Bumbershoot Guide

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bumbershoot 2010

Monsters of Alt

TV Pilots vs. Baboon Attacks

People's Republic of Komedy vs. People's Republic of China

The Stranger's 2012 Bumbershoot Guide!

The Stranger's 2011 Bumbershoot Guide!

Our Massive 2013 Bumbershoot Guide

Bumbershoot 2009

Gogol Bordello vs. DeVotchka

The Stranger's Bumbershoot Guide

How Does It Feel to Be Back?

Mad Ruins

The Bob Dylan Torture Test

Still a Gigolo!

Touch Me, I'm Sub Pop's Warehouse Manager

The Shins vs. Their Future

Here's What We Think of Every Damn Thing Happening at This Year's Festival

Give It to Me Easy

Rock, Chunk, or Rule

Fergie vs. Jackson Pollock

Bumbershoot 2009

Emerald Shitty

De La Soul for Life

Hari's Big Break

Friday, August 31

I'm More Than Hair

Yes, Aloha!

Let Them Bring You Brown

Countdown to Courtney

Surviving a Nuclear Winter

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MUSIC

3 INCHES OF BLOOD

(Mon, 9:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Did you know there's thought to be only one real Viking-age helmet in existence today? It was excavated in Gjermundbu, Norway, and now lives in the Kulturhistorisk Museum in Oslo. And did you know Viking helmets were made of iron and never included horns? The horns were invented in 19th-century illustrations, overdramatizing the ferocity and appearance of Viking warriors. Sometimes it's fun to throw some fantasy in with your reality. Dark metal purveyors 3 Inches of Blood definitely throw some fantasy into their reality. And the reality is these dudes LOVE heavy metal. Expect at least a few fans to show up in neu-Viking helmets and waving plastic swords. GOOD TIMES! KELLY O

ADRIAN XAVIER

(Sat, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green) Adrian Xavier believes in a miracle and would like you to forget your worries. He is a Seattle reggae musician with a positive vibe and a slightly funky electric edge, and at one point he found himself under the influence of Celtic fusion. "There's a place where we can go/Where the milk and honey flows/I know there's a place where we can go/Where the green gardens grow." See? JEN GRAVES

recommendedAKIMBO

(Sat, 5 pm, EMP) The word "akimbo" dates back to the 15th-century word "cambok," which meant something to the effect of "a curved or crooked stick or staff." I'm not sure how crooked sticks or staffs might relate to the forever-together Seattle band Akimbo, but I know this: These guys ROCK. Their hard, fast sound is equal parts metal, hardcore, and classic rock. Their latest and most critically acclaimed album, Jersey Shores, is a concept record based on a freaky series of shark attacks in 1916 that killed four and injured one on the New Jersey Coast, and which also inspired author Peter Benchley to write the novel Jaws in 1974. Kind of a brutal legacy, much like the 11-year-old band's own. KO

recommendedAKRON/FAMILY

(Mon, 6 pm, Broad Street) What is unexpected in our day and age is to come across a post-rock band that seems to believe and evoke mystical things. In our disenchanted time of science and technology, we expect mystical things to be long forgotten or ignored. But the mystical happens to be the mode and mood of Akron/Family's music, which is why it often recalls Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden, the last great work of mystical rock. For Akron/Family it comes down to something like this: "phenomena, phenomena, phenomena... things are not what they seem to be." CHARLES MUDEDE

THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS

(Sat, 3:15 pm, Memorial Stadium) As far as I can tell, the main thing you need to know about the All-American Rejects, which are a popular rock band, is that the lead singer has ICY BLUE EYES THAT WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU. Emotional sex. Please-stop-staring-at-me-with-your-icy-blue-eyes-because-I-think-a-ghost-might-come-out sex. Seriously, let's just not. I'm really tired. It's just that I have to get up really early tomorrow morning and... milk... the livestock. Yes, I'm a farmer. I farm. Just stop asking questions. LINDY WEST

ANOMIE BELLE

(Mon, noon, Northwest Court) Anomie Belle are a Seattle act, led by violinist and vocalist Toby Campbell, that take up the odd challenge of attempting to reanimate a genre, triphop, that was a ghost of a thing to begin with—a wispy memory of hiphop (itself a genre built on the samples/specters of other musics) floated over a haze of orchestral strings and disembodied diva vocals. This phantom of a phantom is as insubstantial as one might expect, but Anomie Belle tackle the stuff with undeniable chops. Campbell's voice is polished and just a little jazzy, alternating between low murmurs and high falsettos, and her scores are sophisticated noirish stuff. Triphop is still dead, but it can continue to haunt. ERIC GRANDY

AUDRYE SESSIONS

(Mon, 7:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) A quartet from Oakland, Audrye Sessions bear the influences of Radiohead, Björk, and U2 to their male-fronted (and unafraid-of-falsetto) songs. Oh, and the bassist—the only lady in the band: Alicia Marie Campbell, joining guitarist Michael Knox, drummer James Leste, and singer/guitarist Ryan Karazija—is a former model. Rolling Stone named them a 2009 breakout after their self-titled debut. JG

THE BLACK EYED PEAS

(Mon, 3 pm, Memorial Stadium) Part of the "British Invasion" and originally known as "Captain Willy and the Ha-Has," the Black Eyed Peas scored their first major U.S. hit in 1962 with "Baby, I'm Watching You While You Sleep (Doo Wop Doo Woo Wop)." They went on to "Invade" the "Britains" of many American Sally-Sues, end the Vietnam War with their protest anthem "Yo, Just Cut This Shit Out (Nixon, I'm Watching You While You Sleep)," and invent bitter beer face. The Black Eyed Peas were the only people at Tupac Shakur's bedside at the moment of his death (they are all medical doctors), and were thus charged with the ritual extraction and embalming of his organs in ceremonial jars for their dark ferry ride to the afterlife. Will.i.am was then reported as saying, "I'm getting too old for this shit!" He was never the same. Also, that one chick peed her pants. LW

BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS

(Mon, 3:15 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Black Joe Lewis (yup, he's black) & the Honeybears are eight guys who've been described as James Brown–meets–the Stooges, and who describe themselves as garage soul. They formed in Austin, they recently released the album Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, and they're all dirty and brassy, Memphis-style. For Valentine's Day, they put out a card that said "Bitch, I Love You," after their done-wrong blues ballad of the same name. The ladies couldn't help but smile. JG

recommendedBLACK WHALES

(Sun, 2 pm, EMP) Seattle's Black Whales make their official debut later this month with the release of Origins, a seven-song EP coming out on local label Mt. Fuji Records. Despite having not yet had a proper release, local music fans have been loving Black Whales for nearly a year already, thanks to both their live shows and the self-recorded four-song demo the band have been passing around at them. The band have a fun folk vibe, but with a little more rock-and-roll swagger than their peers in the Moondoggies or the Cave Singers. MEGAN SELING

BRETT DENNEN

(Sun, 8:45 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) It should be said right away that redheaded Brett Dennen, who plays the guitar and sings and came from California, seems like a very nice man. He promotes deserving nonprofits on his website and his songs have conscience. They are best called "warm," which they are often called. It makes them sound slightly more generic than they are, but they are still slightly generic—but nice. His latest album is Hope for the Hopeless, which is quite a considerate thing for a fellow to offer. Rolling Stone called him one to watch. JG

CARRIE RODRIGUEZ

(Sat, 5 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Rodriguez is an Austin native who carries a fiddle and an electric guitar, wears big dark hair, and opens for acts such as Lucinda Williams and John Prine. Blues, country, rock, roots—it's all thrown in together by the daughter of a folk singer and an opera fanatic. Her latest record is called She Ain't Me. JG

THE CAVE SINGERS

(Mon, 6:45 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) One of the best things you could do for yourself this Bumbershoot weekend is catch the Cave Singers' set. On their brand-new record, Welcome Joy, Derek Fudesco's repetitive guitar riffs race along like an old car on a dusty Southern highway, while singer Pete Quirk's slightly worn voice warmly reminisces about the summers of his youth. You'll be transported to a happier place; it'll be the calm in the midst of your Bumbershoot storm. MS

CENTRAL SERVICES' BOARD OF EDUCATION

(Sun, 1 pm, Northwest Court) Among the Seattle pop foursome's songs for the 8-to-12-year-old crowd is the popular "The Lonely Tomato": "I had fun sitting on top of your salads/And in between your crust and cheese/But suddenly it seems I'm someone else inside/Things have gotten awkward in the produce aisle." Problematically, the tomato has been told he "might be a fruit." What now? JG

CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE

(Mon, 4:45 pm, EMP) Few bands can make me blush like Champagne Champagne can. The local hiphop trio pair sexy beats with lyrics about some of their favorite (and favorite things about) women. The soft and spacey "Molly Ringwald" is an ode to a redhead—"the kind you find in wet dreams." The more party-vibed "What's Your Fantasy" goes, "This is the moment we break it down/Put your legs in the air while we pound in sound." In "Cover Girls," though, the sexual escapades catch up to them: "She came to me/Loved me so much unconditionally/Then she gave me what she gave every other guy/Yeah, the clap." Dirty, dirty boys. MS

COLD WAR KIDS

(Sun, 1 pm, Memorial Stadium) What do a bunch of white rockers from Long Beach, California, know about the blues? Apparently quite a bit, judging by Cold War Kids' barnstorming interpretation of it. The SoCal four-piece bluster in the passionate tradition of White Stripes, Black Keys, and U2, with a heads-down/fists-in-the-air sound that aims to fill stadia—with music and people. And people sure are feeling Cold War Kids' intensity and rousing tunes. DAVE SEGAL

recommendedCOMMON MARKET

(Sun, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green) To restate the obvious: Common Market are not only the Grand Central Terminal of Seattle hiphop, they are the Grand Central Terminal of emerging Seattle culture. RA Scion and Sabzi make some of the smartest, richest music around—soulful, funky, with the glow of earnest determination—and have worked with some of Seattle's best new comedians (Hari Kondabolu, the People's Republic of Komedy), filmmakers (Zia Mohajerjasbi), and experimental musicians (Paul Rucker). Common Market belong to the world, but you're lucky enough to share a city with them. Go. Represent. BRENDAN KILEY

CORDERO

(Sat, 5 pm, Northwest Court) Ani Cordero fronts this Latin-meets-indie-rock ensemble, which is based in Brooklyn and bilingual. You might find in the revolving crew Chris Verene (Rock*A*Teens, D.Q.E., and also a photographer/performance artist), Eric Biondo (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra), Jon Petrow (Cloud Room, Gachupin), Lynn Wright (Gachupin, James Hall), F.A. Blasco (Interpol, Slow Whitey), or Paul Watson (Sparklehorse) providing keyboard, horn, bass, drums, guitar, dancing beats. JG

DAVE ALVIN AND THE GUILTY WOMEN

(Sun, 6:45 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) It's Dave Alvin—the Grammy-winning country, folk, and blues man—and seven ladies. After a member of Alvin's longtime band, the Guilty Men, died last year, Alvin created a tribute by working with a new band: the Guilty Women. They first played together at last fall's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, and the twangy-roots partnership just stuck. JG

D.BLACK

(Sun, 8 pm, EMP) D.Black is a young rapper with a lot of heart and also a lot of history in the region—his father was a member of the Emerald Street Boys. D.Black, an MC of the realist school, has been at the center of the most active and successful black-owned hiphop label in the city, Sportn' Life Records. In 2006, he released a local classic, The Cause & Effect, and in September of this year, he is set to release his second album, Ali'Yah, a work that has tracks produced by two of Seattle's three kings of beats, Jake One and Vitamin D (the third king is, of course, BeanOne). CM

DEAD CONFEDERATE

(Mon, 6 pm, Exhibition Hall) These guys do not sound happy. They sound tortured. Their first single, released this year, was called "The Rat": "Shoot from the back/Take good aim/Make sure I'm dead/Bang bang/'Cause I'm a rat." They're grungy and Southern and heavy and a little Gothic (in the original sense of the word), hailing from Athens, Georgia. JG

recommendedDE LA SOUL

(Sat, 9:30 pm, Fisher Green) A rap group that lasts two decades is a rarity; a rap group that endures that long without showing serious artistic decadence is even more rare. De La Soul may have peaked with their first three albums—3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, and Buhloone Mindstate—but the D.A.I.S.Y. Age (RIP) icons haven't drastically tailed off in quality, as some other hiphop vets have done. Boasting a catalog bursting with smart party-igniters, De La Soul should pack their Bumbershoot set with socially conscious lyrics, swift vocal interplay, and some of the funkiest, funnest samples ever punched into an MPC. D. SEGAL See preview.

