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October 11, 2015 05:30 AM

The first-annual Northwest Screen Dance Exposition leapt onto the screen at the Bijou Cinemas Tuesday night (10/6), with a collection of short works that highlighted the burgeoning relationship between dance and film.

            Organized by producers John Watson and Dorene Carroll, the effort was sponsored by the UO and LCC Dance Programs, and served as a benefit for Danceability International.

            Dance and film have a long, intertwined history. A1896 film of Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine Danceby the pioneering film-makers Auguste and Louis Lumière, is a perfect example of that early marriage between dance – the most ancient, and most elusive of art forms – and film, a medium that artists are still experimenting with, more than a century later.

            “Working’ It” by writer/director Brad Burke was a crowd-pleaser. More like a short movie about a dancer, than a new dance work , the piece was nonetheless humorous and engaging. A great opener.

            Other standouts included choreographer/director and editor Shannon Mockli’s “Fluctuating Frequencies” - a tight, well-plotted, site-specific, interestingly choreographed, well-lighted piece - that placed dancers in an urban landscape, creating an effect of armature, with their spare, almost insect-like interconnected movement.

            Sarah Nemecek’s “In Here, Out There” explored local geography, contrasting artfully simple movement patterns in a variety of natural settings – the muddy beach, the forest floor, and a meadow, to strong effect.

            Other pieces had moments of arresting quality that I wanted to see more of: Mary Fitzgerald and Brad Garner’s “Nearby Far” featured one moment, when Garner tumbles down a sand dune, that was exquisite. Cinematographer Dmitri Von Klein captured the fluidity of the sand’s reflection, and the refreshingly human fall.

            In “Late Afternoon Sunshine”, filmmaker Antonio Anacan featured footage of choreographer and dancer Suzanne Haag’s feet. Haag is a ballet dancer, and here are these feet, the size of action heroes. I could have watched a piece that was only close-ups on feet –  with all the nuanced, varied and amazing things that a dancers foot can articulate. (And if s/he’s doing them well, we’ll likely lot notice.) 

            Likewise, choreographer Barbara Canal, Director Michele Manzini and Director of Photography Luciano Perbellini and Editor Valeria Lo Meo’s “Snags in Palladio” offered unusual settings (filming in Italy helps) and piquant relationship inquiries, like a chilling duet with one dancer facing away from the camera, her long hair obscuring her back, with the arm of another dancer reaching around her. Gives me willies just thinking about it. Evocative and moody. I liked it.

            This “screen dance” form asks a lot of the artist(s). In order to work, start to finish, a piece has to have stellar choreography, be well-lit and well-filmed, it has to have a sound component that enhances the experience, and then, probably most important, it has to be well-edited. In writing, we’d call it “killing our darlings” – the painful ritual of cutting extraneous words. (If it doesn’t develop the overall effect, it’s outta there. )

            Editing in dance is powerful. And it seems even more essential in this hybrid dance/film platform than it does three dimensional, live performance.

            As dance pioneer Doris Humphrey famously said, “Alldances are too long. Monotony is fatal; contrasts should be used.”

            All the pieces selected for this year’s Expo had merit. Each had a unique something to share, and moments of real clarity and interest.

            ButHumphrey’s advice may apply to the works that tended to pool into repetitive eddies, either with movement that lacked dynamic structure, or film techniques that started fresh, but became a little gimmicky.

            Perhaps these works may have benefitted from greater exploration of possibilities in speed, shape and relationships. 

October 11, 2015 05:38 AM

Teatro Milagro’s national touring production of ‘Searching for Aztlán’, written & directed by Lakin Valdez, (son of Luis Valdez), was a rare treat.

         Presented by Lane Arts Council, he performance took place Friday, Oct 9th at Oregon Contemporary Theatre to a sold-out (and enthusiastic) house.

