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Funk &

Also in this issue

Tommy’s Dream Train

Finds Its Way Home The Third Room

on the Right Independent

Defiance Published by

Creative Thought & Design

Online at


Photographer Spotlight: Kenneth Davenport

Wallie Funk and The Beatles

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Wallie Funk boasts the distinction of being one of the last to photograph The Beatles performing together on stage.

Anacortes Magazine Photo Contest Dust your camera off and get ready for this issue’s photo contest “Picture the Brick” in Anacortes. See who won last issue’s contest.

Tommy’s Dream Train Finds Its Way Home

The recent return of Tommy Thompson’s steam powered train is destined to draw admirers to this island community.

Musician Spotlight: Gaelan Sylvia

This BellaMaine drummer is living proof that a music career and residence in Anacortes are not mutually exclusive.

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Kenneth Davenport is always on the lookout for that great shot of his favorite town.

Anacortes Photography

Local photographers combine light, location, timing and talent to produce stunning images.

The Third Room on the Right

Heart connections established via photography give Anacortes-based teens courage to press the shutter.

Independent Defiance: 30 Years of Music That Smashes Traditional Recording Model

Times have changed in the music world. “The suits” are no longer a critical hurdle between musicians and their audiences.

Welcome to the second issue of


“Some people left their heart in San Francisco... others found it in Anacortes!” CHRIS TERRELL

Our vision with Anacortes Magazine is to bring people together in a special way through the creative arts, including music, art and photography. I love to help people tell their stories. When they have a chance to share what’s in their hearts I can see in their eyes how they have been waiting to tell that story – waiting for someone to listen. We don’t make their personal stories interesting. They ARE interesting. To me, the heart of Anacortes is a passionate sense of community. We have an amazing

creative spirit in this town, a spirit that makes us strong. This magazine represents our latest effort to collaborate with creative people who are inspired by a common love for our island home. We hope you will enjoy this second issue of Anacortes Magazine, distributed in print and online. Thank you all for the overwhelming positive response to our premiere issue. Please know that our door is always open and we are eager to listen and share your stories.

Anacortes Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2, August 2012. Anacortes Magazine is published by How It Works, a communications, marketing and graphics company established in Anacortes in 1994. Other How It Works ventures include, Northwest Image and the Heart of Anacortes, an extraordinary gathering place located just a few blocks from the Guemes Channel in the historic Old Town area. COVER PHOTO: Pat Adams, photojournalist, Whidbey News Times PUBLISHER: Chris Terrell - How It Works - 1014 4th St., Anacortes, WA 98221, PRINTED BY: Premier Graphics

LAYOUT/EDITOR: Kenneth Davenport WRITERS: Steve Berentson, Ronda Rae Franklin, Mark Baumgarten

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. To advertise or share story ideas please call 360-293-3515 or stop by our office at 1014 4th St., Anacortes, WA 98221. Anacortes Magazine / Online at



WALLIE FUNK Celebrating seven decades of creative inspiration STORY BY STEVE BERENTSON PHOTOGR APHY BY WALLIE FUNK

Although live performance photographs were prohibited, photojournalist Wallie Funk managed to take more than 20 shots before security intervened. 6

Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

“One day I heard they were coming to Seattle,” he recalls. “I asked myself, ‘What do I do? How do I get there’?


n Saturday, August 25, 1966, a community photojournalist packed his camera in his car and headed for the Seattle Center Coliseum. He was bound for a fateful rendezvous with The Beatles, the rock ‘n’ roll band whose music, films and off-stage statements had combined to effect deep-seated changes in youth culture around the world. At a pivotal time in American history, as most middle-aged men spoke derisively of this rock band’s long hair and silly love songs, 44-year-old Anacortes native Wallie Funk sensed a powerful connection among the four British musicians and their fans. According to, The Beatles flew out of Hollywood on a chartered jet that morning, landing at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport at 1:40 in the afternoon. Before the day was out they would perform two concerts, both featuring about 10 songs received by wild and boisterous audiences. Most firsthand reports, including that of Funk, agree that the music was barely audible above the din of the crowd. For Funk, past publisher of the Anacortes American and at the time publisher of the Whidbey News-Times in Oak Harbor, there was nothing odd about his decision to join thousands of frenzied teens for this concert. After all, The Beatles’ music had quickly and continuously inspired a growing fan base since their U.S. debut in 1964. Their cultural “impact” touched the lives of virtually every family in the communities Wallie Funk served. In response to inquiry as to what prompted him to travel to a rock concert on that historic day, Funk said: “The younger generation seemed to be forming new alliances with some extraordinary musicians. The Beatles were beginning to create an international stir. I was aware every place they went they were developing a huge youth – teen-age – fandom. People said, ‘I’m not going to have my kids exposed to this.’ It didn’t make any difference. They came.” Another obvious attraction for Funk: the music.

