! = recommended
* = all-ages
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Third day of Bumbershoot 2013 seems like a zappy apex and a totally chill epilogue; the outstanding extra-musical affairs continue around the big musical bomps, but in the meantime some changes have occurred since the schedule was first posted (please note!):
Seattle Arts & Lectures presents The Lunchbox Podcast Live: Literary Pleasures and Musical Shenanigans, featuring fiction writer J. Robert Lennon and poet Ed Skoog, with Portland poet Matthew Dickman and musical guest Abilene Slim. A variety hour for the 21st century, the presentation will feature music, poems, and sparklingly irreverent conversation on the literary world and beyond. (Words & Ideas Stage, Saturday)
TIG Comment: These are becoming one of the very best things about Bumbershoot every year for me; I always walk away with a few new books and/or zany notions for tracking down crisp thinkers in our culture after seeing these cabaret-of-thought hullabaloos!
Zoeyogurt owners Katie, Donna and Tom Hudson and Joel Watson (creator of the web comic Hijinks Ensue) ponder Why Froyo? Why YOLO? Why Now? with moderator Corn Mo. (Words & Ideas Stage, Saturday)
Karen Finneyfrock (Author of The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door) and Sharon Cumberland, Ph.D. (Ph.D. Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Seattle University) are Corn Mo’s collaborators in discussing Why Fan Fiction? Why YA? Why Now? (Words & Ideas Stage, Sunday)
Seattle Arts & Lectures presents Allie Brosh of “Hyperbole and a Half.” Brosh — of the beloved blog and forthcoming book Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened — will speak, show slides, and converse with cartoonist Ellen Forney. The program will open with brief readings by local writer Michael Overa and his Writers in the Schools student from TOPS K-8. (Words & Ideas Stage, Sunday)
TIG Comment: Seattle artist and The Stranger Genius winner Ellen Forney's Marbles was one of the very best graphic novels from last year. This interview and multi-media examination of her work will probably be a highpoint of the festival this year for me, as I was absolutely floored by her deliciously delineated autobio comic about being bi-polar, and how she coped with it. From her glittery, giddy early adventures in the local music and art scene, through her punishing years of artist's block and meds change-ups, and into a brave future of self-acceptance and creative perseverance, it's a golden tale. I've seen Ellen do slide shows and spoken word around her comics before at the Hugo House, and you don't want to miss her deep dazzle, as much in person as it is in writing and illustration.
Warm Bodies author Isaac Marion and game designer Charley Miller join moderator Corn Mo to delve into the reasons behind Why Board Games? Why Zombies? Why Now? (Words & Ideas Stage, Monday)
TIG Comment: And Why Not More Board Games About Zombies, Dagnabit?! You BET I'm asking. Gimmee that mic!
Seattle Arts & Lectures presents Writers in the Schools: Compounded. Writers in the Schools K-12 students and Teaching Artists tackle the “problem” of compound words in original poems and stories, read in tandem from stage. Featuring Daemond Arrindell, Emily Bedard, Aaron Counts, Kevin Emerson, Karen Finneyfrock, Rachel Kessler, Corinne Manning, Sierra Nelson, Katie Ogle, Ann Teplick and their students. Musical interlude by The Drop Shadows. (Words & Ideas Stage, Monday)
TIG Comment: LOVE it. Whenever I hang out with a young writer who's frazzled trying to think about what to write about, plopping open the Dictionary and picking out a random word they can connect to Proust-stylee always seems a good kick in da scribe-pants. This seems to go that game more than once better and I can't wait to hear what these students came up with!
Throughout the 2013 fest:
This year for the first time the long running Fine Arts Poster is being presented as part of the Visual Arts exhibitions. The 2013 Poster artist is 2009 Stranger Genius Award Winner Jeffry Mitchell, who is the focus of a 2012 solo retrospective at the Henry Art Gallery. This year’s poster is a collection of his porcelain figurines. "Mitchell’s Bumbershoot exhibit showcases the diversity of Mitchell’s practice, including the poster's cast of characters that reflect the unique and festive atmosphere of Bumbershoot." (Fisher Pavilion)
Monday morning closing in on me -- whatta I wanna see? 9/2:
Visual Arts in Seattle Center Pavilion (11 a.m.): After The Riot
This is when I will be checking out this awesome-sounding exhibit based on gender identity, feminism, and body image, which rages on the inclusivity tip whi I utmost dig. It is catalyzed by Wynne Greenwood! Of Tracy and The Plastics! And includes artists Anna Oxygen, Gender Failure, Tender Forever, and Molly Mac -- who has a special presentation at 4 p.m. today herself here -- "as well as presenting new work by Reel Grrls participants in Greenewood's Video and Performance classes." I would have done Bumbershoot just for this action, considering Wynne's presentation at the EMP Pop Conference just a few years back.
Put It All On The Table: Inappropriate Lectures By Irreverent Artists and Spoiled Children (1 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage)
A satire of TED Talks with Stranger-affiliated feral funnymakers! Sweet. Taboos apparently are taken out into the woods and told there is a birthday party for them but really a sad dirty clown plays a vintage cracked Schadenfreude. Featuring Andrew Russell, Cienna Madrid, and Valerie Curtis-Newton, plus a surprise host.
BellaMaine (12:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage)
A weird little trick to know about Bumbershoot is that a lot of the best new music happens at noon every day every year. This group is Straight Outta Anacortes which means they're fingerpainting-licking arty but as fun as an on-nitrous Twister party! Indeed their new EP is called Anxious Mind, produced by John Goodmanson (Nada Surf, Death Cab). Lady and dude vox, keys and geetar hoodoo everywhere, call Hook Control to come wrangle that chorus that has crawled behind the wall and won't stop entering your sleep patterns.
Through sheer quirk of fate and possibly my own fatally quirky tastes, the top spots for my four favorite records of the year were given to two separate EPs by two different bands. I'm going to start my Top 20 of 2011 list with a cheat; combining two albums for placement at #1 and #2. Just to obnoxiously make you utterly vigilant of it: the first two spots are taken up by two separate releases, but they're EPs that if combined with each other, tie with/become one release.
Oh, and I'm keeping all hype to 20 words to mirror the Top 20 list. And then I cheat again by having the first two releases described in 40 words, a combination of two 20 word reviews. (No, I haven't been studying Kabbalah with the Wu-Tang Clan.) Also: Mostly in order, but ask me again tomorrow. (The Damien Jurado could be anywhere on this list, for example.) And regional preference takes precedence (call that "fanzine love").
1. Shabazz Palaces, Shabazz Palaces & Of Light EPs
Cracked, uncanny hip-hop collages of unsettling mind-movies, Clockers meets Company Flow. "Juxtapositions of the digital and analog, hard drum-machine beats set against softer bongos or the resonant sweetness of an mbira." -- Jon Caramanica, The New York Times
Some comedians talk about taking mushrooms and having cosmic experiences (we miss you, Bill Hicks), and some artists make music that sounds great if you're either on psilocybin or simply amped on free flowing imagination. Comic and musician Reggie Watts is like a giant fungi who giggles in several dimensions as we chew on him, soaking in visions like Philip K. Dick making Houston Screw mix-tapes while playing chess with God.