DELHI 2 DUBLIN

(Mon, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green) Electric sitar! Beats! These five players are based in Vancouver and mix up electronica and world musics with fiddle, tabla (a pair of hand drums), dhol (a barrel drum), Punjabi vocals, that sitar, and those beats. They're "keeping it heavy on the Bhangra [it's a folk Sikh thing], Celtic, and Dub flavours." Their friend the director Michael Mann is shooting their first music video. JG

DEPT. OF ENERGY

(Mon, 12:15 pm, EMP) Former Dear John Letters bandmates Robb Benson and Cassady Laton have joined forces with Ty Bailie to form Dept. of Energy, a classic indie-rock outfit with a tendency to break into mid-era-Beatles-inspired pop harmonies (listen to "Tuning Out" for a prime example of this). As if they're not busy enough with that, Bailie also plays with the likes of Kim Virant, Shane Tutmarc, and Mike McCready's Flight to Mars, while Benson can often be seen around town performing his own solo material. MS

THE DEVIL MAKES THREE

(Mon, 5 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) The Devil Makes Three are maybe the world's only folk/country goth band. They've got that old, lo-fi White Stripes vibe, except all of their songs are about the four horsemen of the apocalypse and graveyards, instead of crappy hotels and skipping to school. JONAH SPANGENTHAL-LEE

recommendedDJ SPOOKY THAT SUBLIMINAL KID

(Sun, 9:30 pm, EMP) A musical chameleon, an inveterate collaborator, and a cultural theorist, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid has many ingenious methods to stimulate your mind and body. Probably the only musician who's worked with Iannis Xenakis and Kool Keith, Spooky flaunts tremendous stylistic range as a producer and DJ; hiphop, jungle, dub, jazz, avant-garde composition, and his self-coined genre, illbient, flicker through his back catalog with compelling gravity. He'll be DJing at Bumbershoot, which means you should prepare for a dazzling dose of music-history edutainment. D. SEGAL

THE DUSTY 45s

(Sun, 1:30 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Billy Joe, bandleader of the Dusty 45s, made a fairly convincing Buddy Holly in the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Buddy; bandmate Kelly Van Kamp played the Big Bopper in the same production. These hometown charmers play theatrical rockabilly-swing. Some people love them. Others are indifferent. But they seem too aw-shucks friendly to actively dislike. BK

recommendedDYME DEF

(Sun, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green) The new Panic EP from Seattle's "3 Bad Brothaaas"—aka MCs Brainstorm, S.E.V., and Fearce Villain (backed by producer and DJ Bean One)—is another sure sign that one day, SOMEDAY, people will talk about Seattle hiphop without having to mention that one guy, ol'-what's-his-name, and his songs about Broadway and butts. DD's independent debut, Space Music, sold over 10,000 copies, the Source magazine tagged them "Unsigned Hype" for 2008, and now Panic. The trio sound sharper and more confident than ever on this disc focused on our shit-show economy. I predict Dyme Def will hit the mainstream before the mainstream digs itself out of recession. It's only matter of time, babies. KO

DYNO JAMZ

(Sat, 12:30 pm, EMP) Seattle's Dyno Jamz won this year's EMP Sound Off! competition, beating out countless young bands from the Pacific Northwest. In the finals, they delivered their classy combination of funk, hiphop, and a little jazz with near-flawless results and without sacrificing any of their energy (or dance moves). Blaring horn solos, smooth keyboard riffs, and singer Zac Millan's positive lyrics had everyone's hands in the air—even the competing bands' fans were won over. MS

ELENI MANDELL

(Sat, 6:45 pm, Northwest Court) Eleni Mandell is a Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter. God, what was it that Cracker said about the world needing another folk singer? EG

ELVIS PERKINS IN DEARLAND

(Sat, 8:30 pm, Northwest Court) Elvis Perkins in Dearland sound like they're being beamed in on an old-timey radio (you know, the kind in the big wooden cabinet like your grandparents had) from, well, old-timey times. There's weeping, woozy brass; hard-pounding piano; trembling organ; a dustbowl troubadour's acoustic guitar; and music-hall-sized drums. Then there's Perkins's well-worn and world-weary croon. Everything is positively time-warped. EG

ERIC HUTCHINSON

(Sat, 6:45 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Eric Hutchinson is like a younger, better looking (and dressed) Jack Johnson, all innocuous acoustic guitar and piano, bland good vibes, and offensively "soulful" singing. He has been championed by no less than internet anal wart Perez Hilton. EG

EVEREST

(Sat, 12:45 pm, Broad Street) Everest's online bio talks at some length about the band's love for Western-style snap-button shirts. But Everest isn't some stylized alt-country act; rather, they're purveyors of painfully slow and whisper-soft acoustic balladry, the sort of stuff that strikes a fine funereal tone but probably takes decades of listening to ever get stuck in your head. I'm guessing here, as I don't have the decades to spare. EG

recommendedEXTRA GOLDEN

(Sun, 4 pm, Fisher Green) Extra Golden were born from a three-hour international jam session in Nairobi between native musicians Otieno Jagwasi and Onyango Wuod Omari and American indie rockers Ian Eagleson (in Kenya to research a doctoral thesis on the country's popular benga music) and Alex Minoff, both of the D.C. band Golden (Minoff also played in the Make-Up, Weird War, and Six Finger Satellite). After Jagwasi's death, the band recruited new members for live performances but had difficulty getting the Kenyan musicians into the U.S.—a difficulty that was ultimately resolved with an assist from Barack Obama, leading to perhaps the first nonembarrassing song bearing the then presidential candidate's name, Hera Ma Nono's "Obama." EG

FORGIVE DURDEN

(Mon, 4:15 pm, Exhibition Hall) Are you in the mood for a high-concept rock opera telling the story of a world ripped in two by the selfish actions of an egotistical-yet-insecure angel, then made whole again by the love and sacrifice of a couple brave enough to fulfill their destinies? Then you won't want to miss Seattle's Forgive Durden performing Razia's Shadow, the indie-rock band's concept album about all of the above. Spoiler alert from Wikipedia: "The musical is often interpreted as being highly allegorical for the Bible and the story of Christ." DAVID SCHMADER

recommendedFRANZ FERDINAND

(Mon, 7:45 pm, Memorial Stadium) On Franz Ferdinand's latest album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the Scottish outfit dish out yet more stylish, sexy, new-wave-inflected rock 'n' roll, but with returns somewhat diminished since their breakout debut. The band's stomping drums, strutting bass, and twitchy guitars are still primed for the dance floor, and frontman Alex Kapranos's singing voice sounds as seductive as ever, but his whispered nothings are slightly less sweet, his barbed asides less sly, and the band's songs just not quite as irresistibly catchy as, say, "Take Me Out," "This Fire," "Michael," or "The Dark of the Matinee." Pretty fantastic live, though. EG

recommendedGANG GANG DANCE

(Sat, 7 pm, Exhibition Hall) Although Gang Gang Dance have gradually sheared off some of their more abrasive textures, they're still working far left of center from the music-biz grid. These Brooklyn bohos have always had a predilection for strange rhythms, but with their latest album, Saint Dymphna, GGD bend grime, gothic dub, techno, and Madonna's "Holiday" to their own idiosyncratic will. This group's tweaking of the sonic pleasure principle strikes a subversive, usually unusual note. D. SEGAL See preview.

GRAND HALLWAY

(Mon, 3:15 pm, Northwest Court) On their upcoming release, Promenade (out online now, in stores September 15), Grand Hallway craft a meticulous flurry of strings, piano, slide guitar, and various percussion to score poignant, fun, and beautiful songs. The first single, "Blessed Be, Honey Be" (available for free on their website), begins with explosive harmonies and swelling strings; if I had my way, the first 20 seconds of the song would play every single time I walked into a room. MS

HANDFUL OF LUVIN'

(Sun, noon, Mural Amphitheatre) "Handful of Luvin'" sounds like the title of a solo-JO porn film, but actually it's the name of a Seattle band whose core members—guitarist/vocalist David John and classically trained fiddler Andrew Joslyn—met in Bellingham in 2002, started playing out together in 2003, and found themselves a full band by 2004. This band comprises, according to their press materials, "five very diverse musicians who love music and try to communicate that to everyone." Now go get your Handful of Luvin' (and don't forget the moist towlettes for after). DS

HEAD LIKE A KITE

(Mon, 9:15 pm, EMP) Head Like a Kite make an awful lot of playful, sexy sound considering that they're only two men. Trent Moorman and his well-dressed bandmate Dave Einmo manage to persuade a mess of wires, synthesizers, old telephones, a guitar, and drums into dancing together in perfect electronic harmony. How they do it, though, I just don't know—even after seeing them a number of times. They must have extra arms or something. Or really flexible feet. MS

THE HELIO SEQUENCE

(Sun, 9:30 pm, Broad Street) This summer is the Helio Sequence's 10th anniversary, and they still sound great—a guitarist and a drummer/keyboardist who play a hybrid of indie rock and electronic music. (Keyboardist Benjamin Weikel has also played with Modest Mouse.) Lots of acts have glossed up their indie rock with electronic flourishes in the past few years, but few do it better than mellower forebears the Helio Sequence. BK

HEY MARSEILLES

(Sun, 12:45 pm, Broad Street) Last year, without much thought, I brushed past Hey Marseilles' late-2008 release To Travels & Trunks because I'd had enough of that vaudevillian bullshit with the swelling strings and lyrics about books. But Hey Marseilles are not bullshit. And they don't really sing about books that much, either. Their songs are about escaping and searching for happiness—they're gorgeous and delicate, and if you've been avoiding them, trust that their swelling strings are worth a second listen. MS

recommendedHOLY FUCK

(Sun, 7:45 pm, Broad Street) The thing I remember most from seeing Holy Fuck live is how one of their members spent most of the set pulling ribbons of magnetic tape through some onstage device like oversized dental floss. I'm guessing it was some kind of tape delay? No matter, because while Holy Fuck's live machinations may be somewhat indecipherable, their sound is viscerally immediate and understandable, all noisy throb, heat-ticking motorik pulse, wild-animal synth squeaks and squeals, and, in the case of the epic, Owen Pallett–assisted "Lovely Allen," giant, sweeping strings that could lift you right off the Seattle Center lawn and leave you floating above the Space Needle. EG See preview.