Capacity crowd at Seattle Center Coliseum

“I recall pulling over in my car to listen the first time I heard ‘Eleanor Rigby’,” he said. “They had some great music with all of the elements: mystery, adventure, death and romance.” Funk’s impactful career as a community photojournalist included many articles and photographs published as the result of spur-ofthe-moment decisions. However, his coverage of The Beatles concert was conceived through thoughtful and careful planning. “One day I heard they were coming to Seattle,” he recalls. “I asked myself, ‘What do I do? How do I get there’? I had a (news)paper. I wanted our paper to have a presence.” Telephone calls, one of the precious tools of his journalism career, included a conversation with Seattle Times photographer Paul Henderson. Another contact included Ad-VPR, the public relations firm responsible for The Beatles press conference. Among items of Funk memorabilia is a terse letter from Egan S. Rank of that firm. It read in part: “This letter entitles the above-named individual to admittance at the press conference for The Beatles, which will be held at the Seattle Center Coliseum…” However, among the “rules of procedure” in this letter that Funk admits to never reading, were conditions that would have prevented him from capturing the some two dozen concert photos that now rank among the most rare onstage images in existence. These rules went on to read: “This letter does not entitle you to admission to the concert, and you must purchase a ticket should you wish to attend.” And, “This letter DOES NOT entitle you to admission backstage.” As Funk recalls, he took fellow photographer Henderson’s advice regarding the press conference, showing up to the southwest press entrance after first taking some photographs of the young people standing in line outside. Those frames included shots of Oak Harbor High School student Scotty Nix, who cheerfully posed with a concert program curled to her cheek. Local shots complete, Funk waited with the rest of the press representatives.

Oak Harbor High School student Scotty Nix

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Top: The Beatles answer questions at a pre-concert press conference. Right: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed a souvenir edition to commemorate the band’s visit to Seattle.

“... and there were The Beatles,” said Funk, “sitting elbow to elbow for an interview.” “When those at the door began to move, I moved with them,” he said. Photographers and reporters moved inside, down a corridor and into a large room. And there were The Beatles,” said Funk, “sitting elbow to elbow for an interview.” Funk asked no questions of the Fab Four, but it is obvious from the dozens of images from the press conference that he had staked out a prime position as a photographer. Only one or two frames included full faces of all four musicians, but there are a number of individual portraits, two of which have Paul McCartney looking directly into the lens of his camera. Other images reflect activity including the lighting of cigarettes (McCartney) and serious reflection in response to questions (most notably, John Lennon and George Harrison). Funk notes that by journalistic standards, the press conference was not particularly meaty. Questions ranged from whether McCartney would be married to Jane Asher that night as rumored, to an inquiry as to Lennon’s motivation as songwriter/performer: “I’d like to know your motivation in this. Money?” There was also reference to the so-called adverse publicity stirred in the U.S. when a months-old British magazine article ignited headlines because Lennon said in part: “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” Although the interview would continue to hound The Beatles – Lennon in particular – the Seattle press was satisfied to walk away with a few quotes on less serious subjects. With the press conference over, it was time to prepare for the concert. Funk is short on details, as might be expected of an event that occurred four decades ago: “When the interview was over, (we discovered) pandemonium in the Coliseum. I took a position,” Funk recalls, “elbows on the corner of the stage to brace me.” There, using available light only, Funk captured images including a remarkable shot of the iconic McCartney-Lennon duo sharing the microphone. Unfortunately, his opportunity to record images from the performance was short-lived.


Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

“I was there for just a brief time before a policeman said there was no picture-taking allowed during the concert,” said Funk. “But I didn’t care. I had just enough of them in action, mainly Paul and Lennon.” Precious film in hand, Funk headed home. He developed the film, then moved into the darkroom to select and print images for what would become a controversial edition of his weekly newspaper. Funk made the decision to dedicate a full broadsheet newspaper picture-page to images from the press conference and concert. On the front page, above the banner, he paid tribute to The Beatles’ fame, positioning individual portraits of each of the four young men. As noted, Lennon’s earlier remarks referencing Jesus drew waves of criticism from Americans including some of the group’s fan base. A similar response from local newspaper subscribers was inevitable. “The Christian right of Oak Harbor responded quite strongly,” Funk recalls. “One woman addressed a letter to City Hall saying, ‘Let Mr. Funk know I cancelled my subscription’.” On the other hand, Funk recalls many conversations and calls of support. Among his archives is a handwritten letter from teen Carolyn Fosse, who wrote in part: “I wish to express my deepest thanks concerning those beautiful Beatle pictures. I really am a big fan of The Beatles, as you already know. You know, I really wish more adults thought of The Beatles as you do. They really make me sick when some adults cut down The Beatles, and they don’t even know what they’re talking about. Most adults think only of how it was in ‘their’ day, and seem to reject the fact that the kids of ‘yesteryear’ and today are somewhat different.” As he reflects today on that historic event, and on many other photo shoots outside of his newspaper’s zip code, Funk explains that he was driven by a desire to record slices of history on film. Over the coming decades, before his retirement from the news business, Funk’s extraordinary collection of photographs would include the Rolling Stones, rare documentation of the capture of Lolita the killer

