Answers & Advice: Surviving Folklife

What to bring, how to dress, and when to watch the sky for oatmeal.

Hey, John: We’ve got a few questions: How many showers (if any) should I take before playing Folklife?

—Singer/songwriter Shelby Earl and drummer Faustine Hudson. Earl and company perform as part of the American Standard Time showcase, 1–3:45 p.m. Sat., May 26.

Roderick: Don’t take any more showers than usual, which I’m guessing is generally one a day for Shelby and slightly fewer for Faustine. If you normally take three showers a day, go ahead and do that. The point is: Act normally. Folklife attendees will be able to sense if you have altered your grooming habits, and you may spook them into a stampede.


While drumming at Folklife, should Faustine wear her bikini top or her tie-dyed shirt—or should she just tie-dye her bikini top?


Start with the tie-dye shirt. The audience will feel secure and will resume juggling, and you will probably see some scarf-dancing and stilt-walking. Halfway through the set, whip off the T-shirt revealing the tie-dyed bikini top. The audience will go bananas. The juggling will intensify, there will definitely be stilt-walking and fire-dancing, and you will see a dog with a bandanna carrying his own dish.

For the last song, take off the bikini top and reveal yin/yang pasties underneath. Pandemonium will erupt! Unicycle fire-juggling will ensue, a mud bath full of dreadlocked girls with “snake eating its own tail” tattoos will spring up out of nowhere, and you might witness some yogic hopping.

If you both take off your tops for the finale, I’d be ready for it to rain oatmeal.


Is it imperative that I play a Grateful Dead cover at the Festival?


Yes. Current Folklife rules for your set time and location require that you play all of side two of Terrapin Station, which is a brisk 16:17. These decisions are made by lottery, and there is no appeal process.


Can I borrow your beard and your ukulele for the festival?


I’m sorry, but my beard and ukulele are licensed elements of my brand, not for hire. I’ve suffered significant copyright infringement over the last several years, as every single male musician in America is now slouchy, bearded, dirty-haired, soft, sardonic, wise beyond their years, ukulele-playing, and wearing vintage glasses that need to be cleaned. By my calculations, I am owed one hundred trillion dollars in “vibe” royalties. If I were you, I’d be careful that no one steals the “flowered dress and cowboy boots” thing that you stole from Maria McKee.


How would you feel about letting us get onstage and give you a long roast-like introduction at your Folklife performance? Also, we’ve met several times, but most notably when we performed with each other at the Nirvana Nevermind concert at EMP. Do you remember that “thing” we talked about? Because I meant every word and have been awaiting a response.

—Chris Cunningham, Ravenna Woods. Cunningham’s band is not playing Folklife, but his ubiquitous bandanna will be represented by a trio of Shelties.

Because of some conflicts having to do with “blackout dates,” and in order to elude my omnipresent knife-wielding female stalkers, I’ll be performing Folklife in disguise this year under the alias Shenandoah Davis. By all means, jump up onstage and give me a rambling and hilarious introduction! I’ll probably act all aghast like I don’t know what you’re doing, but that’s just for the cameras.

To your second point: Do you mean when you asked me to produce your next record for $15,000 and I said I’d think about it? Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided I’ll do it. I’m confirming here in the newspaper, which is the same as a notarized contract. PayPal me the money and we’ll get started.


The whole band has been really anxious to get some resolve to this conflict we’ve been having . . . If a girl likes you, but is a little nervous about telling you because she can only speak to you through the body of a possessed male Mexican mariachi, and even if she wasn’t nervous, it would still make a relationship difficult because she is just a computer chip surgically placed in the brain stem of the fellow. . . Should I join the band and learn to love what’s inside the mariachi’s cerebral fluid, take out the mad hatter in the Seattle underground responsible, or transcend the situation and grow a beard and move to Alaska? I am open to all suggestions.

—Adam Foley of The Deep Wake, which plays EMP’s Sky Church at 8:30 p.m. Sun., May 27.

Congratulations, your question reads like it came from the very center of the Folklife hive mind. I’m picturing you eating vegan chili by the International Fountain and smoking an electronic cigarette while your girlfriend/bass player juggles one of those spinning double-toilet-plungers.

Normally my editors at the Weekly would never let a question like this through their hippie-gibberish filter, but it appears they’ve made a special dispensation due to Folklife, and I’m not going to argue because they gave me some shit a couple issues ago about my “word count.” So go ahead and pad my column with your stoner syntax and schizo-affective disorder. I live in a toadstool on a mountain, and I only hear the tweeting of tree-birds when they tickle my flapjacks!