Valentine’s Day

Let’s get weird

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Last week, I expressed my ambivalence toward Valentine’s Day. To recap: People who want to make a big deal of it and break out the flowers and bust out the candy—I don’t really get it, but I’m cool with it. As for people who abhor Valentine’s Day, everything it stands for and everyone who celebrates it—I don’t get that either, but live and let live.

In other words, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you do you, boo.

However, something I can get behind is an unorthodox Valentine’s Day, one that deviates from the Hallmark-forward script in favor of getting a little weird. Luckily, this is a realm in which Bellingham provides.

I’m no poet, but if I were to write a Valentine’s Day verse, it would probably go something like, “Roses are red/Violets are blue/Lavender Country.” It’s like a haiku, but instead of the syllable-per-line count being five-seven-five, it’s four-five-five.

Hey, I said I wasn’t a poet.

Lavender Country isn’t just more of my word salad. It is the longtime project of Seattle musician Patrick Haggerty, whose claim to historical fame is the release of the first gay-themed country music album in history. Lavender Country accomplished this feat in 1973, with funding from the Gay Community Social Services of Seattle. The band performed at Seattle’s first pride celebration the year after, and broke up a couple of years later. Lavender Country probably would’ve faded into obscurity forever were it not for a renewed interest in rediscovering country’s gay pioneers at the turn of this century, which resulted in the reemergence of Haggerty and his band. They were the subject of a memorable documentary, These C*cksucking Tears (a reference to their most infamous song), in 2016, which introduced Lavender Country to a new audience eager to be late-adopters of the heretofore-unknown gay icons. Haggerty and Co. first played the Shakedown in conjunction with a showing of the documentary, and they’ve been back several times since. You could spend Valentine’s Day with a boring box of chocolates, or you could be entertained by one of country music’s true outlaws. Where: 1212 N. State St. Info:

Meanwhile, at a music venue across town, a 10-piece funk band will be reminding everyone that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about sugar, spice and everything nice, but it can also be about soul music, sweat and a smattering of sin. Bellingham loves a big band and a big show, and they’ll get everything they love all wrapped in one big Baby Cakes package on Valentine’s Day. The Bellingham band has a big local following and their shows are growing ever more rare (it’s not an easy thing to wrangle 10 people and their schedules), so it might be wise to jettison the lingering glances and candlelit dinner in favor of making it to the Wild Buffalo by the show’s 8:30pm start time. Sure, you can go the roses-and-romance route on Feb. 14, but I’d like to propose an alternate four-part plan: 1. See Baby Cakes at the Wild Buffalo. 2. Shake booty. 3. Get lucky. 4. Never tell me about it later. What happens at Baby Cakes stays at Baby Cakes. Where: 208 W. Holly St. Info:

Maybe neither soul bands nor gay country pioneers are making your heart beat faster. Perhaps what is required to put you in the mood for love is female-fronted psych pop. In that case, you’ll want to make the Firefly Lounge your Valentine’s Day destination. Seattle’s General Mojo’s will make the journey to Bellingham in order to provide a dreamy soundtrack to your romantic date night—or galentine’s day or solo evening out, whatever you have in mind. General Mojo’s Heather Thomas is more than just the band’s singer and percussionist, she’s also an outspoken advocate for supporting, making space for and increasing the visibility of female and female-identifying musicians. She’s been working for her own success for more than a decade with the goal of opening doors and broadening opportunities for herself and as many women as possible. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m in love. Where: 1015 N. State St. Info:

More Music...
From Orbison to Borodin
The Baker goes eclectic

A few days ago, as I was walking from an appointment in the Fountain District to another appointment on Cornwall Avenue (read: a cookie from Pure Bliss), I sauntered past the Mount Baker Theatre. I like to look in the windows of downtown businesses when I pass them by, which sometimes makes…

more »
Spooktacular: The Sequel
Halloween is forever

If you’re not from here, odds are you remember when you noticed how little chill Bellingham has on the subject of Halloween. It’s like Halloween is Laurie Strode and all of us are Michael Myers, obsessed and possessed, but more fun and less murdery.

For many years, I’ve believed…

more »
It’s Spooktacular!
Don’t be a Halloweenie

Normally, I’d start off my annual Halloween music roundup by talking about how I don’t wear costumes, and then try and justify that by talking about how much I love all things Halloween. But I have a lot of events to try and cram into this space, so I’m just going to cut to the chase,…

more »
Kombucha Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Pinot and Prose Info Session

5:30pm|Village Books

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

The Syrinx Effect

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wine, Women, and Song

7:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Now Hear This!

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Whatcom Food Network's Fall Forum

9:00am|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Back to the Books

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

3:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

My Parents and Me Painting Classes

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Classic Italian Dinner

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Boldly Went Live Outdoor Adventure Storytelling Show

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Hot Vengeance

7:00pm|Village Books


7:00pm|Bellingham High School

An Evening with Conrad Anker

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Pray the Gay Away

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

The Norman Conquests

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Jansen Jazz Band

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Interwoven Lives

7:30pm|Village Books


7:00pm|Bellingham High School

Pray the Gay Away

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

The Norman Conquests

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Emergency winter housing for the homeless


Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Holiday Makers Market

4:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Peace Builder Awards Gala

5:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Hamster Ball

5:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Gratitude Stew

6:00pm|Peter James Studio


7:00pm|Cirque Lab

Book Launch and Poetry Reading

7:00pm|Old Parish Hall

Butterflies and Trios

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

I Knew Her As Arachne

7:30pm|DUG Theater

Lone Piñon

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Blush Punch with Bellingham Repertory Dance

8:00pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

see our complete calendar »