THE HONEY BROTHERS

(Sun, 3:15 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Adrian Grenier, of Entourage fame, is in a lame folk band. Somebody else in the group plays ukulele. Ugh, whatever. Just go and stare into Grenier's hauntingly blue eyes as he bangs away at his drum kit, and imagine that you are the drum kit. JSL

HOTELS

(Sat, 2 pm, EMP) The music scene is thick with '80s tribute bands, including but not limited to Love Vigilantes (New Order knockoffs), Fascination Street (Cure copiers), Black Celebration (Depeche Mode do-overs), and This Charming Band (Smiths fakers). And then there's Seattle's Hotels, an '80s rehash act canny enough to write their own songs—shamelessly derivative synth-pop ditties-and-dirges that play mix-and-match with '80s influences. One Hotels performance video shows a Joy Division–looking guitarist rocking out next to a would-be Paul Simonon on bass, creating a song that sounds like Disintegration-era Cure as performed by Bauhaus. DS

IGLU & HARTLY

(Sat, 5:15 pm, Exhibition Hall) California pop-rock five-piece Iglu & Hartly describe their sound as "Tom Petty meets the Pointer Sisters in a neon karaoke bar." This sounded too good to be true, but a quick listen to the band's "Jump out of Your Car" proves the description's exactness: The music quite literally sounds like a glossy, synthy mid-'80s Pointer Sisters hit crossbred with a guitar-driven Tom Petty track; even the title is perfectly in tune. Then come the vocals—squirrelly candy-rap by a pretty-boy honky who can't decide if he's Jake Shears or Marshall Mathers and often ends up sounding like a reject from Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Nevertheless, it's all ridiculously entertaining. Or as the kids say: It's got a good beat and you can dance to it. DS

recommendedJANELLE MONAE

(Mon, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green) I first encountered Janelle Monae on OutKast's Idlewild, where she lit up a couple of tracks on a good album that would ultimately be ignored. Soon enough, Monae was signed by P. Diddy, releasing ambitious "urban alternative" records for Bad Boy and opening for Of Montreal. All evidence confirms Monae's status as an art-driven diva with much more in common with Erykah Badu than with, say, Ciara. Monae's 2009 SXSW show was hailed as a metal-tinged space-funk mindblower. DS

JASON MRAZ

(Sun, 9:15 pm, Memorial Stadium) Someone's got to be the less-douchey John Mayer, and there's no better contender than Jason Mraz, a perfectly good guy making perfectly nice music that will not make you cover your ears in horror should you happen to hear it on the radio or in the supermarket. He's funny, humble, pro-gay, and he wears hats. DS

KATY PERRY

(Sat, 1:45 pm, Memorial Stadium) Admit it: It's been fun watching Katy Perry flicker and falter in the moment (i.e., 2009) following her initial flash of fame, as Lady GaGa's off-the-rack club-kid pop overtakes Perry's lame (and formerly evangelical Christian) faux lesbiantics. Oh sure, she'll probably come back in 2010 or something (the supervillain always comes back one more time before the end)—and, yes, she deserves some credit for being able to write her own as well as other people's songs and for being an entertaining if entirely predictable loudmouth in interviews—but history will remember her as a footnote, no more important though a great deal more odious than that Jill Sobule character (whatever happened to her, anyway?). EG

recommendedKAY KAY AND HIS WEATHERED UNDERGROUND

(Sat, 9:30 pm, EMP) I confess I'd forgotten about Kay Kay—the Sgt. Pepper of Seattle indie rock—until earlier this summer, when I stumbled into a house party where the Weathered Underground filled out the living room with their horns, guitar, bass, and rainbow slip-n-slide harmonies. They were all big sound and goodwill (and high on mushrooms), with their small, rapt audience reflected in the tuba's circular bell. Kay Kay are the sound of a refreshing vacation, the perfect antidote to crowd-induced grouchiness. BK

KELLER WILLIAMS

(Mon, 8:30 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) There is a powerful moment in the movie To Sleep with Anger. It happens when Danny Glover, who is the bad guy, says something like: "I like my blues simple—just a man and his guitar." This is the kind of thing (or simplicity, or honesty) that Virginian Keller Williams strives for: a man and his guitar. Though he has made music with groups (like the Keels and the String Cheese Incident), a good part of his reputation rests on his solo performances of funk, bluegrass, and rock. CM

KIM FIELD AND THE MIGHTY TITANS OF TONE

(Sat, 1:30 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Local musician Kim Field plays the harmonica, an instrument that has no value in jazz, little to no value in soul, a little to some value in reggae, some to lots of value in rock, and lots and lots of value in blues. The harmonica is to blues what the melodica is to dub. Its sound does justice to the kind of music Field loves and makes, music that has its roots in the Mississippi Delta. CM

THE KINDNESS KIND

(Sun, 12:30 pm, EMP) Midday on Labor Day weekend may not be the best time to really experience the Kindness Kind's darker, experimental indie rock. Singer Allessandra Rose's voice is fragile and, at times, haunting, and the band's keyboards only embellish the worried and distressed tones in her dramatic songs. There's nothing summery about it. But at least their set is inside, so you can pretend, while they play, that the sun doesn't exist and that you're floating in the outer limits of cold, deep space. MS

THE KNUX

(Mon, 1:30 pm, Memorial Stadium) While Jay-Z and Dizzee Rascal are content to harness the inexhaustible power of Billy Squier riffs, the Knux—New Orleans-by-way-of-L.A. brothers Kentrell and Alvin Lindsey—take it back to the old school, composing their own goddamn rock riffs on their own goddamn guitars à la the track that started it all: Run-D.M.C.'s "Rock Box," which featured original guitar work by Eddie Martinez. If none of the tracks on the Knux's 2008 debut, Remind Me in 3 Days..., achieves the perfection of that instigating classic, they have a complete blast trying, and they're said to be even more intense and exciting live. DS

KORE IONZ

(Sun, 12:30 pm, Fisher Green) As one who knows his reggae, I can confidently state that Kore Ionz are one of the better local roots bands in the region. Three reasons why: One, the singer is actually good; two, the band know how to blend the percussive elements with the melodic ones; and, three, they never go too far from the traditional beat of roots reggae. Kore Ionz are an excellent live band for the local lovers of classical Jamaican pop. CM

KRISTEN WARD

(Sat, noon, Mural Amphitheatre) With Kristen Ward's music, we hear a very steady and full sound. There is sorrow here, but it's not bleak; no matter how bad things are, there's always a little warmth, like the wood of walls in a room with a fireplace. Ward is from Seattle, is young, has two albums to her name, and has a vocal approach that's all about bigness. She is far from shy, she is not depressed, she is alive and in a world that, even in tunes like "Lowdownville" and "Loneliness," has its flowers, long sunsets, and silver moons. CM

LENKA

(Mon, 8:30 pm, Northwest Court) You will not be surprised to learn that the reason why Lenka (an Australian based in L.A.) has some amount of fame is because one of her pop tunes, "The Show," was used by Old Navy to promote its products on TV. Her music (overwritten, overperformed) seems designed for companies that want their products to be attached to clever and catchy tunes. We have not seen the end of this sort of thing. Feist, look at what you have done! CM

THE LONELY FOREST

(Mon, 3:15 pm, EMP) The Lonely Forest have had a difficult couple of years—they battled addiction, suffered illness, and had to reformulate their sound as a trio after their guitarist left the band. The boys from Anacortes were on the brink of fading away. But on their new record, We Sing the Body Electric!, the band own all the adversity that could've destroyed them and make the skeletons in their closet dance. It's one of the most powerful and thoughtful pop records to come from the Pacific Northwest in a while. MS See preview.

THE LONG WINTERS

(Sat, 9:30 pm, Broad Street) Not that he's not a great singer, songwriter, and guitarist, but sometimes you just wish John Roderick, the frontman of veteran Seattle indie-rock band the Long Winters, would just quit the musician gig and go into public speaking full-time. Because the man is funny. Sure, the Long Winters have songs, but any gig of theirs is usually as good for the between-song banter as it is for aching acoustic-y numbers like "The Commander Thinks Aloud" or "Cinnamon." Also, Roderick is a real live yeti. EG

LOW VS DIAMOND

(Sat, 4:15 pm, Broad Street) Here is a rock band that have the advantage of having one clear goal: producing a hit, a huge hit. If they can do this, if one of their catchy tunes becomes larger than life and skyrockets to the top of the charts, then their mission is accomplished. Based in L.A., the quintet make the kind of rock that soars with powerful feelings and transforms ordinary moments into epics of the soul. All they need is the wonder of one big hit. CM

MACKLEMORE

(Mon, 12:30 pm, Fisher Green) In a world full of lies, Macklemore reps truth. The Seattle MC steers clear of the bullshit—the tired gold-guns-n-girls rap clichés—instead tackling issues such as race, politics, and religion with some much-needed bluntness and sincerity. And he's needle-pointedly funny, too. If we're lucky, he'll bring that mullet and mustachioed white-boy alter ego "Aberdeen" with him to perform "I'm an American." That guy really keeps it real. KO

MARK TAYLOR QUARTET

(Sun, 4 pm, Northwest Court) Mark Taylor is a local, young jazz saxophonist with a lot of experience, education, and also a growing reputation. In 2008 he was named NW Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year by Earshot Jazz, and he has worked with local notables like Victor Noriega and fav trumpeter Thomas Marriott (Flexicon is an album that needs more attention). Because the ghost of Coltrane is never far from where he blows, expect Taylor's set to be the site of great jazz. CM

MASSY FERGUSON

(Sat, 3:15 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) With one album, Cold Equations, in their past, Massy Ferguson, a local band with a sound that their MySpace page describes as "unapologetic rock Americana for the masses," now have the future ahead of them. That future includes touring Australia, the perfect continent for the band's brand of neo-Southern rock. I can easily picture a tavern of Aussies enjoying their music, drinking beer, whistling, clapping, and dancing like they are somewhere in the middle of America. CM

MATT & KIM

(Sat, 6 pm, Broad Street) The ridiculous dance party that explodes in the audience every time Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino get on a stage could only get sweeter if the Brooklyn indie-pop duo showed up at Bumbershoot wearing what they wore at the end of their video for "Lessons Learned." Did you see that one? The video of them slowly walking through a supercrowded, midwinter Times Square? The one where they take off every stitch of their clothing except for Kim's socks? Hoo-wee! That was a good one. Can't you picture Kim drumming under the hazy Seattle sun, wearing just her maniacal smile and those socks? I can. KO

recommendedMAYER HAWTHORNE & THE COUNTY

(Sat, 4 pm, Fisher Green) Mayer Hawthorne's debut single for esteemed L.A. oddball hiphop label Stones Throw was pressed on red, heart-shaped vinyl—appropriate, given how much love drips from his blue-eyed soul songs. Not only romantic love won and lost, but a deep, abiding love for his hometown of Detroit's rich musical traditions, from J Dilla on back to classic Motown. You'll hear less of the former and more of the latter in Hawthorne's vintage-sounding arrangements and straight-faced, falsetto-reaching croon. Think Jim-era Jamie Lidell, only with less wicked wit and outlandish stage presence; instead, Hawthorne is just dapper and pro, backed by his slick-but-not-showy band the County. EG See preview.

recommendedMETRIC

(Mon, 9:30 pm, Broad Street) Like the measurement system from which they take their name, Canadian rock band Metric are just smarter and more efficient than bushels and hogsheads of their American peers put together. Frontwoman Emily Haines cracks whip-smart, precisely poetic lyrics over her band's high-gloss but never garish pop hooks, and she runs the stage like a woman wonderfully possessed, pounding on her keyboards and singing with a voice that vacillates between perfect calm, sweet sultriness, and anxiety-inducing sneers with ease. Their latest album, Fantasies, is not their greatest, but nothing in their worthwhile catalog displeases; some stuff just thrills more than the rest. EG

MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD

(Sun, 7:15 pm, Memorial Stadium) Yes, Michael Franti has been around forever. Yes, he sometimes smothers his songs with a thick glaze of sanctimony. Yes, he pretty much stopped wearing shoes in 2000. But he's been one of the good guys from his industrial-punk days in the Beatnigs to his early hiphop with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy to the world-rap/folk of Spearhead. These days he's singing about "riddims" and "rude boys" and hanging out in Jamaica. Like Manu Chao, he sometimes staggers toward self-parody but, like Manu Chao, you'll miss him when he's gone. BK

MICHAEL SHRIEVE'S SPELLBINDER

(Sun, 5:30 pm, Northwest Court) Michael Shrieve has a lot of history behind him. Back in the day, he was a drummer for Santana. He also performed at Woodstock. These days, he has a jam band that basically revive the spirit of that moment in avant-garde rock, with its trippy hippies and its worship of long and elaborate guitar solos. When old rock musicians are feeling it, we call it jamming; when old funk musicians are feeling it, we call it cooking. Because the young musicians of our time do not have those kinds of feelings, they neither jam nor cook. CM

