Sounds of the Season
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Like it or not, the holiday season is happening
Personally speaking, I like it. But then again, everyone already knew that. Per usual, no physical evidence of my seasonal spirit exists anywhere in my life—no stockings have been hung, no presents procured, my tiny artificial tree remains in storage along with the snowboard helmet I’ve never used and some of the Shakedown’s former barstools. I probably won’t even get around to baking the 40 or so dozen Christmas cookies that is my annual tradition until after the holiday has come and gone.
The only thing I have done to prepare for Dec. 25 is to engage in a spirited debate as to whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie (for the record: it most certainly is) and listen to Christmas carols. If you’re the type of person who wants to see the sounds of the season performed right in front of you, before your very eyes, you are in so much luck. Along with the many concerts and performances that can be found in the calendar listings on the next page, here are a few less-traditional holiday entertainment options—in no particular order—before I turn my attention to New Year’s Eve and all its year-end shenanigans.
Sylvia Center for the Arts: Christmas comes with many traditions, and local singer/songwriter Robt Sarazin Blake is the person responsible for my favorite annual occurrence that is unique to Bellingham. Every year, he presents his “Very Subdued Christmas,” which this year will take place Sun., Dec. 22 and Mon., Dec. 23 at the Sylvia Center for the Arts. Blake sings songs and tells stories, all of which he promises have something to do with the holiday. As has become custom, Grace Gouran will be there to help perform Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and will no doubt steal the show right out from under Blake. Also on hand will be special guests Louis Ledford (Dec. 22) and the Best Intentions (Dec. 23). No word on their show-stealing abilities, but no doubt they’ll do their level best. Tickets are still available for the shows, but be warned: “A Very Subdued Christmas” sells out every year. Info: http://www.sylviacenterforthearts.org
Anacortes Music Project: The Anacortes Music Project, always up to something, has seasonal spirit to spare, and they want to spread it around. They’ll do so on Sat., Dec. 14 when they take over the Depot Arts Center for their yearly Rockin’ Yule Bizarre. There, you’ll find an array of crafts for purchase, a bake sale so you can pass off someone else’s delicious homemade baked goods as your own (don’t do that. Santa will know), a pizza truck and a whole day’s worth of bands—Fanny Alger; Ebb, Slack and Flood; Whisky Fever; the Mosstones, and others—all of which will put their singular spins on the songs of the season. Tickets are $10-$12 (folks younger than 15 years old are free) and proceeds will enable the Anacortes Music Project to continue to make Anacortes a more musical place. Info: http://www.anacortesmusicproject.org
Guemes Island General Store: Speaking of Ebb, Slack and Flood (see above), the last time they attempted to play the outdoor stage at the Guemes Island General Store, they were prevented by doing so by Mother Nature. I’m not sure what they did to bring down September’s massive lightning storm upon themselves, but they’ll be back to tempt fate at the Guemes Island General Store’s annual solstice celebration on Sat., Dec. 21. The shop has a big presence on the tiny, ferry-accessed island, and their solstice parties have become can’t-miss affairs. Ebb, Slack and Flood—should this show be more of a success than their last effort—will close out the Guemes Island General Store’s free winter music series for the year, and with the sunset of the 2019 series comes the return of brighter days, which is certainly cause for celebration. Info: http://www.guemesislandgeneralstore.com
Herb’s Cider: If you’ve ever harbored a secret desire to sing Christmas carols with a bona fide rock star (thus becoming a rock star yourself by sheer proximity), you’ll have your chance Sat., Dec. 21 at Herb’s Cider. When he’s not fermenting a delicious array of refreshing ciders, Tim Alexander—aka “Herb”—is the longtime drummer of Primus. Evidently he’s also into holiday sing-alongs, so he’s hosting one at Herb’s Bay Street tasting room. He’s invited his musical friends to help him out, and now all he needs is you to show up to the family-friendly event, slap down five bucks and make a joyful noise with him. As Christmas caroling goes, this is about as cool as it gets. Info: http://www.herbscider.com
Sehome High School: As a longtime Posies fan (I believe I’ve mentioned it a time or 20), I’m into it anytime they come back to the town that spawned them, in whatever form they might exist at that moment. When they perform a Dec. 21 concert at their alma mater, Sehome High School, it’ll be just the founding duo of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, and songs from their forthcoming album will definitely be on the set list, and rumor has it they may break out some holiday tunes as well. Tickets are available via Eventbrite, and $25 gets you in, $100 gets you a ticket to the concert and dinner with the dynamic duo, while for an undisclosed amount of money (and probably several shots of holiday cheer), I’ll perform Frosting on the Beater in its entirety for you, complete with the same hairstyle sported by Jon and Ken in the 1980s. I’m kidding about that. Or am I? Info: http://www.kenstringfellow.com