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f l u x
From MIT to
circus school
Unmasking the Duck
Are you being greenwashed?
Issue 16 Spring 2008
$6.50 Students $4.00
...
thanthanthanthanthanthanthanthanthanthan
more
YOU canYOUYOU
imagine
http://clubsports.uoregon.edu • Located in the EMU •
A...
02 f l u x 2008
One year, one pair, zero washes
Transforming jeans into an art project
Running from crocodiles
Exploring A...
flux.uoregon.edu 03
4 Editor’s Note 6 In Flux 10 Food 14 Arts 18 Environment
Documentaries
Psychic numbing
Trying to under...
hat’s Next?” It’s a pivotal question we
all encounter as graduation nears. Flux
2008 encapsulates this moment by
exploring...
MANAGING EDITOR Kate Griesmann
ASSIGNMENT EDITOR Megan Clark
ASSOCIATE EDITORS Peter Barna, Wade Christensen, Katie Cornel...
IN FLUX in
On the corner of Russell Street and
Albina Avenue in the north industrial
district of Portland, roughly eighty ...
IN FLUX
Forty-year-old Laura Calappi first heard the
words “inflammatory breast cancer” after a 2004
doctor’s appointment ...
IN FLUX
University of Oregon junior Aaron Polk
uses the click of a mouse and a Facebook
account to support presidential ho...
Advertisement
IN FLUX
Attention aspiring rock gods and goddesses: your
chance to shine has arrived. Grab your friends and
...
FOOD
Inside Laughing Planet Café in Eugene, cus-
tomer Ben Falkin peers over the colorful counter
crowded with plastic din...
FOOD
zacgoodwin
Kyrie’s top 10
baking blogs
While writing about food may not sound quite
as appealing as eating it, food b...
FOOD
Move over, Martha Stewart: today’s dinner party focuses on friends, food, and a low environmental
impact. Small chang...
ART
Marshall Appelwhite is hardly a house-
hold name. Preaching a gospel rooted in
aliens and the Apocalypse, Appelwhite w...
ART
MySpace fan base
SOUND
Water Tower String Band
Genre Old-time/bluegrass/folk
Since 2005
Where Lake Oswego, Oregon
Know...
ART
Above: Performing for a
crowd of students, Karess
Anne Slaughter, representing
the Imperial Court System
of Eugene and...
Big horn, big plans
PROFILE
Name: Seth Horner
Age: 23
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
Occupation: Tuba player
Pursuit: Horner was...
ENVIRONMENT
Two years ago, the Navy began testing
buoys in the ocean as a way to generate
energy. Although the concept is ...
ENVIRONMENT
Rose City roaster
Today, the average American farmer is
fifty-five years old. Farmers make up less
than 2 perc...
ENVIRONMENT
20 f l u x 2008
Bathroom
The Body Shop
The Body Shop’s once laudable reputation of social
responsibility and s...
01 f l u x 2008
flux.uoregon.edu 23
He got out of bed; his long knobby legs feeling
oddly exposed as his bare feet thumped on the
hardwood...
fades the dye in those particular places, making more of a
personal mark on your jeans,” explains Gardner. The jeans
fit u...
flux.uoregon.edu 25
Here’s something to think about next time
you’re out shopping for jeans:
A quarter of all pesticide us...
26 f l u x 2008
I
In the north of Madagascar we ran from crocodiles. We startled one
on a sandy riverbank and it thrashed ...
flux.uoregon.edu 02
SUDAN
CENTRAL AFRICA REPUBLIC
CHAD
ETHIOPIA
DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF
CONGO
SOMALIA
KENYA
TANZANIA
ZAMBIA
ANGOLA
M
OZAM
BIQ
U...
flux.uoregon.edu 29
In a land with
no knowledge
of kayaking, we
were doing the
unimaginable.
accomplishment, put on below ...
30 f l u x 2008
jJust before ten o’clock on an unusually sunny Saturday
morning in March 2008, Tanya Burka is busy hanging...
Becoming an aerialist was, relatively speaking, a late-in-
life decision for Burka. As a child she dreamed of work-
ing fo...
there.” With aerial dance still on her mind, Burka decided
that the opportunity to take a risk was more important
than a s...
people that they happen to fall in love with someone who
was born somewhere else.” Despite their separate living
situation...
photo Tim Wallace photo illustration Ben Mangin
flux.uoregon.edu 37
hrough the swarm of tourists, Zach Blank
eagerly made his way down 53rd Street,
toward the Museum of M...
n January 2008, Blank began a project modeled
after Harris’ 2006 program, We Feel Fine, a web-
site that collects people’s...
flux.uoregon.edu 39
twenty-three years old, Forbes estimates Zuckerberg’s
worth at $1.5 billion. In 2005, twenty-two-year-...
40 f l u x 2008
Blank’s industrious lifestyle doesn’t allow time for
relaxing. “I have very little life outside of work,” ...
usually use the word idea when expressing their
revelations; they are more apt to preface their thoughts
with what if. He ...
Faithrecovery
in
P
atrick Brazington dropped out of school
in the sixth grade. He grew up around
biker gangs and tried mar...
44 f l u x 2008
Students come to Teen Challenge by free will to correct
abusive behavior, rebuild family trust, circumvent...
46 f l u x 2008
Above: In an effort
to get him away from
drugs and alcohol,
Miller’s grandmother,
Marcella Kennedy, took
h...
Four anonymous athletes, one famous face
DUCKstory Katie Cornell photos Conner Jay
I AM
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Flux2008

  1. 1. f l u x From MIT to circus school Unmasking the Duck Are you being greenwashed? Issue 16 Spring 2008 $6.50 Students $4.00 University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
  2. 2. thanthanthanthanthanthanthanthanthanthan more YOU canYOUYOU imagine http://clubsports.uoregon.edu • Located in the EMU • AIKIDOARCHERYBADMINTONBASEBALLBASSFISHINGBOWLINGCLIMBINGCREWCRICKETCYCLINGDANCEEQUESTRIAN FENCINGFLYFISHINGGOLFICEHOCKEYJIUJITSUJUGGLINGKENDOLACROSSERAQUETBALLRANGERCHALLENGE RUNNINGSAILINGSKIINGSKYDIVINGSOCCERSNOWBOARDINGSOFTBALLSURFINGSWIMMINGTABLETENNISTAEKWONDOTENNISTRIATHALONULTIMATEVOLLEYBALLWATERPOLOWATERSKI/WAKEBOARDWUSHUYOGA PARTICIPATE • Make your UO experience more enjoyable by meeting students who share your interest in fun, competitive activites. LEAD• Serve as your team’s club coordinator or on the executive committee • Help budget, fund-raise, organize and set goals for your team • Receive academic credit for your leadership role COMPETE• Represent the UO as a Duck athlete • Compete against other colleges and universities on the West coast • Some teams even participate in national competitions
  3. 3. 02 f l u x 2008 One year, one pair, zero washes Transforming jeans into an art project Running from crocodiles Exploring Africa’s whitewater The science of suspension For this MIT grad, gravity is merely a suggestion The big idea A UO computer programmer asks, “What if?” contents the well Faith in recovery Looking forward, to life beyond addiction I am Duck The view from inside a big plastic head Unfinished battles Three local families fight a war of their own Learning to lose Basketball and the bonds of brotherhood36 56 30 52 4826 4222 30 22 42 26
  4. 4. flux.uoregon.edu 03 4 Editor’s Note 6 In Flux 10 Food 14 Arts 18 Environment Documentaries Psychic numbing Trying to understand why we turn away in the face of tragedy Reinventing Ed’s Coed Decades before Animal House, this silent film put Eugene on the map Bass driven Two brothers take an underground electronic band to the top Nuclear acrobat A trapeze for an office and a career built on the joys of taking risks Exclusives City living Moving to the city? Check out our interactive map. Meet UO grads now living in cities across the United States, learn about their lives, and get the scoop on how much they are really paying for rent. The Making of Flux: coming fall 2008 See all the magic and madness of producing a magazine in seven weeks. Reality TV ain’t got nothing on this. Sweet Caroline was here Reading the writing on the wall A lone voice The quest to expose an eco-crisis on the coast Redefining identity Finding out what race really means online front of book back of book 61 64 62 Cover notes Front cover: Tanya Burka, hanging around with Portland’s Pendulum Aerial Dance Theatre in April 2008. Photo by Ashley Baer. Back cover: Arms outstretched, Aaron Rettig looks toward the mountains of the independent kingdom of Lesotho from his vantage point in Bethlehem, South Africa. Photo by Tyler Brandt. Multimedia key Use the icons at the end of each story as your guide to the related content available online. Visit flux.uoregon.edu to discover more. Documentary InteractiveSlideshow Video 48
  5. 5. hat’s Next?” It’s a pivotal question we all encounter as graduation nears. Flux 2008 encapsulates this moment by exploring the trends, culture, people, and ideas that define the Facebook generation. This year the Flux staff has made changes and taken risks with the magazine to better capture our readers’ lifestyles. In the front of the magazine, readers will find sections devoted to food, arts, the environment, and a conversational forum on new trends. These stories strive to show what’s next for us during a time of eco-consciousness, social net- working, and fresh perspectives. The heart of Flux remains our unflinching dedication to showcasing in-depth and provocative features, profiles, and essays, each a meditation on our central theme through myriad lenses. The photos and text of “Faith in recovery” explore the lives of two individuals as they overcome their addictive pasts and return to the question, “What’s next?” Flux’s staff videographer and adventurer, Aaron Rettig, takes us on a journey along Africa’s whitewater in “Running from crocodiles,” revealing an expedition so invigorating that it inspires our future endeavors. Tanya Burka, profiled in this issue’s cover story, drastically changed her future plans, transforming from a MIT nuclear engineering graduate into a professional aerial dancer. Her story, like all those in Flux 2008, demonstrates the need for big ideas and bold choices when facing whatever comes next in our lives. Flux does not end within these pages; our website offers readers additional stories and multimedia content. Visit flux.uoregon.edu to continue your Flux experience. Best, Lindsay Funston Brittany McGrath Editor’s Note 04 f l u x 2008 “W Lindsay Funston (left) and Brittany McGrath
  6. 6. MANAGING EDITOR Kate Griesmann ASSIGNMENT EDITOR Megan Clark ASSOCIATE EDITORS Peter Barna, Wade Christensen, Katie Cornell, Nick Cummings, Karen Nagy CHIEF COPY EDITOR Mindy Moreland COPY EDITORS Jessica Blume, Nicole Stormberg RESEARCH EDITOR Meghan McCloskey ASSOCIATE RESEARCH EDITORS Liz Balaesh, Carolyn Hamm, Erin McNamara STAFF WRITERS Jessica McElfresh, Zach Klassen, Kamran Rouzpay ART DIRECTOR Faith Stafford designer Chris Brock ART ASSOCIATES Molly Bedford, Tristen Knight, Stuart Mayberry, Jiyea Park, Maxwell Radi, Melissa Rezada, Danielle Schisler, Nicole Schultz ART INTERN Kelly Montgomery photo editor Ben Mangin PHOTOGRAPHERS Ashley Baer, Benjamin Brayfield, Zac Goodwin, Blake Hamilton, Conner Jay, Katie Onheiber, Jarod Opperman, Tim Wallace production manager Kelly Walker PRODUCTION INTERN Roger Bong PRODUCER Desiree Aflleje PROJECT MANAGER Jackson Hager WEBMASTER Louie Vidmar VIDEOGRAPHERS Simon Boas, Joshua Bolkan, Alex Grigas, Aaron Rettig DOCUMENTARY Sloane Cameron, Catie Ciciretto, Ernese Fosse, Wen Lee, Rebecca Purice, John Rosman, Eric Rutledge, Steven Wilsey BUSINESS MANAGER Saramaya Weissman MARKETING DIRECTOR Jessica Polley MARKETING ASSISTANTS Meghan Foley, Alison Grisé ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jeff Kempf MARKETING DESIGNERS Molly Horner, Shawna Huang ADVISORS Steven Asbury, Mark Blaine, Skipper McFarlane, Dan Morrison, Jon Palfreman, Bill Ryan Founders Bill Ryan, Tom Wheeler Special Thanks Zach Blank, Tanya Burka, Andre Chinn, Randy Cox, The Duck Store, EMU Event Services, Rachael Fellows, Nick Fiorante, Tim Gleason, JR Gaddis, David Hamburger, Jackie Hamm, Melissa Hart, Sara Hazel, Suzanne Kenney and the Pendulum Dance Theatre, Tom Lundberg, Kevin May, Kyle McKenzie, Julianne Newton, Arwen Okalani, Elke Pellicano, Stephanie Risbrough, Sally-Shannon Scales, Ryan Stasel, Alan Stavitsky, University of Oregon, UO Alumni Association, UO School of Journalism and Communication, UO Urban Farm, Sue Varani, and all our friends and family. Editor in Chief Lindsay Funston Publisher Brittany McGrath f l u x flux.uoregon.edu 05
  7. 7. IN FLUX in On the corner of Russell Street and Albina Avenue in the north industrial district of Portland, roughly eighty people gather with specially marked green tennis balls and prepare to tee off on a perfect March afternoon. Dressed in what can only be described as retro golf meets urban street wear, young men and women take turns smack- ing tennis balls several city blocks to the second hole: a Dumpster. This is not your father’s game of golf. Urban golf is just one of many new rec- reations revolutionizing the sporting arena. The game can be played in practically any city neighborhood — all you really need is a pack of tennis balls, some old clubs, and a laid-back attitude. In Portland, thirty-eight-year-old Scott Mazariegos uses his organization, NW Urban Sports, as a way to eliminate the prestige and snobbery that underlies traditional golf by organizing other locals to participate in the part golf match, part barhop. “I think people enjoy the social aspect [of playing urban sports],” says Mazariegos. “It’s an alternative thing to do in Portland, and you meet a lot of new people.” Though Mazariegos introduced the game to Portlanders just two years ago, Myspace has propelled the hybrid sport to international sidewalks. In September 2007, he organized the first World Urban Golf Day via the social networking site. Just under one hundred players turned out in downtown Portland, and similar tournaments were held in cosmopolitan areas, industrial neighborhoods, and college campuses in forty cities around the globe. Mazariegos intends to continue the tradition in early September 2008. Though urban golf may never be as mainstream as its original counterpart, there’s something exhilarating about at- tempting tricky holes like fire hydrants and telephone poles on city streets with a bunch of friends. “There is kind of a dan- gerous and unconventional aspect to hit- ting balls around a city,” says Mazariegos. Surprisingly, the mayor of Portland, Tom Potter, supports activities like urban golf because it keeps the city quirky and unique. So when cops do come to check things out, they normally leave urban golfers alone to enjoy their game, as long as they respect the environment. While professional golfers may focus on winning and keeping score, urban golfers just want to have fun. Mazariegos wants to keep the cost down for Portland’s urban golfers, which is why he’s refused several sponsorships. “It’s not about making money for me,” he says. “It’s about people going out and having a good time and not taking things too seriously.” - Megan Clark This is not your father’s game of golf. zacgoodwin OUtside Asphalt, argyle, and IPA Left: Urban golfer Ian Danicll chips his tennis ball toward a pillar serving as a hole on the back nine of the industrial course in northern Portland. 06 f l u x 2008
  8. 8. IN FLUX Forty-year-old Laura Calappi first heard the words “inflammatory breast cancer” after a 2004 doctor’s appointment in which the appearance of her breast so sincerely baffled her surgeon that he requested permission to take a picture. A few weeks prior, Calappi had discovered a growth on the outside of her breast that she thought might be dermatitis, an ingrown hair, or even a bug bite. A biopsy of the growth, which bled and crusted at times, came back positive for IBC. IBC is an acutely aggressive but seldom publicized disease. This rare and elusive cancer variety metastasizes in sheets, or what oncologists call “nests.” In other words, IBC doesn’t clot in lumps, doesn’t show up on mammograms, and can’t be detected by breast self-examinations. And it’s striking victims as young as sixteen. IBC comprises less than one percent of all cancer diagnoses, says Dr. Steven Chui, an oncolo- gist at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, who sees between six and eight cases every year. Although Calappi is now healthy, she is a statistical minority. “IBC in particular really pisses me off,” Chui says, “because two-thirds of women with IBC will be dead in three years.” - Libby Whittemore Covert killer Health Dr. Chui advises women to contact a physician and request a biopsy and an MRI if they experience one or more of the following symptoms: Dramatic change in breast size• Breast becomes warm to• the touch Nipple indentation and• possible discharge Change in color of the areola• An uncharacteristic, persistent• itchy sensation Acute breast tenderness• ranging from a dull ache to shooting pains Change in breast skin texture• (resembling an orange peel) Change in color from fleshy• pink to dark red or purple (bruised appearance) Of course, the above symptoms do not always indicate IBC. Dr. Chui advises women to follow their gut and be aware. If more than one symptom arises, contact a physician immediately. IBC symptoms usually materialize on an accelerated timescale — a few weeks, not months or years. The Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation provides accurate information about IBC. Don’t hesitate to call them with your questions. Phone: (877) 465-6636 Web: komen.org Warning signs By the numbers million Number of Facebook users who check their social networking accounts every single day 30 percent Eighteen- to twenty-two-year-olds who feel financially secure5 percent Eighteen- to twenty-four- year-olds who didn’t have health insurance in 2006 29.3 percent Oregon adults who don’t consume the recommended five or more fruits and veggies a day 75.9 percent Decline in employers planning to hire 2008 graduates, compared to 2007 17 minutes Amount of time Americans consider to be ideal for good sex13 Benmangin flux.uoregon.edu 07 billion Amount college students spend on alcohol every year. That’s more than the GDP of Sierra Leone ($4.88 billion) $5.5 percent Young voters who cite The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live as regular sources of presidential campaign news 21 million How much more a college graduate can expect to earn throughout his/her lifetime compared to someone with a high school diploma $1
  9. 9. IN FLUX University of Oregon junior Aaron Polk uses the click of a mouse and a Facebook account to support presidential hopeful Senator John McCain in this year’s election. Boasting more than forty-two thousand members, Polk’s boldly titled Facebook group, “Stop Barack Obama (One Million Strong and Growing)” leads Facebook’s anti-Obama outlets. “Facebook is heavily used by young people, and the majority of Obama supporters are young people,” says Polk. “I figured a lot of people support him for the wrong reasons. It’s an Obama aware- ness group, but an anti- one.” Polk is one student politico striving to educate his Facebook peers and, when November election time comes, offset their left-leaning voting traditions. As the presi- dential election nears, Generation Y is using Facebook as an online forum to organize rallies and protests and debate with peers. Founded in 2004 and touting seventy million users worldwide (twenty-seven million in the United States), the social networking site has become youth’s new grassroots leader. Democrats first tapped the online social networking scene in 2004, when Howard Dean realized how rapidly his campaign staff could rally supporters. This year, campaign- ing via Facebook is common practice. More than 1.25 million users have added the ABC News U.S. Politics application since it was implemented in the 2006 mid-term elections, allowing users to read, watch, debate, and participate in political discussion. Obama’s hugely successful Facebook campaign has garnered him more than eight hundred thousand supporters on the site, roughly six times the amount of either Senator Hillary Clinton or McCain. As a young Republican, Polk pits himself against the majority of his peers. “I try to show people ‘I’m young and I’m conservative.’ It’s a challenge. I hear a lot of irrational arguments.” Polk, whose inbox is regularly filled with hate mail, attracts pro- and anti- Obama students who engage in often-heated debates on his group’s discussion board. “I caught myself in one that put me behind studying for days,” he says. Facebook’s political presence has the mar- ket power to send more young voters to the polls in November than the 2004 presiden- tial election, which saw the largest turnout of under-thirty voters in the last decade thanks to organizations like Rock the Vote. Prior to Obama’s March 21 visit to the UO’s McArthur Court, Facebook invitations were sent to roughly four thousand local us- ers. The bombardment of notifications had college voters lining up as early as fourteen hours before the speech. Though Polk’s membership grows by about nine hundred members per day — expanding from one thousand to more than forty thousand members in just five months — he recognizes that his Facebook efforts ultimately offer a place for college students to be engaged in politics. “I wish [college students] would look top to bottom at all the issues,” says Polk. “At the end of the day, whether people are voting Libertarian, Re- publican, or Democrat, if they’re voting, then it puts a smile on my face.” - Lindsay Funston and Kamran Rouzpay politics Breaking conventions Left: With over twenty- seven million Americans registered with the social networking site, Facebook has become an important campaign tool, providing an outlet for young people to declare their allegiance or opposition to political candidates. 08 f l u x 2008 IllustrationbyKELLYWALKER
  10. 10. Advertisement IN FLUX Attention aspiring rock gods and goddesses: your chance to shine has arrived. Grab your friends and some brews, and get ready to hit the stage with Rock Band, a video game that brings out the virtuoso in even the most tone-deaf and uncoordinated among us. Founded in the mid-nineties by a couple of MIT students, Harmonix Music Systems has created games that channel the thrill of making music. After craft- ing the smash hit Guitar Hero series, Harmonix joined MTV Networks and broadened the experience to a four-piece arrangement with Rock Band, the collabora- tive music game. Harmonix delivers brand-new downloadable songs through its iTunes-like store. The music store has been a surprise hit; more than eight million songs have been downloaded, and musicians have taken notice. Mötley Crüe broke new ground when releasing its new single, “Saints of Los Angeles,” exclusively through Rock Band. And with more than 1.5 million copies of the game sold in less than six months, the success of Rock Band is breaking out of living rooms. Rock Band has found a special home where few video games dare to tread: bars. Traditionally, bars cater to two separate attention-grabbers for the inebriated: games of skill and opportunities to be unreasonably loud. Rock Band, which combines the two, has struck a beer-soaked chord with patrons across the country since the day it came out. Local venues such as Eugene’s Jackalope Lounge and Portland’s classic arcade-turned-bar Ground Kontrol offer weekly Rock Band nights. - Nick Cummings Barstool rockstars nightlife Left: Tone deaf? Can’t play a single chord? On Monday nights at Eugene’s Jackalope Lounge, even the most instrumentally challenged get a chance to take center stage in a button-pushing, music- making frenzy. JarodOpperman Suite 41228 University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403-1228 •Located In the EMU• –Proudly serving students since 1900– flux.uoregon.edu 09
  11. 11. FOOD Inside Laughing Planet Café in Eugene, cus- tomer Ben Falkin peers over the colorful counter crowded with plastic dinosaur toys, watching as the server mixes his smoothie. “You can watch them cut up the beet for the Carrot Apple Beet Smoothie,” he says once the chilled blend is safely in his grasp. “I come here regularly be- cause the people are great and the food is quick and convenient.” Falkin is among a grow- ing number of people who patronize healthy fast food cafés throughout the country. For the past few years, cafés promoting quick, delicious, and healthful foods have sprouted nationwide in the casual dining sector. “[Organic food is] going to be the fastest-grow- ing segment of the fast restaurant business,” says Sam Fromartz, journalist and author of Organic, Inc. “Health is in the DNA of organic food,” Fromartz adds. “That’s part of its core mission.” Laughing Planet grew from founder Richard Satnick’s search for eateries that served nutritious and convenient foods. In 1995, Satnick opened his first “Planet” in Indiana (named after the im- age of a fed-up planet laughing off human folly). To launch the menu, he went on a pilgrimage to the San Francisco Bay Area to observe and taste the one food he considers perfect: the burrito. In 2000, Satnick brought Laughing Planet’s signature burritos to Portland, and later to Eu- gene. Inside the café, you won’t find endorsements or manifestos of sustainability or nutrition; you will find eclectic art, funky music, and laid-back attitudes. “We get people to eat more intelligently, even if they don’t mean to.” One strategy: his to-go burri- tos are wrapped tightly in tin foil, designed to fit perfectly inside bicycle cup holders while minimizing waste. Eugene’s Café Yumm! builds on the fundamen- tals of beans and rice spiced by their trademark sauce. Co-founder Mary Ann Beauchamp devel- oped the sauce — a zesty mix of nuts, beans, and spices — as a means to entice her young daughter to eat healthy food. She opened the first of several cafés eleven years ago. In 2007, Café Yumm! started franchising, with a location in Bend and four more planned for Portland and Corvallis. John Shickich, the company’s franchise mastermind, insists that Café Yumm! isn’t out to change the world. “We just want to deliver soul-satisfying, deeply nourishing, and beautiful food from lower on the food chain with less environmental impact.” - Jessica McElfresh DINING Would you like sprouts with that? With limited funds and busy schedules, college students don’t always have the luxury of a healthy, home-cooked meal (nor do they have time to throw away two-month-old leftovers). See what’s going on inside today’s student refrigerators. Name: Andy Holmes Major: International Studies and Spanish Number of roommates: 3 How often do you go shopping? “Not very often. I’ll probably go every one-and-a- half to two weeks.” What is your favorite thing to buy? “Milk. I drink it all the time. It’s very practical.” What do you have most of in your refrigerator? “Condiments. We have too many of each one . . . a couple mayo . . . two mustards . . . “ What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever discovered? “A friend of mine gave us some chili in a Tupperware container that we never ate, and it devel- oped mold all over the top of it. That was pretty bad.” - Zach Klassen BLAKEHAMILTON Fast food doesn’t have to mean calorie-overload. Fridge fillers
