage.

            Other moments, too, churn and crackle like verdant insects munching, and have a quality of unrest, of dis-ease.

            Jeremy Alberge is compelling, crisp and clean, his technique and expression in perfect harmony. Oz Mulay, too, has an intriguing presence, heartfelt, open. Cordelia Lange is also compelling, somehow raw yet elegant, a mover with broad and encompass capacity to communicate. All the dancers have an ethereal, yet earthy quality, stripped bare when the knitwear comes off, to reveal a universal: tank tops and men’s underwear for all.

            Clocking in at one hour, the piece generates more heat in its last ten minutes than  in the first fifty. It finds its legs and creates dynamic, gorgeous pathways and level changes, careening through space with a celestial cadence.  A fascinating meditation.

            This company is one to watch. 

October 19, 2016 12:24 PM

Vermont senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just jumped into the Oregon political arena by endorsing Measure 97, a proposed tax on corporations with $25 million or more in annual Oregon sales. The measure will raise about $3 billion a year, and it directs the funds to go toward public education, health care and senior services. Measure 97 falls in line with Bernie's campaign mantras calling out the 1 percent and condemning the actions of big corporations.

From his statement published today:

At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it is time for large profitable corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. That is why I am supporting Oregon 97. Large corporations must help the people of Oregon provide high quality public education, health care and services for seniors. Passing Measure 97 would allow Oregon to fund 7,500 new teachers, provide 16,000 seniors with quality in-home care — without raising taxes on small businesses.

If you believe huge corporations shouldn't be able to use loopholes to avoid paying taxes, vote for Measure 97. If you believe in moving closer to a nation in which health care is a right not a privilege, vote for Measure 97. If you believe that all people wanting to pursue higher education should be able to do so regardless of their income, vote for Measure 97.

I think quality education, improved health care and the ability to retire in dignity are worth asking the biggest corporations and Wall Street to pay a little more. Please vote yes on Measure 97.

The most recent poll on Measure 97 shows "yes" voters and "no" voters neck and neck, with 47 percent of voters against and 46 in support, despite the millions of dollars spent by the "no" campaign to convince voters otherwise.

October 18, 2016 02:50 PM

In this week's Slant we discuss EW columnist and Native American activist Kayla Godowa Tufti who was restrained by a plainclothes officer at a public meeting while giving testimony on behalf of her one-year-old daughter.

The video can also be seen on the County Commission website here. 

She Who Watches: Defeating Old Hazeldell, 

By Kayla Godowa Tufti

Oct. 12 was the public hearing before the Lane County Board of Commissioners at Oakridge High School. Ed King (King Estate Winery) has applied to Lane County to rezone 46 acres in Oakridge from forestland to quarry. 

Seventeen million tons of andesite rock will be extracted from TV Butte for 50 years. The land proposed for rezoning is known as TV Butte on Dunning Road. King’s company is called the Old Hazeldell Quarry project. 

Dunning Road is an ancient Molalla tribal village site according to Lawrence Hills, mayor of Oakridge in 1958 and ’63. The Chakgeenkni-Tufti band of Molalla Indians, whose descendants are enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, have lived at TV Butte for thousands of years. 

Other local tribes camped at this location to gather foods such as camas, elk and huckleberries. TV Butte was also a central location to camp for tribes traveling to the valley during hop season. 

Historical, cultural, natural resources, open spaces, trails and aggregate rock are several Doal 5 resources under Oregon law.

OREGON’S STATEWIDE PLANNING GOALS & GUIDELINES GOAL 5: 
NATURAL RESOURCES, SCENIC AND HISTORIC AREAS, AND OPEN SPACES

To protect natural resources and conserve scenic and historic areas and open spaces. 
Local governments shall adopt programs that will protect natural resources and conserve scenic, historic, and open space resources for present and future generations. 
These resources promote a healthy environment and natural landscape that contributes to Oregon’s livability.

The Old Hazeldell Quarry project violates approval criteria based on the fact several impacts regarding historic, cultural, natural resources, trails and open spaces under Oregon’s Goal 5 law have not been mitigated. 

Lane County has been deplorable at inventorying significant Goal 5 resources, particularly in the Upper Willamette Valley region. 

The meeting in Oakridge with the Lane County Commissioners was a sadistic, grotesque display of an abuse of power. 

Before entering the building there were 2 officers from the Oakridge police department, one undercover officer and one officer in an unmarked SUV from the Lane County Sheriff. 

A brute force of intimidation filled the air. Oakridge officer S. Davidson proudly carried a large wooden baton on his hip proclaiming it was part of his uniform.

Each member of the public was allotted approximately 3 minutes to testify at the hearing. Staff of the Old Hazeldell Quarry project were allotted 45 minutes. They took 2 hours. 

Residents and tribal members finally took the podium. I sat in the front row with my tribal representative. Every testimony opposing the quarry was valid and moving. 

