Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Going Viking

A ski to sea saga

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When I caught wind that an Anacortes-built Viking ship was scheduled to launch at Deception Pass State Park on the same Saturday as Bellingham’s 18th annual Scandinavian Fair, an instinctive yearning to assail both events compelled me to embark on a multistage voyage through formidable pockets of transformative coastal terrain.

Swords and battle-axes weren’t necessary, but I did provision myself with a collapsible rain shield to help beat back aggressive cloudbursts. And just in…

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At MONA, no wrong answers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

For several years, I‘ve led school tours at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art (MONA). We use a technique called “Visual Thinking Strategy.” The point with VTS is to encourage everyone to think for themselves. We say “there are no wrong answers,” and treat every opinion with respect.

To promote VTS, we led them to the current second-floor exhibit, “Hidden Narratives”—artworks with several possible interpretations. Almost everyone’s favorite is a miniature bedroom by…

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Andy Weir goes to the moon

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I have a confession to make. When I read Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian last year, I wasn’t all that interested in the fact that the sci-fi story about an American astronaut stranded alone on Mars was as scientifically accurate as was humanely possible.

What did grab me from page one of the futuristic fable was how much I was rooting for the survival of Weir’s protagonist—a quick-thinking engineer and botanist named Mark Watney who has to improvise time and again in order…

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Turkey Talk

It’s all about the leftovers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My first Thanksgiving in Washington state didn’t go over as planned. My soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was visiting from Idaho, and I’d cooked in advance a vegetarian feast for two comprised of stuffing, mashed taters, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie and assorted accoutrements of the season.

On the way from the airport back to Whatcom County, my car broke down just outside of Stanwood. Nearby mechanics were shuttered, so we spent Thanksgiving night at a hotel just off the freeway (and received…

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Lady Bird

A slice of cinematic perfection

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

American movies today are generally aimed at four different audiences: kids, adults, females and males. The coming-of-age screwball comedy Lady Bird crosses all those mutually exclusive boundaries to take us down novel, delightful paths.

While it’s focused on a high school senior looking forward with a touch of angst and confusion, this effervescently witty story about the life and times of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson goes against most teen-movie conventions. It rejects…

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On Stage

True Tales

Of schooners and Santaland

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The powers that be at the Bellingham Theatre Guild want to ensure that while dealing with the stresses of the season, you’ll have at least a couple of opportunities to step away from your to-do lists—whether they have to do with whose names will be entered into your annual Christmas cookie distribution database or what to feed the 18 friends and family who will descend on your doorstep for the holidays—and direct your attention to their stage.

The first opportunity comes in the…

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New documents release old memories

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22, 1963, the day of President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, had the same kind of aftershock on American society as Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, and 9/11/2001. Americans would get no conclusive, satisfactory answers to their questions about the killing which, several years later, would be followed by the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the near-fatal shooting of presidential candidate and Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

The legally mandated…

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Happy Thanksgiving

Make it a weekend to remember

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The weekend following Thanksgiving is good for a lot of things: shopping, decorating for the holidays, making wish lists, baking cookies, etc.

It is typically not great for local music, and understandably so. In fact, I have been known to refer to the post-Thanksgiving weekend as an “entertainment black hole,” a “vast wasteland” and a “bleak hellscape.”

But not so much this year. For reasons I have yet to discern largely because I have not tried, the Thanksgiving weekend…

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Best of Bellingham
Best Band

The Wednesdays

Music scenes, including ours, have traditionally been boys’ clubs—but the Wednesdays win in this category is a welcome indication of a change that has been a long time in coming. Unabashedly feminist and unapologetically political, the Wednesdays are making music with a message—and people are listening. With a motto of “Dismantling the patriarchy by day, playing basement blues punk by night,” coupled with an electrifying live show, the Wednesdays are making their mark and making it count.

