It's the last weekend in September, and that means it's Fall Festival weekend in Corvallis.
The festival is one of my favorite mid-valley events, and its timing this year seems about perfect. This is the first weekend of fall — the festival is more or less timed to coincide with the change of seasons — and the festival always has seemed to me to unofficially mark that transition from a slower summer to a much busier time of year.
And, as transitions go, this one couldn't be any more fun: It's a terrific combination of art and music and food and community.
I know a number of mid-valley artists who consider getting the opportunity to create the Fall Festival poster as one of the highlights of their career. This year's poster creator is 89-year-old Summit artist Earl Newman, who put together an image that captures the spirit of the festival but also is quintessential Newman.
And speaking of those Fall Festival posters, we've collected 20 of them in a gallery that's sure to trigger memories. Click here to check out our poster gallery.
The Fall Festival isn't the only arts-and-entertainment happening this week in the mid-valley. Let's whip through some of your other options:
The Majestic Theatre is staging a production of Brian Friel's memory play, "Dancing at Lughnasa." Mid-valley theater veteran Robert Leff is at the helm of the show, about five sisters in Ireland in August 1936. Neff says theatergoers don't need to know anything about Irish history to keep up with the drama — it's a show about family, and that's a theme that resonates with all of us. Click here to read our preview story about the show, which plays through Oct. 6.
Speaking of the Majestic, this month's Reader's Theatre production sounds interesting: It's Eric Overmyer's "On the Verge; or, The Geography of Yearning." The director, John Elliott, ran the lights for an Albany Civic Theatre production of the show in 1998, and it's stuck with him ever since. In the show, three Victorian-era female adventurers take a journey into "Terra Incognito," but it becomes clear that the three are traveling forward through time. The result, Elliott says, isn't science fiction; rather, it's a fantasy that has interesting questions to raise about language itself. The show runs this weekend in the Majestic's Community Room. Click here to read my preview story.
And while we're talking about Albany Civic, don't forget "Mamma Mia!" The ABBA-fueled musical romp is now in its second weekend, and we're hearing that it's playing to large and appreciative audiences. Click here to read our story about the show.
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You have some musical options this week as well: Veteran singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer is due Sunday night at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis, and I had a chance this week to talk with her. She's touring behind a new album, "The Point of Arrival," and her songs often delve into topical and spiritual areas, without coming across as heavy-handed. Click here to read my preview story.
Our city editor, Cory Frye, stepped out of his city editor perch long enough to file an update on the mid-valley band Minor Anomaly. The band's members have been through a lot lately, but they're back now and they're planning to rock Merlin's Bar and Grill in Lebanon on Friday. Read what Cory has to say about the band by clicking here.
Your Best Cellar monthly concert series, held in the basement of the First United Methodist Church, resumes on Friday with a show by local favorites Sharon and Dave Thormahlen and Wild Hog in the Woods. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more details.
So, by the time we had covered all of that, we had run out of space in The E for this week's movies. But there are three new titles playing in the mid-valley this week, and all have drawn good reviews. Here's the quick rundown:
"Abominable" is an animated adventure that actually manages to surprise and delight, and it has an important message, Katie Walsh wrote in her review.
"Aquarela," a new documentary from Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky, expertly captures the beauty and terror of water. It's playing at the Darkside. Click here to read Kenneth Turan's review.
And "The Day Shall Come," from British director Christopher Morris, is a bitterly funny work about race and law enforcement in America. If you saw "Four Lions," Morris' bleak black comedy about terrorists, you know he's not one to pull a punch. Read Katie Walsh's review by clicking here.
You can always check out our full list of all the flicks playing in town with our Movie Scene feature. Click here to start planning your movie weekend.
And our arts-and-entertainment calendar is your essential source for a full week's worth of events. Click here to check it out.
That's it for this week. We'll see you at the Fall Festival and we'll talk again next week.