The First Week of May Brings Benefits, Poetry, Music, Theater, and Art

An International Workers Day Benefit for Raid Relief to Reunite Families takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 at Localgroup Studio 221 Prospect St.  In August 2018, 16 workers were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while on their way to work in Bellingham. Nearly eight months later, nine of those workers have been deported and seven are awaiting hearings to gain visas and work permits. None of the men who were released on bond are allowed to work until those hearings go through. All of the families affected by this raid have been living in our community without an income since the raid happened. In solidarity with our sister organization, Raid Relief to Reunite Families, and in celebration of workers everywhere, Community to Community Development is proud to announce this event which will shine a light on what it means to be an undocumented worker in this broken system. This benefit will honor the workers in our community who are facing detention and deportation everyday. Come celebrate the cultural heritage of immigrants in our community and hear directly from workers impacted by the 2018 ICE raid. We are excited to showcase local artists, dance together, and raise money toward the growth of RRRF as a frontline defense against ICE. This event is family-friendly. Tickets are available in advance through Brown Paper Tickets. Details: Liz Darrow email:, 360- 220-9065.

The Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., in Lynden, celebrates talented young artists from around Whatcom County as the “Promising Futures” exhibit opens with a public reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2. The Jansen Art Center has been hosting the exhibit since 2014, providing dedicated, aspiring high school artists a chance to display their work in a fine arts gallery. The exhibit includes drawings, paintings, ceramics and digital art. Participating schools include Mount Baker, Bellingham, Squalicum, Sehome, Options, Lynden, Lynden Christian, Meridian, Blaine, and Ferndale  Works will be on display until May 30. Details:, 360-354-3600.

The final mainstage production in iDiOM Theater’s 2018/19 season is the Bellingham premiere of “Orlando,” at Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. Sarah Ruhl’s epic, full-length adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel about the life of an Elizabethan nobleman who, after a days-long sleep, wakes up mysteriously transformed into a woman and lives on for 300 years into modern times without aging, meeting the key figures of English literary history along the way. Contemporary American playwright Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation uses narrative and a chorus to enact lyrical, instant, and whimsical transformations as we follow Orlando through countless epochs. Rich Brown directs. Get tickets online.

SpeakEasy 24: For Love of Orcas will offer a selection of readings from the new book, “For Love of Orcas,” edited by Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jill McCabe Johnson, an anthology that addresses the plight of the southern resident orcas, Chinook salmon, and their extended ecosystem, at 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room, 104 N. Commercial St.Admission is free and copies of For Love of Orcas will be available for purchase; the book’s proceeds will be donated to The SeaDoc SocietyReaders and contributors are Luther Allen, James Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Nancy Canyon, Susan Chase-Foster, Seren Fargo, Jessica Gigot, Mary Elizabeth Gillilan, Carol Guess, Julie B. Hunter, Jill McCabe Johnson, J.I. Kleinberg, David M. Laws, Rob Lewis, Carole MacRury, Christen Mattix, Andrew Shattuck McBride, JS Nahani, Cynthia Neely, Paul E. Nelson, Sheila Nickerson, Nancy Pagh, Betty Scott, Carla Shafer, and Sheila Sondik, with additional work by Ronda Piszk Broatch, Sam Hamill, Jim Milstead, and Alina Stefanescu. Speakeasy 23  Poetry & Democracy is now available as video on YouTube.  The entire program is included, featuring Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna. Photographer Dean Davis has created a fascinating and stunning collection of photos of Washington poets, along with audio of their poems. Many local poets are included (Sue, CJ, Kami, Elisabeth, Judy, Luther). You can see the results of this ambitious project at Pictures of Poets.   

Get your boogie on at 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, in the grand ballroom of the newly remodeled, historic Leopold Ballroom, 1224 Cornwall Ave., for an evening of fun, libations, food, and dance with live music by The Atlantics to benefit the new KMRE-FM. There will be raffles for donations from local businesses, an opportunity to score some new KMRE swag, beer and wine, food truck and ice cream vending. Tickets are $10, available at Brown Paper Tickets.

Join the combined Western Washington University Orchestras and seven student conductors as they explore great music from classic films at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, at WWU’s Performing Arts Center. Ticket proceeds from this concert go to support the Orchestra’s 2020 European Tour (details to be announced at the concert). The program includes John Williams’ Raiders’ March; Bernard Herrmann’s Prelude from “Psycho” (Patrick McConahy, conductor); Howard Shore’s “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” Symphonic Suite (Samuel Brown and Luke Dahlberg, conductors); John Williams’ “Harry Potter” Symphonic Suite (David Mills and Caty Cook, conductors); Klaus Badelt’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (Mika Armaly, conductor); John Williams’ Highlights from “Jurassic Park” (Kaitlyn Ronstadt and Paul Stovall, conductors); and John Williams’ “E.T. Adventures on Earth.” Tickets are $8 student, $15 senior, $20 general, available by calling 360-650-6146 or online.

Jim Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Richard Widerkehr, and Gayle Kaune will read from their poems at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Village Books, 1200 11th St.. These are four Northwest poets who write accessible poems with humor, insight, and depth.
Bertolino has been recognized nationally by a Book-of-the-Month Club Fellowship, the Discovery Award, and others. He has taught creative writing at Western Washington University and the University of Cincinnati, and co-publishes Egress Studio Press with his wife, Anita K. Boyle.
Boyle’s poems have appeared in StringTown, Spoon River Review, Indiana Review, Mirror Northwest, and others. Boyle is also an artist, a graphic designer and illustrator.
Kaune, from Port Townsend, is the author of three books and has published widely in magazines such as Poet And Critic, Seattle Review, and Crab Creek Review. She has won several Washington Poets awards and a Ben Hur Lampman award.
Widerkehr has two books of poems, three chapbooks and a novel. Recent work has appeared in Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Crab Creek Review, and others.