  12. 12. FOOD zacgoodwin Kyrie’s top 10 baking blogs While writing about food may not sound quite as appealing as eating it, food blogs are rapidly gaining popularity. Type “food blog” into Google, and you’ll get tens of millions of hits. Food blogs provide a platform to edit recipes, discuss entrees or whole meals, and pose ques- tions. Beyond the inclusion of cookbooks, food blogs allow bloggers to write about the ways in which they experience food and document their culinary endeavors with photos. Jocelyn McAuley has been blogging for over three years but it wasn’t until she stumbled upon the food blog “World on a Plate” (worldonaplate. org) that she realized, “Hey! I can do this! … I was trying to create the ‘perfect’ pad thai (isn’t that sooo Eugene?) and was forever losing my recipe notes on what worked for me.” McAuley, otherwise known as “McAuliflower” writes her blog, browniepointsblog.com, under the tagline “a good girl’s notebook of her culinary world.” She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a degree in biology that has given her an innate curiosity about the world and the urge to try creative ingredients: liquid nitro- gen sorbets, anyone? “Good food blogs have a personal voice to them — a recognizable palate and style — and a veracity that cookbooks can’t come close to,” says McAuley. “I can check in on a food blog week after week and get to know that author in a way I will never know a cookbook author.” However, McAuley adds, food blogs written by novices can be frustrating when they make recipe-writing mistakes. Kyrie Juchemich is a baker extraordinaire. Her blog, cakenbake.blogspot.com, features an ever- evolving showcase of her experiments at home or in one of the two bakeries where she works (Mangiamo and Metropol). Juchemich started her blog in October 2007 to show her relatives, who live in Gladstone, Oregon, the treats she’d been working on. Her baking creations include peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and “Better than Sex” cupcakes filled with dulce de leche. With a full load of classes and a forty- hour work week, Juchemich spares precious time for baking because she is in love. “I’ll probably do nothing with my psychology degree,” she says. “But for me, baking is a comfort.” - Jessica McElfresh BLAKEHAMILTON food2.0 Just like your motherboard used to make 1.   Building a Bakery buildingabakery.blogspot.com 2.   Cakespy cakespy.com 3.   Bakerella bakerella.blogspot.com 4.   MadBaker madbaker.net 5.   David Lebovitz davidlebovitz.com 6.   Business of Cake thebusinessofcake.blogspot.com 7.   Chockylit cupcakeblog.com 8.   How to Eat A Cupcake howtoeatacupcake.blogspot.com 9.   Gigi Cakes gigicakes.blogspot.com 10. Pink Cake Box pinkcakebox.com LEFT: Jocelyn “McAuliflower” McAuley credits her degree in biology for her inclination to use unusual ingredients in the recipes she posts on her food blog. flux.uoregon.edu 11
  13. 13. FOOD Move over, Martha Stewart: today’s dinner party focuses on friends, food, and a low environmental impact. Small changes to routines and a little creativity can make a big difference, says Epicurious.com associate editor Lauren Salkeld. “If you’re in your twenties, this is a good time in your life to develop these good habits.” - Mindy Moreland and Lindsay Funston How to throw a sustainable dinner party Although the Oregon Chinook fishing season has been called off for 2008 to preserve fish populations, all’s not lost for tasty, environmentally conscious feasts. Most seafood packs a much smaller carbon-emission punch than do land-based animal protein sources. Visit flux.uoregon.edu for links to the numerous environmental groups that maintain lists of good seafood choices and those to avoid, based on factors such as fishing method, health of wild populations, habitat impact, and fish management practices. Serve your guests dinner without a side helping of habitat depletion. Main course “Just about every menu can be conscious if you use the right ingredients,” Salkeld says. “Look for things that are seasonal, local, organic.” Serving organic, local produce will reduce your exposure to pesticides, cut down the costs of food transportation and storage, and support local farms. Side dishes The average American uses 650 pounds of paper products a year. Reduce your impact by avoiding disposable plates, cups, and napkins. Don’t have enough? Ask your guests to bring a plate with them. “The best option is figuring out ways to repurpose things you already have,” Salkeld says. Need napkins? “Maybe you have bandanas of all different colors. You just need to be creative.” Napkins & dinnerware Choose natural light, compact fluorescent bulbs, or beeswax candles to power your party. Get creative when constructing a centerpiece: try a bowl of fruit or locally grown flowers. Have musical friends? Unplug the stereo and invite your guests to bring their instruments along. The mood BLAKEHAMILTON A great party ends with great dessert! Visit flux.uoregon.edu for a vegan chocolate mousse recipe that’s as easy to prepare as it is delicious. 12 f l u x 2008
  14. 14. ART Marshall Appelwhite is hardly a house- hold name. Preaching a gospel rooted in aliens and the Apocalypse, Appelwhite was the doomsday seer behind the Heaven’s Gate suicides in 1997. A decidedly un- popular figure, Appelwhite’s image is substantially less than timeless, making the fact that Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin managed to locate and purchase a black velveteen likeness of the googly-eyed guru even more remarkable. Anderson and Baldwin aren’t Heaven’s Gate disciples, and they don’t care much for Kool-Aid. It isn’t Marshall Appelwhite they worship, but the fine craft of velvet painting. Often classified as the bastardized, closeted cousin of fine art, velvet paintings are stuffed in basements and bargain bins, admired by old women perfumed with cat urine. For connoisseurs of kitsch, Anderson and Baldwin are relatively inconspicuous. Ten years ago, they embarked on a vel- veteen odyssey. Weary of squinting at stale European street scenes and zestless water lilies, the couple hit the road in search of something a little offbeat. They scoured the Western part of the country for velvet art- work, rummaging through thrift shops and garage sales, flea markets and flophouses. They were on a bender — drunk on love and velvet and Elvis. “The power of these damn things changes you,” says Baldwin. In 2005, they opened the Velveteria, a museum in Portland featuring throngs of black velvet banditos, gremlins, full-breast- ed aliens, dog-children, jackalopes, and poodles. “I think we’ve hung three hundred paintings, although I haven’t even counted them all,” says Anderson. The duo admits to an overwhelming affection for the overtly garish, but there are certain pieces that even they snub. “We don’t buy landscapes unless they glow in the dark,” says Baldwin. “We’re also tired of cartoons, Snoopy, and Mickey Mouse. And the new Elvises are pretty hack.” Inside the Velveteria’s showroom, visitors are greeted with an onslaught of all that is plush and neon. Each wall is organized loosely by theme: one dressed with tropi- cal landscapes and Polynesian women, another with D-list celebrities like Howard Stern and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Jesus is strewn about in nearly every conceivable form (including blessing a semi truck), and an entire room is devoted to voluptuous nude beauties. Unicornucopia, Poodletopia, Clowntacular, and the Surgical Evolution of Michael Jackson are rotating exhibits. A shrine in homage to Hawaii 5-0’s Jack Lord is exhibited nearby. As the assemblage of nearly two thou- sand fuzzy canvases continues to grow, so does the Velveteria’s notoriety. It’s been fea- tured on HGTV’s Offbeat America, the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, and NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as part of Tom Green’s countrywide search for interesting people. The couple even penned a book entitled Black Velvet Masterpieces, outlining the history of the art form. “It’s not easy being the new darlings of the art world,” says Baldwin with a playful sigh. Anderson and Baldwin remain passion- ate velvet fetishists, whether vying for a neon Condoleezza Rice or haunting eBay auctions for a flame-wielding Ted Nugent. After years of hunting and gathering, they’ve cemented a position among rococo royalty. - Kate Nacy Left: From their first velvet art purchase in Bisbee, Arizona — a painting of a naked woman — to this wall devoted to unicorns, Carl Baldwin and Caren Anderson have pursued their velvet passion and turned their collection into a unique museum. Gallery Welcome to the Velveteria ASHLEYBAER 14 f l u x 2008
  15. 15. ART MySpace fan base SOUND Water Tower String Band Genre Old-time/bluegrass/folk Since 2005 Where Lake Oswego, Oregon Known throughout Eugene for rowdy, viva- cious square dances, the band has fostered a new generation of old-time enthusiasts among its fans. “The fun in playing is the sense of community it brings,” says Cory Goldman, the band’s banjo player. “That’s really the heart of it.” myspace.com/watertowerstringband The Skyline Genre Rock Since 2006 Where Eugene, Oregon “We go for the straight rock sound because it doesn’t seem to be too prevalent in today’s music,” says Skyline singer and guitar- ist Daniel Jacobs. The sound, which combines British invasion and early nineties alternative rock, is fueling the group’s forty-six-show tour beginning July 2008. myspace.com/theskylinemusic The Arithmetic Danger Club Genre Electronica/rock/indie Since 2007 Where Eugene, Oregon “It’s basically rock with a ton of electric stuff over it,” says The Arithmetic Danger Club drummer Damion Winship. And he’s right. Bright MIDI and Korg synths pierce the ADC’s fast-paced rock aesthetic with influ- ences from Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, and Arcade Fire. myspace.com/thearithmeticdangerclub B-side culture With a new generation of music fans raised in a culture where the mp3 has become the aural standard, appreciation of analog LPs could be lost among multi- gigabyte iPods. But according to Nielsen SoundScan, an informational system that tracks the sales of music throughout the United States, record sales have risen from 858,000 in 2006 to 990,000 in 2007. Though these numbers aren’t staggering and pose little threat to CD or online mp3 sales, they do prove one thing: people still buy vinyl. Here are the most sought-after records of all time. - Zach Klassen John Lennon & Yoko Ono Double Fantasy, Geffen, 1980. Hours before he was shot and killed, John Lennon autographed his assassin’s copy of Double Fantasy. In 1999 the album sold for $150,000, making it one of the most valuable records in the history of recorded music. The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground and Nico, on acetate, Scepter studio recordings, 1966. Found by Warren Hill in 2002 at a yard sale in New York, this record was one of the first original recordings by The Velvet Underground. The record sold for $25,200 in 2006. Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen” single, A&M Records, 1977. The single “God Save the Queen” was released through A&M in a small number of copies. One original release sold on Ebay for £12,675 (nearly $25,000) in 2006. They’re not quite the starving artists of yesteryear. University of Oregon student musicians are taking the digital DIY approach to self-promotion, relying on social networking sites such as MySpace to propel themselves to Internet stardom. By keeping track of fans, announcing concerts, and distributing songs for free, local bands have delivered their signature sounds straight to their listeners across cyberspace — and generated swarms of followers as well. - Nick Cummings and Zach Klassen BLAKEHAMILTON BLAKEHAMILTON JARODOPPERMAN flux.uoregon.edu 15 COURTESTYUNIVERSALRECORDS