For more photos from this article go online to whale in Whidbey’s Penn Cove – and six presidents. Newspaper partner John Webber often joked that Funk’s approach to photojournalism was a boon to the Kodak Corporation. Funk smiles at the memory of the complaint he heard so often – but then he shifts gears quickly and states with all seriousness: “I’ve always had a strong passion to record by way of camera and film, not simply for the sake of taking pictures, but to capture something on film that translates the excitement of the time to my readership.” Wallie V. Funk Papers and Photographs, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123

The 1966 Seattle concert was the third to last time The Beatles would perform live on stage together, moving from that time into the studio before their breakup in 1970. Concerts after Seattle included Los Angeles Dodger Stadium (August 28) and San Francisco Candlestick Park (August 29). The Beatles concerts in Seattle also featured headliners including The Cyrkle (“Red Rubber Ball,” “Turn Down Day”), Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”), The Remains (“Diddy Wah Diddy”) and the all-female Ronettes (“Be My Baby,” “Walking in the Rain”).

John Lennon


Funk, who recognized as a young man the critical need for notations and a trustworthy archive system for his work, also recognized the importance of finding a “proper home” for negatives, slides and prints. In fact, he has guaranteed continued access to his work via collections at Western Washington University, the Anacortes Museum and Island County Museum in Coupeville.

Photo Credit: Ellen M. Banner, Seattle Times photographer

Western Washington University: Anacortes Museum: Island County Museum:

Steve Berentson is a fourth generation Skagit County native who came home to Anacortes in 1980. He has been chronicling life on Fidalgo Island since, in writing and photographs.

The Beatles’ 1966 “world tour” featured a number of twoconcert days in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Memphis and Seattle. Concerts in Seattle drew 8,200 fans (afternoon performance) and 14,382 (evening performance). Gross sales for the concerts were reportedly just over $118,000. At the time of the Seattle press conference, Paul McCartney had been dating British actress Jane Asher for more than a year, prompting occasional rumors of marriage. One of those “rumor flares” drew inquiries from Seattle media, to which Paul responded: “I just got in today and found out I was getting married. How did it all (the rumor) start, does anybody know?” Songs included in the brief, 10-set song set at the Seattle concerts included “Yesterday,” “Day Tripper,” “Paperback Writer” and “Nowhere Man.” Between 1964 and 1970, The Beatles topped LP (long-playing record) charts for more than 116 weeks. That converted to a number one single out once every six weeks, and top album once every three for that seven-year period.

In Old Town... corner of 5th & Commercial

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Designer/Photographer Kenneth Davenport was born and raised in (and has a great love for) Anacortes. Whether he’s out shooting photos for an event or just out and about with friends, Kenneth is always on the lookout for that great shot in his favorite town to share with others. BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK:


Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012


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Tommy Thompson poses in 1986 with the beautiful narrow gauge train he designed and built in pursuit of a dream.

Tommy’s Dream Train Finds Its Way Home BY STEVE BERENTSON


t may not be quite what city founder Amos Bowman had in mind, but the recent return of Tommy Thompson’s steam powered train is destined to draw countless admirers to this island community. Like Bowman, the late Tommy Thompson had an Anacortes dream built around steam-powered trains. That dream, described in a 1986 interview with this writer, inspired decades of work culminating with establishment of the Anacortes Railway. Tommy, who died in 1999, always had a clear sense of goals, a character trait that set him apart from those who never quite bring their dreams into focus. What clearly distinguished Tommy was the 18-inch gauge Anacortes Railway, a unique steam-powered train that for a wonderful season in the 1980s chugged up and down tracks on the north side of the city. The Anacortes Railway story began 51 years ago when Tommy, then an engineer at the Shell Anacortes Refinery, walked the beach at Ship Harbor while waiting for a ferry to the San Juan Islands. “I had to wait almost three hours,” Tommy recalled in 1986. “But while I was walking on the beach I looked around and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to see a train running from the ferry terminal


