Summer in the City
The Best of Bumbershoot 2014: Monday
Our top picks in music, comedy, and culture for the Labor Day weekend fest.
Paul F. Thompkins' Dead Authors Podcast 4:45, Comedy at the Bagley – Comedian Paul F. Thompkins is no stranger to fully committing to outlandish characters. On Comedy Bang Bang he's played everyone from Ice-T to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to Werner Herzog to Michael Jackson's Ghost. He takes the antics a step further for The Dead Authors Podcast. Each episode, Thompkins plays a time traveling H.G. Wells and interviews comedians playing the roles of other historically famous authors. He'll tape a live episode of the absurd literary podcast each day of Bumbershoot.
Needle Party!!! with Ken Jennings and George Meyer 5:15, Words and Ideas Stage (Charlotte Martin Theatre) – It's unclear exactly what will happen when Ken Jennings and George Meyer take the Bumbershoot stage, but it's fair to guess that the humor will be highbrow and referential. Head to the Words and Ideas Stage to see the Jeopardy champ and famed The Simpsons writer investigate the lighter side of comedy (apparently with assistance from that scallywag John Roderick). While it may not be as eye-catching as the standup showcases, this has the chance to be the funniest hour of the entire festival.
J. Cole 5:45, Memorial Stadium Mainstage – It takes a lot to upstage Kanye West, but that's just what hip hop star J. Cole did in 2013. His album Born Sinner released the same day as West's Yeezus, but it has won the sales battle to date thanks to hits like "Power Trip" and "Crooked Smile." There have been rumblings that the follow-up to Born Sinner might arrive as early as this fall, so don't be surprised if J. Cole tests out a new tune or two at Memorial Stadium.
The Improvised Shakespeare Company 6:30, Comedy at the Bagley – The works that William Shakespeare committed to the page are masterworks of the English language that should be performed with exacting detail. But that signature linguistic style? That's ripe for parody. The Improvised Shakespeare Company crafts entirely spontaneous plays inspired by the Bard of Avon's voice based only off of an audience-suggested title. Prepare for many unexpected comedic turns and more than a few thees and thous.
Tangerine 7:15, Memorial Stadium End Zone Stage – Let the light and breezy indie pop played by Seattle's Tangerine provide an apt soundtrack to close out your summer. The band sound feels like an amalgam of all the sunniest elements of California rock. Regardless of the weather, bask in the warmth of upbeat youthful attitude that permeates each of the Tangerine's songs.
Interstitial Theatre Fisher Pavilion – Bumbershoot's visual arts offerings are always a good way to take a calming break from weekend's high decibel action. Local curatorial group Interstitial Theatre brings together a collection of Washingtonian artists to muse over our natural surroundings via modern technology. The creations examine the uncertainty of wild landscapes in the digital age.
Aug 30–Sept 1, Seattle Center, $62–$230; festival pass $175–$575