  16. 16. ART Above: Performing for a crowd of students, Karess Anne Slaughter, representing the Imperial Court System of Eugene and the local drag troop, SheBang, makes her entrance to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” Middle left: Thomas Criego, current emperor of the Eugene court, smokes and socializes outside The Embers in Portland. As emperor, he is required to attend functions around the Northwest. Below: Empress Daphne Bertha Storm waits in line with her Emperor to tip a performer, money that goes back to the various charities the court supports. Right: Sabel Scities helps make up a younger performer during the ISCEE’s HIV Alliance Show at the Hult Center, passing along the elaborate techniques needed to don full drag. “We may be drag queens honey, but if you think about it, who better to put on a show and help raise money?” says Dan Cook, better known as Mother Cherreese. Cook belongs to the International Imperial Court System (IICS), a non-profit organi- zation comprised of drag queens who employ their glamorous big wigs and gravity-defying stilettos to turn drag into an act of philanthropy. The IICS is one of the largest gay organizations in the world. The Eugene chapter, the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emer- ald Empire, performs every other week to support local chari- ties. In 2007, the Court raised nearly $11,000. “I’ve never seen an independent organization fundraise like them,” says Diane Lang, executive director of Lane County’s HIV Alliance. “The court has developed such a culture of giving, where they encourage others around them to give effortlessly. They really are amazing role models in that sense.” — Text and photos by Conner Jay Royal generosity COMMUNITY 16 f l u x 2008
  17. 17. Big horn, big plans PROFILE Name: Seth Horner Age: 23 Hometown: Eugene, Oregon Occupation: Tuba player Pursuit: Horner was in middle school when he began playing alongside students from the University of Oregon Tuba Ensemble. By his junior year at South Eugene High School, he had placed first at the International Tuba Eupho- nium Conference and was the top pick at the state tuba solo competition three years in a row. After graduating from the exclusive Curtis Institute of Music, Horner was accepted into UO’s graduate music program, where he currently studies and teaches. He is also a substitute musician for the Eugene Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival, and Oregon Ballet Theatre. He hopes to work for a major orchestra and continue teaching tuba lessons to university students. Talking shop: “Stay committed to your music and your identity. Find your sound, nurture it and be prepared to be flexible.” - Zach Klassen JarodOpperman ART flux.uoregon.edu 17
  18. 18. ENVIRONMENT Two years ago, the Navy began testing buoys in the ocean as a way to generate energy. Although the concept is still in its infancy, the Oregon coast is slated to be the first place in the nation to install wave parks, and implementation is moving quickly. In the next five years, Oregon may become the nation’s leader in wave energy. Here’s a look at wave energy and what it means to Oregonians. The basics In Oregon, wave energy technology pri- marily consists of buoys that harness energy and send electricity inland. It’s considered an alternative energy one hundred times more powerful than solar energy. “We need a lot of energy to power the world, but it only takes a small fraction of the total avail- able energy in the ocean to do that. Now it has been estimated by researchers in Eu- rope that if we could take 0.2 percent of all the energy in the ocean, that would do the job,” said Allan Wallace, the late researcher at Oregon State University whose innovative research and ideas helped kick off the wave energy program at OSU in 2003. Currently, there are wave energy projects (some in the works) in Portugal, Ireland, England, and the United States. Reedsport, Oregon was chosen as the optimal location in the nation for developing a wave energy test site by the Electrical Power Research Institute in 2004. Reedsport is on course to have buoys in the water by 2009 and a full, 0.25 square mile wave park in five years. The Reedsport location will produce fifty to one hundred megawatts of energy. Who’s involved The developers: At OSU, a major site of wave energy development and testing, researcher Ted Brekken and his colleagues are optimis- tic about the power of wave energy. Brekken is eagerly working to develop the necessary technology to make it happen. The private companies: The companies competing to bring wave technology into the marketplace include Ocean Power Technology and Finavera. Groups like these will help to support development, installa- tion, and maintenance costs of the buoys. They also stand to lose the most money if the technology fails. The fishermen/crabbers: The push to develop marine reserves is slowly elbowing fisher- men out of their former territories. Wave parks and the close proximity of buoys to the shore — within three miles at Reedsport — limit fishermen and crabbers’ access to the coast. The state and federal agencies: The abundance of groups filing licenses to develop wave energy over hundreds of miles of coastline prompted Governor Ted Kulongoski to al- low only five to seven full-scale wave parks. — Jessica McElfresh Making waves energy Left: By 2009, the waters off Reedsport, Oregon, chosen as the test site for wave energy development in the United States, will be home to many buoys like this one. photoCourtesyofAlSchacher,Wesrf Without buoys in the water it is nearly impossible to predict the environmental effects of a wave park, but researchers at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center have been working to determine a plausible range of impacts. At a 2007 conference organized by the Hatfield Center, stakeholders met to discuss ecological impacts on waves, fish, habitat, marine mammals, and seabirds. Their conclusions will help guide current and future impact studies to ensure that the new technology doesn’t negatively affect the coastal environment. Environmental implications 18 f l u x 2008
  19. 19. ENVIRONMENT Rose City roaster Today, the average American farmer is fifty-five years old. Farmers make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, but an agricultural revival is on the horizon. Students are playing an important role in today’s food revolution as they begin to understand the importance of communal farming and the joys of freshly grown food. “There’s been a paradigm shift in con- sciousness,” says Harper Keeler, director of the University of Oregon’s Urban Farm. “The whole idea of knowing where your food comes from is huge.” Urban farmer and UO philosophy student Laura Beko agrees. “To not know where your food comes from is kind of scary,” she says. “Eating what you produce is a cool thing.” The Rodale Institute’s Farming for Credit Directory lists seventy-seven colleges and universities nationwide that offer classes or hands-on work in campus gardens to lure young people back to the land. “When everything you do in college is in the class- room, it’s fun to get outside,” says senior UO political science major Jaime Symons. The UO’s Urban Farm — a thriving 1.5- acre outdoor classroom — is one of many sites nationwide where the student farm movement has taken root. The farm, now in its twenty-sixth year, has created a growing network of young farmers throughout the Willamette Valley. These students, newly educated about the basics of soil composi- tion, crop rotation, and composting, are eager to turn their knowledge into food in their own homes or community gardens. Jen Surdyk, a third-year Urban Farm team leader and garden coordinator at the Laurel Valley Educational Farm at the Northwest Youth Corps, takes pleasure in working with soil and with people in the various green spaces. “Bonds are created by growing food and eating food,” she says. “On any day there’s no place I’d rather be than farming.” — Karen Nagy Cultivating change seeds Who he is Daft Punk electronica beats bump in the converted yellow garage of twenty-seven-year-old Joel Domreis while he decides what beans to roast for the day. The owner of Courier Coffee Roasters, Domreis applied his longtime passion for java and regard for the environment (he earned an environmental studies degree from the University of Oregon in 2003) as guiding principles for his southeast Portland startup. What he does After college, Domreis began roasting in his backyard with a pie iron and a side burner on his gas grill. Today, he runs his business with professional equipment. Domreis roasts for ten homes and sixteen businesses and delivers to all of them on his bike. He admits hauling 75 pounds of coffee on the front of a cargo bike can be awkward, but it forces his business to stay small, local, and sustainable. “Cars make things easy — a little too easy,” says Domreis. “Biking limits me in that I can only go so far.” He wakes up at four o’clock each morning to begin roasting and he’ll make up to three trips daily across downtown Portland to deliver his products: coffee in glass mason jars and brown paper bags stamped with the company logo. — Amy Purcell ashleybaer KatieONheiber Left: Andrew Doherty, a senior anthropology major, carts a load of weeds at the UO’s Urban Farm, one of seventy-seven such programs at colleges and universities nationwide. flux.uoregon.edu 19
  20. 20. ENVIRONMENT 20 f l u x 2008 Bathroom The Body Shop The Body Shop’s once laudable reputation of social responsibility and sustainability is questionable since it joined the L’Oreal family, a company accused of animal testing and using harmful chemicals. SC Johnson & Son More than 95 percent raw materials are used in the company’s well-known household products, including Ziploc, Drano, and Windex. Pantry 1 3 5 3 It’s not easy buying green Our eco-savvy age group is bombarded with messages pressuring us to save the environment while encouraging us to fill our apartments and our lives with more stuff. In 2007, the world’s population emitted 19 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide, consumed 9.1 percent of the earth’s fresh water, and continued to deplete available energy resources at a rate of 4.1 percent. Many corporations would like to have you think your next purchase will help reverse those statistics. Don’t let them fool you; “going green” takes more than an advertising campaign. We surveyed products that might be found in our next apart- ments, considering everything from marketing tactics (advertising with green jargon like “compostable” and “recycled” and boasting about energy ratings to boost perceived sustainability) to manufacturing procedures. Discover which companies are guilty of greenwashing (in red) — turning the green trend into a financial game with big promises, vague claims, and no real intent to protect the earth — and those that really do strive to reduce their carbon footprints (in green). - Flux research editors IKEA Praised for its environmental efforts, IKEA refuses to use materials from intact natural forests. This stackable chair is made from banana leaf, a material often discarded as waste. LivingroomApple MacBook Air Even with Apple’s restricted substances program, its products and manufacturing processes use small amounts of heavy metals and ozone- depleting substances. Office Abundant Earth Shop the company’s website for handmade mattresses of organic cotton and natural latex, recycled lawn furniture, and organic area rugs. Bedroom YOLO Colorhouse Wall Paint This brand produces environmentally friendly paint products. Its products contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (which release hazardous chemicals). Reasonably priced at $28-$39/gallon. Walls General Electric Last year GE was accused of selling coal-fired steam turbines and supporting oil and gas production despite its 2005 campaign championing cleaner water and reduced emissions. Kitchen Kitchen Wal-Mart The super-store boasted of an Earth Month campaign in April 2008, but its buildings typically consume 20 acres of land, encourage driving, and produce tons of CO2 emissions.
