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For decades, Duane Bolster, a harp builder from Portland, tried to learn one instrument after another — piano, clarinet, coronet, accordion — but reading music remained mysteriously difficult for him. He couldn’t comprehend how musicians sight-read so fluidly. Read more

Poems, stories and personal essays presented at the annual FisherPoets Gathering often ask: How can humans live in balance with the natural world, what do we lose when we don’t, and how do we communicate this message in a society running on self-interest and short attention spans? Read more

The Daily Astorian’s Edward Stratton got it into his head recently that we writers should do karaoke together sometime. He’s been using it to venture outside his social comfort zone, he said. Good on him. Karaoke, if nothing else, forces you to care a lot less about what others think of you. Read more

In the early 2000s, director Gus Van Sant wanted to use the Flavel mansion on Franklin Avenue and 15th Street in Astoria in his film “The Last Days,” an art-house look at the slow, pathetic decline of a Kurt Cobain-type musician. Read more

A comedian, almost by definition, has had to overcome hurdles. “You wouldn’t become a comedian if you didn’t,” said Rachael O’Brien, a stand-up comic from Los Angeles, invoking the pain-plus-time-equals-comedy formula that governs her profession. Read more

My recent email exchange with Kim Stafford, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, was one of those interviews in which every response could be turned into a story, the deleted scenes as compelling as the feature presentation. Read more

Last fall, with well-meaning doubters informing me I’d made a huge, possibly life-threatening mistake by signing up for the Great Columbia Crossing — the 10K race across the Astoria Bridge — the challenge was simply to survive with my knees and dignity intact. (In the end, both were wobbly, … Read more

When I met some of the “Ghost Adventures” crew last April, they were playing the blues at Uniontown’s Workers Tavern — a sound engineer on guitar, a writer/editor doing vocals and harmonica, a cast member pounding the djembe. Read more

In the Feb. 15 special issue of Coast Weekend, we reveal the results of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards, our annual contest honoring excellence in Columbia-Pacific business, dining and activities — as chosen by you, our discerning readers. Read more

Earlier this month, I reconnected with Professor Prakash Chenjeri, the chair of Southern Oregon University’s philosophy program who, along with chaplain and author Fred Grewe, led a community talk at the Astoria Library about what makes life meaningful. Read more

If natural selection, the driving force of evolution, really depends on whatever set of traits makes an organism more or less likely to reproduce and pass on genes, where does altruism come in? Why does anyone work to benefit others at his or her own expense? Read more

’Stackstock — an indie music festival held Saturday at Haystack Gardens in midtown Cannon Beach — rocked. Plain and simple. Read more

Coast Weekend is hiring freelancers to write one to three stories per month and help paint the arts-and-entertainment landscape of the Columbia-Pacific region. Read more

A feature story this week focuses on Arvi Ostrom, an Astoria man who owned and tended a bar in Uniontown while, unbeknown to his loved ones, he drew thousands of striking pictures before his death in 1995 (see Page 6). Read more

John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt, A Parable,” a play showing in Nehalem and the subject of this issue’s cover story (see Page 8), is a unsettling piece of theater, and not simply because it involves whether a priest molested a boy at a Catholic school. Read more

I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to write this column with several dozen pairs of eyes on me — scrutinizing my expression, second-guessing my word choices, judging my abilities. Would I block them out, or treat myself to a nice public meltdown? Read more

My writing first appeared in Coast Weekend on July 21, 2011, when I worked as The Daily Astorian’s summer intern. It was a “Shanghaied in Astoria” preview — a centerspread I proudly laminated, framed and mounted on my bedroom wall as if it was a fresh kill. Read more

Everyone always talks about the beauty and glory of the old-growth cedar grove on Long Island in the middle of Willapa Bay. And it truly is something to behold. I’ve been there myself and written about it. Read more

When I told people I was attending the Astoria Music Festival’s Night at the Movies: Classic Film with Organ concert last Thursday, I got the same response from everyone: “Did you go last year?” Read more

The sky shone bright blue, and the briny smell of the water was sharp on the breeze. Baying sealions called for attention, but we had a greater destination in mind: The Lady Washington was docked at the East End Mooring Basin, and it was open for tours. Read more

After 17 weeks of rehearsal spent learning and polishing new songs, the Cannon Beach Chorus performed its spring concerts this past weekend. Read more

After a rather dry and sunny winter, the recent rainy weather drove me inside. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break and veg at home. But my hands were itching to stay busy. Read more

Along with my weekly Coast Weekend duties, I’m also in charge of Our Coast, the annual regional travel magazine published by The Daily Astorian and Chinook Observer. Read more

Despite the event’s name, the Stormy Weather Arts Festival saw clear and cloudy skies Nov. 8 — a fact welcomed by my friends and me, who carpooled south from Astoria to check out the art receptions in Cannon Beach. Read more