This Week's Cover


Lynden Music Festival

It was just about a year ago that I clambered into the backseat of a running vehicle in a downtown Bellingham parking lot, and then hurtled through a dark, rainy night with only a vague sense of the direction in which my cohorts and I were headed. Turns out, their sense of direction was vague as well, but what we lacked in navigational ability we made up for in purpose.

Our purpose was to seek entertainment of the musical kind, and our final destination—via a decidedly and accidentally

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This Week

The Gristle

The Tyranny of One

THE TYRANNY OF ONE: Bellingham City Council held a special meeting this week to study and receive comments on proposals that will appear on the countywide November ballot. As several proposals seek to curtail the participation of city residents and city taxpayers in future county elections, Council’s interest in the interlocking mechanisms of these proposals is appropriate.

Proposition 1 seeks to exploit a mathematical problem of apportioning the county population across three districts: It

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Satpal Sidhu

Wants more time on County Council


Satpal Sidhu was selected by County Council to replace Sam Crawford, who left office before the end of his term. That meant he had to hit the ground running on a number of complicated policy matters underway. It also meant his appointment would face immediate ratification by voters before he’d established a lengthy track record on Council.

A business executive, professional engineer and educator, Sidhu is former dean of Engineering & Trades at Bellingham Technical College with extensive

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Kathy Kershner

Seeks a return to County office


Kathy Kershner seeks a return to Whatcom County Council. She originally arrived at a contentious moment in county politics, in the trough of a deep recession and on the wave of a frothy conservative backlash. She ran to represent those interests, but her experience on the Council, and perhaps healthier county revenues in a recovering economy, opened her to a broader view of her role as a representative of county residents. Meanwhile, the political tides shifted again, ushering in new Council

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Lynden Music Festival

Everybody cut loose


It was just about a year ago that I clambered into the backseat of a running vehicle in a downtown Bellingham parking lot, and then hurtled through a dark, rainy night with only a vague sense of the direction in which my cohorts and I were headed. Turns out, their sense of direction was vague as well, but what we lacked in navigational ability we made up for in purpose.

Our purpose was to seek entertainment of the musical kind, and our final destination—via a decidedly and accidentally

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Fun with flocks at River Gallery


Several paths lead to the River Gallery—from La Conner, from Fir Island, from Highway 20 south on Best Road. Each is a journey into the heart of the lower Skagit, into a pastoral stillness of grazing black-and-white cattle on green meadows punctuated by forested hillocks left by glaciers, millennia ago.

The gallery, once a commercial greenhouse, was strengthened and improved over the summer to prepare it for the carefully selected art by Washington artists for the Fall Show, which opened

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Fall Fun

Touring BelleWood Acres


It’s a gorgeous fall day, and I’m mesmerized by the view of snowcapped Mt. Baker against row upon row of neatly lined apple trees.

The sun is on my shoulders as I sit aboard a tractor on BelleWood Acres Farm and bump along the gravel path. I’m on an hour-long orchard tour with Dorie Belisle, who owns BelleWood Acres with her husband John and loves nothing more than to educate folks about her farm.

The two came to farming late in life, leaving longtime careers as a speech language

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Kitchen Confidential

A fascination with food


Readers who live to eat will devour Kitchens of the Great Midwest, J. Ryan Stradal’s debut novel that chronicles the meteoric rise to greatness of one Midwestern chef, Eva Thorvald. 

From infancy, Eva was destined to be a chef. Her doting father Lars, a frustrated lutefisk cook, introduces her to braised pork shoulder (puréed) and heirloom Moonglow tomatoes as soon as she can chew.  Then her mother runs off with a sommelier, and her father dies, and Eva’s life vacillates between tragic

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Time for Thai


Whoever coined the adage “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” may have been on to something.

When I got a call from an old friend recently, it was with an invitation to join him for a midday repast featuring Thai and Lao cuisine at Maikham in downtown Bellingham. It was his treat, he said.

Since one of my life mottos is to accept pretty much anything that comes my way without requiring payment—whether it’s cars, livestock, artisanal cocktails or pizza—I agreed to meet him at the

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On Stage

Forever Plaid

Heavenly harmonies and second chances


The news was bad, but it could’ve been so much worse.

Actor Sage Hoag had been injured, and a press release was issued noting that he had to bow out of his role as Smudge in the Mount Baker Theatre’s version of Forever Plaid—the first Autumn Rep offering for the in-house series, which also produces both summer and winter repertory theater.