         The bilingual play, Searching for Aztlán, begins in 2012 with the Tucson school board’s acceptance of HB 2281, shutting down Mexican American Studies and removing its books from classrooms. A giant dust storm, or “haboob,” strikes the city and leaves Dolores Huelga (played with aplomb by Monica Domena), a teacher, unemployed and in an alternate reality. Lost in the desert, Dolores sets out on a quest for the mythical city of Aztlán.

         The play brilliantly interweaves Huelga’s story with the familiar ‘Wizard of Oz’, as subtle musical cues and clever narrative structure help us to find the road map that Huelga’s not in Arizona anymore…

         In her search for the mythic land, Huelga encounters updated versions of Dorothy’s friends. The scarecrow is an illegal immigrant (Giovanni Alva). The tin man is a woman who’s of Mexican-American origin, but who doesn’t speak Spanish, and whose family has completely negated their own cultural past (Shenekah Telles). The cowardly lion is a militant Chicano organizer who’s been piddling around Aztlán since the 1970’s (Ajai Terrazas-Tripathi). Together, this motley crew set off on a journey towards self-discovery and societal change.

         The cast is remarkable. With not much more than a hand-painted backdrop and a few costume changes, they create a variety of settings and moods. From the State Board of Education, where Huelga attempts to defend the purpose of teaching Mexican American history and literature to predominantly Mexican American students, to the borderlands between the US and Mexico, to the mythical land itself, each step is populated by fully-developed and relatable characters.

         As playwrights, the group employs humor, an ease and comfort with the material that makes their work human and accessible. And seeing a show that slipped, so effortlessly, between Spanish and English, was a remarkable experience. I understand a little Spanish, my date – my 13-yr-old daughter – not a word. Yet she comprehended the entire show, and loved it.

         On the way home, she asked me to let her know the next time something that Teatro Milagro would be in town.

         “Because I’m into activism and education, mom,” she said.

         I hope that the group would consider a return trip soon.


October 5, 2015 12:38 PM

The Jayanthi Raman Company performed for a small but appreciative audience Saturday night, October 3. The performance featured choreography, design, costumes and lighting design by Raman, to varying effect.

         The strongest piece, Swagatham Krishna, choreographed and danced by Raman, explored classical and folk elements as it told the story of Lord Krishna, in the three ages of his life. The piece was gentle and lilting, evocatively communicative, and Raman’s exposition before the piece provided a helpful narrative guide, allowing greater accessibility into what is for many in the audience, likely an unfamiliar tale.

         Overall, the program could have benefited from a simple handheld program, with a bit of background information, the names of the dances and the dancers themselves. Without such written word, audience members were left scratching their heads a bit. (When I inquired about a program, I was told I could by Raman’s textbook on classical Indian dance, for upwards of $30…)

         Dancers Shradha Vinod, Soujanya Madhusudan, Sweta Ravishankar, Mugdha Vichare and Ramya Raman were all excellent, each demonstrating a strong technique and performance quality.

         Tillana, choreographed by Guru Adyar Lakshman performed by Jayanthi Raman Company dancers led by Raman, spoke to the dancers’ abilities. Colorful costumes enlivened the experience.

         Lighting added emotional resonance, but was in constant struggle with the projections of slides behind the dancers, which alternated between the same celestial image, translations of Vedic texts, and symbolic images from nature, such as a peacock. If Raman is going to incorporate visual elements such as these, as backdrops for her work, they need to be more finely tuned to the pieces themselves, or they threaten to take away from, rather than enhancing the experience.

         Raman is the recipient of numerous grants, including an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, and has received support from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the National Dance Project.

         Though Raman successfully articulates, in her marketing and in development, the need for more light to shine on this underrepresented art form, the company’s somewhat stilted presentational style could benefit from more polish in order to become more universally resonant. 