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  22. 22. flux.uoregon.edu 23 He got out of bed; his long knobby legs feeling oddly exposed as his bare feet thumped on the hardwood floor. His dreadlocks bounced on his back. When he arrived at the freezer he pulled out a bag heavy with denim. “Freezing your jeans helps with the smell,” he says. “I usually freeze mine every two to four weeks. If that doesn’t work, I Febreze them.” McKeen grabbed the jeans and shoved them into his face. He inhaled, satisfied that they no longer smelled like sweat, grime, fart, boy, and overall gnarliness. Though they were still stiff and frozen, McKeen pulled them on: the cool denim felt good on the summer morning. It was the start of the 310th day of McKeen and his jeans. On August 21, 2006, McKeen began The Raw Denim Jeans Project — customizing your jeans by not washing them for a year — with his friend and fellow denim enthusiast Michael Gardner. It was Gardner who opened McKeen’s eyes to raw denim, convincing him to try on a pair of Iron Army jeans at Portland’s Johnny Sole boutique. As the Foo Fighter t-shirt-clad vegan stood in the dressing room, assessing each pair of Iron Army jeans in the mirror, he thought of the artistic possibilities raw denim presented. Raw denim jeans come straight from the loom, which makes them extremely stiff and dark. “Over time, your body forms creases in the jeans that zeroWASHES 1YEAR, 1PAIR The Raw Denim Jeans Project ­— it’s more than a fashion statement On June 2, 2007, Sean McKeen awoke in his underwear for the first time in weeks. He felt strange without the familiar pull of denim around his legs, but if he could sit in a chair and smell himself, it was time to freeze his jeans. Yesterday, it was time. story Katrina Nattress photos Katie Onheiber
  23. 23. fades the dye in those particular places, making more of a personal mark on your jeans,” explains Gardner. The jeans fit unlike any McKeen had worn before. Snug and stiff, they hugged his legs as if they were made specifically for his body. He gladly forked over $170 for the Hiro Straight Leg Raws, one of Iron Army’s most popular cuts. Within the first month, the rigidity disappeared, leaving McKeen with the form-fitting jeans he calls his “second skin.” Though McKeen may not sound like the typical wearer of designer jeans — his mother claims he shopped at Goodwill in high school — he has always been one for commitment. “If he makes a commitment he will follow through,” says Marcella Owsley, McKeen’s girlfriend. She points out that the twenty-three-year-old has been grow- ing his dreadlocks for five years and has been under the needle for over twenty hours in order to complete a tattoo of the Milky Way galaxy that spans the left side of his body, beginning under his armpit and wrapping around his thigh to end near his pelvis. It is advised not to wash raw denim for a few months upon purchase, but McKeen had been studying Nam Jun Paik, a Korean artist whose performances span the course of a year and have included him tying himself to a woman with a 6-foot rope but not being able to touch her. Fascinated by Paik’s time-based art, McKeen, an Oregon State University art student, raised the non-washing time to a year. He also decided to extend the project to four years, changing the pair of jeans annually when the members (four total for round one) congregate for the first washing. By March 2007, Gardner and McKeen had recruited another member for the Raw Denim Jeans Project: Frankie Flatch. Like McKeen, Flatch is not usually one to spend hundreds of dollars on clothing, but says it’s not just about personalizing a pair of pants. “I am willing to spend more if I know the workers are treated fairly,” says Flatch of Iron Army. In 2004 Steve Opperman and Steve Dubbeldam established Iron Army, the now defunct brand used for year one of the project. The two purchased old jeans at thrift stores and customized them in their hometown, Edmonton, Canada. When their out-of-the-garage designs grew in popularity, the duo was forced to move produc- tion to Los Angeles. In an effort to oversee operations and ensure fair payment and employee working conditions, they moved too. The Raw Denim Jeans Project — like the efforts of urban hipsters to mainstream organic fabrics and support local, handmade clothing — fuels the movement to look at clothing as part of a social statement and ecological responsibility. McKeen, Gardner, and Flatch may be on the fringes, but they’re not alone in their attempt to think Previous: For year two of The Raw Denim Jeans Project, McKeen and the other members are wearing $400 Iron Heart jeans from Japan every day. Below: McKeen, a vegan, replaced the leather Iron Heart label on his jeans with a black label of his own design. Right: “Freezing your jeans helps with the smell,” McKeen says, starting his day with a bag of ice-cold denim. “If you were to take them off and put them up to your face, you’d immediately pull back.”
  24. 24. flux.uoregon.edu 25 Here’s something to think about next time you’re out shopping for jeans: A quarter of all pesticide use occurs during the cultivation of cotton. According to the World Health Organization, twenty thousand people die annually from accidental poisonings in conventional cotton agriculture. Organic cotton grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers is weaving its way into the clothing industry, which translates not only to better conditions for workers, but also fairer wages. Large corporations such as Gap and Levi’s have begun implementing organic cotton into some of their clothing lines. Gap introduced an organic cotton t-shirt for men last spring and Levi’s launched a sustainable line that includes men and women’s jeans, tees, leggings, and skirts, all made with at least 98 percent organic cotton. Clothing goes organic a little more about the impact fashion has on the environ- ment. According to The NPD Group, a consumer and retail market research firm, 27 percent of consumers polled in 2007 were interested in eco-friendly brands and retail, a leap from just 6 percent in 2002. Gardner sees green fashion, and raw denim, as a subculture, and believes the benefits outweigh the jeans’ price tag. “To me it’s like collecting action figures or base- ball cards,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle.” A lifestyle, it turns out, with its own look, feel, and smell. At two o’clock in the morning on a humid summer night, McKeen stood in a sweatshirt, boxers, and socks tagging a building in downtown Portland with stencils declaring “Raw Denim Jeans Project August 21, 20.” He taped his jeans to the wall with “07” painted in white on the left back pocket, completing the phrase and rendering him pantless because, of course, he didn’t think to bring an extra pair on his excursion. McKeen uses his street art to remind the city of his project and hopefully open some eyes to raw denim. He plans to implement supplemental urban art in each year of the project. “It’s a big commitment and a lot of people think I’m crazy,” says the denim fanatic, who is willing to pay up to $800 for a pair of jeans in upcoming years. “I want people to know what I’m doing.” By the twelfth month of the project, not even freezing could save the jeans. “The last month [of the project] was equivalent to the first eleven combined,” recalls McKeen. The jeans were subject to beer, vomit, paint, and construction work all in the course of thirty days. “If you were to take them off and put them up to your face, you’d immediately pull back,” he says. “It was a foul, rotten trespassing of the senses.” On August 21, 2007, McKeen, Gardner, and Flatch stand in their boxers, Budweisers in hand, at Flatch’s southeast Portland home. They hold their jeans in front of them, admiring twelve months’ worth of creases, fading, and stains. Their jeans see the inside of a washing machine for the first time, finally being cleansed of the disgusting substances that have been absorbed into the denim in the past year. McKeen makes sure the first wash isn’t too harsh by using special detergent made in Japan. Unable to read the directions (they are in Japanese, after all), he dumps the contents of the packet into the washer. Once the buzzer sounds, they hang the jeans to dry in Flatch’s shower. “This is the conclusion of a year’s amount of work,” says McKeen. “I feel accomplished.” In Flatch’s bathroom the water dripping from the denim is a mixture of blue and brown from the indigo dye and dirt collected over the year. The dye has faded in areas, leaving the color of the jeans uneven. Each pair is unique, formed by the body of its owner. Honeycomb creases permanently form under the knee. A small hole is burned in the left thigh of McKeen’s jeans from an experiment testing whether raw denim is flammable. It is. As the jeans drip, McKeen and Gardner try on a new round of jeans for year two of The Raw Denim Jeans Project, a $400 limited edition pair of Iron Hearts from Japan. The cycle begins again.
  25. 25. 26 f l u x 2008 I In the north of Madagascar we ran from crocodiles. We startled one on a sandy riverbank and it thrashed its tail, raised its head, and disappeared into the river in front of us as we sprinted downstream. I remember in the confusion of motion and spray, smiling, and I don’t know why. Maybe because this seemed fitting, running from crocodiles. This was what was supposed to happen on African rivers. This was the adventure. Thinking about it now, I smiled because there is nothing that makes you freer than running from crocodiles, no feeling more immediate. It’s the same feeling you get from paddling whitewater. I was with my best friends, running a first descent on a wild Madagascar river, and we were running from crocodiles. Nothing could be better. story & photos Aaron Rettig map illustration Chris Brock running from CROCODILES Editor’s Note: In December 2007, Aaron Rettig found himself amid eastern Africa’s austere land- scapes. Along with world-renowned kayakers Lane Jacobs, Rush Sturges, Tyler Bradt, Ian Garcia, and Patrick Camblin, Rettig followed the banks of Africa’s White Nile River with one mission: to discover uncharted whitewater. Video camera in hand, this University of Oregon senior and Flux videographer documented the expedition the kayakers dubbed The Africa Revolutions Tour.