THE MINUS 5

(Mon, 1:30 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Scott McCaughey—also of the Young Fresh Fellows and allegedly an unofficial "fifth" member of R.E.M.—has like eight million side projects. This is one of them. It's your standard post-grunge-Seattle indie folk rock stuff, done very professionally. Their latest album is the recently released Killingsworth. JSL

recommendedMIRAH

(Mon, 4:15 pm, Broad Street) The ideal way to hear K Records singer-songwriter Mirah (full name Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn) would be to see her on solo acoustic guitar, playing in an open field for only you and the one you love. Second runner-up might be lying on the floor of your room, watching her classic album You Think It's Like This but It's Really It's Like This or Advisory Committee spinning around on your record player, her impossibly intimate singing and breathtaking songs crackling out of a pair of old speakers. Forgoing all this, seeing her backed by a live band on the Broad Street lawn at Bumbershoot is not a bad way to go. EG

recommendedMODEST MOUSE

(Mon, 9:30 pm, Memorial Stadium) Unless you're 8 or deaf or you've been in a coma (oh wait, have you been in a coma?), you have no excuse for not being at least 10 years deep into Modest Mouse superfandom. It's been 13 years since their striking debut EP, Interstate 8, and full-length, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. It's been 12 years since the indisputable, insane genius of follow-up album The Lonesome Crowded West. If you've only been paying attention in the five years since breakthrough single "Float On," the bad news is you missed out on some truly wild early years; the good news is that you've got some fucking great catching up to do. EG

MSTRKRFT

(Sun, 8:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) For whatever reason, crossover electronic dance acts tend to have a sadly predictable life span, one that goes from their moment of underground cred to the inevitable, ill-advised vocal collaborations, usually within the space of just one or two albums. So it is with Canadian electro headbangers MSTRKRFT, whose utterly disposable sophomore album, Fist of God, plays out exactly as you'd expect it to—like a limp rehash of their debut, only with a completely ridic Ghostface "guest" appearance that sounds like it could have been lifted from a voice-mail message. The Looks was dopey and fun; Fist of God is just dumb (fittingly, there is also an E-40 guest spot). EG

MT. ST. HELENS VIETNAM BAND

(Sun, 2:30 pm, Broad Street) A few weeks ago, local indie rockers Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band reached a high point in their short career by being the first band in the U.S. to ever play a live show on a live volcano. Technically they played at the observation center that was looking at Mount St. Helens—but had the mountain decided to erupt that evening, they'd have still been toast. They survived, though, and even played a few new songs from their next record, which promises to be just as lush, fun, and catchy as their self-titled debut. MS

NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD

(Sat, 2:30 pm, Broad Street) NPSH are a live dance band that sound like dorky, happy, blissfully unselfconscious kids taking drugs and rubbing their sweaty stomachs against each other. Plus Devo. Plus cartoons. Plus glitter. They've toured with CSS and Lily Allen and sing about trying not to smoke and amusement parks: "Do you want to go on the tilt-a-whirl?/C'mon, girl, till you hurl!" These kids are bound for candy-colored trouble. BK

THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS

(Mon, 4 pm, Fisher Green) It seems completely improbable that four British dudes from Leeds could play kind-of-awesome jazz-funk that sounds like you're on a Caribbean vacation with Curtis Mayfield. But here it is. Whatever, Universe, you win again. JSL

recommendedNO AGE

(Sun, 6:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) I just went to the dentist to get a filling. (Stupid, delicious Hot Tamales.) While the work was being done, I took in nitrous oxide through my nose and No Age's Nouns through my ears, via headphones. It was a perfect match, with the sound of the drill fitting right into the music and vice versa. The record played all the way through. I left feeling like I'd just taken a small vacation. DS

THE NOT-ITS!

(Sat, 1:30 pm, Northwest Court) When I was a kid, the Not-Its!'s Danny Adamson played in a punk band for young adults called Wafflestomper (it was the '90s). Now I'm an adult, and Adamson is a dad, and he plays in a punk band for kids. And not "kids" in the all-ages/DIY/hardcore vernacular, either, but actual snot-nosed, grubby-faced, pants-pooping, crying-for-their-mommies children. Why anyone would jump out of the frying pan of playing for moshing alterna-teens and into the fire of performing for toddlers is beyond me, but clearly the Not-Its! are made of tougher stuff than I. (Also, you can misspell their name as "the No Tits," an equally appropriate message for the little ones.) EG

OLD 97'S

(Sat, 7:45 pm, Memorial Stadium) Alt-country like the Drive-By Truckers, with a little more Nashville shuffle. These lyrics really tell you all you need to know: "Well you can drop me off on Highway 34/I hear they got some beer cans there, and I gotta get some more/Drive me into town so we can cash 'em in/Then we will never have to live in sin/I'm just picking up beer cans on the highway/It's the only thing I ever want to do/I'm just picking up beer cans on the highway/I gotta save my dough so I can marry you." BK

OLYMPIC SOUND COLLECTIVE

(Sat, 12:30 pm, Fisher Green) There are no kind words I can find for this local jam band. For one, I hate jamming (as much as I hate cooking). Also, I hate that moment after jazz (the fusion period) when jamming was all the rage. Jamming with electric pianos and guitars was the sound of nails being hammered into the coffin of modern jazz, which lived from 1946 to 1969. CM

OREN LAVIE

(Mon, 5 pm, Northwest Court) Hoooooo-wee. This is some low-key shit. Strings (sweeping, hopping), piano (tinkly), sustained crooning (hushed). I mean, you could put this on in the car with your mom and she would probably rock back and forth a little bit and hum. And then she'd be like, "Who is this? Is this the kind of band that you and your friends are into?" and you'd be annoyed even though she's just trying to relate to you, so then you'd feel like a dick for feeling annoyed. And you'd say, "Yeah, Mom. It's a pretty good band." And she'd say, "I love you, son. Here is $100." KA-CHINGGGGG!!! LW

recommendedOS MUTANTES

(Sat, 7:30 pm, Fisher Green) In 1964, the Brazilian Army led a right-wing coup against the government. Two years later, a psychedelic-rock band called Os Mutantes formed in São Paulo, took too much LSD, and composed the background music for Brazil's uneasy combination of tropical dream and military dictatorship. "The Mutants" played the sexiest rock of the '60s, blending Beach Boys pop with Hendrix soul and the stylistic kinkiness of Brazil's Tropicalia movement. (The voice of their original singer, Rita Lee, sounds like a dress falling onto a cool tile floor.) Most North Americans didn't discover them until well after their nasty, protracted breakup (which involved drugs, fights, and at least one coma, induced by a leap from a six-story window). In 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote Os Mutantes a letter, asking them to tour again. In 1999, David Byrne released a Mutantes compilation. The U.S. love affair with the Mutants continues. BK

OTEP

(Sat, 8:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) OTEP carry on in the tradition of Ministry, though they're not nearly as macho and sound more metal than industrial (and melodic metal at that—more aluminum than lead). But the message is similar: "Smash the control machine/Work, buy, consume, die." Frontwoman Otep Shamaya is a lesbian, vegetarian PETA supporter who grew up in a tough part of Los Angeles. She writes poems, paints, and caught a raft of shit for her song about killing dudes ("Menocide"). And she can rock a death grunt. BK

recommendedPARENTHETICAL GIRLS

(Sun, 3:30 pm, EMP) Holy Fuck may win the award for the most obviously "offensive" band name at Bumbershoot (if you're the kind of adult baby who gets offended by dirty words), but they've got nothing on Parenthetical Girls in the shocking-sensibilities department. In Parenthetical Girls, frontman (and former Stranger music writer) Zac Pennington plays a morally and sexually ambiguous dandy fop narcissist who conducts illicit, predatory romances over cartoon-giddy orchestral scores and delicately arranged noise. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? The band's latest, Entanglements, is a fine, if freakish, work of baroque pop. Parents, lock up your sons and daughters. EG

recommendedPAST LIVES

(Sat, 3:30 pm, EMP) It's hard to talk about Past Lives without addressing the, well, past lives of the members—singer Jordan Blilie, guitarist/synth man Morgan Henderson, drummer Mark Gajadhar, and guitarist Devin Welch—who were all, at one time, in Seattle-area hardcore band the Blood Brothers. Now with less screamo and more nerve-jangling post-punk disquietude, the foursome are forging new ground and new sounds with Strange Symmetry, recorded in 2008 and mixed by Dann Gallucci (whose past lives include Murder City Devils and Modest Mouse). KO

PAUL OSCHER

(Sun, 7:30 pm, Northwest Court) Old-timey multi-instrumentalist Paul Oscher used to be the "harp player" in Muddy Waters's blues band—and I'm pretty sure that's the kind of harp you blow with your mouth, not the kind you pluck and caress with your delicate ladyfingers. Now solo, he sings and plays basic, stripped-down, totally legit (for a white person) blues about "walkin'" and "driftin'" at about the pace of your grandma's morning constitutional. If you met him, he would probably tell you to "take a load off" and he might refer to people as "cats." He seems like that kind of guy. LW

POINT JUNCTURE, WA

(Mon, 1:45 pm, EMP) Okay, there's a slight boringness issue here. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. That's a drum. Fuzz. Fuzz. Fuzz. Fuzz. That's a guitar. Blaaaaaaah. Blaaaaaaah. Blaaaaaaah. That's a lady-singer. The finished product is in no way unpleasant—it's a little nice, a little throwbacky, a little precious. You might listen to it in a car if you were a character in a movie driving a car. A kind of boring but kind of nice movie. LW

PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT

(Mon, 6:45 pm, Northwest Court) Portland Cello Project are, as you might infer, a sprawling string ensemble from our sister city to the south. The octet's repertoire ranges from cello interpretations of Britney Spears's "Toxic" and Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" to Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra." The group's most recent project was a recording session with Justin Power and Thao Nguyen of Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, resulting in the album The Thao & Justin Power Sessions (man, do they have a thing for self-explanatory names). EG

RAPHAEL SAADIQ

(Sun, 9:30 pm, Fisher Green) A couple years ago, Amy Winehouse's Back to Black (created with invaluable help from Mark Ronson and the Dap-Kings) reminded a whole bunch of (white) people about the vast aural pleasures of old-school soul. Legendary singer-songwriter-producer Raphael Saadiq has devoted most of his life to these pleasures, leading the chart-conquering new jack swingsters Tony! Toni! Toné!, producing the deep funk stew of D'Angelo's classic Voodoo, and, most recently, releasing his freakishly accomplished 2008 solo album The Way I See It. The latter is an impeccable dazzler that comes on like a one-man Motown show, with Saadiq playing all the parts, from mastermind Berry Gordy to songwriting factory Holland-Dozier-Holland to singing-songwriting superstar Smokey Robinson. That the end result manages to spring to its own 21st-century life is a testament to Saadiq's gifts. Winehouse can only cry in her crack. DS

RECESS MONKEY

(Mon, 1:30 pm, Northwest Court) I have to warn you that Recess Monkey, "Seattle's Greatest Children's Music Band," have plans: They want to teach your children the old "Orange you glad I didn't say 'banana'" joke. Do you really want that? Are you ready for that in your home? Banana. Banana. Banana. Banana. Banana. Banana. If you are—and you like smart, poppy music (for kids) that is somehow both whimsical and not awful—here are Recess Monkey. BANANA. LW

ROMANCE

(Sun, 5 pm, EMP) Listening to Romance: They are kind of like driving the Magic School Bus straight into Robert Smith's respiratory system—up the goth nostril, down the breathing canal (technical term), a nice picnic under a bronchial tree heavy with sadness fruits. It's a direct line to super-straightforward but well-executed '80s post-punk business. Uh oh, you guys... I think Robert Smith is going to sneeeeeeeeze! Whoooa-oaaa-oa-ooohhhh!!!!! And then—splat—right into Robert Smith's potato salad (next up: digestive system!). LW

recommendedROY AYERS

(Sun, 7:30 pm, Fisher Green) Roy Ayers is, of course, one of the great vibraphonists in the history of jazz. He also is one of the few jazz musicians to make a successful transition from jazz to funk (as well as disco and hiphop). Out of all the work he has done, and it is a lot, that which is most fascinating to me is his album with the Nigerian Afrobeat god Fela Kuti, Music of Many Colors (1980). The magical collaboration between the black African and black American gave expression to Pan-Africanist feelings, to the desire to relink two worlds that had the same (but very distant) roots. "Africa, the center of the world." Ayers's imagination has yet to find a moment of rest. CM

recommendedSAY HI

(Mon, 2:30 pm, Broad Street) Seattle-by-way-of-Brooklyn indie-rock auteur Eric Elbogen (aka Say Hi, formerly Say Hi to Your Mom) sings pretty, precious pop songs about lovable geeks and the ladies who crush them, sometimes thinly disguising his subjects as vampires or robots, with all the obvious metaphorical implications (vampires will drain your heart, robots have no hearts to drain). His latest album, this year's Oohs & Aahs, is his best yet; his cutesier tendencies are toned down, allowing his more straightforward characters, scenes, and sentiments more room to live and breathe. And as ever, Elbogen's endearing mumble is buoyed by sharp melodic hooks. EG

recommendedSERA CAHOONE

(Sun, 5 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) Carissa's Wierd drummer-turned-singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone plays quiet, country-time sad songs about all the things country-time sad songs are usually about: loss, change, highways, cigarettes. It's nap music, in a good way. LW