October 3, 2015 01:37 PM

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has issued this statement from the shooter's family: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events that unfolded on Thursday, October 1. Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured. "

October 2, 2015 04:32 PM

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office released the names today of those who were killed in the Oct. 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Officials identified them as Lucero Alcaraz of Roseburg, 19, Quinn Glen Cooper of Roseburg, 18, Kim Saltmarsh Dietz of Roseburg, 59, Lucas Eibel of Roseburg, 18, Jason Dale Johnson of Winston, 34, Lawrence Levine of Glide, 67, Sarena Dawn Moore of Myrtle Creek, 44, Treven Taylor Anspach of Sutherlin, 20, and Rebecka Ann Carnes of Myrtle Creek, 18.

It appears most of those killed were students at the college. Larry Levine was an instructor.

The sheriff’s office says that nine other people were injured, not seven as originally believed. The death toll is 10 people, including the shooter, Chris Harper Mercer. The Douglas County sheriff is among some of the many people and groups who will not mention him by name as part of an effort to decrease copycat killings and the motivating factor of fame.

The school has cancelled classes for next week and President Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half staff.

It has been put out that the Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funerals of the victims. A Facebook group has formed to bring together community members working to prevent that and to shield and aid the families.

UCC student Chris Mintz has received acclaim after his family told the media that he was shot while charging the shooter. 

The sheriff's office also released family statements on behalf of several of those killed.

Jason Johnson Family Statement

"Jason Johnson, age 34, was proud to be a Christian. Jason recently enrolled in school at Umpqua Community College. Jason's mother said that Jason was proud of himself for enrolling in school, and so was his mom. They felt that Jason had finally found his path. His family says that he will be loved and missed."


Lucas Eibel Family Statement

"We have been trying to figure out how to tell everyone how amazing Lucas was, but that would take 18 years.

Lucas loved Future Farmers of America volunteering at Wildlife Safari, and Saving Grace animal shelter. He was an amazing soccer player. He graduated Roseburg High School with high academic marks. He was a Ford Family Foundation scholarship recipient. He was a Umpqua Community College scholars award recipient. He was studying chemistry.

Memorial donations can be made to Roseburg High School FFA and to the injured victims."

Quinn Cooper Family Statement

"We are in shock this happened. Quinn was only 18 years old. He just graduated in June from Roseburg High school. Yesterday was his fourth day of college. Quinn was funny, sweet, compassionate and such a wonderful loving person. He always stood up for people. Quinn and his brother Cody are inseparable. Quinn was going to take his brown belt test on October 10th. He loved dancing and voice acting and playing Ingress with Cody, my oldest son. I don't know how we are going to move forward with our lives without Quinn. Our lives are shattered beyond repair. We send our condolences to all the families who have been so tragically affected by this deranged gunman. No one should ever have to feel the pain we are feeling.

We are hearing so many people talk about gun control and taking people's guns away. If the public couldn't have guns it wouldn't help since sick people like this will always be able to get their hands on a gun(s). We need to be able to protect ourselves as a community and as a nation. Please don't let this horrible act of insanity become about who should or shouldn't have a gun. Please remember the victims and their families. Please remember Quinn."

Thank you. The Coopers.

Treven Anspach Family Statement

"The Anspach family would like to thank everybody for their heart felt thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. Treven was one of the most positive young man always looking for the best in life. Treven was larger than life and brought out the best in those around him.

In Justin's and Kim's words Treven was a perfect son."



October 1, 2015 10:20 AM

According to newly released data from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the rate of students without a home has increased by 8 percent from the 2013-14 school year. Oregon school districts identified 20,524 homeless K-12 students during the 2014-15 school year.

From the ODE: 

The number of children and youth in shelters has remained steady in recent years, a sign that capacity has been reached and new shelter beds are not available.  The largest increases came from the numbers of children living in motels (a 14% increase) and the number of unsheltered youth (a 19% increase). The number of homeless students who are unaccompanied by parents or guardians also increased by 6.5%, to 3,321. The vast majority of homeless youth, both in Oregon and nationally, are living in doubled up housing due to economic hardship.


