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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

There Beneath The Blue Suburban Skies I Sit

(Well, technically they were blue urban skies, but you get the drift.)

With the passing of Labor Day Weekend, and our annual Artsy-Fartsy Community Fest now behind us, summer in the Upper Left Hand really is drawing to a close; although according to the weather forecast, we've still got a few good days left in store before the weather pattern transitions to our nine months of soggy grayness.

Not much on the news front: Mr. laptop was down-and-out for a couple of days due to a crashed harddrive, but is now back to work with a 40 Gb drive (up from its factory installed 10Gb), plus an additional 512 Mb RAM, thus quadrupling storage & tripling memory access - almost like having a brand new machine! I was always under the impression that laptops, unlike PC boxes, were inherently non-upgradeable, but fortunately that seems to be a fallacy perpetuated no doubt by laptop manufacturers who don't want you to know that for a measely $250 you can get several spiffy upgrades to your current portable, instead of plunking down $1,000 + for a new machine. Boo on them - yay to Seattle Laptop!

And yes, I did attend one day of Bumbershoot, yesterday, where I spent a full 12 hours immersed in the sights, sounds & smells of 80,000 or more locals wandering aimlessly through the Seattle Center grounds, taking in a musical act here-and-there (Steve Miller, English Beat, Rocky Votolato, Izabelle), several live stage performances (John Moe, Matt Smith, the incomparable Reggie Watts), as well as our dearly beloved Annex Theatre's "A Very Special Bumbershoot Edition" of "Spin The Bottle". Finally left at around 11:00 p.m., after a long day of wandering, listening, sitting, standing in a couple of long lines for things I never even got into (and according to a couple of reports was lucky to not have done so), my feet sore and my stomach full-to-nearly-bursting from eating way too much county fair fare.

A lot of long-time 'shooters continue their now annual ritual of complaining about the ever increasing commerciality of the enterprise, along with the escalating ticket prices (many of these same people, in typical geezer fashion, lament "the good old days" when it was a free event, which is hasn't been for something like 25 years), the dearth of local artists (which, admittedly has occured to a certain extent on the music front, but has been compensated for by increased booking of local spoken-word and theatre, which incidentally wasn't even part of "Seattle's Annual Arts Festival" until a couple of years ago), and the fact that they now have to wait for hours in line with the hoi-polloi from the 'burbs instead of being able to sashay their way into the limited seating venues on five minutes notice, like they used to be able to do (although when exactly that may have been remains a mystery, since, in my 20 some-odd years of on-and-off attendance, the lines have ALWAYS existed).

But for me at least, one of the attractions of Bumbershoot has always been the opportunity to expose oneself to acts one might not normally go out of ones way to see otherwise. Sure, it's great to see the old fuddy-duddy headliners playing once again to huge, stadium sized crowds bordering on five figures (and for what it was worth, Steve Miller can still play and sing as well as ever), and yes, perhaps it's even worth it to stand in long lines for the likes of a David Cross or Upright Citizens Brigade or even Mike Daisey, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule for an event where you can just wander around at your leisure, take in a bit of something on one outdoor stage, stay if you like it, or wend your way through the crowds to another in search of something more to your taste, or, more importantly, something completely new and different.

So, complain away you old urban foggies: I'll be back again next year to mix it up with the eastside families who only come to Seattle once a year, the herds of teens doing their last bit of summer break social grazing, and the geriatric hippies who use Bumbershoot as an excuse to haul out the moth-eaten tie-die and love beads one more time.

Posted byCOMTE on 12:43 PM

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