Bumbershoot 2011 – Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival – September 3-5, Seattle Center


Seattle Monorail

Last year at this time we were in Seattle, Washington visiting the area as tourists. I recall the morning we took the monorail with the Wantas out to Seattle Center to visit the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project and Sci-Fi Museum. We are members of the EMP Museum and this was our annual sojourn.

After we embarked the monorail we stopped in the Seattle Center House Food Court to have breakfast at the Starbucks.  While awaiting my mocha double tall latte’ I happened upon some interesting autographed posters, signed by the musicians who had appeared at past Bumbershoot festivals. Until that time I had no idea that the Bumbershoot International Music and Arts Festival even existed. It certainly dwarfed the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas held near me every year.

I remember thinking to myself, gee we missed this music and arts festival because we are in Seattle a week too early….maybe we can attend some other year. The year I am shooting for now is 2012. This will also be the 50th year celebration of the Seattle Space Needle.

Let’s hope we Bumbershoot next year and celebrate Seattle, a place we really love to visit. 🙂


American Rock Poster Art

I wish I had more wall space in my house to accommodate rock poster art. I have several rock posters hanging on my walls that I really enjoy looking at and studying for hours.

What brought this subject more into focus today were two points of intersection. I was looking at the Europe ’72 Vol. 2 CD on the Grateful Dead Web site. The new artwork from my favorite poster artist, Stanley Mouse for the Europe ’72 Vol. 2 CD, (which releases on September 20, 2011), captured my imagination once more. 🙂

I began to browse more about Stanley Mouse’s art when I discovered the Rockin Roses Web site. I became enchanted with the poster art I found there by Stanley Mouse and others…

“Stanley Mouse drew and painted from inside the music. The spirit that drove the music of the ’60s was the same spirit that drove his art.”
Joel Selvin

This browsing then lead me to the American Artifact Web site which furthered my excitement when I learned that a rock poster artist documentary film by the same name had premiered last year. The DVD of the American Artifact film was for sale on their Web site and I soon placed an order for it for our movie night consumption.

I love that San Francisco serves as the origin of rock posters and also has The Rock Poster Society (TRPS) where you can become a member. I think I might join this fine organization in celebration of my 60th birthday later this year. I’d love to be able to attend the TRPS Fes­ti­val of Rock Posters event held on October  Sat­ur­day Octo­ber 8th, 2011 at the Hall of Flow­ers in Golden Gate Park in the beau­ti­ful city of San Francisco.

Festival of Rock Posters poster by Carolyn Ferris

As I thought further about art rock posters even more resources came to mind. I must come back to this topic again soon 🙂


1) Bill Graham Presents: The Art of the Fillmore – The Poster Series 1966-1971 – Acid Test Productions

2) The Art of Rock Posters from Presley to Punk by Paul Grushkin

3) The Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion by Paul Grushkin and Dennis King

4) Gig Posters: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century By Clay Hayes

5) The Small Stakes Music Posters By Jason Munn

6) Rock, Paper, Show by American Poster Institute

Poster Companies

Hatch Show Print

Wolfgang’s Vault

Poster Organizations

1) American Poster Institute

2) The Rock Poster Society – TRPS

Poster Events

1) Flatstock 31 – Seattle

(Part of the fantastic Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival September 3-5 2011, Seattle Center)

2) TRPS Fes­ti­val of Rock Posters – October 8, 2011, San Francisco

Web Sites

1) Gig Posters

2) Jason Munn

Our Adventure: Janis Ian, Great Camp Sagamore, and Outrunning Hurricane Irene in Upstate NY

Sagamore Camp, Long Lake, New York
Image via Wikipedia

I was in the midst of writing a music blog series about Patti Smith‘s curated collection of songs Outside Society (which I will get back to shortly). Major weather events of this past weekend altered that path of writing the past two days. Hurricane Irene’s landfall surge up the east coast had a major impact on our lives and the lives of millions of others.

Rosemary and I began the weekend with earnest Saturday morning as we drove to upstate NY for a Janis Ian concert at Great Camp Sagamore, in Lake Raquette, NY. We had trepidation about leaving our home in the wake of Hurricane Irene. I was thankful that we might escape the wrath of the swath of the hurricane. Little did I realize what was in store for us.

We had never vacationed in the Adirondacks before, save for the times we had stayed in Lake George, NY. We found our roadside motel in Old Forge, NY, registered and headed out to find the concert site.

It was an adventure to find the Barn at Great Camp Sagamore. The dirt and gravel strewn road to the private land preserve was a three-mile drive through the woods. When it ended it placed us on the former Vanderbilt property, where we sequestered as “visitors” to Great Camp Sagamore. The tour guide at Sagamore asked us not to roam the property as it was a private estate. He did offer us the chance to watch a video about Great Camp Sagamore while Janis Ian did her sound check in the barn. It was an exciting proposition to see Janis Ian perform for an audience of 120 people in such an intimate setting.

Janis Ian was superb. It had been 36 years since we last saw her at the Pinecrest Country Club folk festival in Shelton, Ct (1975). She performed two one hour sets for us. She wove stories and personal reflections with her tapestries of music. Janis Ian was in great voice. I was very impressed with her guitar playing. I found myself mesmerized with her picking style as it occurred to me that she lived now in Nashville, Tennessee.

