Eat Healthy, Read a Book, Listen to a Rising Star and Nationally Known Musicians–All in Our Northwest Corner!

I know Gigi Berardi primarily as a nationally renowned dance critic, but her primary career is as a professor of environmental studies at Western Washington University’s Huxley College. She’s been talking about her new book, “FoodWISE:A Whole Systems Guide to Sustainable and Delicious Food Choices,” which will be released by North Atlantic Books, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and there’s a launch party set 6:30 p.m. that night at the Community Food Co-op’s Healthy Connections Classroom, 405 E. Holly St., suite 103. The cost to attend is $5, and the fee can be applied to the purchase of her book. As her website states, her research and writing includes study and review of food and farm systems, Native American studies and tribal education, and performing arts, and research has been presented in national and international conferences and academic journals. Forbes magazine states that the book “inspires us and challenges us to be better activists, environmentalists, cooks, policymakers, protectors of the planet, farmers, supporters of pollinators, and advocates for a better food system.”

Whatcom READS, Bellingham and Whatcom County’s annual countywide book club, kicks off 2020 with a thought-provoking slate of programs inspired by this year’s featured title, “To the Bright Edge of the World” by Pulitzer Prize nominated author Eowyn Ivey. Most events are free and open to the public; programs at the Whatcom Museum and Evolve Café have a cost and may require reservations. See for more information.
“Inspired by the book, we’ll examine discovery and adventure, early photographic technology, birds, cartography and feminism at events hosted at our local libraries and Village Books, and also in unexpected settings such as pubs and restaurants, Whatcom Museum, and Allied Arts,” says Ann McAllen, adult programming coordinator for Whatcom County Library System and chair of the Whatcom READS committee. “We hope to get neighbors talking to each other about the book’s themes and sharing their love of reading as we anticipate author Eowyn Ivey’s presentations at five local venues beginning Thursday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7.”
Now in its 12th year, Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and community partner Village Books. Funding sponsors are Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library Foundation. Whatcom READS is generously supported by numerous community collaborators.  Check out “To the Bright Edge of the World” at your local library or purchase it from Village Books, which donates 10 percent of all sales to Whatcom READS. Learn more at

Like Eowyn Ivey’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated debut “The Snow Child,” “To the Bright Edge of the World” is set in remote Alaska, only a generation earlier, in 1885. Col. Allen Forrester is charged with leading an expedition up the icy Wolverine River across Alaska Territory, to the edge of the known world. Whatcom READS invited local adventurers to share their own stories of discovery.
“Paddling with Spirits: A Solo Kayak Journey”
Northwest coast author Irene Skyriver reads from her award-winning book. The adventure is both a kayaking experience and one of inner exploration as she connects to her Native coastal ancestors.
Bellingham Public Library – Central Library, 210 Central Ave.
Friday, Jan. 17, 6–7:30 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System Deming Branch, 5044 Mt. Baker Hwy.
Saturday, Jan. 18, 3–4:30 p.m.

The Mountains of Alaska
Join Alpine Institute guide Jim Mediatore to discuss alpine climbing and mountaineering in Alaska.
Whatcom County Library System Ferndale Branch, 2125 Main St.
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7–8 p.m.
Bellingham Public Library – Central Library, 210 Central Ave.
Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Whatcom WRITES Anthology
Writers explore the theme of discovery, inspired by Eowyn Ivey’s book. Hear the authors read from this year’s anthology.
Lynden Village Books, Inn at Lynden meeting room, 100 Fifth St.
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2-3:30 p.m.
Fairhaven Village Books, Readings Gallery, 1200 11th St.
Sunday, March 1, 2-3:30 p.m.

In Ivey’s book, set at the Vancouver Barracks in Washington Territory, Col. Allen Forrester’s wife Sophie adjusts to her blossoming pregnancy while eagerly anticipating word from her husband. Not content to bide her time while Allen is out adventuring, Sophie explores the emerging art of photography, discovering a talent that defines her life.
Camera UnObscura Workshop
Explore early photographic technology, similar to that used by Sophie Forrester in “To the Bright Edge of the World.” In this intergenerational workshop, participants will learn about the beginnings of photography and ild their own camera obscura. Fun for ages 8 to 80 (and beyond!)
Whatcom Museum – Lightcatcher Building, 250 Flora St.
Saturday, Jan. 18, 1–2:30 p.m.; $30 museum members/$35 non-members. Registration required. Visit the Whatcom Museum website,

