Archive for August, 2007

Pedal Until You’re Dizzy!

I was lucky enough to get a preview of the cyclecide pedal-powered amusement rides at Bumbershoot this year. I highly recommend them!


Photo by Yours Truly, via our Flickr Pool

Very first look: Austin Cantina


Queso Fundido

Although they don’t officially open until tomorrow, we enjoyed a lovely dinner tonight at Austin Cantina, in Ballard. We were walking by the other day when one of the workers inside motioned us over and conspiratorily told us that they’d be open tonight before their Grand Opening tomorrow. Always excited about trying new restaurants, we decided to go.

bumbershoot agenda : monday

Bumbershoot Umbrellas

Dedicated three-day Bumbershooters will have plenty to draw them back to Seattle center for the final day of the festival and dabblers will have no reason not to check out the fun on Labor Day. Here are a few of our favorite things happening on Monday that aren’t the Wu Tang Clan.

Joss Stone
(1:15p, Memorial Stadium) Hey, remember when she was the future of British white soul music? Do you even remember her? Now that they’re trying to make Amy Winehouse go to rehab and Lily Allen can’t get a US work permit, she’s all the UK has got.

The Mother Truckers (1:30p, Mural) Austinite friends swear by this hard country-rock band, say they’re the best live act down there right now.

Tokyo Police Club (5:45p, Broad Street) Buzzy youngish Canadians, synthy keyboards, slingy vocals, and catchy songs about a future run by robots. Start your dance parties!

Lyrics Born (5:45, Fisher Green) Naturally gifted hip-hop artist from the Bay Area whose complex, intelligent and highly original work is created using advanced linguistic concepts which only sounds stuffy until you hear his stylish flow.

Fleet Foxes (6:15p, Mural) The only thing arguing against them is that they’re locals up against touring acts…

the Frames (7:30p, Broad Street) Remember Once? The incredibly charming movie about a guy and a girl falling in love with making music in Dublin? The Guy (Glen Hansnard) is the lead singer of this band.

My Brightest Diamond (8:15p, Northwest Court) The other Sufjan protege playing this year, Shara Worden brings the spooky drama rock. Dylan thinks of her as Loreena McKennit and Siouxsie Sioux thrown in a blender.

Miranda July (8:30p, Bagley Wright) A triple-threat: maker of the wonderful 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know, instigator of participatory online art projects, and writer of the excellent collection of short stories No One Belongs Here More than You, Miranda July is all over this year’s Bumbershoot, showing several of her short films, displaying artwork from Learning to Love You More, and doing “presentation about money”. Swoon.

bumbershoot agenda : sunday

Bumbershoot Lawn

A few picks to check out on Sunday at Bumbershoot. If you don’t get a chance to go to the Mayor’s Arts Awards Ceremony on Friday (free! noon-6pm), Sunday afternoon looks like a great day to stroll through the galleries in the Northwest rooms.

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (12:30p, EMP) Only just past puberty, and already one of the most entertaining acts in town.

The Trucks (12:30p, Broad Street) Bellingham’s raunchiest grrl-pop band makes its umpteenth appearance in Seattle this year.

The Watson Twins (2:15p, Broad Street) Two identical twin sisters whom you may know from Jenny Lewis’ solo album last year, they let their Kentucky roots show while channelling Elliot Smith’s writing style.

Kings of Leon (3p, Memorial) Remember what I said about the Shins? Same story today, except this time you’re getting up early and filing into the mainstage for really loud guitars and southern boys.

Art Brut (7:30p, Broad Street) Eddie Argos seems the unlikeliest of pop stars, but the heavy doses of earnestness, boisterous narrative, inarguable rock, will leave you convinced that Art Brut is for real. The last time they were in town, they promised to return for an arena show. They have enough energy for Memorial Stadium, but for now Broad Street will do nicely.

Andrew Bird (8:30p, Mural) Because otherwise you’re watching Fergie and Sean Paul with the tweens. Bird packs his songs with more poetry and metaphor per square inch than a college-level creative writing class. The songs that he builds up from layers self-sampled loops are always breathtaking and he is a classically trained whistler. Now working with a more conventional band (including Martin Dosh), the songs are deeper, richer, and a little more organic.

bumbershoot agenda : saturday

Bumbershoot Broadst

There are a million things happening at Bumbershoot (ed: or 77) on any given day this weekend. Here are some of the acts that your pals at Metroblogging Seattle are most excited about seeing on Saturday. Let us know what we’ve missed, what we should skip, and what you’re most looking forward to checking out. For the sake of the locals, we’ve used the common name for the stages rather than the annually-shifting sponsored names.

Salon of Shame (12:00p, Leo K) Tickets always sell out before you can blink? Maybe this is your chance.

