December 20, 2010

Wang Hong returns for Moisture 2011

Wang Hong, a world class antipodist (foot balancer) who amazed Moisture Festival audiences last year with her grace and strength, will return for the 2011 Moisture Festival. She will perform the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th weeks of the festival. Exact show dates and times are still in the planning process, but we'll ensure there are plenty of opportunities to see her.

Wang Hong’s name translates into English as “rainbow” and the spectrum of talents that she employs in her performance are as beautiful and delicate as that ephemeral play of light. She was raised in the cold, far northeast province of Jain on China’s border with the Soviet Union. At 10 years of age she started training as a gymnast but began her performance career as a dancer. She worked in North America with the famed Tandy Beal Dance Theater company and the New Pickle Circus under Tandy's direction and with the Cirque du Soleil company. Wang Hong has toured as an acrobat, a juggler and an antipodist: her presentation of an act employing those skills in the delicate manipulation of parasols has won for her the Gold Medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, the most prestigious award in the world of circus.

Hers is a performance unlike any you've ever seen and not to be missed.

All I Want For Christmas...

...Is a brand spankin' new calendar for our website.

For those of you familiar with the festival, you are well aware that it's always a bit of a treasure hunt to find the show you want to attend in our website. As much fun as hunting through our long list of shows for that perfect date, time, or performer was, I think you'll appreciate what our magic-making web designers at The Medium have put together for us.

With over 50 shows at four venues planned (so far!) 2011 is going to be quite the wild run. To make choosing which shows you want to see easier we've just launched a new Calendar & Show Schedules page on our website.

We hope this will help you pick the perfect show to round up your friends for a night out, to discover a new performer, or to bring the kids to (or the perfect show to hire the babysitter for!). As we move into January look for each of our upcoming shows posted with additional information added as we confirm our 2011 artists.

We can't wait to see you at the 2011 festival!

December 2, 2010

Seeking Social Media Intern

ADDED 1/6/11: This position has been filled
The Moisture Festival, Seattle's springtime festival of comedy, varietè and burlesque is looking for a Social Media Intern. If you already know about us, you will know if you are the right person for the job, or you may know someone who would be perfect. If you are not familiar with our 4 week performance extravaganza take a spin around our website. Our 2011 Festival will run March 17 through April 10. We are looking for a 10 - 15 hour per week commitment from someone who can start very soon and continue through to the end of the festival.

We are a group of dedicated arts administrators and performers with lots on our plates and are looking for the right person to help us out in this very crucial area. We work really hard and we laugh and play equally as hard.

We are looking for someone who has extensive social media interest and experience. You should be actively participating in a wide variety of social media activities: blogging, community development and management, social book marking, commenting, etc. and be well-connected with the broader social media world including facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc.

Please check out/pass along the full job posting for all the details.

December 1, 2010

T-Shirt Design Contest!

Do you have an amazing idea for a Moisture Festival T-shirt? Perfect, because we are making new T-shirts for the upcoming festival!

Create an image that embodies the spirit of this world famous Comedy/Varietè and Burlesque festival and send in your original design for a chance to
win fame and glory! The winner will see his or her design emblazoned on all sorts of Moisture-wear.

Along with fame and glory the lucky winner will also receive: two tickets to Opening Night of the 2011 Moisture Festival at Hale’s Palladium on Thursday, March 17th, 2011
where your achievement will be announced to the adoring crowd; two much coveted tickets to Closing Night at Hale’s Palladium on Sunday, April 10th, 2011; two of the new T-shirts with your design; and a ride for you and a guest on the Artistic Director's 1947 Chris Craft yacht.

