This Week's Cover


Mary and Joseph

Immaculate conception is pretty cool—unless you don’t believe in God, have never wanted to give birth to a baby, and have a sweet-but-stoned fiance who’d rather take bong hits on the floor with you than shop for furniture for your shared apartment.

Such is the case with Tim Greger’s Mary and Joseph…A Bible Story currently playing at the iDiOM Theater.

But, despite the reticence of the titular couple to embark on their own Christmas miracle, don’t go thinking that this modern-day take on

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This Week

The Gristle

Divergent Streams

DIVERGENT STREAMS: A ship broke loose from its mooring along Whatcom Waterway last week but grounded in shallows before it could swing far. It’s a sham ship, mothballed here as a dodge of arcane U.S. maritime restrictions, parked along a sham pier generating rents in the illusion of a working waterfront. Briefly it became a shipwreck piled against an even bigger shipwreck—the Port of Bellingham’s plan for the central waterfront.

Port commissioners earlier this month authorized $216,333

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Mi Casa

Bellingham approves a rental safety program

Details remain, but Bellingham City Council made history this week, unanimously approving a program intended to ensure the health and safety of the city’s rental housing supply, an effort more than 16 years in the making. The program is intended to make sure rental housing in Bellingham meets minimum health and fire safety standards.

Designed in two parts intended to complement each other, the rental registration and inspection program will attempt to register and catalogue thousands of

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The Hobbit

The Battle of the Five Armies


After six films, 13 years and 1,031 minutes of accumulated running time (far more if you count the extended versions), Peter Jackson has concluded his massively remunerative genuflection at the altar of J.R.R. Tolkien with a film that may be the most purely entertaining of any in the collection (tellingly, it is also, by far, the shortest of the sextet).

Much as The Return of the King wrapped up the Lord of the Rings saga on an action-dominated high note, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five

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One unlovable orphan


Think you’ve got a hard-knock life?

Try sitting through the new Annie.

A rewritten, re-orchestrated but far from revitalized version of the old Broadway musical, this latest edition moves it out of the Depression and into a modern, tech-driven New York.

That’s a big change but not necessarily a bad one. Since the script starts off in a classroom, with Annie summing up the idea of the New Deal as “work hard and get rich,” perhaps the less this movie tries to deal with the Roosevelt

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Warmed by Wassail

Making spirits bright


I’m sitting next to our Christmas tree—a Noble fir covered with 700 tiny lights and taller than my 6-foot husband. Heavily laden with sequined ornaments made by tiny hands, draped with strands of fake jewels and wooden cranberries, dotted with dried orange slices and shimmering bows, the tree has become a visual archive of our family’s history. It holds remembrances of people we have loved and places we have lived.

I find that each branch holds a symbol of the deeper meaning in my life

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The Round House

Mystery on the reservation


Cold nights cry out for spellbinding books that captivate readers and take their minds off the weather howling outdoors. 

Louise Erdrich, one of our country’s master storytellers, delivers just such a tale with The Round House. If you missed it when it won the National Book Award a few years back, now’s the time to pick up a copy at your local library and settle in for some rewarding reading.

The novel begins on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota in 1988. Geraldine Coutts, a tribal

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On Stage

Mary and Joseph

Oh little town of Bellingham


Immaculate conception is pretty cool—unless you don’t believe in God, have never wanted to give birth to a baby, and have a sweet-but-stoned fiance who’d rather take bong hits on the floor with you than shop for furniture for your shared apartment.

Such is the case with Tim Greger’s Mary and Joseph…A Bible Story currently playing at the iDiOM Theater.

But, despite the reticence of the titular couple to embark on their own Christmas miracle, don’t go thinking that this modern-day take on

Continue Reading »


Solstice Burn

Stoking the flames of winter


I’ve lit a lot of things on fire in my backyard.

Years ago, for example, I had a group of female friends who would gather under the light of the full moon every month to engage in a fire-fueled cleansing ritual.

On small scraps of paper, we’d write about the things we wanted to let go of—everything from petty grudges against our fellow humans to self-pity about the paths we’d not taken in life, to anger against men or women who’d done us wrong—read them aloud (if we chose to), put a

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In the Moment

Seeing the world in black and white


A profusion of ferns seems to grow out of a trio of stone and iron trestles under a dark and mossy bridge, making the scene one the Three Billy Goats Gruff would be hesitant to enter into lest they encounter a sinister, hungry troll.