In Lane County, ODE reported 722 unhoused students in 4J, representing 4.24 percent of 4J's student population. Bethel had 407 unhoused students, or 7.21 percent of its student population, and Springfield had 491 unhoused students, or 4.44 percent of all students.

Eugene and Bethel's numbers have grown from the 2013-14 school year, while Springfield's numbers have dropped, from 580 in the 2013-14 year to 491 students in the most recent data year, 2014-15.

For the full data list, see ODE's website.

October 1, 2015 05:57 PM

Oregonians are reeling from the news of a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. What is known is that a shooter opened fire at classroom at the community college killing at least 10 people and injuring seven.

The Oregonian,which is maintaining live updates on the shooting reports that the shooter, said to be a male in his 20s, is dead. His identity and motive are unknown. 

Witnesses report the shooting was in Snyder Hall in a writing or speech class.

What isn't known is whether this latest shooting will press Oregon and the nation to finally do something about gun control and the state of mental health care. As President Obama said today, when speaking on the shooting:

"… each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. It does nothing to prevent his carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now."

After the Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook where 20 kids and six adults were killed, the Douglas County Sheriff came out strongly against any new gun control legislation.

Twitter updates on today's shooting can be found at The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has been using the #UCCshooting hashtag. 

There will be a candlelight vigil at Roseburg's Stewart Park tonight. At 2 pm Oct.2, Lane Community College will  be providing an opportunity for "people to share their thoughts and feelings and support one another" at Bristow Square on the main campus.

According to the Register-Guard, a student told the Roseburg News-Review (accessible only to paid subscribers) that "she saw her teacher get shot in the head. The shooter was inside the classroom at that point, and he told people to get on the ground, she said. The shooter was asking people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing away, she added. Moore said she was lying there with people who had been shot."

Three students who were injured in the shooting were brought to Sacred Heart Medical Center RiverBend in Eugene for treatment. Sacred Heart hospital, at its previous location, has dealt with the victims of mass shootings in the past. It treated some of the 25 victims of Kip Kinkel's 1998 shooting spree at Thurston High. 

Lane Blood Center has put out a call for emergency blood donors due to the sudden need for blood as a result of the injuries.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said via Twitter that the reason it hasn't released the victims' names is because the shooting is "deemed 'mass-casualty event'; brings specific protocols into play. Protocol/notifications mean no name release for 24-48 hrs." 

A 4Chan posting purportedly from the shooter warning of the incident has been circulating on the internet but has not been verified. The New York Times says the FBI is investigating but also says "messages found on 4chan have a history of being false, misleading and intentionally wrong." 

Obama's White House address on the Umpqua shootings

September 29, 2015 01:53 PM

Local band Steel Wool goes a little nuts over sweet stuff.

September 29, 2015 01:23 PM

This rally against Nestle's water extraction plans happened at the state Capitol Sept. 16. Video by Daniel Dronsfield <salshakes@gmail.com>.

September 28, 2015 03:38 PM

Traffic fatalities in Lane County make the news every couple of weeks. But solutions can be found through a Swedish approach being advocated at the Eugene City Council this week. See http://www.visionzeroinitiative.com or click on the image below to see the video about the Vision Zero Initiative.

September 25, 2015 11:21 AM

On Saturday, Sept. 26 starting around 1:45 pm at Kesey Square on Broadway, Eugene bike riders will cycle past Saturday Market carring photos of the 43 missing Mexican students from Ayotzinapa State Teachers College who were kidnapped a year ago. 

The full press release is below.

Solidarity Committe for Ayotzinapa of Eugene

contact LASC@efn.org  



Bicyclists to carry photos of the students while riding near Saturday Market 

On September 26, 2014, 43 students from Ayotzinapa State Teachers College were kidnapped, six others killed, and 25 wounded in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.  Investigations reveal involvement of the mayor of Iguala and his wife, Federal police and military, and local criminal gangs.  The investigations by the national government have been discredited by outside investigators including Amnesty International.  With the 43 students still not credibly accounted there have been nearly continuous protests in Mexico involving tens of thousands of people.  The protests have centered around the families of the disappeared who this week went on a hunger strike in Mexico City.  One of the families is in the United States to speak with the pope.

