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 Watershed Management 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. These…

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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
Taking Charge of the Public Charge

TAKING CHARGE OF THE PUBLIC CHARGE: Whatcom County Council stepped up last week with an active response to one of the more cruel and counterproductive stances of the Trump administration’s pogrom on immigration, adopting a resolution opposing changes to federal legislation that would…

Portland Cello
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…

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…

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…

Birding Adventures


Skagit Guided Adventures hosts “Birding for Kids” and “Birding for Seniors” excursions from 9am-12pm and 1-4pm on a daily basis through March. Prices vary; binoculars will be…

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers


The Whatcom Literacy Council is currently recruiting volunteers to work two to four hours a week with adults who have asked for help to improve their English, reading, writing, math and…

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…

Valley Crafters Holiday Bazaar


A variety of vendors will show and sell handmade decorations and gifts at a Valley Crafters Holiday Bazaar happening from 10am-4pm Thursday through Saturday at Deming Presbyterian Church,…

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…

A Christmas Carol


iDiOM Theater revives one of its most popular shows ever with performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday in the Lucas Hicks Theater at Sylvia…

Noel Noir


A classic Christmas story meets film noir when the world premiere of the fast-paced comedy Noel Noir continues this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at…



The Theater Arts Guild concludes its production of the perennially popular musical Annie this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday in Mount Vernon at the Lincoln Theatre,…

Pacific Arts Market


Several dozen local artists and crafters will show and sell a variety of work—including jewelry, fine art, photography, textiles, clothing, bath and body, specialty foods, home decor, paper…

Hot Cider and Cool Art


Painter Ben Man will host “Hot Cider & Cool Art” from 10am-4pm every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 22 at his third-floor studio space at the Morgan Block Studios, 1000 Harris Ave.…

Story Time with the Grinch


Kids can see the Green One himself at “Story Time with the Grinch” events at 4pm Friday, and 2pm Saturday at Village Books, 1200 11th St. In addition to reading Dr. Seuss’ holiday classic,…

Tasting and Tour of Lights


Enjoy a country Christmas experience at the inaugural “Tasting and Tour of Lights” from 5-7pm Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22 at Sedro-Woolley’s Eagle Haven Winery, 8243 Sims Rd. The…

A Charlie Brown Christmas


Spend time with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the rest of the Peanuts crew on their journey to learn the true meaning of the season when performers ages 9-12 present performances of A…

Saving Christmas Town


Put on your elf caps, brush off your jingle bells and join comical and quirky elves as they defend their city from the naughty and ominous characters of Oogie Boogie Land when the Dance…

Northwest Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker


Secure tickets to the Northwest Ballet Theater’s 20th annual production of The Nutcracker at 7:30pm Friday, and 2pm Saturday and Sunday in Mount Vernon at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way.…

My Three Ghosts, LOL-apalooza


Audiences can imagine the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and help move the story forward when “My 3 Ghosts” continues this weekend with 7:30pm shows Friday and Saturday at the…

Pancake Breakfast


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

Breakfast with Santa


Celebrate the holiday season and meet the Jolly Old Elf himself at a “Breakfast with Santa” fundraiser from 9-11am at Bellingham Childcare and Learning Center, 2600 Squalicum Pkwy. Santa and…

Breakfast with Santa


Enjoy a delicious meal and then have your photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at a “Breakfast with Santa” event happening from 9am-1pm in Mount Vernon at Eaglemont Golf Course’s Fireweed…

Coast Salish Winter Festival


Find unique handcrafted gifts created and sold by Lummi Nation community members at the eighth annual Coast Salish Winter Festival happening from 9am-5pm at Ferndale’s Lummi Gateway Center,…

Bellingham Farmers Market


The 26th season of the Bellingham Farmers Market continues from 10am-3pm Saturdays through Dec. 22 at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. In addition to offering locally grown…

Gingerbread Houses


Graham crackers, frosting and candy will be provided at a “Gingerbread Houses” event from 10am-12pm at Blaine’s Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. Attendees can show off their artistic…

Holiday Craft Bazaar


Buy or sell homemade crafts and treats made by kids and teens at a Deming Holiday Craft Bazaar happening from 11am-1pm at the Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Hwy. Everything will be priced $5 or less.

Mostly Magic with John Walton


Experience a unique blend of magic and humor when celebrated local magician John Walton presents his annual “Mostly Magic” show at all-ages performances at 11am and 2:30pm at the Mount Baker…

Sleighbells RIng


Attend “Sleighbells Ring” from 12-5pm Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23 at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian . Fresh-cut trees and wreaths, ornament and cookie crafting, bonfires,…

Fairhaven Winterfest


Take part in the annual Fairhaven Winterfest from 12-3pm Saturdays through Dec. 22 in the historic district. Horse-drawn carriage rides, photo opportunities with Father Christmas at the…

Seasonal Side Dishes


Learn practical skills that will empower you to showcase the Pacific Northwest on your table when Kamea Black leads a “Seasonal Side Dishes: Winter Edition” workshop from 1-3:30pm at the…

Comet Sense Signing and Talk


Artist and author Trish Harding will be presenting and reading from her new illustrated picture book, Comet Sense, from 2-4pm at Studio UFO, 301 W. Holly St. She’ll also be answering…

Port Tasting


Chad Slansky from C & G imports will provide visitors with a winter warmup at an “Exploring Port” tasting from 2-4pm at Siefert & Jones Wine Merchants, 19 Prospect St. Chad will be focusing…

Arts and Ales Holiday Market


Enjoy a beer while you do some holiday shopping at an “Arts and Ales” Holiday Market taking place from 2-8pm at the Aslan Depot, 1322 N. State St. Local vendors including jewelers, potters,…

Bellingham Community Chorus Holiday Concerts


The Bellingham Community Chorus will kick off its 28th season with Holiday Concerts at 2pm and 7pm at St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th St. Led by new artistic director Rob Viens, the…

Altai Kai workshop and concert


The traditional Russian folk group Altai Kai will host a throat-singing workshop from 2-4pm at the Alternative Library, 519 E. Maple St. The virtuosos will return to the stage at 8pm to…

Noel Ensemble


The Yuletide season will come alive with the classical and Celtic harps, flute, strings and percussion sounds of the acclaimed NOEL Ensemble at a 3pm concert at Lynden’s Jansen Art Center,…

Bowman Bay Holiday


All are welcome at the fourth annual “Bowman Bay Holiday” taking place from 4-8pm at Deception Pass State Park’s Bowman Bay. See park cabins lit up, take pictures with Santa, listen to…

Firehouse Holiday Party


Attend a Firehouse Holiday Party from 5-9:30pm at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Attendees will be warmed by a Yule log, enjoy a potluck dinner (bring something to…

Tamale Dinner Fundraiser


Attend a Tamale Dinner Fundraiser from 6-9pm at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St. The delicious tamales will be handmade by Maria Luisa from Tadeo’s Restaurant. Tickets are…

A Holiday Wish for Paco


Day-to-Day Dance presents “A Holiday Wish for Paco” at 7pm at the Blaine Performing Arts Center, 975 H St. More than 50 community students ages 3-17 will tell the tale of the last elf to be…



Attend the Bellingham Circus Guild’s monthly uncensored variety show, “Vaudevillingham,” at 7pm (family-friendly) and 9pm (anything goes) performances at the Cirque Lab, 1401 6th St.,…

Blue Adobe Comedy


Local standup comedians will do their best to make you laugh at a Comedy Showcase starting at 7pm at Blue Adobe Bar, 2925 Newmarket St., #104. Entry to the 21-and-older event is free.

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