Stonewall Riot Commemoration, Cool Plays at the Sylvia, and a Kite Festival

A collaboration between Whatcom Community College’s Native students and staff and The Equity Project, The REDress Project honors and remembers missing and murdered indigenous women. Red dresses will be on display between Baker Hall and Laidlaw Center today, May 20, through Friday, May 24, 237 W. Kellogg Road, to represent the thousands of Native women and girls who go missing or are murdered each year. According to the Urban Indian Health Institute in 2016, that number was reported to be 5,712. Dresses for the installation were donated by Native staff and students.

Enjoy barbecue between 4 and 6 p.m. every Thursday this summer in Boundary Bay Brewery’s Beer Garden, 1107 Railroad Ave., featuring live music by rotating Stringband artists, organized by Robert Sarazin Blake, the official Stringband Thursday host, with musical guests from around the world. The Beer Garden is all-ages and  dog-friendly. Barbecue starts at 4 p.m., music at 5. No cover! Details at

The Stonewall riots marked one of the most galvanizing periods in the fight for sexual and gender liberation and the six days of protest against transphobia, homophobia, and police repression offered powerful stories, movements, and acts of queer resistance, sexual and gender liberation, and racial, ethnic, and cultural solidarity. The riots inspired LGBTQ+ people throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, social movements for gender and sexual liberation were sparked in nearly every major city in the United States.
Three events on Wednesday and Thursday, May 22 and 23, at Western Washington University, offer multidisciplinary explorations of the Stonewall riots and ongoing struggles towards queer liberation.
Pride Postcards to LGBTQ+ Prisoners, a participatory event with Josh Cerretti, assistant professor of history, is from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Miller Hall Collaborative Space. Many aspects of LGBTQ+ life were criminalized throughout US history and LGBTQ+ people remain disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system. In memory of those arrested at Stonewall and in solidarity with those incarcerated today, we’ll be sending postcards celebrating Pride to incarcerated LGBTQ+ people. Stop by for ten minutes or stay the whole time. All materials provided. Schooling After Stonewall, a panel with A Longoria, instructor of secondary education, with community K-12 educators is from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, in Miller Hall 152. This vision-setting panel conversation will highlight current youth work and perspectives on what schooling should look like after Stonewall. This panel conceives of schooling broadly, with a particular emphasis on K-12 schooling. It will consist of educators, community organizers, and activists. A brief overview of the state of schooling today, including legal and policy developments and implications, will precede a moderated panel.
Stones to the Wall:  How to Remember a Riot, a talk by Chris E. Vargas, assistant professor of art, takes place at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 23, in Fraser 201. In this talk about his recent exhibition and residency at the New Museum in New York City entitled “Consciousness Razing: The Stonewall Re-memorialization Project,” Chris Vargas explores Stonewall as a geographically, demographically, and historically contested site. For the New Museum exhibition, Vargas’s Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA) commissioned artists to propose new monuments to the 1969 Stonewall riots.  In doing so, Vargas questions what we think we know about these riots, often cited as a formative event for gay liberation and the modern LGBTQI civil rights movement in the US. In 2016, to commemorate the riots, President Obama designated Stonewall Inn and the adjacent Christopher Park a national monument. Yet for years, many of the activists who led the fight against violence and police brutality against queer and trans people—including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, and many others—were not properly recognized in popular accounts of Stonewall. These figures are increasingly acknowledged in mainstream LGBTQI histories, but narratives of their work often elide their more radical demands and their critiques of racism, economic marginalization, and transphobia. Rather than construct a neat historical trajectory, this project contends that attempting to narrate a stable history does the past a disservice. Instead, MOTHA’s “Consciousness Razing” finds new ways to uncover, recast, and recuperate elements of the past.

Dragon Tales Productions brings three new plays to Bellingham with theatrical readings Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25, at the Sylvia Center, 205 Prospect St. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The casts feature well-known local players. Admission is $10 for one or $25 for all three – cash and check only please.
Dragon Tales Productions was founded by Owens Lancaster to inspire, encourage, 
and support emerging playwrights. The plays offered this weekare the third in her efforts to bring original theater to our community. It is her hope that they will inspire even more new playwrights to step forward.
The schedule this week:
Thursday: “Down in the Valley,” by Dragon Tales founder Judith Owens Lancaster.
Friday: “The Sandbox,” by Dana Reed Crediford
Saturday: “I 9021.39.000 You,”  by Mikael R. Kenoyer
For more information about these plays and about Dragon Tales Productions, email her  at

iDiOM Theater presents David Ives’ “All in the Timing,” a benefit for Sylvia Center’s Summer 2019 Youth Acting Program, is staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 24-25, at the Sylvia Center, 205 Prospect St. Tickets are $25.
The ensemble cast will be joined by student actors, and proceeds from the show will support Sylvia Center’s Youth Acting Program, which gives students age 13–17 the opportunity to take acting classes and perform in theater productions.
The Summer 2019 session of the Youth Acting Program begins this June and offers student scholarships and sliding scale tuition in order to make the program as accessible as possible to any students/families who wish to participate.
This year’s summer youth program will be taught by theater educator (and iDiOM ensemble member) Michael Morgen along with the creative staff of iDiOM Theater, at Sylvia Center for the Arts, and will culminate in a free outdoor production of Aristophanes’ “The Birds” at Maritime Heritage Park in July.
All in the Timing includes the much-loved short plays “Sure Thing;” “Variations on the Death of Leon Trotsky,” “Unamunda,” “The Universal Language;” and “Words Words Words.”

Western/Americana band An American Forrest was recently a featured performer at the 2019 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, sharing a festival bill with the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot (who’s coming to Bellingham in July), Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Ross Knox, and Colter Wall.
The music is a special brand of highly literate country music tied closely to the land by Forrest’s immersion in the northeastern Oregon wilderness nearly six months out of the year. As a cowboy in a pack outfit horsemanship and extreme isolation are part of the job description. Somehow, between surviving the wilderness, and training horses, Forrest has time to read, reflect, and write these amazing songs.
Forrest’s touring band consists of recording artists Cooper Trail, Ben Walden, and Margo Cilker, part of the OK Theater recording crew in Enterprise, Oregon, who are revolutionizing the sound of American music one record at a time. They’ll play from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Firefly Lounge, 1015 N. State St. Bellingham’s Louis Ledford open. Cover is $8. Details:

The annual Birch Bay Kite Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, at Birch Bay State Park, 7930 Birch Bay Drive, with contest, a pet show, food and craft vendors and more. For details on the free event, go to

Melissa Rice, assistant professor of planetary science at Western Washington University,  will give a talk called “Mapping Mars: Our Evolving Vision of the Red Planet – Part II” on Tuesday, May 28 at 4 p.m. at Western Washington University in the Map Collection, located in Wilson Library Room 290.
The free talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries “Speaking of Maps” lectures, designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life.