Eugene Weekly : Arts Shorts : 4.17.08

Totally Buff

Stuff from “Tuff”

Ah, Buffalo, New York. The city buried beneath the snow. The blue-collar tip of the Rust Belt with the 4 am last call. What do you have to offer us besides a middling football team, delicious hot wings and the Goo Goo Dolls? Well, unbeknownst to most (or maybe just me), Buffalo is a hub of experimental, DIY media and home to a spirited community of media saboteurs — some of whom will be featured at the DIVA exhibit “Tuff Stuff from the Buff – Experimental, Diary, Activist Film and Video from the Fringes of Buffalo, NY.”

According to the press release, Buffalo’s independent media scene is “far enough off the radar to remain subversive but close enough to it to know what’s hot and what’s not.” Sounds indie enough. But we’re not just talking about a bunch of Vincent Gallo wannabes here. The featured artists range from media deconstructionists to activists to video memoirists. Some slice, splice and re-appropriate images to create new media or comment on existing forms. David Gracon’s “Unreal is Here” co-opts the nightly news to incite a two-minute visual revolt against infotainment and our sensationalist media standards. Others employ more traditional documentary-style techniques to discuss contemporary society. Marc Moscato’s “The More Things Stay the Same” paints a vivid portrait of Dr. Ben Reitman, otherwise known in the early 20th century as “the Clap Doctor” and “the most vulgar man in America.” The 10-minute doc investigates Reitman’s work in sex education and with the homeless and puts these issues in a modern-day context. Maybe someday, when people think of Buffalo, they’ll think of media studies instead of just snow and spicy wings. Other work comes from Tony Conrad, Jodi Lafond, Meg Knowles, Kelly Spivey, Julie Perini and many others. “Tuff Stuff from the Buff” will be at DIVA at 7 pm Friday, April 18. $5, $3 students and members. — Jeremy Ohmes


Local Boy Makes Great

Hank Stamper (P.J. Sosko)

Eugene theater buffs long ago knew that local boy Aaron Posner would make it big. Now he’s hitting the boards with a story adapted from another local guy whose fame won’t subside until people stop reading books, dropping acid and/or watching movies. That guy, Ken Kesey, wrote this book called Sometimes a Great Notion. You might have heard of it. So did Posner, who scampered off to Northwestern after he left Eugene (where his dad’s a prof at the UO and his mom is a long time board member at Lord Leebrick Theatre) and who makes Kesey’s book come to life at Portland Center Stage with his adaptation of Notion. Posner founded the Arden Theatre in Philly and adapted Chaim Potok’s The Chosen before taking a gig as the artistic director of Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J., but he came back to Oregon to direct the play.

The show opened two weeks ago to acclaim from Portland theater critics — and audiences, who bought so many tix that PCS has extended the show through May 4, in the Gerding Theater (conveniently located on the streetcar line and just by Powell’s, where you can buy a copy of the book if you missed it in high school or at Smith Family). Tix are $16.50-$61.50, and you can get ’em at www.pcs.orgor 503-445-3700. — Suzi Steffen


Fired Up in Portland

Faith Rahill

Every spring, potters from around Oregon and SW Washington emerge from their winter workshops to showcase and sell their work in the Oregon Potters Association Ceramics Showcase. More than 22 artists from Eugene and the surrounding areas will make the I-5 trek to sell their work, including Pleasant Hill artist Kathryn Finnerty. Many jeweled tones of rose, blue and green add a rare vibrancy to her vases and tea sets inspired by 19th century English pottery. Nina Fenstrom-Doung’s raku fish represent the more comical side of clay. Her emotion-filled laughing, kissing or coy school of fish bring hilarity to the pottery world. Raku firing, which is traditionally a Japanese form, causes the funny fish to become a dark grey and makes their unique spots all the more colorful. Also at the show will be Kenneth Standhardt’s richly colored burnt orange and brown vessels, inspired by Pre-Columbian Native American art and meticulously indented by hand with hundreds of patterned markings. More of the area’s usual suspects — Faye Nakamura, Faith Rahill, Tracie Manso — will have work there as well. You can see all of those works in our area, of course, but the showcase brings in ceramicists from all over the region and celebrates the Hokkaido Pottery Society of Sapporo, Japan, with workshops and demonstrations — not something you’ll see in Eugene.

The event takes place April 25-27 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Admission is free. More info at www.ceramicshowcase.comor 503-222-0533. — Megan Udow