This weekend, two different crowds are converging on Ashland, Oregon for two different reasons. Whatever your pleasure (and both involve drama), this southern Oregon hamlet at the base of the mighty Siskiyou Mountains is always a good place to be. There’s sun, fun, mountain air, theatre, highline food, and more espresso milk shakes and deluxe earl grey-infused affogatos than any mere mortal should be entitled to.
Kicking things off on Saturday, high above town at the Mt. Ashland ski area, it’s the annual running of the Siskiyou Outback 50K and 50 mile, one of the crown jewels in the Oregon Trail Ultramarathon Series. It doesn’t get much better than running on the PCT up at 6,000 feet. Oregon is now at the forefront of the national ultra running scene, and so it’s not unusual for local ringers to show up and set the trail (but not forest – careful guys) on fire.
If you survive that, hose off the dirt, get a meal and some sleep, and turn out Sunday afternoon back in town at the Bowmer Theatre for the opening performance of Robert Schenkkan’s monumental world premiere, THE GREAT SOCIETY. Based on the first preview this past Wednesday, part two of the LBJ epic completely fulfills our expectations, which were admittedly high. It’s a story (and tragedy) about nothing less than the American experiment, and though focused on the late 1960’s, many of the issues remain front and center (and unresolved) in our own time. Schenkkan cleverly turns the mirror back on us, illuminating the timeless challenges and nature of political power. Oh, and about that all-American addiction to endless war? That has to change.
Stay tuned for full reviews of THE GREAT SOCIETY and FAMILY ALBUM.