Murder in Port Townsend! Throat Singing! Jazz!

Bellingham Public Library’s “Music in the Library” series features a free, all-ages performance of holiday and winter-themed tunes by the Whatcom Flute Ensemble from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec.11,  in the Lecture Room at the Central Library, 210 Central Ave.

The Charlie Hunter Trio is joined by Lucy Woodward in a show for ages 21 and older at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Firefly Lounge, 1015 N. State St. With a career spanning 16 years and almost 20 albums, Charlie Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with the likes of Norah Jones, Mos Def, and John Mayer and is considered an authority on the seven- and eight-string guitar. Tickets are $20 through Brown Paper Tickets.

Soulful harmonies are at the center of West of Roan‘s minimalist arrangements. Annie Schermer and Channing Showalter are fiddle players, vocalists, and voracious musicians whose original compositions sit comfortably alongside the ancient ballads and tunes they render. They’ll perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in the YWCA ballroom, 1016 N. Forest St. Steeped in the traditions of Appalachia and the British Isles, West of Roan’s music explores home, self, loss, and love.
Annie and Channing have been collaborating as West of Roan for three years, though they have been singing together since they met in Bellingham, Washington ten years ago. Admission is sliding scale $10 to $15 at the door.  First ten in line will receive a free copy of the new CD. More on them:
Reeb Willms and Caleb Klauder, of the internationally acclaimed Foghorn String Band, make a dynamic duo that has been playing and singing together since 2008. They’ll perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the same venue. With wonderful harmonies, strong mandolin, and solid guitar playing, Caleb and Reeb deliver a pure and classic traditional sound. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Bellingham YWCA, the only non-profit in Bellingham that provides housing for single homeless women. Admission is $20 at the door.

Seattle’s Katrina Carrasco shares her crime novel, “The Best Bad Things,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at Village Books, 1200 11th St. Not for the faint of heart, the novel is packed with violent murders, bawdiness, treachery and mean characters. The bisexual Alma Rosales, aka Jack Camp, a former Pinkerton detective, is game for all kinds of adventure as she uncovers the mastermind behind an opium smuggling ring in 1887 Port Townsend.
Carrasco answered a few questions that I emailed her about her book.
Margaret: What sparked your interest in the opium trade in Port Townsend?
Karen: I’ve been reading and writing about the American West Coast — specifically maritime trade, crime, and history along the coast — for a while. “The Best Bad Things” is my third novel about the region; two other (unpublished) books are set in Northern California and Oregon. In the course of my research for all these novels, I became interested in opium smuggling and its role as as one the most lucrative maritime crimes in the late 1800s. Port Townsend was one of the hubs of that illegal trade, and once I began researching the town as a potential setting for the book, I found it has a history ripe for fictionalizing.
M: How did you research the details Port Townsend’s history?
K: I turned to historical accounts, both by locals and others; primary texts included Thomas Camfield’s “Port Townsend: An Illustrated History of Shanghaiing, Shipwrecks, Soiled Doves and Sundry Souls” and Richard Dillon’s “Shanghaiing Days.” I also spent time at the Jefferson County Historical Society research center, as well as digging into the wonderful historical collections at the Tacoma Public Library.
M: Are the characters based on real people?K: No, though I was inspired to create them by real events. For instance, the Pinkerton Agency did briefly have a Women’s Bureau at its start, which was eventually disbanded; from this I got the idea of a highly trained agent going rogue after losing her job. And there really were rumblings in the Puget Sound that the entire region’s opium trade was controlled by one combine under the rule of a powerful man, rich enough that he was above the law; from this I got the idea for Delphine, the smuggling mastermind who no one suspects of anything illegal because she is a wealthy woman seemingly unattached to waterfront crimes and trade.
M: What surprised you as you wrote the book?
K: It’s always an amazing process to feel characters gather enough force that they take on a life of their own. Alma is a powerful character, and once I’d written enough about her to understand her personality and motivations, she lead the narrative into some unexpected places.
More about Carrasco at

Celebrate the two-year anniversary of lifted shellfish harvesting restrictions in Drayton Harbor at the Drayton Harbor Shellebration from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at the G Street Plaza located in downtown Blaine. This free event will include refreshments, oyster samples courtesy of the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company, kids’ activities, and the presentation of community awards at 4:30 p.m. This event will be outdoors so please dress to stay warm and dry.

The Alternative Library, 519 E. Maple St., brings traditional Russian folk group Altai Kai to Bellingham for both an afternoon throat-singing workshop at 2 p.m., and returning for a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
The workshop is limited to 30 attendees. Doors for the concert open at 6:30 p.m.
Due to limited seating, tickets for the workshop and the concert are available in advance through Brown Paper Tickets.
Additionally, the Alternative Library is partnering with local publisher Neoglyphic Media to produce a limited-edition screen printed poster by artist Wyatt Hersey, which will be available at the concert.
More information can be found through the Alternative Library website, and through the Facebook event listing.

A Holiday Jazz Party with The Thomas Harris Quintet starts with a dinner show at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Lovitt Restaurant & Bar, 1114 Harris Ave. Bellingham multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Thomas Harris will present an evening of Christmas Jazz featuring other regional greats with his wife, vocalist Penelope Harris’ Kevin Woods on trumpet; Christian Casolary on drums; Conner Helms on piano; and Roger Yamashita on bass.
Reservations highly recommended. Tickets are $10 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or call 360-671-7143 for details. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Lovitt will be open for post-show partying with the late-night menu until 10 p.m. and full bar.

Pat Wickline and Sharon Streams present their third annual Church House Holiday Party with Wayne Horvitz at p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1601 Mill Ave. This year Wayne will be performing his newly released album “The Snowghost Sessions.” Wayne says he’s really looking forward to this show. “Snowghost” will sound amazing in that space – the music is very acoustic with very subtle electronics and that piano and acoustics together will be incredible.” Tickets are $25. Space is limited. Go here to make your reservation.