I feel like the new center of downtown Eugene is Kesey square. The public library is also a central hub and will probably be even more so now that they are building an LCC building. On Saturdays, the Saturday Market is the center of town.
classic downtown Eugene…nothing going on
One misty Eugene evening, a group of renegade magicians of all earthly delights, were wandering through the city streets with dance in their step and flowers in their eyes. With the sand grains of the sand dial, and the passage of time, they felt themselves carried through the miraculous history of this quite unusual city. The night sky gazed down on them, with its twinkle twinkle blazing galaxy of stars, as the young lovers made their way to the many famous establishments around the Great “Bermuda Triangle.” “Just like a Prayer” they danced their silly-willy neon pants off to penetrating heart bumping 80′s pop classics, at Mr. John Henry’s weekly blast from the past party. Lost in the spell of dance they journeyed onward to the new age deliciousness of Da Cowfish because the sound of the Bass crazy Haus Musik! Provided by the Disc Jockey Master, Mandala, drove their dancing tie dye kicks into high vibrational patterns hitherto never before seen in the likes of these times. Through sweaty beat breaks and pounding glitch step rhythms, the journeyers learned new ways to time travel across the laser glazed, prismatic dance floor, consecrated by the sonic waves of the almighty digital consciousness. From the past to the future, they discovered ancient movements of the most intuitive mathematics amidst the stage of this peculiar day-glow city canvas.
Suddenly, time had become linear again, and the establishments closed their doors on the young pilgrims, leaving them to rediscover the vast night and the now seemingly vacant streets of a most strange and beautiful design. They were now a few, among some very nomadic people, whom cried songs of many years traversed in the ganja depths, along the roads, where beds were made of concrete, and blankets were made of yellow raincoats. They skipped onward until they reached a very merry prankster sanctuary. There they encountered the Great Chief and Eternal Mayor of Eugene “Ken Kesey,” cast in Bronze reading to the children of future ages. At this moment the young magicians were silenced by the hollow hiss of the night, sent inward by the synchronistic knowing they all felt deep within their chest, and poetically transformed by the sheer absurdity of a most cosmic and insoluble juxtaposition. From loud speakers they heard, and as one refined gentleman among the young lovers, cultured with adept knowledge of Western Classical Art, perceived with dignified lucidity, that the sacred sound streaming into the night air and filling the great place of memory was none other than Johann Strauss II, “The Blue Danube.”
A Waltz! A Waltz! A most sacred Waltz! And I dare not lie to you, fellow traveler, they did in fact waltz. Yes! They waltzed indeed, and with classical precision until at once laughter sprang, fireworks exploding, from their insides, they transcended into fully practiced circus performers. They conversed trough mime, interpretive dance and spine splitting contortions. Juggling rainbow powdered voodoo doughnuts they recited, butchered attempts of passages from Ginsburg’s the “Howl.” Fellow Citizens drove by and looked on to the spectacle with amazed bewilderment, which in turn inspired the magicians to even greater heights of ecstatic expression. After an infinite amount of time or merely a blink of the eye, in a spiritual fervor, in sacred homage to the true “American Dream,” they looked upon the City of Eugene and felt at once, like a rush of fierce blood and oxygen to the pineal gland, illuminating from within an omniscient knowing of all things, the great significance of this counterculture haven. The young magicians smiled at each other an infinite smile of profound gratitude, unshakable peace and ecstatic bliss and remained there, frozen inside the kingdom of endless joy for quite some time. After which one brave young pilgrim stepped forth with an air of humble resolution and said, standing next to the Great Chief’s bronze memory, “It is here, where souls learn to be truly free,” to which they all instantaneously silently agreed.
The Night passed on into the Sun of Day, but the young pilgrims would always remember the great lesson they channeled from the atemporal dance experience of that misty Eugene night, and all in their own ways, dispersed and went out and spread the seeds of true awakening into the sad scared world. The everlasting fountain of the “American Dream” can still be found in the heart of downtown Eugene, only if your heart is open and like an ancient sacrificial virgin, give your naked soul to Dance!
^ The Dance in Kesey Square, by Johnny Prevas
Long, long ago, downtown Eugene was a hopping place. You can still see a hint of it in the fancy old Tiffany Building, or imagine what the downtown market building (which is currently being renovated) must have been like in its heyday. But along came the malls with their climate controlled environments and movie theaters, tugging former downtown shoppers to either end of the Eugene/Springfield area.
Since then, attempt after attempt has been made to revive the downtown scene. With each failed proposal, Eugeneans wondered whether the heart of the city would ever beat again.
Then, like magic, along came Voodoo Donuts, oodles of food carts, construction projects and art walks. New hope is on the horizon, and it’s the color of a hot pink box of fried pastries!
Art walks breathe the life, I agree. I started hanging out on the weekends at a jam session and that was a really smart idea for meeting community and downtown people I’d have no way of knowing otherwise. Sometimes a town means as much to you as you put into it, so I’ve been trying to have that opinion and attitude about downtown Eugene.
Downtown Eugene is filled with amazing art galleries and delicious food. The downtown area has such a diverse setting and represents all walks of life. At first glance, the town doesn’t seem like much, but the more someone gets involved, the more there is to see and be a part of. It truly is unlike any other town.
Outside my window, the sound of downtown nightlife. “You bitch!” A woman is yelling at a man. They’re “on the street” as they say, homeless. At each other’s throats, it seems. They all seem to be at the throats of those whom they rely upon most, living on the streets. At 2:00 AM the clubs are letting out, and they sound like they’re having so much fun, they’re at each other’s throats, too. I grab a camcorder. A hobby, recording fist fights, which aren’t really fist fights so much as posturing and yelling and idiots being pulled apart by friends, because that first swing usually sends the drunken idiots stumbling. At 3:00 AM a voice rises out of the dark, sounding hopeless. I hope he can’t find his keys. I hope that’s all it is, drunken frustration, not the sound of being homeless without hope. I decide not to grab the camcorder, not to bother looking. Better not to know sometimes.