Nomination deadline near for Mayor's Arts Awards


The Bellingham Arts Commission is accepting nominations for the Mayor's Arts Awards through the end of 2013 for this year's recipients. The awards honor Bellingham citizens who have significantly contributed to the arts in our community.

The awards honor accomplishments by individual artists, businesses, benefactors, organizations, arts educators, arts supporters and civic improvement leaders, as well as notable events or achievements. Nominees must live in Bellingham.

Nominations can be made using the form at, or you can send your nomination by email to, or by mail to: Shannon Taysi, Planning and Community Development, City of Bellingham, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham, WA 98225.

The date for the awards ceremony will be announced early next year.


Johnathan Belafonte Newmon, who used to work at The Bellingham Herald, is stoked about the annual Clambake Christmas Spectacular to be held Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. Doors open at 9 p.m., with the show at 10. Cover is $5.

Clambake recently finished its first recording session for its new album, "Too Little, Too Soon." Newmon says they've got seven backing tracks in the can.

"It went great," he says. "The band sounded awesome."

Featured at this year's show will be the Dirty Bird Cabaret, the unforgettable Johnny Van Dingo, Fanny Fondue of the Provocateurs, and a special Christmas video.

Clambake will perform some Christmas ditties, along with selected songs from its new recording.

Named after what many people consider to be Elvis Presley's worst movie. Clambake began in 1994 as a duo formed by coffeehouse musician and KUGS DJ Steve Murray and by Mystery Date guitarist and singer Lisa Bolson.

Their idea was to cover cheesy oldies with a drum machine. Soon after, the duo grew into a group when friends Tom Winker and John Neighbor joined on keyboards and drums, respectively. The band would later recruit Belafonte Newmon, a Nowhere Garden bassist and fellow KUGS DJ.

With the band complete, they decided to use stage names for their act. Murray became Jim Nauseum; Bolson was Patty Melt; Winker was Hugh Organ; Neighbor was Smiley Beats, changed later to Johnny Venom; and Newmon became Martian Jones.

The band played various open mikes at the now-defunct Speedy O'Tubbs in Fairhaven. As their act improved, they began building a following within the Bellingham music scene. Among them was local folkie and band leader Jay Irwin. When Hugh Organ left to concentrate on his college degree, Irwin became the band's keyboardist and guitarist.

In 1997, although the band played venues like the 3B Tavern and The Royal, and with their popularity growing, Patty Melt decided to leave the group and move to Seattle. Bolson was a charismatic fixture with Clambake, so her departure left the band reeling, Newmon says.

After some time off, the four remaining members decided to retool the group into a streamlined garage band. Gone were the cheesy covers.

Clambake became a song-oriented group armed with original tunes written by the band. Good luck came to the band when Franny and Lola offered to go-go dance behind the band, becoming The Fabulous Bakettes and achieving such popularity that a documentary was made about them. The two retired from dancing in 2006.

Once they had enough songs to record an album, the band released its first CD with the seven-song "Hello Dalai." The album featured the band's unique mix of '60s garage rock, '50s kitsch and punk rock.

One of the tracks, "The Completely Unwarranted Attack of The Zombie Gravediggers," was made into a full-length video by Domonique Herrin and featured many stalwarts of the local music scene. In 2005 the band released the critically acclaimed "Targeted For Oblivion."

Earlier this year, Johnny Venom decided to leave Clambake and was replaced with Serotonin drummer Patrick Greenberg, who had played with the band in 2002. Now a permanent member of the band, Greenberg became Chet Velvet.

The band plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. To listen to some tracks, go to


Bellingham Theatre Guild announces that submissions for its 2014-2015 season are now being accepted. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 3.

The guild is seeking submissions from prospective directors, dedicated veteran and new directors alike, for its 86th season. Send clearly marked submissions and scripts to: Bellingham Theatre Guild, Attn: Play Selection Team, 1600 H St., Bellingham, WA 98225.

Questions should be emailed to For details, go to


Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao tells me that iDiOM Theater on Cornwall Avenue is looking for a new, year-round, part-time managing director because Solomon Olmstead, the current artistic director, is moving to New York City. Glenn says he is coming back aboard as artistic director.

The position is a co-director role, says Glenn, more day-to-day, but still a creative and logistical position. The position includes working closely with the artistic director to create and manage the budget, maintain bookkeeping records, coordinate volunteers and coordinate press outreach. Pay is $500 to $700 a month.

For details, contact Glenn at 360-201-6492 or

Details: and

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or

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