This Week's Cover


Summer Meltdown

As always happens this time of year, thousands of people from Bellingham and beyond are anticipating, making plans and otherwise getting excited and gearing up for our local summer festival season.

Yes, the fact that we have more than one homegrown festival from which to choose is enough for me to characterize it as a “festival season,” never mind that “multiple festivals” is code for “two events that happen during the same weekend.”

Just like every year save for one, the Summer

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This Week

The Gristle

Deflating Expectations

DEFLATING EXPECTATIONS: What a difference an economic downturn makes!

Bellingham City Council this week listened to extensive public comments but took no immediate action on estimating growth in the city’s population and employment over the next 20-year planning horizon. Staff presented four potential scenarios for City Council to debate, settle upon and forward to Whatcom County planners later this year.

Under the state’s Growth Management Act, counties and their cities are required to

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An Oasis of Quiet

Greenways levies fund Northridge Park


I walked into Northridge Park on a May morning when the sun was just starting to break through the night’s cloud cover, crossing the walkway from Magrath Road into the park.

The park is a mixed forest with an unusually large number of deciduous trees for northwest Washington, probably because this land was first clearcut and then likely harvested again. There may be some second growth, but most of the forest is probably mature third growth, with tall birch, alder, cottonwoods, bitter cherry

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Instant Gratification

Acting on impulse in America


What happens to society when instant gratification, once scorned as a sign of personal weakness, becomes the driving force in our political and economic life?

Paul Roberts, a journalist and author whose previous works include The End of Oil and The End of Food, has penned a call for self-examination of how our quest for the largest, quickest, most efficient rewards have long-term costs, both personally and globally.

In The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification, Roberts

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Block Party

Taking it to the streets


Although I’m an early riser, I am not the type of human who wakes up at the break of dawn in order to get my caboose to a mountain trail and spend the day hiking ever-upward to immerse my being in an alpine wonderland.

These days, my outdoor explorations tend to be more of the urban variety, as I’m of the opinion that watching humans in the throes of having a good time can be just as interesting as happening upon mating marmots in the wild.

This weekend, in fact, will lend itself well to

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On Stage

Park It

Join the circus, one more time

It was early June when Karl Meyer first contacted me about the possibility of including the Community Food Co-op’s annual Community Party in one of the Weekly’s upcoming issues.

As Community Outreach Coordinator for the longtime grocery store with a hyper-local focus, Meyer knows it’s best to contact media outlets early, give them a few reasons to cover the event, and follow up to ensure everybody’s got what they need.

Meyer did all that, and more. This year, a focal point of his missives

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Electric Beet Juice Co.

From Farm to Glass


Grabbing a handful of fresh clover sprouts, shredded carrots, basil, chives and tofu, Heidi Ormbrek stretches rice paper around the raw ingredients. The spring roll looks like it’s ready to burst. She carefully lays the colorful, opaque roll on a plate next to a bowl of sunflower butter sauce.

Ormbrek, 32, works at the Electric Beet Juice Company in the Bellingham Public Market. She is preparing to make a rice paper-wrapped spring roll. She dunks the wrapper in warm water and lays it down on a

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Mission: Impossible

Rogue Nation


At 53 years old, Tom Cruise is past the retirement age of every James Bond except Roger Moore. Yet his 19-year-old Mission: Impossible series ticks on, counting down the seconds till its next explosion—and Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is determined to unman his cross-Atlantic competition. Forget high-tech gadgets. The older Cruise gets, the more he relies on his fists. (And his abs, and his nerves—he’ll never let you forget he does his own stunts, and why should he?) His body is the wonder-gizmo, and

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The Threshold Project

A global journey through glass


Can art save the world?

According to glassblower Christopher Morrison, it sure can’t hurt it.

That’s one reason “The Threshold Project,” Morrison’s exhibit opening Aug. 6 at Western Washington University’s Western Gallery, isn’t just about how the handblown glass sculptures that will be on display catch the light, or what they might look like being displayed in an admiring patron’s living room.

“The purpose of this art is to compel viewers into action, resulting in a movement toward

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Infinitely Polar Bear

A slightly skewed family portrait


Deeply personal and filled with love, Maya Forbes’ Infinitely Polar Bear is nonetheless a hard movie to watch—hard to watch comfortably. Based on her experiences growing up with a father who was in and out of institutions, diagnosed with manic depression, Forbes’ film throws a memoir-ish lasso around late-1970s Cambridge, Mass., where a family with a wildly careening dad, a mom trying to pursue a career, and two girls caught in the throes go about their lives.

