Celeste Cooning (left), Sam Jay (top), Emily Heller (center bottom), B-Eats (lower right)
Sure, there are tons of great music acts performing at Bumbershoot this year (our critics have already recommended the 41 best music shows to check out), but the Labor Day weekend festival also promises plenty of great events in other genres. Below, you'll find our arts critics' top picks for film, theater, comedy, dance, and other events you shouldn't pass up, ranging from stand-up sets from Bob's Burgers-famous Eugene Mirman to a live taping of the delightfully freaky Last Podcast on the Left to the One Reel Film Fest. See them all below, and check out the full schedule on our complete Bumbershoot calendar.



Bad Jokes with Wilfred Padua and HansmJustin
Comic Wilfred Padua and musician/DJ HansmJustin come together to bring you hiphop and laughs from diverse collaborators.
Vera Project, 5:55 pm


Splinter Group - 140 LBS
Susan Lieu will perform her one-woman show, sadly based on her own life, about her mother's death during a routine tummy tuck and her own quest to understand what happened. This profound story of an immigrant family debuted at the NW New Works Festival. Paul Budraitis will direct.
Center Theatre, 6 pm

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Celeste Cooning
This Seattle-based artist is known for her impressively large-scale cut-out art installations in parks and public spaces as well as on the stage. They look like gorgeous plants from an alien version of the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Center Armory

Everyday Black
Jessica Rycheal is a portrait photographer whose work documents subjects drawn from Seattle's multigenerational activist community with a sensuous, effervescent joie de vivre. Also a portrait photographer, Zorn B.Taylor often spotlights the idea of intentionally chosen family, capturing his subjects with simultaneous attention toward the monumental and the quotidian. In this two-person exhibition, curated by C. Davida Ingram and Leilani Lewis, Rycheal and Taylor present a series of intimate, honest, and lovingly created photographs celebrating many prominent members of Seattle's black creative community. EMILY POTHAST
Seattle Center Armory

Let's Get Visual, Visual
The breathtakingly creative Seattle artist/animator Clyde Peterson has curated this selection of new Northwest art.
Seattle Center Armory

RockArt Poster Show
This exhibition offers an array of Northwest poster art and screen prints from designers like Shogo Ota, Nat Damm, Kelsey Gallo, and others.
Seattle Center Armory


Alex Edelman
Alex Edelman is a contributor to the Believer and the Atlantic, as well as a wower of judges at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He's got some great one-liners, like "I'm from this really racist part of Boston, called Boston" and "I have cousins named Menachem and Yitzhak. You can't even spell their names in English because there's no English letter for phlegm."
Vera Project, 5:55 pm (Saturday)
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Friday) & 3:55 pm (Saturday)
Charlotte Martin Theater, 2:30 pm (Sunday)

Alyssa Yeoman
Sardonic Alyssa Yeoman is an overachiever in the Seattle comedy scene: She helps run QTPOC Is Not a Rapper, a queer POC comedy series, as well as the stand-up show Naked Brunch. She's performed in a number of festivals, like the Seattle International Comedy Competition and Intersections. Go root for the home team!
Charlotte Martin Theater, 2:30 pm (Friday & Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Saturday)
Vera Project, 5:55 pm (Saturday-Sunday)

Bri Pruett
Bri Pruett wrote a simple, fun, informative guide to consent for The Stranger (via its sister paper, the Portland Mercury), but she's appeared on less prestigious media outlets as well, such as Comedy Central and NPR. This bawdy feminist is definitely worth seeing live.
Vera Project, 2:50 pm (Friday-Saturday)
Charlotte Martin Theater, 2:30 pm (Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 5:40 pm (Sunday)

Emily Heller
Whether it’s the benefits of therapy, removing the shame from leashing your kids, or comparing the past presidential race to Air Bud, the evolution of comedian Emily Heller has taken her to the stages of Conan, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central, and the Showbox (she recorded her No Men Allowed—Kinda!! special there this past June). Also, check her Twitter (@MrEmilyHeller) for the haircut and glasses that accidentally, not mistakenly, “committed [her] to full time Weird Al cosplay.” SOPHIA STEPHENS
Charlotte Martin Theater, 6 pm (Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 5:40 pm (Friday & Sunday) & 3:55 pm (Saturday)
Vera Project, 2:50 pm (Sunday)

Josh Johnson
Louisiana-born comic Josh Johnson writes for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and used to write for The Tonight Show, so he hasn't left a minute of the day laughless. He is deliciously funny live—and no, the musical accent certainly doesn't hurt his delivery. Some of the highly relevant topics he jokes about: squirrels, snores, and eating paper with your burgers.
Charlotte Martin Theater, 2:30 pm (Friday) & 6 pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 3:55 pm (Saturday-Sunday)

Kate Willett
Horndog bisexual humor reaches a climax in California comic Kate Willett’s sets. Her delivery is super-casual and even-keeled, which enables her punch lines to hit with a deceptive power. Hear Willett break down the differences between West Coast and East Coast people and the romantic entanglements that can occur at Burning Man, and roar with laughter. She’s the type of stand-up comedian who can hold her own with Margaret Cho, with whom she’s toured. DAVE SEGAL
Vera Project, 2:50 pm (Saturday-Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Friday) & 5:40 pm (Saturday-Sunday)

Kortney Shane Williams
This Seattle comic—who’s opened for stars such as Dave Chappelle and Hannibal Buress—has gotten a lot of hilarious mileage out of being self-deprecating. Kortney Shane Williams’s bit about not being a “real man” is classic takedown of machismo and societal expectations. He excels in the humor of everyday mundanity, like shopping at Trader Joe’s and the problem of white guys with dreadlocks. “Every black guy is scared of a white guy with dreadlocks,” Williams observes. “It takes a lot of commitment… He’s probably trying to re-create Breaking Bad.” DAVE SEGAL
Charlotte Martin Theater, 4:15 pm (Friday)
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Saturday-Sunday)

Sam Jay
In 2016, “when the verdict—er, election results—came in,” comedian and Saturday Night Live writer Sam Jay was on a cruise... surrounded by confused white people unable to grasp reality. “People were like, ‘We are never going back to America!’ And I was like, ‘That is not how cruises work.’” With observations on everything from gentrification to why white people are aliens, Jay’s cool demeanor and deadpan delivery makes laughing in Trump’s America a little easier. SOPHIA STEPHENS
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Saturday) & 5:40 pm (Sunday)
Charlotte Martin Theater, 4:15 pm (Friday) & 2:30 pm (Sunday)
Vera Project, 5:55 pm (Saturday)


Khambatta Dance Company
Cyril Khambatta runs an ambitious, energetic local dance company that has worked with troupes from around the world. Their works are inspired by world mythologies and folk tales as well as diverse global styles.
International Fountain Pavilion, Various times

Massive Monkees
Like an isolated indigenous tribe, Seattle hiphop is blessedly far from contemporary hiphop culture’s epicenters (cf Atlanta and Atlanta). Conscious lyrics thrive and innovative beatmaking abounds in the hands of Sango and Shabazz Palaces. That bodes well for Massive Monkees, our homegrown dance crew holding it down for b-girl/boy culture. They rose to international fame by winning the 2004 World B-Boy Championships in London, but the Monkees still pop and lock every afternoon in an International District studio. GREG SCRUGGS
International Fountain Pavilion, Various times

Seattle Kokon Taiko
Experience the pulse-thrumming joy of Japanese taiko drums. Seattle Kokon Taiko, which traces its origins to the Seattle Taiko Group founded in 1980, is dedicated to the musical possibilities of this “uniquely Japanese American art form,” playing both contemporary works and ancient pieces.
International Fountain Pavilion, Various times


One Reel Film Fest
For 20-ish years now, the One Reel Film Festival has been the secret weapon of Bumbershoot, partly because, let's be serious, a little darkness, a little A/C, a comfy chair, right? But also because short films are an ideal art palate cleanser in a weekend designed as a smorgasbord. They're made with care, capable of delighting you, but they don't require much commitment. And because we're so used to having every piece of entertainment whenever and wherever we want it, there's something beautiful about surrendering for a little while to the curators' whims and the filmmakers' visions. Don't miss it. This year's lineup includes selections for families, local films, films made on the fly, music videos, and the audience and jury winners from SIFF. SEAN NELSON
SIFF Film Center, 2:30-7:30 pm


