This Week's Cover



During my time as a part-time projectionist at the Pickford Film Center, I have learned many things about the likes, dislikes and habits of its engaged and enthusiastic patrons. For instance, although the unfailing generosity and support of the PFC’s membership base helped finance its beautiful, state-of-the-art home on Bay Street, if the powers that be ever do away with the free popcorn (with real butter!) for members on Mondays, there will be swift and certain hell to pay. Patrons are only

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This Week

The Gristle

Business Climate

BUSINESS CLIMATE: Two major employers have announced layoffs, prompting discussion of the health of the local economy.

At one of the first candidate forums at City Club last week, Whatcom County Council candidate Bruce Ayers laid the blame for the businesses’ troubles squarely on Bellingham’s “anti-business climate.” Apart from a lazy opportunity to drip venom on a community Ayers loathes, his is a curiously nonsensical statement.

In the case of Haggen Foods, it seems very much the

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Anacortes Oil-by-Rail

Skagit scurries to scrutinize the scope

While Shell’s Arctic drilling operation is shutting down, their plan to bring oil by rail to Puget Sound is just ramping up. Shell is proposing a massive new expansion in Anacortes.

Skagit County has officially begun sizing up the potential impact of 600 railroad tank cars filled with Bakken crude oil, crossing the Valley to Anacortes every week.  The County and the State Department of Ecology are in the early stages of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposed new rail spur and

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Storms for Salish Sea

Study projects 43 percent increase in vessel traffic


Royal Dutch Shell said it will end oil exploration in offshore Alaska “for the forseeable future’’ after an exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea failed to yield the hoped for oil and gas, but that doesn’t mean the impacts of energy expansion projects will end on the Salish Sea. Our region is targeted for export projects that could dwarf the XL Pipeline.

If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that

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Wild Throne

Living up to the lore


Very often, I am asked my opinion about the current state of Bellingham’s music scene and whether it is better or worse now than it has been at some point in the past. My answer is invariably the same, that the music scene ebbs and flows, and changes some over time, but overall remains stronger and more diverse than we tend to give it credit for in the moment.

Truth is, success is a continuum rather than a fixed point, and Bellingham bands and musicians exist all along that continuum.

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Northwest Bookshelf

The Nature of Writing edition


Reclaimers, by Ana Maria Spagna
University of Washington Press

How do we right our wrongs in this world? What is the appropriate way to live on a broken planet? In her latest book, Ana Maria Spagna embarks on a journey to explore the human capacity for fixing our ecological mistakes. Deciding that the concepts of “conservation, preservation and restoration” are too limiting or too idealistic, she lands upon the term “reclamation,” defining it as “mistakes and forgiveness. Creation

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D’Anna’s Café Italiano

Comfort food at its best


If you love Italian food, be sure to put D’Anna’s Café Italiano in Bellingham on your “must visit” list.

The cozy restaurant on North State Street serves fresh, handmade pasta and ravioli, Sicilian-style focaccia, hand-rolled gnocchi and many other comfort foods. In December, the eatery owned by Michael, Florita, and Catherine D’Anna will celebrate 18 years in business, a time during which it expanded from a 35-seat restaurant in one room, to a three-room restaurant with a capacity of

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Life on the Edge

A visit to Ucluelet


The west coast of Vancouver Island is paradise.

Pacific Rim National Park, which includes the almost-mythic stretch of pristine sand known fittingly as Long Beach, is a recreationalist’s Valhalla.

The ocean on this far edge of Canada is undeniably extreme, with towering waves that draw hardcore surfers and storm-watchers from hither and yon.

When the sea is rambunctious (trust me, not uncommon) the rocky headlands and surge channels emit thunder. When the ocean draws back, the tide pools

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On Stage

Party with Porter

When Harry met Fern


Although the title of Bellingham Music Club’s original new musical is A Swell Party with Cole Porter, it should be known (spoiler alert!) that the famous composer and songwriter won’t actually be in attendance during the course of the performance. 

“Porter himself is never onstage, but his presence is evident through the other characters,” musical director and co-writer Scott Henderson says. “Every famous name we drop in this play—and we drop a lot of them, from Igor Stravinsky to

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You can handle the truth


During my time as a part-time projectionist at the Pickford Film Center, I have learned many things about the likes, dislikes and habits of its engaged and enthusiastic patrons. For instance, although the unfailing generosity and support of the PFC’s membership base helped finance its beautiful, state-of-the-art home on Bay Street, if the powers that be ever do away with the free popcorn (with real butter!) for members on Mondays, there will be swift and certain hell to pay.

Continue Reading »


Indelible Images

Museum of a world view


To get a sense of the enormous amount of time Corwin Fergus has spent using cameras to express himself, look through the slideshow labeled “Artifex” on his eponymous website.

