Let’s face it: Navigating Bumbershoot without a map is like driving cross-country with a six-pack of Red Bull and a friend who “swears he knows where he’s going.” Things could get ugly, quickly. That’s why we’ve prepared a must-see list for every day of the festival. We start today with Saturday’s top five events, and continue through Thursday with a new list every day. We cover it all: music, film, comedy, “spectacles.” And since we all know that the main draw is the mainstage, where headliners Bob Dylan, Weezer, and Mary J. Blige will perform, we’ve strayed off the beaten path. Enjoy.
Visual Art: The Portrait Challenge
It started with one bored security guard at the Frye, who challenged his colleagues—also stationed at the so-called Siberia entrance to the museum—to sketch a picture of this “poor, goofy-looking fellow” he found in a copy of BusinessWeek. The Portrait Challenge has since morphed into an interactive exhibit at Bumbershoot, curated by Ryan Molenkamp, who recruits artists and passers-by alike to take their turn drawing. Ongoing, Friday preview noon–7, Sat—Mon 11–8. Shaw room, Northwest Rooms, Seattle Center.
Music/Youngershoot: Caspar Babypants
If Chris Ballew could make music videos about ninjas and peaches, it seems only natural he’d transition to singing about three blind mice and “Rocks and Flowers.” Bring the little ones to hear some of the best kindie rock in town by the former front man of the Presidents of the United States of America. 1–2pm. Northwest Court Stage.
Music: Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs
Ellensburg rock chick Star Anna counts Duff McKagan and Mike McCready as fans and friends, joining them for Thursday’s Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf at the Moore Theatre. Here she lends her throaty vocals to alt-country with real soul, backed by the Laughing Dogs. 1:15–2:15pm. Starbucks Stage.
Film and Music: Wheedle’s Groove
With Wheedle’s Groove, Humpday coproducer Jennifer Maas has made an eye-opening, ear-teasing, irresistible documentary about Seattle soul in the ’60s and ’70s, says our own Eric Scigliano. She screens selections from the film here, plus outtakes and previously unreleased concert footage, before nearly 25 members of the soul/funk supergroup reunite for a concert at 3:45. “We’ve never had Wheedle’s show with this many original members,” Maas told me. "Black on White Affair vocalist Calvin Law is flying in from Salt Lake City, ‘Deep Soul’ vocalist Ural Thomas will be driving up from Portland. There’s Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright, Overton Berry, Ron Buford, Robbie Hill, Bernadette Bascom… All in all, it should be well over a 25-piece band—full horn section and all!” 2-3pm screening, 1 Reel Film Festival, SIFF Cinema. 3:45–4:45pm concert, State Farm Stage. Wheedle’s Groove runs at Northwest Film Forum Sept 3–9.
Words and Ideas: The Four Fingers of Death with Rick Moody
Fiction writer Rick Moody (The Ice Storm) is a transition player, helping Bumbershoot move gracefully from the more traditional, author-based “Literary Arts” program to its new, poppy, YouTube-friendly “Words and Ideas” genre. He straddles the line with his new darkly comic novel, The Four Fingers of Death, which he’s called ‘a 900-page comic novel about a disembodied arm set in the desert in 2026.’ Pacific Northwest author Mark Lindquist moderates the conversation. 5:30–6:30pm; Leo K Theatre, Seattle Rep.