This Week's Cover


Ernest & Celestine

The enchanting French-Belgian animated feature Ernest & Celestine is so liltingly sweet and graceful that, a day or two after I saw it, it seemed almost as if I had dreamed it.

The real dreamers here are its young director, Benjamin Renner, co-directors Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier, and the novelist screenwriter Daniel Pennac, adapting material from the beloved children’s books by Gabrielle Vincent, which she both wrote and illustrated, about the enduring friendship between a little

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This Week

The Gristle

Pass Through Costs

PASS THROUGH COSTS: Bellingham City Council this week took an important real step toward building a more socially equitable community as they considered an actual draft ordinance that might create a registration program for the city’s rental housing. The city estimates there are approximately 13,000 existing rental units that could be registered through this program.

Council has fretted for more than a decade—with numerous false starts—over the problem of substandard rental housing that

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Jodorowsky’s Dune

The epic story of a never-was

Is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune the most influential movie never made?

Late in the lively, anecdote-strewn documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, director Frank Pavich enumerates the ways. The swordfights in Star Wars, the cyborg POV in The Terminator, the galaxy-spanning opening shot of Contact—all were prefigured in the massive Dune storyboard book that circulated through studio suites in the mid-1970s. Writer Dan O’Bannon and visual consultants Chris Foss, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, and H.R.

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Signed Fest

Of labels and legacies

When a representative of Yellingham, Bellingham’s annual DIY all-ages music festival, announced in late January that, not only would there be no festival in 2014, but also that Yellingham was on indefinite hiatus, the news was disappointing, yet not surprising.

Disappointing because in the four years of its existence, Yellingham proved itself to be a welcome and fiercely supported part of Bellingham’s music community. Disappointing because Yellingham as both an event and an entity offered

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Good Wood

Sojourn in the cedars


Like many greenhorn trail crew leaders before me, I did not endeavor to undertake my inaugural worksite encounter with an ancient grove of super-sized Western red cedars without briefing myself thoroughly on the signature structural and spiritual characteristics those shaggy-topped “transformer” evergreens have long been known to possess.

I soon surmised just how powerfully useful and life-affirming our most deeply revered and culturally valuable endemic conifers actually are. 


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Food Haus

Bringing Germany to Market

When Riley White-Brainard first started talking about Food Haus, I figured we were having the standard restaurant fantasy conversation we’d had many times before, slurping whiskeys and dreamily discussing briskets and whether endive is an economically feasible vegetable.

We’d often wax poetic about food trucks and restaurants; excitedly blurting out whatever entrees we’d like to serve. So I was surprised when the next time I saw Riley he’d drawn up a menu—and two weeks later had

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Roddy Returns

From music-maker to middle age


Think back to 1991, when a (fictional) ragtag group of Irish soul musicians stormed the music scene in the profane but endearing film The Commitments

The movie was based on a novel by Roddy Doyle; both center around Jimmy Rabbitte, a working-class Dubliner with a passion for soul music. He sets his sights on forming the greatest soul band to ever play, and gathers together a motley (and very white) crew whose musical brilliance is matched by their complete dysfunction off-stage.


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By the Seaside

Blossoms and beauty in La Conner


Now that he enjoys four other artists as congenial partners for his well-placed Seaside Gallery in La Conner, owner Mark Conley can breathe easy.

Running a gallery all by himself had been too much work. Next, when he operated it as a large co-op, difficulties only multiplied.

The gallery welcomes visitors with a museum-like atmosphere. You won’t trip over vases, paperweights and snow globes here. The paintings and photos are well-lighted and given their own space. 

Conley’s photography

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On Stage

The Vagina Monologues

Sisters are doing it for themselves


What’s the worst word you can think of?

If it starts with a “c” and rhymes with “blunt,” you’re not alone in thinking the four-letter word can be distasteful and derogatory towards women.

I, too, was once wary of this particular linguistic unit. But after a month of uttering it more than a few times a day in an attempt to memorize my piece for upcoming performances of The Vagina Monologues, I’ve changed my mind.

In fact, my way of thinking about most phrases having to do with the intimate

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Ernest & Celestine

A touching tale of an unlikely friendship

The enchanting French-Belgian animated feature Ernest & Celestine is so liltingly sweet and graceful that, a day or two after I saw it, it seemed almost as if I had dreamed it.

The real dreamers here are its young director, Benjamin Renner, co-directors Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier, and the novelist screenwriter Daniel Pennac, adapting material from the beloved children’s books by Gabrielle Vincent, which she both wrote and illustrated, about the enduring friendship between a little

Continue Reading »

Best of Bellingham

The center of gravity has shifted in Bellingham.
In the years we’ve been polling readers on their favorite haunts and hidey-holes, we’ve seen the focus crawl from the Southside to Columbia, veer south again to the central district and now eastward to what was not so very long ago perhaps the least likely of favorite neighborhoods, Sunnyland. Why Sunnyland? Well, Trader Joe’s, for starters. HomeSkillet. Kulshan Brewery and StrEAT Food. Hardware Sales. In fact, it is that delightful mix of residence and industrial-strength business that yields Sunnyland its wondrous, quirky charm. Artists work from their back of their homes and sell from their commercial storefronts—their efforts showcased each summer in the Sunnyland Stomp.
But favorite places are found all over Bellingham. Here again we present our readers picks of the best, brightest and boldest in the City of Subdued Excitement.

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Apr 22


Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival kicks off this week and continues through April 30 throughout the verdant valley. In addition to the hundreds of acres of blooming daffodils and tulips that will bloom according to Mother Nature through the month, there'll be street fairs, wine events, outdoor excursions, art displays, a home tour, live music, the "world's largest garage sale, a gala celebration, historic home tours, and much, much more. Go to the website to find out more. more »

Chorus Line Auditions: All vocal ranges can audition for upcoming performances of A Chorus Line at 7pm Monday and Tuesday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. Visit the website for particulars on ages, dancing abilities, and more. more »

Reduce and Reuse Sale: Whatcom Community College's Sustainability Club hosts an Earth Day fundraiser sale of books, clothing, sports equipment, toys and small furniture at a "Reduce and Reuse Sale" from 11am-3pm Tuesday and Wednesday at the school's Syre Student Center, 238 W. Kellogg Rd. more »

Earth Day Free Day: Visit Washington State parks without paying a fee at an "Earth Day Free Day" event happening throughout the state. Visit the website to see a full list of participating parks. ( A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington State DNR and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.) more »

Sign Language Classes: The Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center offers American Sign Language classes as a free service to the community from 12-1pm on the first three Tuesdays of each month in Bellingham. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. more »

Easter Walk and Park Cleanup: Join Echoes Bellingham for an "Easter Walk" at 1pm in front of City Hall, 210 Lottie St. Participants will relive the story of Jesus' final days through "narrative interruptions" during the half-mile walk. An optional service project begins at 2:15pm at Maritime Heritage Park to move and spread mulch. Both events are free. more »

Earth Day Fair: Representatives from a variety of Whatcom County businesses will be on hand at an Earth Day Sustainability Fair starting at 4pm at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. The event aims to raise awareness about the numerous resources available to us locally in Bellingham. more »

Triathlon Training Basics: Kara Fuhrmeister leads a "Triathlon Training Basics" clinic at 6pm at REI, 400 36th St. Register in advance for the free primer. more »

Wild Greens: Enjoy the bounty of wild edible spring greens using traditional techniques of Coast Salish foragers when Vanessa Cooper helms a "Wild Spring Greens" course from 6-8:30pm at the Cordata Community Food Co-op, 315 Westerly Rd. Cooper will also discuss the medicinal benefit of these traditional foods as well as their nutritional and culinary value. Entry is $29. more »

Taste for Poetry: Wordsmith Angela Belcaster will join a "Taste for Poetry" fundraiser for the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest a 6pm at Ciao Thyme, 207 Unity St. The multi-course meal will be prepared by the culinary masters at Ciao Thyme. Tickets are $75. more »

Bellingham Reads: Discuss Erick Weiner's The Geography of Bliss at a Bellingham Reads book discussion group meeting at 6:30pm at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. more »

Gluten-Free Globe: Chef Robert Atterberry focuses on "Gluten-Free Flavors from Around the World" at a class from 6:30-8:30pm in Mount Vernon at Gretchen's Kitchen, 512 S. First St. Entry is $40. more »

Heart’s Oratorio: Mary Oak reads from and shares ideas from Heart's Oratorio: One Woman's Journey Through Love, Death and Modern Medicine at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The memoir is about life (and near-death) with a genetic heart condition. more »

Frequent Fliers: Ornithologist Dan Froehlich focuses on "Frequent Fliers of the Bird World: Long Distance Migrants" at a 7pm presentation at Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Suggested donation is $3. more »

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