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May 25, 2017 12:00 AM

Even now, several days after seeing it, digesting it and churning it all over in my mind, I find I’m having a mixed response to Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s current production of Venus in Fur, David Ives’ two-person play-within-a-play based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel of the same name.

Even now, several days after seeing it, digesting it and churning it all over in my mind, I find I’m having a mixed response to Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s current production of Venus in Fur, David Ives’ two-person play-within-a-play based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel of the same name.

Of several things, however, I am certain. The production itself is magnificent, revealing once again the sure touch of director Craig Willis as an elegant and economical manager of dramatic tension.

May 25, 2017 12:00 AM

When I last checked in with Brian Haimbach, writer, actor, and head of the theater program at Lane Community College, it was February 2016, and he was about to premiere his one-man show, How to Be a Sissy.

When I last checked in with Brian Haimbach, writer, actor, and head of the theater program at Lane Community College, it was February 2016, and he was about to premiere his one-man show, How to Be a Sissy.

I couldn’t give it away in print then, but can happily admit now that I was in on a little secret. At the close of the show last year, Haimbach was going to propose to his longtime partner, Vincent Mays.  

“I got down on one knee,” Haimbach says. “And said, ‘Now that we can — I think we should.’” 

May 25, 2017 12:00 AM

One day in 1984, a young Taiwanese woman spotted an older American man standing at a traffic intersection in Taipei. He looked confused. “He looked like he was lost,” recalls Hue-Ping Lin. “I asked if I could help him.”

Rather than trying to give complicated directions to a foreigner, Lin ended up walking him the few blocks to his destination. “I asked where he was from. He said ‘Oregon,’” Lin says. “I said, ‘I just got admitted to graduate school at the University of Oregon.’”

One day in 1984, a young Taiwanese woman spotted an older American man standing at a traffic intersection in Taipei. He looked confused. “He looked like he was lost,” recalls Hue-Ping Lin. “I asked if I could help him.”

Rather than trying to give complicated directions to a foreigner, Lin ended up walking him the few blocks to his destination. “I asked where he was from. He said ‘Oregon,’” Lin says. “I said, ‘I just got admitted to graduate school at the University of Oregon.’”

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

Ballet Fantastique’s Aladdin takes the company’s storytelling style on a new adventure, combining an ancient tale from the Arabian Nights with indelible music by Queen, played live by Satin Love Orchestra. 

Ballet Fantastique’s Aladdin takes the company’s storytelling style on a new adventure, combining an ancient tale from the Arabian Nights with indelible music by Queen, played live by Satin Love Orchestra. 

Choreographers Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager find a gem in Natanael Leal as Aladdin. Leal’s impish characterization, strong footwork and solid partnering provide youthful zip throughout the production. Princess Jasmine, danced with élan by Amanda Coleman, continually tempers Aladdin’s untamed persona.  

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

James Nares might be called a Renaissance artist, though he is associated with the 1970’s No Wave movement, where he played in a band and made art in the street.

Nares makes objects, composes music and is a filmmaker, photographer and painter. The subjects of his paintings are lines. What could be simpler, right?

Not in Nares’ case.

James Nares might be called a Renaissance artist, though he is associated with the 1970’s No Wave movement, where he played in a band and made art in the street.

Nares makes objects, composes music and is a filmmaker, photographer and painter. The subjects of his paintings are lines. What could be simpler, right?

Not in Nares’ case.

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

Years ago, staffers at EW were invited to Portland to sample the quality of some craft brews in Beer-vana. As a lark, clever staffers decided it might be fun to include on the trip — and into the story — a known “wine guy” and recognized beer-phobe, namely me.

Years ago, staffers at EW were invited to Portland to sample the quality of some craft brews in Beer-vana. As a lark, clever staffers decided it might be fun to include on the trip — and into the story — a known “wine guy” and recognized beer-phobe, namely me.

Predictably enough, I was deeply impressed by flavors and textures in many of the beers. But when it came time to write my piece for the issue, I must’ve been inspired by Jonathan Swift’s great satire, “A Modest Proposal.” 

May 11, 2017 12:00 AM

I hear a lot of people saying they wish they saw more positive news stories — that they’re tired of the gruesome, sad pieces they read online, or see on TV, about war and disease-stricken countries. I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoy those types of stories, though I do think they’re important. But maybe, as a journalist, I’m biased. 

I hear a lot of people saying they wish they saw more positive news stories — that they’re tired of the gruesome, sad pieces they read online, or see on TV, about war and disease-stricken countries. I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoy those types of stories, though I do think they’re important. But maybe, as a journalist, I’m biased. 

May 11, 2017 12:00 AM

W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and host of the CNN docu-series United Shades of America. Before launching the show last season, Bell was probably best known for his critically acclaimed — and criminally short-lived — comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.

W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and host of the CNN docu-series United Shades of America. Before launching the show last season, Bell was probably best known for his critically acclaimed — and criminally short-lived — comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.

May 4, 2017 12:00 AM

You have two great new reasons to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival right now — Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, a charming, balanced inquiry into race, culture and family, and UniSon, a new musical based on almost-forgotten poetry by genius playwright August Wilson.

You have two great new reasons to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival right now — Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, a charming, balanced inquiry into race, culture and family, and UniSon, a new musical based on almost-forgotten poetry by genius playwright August Wilson.

Both plays make their world premieres this spring at the Ashland festival.

Directed by Chay Yew, Jiehae Park’s Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, running through Oct. 28 in the intimate Thomas Theatre, has a brilliantly curious title, evoking a kind of gothic cautionary tale. 

May 4, 2017 12:00 AM

Even if Actors Cabaret of Eugene’s current production of Cabaret were a drop-dead disaster, I’d still recommend it wholeheartedly. This 1966 hit Broadway show, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin, is so timely it’s chilling. Dark and dastardly, the musical captures, with wit, humor and loathing, the malevolence that fascism bleeds into every corner of life, until not even the chorus line is safe.

Even if Actors Cabaret of Eugene’s current production of Cabaret were a drop-dead disaster, I’d still recommend it wholeheartedly. This 1966 hit Broadway show, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin, is so timely it’s chilling. Dark and dastardly, the musical captures, with wit, humor and loathing, the malevolence that fascism bleeds into every corner of life, until not even the chorus line is safe.

May 4, 2017 12:00 AM

This weekend only, Harmonic Laboratory presents PLATFORM, a collaborative arts festival featuring more than 70 local artists, musicians and dancers 8–11 pm Saturday, May 6, at the Erb Memorial Union on the University of Oregon campus. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. 

April 27, 2017 12:00 AM

Some people look forward to retirement. They plan for the time when they can stop working and do nothing but take it easy and relax.

Artists aren’t usually among those people. Take Picasso, for example: He lived to 91 and famously worked through his later years. Or consider Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived to be almost 100 years old. When her eyesight failed, she switched from painting to sculpture so she could keep working. 

Some people look forward to retirement. They plan for the time when they can stop working and do nothing but take it easy and relax.

Artists aren’t usually among those people. Take Picasso, for example: He lived to 91 and famously worked through his later years. Or consider Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived to be almost 100 years old. When her eyesight failed, she switched from painting to sculpture so she could keep working. 

Artists want to keep on making art. 

April 27, 2017 12:00 AM

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Francesco Lecce-Chong has been named the new music director of the Eugene Symphony.

Wednesday’s announcement concludes the symphony’s yearlong search to find a conductor to replace Danail Rachev, who leaves his job as music director after the season wraps up with a final concert May 11.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Francesco Lecce-Chong has been named the new music director of the Eugene Symphony.

Wednesday’s announcement concludes the symphony’s yearlong search to find a conductor to replace Danail Rachev, who leaves his job as music director after the season wraps up with a final concert May 11.

April 27, 2017 12:00 AM

It’s not every day that an established playwright and screenwriter passes on an opportunity to create an updated Broadway show, but that’s just what Douglas Carter Beane (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) initially did. 

It’s not every day that an established playwright and screenwriter passes on an opportunity to create an updated Broadway show, but that’s just what Douglas Carter Beane (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) initially did. 

“The problem with Cinderella always is: She loses the shoe at intermission — got it! — and that gives you the second act just for the guy to find the girl, and that’s really a lot to ask out of a second act,” Beane says. “So, as I do on every good thing I’ve ever done in my life, I passed. I was not really that interested.”

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Don’t miss a golden opportunity to pick up some locally sourced native plants while supporting the efforts of the Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah: From 9 am to 1 pm on May 6, the Friends will hold their annual fundraising sale at the Buford Park Native Plant Nursery. I have had great success with plants I purchased at this sale in years past. 

Don’t miss a golden opportunity to pick up some locally sourced native plants while supporting the efforts of the Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah: From 9 am to 1 pm on May 6, the Friends will hold their annual fundraising sale at the Buford Park Native Plant Nursery. I have had great success with plants I purchased at this sale in years past. 

