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Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Mixtape: Unplugged Songs

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:08 PM

By Josh Gross

I recently watched the HBO documentary on Kurt Cobain, Montage of Heck. It's a well-made film, offering a noisy, impressionistic window into the head of a complicated artist. But one of the things it points out is how important Nirvana's MTV Unplugged album was, as it showed their songs had reach beyond just being loud and angry, two traits which can always find an audience, even when the songs containing them are really really bad.

But that also reminded me what a great show "Unplugged" was, back when MTV did music. So I rounded up some great performances from the show, along with a couple other acoustic versions that reframed the classics for a mixtape. There's everything from Nirvana and Foreigner, to Scorpions and Jay Z.

Spotify playlist: http://spoti.fi/1G0hNPl

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2015 Sisters Folk Festival Lineup: PRESS RELEASE

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Press Release

2015 Sisters Folk Festival Lineup Announced

Sisters, OR ~ The Sisters Folk Festival announces the artist lineup for the annual Festival, September 11-13, 2015. This is the 20th anniversary celebration of the region’s most well-respected acoustic music festival. Produced in beautiful Sisters, Oregon, where “All the Town’s a Stage,” Festival passes are $120 for adults and $60 for those 18 and under.

Sisters welcomes festivalgoers for three days of world-class performances by artists including: The Subdudes, a New Orleans blues-rock and soul band; the 2014 encore artist Eric Bibb; songwriter Tift Merritt; and last year’s crowd favorites Darlingside. Additionally, Festival organizers are proud to bring Boston-based bands Session Americana; Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards; Ryan Montbleau; and the duo Tall Heights. Other acts on the bill are: Mandolin Orange; The Bills; Shinyribs & the Tijuana Train Wreck Horns; Gretchen Peters; Zydeco master Andre Thierry; Beth Nielsen Chapman; Canadian roots band New Country Rehab; Liz Longley; Australian-songwriter Jordie Lane; Austin-based Luke Wade and No Civilians; Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys; Western swing and award winning fiddler Katie Glassman and Snapshot; bluegrass rockers Mountain Heart; Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer; The Weather Machine; Freddy & Francine; Beth Wood; Dennis McGregor; and many more.

“For the festival to continue to grow and thrive we need to bring in new acts that are introduced to our audience and become fan favorites. We also get requests to bring folks back, so we selectively choose when the right time is for both the festival and the artists,” says Creative Director Brad Tisdel.

There will be performances on 10 stages over three days, and this year will include the Fir Street Park hosting Festival performers to play on a free community stage. “We get such tremendous support from the community, we want to be sure folks in Sisters get to appreciate and experience some of the music the Festival offers, including the Fir Street Park and the annual free Community Show, Sunday morning at the Village Green, hosted by Beth Wood, “ says Tisdel.

The Festival also hosts the fourteenth annual Americana Song Academy at Caldera, Sept. 8-11, which has become a pilgrimage for songwriters to learn from the pros and build community around music. Teaching artists for 2015 include: Beth Nielsen Chapman; Buddy Mondlock; Gretchen Peters; Ryan Montbleau; Tift Merritt; The Ballroom Thieves; Darlingside; Chris Rosser; Mandolin Orange; Jefferson Hamer; Liz Longley; Jordie Lane; and Jonathan Byrd. The Academy is already sold out for this year, but registration for the 2016 Academy will open in early November.

“The entire Festival is presented in Sisters — a tight-knit community nestled in the Cascades — and places exceptional performances in unique, intimate venues, where each artist and stage has its own special quality. We encourage folks to buy tickets soon, as the past 3 years have sold out well in advance,” says Tisdel.

For tickets and artist information, please visit sistersfolkfestival.org or call the office at 541-549-4979. A complete listing of the initial lineup is available at their website. All-Event Passes are also available at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters.

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INTERVIEW: Orange is the New Black's Piper Kerman talks prison reform—and who she'd want to bunk with

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 9:59 AM

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Tonight, Piper Kerman, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison—now a popular Netflix original series entering its third season—speaks in Bend tonight as part of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation's Author! Author! series. I chatted with Kerman for a profile in this week's issue, but she had more to say than fit in print. Check out our full interview below, in which Kerman talks about alternatives to incarceration, her work teaching writing to inmates, and what qualities she would look for in a prison bunkmate.

