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

Lockup Lockstep

LOCKUP LOCKSTEP: Imagine a game show in which contestants must choose between two doors to move on to the final round. The catch is—whichever door they choose, there is a burly Sheriff on the other side eager to lay down some hurt on the contestants.

In June, the City of Bellingham approved a new Jail Facilities Use Agreement (JFUA) with the county in response to the announcement by Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo that he intended to reduce the population in the main jail following the outcome of a 2015 voter initiative to fund and

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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: »

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... »

Whatcom Old Settlers' Picnic:Celebrate the rich history of the area and the great people that call it home at the annual "Whatcom Old Settlers' Picnic" taking place Thursday through Sunday at Ferndale's Pioneer... »

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,... »

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,... »

Skagit Tours:As part of the annual "Skagit Tours," Seattle City Light, the North Cascades Institute, and the National Park Service offer Diablo Lake boat tours, Gorge powerhouse tours and Newhalem tours... »

Shakespeare NW:See the Bard's classic tale of love and money set in a town that's known to love its money when The Merchant of Vegas shows at 7pm Thursday at Mount... »

Beauty & the Beast Jr.:Showings of Beauty and the Beast Jr. conclude this weekend with performances at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at Oak Harbor's Whidbey Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd. Tickets are $... »

The Wizard of Oz:The Ferndale Summer Youth Theatre Institute presents The Wizard of Oz: Young Performers' Edition at 7pm Thursday and Friday, and 3pm and 7pm Saturday at Ferndale High School, 5830 Golden Eagle... »

The Lion King:Performers ages 9-16 will share their talents at performances of The Lion King at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, 1059 N. State... »

That's Not My Department:Local playwright Willow McLaughlin's That's Not My Department continues this week with 7:30pm performances Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The comedy focuses... »

Graffiti Dance Theater:Western Washington University's theater and dance department brings its Graffiti Dance Theater onstage for shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Fairhaven's Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Choreographer and... »

The Shoe Play:Bellingham TheatreWorks presents showings of Quality: The Shoe Play at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Fairhaven's 12th Street Shoes, 1204 Harris Ave. The black comedy by Vancouver playwright Elaine Avila focuses... »

Mt. Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival:The Noah Wotherspoon Band, Carson Diersing, Magnus Berg, the Wasteland Kings, Josey Wales, the Bobby Patterson Band, the Naughty Blokes, Popa Chubby, and Selwyn Birchwood will be among the performers... »

Birch Bay Music Festival:Nearly 20 performers from around the region will share their talents at the sixth annual Birch Bay Music Festival taking place from 8am-10pm Friday and Saturday, and 9am-7pm Sunday... »

Plover Rides:The Plover ferry runs through the summer from 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays and 10am-6pm Sundays departing on the hour from the Blaine Visitor's Dock, Gate II at Blaine... »

Sin & Gin Tours:Learn more about the history of vice and sin that helped make the foundation of our urban locales what they are today at the Good Time Girls' annual "Sin & Gin... »

An Improvised Musical:Mainstage players will take on the magical world of musicals for the final weekend at performances of "An Improvised Musical" at 9pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay... »

Stars under the stars: »

Healthy Kids Day:Attend "Bellingham Healthy Kids Day" from 8am-2pm at Unity Care Northwest, 220 Unity St. The event will offer free services to kids ages 4-18, such as well child exams, sports... »

Worm Composting 101:Beginners, experienced worm farmers, home composters and anyone who has ever been curious about worms and soil can join "worm wrangler" Paige for a "Worm Composting 101" workshop at 9am at... »

Anacortes Farmers Market:Vegetables, fruit, baked goods, fresh meat and dairy, cut flowers, wine, eggs, art and much more can be found at the Anacortes Farmers Market from 9am-2pm every Saturday through... »

Mount Vernon Farmers Market:As many as 60 vendors will share their wares through the season at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market, which takes place 9am-2pm Saturdays through Oct. 15 at the city's Riverfront Plaza.... »

Twin Sisters Farmers Market:Purchase farm-fresh goods at the Twin Sisters Market taking place from 9am-3pm in Deming at Nugent's Corner, and 3-6pm in Maple Falls at Kendall Elementary School every Saturday... »

Foothills Arts and Crafts Fair:Support local artists, listen to live music and get a bite to eat at the third annual Foothills Arts and Crafts Fair taking place from 10am-5pm in downtown Maple... »

