Literary Event of the Week: Bumbershoot

Seattle has always had a hard time loving Bumbershoot. Some people quit going when the Labor Day arts festival started charging for tickets. (This seems silly to me; it costs money to pay artists and put on a show.) Some people think the big-name acts are too obnoxious. (Okay, but there's Folklife if you want a free nice, well-scaled local festival.) And some people think that the festival is now too unmoored from the city. (Who can say what the city is anymore, anyway?)

People always hate change. It's just how it is. And I try to resist it when people lament the loss of the status quo. But one element of Bumbershoot that has undeniably gotten worse over the years is the festival's commitment to the literary arts. Not too long ago, Bumbershoot brought cartoonists like Harvey Pekar and Allie Brosh to town, or novelists like S.E. Hinton and Ursula LeGuin.

Now, Bumbershoot doesn't even have a literary arts slate. Instead, they have a "Comedy & Conversation" stage, which brings stand-up comedians and podcasters and writers to the festival. On one level, this decision makes sense: writers don't pack 'em in at music festivals. But on the other hand, it's incredibly sad that Seattle's premier arts festival doesn't focus more on bringing world-class literary talent to the city anymore.

But the Comedy & Conversation stage will feature some great local writers who deserve your attention. Some highlights:

Seattle Center,