Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Let your folk flag fly

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Without going too deep into the details, it is fair to say that life today in these United States occasionally has me casting longing glances toward Canada. Sure, our neighbors to the north are dealing with their fair share of problems—a once-dreamy prime minister that has become a sentient oil pipeline comes to mind, not to mention the steep price of milk—but on certain days, the grass really does look greener just across the border.

While the socialized medicine, access to education,…

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On Stage

Bard Alert

All the world’s his stage

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

William Shakespeare never had a Twitter account, but there’s no doubt he’s trending—at least in Whatcom and Skagit counties, where his words and his works are set to sparkle on stages throughout much of the summer.

For Shakespeare Northwest’s 18th annual Skagit River Shakespeare Festival, that stage will once again be the natural environs of the Rexville-Blackrock Amphitheater. This will be the ninth year the company with the motto of performing “outdoors and under the stars, the way…

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The Way Home

No tech, no problem

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mark Boyle is no stranger to remaking himself. In the fall of 2008, he embarked on an experiment in living without money, documenting the experience with the publication of The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living (2010) and a follow-up guide, The Moneyless Manifesto: Live Well, Live Rich, Live Free.

He has been a vegan and a hunter; a business school graduate and an organic food company manager. In 2007, he set out to walk from southwest England to the birthplace of Gandhi in…

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Hotseat Silver Reef

The Lion King

When recycling goes wrong

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I don’t know how they did it. But Disney’s pristine, photorealistic rendering of the animated smash The Lion King trades one style of animation for another, marking a simultaneous advance and retreat for modern filmmaking.

It’s a step forward technologically and three steps back every other way. It represents a new high and a new low in Disney’s ongoing recycling program.

It’s persuasive, meticulous work within its chosen visual landscape, as far as it goes.

And for me it…

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All That Razz

A festival for fruit

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Practically overnight, our backyard raspberry canes went from “I think the fruit is getting close to being ripe” to “oh my lord, what are we gonna do with all of these lovely red raspberries?”

Last weekend, my fella and I attempted to answer that question by throwing freshly picked handfuls in bowls of cereal, muddling them with a mortar and pestle to add to vodka spritzers, baking some in a pie along with strawberries and rhubarb, freezing them on top of parchment paper on a baking…

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Silver Reef Stay and Fly

To be Continued

Realism and abstraction at MoNA

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The two exhibits currently on display at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner reveal different perspectives of Washington painting in the last century. 

On the main floor, “continuum…continued” includes selections from the museum’s collection that illustrate the best of the Northwest “mystic” artists.

A 1953 Life magazine article introduced Americans to Seattle painters Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Guy Anderson, and Morris Graves, proclaiming “They translate reality into…

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Hotseat Silver Reef

Tour de Whatcom

Four routes, endless views

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

“Is the Tour de Whatcom a race or a ride?” is the first FAQ query on the website promoting the outing happening Sat., Jul 20, and the distinction is an important one for those contemplating whether they want to don a helmet and hop on their two-wheeled conveyance to take part.

“The Tour de Whatcom is a bicycle ride and although the course is marked, the START/FINISH line is the only street along the route that is completely shut down,” Whatcom Events explains. “Riders are expected to…

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Paddle To Lummi

Honoring a way of life

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

They touched the shore of the Olympic Peninsula on the weekend and were greeted in the Klallam language. Coastal tribes from Washington and British Columbia were welcomed to the revitalized estuary of the Elwah by youth of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for the first time since 2005.