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Have you ever tried to repeat a phrase until it loses its meaning? Take “appreciating diversity,” for instance. It’s one of those phrases repeated so often, especially on college campuses, that people become indifferent. It’s discussed as a requirement rather than what it is.

Have you ever tried to repeat a phrase until it loses its meaning? Take “appreciating diversity,” for instance. It’s one of those phrases repeated so often, especially on college campuses, that people become indifferent. It’s discussed as a requirement rather than what it is.

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Through family — through the shared, interconnected knots between the generations — a loose tapestry is woven that cinches down to become the present moment.  

And so we find ourselves laughing, reflecting and understanding as we view a humane, accessible and embryonically powerful new work — Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, playing now at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

Through family — through the shared, interconnected knots between the generations — a loose tapestry is woven that cinches down to become the present moment.  

And so we find ourselves laughing, reflecting and understanding as we view a humane, accessible and embryonically powerful new work — Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, playing now at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Did you catch Eugene Symphony’s performance of The Damnation of Faust the other evening? It was, I can’t resist saying, one Hell of a show, and if you weren’t there you should have been.

Did you catch Eugene Symphony’s performance of The Damnation of Faust the other evening? It was, I can’t resist saying, one Hell of a show, and if you weren’t there you should have been.

First, the basics: The symphony teamed up with the University of Oregon’s John Park and Harmonic Laboratory to put on the entire two-hour Hector Berlioz oratorio — that’s like an opera with no sets, costumes or staging — with a full-on light show inside the Hult Center’s Silva Concert Hall.

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Method Man (of wu tang clan) kicked off the show with redman

 

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

On Thursday, April 20, the Portland actor, who has made a career of one-woman shows about strong women, comes back to town for a single performance of Eleanor Roosevelt: Across a Barrier of Fear at Springfield’s Wildish Theater.

“Eleanor Roosevelt is someone who has really infiltrated my life,” Jane VanBoskirk says. “It’s helping me deal with Trump, hearing what she went through and all the troubles she had.”

On Thursday, April 20, the Portland actor, who has made a career of one-woman shows about strong women, comes back to town for a single performance of Eleanor Roosevelt: Across a Barrier of Fear at Springfield’s Wildish Theater.

All proceeds from the one-woman production, which is sponsored by Eugene Weekly, go to Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

There’s always something a bit queasy about the prospect of a community theater taking on a big and bouncy Broadway musical: Despite the best intentions, the inherent limitations of local theater, compounded by the complex requirements of such shows, often lead to a production that is uneven at best, disastrous at worst. Fiasco is forever waiting around the corner.

There’s always something a bit queasy about the prospect of a community theater taking on a big and bouncy Broadway musical: Despite the best intentions, the inherent limitations of local theater, compounded by the complex requirements of such shows, often lead to a production that is uneven at best, disastrous at worst. Fiasco is forever waiting around the corner.

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

After years of dreaming and ideation, Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen premiered this weekend, a dazzling spectacle of stagecraft that was most compelling in its moments of pure, unadorned dance.

After years of dreaming and ideation, Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen premiered this weekend, a dazzling spectacle of stagecraft that was most compelling in its moments of pure, unadorned dance.

It’s the largest production in Eugene Ballet Company’s 38 years, featuring the longest commissioned score — by Portland composer Kenji Bunch — in Oregon’s history. Every bit of the artistic effort, from sets to costumes, props to animations, was labored over by more than 150 artists and designers from the local community. 

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

If you like art that keeps you looking, that brings you back for a second or third glance, then you will appreciate the art of Wendy Red Star, a Portland photographer and multimedia artist who was raised on the Apsáalooke reservation in Montana. An exhibit of her work is open at the state Capitol in Salem through May 11.

If you like art that keeps you looking, that brings you back for a second or third glance, then you will appreciate the art of Wendy Red Star, a Portland photographer and multimedia artist who was raised on the Apsáalooke reservation in Montana. An exhibit of her work is open at the state Capitol in Salem through May 11.

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

Across the wine-y world, Oregon is recognized for its cool climate, hugely hospitable to growing the pinot noir grape, considered by many wine-lovers to be the foundation for the greatest of wines. An indication of the global passion for this wine would have to be the 31st Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) to be held this July 29-30 on the bucolic campus of Linfield College, McMinnville.

Across the wine-y world, Oregon is recognized for its cool climate, hugely hospitable to growing the pinot noir grape, considered by many wine-lovers to be the foundation for the greatest of wines. An indication of the global passion for this wine would have to be the 31st Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) to be held this July 29-30 on the bucolic campus of Linfield College, McMinnville.