Here, viewers will find Fergus, now 63, wedged into a precarious mountaintop with only his video camera and tripod to keep him stable. He can also be seen at various ages doing things like leaning against a BMW motorcycle loaded for travel, smoking a peace pipe, harnessing a rainbow, being encompassed by a

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The Tribe

No sound, all fury


One of the most original debut films in recent memory, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is a gang drama set in a boarding school for the deaf. It features a nonprofessional cast of deaf and mute actors who are not given names, and is performed entirely in Ukrainian sign language without subtitles. Based on Slaboshpytskiy’s experience as a crime reporter and on stories of Ukraine’s “deaf Mafia,” it’s less a social portrait than an experiment in shaking up the balance of our

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Oct 04


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 »

Godspell: Showings of the Tony Award-winning musical Godspell conclude this weekend with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2:30pm Sunday, in Oak Harbor at the Whidbey Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd. The performances are part of the 50th season for the theater. Tickets are $20. more »

Moon Over Buffalo: The "wild and wacky" farce known as Moon Over Buffalo concludes this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at Lynden's Claire Vg Thomas Theatre, 655 Front St. Tickets are $8-$12. 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 continues 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; see the play through Oct. 11. more »

Forever Plaid: Expect classic barbershop harmonies and pitch-perfect melodies when Forever Plaid opens this weekend at performances at 7:30pm Friday and 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 performances take place through Oct. 18. more »

Quilt & Fiber Art Festival: Peruse traditional quilts, art quilts, wearable art and fiber art at the annual Quilt & Fiber Art Festival taking place from 10am--5pm Friday through Sunday in La Conner at Maple Hall, the Civic Garden Club, and the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum. Entry is $10 and includes access to all three venues, where you'll find exhibits, specialty vendors, silent auctions and much more. more »

Fall Boat Show: Attend the annual "Anacortes Fall Boat Show" from 10am-5pm Friday through Sunday at Cap Sante Marina, 1019 Q Ave. Entry and parking is free. more »

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 »

Whatcom Artists Studio Tour: More than 50 artists working in a variety of different forms of media will open their creative spaces to the public for the 21st annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour happening from 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday throughout Whatcom County. Entry to the self-guided tour is free. Plan your route online, or pick up a map at businesses throughout the county. The event takes place again Oct. 10-11. more »

Model Railroad Show: Lions International presents its 31st annual "Model Train and Circus Builders Show" from 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday at the Henry Jansen Agriculture Building at Lynden's Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St. The event will feature running modules in all gauges of model trains and circus displays, memorabilia, a swap meet, dealer tables and workshops. Entry is $5-$7. more »

Festival of Family Farms: Talk to local farmers and follow your food from the fields to the table as part of the annual Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms taking place from 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday throughout Skagit County—from Sedro-Woolley to Bow. Participating farms will offer tours, harvest markets, gardening demos, free samples, activities for kids, animal exhibits and more. Entry to the self-guided tour is free; a $25 donation will make you a VIP, and you'll receive an official festival bag with Skagit more »

Fall Fruit Festival: Try as many as 25 different pears, 80 varieties of apples, as well as numerous small berries, kiwis, quince, wine grapes, table grapes, nuts and more at the annual "Fall Fruit Festival" taking place from 10am-5pm Saturday and 11am-4pm Sunday at Everson's Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Rd. Live music, fruit tree sales, local food vendors and pumpkin patch-picking will be part of the fun. Entry is $3.50 per person or $9 per carload; proceeds benefit the center's education programs. more »

Bellstock: Motown Cruisers, the Chris Eger Band, the Stacy Jones Band, Mr. Feel Good and the Firm Believers, Band Zandt, and Polecat will be among the performers taking part in the Port of Bellingham's inaugural "Bellstock" Festival from 11am-7pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday on the Bellwether Peninsula at Hotel Bellwether, One Bellwether Way. Allied Arts will also host more than 32 arts and crafts vendors in the Bellwether Ballroom, and there will be a beer garden and food vendors. Entry is free. more »

Rabbit Ride: Join members of the Mount Baker Bicycle Club for a "Rabbit Ride" starting at 8am every Sunday at Fairhaven Bike, 1108 11th St. The 32-mile route takes riders down Chuckanut and back via Lake Samish. The group also holds weekly rides Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. more »

Community Breakfast: Meet and greet local politicians as they serve you coffee and made-from-scratch pancakes, french toast, sausage, eggs and more at the monthly Community Breakfast taking place from 8am-1pm at the Rome Grange, 2821 Mt. Baker Hwy. Entry is $2 for kids, $5 for adults. more »

Mutt Strut: Raise funds for the Whatcom Humane Society, the Ferndale Library, and the United Church Youth Fund at the inaugural "Mutt Strut and Animal Blessing" taking place from 1-3pm at the United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St. Suggested donation is $15. more »

Kids and Mountain Biking: Join the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition for Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day events from 1-4pm at Lake Padden Park, 4882 Samish Way. All ages are welcome and participants will be divided into appropriate groups based on experience; events include a skills park for kids, guided rides for all abilities and a kid's race. Entry is free. more »

Town Hall Gathering: Music by the Prozac Mountain Boys, a barbecue, supervised arts and crafts and face painting for kids and a discussion, displays and explanations relating to the 2016 ballot measures will be part of an Old Time Community Town Hall Gathering taking place from 1:30-4pm at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn. The event is free for Sudden Valley property owners. more »

Gibraltar: Johannes Lisiecki reads from Gibraltar: The Story of My Heart at 4pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The memoir focuses on the story of what happened after a congenital heart defect struck, and of the author’s journey from cardiogenic shock, extensive open heart surgery and a defibrillator at age 68 to being an athlete at age 75. more »

Northern Lights Flamenco: Seattle-based flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes returns to Bellingham to present her latest show, "Northern Lights," at 7:30pm at the Black Box Theater at Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Rd. Guitarist Bobby de Sofia and singer Juañarito will be part of the performance. Tickets are $8-$35. more »

Todd Barry: Stand up comedian and actor Todd Barry—who's been a guest on every late-night show you can think of, and was also in The Wrestler and Flight of the Conchords—takes the stage at 9:30pm at the Wild Buffalo, 208 W. Holly St. Tickets are $20. more »

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