See all the winners »
The Gristle
Bronze Rule

BRONZE RULE: Let’s call it the Bronze Rule in local politics—when voter turnout is above 40,000, when ballot returns are above 40 percent, Whatcom County simply begins to run out of conservatives, and outcomes drift progressive. Conservatives fare best in low-turnout…

Alan Rhodes
Mr. Cranky’s Election Reflections

The 2017 local election is behind us and the results are a mixed bag, but we are definitely doing better than the other Washington where a mentally unstable 5-year old is running things. Let’s see how things worked out here in Whatcom County.

Bellingham City Council. There were only two…

Village Books
Baby Rebellion

The Baby Rebellion is what the absurd charade of the Trump administration will be remembered as. A bunch of useless jerks pulled off a fringe upset and seized power by lowering standards of…

BOLD thinking about dementia

It is time we advance our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often Alzheimer’s and other dementias are treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease…

Lessons in living

We currently feel caught in a crossfire of housing wars, within and between our various neighborhoods and our cities, as middle- and low-income people struggle to find housing in Bellingham.

Village Books
Today's Events
Wild Things


Kids, adults and adventurers can join Holly Roger of Wild Whatcom for a “Wild Things” Community Program from 9:30-11am at Cornwall Park. Please bring a simple, healthy snack to share, and…

Opt Outside


If you’re looking for an alternative to Black Friday, join the NW Tulip Trekkers for an “Opt Outside” walk starting at 10am at the Ferndale Haggen, 1815 Main St. (registration will be in the…

Holiday Festival of the Arts


More than 100 local artists and craftspeople will show and sell their creative wares as part of Allied Arts’ 38th annual “Holiday Festival of the Arts” from 10am-7pm daily (except for…

Hot Cider & Cool Art


Painter Ben Man will host “Hot Cider & Cool Art” from 10am-4pm every Friday and Saturday through December at his third-floor space in the Morgan Block Studios, 1000 Harris Ave. Among the…

Spirit Festival


Attend a “Spirit Festival” from Friday through Sunday at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian. Spirit “Tour & Taste” events, a “Crafts Spirit Cocktails 101” mixology class, mixed case…

Deck the Old City Hall Opening


Get in the holiday spirit when the annual “Deck the Old City Hall” begins this week from 12-5pm Friday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. In addition to…

Lighthouse Mission Thanksgiving Dinner


Lighthouse Mission Ministries will present its 94th annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the hungry and homeless from 12-2pm at the gymnasium at the Church of the Assumption, 2116 Cornwall Ave.…

Coffee Tasting


Attend a weekly coffee tasting from 3-3:30pm at Camber Cafe, 221 W. Holly St. Entry is free, and no RSVP is needed to come in and enjoy a small tasting flight of the venue’s single-origin…

Fairhaven Winterfest


The annual Fairhaven Winterfest kicks off with visits from Father Christmas from 3-5pm and a Holiday Art Walk and Open House from 5-8pm Friday throughout the historic district. On Saturday,…

Food Not Bombs


All are welcome to partake of nutritious and delicious vegan meals when Food Not Bombs offers a community meal from 4-6pm every Friday on the corner of Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue…

Holiday Art Walk


As part of the annual Fairhaven Winterfest, attend a Holiday Art Walk from 5-8pm Friday and Saturday throughout the historic district. Watch for special candles burning outside participating…

Harper & I's Nutcracker


Harper & I Dance Center presents performances of The Nutcracker at 7pm Friday and Saturday at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. In addition to featuring the talents of local…

Anne of Green Gables


Attend opening weekend performances of Anne of Green Gables at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The stage adaptation promises to capture all the charm…

Scrooge the Musical


The Lynden Performing Arts Guild will kick off its 30th holiday season with a production of Scrooge the Musical this weekend at 7:30pm Friday, 2pm and 7:30pm Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the…

The Christmas Schooner


Learn more about the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the spirit of the season when The Christmas Schooner opens this week with…

Backyard Brawl


Two members of the audience will be chosen to act as team captains at the final performances of “Backyard Brawl” at 8pm and 10pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. The…

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