Friday, September 6, 2013

Dateline Seattle: All the world's a fair in the Great Northleft

Left ...

Right ...

... and Center

Art in the Great Northleft. That's the description for this year's Bumbershoot, Seattle's annual showcase music and art festival, that wrapped up on Labor Day, just as it has every year since 1971. Bumbershoot is held on the grounds of the 74-acre Seattle Center, home of the iconic Seattle Space Needle.

Sunday at the Starbucks Stage /
Enjoying the Duke Robillard Band.
At this year's Bumbershoot, over the course of two days, my wife and I and friends enjoyed music by Death Cab For Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, Mates of State and the Duke Robillard Band and stand-up comedy by 30 Rock co-star Judah Friedlander, with whom we later enjoyed a serendipitous, five-minute conversation while walking about the Seattle Center grounds on Monday afternoon.

Also, we gathered for "Nerdprov", which crossed the streams of geek culture with comedic improvisation, as performed by the Seattle Experimental Theater; and we viewed a trio of Seattle International Film Festival Jury Award-winning one-reelers from Australia, Canada and Spain.

Bumbershoot at twilight.
I've visited Seattle nearly every year at this time for the last 20 years, and I never tire of going to Bumbershoot, drinking Seattle's best coffee, or taking photographs of the Space Needle, which was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. As it happened, this year I could have left my umbrella at home for it stayed dry throughout the four days we visited the Emerald City.

Seattle's given us Starbucks in the seventies, grunge rock in the eighties and in the nineties. It's home to the Elliott Bay Book Company, one of the country's outstanding independent booksellers. There's a certain geeky, caffeinated quality to this northwest city that I enjoy, and it's only a two-hour flight up the Pacific coast from San Francisco.

"To some extent, Seattle remains a frontier metropolis, a place where people can experiment with their lives, and change and grow and make things happen," wrote Tom Robbins, the American author whose best-selling novels are "seriocomedies" that are often wildly poetic and told with strong social and philosophical undercurrents.

Indeed, all the world's a fair in the Great Northleft.

All photographs by Michael Dickens, copyright 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment