The folks at The Arts Center in Corvallis have boiled down their holiday show to one simple, universal idea: The holidays are about light in the face of winter darkness.
And so that's what they named their annual holiday show: "About Light." For the show, which opens Saturday at the center, artists were invited to reflect about the idea of light — and, as you might expect, the results cover the spectrum. (How many more cheap references to light can I make in the next few paragraphs? Read on and weep.)
Patrick Fancher puts a spotlight on the show in this week's E section, which we include at no additional charge in Thursday's newspaper. Or you can click here to read his illuminating preview story.
Now, for a little more light reading. (Somebody stop me.)
The Corvallis Repertory Singers have planned an ambitious season for their 2019-20 season, which officially kicks off this weekend with two performances of Karl Jenkins' "The Peacemakers."
For the text of the work, Jenkins, a Welsh composer, has collected a variety of words written by peacemakers throughout history — Martin Luther King Jr., St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa, for example. Jenkins has set these powerful words to music that is relatively simple and cinematic, according to Steven Ziekle, the artistic director of the Repertory Singers. The work does call for a small orchestra that's heavy on percussion and also features some unusual instrumentation (uilleann pipes and soprano sax, for example).
Zielke and I got a chance this week to talk about "The Peacemakers" and you can click here to read more.
Carlene Carter proudly calls herself a "Carter girl, through and through," and you can see why: The daughter of June Carter Cash, the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash and the daughter of Carl Smith (they called Smith "Mister Country") is essentially country music royalty.
Carter is the guest at next Wednesday's "American Strings" session at the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis: She'll talk about her long career and play a handful of songs. In an interview this week, she and I talked about the Ken Burns "Country Music" series (Carter was featured) and her new album, "Across Generations," which features five generations of Carters blended together in a feat of studio wizardry. Click here to read my preview story.
Bay Area singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman has carved out a career writing and performing satirical songs, and he'll bring a selection of those songs to Corvallis when he performs Sunday night at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Corvallis. The current political climate certainly gives Zimmerman plenty of material with which to work, but that's not the problem, he said. The problem is trying to stay ahead of the news cycle. "I'm pedaling as fast as I can," he joked. Click here to read more of my interview with Zimmerman.
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A couple of other musical events are worth noting this weekend: Oregon State University choirs will convene Thursday night at the First United Methodist Church in Corvallis for their annual "Fall Sing!" show. And the Willamette Valley Concert Band has set its annual Veterans Day concert for 3 p.m. Saturday at Lebanon High School; the school's choir will be featured.
Turning to the stage: The CSD Theaters production of the musical "The Spitfire Grill" opens Thursday and runs until Nov. 24. The show is a little darker than your usual musical fare: It tells the story of an inmate released from prison who's starting a new life in a small Wisconsin town — and the diner that plays a big role in that new life. Like all of these CSD (Corvallis School District) productions, the show features a wealth of talent from local high schools. Click here to read Anthony Rimel's preview story.
Don't forget about two other local productions that are entering their second weekend: The musical "Next to Normal" continues its run at the Majestic in Corvallis. And "Tuna Does Vegas," the latest installment in the comic series that started with "Greater Tuna," is playing at the Albany Civic Theater. Need a refresher on those shows? Just click on the links.
In the mood for a flick? The weekend brings some intriguing new options, including Pedro Almodovar's new movie, "Pain and Glory," with Antonio Banderas in a prize-winning role. Reviewer Kenneth Turan loved the flick, saying Almodovar has toned down his trademark melodrama for something subtler.
Looking for a romantic comedy with holiday flair? Reviewer Katie Walsh says "Last Christmas," featuring George Michael's music, doesn't feature many surprises, but it goes down easy.
Walsh was a little rougher on "Doctor Sleep," the sequel to "The Shining," saying it's intriguing and well-done for its first two-thirds but then loses its steam when it moves to the Overlook Hotel for the finale.
Other new releases this weekend include the widely panned "Midway" and the John Cena family comedy "Playing With Fire." As always, your guide to all the movies playing in the mid-valley is our Movie Scene feature.
And our weekly arts and entertainment calendar is your complete guide to many other events which space and deadlines prohibit me from mentioning here. (But did you know that Dave Coulier from "Full House" is performing two comedy shows on Saturday at Oregon State University? You will after you peruse the E calendar.)
That's it for this week. I'll see you back here next Thursday.