This Week's Cover


Skagit Surprises

One of the interesting things about living in Skagit Valley is watching the traffic patterns during the Tulip Festival. Most people, following instructions from their GPS, all get to the fields the same way, crawling through downtown Mount Vernon and onward through the several-mile-long traffic jam that Memorial Highway and McLean Road turn into every April. Those in the know, however, get off the freeway at Conway and take Fir Island Road, a route that adds a small amount of distance but has

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This Week

The Gristle

Drip, Drip, Drip

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP: In 2011, Lummi Nation and other tribal authorities requested a declaratory judgement by the federal government on their treaty-reserved water rights, concerned that the oversubscription of water withdrawals threatened tribal fisheries. While the tribes wait for a federal response, case law continues to accumulate that suggests the federal government will indeed take their tribal water claims very seriously, including a decision in March of last year that requires the state to

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Record Store Day

Hooked on the needle


Back in 2007, the year Record Store Day was founded, independent music stores were in freefall, decimated by the ready availability of all the music on Earth on the World Wide Web, just a click—or, more likely, an illegal download—away. Like a fast-moving train they could see coming from a mile away but were powerless to avoid, independent record stores, not just in the United States but the world over, could only react to the digital revolution after impact. Indeed, many did not survive,

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Skagit Surprises

Shopping and snacking on the tulip route


One of the interesting things about living in Skagit Valley is watching the traffic patterns during the Tulip Festival. Most people, following instructions from their GPS, all get to the fields the same way, crawling through downtown Mount Vernon and onward through the several-mile-long traffic jam that Memorial Highway and McLean Road turn into every April. Those in the know, however, get off the freeway at Conway and take Fir Island Road, a route that adds a small amount of distance but has

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Money Matters

Walking away from legal tender

April is here, the longer days are evident, rain is broken up by occasional deliciously warm and sunshiny days and our collective thoughts turn to…taxes.

It’s a fact that Americans in April have money on our minds. As frustrating as tax time can be, have you ever really considered what it would mean to live without money? Not without income, but actually without using money in any form.

Daniel Suelo thought about it much of his life, but it wasn’t until he was 39 years old that he

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Spring Migration

David Allen Sibley is for the birds


It’s that time of the year again, when millions of birds are on the wing.

The night skies are filled with flocks heading north, empty roosts are filling up again and our local wildlands and neighborhoods are reignited with the songs of our feathered friends taking up residence in their seasonal homes.

Spring migration is underway, and many different avian species are either passing through on their way to points farther north, or else arriving in the Fourth Corner with intentions to stick

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On Stage

Taking Flight

Grief and acceptance in Women of Lockerbie


Although the powers that be at the Bellingham Theatre Guild couldn’t possibly have known that their spring production, The Women of Lockerbie, would coincide with a remarkably related major news story, that’s exactly what happened.

The recent event I’m referring to is the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth more than a month ago on what was supposed to be a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Women of Lockerbie,

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Quintessential Skagit

Treasure hunting at River Gallery


You must be resourceful to find the River Gallery on Landing Road, just south of La Conner. From a low ridge, the gallery looks out over mysterious, forested hummocks forming islands in the Skagit flats, where peaceful sheep and black and white cows graze. On my visit, it stood in glorious sun, backed by billowy, white clouds.

Formerly a small commercial greenhouse, the gallery is the creation of Silvia Strong. For a dozen years it has been a magnet for creative artists and the sophisticated

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Finding Vivian Maier

A portrait of an enigma

When Vivian Maier, who worked most of her life as a nanny in the tony suburbs of Chicago’s North Shore, died in 2009 at the age of 83, a storage facility auctioned off her voluminous personal effects. John Maloof, a 26-year-old amateur historian, purchased a box of undeveloped negatives of hers, then set them aside after a cursory look-see. Two years later, he revisited the trove and realized Maier’s work was as good as anything by Weegee, Helen Levitt, or Dorothea Lange.

Finding Vivian

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The Unknown Known

Errol Morris vs. Donald Rumsfeld


People will walk out of The Unknown Known convinced that Donald Rumsfeld is an awful man—and just as convinced that others will love him. They will be dispirited, imagining that he dominated filmmaker Errol Morris, not realizing that they have just witnessed one of the great rope-a-dopes in documentary history—one all the more impressive, because Rumsfeld is no dope.

Yes, Morris could have confronted him. He could have pressed him on his insistence that the Iraq War would be a cakewalk, that

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Best of Bellingham

The center of gravity has shifted in Bellingham.
In the years we’ve been polling readers on their favorite haunts and hidey-holes, we’ve seen the focus crawl from the Southside to Columbia, veer south again to the central district and now eastward to what was not so very long ago perhaps the least likely of favorite neighborhoods, Sunnyland. Why Sunnyland? Well, Trader Joe’s, for starters. HomeSkillet. Kulshan Brewery and StrEAT Food. Hardware Sales. In fact, it is that delightful mix of residence and industrial-strength business that yields Sunnyland its wondrous, quirky charm. Artists work from their back of their homes and sell from their commercial storefronts—their efforts showcased each summer in the Sunnyland Stomp.
But favorite places are found all over Bellingham. Here again we present our readers picks of the best, brightest and boldest in the City of Subdued Excitement.

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Apr 18


Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival kicks off this week and continues through April 30 throughout the verdant valley. In addition to the hundreds of acres of blooming daffodils and tulips that will bloom according to Mother Nature through the month, there'll be street fairs, wine events, outdoor excursions, art displays, a home tour, live music, the "world's largest garage sale, a gala celebration, historic home tours, and much, much more. Go to the website to find out more. more »

The Mastodon: Bellingham-based playwright Ben Eisner's The Mastodon opens this week with 8pm performances Thursday through Saturday at the iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The "gripping crime drama" examines predatory relationships, and chronicles a young call girl's ascent from the bottom to the top of the metaphorical food chain of inner-city Los Angeles. Tickets are $10 and additional showings happen April 24-26. more »

The Women of Lockerbie: A poetic drama about the triumph of love over hate can be seen when Deborah Brevoort's The Women of Lockerbie continues this weekend at shows at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. Tickets are $8-$14, and additional shows happen through April 27. more »

Les Miserables: Redemption and revolution will take center stage when Les Miserables continues this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M. Ave. Tickets are $20. Additional performances of the award-winning musical happen through April 27. more »

Scratchpad and Pulp Improv: Watch improv inspired by poetry, which is inspired by improv, when "Scratchpad" returns to the stage at 8pm shows through April at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. At 10pm, show up (or stick around) to view the fully improvised, Tarantino-inspired format, "Pulp Improv." Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. more »

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Western Washington University's Department of Music, along with the Department of Theater and Dance, team up to present musically enhanced showings of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday at the school's Performing Arts Center Mainstage. Members of the Whatcom Symphony will also take part. Tickets are $10-$16 and additional showings happen April 25-27. more »

Comedy Nite: Emmett Montgomery will be the featured performer at the monthly Comedy Nite at 8pm Friday in Anacortes at the H20 Club, 314 Commercial Ave. Rip Michaels will headline a show at 9pm Saturday in Bellingham at Poppes 360, 714 Lakeway Dr. Tickets to each show are $10. more »

Wild Things: Kids, adults and adventurers can join Wild Whatcom Walks for "Wild Things" excursions from 9:30-11am every Friday through April at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. Entry is by donation. more »

VIGIL FOR PEACE: Join the longest-running Peace Vigil in the country—48 years and counting—from 4-5pm every Friday afternoon at the corners of Cornwall Avenue and Magnolia Street. more »

Family Story Night: Members of the Bellingham Storyteller's Guild will give an introduction to storytelling at 6pm at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. At 7pm, Family Story Night will commence. Both events are free. more »

Poetry in Lynden: Area poets Anita K. Boyle, James Bertolino, and Sam Moore will celebrate National Poetry Month by reading from their respective works from 6:30-8pm at Lynden's Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Entry is free. more »

Dances of Universal Peace: Celebrate the Easter/Passover season with meditative movement and deep spirituality at the monthly Dances of Universal Peace from 7-9pm at the Center for Spiritual Living, 2224 Yew St. Suggested donation is $5-$10. more »

Running Secrets: Seattle-based author Arleen Williams reads from Running Secrets: The Alki Trilogy at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. more »

Faculty Recital: Staff from Western Washington University's music department will perform pieces by Gershwin, Marais, Kreisler, Piazzolla, and Franck at a Faculty Recital at 7:30pm at the school's Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. Artists performing include Eric Kean on the viola, Judith Widrig on piano, and Alona Christman and Susan Haines doing Le Grande Tango. Entry is free and open to the public. more »

Drag Show: Skagit Valley College students, faculty, friends and community members can come together for a night of fantasy and connection through social interaction at the second annual Drag Show at 7:30pm at Mount Vernon's McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Entry is free. more »

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