to Washington Park?’ I didn’t know then what size it would be, but my railway dream was born.” Tommy, who had moved from Seattle in 1955 as an equipment engineer while the refinery was still under construction, began researching his dream. In 1965, a trade magazine item led him to South Dakota, where a mining company was surplusing equipment including a small compressed air engine. Tommy bought the engine, along with more than a ton of spare parts, and not long after that, a train delivered his prize to Anacortes Immediately the engine created a personal struggle. “I faced a tremendous hurdle,” Tommy recalled. “Coming home at night, it was so easy to kick off my shoes, watch television and read. I had to force myself to go out and work on the engine.” The hurdle, however, soon dropped away under the powerful force of Tommy’s dream. “Once I was over that hurdle,” he said, “I loved it. Then it was hard to get me to go to bed.” From the beginning, the Anacortes Railway was a one-man show. There was only one other 18-inch gauge steam locomotive operating in the world (Exeter, Great Britain) – so for Tommy there was no supply store to aid in turning dream

Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

into reality. At the outset, Tommy converted the compressed air engine to a coal-fired steam engine, dismantling the machine to creat a “Forney” locomotive like that used in elevated railways in Chicago and New York. Because he couldn’t buy parts, Tommy built a foundry in his back yard. He studied books, cut patterns, carved prototypes and then began to cast parts for the engine. “I love to work with my hands,” said Tommy. “I’ve had tools all my life. Even when I had my job at Shell (now Tesoro), I always believed that to be really happy, if one makes his living sitting at a desk, he should be working with his hands to round out the day.” And so Tommy worked. Five minutes one night, two hours the next. Thirty minutes one day, four hours the next. He doodled, researched, experimented – and then he began to produce each of the hundreds of pieces that ultimately took the form of the handsome 31-passenger Anacortes Railway.

“The secret of it is doing a little bit every day, even if it’s just five minutes.” TOMMY THOMPSON

For more photos from this article go online to

Artist Bill Mitchell’s mural is displayed on the north wall of the Calico Cupboard restaurant on Commercial Avenue.

Incredibly, it took Tommy more than 1,700 hours over a five-year period to complete construction of his steam engine, modeled after an 1877 20-inch gauge model. Some 1,400 hours of work later, he had completed the first of three passenger cars. “The secret of it,” he said, “is doing a little bit every day, even if it’s just five minutes. I’ll never be out of things to do, and it’s something I truly enjoy.” Tommy reported that even though he retired as a refinery engineer in 1984, he still used engineering skills in his work on the railway. Additionally, he noted, he dabbled in “almost every trade and profession” while working on the project. Over the course of decades on the project, Tommy was involved in engineering, welding, machining, forging, upholstering, painting, finishing and more. “You name the subject, and you can find it in this railway,” he said. “It’s so much fun … creating things you visualize in your mind. Rather than dreaming about it, going and doing it!” For the first time, Tommy ran the train on regularly scheduled public excursions in 1986. His track ran from the historic Anacortes Depot to Fourth Street. This accomplishment was not simple. “Patience and determination have been

Anacortes Museum Director Steve Oakley (left) presided over a Fourth of July parade entry featuring the recently-returned Tommy Thompson steam locomotive, cars and calliope.

the big things,” he said. “A train is not like an airplane or a car. The difficult thing has always been finding a place to run it.” For a number of years, the steam-spewing Anacortes Railway locomotive chugged, whistled and clanged over tracks laid at the summer Anacortes Arts and Crafts Festival (now Arts Festival). In the summer of 1986, Tommy ran his railway every weekend, 25 days in all. By late 1986 the train boasted a total record of 28,000 passengers – and Tommy’s dream showed no signs of wavering. “It has accomplished much more than I expected,” he said of the railway’s early history. In a statement that could have been made by Amos Bowman, Tommy said: “Anacortes hasn’t blossomed yet, but some day it’s going to, and I feel this railway is going to be a big part of it.” While his locomotive is fueled by coal or wood, Tommy’s Anacortes Railway was fueled by one man’s dreams. The joy was in the opportunity he had to share the dream with others, filling their world for a few minutes with all of the magic that trains have offered since the first track was laid. Those gathered for the 4th of July parade in Anacortes this summer had the opportunity to celebrate not only the

nation’s independence, but the return of Tommy’s train. After 13 years in storage at the Georgetown Steam Plant Museum in Seattle, a decision by Tommy’s widow Anne brought the narrow gauge train “home.” Although plans for the train are still cloudy, Museum Director Steve Oakley expressed the city’s gratitude for Anne’s donation. One possibility is to create a static display on a section of track near the Depot Arts Center. It remains to be seen as to whether private contributions can finance display or operations, but if Tommy was still alive, he would certainly continue to be a passionate promoter. After all, Tommy claimed his steam engine was much more than just a machine. “Man never came so close to re-creating himself in a machine as he did with the steam locomotive,” he said. “I know it’s just a piece of machinery, but I really get the feeling it’s having fun.”