 The Eugene group will bicycle near the Saturday Market carrying photos of the missing students.  They also will encourage the public to write letters to the governments of Mexico and the United States.  Of particular concern are the arms being supplied by our war on drugs to the Mexican military and police.

The Eugene riders will assemble at Kesey Plaza on Broadway and begin their ride between 1:45 and 2:00 pm.  

For background information see--



September 25, 2015 04:07 PM

Online "lifestyle content platform" GoLocalPDX has posted a story alleging that over the course of a six-month investigation it has found that "the tangled relationship between Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and her husband, Willamette Week publisher Richard Meeker unveils a lack of boundaries between her office and his business interests."

It is unclear who wrote the story, headlined "INVESTIGATION: AG Rosenblum and Meeker’s Ownership in Willamette Week is a Tangled Web," as it is attributed to news staff. EW has asked GoLocal for the writer or writers' contact.

In this week's "Murmurs" column WW says that Byron Beck, a former WWcolumnist, left GoLocalPDX earlier this month and was the last of GoLocal's first round of editorial hires when it launched in 2014.

EWcontacted Willamette Weekeditor and publisher Mark Zuzman for comment on GoLocalPDX's allegations that the alt weekly via Meeker "received favoritism and in other cases his company benefitted economically by avoiding paying costs that other news organizations, the public, inmates and attorneys were requested to pay for preparing documents." 

Meeker, who was WW's publisher for 32 years, stepped down in June of this year and will continue to supervise the company's papers in Santa Fe and Raleigh-Durham.

Current publisher Zusman tells EW via email,  "that story is incorrect" as to GoLocal's allegation there is a "lack of boundaries."

And he says as to allegations about public records requests, "The story in GoLocal is not only incorrect, but it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of public records statutes."

The GoLocal story alleges that because Meeker is married to AG Rosenblum, the paper gets a "free ride" on records requests while others "were charged thousands." 

The story incorrectly refers to Oregon's public records statute as Oregon's Freedom of Information Act.

According to the Oregon Department of Justice, "The statutory authority to request records of Oregon public bodies comes from the Oregon Public Records Law, not the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).[27] Nevertheless, public bodies should not deny a request for their records merely because the requester calls it a FOIA request."

GoLocal compares the lack of fees WW has been charged with fees an attorney and a prison inmate were charged, as well as charges it says it was accorded. Under Oregon's public records law, if a request is found in the public interest, fees may be waived.  

In the story GoLocal makes some other allegations about public records requests that demonstrate some confusion over the laws in Oregon. It is not however the first to look into overlap between Meeker and Rosenblum's positions. KOIN did a story in April of this year about WW's use of Backpage for classified ads, sex trafficking and Rosenblum's work on ending sex trafficking. The Oregonian, on the other hand, has pointed out when WW has called Rosenblum out. WW abstained from covering the AG's race in 2012 to avoid ethics questions. 

Despite the name "GoLocal," the news source lists a Rhode Island address on the Oregon secretary of state's website and the site GoLocal 24 says it runs GoLocalPDX along with Worcester and Providence sites. 

September 25, 2015 05:30 PM

Hike and paddle your way to protesting liquified natural gas in Coos Bay this weekend. Hike the Pipe says it plans to "seize the day, save the bay" this weekend. The rally is a culmination of the 232-mile Hike the Pipe effort to raise awareness about the impacts of the climate change inducing LNG project. The Sept 26 event starts at noon in Coos Bay at Ferry Road Park.

For Eugene participants, buses will leave Eugene’s First United Methodist Church parking lot, 1376 Olive Street, at 8:45 am Saturday. Email deveaulee@yahoo.com to reserve space. Shared cost of the bus ride is $15.

