Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

Local Sightings Festival opens Friday

Local Sightings is the annual festival of local film now in its 12th year at NWFF.

This NW film showcase features prizes, parties, and all sorts of cool special events, plus, of course, films from Northwest filmmakers. This year’s festival includes a great variety of short and feature length fiction and documentary films and a special presentation of a historical Seattle film.

The complete schedule is online at NWFF’s Local Sightings site but here are a few of your available choices: Opening night film The Mountain, The River, and the Road by Seattle’s Michael Harring tells the story of Jeff whose journey to Austin begins with his parents kicking him out of the house. His friend Tom, who has his own issues, goes along. The trip doesn’t work out quite the way they planned it and next thing you know Jeff’s in Kernville, California, idly hanging out at a motel where he meets a woman with a chainsaw.

On Saturday, Seattle’s Jennifer Maas presents a work in progress – Wheedles Grove. Contrary to what far too many seem to believe, Seattle’s music scene didn’t start in the 1980s–it’s much older than that, dating back to long before even our oldest living citizen was even born. Along the way there have been some interesting developments of ‘scene’, like back in the late 1960s when Seattle’s thriving soul scene was just inches away from bursting on the national scene with groups like Black on White Affair, The Soul Swingers and Cold, Bold & Together. Timing is everything, though, and it wasn’t great for these bands which fell back into obscurity until the early 2000s when local collector DJ Mr. Supreme approached the label Light in the Attic about releasing a compilation album.

American Collectors plays on Monday, a documentary that examines the relationships between people and the objects they collect. I have friends who are collectors–you may know some, or you may be one–and even so I’ve never entirely figured out what makes a person want to own a whole bunch of, say, KISS memorabilia or salt shakers or stuffed tarantulas or whatever it is that people collect (matchbooks, old stereo equipment, etc.) American Collectors can’t hope to provide the full answer, probably because there really isn’t a simple cut-and-dried explanation. It does, however, quite effectively tell a fascinating tale of some of the people who like to collect, what they like to collect, and even a bit of why they like to collect. It’s not just about having the things, it turns out.

Sabrina Lee from Montana considers rural American hip hop in Where You From? a movie about the hip hop scene miles and miles from its urban roots. What’s hip hop sound like when it comes from Bozeman or Livington, Montana, or Fortuna, California, instead of big cities like NYC, Chicago, LA, or even Seattle? Lee answers that question by presenting three young men for whom music is a salvation and a driving force in small towns that offer just as many mean streets as the big city.

Other events include the lively opening night party on Friday, a free program of animated works by the students of Lukas Allenbaugh’s Clay Animation Network classes on Saturday, a conversation on Sunday with Seattle historian Paul Dorpat about Seattle in 1969, a Sunday evening program (also free) of locally produced music videos, a variety of shorts programs and much more.

Check the schedule for full details.

Run, Drink & Play at Fremont’s Oktoberfest this weekend

oktoberfestUSA Today and have both named Fremont’s Oktoberfest as one of the top places in America to celebrate Oktoberfest, but anyone who’s ever been to the annual event knew that without being told. With 35 breweries ranging from small local microbreweries to internationally known big brands represented at Oktoberfest, there are a plethora of beer choices from which to select. San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery offers their Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer with a secondary brewing fermentation that uses fresh watermelon for a uniquely flavored beer. Dad Watsons from Seattle has a raspberry ale called Ruby. Georgetown Brewing Company presents their Lisa’s “The Sun is Trying to Kill Me” Chocolate Stout which is loaded with dark and milk chocolate from Theo.

One of my favorites is Kona Brewing Company’s Longboard Lager, aged for five weeks for an exceptionally smooth flavor. Seattle’s Trade Route Brewing Company (previously known as Laughing Buddha) goes seriously old school with their Ginger Pale Ale..and these are just a few of the excellent brews on tap. There are lagers and ales and stouts, Hefeweizen and pilsners a-plenty, all worth giving a try.

In addition to the tasting area, there are two different beer gardens and a variety of lounges. Live entertainment includes bands, DJs, a chainsaw pumpkin carving contest and a comedy show; there’s even a kids’ play area for those of you who want to make it a family event.

Saturday night party with Fremont Outdoor Movies who will be showing Animal House after a pre-party that includes toga style photo sessions and college party games.

On Sunday you’re invited to bring your dog down to hang out with you in the beer garden, join you in the annual Brew HA-HA 5K or enter the CityDog Magazine cover model contest.

Oktoberfest is held on the streets of Fremont between Phinney Ave N and 1st Ave NW and N 35th St and N Canal St on Friday between 5 pm and midnight, on Saturday from 11 am to 12 am, and Sunday between 11 am and 6 pm. Several Metro routes serve Fremont, including the 5, the 26, the 28, the 30 and the 31 and will save you money and all kinds of hassle. The Fremont Oktoberfest benefits the Fremont Chamber of Commerce will helps fund schools, art groups, and community events.

