City Arts’ Bumbershoot Picks

The acts we don’t plan to miss at this year’s bumber-ful arts and music festival.

SEPTEMBER 4, 7:15 P.M.
Neko Case
This singer-songwriter of some of the most soulful indie rock ever heard in Seattle returns to her hometown on a much-ballyhooed lineup, playing between the Decemberists and Bob Dylan.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1:15 P.M.
Horse Feathers
The quiet ferocity of this Portland folk-pop band comes to a climax with its new album, Thistled Spring. Come hear some music that will connect you to your soul in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Starbucks Stage

SEPTEMBER 6, 3:30 P.M.
Dark Divas
This tribute honors the many great African American women who rose to fame from the Apollo Theater in Harlem, from Pearl Bailey to Bessie Smith, for a jazz-and-blues-filled show that brings back eras of a different beat.
Performing Arts Stage

SEPTEMBER 6, 9:30 P.M.
The English Beat
There are few things more joy-inducing than ska music, but when you add reggae, pop, punk rock and a little soul, you have a band that’s the best thing since sliced crumpets and a perfect cap to a Bumbershoot weekend.
Fisher Green Stage


This performance by a contemporary-dance troupe known for its innovative and inventive combination of movement, music and acrobatics will no doubt drop several jaws.
Performing Arts Stage

SEPTEMBER 5, 3:30 P.M.
Arts Corps Presents
This showcase of hip-hop, break dancing and percussion highlights the collaborative efforts of teachers and students in the largest nonprofit arts education group in King County.
Performing Arts Stage

605 Collective
This group, which began in an apartment numbered 605 in Vancouver, BC, has attracted all ages and all styles to its shows, which fuse contemporary movement with feats of athleticism and play.
Performing Arts Stage


I Am Secretly an Important Man
This documentary pays tribute to Jesse Bernstein, the iconic Seattle poet/performer whose words and strange ways helped make this city’s poetry scene the unique and beautiful beast it is today.
SIFF Cinema

SEPTEMBER 5, 3:30 P.M.
Women in Film
A series of short films showcasing the talents of female actors, writers and directors. The feminist in you wants to go, we can tell.
SIFF Cinema

SEPTEMBER 6, 3:30 P.M.
The Meaning of Life
We all wonder, at some point or another, what the crap we’re even doing here. The filmmakers of this collection of inquisitive shorts put those ponderings onto the big screen.
SIFF Cinema

SEPTEMBER 6, 4:30 P.M.
Another series of short films, this one focusing on the fantastic and enchanting. Each story is more mysterious than the last, with stimulating and intriguing visuals. 
SIFF Cinema


DAILY, 11 A.M. – 8 P.M.
Portrait Challenge
Conceived originally as entertainment for security guards at Frye Art Museum, this challenge involves taking one photographed portrait and offering six blank boxes for artists and laypersons to re-create it. Participate as a viewer, an artist or even a model.
Northwest Rooms

DAILY, 11 A.M. – 8 P.M.
The Bumbershoot Piece
Part of Jonathan Brilliant’s series Have Sticks Will Travel, this huge site-specific piece will be made entirely from coffee stir sticks woven together – the found materials of a Seattleite’s natural environment.
Northwest Rooms



Pecha Kucha
Pecha Kucha is an artistic presentation style developed in Tokyo that focuses on slides and explanations: twenty images, twenty seconds each. Six artists from different disciplines will follow this format and center on the theme “Evil Schemes/Evil Deeds.”
Words and Ideas Stage


SEPTEMBER 4, 3:30 P.M.
SEPTEMBER 5, 6:45 P.M.

The Jammer
This high-impact roller derby comedy tells the story of a man who dares to leave everything to join the sport he loves. Complete with roller-derby action scenes, this production is sure to entertain.
Theatre Puget Sound Stage

SEPTEMBER 5, 3:45 P.M.
Synthesizing the elements of clowning, physical theatre, epic theatre and psychological drama with the on-the-spot delight of improv, this group creates spontaneous shows that never cease to astound and delight.
Theatre Puget Sound Stage

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
This award-winning musical comedy chronicles the battle of six overachieving adolescents contending for the spelling championship and all the underage angst that comes with it.
Theatre Puget Sound Stage

For the full Bumbershoot schedule, visit