NW Art Beat: Opening doors to creativity
Guests are always welcome at glass and mixed-media artist Melissa Ballenger’s studio off of Highway 9 near Big Lake, but if you’re the type who needs an invitation, look for the OPEN flag fluttering at the end of her driveway—or play it safe by making plans to attend the 16th annual NW Art Beat tour taking place July 20-21 at 15 venues throughout the Skagit Valley and into southwest Whatcom County.
Ballenger is one of 22 artists who’ll be opening a variety of studio doors in the name…Continue Reading »
In Bellingham, we have a keen interest in street-level businesses. We follow their openings and closings, renovations and retoolings with the kind of attention many people devote to their favorite sports teams.
But how many of us look up and wonder who occupies the floors above our coffeehouses, hair salons and comic-book shops?
Not many, I’d wager. Which is what makes the upper stories of the city’s buildings the perfect home for mysterious companies with secretive…Continue Reading »
Downtown Sounds 2019
Anniversaries are important.
Not only do they allow us to mark an occasion, but they also give us the opportunity to look back and see how far we’ve come.
In the case of Downtown Sounds, which will kick off its 15th season on Wed., July 10, the geographic distance the concert series has traveled is slight, but nearly everything else has changed quite a bit.
From its start, the mission of Downtown Sounds has always mirrored the broader mission of its parent organization, the…Continue Reading »
Arsenio’s Next Act: A comedian with staying power
Know this: If you heckle Arsenio Hall during his standup comedy show Thurs., July 11 at the Silver Reef Casino Resort, you will immediately regret your decision.
“Every now and then, someone takes their life into their own hands and attempts it,” the actor, producer and former late-night talk-show host says, noting that those who choose to interrupt a performer with 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry are typically under the influence or suffering from an abundance of…Continue Reading »
Eddie Money: Cashing in at the Silver Reef
Eddie Money is sort of like everyone’s dad. He loves terrible jokes—dad jokes, if you will—so much so that he has been known to solicit from his fans online. He frequently gives interviews with his wife by his side, and she’s not afraid to give him a hard pinch when she senses his notorious outspokenness is about to get him in trouble—again. He and his family currently star in their own reality show, which features plenty of Money’s five children rolling their eyes at his hijinks…Continue Reading »
Abbott’s Alley: Sustainable living in Skagit
In downtown Sedro-Woolley, a green arch greets residents and visitors to Abbott’s Alley—a portal to the future with a window to the past.
Just across the street from City Hall, the six mixed-use buildings beyond the sign comprise an ambitious net-zero project by Martha Rose Construction. Merging the longtime company’s “standards of the future” with elements of a time gone by—an era when people often lived above or adjacent to the places they worked—Rose’s trademarked…Continue Reading »
Sugar Ray at the Silver Reef Casino
Cascadia Spotlight: Sugar Ray
Mark McGrath knows how to give people what they want.
Possibly more important, the longtime Sugar Ray frontman also knows what people don’t want.
They don’t want be guinea pigs for new songs. They don’t want to suffer through the deep cuts of the band’s back catalog.
They want to hear the hits.
So, when Sugar Ray takes the stage of the Event Center at the Silver Reef Casino for a 7pm Fri., March 1 concert, the hits are what the audience will…Continue Reading »
Skagit Cohousing: Thriving Kids, Happy Parents
“Kids thrive in community,” Karen Gimnig says.
She should know. Gimnig’s teens grew up in a cohousing community outside Atlanta and now she’s part of a group building Skagit Cohousing in Anacortes.
“We’ve all heard ‘it takes a village,’” she says. “I didn’t really understand what that meant until I had one. Before we found cohousing, my kids’ village was spread all over town.”
Since moving to cohousing the Gimnig kids have had playmates right outside and…Continue Reading »
HUMP! Film Festival: A DIY celebration of love
In an earlier iteration of Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival, audiences watching the compendium of short films designed to change the way America sees, makes and shares porn were lucky enough to witness a couple of amorous couches who couldn’t keep their cushions off of each other—at least when the resident humans left them alone long enough for them to test out the tensile strength of their own springs.
