Reporting from the heart of Cascadia

When Worlds Collide

18th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Now in its 18th year, the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival offers 25 films on timely topics, including environmental activism, health care, indigenous rights in the Americas, prisons, and women’s issues. Many events are facilitated, and in some cases the filmmakers are on hand to discuss their work.

See the complete schedule online at

Thurs., Feb. 15

All Governments Lie

With government deception rampant, and intrusion of state surveillance into private…

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Smoking Crow

Mavis Staples

Time for truth

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

In this world, there are legends—and then there’s Mavis Staples.

Sure, “legendary” is the descriptor that’s most often applied to the longtime gospel singer and civil rights activist, but it doesn’t quite do her justice. More than just a legend, Staples is a force of nature.

First, Staples is part of a musical dynasty. She’s part of the famed Staples Singers, which, led by her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and rounded out by siblings Cleotha, Yvonne, and Pervis,…

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Smoking Crow

Flights of Fancy

Even the birds are excited

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Five bald eagles watched me turn off Highway 11 on my way to see “Flight of Fancy,” the new show of works by 50 artists at Smith & Vallee Gallery in Edison. So, even the birds are excited. 

What better place to mount an avian art show than in the Skagit Valley, where you can count as many as 362 species, plus 50,000 migrating geese and swans?

Vikki Jackson’s heron portrait, “Sentinel,” stands watch at the entrance. Jackson is a professional ecologist as well as a wildlife…

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West Coast

Special Delivery

A damp tramp to camp

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ever since my old trail crew buddy and his business partners in Gold Bar decided to acquire an abandoned gold mine deep in the remote defiles of Eastern Snohomish County a few years ago, I’ve found myself drawn into a Promethean progression of arduous undertakings to help improve and maintain the infrastructure attendant to their claim.

I don’t do it for gold. I do it for outdoor adventure. It’s the perfect excuse to perform invigorating feats of manual labor in a restorative…

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West Coast

Green Scene

Dining downtown sustainably 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dining out may not seem like a green way to spend an afternoon, but it can be. There’s no reason to forgo chowing down for the environment’s sake. As an eco-conscious, food-loving Bellinghamster, I want to share my go-to green tips for enjoying Bellingham’s bustling food scene. 

Eat Local. The term “food miles” refers to the distance comestibles must travel to reach our plate. Higher food miles mean a bigger carbon footprint due to the CO2-emitting trucks carrying the…

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West Coast
On Stage

Mom Jokes

Jo Koy breaks the mold

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Political humor isn’t Jo Koy’s thing, but that doesn’t mean the standup comedian’s material is void of topical anecdotes—it simply means they’re cloaked in stories about his family.

For example, at a recent gig in Seattle the former Washingtonian did a lot more than skirt around the subject of racism when talking about his parents, and his ethnicity.

“I’m half-white, half-Filipino—which means my dad was in the military,” Koy said, eliciting a burst of laughter from the audience.…

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West Coast

The Newcomers

A refuge for refugees

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The refugees arrive with nothing, not even the language, having escaped violence, poverty, unspeakable loss. Their destination is Denver, Colorado. There they will land in a classroom helmed by Eddie Williams, the teacher tasked with orienting refugees from around the globe to their new home in the United States.

Mr. Williams will teach English, yes, but also survival skills that are critical to transition. This is the Newcomers class, a Denver Public Schools program designed to…

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West Coast
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
Power Play

POWER PLAY: The Trump administration’s war against renewable power escalated this week with a proposal to sell off the transmission assets of Bonneville Power Administration, the great engine of hydroelectric power to the Pacific Northwest and—notably—Whatcom County heavy…

Alan Rhodes
Egregious linguistic offenses

Poughkeepsie, New York is of crucial importance to the preservation of civilization. This is, of course, because Poughkeepsie is the home of Marist College, which every December publishes the results of a poll that determines the most annoying word of the year. The 2017 winner, for the…

Village Books
A gathering storm

A constitutional crisis is looming. Get ready!
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is narrowing in on Donald Trump, Trump’s associates, and Trump’s family members. The tipping point will be if…

