Best of Eugene 2009-2010: Creative Endeavors
1. EW! A blog blogs.eugeneweekly.com
2. Culinaria Eugenius culinariaeugenius.wordpress.com
3. Urinal Gum www.urinalgum.com
If this continues, we’re gonna have to ban ourselves from winning this category; y’all are making us blush. (Contrary to what our presenters said at the show, we didn’t “pick ourselves” — this is a readers’ poll, remember?) And we find talking about ourselves somewhat trying. So hey! Let’s discuss the second and third place blogs. Culinaria Eugenius, run by EW contributor Jennifer Burns Levin, is a foodie delight, full of recipes, restaurant reviews, news about events and advice about canning. Recent posts include “Having My Way With Winter Squash,” which is enough to make us hungry even when we’ve just eaten, and an appreciation of the traditional Jewish deli. Third-place finisher Urinal Gum is kind of awesome: It’s a blog, but it’s also a zine, and many of the blog posts appear to be scanned zine pages. On these pages, the Urinal Gum folks muse about roller derby, doing karaoke at dive bars, various top five lists and assorted miscellany. “The stated purpose of the zine is to enhance others’ lives through drivel,” the Urinal Gum LiveJournal profile says. We say that’s a worthy goal.
1. Bob Welch, The Register-Guard
2. Sally Sheklow, Eugene Weekly
3. Camilla Mortensen, Eugene Weekly
It’s a bit weird that the daily’s not-at-all-edgy columnist/feature writer Bob Welch would win Best Writer in an edgy alternative newspaper, especially since Welch replaced the hard-hitting Don Bishoff. And he’s done it for years in a row, so it’s not just a fluke. In the autumn Oregon Quarterly magazine, former journalism professor Dean Rea calls Welch “The Vacuum Cleaner” for his information gathering skills. EW writers Sally Sheklow and Camilla Mortensen are close behind with our readers. Camilla is our environmental reporter and resident folklorist, and this is her debut on the list.
best performing arts group (dance, theater, etc.)
1. tie: Lord Leebrick Theater www.lordleebrick.com
Soromundi Lesbian Chorus of Eugene www.soromundi.org
2. tie: Actors Cabaret of Eugene www.actorscabaret.org
Eugene Symphony www.eugenesymphony.org
3. WYMPROV! www.wymprov.com
That’s right, people, the Leebrick’s former TOTAL dominance in this category is now under attack … from vocally talented lesbians! We want to see some cross-pollination here, with the boldest theater company in town using the many-voiced chorus as back-up singers in the next Mamet play. That big space the Leebrick bought downtown certainly could lend itself to hosting one of the largest singing groups Eugene’s ever seen: Soromundi’s going strong in its 11th year, with loyal members and fans packing concerts and selling out the Hult Center. Surely the hard-working artistic directors of each company could figure something out? And in the other tie, ACE, with its joyful mix of musical madness and maniacally moving food servers, could provide some interpretive dance — or small holiday angels in jack-in-the-boxes — to the Eugene Symphony’s annual Yuletide Celebration. For a town this small, the array of performing arts options, from the comedy group that came in third to a variety of music, professional dance, opera and theater groups, lends a bit of credence to the oft-maligned city motto.
1. Adam Grosowsky
2. Claire Flint www.claireflint.com
3. Sara Larson www.saralarson.com
Grosowsky wins again! Artist/art blogger Paul Viel wrote that Grosowsky’s art “is reminiscent of Rembrandt and Vermeer but with what I consider more sizzle.” Zowie! Who could beat that? Yet at the heels of Eugene’s famed oil painter/slackliner/LCC instructor fly two talented women. We at the EW love Claire Flint for things like last year’s squee-worthy Winter Reading issue cover, not to mention her fascinating encaustic/photography mashups and various other series. And Sara Larson — well, suffice it to say that her art is perfect for the space that won best gallery, and that we find her illustrations charming.
best art gallery
1. Fenario Gallery 881 Willamette St. 393-3333. fenariogallery.com
2. DIVA 110 W. Broadway. 344-3482. divacenter.org
3. White Lotus 767 Willamette St. 345-3276. www.wlotus.com
Located downtown — and in possession of arguably the largest local collection of Jerry Garcia’s art — is Fenario, your favorite gallery for the second year in a row. In addition to its exhibits, the gallery specializes in fine art reproduction, printing and framing, and can archive artists’ work. Fenario’ owner Brent Rosskopf often fills the spacious gallery with a variety of pieces, mixing mediums, artists and styles, catering to Eugene’s varied preferences for art.
best art event
1. Art & the Vineyard www.artandthevineyard.org
2. First Friday ArtWalk www.lanearts.org
3. Last Friday Art Walk www.arttrekinc.com/lastfridayartwalk
Sun! Art! Wine! Copper garden sculptures that could decapitate small children and animals! Oh, and a Fourth of July concert with the Oregon Bach Fest that attracted 15,000 (that’s FIFTEEN THOUSAND) Eugeneans to Alton Baker Park on a non-football day. We understand how the annual Maude Kerns-run event attracted so many votes this year — though if you’re in a small gallery on First Friday, the stampeding hordes of art-lovers and snack-nibblers can feel like thousands of people. We love First Friday for the way it gets more people into downtown (look, north Eugene people! Downtown is so not scary!), but we also love Last Friday for its whimsy and its deeply rooted Whiteaker-ness. Creating art can be a lonely, demanding job, but all of these events let artists feel the vital, vibrant urban network of art-lovers and other artists populating the town. We raise a glass this Last Friday to next week’s First Friday and to the dream of sun and summer heat next July.