Dan Bugge (Matt's in the Market, Radiator Whiskey, White Swan, and more) and other Seattle restaurateurs will provide Bumbershoot's menu, including fried corn, fishwiches, pork belly banh mi, and other delights, plus offerings from Adana, Bok a Bok, Little Uncle, Southpaw, and more.
Near Fisher Green Stage


Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center
To the delight of woozy psychedelia-lovers across the city, the Laser Dome will flash gorgeous patterns across the ceiling in time to music by a different artist during each show. This year, the lasers will accompany tracks from ODESZA, Daft Punk, Childish Gambino, Outkast, Stranger Things, Cardi B, and Rihanna.
Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center, 6:30-10 pm

Maker's Space
Indulge your creative side and learn some new skills while you're at it with artists from Pottery Northwest and Dylan Neuwirth's Western Neon School, which produces new media and light art. There will also be screen-printing with all-ages music venue the Vera Project and sculpture making with the multidisciplinary street artist Little Talia.
International Fountain Pavilion, 2-6 pm



Eugene Mirman
You've heard of Eugene Mirman, right? The Moscow-born Brooklynite who voices Gene on Bob's Burgers and has appeared on all your favorite comedy and talk shows, from Delocated to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to Aqua Teen Hunger Force? If you have, you don't need convincing to go see him. If you haven't, just google "Vegan on the Way to the Complain Store" for a taste of delights to come. JOULE ZELMAN
Bagley Wright Theater, 5:45 pm

Last Podcast on the Left
Delight your ghoulish sensibilities with a live edition of this frighteningly addictive comedic podcast dedicated to freaky and violent real-life events (or events that a lot of people believe in), including cultish shenanigans, demonic apparitions, alien abductions, and more. Join Marcus Parks, Henry Zabrowski, and Ben Kissel to "laugh at things you will probably feel guilty about later." (True enough, but the humor is at the expense of killers and charlatans—and the occasional Slender Man erotic fanfic—so let that temper your shame as you will.)
Bagley Wright Theater, 3:30 pm

The Omnibus Project with Ken Jennings & John Roderick
The Omnibus Project is the baby of admired know-it-all Ken Jennings, indie rocker John Roderick, and executive producer Chuck Bryant. It aims to assemble a "time capsule" of weird stories for future generations (aka "Futurelings"). Come for the entertainingly weird history, stay to make your brain into a repository of abstruse knowledge.
Charlotte Martin Theater, 2:15 pm



Chris Fairbanks
This Montanan is known for rapid-fire, improvisational streams of consciousness that could double as thesis defenses for a PhD in ridiculousness. If you need to be convinced of how funny his modus operandi is, listen to his bit on metrosexual owls. But definitely see him here, too.
Vera Project, 2:50 pm (Saturday) & 5:55 pm (Sunday)
Cornish Playhouse, 2:10 pm (Sunday)



Haunting Renditions: Plugged In with Eliot Glazer
Eliot Glazer produces TV Land's Teachers, runs MTV's Gay Code, cowrites Broad City, and has worked on New Girl and The Time Traveling Bong, among other credits. Haunting Renditions is his musical comedy night.
Vera Project, 4:20 pm

Nikkita Oliver hosting Think It, Say It, Do It
Hear wisdom from award-winning slam poet, former mayoral candidate, writer, activist, and speaker Nikkita Oliver, who, among other achievements, helped shift the conversation about juvenile imprisonment and policing alternatives in Seattle.
Charlotte Martin Theater, 4:15 pm

Wilfred Padua
Dave Segal has described Wilfred Padua as "Seattle's funniest middle-school teacher by some distance." But let's not damn with faint praise (no disrespect to middle-school teachers): Padua has also had a lot of success in the POC-centered showcase Minority Retort and has performed previously at Bumbershoot, Bridgetown, Boring Time, and other festivals.
Cornish Playhouse, 3:55 pm