This Week(End) in Books and Music

We know the Capitol Hill Block Party is this weekend, but be sure to catch some of these upcoming shows from our Bushwick artists and other Seattle picks.

Friday, July 26still from the film Blackmail

The Hitchcock 9 film series opens at SIFF Cinema Uptown. The nine surviving silent films by Alfred Hitchcock, accompanied by live performances of original scores by Seattle musicians including Miles and Karina, The Diminished Men, cellist Lori Goldston, DJ James Whetzel, and more. Tonight kicks off with Blackmail, the story of a woman’s flirtation that turns dark and sinister. Films play through August 1 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

Bradford Loomis plays at the 6th Street Fair in Downtown Bellevue, 4pm and free

Saturday, July 27

MoZo playing at the High Fidelity showMoZo plays with Jackrabbit at Slimfest (other bands include the Dusty 45’s, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, and The Swearengens), 6pm at Slim’s Last Chance

Bradford Loomis plays with The Wicks in Chelan, 7pm at The Vogue

Nancy K. Dillon performs in the Singer/Songwriter Circle, 7:30pm at Couth Buzzard Books



Monday, July 29

Bucket of Honey plays with Mingo Fishtrap, 9pm at the Tractor

And next weekendEvan J. Peterson reads poetry at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival!


Have an upcoming show? Want to share it with us? Email [email protected]

Bookshelf Report: Library Guy with a Joint Collection

The Bookshelf Report is an ongoing series where we ask 5 questions and share 5 pictures of a bookshelf  belonging to a Bushwick reader. Today’s bookshelf comes from Levi Fuller, a veritable veteran of the Bushwick Book Club Seattle. Over the years he’s performed songs inspired by The Shining, 1984, Dr. Seuss, Alice in WonderlandLust by Ellen Forney, and many others.


What is your favorite book on these shelves?

I will give you two answers: My current favorite book on these shelves as a possession is a recent edition, my signed copy of Ellen Forney’s Lust. It will always remind me of how much fun it was to play the Bushwick show for that book, and how gracious and wonderful Ellen was. My favorite book just as a thing to read is probably David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, although that’s tough to answer, as I pretty much only hold on to books that I really love or have some other attachment to. Read more

Books, Booze, and Friends: An Evening of Your Favorite Things

We can all agree that spending a few hours in the company of good friends, having a couple drinks while chatting about a book you’ve been reading is time well spent. Now throw in the opportunity to meet some new like-minded people all interested in sharing their own bookish adventures (and a few drinks of course!) – you may have yourself a flawless evening. A gathering such as this is what we call in the book business a “literary mixer” and there just so happens to be one coming up next week that I highly recommend you attend. Read more

Poetry Inspired by Dan Savage’s The Commitment

theCommitment_web_smallMy third show with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle was very close to home for me. The book was Dan Savage’s The Commitment, about his marriage to his husband, Terry. It’s a tad surreal living in Seattle and actually seeing this author and his husband out and about at the farmer’s market, etc. Terry is a popular local DJ, and watching him spin at a club while being reminded of the intimate, published details of his home life breaks that “fourth wall” between performer and audience. Rather than making the celebrity seem more average, it makes the audience feel more special. Curious how that works. Read more

Bookshelf Report: Who Needs Clothes?

The Bookshelf Report is an ongoing series where we ask the same 5 questions of Bushwick readers who share 5 pictures of their bookshelf with us. Today’s “bookshelf” comes from Noah Skocilich, a Bushwick fan currently living in China. Noah showed us his traveling books on a recent visit to Seattle.

photo of suitcase full of books

1. What is your favorite book on this shelf? 

Easy. Infinite Jest. Best novel ever. Simply in a class of it’s own. I almost had to stop reading altogether for awhile after finishing, just to let the pure essence of that novel fully settle into my mind. I brought it with me from China thinking that I would give it as a gift to my mother. That didn’t work out, and I’m actually glad, because this is one book I really just do feel a sentimental attachment to; I mean, even to this physical copy, that I physically read over the course of a couple weeks in Jan and Feb 2013. Read more

Whippo’wil: A Song Inspired By the Heart of Huck Finn

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

huckAndJimWhen I read about Huckleberry Finn’s adventures, taken down by Mr. Twain, I can only think the boy has more troubles than adventures. Poor Huck says he just wants to smoke his pipe in peace without being bothered by a bunch of interfering folk who might abuse him, exploit him, or worse – sivilize him.  He wants to be master of his own life, for certain. Read more

Read and Destroy: Bushwick show preview

A big part of my job is to make sure that everyone and their Mom knows about our incredible book inspired events. So I hope that by now you are fully aware that this Friday night, July 12th at the Royal Room The Bushwick Book Club Seattle is presenting original music inspired by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. ( And if you didn’t know about it but do now because you just read the previous sentence – BIG KUDOS to me!) Well, the fine folks over at (WAR for short) did in fact know what Bushwick was up to and were kind enough to dream up this show preview, uniquely presented in the form of a script for trailer to a fake film entitled Read and Destroy.