Although we would like to ask you to show us whatever you can imagine, we do have to follow a few basic design specs. This is for a T-Shirt, so please make sure your design is:

  • One image only (no designs that are double sided, wrapped, etc)
  • Max image size: 10” x 10”
  • Max file size: 7M
  • File Types: PNG or JPG only
  • Full color ok, RGB color mode only
  • Minimum resolution: 200 DPI
  • If you would like to use the Moisture Festival logo please download it from the end of this post

How to submit your design:
Entries must be submitted via email to Please include in your email your first and last name and current contact information, including current address, a phone number we can reach you on, and an active email address you check. Please include any thoughts you have on why your design would be the perfect fit for the Moisture Festival.

The contest is open to anyone to enter, but sorry kids, you must be 18 or older.

Here are the really important details:

  • One entry per person. If you are part of a group effort that still counts as your one entry.
  • The submission deadline is 1/7/2011.
  • Include your name and contact info. We have to be able to reach you.
  • Your entry must follow the above instructions or it will not be accepted.
  • The Moisture Festival producers will determine the top two designs which will be posted by 1/14/2011 to the Moisture Festival Fan Page on Facebook, Moisture Festival’s Twitter account, and here on Moisture Festival’s blog for festival friends, family, fans, and followers to vote on. Only one vote per person will be allowed. Voting will end 1/21/2010 and the winner announced shortly thereafter.
  • If you have any questions please post them here as a comment. I’m sure you aren’t the only one with questions, so let’s share with the class.

By submitting an entry to you agree to the official rules and fine print below:

Official rules


The Contest begins December 1st ,2010 at 12:00am PST and ends January 21st, 2011 at 11:59pm PST. By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that they are 18 years old and older. Void where prohibited.
Who may enter:
Anyone ages 18 and over. One entry per person or group. A person may not be part of more than one group or individual entry.
How to enter:
Graphics for T-Shirt, submitted via email only to, along with your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Designs must follow the listed specifications and be submitted in .png or .jpg format. Incomplete or incorrectly formatted entries will be automatically disqualified. All entries must be received by 11:59pm January 7th, 2010 PST. Moisture Festival t-shirts and other merchandise is sold to raise funds to support the festival. By entering the contest, entrants grant Moisture Festival a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any purpose, including, but not limited to advertising and promotion of the Moisture Festival brand and its Web site and commercial products. Moisture Festival will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses. By entering the contest you further represent that the designs are original and do not infringe upon any statutory or common law copyright, trademark, contractual, proprietary right, right of publicity or privacy, or any other right of any other person or entity.
First round judging will be conducted by the Moisture Festival Producers, based on the originality and creativity of the submitted designs. Moisture Festival Producers will choose the top two designs by January 14th, 2011 for entry into the final round judging. Decision of the Producers will be final. The top two design will be put to a vote on Moisture Festival’s social media sites. One vote per person. Voting ends January 21st, 2010 at 11:59pm PST. Votes will be logged by IP address. Final results will be verified by the Moisture Festival Producers. Vote will be final.
Moisture Festival reserves the right to cancel the contest or modify these rules at its discretion. Decisions of the Moisture Festival Producers will be final. Winner’s name and design to be announced via Moisture Festival’s social media sites.
1 Grand Prize Winner: The inclusion of your design on Moisture Festival t-shirts and other merchandise, sold exclusively by Moisture Festival for funding of the festival, two (2) tickets to the 2011 Moisture Festival Opening Night at 7:30 pm PST on Thursday March 17th 2011, two (2) tickets to Closing Night at 7:30 pm PST on Sunday April 10 2011 at Hale’s Palladium, two (2) of the new T-Shirt with the winning design, and a ride on Artistic Director Ron Bailey's yacht at a time arranged between Winner and Mr. Bailey. The prizes are non-transferable and no substitution by winner or cash equivalent is permitted. Moisture Festival may substitute prize for one of equal or greater value at its sole discretion. Only one prize will be awarded to an Entrant. Please note that if the winner is a group of individuals, then the group will share the above-stated prize. A prize will not be given to each member of the group.
About Moisture Festival:
Moisture Festival is a non-profit 501(c)3 arts organization presenting the world's largest Comedy/Varietè festival. Our mission is to enrich the community by presenting an affordable annual festival showcasing the art of live comedy/ variete performance. The Moisture Festival encourages the contemporary creativity that is constantly emerging in this field and strives to educate people about the rich history of this genre. For more information on Moisture Festival visit:


November 28, 2010

Channeling Sally Bowles

That's how the Seattle Times reviewer Michael Upchurch described Caela Bailey's opening number at Moisture Festival 2010 Libertease Burlesque. Check out Caela and the Moistettes in this little video and we're sure you'll agree. We are looking forward to seeing Ms. Bailey and the Moistettes do their thing again at Moisture Festival 2011, opening March 17.

November 15, 2010

New Years Eve & Valentine's Day Shows & Fundraisers

We just can't wait until March to bring together our amazing artists and musicians for an evening of laughter, fun, and celebration!

With the overwhelming success of last year's New Year's Eve party we've decided to do it again this year. Hale's Palladium will bubble over New Year's Eve with an aerial presentation by Aviatrix and a rockin' dance party to welcome in the new year. How long has it been since you've shared a good New Year's Eve with family and friends? Join us at midnight when our mystifying clown, Godfrey Daniels, drops the Big Red Ball!

Tickets go on sale for this event November 22nd through Brown Paper Tickets. This event completely sold out last year so get your tickets early.

As a special bonus to our donors, supporters who give $100 or more will receive the opportunity to purchase New Year's tickets now, ahead of the general public. Visit our website to make a donation and receive your advance purchase code.

Stay tuned for more info on a Valentine's treat that we are also putting together for Sunday, February 13th. We'll delight your senses with more amazing performers, tasty tidbits, and perhaps a few surprises.

We hope you will join us at one of these special events and, of course we know we'll see you at the 2011 Moisture Festival!

November 5, 2010

What Do A Banjo And A Trampoline Have In Common?

The banjo breaks when you jump on it. Just kidding. Here's a little something that may restore your undying love for the banjo. The Ingénues with "the band beautiful" from 1928.

November 3, 2010


Haven't you always wanted to ditch your day job and run away with the circus? Well, now is your chance. In November PBS airs CIRCUS, a new multi-part documentary about life under the big top. For the series, producers followed the Big Apple Circus for the better part of a year, capturing the gritty, real moments between performers, managers and crew. The result is a taut production that reveals back lot drama without tarnishing our love affair with the glitter and spectacle of the circus. The producers coupled beautiful performance footage — much of it slowed enough to depict the immense physical control and strength of the artists — with personal, quirky vignettes about love, loss and ambition. They captured the story of Big Apple Circus Founder, Paul Binder, who is stepping down from his post after more than 30 years in the ring. And we see the tale of rookie Glen Heroy, who, in his mid-40s, is braving the circus limelight for all the glory and pain that is clowning. This documentary gives viewers front-row access to the inner-workings of a fascinating community. PBS CIRCUS premieres on November 3, 2010,check your local listing for air times and channel.

Watch the full episode. See more Circus.

October 24, 2010

Moisture Festival Children's Book Author Rebekah Ginda Designer Of Many Things

Rebekah Ginda, author and illustrator of "laughter is the key" the original Moisture Festival children's book, is a talented designer and artist. We believe that if the festival children's book wasn't proof enough then you can see for yourself by taking a look at some of her other creations at her Esty internet store.

Rebekah is married to Moisture Festival veteran performer Moeppi Ginda. Well known to festival fans as the other half of the variety act Hacki and Moeppi. Last summer Rebekah and Moeppi relocated to Munster Germany with son Diemo, who often preformed with Hacki and his dad as part of their act. Early on Diemo was used more as a prop in the act while "developing" his performing skills. I wouldn't be surprised to see Diemo show up someday as a talented performer in his own right given the fact he is growing up in such a talented and artistically inclined family.

