Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Put the Jolly in Your Holly

Sounds of the season, pt. 2

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It has come to my attention that not all of you are as filled with the holiday spirit as I am. One of you recently told me that Christmas music is for masochists. You’d rather not haul out the holly, and all you want for Christmas is for Santa Claus not to come to town.

Well, jingle my bells.

You might think that what you want is a silent night, but I happen to believe you need a little Christmas. Right this very minute. So, come all ye faithful because it is beginning to look a…

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FCC Advent

Small Works

Enchantment on Camano

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Karla Matzke’s 28th annual small works show at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, “Honey, I Shrunk the Art,” arrives just in time for Christmas giving.

In the 10-acre sculpture garden visitors will find new pieces by Tracy Powell, Kevin Pettelle, and Aaron Haba. Also here is the rigorous geometry of Richard Nash and the realism of Sabah Al-Dhaher, whose “lifelong fascination with the human form in figurative art” has been so beautifully productive.

In the gallery…

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FCC Advent

Virgil Wander

An antidote to what ails us

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Leif Enger’s first book in a decade (So Brave, Young, and Handsome was published in 2008) is a gentle, charming antidote to all that ails us as a society these days. 

The title character, Virgil Wander, is the unassuming sole proprietor of a rundown independent movie theater in a struggling Minnesota town. Virgil’s on autopilot, lonely and at an impasse in his life, when a slick road in a sudden snowstorm lands him 40 feet below the surface of Lake Superior. 

Rescued by a local…

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FCC Advent
On Stage

The Naughty List

A holiday cabaret

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

When we first caught up with Frisky Fandoms last summer, the burgeoning burlesque troupe had already focused their talents on iconic movies and television shows such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones—and were about to debut the racy things they’d done to Harry Potter.

Since then, founder Charlie Fun-Facts says, audiences have responded to the ensemble’s tagline of “nerds, sex and mayhem” by helping Frisky Fandoms sell out shows at the Firefly Lounge on a regular basis. The troupe has…

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FCC Advent


Into the Spider-Verse

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Like any film critic I have done my fair share of obnoxious ranting against a Hollywood culture that finds its most popular expression in the exploits of comic-book superheroes. And believe me, it gives my cold, contrarian heart no joy to acknowledge that the Spider-Man movies actually appear to be on the upswing.

This might come as a bit of a surprise, given the steady, enervating pileup of Spidey cinema in recent years, some of it prompted by Sony’s eagerness to hold onto the…

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FCC Advent


Seasonal sips at Swim Club

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday-induced fatigue had set in, and my boyfriend and I were finding it difficult to remove ourselves from the comfort and joy to be found in our own living room.

But at about 3pm on Sunday afternoon, I suggested we get dressed and explore what was happening at the Holiday Port Festival taking place at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. Since it was the tail end of the three-day event, I figured we’d be able to peruse the long line of gingerbread houses on display without having to…

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FCC Advent


Go toward the light

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

As the daylight hours continue to shrink to the point where confused humans are wondering why they feel the urge to begin cocktail hour by early afternoon and head to bed by 8pm, it’s important to remember that winter solstice is just around the corner, and we’ll soon be on the other side of the equatorial equation. In the meantime, it’s still possible to find additional light sources even when the nights are (so, so) long.

For example, the fourth annual Bowman Bay Holiday taking…

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FCC Advent

Whatcom Water

Problems and prospects

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Water resource planners continue to meet to update the county’s Coordinated Water System Plan, a complex and often cumbersome attempt to inventory and manage Whatcom County’s diverse water systems.

Whatcom County has serious, long-term water quantity problems. Fortunately, solutions to these problems are at hand. Unfortunately, we largely ignore these problems and, therefore, are not adopting needed solutions.


The Nooksack River basin is home to several salmon species.…

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FCC Advent
Best of Bellingham
Best Neighborhood


What makes a great neighborhood? Well, one that is walkable, with tree-lined streets and ample parks, nearby services and entertainment. One that allows people to work from or near their homes. Many artists have moved to Sunnyland for exactly that reason, so they can run a studio out of their home—and that has produced a flourishing local arts community. Sunnyland is a nucleus for many of the favorite haunts and hangouts cited in this year’s reader survey.