[Opening title: Read and Destroy]

[Second title screen: A trailer for a movie based on bands writing songs inspired by books]

[We open on a cramped café in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a shotgun-shack with pressed tin ceilings, colorfully cluttered walls. A band is set up at the far end of the café, playing a song inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions]

[Cut to: Geoff Larson, seated at one of the round tables along the wall. He’s drinking a Budweiser.]

Geoff: Man, Seattle would just eat this alive.

[Cut to: Geoff sitting on a plane.]

Narrator: [V/O] In a world where books are silent, and nobody reads as much as they used to, one man seeks to bridge the gap between book clubs and bands…

You can read how this film plays out it is entirety over on the WAR website. Or to get the full effect of Read and Destroy, you can come to the show on Friday at the Royal Room and experience it for yourself in person.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Poster Design

As is common with my approach to poster design, in particular hand-drawn illustrations, I spent a good deal of time walking around thinking about what a Huckeleberry Finn poster would look like seen through the lens of my brain. This process can go on for days and days, provided there’s enough time (sometimes even if there really isn’t time – ask Geoff, he’ll admit he often has to play Mob boss: “Hey kid, where’s the friggin’ poster already for Christ sakes? You said Tuesday, now you say it’s Saturday at the soonest – I’m dyin’ over here! Dying, kid! It’s a poster, not the Sistine chapel!” ). Deep in the brain, iteration after iteration will cycle through until an element sticks – say, how the lettering would look – then another and another, until after a while there’s a pretty solid idea floating around my pink/grey matter. At that point I’m aching to get home and draw it.


R. Crumb

For example, I was totally certain right away that the lettering would be big, bold, and R. Crumb-y, not unlike the illustration to the right.

The obvious way to do the text for a Huck Finn poster would be ornate and old-timey, so I wanted to run as far as possible to the other end of the spectrum. Seattle people, Bushwick fans – they’d appreciate that, I thought. I started working on the big block letters thinking that would be the easy part and once I had those done I’d know how much space was left for the illustration. Little did I know that every attempt to make good letters would result in awful, shitty letters staring back at me, wondering why I summoned them into such a mangled existence. It simply wouldn’t do, and I felt like I was back at square one.

HuckFinnMovieposterThe other thing I was confident about going in was the illustration, which I figured would borrow heavily from the example to the left.

Huck and Jim on the raft, rowing away from the viewer. Perfecto! Bam! – just put it on the paper. Let’s do the illustration first, I thought, and worry about the lettering later. I cracked open a beer, threw on Creedence to set the mood, and got down to business. Little did I know that every attempt to draw real-looking people would result in two awful, shitty people staring back at me wondering why their backs looked like their fronts (truly, their bodies seemed to be simultaneously facing you AND facing away from you – it was disturbing) and why the raft they stood on looked like long blocks of rigid string cheese mashed together with twine.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I can draw. But there are some things I can draw better than others, and some things I definitely need to work on for a while before delivering the product. Sometimes I’m surprised how easy something is that I thought would be hard. Other times, what I think will be tremendously easy turns out to be utterly impossible.

In the end, I decided to try a design built around whorls. I’d had fun using them in a limited way for a different project, so I took a crack at seeing what it would be like if they damn near filled the page. Suddenly, the entire design snapped into view: how the letters would be weaved amongst the whorls, how the banners would hang above and below the main design, even what color palette would best serve. I’ll let you be the judge on the final result but it’s at least a step up from what your cousin drew up for your high school punk band.

In another entry to come, I’ll explain the actual, physical process of creating separate hand-drawn elements, converting them to digital, creating a composite image and making the real magic happen. Until next time, readers!


Show Preview: Mozo, Bradford Loomis, and By The Way this Tuesday at the Triple Door Musicquarium Lounge

Hear ye! Hear ye!  Please direct your attention toward your computer screen so that I may inform you of a thrilling spectacle of the musical variety that will be taking place in your neck of the woods in no less than a few short hours from this very moment. (Gasp!) If you continue to read this I cannot guarantee that your mind will be blown, nor can I guarantee that you will meet the man/woman of your dreams.  But I’ll tell you what, for those of you who are fortunate to attend the event of which I speak, I absolutely 100% guarantee that you will witness not one, not two, but THREE featured Bushwick acts, all in one spot and all making incredibly pleasant artistic sounds using nothing more than whatever instruments they happen to bring and their very own mouths!  (Double gasp!) So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to thee This Tuesday night, July 9th 8pm at The Triple Door Musicquarium Lounge, none other than MoZo, Bradford Loomis, and By The Way.  Silly me, I almost forgot to mention the best part… this show is free! (OMG!)

