This Week's Cover


Meet the Beast

It rises 355 feet high, like a football field stood on end that keeps going. From front to back its sprawling platform spans 400 feet, held up by eight giant iron legs, four to a side, thicker than bridge supports. A white derrick rises from the middle like an elongated eye; or a raised middle finger. With a little imagination, it could be an erector-set nightmare created by a comic book villain, or an oversized “transformer” character.

It’s an arctic drilling rig, which its operators,

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This Week

The Gristle

Double-Jointed, Still Clumsy

DOUBLE-JOINTED, STILL CLUMSY: Bellingham City Council sat through two joint meetings with other governmental entities last week. The first convened the annual meeting of the Joint Councils responsible for the Lake Whatcom Cooperative Management Program to update the work plan for the reservoir and watershed through the end of this decade. The second convened a smaller subset of City Council, its planning committee, who met with appointed members of the Bellingham Planning Commission to

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Adventures Festival

Music at the margins

It is very easy to tout both the quality and quantity of music to be found in Bellingham—indeed, I do it often, and I’m far from the only one. How nice then, that our bragging is backed up by the hard fact that, most nights a week, a stroll from stem to stern can involve encountering a variety of music disparate enough to only be united by geography.

That said, while Bellingham’s prevalent genres might differ from each other, sometimes wildly, there are not as many of them in regular

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Meet the Beast

Activists raft up to protest Shell oil rigs


It rises 355 feet high, like a football field stood on end that keeps going. From front to back its sprawling platform spans 400 feet, held up by eight giant iron legs, four to a side, thicker than bridge supports. A white derrick rises from the middle like an elongated eye; or a raised middle finger. With a little imagination, it could be an erector-set nightmare created by a comic book villain, or an oversized “transformer” character.

It’s an arctic drilling rig, which its operators,

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Sea Lion Safari

Majestic mammals make a comeback


We’re just a half-hour boat ride from Steveston Harbor in Richmond, BC when we see the first few 750-pound California sea lions basking languidly on the breakwater boulders of the Fraser River’s South Arm.

The mammals spread their gleaming bodies over the rocks, fully engaged in repose and utterly unperturbed that our boat is idling just 25 feet away from them.

“They may look like they’re sunning themselves,” Captain Bruce Livingston, owner of Steveston EcoTours, says. “But

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Bellweather Rhapsody

Moonrise Kingdom meets The Shining


A friend from book club recently remarked that most of the books we have read in the past year have some sort of plot line involving World War II, so when someone suggested we read Bellweather Rhapsody—a book about child prodigies attending a music camp in a ramshackle hotel in the Catskills—we quickly latched onto it. 

Author Kate Racculia did not disappoint, with a zany, odd, highly entertaining tale that comes across as a written equivalent of a Wes Anderson movie—think Moonrise

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On Stage

Sir Edwards Tourney

Getting medieval in the modern age


By day, Ravyn Schmidt runs a small graphic design business with her husband, gardens and occasionally rescues reptiles.

In her off time, however, Schmidt can often be found taking on the persona of Jadwiga Radomyskowa, a lesser noble living in Rodom, Poland in the year 1569.

Among other things, Radomyskowa is married to a Hussar (a cavalry soldier) and enjoys reading, painting and running her husband’s village when he’s off at war.

As members of the Whatcom County chapter of the Society

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Say Yes to the Dress

Not your average wedding wear


In the span of time that many spring brides have been freaking out about finding the perfect wedding dress and planning their upcoming nuptials, 30 teams of fabric artists have been hard at work doing something a little different with the white gowns that typically hearken a walk down the aisle.

While the finished products for the “Upcycle Challenge: Transform a Wedding Dress” are being kept under wraps until a Red Carpet “Show-Off” taking place Fri., May 1 at Ragfinery, organizers say those

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Going Greene

Slices, storms and sustainability


He Said: When the lady of the house asked me to drive her to Greene’s Corner, she was in luck. Having frequented the establishment for coffee, beer and/or pizza slices on numerous occasions during my brief but illustrious stint as sports/education reporter for the Ferndale Record-Journal a few moons back, I knew exactly how to get there.