  26. 26. flux.uoregon.edu 02
  27. 27. SUDAN CENTRAL AFRICA REPUBLIC CHAD ETHIOPIA DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO SOMALIA KENYA TANZANIA ZAMBIA ANGOLA M OZAM BIQ UE ZIMBABWE MADAGASCAR SOUTH AFRICA LESOTHO BOTSWANA LIBYA EGYPT Antanarivo Johannesburg Durban Livingston Jinja Nairobi SWAZILAND NAMIBIA UGANDA CONGO ERITREA DJIBOUTI RWANDA BURUNDI EE MADAMADAGAGAASCASCARARAA AnAntataaananaririvovoaa NaNairirobobiibbbbiibbiibbiiMOMOCRATCRATICIC PUPUBLICBLIC OFOF CONGCONGOO KENYKENY ZAMBZAMBIAIA ZIMBZIMBAA FFRICARICA HOHOLESOLESOTHOTHOLELELLLESOLESOTHOTHO OTSOTSTSSWANAWWANA buburgrg DuDurbrbanan ststononststststononststooststononststonon JiJi jj SS WWWWRWRWWWRWRW UUUUBUBUUUUUUUUU TANZTANZANIAANIA M OZ M OZAM B AM BIQ U IQ UEE ABWEABWE DuDurbrbanan JiJinjnjaa NNDDNNNNANANANANLANLANANANANANAZAZILAILAAAAZAZILAILASWASWAAAWAZWAZ LALA DADAWANWANDDDDDD NDINDINNURUURUNNNNNN F Far from the granite rivers and the Polynesian influence of Madagascar, near Conrad’s Congo River, and just below the killing fields of Sudan, lies the source of the White Nile River. Here in Jinja, Uganda, the Nile is born from the polluted waters of Lake Victoria and doesn’t stop until it reaches Egypt, some 3,500 miles away. In the first forty miles of the Nile’s life, the river drops in gradient and pushes its way through a series of islands, forming channels of whitewater with some of the biggest holes and waves found on the planet. It was on the banks of this river, only yards from these rapids, that I found myself in December 2007 on a mission to explore the rivers of Africa with some of my closest friends and some of the best whitewater kayakers in the world. These were people who refused to live life by the rules, globetrotting in search of fame, glory, whitewater, and stories to tell the girls back home. Expedition leader, longtime friend, and kayaking all-star Tyler Bradt had recently broken the waterfall descent world record on Alexandria Falls, a 107-foot drop in Northern Canada. “How was it?” I asked twenty-one-year-old Bradt, who stood shirtless in the Ugandan sun, a Nile Special beer in his hand. “Super chill,” said Bradt with a smile on his face, eyes hidden by a pair of oversized Smiths. Between 2006 and 2007, three months before his world record descent, Bradt and whitewater legend Seth Warren drove a Japanese fire truck converted to run on vegetable oil from the northernmost point of Alaska to the southernmost point of Chile — promoting alternative fuels along the way. I joined them on the Colombia leg of the journey. “Let’s get all the boys together and go have some fun in Africa,” Bradt said on the banks of the San Juan River in central Colombia. “Fuck it, I’m in.” My words would have a profound effect on me one year later as we set off from Uganda, driving south, kayaks on the roof and hope in our hearts. After crossing Kenya and escaping the escalating violence in the troubled Rift Valley, we traveled across the wide expanse of Maasai land sneaking under the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, down through the agricultural lands of Tanzania, and directly through the poverty of Zambia. We drove day and night. We didn’t stop until we reached the banks of a grand river, which, after dropping 700 feet over Victoria Falls, plunges into one of the deepest, most intimidating gorges on the face of the earth. We gazed across the banks of the river into Zimbabwe, a land of unrest and speculation, a land where the names of politicians were on everyone’s lips. When white explorers first peered over Victoria Falls into the rapids of the Zambezi, they immediately proclaimed it one of the wonders of the world. This river has made legends out of men. The high concentration of big-water rapids, backdropped by the spectacular falls, sent waves of adrenaline through my muscles as we dropped into the first rapid. As I looked up at the walls around me, I, like everyone experiencing the Zambezi from water level, realized the only way out was down. The river was swirling against the canyon walls. It pulled me, mocked my movements, and I gave in. I reached out a hand, grabbing at the water in an attempt to feel the power. It slid through my fingers. On a sandy bank, somewhere beyond the chaos, muscular male smugglers rested with Zambian goods that would fetch a high price across the river in economically ravaged Zimbabwe. They raised calloused hands and flashed white smiles at us, chirping in a singsong language, voices reverberating off rock walls, soon to disappear in the roar of whitewater. Three days of driving across Botswana and the northern part of South Africa found us in Bethlehem in time for Christmas. Here one can see the blue ridges of Lesotho. It was in these mountains that the bloody battles of the two Boer Wars were fought. To this day the fiercely independent Afrikaners remain rooted to the ground that holds the bones of their ancestors. Even after the fall of apartheid, the rise in power of the African National Congress, and the latest racial tensions brought about by land claims, the white Afrikaners refuse to leave the land they consider to have first inhabited. Looking at the cool, level stares of the Xhosa, the Zulu, and the inhabitants of the townships, I find the arguments of the white nationalists hard to believe. Their principles are entrenched in the colonial doctrine of an era that has passed them by and face a future where they might not belong. In Durban we met up with the rest of the crew and began our expedition in earnest. Running fifty-footers in the Zulu stronghold of Kwaza-Zulu Natal, we hiked over green ridges to paddle rivers in the Drakensberg Mountains and dropped into steep gorges in the dry desert highlands of the Transkei region. We surfed waves on the Wild Coast and, perhaps our greatest “Let’s get all the boys together and go have some fun in Africa.” Previous: Locals watch as Ian Garcia paddles over Deepdale Falls in the Drakensberg Moun- tains of South Africa. Below: The red dotted path depicts the team’s land expedition south; the yellow shows the flight north.
  28. 28. flux.uoregon.edu 29 In a land with no knowledge of kayaking, we were doing the unimaginable. accomplishment, put on below the famous 700-foot Semonkong Falls in the independent Kingdom of Lesotho. We ran the river three days until we reached the first village. In this village, Bradt and I hiked upstream two miles, crossed the river, and bought outdated beer from a village of twelve. The villagers announced with great dignity that we were the first white people to visit this place. Next time, they insisted, we must give them warning of our arrival. They would have slaughtered a goat. After chasing African rains and checking off river drainages one by one, we came to our final destination: Madagascar. Here time takes a slow turn backward. The European-style cobblestone streets of the capital, the fresh baked bread, the church steeples, and the language spoken are all reminders of the French colonizers whose legacy remains. In the south, villagers gathered as we ran first descents on swollen rivers that were pouring over banks and flooding rice fields. They ran alongside us, barefoot and screaming with every stroke. In a land Above: Madagasy locals gather around kayaking equipment as the crew prepares to put on the river Onive in Central Madagascar. On this day, the river was flooded from Cyclone Ivan, which left much of Madagascar underwater. with no knowledge of kayaking, we were doing the unimaginable, and they were witnesses to it. Africa is a reminder and lesson in mortality. Because of this, moments of pure brilliance stand out; moments that you can never fully reproduce or mimic. In the northern part of Madagascar, days after running from crocodiles, I had such an experience of purity. On the first descent of the Kazamana River, starting with waterfall after waterfall of clean, cold water that emptied into green pools, we were surrounded by grass hills and scars of granite; slashes in the hills, promises of more drops to come. We eventually came to that promise. The river dropped in front of us, and we paddled to a horizon line, looking hundreds of feet below us into the valley. For three days, we ran quality virgin whitewater. Secluded in the wild, stroke after stroke, we achieved brilliance. We forgot our mortality as it fled somewhere far away, to another river, another adventure, and we continued to paddle downstream.
  29. 29. 30 f l u x 2008 jJust before ten o’clock on an unusually sunny Saturday morning in March 2008, Tanya Burka is busy hanging hoops and trapezes in the gym of the French American International School. In a few minutes the Pendulum Flyers, Portland’s youth aerial dance troupe, will start their four-hour rehearsal. Amy Winehouse blares from the iPod speakers in the corner, signaling the start of practice and Burka, the twenty-six-year-old head coach of Pedulum’s education programs, joins the singing teenagers in a series of stretches. Burka has worked with the Pendulum Aerial Dance Theatre as a coach and performer for just over a year, beginning shortly after graduating from L’Ecole Nationale De Cirque in Montreal. story Kate Griesmann photos Ashley Baer Tanya Burka abandoned a dream of working for NASA to explore the lighter side of hanging around in space The of Suspension Science
  30. 30. Becoming an aerialist was, relatively speaking, a late-in- life decision for Burka. As a child she dreamed of work- ing for NASA, an ambition she pursued wholeheartedly for twenty-two years. Her love for science led her to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she received a degree in nuclear engineering before abruptly changing career paths. Dressed in the same unofficial uniform as the middle and high school girls in the troupe — a leotard concealed by a t-shirt and black leggings — it’s sometimes difficult to tell the coach from her students. Burka’s dark hair is cut short and asymmetrically, calling attention to her prominent bone structure. “I’m Ukrainian on both sides,” she says with a laugh, gesturing to her face. As the group finishes stretching, Burka walks to a set of blue aerial silks: long, wide pieces of two-way stretch nylon that Previous: When Burka discovered aerial dance as a senior in high school, she was immediately drawn to the art form, deciding to pursue it as a career after graduating from college. Below: After braiding long pieces of aerial silk together in a Maypole-like dance, the Pendulum Flyers, a youth aerial dance troupe in Portland, chat as Burka works through choreography details. hang from the ceiling. Burka climbs one of the silks the way young children climb the fireman’s pole on the play- ground by pulling herself up with her arms, wrapping her legs into the fabric, and stepping up. The stretchy nylon gives a little each time she pulls on it, but soon Burka is 30 feet in the air. Aerial dance is still only vaguely known in the United States, but is gaining a reputation, thanks in part to Cirque du Soleil. It combines elements of ballet and modern dance with gymnastics and elevates them using the trapeze, hoops, ropes, and aerial silks. Once in the air, Burka wraps the blue fabric around her body several times, preparing for a trick called the “star drop” — a complicated move starting with layers of material wrapped around dancers’ torsos and legs. With a nod of the head they flip forward, simultaneously rotating horizontally and vertically. They spin and twist with arms and legs outstretched, creating a star-like shape tumbling through space. The Flyers have been practicing this trick for months, and while they’re good at it, it still makes several students nervous. “We’re going to play a game, which is the ‘let’s get you guys over thinking this is scary’ game,” Burka calls from above, swinging gently from side to side in the fabric. Today, she explains, they will practice the star drop in two parts with a distinct break in the middle that leaves the dancer suspended in mid-air. The silks unravel from Burka’s lean frame as she demonstrates, evoking an Emeril-esque “Bam!” in the pause between the two parts. The teenagers on the ground laugh — they’re accustomed to Burka’s relaxed approach. The first pair of students climb the silks, get into position, and are suddenly wracked with fear. The game has backfired — for some students, slowing the trick down has only made it more terrifying. On the ground, unendingly patient, Burka calls out words of encouragement until the dancers find the confidence they need to take the risk. From a young age Burka was armed with the self- determination she now imparts to the Flyers. She recalls a family story of deciding to be potty-trained at the same time as her brother, Adrian. Although he is fifteen months older than her, age did not deter Burka from getting out of diapers. By the time she entered kindergarten at the Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Burka could read and do basic math, including addition and subtraction, which made it difficult for teachers to keep her occupied. “For a lot of kindergarten and first grade I think they sent me to the library,” she says. Burka excelled in every academic pursuit she came across, searching out extra credit and earning good grades. As a senior at MIT, she was a member of the 2003 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association’s All-Americans in Aca- demics, which required a G.P.A. above 3.0. The previous year, she received the Irving Kaplan award for outstanding academic achievement in nuclear engineering. With her natural smarts and dedication, plus a degree with the MIT seal beside her name, it seemed like there was little that would stop Burka from achieving her childhood dream. So, why is she hanging from the rafters of a Portland gymnasium instead?