Steve Berentson establsihed in 2003, not as a news source, but as a casual journal spotlighting some of this city’s residents and events.

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When Thompson ran his train from 4th Street to 9th and Commercial in the Eighties, the price of a ride was fifty cents.


The Third Room on the Right



ulia Cox and Taylor Rae Aydelotte left Anacortes in September of 2011, just after graduating from Anacortes High School in June. They headed to a base in Herrnhut, Germany for seven months – cameras in hand – with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) for Discipleship Training School (DTS). It happened without request that they were together the entire time. They were roommates throughout their travels, in the same art track – photography, and on the same mission trip to South Eastern Europe. When Julia and Taylor Rae arrived in Germany they spent the first four months of DTS, from September 4th to December 17th, in what is called the Lecture Phase. Their first night in Herrnhut, Germany they slept in tents their group fashioned from things found in the dumpsters at the school. The idea was for them to experience one week of what a refugee camp was like, but massive lightning and thunderstorms forced the staff to bring them indoors the next day. During their Lecture Phase, Taylor Rae states “…we learned about God, how to be a missionaries, how to minister to others, and because of our specialized art track we learned how to use our camera – our photography – as a ministry tool.” The second half of the school is called Outreach, when they finally go out on missions to apply what they’ve learned. Even though Taylor Rae and Julia were together on every step of this journey, there was one day where they were sent in separate directions. Julia Cox moved from Idaho to Fidalgo Island in March of 2005 and felt quickly embraced into our town’s culture. Festivals lined the


Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

“The world around me began to look different as my perspective changed through the eye of my camera.” – JULIA COX

streets throughout the following months. “Art surrounded me…a community that encouraged me more than I had ever experienced anywhere else surrounded me.” Once she reached high school, Julia enrolled in the ever-popular photography class. She submersed herself into photography, fell in love with this newly acquired art form, and soon college plans changed to filling out her application for “Marriage of the Arts” DTS with YWAM on a photography track. “The world around me began to look different as my perspective changed through the eye of my camera.” – Julia Cox This is Julia’s story as she told it to me, through her newly acquired focus, of the third room on the right… The third room on the right, the bed to the left of the door, laid Alex. She looked no more than twelve or thirteen – much older than the rest of the patients. Our translator, Jenechka, spoke with the woman standing next to Alex much more than any time before. The young girl looked frail, tired, dazed, and emotionally detached. When I asked to take her photograph, the woman next



For more photos from this article go online to

to her snatched a hat to cover her bare head and fiddled with the girl’s blankets before she seemed satisfied with Alex’s appearance. I doubt Alex cared much. It seemed a vain attempt between her lack of hair, her washed out skin, and feet and ankles engulfed in gauze bandages. I pressed the shutter knowing this was the only way I would ever see her – always in this bed, under these blankets, hat covered head, and gauzed feet. Before I could learn anything about her condition, we were pulled into the next room. My time in the hospital was over before I realized we had left the last room. After four months of lectures and assignments, long nights and challenging decisions, twenty-four others and I left our temporary home in Herrnhut, Germany and embarked on a ten-week adventure throughout Eastern Europe. My home was ever changing. We went from Germany to Serbia, Macedonia to Greece, Greece to Romania, and finally, Moldova. Moldova – had I even heard of this country before? My team’s final three weeks were spent in the below-freezing villages of Moldova. I had never experienced a colder winter. With record-breaking temperatures, we could barely stand to be outside for more than an hour. In Chisinau, Moldova was a hospital like none I had ever visited. A children’s burn unit was not where I imagined spending my time. But there I was – for just one day. As I sat in the hospital’s waiting room I felt my stomach moving about as if some strange creature fluttered its wings against my insides. My heart pounded in nervous anticipation of what this day would bring. My thoughts scrambled away from me. Was it really only six months ago that I was home in Anacortes? We traveled from room to room, equipped with cameras and handmade teddy bears, visiting each child. Most rooms contained three or four children with a variety of burns. Each child had a parent or guardian. I had never seen such innocent beauty. However, the pain on their faces made their unspoken pain beyond apparent as the burns silently screamed at them. Everything inside me wanted to break down. After we left the last room I sat again in the waiting room with the same feeling as before. Jenechka sat beside me as if she knew what was on my mind and told me the story of the girl in the third room on the right – Alex.





