More than a decade ago, I attended a reading of a most unusual play. It was “Lysistrata: A Woman’s Translation” by Bellingham’s Drue Robinson, a modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ classic comedy, written entirely in rhyme. Drue graduated magna cum laude from Western Washington University’s School of the Arts and Fairhaven College, and graduated with an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in New York City. She has been awarded the Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, and her adaptation of’ “Lysistrata” was read around the world by more than 420 of 1008 participating theater and private groups in conjunction with the Lysistrata Project on March 3, 2003 — including groups in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dublin, Tokyo, London, Sydney, Scotland, and Zambia. This week, Western Washington University’s Deb Currier stages the play, tonight, June 6, through Sunday, June 10 at WWU’s Performing Arts Center. The premise: The women of Greece, led by the beguiling and compelling Athenian, Lysistrata, withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace to end the Peloponnesian War. This play contains mature themes and humor and is recommended for ages 14 and older. For more about production, go to https://cfpa.wwu.edu/event/lysistrata or reserve tickets at 360-650-6146.
The Good Time Girls return for another season of walking tours, now through September, led by former guides Kolby LaBree and Wren Urbigkit. Founded in 2011 by Marissa McGrath and Sara Holodnick, the Good Time Girls have guided historical walking tours of Bellingham, with a special focus on vice and quirky history. After founders Marissa and Sara decided to pursue new paths, Kolby and Wren were determined to keep the “good times” rolling. The duo will continue to offer the signature Good Time Girls seasonal walking tours, while expanding year-round programming and all-ages educational offerings under the name “Bellinghistory.” The “Sin & Gin” tours explore the history of vice in Bellingham, from the early wild-west days through the prohibition era, through September at 7 p.m. Friday evenings in downtown Bellingham and on Saturdays in Fairhaven. New this season are a variety of general tours suited for all ages and sensibilities alternating on weekend afternoons throughout the summer, including new tours of the Columbia-Eldridge Neighborhood and State Street as well as Whatcom Creek and Fairhaven. Good Time Girls have traditionally partnered with local watering holes to offer a ticket option good for an adult beverage following the tours. Downtown Sin & Gin will feature a drink from Uisce Irish Pub. The Columbia-Eldridge Neighborhood Tour offers libations from popular neighborhood hang-out Elizabeth Station. Partnerships with other favorite local establishments are still “brewing.” Tickets range from $15 to 20, run about an hour, and are less than a mile. For details, go to www.goodtimegirlstours.com or www.bellinghistory.com, or call 360-389-3595 to leave a message.
The Salish Sea Foundation presents the family-friendly “Voices for the Salish Sea,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., comprised of members from eco-folk rockers The Wilds, Pacific Canadian music-historians Tiller’s Folly, and the British Columbia Boys Choir and singer, songwriter and actress Ta’Kaiya Blaney, who shares her insights into Coast Salish culture and Salish Sea ecology. Tickets are $10 students, $20 adults. Reserve at 360-734-6080 or mountbakertheatre.com.For more on the organization, visit https://www.voicesforthesalishsea.com/
Judith Owens-Lancaster directs “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” June 8-24, at Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. Stephen Sondheim’s music, as played by an orchestra led by TJ Anderson, matches perfectly with all the singers (no small feat), but Sondheim’s lyrics and the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart are as dated — and perhaps offensive– as Broadway’s restaging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” — misogynistic and sexist in all aspects. There’s a “procurer of women” for pure pleasure (the women range in age and personality), songs and jokes that seem (boldly) to refute the #MeToo movement, and characters that make no pretense about being stereotypically gay or chauvinistic. That said, Beth Vonnegut’s costumes are top-drawer, and Deborah Blakesley’s choreography does manage to “herd cats.” It was great to see the young Zander King on stage as Hero (yes, he is the hero), and Paul Henderson’s memory for “too many words” was nothing short of amazing. I thought perhaps I was showing my age at being offended at the interpretation and delivery of the script, but as the 21-year-old who sat next to me said, “It’s about horny men and objectifying women.” Be prepared to journey back in time to a period when all women were expected to be was “lovely and winsome.” For reservations, call 360-733-1811, or go to bellinghamtheatreguild.com.
A while ago, I was contacted by Barbara Marrett, media and communications manager for www.visitsanjuans.com, about a most intriguing exhibit at San Juan Island Museum of Art, 540 Spring St., in Friday Harbor. Here’s what she emailed:
Fifteen years ago, an astounding exhibit of quilts by Southern African-American women toured the country. People responded in awe to the bold use of color, the improvisational designs and the stories the quilts portrayed. The quilters from an isolated rural community, Gee’s Bend Alabama, descended from West African slaves. The geographical isolation allowed the community to be left alone from outside influences. Families handed down traditions, quilt by quilt. The women were not considered artists by society’s standards. Their materials were often nothing more than worn out clothes. The women of Gee’s Bend succeeded in creating masterpieces of art, telling their stories of strength, civil rights, their faith, and a pride in an African Heritage. “Conversations with Gee’s Bend” runs through Sept. 3 at the museum. The exhibit explores ways contemporary artists are inspired by, and share influences with the Gee’s Bend quilts. One artist, a hurricane survivor, uses salvaged building materials to create wooden textiles. Another artist uses clothes of a loved one to create a quilt full of grief and healing. Another weaves electrodes through conductive yarn, aided by a primitive electronic brain and heat sensitive inks to activate subtle animation and change in her work. International artist reconstructs plastic oil cans from his country of Ghana that bear witness to the effects of environmental damage and resource extraction. SJIMA will host a gallery talk by Greg Kucera on June 13, and author and instructor Katie Petersen will teach a workshop, Improvisational quilting, on June 24 in conjunction with the exhibit. For details on the museum, call 360-370-5050. For more on Gee’s Bend, go to YouTube and search Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.
Northwest Hawai’i ‘Ohana presents Hearts of the Islands Festival and Luau from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at Ferndale’s Pioneer Park Community Center, 2007 Cherry St. The celebration features island-style vendors, Ono Hawaiian food, cultural demonstrations, music and Keiki activities. Admission is $10 general, $8 seniors and military, and is free for ages 10 and younger.The luau starts at 6 p.m. Admission to the Luau is separate from day event and extra charge applies.Northwest Hawai’i ‘Ohana is a nonprofit organization that shares the aloha spirit in Whatcom and Skagit counties and seeks to preserve, honor and perpetuate the blend of cultures found throughout the Hawaiian Islands.