  31. 31. there.” With aerial dance still on her mind, Burka decided that the opportunity to take a risk was more important than a successful disappointment. “Even if I go into it and fail miserably; if I get injured; if I just can’t hack it; I’d much rather say I tried than look back and wonder,” she says. During her senior year, while completing her thesis, she applied to circus school. Pryor attended Burka’s last gymnastics competition at MIT and it was there that she found out that her daughter’s career horizons had changed. Under the fluorescent lights and curved ceiling of duPont Gymnasium, a renovated airplane hangar, the coach announced that one of the seniors had prepared a special performance. This student, he explained, planned to do something very different after graduation. She had been applying to circus schools and was going to perform the piece she choreographed for her auditions. The anonymous “she” was Tanya Burka. Though Burka had mentioned circus school to her parents several years before, Pryor was nonetheless shocked when her daughter took the floor. “I guess I never thought she was serious,” she recalls. Rather than perform a tumbling routine for judges, Burka claimed the blue-matted floor as her own with a combination of gymnastics and contortion paired with a vamping, overly gawky style. The audience was enraptured. When it was over, her mother knew Burka was on her way to becom- ing a professional performer. The home video from that day recorded her reaction: “Oh shit, I know she made it.” That fall Burka enrolled at L’Ecole Nationale De Cirque, which is a trade school of sorts. The students who study there do not usually go on to a university: they become circus performers. Courses of study include aerial dance, clowning, juggling, and acrobatic technique. Although the focus isn’t as academically rigorous as, say, MIT, the flux.uoregon.edu 33 Above: As a nuclear engineering major at MIT, Burka worked at the helm of the school’s nuclear reactor. She set that training aside when she attended L’Ecole Nationale De Cirque in Montreal, a school of higher education in the arts — better known as circus school. The opportunity to take a risk was more important than a successful disappointment. Burka’s love of aerial dance began when she was older than most of the teenagers she works with at Pendulum. Germantown Academy required high school seniors to do month-long internships before graduation. On a whim, Burka called the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. “I sort of figured that was my last hurrah before I went off to work for NASA,” she says. The school found a spot for Burka. In return for taking out the trash, fixing the fax machine, and performing other general office tasks, she was allowed to take classes for free. Burka doesn’t hail from a circus family (her mother is a project manager for a pharmaceutical company and her father owns an auto-body shop), but a childhood of gymnastics lessons piqued her interest in the circus. Eye surgery to correct strabismus (cross-eyed vision) left her with poor depth perception, something she has grown accustomed to, though she admits shiny doorknobs still occasionally get the best of her. As a result of the surgery, she shied away from sports with moving objects because it was hard for her to tell whether they were coming or going. Gymnastics, Burka found, was perfect because the athlete controls the movements. But despite years of training, Burka describes herself as a “horrible” gymnast. She is strong and flexible, but at 5’10” her height makes it difficult to rotate fast enough to perform many of the tricks. During her internship Burka discovered a way that her gymnastics background could benefit from her height: aerial dance. In the air, Burka’s long limbs create an ethereal quality while her gymnastics training gives her the strength to complete the tricks and make every move appear effortless. Before leaving San Francisco, a staff member told Burka that she had the potential to be a professional aerialist. “It had just never occurred to me to pursue an alternative career like that, and I was like, ‘That’s a really cool idea.’ But if I’d told my parents,” she says, trailing off into laughter. “They would have just killed me and buried the body where no one would have found it.” She also realized that, at age eighteen, she was not ready to abandon the NASA dreams of her youth. So, putting off the idea of aerial dance for a few years, she attended MIT. Having been a shy, glasses-and-suspenders-wearing kid whose elementary school report cards encouraged her to speak more in class, performing didn’t come naturally to Burka. In San Francisco she started the long process of overcoming some of that shyness. “Having gone to the same school for my entire childhood, it was the first time I got to step outside of that and meet people on my own terms,” she says. The confidence she gained through that experience followed her back to the East Coast where her mother, Lesia Pryor, remembers noticing a marked differ- ence in her daughter. “It was like some of that quiet and introverted person changed,” she says. At MIT, Burka competed on the gymnastics team and worked at the nuclear reactor on campus. During shifts at the reactor, the reality of her chosen career path started to make itself plain. “It was boring, it really was,” she says. “The training is awesome: there are pneumatic tubes, and there’s radioactive material — but the reality is that you sit
  32. 32. people that they happen to fall in love with someone who was born somewhere else.” Despite their separate living situations, Tanaka admires Burka’s career. While for some people, watching their spouse twist, flip, and twirl from the ceiling of a gymnasium may cause heart palpitations or sweaty palms, fear for her safety doesn’t enter Tanaka’s mind. “I love watching her because there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing her do what she loves,” he says. Today, the level-headed Burka knows that being a performer, especially a circus performer, is a career with a relatively short shelf life, and certainly doesn’t always lend itself to a stable lifestyle. The rebirth of circus as an art form has created a higher demand for performers like Burka, but many jobs require extensive travel. As her contract with Pendulum ends, she is preparing for a three-month stint in Turkey, performing several nights a week at an upscale hotel. When she returns in August, the search for a new contract will be waiting for her. Despite the uncertainty of the future, Burka doesn’t spend much time worrying about the next step: perhaps, like the star drop, slowing down long enough to realize the intricacies of the motion is scarier than just following its course. “Just knowing that I’ve managed to do what it is I dreamed of doing as part of my career — that’s really all I was looking for,” she says. “I want to look back when I’m eighty and say, ‘Look at the insane crap I did.’” 34 f l u x 2008 Above: Without the aid of nets or safety lines, Burka (front right) practices a star drop with the members of the Pen- dulum Flyers. Rehearsals also include work on the hoop and trapeze Opposite: For Burka, the uncertainty of a future as a performing artist wasn’t enough to keep her from taking a risk. “If you do it right there isn’t any such thing as lost time or closed doors,” she says. “I want to look back when I’m eighty and say, ‘Look at the insane crap I did.’” experience of studying performance arts is no less intense. Students spend a minimum of forty-one hours a week in class or practicing their skills. “It’s a really difficult thing to put all of yourself up for evaluation,” Burka says. “Everyone leaves there a little scarred.” While living in Montreal, Burka met and fell in love with Jon Tanaka. After she graduated they moved to Portland where jobs awaited them — Tanaka with a residential treatment facility for adolescents, and Burka with Pendulum. Tanaka’s job did not work out, however, and after a few months he moved back to Canada. Burka remained in Portland with Pendulum, and also works part time at Ryan Artists, a Portland-based talent agency. She holds two jobs because, as she says, “Even if you are a success as a circus performer you’re still not a success financially.” Burka’s financial security seems to be more of a concern for her mother than for herself. “My whole goal is to do this as a living. I don’t expect to get rich or famous,” Burka says with a shrug. But for Pryor, a “reluctantly supportive” parent, knowing that Burka side- stepped a financially viable career for one that is less so has been difficult to accept. “I worry about her never being able to retire,” says Pryor. She adds that Burka has always been conscientious when it comes to money; she saved up enough in college to pay for her own LASIK eye surgery. In January 2008 Burka and Tanaka married, but have yet to live in the same country as husband and wife. “It’s really rough because the whole point of coming out here and taking this particular contract was to try and be together and have a home life and everything since I wouldn’t be on tour,” she says with a wistful smile. “But, you know, it happens to hundreds and thousands of
  33. 33. photo Tim Wallace photo illustration Ben Mangin
  34. 34. flux.uoregon.edu 37 hrough the swarm of tourists, Zach Blank eagerly made his way down 53rd Street, toward the Museum of Modern Art. His lanky frame was clothed in a black button-down dress shirt, a matching undershirt, and Banana Republic jeans in a light wash. His chocolate hair exploded in untamed curls. The University of Oregon had sent him to New York as the first-ever Bedbury Scholar, backed by a successful alumnus who funded his attendance at industry conferences that would prepare him for a future in digital advertising. Blank’s ingenuity and brilliance in electronic media had landed him the scholarship. As he stood near the front of the museum, Blank noticed a short, poised man move toward him. The man spoke with a lisp, and the large medallion on his hemp-like necklace glistened when he moved — it was the same one he’d worn at the 2007 Technol- ogy, Entertainment, Design (TED) Talks that Blank had watched and analyzed so many times. The man had pioneered the study of human-to-computer relationships in 2006, and his newest project was on exhibit at the museum. He was Blank’s idol. “Jonathan Harris?” Blank asked. The man turned. They shook hands. What if a single website could show what the world was wondering? story Meghan McCloskey photos Tim Wallace THE BIG IDEA T
  35. 35. n January 2008, Blank began a project modeled after Harris’ 2006 program, We Feel Fine, a web- site that collects people’s feelings and studies self- expression. Today, Blank’s project-in-progress taps into search tools and scans the world’s newly posted blog entries for ideas — about anything. His program tracks blogging websites such as Blogger and Word- Press, looking for sentences containing the words what if. When it finds a fitting phrase, the program stores it in a database, along with details from the author’s profile page. The compiled information is then displayed on a website just seconds after the authors publish the thoughts to their blogs. Blank envisions a design where his findings are displayed artistically. One aspect of the site will have a spinning centrifuge of sentences that responds to the user’s mouse placement, prominently displaying one idea at a time. “The presentation is cutting edge,” Blank says. “The website doesn’t have any allure without it. If it were just a big table with all this data, it wouldn’t be as interesting.” When the project is finished, users will be able to use filter tools and categorize the contents to discover the authors’ demographics and the time of day when the ideas were recorded. Blank will be one of the first people to publish such an application. He anticipates that the website will allow advertising students and professionals to understand what their audi- ences think about various ideas because it will provide raw, candid opinions. The project may even help ad pro- fessionals better develop their target demographics. Blank hopes this knowledge will further promote diversity and creativity in advertising. “It will make rapid development of ideas possible,” he says. “[Professionals] can use it to instantly see how [their] ideas expand in the world.” Blank’s role as a digital innovator places him firmly in a niche for young, savvy college students and graduates worldwide. In February 2004, former Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, the trendy social networking site that connects users with messages, photos, games, social causes, and events. Today, at only Below: Looking ahead to the completed project, Blank recruited Nina Pav- lich in April 2008 to help with the artistic design of his website. This image — a series of constantly moving cubes — is one possible way to display the world’s ideas. Blank’s website will allow people to see how their ideas expand in the world. I
  36. 36. flux.uoregon.edu 39 twenty-three years old, Forbes estimates Zuckerberg’s worth at $1.5 billion. In 2005, twenty-two-year-old Stanford University dropout Sam Altman founded Loopt, a cell phone social mapping service to track the locations of friends. In 2007, BusinessWeek named Altman one of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs. Blank predicts his Idea Project won’t make billions by itself, so his goal is to become a recognized figure and travel the world speaking about similar projects. “I love teaching,” he says, “and people pay to watch those talks. That’s where the money is.” But profit isn’t his only motivator. “A goal of mine will be to get invited to a TED Talk,” he says. Each year at the TED conference, which sells out a year in advance, fifty of the world’s most innovative thinkers share their ideas in front of one thousand people. UO advertising professor Deb Morrison believes Blank will get there. “His learning curve is a beautiful trajectory,” she says. “Many people are content to just take things in, but he’s taking them in and inventing things — literally and figuratively — and that’s huge.” It’s the main reason he was chosen for the Bedbury scholarship: “We wanted someone who was at the top of his game.” lank first became interested in building web- sites when he was ten years old. His parents had given him and his thirteen-year-old brother, Seth, a Packard Bell for Hanukkah, and it sat upstairs in the corner of their play- room. Each day, after his homework was finished — that was the rule — Blank would concentrate on the screen for hours, assembling and perfecting the many websites he’d created about skateboarding, complete with tricks, photos, and directories for users to locate skate shops and parks nationwide. “It all started with both of us being interested in [web] stuff, going through our dad’s books and goofing off together,” Seth says, “and he’s the one who carried it on. The web thing has always been a constant, no matter what else has changed in his life.” In 2003, Blank dove into more advanced web pro- gramming when he and his father opened Rock Gear, an online equipment vendor and virtual community for rock climbers. By 2004, Blank was programming the site with almost no help. The store closed in 2006, but it didn’t hinder Blank’s newfound enthusiasm for programming. His first big break came in 2007. While searching Craigslist for job postings, he came across a woman who needed someone to create a simple website for her church; Blank did it for $100. His professionalism astounded her, and she offered him another job building a network for the online classes she taught. He created a site that charged participants $300 to sign up for her sessions. Within the first week, it brought in $13,000. Clients began contacting Blank to construct websites for their businesses: a Portland hair salon, an organic cookie manufacturer, a luxury fur company, and a Portland catering group. Today, he grosses about $30,000 per year while going to school. “The money really gets reinvested right away,” Blank says. He grabs his iPhone and declares, “This is work” — he uses it to communicate with clients — “but it’s also kind of fun.” He treats himself to luxuries such as a 15-inch MacBook Pro and a brand new Nissan Xterra, but he also pays for a large chunk of his tuition. Blank’s Idea Project will bring in money based on the number of people who click the advertisements on his site. “The advertisers have deep pockets; they pay a lot of money for those. And [they] give that money straight to me, which is nice.” B whattheif.com Blank’s program uses an automated search tool known as a crawler to scour the world’s blogs looking for sentences containing the words what if. After snatching the entire what if sentence, the crawler checks the blogger’s profile page for his or her age, gender, and loca- tion. As sentences are grabbed by the crawler and stored on Blank’s server, the program looks for relationships, or common themes, between sentences. For example, a sen- tence about trucks is related to a sentence about hybrid engines because they both focus on cars. The program then displays the ideas in a variety of ways, such as con- necting similar-themed sentences in a web or floating the ideas in a cylinder. Blank’s program uses an automated search tool known as a crawler to scour the world’s blogs looking for sentences . After snatching the entire sentence, the crawler checks the blogger’s profile page for his or her age, gender, and loca- HOW THEY WORK wefeelfine.org In 2006, Jonathan Harris developed a project called We Feel Fine, which inquires into the human experience and our need for self-expression. His motivation for the project was his inherent interest in social anthropology. But instead of collecting ideas, Harris collects feelings; his program scans blogs for the phrases I feel or I am feeling. The results drop onto his website in the form of floating dots: bright yellows and oranges for happy emotions, and blues and purples for sad ones. Users can click the dots to visit the blogs to which the feelings are connected. The filter tools let users search for emotions based on geographic location, gender, age, weather, and time.