My name was called, I approached the podium in my wing dress and two signs that read “gravel does not justify rezoning”and “don’t mine our village site.”

I took three minutes. Next on the list was my one-year-old daughter. I planned to hold her and read a letter to the commission explaining how important TV Butte is to her future cultural history and identity. Faye Stewart scoffed and retorted “a one-year-old give testimony?”

She was asleep, so I read it on her behalf. She is the great-great-great granddaughter of Charlie Tufti, a well-known tribal personality from the TV Butte area.

Stewart tried to restrict me from saying anything on behalf of my daughter, who will be 50 years old when the quarry is finished. As I calmly continued to read, the undercover officer approached the podium and tried removing my daughter’s letter. I calmly told him to leave my belongings alone. 

He grabbed my wrists and held them behind my back as if he were going to cuff me. I continued to calmly read my daughter’s letter. 

The officer was then asked to let me go. He released me. The room sat silently in a tense shock. Everything was filmed for the webcast on the Lane County Commissioner website. 

A representative from my tribe testified to the Commission explaining how insulting, dehumanizing and degrading this entire process is. 

From having white archaeologists attempting to debunk our tribal history at TV Butte, to having an undercover officer restrain a tribal member calmly giving public testimony on behalf of our future generations, an important tradition in our tribal religion. 

Many people spoke outside the allotted time, including the applicant, and no one batted an eye. As soon as I went over by a minute, Stewart saw this as grounds for me to be forcibly accosted. 

This was one of the clearest displays of institutional racism and suppression of rights of a person of color by law enforcement and local government that I have ever experienced. Two days after Eugene’s first Indigenous Peoples Day.

I anticipate the County Commission will approve the quarry project. Written comment will be accepted until Oct. 31. The email for Lane County Board of Commissioners is lcbcccom@co.lane.or.us

Kevin Matthews give testimony and references the incident with Kayla Godowa Tufti

October 17, 2016 05:24 AM

Ballet Fantastique delivered a warm and lovely confection in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a Parisian Jazz Ballet.

            Set in jazzy 1920’s Paris, the performance swept through Austen’s enduring story with a breezy, yet thoughtful, pace. The Regency Era is a tough time to be single, and as the five “Bennette” sisters express varying degrees of ardor and rancor, at their potential suitors, BFan really comes alive.

            Hats off to the Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, whose live music was an integral part of the production. Vocalists Amy LeSage and Susanna Meyer were especially transporting, evoking the unmistakable ennui, affection and joy that decades of Jazz produced. Their voices were like a time machine. Just delightful.

            BFan’s choreography is first-rate throughout, enjoyable, moody, lively and fun. Their work is accessible and approachable, and they utilize what they have to great effect. Ashley Bontrager as Lizzy sails, but all the sisters bring impish, devoted energy to their work.

            Natanael Leal is stunning as outsider George Wickham. Gustavo Ramirez retains a suitably haughty air as Darcy, and Justin Feimster has fun as Bingley.

            As character tropes, the five sisters and their paramours are progenitors of so many works that followed them, and they’re each quite distinct, in the way Austen writes them. To the degree that they can within the confines of ballet, BFan explores the subtleties between and among their stylistic approaches, though group numbers rely on unison.

            The dance looks polished and complete, and dances are uniformly confident and danced with great enthusiasm and rich, decorative detailing in the arms and footwork. BFan’s aesthetic doesn’t push across the space aggressively, it doesn’t shout or shock, but relies on consistently interesting relational connections, intricate pathways and nuanced characterization.

            Adam Goldthwaite narrates as Vicar Collins, and even gets into the action. Goldthwaite is clearly having a ball in his role, and carries the narrative forward for those who are unfamiliar. Still, there is room in Goldthwaite’s delivery for more modulation, a softening, especially when he’s speaking not his own character’s lines, but Austen’s precious narrative prose. This Austen-ite (named my firstborn daughter Jane!) could have used a tad more sincerity from Goldthwaite as the piece drew to a close.

            Costumes designed by Donna Marisa Bontrager and constructed by Allison Ditson fit the bill, as bright and full of hope as a box of macarons from the finest Parisian pastry shop.

            Genevieve Speer and Deborah Speer have helped to shape the libretto, no small task, surely.

            The set and backdrop were a darling diversion from the bleak rain outside, a ribald expression of dopey, adoring love. And why not?

            BFan has a good thing going. They received a standing ovation, richly deserved. They’re making an austere art form accessible to new audiences. I saw people of all ages in the audience, having a great time with movement and theater that they could relate to.

            A BFan supporter spoke before the show about their work to bring children from the Jasper Mountain treatment center to see BFan productions. Hats off to these types of efforts. We should all find ways to make dance a part of everyone’s lives.  

October 17, 2016 03:19 PM

Pollution and Ping Pong: A China Town Hall

By Kristen McDonald

For ten years, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations has hosted an annual China Town Hall, where communities across the US get together to discuss pressing issues in our country’s relationship with China. Tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 18tChina Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections” takes place at some 80 venues across the U.S.

