This Week's Cover


Summer Meltdown

It happens every year. No, not just the Summer Meltdown Festival, but also the Subdued Stringband Jamboree. Every single year since the inception of both homegrown, homemade music festivals (with the exception of that one year, and possibly some time near the beginning that is so far back in history that it no longer counts), they have happened during the exact same weekend.

Every single year.

I talk about it every year as well. I don’t necessarily think by pointing out this ongoing scheduling conundrum that I will do anything to resolve it, freeing

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This Week

The Gristle

Polar Wastes

POLAR WASTES: Last week, without fanfare or protest, Whatcom County Council gaveled in the five new county voting districts approved by voters last November. As the Gristle predicted, they did not tamper in any way with the district and precinct language or map outlines unanimously approved in April by the appointed Redistricting Committee; and despite stentorian oaths and enraged threats of legal action from the political Right, no one challenged the outcome. Our next prediction is: Voters will like these new districts.

The new districts preserve and empower distinct communities of interest. Every city can

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Intermission? Or curtains?

Mount Baker Summer Rep goes on hiatus



Ralph’s whisper to the absent Carol, the tearful last word of The Last Romance—part of last year’s Summer Rep series at the Mount Baker Theatre (MBT)—may have carried a lot more meaning than we knew. Summer Repertory itself seems to have ended as suddenly as Ralph and Carol’s chaste and emotional fling.

The series, which would have played its 10th season this month, was cancelled after 2016’s three plays were picked and directors chosen—just before actors were to be hired and rehearsals scheduled.

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Summer Meltdown

Coming full circle 2


It happens every year. No, not just the Summer Meltdown Festival, but also the Subdued Stringband Jamboree. Every single year since the inception of both homegrown, homemade music festivals (with the exception of that one year, and possibly some time near the beginning that is so far back in history that it no longer counts), they have happened during the exact same weekend.

Every single year.

I talk about it every year as well. I don’t necessarily think by pointing out this

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The Dinner

A multi-course mystery


One of the interesting things about reading fiction is that it allows the reader to explore the darker side of human nature from the safety of a favorite armchair or hammock. 

You’ll need some distance to delve into Dutch author Herman Koch’s 2012 thriller The Dinner. It’s a gripping novel, recounting one night (and one meal) at a trendy Amsterdam restaurant, where two sets of parents meet to discuss an incident involving their sons. As each chapter unfolds, the tone

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Summer Soup

Gazpacho, past and present


In high school, I was the cook at a small Harvard Square Café called the Blacksmith House. Today, one would probably need a culinary degree—not to mention a high school diploma—to suck on the rarified air of that closet of a kitchen, but this was the 1970s, before the food revolution, and you didn’t need any special training to pronounce, much less prepare, the dishes on the menu.

I look back fondly on those days and the wacky cast of characters, such

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Festival Fun

Arts at the Port


Every summer, the Anacortes Arts Festival—which this year takes place Aug. 5-7—puts on an extravaganza of fine painting, photography, fiber art, ceramics, glass, sculpture, mixed media and video. For the chosen 45 artists whose work has been accepted by the jury to exhibit in “Arts at the Port,” it’s a great distinction and a boost to careers.

A few artists from the local community are chosen in advance to contribute works for the parallel Allen Family Focus Gallery. This year, its theme is

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Chautauqua 101

Party in the parks


When the Chautauqua Movement kicked off in 1874 on the shores of New York State’s Chautauqua Lake, it was with the clever idea that learning should continue throughout the course of one’s life.

Akin to a summer camp for adults, that first Chautauqua, and many that followed, offered a mix of entertainment and education, often including speakers, performers, musicians, teachers, preachers and specialists of the day (Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, etc.).

“When a Chautauqua came to town, all normal activity stopped

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On Stage

The Shoe Play

A sole-searching story


There were a few moments during last Friday’s showing of Quality: The Shoe Play when the fourth wall got a bit wobbly.

