May is merry, and the UO has the arts events to prove it

It may be a month best known for its spring blooms, but May is also a celebration of Asian, Desi and Pacific Island American Heritage Month, and there are many opportunities this month to explore these rich and diverse cultures.

Join the festivities at two Asian Night Markets for crafts, performances and delicious cuisine. The open-air markets, popular around the world, promote leisurely strolling, shopping and eating. And don’t miss the Vietnamese Student Association’s annual culture show “Ascending to New Heights.”

Or catch an exciting lecture from Museum of Natural Culture and History archaeologists on the recent discovery of a Chinese restaurant and gift shop excavated in downtown Eugene or drop in for “Spirited Away” and “Minari,” two Asian-focused Ducks after Dark screenings at the Erb Memorial Union.


Embrace the Vietnamese culture through music, dance, acting and cuisine May 1 in the Erb Memorial Union ballroom at the UO’s Vietnamese Student Association’s 31st annual “Culture Show: Ascending to New Heights.”

Join Jade Fox, a comedian whose motto is and will always be, “This is a safe space, but you CAN get roasted.” BE YOU, organized by the BE Series, welcomes Fox as keynote speaker for the 2022 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17 in the EMU ballroom. 


University Theatre wraps up its play season with the classic Noel Coward farce “Hay Fever,” which follows the antics of the eccentric members of the Bliss family and the unsuspecting guests invited to their country home for the weekend. The play will be presented in the Robinson Theatre, May 20-21, 27-29 and June 3-4.


Cinema studies welcomes director Diane Martel as the 2022 Harlan J. Strauss Visiting filmmaker. A series of free community events with Martel include “The Art of Music Video,” featuring screenings and discussion about the director’s 30-year career on May 2; “From MTV to YouTube,” screenings and discussion on the history and evolution of music video with Martel; and on May 6, an interactive workshop, “Treatment Writing with Diane Martel.” Martel started directing music videos for Def Jam in 1992 and over the course of her career has directed videos for N.E.R.D., Pharrell Williams, Pink, Beyonce, J.Lo, Justin Timberlake and others.

The Oregon Humanities Center’s 2021-22 Tzedek Lecturer Charles Chavis Jr. will screen “Hidden in Full View: Out of the Archive, Racist Plans are Laid Bare,” a short film he produced and co-wrote about the 1931 lynching of Matthew Williams by a mob of white men in Salisbury, Maryland. Chavis will be in Portland on May 16 and on campus in Eugene May 17.

All cinephiles welcome! Expand your knowledge of francophone culture and cinema at Le Club Cinéma film screenings in McKenzie Hall. Upcoming films include, “Rien à Déclarer” on May 5, “Petit Pays” May 19, and “Spectacles de Gad Elmaleh” June 2.

Scene from 'Animal House' If you appreciate fun activities and love free movies and snacks, you won’t want to miss out on this month’s roster of Ducks After Dark presentations in the EMU’s Redwood Auditorium. First up on May 5 is the Studio Ghilbi animated classic “Spirited Away,” a story about a young girl who becomes trapped within a mysterious world of spirits. A 7-year-old Korean American boy who is uprooted from his West Coast home to rural Arkansas is the subject of “Minari” on May 12. Follow the latest iteration of the Caped Crusader in “The Batman” starring Robert Pattinson on May 19. Finally, closing out the month on May 26 is “Animal House.” Love it or hate it, Johnson Hall, Gerlinger Hall and the EMU Fishbowl at the UO as well as other local locations are prominently featured in this classic 1978 National Lampoon comedy. 


Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on May 20 in downtown Eugene at Asian Night Market, a gathering of rich cultural diversity through performance, cuisine, Asian food booths and trucks, crafts, and Asian films from the DisOrient Film Festival. The Asian and Pacific American Student Union will host a similar Asian Night Market event on the EMU Green on May 13.

Come out to MacArthur Court on May 21 for the 47th annual luau, “Ke Alaula,” The Light of Daybreak, presented by UO Hui ‘O Hawai’i. The first in-person luau to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in two years will include live music, authentic Hawaiian food and traditional Hawaiian dances.

Get ready to make merry, dance and build community at “Enchanted Forest: A Queer Prom by the LGBTQA3” May 20 in the EMU’s Redwood Auditorium.


The spring 2022 Ancient Jewish Art and Architecture Lecture Series will feature several lectures this month. Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, will lecture on “Jews, Samaritans and the Art of the Ancient Synagogue” at a virtual event May 2. On May 9, Jaś Elsner, professor of late antique art at Oxford University will present “Dura Europos in Its Conceptual Context between Eurasian Fantasy and Mandate Archaeology.” Zeev Weiss, Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will present “The Synagogue in the Shadow of the Temple and after Its Destruction” on May 11.

'This Is My America' book cover Join Kimberly Johnson, vice provost for undergraduate education and student success and author of the young adult novel “This Is My America” on May 4 for “Ideas on Tap: Tell Your Story, Change the World.” Johnson’s lecture will address storytelling, literary activism and expanding silenced voices.

Cultural and architectural historian Sun Young Park will present the Haseltine Lecture, “Architecture of the Senses: Designing for Disability in Nineteenth-Century France,” which focuses on her current research and first book, “Ideals of the Body: Architecture, Urbanism and Hygiene in Postrevolutionary Paris.” The event is on May 11.

On tap May 13 is “Voicing Form in Rock and Pop, 1991-2020,” a lecture from Oregon Humanities Center faculty research fellow Drew Nobile, who hopes to finally put to rest the notion that popular music is musically simplistic.

Lewis Watts, photographer, archivist, curator and Professor Emeritus of art at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will address “Faces and Places in the Diaspora” on May 19 as part of the spring 2022 Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Watts will speak about his photography and interest in the culture, history and migration of people in the African American diaspora.

Recent excavations have revealed an early 20th-century Chinese restaurant and gift store in downtown Eugene. Join Museum Natural and Culture History archaeologists Jon Krier, Marlene Jampolsky and Chris Ruiz on May 19 for their presentation on this fascinating discovery, “Longevity: The Archaeology of a Chinese Business in Eugene’s Market District.”


Scene from 'A Little Night Music' The University Opera and Orchestra Ensemble team up May 6 at Beall Concert Hall for “A Little Night Music.” On May 10, Idit Shner will present a saxophone performance as part of the Faculty Recital Series. And don’t miss “Path of Miracles,” performed May 15 by the UO Chamber Choir’s ensemble of voices specializing in a cappella from the 16th through 21st centuries.

The UO Campus Band, a concert band open to all students, will perform May 18. The Oregon Wind Ensemble will showcase the talents of nonmajor wind, brass and percussion students, May 19. Join the University of Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the premiere orchestra at the UO, for a concert May 20. School of Music and Dance students will present “Chamber Music on Campus,” May 27.

Think you have the vocal chops to win? Submit a video audition and compete in the third annual UO Pop Voice Competition on May 20. The winner will be decided by Grammy-winning guest judge Alvin Chea from Take 6.


Enjoy an evening of dance performance May 13 as Dougherty Dance Theatre presents the Dema African Dance and Drumming Ensemble, directed by assistant professor Habib Iddrisu, a traditionally trained musician, dancer and historian from northern Ghana. On May 26, the Department of Dance presents the 2022 Student Spotlight, featuring the works of nine emerging student choreographers in collaboration with UO dancers.

Streaming resources

Can’t get to an event in person? Google Arts & Culture is a great starting place for finding exhibits, collections, audio, video, images and more.

Explore the UO Channel for a variety of live-streamed events, Department of Art Visiting Artist Lecture Series videos, guest speakers and more.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications