01 September, 2007

Bumbershoot 2007... my way

I really don't want to write a blog about Bumbershoot, because it feels like a blog that 800,000 other people are probably posting right now as we speak. So I'll at least try to make mine different.

My day began today by picking up my new car. I think I already told you about this earlier. But it is still surreal. I haven't unloaded my old car yet, but I took a deposit from someone this morning, and it looks like I've made a sale. The thing is, because I still have my old car, I am thinking "Maybe I should just drive the Corolla tomorrow"? What's wrong with me?

By the way, I'm putting the fucking quotes inside the punctuation from now on. But that's another story.

So, my day... everything was a little behind schedule, and for some reason, today did once again feel like the first day of the rest of my life. I am not sure why. I should be getting used to this by now. But I'm not.

There was a guy who was going to come and look at the car this morning, to purchase it. And it turns out that it is a kid who looks like he's 17, along with his Dad. And they drove here from Bremerton. And they were late. By about 30 minutes. And it was messing up my Bumbershoot plans, which really consisted of seeing one band that I really wanted to see, and that band went on at 2:15pm.

So this is an interesting story. The Dad, I kid you not, weighed at least 500 pounds. And from previous history, I know that people tend to underestimate the weight of morbidly obese people, if anything. I talk to them for a bit, and the Dad informs me that they thought that banks would be open today, but they're not, and would I be willing to take a check. My first inclination was sort of, no and yes. Yes and no. I am willing, but it's just not prudent, so in spite of trusting him, I hesitate. At that point, I decide that I am almost wanting to talk him out of purchasing the car. I tell them about every problem I know with the car, and I state the exact severity of the suspected CV joint issue, blah blah blah. And they're still interested.

Then they want to take it for a test drive. But that presents a problem, because the kid doesn't know how to drive a manual transmission yet. Which means Dad needs to drive it.

With my seat moved ALL THE WAY BACK, this guy got into the car with about as much difficulty as I would have getting inside a filing cabinet. And I am not exaggerating. I was worried that either a) the car would tip over to the left, or b) the wilting suspension would completely collapse and I would have no car to sell. But they did their drive (I couldn't bear to go along), and came back happy enough. They never heard the CV joint problem, which surprised and concerned me. I still am not sure I should sell this car to these people. But they said they already called a mechanic for an estimate. I can't overthink their decision for them.

He asks me what it would take for me to hold the car for him until they can come back over with cash... I said give me a deposit. So he gave me $100 cash, and we're done. I probably would have just taken the check on the spot, but at this point, everything is happening so late, and there is a 1:30pm bus coming in 10 minutes to take me to Bumbershoot. I decide that if we try to do the title and registration transfer and all that shit, I will probably miss Honeycut. So I say to come back with cash. They leave. I park my car just around the corner (we met at the Shell station near my place). Then I go to the bus. And of course, every fucking person in the world is going on this same bus through Capitol Hill. I realize, it's 2:00pm and we're just crossing I-5 on Pine. If I stay on this bus, I will miss the show. So, I look out the window, and I think "the Space Needle can't be more than a mile away... if that". I exit the bus at 9th and Pine. And I run. In hiking boots and jeans.

And I got there and located Dan and Tina (and Sue and Andy, with whom I played music [along with Mark] last night) while the announcer was introducing Honeycut. Any later, and I miss the first song.


Bart Davenport (of Honeycut) and the band put on a great show, as expected. There was a decent crowd but they competed with The Shins (who I could care a rat's ass about), so it was not as many people as one might hope.

But I'm not talking about the show, remember? Because that's what everyone else is probably doing.

After the Honeycut, I was hungry. I watched Dan jump around like a kid in the giant fountain, and then we saw some belly-dancer types who were moderately entertaining, but it was a tough call as to whether the limiting factor was their dancing skill or their beauty, but something was limiting my viewing enjoyment. Maybe it was that I was hungry. And I knew what I wanted. And I found it.

Piecora's, you are my Mecca.

Not only was it great, but it was also CHEAP!!! Yes, affordable festival food! In fact, I would assert that the price was probably cheaper than if you bought it at the restaurant. All slices were $3.00. I am sure cheese is cheaper, but I bet slices with toppings are more than $3.00. This is proof that though there are few good things left in the world, there are not zero good things left in this world.