Alex just arrived at the hospital earlier that morning. Abandoned by both her father and mother, she was left in the unstable care of an aunt. For reasons unknown, Alex was left outside with hardly any clothing or covering for her feet for approximately two days in this cold that my team couldn’t handle overly clothed for more than an hour. Upon her arrival to the hospital both feet were severely frostbitten. She was scheduled for surgery for the following day. Amputation was the only answer. My mind began to race with questions, confusion, and anger. How could this child be left alone in -25 Celsius (-13 F) for two days, not to mention her inadequate clothing? Where was the love I had always known growing up? The love that I had seen around me all my life Alex knew nothing of. All of these children had a home much different from my own. Being in this hospital may have been the most cared for they had ever been. The beds and the rooms may have been the best home they’d ever known. These children were possibly among the most fortunate in Chisinau, Moldova. I had seen and heard of countless children who were homeless or orphaned in this small city. At least these children, including Alex, had found home within the walls of this hospital that to me seemed so desolate. I wanted to show them love, that they are children of a God who knit them together in their mother’s womb. What better way than to literally let them see that. Photographing them was an honor. Knowing I would send their portraits back to the hospital that showed them the beauty I saw in them allowed me the courage to follow through in pressing the camera’s shutter in front of each child. My lens unveiled more than what simply sat in front of me. I no longer just took photographs, but became deeply involved in my surroundings. The world around me became more alive and more real for me with each shot. Anacortes Magazine / Online at




“Home is where the heart is” – possibly one of the most over-used phrases I have heard yet never fully understood until the day I took that photograph of Alex. All I knew of home before this journey with YWAM was living with my loving family in our comfortable house in the safe harbor of Anacortes. But now I more clearly see through the focus of my camera that home is much more than that – home is in fact where the heart is. Home is where you are, the people you are with, and the life you are living. In the safety and community of Anacortes, we may hear of distant difficulties, but many of us never see them for ourselves. Leaving was the best decision I could have made. And it was in coming back that I fully realized home is the best place to be... whether it be Anacortes, Germany, Chisinau, Moldova, or the third room on the right. As for Taylor Rae, her heart calls her back to their home at the YWAM base in Herrnhut, Germany. “When I got to the base I felt like I was coming home. I loved everything about the school from the moment I got there, refugee camp and all. I actually was sad when they made us come inside because of the lightning storm the first night Julia and I slept outside. I miss the base, the people, the atmosphere, and just the simple way of life. I’m planning on heading back this August – hopefully the 14th. I don’t have my ticket yet, but I’m almost halfway to having the money. I’m currently working with the base on the exact date I will return – this time as staff instead of student. It costs about $500 a month to work as a staff member. For the first


Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

few months I will be working specifically with the students, helping them process everything as they go through their schools, and hopefully working in the cafe in the castle. All proceeds from the cafe go to “Impact Hunger”, a ministry working with people who have eating disorders as well as working with children in Africa and other third world countries. After I learn how the base runs from a staff perspective, I will be able to staff schools as they come through the base. My goal is to work with the “Marriage of the Arts” DTS that Julia and I attended, working with the photography students and teaching photography – and just helping out anyway I can.” – Taylor Rae Taylor will not be returning alone to the YWAM base in Herrnhut, Germany – Derek Hiles will accompany her for one month. Derek also graduated from Anacortes High School with Taylor Rae and Julia Cox in June of 2011, was a photography student at AHS, and is now going to DTS with YWAM for photography. After his month at the base in Herrnhut, Hiles begins his student training in Switzerland, a nine-hour drive from what will soon be Taylor Rae’s new home. Ronda Rae Franklin is an author, counselor, and CoFounder & President at FIWG & Literacy Program, a non-profit organization under Fidalgo Island Writers Guild.

MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT Although school took him to Los Angeles for two years, it is in Anacortes that Gaelan Sylvia’s passion for music was ignited … and it is from Anacortes he continues to pursue his career dreams as drummer with the local band BellaMaine.

Gaelan said his roots as a drummer date back to ninth grade. Shortly after relocating to Anacortes from Seattle, he had the opportunity to “tinker around” on a friend’s drum kit. “I started to listen more to music, to emulate what I heard,” he recalls. “Then I started playing with other musicians.” At Anacortes High School he was encouraged by two girls in the Jazz Choir to join the group. He did so, dividing his time between playing backup on the drums and singing bass. In addition to the AHS Jazz Choir, Gaelan contributed his talents to a youth band at Anacortes Christian Church. Several years later, he volunteered as part of the worship team at The Bridge Christian Fellowship on North Whidbey Island. On a mission to become a professional drummer, Gaelan spent two years at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, “working nights and doing some gigging to pay the rent.” His passion for drumming was tested on several levels, including the frustration of long, boring n i g h t s working security at the L.A. C o nv e nt i o n Center.

