Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sept 1, 2007 - Bumbershoot Day 1

As promised (never promised), here is the breakdown of my experiences at the Bumbershoot (umbrellas not permitted (not needed, either)) event in Seattle (Washington (USA)).

Day 1 (as mentioned in the title)

The first order of business was to scout out the festival grounds and familiarize ourselves with the layout. Get a feel for the place, you know? (of course you know, you're not stupid) We checked out the Indie Market, the food vendors, the various stages, the potential bottlenecks, fastest routes for between shows, etc.

One of the coolest things is that there are a lot of outdoor stages, where, when walking by, you can overhear various styles of music that may or may not draw you in. Some may repulse you, some may pull you (pending tastes). It's like you're a pinball in a magnetic field with constantly alternating polarity. Sort of like that. I should've said "sort of" up front. My apologies.

Anyway, it was in this way that we came across the first band that we were drawn in to ...

The Cops - Sound Transit Stage (Broad Street)
Neo-retro punk. High energy. Awesome. We stuck around for a few songs. Liked what we saw. I will buy some of their stuff on iTunes. You should give them a 30 second listen to see if they are for you. That's my recommendation. Just kind of feel it out, and then get super into them.

From there we walked to the Mainstage to get ready for The Shins. There was already a concert in progress ...

Crowded House - Samsung Mainstage (Memorial Stadium)
As I overheard someone unoriginally say "it sure is a crowded house for Crowded House." I grit my teeth. Look, you already know Crowded House, so I don't need to sell you on them, OK? They do that "don't dream it's over" song, and others! We were going to stand in line and get some food in the stadium, but the lines were too long, way too long, so instead we found third row seats in the stands, hungry. Sitting in the third row allows a fairly unobstructed view, if you don't mind not really seeing the band up close. For that you need to be amongst the throngs standing on the field. I will say this, they sounded really great. I mean, like you'd hear on the radio, studio quality. I even posited they were lip singing (but mostly as a joke (especially the "singing" v. "synching" part)). Not that we were bored (we weren't), but we read books while we waited. Then they introduced a special guest up on stage. We were so far back that we couldn't truly make out who it was. The crowd went ape, though. He stuck around for a couple songs and then left. Turns out it was Eddie Vedder. All in all it was quite enjoyable. Take that for what it's worth (twenty cents on the open market).

And then a short break, and then:

The Shins - Samsung Mainstage (Memorial Stadium)
I am a fan of The Shins by nature, so I was pleased to see them. Of course, I am a casual fan, so I was pleased when the four songs I know were played. I rather enjoyed the other songs from my I'm-less-familiar-with category, so that's a nice testimonial for them. They played a great show, as expected. Everything was as expected.

We left The Shins' concert ten minutes before it ended for two reasons: hunger (primary driver), and to avoid the crowd (exiting), and because we kind of got it already (great as it was).

I opted for pizza (by the slice), and Erica for kabobbed chicken (on a stick). Neither of us chose alligator (on a stick), though it was being offered. We ate it (on the lawn), and then waited in a long ass line for ice cream (if you're wondering what any of this has to do with portroids, wait no more!). While in line (ice cream, remember?) we had our first random celebrity sighting ... Eugene Mirman!! I had already portroided him a year earlier, so we let him pass unmolested (lucky him).

Mostly for indoor events, you need to get in line early, like at least an hour early, so we did that. We got in line for our next performance like an hour early. It was ...

The Moth: Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll Stories - Boeing Performing Arts Stage (Bagley Wright Theatre)
We had seen The Moth before (me? three times!) and really, really (double really) loved it. For those of you who don't know what it is, allow me to explain. Various people (usually some sort of performer or artist, but sometimes Joe Schmo or Average Joe (a Joe of some garden variety, though)) are given a topic and allowed ten minutes to tell a true story from their lives that relates to that topic. This performance lived up to the prior experiences I've had with The Moth. Very entertaining, funny, touching, and entertaining (double entertaining). I recommend, if you like good stories, you see The Moth. They perform monthly in NYC (with an everchanging roster of storytellers) and they also tour nationally.

We left as soon as it ended, not waiting around for the post-show signings, because we had to get in line for what we hoped would be our next event ...

Michael Ian Black and Todd Barry - Comedy Stage South (Charlotte Martin Theatre)
The line was long, and we didn't get in (to make a potential long story short).

We, though, gave that line the old college try. I called an old college buddy (CARL) and told him we wouldn't be able to meet for dinner after all because we were still full from our overindulgence in ice cream. We would meet the next day for breakfast. Oh, true indeed.

We left. Took the monorail back downtown. On the walk to our hotel, we saw Fred Armisen on the corner a block from our hotel. I had taken his portroid earlier this year, so we just crossed paths like the strangers we actually are.

I know you think this story should be over, but not quite. So far, it has been zero new portroids for me, but not for long!

Waiting at the elevator (slowest EVER) in our hotel was none other than Kristen Schaal. You may know her as Mel from Flight of the Conchords (if you don't, then shame on you!). I asked if I could take her picture, as we stepped into the elevator. She agreed, awkward though it seemed. Of course, by the time I was ready to take the picture, we had arrived at our floor. She suggested she just get off with us. We found an ideal spot for the picture and had some small talk about comedy and places to live (and to have lived) and we thanked her and stepped into our room (literally right there). I assume she got back on the elevator, but that's not for me to assume.

Anyway, after all that, here is the one portroid I took the first day of Bumbershoot:

Two more days to go!


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