Source Weekly:
Oregon is one of the states that’s pushing to “ban the box,” and help end job discrimination against people with criminal convictions. Have you encountered any difficulties with that personally?


Piper Kerman: For me, I was so incredibly fortunate. I had this strong network of family and friends and former employers, and a guy that I new ran a company and he hired me and I started work the week after I came home from prison. And it’s impossible to overstate the importance of that first job I had coming home from prison. The data also shows that whether someone gets to work right away and whether they earn a living wage, obviously, has a huge impact on recidivism. It’s my point of view that the other thing that’s important, not just the money that you earn for yourself and your family, also, I shed my skin as a prisoner and regained my place as a citizen because of that job. It’s so important. And this is the number one thing that hear from other people who, like me, have a felony conviction. They just apply for hundreds and hundreds of jobs and they can’t get a break.

SW: You mention that privilege pretty early in the book. In what ways do you feel your relative privilege impacted your experience with incarceration and in what ways do you feel like incarceration had a leveling effect?

PK: I think it had a huge amount to do [with it]. I always say that the most unusual thing about my story is not that I committed a crime. Because we know that middle class people and wealthy people commit crimes, they’re just much less likely to be held accountable than poor people. And 80 percent of people accused of a crime are too poor to afford a lawyer to defend them in court, even though that doesn’t necessarily match to everyone that commits a crime. So the most unusual thing about my story is that I was policed and that I was prosecuted and that I was punished with prison. And that has a lot to do with privilege—class privilege, racial privilege. And you know, that’s readily apparent to anybody who looks at the criminal justice system, and it’s ironic because of course we have this expectation that the system will treat all Americans equally and that every American will get a fair day in court, but that just doesn’t match up to reality. So we have a lot of work to do.

While you’re incarcerated, there’s a degree of leveling—everyone’s got eight numbers next to their name—but of course, if you have a family on the outside that is able to come and visit you and to put money on your commissary books, those things make a huge difference. Those lifelines to the outside world are important in terms of people returning home successfully and it seems like being able to afford soap and toothpaste and stamps and phone time are all really important as well.

SW: You’re obviously a big advocate for prison reform. Are there a few reforms you’d most like to see move forward?

PK: I think the number one most important thing is for us to stop putting so many people in prison and jail in the first place. I think there are many people who currently fill up our prisons and jails who shouldn’t be there for a variety of reasons. Either their offense is really low level and doesn’t warrant confinement, [or] in some cases, people’s primary issue may be substance abuse or mental illness, and prisons and jails do nothing really to address those problems. And so, when somebody comes back to the community, which the vast majority of people do, those issues are best solved in the public health system not in the criminal justice system. So there’s a lot of opportunity to get people out of prisons and jails who don’t need to be there without impacting public safety. We know, actually, that the states that have reduced their prison populations the most have also seen the biggest declines in crime, so no one should imagine that having a big prison population is doing a lot to increase public safety, in fact the opposite may be true. So I think that’s the single most important thing.

SW: What do you think are the alternatives to incarceration?

PK: I think that victims of crime have to have a strong voice in what alternatives to incarceration look like because it’s incredibly important to make sure that victims of crime, that the harm to them is recognized and that the system, and also the offender themselves, make those folks whole to whatever extent is possible. That’s important, but it’s also important to recognize that our idea of who is a victim of crime is a little off, because the people who are most likely to be victimized by violence are young men of color, and we rarely think about them as victims of crime and we rarely ask them what needs to be done to make them whole when they get victimized by violence or other crimes. So it’s important to sort of recognize that crime and violence do affect different communities differently and the criminal justice system as it currently functions doesn’t address those things real well. We know that for low level offenders—people who’ve committed low level drug crimes, low level property crimes—that interventions that don’t include incarceration generally get better outcomes.

And so there’s programs like Justice Home, which is run by the women’s prison association where I’m on the board, that’s in New York. Women who are looking at at least a year or more in prison when their district attorney agrees, they get the opportunity to stay in their homes, stay with their kids, go through whatever programs are necessary for them—and it varies—it might be mental health, it might be substance abuse, it might be parenting classes. There’s a variety of things that come into play. And if they complete their program successfully, sometimes they get the chance to actually have their record expunged. And that program has been incredibly successfully. It costs about $17,000 per family, per woman, and incarceration in New York state costs $60,000 a year per person. So it seems to me like a no brainer.

