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Culture

June 15, 2017 01:00 AM

Perhaps it’s just fate, a roll of the dice, but in all the several years I’ve been reviewing the work of community theaters, I’ve seen two plays pop up over and over and over again, perennial blooms in the revolving seasons of repertory stagecraft.

Perhaps it’s just fate, a roll of the dice, but in all the several years I’ve been reviewing the work of community theaters, I’ve seen two plays pop up over and over and over again, perennial blooms in the revolving seasons of repertory stagecraft.

One of them is Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, which I really wouldn’t mind never seeing again. The other is Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, appropriately referred to by its author as “a trivial comedy for serious people.”

June 15, 2017 01:00 AM

The premise is strictly film noir: Returning from a road trip to Seattle, a high school valedictorian from Oregon — an all-American kid, first-chair trumpet player, a bit tightly wound but, you know, going places — suddenly breaks down in rural Washington, his ’93 Buick reduced to a hunk of immobile metal.

The premise is strictly film noir: Returning from a road trip to Seattle, a high school valedictorian from Oregon — an all-American kid, first-chair trumpet player, a bit tightly wound but, you know, going places — suddenly breaks down in rural Washington, his ’93 Buick reduced to a hunk of immobile metal.

Now, instead of making it home to a graduation party where he plans on losing his virginity with his longtime girlfriend, Lance Hendricks is stranded in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a small-town cast of drinkers, dreamers and deadbeats.

June 8, 2017 01:00 AM

Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play, written by Anne Washburn and directed by Tricia Rodley, imagines an eerie future where firelight provides the only illumination and recounting old episodes of The Simpsons kindles the only warmth. 

Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play, written by Anne Washburn and directed by Tricia Rodley, imagines an eerie future where firelight provides the only illumination and recounting old episodes of The Simpsons kindles the only warmth. 

Full disclosure: Anne Washburn and I went to the same small liberal arts college. (I started college the same year The Simpsons premiered — in 1989.) 

And I remember Washburn was a sharp cookie — but a crap stitcher. 

June 8, 2017 01:00 AM

In a video, artist Mika Aono tells us she is interested in compulsive behavior. After a short while watching, we get an idea the artist is referring to herself. Aono compulsively collects things other people might throw away, and her new work Spill is composed of pieces greatly inspired by her collections.

In a video, artist Mika Aono tells us she is interested in compulsive behavior. After a short while watching, we get an idea the artist is referring to herself. Aono compulsively collects things other people might throw away, and her new work Spill is composed of pieces greatly inspired by her collections.

Eugene Contemporary Art presents Spill at Barn Light East through June 30.  

June 1, 2017 01:00 AM

For photographers who came of age during the film era, the experience of seeing that very first image materialize in the developing tray is remembered as magical or uncanny. That the miracle often occurred in an educational setting as a shared communal experience deepened the impact.

For photographers who came of age during the film era, the experience of seeing that very first image materialize in the developing tray is remembered as magical or uncanny. That the miracle often occurred in an educational setting as a shared communal experience deepened the impact.

Yes, community darkrooms left a fond residue in the mind as well as on the fingertips. But alas, their influence has faded. With photography’s transition from film to digital now mostly complete, community darkrooms have largely disappeared from the national landscape, Eugene included.

June 1, 2017 01:00 AM

Across the country, and right here in Eugene, summer is a great time for performing artists to get out of the theater — away from the driving push of ticket sales — and into a space where making art invites a wider community conversation. 

Across the country, and right here in Eugene, summer is a great time for performing artists to get out of the theater — away from the driving push of ticket sales — and into a space where making art invites a wider community conversation. 

May 25, 2017 01:00 AM

It looks like the school garden concept is getting some serious respect from the 4J school district. 

Just look at the spanking new Howard Elementary School where, in a first for 4J, a raised bed garden was incorporated in the school’s landscape design right from the start, and it shows. Next to the garden there’s a big, beautiful water collection tower, one of several cool features at this school relating to rain water.

It looks like the school garden concept is getting some serious respect from the 4J school district. 

May 25, 2017 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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 01:00 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.