“No problemo,” I exclaimed as I fired up the jalopy. “It’s a straight shot up Northwest Avenue to the intersection of West Smith Road, just

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

2015, meet your box-office god


Three years after saving New York from an alien apocalypse, Marvel’s superhero all-stars once again find the weight of the world—or, at least, an airborne chunk of Eastern Europe—thrust upon their mighty shoulders in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a super-sized spandex soap opera that’s heavy on catastrophic action but surprisingly light on its feet, and rich in the human-scale emotion that can cut even a raging Hulk down to size. Having gotten over the hump of assembling his six main characters

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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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May 02


Sound Culture Festival: Adventurous music, sound art and intermedia will be part of the Sound Culture Festival happening Thursday through Sunday on the campus of Western Washington University and in downtown Bellingham. Evening concerts, lectures, presentations and gallery pieces will explore experimental strains of pop, ambient, noise, and hybrid genres; as well as multiple aesthetics of electroacoustic, modern classical and free improvisation. Festival passes are $20; single tickets are also available. See the full more »

The Foreigner: Larry Shue's The Foreigner concludes this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The comedy takes place in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia and focuses on a man who overhears more than he should after being falsely identified as a French man who speaks no English. Tickets are $8-$14. more »

Spring Rep: A Spring Rep series continues this week with showings of Broken Holmes and In a Handbag Darkly at 7:30pm Thursday and Saturday at the iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The lineup also includes a May Day Cocktail Party and season unveiling at 7pm Friday, and performances of The Glasses at 9:30pm Saturday and 7:30pm Sunday. Tickets for the plays are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The May 1 event is $25 and includes short previews of upcoming shows and appetizers and drinks. more »

Once Upon a Mattress: The Theatre Arts Guild presents performances of Once Upon a Mattress at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday at Mount Vernon's Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. The musical is an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's The Princess and the Pea, and is described as being "hilarious and raucous, romantic and melodic." Tickets are $10-$25. Additional showings happen through May 16. more »

Tarnation: Explore the guns and glory of the Old West when the improvised western known as "Tarnation" rides back to town with showings at 8pm and 10pm Fridays and Saturdays through May 23 at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. more »

Skagit Valley Chorale: "Celebrating in Song: Spring Dawning" will be focus of the Skagit Valley Chorale's performances at 7:30pm Friday and 2pm Sunday at Mount Vernon's McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Fidalgo Danceworks will join the chorale for part of the performance. Tickets are $16-$25. more »

Skagit Community Band: "Artistry in Rhythm" performances by the Skagit Community Band take place at 7:30pm Friday at La Conner's Maple Hall, and 3pm Sunday in Anacortes at Brodniak Hall. Admission is $10-$15 per person or $30 per family. more »

Rare Plant Sale: A wide variety of rare, reasonably priced perennials, trees and shrubs can be found at an annual Spring Rare Plant Benefit Sale taking place from 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday at Bob Bornter and Larry Straka's home in Ferndale at 1685 Grandview Place. Proceeds will benefit the Community Empowerment Network. more »

Plant and Book Sale: Help support library programming by attending a Spring Plant and Book Sale Ferndale Library from 10am-5pm Saturday and 1-4pm Sunday at the Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St. 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 »

Haggen to Haggen 5K: The 22nd annual "Haggen to Haggen 5K" Race and Walk begins at 8am at the Sehome Village Haggen store, and ends at the Meridian Haggen. Shuttles will be available back to the starting point. Entry is $10-$15; participants should be aware there will be no day-of registration this year. more »

Pancake Breakfast: Attend a fundraising Pancake Breakfast for the Ferndale Food Bank from 8-11am at the United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St. The event is held the first Saturday of every month. more »

Oyster Dome Hike: Join members of the Mount Baker Club for a hike to Oyster Dome today. Meet at 8am at Sunnyland Elementary School to carpool, and be prepared for a 1,900-foot elevation gain. more »

Garden Club Plant Sale: Annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, vegetable starts, ornamental grasses, herbs and much more can be found at the Birchwood Garden Club's 23rd annual Plant Sale from 9am-12pm at the lower lecture room at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. more »

NSEA Work Party: Join Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association staff and Washington Conservation Corps crew members for a Work Party from 9am-12pm at NSEA's nursery at 3057 E. Bakerview Rd. Volunteers will be helping restock and organize native plants. more »

Trinkets and Treasures: The annual "Trinkets and Treasures" Craft and Flea Market takes place from 9am-5pm at Ferndale High School, 5830 Golden Eagle Dr. Entry is free. more »

Have a Heart Run: The sixth annual "Have a Heart Run" begins at 9:30am in Mount Vernon at Edgewater Park, 910 Cleveland Ave. Participants can choose from 10K or 5K runs, a 2K walk or a half-pint half-mile. Entry is $10-$30; proceeds will benefit Community Action of Skagit County. more »

Rocks and Gems: All are welcome at the Skagit Rock and Gem Club's monthly meeting at 10am at the Mount Vernon Community Center, 1401 Cleveland St. 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 »

Work Parties: Join the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program for a Work Party from 10am-12pm at Lowell Park to help manage invasives. From 1:30-3:30pm, remove woods and spread mulch along West Street Trail in the Columbia neighborhood. more »

