This Week's Cover


Through the Lens

From the searing deserts of Namibia to the soaring glacial moraines of deep Alaska and the saturated rainforests of the Olympic Coast, photographers Dennis Walton and John D’Onofrio present the trophies they’ve captured of photographic expeditions across the world’s great landscapes. Their work is both sweeping and personally intimate.

Walton has lived and travelled abroad for much if his life, photographing extensively in Burma, Tibet, Ladakh, Java, India, and Japan, where he captured

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This Week

The Gristle

The Permanence of Variance

THE PERMANENCE OF VARIANCE: A remarkable schism opened between the afternoon and evening sessions of Bellingham City Council this week, although perhaps too few noticed.

The central puzzle facing the city—and indeed communities throughout the West and across the country—is the affordability of housing and its attendant concerns, as middle incomes have remained relatively flat while home prices continue to rise precipitously. The balance between what one earns and what one pays for a roof

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It's Complicated

About that “Local Taxes” item on your Comcast bill

If you’re confused by your Comcast bill for cable TV—the one you got in January or February—don’t feel dumb.

Batches of Comcast subscribers have complained to the City of Bellingham about some jolting December-to-January increases in a Comcast billing item listed as “Local Taxes.”

The increases varied from one Comcast subscriber to another. One billing increased from 14 cents in December to $6.35 in January. Another, from 22 cents in December to $7.66 in January.  Another, from

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Through the Lens

Exotic landscapes, far and near


From the searing deserts of Namibia to the soaring glacial moraines of deep Alaska and the saturated rainforests of the Olympic Coast, photographers Dennis Walton and John D’Onofrio present the trophies they’ve captured of photographic expeditions across the world’s great landscapes. Their work is both sweeping and personally intimate.

Walton has lived and travelled abroad for much if his life, photographing extensively in Burma, Tibet, Ladakh, Java, India, and Japan, where he captured

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Station Eleven

Weaving stories from gossamer thread


Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is one of those books that sweeps you up and doesn’t put you down until the last page is turned. I picked up a copy at the Whatcom Literacy Council Breakfast last November, where Nancy Pearl touted it as one of her recent favorites, a book that restored her “heretofore flagging faith that wonderful novels are still being written.” It languished on the coffee table for several months until I picked it up on a slow Sunday and became lost in it.


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On Stage

Challenge America

A world of learning


When Kuntz and Company founder Pamela Kuntz found out her dance and community organization had qualified for a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of a “Challenge America” competition, she and her crew promptly got things rolling. The first of three dance residencies takes place this week with both public performances and classes at local schools throughout Whatcom County.

Cascadia Weekly: What were the parameters of the “Challenge America” grant?

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Red is Neutral

Collage and collaboration with Freddy Moran


“Freddy” Moran had been quilting for 20 years when, at 80, she thought she was burned out. Said her son: “Think what you can do in the next 20 years!” The result is her “Collage” exhibit at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.

Here in the historic mansion atop the hill in the tiny artist town, you’ll discover fabric art from the 19th century to the present.

On the first floor, examine handmade clothing and quilts. Children’s frocks from the early 1900s remind us that once

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Colophon Cafe

Comfort food with a history


There are some restaurants that grab you by the heart and won’t let go. They offer that brilliant combination of consistently good comfort food, great service, a warm, ambient environment and a location that’s convenient and attractive. The Colophon Café nails every one of those.

We started coming back in 2003 on our first foray to Bellingham, with a new babe in an infant carseat and all the worries of first-time parenthood. By then the café had been open 18 years in Fairhaven’s

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Song of the Sea

A selkie’s tale


Song of the Sea is another satisfying smack in the face of computer-generated 3D animation from Irish director Tomm Moore, after his earlier, Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells. Working with wondrous watercolor backgrounds and 2D animation in which the impressions of depth and perspective are almost exclusively suggested through overlapping flat surfaces, this pleasingly old-school item again relies on Irish folklore and legends to color a familiar story about a young boy venturing out into a

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Howlin’ Rain

A new deal


I’ve been around musicians long enough to know that, whatever kind of music of whatever kind of genre they might create, they all tend to do it for similar reasons, generally speaking. It goes without saying that musicians have a creative itch they need to scratch, as well as a need to put forth what they’ve created into the world. Regardless what degree of stage fright they may feel, I think most musicians would agree that nothing feels quite like the support and validation they receive

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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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Feb 28


Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival: The 15th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival takes place Feb. 19-28 at a variety of Whatcom County venues, including Bellingham High School, Bellingham Technical College, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, the Deming Library, Fairhaven College, Ferndale Public Library, Northwest Indian College, the Pickford Film Center, Sehome High School, and Whatcom Community College. All events are free, and many films will be followed by facilitated discussions—some led by the filmmakers more »

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot: The Skagit Valley College Drama Department presents showings of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot for the final week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the school's Phil Tarro Theatre. Tickets are $5. more »

Leading Ladies: Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies—a comedy about down-on-their-luck English Shakesperean actors attempting to fool a rich old lady out of her money by posing as long-lost relatives—concludes this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. Tickets are $8-$12. more »

The Underpants: Professional and community actors can be seen onstage when the Mount Baker Theatre presents its sixth year of Winter Repertory Theatre with performances of Steve Martin's The Underpants concluding this week at showings at 7:30pm Wednesday through Friday, 3pm and 7:30pm Saturday, and 3pm Sunday at the MBT's Walton Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Tickets to the see the satire—which takes place in 1910 and focuses on a scandal caused when the wife of a government clerk loses control of her more »

Christopher Titus: Comedy Central comedian Christopher Titus takes the stage at 8pm Friday and Saturday at the Skagit Valley Casino Resort, 5984 Darrk Lane. Titus is best known for his signature one-man shows, including the "5th Annual End of the World Tour" and "Angry Pursuit of Happiness." Tickets to the show are sold out, but you might want to check and see if there's a wait li more »

Space Trek: The men and women of the USS Upfront will return to the stage when the sci-fi format, "Space Trek," shows for the final weekend at 8pm and 10pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. Audience members can get in on the action, too—they'll provide the suggestions that inspire the completely improvised "missions." Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Wear any space-related costume and get $3 off your ticket (at the door). more »

Skagit Opera’s Cinderella: The classic fairy tale known as Cinderella—or La Cenerentola‚will be brought to life by the Skagit Opera at performances at 7:30pm Friday and 3pm Sunday in Mount Vernon at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Gioachino Rossini's enchanting opera can also be seen March 6 and 8. Tickets are $25-$59. more »

Birding Festival: The 10th annual "Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival" takes place Saturday and Sunday in Stanwood. Events include seminars, tours and hands-on activities. Entry is free and open to all. more »

Winter Festival: "A Fascination for Hellebores" will be the theme of the ninth annual "Winter Festival" happening Saturday and Sunday in Mount Vernon at Christianson's Nursery, 15806 Best Rd. Sign up in advance if you want to hear guest speaker Katie Miller of Skagit Gardens talk on the topic at 11am Saturday. more »

Orchid Show and Sale: The Mt. Baker Orchid Society hosts its annual Show and Sale from 9am-5pm Saturday and 9am-4pm Sunday at Mount Vernon's Skagit Valley Gardens, 18923 Peter Johnson Rd. In addition to the orchid displays, commercial vendors and members will have orchids for sale. Entry is free; there will be a repotting service by donation. more »

Fairhaven Walking Club: Whether you’re looking to improve or compete, all are welcome at the weekly Fairhaven Walking Club led by Cindy Paffumi starting at 8am at various locations in Fairhaven. Walk routes and meeting places change from week to week. All paces are welcome. more »

Pancake Breakfast: Attend a Pancake Breakfast from 8-11am at Ferndale's American Legion Post 154, 5537 2nd Ave. The event is held every fourth Saturday of every month (except July and December). Entry is $3 for kids and $6 for adults. more »

Smelt Derby Festival: La Conner Rotary hosts its 50th annual Smelt Derby Festival from 8am-10pm throughout La Conner. In addition to the fishing derby happening from 8am-2pm at the town's public docks, there'll be a pancake breakfast, a "Smelt Run" hosted by the Skagit Symphony, fish painting and other activities at Maple Hall, a "Sliders, Suds & Spirits" dinner, a dance and a Smelt Raffle. Costs vary. more »

Composting Benefits: A "Composting: Tips, Tricks and Tea" workshop begins at 9am at the Garden Spot Nursery, 900 Alabama St. Attendees will learn more about the microorganism benefits of composting, mulching your garden and brewing compost tea for long-lasting, healthy. Entry is free; register in advance. more »

