This Friday, 11/29/13, the Civil War between the Ducks and the Beavers rages ever onward, with fur and feathers flying.*

Although it was first played in 1894, it isn’t officially the 119th annual event – there were several years during which the game wasn’t played at all and two years in which the game was played twice. Games have ended in joyful parades and have ended in violent riots. It is a longstanding rivalry, with victory changing hands time and time again through the decades.

McMenamins East 19th Avenue CaféAt McMenamins East 19th Street Café in Eugene, Ore., there is a message for all who pass through its doors, be ye a Duck or be ye a Beaver…. Maybe you’ve noticed it or maybe you’ve passed right on by, en route to get your passport stamped or have a beer. It’s worth a moment to stop and have a look.

* I have no horse in this race between ducks and beavers. All reports are 100% without bias.

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We are well into the 100 Nights at the Crystal Ballroom, leading up to its 100th birthday on January 21, 2014. Until then, the joint will be lit up with nightly entertainment, from national acts to the return of longtime Portland favorites, from showcases of up-and-comers to themed events inspired by the Crystal’s past.

Rudolph ValentinoWe’re taking a look back at some of the acts to have come through this gorgeous space. For example, this gorgeous man – Rudolph Valentino, the 1920s silent film star who was one of the biggest box-office draws after WWI, with such motion pictures as The Sheik, Blood and Sand and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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The building that today houses McMenamins Oregon City was constructed in 1930 as the parish hall for the town’s pioneering 1851 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Years of church functions, wedding receptions and community events still resonate here. Meanwhile, the lots surrounding St. Paul’s property became populated with a diverse assortment of neighbors – the Oregon City Brewery, the Clackamas County Courthouse, the Liberty Theater, along with the constant waterlife playing out just down the bank to the north, where the Willamette River flows.

Art: Oregon City, Willamette River, and VW RollsIt was an adventureland for children, and in the 1930s, the five Mockford kids – whose father, the Rev. A.J. Mockford, was rector for St. Paul’s – enjoyed the spectacle, curiosities and attractions of their surroundings. Many of their recollections, and in particular, those of eldest sibling Stuart Mockford, are depicted in the artwork that adorns the walls of their old parish hall. In 1994, McMenamins initiated a new chapter, by transforming the longtime church building into the Oregon City Pub, while nurturing its tradition of being a place for special gatherings and an observation point for life as it flows around us.

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This Friday, November 22, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Today, we recall our connections to the Kennedy family.

Maurine Kennedy and John Kennedy, 1960s

Maurine Brown Neuberger (left) was born and raised in Wilsonville, Oregon. She married Richard Neuberger, who became a U.S. Senator from Oregon. When Richard died while in office, Maurine finished out his term and then was re-elected, serving for much of the 1960s, during which time she came to know and work with JFK. She was the fourth woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and to date, she is the only woman elected to the Senate from Oregon. You can learn more about Maurine Neuberger in some wonderful artwork at the Wilsonville Pub.

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History isn’t all about black-and-white photos, old-timey characters and buildings long since gone. Sometimes you can discover history simply by talking to the people around you.

Read to the very end, to learn the incredible McMenamins connection here….

Bali Ram dancingThis is Bali Ram, a world-renowned classical Indian dancer. Born in Nepal in 1935, Ram today calls Bend, Ore., his home. Over the course of his lengthy career as a dancer, he has performed for kings and princes, presidents and emperors, celebrities and artists.

As a child in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, Ram was found to have an innate sense of rhythm, so he was sent to a rigorous dance academy in New Delhi, India. He trained for hours on end. He became highly skilled at this intricate form of dance in which the slightest movement has great meaning.

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