February 13, 2017

2017 Moisture Festival Benefit Show - Room Circus

Dedicated to giving back to the community that gives so much to us, Moisture Festival hosts a benefit show every year in which a portion of the ticket sales is directly donated to a local non-profit organization. In 2017 we are thrilled to announce our benefit show on Sunday, March 19th at 7:30 pm will be raising money for Seattle's Room Circus Medical Clowning. Partnering with Seattle Children's Hospital, their goal is to expand the program within Seattle Children's Hospital and to other area hospitals with pediatric services.

Using a playful, interactive approach, medical clowns use music, physical comedy, improvisation and circus arts to help transform the health care environment. Stress relief, distraction, reduction of anxiety and pain and empowerment of patients are just a few of the measurable benefits. In addition, medical clowning helps build trust between physicians and patients, especially when a patient is feeling frightened or in pain, and has been shown to have positive clinical outcomes. Room Circus clowns reach through the barriers, pull out laughter, and create a circle of trust that encompasses everyone in the room - providers, families, patients and staff.

There are a myriad of ways that you can contribute to organizations like Room Circus, dedicated to creating a more joyful world in our own backyard, whether it is through donation, participation, or simply coming to the show on Sunday, March 19th. If you visit their website you can read firsthand accounts of medical "clown rounds" and the difference that laughter can make in child's healing and recovery. 

Deaf Spotlight

Moisture Festival was born out of a passion for the comedy varietè arts and a desire to preserve the tight-knit community that can foster new talent and support lifelong artists. Its mission is to enrich the community by presenting an affordable annual festival showcasing the art of live comedy/varietè performance. Keeping with its mission statement, the festival strives to keep ticket prices low (as well as working with organizations like Teen Tix to provide heavily discounted tickets for youth audience members) as well as opening up lectures and workshops to the public at varying price points. (Our FREE lecture series continues in 2017 with Matthew Stull of The Bobs on Monday, March 27th at 7:30 pm.) Creating an accessible performance arts festival spanning four weeks and multiple venues presents a challenge but one way that we hope to overcome barriers is by partnering with Deaf Spotlight to provide four ASL interpreted shows throughout the festival.

Since 2011, Moisture Festival has been working with our friends at Deaf Spotlight, a renowned non-profit arts organization dedicated to the art, culture, and creativity of the Deaf community in the areas of cinema, performance arts and visual arts. Their mission is to inspire, encourage, and showcase creative works of, by, and for Deaf people in the Pacific Northwest through events that celebrate Deaf culture and American Sign Language. Big thanks to Deaf Spotlight Executive Director Patty Liang and Board Member Vicki Moseley who have been working with Paula Togawa, a long time Moisture Festival volunteer and driving force behind the logistics of arranging interpreters for a handful of shows each season. Thank you to Paula, Patty and Vicki for contributing to a more accessible Moisture Festival and coordinating all of our amazing interpreters!

We’re pleased to announce that Moisture Festival will present four ASL interpreted shows this year:
Friday, March 24th: 7:30 pm (Varietè @ Hale's Palladium)
Friday, March 31st: 7:30 pm (Libertease Cabaret @ BPH)
Saturday, April 1st: 7:30 pm (Varietè @ Hale's Palladium)
Sunday, April 2nd: 3:00 pm (Varietè Matinee @ Hale's Palladium)
[Edit: March 31, April 2 dates pending. Check in for more updates as we approach the festival.]

Tickets for the both varietè and burlesque shows can be purchased through Stranger Tickets. When you arrive at the Palladium for the show please let the Box Office know you will be sitting in the ASL section and a host will show you to your seats. Burlesque shows are 18+ only please. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance as these shows tend to sell out.

February 9, 2017

The Bobs: The Most Influential Acapella Group You've Never Heard Of

Moisture Festival's FREE lecture series will continue in 2017 with Matthew Stull of The Bobs and his talk "The Most Influential Acapella Group You've Never Heard Of" on Monday, March 27th at Hale's Palladium. The Bobs 35 year collaborative career is coming to an end as these tireless performers turn to new chapters in their lives. Matthew will be following The Bobs LAST EVER Moisture Festival performance (and final performance on the West Coast) with a Monday night lecture chronicling the unexpected journey from singing telegrams to Emmy® Awards performances. This is a free lecture, open to the public, and all proceeds at the door will go to Moisture Festival.

In 1981, Matthew Stull and Gunnar Madsen (newly unemployed in the Great San Fransisco Singing Telegram Depression) put out a wanted ad for a bass singer. Richard Greene answered the call and six months later they found themselves at an open mic in a Cuban restaurant.The rest, as they say, is history.

Please join us in celebrating and sharing the stories of these longstanding varieté performers in the age of flash in the pan novelty. Long time friends of Moisture Festival, The Bobs have delighted our audiences year after year with their creativity and technical ingenuity. Described by the Seattle Times as “a musical equivalent of a Gary Larson drawing,” using just their voices and body percussion to fill a room with an orchestra of harmonious sound The Bobs have left an indelible mark on the Moisture Festival line-up. 

Date: Monday, March 27th
Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Hale's Palladium 
Cost: FREE

Reserve your free tickets!

January 31, 2017

70 Years Young!

Moisture Festival Artistic Director and head of the lovingly nicknamed 'Von Tramp Family' Ron W. Bailey is celebrating a milestone this year, 45 years of making music in Seattle. Making his way to Seattle from Norman, OK with his band Rose & The Dirt Boys in the early 70's, Ron was a mainstay in the Seattle music scene well before becoming one of the founding minds behind Moisture Festival.

Celebration is a family affair for the Baileys which is why Ron is coinciding his 70th birthday party with the release party for his daughter Caela's Bailey's first studio album 'Gospel of a Gutter Queen.' Caela brings her father's words and music to life in collaboration with 50 of Seattle's finest musicians and members of bands such as Industrial Revelation, Fly Moon Royalty, The Dusty 45's, The Gorgetown Orbits, Mother of Pearl, Wiscon, and more.

The evening of March 3rd will begin with a set from Ron W. Bailey and The Tangents. A local legend with over 40 years of writing and performing in Seattle, Ron is a founding father of the Royal Famille DuCaniveaux and has spent 13 years at the helm as Artistic Director of Moisture Festival. In addition to his role as producer, Ron has been a driving force behind the creative direction of the festival. In addition to being our fearless leader (someone has got to jump first!) as well as being our outstanding liaison with the press, it is Ron's discerning eye that's helped to shape the media materials and marketing to suit the vision of Moisture Festival.

The night will continue on with the bewitching Caela Bailey accompanied by many of the folks who played on the album and incorporating a cast of Seattle artists she has collaborated with over the years. Expect the unexpected with this family! The show takes place in Seattle's Central District at the historic Washington Hall. Cabaret, vaudeville, burlesque and more combine to create a night you will not soon forget!

Bar proceeds will be donated to the Moisture Festival! (helping to keep art weird in Seattle)

Date: Friday, March 3rd
Time: 8 pm
Location: Washington Hall
53 14th Ave Seattle, WA 98122
Cost: $20 ($22.23 with fees)


January 13, 2017

Nine Weeks and Counting!

The holidays have come and gone, hopefully leaving you stuffed with good tidings and more goodies. Here in the Moisture Festival office, the booking elves have been hard at work combing through applications and putting together a vision of the festival in store for you ahead. 2017 promises to be a year of sweets and treats for anyone looking to indulge, whether it's high flying thrill, raucous laughter, or tantalizing visuals. With the start of the New Year and the official nine week countdown until festival begun, it's time to start revealing the acts that have us buzzing with excitement.

Blanche DeBris made her burlesque debut on the Moisture Festival stage in 2008 and will be back in 2017 to emcee a handful of Libertease Cabaret shows at the Broadway Performance Hall. Since 2012 she has been an emcee at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender as well as bringing down the house worldwide with her signature "Rubber Ducky" and "Sound of Music in Six Minutes" acts. Blanche is also an instructor, having taught classes in emceeing and character/act development at BurlyCon and all over the country.

Moisture Festival is the world's largest comedy and variete festival in  the world, bringing in  over 200 performers from stages across the country and around the world in addition to incubating local talent. Each year our booking team strives to create the perfect mix of returning acts and new faces, giving our audience a grab bag of music, magic, comedy, circus arts and more in every show. Five - eight shows per week, four weeks each festival, 14 years running and no two shows the same.

With a growing pool of world class performers to choose from, it's a balancing act bringing together old and new, past favorites and new blood. This year we're happy to confirm both Avner the Eccentric (Week 1) and Al Simmons (Week 4) will both be back on stage at Hale's Palladium. Al brings his never ending storehouse of comedy props and costumes and Avner is a legend in street to stage theater; helping birth the New Vaudeville movement in the 1970's by taking his street performance across the country as a one man show.

We won't just be saying hello again to festival favorites this year, we'll also be saying goodbye (for now.) After 35 years, 16 albums and eight Bobs, the Bobs are in the midst of their Farewell Tour and will be joining us during Week 2 of the festival. It will be sad to say goodbye but the Moisture Festival Family is lucky to look back on so many fine performances over the years and we wish Angie, Dan, Matthew, and Gunnar all the best for the new chapters ahead of them.

Too much history for a single blog post, if you would like to learn more about The Bobs you can read about their journey starting with The Great Sand Fransisco Singing Telegram Depression of 1981 through today.

It's a spectacularly difficult decision for our booking team to choose which new performers to bring to the festival each year. Between invitations and applications they work hard to create a line up that features local talent, national and international headliners, and deliver a one of a kind show each and every night. These are just a few examples of the world class acts that will be performing in the 14th annual Moisture Festival, many more to be announced in the weeks leading up to Opening Night. Tickets have gone on sale and are available for all show dates. Early Bird Pricing will continue for another through February 14th so consider a pair of tickets for the love bird in your life. With weekdays, weekends, matinees, and late night shows there is something for everyone and every budget.

Purchase Tickets Now ➳

December 19, 2016

A Celebration of the life of Sam Williams, aka Smerdyakov Karamazov

A Celebration of the life of Sam Williams, aka Smerdyakov Karamazov, will be held at Hale's Palladium on Sunday January 29th, 2017, between 2:00pm and 9:00pm.

Because Sam was beloved to so many, this will be a ticketed event to ensure that there will be space for family and close friends. Tickets will be free, but advance tickets will require a code to reserve. Tickets will become available with a code as of the second week of January, 2017.

If you feel like you should have a code, but have not received one by January 3rd, please email to Sam at MoistureFestival dot org with your name and your connection to Sam, and a code will be sent to you.

If some tickets remain available closer to the event, the code will be removed, and the remaining tickets will become available on a first-requested basis.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. More details will be posted to the www.moisturefestival.org website after January 3.

In the meantime, here's a bit from our November eNews published 11/22/16:

Sam Williams 1953-2016

photo: Cornicello Photography
Last week we said an unexpected goodbye to our dear friend and fellow partner in laughter Sam Williams aka Smerdyakov Karamazov

Longtime performer with The Flying Karamazov Brothers (1981-1999) and Moisture Festival Family, whether on stage or behind the lighting board, Sam always had twinkle in his eye and a silly joke at the ready.  

He will be greatly missed.

 Media coverage:


Photos & video:


Photos: Cornicello Photography & Michelle Bates Photography
Video: Mr Roger's Neighborhood, air date August 25, 1997 

December 16, 2016

Seattle’s Moisture Festival 2016 Fundraiser in Glasgow, Scotland for The Britannia Panopticon – The World’s Oldest Surviving Music Hall

In August 2016 a fun loving group of circus tramps representing Moisture Festival headed to Glasgow to help raise funds for the restoration of the world’s oldest surviving music hall – The Britannia Panopticon, where Stan Laurel started. It was a wonderful adventure and a historic mission for Moisture Festival!

The first show was Thursday evening, August 4, in the west end of Glasgow at a stunning refurbished cathedral called The Oran Mor, now a famous venue for shows and events. In order to accomplish this magnificent feat, Judith Bowers, who leads the Britannia Panopticon restoration effort, and her volunteers arranged two vans and two cars for transporting people and props. The show drummer, from Glasgow, was Chris Anderson, a rock and roll drummer who had never played a variety show before. He did a fabulous job. Thursday was the only night that The Creative Martyrs could join us. They are fantastic Glasgow cabaret clowns whose characters appear as though from 1853.  The dressing room was down the elevator and was reportedly Amy Winehouse’s favorite dressing room – quite beautiful and elegant. The show went really well – greeted enthusiastically by the audience.   Once the work was done off we went - this was our first night at The Scotia – Glasgow’s oldest pub – two blocks from The Panopticon. 

Friday was spent rehearsing and everyone in the cast was very excited to perform on the Panopticon stage! The room exudes history, the scale is intimate - it is funky but functional with old photographs posted on the walls, artifacts from days gone by displayed around the room. It is as though the room embraces you. This was our first sold out show and the room was electric. I was MC that night. I explained my connection to Scotland, a Scottish mother and a West Virginia hillbilly father - brought together near the end of World War Two. My family’s visits to Glasgow led to a flyer about “the world’s oldest surviving music hall” and the obvious connection to Moisture Festival of Comedy/Variete in Seattle. I felt at home on the stage, ready to introduce the first act.

Saturday was a day full of surprises! The Saturday matinee show was to be a clown show and workshop with Hacki Ginda and Bobbo Roberts, a Glasgow 9th generation circus clown. The clowns were to make it up and handle it. But there was no Hacki (stopped at the border). Most of the cast was taking the day off to explore Glasgow. Around 11am Judith asked, “RB, do we have a show? We have over 30 people who have purchased tickets! Oh, and Bobbo has another gig this morning and can’t get here until 1pm” (he didn’t make it until 2:20pm).  I found Moeppi Ginda – who had never done a clown workshop.  Martha Enson (aerial rope/The Velones) had just arrived in Glasgow at 11am. By 2pm we had thrown together a show for the folks! Some cast members began to
walk in and were nabbed to be a part of the show.  Judith put on her Florie costume. We created a bit with the Velones and Moeppi. Then the word spread that Bobbo had arrived. He and Moeppi took it from there, having a great time with the kids in the audience. One exciting moment was after the show when a gentleman introduced himself as the grandson of A.E. Pickard, the man who created The Britannia Panopticon. He was truly appreciative of the effort we were making to help bring the music hall back to life and he loved the show!
       At 3:30 we had a scheduled meeting with Mark, the rigger from Aerial Edge, to confirm the ability to rig for rope at The Panopticon and to borrow a mat for The Velones. Mark, Cathy, Martha and myself agreed that the rigging point up in the attic was strong enough! The Velones were on the bill for Saturday night!
      As we continued to prepare for the evening show the event manager from The Briggait (the wonderful space where we were scheduled for our closing show on Sunday) approached us and informed us that there were gale force winds predicted for Sunday and since the Briggait had a roof made of glass panels that sometimes popped out, it was deemed too dangerous to do shows there! No worries - we loved performing in The Panopticon! I’ve rarely seen a cast more relieved and pleased with a weather forecast. The Saturday evening show fell into place nicely  -The Velones rocked! Armitage Shanks gave that special Saturday night energy. The elephants were on parade!

Closing night at The Panopticon! The cast and all of the Panopticon volunteers were amped up for the last show. We all circled up in the dressing room, held hands and thanked our stage manager, Caroline ,and donors who helped make the shows a success including Judith and all the good people at The Panopticon. It had been a wonderful experience for all of us.  Moeppi’s luggage was finally delivered which included his own bubble formula! We were ready to deliver our best show for the people who had come to support The Britannia Panopticon! They rewarded us with a standing ovation and Judith closed out the evening with Harry Lauder’s “Keep Right on to the End of the Road.”   No one wanted it to be over but the adventure was near the end - a wonderful success! As Jenny Collins said, “like a wonderful dream that came true.”

by Ron W. Bailey - Moisture Festival Artistic Director

Moisture Festival Team: Godfrey Daniels, Randy Minkler, Ron W. Bailey, Caela Bailey, Moeppi Ginda, David Crellin, Aileen Wilkie, Sandy Neale, Martha Enson, Cathy Sutherland, Freddy & Evelyne Kenton, DuCaniveaux Bears, Mark Ettinger, David Salonen, Chris Anderson, Marie Mileto, Caroline Ettinger, Jenny Collins, Danny Obrien, Eric Marantz
Glasgow team: Judith Bowers, John Celestus, Becca McCall, John Celestus, Stacy Welsh, Meredith Joy Robinson