(brief pause as i google talk with rebekah... and I'm BACK!)

After the pizza, Dan and Tina had to go and locate their son, who was loaded up with quarters and happily indulging at the arcade. I elected to stick around and watch the next band. Magically, I ran into second group of friends - Jenn and Vijay. They had made their way over to see the second band with me (coming from the Shins show). None of us liked The Saturday Knights. For some reason, I remembered this band as being better than they are. I think it had something to do with the fact that I saw them at the Fremont Oktoberfest 2 years ago, and had a large amount to drink. But they were not interesting to me, and it was packed because people were all out of the Shins show now. Blah blah blah again.

So Jenn and Vijay went away to go stand in line for some comedy thing, which at the time did not sound that compelling to me. I decided to wait for/meet Dan and Tina after they collected Sawyer. But 10 minutes turned out to be an hour. I went into the Center House to get the hell out of the sun, and get a beverage. That turned out to be a Snapple Lemonade AND a Vitamin Water Citrus. I think I was very thirsty. I only had to pee once after that, and you'd think that not to be the case, so I must have been very dehydrated. I bet you're glad I told you that? See, I told you I wouldn't write a typical Bumbershoot blog!

Then, in the Center House, I realized they were playing music that sounded familiar. First I heard the song "Breaking Free". Then I heard the song "I Got Nerve [sic]". You might say, "what the hell are those songs"? And to that, I say, "Aha! I know something you do not know"! (now I confess I am spitefully putting the punctuation outside the quotes, because I wouldn't normally have done that - call it being a rebel! What can I say?). Anyway. Why do I know those songs? And why do I know where they are from? Well, because I lived in the same house as a 10 year old girl for a year! "I Got Nerve" is by Hannah Montana! And "Breaking Free" is the big hit song from the Disney movie "High School Musical". I have seen the Hannah Montana show, and I have seen the High School Musical movie! I am culturally literate in ways you ain't even begun to imagine!

And the sad part is... I like both of those songs. They're catchy. What can I say. I should note that this was a recording, not the actual artist performing the songs. If you want to see Hannah Montana, you need to pay a LOT of money so you can watch her lip-sync with no band (I know this too, because we did just that! Like $45/ticket to see her at the Key Arena last year). It was not my favorite show ever. But I did feel lucky to be a part of that experience. So it definitely had a plus side to be the "chaperone" for kids having their first real-live concert.

Anyway, back on track. Am I ever on track here? Would you want me to be?

I am pretty disgruntled with Dan and Tina at this point for taking so long, and this is no secret, so I don't feel bad writing it - but I certainly didn't let on that I was bummed - I just didn't really feel like being at Bumbershoot by myself! I could be at home by myself and it would be the same, but with fewer people! (And, better music!)

So I decided to go see what Jenn and Vijay ended up doing. And it turns out they are doing something quite cool. This guy Greg Proops (?) who is apparently famous to anyone who is culturally literate at a level beyond 5th grade, was the comedy act they were in line to see. And they let me join them at the beginning of a VERY LONG line. Only about 2/3 of the people in line were able to get a seat. So Greg Proops did his talk show, and you will be surprised to know who his guests were for this Bumbershoot talk show. You'd be very surprised, as I was.

Janeanne Garofalo
Colin Hay
Whitney Pastorak

Now, I'm sure you all know who Janeanne Garofalo is. And I had always heard she was short. And indeed she is very short. maybe 5' if not less than that! But do you know who Colin Hay is? I did, but neither Jenn nor Vijay knew until I told them.

Hm... let me think... Who can it be now?

I'll give you a hint...

It's someone from... a land... Down Under?

I realize that all of these hints are probably a bit of... Overkill?

I know I am making to big of a deal out of this... I realize... It's a Mistake?

Okay. Are you getting it yet?

C'mon. Someone post a comment here and tell us who this mystery guy is!

So yes, this was quite a treat. Actually sort of gave me the opportunity to check off another one of those boxes in the "Things I Would Like To Do or See Before I Die". Incidentally, I will be checking off another of those items later this month when I go to see DEVO at the Puyallup Fair. I should note that right now I have one extra ticket for this, and since previous-prime-candidate-to-be-invited is now seemingly out of contention, I invite you to express your interest.