While Rebekah is busy creating her art and designs, Hacki and Moeppi are involved with production and performing in "abenteuer LACHEN" (an adventure of Laughter) in Muenster Germany, a three month run of variety shows begining November 4th and running through the end of January. The shows in Muenster also features a number of performers who have played a big part in past Moisture Festivals including Tom Noddy, Poppy Daze, John Olufs and Michael Clifton.

photo: Michelle Bates (Moeppi Diemo and Rebekah Ginda)

October 20, 2010

New Director of Development

We are very excited to welcome our new Director of Development, Joy Ingram, to the Moisture Festival team! She will be working closely with the development team, the staff, and volunteers to make sure that 2011 is the best year yet for the Moisture Festival. We want all our sponsors and donors to get to know her and help her attain our funding goals. Joy is an experienced non-profit fundraiser who comes eager to join our team and do the work necessary to keep the festival fun filled and sustainable.
To reach Joy:

October 13, 2010

Burlycon Panelist Announced

Dee Milo, Burlycon 2010 panelist and honored guest (photo Brian Smith) via: Burlesque Seattle Press

Buster Keaton

Image: New York; September 19, 1952 Photograph by Richard Avedon via: Daily Beast

October 11, 2010

BurlyCon This Weekend

BurlyCon is for Burlesque performers, fans, and aficionados, coming together from across the nation to celebrate the diverse and vibrant Burlesque community, and it happening this weekend in Seattle October 14 -17 at the Quality Inn & Suites, 618 John St.

September 29, 2010

Bread and Roses Shows

Bread and Roses is a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit organization that's well connected to musicians and other performers in the area. That's not surprising because it was founded by folk singer Mimi Farina who, with her sister Joan Baez and their friends have personal connections to some of the finest performers in the world.

I was asked to play a small part in their fairly large mission: “... uplifting the human spirit by providing free, live, quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society.” Last year they presented over a thousand performers to nearly 28,000 people in hospitals, child day care and elderly convalescent homes, drug rehabs, special needs schools and detention centers. In my case this time I was to present a solo show to fifty boys in a juvenile hall. I'd played juvis before on my own and with groups of friends and they are almost invariably among the best shows I do all year. They like the act and laugh in most of the right places but there's something more on both sides.

I'd thought about this “something extra” each time. My family moved around a lot when I was a kid and we often lived in rough neighborhoods and I played a minor role in minor gang life back then but that didn't seem to account for the connection. My high school, Eastside in Paterson, New Jersey, was depicted in the news and later in a major Hollywood film as a tough one where the principal roamed the halls with a megaphone and a baseball bat maintaining discipline but … well, I might not be as soft as they were expecting when they heard that “the bubble guy” was coming to perform for them but in the end I ain't really tough and I'm doing a bubble show not bulldogging or flashing gang signs so it isn't that either.

In most of these performances I follow the show with a questions & answers period where people mostly ask how-to questions but on college campuses and juvenile halls I'll often be asked very direct questions about the business of performing. A question about whether the sponsors pay for the airfare or direct questions about fees are often greeted by laughs from more sophisticated audience members but I can often tell that the person asking the question is nothing but serious. I guess there are reasons why we don't normally discuss these things in public like this but when I answer as openly as I'm asked there's a nice connection that opens up so this time I did. I told them about different prices for different show situations, I told them that the show I was doing for them today was for no money, I told them about the most money I ever got for a single performance, I told them how overseas sponsors will sometimes be asked to pay to bring my “off-stage assistant” and I got a laugh when I translate that term to mean "my girlfriend" (it was once my mom, it would now be my wife).

They dug in. They asked specifics about the bubbles and about my life and I answered as spontaneously and honestly as I could. There was a fun bounce to the dialogue and I'd told about my days street performing, living on the streets and sleeping in the bushes. One kid surprised me first by asking “You were on the streets? So you started at the bottom?” I agreed that that was true and he looked me directly in the eye and spread his arms wide while leading a slow loud round of applause … among the best applause of the night, beating out the one for the tornado bubble (their favorite).