Drawn again to Anacortes, Gaelan continued to pursue his musical passion while working at Tracy’s Furniture. In 2009 and 2010 he worked periodically as tour manager for his friends in the Anacortes-born band “Lonely Forest.” Although basing from Anacortes poses challenges for musicians, Gaelan notes: “The arts scene here is strong. There’s a lot of creative people – a lot of young, talented musicians. It’s kind of exciting, really.” As noted, Gaelan put his sticks aside briefly to serve as Lonely Forest’s tour manager, racking up thousands of miles behind the wheel as the band accomplished those things necessary to establishing their name at a national level. Then in early 2011 he connected with Nick Thompson, Julianne Thompson and Jordan Nielsen of BellaMaine, an up-and-coming band from Bellingham. The creative connection was made, and the four have been playing together since from an Anacortes base. At this writing, the group has scheduled live performances including the Skagit County Fair. “We recently played the BrewersFest in Marymoor Park,” he said, “and we recorded a demo with plans to go into the studio in July. Our hope is to release an album in the fall.” BellaMaine has just launched an online fundraiser to fund their upcoming album with To see their video and donate go to: projects/386345848/bellamaines-new-record. In the meantime, Gaelan said BellaMaine is “working on building a fan base, doing tours that will extend out of the Northwest across the country.” To share in this story, visit www.bellamaine. com, or watch the local entertainment calendar for BellaMaine’s next local gig.

Steve Berentson is a fourth generation Skagit County native who came home to Anacortes in 1980. He has been chronicling life on Fidalgo Island since, in writing and photographs.

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Gaelan Sylvia

Independent Defiance FEATURE



uthor Mark Baumgarten recently spent time in Anacortes interviewing musicians who’ve released records on Olympia’s influential K label. His new book, Love Rock Revolution, recounts the early journeys of K Records founder Calvin Johnson whose collaborations with Bret & Jonn Lunsford, Bryan Elliott, Phil Elverum and many more local music-makers are documented. What follows are a few stories drawn from Baumgarten’s book.

GUEMES CABIN TAPES Like many first bands, the Spoiled didn’t last for long. A year after Calvin first saw the Anacortes punks get shut down at the Summit Park Grange Hall, the band had split up. Two of the members, Nilo Madeja and lead singer Bryan Elliott, moved to Guam. A year later, Elliott moved to Arizona, where he attended art school and taught himself how to play guitar. When Elliott returned to Anacortes in the summer of 1984, he was a very different musician. No longer identifying as a hardcore punk, and now endowed with some technical abilities, Elliott’s edge started to soften. He formed a more poppy, acoustic-based group called the Few, and he and his bandmates rented out an old cabin on nearby Guemes Island where they could live and practice in relative peace. One day, Bret showed up with the boom box he had just brought back from Japan. Elliott told Bret about his adventures in Guam and his time in Arizona. Bret told Elliott about his trip to Japan and the band he was now playing in. Bret handed Elliott a cassette. Bret told Elliott the story of the tape’s creation. Gesturing toward the boom box, he invited Elliott’s band to do the same. “I want to record you guys,” Bret said. Soon after, the band had set up its instruments and played twelve

songs. Bret recorded every one. After Bret left with the recording, Elliott put the Beat Happening tape in his own cassette player, expecting to hear punk rock. He found something very different. “As I grew and started getting the K newsletters and started listening to more of the stuff they were putting out, it started to make sense,” he says. “I understood that we were part of this generation, that we were part of this really cool sound. So then I wanted to turn people on to these different bands.” Some time later, Calvin would show up at a Few performance in Anacortes with the Few’s debut in hand.