Not an easy thing when Cam Stuart

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Summer Meltdown

Where the music meets the mountains


As always happens this time of year, thousands of people from Bellingham and beyond are anticipating, making plans and otherwise getting excited and gearing up for our local summer festival season.

Yes, the fact that we have more than one homegrown festival from which to choose is enough for me to characterize it as a “festival season,” never mind that “multiple festivals” is code for “two events that happen during the same weekend.”

Just like every year save for one, the Summer

Continue Reading »

Best of Bellingham

What's the best neighborhood? The one you live in, judging from this fiercely competitive category. With more than 2,400 entries in the Cascadia Weekly readers choice awards, every neighborhood was named again and again. But with so many terrific places--Trader Joe's, Hardware Sales, Kulshan Brewing Company, Jeckyl & Hyde, Homeskillet, on and on--Sunnyland comes out on top.

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Aug 01


Tractor and Machinery Show: The Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association hosts its 44th annual "Tractor and Machinery Show" from 7am-7pm Wednesday through Friday, and 7am-4pm Saturday at Lynden's Berthusen Park, 8836 Berthusen Rd. Daily events include threshing bees, sawmill demos, gas engines, tractor pulling, antique vehicles, a bookstore, corn grinding, blacksmithing, an adult pedal tractor pull, activities for kids and more. Entry is $3-$7. more »

Movement Graffiti: New dance works by choreographers Nolan Hoppe-Leonard, Tara Reiter, Eli Madsen, Cassandra Howlet, and Artistic Director Nolan Dennett can be seen at "Movement Graffiti: Dance Theater" performances at 7:30pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at Western Washington University's Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Entry to see the impressionistic works is $6-$10. more »

Office Hours: Local playwright Brian Toews' Office Hours premieres this week with showings at 7:30pm at the iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The play is inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Medea, and tells the story of the personal and professional fall of a distinguished English professor at a prestigious liberal arts university. Tickets are $10-$12 and additional showings take place Aug. 6-8. P.S. Due to adult language, viewer discretion is advised. more »

Shakespeare Northwest: Audiences can view Shakespeare Northwest's version of The Noble Kinsmen, a comedic tale about two cousins who are vying for the affection of the same maiden, at 7pm Thursday at Mount Vernon's Rexville-Blackrock Amphitheater, 19299 Rexville Grange Rd. Romeo & Juliet shows at 7pm Friday, and from 1-9pm Saturday, "Iron Man" features the two plays, plus a showing of the ensemble's traveling show, "Shakespeare's Wonderland." Tickets are $10-$12 for the regular shows, $30 to attend "Iron Man." more »

Three Times a Bridesmaid: The world premiere or Three Times a Bridesmaid continues this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The original play by ACT's Willow McLaughlin focuses on the dilemma of an engaged woman as she recounts the many trials, tribulations and farcical tragedies in weddings she has participated in. Tickets are $18 and additional showings happen through Aug. 15. more »

Boating Center Open: The Community Boating Center is open from 12pm to sunset on weekdays, and 10am to sunset on weekends through the summer at their headquarters at 555 Harris Ave. Rentals include kayaks, sailboats, rowboats and paddle boards. Registration for youth camps and adult classes are currently available online. more »

Bard on the Beach: Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors plays in repertory with King Lear, Love's Labour's Lost, and Shakespeare's Rebel at the 26th annual "Bard on the Beach" through September at Vancouver BC's Vanier Park, 1695 Whyte Ave. Tickets are $26-$45. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; many performances sell out in advance. more »

MBT Summer Rep: Joe Dipietro's The Last Romance, Neil Simon's Jakes's Women, and Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, continue this week at showings at 7:30pm Wednesday through Saturday, 3pm Sunday, and 7:30pm Tuesday as part of the MBT Summer Rep at the Mount Baker Theatre's Walton Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Tickets are $25. The plays show in repertory through Aug. 9. more »

Marrowstone Music Festival: Orchestral and chamber music rehearsals, master classes, and professional performances for the public will be part of the 72nd annual Marrowstone Music Festival taking place from July 26-Aug. 9 at Western Washington University. Students ages 14-25 come from more than 30 states and several countries to study with internationally acclaimed faculty. Public concerts take place July 30 and Aug. 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9. Prices vary. more »

The Little Prince: The Neighborhood Playhouse presents showings of The Little Prince at 7pm Friday and 2pm and 5pm Saturday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The culminating performance of the ensemble's summer drama camp for experienced young actors features six student actors ranging in age from 11-17. Suggested donation to see the budding thespians is $5 at the door. more »

An Improvised Musical: Improvised scenes, songs, choreography and more can be experienced when "An Improvised Musical" shows for the final weekend at 9pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. . more »