That was the highlight of the evening for me but the county employee who was charged with attending to these young men made it close when he finished the event by recalling for them that I'd told about how I got started with bubbles by focusing on this one thing when coming home from a factory job. He noted the fact that I had found a way to make money from something that I liked doing and he encouraged them to think it through and to find some legal way to make money doing something they liked. He gave them a list of things they might consider but he got a big laugh from them and from me when he ended with “If you like selling drugs … become a pharmacist.”

Many of my favorite Varieté performers create a memorable character on stage and then they respond to situations as that character would. In my case, I feel best and my audiences like me best when I'm completely me. These guys call on deeper degrees of honesty and somehow they know it when they hear it. I like being taught by good teachers.

September 24, 2010

Vashon Island's Open Space For Arts & Community Church Of The Great Rain Season Begining Sunday

Vashon Island's "Church of the Great Rain" season opener is this Sunday September 26th at 6pm. The show features singer songwriter Danny O'Keefe, and the full lineup of the usual hilarious characters.

The Open Space for Arts and Community will also be the location of Moisture Festival shows on April 8th and 9th when the Moisture Festival returns to Vashon during our 2011 festival.

Here's a sample video of the "services" from last year's Church of the Great Rain.

September 22, 2010

Old Photos of Billy Smart's Traveling Circus

I happened to come across these wonderful photos, apparently taken in England, in the 1940’s or 1950’s of the Billy Smart’s Traveling Circus. The color photos convey a wonderful ambiance of what circus life must have been like at that time. Billy Smart Junior's family was known for creating one of Europe’s largest touring circus. He was also known for dating a string of beautiful and famous women, including Diana Dors, Jayne Mansfield and Shirley Bassey.

via: onion magazine

September 7, 2010

Savannah Fuentes Show With An Absinthe Chaser

Moisture performing artist favorite Savannah Fuentes will appear at Can Can Cabaret in the Pike Place Market as part of "Tablao Flamenco Savannah Fuentes!" commencing September 15, through the 29th. A drink of absinthe and a ticket to Savannah's show could be a marvelously dangerous combination.

Soap Bubble Sounds

If you see old news footage of hippies in the 1960s and '70s, whatever the event: a folk or rock concert, political demonstration, street theater or just something called A Happening, somewhere in the crowd you'll see some hippie idiot blissfully blowing bubbles. I was one of those hippie idiots. There aren't too many scenes that couldn't be made brighter by the flow of lightweight iridescent spheres.

I'm not sure what the other bubble blowers from those days are doing now but I ... well, I kept going. I found a number of bubble tricks and those tricks eventually took over the street show that I'd picked up along the way. I had a puppet show aimed, not at children but at an older audience.

My show was all right, it entertained and amused conscious college students and others back in the day but … I wasn't a great street performer. I could entertain them once I had their attention but for a theatrical performance the art of street performing includes the opening act, which is that of gathering a crowd and turning them from unrelated passersby into an attentive audience.

Those who are good at street performing make a clatter and a clash, hollering out to get attention and then, assuming that people want exactly what he/she has to offer, they get right to it. I was too shy for that. I'd stand with puppets on my hands in New York's Central Park, San Francisco's Powell & Market or college campuses anywhere and I'd speak to passersby *suggesting* that they might want to wait around to hear what I would say. "Excuse me, I have a show and .... hello, would you like to hear a ... does anyone want to see ..." useless … people kept walking.

Once I'd developed a few interesting bubble tricks, though, I wouldn't need to talk to them at all. I would blow a smoke bubble and occupy myself in bouncing it from arm to arm. I didn't even need to look at people, just bounce the bubble and they would call others over "Hey, come here, watch this guy, watch when it breaks." When there were ten or twelve people I'd catch a smoke bubble on the wand, jiggle it and then, touching and breaking the film within the ring of the wand the smoke would escape in a straight column as the bubble rapidly deflated … the volcano bubble.