Created in 2007 by a crew of Bellingham-based actors and burgeoning filmmakers…Continue Reading »
O Christmas Tea: A show steeped with holiday hilarity
Attention, fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean, and Dr. Seuss: It’s time to grab your teacups and settle in for a warm mug of holiday hilarity with United Kingdom comedy legends James and Jamesy.
Not long from now, the duo will be bringing their wildly popular holiday classic O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy back to Bellingham for a Wed., Dec. 12 performance at the historic Mount Baker Theatre.
Combining British propriety with an unabashed love for the unexpected, London’s three-time…Continue Reading »
Skagit Cohousing: An invitation to interaction
“When I read about cohousing, I realized it is a way for me to live into the values I have long professed,” Dan Gerhard of Skagit Cohousing says.
The group is designing a neighborhood to be built in Anacortes, and the soon-to-be neighbors look forward to living in a way that nurtures relationships, attends to the environment and supports each individual to become the best self they can be.
The impact will extend far beyond the 30 households who will live there, as each person…Continue Reading »
Trash Talk: Waste diversion at The RE Store
At The RE Store, every day really is Earth Day.
That’s not hyperbole. Founded in 1993 as a program of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, the reuse-focused retailer currently located in Bellingham’s Fountain District has spent the past quarter-century working tirelessly to divert a dizzying array of building materials from the world’s waste stream.
On any given day, patrons perusing the offerings at the Meridian Street locale might find anything from fir flooring from the 1900s…Continue Reading »
Show and Tell: NW Art Beat Open Studio Tour
According to fusion artist Gary Giovane, sometimes it’s easier to show than to tell.
For example, if he were to attempt to explain to a patron new to his work that he paints with acrylics on cedar wood panels using a foundation derived from Native Northwest Coast traditions—while also incorporating elements from Celtic and Japanese art, as well as using tenets from the British Arts & Crafts movement—he might be met with a confused shrug.
“If I can actually show the visitor what…Continue Reading »
An Eerie Invitation: Music and monsters at the Guemes Island General Store
There’s an eeriness to this night. Is it the clouds slowly creeping across the bright fall moon? Is it the wind that frantically whips the leaves around the empty streets only to stop suddenly, as if calmed by an unknown force? Is it that your kids have hardly argued with you all day?
It’s hard to say, but the chill running down your spine as you apply the finishing touches of makeup to complete your zombie pirate costume lets you know something’s brewing. You gather the kids…Continue Reading »
Whatcom Symphony Orchestra: Making music come alive
When the members of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra tune their instruments and take the stage for their season-opening concert at 3pm Sun., Oct. 8 at the Mount Baker Theatre, it will signal both the start of the venerable arts organization’s 42nd season and its first under the leadership of new(ish) executive director, Gail Ridenour.
Ridenour has been at the helm of the WSO since January, but her connection to orchestral music and the particular kind of community that comes with it is…Continue Reading »
Yoga Therapy: At 3 Oms, an in-depth approach to healing
One might think that someone who has been studying yoga for more than half their life would have little else about the ancient practice left to learn.
In the case of Cat Enright—who was first introduced to yoga when she was 23 and will soon be 52—that assumption would be an incorrect one.
As a longtime Iyengar instructor at downtown Bellingham’s 3 Oms Yoga, Enright has continued to seek additional teachings throughout her many years of practice. She was considering pursuing a…Continue Reading »
Downtown Sounds: After the party
When last we left off with the hardworking crew from Downtown Bellingham Partnership, they were at the cusp of the first of the five weekly concerts that comprise Downtown Sounds, their perennially popular concert series that evokes literal dancing in the streets. Even though the nonprofit has been throwing this party for some 13 summers now, 2017 came with some factors that built in uncertainty that had not been felt since the series broke out of its alley home and took itself to the…Continue Reading »
Viva Farms: Continuing the legacy of farming in Skagit Valley
As the executive director of Viva Farms, Michael Frazier is well aware that the Skagit County nonprofit where he’s worked since the end of the 2014 farming season has become a vital resource for those looking to make a living from the land. We caught up Frazier for more details about how the business incubator that debuted in 2009 is helping ensure the future is full of farmers.
