The Gun Show

ArtsWatch Weekly: all aboard for Eugene

A Eugene cultural tour, Anne Boleyn's music book, a little shop of horror and a full gallop, monkey business, Yetis, two top art shows, "Hughie," roots music, Alien Boy, guns galore, spirit of '76

There are lots of good reasons to go to Eugene that have nothing to do with Ducks or football. Sure, the presence of the University of Oregon has a lot to do with the quality of things down the valley: two of ArtsWatch’s favorite things, for instance, the Oregon Bach Festival and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, are intimately tied to the university, and a lot of what’s good about Oregon’s new-music scene emanates from the halls and studios of the university’s music department. But the university is far from the only game in town. However you keep your cultural scorecard, Eugene – population roughly 160,000, metro area another 200,000 added to that – consistently hits above its weight.

Here at ArtsWatch we like to keep tabs on what’s happening in the Emerald City, and lately that’s been quite a bit. For starters, check out Gary Ferrington’s Arts Sampler: Eugene by train for a car-free, arts-stuffed weekend, a sort of cultural travelogue for Portlanders looking for a close-to-home adventure. Go ahead, plan an autumn getaway. And if you like, feel free to slip in a football game or a track meet on the side, too.

Portland-bound Amtrak Cascades at Eugene Station.

Portland-bound Amtrak Cascades at Eugene Station.

We’ve also picked up some good features from some top Eugene writers:

— Photographer and arts journalist Bob Keefer, author of the invaluable Eugene Art Talk online journal, has undertaken an almost year-long project of following the development of a new version of The Snow Queen for Eugene Ballet, with a fresh score by Oregon composer Kenji Bunch and choreography by EB’s longtime artistic director, Toni Pimble, who is recognized nationally as a creator of vivid and original ballets. Keefer will write about ten installments leading up to the premiere next spring, and ArtsWatch will reprint them once they’ve debuted on Eugene Art Talk. Here’s Episode 2, focusing on designer Nadya Geras-Carson.

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Under the gun in Ory-gun

In "The Gun Show" at CoHo Theatre, Vin Shambry and E.M. Lewis bring the great American elephant into the living room and tell true tales

What will happen if people confuse The Gun Show with a Gun Show? Director Shawn Lee says he’d be delighted. The day after CoHo Theatre’s opening night this Friday (September 9), The Original Rose City Gun Show will kick off at the Portland Expo Center—and while the proximity of the two events may be a coincidence, it certainly demonstrates the immediacy of the play’s theme.

Drive 20 minutes outside of Portland in almost any direction, and you may see a bumper sticker that re-dubs our state “Ory-gun.”

Vin Shambry tells tales in "The Gun Show." Photo: Shawn Lee

Vin Shambry tells tales in “The Gun Show.” Photo: Shawn Lee

Turn on the news, and you may or may not see sufficient coverage of whatever mass-shooting happened within the last two weeks.

Or perch on a bench in Colonel Summers Park, as actor Vin Shambry did recently while studying his Gun Show script, and you may discover that you’re sharing your bench with a gun enthusiasts’ magazine.

Guns are everywhere. If the left wing is trying to take them all, as some on the right assume, they have their work cut out for them. Playwright E.M. Lewis is relatively quick to clarify that that’s not her objective. Hailing from the rural “Orygun” town Monitor (just east of Woodburn), she’s had an intimate long-term relationship with the gun as an implement of recreation and protection as well as a tool of threat and disaster—and she’s penned a script comprised of five true gun stories from her life that cover as many sides of the issue. For example, her first date with her future husband was spent learning how to shoot on a sunny day beside a pond. She wore a bikini top. He wrapped his arms around her while showing her how to line up the sights. Sparks flew.

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