Bumbershoot Recommendations: Sunday, Aug. 31

Sons and Daughters, Jakob Dylan, Strange Fruit, and more.

Canary Sing, Saul WilliamsCanary Sing may be unsigned, and they may only have an EP to their name thus far, but if you've got a gig sharing the stage with esteemed spoken-word poet Saul Williams (who will also perform on Saturday with a full band), you are obviously going about things the right way. It's tough to be a lady MC in a genre that favors men who spew misogyny like a frat pledge during Rush Week, but Madlinez the Lioness (Madeleine Clifford) and Ispire (Hollis Wong-Wear) offer a refreshing and all-too-rare counterpoint to all that testosterone and gangsta posturing. For those who thought hip-hop died, this is how it's gonna be resurrected: not by little dicks spitting hateful bullshit, but by tough, razor-sharp women who rhyme about stuff that matters. And they're young: Clifford and Wong-Wear are still students at UW, where they work with Youth Speaks (which also happens to be where the women met).The next Blue Scholars? Boeing Performing Arts Stage, 1:30 p.m. SARA BRICKNERKeyshia ColeThe rare relevant artist to star in a reality series, Keyshia Cole actually broke ratings records with her BET program The Way It Is (named after her platinum 2005 debut disc). Cole's onscreen interactions and radio interviews suggest she doesn't compromise her songwriting goals or suffer fools lightly, and while those traits might make her appear brusque at times, they're quite possibly universal among successful artists—most just aren't willing to offer unflattering glimpses unless they're desperate for sales or attention. Cole's slow-burning mid-tempo numbers, such as "Was It Worth It?" and "Didn't I Tell You," both from 2007's Just Like You, suggest, like the show, that it's dangerous to get on her bad side. For all her toughness, Cole reveals more vocal vulnerability than most active R&B singers, letting her voice hiccup and crack with emotion during her smoldering ballads. Samsung Mobile Mainstage, 2 p.m. ANDREW MILLERPost-It Note Reading SeriesThis American Life, the Moth reading series, and other literary arrivals of the past decade or so have done a lot to make literature safe for hipsters by adding interstitial music of a semi-ironic variety and downmarket touches that say, "Hey, this isn't for stuffy guys who write with a quill." Very much in this tradition is "Post-It," a newish, Brooklyn-based storytelling outfit run by This American Life veteran Starlee Kine and illustrator Arthur Jones. Started as a lark at a going-away party in Chicago, the series presents writers reading short, wry narratives, with Jones's pen-and-ink illustrations on Post-It Notes projected behind them. (A hilarious example by David Rakoff—you can hardly go wrong with him—and others can be found at postitnotestories.com.) The drawings aren't in real time, but "I try to keep them really fast," says Jones. "No second drafts." In addition to Kine, authors participating at Bumbershoot will include Jonathan Goldstein—whose own radio show, Wiretap (carried on KUOW), is alternately insufferable and hilarious—and local fave Lauren Weedman, with music by Judd Greenstein. "I hesitate to call it a variety show," says Jones. "But we do like to keep things moving, as it were." The "as it were" is in inverted commas for sure. Literary Arts Stage, Leo K. Theatre, 2 p.m. MARK D. FEFERStrange FruitSeattle audiences have seen their share of dancers hanging from the ceiling or dangling off the Space Needle, but Australia's Strange Fruit offers yet another perspective on gravity. In "The Field," swaying at the top of flexible poles, the performers are clappers on upside-down bells, gentle arms on patient metronomes, loopy brides and grooms on a seasick wedding cake. And as we look up at their hypnotic repetition, the ground starts to shift under our landlocked feet. Fountain Lawn, 2:45 p.m. and other times. SANDRA KURTZApocalypse in Coney Island: A Bumberlesque CabaretIf the rumors are true, this might be the burlesque show to end all burlesque shows. The edgy, racy Apocalypse in Coney Island stars the acclaimed Julie Atlas Muz, a New York dancer and performance artist who was crowned Miss Coney Island 2005 and Miss Exotic World 2006, and who was once the "head mermaid" in a 9,000-gallon saltwater aquarium at a Manhattan nightclub. Here's some high praise from New York Press: "After Muz, everyone else in burlesque must go back to the dressing room and suck cock for tips. Sorry." She'll be joined by the voluptuous Dirty Martini (named "Sexpot Sophisticate" by New York magazine), and the "irreverent, sacrilegious, foul-mouthed, and uninhibited" trapeze act the Wau Wau Sisters, who "deconstruct the humor and paradigms of country and heavy-metal music, while playing matching guitars and barely sitting on one another's shoulders." Just...wow. Boeing Performing Arts Stage, 3:30 p.m. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGYour Little Hoodrat FriendsI recently had the great pleasure of reading Jeff Parker's hilarious, oddly touching debut novel, Ovenman, which deftly captures the underground-punk '90s via the travails of When Thinfinger, a hard-partying skateboarder, wannabe punk-rock singer, and master cook-turned-reluctant manager of "the most prestigious pizza joint in Central Florida." Thinfinger's adventures in the culinary underground are more comical and way more punk than anything in Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, as Parker's appealing antihero deals with the consequences of his own shortcomings and sense of economic justice (i.e., swiping food, skimming the till, and worse...). And Thinfinger's surrounded by a bizarre cast of friends and co-workers: among them, a girlfriend who sings in an atrocious pop cover band and decorates their apartment in animal skulls, and a freshly surfaced biodad who's also a pathological liar. Parker's set to read from and talk about Ovenman alongside author Joshua Furst, who'll be reading from his own punk-themed novel, The Sabotage Café. Literary Arts Stage, Leo K. Theatre, 5:30 p.m. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGJakob DylanIt's understandable that the offspring of any legendary musician would want to distance their own work and talent from that of their parents. But imagine you're Bob Dylan's son—and you have a penchant for folk music. Presumably, it's not easy being Jakob Dylan. Throughout the course of the Wallflowers' on-again, off-again success, lead singer and songwriter Jakob has faced constant critique and comparison to good ol' Dad, regardless of his attempts to estrange himself from the senior Dylan. But on Jakob's debut solo album, Seeing Things, he leaves the full band behind, picks up a guitar, and ends the fight, accepting what he's rebelled against for so long. And you know what? He's never sounded more like himself. Jakob's gentle rasp no longer has to compete with an orchestra's worth of instruments, and no parade of guest stars adorn his album credits. Instead, miracle-producer Rick Rubin does what he does best, letting Dylan's sparse lyricism and haunting melodies speak for themselves. And it's hard not to like what they're saying. Starbucks Stage, 7 p.m. RAECHEL SIMSSons and DaughtersHailing from Glasgow, the edgy and effervescent Sons and Daughters have ventured halfway across the globe to grace this year's Bumbershoot. After gaining mass recognition for 2005's The Repulsion Box and its indie smash singles "Dance Me In" and "Taste the Last Girl," this fiery quartet, propelled by the powerful dueling vocals of founding member Adele Bethel (you may also know her from her work in Arab Strap and the Zephyrs) and Scott Paterson have spent the past three years honing their electric live show as well as the material for their 2008 release This Gift. Former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler produced the band's latest effort, bringing his Brit-rock cred to an album that pays homage to everyone from Throwing Muses to the Stooges. Sons and Daughters' driving guitars and danceable beats make them one of the few live acts who simultaneously inspire the urge to rock out and shake what your mama gave ya. Rockstar Stage, 7:45 p.m. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSARHuman Giant and FriendsHuman Giant (veteran B-shoot performers who provided the festival survival tips you see in these pages) hit the stage of the Charlotte Martin Theatre three times this weekend, featuring sketches from the popular MTV show as well as the individual stand-up of co-founders Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer, all veteran performers at Manhattan's legendary "Upright Citizens Brigade" club. The show itself is arguably the cleverest thing MTV's been smart enough to broadcast since the days of The State. And Giant's popularity has only increased with the momentum of its second season, aided by the A-list celebrities who've chosen to lend their comedic genius, including Arrested Development's Will Arnett and SNL's Andy Samberg. With its constant barrage of toilet humor and absurdity, Giant sets itself apart from other sketch-comedy shows in its ability to dish out biting social commentary without betraying any thinly-veiled personal agendas; no one is safe from critique or public humiliation at the hands of the endlessly goofy. Comedy Stage South, 8 p.m. (also Sat. & Mon.) RAECHEL SIMSBrother AliIt only took one track from Brother Ali's 2003 disc Shadows on the Sun, the opener "Room With a View," for me to realize I was in the presence of hip-hop greatness. "Hoop dreamers ballin' with blisters on they hands/With chains danglin' from the rims/Pain strangles 'em from within/'Til the belt around the arm makes the veins stand at attention," Ali rapped commandingly over a soulful, pugilistic loop, shining a light on his crack-and-hooker-infested Minneapolis 'hood before turning it toward his own rough upbringing: "As a boy she told me 'Wait 'til your father comes home'/I'm 24, still waitin' for my father to come home...shit, we don't have bar mitzvahs/We become men the first time our father hits us." For nearly 10 years now, Ali—a 250-pound albino and devout Muslim—has been one of the most potent voices of the underground (he plies his trade on Rhymesayers Entertainment, home to Atmosphere and Grayskul, among many others). Last year's The Undisputed Truth was even better than Shadows—some of the rhymes therein are angry and venomous, sure, but for all the grit, its fury never grinds the old-school hip-hop party to a halt. Exhibition Hall Stage, 8:45 p.m. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

 
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