As the book continues and the months drag on, Sophie Forrester begins to sense a strong, mystical force at play. A raven appears, ominous and foreboding. Sophie’s loneliness becomes palpable. An amateur naturalist and birder, she finds solace in photography, building her skills while attempting to capture light and the life force of birds in her images.
Audubon Fourth Sundays: Birds on the Shelf—Taxidermy and Our Complex Relationship with Birds
North Cascades Audubon Society volunteer Paul Woodcock will give a short talk and discussion on the history of collecting bird specimens and how it relates to the John M. Edson Hall of Birds. All ages are welcome.
Whatcom Museum – Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.
Sunday, Jan. 26, 1:30 – 2:30 pm; included with admission/ members free
Audubon Fourth Sundays: A Short History of Bird Watching
Though people have always had reasons to be interested in birds, over the past century bird watching, or birding, has developed from a fringe pastime into one of the most popular hobbies in America. Join North Cascades Audubon Society volunteer Paul Woodcock and learn about that change and how you can take part.
Whatcom Museum, Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.
Sunday, Feb. 23, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.; included with admission/ members free
The Birds of Western North America
Photographer Ken Salzman shares his beautiful images in a slideshow set to music.
Whatcom County Library System Blaine Branch, 610 Third St.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m.–noon

As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, whose understanding of the natural world is unlike anything they have ever encountered, Col. Allen Forrester and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead.
Telling Stories through Textile Maps
Bettina Matzkuhn’s textile maps tell stories through unusual forms not normally associated with embroidery. She discusses her process to create work that has been exhibited internationally.
Whatcom County Library System Blaine Branch, 610 Third St.
Saturday, Feb. 22, 2–3 p.m.

Sophie Forrester chafes under social restrictions and yearns to travel with her husband.  She eschews the ladies groups at the Vancouver Barracks, opting to spend time exploring the natural world and developing her artistic talent. The author’s portrayal of the forward-thinking, independent and self-confident Sophie is inspiring.
Washington’s Undiscovered Feminists (Humanities Washington)
Celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage as writer Mayumi Tsutakawa presents five “woman warriors” in the arts and journalism from the past century whose stories inspire. She explores how these women changed our state and our society.
Bellingham Public Library – Central Library, 210 Central Ave.
Friday, Feb. 14, 6–7:30 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System Ferndale Branch, 2125 Main St.
Saturday, Feb. 15, 2–3:30 p.m.

INSPIRED GATHERINGS –Bellingham Cocktail Week-Think & Drink
Whatcom READS is partnering with Bellingham Cocktail Week and Evolve Chocolate + Cafe to host a spirited discussion of Ivey’s book. A themed cocktail and appetizer inspired by the book will be available for purchase.
Evolve Chocolate + Café, 1200 11th St. (top floor of Village Books)
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6-7:30 p.m.
Reservations recommended. Call Evolve, 360-220-1898, or visit

Art Challenge
Create art inspired by the book for display at Allied Arts during the month of March.
Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave.
Submissions due: Monday or Tuesday, March 2 or 3, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Reception: Friday, March 6, 6-9 p.m. Exhibit runs through March 28.

Join the conversation: Discuss “To the Bright Edge of the World” with a book group.
Lynden Village Books Front Streeters, Inn at Lynden meeting room, 100 Fifth St.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2-3 p.m.
Fairhaven Village Books General Literature Group, Readings Gallery, 1200 11th St.
Monday, Feb. 3, 7-8 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System, Sumas Book Group (Sumas Branch), 461 Second St.
Saturday, Feb. 8, 10-11 a.m.
Fairhaven Village Books Motherhood by the Book, Readings Gallery,
1200 11th St.
Sunday, Feb. 9, 2-3 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System, Foothills Book Club (North Fork Branch), 7506 Kendall Road
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6:30-8 p.m.
Fairhaven Village Books Afternoon Book Chat, Readings Gallery, 1200 11th St.
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1-2 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System, Books on Tap (Deming Branch), North Fork Brewery, 6186 Mt. Baker Hwy.
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7-8:30 p.m.
Whatcom County Library System, Ferndale Book Group (Ferndale Branch), 2125 Main St.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2:30-4 p.m.
Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Reads Book Club, Central Library, Dodson Room, 210 Central Ave.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Lynden Village Books Books and Brews Group, Overflow Taps, 106 Fifth St., Lynden
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7-8 p.m.


Whatcom READS culminates with five presentations by author Eowyn Ivey. Next year’s title will be announced at the March 5 event at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
Book Discussion with the Author
Whatcom County Library System Ferndale Branch, 2125 Main St.
Thursday, March 5, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
An Evening with Eowyn Ivey
Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
Thursday, March 5, 7-8:30 p.m.
The Art and Craft of Writing
Western Washington University, Wilson Library Reading Room
Friday, March 6, 2-3:30 p.m.
Coffee with Eowyn Ivey
Whatcom Community College, Heiner Theater, 237 W. Kellogg Road.
Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
A Conversation with Eowyn Ivey
Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden
Saturday, March 7, 7-8:30 p.m.