This year’s featured simulcast speaker is Dr. Henry Kissinger, who is credited for having helped reestablish ties with China during the Nixon “ping pong diplomacy” era. More recently, in a 2012 piece in Foreign Affairs, Kissinger advocates against aggression towards China, a position that I tend to take as a given. But that may be about all I agree with Kissinger on, given Kissinger’s other acts in Asia when he first had contact with China, including sabotaging peace efforts during the Vietnam war and carpet bombing of Cambodia.

I will also be featured as a live speaker at the event. While far less famous (or infamous) than Kissinger, I have been working on environmental issues for over ten years, and I tend to view U.S.-China relations more from a more (and sometimes literally) grassroots perspective. I help local environmental groups in China protect their communities from industrial pollution. At a time when environmental cooperation is touted as a bright spot in US China relations, I will argue that there’s a lot more that needs to be done, and that can be done, including shining a light on our own complicity in China’s environmental problems. Plus I’ll share some success stories of what communities in China are doing locally.

This “Town Hall” style event is interactive, free, and open to the public. What issues concern you most about China? What do you remember about ping pong diplomacy, and Kissinger’s role in Asia? What information or resources do you have to share about China?

Please join us at a China Town Hall, 4 pm Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 110 Knight Law Center at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Kristen McDonald is the China Program Director at Pacific Environment and a Eugene native.

October 15, 2016 10:00 AM

The Northwest Screendance Exposition’s second annual presentation drew a variety of engaging short films, both elaborately creative endeavors and interesting documentaries, from around the world.

            What a rich endeavor! We’re fortunate for the Northwest Screendance’s effort to bring new, thought-provoking, international art right to our doorstep.

            In the documentary category, contributions train a light on the art of Screendance itself, with a fascinating look behind the scenes on how dance and film conjoin to create new vistas. Artists explore boundaries of shape and form, relational dimensions between and among dancers, as they connect with spaces, props, and places. These efforts push into new exciting territory, engaging whole cities and cultures with contemporary art.

            The Screendance short film category is equally compelling.

            Damien Smith’s Arrellah provides arresting imagery, both textural and strong. Wake by Holly Wilder and Duncan Wilder explores auditory impulses, and a deep inquiry into gesture.

            In Between, by Blake Horn and Liilian Stamey, is set in a beautiful natural setting, but the jerky filmic technique and repetitive movement led one to wonder: Would the dance be interesting if you saw it on a bare stage?

            That’s an overall question about this art form that walks a tense line between film and dance.

            In some instances, the medium enhances the human expression, brightening the filter, narrowing the focus.

            Such is the case with 1180+More, by Riccardo de Simone. This playful musing on line drawings that morph and transform in keen animation brings out new ideas, without taking itself too seriously.

            Another highlight is My “Best” Friend, According to Him, by Josh Anderson and Logan Hall. The piece thrusts movers into everyday situations, with physical comedy and full-contact gaffs, at the office, the gym, the grocery store. Is it more shtick than dance? Maybe, but it’s not trying to be more than what it presents.

            Another piece that balances dance effort with what film can do is Dance of the Neurons by Jody Oberfelder and Eric Siegel. The piece explores shape and form in whimsical ways, but loses itself at times in editing gimmicks.

            Some pieces seem like cool sketches that could evolve into completed works. Many feature nature, or decrepit buildings, as their settings.

            Mitchell Rose and Bebe Miller have collaborated on an ambitious international piece, Globe Trot that carries simple movement from one person to another, all around the world. Though ambitious, and artfully put together, there’s not much that’s new about this idea, as versions in music and dance have bubbled up and gone viral for the last decade or so. 

            Promenade by Cirila Luz Ferron, Florencia Olivieri and Manislla Pons plays with effects, close-ups, focus, filters, with a disembodied, dramatic edge.

            Eclipse, by Linda Arkelian and David Cooper, offers a meditation on the male dancer, in a well lit, slow motion exploration.

            As a viewer, a question arises throughout the program: Would I want to watch this, if it were just a dance? Is the movement itself interesting, or does the production rely on editing, camera angles, or setting, to create and suspend the effort? What do I get from the movement alone?

            One example is Without Boundaries, by Cara Hagan and Robert Gelber. Great location, fun movers – I just wanted to see dance that was more compelling in its own right, without the trappings of the film.

            It is a treat to see effort from all around the world, right in Eugene. Kudos to the Northwest Screendance producers for their vision and fortitude. We’re fortunate that they see the value of bringing something new to our shores.

            As a student of dance history, I’m fascinated by this new space that dance and multimedia artists are collaborating within. It taps into a current that reminds me of the modernists and post-modernists, and I’m enjoying seeing the further blurring between once-distinct art forms.

            Thank you to the Northwest Screendance folks: Parched for new work, this expo was a tall drink of water.