Music, Art, Theater, Film and Education Make for Good New Year’s Resolutions

Bellingham Symphony Orchestra harpist Jill Whitman hosts award-winning musician and  composer Maria Newman and friends at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at Whitman’s home, 2400 E. Hemmi Road, featuring harp, flute, piano and strings. Enjoy the Pied Piper story with music and narration and several other exquisite works. Maria is a masterful entertainer, Grammy-winning performer, featured on NPR and more, and is the daughter of film composer Alfred. Newman. Ticket donations accepted at the door. RSVP at 360 305-7136.

Whatcom Jazz Singers is seeking experienced soprano and alto singers to join the ensemble.
The group rehearses weekly with occasional sectional work. Their musical repertoire includes American jazz standards, Brazilian bossa nova, and French chanson. Auditions are by appointment on Jan. 14, 15, 21 and 22.  To schedule an audition, contact artistic director Michael-Paul Gurulé at 360-961-1559 or info.wsjs@gmail.com. Details: www.whatcomsoundjazz.org.

I had the good fortune to attend a production of “Guys & Dolls” at the Village Theatre, 2710 Wetmore Ave., in Everett. The musical is directed by Billie Wildrick, a Western Washington University graduate whose expertise at directing “Annie” at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Seattle Musical Theatre, and “Kiss of the Spider Woman at Second Story Rep, among others, shines brilliantly in this quintessential musical comedy. “Guys & Dolls” has been a beloved classic since it first hit Broadway in 1950. Infamous gamblers, woebegone yet determined missionaries, a troupe of dancing showgirls, and one momentous craps game come together in the streets (and in the sewers) of New York City.
“When we come together,” says Wildrick, “our differences make us more than we can be alone. We like to look at the world through a lens of the binary – good and bad, saints and sinners; but it’s the chemistry at the center of very different people that is the most vital part of who we are as humans. “Guys & Dolls” is a celebration of people fighting to find their way to each other, and all of the explosions that pave the way to success!”
Based on short stories by Damon Runyon, the show’s snappy dialogue, hummable tunes, and what’s most evident in this production — chemistry– makes it an absolute delight.
From the incredible choreography with leaps, turns, and lifts, to the lavishly colorful period costumes with fedoras for the guys and jazzy dresses for the dolls, this production is well-worth the hour’s drive from Bellingham.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Village Theatre’s website, or buy calling 425-257-8600.

Bellingham drummer Julian MacDonough and his Quintet play the music of J.J. Johnson at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave.
J.J. Johnson was a legendary jazz trombonist acknowledged for being one of the first on his instrument to incorporate the harmony and technical fireworks of the bebop language to an instrument not known for its easy execution. Johnson led a legendary, yet virtually unheralded quintet in the late 1950’s that included pianist Tommy Flanagan, Belgian born saxophonist Bobby Jaspar, and an up and coming drummer from Detroit named Elvin Jones.
MacDonough will pay homage to this group by playing arrangements and compositions associated with the J.J. Johnson Quintet with trombonist Brad Shigeta and tenor saxophonist Mike Allen, backed by the Julian MacDonough Trio. Doors at 6:45; admission is $15 general, $10 students.

The Big Lebowski & Dude Gathering is up for Friday, Jan. 10, at Boundary Bay Brewery’s Mountain Room, 1107 Railroad Ave. (entrance on Maple Street). Owners Janet Lightner and Ed Bennett have officially deemed 2020 as the Year of Cult Classics at Boundary Bay, so what better way to kick off this new year-long movie night series than with their personal favorite, “The Big Lebowski?” This is more than just a movie night for those 21 and older, they say. This is going to be the largest gathering of The Dudes since 2019. Grab your bathrobe, sweater or shades and join us in the Mountain Room for an evening of free popcorn, trivia before the show, and a whole lot of “dude!”-ing. Those in costume will receive $1 off their first pint and much respect from the bartender. $5 admission online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door. Doors at 7 p.m., trivia at 7:30, movie at 8.

Celebrate this year’s talented teen artists and view their original artwork at the Whatcomics Art Reception from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Lynden Library, 216 Fourth St. Nibble on light refreshments, meet other artists, and be the first to see “Whatcomics 2019,” hot off the press. Accepted 2019 artists can pick up their complimentary copy of “Whatcomics” at the reception. The reception is free and open to the public. All are encouraged to come celebrate the talented artists from Whatcom County. The exhibit will be on display through January. Details: 360-354-4883.
Teens are invited to submit their original writing for consideration for publication in “A Forest of Words,” Whatcom County Library System’s teen poetry book. The rules are simple; be a Whatcom County teen in grades 6–12 and submit your original verse or poetry to any public library on or before March 15. Submissions accepted online or at any library branch. A panel of library staff and area teens select poems based on originality, creativity, and craft. Accepted poets receive a copy of the book (and bragging rights) and an invite to the “A Forest of Words” Reading & Reception to be held on May 16 at the Ferndale Library. More information can be found at wcls.org. Grades 6–12. You can read last year’s “A Forest of Words” online or at your WCLS library.


Pat Wickline and Sharon Streams, owners of the Church House on Bellingham’s southside, host a  winter concert with Wayne Horvitz and The Royal We at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at 1601 Mill Ave. This time the band features Thione Diop from Senegal on percussion and Andy Roth (Pat’s favorite drummer ever), along with the always amazing Alex Guy (violin), Geoff Harper (bass), and Wayne on keys. Suggested donation is $25.

Singer and songwriter Laura Berman, whose style and approach is reminiscent of Carole King and Carly Simon, performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Congregation Beth Israel, 751 San Juan Blvd. Her credits include opening for NYC-based pop-rock band, October Project, singing backup with Enya on the David Letterman Show, performing alongside authors Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne Williamson, and Oprah’s confidant Rev. Michael Beckwith. She has a featured song in the children’s film “Clifford’s Really Big Movie.”  Hear her work at laurabermanmusic.com. Admission is $15 general, $6 ages 12 and younger, $35 per family of two adults and dependents. Details: 360-733-8890, bethisraelbellingham.org.

How have changing technologies – from the scroll to the codex, the invention of paper and the printing press, to the inventions of the modern era – changed the ways that Judaism is studied and practiced? What insights can typography offer into Jewish communal identity and relations? What have been the roles of nationalism and romanticism, assimilation and cultural exchange, in the development of Hebrew typography?  Los Angeles-based artist and designer Hillel Smith will give a talk entitled “A Brief History of Jewish Typography” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in Western Washington University’s Wilson Reading Room, presented by WWU’s Heritage Resources. Through a multimedia presentation, Smith will cover the 4,000-year development of the Hebrew alphabet from its invention to the present, focusing on how technology and geography have shaped the way Jews practice and think about holy texts.  Contact David Schlitt, Judaica Project Archivist, for more information, at David.Schlitt@wwu.edu, 360-650-3193.