Growing in numbers as they travel, tribes paddle to Port Townsend, and on to Port Gamble, greeting and merging with other tribes as they travel the Salish Sea to Lummi. They’re expected to arrive July…

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Silver Reef Stay and Fly

The Art of Self-Defense

Don’t count Jesse out

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By now it should be clear that we underestimate Jesse Eisenberg at our own peril. His characters are often walking demonstrations of this principle: Think of the Harvard elites who scorned his young Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, or the assassins who made the mistake of taking on his stoner Jason Bourne in American Ultra. Eisenberg excels at playing an easily dismissible type—the nebbish, the misanthrope, the loner—but within that type he often discovers a startling range of…

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Silver Reef Stay and Fly
Best of Skagit
Best News Story

Save the Whales

Skagit is a land of wild rivers, soaring glacier peaks, fertile valleys and forested dots of islands sprinkling an inland sea. Powerful predatory whales live in these waters and feed on the tastiest wild fish on earth, the Chinook. Ours is as exotic as any landscape on the planet, and perhaps it is more threatened than many.

Those whales—the southern resident orcas—aren’t especially shy and can be viewed almost daily, although their numbers are in precipitous decline. Deaths in their pods have exceeded live births, threatening a spiral to extinction. They’re sick, and they’re starving. The cause? Increased human activity around the Puget Sound, as a region that is loved too much and too recklessly.

Alarmed by the decline of these iconic creatures, the Washington Legislature this session passed sweeping protections for the Salish Sea’s ailing orca population. Championed by lawmakers who represent Skagit and the San Juans, a quartet of bills cover a variety of measures, including whale watching, pollution and more. Yet budgets passed by the House and Senate so far contain no funding to continue the governor’s task force on orca recovery. There’s no agreement on plans to increase Chinook runs. And revenue measures to help pay for everything, from increasing hatchery production to enforcement of habitat protections, have yet to be decided.

As we dedicate this issue to celebrate all the best our region has to offer in scenic beauty, in recreation, in menus and samplings that are unique to who we are, let us acknowledge how fragile it is and how fierce we must be in its protection.

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The Gristle
The Real Social Network

THE REAL SOCIAL NETWORK: This week’s meeting of Bellingham City Council was a masters’ course in current social justice and social equity issues.

Council appears inclined to continue their ban on the conversion of the city’s dwindling supply of manufactured home parks, one of the…

Alan Rhodes
Rescued by Rachmaninoff

Recently, I was looking over the slate of candidates in next month’s local primary election.  There are some really excellent people running, but the appearance of three names on the list left an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach.

While he was on Whatcom County Council, Tony…

Rumor Has It
Remembering Peter Gunn

My dad is the kind of guy who will stop and give five minutes of his time to just about anyone. Because of this, I have learned that it is entirely possible to form lasting, meaningful bonds with people five minutes at a time. 

If ever there was anyone made for friendships formed in…

Village Books
‘Build, baby, build’

At a recent meeting of the City Council Planning and Development committee, Council member Michael Lilliquist discussed the affordable housing issue facing Bellingham and the entire Puget…

Affordable Housing

Our best-intended leaders talk about improving housing, but “affordable housing” keeps slipping further out of reach.
Zoning in unincorporated Whatcom County that allows more affordable…

Smoke evacuation at jail

Thank you for your balanced approach to the reporting of the smoke evacuation issue in the existing jail in last week’s Gristle. 
I do have one item that has a material impact related to…

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Today's Events
Boating Center Open


Bellingham’s Community Boating Center will be open through the summer from 10am until sunset daily at their headquarters at 555 Harris Ave. Rentals include kayaks, sailboats, rowboats and…

Tall Ship Tours and Sails


History will come alive when the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain make their return to the area from Friday and Saturday at Squalicum Harbor Marina, 722 Coho Way. Educational…

Summer Reading Bingo Challenge


As part of a Summer Reading challenge, children, teens and adults can pick up a BINGO card at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. Prizes will be available for all age levels.…

Skagit Guided Adventures


This summer, join Skagit Guided Adventures for “Explore n’ Cruise” outings to Vendovi Island Thursdays through Mondays. “Hike n’ Cruise to Cypress Island” outings happen July 17, 27, 26 and…

Bard on the Beach


A Wild West-inspired version of The Taming of the Shrew will be part of the 30th Bard on the Beach season at Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC. Through Sept. 21, the Shakespearean favorite will…

