Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Bumbershoot Day One

Well, People Talking and Singing was a very good show. During the intermission, volunteers and our celebrity guests roamed the aisles taking up a collection for 826 Seattle; David Eggers was hugging anyone who gave him a $20, Sarah Vowell would "buddy punch" anyone who put in $5 (or 5 buddy punches for a $20), posters signed by the entire guest cast were being sold from the stage and handed over by John Hodgman for $100. Sarah Vowell insisted on counting her donations herself and reported that she collected over $700 (and faced her bills, which drew a cheer from all the retail workers in the audience). They raised over $10,000 in addition to the ticket sales and were selling and autographing books and other items in the lobby after the show. Since Carol was giving me a ride I didn't linger but the whole event gave off the feeling that any one of us in the audience could have strolled up to any one of the people on stage after the show and had a conversation with them. My personal favorite bits of the night were Vowell's reading of a new essay on John Fremont's explorations of Nevada (after whom Las Vegas's Fremont Street is named, the man whose expedition officially "discovered" Lake Tahoe for the United States) and specifically the sections about his cartographer, Charles Preuss (whose diaries of his three expeditions with Fremont are full of complaints such as "All my pants are torn." or "We're out of salt. Oh, what I wouldn't give for some salt." where one might expect him to be writing about the wonders which his party is discovering). Vowell set up each scene and Daniel Handler read Preuss's lines in hilarious deadpan. Jonathan Coulton did his delightful song about corporate co-workers turned brain-eating zombies (Re Your Brains) and had the whole audience singing along. While most of the musical interludes (at least those that didn't include Daniel Handler on the accordion) were not really my style, being more of the single musician on a stool with his guitar stuff (though I would have loved to have seen last year's line-up which included Mike Doughty, a personal favorite of mine since his Soul Coughing days) but the literary stuff was right up my alley. Loved it.

Today I got off to a bit of slow start because I was caught up finishing Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World which Warren recommended to me recently. I blew through that book in two days and found it strange in a good way. Maybe I caught on to the "twist" too early or something, I've read reviews by people who were completely baffled by the structure and subject of the story to the point of putting it down or being angry about it afterwards... I did not have that reaction. It's an odd book, nothing I would have picked up on my own, but I didn't find it unpleasant at all and I may try some of Murakami's other novels.

Anyway, because I spent the morning absorbed I didn't get off to Bumbershoot until early afternoon after running some errands. The 106 was dreadfully late again if you go by the posted schedule, but I've just about given up on trusting the posted schedule for that route. Made it downtown and headed straight for the Bumbershoot shuttle which helped me make up some time. First on the agenda was Blondie, whose show was about half-done when I arrived. I had no trouble getting in, though. Debbie Harry was clad head to toe in dayglo green spandex and they played recognizable versions of all their hits while I was there, so woohoo. Next up were the Epoxies. I was a little worried about getting into that show because the line seemed very long but it was ok. Had a great view of the stage, right up close, and the Epoxies rocked the place down. It was fantastic. The crowd was so into it and I think Roxy was a little surprised at our enthusiasm. This may have been the best Epoxies show I've been to yet!

Immediately after the Epoxies finished the Bumbershoot staff cleared the venue to get it ready for the next show, so I literally exited the building and went back around to the front to get in line for The Thermals, another Portland band I've been wanting to get to know. The crowd for The Thermals was much younger. I ended up in line next to a pack of young teens who were just so damn cute I could hardly stand it: a kid with green mohawk and braces on his teeth (a combo that always makes me go awwwww) who seemed like a good-natured goof; Ziggy, who was determined to wrap his wet shoes in duct tape and have all his friends sign them; the young blonde who called her dad to make sure it was okay if she stayed out for the Blood Brother's show that ended at 10:15, the kid who allowed the blonde to draw a curly mustache on him with a black sharpie. Their discussions ranged over all sorts of things: which is older, Ozzy or Rocky Horror; which is more "sensual", duct tape or hand cuffs; if you're going to write LOVE and HATE on your knuckles, should HATE be on your left or right hand; is the cartoon Recess better than the cartoon Doug; who had been to Canada and what had they done there (which prompted the girls to begin squealing about High Tea at the Empress Hotel). I sat quietly and pretended to play solitaire on my Palm but mostly I just listened to their chatter and was amused. They seemed like nice, happy kids. The Thermals, while they're no Epoxies, were good enough to keep my entertained. I've certainly sat through far worse bands.

After The Thermals I thought about trying to get into the David Cross/Todd Barry/Jon Benjamin comedy performance, but the line was already full and the show sold out so I ended up buying a grossly expensive cup of beer and then making my way over to The Bumberbout Flat Track Roller Derby Invitational Championship bouts. Fighting it out for third place were Madison's Mad Rollin' Dolls (motto "Hurt in a Skirt") versus the Minnesota Rollergirls. As a Minnesota girl, I had to cheer my home state but the Minnesota Rollergirls got creamed 96 to 50 (or something very close to that). At the end of the match the Minnesota team had at least five girls holding ice packs to various body parts. Ouch. The second match to determine first and second place for the tournament was between Austin's Texecutioners and Seattle's own Rat City Rollergirls. This was a brutal, hard-fought match that the Rat City girls lost by only 5 points amid all sorts of rough play, leg-whips, penalties, general confusion, and special circumstances (such as what to do when both teams' jammers are in the penalty box; or under what circumstance the jammer can pass her position to her team's pivot, something that did happen during the game to the announcers' amazement). Ripping good game, that one. I am woefully ignorant of the rules for Flat Track Roller Derby (particularly scoring) but I picked up a good lot of it just by watching those two matches and had a good time. Plus the DJ was playing great punk rock that could have come pick for pick from our home collection.

All in all a good, if long day. I'm going to do it again tomorrow, only I'm going to try to get an earlier start so I have the luxury of just walking around and picking this or that if it appeals to me. Today I was on a schedule to hit several things in particular. Tomorrow is wide open.


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