Poetrynight readings move to Bellingham Public Library

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 12, 2013 

Boris D. Schleinkofer, who heads up Bellingham's weekly poetrynight, offered to "tell me everything there is to know about poetrynight's brand new venue."

Under the auspices of Whatcom Poetry Series, poetrynight, Schleinkofer says, has been in operation since 1994. Since then it has been incorporated as a nonprofit organization, added a Poetry in Public Education program, and initiated the Ken Warfel Fellowship, which honors one poet from the Alaska/Idaho/Oregon/Montana/Washington area every other year with a $1,000 stipend.

The open-mike evening event had been held for the past few years at Black Drop Coffeehouse.

Now the group will hold its readings from 8 to 10 p.m. Mondays at Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. in the downstairs lecture room.

"Mighty" Mike McGee -who won the coveted National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship in 2003, and then won the Individual World Poetry Slam Champion in 2006, the only person to do that - will be acting as point-person for the announcement of upcoming events. Details: poetrynight.org.

LOCAL MUSICIANS WIN ALASKA FERRY SONG CONTEST

Bellingham musicians Tracy Spring and T.R. Ritchie were proud to let me know that they were both winners in a recent songwriting contest. I wanted to find out the details, and here's what I learned from Jennifer Black, program coordinator for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

She says the highway's system's song contest was launched Sept. 9, and contestants had until Nov. 15 to submit an original song with a theme about Alaska's network of state ferries. Then, from Nov. 18 through Nov. 29, the public voted to pick the winners.

There were two categories - "Music Video" and "Simple Performance." Contestants selected the category they would prefer to compete in, when they filled out their entry form.

TR Richie won the "Music Video" category and Tracy Spring won the "Simple Performance" category. Details: ferryalaska.com (scroll down to "song contest winners.")

CHERYL HODGE WINS 'BEST JAZZ SONG' HONOR

Having been nominated twice before at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, once for Best Jazz Song (2010) and then Best Blues Song (2011), Bellingham jazz vocalist Cheryl Hodge really didn't expect to win in 2013.

But, she says, sometimes the seemingly impossible actually happens. Still, when they called her name at the podium of Fonda Theatre, she says she was in a state of shock. She looked around to see if there was someone else in the audience named Cheryl Hodge. This is crazy, she thought; an award for Best Jazz Song, 2013? Really? Who even knows I exist?!

The song she wrote, produced and sang and played keyboards on, "Tree People," is about endangered tribes in the Amazon rainforest, specifically the Awa Tribe, known for making trees their habitat. As the rainforest continues to be farmed and defoliated, the tribes have nowhere to go.

The cut has Mount Vernon's Josh Cook on saxophone, plus John Stowell on guitar, bassist Dave Captein on bass and Charlie Doggett on drums (all from Oregon).

Now in its sixth year, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards honor the best unsigned artists from all over the world. Also honored at the awards were composers and arrangers for "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad" and other well-known TV shows; as well as video game music. Best movie score went to "Captain Phillips."

LIMELIGHT TO SHOW BETTY PAGE PINUP DOCUMENTARY

Matt Endrizzi, known in most Bellingham circles as Betty Desires, encourages us to "put the kink in Christmas with a hot new Bettie Page documentary," according to Matt's Facebook page, about one of the best loved, if perhaps obscure, icons of 21st-century pinup model Bettie Page.

Pickford Film Center and The Betty Pages publication have joined forces to present the documentary, "Bettie Page Reveals All," showing Saturday, Dec. 14, through Dec. 19 at Limelight Cinema, 1416 Cornwall Ave.

There will be an opening night reception at 8 p.m. Saturday, featuring live performances by Betty Desire, plus alcoholic drink specials, and more.

I saw the preview, and it looks intriguing. For starters, there's narration by Bettie herself, recorded a year before her death in 2008. What's fascinating to me is that she retired in 1957 at the peak of her career, before the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

The Limelight is for people 21 and older. For showtimes, go to pickfordfilmcenter.org.

For more on the film, go to bettiepagemovie.com.

JENNIFER BULLIS BUSY WITH POETRY READINGS

Bellingham poet Jennifer Bullis says she "has the pleasure" of joining the Ish River Poets Circle for a reading with Anacortes poet Jane Alynn at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Anchor Art Space, 216 Commercial St., in Anacortes. Jennifer will read from her chapbook, "Impossible Lessons," and maybe some new poems.

Jennifer explains that "Ish River" refers to the title of beloved Skagit County poet Robert Sund's collection "Poems from Ish River Country" -the "Ish" meaning "river" in the Coast Salish dialect spoken by local tribes. (Sund's poems pointed to many rivers along the Puget Sound ending with the watery syllable: Samish, Snohomish, Skykomish, Stillaguamish.)

She adds that "The Ish River Poets Circle - a reading series initiated by Robert Sund while he was still alive - presents poets whose work, together, creates a poetic conversation."

On Saturday, Jan. 11, Bullis will read from her works with Kathryn Hunt, author of "Long Way Through Ruin," at Village Books.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com.

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