That dynamism has a downside, too, and Sunnyland is experiencing some growing pains from its tangy mix of industrial and commercial uses in proximity to family homes. Friends, an outdoor beer garden is a heartbreaking thing to quarrel about! I predict they’ll soon solve those problems, and continue to claim their crown as Bellingham’s favorite neighborhood.

See all the winners »
The Gristle
The Warning of the Black Fish

THE WARNING OF THE BLACK FISH: Indigenous people of the Salish Sea region, on both sides of the international boundary, testified before the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) last week, explaining how the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project will harm their culture, treaty…

Amy Goodman
The Missing Half

History was made in the U.S. midterm elections, most notably the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. An unprecedented 100 women were elected to serve in Congress, among them Native American, Muslim, African-American, Latina and LGBTQ firsts.

But what is also true,…

Free Will not good enough

I am disgusted at the reference to “cocaine” in last week’s Sagittarius entry in Free Will Astrology. The whole piece is a fallacy and conjecture, with the allure to creative expression…

Solving the problem through innovation

The news has been filled with climate calamities: devastating fires, violent storms, endangered species.
There’s little reason to think this kind of story will go away, and there are plenty…

The warning of orcas

Maybe due to (everyone’s spaceship) Earth’s large size, there seems to be a general obliviousness in regard to our natural environment, as though toxic pollutants emitted through exhaust…

2018 Gift Guide
Today's Events
The Giving Tree


Through December, take part in the annual “Giving Tree” at Village Books, 1200 11th St. Choose an angel ornament from the tree in the store and purchase a book for a recipient. You will be…

Holiday Festival of the Arts


More than 100 local artists and craftspeople will show and sell their creative wares as part of Allied Arts’ 39th annual “Holiday Festival of the Arts” from 10am-7pm daily through Christmas…

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar


Through Christmas Eve, a Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar can be visited at Swim Club, 1147 11th St. As one of only two locations in the state to be chosen to participate in the…

Winter Wear Drive


Through December, donate new, unused cold weather wear as part of a “Winter Wear Drive” taking place in Concrete at the Upper Skagit Library, 45770 B Main St. Volunteers will make sure the…

Deck the Old City Hall


Get in the holiday spirit when the annual “Deck the Old City Hall” continues this week from 12-5pm Wednesday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. The decorated…

Bellingham at Home Holiday Party


Learn how to help build a vital community with older friends and neighbors who want to live independently in their homes as they age at an informal holiday party hosted by Bellingham at Home…

Avalanche Awareness with NWAC


Northwest Avalanche Center will focus on “Avalanche Awareness” at a free presentation starting at 6pm at REI, 400 36th St. This session introduces and explains where and why avalanches occur…

Whatcom Writers and Publishers' Holiday Mixer


Whatcom Writers and Publishers invites all writers to its annual All Clubs Holiday Mixer from 6-8:30pm at Nicki’s Bella Marina, 2615 S. Harbor Loop Dr. Share your 2018 successes with all of…

Forest Health


earn what makes forests healthy or unhealthy and how to recognize when there’s a problem on your property at a “Forest Health” presentation by Washington State University (WSU) Extension…

Celtic Christmas with Geoffrey Castle


The Port of Anacortes hosts an annual Celtic Christmas Celebration featuring Geoffrey Castle and his All Star Band from 6:30-8:30pm at the Transit Shed Events Center, 100 Commercial Ave.…

Kareem Kandi Trio


Jazz, be-bop, blues, funk and more can be heard when the lauded Kareem Kandi Trio performs at a Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center concert at 7pm at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect…

MVHS Holiday Concert


Under the direction of Jake Scherr, Omar Ordonez, and Jesus Gomez, the Mount Vernon High School Choral Music and Instrumental Music Departments join forces for special a Holiday Concert at…

O Christmas Tea


Award-winning comedians James & Jamesy return to Bellingham with their outrageously funny and brilliantly inventive Christmas comedy, “O Christmas Tea,” at 7:30pm at the Mount Baker Theatre,…

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