SHERYL CROW

(Sat, 9:15 pm, Memorial Stadium) Did you know that the crows are poised to take over? Those things are fucking bird geniuses. They can use tools, and remember things, and play tricks, and understand concepts like "If you pick up this piece of garbage, I will give you a food nugget." This particular crow not only learned how to play the guitar, it also once fucked Eric Clapton. Don't be fooled by its luxurious human wig; it is a nefarious, power-mad bird scientist like all the rest. Keep both hands on your nugget pouch and stay away from this crow. CAWWW!!! LW

SICK PUPPIES

(Sat, 3:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Sick Puppies are from Australia (an inherently corny nation-state) and have a hot lady bass player and a terrible name and emotions. To the delight of girls in fingerless gloves everywhere, the President's Council on Super Corny Shit named Sick Puppies the #1 Most '90s Band of 2006, rocketing them to slightly-sub-Evanescence-level fame and fortune. Which sounds totally bitchy of me, until you consider the fact that I sometimes have a deeply visceral, nostalgic yearning for The End circa 1998: all Matchbox Twenty and Bush and Spin Doctors and Tal Bachman and hahaahahaaaahahahaahahahahahaha. Tal Bachman!!! Hahaahahaahaahahahaaa. LW

recommendedSLEEPY EYES OF DEATH

(Sun, 6:30 pm, EMP) I love live shows that become more like performance art and less like musicians standing on a stage. Seattle electro-rockers Sleepy Eyes of Death create a spooky and gorgeous visual experience that absolutely complements the aural one. Smoke machines and colored lights intensify the creepy sounds of their mostly instrumental sets created with vintage analog synthesizers and occasional vocoded vocal bits. Expect the vividly lit EMP stage to add that much more industrial-strength light and magic to their live show. KO

recommendedSLY & ROBBIE & THE TAXI GANG

(Mon, 9:15 pm, Fisher Green) How long have Sly & Robbie been in the music business? Since the moment ska became ska and reggae became reggae. Known for their tightness, their machinelike precision, the duo's impact on Jamaican pop can never be overstated. They not only consolidated the very sound of roots reggae on "Pass the Koutchie," they also went on to continually change the form they helped consolidate, even playing a role in establishing reggae's digital moment, in the mid 1980s, and its final computerization, in the 1990s. Praising Sly & Robbie is the easiest thing to do in the world, because there is no end to their achievements. CM See preview.

SOULSAVERS AND MARK LANEGAN

(Mon, 7:45 pm, Broad Street) Take heed 'n' stuff, Mark Lanegan obsessives, even though you obviously know this already! UK electronica duo Soulsavers have made an album with your man Lanegan, and now Soulsavers and Lanegan and Lanegan's voice box are coming to wail and clang and sometimes hush in your faces! Did you miss Lanegan? He is coming for you. LW

SPACEMAN

(Sun, 8 pm, EMP) If you haven't heard Spaceman's debut single, "This Is That Fire," on Seattle's Sportn' Life Records, then you'd better wake up and smell the hiphop. The charismatic, 23-year-old hypeman-turned-MC became Sportn' Life's sudden breakout star in 2008 and has already shared a stage with Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, 88 Keys, Bun B, and Devin the Dude. Live, expect the S-Man to bring that heat, including crowd surfing and/or stage diving. That boy is known to get wild. KO

STEVE GRIGGS QUINTET

(Sun, 2:30 pm, Northwest Court) Local saxophonist and composer Steve Griggs performs with a group of Seattle jazz greats: Jay Thomas, Phil Sparks, Bill Anschell, and Milo Peterson. His website says he is "writing a new set of music to celebrate the talent of the band," which is, quite obviously, ADORABLE. LW

SWOLLEN MEMBERS

(Sun, 5 pm, Exhibition Hall) Vancouver, BC, is the place to be for Swollen Members, a rap crew (led by veterans Mad Child and Prevail) who have been around since the emergence of hiphop's underground in the mid-'90s. Housed primarily by Battle Axe Records and known for furious beats and twisted rhymes, Swollen Members have produced several excellent albums and, for the longest time, were the biggest rap act in the Pacific Northwest. It can be argued that in the time between Sir Mix-A-Lot and Blue Scholars, Swollen Members were the brightest star in the region. CM

TELEKINESIS

(Sat, 8 pm, EMP) You only have to hear the first 10 seconds of the song "Tokyo," from Telekinesis's latest self-titled Merge release, for the whole song to get stuck in your head for a week. "I-I-I went to Tokyo! Only in my dreams, 'cause they're all I know!" All of Telekinesis's songs are just as memorable—bouncy drumming, hyper and fuzzy guitar. MS

TODD SNIDER

(Sun, 9:15 pm, Northwest Court) Trapped in that between-rock-and-a-country place that hobbled Lucinda Williams for so long, Todd Snider is the best American songwriter you've maybe never heard of. The Williams comparison is an imperfect one: Snider doesn't seem driven to strive for a career culmination/breakthrough à la Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (he makes great records, not masterworks), plus he's 10,000 times funnier than Williams could ever be, even if she were wearing a rainbow wig and chasing a dog with a ham in its mouth. Along with his killer wit, Snider's signature is a miraculous lack of sentimentality. As a weathered, perceptive, fortysomething working artist, Snider's subjects often come from the hard-luck American underbelly. But Snider's heroes aren't beautiful losers—they're day-labor construction workers who pay by the week at roadside motels. DS

recommendedTRUCKASAURAS

(Mon, 7:45 pm, EMP) Drunk electronica honkies who drape themselves in American flags and project bizarre videos (Chuck Norris regurgitating beer, homoerotic moments in professional wrestling): Truckasauras make party music. It's unclear how they'll play at Bumbershoot—they're better suited to a dank basement packed with young revelers. But if you and your 10 closest friends have just crawled off the roller coaster and gotten stoned and are ready to dance, the Truckasauras show might be your scene. BK

recommendedU.S.E

(Sun, 4:15 pm, Broad Street) How is it possible for a Marxist to hate U.S.E? The local seven-piece pop/techno/rock band make music for a socialist state that has yet to be realized. Theirs is a state of universal everythang (transportation, health care, job security, child care); theirs is a state of absolute social euphoria. What dreary Marxists are striving for night and day has its end in the bright, bright world that is imagined and celebrated in U.S.E's nonstop dance/disco/party music. CM See preview.

UH HUH HER

(Sat, 7:45 pm, Broad Street) This L.A.-based electro-pop duo sounds like Elastica (remember them?) stuck a fork in a light socket, and not in a good way. JSL

recommendedVIEUX FARKA TOURÉ

(Mon, 7:30 pm, Fisher Green) This fucking fantastic Malian musician has brought the guitar back from the dead. This is not a joke; the instrument is alive and well in his gifted hands. Who in the world knew that Mali would be the place where guitar virtuosity (dead in America and the UK since the 1970s) is revived and given a whole new life and direction? And it's a strange, almost preternatural direction, one that departs from an intersection of black-American blues and traditional black-African rhythms. Who knew this would happen? CM

VISQUEEN

(Mon, 12:45 pm, Broad Street) If you're looking to work up a sweat pogoing to blasts of übercatchy power-pop this weekend, then Visqueen are a good bet. They're a little bit pop punk and a little bit rock and roll, and singer Rachel Flotard is an energetic ball of sass who'll make you move your ass. Their performance should be extra on-point and celebratory, as they're releasing their new record, Message to Garcia, on September 8. MS

recommendedVIVIAN GIRLS

(Sun, 6 pm, Broad Street) Vivian Girls' sophomore album, Everything Goes Wrong, is a relative epic for the Brooklyn fuzz-pop trio. At only 36 minutes, it's still more than one and a half times the length of their buzz-making self-titled debut. Not that the Girls have gotten all ponderous or anything. Their dream-pop racket still comes delivered in short and sweet blasts, full of blissfully droning vocal harmonies, loose-jangling guitars, bobbing bass lines, and upbeat, running-off-the-rails rhythms. Live, you'll fall in love with these ladies or else you're just no fun at all. EG See preview.

WALLPAPER

(Mon, 6:15 pm, EMP) Most of Wallpaper's garage-rock anthems are stuffed with tambourine, gang vocals, and plenty of lo-fi bubblegum-pop vibes, which puts them right at home on the K Records roster. They definitely summon the Kinks with songs like "Rock Collage" and "Pop Rocket," but sometimes, on songs like "New California" (a great summer tune, by the way), they add some synthesizer and mellow out a little bit. MS

WE ARE GOLDEN

(Sat, 3:15 pm, Northwest Court) We Are Golden are a Seattle ensemble led by the duo of Stranger Genius Award–winner Sarah Rudinoff and pianist/guitarist Gretta Harley. Their music is jazzy, coffee-shop ready stuff, marked by mostly acoustic arrangements and theatrically sultry and smoky vocals from Rudinoff that teeter dangerously on the edge of being overwrought. EG

THE WHORE MOANS PRESENT: THE BLACK ATOM!

(Sat, 6:30 pm, EMP) Seattle's citizens have the opportunity to see the Whore Moans' sweaty and frenetic live show nearly every week—the hardworking band are constantly playing around town. But tonight's performance won't be your average Whore Moans gig. For Bumbershoot, the band have prepared a vaudevillian rock-and-roll spectacle they're calling the Black Atom! It'll be the Whore Moans turned up to 11, with the promise of girls, dancing, costumes, guest musicians, and plenty more surprises. MS See preview.

WORLD PARTY

(Sat, 8:45 pm, Mural Amphitheatre) After fleeing the increasingly Ireland-obsessed Waterboys in 1986, Karl Wallinger formed World Party and began releasing his patented blend of melodically rich, openly derivative, lightly psychedelic Brit pop: the door-opening semi-hit "Ship of Fools," the wildly hyped follow-up album Goodbye Jumbo, and two other full-lengths. The worst thing about World Party is their presentation of throwaway lyrics as Deep Thoughts and their occasional forays into funk. Still, this is big glossy art-pop that makes you glad to be alive. DS

recommendedYEAH YEAH YEAHS

(Sun, 2:30 pm, Memorial Stadium) You've changed, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Change isn't always bad—but I preferred your jagged, arty post-punk over your new affair with gothy dance music. I try to focus on the good times, like the jaunty first verse of "Art Star"—"I've been working on a piece that speaks of sex and desperation/I've been screwing on the tracks of abandoned train stations"—that gets pulverized by the angry, death-metal chorus and tsunami of guitar. That was so much more (more disturbing, more powerful, more everything) than the familiar minor-key synth lead and chorus of your latest hit: "Off, off, off with heads/Dance, dance, dance till you're dead/Heads will roll, heads will roll, heads will roll/On the floor." Even the people who like your new glitter-and-cocaine sound are shit out of luck at Bumbershoot. You're scheduled to play the stadium in the middle of the afternoon? Sorry, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Not this year. BK

VISUAL ART

A. K. "MIMI" ALLIN

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Northwest Rooms) A. K. "Mimi" Allin is not just a poet with a list of publications (though she has that, too: the Argotist, Crab Creek Review, How2, Ibbetson Street Review, One Three Eight, and La Petite Zine). She has made her name as a poet of the people. She was nominated in 2008 for Seattle's Poet Populist. As poetess-in-residence at Green Lake, she sat behind a table and wrote. She sent 60 umbrellas with text on them around the lake. She set up a run called "Running Poets" and did a performance that involved a 300-pound block of ice and Robert Frost's poem "Fire and Ice." For Bumbershoot she's got an installation called A Silence More Irresistible Than..."We do not know than what. JEN GRAVES

ASSEMBLAGE

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–3 pm, Northwest Rooms) Braden Abraham is a man The Stranger has called an "excellent local artist." He's a director. For his latest project, he's coheading a group called Assemblage in creating the series "Way Stations," which had its debut at the 2008 Northwest New Works Festival at On the Boards. It's like this: The artists compile stories, images, and recorded sounds of a neighborhood (in this case, Seattle Center) for a free downloadable audio tour. You take the tour. JG

recommendedDADA ECONOMICS

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Northwest Rooms) In another great idea from Greg Lundgren (Vital 5 Productions, the Hideout), Dada Economics is the result of a roiling mass of amateur art production that's been going on all summer and will now be gathered in a single exhibition. Lundgren inspired it all with $500 "Arbitrary Art Grants," which were handed out—randomly—after contestants (absolutely anyone, no requirements at all) responded to calls for writing, graphic design, dance, and art dealing. In addition to a display of the previously made responses, a new grant will be awarded every day of Bumbershoot for patrons who make something on the spot in the categories of fashion, architecture, and photography. The point is to get art made and seen without judgment. Period. JG See preview.