Flatstock (all weekend) Prepare to hand over your bank account stocking up on originals and prints from the country’s best rock poster artists. This is consistently one of my favorite parts of Bumbershoot and I’ve never been able to leave empty-handed. The show runs all weekend, but go early for the best selection. The only problem is finding a place to stash your purchases during the rest of the day.

Carrie Akre (12:00pm, Mural) With a band or without, one of the strongest voices (both literally and metaphorically) to emerge from the local music scene.

FOUND (1:45 pm, Leo K) People send all sorts of discarded urban artifacts to Davy Rothbart — shopping lists, windshield wiper notes, polaroids — and he collects them into an insightful and revealing magazine. He and his brother Peter turn the highlights reel into an engaging live show.

the Shins (2:30p, Memorial Stage) Every year, Bumbershoot’s programmers take sick pleasure in forcing pale indie fans to drag themselves to Seattle Center during the peak hours of sunlight to catch a venerable indie act. Last year, it was Spoon and the New Pornographers. This year, the Shins are the reason that you’ll be coating yourself with sunscreen, shaking off your Friday night exploits, and taking over Memorial Stadium as Crowded House fans filter out.

St. Vincent (2:30p, Broad Street) The first of two ex-Illinoisemakers (Sufjan Stevens’ 2005-6 touring band) to play this year, and by far the most talented, Annie Clark can play just about every instrument and write and sing more like Kate Bush than Kate Bush. (It would have been a Sufjan trifecta had Rosie Thomas not cancelled.)

I Love Led Zeppelin (3:45p, Bagley Wright) If you haven’t yet seen Ellen Forney’s hilarious audiovisual performance, it’s must-see. Rumor has it that there will be a live acoustic performance of “Stairway to Heaven” as accompaniment. Even if you’ve already experienced the show, this is a great excuse to escape the elements.

The Saturday Knights (4:00p, Fisher Green) Have these guys ever put on a bad show? No. And they’re always at their best when they’ve got room to move around.

the Lashes (4:15p, Broad Street) Even if this wasn’t Eric Lashes’s triumphant return to the stage after a terrible accident this spring and months of ensuing rehab, these hometown power pop sensations would be worth checking out.

Menomena (6:00p, Broad Street) Portland high-tech collage rock!

The Gourds (6:45p, Mural) Savory mash-up of spicy zydeco, Tex-Mex, country and rock, takes the traditional and twists it into exciting experiments that remain accessible.

Grand Archives (9:30p, EMP) Is it possible to heap too much praise on Grand Archives? Is there a better new local band this year? No & no. Can’t wait to see them peforming in a venue with a gigantic wall of LEDs and a top-notch light show, just for the incongruity of it all.

perhaps you’ve noticed a theme — Broad Street and the Mural Amphitheater? — not only do these two stages have stellar festival-of-their-own-worthy lineups, they’re among the easiest to check out at a moment’s notice and from a distance. There’s goodness aplenty at indoor venues, but it requires a little more goodness, a lot more commitment, and a healthy amount of line zen to tip the balance in their favor.

Marissa Nadler: Third Time’s Another Charm

Photo courtesy of

Bumbershoot, Bumbershoot, Bumbershoot…blah, blah, blah. How about stepping outside the box of what every known human and their brother are doing in Seattle this weekend and instead, catch Marissa Nadler at the Sunset Tavern on Saturday night. My bet is that you won’t regret it.

Loved and revered by critics worldwide, singer and songwriter Nadler released her third album this month. Aptly named Songs III: Birds on the Water, it’s rated an 8.1 by Pitchfork Media. [#] Her two previous albums garnered high acclaim as well, Ballads of Living and Dying (2004) was called “”uncommonly lovely…hard to get out of your head,” by The Guardian [#], and The Saga of Mayflower May (2005) was named “enthralling” by Pitchfork, [#].

At our Third Anniversary party, I was graced with her CD to review before this weekend’s concert. The name sounded familiar, but little did I know how lucky I was to receive her album, free and clear. Nadler has one of the most beautiful, melodic voices I’ve heard from a female vocalist. Her folk ballads, which are peppered with bells, mandolins and synthesizers, span all the depths of human emotion–love, loneliness, death, pain and sorrow. Her lyrics are consumed with gloom and doom, dark moods and melancholy. Yet, I feel strangely peaceful and soothed while listening. It’s the type of CD I’d throw on during those rare calming moments in life–reading on rainy days inside with the heat cranked–or when your life requires a pretty little melody–working, writing, painting, or generally creating. My favorite track, “Sylvia,” currently is available to download for free from KEXP’s Song of the Day podcast for August 15th.

If you just can’t fathom missing the big acts at Bumbershoot on Saturday night, Nadler will be back in town September 20th with Peter Bjorn and John at The Showbox.

Jackie-O-Mother****er, Marissa Nadler and guests
Saturday, September 1st, 9 p.m. ($7)
Sunset Tavern
5433 Ballard Ave. N.W.