Sin & Gin Tours: Learn more about the history of vice and sin that helped make the foundation of our urban locales what they are today at the annual "Sin & Gin Tours" at 7pm Friday in Fairhaven next to Skylark's Hidden Cafe (1308 11th St.) and 7pm Saturday at the Bureau of Historical Investigation (217 W. Holly St.). Tickets to take part in the historical tours are $15 general and $19 with a drink. Tours take place weekends through Aug. 29. more »

Mount Baker Blues Festival: Midlife Crisis and the Alimony Horns, Popa Chubby, the Naughty Blokes, the Fat Tones, Scott Holt, Hundred Seventy Split, Foghat, Nick Vigarino, Junkyard Jane, and Ana Popovic will be among the talent performing at the 20th annual Mount Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival taking place Friday through Sunday at the Deming Log Show Grounds, 3295 Cedarville Rd. Day passes are $65-$70; a weekend pass is $135 (includes camping and showers). more »

Studio Swap Meet: Allied Arts of Whatcom County will host a "Studio Sweep" from 9am-4pm Friday through Sunday at the old location of Dakota Arts, 1415 Cornwall Ave. The swap meet is open to all and gives artists an opportunity to clean out their excess paint brushes, canvas, pottery supplies, easels, drawing materials, textiles, beads, tools, studio seconds, prints, fine art pieces, musical instruments, costumes, etc. Entry to pay for booth spaces is $35 after July 29 ($20-$30 before then). more »

Plover Ferry: The Plover ferry runs through the summer from 12-8pm Friday and Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday departing on the hour from the Blaine Visitor's Dock, Gate II at Blaine Harbor. Suggested donation for the excursions is $1 for kids and $5 for adults. more »

Amuze Cabaret Auditions: High-quality performers in various genres are encouraged to attend auditions for an upcoming "Amuze Cabaret" at 3pm Saturday and 6:30pm Sunday at the Conway Muse, 18444 Spruce St. The interactive dinner theater and variety show takes place starting Sept. 11. more »

Rollback Weekend: The inaugural "Rollback Weekend" takes place from 10am-7pm Saturday and Sunday along Birch Bay Drive. A classic car show, live music, vendors, food and more will be part of the weekend's festivities. The event is a throwback to the old day in Birch Bay, when cruising the drive was the thing to do. Entry is free (it's $10 to register your car). more »

Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival: The Coupeville Arts & Craft Festival takes place from 10am-6pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The juried show features both regional artists and those from around the country. In addition to the art, there'll be live music, activities for kids, wine and beer gardens, and more. Entry is free. more »

Point Roberts Arts & Music Fest: A marketplace featuring local handmade arts and crafts, diverse musical and dance performances, a kid's zone, food, a silent auction and raffle and much more will be part of the 20th annual "Point Roberts Arts & Music Festival: Blast from the Past" from 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday in Point Roberts at Lighthouse Marine Park, 811 Marine Dr. Entry is free. more »

Drayton Harbor Days: Ferry rides, model boat displays, activities for kids, a "Run to the Border," a raft race, a pirate costume contest, food-related events, steam boat displays, arts and crafts, a farmers market, a pet contest, and more will be part of "Drayton Harbor Days" taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Blaine Harbor Boating Center (235 Marine Dr.) and beyond. Entry is free. more »

Fairhaven Walking Club: Whether you’re looking to improve or compete, all are welcome at the weekly Fairhaven Walking Club led by Cindy Paffumi starting at 8am at various locations in Fairhaven. Walk routes and meeting places change from week to week. All paces are welcome. more »

Pancake Breakfast: Help raise funds for the Ferndale Food Bank at a monthly Pancake Breakfast taking place from 8-11am at the United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St. more »

Run to the Border: As part of "Drayton Harbor Days," kids and adults can sign up for the annual "Run to the Border" starting at 8:30am at Blaine's Marine Park, 235 Marine Dr. Race participants actually run through the towering Peace Arch as they head back through the park and towards the finish line back at Marine Park. Participants can walk, jog and/or run during the race. Entry is $6-$20. more »

Worm Composting 101: Learn the basics of starting your own worm farm and the benefits of creating compost at a "Worm Composting 101" workshop starting at 9am at the Garden Spot Nursery, 900 Alabama St. Register in advance for the free class. more »

Anacortes Farmers Market: Vegetables, fruit, baked goods, fresh meat and dairy, cut flowers, wine, eggs, art and much more can be found at the Anacortes Farmers Market, which takes place from 9am-2pm every Saturday through Oct. 24 at the Depot Arts Center, 611 R Ave. more »

