This Week's Cover


Summer Meltdown

It happens every year. No, not just the Summer Meltdown Festival, but also the Subdued Stringband Jamboree. Every single year since the inception of both homegrown, homemade music festivals (with the exception of that one year, and possibly some time near the beginning that is so far back in history that it no longer counts), they have happened during the exact same weekend.

Every single year.

I talk about it every year as well. I don’t necessarily think by pointing out this ongoing scheduling conundrum that I will do anything to resolve it, freeing

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This Week

The Gristle

Lockup Lockstep

LOCKUP LOCKSTEP: Imagine a game show in which contestants must choose between two doors to move on to the final round. The catch is—whichever door they choose, there is a burly Sheriff on the other side eager to lay down some hurt on the contestants.

In June, the City of Bellingham approved a new Jail Facilities Use Agreement (JFUA) with the county in response to the announcement by Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo that he intended to reduce the population in the main jail following the outcome of a 2015 voter initiative to fund and

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Intermission? Or curtains?

Mount Baker Summer Rep goes on hiatus



Ralph’s whisper to the absent Carol, the tearful last word of The Last Romance—part of last year’s Summer Rep series at the Mount Baker Theatre (MBT)—may have carried a lot more meaning than we knew. Summer Repertory itself seems to have ended as suddenly as Ralph and Carol’s chaste and emotional fling.

The series, which would have played its 10th season this month, was cancelled after 2016’s three plays were picked and directors chosen—just before actors were to be hired and rehearsals scheduled.

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Summer Meltdown

Coming full circle 2


It happens every year. No, not just the Summer Meltdown Festival, but also the Subdued Stringband Jamboree. Every single year since the inception of both homegrown, homemade music festivals (with the exception of that one year, and possibly some time near the beginning that is so far back in history that it no longer counts), they have happened during the exact same weekend.

Every single year.

I talk about it every year as well. I don’t necessarily think by pointing out this

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The Dinner

A multi-course mystery


One of the interesting things about reading fiction is that it allows the reader to explore the darker side of human nature from the safety of a favorite armchair or hammock. 

You’ll need some distance to delve into Dutch author Herman Koch’s 2012 thriller The Dinner. It’s a gripping novel, recounting one night (and one meal) at a trendy Amsterdam restaurant, where two sets of parents meet to discuss an incident involving their sons. As each chapter unfolds, the tone

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Summer Soup

Gazpacho, past and present


In high school, I was the cook at a small Harvard Square Café called the Blacksmith House. Today, one would probably need a culinary degree—not to mention a high school diploma—to suck on the rarified air of that closet of a kitchen, but this was the 1970s, before the food revolution, and you didn’t need any special training to pronounce, much less prepare, the dishes on the menu.

I look back fondly on those days and the wacky cast of characters, such

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Festival Fun

Arts at the Port


Every summer, the Anacortes Arts Festival—which this year takes place Aug. 5-7—puts on an extravaganza of fine painting, photography, fiber art, ceramics, glass, sculpture, mixed media and video. For the chosen 45 artists whose work has been accepted by the jury to exhibit in “Arts at the Port,” it’s a great distinction and a boost to careers.

A few artists from the local community are chosen in advance to contribute works for the parallel Allen Family Focus Gallery. This year, its theme is

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Chautauqua 101

Party in the parks


When the Chautauqua Movement kicked off in 1874 on the shores of New York State’s Chautauqua Lake, it was with the clever idea that learning should continue throughout the course of one’s life.

Akin to a summer camp for adults, that first Chautauqua, and many that followed, offered a mix of entertainment and education, often including speakers, performers, musicians, teachers, preachers and specialists of the day (Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, etc.).

“When a Chautauqua came to town, all normal activity stopped

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On Stage

The Shoe Play

A sole-searching story


There were a few moments during last Friday’s showing of Quality: The Shoe Play when the fourth wall got a bit wobbly.

It wasn’t a big surprise. Since Bellingham TheatreWorks is staging the play about two women fighting a sole-searching battle for supremacy at a high-end shoe store at an actual shoe store, the conceptual barrier between the fictional work and its viewers was already thinner than one would expect at a night at the theater.


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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Catch them if you can


Life has a funny way of interfering with, well, life.

In the case of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the captivating new film from New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows), it’s definitely for the better when a taciturn city ‘tween enters the world of a set-in-his-ways, country-dwelling senior citizen. Their lives will forever change, no matter how much they think they don’t want them to.

