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March 5, 2008

From the Left Coast


Yo! Eugene checking in.

I'm Suzi Steffen, career graduate student, still (after almost two years) thrilled to have a job where they pay me to write. Even though I adore that job -- as performing and visual arts editor (and copy editor -- small paper) at The Eugene Weekly -- I'd rather be living in Portland. But I guess that wouldn't be flyover-land, and I'd be sad not to be living my dream and blogging for Flyover.

I'm a rather serious person, given to long contemplation of Serious Topics About Art and Architecture and Books and Funding and Music and Theater, but I also like LOLcats. I expect both to influence my posts here.

Before I taught last night, I was reading this article in last week's New Yorker. I laughed, or perhaps snorted, when I came across these sentences:

So, after receiving his doctorate, he spent two years studying brain scanning with Posner, who was by then at the University of Oregon, in Eugene. "It was very strange to find that some of the most exciting results of the budding cognitive-neuroscience field were coming out of this small place--the only place where I ever saw sixty-year-old hippies sitting around in tie-dyed shirts!" he said.

I write for the paper founded by those people.

I admit to owning one tie-dyed pair of Maggie's Organic Cotton socks, which I never wear to the Oregon Bach Festival or Ashland's Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Wait ... I may have worn them at the Shakespeare Fest thanks to the outdoor theater and the beautiful August weather in Ashland. I do not, however, own any Birkenstocks.

Like most university towns, Eugene has more than its fair share of musicians, artists and actors. Many of the musicians make a living gigging in Portland (and San Francisco, Santa Fe, etc.) along with teaching at the UO and performing in the Eugene Symphony (a part-time orchestra).

I should say that I met Rich at last fall's NEA etc. etc. for classical music and opera. Both were a blast -- the program and meeting Rich -- and helped me think about arts journalism a lot. I often feel like I'm writing in a vacuum. The main theater reviewer for the daily paper in town seems to have the "I love local art no matter what" (and the "I will tell the entire plot no matter how many spoilers there are") assignment, so I can't really learn from her except as a negative example.

Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster for Flyover.

Posted by ssteffen at March 5, 2008 4:30 AM


Suzi!! We're so glad you've joined us. And sure enough, in your first post you made me snort a bit of gin up into my sinuses as I laughed at your assessment of the founders of your paper.

Now if Brendan will just post up, we'll have a full introductory round with all the new Flyover bloggers. Brendan?

Posted by: Joe Nickell at March 5, 2008 11:59 PM