Mark and Amy Meyers bought their first donkey, Izzy, more than a decade ago. Though they only sought a pet, their close relationship with Izzy inspired them to take up a cause. Soon after buying Izzy, they noticed that other donkeys in the neighborhood were suffering from abuse and neglect. They took immediate action: Amy began adopting the donkeys, and Mark spent his evenings talking to the donkeys and tending to their ailments. After they adopted their 25th donkey, they decided to start their own rescue organization, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.
Peaceful Valley, which currently cares for more than 1,500 donkeys, rescues domestic donkeys that have been abused or neglected and wild burros that have been displaced from their natural habitat. The donkeys are often found injured and wandering in the wilderness or are surrendered by their owners. After being rescued, they live in one of the farm sanctuaries in Texas, Oregon, or other satellite locations. Peaceful Valley has worked with capture programs, private landowners, and numerous government agencies—including the National Park Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife—to ensure that all donkeys have a safe place to live. Toward that aim, Peacefully Valley also holds clinics, trains donkey owners to better care for their animals, and educates the public about the nature and history of donkeys to improve their plight.
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Portland Opera has always set its collective eyes on the horizon. Since filling the gaps left by touring troupes and sporadically performing local companies in 1964, it has endeavored to expand the art form on the stage and beyond. Twenty years after its inception, it became just the second company in the US to project English translations of foreign lyrics above the stage, enabling audiences to leave their Italian dictionaries at home. The company also pushes the boundaries of the shows themselves, staging world premiers of classic stories such as Wuthering Heights, commissioning the work Lucy's Lapses, and producing the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass's Orphée. Not to be contained within one performance space, it also established Portland Opera To Go, a touring division that performs works such as Cinderella and La Bohème at schools and community centers.
Two of Christian music’s most iconic artists, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith join forces to spread the good news, leading congregations in melodious worship on their 2 Friends Tour. Since 1982, this dynamic duo has engaged millions to flock to their catchy, ecclesiastical pop music, sharing a musical camaraderie as impenetrable as a fortress with abandonment issues. Amy Grant, author of No. 1 hits such as “El Shaddai” and “Baby Baby,” has shared her gift of song for more than 30 years, selling more than 30 million albums, garnering six Grammys, and earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael W. Smith has earned countless accolades with his tremendous songbook of head-bobbing hymns and choir-rousing hits. Sharing the stage for the first time in two decades, Amy and Michael thrill fans with new psalms and favorites from their sonic scroll, merging their sets with joyful duets and chemistry that crackles like Abbott and Costello after getting struck by lightning.
Moving Moxie Pilates believes in the power of the human form and the acts of fitness it can achieve through proper encouragement and practice. The studio's Pilates Method Alliance–certified teachers operate from the beautiful confines of Moving Moxie's spacious space, located near Hillsdale, where taupe walls complement smooth wooden floors, creating an environment of zen comfort and physical awareness. Whether Pilates is an old friend or a mysterious new neighbor unloading its moving truck into your exercise-garage, the combination of one hour-long private lesson and six 55-minute mat classes will instill the strenuous values of repetition into the muscle-fibers that stretch like taffy until the body builds a tight, lean core made out of firmer taffy. Hearts grow healthier as workouts become easier through practice.
Ecdysiast, a modern pole-dancing studio that derives its name from ancient Rome, comingles the sleek techniques of modern fitness with the atavistic impulses of dance, resulting in a fun, social, and physical exhibition of the body’s beauty. A staff that includes certified personal trainers instructs a schedule of classes to accommodate most skill and fitness levels. During a one-hour class of fewer than seven, pupils position themselves before the studio’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors—cut at intervals with white, flowing drapery—to gaze at their reflection staring back at them as it sidles next to their own, individual, 16-foot golden-hued pole. The introductory Taster class dips newbie toes into the rippling waters of pole dancing with beginner moves, choreography, and floor work. At the instructor’s behest, students in the eight-week course will spin, climb, invert, and plane their bodies parallel to the ground in an act of self-levitation unattainable without the use of hundreds of helium balloons. The 90-minute party class packs similar routines and equal energy, but caters to the custom needs of the group, be they bachelorette, birthday, or a girls' night out.