Practice what you eat

I have for years enjoyed your publication. Your progressive political and social commentary, both national and local. Your informative listings of local events, entertainment, gatherings,…

Wild ideas

I feel compelled to speak for the wild things in Bellingham. The owl, hawk, deer and hummingbird have shown up as a reminder of how important the little wild areas are to our city. They are…

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Today's Events
Bellingham Cocktail Week


Special drink and food menus, a cocktail art competition taking place during the Feb. 2 Art Walk, a CLUE-style murder mystery featuring themed cocktails and small bites, whiskey flight…

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival


The 18th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival will feature films and facilitated discussions designed to foster dialogue, promote action and encourage the community to explore and…

Enchanted April


Matthew Barber’s Enchanted April concludes this week with showings at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The story based on the novel by Elizabeth von…

A Murder is Announced


Agatha Christie’s classic English murder mystery, A Murder is Announced, continues this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Sunday at Lynden’s Claire vg Thomas Theatre, 655…

Circle Mirror Transformation


Attend a staged reading of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect St. The play traces the lives of a handful…

Cupid's Arrow, Backyard Brawl


An improvised dating game dubbed “Cupid’s Arrow” continues this week with performances at 8pm and 10pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. The show is inspired by the…

Pancake Breakfast


Choose from pancakes, French toast or biscuits and gravy at a Pancake Breakfast happening from 8-11am at the Ferndale Senior Center, 1999 Cherry St. Entry is $2.50 for kids and $6 for adults,…

VFW Breakfast


Enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, French toast, eggs, sausage and beverages from 8-11am at the Ferndale VFW Hall, 7011 Hannegan Rd. Entry is $6 (free for kids 5 and under).

Fragrance Lake Half Marathon


Bellingham Trail Running Series hosts a “Fragrance Lake Half Marathon,” 10K and Kid’s Race starting at 8:30am at Larrabee State Park, 245 Chuckanut Dr. Entry is $70-$95 (the kid’s race is…

Orchid Society Show & Sale


The Mt. Baker Orchid Society hosts its annual Show and Sale from 9am-5pm Saturday and 9am-4pm Sunday at Mount Vernon’s Skagit Valley Gardens, 18923 Peter Johnson Rd. In addition to orchid…

Make It and Take It


Sign up in advance for a “Make Your Own Pussy Willow Heart Trellis Planter” workshop starting at 9am at Garden Spot Nursery, 900 Alabama St. Entry is $39 and includes all supplies.

Bellingham Winter Farmers Market


A plethora of vendors will have edible and creative offerings for sale at the second Winter Market of the season from 10am-3pm at the Bellingham Farmers Market’s Depot Market Square, 1100…

Pruning Particulars


Horticulturist Christina Pfeiffer leads a demo and talk on “How to Prune Spring-Blooming Shrubs” at 11am in Mount Vernon at Christianson’s Nursery, 15806 Best Rd. Pfeiffer will focus on the…

Tax Help


The AARP Tax-Aide program will provide free tax preparation services today from 12:30-4:30pm at Bellingham’s First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. On weekdays through mid-April, the…

Advanced Apple and Pear


“Advanced Apple and Pear” will be the focus of a two-part class starting today from 1:30-3:30pm at Everson’s Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Rd.  In this first class, you’ll be…

Birding for Kids


Skagit Guided Adventures offers a fun and easy way to introduce kids to identifying and learning about the birds of winter at “Birding for Kids: An ‘I Spy Adventure’ in Skagit Valley” from…

Civil War Letters


Christopher Loperfido will read from and sign copies of his new book, Death, Disease and Life at War: The Civic War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantry…

Thriving in the Middle


Mike Cook, a former Human Resource professional for Standard Oil of California, shares ideas from Thriving in the Middle: How the Best Managers Create Mutual Success, at 7pm at Village Books,…

Mock and Maher


Join folk icon Dan Maher and local a cappella trio Mockingbird for the third annual “Mock and Maher: A Concert of Friends” at 7:30pm Saturday at the Fairhaven Library (1117 12th St.) and …

The Comic Strippers


A troupe of semi-clothed improvisers will bring on the laughs when the “Comic Strippers” perform at 7:30pm at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. The fictitious male stripper…

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