In the Pacific Northwest there’s some really interesting programs that have been done. There’s one in Seattle called LEAD, which stands for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. And this focuses on certain neighborhoods in Seattle where the local police have been seeing what are often called “frequent fliers,” people who are arrested again and again and again, often for very low level offenses. And LEAD creates an intervention where the cop themselves, the law enforcement professional, maybe catches someone committing a crime or is going to arrest someone for committing a crime, and has the opportunity to give them the opportunity to go into treatment services or get other kinds of help and interventions that they might need rather than being arrested and going to prison. And the program has been in place for several years and the results are quite impressive.

SW: What do you think are the barriers to having more programs like these? As you said, it’s not more expensive. Do you buy into the idea that we’re kind of reliant on the money that the system makes?

PK: Yes. I think that we have built the biggest prison and jail population in human history, and when you build something so big, suddenly, a lot of people start to draw benefit out of it. And I think that is probably the single biggest obstacle to doing more common sense criminal justice, is that a lot of people are making a lot of money off the current system. So it’s incredibly important to address the fact that folks are making a lot of money off the status quo if we want to change the status quo.

SW: Did you encounter a lot of women who were in prison because of their efforts to survive?

PK: Yeah. I mean, again, we see such a vast number of people who are accused of a crime in the court system who come from the poorest communities. And who really are in very desperate straights before they’re arrested. I think that’s true across the board. Certainly if you look at women and girls in the system, you see that to be true. And you see, women do not tend to commit violent offenses. Two-thirds of women and girls in the system are there for non-violent offenses, so they do tend to be drug offenses and property crimes.

SW: To bring it back to the book, can you talk about why you felt moved to write it and why you took that leap to turn it into a now very popular television show?

PK: I just thought that if anybody experienced the things I experienced and saw the things I saw, they would think really differently about the criminal justice system. And they would think really differently about who’s in prison and why they’re there and what really happens to them there, which from my experience, really departed from what many people assume. Many people assume that, first of all, most people don’t necessarily think of women first, people assume that everyone who’s locked up in prison is there for a violent crime, which is not the case. And many people also assume that there’s a lot of rehabilitation happening in prisons and jails, and there’s just not. There’s a lot of warehousing of people. So I hoped that if people thought a little bit differently about the real people who fill up our prisons and jails that they might ask for things to be done differently. And it’s really important for people who are fortunate and who might be lucky enough never to have their lives touched by the criminal justice system to advocate and ask for a better system. Because the people who are most impacted by the criminal justice system tend to come from communities with the least political power.

SW: Did you ever worry that the after the book came out, that it could affect your career or other prospects?

PK: I just always felt like I was fortunate to be able to be straightforward about my past, about my mistakes, and the fact of my incarceration. During that entire six years between pleading guilty and actually being sent to prison we spent a lot of that time trying to keep that under wraps and nobody wants to be living a lie, people want to be able to be honest about themselves, but they also want to be able to move past their past and be able to move forward, that’s a really important opportunity.

SW: What was the biggest mental shift between your perceptions of prison and your experience? What did you learn that you weren’t expecting, or what myths were busted for you?

PK: The thing that I feared, of course, was violence, because that’s associated with prison and prisoners. And some American prisons and jails are extremely violent and dangerous places, but you know, I never saw any violence while I was incarcerated. There’s plenty of conflict because prisons are crowded and prisons are scarce—and scarcity by design is part of what prison and jail is—so there’s always gonna be some conflict, but I didn’t experience violence while I was incarcerated and that was a big difference between what we currently think about.

SW: Is there anything you miss from that time of your life?

PK: There are people I miss. There are people depicted in the book that are still in my life in some way and I stay in touch with them and those friendships are really important to me. There’s nothing I miss about the experience of being incarcerated but there are definitely people I think about and I’m like, I wonder how she’s doing. Not every single person in the book is in touch and obviously I didn’t write about every single person I encountered in the book because obviously I was incarcerated with hundreds and hundreds of women.

SW: Is there something specific you’re hoping people in Bend will walk away with from the Author! Author! presentation?

PK: I just hope that people come away and recognize that our current situation really isn’t serving them well and that’s why its well worth it for them to speak up or take action in some way to get some improvement in Oregon’s system and obviously in the national system as well.