GAGE DRAWING JAM

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Northwest Rooms) When you are in Seattle and have the urge to draw a live human being who is holding a position for many minutes at a time just for you, go to Gage Academy of Art on Capitol Hill. Or go to wherever Gage Academy is meeting you—this season at Bumbershoot. Basically, this is your chance to go to art school for free for a weekend. Draw. Sculpt. Get feedback. Ogle, if you must. (There's no nudity, but there is skimpiness of clothing.) JG

recommended recommended recommended recommended recommended

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Northwest Rooms) There's enough eco-art out there to strangle a baby seal, but this multimedia show has promise. It's organized by the smart and likable curators Lele Barnett and Chris Weber, formerly associated with the tech-smart McLeod Residence. Artists include Chris Jordan (large photographic constructions of devastating statistics), Allison Kudla (architecture made out of live plant cells), and DJ Spooky, who'll show segments of the film he made about the sound of polar ice in 2007 in Antarctica,

Terra Nova. JG

recommendedSEATTLE-MOSCOW POSTER SHOW

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Northwest Rooms) Every year, Seattle designer Daniel Smith puts together a poster show based on what could be a weakly sister-city-ish premise. But Smith's eye is sharp, and he picks hot spots. The first year, Seattle designers went up against Havana designers, then it was Tehran, and now Smith's been looking in Yeltsin-Putin-Medvedev territory. There'll be more than 70 posters in all, featuring Seattle artists Jeff Kleinsmith, Coby Schultz, and Barry Ament of Ames Bros, among others. JG

THEATER

'52 PICK UP'

(Sat 2 pm, Sun 6:30 pm, Center House Theatre) Local company Theater Simple has kept it smart, inventive, and low to the ground for 19 years, and back in 2001, they premiered 52 Pick Up—a romantic comedy milled through chance operations. The company has written titles on 52 cards, which are flung into the air and picked up randomly throughout the show. The order in which they're picked up determines the development of the relationship. BRENDAN KILEY

COBU

(Sat 8:15 pm, Sun 1:30 pm, Mon 3:45 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) Yako Miyamoto is a founder of STOMP. COBU is another percussion spectacle, this time with Japanese taiko drums and tap dancing. BK

'CRAFT/CRAEFT/KRAFT'

(Sat 6:15 pm, Sun 2 pm, Center House Theatre) A theater ensemble from Portland made a show about "craft" for an exhibit of work by Mandy Greer and Darrell Morris at the Contemporary Museum of Craft. And now they've come to inflict it on Seattle. BK

DASSDANCE

(Sat, 11 am–8 pm, Festival Grounds) Fighting Water is an energetic, high-velocity dance about water conservation by local company Daniel and Some Superfriends Dance. BK

recommendedTHE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS

(Sat, 1:30 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) In 1741, an insomniac Russian count asked Bach for some music that his harpsichordist could play to while away the sleepless hours. Out came the Goldberg Variations, 30 brief solos on a single aria. In 1997, choreographer Mark Haim (of Juilliard, the Jeffrey, and an NEA fellowship) created 30 short dance solos to the Variations. They're lovely, fluid things—Bach's complicated little constructions interpolated through sinew and muscle. Haim used to perform them solo, but he's bringing other dancers into the mix: Beth Graczyk, Sean Ryan, KT Niehoff, and others. BK

'IMPROSIA'

(Sat, 5 pm, Center House Theatre) An improv comedy supergroup with three veterans of the scene: Douglas Willott (of Jet City Improv), Andrew McMasters (of Wing-It Productions), and Joel Dale (of Tacoma). Instead of short sketches, these guys do long-form improv. BK

JASON WEBLEY

(Mon, 5:45 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) Multi-instrumentalist songwriter Jason Webley is a cabaret creature: Sometimes he belongs in a concert hall; sometimes he belongs in a theater. His gravelly voice, big accordion, and fedora have been around the world—on stages and on sidewalks—bringing the people drinking songs and sea chanteys. The adults love him, but so do the kids. BK

JUSTIN KREDIBLE

(Sat, 3:45 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) A young magician for young persons. BK

'LEASE'

(Mon, 6:15 pm, Center House Theatre) An improvised, rock-opera satire of RENT courtesy of Seattle's Wing-It Productions—the longstanding improv troupe of choice for Seattle's college students. BK

recommendedPACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

(Mon, 1 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) Mopey could convert rock fans to the ballet. It's a twitchy and volatile solo by Marco Goecke, set to music by C.P.E. Bach and the Cramps, and it always brings the house down. If you can't normally afford to go to the ballet, check out Mopey—at this price, you'd be a fool to miss it. Also up in the PNB sampler platter: the balcony scene from Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette, Vespers by dance innovator Ulysses Dove, and a new piece by PNB principal dancer Olivier Weaves. BK

recommendedPS 122

(Sat–Sun, 6 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) PS 122 in New York has been ground zero for the new and the weird in American performance. This year, they've picked a few acts to take on the road. The Panic Show, by Witness Relocation, is a hyperenergetic dance and theater piece about hysteria, self-help, and a movie starring Jodie Foster. Radio Play, by Tommy Smith and Reggie Watts (with Seattle guys John Osebold and Troy Fischnaller), happens in the dark. Geisha, by LeeSaar, is a "sensual and seething" dance between a man, a woman, and a diva. The Scream Contest, by 31 Down Radio Theater and Japanther, is a scream contest. Audience members read a short script that ends in a shriek. Prizes will be awarded. BK

'THE RADIO8BALL SHOW'

(Mon, 4:45 pm, Center House Theatre) Part talk show, part tarot reading, part concert, The Radio8Ball Show uses music by its house band—Jon Auer, Scott Taylor, Chad Austinson—to answer questions from the audience. BK

SPIN THE BOTTLE JR.

(Sat 3:45 pm, Sun 3:30 pm, Mon 3:30 pm, Center House Theatre) Spin the Bottle has been Seattle's most constant—and constantly amusing—late-night variety show for about 500 years. Terrible jokes, musical saws, clowning, plate spinning, people chugging milk, people reading smut: Spin the Bottle has it all. Just this year, they've launched a Saturday-afternoon version for 4- to 8-year-olds. This is that. BK

'WILD ROSE'

(Sun 5 pm, Mon 2 pm, Center House Theatre) A solo comedy by Christina Sicoli about a woman who works at a cosmetics counter and decides she's going to become a supermodel. Today. Wild Rose was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award. BK

WOOLLY MAMMOTH COMES TO DINNER

(Sat–Mon, 11 am–8 pm, Festival Grounds) A music/dance group from Portland that professes to enjoy dancing in burned-out buildings as much as it enjoys dancing in theaters. It says: "Often we indulge ourselves in non-sense, and then attempt to make something coherent out of it. We believe in acceptance and inclusivity. We try to remember our fancy pants. Fancy pants knock your socks off." Sounds like mealy-mouthed nonsense to me, but maybe some of you hippies will dig it. BK

COMEDY

recommendedTHE BENSON INTERRUPTION

(Sat–Mon, 6:15 pm, Charlotte Martin Theatre) People mostly associate Doug Benson with marijuana-highness, which isn't entirely inaccurate, because the man is very, very high. But Benson's stage persona, something like an awkward, man-size bearded toddler, is sweet and dumb and only partly weed-obsessed. In the Benson Interruption, which he performs live monthly in L.A., Benson invites other comics to perform, then sits on the side in a chair with a microphone and interrupts them. Like an awkward, man-size bearded toddler. Interrupting you. It's great. Also, I met him on a plane once and he told me I was "not annoying." He was probably high. LINDY WEST

BEST OF SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY COMPETITION

(Sun, 3 pm, Vera Project) I judged the final round of the Seattle International Comedy Competition, and let me tell you, it was not great. I know funny people who have competed in the Seattle International Comedy Competition, but they did not make it to the last round. Because, apparently, people don't like funny jokes. I don't know which comics will be performing in this show—the funny losers or the completely unfunny winners—but the program assures me they will be "hot" and some will be from Canada. This is what we in the business of words call a "gamble." LW

recommendedTHE BETA SOCIETY

(Mon, 1:15 pm, Vera Project) A film-production collective with roots in improv, the Beta Society—children of the '80s living together in a giant weirdo mansion—combines well-pitched wit, found footage, dirty sensibilities, and pop-culture kitsch into video sketches that are like a delicious soup made out of all that stuff I mentioned before. Remember? Go back and read the part that starts with "well-pitched wit," and let me know when you've caught up. Okay, now I've got to go. I'm really busy. LW

recommendedBLOOD SQUAD

(Sun, 4:45 pm, Vera Project) These fuckers are good at what they do. And what they do sounds like it could be awful, but it is, in fact, wonderful! Hooray for us all! First, Blood Squad receives a slasher-film title from the audience. Like, say, Prom Night at Stab Stab High. And then they improv the SHIT out of it, moving and sliding deftly between horror-movie tropes like the fucking three-headed Kristi Yamaguchi of horror-movie improv. Or more like Stabby Yamaguchi! GET IT!? See, this is why I am not a member. LW

recommendedCANADIAN COMEDY THAT CARES!

(Sat, 3 pm, Vera Project) I'm not sure what these "Canadians" "care" about, exactly—syrup? Health care? Covering up their yeti ancestry? But they've followed the mighty caribou migration down to our subtropical paradise, and they're ready to teach us a few things about sticky, maple-frosted comedy. Chris and Bev, cohosts of the BC-based variety show It's Good to Know People, provide very funny "people-positive comedy from the suburbs!" involving singsongs, white pants, and keeping it real. Here they perform with fellow funny-crypto-humanimal-of-the-north Jane Stanton. LW

recommendedCHARLYNE YI, PATTON OSWALT

(Sat–Mon, 8 pm, Charlotte Martin Theatre) Patton Oswalt's unedited live comedy album, 222, is sooo fucking good: a giddy, sprawling, rambling, drunken masterpiece filled with pathos and gravy and Easter eggs and apocalypse and ice-cream cake and heavy metal. It's everything I love about live comedy. It is a marvel. Charlyne Yi is this sort of baby koala of a person who deals in awkward pauses and interruptive murmurs. Her standup is surreal, eagerly stretching the medium (and her new movie, Paper Heart, is just fucking adorable). To see them together will be a happy-making experience. LW

CRACKED UP!

