Get Out: First Thursday, Labor Day Weekend, Bumbershoot 2015

Posted on September 02, 2015, 6:51 pm
12 mins


Don’t look now, but we are already 2/3 through 2015. The weather turned sour for a week, but we are getting a burst of summer again and it is best to make the most of it, so Get Out for arts and music this weekend!

"Red Ray and Orange Ray," 1974, Kaisik Wong. Photo courtesy of the de Young Museum and BAM.

“Red Ray and Orange Ray,” 1974, Kaisik Wong. Photo courtesy of the de Young Museum and BAM.

Thursday, September 3

Preview Party for Counter-Couture at BAM

Are you on the east side in the afternoon? Maybe rushing across the lake at rush hour on game day isn’t all that appealing. If so, head to Bellevue Arts Museum for the preview of their latest show, Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture, and get a dose of art and culture in a party atmosphere. Members get in free, and it’s just $10 admission for the public. Learn more.

First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square

The last preseason Seahawks game may deter some art fans from trying to get to Pioneer Square as the crowds pour in for a 7 PM kick off, but we are excited about a number of the shows opening this week at galleries in downtown and Pioneer Square. (For those who typically take advantage of free parking vouchers on First Thursday, be aware that there are none to be had this month because of the game.)

It’s a great month for sculpture. If you have passed by Foster / White recently, you may have seen Paul Vexler’s massive wood sculptures spiraling through the space. Next door, Greg Kucera Gallery will show large Corten steel sculptures from Peter Millett, whose work “Rusty Cake” was displayed near the entrance of the Seattle Art Fair. Another metal sculptor of note is James Lee Hansen, who has been sculpting since World War II. Bryan Ohno Gallery is presenting a solo show of his work, James Hansen: 90 Years in Reflection.

Watercolorist Cynthia Camlin‘s latest body of work will be on display at PUNCH Gallery. It looks to be a scaled up evolution of her signature style, which breaks up and defines the edge of soft, natural forms with stark lines of negative space. The gorgeous and ornate etchings of Mio Asahi will be featured at Davidson Galleries, along with other prints from its treasure trove of new and antique work. Roq La Rue presents two painters, Brad Woodfin and Claire Johnson. Woodfin is known for his lush, dark animal portraiture, which renders birds and aquatic creatures in a tranquil void. Johnson is an emerging artist whose work explores the textures of terrains both natural and altered by humans. The same subject inspires photographer John Anderson, whose large monochrome prints will be on display at Linda Hodges Gallery.

Also consider stopping by Joanna Morgan Designs in the Tashiro Kaplan Building. The TK Building studios are also open on the Second Saturday of each month, and for this this month, on September 12 JMD will have a special launch party for her newest collection of jewelry, The Huntress Collection. Read more from writer Lisa Cole about her work and stop by. Maybe you’ll grab a sneak peek!

Friday, September 4

Mayor’s Arts Awards at Seattle Center

Bumbershoot’s performances begin on Saturday, but the festival kicks off every year with the Mayor’s Arts Awards, honoring artists, arts and cultural organizations and community members who enrich the community. The ceremony is free and open to the public and better acquaints the attendees with the work of five honorees in different categories.

Akio Takamori and one of his sculptures at James Harris Gallery

Akio Takamori and one of his sculptures at James Harris Gallery. Photo courtesy Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

The Cultural Ambassador honoree is Dr. Robin K. Wright, a professor at UW and a specialist in Native American Art. Ceramic artist Akio Takamori is the honoree for Arts & Innovation. Takamori just last year retired from his longtime position teaching at UW but is still making complex and beautiful work, represented at James Harris Gallery. Densho is the honoree for cultural preservation for their tireless documentation of firsthand accounts of internment. I recently wrote a long essay on artists and businesses in the northwest who are keeping the history of internment alive and relevant, and many of these people are actively involved, enabled or emboldened by the work of Densho. As Densho keeps the past alive, so does the honoree for the Future Focus category serve the next generation by training youth in skills for success. Since 2010, JazzED has been helping young musicians improve their craft, form ensembles, grow their confidence and learn how to market their skills. Last but not least, the Creative Industries honoree is author Daniel Brown, whose 2013 book The Boys in the Boat rose to number one on the New York Times best-sellers list thanks to its engrossing account of the 1936 University of Washington men’s crew team, who won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Seating opens at 3:30 PM, and the ceremony starts at 4 PM near the International Fountain at Seattle Center.

Saturday, September 5

Madeline Courtney: New Works at Ghost Gallery

Seattle-based artist Madeline Courtney uses ceramics and mixed media to create playful works inspired by ceremonial objects, historic architecture and animal life. A long-handled vase looks like a line drawing that popped into three dimensions. A simple terra cotta bowl and platter set brim with primal, squiggly forms. Quadrupeds are piled with primal mud, fur and spikes. There isn’t a unifying aesthetic—just a need for play with form for its own sake. It’s a brief show, only up for Friday and Saturday Saturday and Sunday, and if you can’t stop by at the physical location on Capitol Hill, you can see (and purchase) work online through the weekend after the opening. Bookmark and check them out.


Bumbershoot 2015

We saved the biggest for last, naturally. With so much to see, we decided to just give some of our favorite acts for the weekend beyond the headliners.


Grace Love and the True Loves: Maybe you’ve caught Grace Love at Vito’s, or maybe you’ve seen her and the nine other true loves produce their big soul/R&B sound. If you haven’t, you are missing out, so don;t miss them on the Rhapsody Stage at 3:30 PM.

Babes in Toyland: Arising simultaneously with the riot grrrl scene, and known for high-powered hard rock, the Minneapolis-based Babes in Toyland are back in force after a decade of dormancy. Catch them in action at 5 PM on the #NeverTamed Stage.

Smokey Brights: This local band’s LP A Taste for Blood was one of my favorite releases of 2014. Catch them on the Rhapsody Stage at 7 PM. (Read our interview with Smokey Brights.)

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Mikal Cronin: Touches of surf rock, garage and pop make for Mikal Cronin’s music accessible to everyone, even when the harder punk edge creeps through. Check him out on the #NeverTamed Stage at 3:15 PM.

Nikki Lane: Nashville-based songstress Nikki Lane gives a spry twist to classic country and bluegrass. Her songs are catchy and unapologetically southern. She’ll be a breath of fresh, Smoky Mountain air at the #NeverTamed Stage at 4:30 PM.

Hibou: We just listened this week to an advance copy of Seattle-based Hibou’s debut album, which drops on September 18 on Barsuk Records. We love the smooth, sweet (but not cloying) electro-pop he’s put together at the young age of 21. Catch him for his biggest debut yet on the Rhapsody Stage at 5:45 PM.

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Brandon Flowers: Okay…so technically this probably ranks as a headlining act, but most everyone knows The Killers and not everyone knows the solo act of its frontman, Brandon Flowers. Catch him at Memorial Stadium at 5:15.

Hey Marseilles: This orchestral pop sestet remains dreamy and youthful, though their recently-released second album Lines We Trace shows that their sound is only growing more sophisticated. They go on at 5:45 on the Starbucks Stage, so you can’t catch Brandon Flowers’ full act if you want to see them. Life is full of tough choices. You’ll figure it out.

Peaches: A grandam of electronic punk with rap delivery, Peaches has been a personal favorite for years. She isn’t listed at the top of the poster for Monday, so I’m slipping her in on a technicality, even though I am sure I am not alone in considering her THE act to see on the festival’s closing evening. She brings her outrageously artful filth to Key Arena at 7:15.

Get out, Seattle!

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.

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