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It's clouding up outside as I write, but that shouldn't put a damper on your mid-valley activities this weekend, starting with a full slate of possibilities Friday night:

The new book by Corvallis writer George Estreich, "Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability and the Stories We Tell Ourselves," is a fascinating read, and he'll read from it Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Valley Library Rotunda, 201 SW Waldo Place on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. Estreich, who teaches nonfiction for OSU's MFA program in creative writing, will be joined by a former student, Erica Trabold, who's winning praise (and awards!) for her new book of essays, "Five Plots." You can find out more about Estreich and his book by clicking here. Or you can read an essay by Estreich by clicking here. The event is free. 

If you're intrigued, as we were, by the prospect of a robot programmed to perform stand-up comedy, you might want to check out an event Friday at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW Second St. in Corvallis: Jon the Robot, programmed to crack wise by OSU's Naomi Fitter, an assistant professor of robotics, will headline, and the show also features robot dancers that will perform with humans. The event is billed as "Singu-hilarity: A Robot Comedy Variety Show," which is an astrophysics joke, and not a bad one. Pi jokes are funnier, though.

I had a chance this week to chat with Cristina White, who calls herself the "chief wrangler" for the Majestic Eight, a collection of 10-minute plays by Oregon writers. You can see all eight at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Majestic, 115 SW Second St. Mid-valley theater veterans Leigh Matthews Bock and Mary Jeanne Reynales are directing the plays. Two Corvallis writers, Joseph Crupper and Sue Ploeger, will see their works performed for the first time, which has to be a rush. Click here to read more about the Majestic Eight. 

I also spent a brief amount of time talking this week talking to veteran mid-valley musician Lisa Landucci, who's just released a new album, "Love You in a Song." She'll be performing songs from the new album with musical compatriot Nathan Olson at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Troubadour Music Center, 521 SW Second St. in Corvallis. A suggested donation of $15 will get you in the door.

I can't wait to see "An Iris Stands Tall," the exhibit by Portland artist Annette Sabater, when it opens Tuesday at The Arts Center, 700 SW Madison Ave. in Corvallis. The paintings, in a variety of media, help explore the rush of emotions Sabeter felt when her child decided in 2012 to physically transition from being a boy to a girl. The paintings look beautiful and the story behind them is intriguing.

The weekend brought a batch of new movies to area movie screens: The prestige offering is a foreign flick, Christian Petzold's "Transit," showing at the Darkside in Corvallis. Click here to read the review by Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times, arguably the best movie critic in the country.   

I've got more suggestions to get you through the weekend, and I'll add those in a bit. In the meantime, have a great weekend. 

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