Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Going Viking

A ski to sea saga

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When I caught wind that an Anacortes-built Viking ship was scheduled to launch at Deception Pass State Park on the same Saturday as Bellingham’s 18th annual Scandinavian Fair, an instinctive yearning to assail both events compelled me to embark on a multistage voyage through formidable pockets of transformative coastal terrain.

Swords and battle-axes weren’t necessary, but I did provision myself with a collapsible rain shield to help beat back aggressive cloudbursts. And just in…

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At MONA, no wrong answers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

For several years, I‘ve led school tours at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art (MONA). We use a technique called “Visual Thinking Strategy.” The point with VTS is to encourage everyone to think for themselves. We say “there are no wrong answers,” and treat every opinion with respect.

To promote VTS, we led them to the current second-floor exhibit, “Hidden Narratives”—artworks with several possible interpretations. Almost everyone’s favorite is a miniature bedroom by…

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Andy Weir goes to the moon

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I have a confession to make. When I read Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian last year, I wasn’t all that interested in the fact that the sci-fi story about an American astronaut stranded alone on Mars was as scientifically accurate as was humanely possible.

What did grab me from page one of the futuristic fable was how much I was rooting for the survival of Weir’s protagonist—a quick-thinking engineer and botanist named Mark Watney who has to improvise time and again in order…

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Turkey Talk

It’s all about the leftovers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My first Thanksgiving in Washington state didn’t go over as planned. My soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was visiting from Idaho, and I’d cooked in advance a vegetarian feast for two comprised of stuffing, mashed taters, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie and assorted accoutrements of the season.

On the way from the airport back to Whatcom County, my car broke down just outside of Stanwood. Nearby mechanics were shuttered, so we spent Thanksgiving night at a hotel just off the freeway (and received…

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Lady Bird

A slice of cinematic perfection

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

American movies today are generally aimed at four different audiences: kids, adults, females and males. The coming-of-age screwball comedy Lady Bird crosses all those mutually exclusive boundaries to take us down novel, delightful paths.

While it’s focused on a high school senior looking forward with a touch of angst and confusion, this effervescently witty story about the life and times of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson goes against most teen-movie conventions. It rejects…

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On Stage

True Tales

Of schooners and Santaland

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The powers that be at the Bellingham Theatre Guild want to ensure that while dealing with the stresses of the season, you’ll have at least a couple of opportunities to step away from your to-do lists—whether they have to do with whose names will be entered into your annual Christmas cookie distribution database or what to feed the 18 friends and family who will descend on your doorstep for the holidays—and direct your attention to their stage.

The first opportunity comes in the…

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New documents release old memories

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22, 1963, the day of President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, had the same kind of aftershock on American society as Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, and 9/11/2001. Americans would get no conclusive, satisfactory answers to their questions about the killing which, several years later, would be followed by the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the near-fatal shooting of presidential candidate and Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

The legally mandated…

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Happy Thanksgiving

Make it a weekend to remember

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The weekend following Thanksgiving is good for a lot of things: shopping, decorating for the holidays, making wish lists, baking cookies, etc.

It is typically not great for local music, and understandably so. In fact, I have been known to refer to the post-Thanksgiving weekend as an “entertainment black hole,” a “vast wasteland” and a “bleak hellscape.”

But not so much this year. For reasons I have yet to discern largely because I have not tried, the Thanksgiving weekend…

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ICU Roof #2
Best of Bellingham
Best Band

The Wednesdays

Music scenes, including ours, have traditionally been boys’ clubs—but the Wednesdays win in this category is a welcome indication of a change that has been a long time in coming. Unabashedly feminist and unapologetically political, the Wednesdays are making music with a message—and people are listening. With a motto of “Dismantling the patriarchy by day, playing basement blues punk by night,” coupled with an electrifying live show, the Wednesdays are making their mark and making it count.

See all the winners »
The Gristle
Bronze Rule

BRONZE RULE: Let’s call it the Bronze Rule in local politics—when voter turnout is above 40,000, when ballot returns are above 40 percent, Whatcom County simply begins to run out of conservatives, and outcomes drift progressive. Conservatives fare best in low-turnout…

Alan Rhodes
Mr. Cranky’s Election Reflections

The 2017 local election is behind us and the results are a mixed bag, but we are definitely doing better than the other Washington where a mentally unstable 5-year old is running things. Let’s see how things worked out here in Whatcom County.

Bellingham City Council. There were only two…

Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Baby Rebellion

The Baby Rebellion is what the absurd charade of the Trump administration will be remembered as. A bunch of useless jerks pulled off a fringe upset and seized power by lowering standards of…

BOLD thinking about dementia

It is time we advance our thinking on Alzheimer’s disease. Too often Alzheimer’s and other dementias are treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease…

Lessons in living

We currently feel caught in a crossfire of housing wars, within and between our various neighborhoods and our cities, as middle- and low-income people struggle to find housing in Bellingham.

Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Today's Events
Turkey Trot


Burn off some calories before sitting down to your Thanksgiving feast by taking part in the 11th annual La Conner Turkey Trot starting at 8am at La Conner High School, 307 N. 6th St. Entry to…

Old Town Thanksgiving Dinner


Dine on a festive feast prepared with food donated by local farmers, churches, unions, businesses and individuals at the 45th annual Thanksgiving Dinner taking place from 10am-3pm at…

Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner


Classics such as roasted turkey, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie will be on the menu at an expansive Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner from 12-5pm at the ballroom at Four Points Sheraton, 714…

Thanksgiving Dinner in Ferndale


All are welcome at a free, all-ages Thanksgiving Dinner starting at 12pm at the United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St.

Thanksgiving Dinner Potluck and Party


Bring a dish and/or drinks to share at a Thanksgiving Dinner Potluck and Party starting at 4pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Turkey, plates, utensils and a…

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