Multi-instrumentalist Penelope Keep hosts an Art and Music Presentation from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave.  Her original watercolors of birds as well as bird cards will be on display and for sale. She’ll also play piano starting at 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit her college fund. Here’s what she says:
I first started painting birds during an Audubon summer camp in 2016. Now I’m in eighth grade at Fairhaven Middle School. Learning more about birds by copying images from the Sibley’s guide, I painted them in watercolors to pass the time on road trips. With help from my dad, I made greeting cards out of them.
In 2018, I collaborated with my grandfather Bill Keep on a bird poem book. He wrote poems about his real-life experiences with birds, and I did a series of bird drawings as illustrations. He passed away last March, and the book was a great way to honor his memory.
Last year I realized that, like humans, birds as individuals – rather than as mere examples of their species – would want their portraits painted with just their head and chest, so in 2019 I started a new series of tiny bird heads. I enjoy painting as small as I can see with tiny brushes.
For my opening I am including another artform that I practice: classical piano. Like painting, music has contemplative aspects and it sharpens my attention to details.

USA Dance Bellingham Chapter 1013 host the Grant Wilson Dance Band Friday, Jan. 17, at The Majestic, 1027 N. Forest St. A rumba lesson will be taught from 7.15 to 8 p.m. by Wendy and Megan, with the band playing from 8 to 10 p.m. All welcomed including singles, seniors, and students. Cost is $10 general $7 members and students. Details: 360-734-5676. 

Looking for a unique and memorable evening out? An English Tea & Concert at Willowbrook Manor, 27420 Minkler Rd, Sedro-Woolley, is coming up at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and offers an elegant and intimate dining and concert experience featuring guest violinist Sharyn Peterson and cellist Matthew Rehfeldt. For more information and to make reservations go to

January Folk Second Saturday is actually on the third Saturday this month, featuring Tracy Spring, performing from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 18, at Menace Brewing, 2529 Meridian St. Tracy has won multiple regional awards for her compelling vocals, versatile guitar playing and reflective songwriting. She displays a style all her own while combining blues, swing, old rhythm and blues, jazz, and folk. She is a seasoned performer in folk venues and festivals throughout North America and Australia. $10 suggested donation.

Manouche N.W. presents: Hot Club of Troy at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Mount Baker Theatre’s Encore Room, 104 N. Commercial St. Tickets are $22, available by calling 360-734-6080 and online at The band plays music in the style of the renowned Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and its legendary leader, guitarist Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt, along with the immortal violinist Stéphane Grappelli created a genre sometimes called Gypsy Jazz, Gypsy Swing, Manouche Swing, or just plain Django Music. The Hot Club of Troy’s music swings with a wild abandon that allows sparkling melodies to rise from the pulsing rhythm guitars and bass. Guitarist Troy Chapman, deeply versed in the playing style of the great Gypsy guitar master, introduces audiences to the grooving dance tunes and the haunting melodies of an earlier time that sound as joyful and fresh today as the day they were written. Joined by the outstanding musicianship of guitarist Keith Bowers and bassist Kristi O’Donnell, The Hot Club of Troy will leave you enthralled, inspired and tapping your toes.

Jim Page will be playing a rare Bellingham performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at an intimate house concert at the Bevans’ residence on the South Side of Bellingham. This will be an acoustic performance with the Seattle guitarist and songwriter, accompanied by bassist Dune Butler and drummer Joel Litwin. Page is a legendary folksinger up and down the west coast, and abroad. He’s recorded 24 albums, and was named by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as “One of the 50 most influential musicians In Seattle history.” He’s a powerful songwriter because of his focused presence in the moment and the power of his poetry. As a child of the ‘60’s, he follows in the time-honored traditions of folksingers like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and others, singing poetically about observed injustices. He also writes incredibly beautiful love songs and songs of hope. His storytelling is captivating and enthralling, and his sense of humor is infectious. Seating is limited, and the show is nearly sold out. $20 per person suggested donation. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP at the concert Evite link,

The Acoustic Jazztet — Brent Jensen, saxophones; Jaimie Findlay, guitar; and Steven Tate, percussion will perform and discuss their unique roles in a sax/guitar/percussion trio at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at The Garage, 319 E. Champion St. They will demonstrate different approaches to playing standards, and may even play the same song in different styles. This event should not be missed by anybody who loves Jazz, or enjoys arranging music.  There will be plenty of opportunities to visit with the musicians about how they do what they do. Tickets are $10 at Brown Paper Tickets, with options for pre-show lessons.

Marco Rafala and Rena Priest talk about their writing at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at Village Books, 1200 11th St.
Set in post-World War II Sicily and mid-1980’s America, Rafalà’s book, “How Fires End” chronicles the long legacy of a single act of violence, illustrating along the way the complicated dynamics of familial bonds, the devastating effects of war upon childhoods, and the inextricable nature of personal and political identities. Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American novelist, musician, and writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in Fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Rena Priest is a Lummi Tribal member and a writer. Her new collection, “Sublime Subliminal,” was released on Floating Bridge Press in the fall of 2018. She has taught Comparative Cultural Studies, Native-American Studies and Special Topics in the Humanities, at Western Washington University and Fairhaven College.