Maelstrom at SIFF

The Maelstrom International Film Festival is a weekend long festival of independent and international genre films, specializing in movies of the types that can be overlooked at other festivals – animation, horror, fantasy and science fiction. It’s going on this weekend at SIFF Cinema with a number of excellent offerings.

Friday night see The Revenent, winner of the Silver Vision Award for best independent film at the Toronto After Dark festival, a feature about an ancient pestilence coming back to attack modern man. It’s paired with Death in Charge, a short film in which the Grim Reaper gets mistaken for a babysitter.

Saturday gives you the chance to see three different shorts programs: Animation and Fantasy at noon, Science Fiction at 2:30 and Horror at 6:00. Saturday night’s feature is Pig Hunt, at 8:30, a film in which hillbillies, hippies and a giant pig collide in a pot field in Northern California. Plays with a short entitled The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon.

Sunday morning at 11:30 check out out a double feature of locally produced science fiction films and come back at 2:30 for a program of Fantasy shorts.

Until the Light Takes Us at 6:00 pm Sunday is afeature length documentary about the unique, often strange and sometimes violent subculture of Norwegian black metal.

The final screening of the festival comes Sunday evening with Strigoi, a Gold winner at Toronto After Dark that introduces an ancient Romanian legend: the strigoi, souls who rise from death to seek justice for having been wronged in life and now come with a thirst for human blood. The director/writer and producer will be on hand to discuss the movie.

Doing the Puyallup

Friday was the opening day for the Western Washington Fair–you know it as “The Puyallup”–and, as usual, I was there. This year I started my Fair experience by watching the traditional running of the cattle. (Click here for video.

This was followed immediately by a parade featuring local marching bands, members of the military, the Daffodil Queen and her court, clows, a juggle Elvis impersonator on a unicycle, lots and lots of horses and carriages, tractors, the flags of all 50 states, and the fair’s many plush mascots.

parade photo

It was a bright and sunny day which along with free admission for the first few hours inspired lots and lots of people to come on down to the fairgrounds to check out the animals, the vegetables, fruits, flowers, food, rides, exhibits and live entertainment of all sorts. The Fair is always crowded but even for someone who dislikes crowds as much as I do, it’s bearable–the fun of being there more than makes up for the minor inconvenience of having to stand through a couple lines.

The highlight for the fair for me every year is seeing all the animals. Seattle might allow people to keep a couple goats and/or chickens, but there aren’t too many chances in town to see a whole bunch of farm animals. (I’m not complaining–I really like looking at cattle but I don’t really want to live next door to them and you probably don’t either, or we’d all live in the country, not the city.) There are plenty of other attractions, though. Just looking at all the deep fried offerings on hand is more than enough for me, but if you’re into that sort of thing you can get deep fried Twinkies or Snickers bars or cola or, well, if it can be deep fried, it probably is. Me, I stick the to the traditional fair burger, piled high with sweet Walla Walla onions, and piping hot Fisher scones.

onion burger

There are rides aplenty at the fair and midway games and all sorts of items for sale ranging from cheap plastic souvenirs to items for your home which could be anything from a brand new vacuum cleaner to a bubbling spa for your backyard. Every sort of craft imaginable gets represented in some way at the fair along with fine arts and hobby collections, historical displays (I strongly suggest checking out the Fair History museum) and rodeos, concerts and comedians.

New this year to the fair is “Al’s Brain”, an exhibit and 3D movie featuring Weird Al Yankovic which is all about the human brain and manages to be both informative and funny.

The fair runs daily through September 27th. Tickets are available at the gate for $11 (there is an additional charge if you want to go to one of the concerts or rodeos which this year include acts like Crosby Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Heart, LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra) or can be purchased online; fairgoers can also purchase discount packages which include “fair bucks” for food or ride tickets. Members of the military get free admission on Mondays.

When you go to the fair, please consider using public transportation. From Seattle, it’s an easy ride from downtown Seattle to downtown Tacoma on Sound Transit 594 ($3 each way) to transfer to Pierce Transit’s Fair Shuttle ($1.75 each way). You’ll save yourself the expense and inconvenience of driving in traffic and then paying an arm and a leg to park as well as help the environment. Besides, Pierce Transit bus drivers are just about the nicest bus drivers you’ll ever meet.

The PAX Pox

video games ruined my life by poopoorama [flickr] via our group pool [#].

In case you missed it, Seattle’s premier gaming expo was ground zero for an outbreak of swine flu (or what Wired is calling H1Nerd1).

Penny Arcade, the organization that hosts the event, has a list of outgoing flights that had passengers with confirmed cases of the flu.

In addition, the University of Washington just issued an e-mail that two probable cases of H1N1 have been reported to the campus health center, originating from a particular sorority house. The University will be monitoring the flu outbreaks on campus, but officials are encouraging students and staff to take necessary precautions.