This is a picture of her set list taped to her floor monitor.

Rosemary encouraged me to buy her paperback autobiography, Society’s Child, My Autobiography and 2 CD set, Best of Janis Ian, The Autobiography Collection before the show. I’m glad I took her advice as they sold out of both items early that night. Janis Ian stayed after the concert to sign each for us. We loved the chance to speak with her. She commented on my Grateful Dead t-shirt as she recognized the Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY. I said to Janis Ian, “I am happy to meet you after all these years.” She was so gracious to us, which made the evening even sweeter. Rosemary has been devouring Janis Ian’s book ever since. I can’t wait to read it next 🙂

The following day we tried to decide if we should stay in Old Forge, NY one more day due to Hurricane Irene or head back to Connecticut. We decided to embark for home. It was raining with a slight wind in the Adirondacks. As we travelled amidst the rain of the storm’s surge we soon learned that I-90 and I-87 were closed. We were forced to take an alternate route on I-88 West. It took us 9 harrowing hours to get home to our destination instead of the five hours it took to arrive in Old Forge the day before.

The ride was scary and exhilarating at the same time. We found ourselves out running the water on the roadsides as it poured through the rocks in waiting trenches. The water was travelling the troughs as fast as we could drive. The wind pushed the trees all along the roadside as we called relatives and friends to get help find our way back home. The Hudson Valley was flooding and we were moving as fast through it as we could to get back home. We met an entire flooded valley that was blocked off by a huge tractor on I-145 in Coblesville.

The ride along I-88 West finally calmed down some and offered us the majestic beauty that upstate NY has to offer. When we drove along I-84 in Goshen County the bright, setting sun alighted the green hilled mountains ahead of us like two giant spotlights. Then we saw the most beautiful rainbow at the top of I-84. It was a most encouraging and reassuring sign for us. Rosemary took a picture of it with her iPhone camera.

We arrived back home safely to find our house untouched but without power. We were very thankful to be home again once more.

Patti Smith – Outside Society, Track 5. “Because The Night” – Easter

Because the Night
Image via Wikipedia

What can I say about Because The Night that hasn’t already been lauded and written.  It became  a huge hit for Patti Smith in 1978. Bruce Springsteen gave her this song when they were both recording with Jimmy Iovine and she recast it.

My favorite stanza is:

Desire’s hunger is the fire I breathe, Love is the banquet on which we feed

(Writers: Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith)

My wife and I attended the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts at Madison Square Garden. We were treated to many guest star surprises that evening. Our favorite moment was when Bono of U2 introduced both Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith to do Because the Night with them. It was electric.


Patti Smith – Outside Society, Track 4. “Pissing In A River” – Radio Ethiopia

Pissing in a River
Image via Wikipedia

Pissing In A River” is the second track Patti Smith curates on Outside Society from Radio Ethiopia. I heard Patti Smith sing this song live from the stage of the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I found her rendition to be poignant and captivating, especially in such an artistic setting.

Should I pursue a path so twisted ?
Should I crawl defeated and gifted ?
Should I go the length of a river,
[The royal, the throne, the cry me a river]
What about it, what about it, what about it ?
Oh, I’m pissing in a river.

(Written by Ivan Kral and Patti Smith)

Patti Smith says of “Pissing In A River”:

The ballad that grew from Ivan Kral’s moving and relentless chord progression is still one of my favorite songs to sing. It exhibits the best of Jack Douglas’ production and arranging expertise and Kral’s depth of expression. The lyrics grew from my own concerns as I considered what path to pursue and remain just as meaningful to me now.

(Patti Smith’s words from  the Outside Society CD liner notes, Copyright 2011, Sony Music Entertainment)

Richard Sohl and Patti Smith
Photograph Copyright Lynn Goldsmith

Patti Smith – Outside Society, Track 3. “Ain’t It Strange” – Radio Ethiopia

Radio Ethiopia
Image via Wikipedia, Photograph by Judy Linn

The Patti Smith Group‘s second album was called Radio Ethiopia. It was released in October of 1976. The album was dedicated to Arthur Rimbaud and Constantin Brâncuşi.

There are two tracks from Radio Ethiopia on the Outside Society collection. The first of these two tracks that Patti Smith selected is “Ain’t It Strange”. I don’t own Radio Ethiopia so “Ain’t It Strange” is one five tracks on Outside Society that are new experiences for me to absorb and learn.

I love the reggae sway this song generates as it plays against the staccato style invoked by Lenny Kaye’s guitar. The Patti Smith Group were revolutionary in dress, mannerisms and music making  on Radio Ethiopia which shouted urban guerrilla warfare to the masses.

Patti Smith’s reflection’s about “Ain’t It Strange” state:

“Merging our devotion to reggae music with my personal experience as a youth in southern New Jersey, we created a playing field containing a manifesto of freedom from the fetters of dogma of any kind – moral, political or religious.”

(Patti Smith’s words from  the Outside Society CD liner notes, Copyright 2011, Sony Music Entertainment)

Photograph copyright Lynn Goldsmith