Bellingham Farmers Market:Attend the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-3pm every Saturday through Dec. 17 at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. In addition to perusing and purchasing locally grown produce, crafts and... »

Summer Harvest Day:Get a behind-the-scenes look at what's involved in running a nonprofit education farm center at a Summer Harvest Day from 10am-5pm at Everson's Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Rd.... »

Art of Camouflage:Join Wild Whatcom for an "Art of Camouflage" excursion from 10am-12pm at Lake Padden Park, 4882 Samish Way. The interactive program will feature naturalist knowledge and outdoor skills. Suggested donation... »

Blaine Gardeners Market: Procure produce, crafts, food from vendors and more at the Blaine Gardeners Market from 10am-2pm Saturdays through Oct. 29 at 685 Peace Portal Dr.  »

Samish Island Arts Festival:Attend the 20th annual Samish Island Arts Festival from 10am-4pm at the Samish Island Community Center, 11292 Blue Heron Rd. In addition to works by featured artist Ann Reid, there'll... »

Barbecue Fundraiser:Attend a Pioneer Days Cafe Fundraiser and Bake Sale from 11am-3pm at the Ferndale Senior Center, 1999 Cherry St. Entry is $5-$8 and includes pulled pork sandwiches, polish sausage with... »

Rockin' the Park:The Penny Stinkers, Motown Cruisers, and Pretty Twisted will perform at the annual "Rockin' the Park!" event taking place from 12-8:30pm in Mount Vernon at the Lake Associates Recreation... »

Holly Street History Tour:The Bureau of Historical Investigation teams up with the City of Bellingham to offer "Holly Street History Tours" at 1pm starting in front of the Chuckanut sandstone building at 311 E.... »

Centennial Social:Celebrate 100 years of service supporting literacy, community development and intellectual freedom at today's "Centennial Social: Celebrating a Century of Service" from 1-3pm at the pocket park across the street... »

Lost Hours and Harry Potter:Bring the kids along when award-winning playwright Nicola Pearson and 13-year-old illustrator Maya Keagan read from The Lost Hour: A Grand Globetrotting Adventure with Six O'Clock & Friends at 2pm at... »

Three Silly Goats Gruff:Kids ages 5-8 will share their theatrical talents when Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth's Pixie students present Three Silly Goats Gruff at 2pm at BAAY Theatre, 1059 N. State St. Entry... »

Fundraiser Fun:Live music and more will be part of the fourth annual "Autism Awareness" fundraiser put on by Faces NW from 2-6pm at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. From 7pm-1... »

Experience Arts Festival:Karl Blau, Peter Irving, De La Rosa Trio, Fantasy, Sky Colony, Lizzie Weber, Fantasy, Peter Ali, and Birdsview Bluegrass will be among the musicians performing at today's Experience Arts Festival... »

Nooksack River Walk:Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for a free Nooksack River Walk at 3pm at the Horseshoe Bend Trailhead on the Mt. Baker Hwy. Attendees can learn about salmon, discover... »

Movie-Writing Curiosity Class:Catch a glimpse into the process of writing a screenplay for feature-length films when the Indie Film Group hosts a free Movie-Writing Curiosity Class from 4-5pm at the Bellingham... »

Hot Damn Scandal:Hear "tipsy American gypsy blues" when Hot Damn Scandal performs as part of a summer music series from 6-8pm at the Heart of Anacortes, 1014 4th St. Tickets are $8.  »

Snug Harbor:Pack a picnic and bring along friends and family for a free City of Bellingham-sponsored concert by Snug Harbor from 7-9pm at Boulevard Park. A final concert with Maggie's... »

New Old Time Chautauqua:Expect to see everything from juggling to magic, music, trapeze acts, dance, storytellers, poets and more when the New Old Time Chautauqua returns to Mount Vernon for a 7pm performance... »

Soloman:World traveler Jack van Ommen will share the exciting account of his solo circumnavigation of the globe at a free "SoloMan" presentation from 7:30-9pm at the Lummi Island Library, 2144... »

Ruth Vanden Bos:Seattle-based violinist Ruth Vanden Bos performs at 7:30pm in the chamber hall at Lynden's Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Brennan Vanden Bos, Ruth’s older brother, will join the performance... »

Kirtan and Chant:Global vocalist Gina Salá and tabla great Daniel Paul will be joined by other musicians for an "Evening of Kirtan" performance at 8pm at 3 Oms Yoga, 1319 Cornwall Ave., suite 200. No... »

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