SW: Tell me something you’re excited about in the third season of “Orange is the New Black.”

PK: I’m really excited about the third season, there’s all kinds of great stuff. Great character development with the folks that people are already in love with and some new characters as well. The thing I’m personally most excited about is there’s a story line in the new season, which reveals something about the American criminal justice system many people don’t even know about, they’ve never heard of it. So I’m excited about that.

SW: Do you have a favorite new character?

PK: Everybody asks that, it’s so hard to pick. I can’t pick. There’s just too many. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

SW: If you could choose a prison bunkmate who would you pick?

PK: You want somebody who’s got a lot of skills. Let me think about this for a minute. Who would be good, who would be good...

SW: Maybe this question is easier. Is there a prison in America that, if you had to go back, wouldn’t be as bad?

PK: I’m teaching writing right now at a men’s medium security [prison] in Ohio, which does more rehabilitation than any prison I’ve ever seen. It’s still not a place you’d ever want to spend a night, but still they’re doing some really interesting and innovative things there.

SW: How’s the teaching going?


PK: Great. My students are great. I’m also teaching at one of the women’s prisons in Ohio as well. So I’ve got a men’s class and a women’s class and they’re writing nonfiction and it’s great.

SW: Do you have a favorite prison memoir?

PK: Were reading a huge number of prison memoirs as part of these classes. All the books we’re reading are first person narratives grounded in the criminal justice system. So probably it would be Joe Loya’s The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell.

SW: Is there a movie or other media portrayal that you think does a good job showing with the criminal justice system is like?

PK: “Orange is the New Black!”

SW: Did you have any other thoughts on that bunkmate question?

PK: I keep on thinking of Queen Latifah, but I wouldn’t want another African-American woman locked up in prison. I never want that.

Author! Author! presents Piper Kerman
7 pm, Friday, May 29
Bend High School Auditorium, 230 NE 6th St.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crossword Puzzle Answers (5/27/15)

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Gov. Kate Brown Declares Deschutes County Drought Emergency

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 12:22 PM

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Deschutes County joins a growing list of Oregon counties—now 15 deep—designated by Gov. Kate Brown as drought emergencies following today's announcement. With today's addition of eight counties, nearly half the state is experiencing an official drought emergency. In addition to Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla, and Wasco counties have been added.

“The majority of our state is parched due to the warm winter and lack of snow,” Gov. Brown said in a release. “As we move into summer, many areas of the state are going to dry out very quickly, likely leading to a difficult fire season as well as water shortages. We need our state, local and federal partners to be prepared as our communities grapple with hot and dry conditions.”

In an effort to drive home the seriousness of these conditions, Gov. Brown is launching the #ORdrought campaign, which she kicked off with the video below. In it, she stresses that while the situation is dire, meaningful changes can still be made.

"It may look green now, but we are going to experience one the worst droughts in the history of our state," she says in the video.
"But the script hasn't been written yet. By working together, we can begin to make a difference right now."

The drought declaration directs agencies such as the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Department of Water Resources, the Water Resources Commission, and the Office of Emergency Management to assist water users and the state in mitigating the impacts of the drought.

Follow #ORdrought on social media for more.


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Friday Mixtape: Double-Threats

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 10:05 AM

By: Josh Gross

Lots of musicians publish tell-all memoirs. Some tell a little more than others, like The Dirt, the collective autobiography of Motley Crue, which is a thrilling, though somewhat tawdry read. But those books are often written by ghostwriters, not the artists themselves. I recently found a copy of Woody Guthrie's lost novel, which he wrote in 1947, but publishers only bothered with come 2013. And though it's rarer to publish a novel instead of a memoir, he's not the only songwriter that made the leap to literary fiction. Artists like Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Ben Weasel, Dr. Frank, Nick Cave, and Richard Hell have all published novels as well. Sounds like a mixtape to me.

