Tonight in Seattle:  

Festivals

Bumbershoot 2014 music picks: Monday music loungin’

Monday is my day for lining up at Bumbershoot to try and get a seat in the sweet air-conditioned KEXP Music Lounge. There are a few things I’d like to hit Saturday and Sunday, but I’m planning to spend almost all day Monday in there, seeing: 

Hurray for the Riff Raff
1:15PM

The Reverend Horton Heat
2:30PM

Nada Surf
3:45PM

Rose Windows
5:30PM

 

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Bumbershoot 2014 music picks: Sunday’s cloud 9 list

Sunday at Bumbershoot means catching some longtime favorites, as well as some bands I've heard about but haven't yet seen live! The problem I'm having is that it's all SOCLOSE together! Still, everything should work out just fine ... as long as I can either figure out a) how to be in three places at once, or, b) how to get a jet pack by this weekend.

Here are my must-sees for Sunday:

Manatee Commune
12:15pm
Pavilion Stage

This kid. I just. I MEAN. Full disclosure: I saw him compete in my workplace’s Sound Off! competition earlier this year and was just COMPLTELY MINDBLOWN AWAY by his amazing melodies.

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Bumbershoot 2014 music picks: Saturday’s dream(weaver) list

Now it is time for me to plan my ultimate list of musical goodness for this year's Bumbershoot! I'm a planner by nature, so I HAVE to make a list, but I like to refer to it as a "dream list" because inevitably I will get distracted by something shiny and forget which stage I've planned to go to next. SO.

Here's what I'd see on Saturday, 8/30 in a perfect, focused world: 

Fly Moon Royalty
11:45am
Fisher Green Stage

Adra Boo’s voice is a symphony of amazingness, and every time I listen to her I simultaneously want to dance my ass off and cry because it’s so fucking beautiful.

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Bumbershoot 2014 picks: Comedy, Theater, Film, and Visual Arts

More love for the non-musical things at Bumbershoot! Yes, there are a lot of bands I wants to see. BUT there are also a lot of other things too, so I always try to make a point to squeeze in a few things that don’t involve trying to avoid a contact high or getting kicked in the face by enthusiastic stage divers.

Here’s what I’m planning to take in from the Comedy, Theater, Film, and Visual Arts goings-on this year:

COMEDY

Janeane Garafolo

Comedy at the Playhouse
Saturday 8/30 at 1pm
Sunday 8/31 at 2:45pm
Monday 9/1 at 4:30pm

Janeane was HILARIOUS when I saw her do comedy at The Neptune not too long ago, so I would love, love, LOVE to see her again … also, maybe I can “bump” into her around the Center just so I can tell her that I would have picked her over Uma right at the beginning, no contest. Ben Chaplin is DUMB.

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Bumbershoot 2014 picks: Words & Ideas

Bumbershoot 2014 music and arts festival, Seattle

How in the hell is it time for Bumbershoot again? {And I mean that in the best way possible, OBVIOUSLY!} In just a little over a week, Seattle Center is going to be filled with people enjoying music, art, theater, and more – including my precious favorite Words & Ideas programming. This year, the Words & Ideas stage is in the Charlotte Martin Theatre

Here’s a list of my must-sees for Bumbershoot’s 2014 Words & Ideas happening:

SATURDAY 8/30

Town Hall Presents – Arts & Culture
3:30pm

Oh hi, Stephin Merrit. How you doin’? Oh, you wanna sit down and talk to me about your new book, in which you tell me all about the smallest words admissible in the Scrabble dictionary? SOUNDS AMAZING I WILL BE IN THE FRONT ROW.

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Timber! Music Festival Recap

at Tote-McDonald Park

In case you missed out, here’s a recap of all the great happenings from this year’s Timber! Outdoor Music Festival:

First, a bit about the setting. The festival took place in Tote-Mcdonald Park over in Carnation, which is just the right size for this festival. There were a good amount of attendees there, but it never felt packed or crowded -- and the park is set right on a river, so if you get a little hot, you can just walk down to the water and cool off. The atmosphere here is more laid back than the larger festivals as well; there’s less security between the crowd and the stage, and members of the performing bands were seen walking around with the audience, talking and enjoying some drinks after their shows.

There was only one show going on at all times, so there were no multi-stage conflicts, which is pretty nice. I was only able to attend the third and final day of the festival, but I still managed to experience tons of great moments! In a live setting, Cumulus rocked a little harder live than they do on record, and their nice, sunny harmonies fit well in the middle of a festival lineup. The Physics are a Seattle hip-hop institution at this point, and they had the crowd swaying and rapping along to their late afternoon set. They brought a full band along, including a keyboard player, guitar player, trumpet player, and two back-up singers, sounding full and energetic.

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires closed out the main stage with style, captivating the crowd with both his voice and his moves -- he even took the time to make two different outfit changes during his show! The highlight of his set was during the slow jam “Lovin’ You, Baby” when he pulled a couple onstage and serenaded them while the sun set. During his encore, he made his way down to the crowd and hugged as many members of the audience as he could.

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Latest comment by: imaginary amie: "Great wrap-up, John! I was there Thursday for a bit, and I LOVED it. Definitely planning a longer visit next year. These guys really know how to put on a great festival. "

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival is happening this weekend!

