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 21


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 »

Deck the [Old City] Hall: Shop, sing, see Santa, enjoy dozens of decorated trees and enter to win a special "decked out' tree for your home at part of "Deck the [Old City] Hall" from 12-5pm every Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 28 at Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Entry is free with museum admission. more »

Mary and Joseph: Playwright Tim Greger's Serial Killers-winning play, Mary and Joseph: A Bible Story, returns as a full-length production continuing this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Sunday at the iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The show features a modern take on the trials and tribulations of one young couple's unplanned immaculate conception. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. more »

Saving Christmas Town: Watch elves defend their territory from the "naughty and ominous" characters of Oogie Boogie Land at the Dance Studio's third annual performances of Saving Christmas Town at 7pm Thursday through Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave. Tickets are $12 in advance at the Dance Studio or at the door. more »

The Nutcracker: Northwest Ballet Theatre concludes its run of performances of the seasonal holiday ballet The Nutcracker at 7:30pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday at Mount Vernon's McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Northwest Ballet Theater has performed the production since 1999. This year, with growing community support, the company has been able to create an even more elaborate production than ever before. Tickets are $24-$35. more »

Dancing for Joy’s Nativity: View the Nativity story told through the language of dance when Dancing for Joy presents performances of "Nativity: We Danced Our Best For Him" at 6:30pm Saturday and Sunday at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Dance styles will include jazz, lyrical, modern and ballet. Tickets are $12-$14. more »

FAIRHAVEN RIDE: Meet up with folks from Fairhaven Bike & Ski for a weekly race-pace ride at 8am at the Fairhaven Village Green. more »

Rabbit Ride: Join members of the Mt. Baker Bike Club for the weekly “Rabbit Ride” starting at 8:30am at Fairhaven Bike & Ski, 1108 11th St. The 32-mile route sees riders heading down Chuckanut and back via Lake Samish. more »

Rabbit Ride: Join members of the Mount Baker Bicycle Club for a "Rabbit Ride" starting at 8:30am every Sunday at Fairhaven Bike & Ski, 1108 11th St. The 32-mile route takes riders down Chuckanut and back via Lake Samish. This is intended to be a fitness ride, and you're encouraged to push yourself. The group also holds weekly rides Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. more »

Holiday Cookie Decorating: Kids of all sizes can come in and decorate six pre-made shortbread cookies to take home or give to loved ones as part of a "Holiday Cookie Decorating" event from 1-4pm in Anacortes at Potluck Kitchen Studio, 910-A 11th St. Icing, sprinkles and other decorations will be supplied. Tracey Olson, of Two Girls Baking, a dessert catering company from Anacortes, will be on hand to offer expert decorating tips and tricks. Entry is $10. more »

Holiday Concert: Uplifting seasonal music, folk tunes, Broadway hits, spirituals, world music and more can be heard when the Bellingham Community Chorus presents its annual Holiday Concert from 3-5pm at the First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. Admission to the family-friendly concert is free. more »

Solstice Concert with Stanley Greenthal Ensemble: Seasonal songs and poems will be presented alongside Celtic and Balkan tunes and more at at Winter Solstice Concert with Stanley and Kip Greenthal at 7pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Christos Govetas and Kim Goldov will also perform. Entry is $6-$15. more »

Salsa Night: Rumba Northwest presents its new "Salsa Night" from 7-10pm every Sunday at the Green Frog, 1015 N. State St. Attendees can enjoy a salsa lesson, and DJ Antonio will spin a mix of Latin rhythms. Entry is $3. more »

Winter Solstice Ritual: All are welcome to attend the 36th annual Grand Dance Movement Ritual to Bring Back the Light from 7:30-10pm at the Bloedel Donovan Community Building, 2214 Electric Ave. The movements are simple and easy to learn. Entry is a sliding fee donation of $8-$15 (kids 14 and under are free). Check the website for guidelines about child care. more »

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