Sculpture Woods: If you're interested in art with a view, head to Lummi Island to peruse 16 outdoor sculptures by Ann Morris from 10am-5pm at the "Sculpture Woods" at 3851 Legoe Bay Rd. The working studio will not be open. Entry is free. more »

Independent Bookstore Day: Exclusive literary items, a scavenger hunt, limited-edition merchandise and more will be part of an Independent Bookstore Day celebration from 10am-7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. Attendees can also pick up some great recommendations from our staff, learn about Bellingham history, and help name the Paper Dreams Penguin. more »

Comic Book Day: Free comics, prizes, giveaways and more will be part of a National Free Comic Book Day celebration from 10am-7pm at the Comics Place, 221 W. Holly St. more »

Initiative Launch: Attend an 1-735 Initiative Launch from 11am-3pm at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. The initiative is focused on making Washington the 17th state to demand a constitutional amendment overturning Citizen's United. more »

Women’s Work Spring Sale: Attend a Women's Work Spring Sale from 11am-5pm at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St. Women’s Work creates a market for women artisans from around the world to support their economic and artistic independence with fair prices and to preserve their traditional arts. more »

Miles Woodworking Grand Opening: Peruse local handmade hardwood furniture and unique sports collectibles at a Grand Opening celebration from 11am-8pm at Miles Woodworking, 1305 Cornwall Ave. Entry is free. more »

Boating Center Open: The Community Boating Center resumes operations for the 2015 season today from 12pm until sunset at its 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 »

Traditional Jazz: Listen and dance to swinging New Orleans/Dixieland music by the Maple Leaf Jazz Band at the Bellingham Traditional Jazz Society's monthly concert from 2-5pm at the VFW Hall, 625 N. State St. Entry is $6-$12. more »

Boat Parade: Celebrate opening day of boating season by viewing a Boat Parade taking place at 3pm along the Swinomish Channel in La Conner. more »

Procession of the Species: The 12th annual Procession of the Species begins at 3:30pm at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave., and wending throughout downtown before ending at Maritime Heritage Park. The event celebrates creativity, community and our connection with nature, and follows three rules: no live animals, no motorized vehicles, and no words (written or spoken). Following the parade, there will be activities, music and chance to mingle with the "wildlife." Entry is free. more »

Bellingham Images: Cecil W. Jentges share stories and images from Bellingham (Images of America) at 4pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The local history slide show will focus on the city's discovery by a British naval captain to its coal, lumber, and fish industries and to its riots and social movements, Bellingham has had quite a rich and sometimes controversial past. more »

Homage Opening: Attend an opening reception for "Homage" from 5-8pm at Edison's Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave. The exhibit features works by oil painters Sharon Kingston (Bellingham) and Eric Eschenbach (Seattle). See it through May 31. more »

Faces Northwest Auction: Join FACES Northwest for its annual "Aloha" Auction and Dinner starting at 5:30pm at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. Tickets are $5 and include beverages, appetizers, dinner, a live auction and dancing. Proceeds benefit the organization's various programs for autistic youth. 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 »

Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser: Help raise funds for the Sean Humphrey House at a Cinco de Mayo Auction and Dinner from 6-9pm at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian. The Mexican-themed fiesta includes dinner, live and silent auctions, live music and raffles. Tickets are $60; all proceeds benefit the residents at Sean Humphrey House. more »

Prom Night Dance: Join USA Dance Bellingham for a 1940s "Prom Night" Dance from 7:15-10pm at Presence Studio, 1412 Cornwall Ave. The Swing Connection Big Band will perform, and there'll also be a foxtrot lesson and more. Beginners and singles are welcome. Entry is $7-$10. more »

Chamber Music Society Concert: The Bellingham Chamber Music Society presents its season finale concert at 7:30pm at Bellingham's First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. Flutist Lisa McCarthy, oboist Jennifer Weeks, bassoonist Pat Nelson, and pianist Judith Widrig will be the featured performers. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 general. more »

Skagit Symphony’s Classic Concert: Pianist Robert Silverman will be the featured soloist at the Skagit Symphony's Classic Concert at 7:30pm at Mount Vernon's McIntyre Hall, 2502 E. College Way. Tickets are $20-$40. more »

First Saturday Dance Party: Portland's Kafana Klub will provide live tunes at the Fourth Corner Folk Dancer’s First Saturday Party from 7:30-10:30pm at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. Suggested donation is $15. more »

Cinco de Mayo Latin Dance Party: Rumba Northwest will host a Cinco de Mayo Latin Dance Party from 9pm-12am at Cafe Rumba, 1140 N. State St. In addition to dance lessons and a variety of Latin rhythms to dance along to, beer and wine will be available to those 21 and over. No partner or experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome. Entry is $5. more »

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