Rumor Has It

News of the Muse:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Tucked away in the tiny town of Conway (pop. 91) lies a magical place that is part bar, part restaurant, part music venue and all heart, the Conway Muse. For the last 15 years, its owners, Elfa Gisla and Tom Richardson have lovingly stewarded the former dairy barn they renovated and named for the Greek goddesses who inspired great works of art.

They booked all manner of musicians, offered hearty meals made from local ingredients, hired bartenders that serve drinks with a smile (a departure from the surly style many of us have grown used to) and generally treated the Muse like it was their home and we were their guests and they wanted to show us the very best of the things they most love.

And they were good at it, if the number of Best of Skagit awards they routinely rake in and the accolades from performers and guests alike are any measure. It was obvious Gisla and Richardson didn’t stake their claim on the Muse thinking it would make them rich—this was a labor of love since the day they opened the doors to their Conway jewel.

Love may make the world go ’round and it might not cost a thing, but it doesn’t pay the bills. At the end of the day, if the Muse wasn’t going to turn a huge profit, it at least needed to pencil out.

But times are tough for arts organizations of all kinds and particularly rough on music venues. So it has been for the Muse, which has found itself squeezed on one side by the deadly duo of increased taxes and regulations and on the other by increased expenses, until there is nothing left to squeeze out of the space that has freely given so much to so many.

In typically straightforward fashion, Elfa and Tom announced that they’re shuttering the Muse after Nov. 10 and canceling the remainder of the shows they’ve booked after that date. As is also their way, they were quick to turn their message outward, toward the greater Muse community rather than keeping the focus on themselves, saying, “We have sincerely loved the journey and express our eternal gratitude to the musicians, performers and staff that are the very reason we are Skagit’s favorite place to hear live music and dance. And thank you to our loyal customers that have supported the thousands of performances over the years.”

Although Nov. 10 is just a short leap into the future away, there’s a lot of music to be heard at the Conway Muse before then. I’m sure Elfa and Tom would like nothing more than if we joined them for all of it.

Past Columns
Drink it up

February 19, 2020

Apologies in Advance

February 12, 2020

All-Ages Action

February 5, 2020

Music at the Movies

January 29, 2020

Hot in Herre

January 22, 2020

Chicken and egg:

January 15, 2020

Say It Ain’t So:

January 8, 2020

Passages:

January 1, 2020

A necessary update:

December 25, 2019

Questions and answers:

December 18, 2019

It’s Baaaack:

December 11, 2019

Of Art and Artists:

December 4, 2019

Fundraising and Family Time:

November 27, 2019

Of beginnings and endings:

November 20, 2019

Of love and loss:

November 13, 2019

Dream All Day:

November 6, 2019

But wait, there’s more:

October 23, 2019

Comings and goings:

October 16, 2019

Sing Loud:

October 9, 2019

Road to somewhere:

October 2, 2019

Events
Today
Fiction 101 Short Story Contest

10:00am

Human Rights Film festival turns 20

6:30pm

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Mapping Mountains

4:00pm|Western Library

Beginners Welcome

4:00pm|Village Books

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Wild Church

6:00pm|Marine Park

Food and Wine Pairing

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

The Slacks

7:00pm|Thousand Acre Cider House

Fame, the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Tomorrow
Fiction 101 Short Story Contest

10:00am

Human Rights Film festival turns 20

6:30pm

Fame, the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Jazz Lecture Series

2:00pm|Anacortes Public Library

Exploring Equity

2:00pm|Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

Keenan's Dinner

4:00pm|Keenan's at the Pier

Trivia Night

6:00pm|Burlington Public Library

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:00pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

A date with democracy

6:30pm

Bottle Club

6:30pm|Thousand Acre Cider House

Pasta Party

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

The Woman's Hour with Elaine Weiss

6:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Godspell

7:00pm| Burlington-Edison High School

All the Great Books (Abridged)

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

My Fair Lady

7:00pm|Ferndale High School Auditorium

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

An Iliad

7:00pm| Firehouse Arts and Events Center

The True Cost

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Jazz and Mariachi Night

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Curious Savage

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

WWU Wind Symphony

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

House Concert with Meghan Yates and Louis Ledford

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Typhoon of Tenderness

8:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Friday
Fiction 101 Short Story Contest

10:00am

Human Rights Film festival turns 20

6:30pm

Fame, the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

My Fair Lady

7:00pm|Ferndale High School Auditorium

All the Great Books (Abridged)

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Godspell

7:00pm| Burlington-Edison High School

The Curious Savage

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Typhoon of Tenderness

8:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Cultural Arts Festival

12:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow, Fifty Shades of Velvet

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Comedy Night at Chair 9

9:00pm|Chair 9

see our complete calendar »