Weekend Film Agenda

There are movies at Bumbershoot, oh yes–I suggest Dystopia on Saturday, and Crime Story on Sunday, and Made in Seattle on Monday –but for those of you who hate crowds or spending a small fortune to be stuck in them, there are still plenty of great film opportunities this weekend.

  • Three Dollar Bill Cinema and FTM 2007: Gender Odyssey present the second annual TRANSLATIONS. The festival presents films from all around the world and allows for interaction between tilm makers and the audience, check the site for schedule details.
  • The Grand Illusion is showing Night of Lust, a potboiler about rival Parisian gangs that was banned in most of the world during its original 1960s release, Noriko’s Dinner Table, a Japanese film about suicide, family dysfunction and society. Also on screen is the world premiere of A Day at the Beach, the “lost” film written and produced by Roman Polanski previously unseen in the US.
  • The Last Starfighter is an extremely corny sci-fi movie from the 80s and it’s this week’s Midnight at the Egyptian selection.
  • The brilliant Jean-Luc Godard made some of my favorite movies; one of them, PIerrot Le Fou, is playing at the Varsity for one week only. Imagine if Bonnie & Clyde (the Hollywood version, of course, not the real people) were existential and French.
  • Central Cinema is showing GPS, The Movie, a “fun suspense/thriller based on gps scavenger hunts”.
  • Woody Allen’s Manhattan is playing at NWFF. Lots of people think Woody Allen is brilliant and one of the best filmmakers ever. I’ll be honest, I”m not one of them. There are only a few of his films I like. Manhattan is not one of them. It is the film that’s gotten him the most praise in his long and storied career, however, so if you’ve never seen it, you might want to go and form your own opinion.

Gilded Gates (not Bill)

Though Seattle might be better-known for another kind of Gates, our very own SAM is playing host to a rare Italian treat: three panels from Italian Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 1401 “Gates of Paradise.”

Photo by candicandicandicandi

Originally designed for the entrance to the cathedral baptistry (thanks, Morgan!) in Florence (shown above with reproductions,) the panels are destined for permanent display in an Italian museum after their US tour — so this could be your first and last chance to see them outside Italy. Press Release from a justifiably-proud SAM is here.

Bumbershoot 2007: Your Guide to Surviving the Chaos

The Needle @ Bumbershoot 2006Photo by Merelymel13

Yes, this is pretty much what we posted last year and the year before, but it’s revised with brand-new content. Kinda how there’s a new greatest hits album that includes a different throwaway track from the last greatest hits album. But not a lot changes about Bumbershoot from year to year. Same chances to take in musical acts and genres you wouldn’t normally listen to. Same weird mix of sun and rain. Same hippie girls who think flailing your arms and wapping you in the face is “dancing.” Same overly aggressive security and ushers ignoring petty theft because THAT GUY HAS A CAMERA AND HE IS TAKING A PICTURE AND HE MUST GO DOWN.

Still, here’s the newly revised and updated guide for 2007. Bumbershoot virgins, read up on how to practice safe Bumbering. Old-timers, well, read it again and complain yet again how Bumbershoot used to be free and you got it on with some girl at the King Sunny Ade show in 1983. Only, well, we’ve heard that story 100,000 times before already. And also? Your 24-year-old daughter Sunny called and asked us to tell you to STOP TELLING THE DAMN STORY ALREADY because it’s damaging her cred in the King County Republican Party.

Anyway. On with your helpful guide after the cut.

Non-Bumbershoot weekend music agenda

So you’re smarter than the rest of us and avoiding the lines and crowds and not going to Bumbershoot, are you? But you just can’t go a whole weekend without standing around somewhere, watching people play instruments? Well, fine. Here’s what you could be seeing:

At the Crocodile on Saturday, you could see the excellently named Skeletons With Flesh on Them, because really, what this town needs is more bands with cutely cumbersome names. No, really. They’re playing with Minivan and Stencil, so in the end it’s a bill with about the average number of words.

Chop Suey is holding a Bumbershoot afterparty on Sunday hosted by the People’s Republic of Komedy, but you should really head over there on Monday for adorable Berliners Stereo Total. You remember their song “I am Naked”, right? No? You’ve been missing out; it makes me laugh each and every time I hear it. They’re touring in support of their new album.

Nectar is daring you to stick around Seattle Center for Grand Archives and Panic! At the Disco on Saturday and not head to their “Rio-d out night of Baile funk, 80’s Electro, Miami bass, and island sounds…” I don’t know what that means, but if you end up there I’d like to know how it goes. You’ll get in for $3 if you’re wearing your cheesiest pair of sunglasses and green/yellow/pink clothes.

What did I miss, Seattle? Where are you going to be while half of town is camped out on the grass trying to avoid people hippie dancing at Seattle Center?

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