There's nothing stuffy or artsy-fartsy about this year's parade of visual arts at Bumbershoot. Burlesque, hip-hop, and technology all feature prominently in an assortment that blurs boundaries between art, performance, and genre. The Opening Night Gala (6 p.m. Wed., Sept. 1) offers all sort of fabulousness: drag queens, cabaret entertainers, and the burlesque-and- cigarette girl antics of Girlie Fun Show (pictured). The lovely ladies of Girlie Fun Show will also have their own gallery and performance stage throughout the weekend in the Shaw Room. Curated by Erin Norlin and Jess Van Nostrand—two artists with a fun-loving and sexy sensibility—they'll display an assortment of art by Mandy Greer, Claire Johnson, and Marion Peck. A greatest hits selection of 20th-century photography comes to the walls of the Rainier Room in Photography Past/Forward. Celebrating 50 years of the magazine/book publisher Aperture, all the big names will be there: Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Sally Mann. It wouldn't be Bumbershoot without the annual Flatstock exhibit of music posters in the Center House, and hip-hop and graffiti are all part of Cut Kulture United's "Beyond Fresh" show in the Olympic Room, a showcase of street art influenced by music, clothing design, and social protest. Techno-art gets its due with Presence, a collection of sensor-activated interactive works in the Fidalgo Room, curated by multimedia artist Juniper Shuey. And consumption is the subject of this year's Bumbershoot Biennale in the Lopez Room, mounted by Seattle Times art critic Matthew Kangas. Look for art ranging from Picasso to Charles Krafft addressing our deepest desires. And for those on a budget, consider dropping a quarter in the art vending machines in the Northwest Courtrooms by W. Scott Trimble.
THE BEST OF BUMBERSHOOT
• Bumbershoot in a Box: Wish you could take Seattle's biggest arts and music festival home with you? Start with these four CDs' worth of music from this year's lineup — or use it as a guide to Bumbershoot's best. MORE
PLUS: VISUAL ARTS • BOOKS • DANCE • THEATER • FILM
Download our superior weekend music schedule.