Seeing that, those who had gathered made a sound together. With that trick it's a combination of a laugh along with a sort of mild fireworks oooouuuu and aaaaahhhhh. But it didn't matter WHAT sound they made, it was the fact that they made one sound together. That made them an audience. I wasn't shy about talking to an audience, it was only the individual passersby who had given me the willies … But they were an audience and I was the center of attention:

“And Now Folks for Tom Noddy and the Travelin' Puppets, Political, Social and Spiritual Satire with Puppets.”

I'll write more as the mood strikes … sometimes it'll be more about me and what I do but, mostly it'll be about the world of street performing, the New Vaudeville movement that we gave birth to as well as the European Varieté scene and other interesting observations from my travels around the world.

September 5, 2010

Caela Bailey Belts it Out

Caela Bailey Moisture Festival performer (Dangerous Flares and Moistetts) seen here belting it out at a recent solo performance with the Heavenly Spies. "Caela is the honorary blues singer of The Heavenly Spies- yet another reason to love them. Her cover of “I Put A Spell On You” was mind-blowing. Not an easy feat for a little lady and such a big, big song. But she did it- effortlessly."
Via: Burlesque Seattle Press Photo: Chris Blakely

Trixie Little & The Evil Hate Monkey

Moisture Festival regulars Trixie and the Evil Hate Monkey enjoy some summer fun.
Photo: Mike Lee

September 2, 2010

Twitter your events

Festival performers,
We know you work hard on amazing performances year round. If you have an event coming up post it to your twitter and we'll retweet it to all our faithful followers. If you don't already follow us make sure to or we won't know you are out there.

August 25, 2010

2011 Festival Dates

Can you believe we are already halfway to next year's Moisture Festival?

The 2010 festival was a fantastic success bringing our blend of Variete, Comedy, Burlesque and everything in between to a record five venues in four weeks in the greater Seattle area.

The festival team is hard at work plotting and planning and bringing together all the ingredients for an even more amazing 2011 festival.  We'll keep you posted on all the exciting things we have in store for next year's festival.

Mark your calendars!  The 2011 dates will be March 17th through April 10th.

Well This Is Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Me Into... Ron

I'm lucky because I'm one of a number of people who gets to spend lots of my free time volunteering as a producer and board member for this non profit arts organization known as The Moisture Festival. We are now entering our eight year of existence, in case you haven't noticed.

Time and fruit flies.

When it's Spring time in Seattle it's also time to laugh away the gray winter blues at the Moisture Festival. We begin again with the 2011 version March 17th. Next years festival will run through April 10th, 2011. We work diligently behind the scenes at this very second to make the magic happen again. We are hopeful the Moisture Festival in 2011 will continue to grow and prosper with our uniquely awesome, critically acclaimed genre of comedy, variete and burlesque that our fans expect with the coming of Spring in the Northwest.

The other night at our regular weekly staff meeting a couple of us lackeys thought that it was time the Moisture Festival had a blog of it's own. After some discussion of the pros and cons of having an in house blog, cue the lights and band... Ta Da!

Welcome to the Moisture Festival Blog. Now if we can get some of our very busy and somewhat technologically challenged fellow staff members to get a gmail account and just write something or post a photo once in awhile we may have something here. It's suppose to be sort of our spontaneous meanderings about what going on with the Moisture Festival.

Yes, we hope it will be a place where staff and other folks working on or associated with the festival can post some timely information about what's happening behind the scenes with the Moisture Festival. Okay, it's sort of experiment we admit. The idea I think is for us to provide to you more real time news, happenings, events, and stuff we'd like to get out there immediately to, volunteers, friends, supporters, sponsors, fans and, of course, to those of you who may have never heard of a Moisture Festival.


Danny O'Brien
Associate Producer
twitter: artistdogboy