(Mon, 4:45 pm, Vera Project) The brainbaby of local comics Solomon Georgio (Stranger Gong Show winner and all around PIECE OF PIE) and James Parkinson (white male), the monthly local showcase Cracked Up! has been a welcome, consistently funny addition to Seattle's comedy landscape. It is a showcase that will contain the bodies of local comics with, one assumes, jokes coming out them. LW

recommendedEUGENE MIRMAN AND MYSTERY GUEST

(Sat, 5:30 pm, Intiman Theatre) Have you heard that bit where Eugene Mirman talks to the anti-gay phone company? When he presses "1" to oppose same-sex marriage because "I want to destroy it, yes"? I know that was like 45 years ago, but it's still the first thing I think of when I think of Mirman. He better not have gotten less funny since then. Don't fuck this up, Mirman. Oh, and I don't know who this "Mystery Guest" is because I don't believe mysteries exist. LW

FAMOUS MYSTERIOUS ACTOR

(Sun, 1:15 pm, Vera Project) The Famous Mysterious Actor is a frightening specter. It has long hair, like a woman, or a hippie. It has a high-pitched voice, like a woman. Or a wild bird of some kind that speaks human language. It has a thing about Pixi Stix, like most women, and it wears a mask like Eric Stoltz in Mask or Jim Carrey in Look Who's Masking Now. Or a Mexican. It is very mysterious. It comes from Portland. LW

THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

(Sat–Mon, 4:30 pm, Charlotte Martin Theatre) The Chicago-based Improvised Shakespeare Company takes two things that aren't that funny (improv, which is always starving for structure, and Shakespeare, which is mostly a pun wrapped in a fart joke) and combines them into one thing that totally works. Their MySpace page lists their interests as "Swordplay, Revenge, Ambition, Forbidden Love, Mistaken Identity, Disguises, Bastards, Ghosts, Betrayal, Irony, Swashbuckling" and their favorite music as "anything crumhorn." See? Funny! LW

recommendedJON GLASER, NICK SWARDSON

(Sun 2 pm, Mon 3:45 pm, Intiman Theatre) Jon Glaser is a person you have seen all over the fucking place doing really, really great and slightly unnerving characters in television shows (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Human Giant, and lately Delocated) and movies (The Rocker, Baby Mama, Be Kind Rewind). If I had any money and some sort of comedy bookie, and if betting on comedy were an actual thing and not just something I invented for the construction of this blurb, I would bet that Jon Glaser's standup involves characters, high concepts, and weird shit. Do I win? The fake money? Also, Nick Swardson: not so bad! LW

recommendedLAFF HOLE

(Sat–Mon, 6:30 pm, Vera Project) Laff Hole is the grandpa of Seattle "alternative" comedy nights—not a withered, gross grandpa like Grandpa Simpson, but a sturdy, robust, kinda-hot grandpa like Kris Kristofferson. Created four years ago by the People's Republic of Komedy, it's been a consistently well-curated weekly showcase featuring local and formerly local treasures. And not the kind of treasures you might find in Grandpa Simpson's underpants (poops!), but the kind you might find in Kris Kristofferson's sock drawer (weed!). This metaphor is getting complicated. Like my feelings for Kris Kristofferson. LW

LO-BALL

(Sat, 4:45 pm, Vera Project) Lo-Ball is yet another local comedy showcase (headquartered in Ballard), which is not particularly distinguishable from the other local comedy showcases (local, made of comedy), except that it claims to feature "a blend of sketch, stand-up, and falderal." Anyone else offered you a nice chunk of falderal lately? And before you say, "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT, EVEN?" let me remind you that asking questions is not polite. LW

recommendedMATT BRAUNGER, REGGIE WATTS, TODD BARRY

(Sat 3:45 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, Mon 7:15 pm, Intiman Theatre) Todd Barry is like a small frightening snake. A comedy snake. He is quiet and poisonous and enraged and mean. Also, he eats mice. If you can catch him in the right moment, spinning sublimely into the metamechanics of joke-telling and audience reception and self-deprecation, it's like a master class in being the world's funniest small frightening snake. Reggie Watts does a sort of bizarre stream-of-consciousness thing with large hair. Matt Braunger looks British but isn't. LW

recommendedONE NIGHT ONLY, PART II

(Sat, 1:15 pm, Vera Project) Kevin Clarke and Travis Vogt have been one of the best parts of Seattle's little-comedy-scene-that-could for a while now. The duo makes dirty, dirtbaggy, DIY video sketches about murder and ninjas and cancer ("Al Pacino as CANCER"). And they also took, like, zero dollars and made a feature-length science-fiction movie (Steel of Fire Warriors 2010 A.D.), which is fucking ridiculous and actually funny, AND THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE. Kevin and Travis are winners, and this is their live show. LW

recommendedTHE RED WINE BOYS, NICK SWARDSON

(Sat, 7:15 pm, Intiman Theatre) Ohhhhh, the Red Wine Boys. Todd Barry and Jon Benjamin. Don't you want to rub yourself just thinking about it? On your boday? Slightly? The pair, in their twin deadpans, perform a sort of drunken, free-form variety program. Bring your boday (FOR RUBBING). Also, Nick Swardson: medium appealing! LW

recommendedSTORY PIRATES AFTER DARK PRESENT 'FOUND'

(Sat–Mon, 2:45 pm, Charlotte Martin Theatre) The New York–based Story Pirates (who perform plays based on stories written by children) team up with FOUND Magazine for this "multimedia comedy musical" about the weird shit that people leave lying around ("based entirely on lost and discarded notes, diaries, love letters, and to-do lists"). You are encouraged to bring your own weird shit that you found lying around, so these pirates can make it into comedy. LW

recommendedTOMMY JOHNAGIN, WYATT CENAC, MARIA BAMFORD

(Sat 2 pm, Sun 7:15 pm, Mon 5:30 pm, Intiman Theatre) No one delivers an "Uhhhhhhhhhh" quite like Maria Bamford, and nobody has ever done impressions of phlegmy fathers and mall-walking bitchez in such a perfect and dark and exhilaratingly bizarre way. She is possibly a genius. Wyatt Cenac you know from his deadpan, politically astute Daily Show segments (and the recent film Medicine for Melancholy) in which, according to Wikipedia, he integrates "satirical Black-oriented material." For Monday's show, he will be replaced with a mystery guest. Tommy Johnagin is a male human. LW

recommendedUBIQUITOUS THEY

(Mon, 3 pm, Vera Project) Ubiquitous They makes cuckoo, conceptual sketch comedy about things both funny and not-funny: like tickling and stabbing and mammograms and getting laid off from the blowjob factory ("whole blowjob industry's goin' overseas"). Good sketch comedy is hard. Shitty sketch comedy is common. Ubiquitous They is good sketch comedy, somewhere between grounded raunch and the silly, freewheeling heights of similarly structured acts the Cody Rivers Show and the Pajama Men. It's a good place to be. LW

recommendedWYATT CENAC, EUGENE MIRMAN

(Mon, 2 pm, Intiman Theatre) Eugene Mirman—glum, Russian, strangely attractive—is one of those comedians who, when you're watching him, makes you think, "I am watching the best comedian in the world." He's not the best comedian in the world, obviously—that honor belongs to a cat that poops in a toilet! (whaaaaat!?)—but Mirman is a close second. Almost as good as a cat pooping in a toilet. Which is like saying he's almost as good at swimming as Poseidon or almost as good at being a sandwich as two pieces of bread and some ham that just haven't been assembled yet! (What I'm saying, Mirman, is grow some fur and learn to poop like a human and we shall discuss.) LW

FILM

recommendedTHE ANIMATED LIFE

(Sat, 5:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) This selection of animated shorts includes one called The Mouse That Soared, which is about a gross pink tiny orphan mouse (raised by birds) that flies around on little makeshift wings. It's quite sweet. But, um, by the way, you guys, we already have flying mice. They're called BATS, and they have rabies. Stay away from rabies. LINDY WEST

AUSSIE VS. KIWI

(Sun, 7 pm, SIFF Cinema) A selection of films from those two down under islands: the big one with the desert and the terrifying spiders, and the other one with the hobbits. LW

BEST OF SIFF 2009 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS

(Sun, 4:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) Oh, audiences! You always pick such special chestnuts as your winners! Not that these shorts (chosen by audience vote during SIFF this year) are bad or anything—they're just generally the most campy, the most silly, the most broadly accessible. Full Employment is a horror-comedy-mockumentary about entry-level zombie hunting. French Roast is a glossy, Frenchy, perfectly enjoyable cartoon about a snooty Frenchman who has toooo muuuuch cooooffee (and not enough money to pay for it)!!! Audiences love coffee jokes. LW

recommendedBEST OF SIFF 2009 JURY AWARD WINNERS

(Sat, 3:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) These are the very best selections from SIFF's bloated shorts weekend, chosen by a jury of professionals (instead of audiences, who can be dumb). The films live up to their promise. Photograph of Jesus is a documentary narrative illustrated by stunning cut-paper animation, about the ridiculous requests fielded by a photographic archivist. The Herd, bless its little heart, is a quick, oddly moving trifle about a baby deer that falls in with a herd of cows. LW

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

(Sat, 8 pm, SIFF Cinema) These films all shortly have something to do with crime. And punishment, I suppose. In Kidnapping Caitlynn, Jason Biggs, whom I have not seen in a while and am not unhappy to have back, goes on a date with an attractive lunatic. The attractive lunatic says she needs to go to her ex-boyfriend's house and get her stuff, which is really never a good sign when on a date. Then they steal a dog. Then things escalate. Biggs is charming. LW

CRITICAL MASS

(Mon, 1 pm, SIFF Cinema) Do you like bikes? These are bike movies. For you. Fanatic concerns Daniel, a dreadlocked British dwarf living in Barcelona as a bicycle courier. He zips around the city—industry, history, Gaudi—delivering packages, failing to reach elevator buttons, flirting with receptionists, and fielding hugely demeaning outbursts such as, "You're a dwarf!" It's thoughtful and humanizing. And there are bikes. LW

DREAMSCAPES

(Mon, 9 pm, SIFF Cinema) The only information I can find about this shorts program is the following sentence: "Film is the perfect medium to tell fantastic tales!" Now, if there's one thing I like more than tales, it's fantasticness. Don't let me down, vague film-related sentence from the Bumbershoot website. LW

FILMS4FAMILIES

(Sat–Mon, noon, SIFF Cinema) This kid-friendly shorts program offers a different lineup each day. Selections include various iterations of adorable children, cuddly animals and bugs, lessons for young lives, and bunnies. In Something to Hold On To (Monday), kids introduce the audience to their best stuffed-animal pals, from Barry the Bear to Wolfy the Wolf. Adorable? Yes! Entertaining? Not that much. LW

FLY FILMS SIFF 2009

(Sun, 1 pm, SIFF Cinema) Fly filmmaking is a thing where teams of filmmakers receive some sort of hook (a title, a prop, a location, etc.) and then they have x number of hours to make a film. And then everyone watches everyone's film, and some people's are bad, and some people's are okay—which, by comparison, makes them seem amazing. I don't totally get why this is more than mildly interesting. It feels like watching basketball teams run drills. LW

HEJ!

(Sat, 4:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) Movies from Sweden! They have come from Sweden to bring you Swedish movies! If I know Sweden—and I do, biblically—the movies will most likely feature rice pudding, seven-foot-tall blond Adonises, socialized medicine, and Pippi Longstocking. Skål! LW

I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE...