And since this flu is hitting everyone from gamers to sorority girls, be sure to wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and keep up to date with new info on the swine flu from King County.

Bumbershoot Day 3, and a summary

Alright! So let’s finish up talking about the Bumberfest.

The Lonely Forest packed the EMP tight enough that they were asking everyone to move at least a half step forward. I had no idea they were so popular, but clearly, I am dumb: these Anacortes boys brought the sort of powerful rock music to the stage that makes it difficult to take photos because I’m too busy dancing around. I might be late to this party, but I am really glad I haven’t missed it altogether.

The Devil Makes Three was less ragtime-y than I had hoped, but I still really enjoyed their three-part harmonies and hoe-down songs. Last year I felt like I was suffering from alt-country fatigue at Bumbershoot, but this year I really needed a little goth country in my afternoon.

Trying to get in to Metric in the KEXP lounge turned out to be a ridiculous proposition, so I headed off to see Dead Confederate, which was the correct decision. They were Southern and loud, loud enough to sound pretty good even in the sound hole of the Exhibition Hall.

More surprising sound came from Franz Ferdinand at the Mainstage. I usually skip Mainstage shows because I’m just not very down with the muddy sound and being elbowed in the head by stoned teenagers, but Franz Ferdinand have become a total stadium band and they sounded great in there.

I walked down the stairs to see 3 Inches of Blood next to a couple of teenage boys, who had been waiting all day for that show. The crowd was almost solidly male and sparse at that–everyone else was at Modest Mouse or Metric–but who needs a giant crowd when you can have a smaller one of superfans? 3 Inches of Blood stomped and raged and made loud, loud metal sounds, and everyone in the crowd ate it up.

So let’s talk about Bumbershoot magic. For me Holy Fuck stole a lot of the show, and there was a moment during their Broad Street set where the drummer and the bass player were locking eyes and playing hard, and the other two were synced and intense, and that gave me goosebumps. It was perfect. I walked in to the Exhibition Hall for Dead Confederate during their soundcheck, just a few people and a giant empty room and a loud rock band playing for the moment just for us, and that was quite sincerely a Moment. Magic also happened when the sun came out in the beginning parts of U.S.E. and when Matt & Kim stopped what they were playing to tell the crowd how sincerely thrilled they were to see so many people so excited to see them.

This was a great Bumbershoot, I think. Metroblogging readers, what were your favorite parts?

Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Monday, September 7, 2009

12:00 PM – Vampires and Robots: Kevin Emerson, Daniel Wilson

1:45 PM – Manic D Press at 25

3:30 PM – Writers of LOST w/ Jeff Jensen

5:45 PM – Seattle Noir

7:30 PM – Night Shift: A Story and Six Songs

7:45 PM – Youth Speaks Seattle w/ Staceyann Chin and Prometheus Brown

Dispatch from Bumbershoot 2

Romance in the EMP

Hey you guys, today it has been raining off and on. FYI.

It turns out that U.S.E has the power to both make it rain and make it stop raining, among other talents like creating dance parties and wearing gold spandex. They’ll be having a cd pre-pre-release party at Havana tonight.

Holy F**k played in the KEXP lounge earlier–you may have heard them–any they’ll be on the Broad Street stage at 7:45 probably ripping the clouds back open with their robot dance party. I still don’t understand how they make all of those noises, but it’s guaranteed to be a good time.

Have you heard post-punk cute boys Romance? I think you’d like them. They were a member short today–their keyboard player’s wife just had a baby last night–but it didn’t seem to slow them down at all.

Bumbershoot Day 1: Photos

Here’s a little more of what happened at Seattle Center yesterday.



Past Lives


Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bumbershoot program, 1993, courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives. From our Flickr pool.

Bumbershoot program, 1993, courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives. From our Flickr pool.

12:00 PM – Christian Lander: Stuff White People Like

1:45 PM – Spencer Moody: The Enablers Have Spoken and You’re Fine

2:00 PM – ReAct Theatre: The House in Town
Elliott Bay Book Co.
“Elliott Bay’s Tenth Annual Staged Play Reading Series continues with a Seattle premiere reading presentation of Richard Greenberg’s recent Broadway play, The House in Town. The time is New Year’s Eve, 1929, and a Jewish department store tycoon and his shiksa wife bid their last few party guests with a parting wish: “A better year ahead.” But, as that pivotal year begins, the shadow of the enormous new apartment complex under construction looms over their home. The shadow also portends Wall Street’s impending collapse, and the growing strain upon the couple’s marriage. Don’t miss this extraordinary play.” –EBB

3:30 PM – SE Hinton

3:45 PM – Melvin Van Peebles

5:45 PM – Zak Smith: We Did Porn

7:30 PM: iLL-Literacy

8:15 PM – David Cross

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