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Baseball Project

Baseball Project lineup, from left: Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey, Mike Mills and Steve Wynn. Not pictured: Peter Buck. McCaughey and Buck will explore the Baseball Project songbook in a performance/discussion at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Starker Auditorium, Majestic Theatre, 115 SW Second St., Corvallis. Their appearance is part of the American Strings Series, presented by Oregon State University and the Majestic Theatre. For more from our interview with McCaughey, see the online version of this story. 

A homecoming for a mid-valley musician is among the highlights of another busy week for local arts and entertainment events. Here's a quick overview so you can start planning your week:

The "American Strings" series of conversations with musicians resumes this Wednesday with Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck of the Baseball Project on stage at the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis.

The Baseball Project is a side project for musicians who are somewhat more famed for their work with other bands. Buck, of course, is one of the original members of R.E.M. McCaughey is well-known for his role in founding Seattle's Young Fresh Fellows; his long resume includes stints with R.E.M.

The Baseball Project allows its members to write songs about another of their passions — the American pastime. And with the Major League Baseball playoffs in full swing, there may be no better time to spend some time with members of the Baseball Project.

Cory Frye got to spend some time with McCaughey to preview the Wednesday appearance. Click here to read more. 

Tatiana Hargreaves has been busy since the days she started making noise as a young fiddler at Crescent Valley High School. Her latest musical project is a collaboration with clawhammer banjo player Allison de Groot, and the two swing by the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis for a show Sunday night.

Hargreaves, who's now teaching bluegrass fiddle at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, says one emphasis of the show will be telling the stories behind many of the traditional songs they'll be performing: History often has whitewashed the African-American origins of these tunes, she told me in an interview this week. Click here to find out more about the show and to catch up with Hargreaves. 

Joe Troop is the leader of the four-piece band Che Apalache, which aims to fuse traditional bluegrass sounds with Latin American influences; the band is scheduled to perform Thursday night (tonight) at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis.

Troop's background is fascinating; as a teenager, he was mesmerized by a performance by Doc Watson in a roadside diner and caught the traditional-music bug. But he's also widely traveled and formed Che Apalache during a time when he was teaching bluegrass in Buenos Aires. 

The band has been attracting some national attention; it was featured recently on National Public Radio and banjo legend Bela Fleck produced its last album, "Rearrange My Heart." Click here to read more about the show and Troop's background. 

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Dharma Mirza, the leader of the drag troupe Haus of Dharma, has been performing since 2014, but Saturday night marks a big step up for the troupe: It's performing on the stage at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis.

The show, "Broadgay! A Musical Theatre Drag Review," features performers tackling a variety of big moments from some of Broadway's biggest shows, including "Rent," "Hamilton" and "Hairspray."

And the larger stage offers Mirza the chance to stage bigger numbers, such as a six-person performance of "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago." Click here to read my preview story about Saturday's show. 

A Friday night performance by the piano-wind sextet Berlin Counterpoint marks the start of Chamber Music Corvallis' 2019-20 season, and the program the ensemble has planned sounds intriguing: It's billed as "Fun, Mockery, and Schadenfreude," and it includes works by Johann Strauss, György Ligeti, Francis Poulenc, Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Strauss.

I didn't have a chance to connect with the group until after this week's edition of The E went to press, but the ensemble did send along some answers to questions I had emailed earlier: The preview story about the concert now includes those answers and you can read it by clicking here.

The week includes five notable flicks in mid-valley theaters. Here's the quick rundown:

Reviews for the Will Smith sci-fi actioner "Gemini Man" have been mixed (Ang Lee is the director), but count reviewer Lindsey Bahr among the detractors: She said the movie has a lot of flashy effects, but no life.

The Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike has developed a cult following, and his new movie, "First Love," finds him working in a mellower mood than usual. Which is not to say, reviewer Justin Chang says, that the movie about a terminally ill boxer and a sex worker with a heart of gold isn't bristling with joyous life: It's a "demented, multitasking little scherzo," Chang says. And he means that as a compliment.

Don't forget about "Mamma Mia!" The Albany Civic Theater musical has been drawing sold-out crowds and is entering its final weekend. 

And, of course, our weekly arts-and-entertainment calendar has a full list of the week's other events. It's your essential guide to everything that's going on, including a performance Friday by the Emerald City Jazz Kings, a robot comedy show at the Majestic Theatre and the annual Mennonite Festival for World Relief on Saturday. 

Save me a seat on the aisle, as Siskel and Ebert used to say, and I'll see you here next week. 

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