Children’s Literature Conference: Matt de la Peña, Newbery author Kate DiCamillo, illustrator Yuyi Morales, and poet Joyce Sidman will be featured at the 12th annual Children's Literature Conference happening from 9am-3:30pm at Western Washington University's Performing Arts Center. Educators, librarians and children's and teen literature enthusiasts are invited to attend a day of inspiration and innovation. Entry is $40-$125. more »

Community Meal: All are welcome at the bimonthly Community Meal taking place from 10am-12pm at the United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St. Today's menu includes pasta with marinara sauce, mixed veggies, green salad, garlic bread and ice cream sundaes. Entry is free and open to all. more »

Work Party: Join Bellingham Parks and Recreation for a Work Party from 10am-12pm at the Connelly Creek Nature Area at Donovan Avenue and 30th Street. Volunteers will be removing invasive plants and spreading mulch, so dress appropriately. Parking is limited. more »

Right Brain Writing: My Karma Ran Over My Dogma author Monica McDowell leads a Chuckanut Writers workshop focused on "Right Brain Writing: Connecting to your Creative Genius from 10am-1pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The workshop will include examples, a guided meditation, and opportunities to exercise your intuitive creative flow in active writing. Entry is $45. more »

World Peace Poets: The World Peace Poets will host a workshop, book launch, live readings and a ceremony for Peace Award winners today at the Encore Room at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. A "Writing Peace" workshop takes place from 10am-12pm, and the Peace Poetry readings and award ceremony happen from 1:30-3:30pm. Award-winners include both Bellingham-based and Canadian honorees, including Darrell Hillaire, Jim Milstead, Dana Lyons, Jim Bertolino, Anita Boyle, Ariadne Sawyer, and more. more »

Growing Small Fruits: Learn more about growing blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and kiwi at a free "Growing Small Fruits" workshop from 1:30-3pm at Everson's Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Rd. No registration is required. more »

A Cup of Hemlock: Local author and former high school teacher Clyde Curley reads from his second novel in the Detective Toussaint mystery series, A Cup of Hemlock, at 4pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The book zeroes in on the case of a beloved high school teacher who has been murdered in his classroom. more »

Up Close & Personal: Violist Leslie Johnson and pianist Andrea Rackly present their fourth "Up Close & Personal" concert at 4pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. This year's program features solo and duo masterworks by Bach and Brahms, and will also include live improvisation by Andrea Rackl. Entry is $5-$20 at the door. more »

Line Dancing Classes: Western Line Dancing classes are offered at 6pm (beginners) and 7pm (intermediates) every Friday night at Lynden’s Ten Mile Grange, 6958 Hannegan Rd. No experience or partner is needed. Cost is $5 per class. more »

Ballroom Dancing: All ages and levels of experience can attend "Ballroom Dancing" events from 6:30-9pm on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 315 Halleck St. The social dances feature traditional ballroom and swing music for foxtrot, east coast swing, waltz, nightclub two-step, cha cha, rumba, salsa, samba and more. Entry is $5. more »

Contra Dance: The Alphabeats will perform at the Bellingham Country Dance Society's Contra Dance happening from 7-10:30pm at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. Both singles and beginners are welcome, and all dances will be taught. Entry is $6-$10. more »

Polecat Party: Listen to the "Americana stomp-grass" sounds of Polecat when the Bellingham-based band celebrates its five-year anniversary with a concert and party from 7pm-12am at the Majestic, 1027 N. Forest St. The five-piece ensemble will be joined by other acts, including musicians and circus performers. Admission to the all-ages show is $10-$15. more »

10 Cents a Mile: Michael Schneider will talk about his three hitchhiking trips across the United States at a "Thumbing at Ten Cents a Mile" presentation at 7:30pm at the Lummi Island Library, 2144 S. Nugent Rd. Entry is free to all adults. more »

International Guitar Night: California-based musicians Brian Gore and Andrew York will be joined by Brazilian jazz master Diego Figueiredo and contemporary Iranian-Canadian steel string prodigy Maneli Jamal for an "International Guitar Night" performance at 8pm at Mount Vernon's Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First ST. Tickets are $23-$32. more »

Late-Night Talent Show: As part of a series of late-night shows, attend or sign up to perform at the monthly Bellingham Talent Show & Raffle at 10pm at the iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. In addition to to viewing the Bellingham-based talent—including circus performers, stand-up comedians, poets, singers and songwriters, storytellers and more—there will be raffles, prizes and more. Entry is $5 in advance and $7 at the door. more »

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