Spotify playlist: http://bit.ly/1ILQ8lH

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Editor's Note: In this week's issue

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 4:06 PM

Beer week may need to rebrand itself. What started three years ago, has expanded into a ten day melee. And,our beer reviewer provides some suggestions about where to go, and how to survive the many events. I also encourage you to check out our “Go Here” section which lists several beer company endeavors into the outdoors.
What is also interesting about this event, and about this Memorial Day weekend is that a pivotal summer for Bend officially kicks off this week—with estimates that the population this summer in Bend will balloon to 100,000; numbers should be on full display this weekend, with Beer Week events and also with three nights of amazing bands at Les Schwab Amphitheater.
As Bend becomes more and more a tourist town, these new dynamics will create stresses and celebrations. The thousands of additional people each weekend celebrating events like the recent Pole-Pedal-Paddle or the current Beer Week, can be an opportunity to rekindle and rediscover what makes this region so alluring. It can also be an opportunity to cuss and swear about lines and slow traffic.
This is a pivotal summer about how Bend will manage becoming a tourist town—and, within that conversation, on Tuesday, Chuck Arnold announced that he will leave his post as Executive Director of Bend Business Association. I encourage you to check out our exit interview with Arnold; for the past nine years, Arnold has been a steady force in maintaining level-heads through economic booms and busts, and his departure leaves an important position unmanned, and at a particularly “interesting” time.


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Crossword Puzzle Answers (5/20/15)

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 12:06 PM

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Solstice Brewing Embraces Roots with Name Change to Ochoco Brewing

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 10:14 AM

SOURCE FILE PHOTO
  • Source file photo

The Prineville-based brewery now formerly known as Solstice has never been shy about its roots. When it released its first beer back in 2012, the brewery reclaimed a not-uncommon slur for the city, calling it Prinetucky Pale. So it's only fitting that the new name—Ochoco Brewing Company—honors the operation's Crook County origins.

The name also harkens back to the first known brewery in Central Oregon. No, not Deschutes. According to local beer historian Jon Abernathy, the short-lived Ochoco Brewery, founded in Prineville in 1882, holds the honor of being first.

“My wife and I grew up in rural Eastern Oregon and we’ve made Prineville our permanent home, and we believe a name like Ochoco
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 Brewing will cement us in the DNA of Crook County," owner and brewmaster Joseph Barker explains in a release.

But the brewery hasn't just been hanging out Prineville. Rather, it's been reaching out into larger Central Oregon community with regular showings at events like Bend Brewfest, Fermentation Celebration, SMASH Fest, High Gravity Extravaganza, and Winter Ale Festival.

“We’ve been blown away by the growth and reception of our pub here in Prineville,” Barker says.
In its first year, Ochoco Brewing Company brewed 370 kegs of beer, most of which were sold at the pub. By 2014 that rose to 425 kegs, as well as distribution at other local restaurants and pubs. Ochoco's brews can currently be found at pubs and growler stations in Bend, Sisters, Madras, La Pine, and Sunriver.

"Given our current growth, we'll outgrow our current brewery in the next twelve months. I definitely see the potential for other changes in the future as we look to grow our production and distribute beer beyond Crook County,” Barker explains. 

Ochoco Brewing formally kicks off the rebranding at a launch party Friday, May 22.
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Tell Us How You Really Feel: Affordable Housing

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 2:58 PM

With rental vacancies of less than 1 percent, sometimes the best you can do is get on the waiting list.
  • With rental vacancies of less than 1 percent, sometimes the best you can do is get on the waiting list.


It's not news that Bend has a seriously lack of housing—especially of the affordable variety. But not everyone is in agreement about how to address the problem. We have some opinions of our own, of course, but we want to know what you think. Take our poll below, and if you have ideas not represented here, let us know in the comments.



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Washington Declares Drought Emergency—Is Oregon Next?

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Only one of these states has issued a drought emergency declaration. But they have a disturbingly similar snowpack.
  • Only one of these states has issued a drought emergency declaration. But they have a disturbingly similar snowpack.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency today, OPB reports. The emergency status was brought about by low snowpack. Insley said that while the state should have sufficient water for drinking, crops and fish may be threatened, and wild fires are an increased risk.

California has already declared a drought emergency. Is Oregon next?

A few counties have already received an emergency declaration from Gov. Kate Brown—Baker, Malheur, Harney, Lake, Klamath, Crook, and Wheeler. And others have requests one—Deschutes, Lane, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Wasco, Morrow, and Umatilla.

And a look at the Oregon Water Availability Committee's Water Supply Assessment shows that for most of the state's basins, drought is "inevitable," while in the remainder of the state drought is "likely."

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Tell us what you think. Should Gov. Brown declare a statewide drought emergency? And if she does, how will that affect your water consumption? 
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Friday Mixtape: Sibling Songs

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM

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