The kid in question is pudgy and

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Captain Fantastic

Father knows best


It’s always tricky using a modifier like “fantastic” in a movie’s title, because if the film doesn’t live up to it, the snarky review headlines just sort of write themselves. Sadly for copy editors the world over, Captain Fantastic won’t have that problem. Not only is it wonderful, but it is also heartfelt, comedic, gorgeous and just the right amount of sad.

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) is raising his six children off the grid in rural Washington. They live

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Stars under the stars: »

Stars under the stars: »

Stars under the stars: »

Stars under the stars: »

Marrowstone Music Festival:Orchestral and chamber music rehearsals, master classes, and professional performances for the public will be part of the 73rd annual Marrowstone Music Festival taking place July 24-Aug. 7 at Western Washington... »

Tall Ship Sails and Tours:Take part in tours and public sails on the historic tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain through Aug. 3 leaving from the Squalicum Harbor Marina, 2600 N. Harbor Loop Dr. Suggested... »

Anacortes Summer Series:The Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series features the swing sounds of the A'Town Big Band from 6-8pm Wednesday at Seafarers Memorial Park, 601 Seafarers Way. From 6-8pm Friday,... »

Whatcom Old Settlers' Picnic:Celebrate the rich history of the area and the great people that call it home at the annual "Whatcom Old Settlers' Picnic" taking place Thursday through Sunday at Ferndale's Pioneer... »

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,... »

Skagit Tours:As part of the annual "Skagit Tours," Seattle City Light, the North Cascades Institute, and the National Park Service offer Diablo Lake boat tours, Gorge powerhouse tours and Newhalem tours... »

Bard on the Beach:William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, and Pericles are currently showing in repertory as part of the 27th "Bard on the Beach" season at Vancouver,... »

Bow Little Market:Peruse produce and more when 30-plus vendors sell their wares at the Bow Little Market from 1-6pm every Thursday through Sept. 1 at the Belfast Feed Store, 6200 N. Green (south... »

Blues, Brews & BBQ:The Atlantics will perform at tonight's "Blues, Brews & BBQ" summer music series taking place from 5-9pm on the waterfront terrace at Hotel Bellwether, One Bellwether Way. The concerts continue... »

Westfalia:Westfalia performs from 5-7pm at the piano lounge at Lynden's Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Entry is free. Wine, beer and food will be available for purchase.  »

Elizabeth Park Concert Series:Singer Cheryl Hodge will join the Swing Connection Big Band for a performance from 6-8pm at the summer concert series at the Columbia neighborhood's Elizabeth Park. The free, family-friendly... »

Culinary Herbs:Kelly Atterberry and Anna Derrer focus on "Culinary Herbs" at a free class at 6pm at Mount Vernon's Skagit Valley Food Co-op, 202 S. First St. The duo will focus on... »

Riverwalk Summer Concert Series:The Geoffrey Castle Trio brings its electric violin-centered tunes to the Riverwalk Summer Concert Series from 6-8pm at the Riverwalk Plaza in historic Mount Vernon. The free series continues... »

Beauty & the Beast Jr.:Showings of Beauty and the Beast Jr. conclude this weekend with performances at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at Oak Harbor's Whidbey Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd. Tickets are $... »

Chuckanut Radio Hour:Local author and musician Jesse McRae will be the featured author at the monthly Chuckanut Radio Hour at 7pm at Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Rd. In addition to readings... »

Shakespeare NW:See the Bard's classic tale of love and money set in a town that's known to love its money when The Merchant of Vegas shows at 7pm Thursday at Mount... »

The Wizard of Oz:The Ferndale Summer Youth Theatre Institute presents The Wizard of Oz: Young Performers' Edition at 7pm Thursday and Friday, and 3pm and 7pm Saturday at Ferndale High School, 5830 Golden Eagle... »

The Lion King:Performers ages 9-16 will share their talents at performances of The Lion King at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, 1059 N. State... »

A songwriter's story: »

That's Not My Department:Local playwright Willow McLaughlin's That's Not My Department continues this week with 7:30pm performances Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The comedy focuses... »

Graffiti Dance Theater:Western Washington University's theater and dance department brings its Graffiti Dance Theater onstage for shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Fairhaven's Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Choreographer and... »

The Shoe Play:Bellingham TheatreWorks presents showings of Quality: The Shoe Play at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Fairhaven's 12th Street Shoes, 1204 Harris Ave. The black comedy by Vancouver playwright Elaine Avila focuses... »

Mt. Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival:The Noah Wotherspoon Band, Carson Diersing, Magnus Berg, the Wasteland Kings, Josey Wales, the Bobby Patterson Band, the Naughty Blokes, Popa Chubby, and Selwyn Birchwood will be among the performers... »

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