As for Whitney Pastorak. She runs some type of literary magazine, and she acknowledged herself that it was a rather hard follow coming behind those two very well-known individuals. But she was fine.

So, then we wander around. Get some wine at the "Wine Garden" because apparently there's a difference between a "Beer Garden" and a "Wine Garden". The difference is simple. The "Beer Garden" has 9235 people in line to get inside. The "Wine Garden" has 8 people in line.

I have a paper cut on the first knuckle of my left middle finger, and it hurts (I'm just trying to keep you in the moment here with me).

This is really going to be a quite a fucking project for you to even read this blog. Ha! You're addicted. Admit it. I knew that it wasn't all robots reading this shit. I did remove my "hit counter" which isn't really a hit counter at all. Someone told me about this tool that would tell you what IP address or state or country is accessing a page - though technically it didn't pick up blog hits, just page hits. Plus, I decided that I don't really need to know about this, and also don't want to scare away shy or anonymous viewers. So your anonymity is safe with me now. Actually not with me. It's safe with Rupert Murdoch. Doesn't that make you feel better?

Back to the show.

I gave Jenn my flannel shirt to wear because she was cold. I am not sure why I just told you that. I could delete it, since it seems like a non sequitur, but it is really quite sequitur, nothing non about it, since I was telling you about the "Wine Garden" (I'm gonna put quotes around that every time, since it was really not a "Garden" at all, but just a fucking metal fence on a plot of grass, with trash cans, drunk people, and obnoxious moronic security guards protecting us from ourselves).

My favorite thing about the "Beer" and "Wine" "Gardens" at these festivals is the "fence moat" that they always construct. It's like a special buffer zone. There's a fence. And then a gap. And then another fence. I wonder, is this so that people cannot jump one fence to get in? Is it so the security can patrol a well-defined perimeter? Is it so you cannot reach far enough to hand beverages over the fence to minors? Or is it just to fuck with us and insult us so we feel like cattle? I think they should dig a moat and fill it with burning tar and pitch, and possibly have the guards equipped with pitchforks. Actually, that raises an interesting question. Were pitchforks originally used for pitch? And if so, how would that work? Because it would seem to me that having a pronged implement would be far less useful for pitch than say a shovel or, even better, some type of giant ladle.

Actually, now I am not even really sure I know what pitch is.

But back to the show.

I want to know who's reading this, so I'm gonna ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the answer. If you have a MySpace account, you can comment here. If you don't, just email me.

Here's my question:

Which band name do you prefer?

a) Open Casket Wedding

b) Carpal Tunnel Vision

I have another one, but I am not including it in the multiple choice because I *know* you'll all pick it as your favorite if I give you the choice. So, to be clear, the choice is between the two listed above. Do not choose the next one that I am going to tell you. So, the other band name I have stored for future use is "Sonic Hitler Youth". But you can't pick that one.

If you want extra credit, you can tell me what style of music you would think is appropriate for a band with each of those three names. Maybe I will buy you animal crackers if you amuse me. Or maybe I will buy myself animal crackers, and bite the heads off of each and every cracker, and then put them back in the box and give THOSE to you.

Why do they call them "crackers"? That fucking pisses me off. They are cookies. And they always have been. Saltines are crackers. If you had to group animal "crackers" with either Saltines or Oreos, which would you group them with? That's a rhetorical question. You do not need to send a response to that one.

Are you with me?


Finally, back to the show.

After the "Wine Garden" we decide promptly that Bert Jansch is boring (sorry Andrew). And we move onward. I should mention that right before the Saturday Knights, I ran into my friend George for about 15 seconds, and we vowed to meet later. Did we? Keep reading.