Mount Vernon Farmers Market: The Mount Vernon Farmers Market takes place from 9am-2pm at the city's Waterfront Plaza. In addition to the fresh, local food, expect activities for kids, cooking demos and special events through the season, which continues through Oct. 17. more »

Fairy Trail 5K: Help raise funds for the Lighthouse Mission's Agape Home at today's Agape Fairy Trail 5K starting at 9:30am at Lake Padden Park, 4882 Samish Way. Come dressed as your favorite fairy tale, story book, or literary character and celebrate all the women and children who have found help and hope at the Agape Home. Entry is $5 for kids 12 and under, $20 for adults. more »

Bellingham Farmers Market: Peruse and purchase a plethora of locally grown produce, ready-to-eat foods, crafts and more at the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-3pm at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. The market runs every Saturday through Dec. 19. more »

Boat and Car Show: Classic cars and motorcycles, plus classic yachts, working boats and collector boats will be on display as part of the La Conner Classic Boat and Car Show taking place from 10am-4pm at the La Conner Marina. Exhibitors will be there to answer your questions. Entry is $3 (free for children under 12). more »

Summer Harvest Day: Get a behind-the-scenes look at what's involved in running a nonprofit education farm center at a Summer Harvest Day from 10am-5pm at Everson's Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Rd. Attendees can taste freshly harvested fruits and veggies, explore the orchards, learn about beekeeping, take guided farm walks, hear about the center's community education program and more. Entry is free. Tapatio food truck will be on hand with edible wares to purchase. more »

Mary Barr Signing: Local author Mary Barr will be signing her books—including The Trouble with Filly Tucker, The Apple, The Hedge Cat and more—at 11:30am at Barnes & Noble, 4099 Meridian St. Barr will return to the venue at 1pm Sat., Aug. 8. more »

Beers Made by Walking: Join Whatcom Land Trust and Aslan Brewing for a "Beers Made by Walking" excursion from 12-5pm at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. The hike will be led by naturalists and Whatcom Land Trust. Brewers attending the hikes are challenged to create a unique, place-based beer that serves as a drinkable, landscape portrait of the trails that are walked. The resulting beers will be served at a special tapping event in the fall, and proceeds from the beer sales will benefit Whatcom Land Trust.Entry is more »

Live Painting at Rexville Grocery: Artist and performer Bill "Fireball" Ball will paint live during a reception for his exhibit currently on display from 1-3pm in Mount Vernon at the Rexville Grocery, 19271 Best Rd. Ball experiments with a variety of mediums and techniques utilizing painting tools that he designs. See the exhibit through August. more »

This Old House: Listen to or tell stories about old homes in Point Roberts—either yours or someone's else's—at a "This Old House" gathering at 2pm at Point Roberts Community Center, 1487 Gulf Rd. See or bring photos and memorabilia about a different home every Saturday through Aug. 29. more »

Ferndale Uncorked: Wine tastings, hors d'oeuvres, live music and more will be part of a "Ferndale Uncorked" event from 4-7pm on the lawn at Ferndale's Christ Lutheran Church, 5904 Vista Dr. Wine may also be purchased for delivery at a later late. Entry is $25; proceeds benefit Ferndale's only shelter for homeless families—the Interfaith Coalition's Our House. more »

Smith & Vallee Opening: Works by painters Ed Kamuda, Gregg Laananen, Lisa Gilley, Rob Vetter, and Ruthie V. can be viewed at an opening reception from 5-8pm at Edison's Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave. View the pieces from 11am-5pm Wed.-Sun. through Aug. 30. more »

Skagit Valley Art Escape: As part of the seasonal Skagit Valley Art Escape, attend an Art Walk from 5-8pm throughout La Conner. Participating locales will highlight art, musical performances, artist demos and more. more »

Line Dancing Classes: Western Line Dancing classes are offered at 6pm (beginners) and 7pm (intermediates) every Friday night at Lynden’s Ten Mile Grange, 6958 Hannegan Rd. No experience or partner is needed. Cost is $5 per class. more »

Arts at the Port Reception: Attend an opening-night reception for the Anacortes Arts Festival's annual "Arts at the Port" from 6-8pm at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed, 100 Commercial Ave. This evening is the first opportunity to see the three unique exhibits, each centering around the theme "Zeitgeist." The works can also be seen at the festival, which takes place Aug. 7-9 throughout Anacortes. more »

Hot Damn Scandal: Listen to "tipsy American gypsy blues" when Hot Damn Scandal performs from 6-8:30pm at the Heart of Anacortes, 1014 4th St. Refreshments will be available from Anacortes Brewery, and food by Billy Ray's Burgers, Brats and Dogs will be available to purchase. Entry is $8; children under 12 get in for free. more »

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