While that was unfortunate news for Hoag, at least he didn’t suffer the same fate as the four main characters in the popular musical revue, which

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Steve Jobs

Man as machine


Aaron Sorkin opens up a new desktop icon with Steve Jobs, a briskly busy, talkative companion piece to the Newsroom and Moneyball writer’s Mark Zuckerberg–centric The Social Network. Adapting Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple innovator—and covering much of the same ground as Alex Gibney’s documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine—Sorkin’s latest is less a novel expose than a distinctly Sorkinian dramatization of well-known material. Still, it’s helmed with whip-smart panache by

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Oct 09


The Art of Death: Workshops, presentations, music and more will be part of "The Art of Death: Shifting the Way We Look at Death" Conference taking place Fri., Oct. 2 through Sun., Oct. 11 at the Fairhaven Library, Fairhaven Park, Whatcom Cremation, Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building and beyond. Most events are free; some have a fee and will require pre-registration. more »

Forever Plaid: Expect classic barbershop harmonies and pitch-perfect melodies when Forever Plaid continues this week with performances at 7:30pm Wednesday through Friday, 3pm and 7:30pm Saturday, and 3pm Sunday at Mount Baker Theatre's Walton Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. The popular musical focusing on four young musicians who have returned from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory is MBT's Fall Rep show. Tickets are $35; additional shows take place Oct. 14-18. more »

Spamalot: King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table—as well as a bevy of beautiful showgirls, cows, killer rabbits and loads of French people—will make appearances when Monty Python's Spamalot concludes this weekend with showings at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. Tickets are $8-$14. more »

Oliver: The world of Charles Dickens will be given a fresh voice when the musical Oliver continues this weekend with 7:30pm performances Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. Tickets to see the musical about an orphan and his adventures are $20; additional showings happen through Oct. 24. more »

Fall PowWow: Drummers and dancers in full regalia, arts and crafts activities for kids, vendors selling traditional crafts, Native American art and food and much more will be part of a Fall Powwow taking place Friday through Sunday in Mount Vernon at the Duvall Pavilion at Skagit Valley College. Entry and parking for the all-ages event is free. more »

Wild Things: Kids, adults and adventurers can join Wild Whatcom Walks for "Wild Things" excursion from 9:30-11am every Friday in October at the Stimpson Nature Reserve. Suggested donation is $5. more »

Parkinson’s Dance Class: Kuntz and Company's Pam Kuntz leads a 10-session dance class for people with Parkinson's disease and other movement or neurological disorders starting today at 10am at Ballet Bellingham 1405 Fraser St., suite #103. Participants will have the opportunity to experience the joy of dancing while forming a community of support. Suggested donation is $5-$7. No registration is necessary; just show up ready to dance. more »

Microshelters: Derek "Deek" Diedricksen shares ideas from Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses and Other Small Structures at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. Created by a wide array of builders and designers around the United States and beyond, these unique and innovative structures show you the limits of what is possible. more »

Benefit Dinner: Enjoy a five-course, Indian-inspired, locally sourced meal at a Benefit Dinner for Lydia Place and Maher at 7pm at Ciao Thyme, 207 Unity St. The fundraiser is an opportunity to support a bridge between the two life-affirming organizations—one in Bellingham, and one in India. Entry is $85 more »

Coming Out Celebration: Help raise funds for Skagit PFLAG and Skagit Valley College Rainbow Alliance and celebrate Coming Out Day at a viewing of the cult classic film Sordid Lives at 7:30pm at Mount Vernon's Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. Tickets are $15. more »

Carlos Nunez: Galician bagpipes will be at the forefront of a performance by Carlos Nunez at 7:30pm at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Tickets to see Nunez—who has performed with the Chieftains, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Jackson Brown, and Sinead O'Connor—are $20-$39. more »

Smitty & MIles: Actors and improvisers Matt Smith and Pattie Miles—also known as "Smitty & Miles"—will perform sketches and improvise the day-to-day journey of a married couple and their guests (audience volunteers) at a performance at 7:30pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Tickets are $15. more »

Hellingham: Help figure out whodunnit when the perennially popular improvised murder mystery known as "Hellingham" returns to the stage for 8pm and 10pm shows every Friday and Saturday through October at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. Tickets to view the comedic carnage are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. more »

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