It wasn’t a big surprise. Since Bellingham TheatreWorks is staging the play about two women fighting a sole-searching battle for supremacy at a high-end shoe store at an actual shoe store, the conceptual barrier between the fictional work and its viewers was already thinner than one would expect at a night at the theater.


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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Catch them if you can


Life has a funny way of interfering with, well, life.

In the case of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the captivating new film from New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows), it’s definitely for the better when a taciturn city ‘tween enters the world of a set-in-his-ways, country-dwelling senior citizen. Their lives will forever change, no matter how much they think they don’t want them to.

The kid in question is pudgy and

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Captain Fantastic

Father knows best


It’s always tricky using a modifier like “fantastic” in a movie’s title, because if the film doesn’t live up to it, the snarky review headlines just sort of write themselves. Sadly for copy editors the world over, Captain Fantastic won’t have that problem. Not only is it wonderful, but it is also heartfelt, comedic, gorgeous and just the right amount of sad.

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) is raising his six children off the grid in rural Washington. They live

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Stars under the stars: »

Stars under the stars: »

Stars under the stars: »

Bard on the Beach:William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, and Pericles are currently showing in repertory as part of the 27th "Bard on the Beach" season at Vancouver,... »

Boating Center Open:The Community Boating Center is open from 12pm to sunset on weekdays, and 10am to sunset on weekends through the summer at their headquarters at 555 Harris Ave. Rentals include kayaks,... »

Stars under the stars: »

Marrowstone Music Festival:Orchestral and chamber music rehearsals, master classes, and professional performances for the public will be part of the 73rd annual Marrowstone Music Festival taking place July 24-Aug. 7 at Western Washington... »

Tall Ship Sails and Tours:Take part in tours and public sails on the historic tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain through Aug. 3 leaving from the Squalicum Harbor Marina, 2600 N. Harbor Loop Dr. Suggested... »

Read with the Sheriff:Kids 5 and under (and their keepers) can attend a "Read with the Sheriff" event at 10:30am in Sudden Valley at the South Whatcom Library, 10 Barn View Court. After reading a... »

Bellingham City Club Meeting:"Is the Initiative I-732 the Right Answer for Reducing Carbon Emissions in Washington State?" will be the focus of a Bellingham City Club discussion and luncheon from 11:30am-1:30pm at... »

Music at Noon:Western Washington University will conclude its annual Summer Noon Concert Series with a performance by Actionesse at 12pm at the outdoor plaza in front of the Performing Arts Center.  »

Wednesday Market:Attend the Wednesday Market from 12-5pm at the Fairhaven Village Green, 1207 10th St. Approximately 25 vendors will offer fresh local produce, crafts, tasty treats and more every Wednesday through Sept. 30.  »

Lynden Book Club:Share what you’re reading and gain ideas for your next read at a Book Enthusiasts Book Club meeting from 12:30-1:30pm at the Lynden Library, 216 4th St. Don't worry... »

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market:The Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market takes place from 3-7pm every Wednesday through Oct. 12 at the town's Hammer Heritage Square, 640 Metcalf St.  »

Anacortes Summer Series:The Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series features the swing sounds of the A'Town Big Band from 6-8pm Wednesday at Seafarers Memorial Park, 601 Seafarers Way. From 6-8pm Friday,... »

Downtown Sounds:Rabbit Wilde and Heels to the Hardwood continue Downtown Bellingham Partnership's 13th annual "Downtown Sounds" concert series at 6pm at the intersection of Bay and Prospect streets—which will be... »

Open Craft Night:A staff member will be on hand for basic sewing support at tonight's "Open Craft Night" taking place from 6-8pm at Ragfinery, 1421 N. Forest St. At the free event,... »

Brewers Cruise:Tonight's "Bellingham Bay BREWers Cruise" will feature liquid fare from Boundary Bay Brewery, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, and McMenamin's Anderson School starting at 6:30pm at San Juan Cruises' dock at the... »

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