SPALDING GRAY As a monologist and storyteller, Spalding Gray has spent the last 20 years picking every bone of his personal and professional life comically dry. Now he's turning the tables by spontaneously asking probing questions of his onlookers in Interviewing the Audience. He won't be everyone's cup of tea, and he certainly isn't trying to be—anyone with wit and intellect this particular knows not to expect stadium-sized love-ins. But Gray's pointed idiosyncrasies do, in fact, have a sizable following in Seattle. Look for every seat at his Bumbershoot appearance to be filled with an inquisitive mind. Opera House. 8-9:30 p.m. Fri. Aug. 31 and 4:45-6:15 p.m. Sat. Sept. 1.
52 PICK UP The distinguishing feature of theater simple, an accomplished local performing troupe, is its artful economy. As the company's name indicates, shows are presented sparely, yet each production conveys not constraints but restraint, and the idea that its craft is so solid the company would rather be extravagant in thought and ingenuity. It's a rare quality for a small group to have, and theater simple knows it. With 52 Pick Up, a two- person piece, the troupe experiments with a deck of playing cards, each featuring a different "title" of a relationship's stages. The cards are thrown up in the air, and the performance follows accordingly, responding to the spontaneous comic and dramatic order in which the cards are collected. It promises to be marvelously random entertainment. Brn Shoes Bagley Wright Theatre, 12:45-2 p.m. Sat. Sept. 1 and 8:30-9:45 p.m. Mon. Sept. 3.
KIKI & HERB Here's a definite must-see Bumbershoot performance: A wild performance from the clever camp duo that has taken the New York cabaret scene to hip new heights. It's just a boy and his drag diva, a cocktail-and-piano confection just perfectly off-kilter enough to keep you riveted. Expect not only knowing nods to the usual cheesy dinner club standards, but, we are informed, ripe covers of modern "classics" from the likes of Wu-Tang Clan. And Seattle's own loopy wonder, Kevin Kent, is back in town to MC the treat (he's been doing Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco). Don't try to pretend you're above such frivolity—just give in. Opera House. 1-3:15 p.m. Mon. Sept. 3.
MARY LYNN RAJSKUB Comic/performance artist Rajskub has the uniquely hilarious ability to be disingenuously ingenuous. Her keenly ironic dissection of both pop and underground cultural pretense is wrapped in a skewed, oddball purity that keeps you laughing long after her jokes are over. She's here on her own as a performer on the Comedy Stage, but don't miss her other appearance as one-half of Girl's Guitar Club, the truly priceless comic duo responsible for, among other choice bits, the most savagely funny riff on Jewel's snaggle teeth you'll ever be likely to hear. Performs at different times each day of the Festival on The Comedy Stage (check schedule for details) and with Girl's Guitar Club as part of Jon Brion & Friends in the Opera House, 7-10 p.m. Mon. Sept. 3.