Jazz has long been a Bumbershoot weak spot. Can anyone possibly understand their erratic choices? So few slots and


Oh The Horror! The Horror!

Sept. 1017, 2003



Jazz has long been a Bumbershoot weak spot. Can anyone possibly understand their erratic choices? So few slots and two of them go to Jessica Lurie? Luckily, close on the heels of Labor Day is this terrific festival, curated by expert listener Mark Solomon, that brings together two dozen of the best local jazz groups in one weekend of outdoor breadth and blowing. The fest swings all the way back to Dixieland (Prohibition Jazz Band) and forward to free terrains of noise (Jay Roulston Quartet), with stops at big band, bebop (beloved master Floyd Standifer is pictured on cornet), and all places between. Noon-11 p.m. Sat., Sept. 13, and noon-11 p.m. Sun., Sept. 14. West Seattle Junction (California Avenue and Alaska Street), 206-933-6030. Free. MARK D. FEFER



There is something unwholesome about Japanophiles (and I can say this because I'm one of them), from pasty-faced, sexually unmoored anime fans to students who lock themselves indoors for years at a time to read Yukio Mishima in the original. The annual two-day Aki Matsuri (or "fall festival") in Bellevue, however, is one place where you can dress like a character from Cowboy Bebop or walk around in your Kendo gear without feeling like a freak. The event (which beats the pants off Seattle Center's Cherry Blossom Festival, by the way) will be packed with Japanese expats and exchange students scarfing down takikomi gohan and taking in the Shinto processions, drum performances, flower arrangements, and cooking demonstrations. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 13, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., Sept. 14. Bellevue Community College, 3000 Landerholm Circle S.E. (Exit 11B off I-90 East). See for info. DAVID STOESZ



The GI begins its four-title, three-week Billy Wilder retrospective with this 1960 classic about workplace affairs and corporate scruples. There's comedy (Jack Lemmon straining spaghetti through his tennis racket, below) and pain (men treat Shirley MacLaine's character like a whore, and she views herself accordingly). Wilder, ever the closet romantic, won't permit a happy ending without prior sufferingand then mockery of that suffering. He knows the final clinch means nothing unless you cry first. Fri., Sept. 12-Thurs., Sept. 18 (closed Mon.). Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $7.50. BRIAN MILLER



The performative quality of her prose is undeniable, but that doesn't preclude literary craft. Her debut collection of essays, Why I'm Like This (just out in paperback; Perennial, $13.95), gets off to a slow startall summer-camp memories and coming-of-age insecuritiesbut it picks up speed as Kaplan's brisk, self-deprecating voice reveals all about a campmate who was not what she seemed. What could have been a ragtag bunch of drowsy mini-memoirs becomes a self-assured, unified work that's sexy in the best sense: mature, candid, and real. Often compared to David Sedaris, this actress/writer combines droll humor with hard-won sentiment, and if her essays are any indication, in person she'll be whip-smart and irresistible. 7 p.m. Tues., Sept. 16. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 206-634-3400. NEAL SCHINDLER



Here's assimilation for you: Press material for this original production features a tip sheet detailing which audience participation props you may or may not bring (newspaper: yes; toast: no), as well as outlining what to wearincluding this freewheeling note: "Remember: the Brad costume is not restricted to men & the Janet costume is not restricted to women." Libertines! A mostly local cast for this new production includes the divine Nick "Hedwig" Garrison as Riff-Raff, yet also courts the hip kids with Evening Magazine's John Curley as the Narrator. WhatLeslie Miller was unavailable for Magenta? Begins previews 7:30 p.m. Tues., Sept. 16. Ends Sun., Sept. 28. $15-$57. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 206-292-ARTS. STEVE WIECKING

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