MoZo (Moe Provencher, Aimee Zoe) is a folky/blues group that got their start many years ago busking on the streets of Seattle. This two person politically minded musical empire has graced the Bushwick stage countless times and they are the masterminds behind my favorite track off of Bushwick’s one and only album (#iloveit).

intoTheGreatUnknownI first met Bradfrod Loomis back in January at The Howard Zinn show where his booming, yet elegantly sincere voice stomped his way into my fragile heart. I’ve been a fan ever since. His new album Into the Great Unknown is fantastic and he most recently won first prize in Bushwick’s Best Beard competition, narrowly edging out comedian Emmett Montgomery. Additionally, the word on the street is that Bradford has been secretly auditioning for NBC’s The Voice. With any luck you will soon be seeing him lay down some silky voice grooves on Team Usher.

bythewayThe last act in this powerhouse trifecta lineup is the acoustic duo By The Way, featuring  Don Hopwood on guitar and voice, and the creator of The Bushwick Book Club Seattle himself, Mr. Geoff Larson on standup bass.  I’m not gonna lie, these guys are really really good. They have one album to their credit, Late Night Stumble, which is great and I listen to often.  Musical talents aside, By The Way is best known for PISSING ME OFF with their complete and utter lack of a web presence. Come on guys (I’m looking at you Don), this isn’t 1996 anymore, you should have a website. BUILD A STUPID WEBSITE!! It is not that hard.

Well, there you have it. If my blathering didn’t convince you to want to experience this show in all its glory than I don’t know what will. There is no hope for you, you are dead to me.  As for the rest, I will see you this Tuesday night at the Triple Door Musicquarium Lounge . Yeeeeehhhaaaaaaaaaaa!!

The Weight of Whispers: Frankly, I Prefer Electronic

The headline on Salon caught my eye: I hate books.

“Sometimes I kind of hate books, too,” I admitted to myself, quietly, inside my head.

Salon‘s Anna North is talking about the physical reality of books; the heavy, dusty, space-eaters that you’re committed to carting around with you every time you move. Here at the Bushwick blog, we recently launched a new feature–the Bookshelf Report–designed to celebrate that physicality, the soldiered quadrilaterals that take up space in our homes. But as North points out, readers (this one included) are increasingly buying books in electronic format, where words weigh nothing more than they do when they come out of your mouth (Amazon even calls their Kindle delivery system Whispernet).

photo of ipad next to kindleNorth writes, ” With a few exceptions, the books I’ve kept around are more use to me as objects than as narratives. They’ve made the cut because they make me feel a certain way, they reassure me, they keep me in touch with the past. I do reread some of them…but many are more for looking at than reading — or even simply for the reassuring feeling of knowing that they’re there.

I’ve shed books like crazy each time I’ve moved. The books that have lasted are significant, just like North describes in her Salon article. Signed editions like Garden State by Rick Moody, who had to double-check that I didn’t want to return the book before he signed it (I’m really sorry this book is so bad he wrote inside), a special edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s travel essays on Florida given to me by my grandmother, an old book of poetry that my high school crush stole from the school library for my birthday (there’s an inscription in that one, too, which reads, “Happy 18th Birthday. Well, at least I think you’re 18,” and he spelled my name wrong), and others.

Mostly what I read lately, I read on a screen. I’m familiar with the arguments people make for paper—the smell, the feel, the personalization—but electronic books are so easy. Last night, on a whim, I whispernetted Chocolate for Breakfast, a reissue of a 1950’s teen melodrama, full of sex, drugs, and boarding school that I read about on Emma Straub’s tumblr. I didn’t have to abashedly ask the über hip clerk at the store and feel his/her judgment (I’m shy! I wilt under the least bit of consideration!); instead, I followed a link. Wham bam, thank you ma’am. It’s lazy and irresponsible in terms of supporting independent bookstores, but I’m also really bad about leaving the house without any of the things I wanted to bring with me (books) and the magical cloud—the magic whisperer—makes that easier. Life is hard enough.

North closes her article, “So now my library is static, stuck in the past; if you want to know what I’m reading now, I’d have to show you my iPad.

Ditto for me.


What about you, Seattle? What special books do you keep on your shelves,

in all their heavy, dusty glory?

Comment below or tweet #booksonmyshelf