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November 17, 2014 12:40 PM

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 05:04 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 02:04 PM

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

November 16, 2014 03:33 PM

The town of Sweet Home was fueled by logging and millwork for generations. How has it changed? See the New York Times story this week. http://wkly.ws/1ug

November 13, 2014 01:28 PM

After being on the road for 6 weeks. Best Band of Eugene winner's Sol Seed had Cozmic packed. Guest appearances by Satsang and Connah Jay, paired with the live painting of Darwins Theory made for a colorful night.

November 13, 2014 04:29 PM

According to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office there are 13,000 contested ballots in the November election because voters either forgot to sign, or their signatures didn't match. That's more ballots than it took to win some of the races — and that GMO labeling measure is darn close 49.83 for and 50.17 no according to the most recent election results. 

Lane County voters liked the GMO measure, by the way, with 57.6 in gavor and 42.4 against.

The Salem Statesman-Journal has taken advantage of the 2013 law that allows the names of voters with contested ballots to be released (as did some Democrats in the primary) and the newspaper has put the names of the voters into a database. Want to see if your ballot was counted (or your friends' or your neighbors' — it's a little creepy stalkery that way? Click below and search away.

November 8, 2014 01:59 PM

Economic growth in Oregon is not distributed equally; it appears the rising tide is not floating all the boats. The Oregon Center for Public Policy has come up with a graphic representation of where poverty exists in the state. See http://wkly.ws/1uc

November 6, 2014 03:13 PM

And you complained about Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass" for its lack of feminism and because it made the skinny girls feel bad? Well how do you like it now that it's an anthem for Darth Vader and the Empire? 

November 5, 2014 05:39 PM

On the agenda for the Eugene 4J school board tonight is approving the implementation of full-day kindergarten, officially moving the 4J district towards a full-day transition in the 2015-2016 school year. 

Full-day kindergarten may help close the achievement gap in Oregon, according to an "item for action" memo on 4J's website:

Fifty percent (50%) of Oregon children are born into economically disadvantaged families and 40% of Oregon children have additional factors that put them at risk of academic failure and under-education. Approximately 40% of children enter kindergarten with development typical of three and four year olds. 
These children will have to make two years of academic growth for three consecutive years to meet reading standard by the end of 3rd grade, a key 
predictor of academic and life success. Nationally, only 15% of students who require remediation beyond 3rd grade ever reach proficiency. School districts spend, on average, $64,000 more per student over thirteen years of schooling for remediation that most often fails to achieve its objective. 
As Oregon school districts focus on closing the achievement gap between different socioeconomic and ethnic groups, a breadth of research documents that early childhood is a potent time to prevent achievement gaps from developing or becoming entrenched. Numerous studies indicate that full-day kindergarten can lead to improved academic achievement and may help close the achievement gap among disadvantaged children. By reducing the need for future remediation and/or retention, the investment in full-day kindergarten can also lower subsequent schooling costs.

The recommendations report says that an additional $218 million will be needed to implement full-day kindergarten around the state of Oregon. Costs vary from district to district, depending on the amount of extra staff needed and how much additional facilities space is required to accomodate for the switch.

The report says that according to a survey of Oregon school superintendents earlier this year, 20 percent of the 100 districts responding reported needing extra classroom space. 

As an example of estimated costs, the report lists potential expenditures related to full-day kindergarten implementation for the Springfield School District. The report says the district could need up to $5.8 million for facilities upgrades and around $2 million for additional teachers or assistants. 


However, how the state of Oregon will provide this money has concerned Lane County school districts, and it seems that funding for full-day kindergarten is still not firmed up, according to the 4J memo:

Budget implications are not yet clearly defined. The Governor’s budget recommendation will help to support full-day implementation. However, the legislature must first determine that it will approve the additional funds necessary to expand half-day programs to full-day programs. 

The full report can be found here.
November 3, 2014 12:32 PM

Angry Yoga: Be in the present because there is no future. It's Canadian, but this is so very Eugene.

November 3, 2014 05:20 PM

As of last week, Eugene staple McMenamins North Bank opened its renovated bar under a new name: the Kapu Hut. Don't fret — only the bar has changed, the rest of the pub (including outdoor seating) remains the same. 

A press release describes the new "South Seas" venture:

"Extensive redecorating has been put into the bar’s atmosphere evoking Polynesia elements of many wild and exotic locales. Bamboo walls surround the space and décor includes antique masks from Papua New Guinea, Japan and Africa. To accompany the new themed atmosphere, the Kapu Hut now carries over 60 rums and an entirely new cocktail menu ... From the classic Mai Tai to McMenamins Billy Whiskey, there’s bound to be something for everyone."

Above: Kapu Hut signature cocktail the Pesco Sour. Photos courtesy of McMenamins/Kathleen Nyberg

A lookover the extensive libations menu includes the obligatory drinks with silly names such as the "Suffering Bastard," made with Gables Gin, Longshot Brandy, Fever Tree Ginger Beer, Agostura bitters and lime, and the "Fremont Furnace," made with Aval Pota (Edgefield's apple whiskey), Herbal Liqueur No. 7 (also by Edgefield and described as "Distilled with a blend of Edgefield estate-grown garden herbs called the Black Rabbit Magic Potion #9, the spirit is bold with flavors of cinnamon, mint and caraway, balanced with the sweetness of organic birch syrup"), honey, hot apple cider, fresh-squeezed lemon, heavy whipping cream and cider. Damn

And by golly! Do they have a lot of rums, from Appleton 21 year to Myer's Dark.

October 31, 2014 05:51 PM

County commissioners Sid Leiken and Jay Bozievich have responded to an April 22 letter from the Oregon State Bar that cleared former county administrator Liane Inkster (Richardson) of complaints to that she engaged in fraudulent behavior that would reflect adversely on her ability to practice law.

Inkster nominated herself for a position on the Oregon State Bar’s Disciplinary Board in March, and a story by the R-G led to a bar investigation into what had led to her being fired by the county and if she made fraudulent statements or engaged in criminal conduct.

The commissioners said in a statement that today, Oct. 31, is the first they have seen of the letter from the bar. EW received the letter from the bar Oct. 30 after inquiring into the status of the bar’s investigation into Inkster and asked the county for comment. The bar letter says Inkster told the investigator, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Mary Cooper, that Leiken and Bozeivich, who were the chair and vice chair of the County Commission at the time, knew and approved of the changes Inkster made to her take-home pay. Those changes led to the termination of her job with the county. 

The letter to Inkster from the bar also says that there was an "full independent audit" at the county that proved she did not act fraudulently. Leiken and Bozievich call that "curious" and say "No audit was done of Ms. Inkster's misdeeds."

At the time Inkster’s case was forwarded to the district attorney, they write, who investigated but did not file charges as she had already been terminated and agreed to pay the money back.

In the letter from the bar it says that Inkster told the investigator that her employment with Lane County ended over a “contractual dispute.”

Bozievich and Leiken write, “Had the bar looked closely at the situation it likely would have come to a conclusion consistent with the two previous investigations.”

In their response, the two commissioners say they will be asking the Oregon State Bar to reopen the investigation into Inkster, interview all parties involved — the letter from the bar indicates only Inkster was interviewed — and issue a revised letter of findings. The statement from the commissioners is below. You can read the letter to Richardson here.