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Joanie Cypress

Nashville native Joanie Cypress first visited Oregon on a summer motorcycle trip with her high-school sweetheart, Marv Cypress. "Life was simple, a backpack and a sleeping bag," she notes. Following their wedding the next year, the couple returned and lived for seven years in Five Rivers, 60 miles from Waldport. "I ground wheat berries and cooked on a wood stove," she recalls. After several years in Walport and Yachats with their two young children, they moved to Eugene in 1983. "I was over at Taylor's, starving for music," she recalls. "One of the women asked, 'Would you like to be a radar angel?'" And when the Radar Angels took first prize in the Eugene Celebration Parade that year, Cypress began a 20-year career with the street-theater troupe, singing and dancing at the Celebration, the Oregon Country Fair, and other community events. "I love to perform," she says. Last fall, Cypress let her southern roots show -- her character Scarlett O'Slimera was selected as the 22nd Slug Queen. A year filled with royal appearances was capped by the Queen's Ball in April, a benefit event that brought in 1000 pounds of food for Food for Lane County.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 25 August 2005

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