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Hacki Ginda from Berlin, Germany, is just one of many talented performers

The Seattle Moisture Festival: It’s wacktastic!
By Erika Wilson, contributing writer
Posted March 22, 2007

    Do you have an e-mail inbox bursting at the seams? A precarious tower of dinner dishes piling up in the kitchen sink? A fresh crop of weeds in your garden after yet another week of rain? Don’t despair! You can forget about all those tedious tasks at Seattle’s Fourth Annual Moisture Festival, a bang-up variety show of comedy, music, and acrobatics that raises inspired lunacy to an art form. The festival’s name was inspired by springtime in Seattle, and it’s a wonderful way to break out of your winter rut and enjoy some good old-fashioned fun.  

    It may be dreary outside, but entering the Palladium Theater at Hale’s Brewery in Fremont feels a bit like stepping under the big top. There’s the brightly colored stage, and a concrete floor with rows of seats. Buy a bag of fresh popcorn (and a Hale’s brew, if you’re so inclined), and soak up the carnival atmosphere. The show itself is a loving homage to vaudeville, music halls, circuses, and cabaret—complete with jugglers, comedy duos, ukulele numbers, unicyclists, aerialists, and a chanteuse or two. The variety acts, which run from five to fifteen minutes each, are performed by artists hailing from the Northwest and across the United States, as well as from Germany and France. Each performance of the three-week festival is different, as the artists take turns performing—so every night is a newly minted extravaganza of comedy and varieté. Not only that, but the Festival also features burlesque shows at the ACT Theater in downtown Seattle. Whew! 

    The March 22 show at the Palladium opened with an introduction by emcee Simon Neale, who appeared on stage wearing plaid pants, a patched jacket, and a hat that looked like a gold-plated hedgehog glued to a sci-fi B movie space helmet. He promised the crowd a “wacktastic” evening, and the show didn’t disappoint. A cappella quartet The Bobs opened the show with the oldie “There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and closed it with a fantastically improbable rendition of Cream’s “White Room,” complete with a vocal version of Clapton’s guitar solo—which gives some idea of the evening’s range from corny old laff routines to wacky takes on rock and protest songs. There was a cabaret number by drag diva Arnaldo, who sang a lovely torch song in a sparkling blue dress—while memories of her lost love welled up from within her bosom in a rather unique way. If all of this sounds a bit silly, well, it is. Gloriously, crazily, over-the-top silly. That’s why it’s so much fun.  

    But there’s even more to the show than music and jokes; in fact, the silent acts were among the most compelling of the night. Godfrey Daniels, a very tall clown (who looks like a cross between Beaker of the Muppet Show and Bert of Sesame Street) does a seemingly simple routine with big red ball, but his act is a marvel of subtlety. As the man sitting in front of me said, “He hasn’t said a damn thing all night, and he’s the funniest guy up there.” Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey performed an acrobatically intense (but G-rated) aerial routine inspired by the Kama Sutra. (Kids are welcome at the Palladium’s early shows, but late shows and burlesque performances are 21 and over.) My favorite act of the evening was the incredibly talented Iman Lizarazu, a French Basque artist whose hair is more charismatic than most people’s whole personalities. Lizarazu combines pantomime, juggling, dance (and a gorgeously radiant smile) into a silent yet utterly captivating performance that sparkles with a graceful intelligence.

    The wacky, offbeat spirit of the Artist’s Republic of Fremont is alive and well at the Moisture Festival. Don’t miss it! 

 The Moisture Festival runs through April 1. For more information and a performance schedule, go to







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