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Entertainment report for week ending 2/4: Diamond Peak Wine Bar to host Ukes-a-plenty

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By BEN OLSON/for The Herald  —  Oakridge is lucky to have its own symphony orchestra, although the members mostly play ukuleles. In fact, the group recently dubbed themselves “The Ukuleleans”.

When I first arrived in town, I was directed to join a ukulele group that practiced once a week. At that time, pianist-extraordinaire Scott Hitchings guided the group, arranging songs and, perhaps most importantly, counting out the beginning of each tune at the proper tempo. With 10 other people playing uke, I offered to play bass.

Covid put a halt to the regular practices and the group was idle for several years. Upon my return from Wisconsin this last summer, I found that the group had re-assembled, under the direction of Luann Harmon. Luann does a fine job in marshaling the assembled talent. It’s somewhat akin to herding cats. I had lost my job as the bass player, that being assumed by my former drummer, Keith Daley.

There are usually a dozen people at the weekly practices. There are no auditions- if you have a uke and want to play, you’re in the group- sing if you want to.

Uke it up at the Diamond Peak Wine Bar on Friday in the Uptown District

The Ukuleleans will be performing this Friday, February 2 at the Diamond Peak Wine Bar, Gallery and Gifts during the 1st Friday Artwalk. If you’ve never heard of the Diamond Peak Wine Bar, it’s understandable. The Cascade Artworks on 1st Street in Uptown Oakridge is undergoing a change of name and direction and will soon be a wine bar and gallery. The music begins at 5 pm. When their set is over, I’ll be playing tunes on the uke until 7 pm.

 

A half a block to the east along 1st Street is the 3 Legged Crane. This Saturday, February 3, Bekkah McAlvage will be taking the stage there at 7 pm. Bekkah was originally scheduled earlier in the month, but that show was canceled due to the ice storm down in the valley. Bekkah’s music is a rich blend of folk, country and bluegrass, the core of what is referred to as “Americana”. Although she writes her own songs, I would be surprised if she didn’t do some covers that we could all sing along with. You can find out more at bekkahmcalvagemusic.com. The 3 Legged Crane is a traditional brewpub, creating many of the beers and ales right there in the back room. There are appetizers, sandwiches and dinners on the menu.

More music on the mountain. at least while there’s snow

On top of the hill, 25 miles east of Oakridge, Willamette Pass Resort is giving skiers and snowboarders some proper winter conditions for getting in a few runs. Although they got a late start on the season, 8 feet of snow over a 7 day span a couple weeks ago has provided a substantial base for some great skiing and boarding. Those taking a break from the slopes can catch some music in the bar this Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Eugene’s Tim McLaughlin will be holding forth on Saturday, February 3 from Noon until 3 pm. Tim has been active in the Emerald City music scene for over 20 years. To find out more, go to his website, timmclaughlinmusic.com. I’ll be strumming the guitar there on Sunday afternoon, same time schedule. You don’t need a lift ticket to take in the ambience of the bar- it’s open to everyone 21+. In addition to the full bar, Willamette Pass Resort features a number of food choices, including breakfast from 8 until 10:30 each morning.

 

At press time, I’m still waiting for the entertainment lineup at the Dexter Lake Club. The music usually happens from 6 until 8 pm on Fridays. The Dexter Lake Club is located just off Highway 58 by milepost 12. They have a full bar and the adjacent Rattlesnake BBQ features appetizers, sandwiches and dinners.

Karaoke fans can find a venue in the Highway 58 corridor Wednesdays through Fridays. Wednesday it happens at the Logger’s Den on Highway 58 in the west end of Oakridge. On Thursdays you can croon at the Dexter Lake Club. Rob at the Corner Bar in Uptown Oakridge runs the show every Friday night.

Last chance to see Death and Taxes

Once again, the Zero Clearance Theater’s production of “Death and Taxes” will be taking place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 2, 3 and 4.

The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7 pm, with the doors opening at 6. The Sunday matinee show begins at 3 pm, with the doors opening at 2. Advanced tickets are $12 for adults and half price for seniors and children, and can be purchased at Mane Street Coffee, 3 Legged Crane and the Lion Mountain Bakery. Tickets are also available at the door for $15. I’m no theater critic, but I saw the show the other night and there are laughs a-plenty. It’s billed as a murder mystery, but this is really a farce about small town politics.

Get out of the house and get some culture this week- live music and theater, we’ve got it all here in the Highway 58 corridor.

Ben Olson, musician and Oakridge Resident, with his standup bass. Ben is a regular contributor, as well as the Entertainment Report’s columnist. Ben Olson photo

 

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