Cascadia Weekly: Is it true that only 108,500 acres of Skagit County’s 1.1 million acres are farmed? Why is…Continue Reading »
B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar: The world is its oyster
The month it opened, B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar sold a whopping 2,000 oysters.
That was in May, and since then the restaurant connected to Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center has continued to draw welcome attention to itself by offering some of the freshest seafood around, prepared in ways both traditional and contemporary.
“It’s seafood with a twist,” the hotel’s general manager, John Burns, said on a recent sunny afternoon from a booth at the newly…Continue Reading »
NW Art Beat Studio Tour: Skagit Artists Together expand their vision
Behind every work of art, there’s a tale waiting to be told.
For ceramic sculptor Maria Wickwire, part of the joy of the artistic process is never knowing precisely what shape that narrative will take.
“Having always been attracted to figure sculpture and to story, I guess it was a natural progression to finding the deep vein of feminine archetypes I’ve been exploring since then,” Wickwire says of the alluring forms she’s been creating since falling for the malleable medium in her…Continue Reading »
Most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time considering what goes in to making the ridiculously popular concert series Downtown Sounds happen.
For five weeks every summer, as if by magic, the 1300 block of Bay Street is closed to traffic, a stage goes up, bands begin to play and we throng there by the thousands to spend the evening dancing in the streets. At the end of each week’s show, we disperse, the temporary venue is dismantled and, by the next morning, it’s like the whole…Continue Reading »
Element Music Festival
For music fans, deciding whether to attend a music festival involves a certain kind of calculus. On one side of the equation are must-see bands and musicians, combined with the allure of seeing them in one place, over the course of a weekend.
The other side of the equation, however, looks a little different.
That’s where the downsides of festival-going factor in, which can be everything from the challenges posed by navigating overly large crowds and sometimes inhospitable venues…Continue Reading »
Fresh Bucks: Extending summer’s harvest at the Community Food Co-op
Asked to describe a typical workday as the outreach manager at the Community Food Co-op, Adrienne Renz’s face lights up as she describes a list of accomplishments that might leave a less energetic human exhausted.
She reports that the day before, in addition to leading a team meeting, she met with Sustainable Connections regarding a Whatcom Food Network forum, headed back to the office to discuss the Co-op’s upcoming Community Party, and then attended a school district wellness…Continue Reading »
Alice in Wonderland: Northwest Ballet Theater goes down the rabbit hole
It’s a sunny Saturday in May, but the 40 cast members and assorted crew on hand at the dress rehearsal for Northwest Ballet Theater’s revival of Alice in Wonderland appear to be more focused on furthering the story of a young girl’s adventures down a rabbit hole than they are in enjoying the springtime weather.
As Alice—a 21-but-looks-15 dancer named Hailey Forsberg—cinches her blue dress and stretches in advance of Act I, a quick look around NBT’s cavernous Cornwall Avenue locale…Continue Reading »
3 OMS Yoga: A community sanctuary, hidden in plain sight
If you’re not looking for it, it’s possible to walk by the entrance to 3 OMS Yoga without being aware that you’ve done so.
But once the door leading to the Cornwall Avenue studio has been located—a clue is that it shares an address with Kids Northwest and Dragon River restaurant—those seeking better physical, mental and spiritual health will find a warm and welcoming spot in which to explore the ancient practice of yoga.
And once you’ve left your street shoes behind on the…Continue Reading »
Spring Fling: A warmup to the Anacortes Arts Festival
Judging by the astounding array of events that take place during the Anacortes Arts Festival every August, it’s easy to believe claims by organizers that it takes more than 250 volunteers and as many as 2,000 work hours to put on the perennially popular three-day art party.
When I attended last summer’s soiree, I was struck not only by how much there was to do and see, but also by how smoothly the festival seemed to be running. As my date and I did everything from perusing indoor fine…Continue Reading »