(Mon, 8 pm, SIFF Cinema) AfterVille, an Italian short, takes place in a digitally enhanced Turin-of-the-future, where the landscape is studded with immense, silent, mysterious disks that fell from space, and which are prophesied to destroy the earth any minute now. The people go about their sullen, mundane, everyday business—wandering the streets, drinking, watching TV, and obsessing about failed relationships. Like you would. Why does the future always have to be scary? LW

INTERNATIONAL MALE

(Mon, 7 pm, SIFF Cinema) This program is described as "films for the boys and the boys who love them." Boys and boy-lovers, hold on to your boy-pants. Films include Awkward (a little conceptual switcheroo about what-if-people-were-scandalized-by-super-mundane-shit), Boycrazy, and Henry Is Dead. LW

LIVE EARTH FILM FESTIVAL

(Sun, 5:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) Movies about maybe not completely screwing over the planet, if we can help it, with titles including One Less Car, Taking America's Temperature, Penguin in a Pickle, and Polarbearman. LW

LOVE AND MARRIAGE

(Sat, 7 pm, SIFF Cinema) A selection of shorts about love and loss and infidelity and mistakes. In True Beauty This Night, a man (possibly delusional, like most love-at-first-sight types) falls in love under completely fucked circumstances and suffers for it. This Is Her is a genuinely affecting little story about a woman who simultaneously gives birth and narrates (omni-potent) her husband's future infidelity. Love is sad and hard, you think. LW

MADE IN SEATTLE

(Mon, 5:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) A few selections from local up-and-comers: Megan Griffiths's Eros, Steve Edmiston's The Day My Parents Became Cool (which opens with a Dave Barry quote and doesn't expand much beyond its title), and A Morning on Maple Street, a pretty, slight glimpse at intersecting lives. LW

recommendedTHE MEANING OF LIFE

(Sun, 8 pm, SIFF Cinema) This film program purports to "contain tiny clues" to figuring out the meaning of life. I can tell you that The Assastant is a semicharming excuse-for-a-portmanteau about an assistant assassin and 200 Block contrasts the localized realness of collapsed buildings with the world-shaking abstraction of a collapsed economy. If your life has more meaning now, you're welcome. LW

NEXT GENERATION OF GERMAN FILM

(Mon, 3:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) What do you not understand from the title? These are movies made by Germans: The Next Generation. Presumably they make films under the bald tutelage of Patrick Stewart and occasionally grope (over the jumpsuit—this isn't porno) to the dulcet tones of Jonathan Frakes's space trombone. The films I saw include Amoklove, the story of a hungry, ambiguous, public transit–based whirlwind affair; Rose-colored, about being blinded by love; and You Are My Hero, an animated adventure about knights errant, tomato soup, and infidelity. Whoopi Goldberg is in there somewhere, I'm sure. LW

THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY

(Sat, 9 pm, SIFF Cinema) This selection of shorts "may give you bad dreams." I will never stop wondering: Why would anyone want bad dreams? Regardless, scheduled films include Alexandria, The Archivist, and Psycho Hillbilly Cabin Massacre! (Exclamation point theirs.) LW

recommendedPICTURE & SOUND: MUSIC VIDEOS

(Sun, 2 pm, SIFF Cinema) This lush showcase of music videos includes—among others—Damien Jurado's "Caskets" (home surgery, sadness, paradisiacal sunsets), the stop-motion gorgeosity of Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal" (about the crank that turns the world), and the bloody lo-fi romance of the Dutchess and the Duke's "Mary." It all reminds you about the amazing things humans can make when they are not lazy sacks of shit. LW

recommendedREEL GRRLS

(Mon, 2 pm, SIFF Cinema) Reel Grrls is a local nonprofit committed to getting young women engaged in media production. It is awesome. The films in this program all have rough DIY edges, but the commitment they share is rousing and sweet. A Generation of Consolidation interviews local high schoolers on their feelings about media consolidation (they're anti). Dark Material thinks about shadows: "Why does darkness inspire fear?" And It's in the P-I takes a fairly straightforward look inside the last days of our recently deceased colleague. LW

ROCK PROPHECIES

(Sat, 1 pm, SIFF Cinema) This documentary feature follows photographer-of-rock-stars Robert M. Knight "on a quest to find both himself and the world's next great guitar player." Okay. Did you check the car? Where did you last see them? LW

THE TWILIGHT ZONE

(Sun, 9 pm, SIFF Cinema) You know! It's the Twilight Zone. It's the zone where eeeeeverything is weeeeeird! Like twilight! Like a zone FULL of TWILIGHT! This showcase includes Forever's Not So Long, a short about finding true love just before the apocalypse. That doesn't seem weird at all—it seems totally logical. Someone to make out with during the apocalypse? I accept. And you don't even have to get old and pissed off at each other. Maybe that one needs to find a new zone, is all I'm saying. LW

WOMEN IN FILM

(Sun, 3:30 pm, SIFF Cinema) Women in Film are, generally, women who make or star in films. Does that make sense? I am very much in favor of women in film. The only selection I've seen from this program is One Night, which is about a woman who wakes up bloody and tries to piece together memories of a night gone violently wrong. It is just okay (unsurprising, unsubtle). The other women in Women in Film may have done better. LW

LITERATURE

CHRISTIAN LANDER'S STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE

(Sun, noon, Leo K. Theatre) The blog Stuff White People Like first appeared in January 2008. By the summer of that year, the man behind the blog, Christian Lander, published a whole book—Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. The book, like the blog, was a big success. It became a best seller. It was flying off the shelves and landing in the living rooms and bedrooms of white people who like to read about the things white people like. CHARLES MUDEDE See preview.

recommendedDAVID CROSS

(Sun, 8:15 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) Saying that David Cross is your favorite funny person is so completely no-duh it's like wishing for more wishes (tell me you didn't fuck that one up). Over the past decade or so, Cross, a bald man, has been harsh and weird and never-not-funny in almost every medium in which funniness is possible (standup comedy, sketch comedy, situation comedy, live comedy, TV comedy). Now he's written a book: "a mix of personal essays, satirical fiction posing as truth, and a top-ten list of top-ten lists" called I Drink for a Reason. I'm sure the reason is funny. LINDY WEST

recommendedTHE ENABLERS HAVESPOKEN AND YOU'RE FINE WITH SPENCER MOODY

(Sun, 1:45 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Spencer Moody is special. He screams at homophobes at Sasquatch!, likes a hat with flaps, can be mistaken for an Orthodox Jew, and does not try very hard at an Easter-egg hunt. Officially he's known as the frontman for the Murder City Devils and Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, and the owner of the Anne Bonny, a store named after a female pirate where you can buy cheap local art and the furnishings of people who are dead. But for Bumbershoot, he's curating a session of "poetry for the people"—giving a platform to writers and lyricists he loves: Anthony Anzalone, Clyde Petersen, Patrick deWitt, Andrea Zollo (Pretty Girls Make Graves), Pete Quirk (the Cave Singers), and Gavin Tull-Esterbrook. It is a safe assumption that every one of them is at least slightly special. JEN GRAVES

F IS FOR FOOD

(Sat, noon, Leo K. Theatre) Kathleen Flinn wrote a book about learning to cook at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris called The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. Tom "T-Doug" Douglas is a rotund, bearded chef who rules his local restaurant empire—Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen, Etta's, etc.—with an iron fist. He, Dale Chihuly, and Paul Allen are the secret cabal that really runs Seattle. BRENDAN KILEY

THE GREAT NORTHWEST

(Sat, 3:30 pm, Leo K. Theatre) This trio will discuss what it's like to live and write in the upper left-hand corner of the United States. Jess Walter is from Spokane and responsible for five novels including Citizen Vince, which Nick Hornby both loved and excerpted in Housekeeping vs. the Dirt. Citizen Vince is a series of Hemingway-esque sentences about a guy in the witness-protection program who works the creepy shift at a doughnut shop where cheap whores, junkies, and gamblers converge. Kevin Sampsell recently edited Portland Noir, and Kerry Cohen wrote a novel called Loose Girl. BK

ILL-LITERACY

(Sun, 7:30 pm, Leo K. Theatre) A bookish hiphop trio from Oakland. They claim to rap for "the post-crack epidemic pre-Obama '80s babies who were prescribed Ritalin because they liked music more than school." They are currently looking for an apartment in NYC with four to five bedrooms in the $3,000 range. BK

MANIC D PRESS AT 25

(Mon, 1:45 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Based in San Francisco, Manic D Press publishes weird stuff by upstart writers and has won lots of awards: the San Francisco Bay Guardian Best of the Bay, a Lambda Literary Award, the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, etc. At this event: Amber Tamblyn (Bang Ditto), Jon Longhi (Wake Up and Smell the Beer, The Rise and Fall of Third Leg), Lynn Breedlove (Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show), and Bruce Jackson (Growing Up Free in America). BK

McSWEENEY'S NEW FICTION

(Sat, 5:15 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Do not try to repress McSweeney's editor Dave Eggers, or you will find, as per the description of this event on the Bumbershoot website, that he is "irrepressible." It simply cannot be done. Presumably, the new fiction writers gathered here today by Eggers's publishing concern are equally unruly. They are, in order of height, Jessica Anthony (The Convalescent), Mac Barnett (Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem), Bill Cotter (Fever Chart), James Hannaham (God Says No), Ross Simonini (interviews editor, the Believer), and program host Starlee Kine (This American Life). ERIC GRANDY

MELVIN VAN PEEBLES

(Sun, 3:45 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Melvin Van Peebles, the father of Mario Van Peebles, is known primarily as the director of a film that opens with these famous words: "To all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man." Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song is raw in every way: raw sex, raw violence, raw revolutionary politics, raw photography, raw editing, raw acting, and raw, raw writing. CM

NIGHT SHIFT

(Mon, 7:30 pm, Leo K. Theatre) A new short story by Lyall Bush—about a opossum that has taken up residence in a woman's kitchen and what she does about it—and songs by Devin Sullivan of Malthusian Orkestra. BK

SEATTLE NOIR

(Mon, 5:45 pm, Leo K. Theatre) A new anthology of crime stories edited by Curt Colbert, set in and around Seattle: a geoduck-rights battle among the Duwamish, a Hispanic soldier who has trouble with the Seattle Police Department, etc. BK

S. E. HINTON

(Sun, 3:30 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) The author of young-adult novels—The Outsiders, Rumble Fish—which became films that started the careers of Micky Rourke, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, and others. Hinton grew up in Tulsa, and the gangs in her high school inspired her to write about tough kids. DJ and music writer Kurt B. Reighley will moderate, along with local actor Tim Hyland. BK

SPEAK, POET!

(Sat, 7:30 pm, Leo K. Theatre) A triumvirate of slammers. Tara Hardy won the "Poet Populist" award, Danny Sherrard won the 2008 World Cup Poetry Slam competition, and Jack McCarthy wrote a poem called "Drunks." Its first few lines: "We died of pneumonia in furnished rooms/Where they found us three days later/When somebody complained about the smell/We died against bridge abutments/And nobody knew if it was suicide/And we probably didn't know either." BK

VAMPIRES AND ROBOTS

(Mon, noon, Leo K. Theatre) Kevin Emerson is a member of the band Central Services and writes the Oliver Nocturne series, about a boy-vampire who lives in Seattle. Daniel Wilson is from Portland and wrote How to Survive a Robot Uprising: "Keep your hair short and your clothes tight... Don't bother with karate unless you can punch through sheet metal." BK

WRITERS IN THE SCHOOLS

(Sat, 2 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Students will compete with the grown-up writers-in-residence at their schools—Karen Finneyfrock, Daemond Arrindell, Rachel Kessler, others—in a game of "literary know-how." BK

THE WRITERS OF 'LOST'

(Mon, 3:30 pm, Leo K. Theatre) This one time on Lost, a guy went underground to turn an old-timey wheel in order to move an island, but then not only did the island move but time moved, too, and then some people came back to the island but it wasn't really clear whether they had been there before or whether this was their first time, and there were already some people there doing research on something unclear. AND THEN TV VIEWERS FAINTED AND NEVER WOKE UP. All I'm saying is that you may not want to hear about the terrible, terrible writing on Lost. But you can. If you must. Show writers Carlton Cuse, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz will be interviewed by the audience and by Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly blogger. JG

YOUTH SPEAKS SEATTLE

(Mon, 7:45 pm, Bagley Wright Theatre) The winners of this year's Seattle Youth Poetry Slam, along with Staceyann Chin and Prometheus Brown (also known as Geologic of Blue Scholars). BK

recommendedZAK SMITH

(Sun, 5:45 pm, Leo K. Theatre) Zak Smith grew up in Washington, D.C., got his MFA from Yale University, made a drawing for every page of Gravity's Rainbow, had a few shown in the Whitney Biennial of 2004, and made his porn debut two years later. His new book, We Did Porn, is a constellation of anecdotes, musings, and drawings about the porn—especially the alternative porn industry. The ink drawings lie dense on the page: naked women with Mohawks nestled against roadside signs enveloped in intricate patterns of crosshatches and boxes, like doodles by Francis Bacon. Smith isn't the world's clearest writer, but the material sells itself. BK