  37. 37. 40 f l u x 2008 Blank’s industrious lifestyle doesn’t allow time for relaxing. “I have very little life outside of work,” he says. During his freshman year at UO, he went to the Student Recreation Center nearly every day to climb the rock wall. Now, he admits, most days he’d rather work on his project or on his clients’ websites than climb or spend time with friends. He only makes it to the rock wall once a week. Even when he doesn’t have class or homework, he works in the journalism school for about six hours per day. t was after 1 A.M. on Thursday, February 7, 2008, when Blank realized that collecting instantaneous ideas from around the world was nearly impossible. He hunched over his desk in annoy- ance, his eyes burning a hole into a 23-inch monitor. He rummaged through line after line of seemingly frivolous code; where was the data he needed? Phrases like “I have a great idea” and “that was a bad idea” meant nothing. Desperate, he e-mailed Jonathan Harris and asked him how to collect relevant sentences. Harris wrote back the next day only to say that he built his own program — and good luck. “I kind of thought, ‘Well shit, what I am going to do now?’” Blank worried he wouldn’t finish before graduation. “Time is my biggest fear because I have so much on my plate,” says Blank, who must balance his time with clients and deadlines and flying to and from New York for job interviews. But after fiddling with his search tools for more than a month, Blank captured his first string of relevant data: “It might be a good idea to give some thought to avoiding sources of indoor pollution.” It was something, but wasn’t great. “I feel confident that I can collect good data,” he says. “I feel confident that I can display it in an artistic way. But I don’t feel confident that I can distill that data down to exactly what the idea is.” To do this, Blank must teach his computer to perform a human task: recognize a big idea. In April 2008, he met with Dejing Dou, a professor in the UO’s Computer Information Sciences program. Dou had a hard time understanding Blank’s American accent, and after repeating the word idea multiple times, Blank scribbled it on the whiteboard in Dou’s office. The professor eventually grasped the concept, and asked Blank, “How many years do you have to work on this?” “Years?” Blank panicked. “I have a month.” Dou explained that Blank needed to decipher the pat- terns in which people articulate their ideas and “explain” them to the computer. Blank realized that people don’t Above: Unlike many university students, Blank says he prefers to spend free time working on his project or completing jobs for his clients here in his second home, the third floor of the UO’s journalism school. Opposite: An avid climber, Blank used to spend several afternoons a week climbing at the Student Recreation Center, time that has been replaced by balancing classes, work for various clients, and trying to make history as a digital innovator. People don’t usually use the word idea when expressing their revelations; they preface their thoughts with what if. I
  38. 38. usually use the word idea when expressing their revelations; they are more apt to preface their thoughts with what if. He had been working for months on a dead-end project. “It was really discouraging,” he says. Today, Blank reads multiple books about “machine learning” while he watches what if sentences roll into his database. He studies their patterns, jotting down the ones that seem consistent. Blank toils at this task on the third floor of Allen Hall, home to the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication, at a round desk in a corner that he calls his “second home.” His friends and classmates routinely stop by the table that they’ve coined “Zach’s office” to say hello, slap high-fives, or chat before class begins. They know about his project, but they don’t realize that he plans to change creative advertising. The Idea Project will get Blank one step closer to his goal: working for a New York ad agency as an interaction designer, creating the user experience for web pages. “I love doing these big projects. I feel like I’ve never learned anything more from doing a single thing,” Blank says. “The magnitude and difficulty of [the project] used to be a reservation for me, but as I get deeper into it and start flowing along, that fear kind of recedes.” His goal is to have one million users per day within the first month his site is published. For publicity, he’ll simply rely on word of mouth. “Interest alone will guide users to the site,” he says. After a pause, he adds: “It’s a really cool idea.” Late Night Food Specials Great Margaritas and More with Free Chips, Salsa, & Queso with Drinks and/or Meals We look forward to seeing you! Have fun and a great term. www.missionmexican.com 610 E. Broadway 541-686-8226 The Mission Restaurant & Campus Cantina Invites you to visit the new edition of The Mission Restaurant New Bar! New Patio! flux.uoregon.edu 41
  39. 39. Faithrecovery in P atrick Brazington dropped out of school in the sixth grade. He grew up around biker gangs and tried marijuana and cocaine at age twelve. Twenty-eight drug-related crimes remain on his record. “I’ve overdosed four times. You’re completely aware; you know you’re going to die,” says Brazington. “You hope that someone will come and save you.” Brazington shares a similar story with his forty “brothers” enrolled in Teen Challenge. During the first phase of the yearlong faith-based drug rehabilitation program, Brazington bonded with fellow student Nathan Miller. “The more you fight the harder it gets,” says Miller, a twenty- five-year-old from Portland who used to make fake transfers at the bank where he worked. “Somehow I never got caught. There were a lot of times I got away with stuff — a lot of times that I should have died. I have no idea why I’m alive today.” For two men, friendship and trust in God are the foundation for overcoming addiction story & photos Benjamin Brayfield 42 f l u x 2008
  40. 40. 44 f l u x 2008 Students come to Teen Challenge by free will to correct abusive behavior, rebuild family trust, circumvent jail, or all three. Though the program is called Teen Challenge, the in-patient students are adults. “People generally get into drugs and alcohol at a young age,” says program director Ron Winning. “When we get them they have the coping skills of a teenager.” Sheep farms and open grassland surround Teen Challenge’s pale stucco façade. Inside the concrete hall- ways and tiled walls — deterrents to impulsive punches — the rehab program uses the Bible as a foundation for behavioral change. Each day starts at 6 a.m. and lights go out at 10:30 p.m. Students work six days a week and go to church on Sundays. “Many of these people never had structure in their lives,” says Winning. “We are teaching them how to be successful in the working world.” Brazington and Miller came to Teen Challenge in October 2007. Both have tried secular rehab without suc- cess, disheartened by the “once an addict, always an addict” attitude. Once they accepted Christ, the two friends say, they began doing what he wants them to do. “Pat would never come to Teen Challenge,” says Brazington, referring to himself in the third person as his fellow students do — a reflection of their submission to Christ and the relinquish- ment of abusive pasts. “I’m tired of doing meth. My kids don’t want to see me when I’m using,” he says. “I used to steal from my own momma to support my habit.” Previous: “I have a hard time taking orders from someone I would normally be the boss of,” says Nathan Miller, at work at the Teen Challenge Thrift Store in Lebanon, Oregon. “I want to leave sometimes, but that is just my flesh talking.” Above: Patrick Brazington moves into the twelve-person dormitory on his first day at the Teen Challenge center in Shedd, Oregon. Brazington and the other students will learn to rely on one another and God to break the substance abuse habits of their youth. Middle: After two months of sorting donated items at the Teen Challenge thrift store in Salem, Oregon, Brazington was promoted to head cashier. When he leaves the program, Brazington hopes to rebuild his relationship with his wife and children. Below: Students study the Bible and other Christian literature as the foundation for learning how to live a productive, substance-abuse-free life. Opposite: “Praise Jesus in this house, even if you don’t want to!” Brazington says. Every Sunday, the students join the congregation at a church in Brownsville, Oregon. “I’m tired of doing meth. My kids don’t want to see me when I’m using.”
  41. 41. 46 f l u x 2008 Above: In an effort to get him away from drugs and alcohol, Miller’s grandmother, Marcella Kennedy, took him on trips across the country and around the world. However, Miller continued to use drugs. Below: Days at Teen Challenge start at 6 a.m. and require everyone to help out. Most days Miller works the janitorial shift, also known as the “house mouse.” Opposite: Miller embraces his grandmother during his family’s first visit to the Teen Challenge center. “She keeps reminding me why I’m here,” he says. Miller never knew his biological father, but the man he calls “Dad” made questionable parenting decisions. “I went hunting in first grade and [my dad] didn’t bring any milk for my cereal,” he says. “‘Don’t worry, son,’ my dad assured me. ‘There is plenty of beer.’” Miller’s mother sent him to live with his grandmother, Marcella Kennedy, to get him away from drugs and alcohol. While Kennedy took him traveling and bought him nice things, Miller’s drug habit continued. “I’ve seen thirty- nine states and thirteen countries, but I threw it all away to drugs,” he says. More recently, Kennedy took her grandson to the Oregon Coast on a day pass from Teen Challenge, reminding Miller why he’s in the program. “Addicts are selfish people,” he says, “but now I’m learning how to think about other people.” The coming months will test the determination of Brazington and Miller. Both men say they shun sub- stance abuse and try to focus on each day as it comes. Brazington wants to rebuild his relationship with his wife and children and take them to Hawaii. Miller aims to attend Portland State University or a Bible college with the intention of counseling youths who’ve had similar experiences. “I don’t want him to be Mr. Famous,” says Miller’s mother, “but I’d really like him to take this experience and help other kids.” Now, each man has faith in his ability to do so — faith in his recovery. “You know you’re going to die, and you hope that someone will come and save you.”
  42. 42. Four anonymous athletes, one famous face DUCKstory Katie Cornell photos Conner Jay I AM

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