Fun on the Fourth, Before and Beyond

Poet and boater Erica Reed reminded me that the Community Boating Center, 555 Harris Ave.,, offers a series of free one-hour paddles of their sit-on-top kayaks, paddleboards, rowboats, and sea kayaks, on a first-come, first-served basis.from 4:30 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday from July 3 through Aug.14. This series is designed to help reduce barriers for our community members to experience Bellingham Bay. They’ll have family-friendly activities and games, a beer garden with brews by Stones Throw Brewery, and a rotating food selection. What a treat for those out-of-town guests! For questions, please contact Erica at, or by phone at 360-714-8891, or visit

Seattle’s songwriter Jim Page joins songstress Meghan Yates from 8 to 11  p.m. Thursday, July 5, at Boundary Bay Beer Garden, 1107 Railroad Ave. Page doesn’t make it up to Bellingham very often, and from my experience, he’ll not hesitate to sing songs that are uncompromising in addressing today’s political climate. Cover is $10. For more about the musicians, go to  and

Longtime Whatcom County theater activist Mikael McDonald is excited about reviving theater in Blaine. Here’s what she tells me:
For Blaine’s Old Fashioned 4th of July, Blaine Community Theater is planning to appear after a seven-year hiatus from the festivities. We’ve been dark since our fall production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” in 2010, but never officially disbanded. Our 501c3 status is still intact. We met and voted to revive in April, and do plan to put up a 2018-2019 season, potentially holiday shows (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day have been tossed around), hopefully to include a summer youth program  in the future as we are seeing a lot of interest in the school’s program, but have heard from the facilities office that the elementary and middle school programs are not currently in place.
For the 4th, we do plan a parade entrance. We’ve also secured a street fair booth at the corner of Third and H Streets, in front of US Bank. We’ll run an information booth from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Donations to our non-profit will be enthusiastically and gratefully accepted as we try to get back on our feet and book rehearsal and performance space, liability insurance to be allowed into those spaces, and enough capital to mount a fall production. BCT tote bags will be awarded to any generous patrons donating $5 or more to the cause.
We will also mount a short play at the street fair, “The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe,” from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” We’ll perform a number of times throughout the afternoon between 2 and 5 at or booth, about every half hour. While we originally wanted to present a tomato show (selling rotten tomatoes to the audience to throw at our actors like we did some 13 or so years ago), we’ve decided to preserve the intent of mounting an audience-interaction performance, but it’s much more feasible to toss water balloons at the cast. It will be an intentionally flawed show, geared to goad the audience into pelting the actors, both as a small fundraising effort and just for the sake of novelty. The piece of Pyramus and Thisbe is a fun one, ripe for overacting and prop mishaps and heckling.
We have quite a cast coming together, some BCT stalwarts from years past (Matthew Smith, Carol Joy Crauswell, heck, Sandy Brewer was in on BCT’s first show back in 1999), a few folks who have been regulars in other county theaters (Deborah Manley, Rossner Randolph, Deborah Blakesley, Kennedy Rainer, and Sandy Brewer again), and even a newcomer, Kes Stephens.
We’re not terribly active yet, but we have established an internet presence. We’re at, email, Instagram at @blainetheater and on Facebook at blainecommunitytheater.

Award-winning Bellingham vocalist and keyboardist Cheryl Hodge let me know that international guitar great John Stowell will join her from 9 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 6, at Lovitt Restaurant, 1114 Harris Ave. Cover is $10. The set list includes everything from Chick Corea’s music to blues-belting reminiscent of Ernestine Anderson. Stowell and Hodge have played on many albums together, and even co-written and produced together. Cover is $10. Details: https://cherylhodge.com