Few Guemes Crossroads


Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

For more photos from this article go online to

Punk isn’t a sound--it’s an idea! PROTO-GRUNGE AND THE BUSINESS IN THE ‘90s When Bret Lunsford moved back to Anacortes from Olympia in 1988, he needed a job. At Evergreen Bret had studied history, community development, and writing, an ideal set of skills, he thought, for a reporter at the local newspaper. When Bret arrived on his way to the newspaper in 1988, Glen Desjardins offered him a job instead at The Business. The arrangement was perfect for Bret, allowing him to continue touring with Beat Happening, sometimes for as long as four months. When Beat Happening disbanded in 1993, Bret became more involved with the shop. He added a café and, because Anacortes didn’t have its own record store, started to stock records. The Business carried a large number of independent releases, including a healthy stock of K and cassette releases from his own fledgling label, Knw-Yr-Own, but Bret also stocked music from major-label bands, like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that might lure curious customers with more mainstream tastes. “In Olympia, I got tainted by this vision that people could make their own cultural products, and that some people might be interested in consuming those things,” Bret says. “I just sort of brought that gospel to Anacortes.” One teenager named Phil Elvrum had first come in to The Business to buy the latest Nirvana release. After reading about Sonic Youth in an article about Nirvana in Rolling Stone, Phil’s curiosity of underground bands grew and he began exploring the independent records that the store had to offer. Sonic Youth led him to Sub Pop, and Sub Pop eventually led him to the K bands that Bret had in stock. “They had the craziest seven-inches that Bret would stock in the store,” Phil recalls. “I don’t know what he was thinking: who in Anacortes would buy them? I didn’t actually think it was that weird, I was just like, ‘Oh, this is music. This is another kind of music that exists.’ I didn’t have enough of the frame of reference to be weirded out by it.” Bret was aware of Phil’s interest in the underground and soon started encouraging him to publish a zine, offering Phil free use of the store’s photocopier. Phil did just that, publishing a zine called The Paintbrush with Brandon Schaefer. They printed up thirty copies of the first two issues, which were filled with jokes and reviews of records. Phil and his friends started their own band with Phil on drums. Tugboat practiced for hours in the shed behind Phil’s parents’

Outcasts Spoiled

house, playing punk rock songs about food. The band eventually started playing shows at the local Eagles Lodge with Gravel and Captain Fathom, a local band fronted by another young musician named Karl Blau. Phil was soon recording his band in the back room at the Business. Phil quickly became fascinated with the process of recording and was soon spending all of his evenings there, sometimes staying until 2 a.m. “I was just doing music experiments,” Phil recalls. “I didn’t have songs; it was more like, ‘I want to see how low of a sound I could make, and then I want to gradually transition it into the highest pitch, the most distorted sound I could make over two minutes.’ I just recorded the weird things I wanted to try, and then it would become an album.” What Phil was creating could be called music only in the most liberal sense. Still, it became an obsession of his that he could work on when he wasn’t recording other Anacortes bands, booking live shows at the Business, and breathing new life into Knw-Yr-Own Records, which Bret had mostly abandoned after starting D+, his first band since Beat Happening. Phil began recording audio collages, crashing drum tracks, and delicate folk songs, with no larger plan than figuring out how to make the sounds that he heard in his head real. In 1998 Phil released his first solo album on the Knw-Yr-Own label, fittingly titled Tests. He named his project after what he viewed as his most important collaborators: the Microphones.

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Sid Olson of the Spoiled playing at the Depot circa 1983. (Photo by Kevin Olson)

WHAT THE HECK? 2011 It’s an early Saturday evening in late July of 2011 and the sun is setting over the small fishing town of Anacortes. As the wide blue skies of a pristine Pacific Northwestern summer day turn purple, Bret Lunsford, Karl Blau, and Phil Elverum are playing a set of D+ songs in the basement of the Croation Club of America hall as a roomful of old friends and curious fans break bread together. This is the Dinner Show, the spiritual center of an annual gathering of musicians called What the Heck Fest. A few blocks away, on Commercial Avenue, forty-eight-year old Calvin Johnson is setting up for another of the festival’s shows in an art gallery located downstairs from the apartment where he and Bret and


Heather Lewis recorded the song “Nancy Sin” in their Beat Happening days. “People now are sidestepping that whole process of production and they are almost directly singing to each other,” Calvin said during an interview on Ian Svenonius’s online interview series, Soft Focus. “They don’t need the record store or a record label. They can just do their song on their laptop or their ukulele, and then it’s available instantly, all around the world. It’s really the most basic form of the punk rock revolution. It’s a very exciting time.” Thirty years later, the K Records label continues to operate in the underground while rightfully claiming a role as one of the most transformative engines of modern

Anacortes Magazine / Vol. 1, Issue 2 - August 2012

independent music. In its history, K Records has fostered some of independent music’s greatest artists, including Beck, Modest Mouse, Beat Happening, Built to Spill, and the Gossip. It has also galvanized the international pop underground, helped create the grunge scene that took over pop culture, and provided a launching pad for the riot grrrl movement that changed the role of women in music forever.

To check out any of the K Records recordings head over to The Business at 402 Commercial. Ave. in Downtown Anacortes.

Greg Kreider and his crew of experienced professionals have proven to be one of Skagit County’s most professional custom builders. With a portfolio ranging from residential to commercial, traditional to eclectic, Greg and his staff have excelled at providing a finished product that shines above the rest.

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Anacortes Magazine (Issue 2, August 2012)  

Our second issue of Anacortes Magazine features articles about Wallie Funk, Tommy Thompson, Gaelan Sylvia, photographer Kenneth Davenport, A...