Greetings, readers of EDN. The head honcho at EDN asked me if I was interested in writing a weekly column on the entertainment scene in the Eugene/Springfield area. Every week I tell you what’s playing at your local cinemas, but now they’ve asked me to share my opinion on what’s good, bad or just interesting – sort of a recap of the week in entertainment. So this will be my first entry. Hope it goes well and I hope you come back next week.
My parents and grandmother spent the weekend with my sister and me. It’s my sister’s birthday today and usually she likes to stretch her birthday celebration beyond the big day. So this year it began on Friday and lasted the whole weekend. We went out to dinner on Friday, and on Saturday we had a Thanksgiving-style dinner and watched the Ducks pummel Stanford. It was a nice little weekend filled with parents, presents and pumpkin pie. So while I was busy entertaining the family, there was a lot going on this week.
Modern Warfare 3
If you’re a male between the ages of 17 and 30, then Christmas came early this year with the release of Modern Warfare 3 on Tuesday. Fans were lined up outside Best Buy in Springfield for the midnight release, and as predicted it’s getting rave reviews and will probably obliterate sales from the previous game in the series: Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Personally, I’ve grown a little tired of military first-person shooters. If I’m going to pay $60 for a new game, I want to be able to enjoy it on my own without some 10-year-old in Florida kicking my ass on X-Box Live. Judging by the last few Call of Duty games, the single-player campaign on MW3 probably looks, sounds and lasts about as long as a Michael Bay movie. But I am closer to 30 than 17 so maybe this is just the first stage of maturity.
(sub) Urban Projections
Last year there was a great little documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop. It was about an eccentric man who set out to make a documentary about the mysterious street artist known only as Banksy. As the film progressed, the man became more and more interested in creating his own art than profiling Banksy. The film showcased amazingly creative art on buildings, street lamps and signs. What one person might perceive as merely graffiti, another would consider art. With that film in mind, I’d like to make you aware of some street art happening in Eugene right now.
Premiering this past Wednesday and continuing for the following two Wednesdays in November, (sub)Urban Projections is highlighting emerging artists while also celebrating the spirit of Eugene through a digital arts festival. This is a free event that aims to use the buildings we look at every day and create a more vibrant and colorful environment. But instead of secretly painting artwork over buildings Banksy-style, this project focuses on promoting new digital art and media and re-imagining the city of Eugene and the possibilities for public art and space.
This past Wednesday’s event was showcased atop the Hult Center parking garage and featured artist Jon Bellona. Each of the three shows last from 6-9:30 p.m. Next Wednesday it will be held at 5th Ave. and Willamette, near the train depot. The featured artist this week will be Kevin Patton.
If you’re in the mood for some creative, visually amazing digital art then check out these remaining two events. Like I said, they’re free and you will be amazed what artists these days can do with a computer. Every artist needs a canvas. Why not use the boring buildings we drive by everyday?
Friday marked 11/11/11 on the calendar and in anticipation of this rare event, some on the web celebrated this day by watching the cult classic film This is Spinal Tap. The official name for the day was “Nigel Tufnel Day” in reference to the character Christopher Guest played in the 1984 film. The film is a mockumentary following a fictional British rock band on tour called Spinal Tap. The film is endlessly quotable and one of the more memorable scenes is when Nigel is showing the fictional director in the film (the actual director of the film) the amps the band uses. Normally they go up to 10, but Nigel has them go to 11 on the dial. Whether this actually makes the amps louder is beside the point. Eleven is greater than 10 so that means they’re better.
So on Friday, I hope some of you acknowledged that special day that only comes once a century and watched This is Spinal Tap. Although I’m sure you had to turn your televisions up louder than 11.
Kindle adds rental service
With Borders closing here recently and the future of reading moving more and more towards e-readers and tablets, the first company to embrace how we consume books is finally offering its customers the opportunity to read e-books without buying them.
Early last week, Amazon announced a rental service for its online Kindle bookstore for Prime subscribers. If you pay the $79 for a year, you get Amazon Prime which allows you to have packages delivered quicker and free. Subscribers also have access to hundreds of movies and television shows to stream online. Before last week, KIndle customers could only buy books they wanted to read. Now they have the ability to rent one book at a time for free with the Prime membership and not have to worry about a late fee.
As someone who has a Kindle, this is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Most other e-readers give you the option of renting your books at a lesser price. Amazon showcases its e-readers like Apple does its iPods: by selling them as a brand name with an exclusive store. Sure the e-books are sold at a lesser price than if you went into a bookstore, but if I can save a couple extra bucks and just rent it, I’d gladly take that option.
If you’re interested in some books by Oregon authors, a number of Ken Kesey’s work is available in the Kindle bookstore including One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you’re interested in more modern Oregon authors, check out Philip Margolin, whose novels are also available in the Kindle store.
Northwest Women’s Comedy Festival
The Wildish theater in Springfield held its 6th Annual Northwest Women’s Comedy Festival on Saturday. The act featured a dozen female comedians including Sarah Lowe, Ashly Reiss and Virginia Jones. In case the comedians didn’t make you laugh, the theater provided wine and chocolate so you could get a slight buzz off of alcohol and sugar while watching the performers.
I wish I could have attended this. With popular female comedians like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Whitney Cummings starring in three of the more popular comedy shows on television, it’s nice to see an event celebrating local comedians as well. It was the 6th time they’ve done this, so it must be funny.