The Birds


iDiOM Theater’s Summer Rep continues with a production of The Birds at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Maritime Heritage Park, 500 W. Holly St. The comedy by Ancient Greek playwright…

Fairhaven Summer Repertory Theatre


As part of Bellingham TheatreWorks’ inaugural Fairhaven Summer Repertory Theatre, Tennessee Williams’ family drama, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, plays in repertory with Sarah Ruhl’s comedic The…

Skagit Tours


As part of the annual Skagit Tours, Seattle City Light, the North Cascades Institute, and the National Park Service offer Diablo Lake boat tours, Gorge powerhouse tours, and Ladder Creek…

Project Homeless Connect


People who are homeless in Whatcom County can receive free and confidential services—including dental care, medical exams, vision screening, women’s health care, info on veteran benefits,…

Wild Things


Kids, adults and adventurers can join Holly Roger of Wild Whatcom for a “Wild Things” Community Program from 9:30am-11am every Friday in July at Boulevard Park. Please bring a simple, healthy…

NW Raspberry Festival


Celebrate the largest harvest of raspberries in North America at the annual Northwest Raspberry Festival taking place from 10am-8pm Friday, and 8am-5pm Saturday throughout Lynden. In addition…

Plover Ferry Rides


The Plover ferry runs weekends through Sept. 2 from 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 10am-6pm Sundays departing on the hour from the Blaine Visitor’s Dock, Gate II at Blaine Harbor.…

Books and Bites


Bring your lunch along and join a “Books and Bites” discussion focusing on The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin from 1pm-2:30pm at the Blaine Library, 610 3rd St.

Ferndale Farmers Market


Find fare from local farmers and artisans at the Ferndale Farmers Market from 2pm-6pm Fridays through Oct. 11 at a new locale next to the Grocery Outlet, 1750 LaBounty Dr.

Seaside BBQ


Enjoy the ultimate beach barbecue experience at a “Seaside BBQ” event from 5:30-8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 31 at Blaine’s Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. The “party on…

Burlington Summer Nights


File Gumbo performs as part of the Burlington Summer Nights concert series from 6pm-8pm at the city’s Visitor Center Amphitheater, 520 E. Fairhaven Ave. The free, family-friendly concerts…

Seafarers' Summer


The Port of Anacortes continues its seasonal Summer Concert Series with music by Miller Campbell from 6pm-8pm at Seafarers’ Memorial Park, 601 Seafarers’ Way. The free, family-friendly…

Family Story Night


Bellingham Storyteller’s Guild members will lead an hour of coaching and an introduction to the craft at 6pm at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. At 7pm, Family Story Night will commence.…

USA dance event


The Sea Breeze Jazz Band will perform at a USA Dance event taking place from 7:15pm-10pm at the Majestic, 1026 N. Forest St. The fun kicks off with a Samba lesson, followed by a dance party…

Sin & Gin Tours


Through September 21, costumed guides will regale audiences with tales of fascinating characters at the margins of history at Good Time Girls’ “Sin & Gin” tours at 7pm Fridays at Saturdays in…

Shakespeare Northwest


Head to William Shakespeare’s mystical woods when A Midsummer Night’s Dream kicks off Shakespeare Northwest’s summer season with a performance at 7pm Friday at Mount Vernon’s…

Festival of Musical Finale


The Bellingham Festival of Music concludes with a Gala Evening of Favorite Opera Arias and Choruses at 7:30pm at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. Tickets…

Upfront Goes to Camp


Beat the summer heat by attending “Upfront Goes to Camp” shows at 9pm Fridays and Saturdays through July at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. The improvised camp adventure will have all the…

Skagit Tours


As part of the annual Skagit Tours, Seattle City Light, the North Cascades Institute, and the National Park Service offer Diablo Lake boat tours, Gorge powerhouse tours, and Ladder Creek…

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