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Originally published August 28, 2014 at 7:14 PM | Page modified August 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM

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Bumbershoot 2014, Words and Ideas: The Onion, The Simpsons

This year’s offerings at Bumbershoot’s “Words and Ideas” stage include inside chat from the writers of “The Simpsons,” Tom Robbins in elegiac mode, messages from The Moth and a how-we-do-it session with the staff of The Onion.


Seattle Times book editor

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This year’s “Words and Ideas” stage at Bumbershoot offers its trademark geeky/goofy mashup of literary talent, parody and just plain fun. Here are some highlights. All events are at the Charlotte Martin Theatre (Seattle Children’s Theatre).

• Smart Talk with the Writers of “The Simpsons.” Show writers, including Stewart Burns, Kevin Curran, Rob Lazebnik, Carolyn Omine, Michael Price and Jeff Westbrook, tell stories and answer questions, though “What state is Springfield in?” and “How do you pronounce Groening?” have been permanently tabled. 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.

Tom Robbins. The Bard of La Conner is flying high with the late spring publication of his memoir, “Tibetan Peach Pie.”He will take the stage to read from the openings of each of his 11 books set in Seattle: “Thus, my appearance at Bumbershoot would provide a survey, a summation of sorts, of my life — literary and otherwise — in this damp thigh of the woods,” he writes. 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

• The Moth. Participants from the prizewinning storytelling podcast/radio show/storytelling platform tell how they work with show personnel to make their story the best it can be. Featured storytellers: David Crabb (performer, writer), Hasan Minhaj (comedian and actor), Jessica Lee Williamson (writer, artist). Host: Dan Kennedy (author). 7 p.m. Sunday.

• Town Hall Seattle Presents: Town Hall sponsors several presentations at this year’s Bumbershoot, including an installment of the Seattle Science Lectures. This one sounds promising: Daniel J. Levitin, author of “This is Your Brain on Music” and “The World in Six Songs.” He will no doubt mention his latest book, “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.” Moderated by Steve Scher. 3:30 p.m. Monday.

• Tu Stultus Es: The Onion Explains Why You Are Stupid. The core writing staff of satirical newspaper/website The Onion will discuss “how the world’s most popular satirical news is created and how the publication has evolved over the years before fielding questions from any of the slobbering dopes in attendance.” Hey, I’m just the messenger. 7 p.m. Monday.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or mgwinn@seattletimes.com. Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW’s “Well Read,” discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to www.tvw.org/shows/well-read for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma.



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