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The full press release is below

This Saturday, September 26th at noon hundreds of impacted community members and supporters from across Oregon will join together at Ferry Road Park in North Bend to rally, march and paddle against the proposed Jordan Cove Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline. The event itinerary is posted below.

This event will culminate Hike the Pipe, a 232-mile trek across Southern Oregon to raise awareness about the potential impacts of exporting fracked gas through our communities. Several of the hikers have been walking since Malin, in Klamath County. As our hikers approach Jordan Cove, we hope to show how this project will affect our safety, environment, and local jobs in fishing and oyster production here in Coos County.

12-2 pm Picnic and Rally at Ferry Road Park, off of Highway 101 in North Bend just South of the McCullough Bridge. If you are coming from the North, Ferry Road Park will be on your left.

1:30 Paddlers launch from the North Bend downtown docks, at the East end of California Street and head towards the bridge. We're asking that paddlers register at https://actionnetwork.org/events/event-5 so that we have a good estimate of how many people will be on the water that day.

2 pm: March departs from Ferry Road Park. Hikers from Hike the Pipe will lead the marchers to the top of the bridge.

4-6 pm: back to Ferry Road Park for celebration with live music.

We invite you to join us for any and all aspects of this event. Please contact us ahead of time if you would like to join us on the water so that you are safely equipped to do so!

September 21, 2015 11:18 AM

The American Association of Universities, of which the University of Oregon is a member, has released the "aggregate results of the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, a survey it undertookin partnership with 27 universities.

The results show that an often-cited, and often-disputed statistic that says one in five women are sexually assaulted during their colleges years, is accurate at the UO and elsewhere. It also shows that half of the students at the UO don't think the school would take the report of a sexual assault seriously.


The AAU says it is up to the individual university to release its results. The UO has done so, and the school admits in its press release that "The UO data is consistent with results from two local surveys conducted by UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd in 2014 and 2015."

Freyd, a UO professor well-known researcher on institutional betrayal, offered to conduct a climate survey for the school in 2014 because the school said, "university was concerned that the survey data could be biased because of Freyd’s personal opinions and because Freyd did not collaborate with UO employees who work with sexual violence victims on campus."

Freyd went on to conduct that survey and a second one was . The UO says it will use all the information in both the AAU and Freyd's surveys "to continue to improve its prevention, response and investigative efforts, as well as review policies to improve awareness and safety."

According to the UO, Freyd's 2015 survey showed that:

"One in five undergraduate women in the new survey reported attempted or completed unwanted sexual penetration, almost identical to 2014. However, there was a decline, from 35 percent to 28 percent, in the reporting of attempted and completed physical contact of any type in the new survey.  

Fifty-two percent of 795 undergraduates who completed the 2015 survey were "not at all" aware that the UO had Title IX officers to handle complaints about sexual issues; 50 percent did not know a bias-response team existed. There also was lack of awareness about student legal services and sexual assault support services."

The AAU survey showed that "14.5 percent of student respondents reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of force or incapacitation since enrolling." The survey found that incidents were much higher among women — 24.2 percent of undergraduate female students reported nonconsensual sexual contact, and 10.6 percent said they had experience nonconsensual penetration.

Like Freyd's survey, the AAU statistic for the UO showed that students are not aware of where they can get help: "Only 34.8 percent of UO students reported they are very knowledgeable about where to get help if they experience sexual assault or misconduct, and only 26.8 percent are very or extremely knowledgeable about where to report an incident."

And chilling in light of recent high-profile sexual assault cases on campus that involved the school accessing student counseling records — and in one case simply dropping the case for the summer, leaving the survivor in limbo — is the information that "less than half of students said they believe campus officials would take reports of sexual assault or misconduct seriously."

Full AAU results can be accessed here. The UO results are here. And information from Jennifer Freyd's survey is here

The UO's web page for reporting or getting help after a sexual assault is here.