A closer look at the black-and-white image, however, reveals that the scene looks decidedly more familiar than fearsome. In fact, says photographer Shawn Pagels, it’s a scene he shot within the Bellingham city limits.

“Some people have lived here all their

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Bellingham Folk Festival

The beginning of something big


We like to think of our music community as a unique entity—which, in some ways, it is—but it shares some commonalities with music scenes both near and far, one of which is in the underrepresentation of women. Without getting all political about it, this scarcity of ladies is problematic in the same way that not having viable all-ages venues or gritty rock bars or open mic nights are problematic: weakness in one part of the community limits the strength of it as a whole.

While what you see

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Best of Bellingham

What's the best neighborhood? The one you live in, judging from this fiercely competitive category. With more than 2,400 entries in the Cascadia Weekly readers choice awards, every neighborhood was named again and again. But with so many terrific places--Trader Joe's, Hardware Sales, Kulshan Brewing Company, Jeckyl & Hyde, Homeskillet, on and on--Sunnyland comes out on top.

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Dec 17


Allied Arts Holiday Festival: The annual Allied Arts Holiday Festival takes place for the final week from 10am-6pm Wednesday through Tuesday, and 10am-3pm Wed., Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) at 4145 Meridian St. (near Park Bowl). The works of more than 100 local artisans and craftspeople can be perused and purchased at the festival. more »

MVHS Choirs: Choral works featuring gospel, carols, classical works, and other seasonal favorites can be heard when the award-winning Mount Vernon High School Choirs present "Winter Concert" performances at 4pm and 7pm at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Tickets are $6 for the early show, $8 for the later one. more »

GROUP RIDE: The Mt. Baker Bike Club hosts a Group Ride starting every Wednesday at 6pm at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. Be prepared to ride for 30 miles at a race/training pace, and regroup at the brewery following the excursion. more »

Evening Epic Run: A weekly “Evening Epic Run” begins at 6pm at Fairhaven Runners, 1209 11th St. The strenuous runs are 1.5-2 hours in length on hilly terrain with experienced trail runners. Entry is free. more »

Skagit Group Run: All levels of experience are welcome at a weekly Group Run beginning at 6pm in Mount Vernon at the Skagit Running Company, 702 First St. The 3- to 6-mile run is great for beginners or for others wanting an easy recovery. Entry is free and no registration is required. more »

Poetry, Prose & Music Open Mic: Attend South Whatcom Library's "Poetry, Prose & Music" Open Mic from 6-8:30pm at the Creekside Cafe at the Sudden Valley YMCA, 8 Barn View Court, Gate 2. Entry is free. more »

Lighted Neighborhood Ride: Join members of the Mount Baker Bicycle Club for a fun and festive "Lighted Neighborhoods Ride" starting at 6pm at the parking lot at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. (across from Boundary Bay Brewery). Feel free to decorate yourself and/or your bike. more »

3D Printing Demos: Find out what 3D printing is, how the printer works and see demos from 6:15-7:45pm at the Lynden Library, 216 4th St. This free program is useful if you have never used a 3D printer before and want to know how it works. more »

Meat Rabbit Class: Robert Fuit focuses on "Raising Meat Rabbits" at a free class at 6:30pm in Mount Vernon at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op, 202 S. First St. Learn about rabbit care and what is involved in developing and maintaining a humane, family-scale rabbitry. Register in advance. more »

Jazz Concert: Seattle pianist John Hanson and his trio will be the featured performers at a 7pm concert at the Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center at the Majestic, 1027 N. Forest St. Tickets are $5-$10. more »

Senseless Knowledge: Master humorist Kent Woodyard brings new life to the memory devices of a bygone era when he reads from his first book, Non-Essential Mnemonics: An Unnecessary Journey into Senseless Knowledge, at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. more »

Chocolat and Wine: Forte Chocolate's Karen Neugebauer, one of a handful of Master Chocolatiers in the United States, will helm an "Artisan Chocolate & Wine" event at 7pm in Anacortes at Potluck Kitchen Studio, 910 A 11th St. Neugebauer will talk about her background and share what makes her chocolates so special. Tickets are $10 and include a round of chocolates with a red wine pairing. Chocolates will also be on sale to purchase after the event. more »

Scottish Country Dance Social: Join the Scottish Country Dance Club from 7-9:30pm every Wednesday for a public dance at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. Beginners and intermediate dancers are welcome, and no partner or experience is needed. Drop-in fees are $8, but those who are showing up for the first time will gain free entry. more »

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