{Timber! Outdoor Music Festival poster}

Looking to get out of town this weekend and check out some great music while you’re at it? We’ve got just the festival to suit your needs. The same lovely folks from Artist Home who brought us Doe Bay Fest and Slackfest (among other events) introduced The Timber! Outdoor Music Festival last summer and have come back this year with an equally exciting lineup of fantastic established and emerging artists. Headlining this year’s festival are local singer songwriters Rocky Votolato and Damien Jurado, indie guitar legend and founding member of Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis, and one of soul music’s best live performers, the impossible-not-to-love Charles Bradley.

The festival covers three days, starting this Thursday, July 24th and going through Saturday, July 26th. It all goes down over on the east side at Tolt-McDonald Park in Carnation. It’s far enough to still be out of the city, but close enough that you don’t have to fill up your gas tank just to get there.

The lineup features tons of great local talent, from recently emerging acts like The Comettes, to other indie favorites that are gaining a lot of traction in the local scene like Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Cumulus, and Smokey Brights. There are also some great acts making their way up from Portland, like The Shivas and the softer, folk-based Horse Feathers, who should sound just about perfect in the outdoor, intimate setting. Fans of hip-hop won’t feel left out either; the self professed “king of Ballard” Grynch will be there, as will one of Seattle’s finest hip hop groups The Physics. The Seattle Rock Orchestra is even going to be performing the legendary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, and you know that’s going to sound amazing. Did I mention that kids under 12 get in free, because they do.

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Beyond the Fest: SIFF films that will (hopefully) open soon

The Babadook

With over 400 films playing the 40th Seattle International Film Festival, there was NO WAY I was going to be able to watch and write about what got me into those theater seats before the festival was over—or, more importantly, before they screened for the last time during it.

Here’s a quick list of films that I recommend tracking down for viewing. Fingers crossed they will ALL show up at Seattle theaters soon! 

The Babadook {tentative release date: October 2014}
Holycrap, you guys. HOLYCRAP. I was not prepared for how awesome this Australian horror film would be. I mean, how scary can another spin on The Boogeyman actually be, right? The answer, though, is REALLY F’ING SCARY. The basics: grieving mom, out-of-control son, creepy book, unleashed creature, possession, and some really amazing imagery. The Babadook is a non-stop ball of tension from beginning to end, the acting is freaking amazing, the creature F/X are great. I can’t even express how surprised I was by this movie, and how utterly terrified I was while watching it. Bonus: The Babadook pop-up book featured in the film is so goddamn cool! I hear the filmmakers are considering a kickstarter to produce it for real, and I am prepared to throw my money at them as soon as they do.

Fight Church
Bryan Storkel brings us another tale of the secret lives of Christians, but instead of showing us pastors who gamble, this film dives into pastors who moonlight on the mixed martial arts/cage fighting circuit. Wait, what? Let’s just say it’s a lot scary than Holy Rollers—particularly when you realize these guys are teaching their beliefs about beating the crap out of other guys being a “spiritual” thing to their kids, and even moreso when it extends beyond the arena to the gun range.

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Best of SIFF 2014 series {6/12-6/19}

Dior & I

If for some reason over the past month you’ve missed the TIG SIFF team's extensive coverage, overlooked the 'round-the-block queues at some of our fine local movie houses, and/or remained oblivious to the palpable cinematic energy felt throughout the 206 and surrounding area codes, you've been at least vaguely aware that our local cinema megathon was going on at some point between opening night mid-May and closing night Sunday.

On Thursday SIFF Cinema kicks off a ‘best-of’ series that whittles down the gargantuan festival lineup to 18 programs (17 features and a shorts package) of festival award winners and audience favorites, all screening at the Uptown and Film Center through Sunday, with a few multi-screening engagements through next week. Perfect opportunity to see what all the buzz was about if you missed out on SIFFing altogether for some reason, or if the insane schedule made you pick a certain film over something else you really wanted to see, or if the #SIFForty SIFFatigue got to you early and just caused you to give up.

Or maybe none of those scenarios applies and you're just interested in checking out some good films. In any case, you're in luck, because there are some genuinely fine cinema experiences to be had. Here’s the lowdown on the lineup.

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SIFF Take: How to Train Your Dragon 2

It feels a bit unseemly to trumpet such a mainstream movie during this Festival of the Wonderfully Obscure, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 is absolutely wonderful and deserves trumpets. It opens 5 years after the events of the first film. Berk is now an idyllic, gravitationally precarious but architecturally impressive hamlet with a thriving population of dragons. The biggest issue is that Stoic wants Hiccup to be the next Chief, and Hiccup is ambivalent at best. This very quickly becomes not the biggest issue when a Very Bad Guy enters the picture, bent on enslaving all dragons.

All of the battles are exciting and suspenseful, and the dialog is snappy and funny, but this film is special because of the strength of the story. The plot isn’t merely a series of set-ups for set-piece battle scenes. It wrestles, sincerely and unironically, with issues including family, loyalty, duty, free will, and the pursuit of peace. Peace! Punchline of hippie skits and Miss America parodies. The movie declares peace an achievable concept, worth striving for. By the end, I wanted to stand and salute.

{How to Train Your Dragon screens one more time at SIFF on Sunday, 6/8, 10:30am at Pacific Place}