So from "Wine Garden" we decide to meet Dan and Tina at an indoor theater (Children's Theater?) to see something called Rude Mechanicals. This was a group of 5 people armed with business clothes, 5 overhead projectors, and the entire catalog of "Get Your War On" comic strips. They did a multimedia agit-prop (as they named it themselves) extravaganza that largely was based on the comic strip, and used much of the dialog from the strip verbatim. It was good, but fairly intense, and maybe 20 minutes longer than it needed to be. I had a good time, and Dan and Tina definitely liked it. Jenn and Vijay not as much, and this was based on it being a bit over the top. It was interesting because it wasn't an issue of it being in opposition to their beliefs. More it was about the style and the manner of the delivery. It made me think, actually.

I am an angry liberal, and I like to get together with other angry liberals and rant. But not everyone is like that. And just because they aren't, doesn't necessarily mean that they think the opposite of me. They raised a point that it's one thing to have constructive useful commentary or to try to effect a change, whereas it's another thing to just be angry and bitter and aggressive and bitch about things. And I realized that maybe we liberals do tend to get together and act mighty proud of how much better we are, and how much smarter we are, and about how the system is so fucked. And while I might believe all those things, and personally enjoy being a part of those ranting sessions, is it really serving any purpose?

How many people have had their ideas converted by listening to the rant of someone else?

I don't know.

So the Rude Mechanicals were rude, but entertaining for the most part. But I'm a ranting angry liberal, so don't ask me.

After this point, the night started to fall apart, and I potentially fell into no-man's land. But it worked out okay I will tell you in advance.

Dan and Tina went to get Sawyer from the arcade (again!) and to go watch Devotchka. Having learned more than zero Russian, it irks me that everyone calls this band "Devotchka" just like it's spelled. That is NOT the way it is supposed to be pronounced. It should be pronounced as if it were written D'yeh-Vahtch-Ka. And when I tell people this, they say to me "Oh, I've always heard it as devotchka". So apparently, living with 2 Russians for a year doesn't give me any sort of say on whether it's De or D'yeh. Oh well. I tried. I can lead Lashadka to water, but I can't make it drink, if you get my meaning.

Jenn/Vijay/I go to Sky Church at EMP because George and Heidi are supposed to be there. And they are. The band sucks. I don't even remember which band it was, and I am going to look it up right now, so I can bitch about them to you. Okay. They were called "Grand Archives". This is what the website had to say about them:

"Recording in Seattle this summer, Grand Archives plans to release their first album in early 2008. Mat Brooke, Jeff Montano, Curtis Hall, Ron Lewis, and Thomas Wright have made a name for themselves with their thrilling stage presence and their impeccable harmonizing."

Okay. Let me translate that for you. They were boring as all hell, and they had HORRIBLE vocals. I think it's just a typo. It wasn't supposed to say "impeccable harmonizing". I think it was original "pestilent harmonizing" or maybe "imperfect harmonizing". Nobody in that band had a good voice, and they all sang. If that's what they mean, then okay. You know a band is not great vocally when they need 5 people to sing 2 part harmony. But the fans LOVED them. Somehow, people were singing along with the songs, even though the band supposedly formed this morning at like 11:15am.

Jenn and Vijay bailed, and I hung out with George and Heidi for a little bit. They filled me in with the goings on of our various acquaintances. And then there was a debate as to whether we go to 6 Arms, or if they take a ride home. The verdict was take a ride home. I leave with them, thinking that I will walk home. This is not a great idea. Probably 4 miles. I already passed up taking a cab with Jenn and Vijay because I was not ready for the night to be over. So now I am outside, and alone, and without transportation. I call Dan and Tina, and they say they are still at D'yevatchka (I'm sorry, I can't help myself), and I decide I should better go find them and a) have my night not be over yet, and b) potentially beg them for a ride home). Miraculously, after much trial and error, I get back into Bumbershoot and I do find them! And quite easily, even though it's dark and there are still thousands of drunk people. In fact, earlier we saw a girl completely comatose on the pavement with people attempting to pick her ass up off the ground. We watch the last 2 songs, and then Dan and Tina save my ass, and give me a ride home.

Thus ends my Bumbershoot for 2007.

Funny, I keep thinking it's 2008 now because I just bought a 2008 car that I'm afraid to drive. But that will be another blog.

I'll leave you with a final haiku:

Fuck this Bumbershoot
It's just a whole lot of hype
Won't go back next year

Or maybe I will... we shall see.

In case you're curious, you just read 3789 words. Including this.

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