The Magic Barrel

The Magic Barrel: A reading to fight hunger

In Corvallis, the writers gathered to read their work to help Linn Benton Food Share

By BRIAN KEARNEY

There are plenty of good reasons to go along to The Magic Barrel, an evening of readings from Oregon writers that takes place in Corvallis every October. There’s the worthy cause, of course, with all the evening’s proceeds going to raise money for Linn Benton Food Share. There’s also the high quality of readers, which this year includes Corvallis resident Tracy Daugherty, whose recent Joan Didion biography has been rave-reviewed in the national press. Then there’s the venue, the Whiteside Theatre, a Corvallis gem from the 1920s with Italian Renaissance décor intact. But the kicker for me is that it’s billed  as “the Mid-Willamette Valley’s premier literary event,” and any claim that manages to be at once grand and endearingly modest is one I’m going to want to check out.

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Taking the stage on Friday October 23rd in front of a packed house, the host for the night is Elena Passarello, an essayist and OSU professor quickly making a name for herself as the most edgy and provocative literary emcee in the Willamette Valley. Earlier in the day Elena tweeted, “I just jury-rigged a brassiere to fit a roll of calculator tape for my opening monologue @magicbarrelread tonight. So yeah. I’m going HAM.”

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