Goodtime Girls add new history tour in Bellingham



Sara Holodnick stands on the steps of the old YMCA building on Holly Street as she and Marissa McGrath take about a dozen customers on a tour of old brothel locations around downtown Bellingham, Friday, July 1, 2011. The former use of the building was corrected Aug. 15, 2013.


Sara Holodnick is one of Bellingham's Goodtime Girls - professionally that is.

The other co-founder is Marissa McGrath, and they have several other "girls" in their company.

Sara and Marissa and their happy crew lead guided, narrated tours for visitors who want to learn more about the town's history - and they've recently added a new series called Taste of Local History.

It's not a neighborhood tour, says Sara, it's a series of entertaining evenings about local history, paired with a four-course dinner, at The Fountain Bistro, 1910 Broadway.

Upcoming themes are "Rags to Riches to Rags" on Sunday, Aug. 18; "Growing Pains" on Aug. 25; "Scofflaws vs. Teetotalers" on Sept. 8.

All of these events begin at 5 p.m. and cost $40. Reservations are recommended; call 360-778-3671.

The Goodtime Girls lead tours each week in Bellingham through August, one that begins at Bayou on Bay's Oyster Bar downtown, and another that begins at Skylark's Hidden Café in Fairhaven.

"Gore and Lore" is coming up in October.



If you attend the Pickford Film Center's Bike-In on Friday, Aug. 16, on Bay Street, you'll be treated to some tunes by Hot Damn Scandal, fresh off their performance at the Subdued Stringband Jamboree.

I asked band member Harper Stone, who plays washboard, for an update on the band, which he says, has the tagline "Tipsy American Gypsy Blues."

Band members spent the last eight months recording their new album, "Strange Tongues," their first full-length album recorded in the Northwest (preceded by last year's EP "3 Thumbs and a Pocket Full o' Nuthin'"). Most of the new album was recorded and mixed by audio engineer Sam Chue at North Shore Studio, a fairly new studio on Lake Whatcom.

Last spring the band ran a successful Kickstarter project to fund the album and also got it pressed on vinyl.

You can learn about the band and hear some tunes at

In addition to the other core members of the band - Andy Ingram on bass, "Stinky" Pete Irving on steel guitar, Nakos Marker on slide guitar and Chandra Johnson on fiddle - the album features guest appearances by Robert Sarazin Blake, Mars Lindgren (trombone player from Yogoman Burning Band), David Bridgman (drummer from SmokeWagon), and others.

The songs on the album range from "outlaw ballads, drifter anthems and good-time blues to string band funk, raucous jazz, and zombie dance-alongs," says Harper.

And to give an idea about the sound, Harper offers this scenario:

"If Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt and Mississippi John Hurt had a child, and it dropped out of school and hitchhiked to New Orleans, found a band underneath a bridge and made a record, the result would sound something like this."

Details: and Hot Damn Scandal Band on Facebook.


Nine videos of 2013 winners have been added to the "recent uploads" section of the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest YouTube channel. The featured poets are Bassam Najib Boulos, Colleen Schwartz, Emily Spector-Van Zee, Jim Milstead, Luther Allen, Malcolm H. Kenyon, Mariah Brown-Pounds, Marina Murphy and Susan Chase-Foster. The video was recorded by BTV10.

See them at this Sue Boynton Poetry Contest blog and this YouTube channel.

Founded in 2006, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is a free event held each spring, open to Whatcom County residents of all ages and all levels of experience. From each year's submissions, two judges select 25 winning poems. Winning poets are invited to read at a public awards ceremony in May.

Walk Award poems are displayed for a year on the Sue Boynton Poetry Walk in front of the Bellingham Public Library (one of the only permanent poetry installations in the U.S.); and placards of both Walk and Merit Award poems are displayed for a year inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses.

The name of one of the Goodtime Girls' co-founders was corrected Aug. 14, 2013.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or Read her Entertainment Blog at or follow her on Bellingham Entertainment on Facebook or @bhamentertainme on Twitter.

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