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 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 

December 9, 2016

Upcoming Shows From Festival Family

Can’t wait until March to catch world class variete and burlesque? Luckily for us Seattleites many of our Moisture Festival friends and regulars are seasoned working artists in and around the Seattle area. Here is a list of shows you can see around town for the holiday season that support our Moisture Festival friends and family:

Rapunzelstiltzkin featuring The Fremont Players & Fremont Philharmonic Orchestra
Dec 10th – Jan 15th
Tickets $7 - $15

Experience the best British Panto this side of the Pond. Panto has a long tradition of some three hundred years.  Performed during the holidays, this interactive theatre is fun for all, parents and kids alike. This year's Panto is once again full of large, colorful characters, original songs, plenty of audience participation, and fairy tale fun to entertain audiences both young and old! You'll be encouraged to boo at the villains, cheer for the heroes, and sing along with whole cast. The troupe manages to fire enough jokes and innuendos over the kids' heads to keep everyone entertained. With all original songs and music featuring The Fremont Philharmonic Orchestra, this musical comedy is a great holiday experience.

This upcoming Saturday 12/10/2016 the 7:30 pm show is “pay what you can” night. Tickets are usually $15 for adults and $7 for children and seniors but for this one show you will have the option to name your price. Support your local players and enjoy Panto the way it was meant to be experienced, through side splitting laughter. 

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker
Dec 9th – Dec 29th
Tickets $40 - $55

Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann present the 11th year of their award winning winter production. Land of the Sweets take the traditional Nutcracker and turns it on its tail for a rollicking (and frolicking) good time.

Buy tickets online!

Can Can Presents: Wonderland
Nov 11th – Jan 29th
Tickets $35 - $95

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry and you can do all those things under one roof at the historic Pike Place Market with a ticket to Can Can Presents: Wonderland. Swinging from chandeliers, chorus girl kick lines, it’s a carnival cabaret meets dinner theatre set in a transformed winter chalet.

Tickets on sale now!

2nd Annual New Old Time Chautauqua Holiday Benefit Show
Dec 10th – Dec 11th
Tickets $10 - $15

From the turn of the century thru the 1930’s, thousands of Chautauqua’s brought culture, education and entertainment to rural towns and cities across America.  In 1924 there were over 10,000 Chautauqua productions that played to 40 million Americans. Teddy Roosevelt called Chautauqua, "The most American thing about America". Today, the New Old Time Chautauqua is the only traveling Chautauqua in the USA. Their first tour was in 1981 and the troupe will celebrate their 36th anniversary in 2017.

The 2017 Summer Tour to Eastern Oregon will take place July 10 - August 3. Celebratory parades, workshops ranging from juggling and acrobatics to storytelling and history, and top-notch vaudeville extravaganzas will be presented in Central and Eastern Oregon. This year the proceeds will also support NOTC's "Hands Across the Border Project”. 

The Vaudeville style family-friendly show features the Flying Karamazov Brothers, masters of juggling and cheap theatrics, Godfrey Daniels, our 8' tall silent clown, NW Poet Kevin Murphy, Joey Pipia, Magician Extraordinaire, Musician Val Synder and her group, "Violins is Never the Answer", World Famous Whistler, Jason Serinus, sizzling songstress Caela Baily and so many more! Surprise guests and an excited audience are in store for anyone with tickets to this show.

Love & Gravity
Dec 9th – 18th
Tickets $15 - $100

In this thrillingly beautiful circus show, Seattle’s premier contemporary circus company, Acrobatic Conundrum transports audiences to a captivating world. Fluent in the language of acrobatics, this cast risks all on a quest to tell honest accounts from the uncharted territory of relationships. Real life romances are portrayed through mesmerizing juggling acts, breathtaking aerial and partner acrobatics -- all while balancing on a bar 20 feet in the air! This show will upend everything you thought you knew about these two laws of attraction: Love & Gravity.

Purchase Tickets online here!

Christmas Is Burning, A Holiday Special
Dec 9th – Dec 30th
Tickets $85

From the off-kilter mind of playwright and puppeteer Scot Augustson (AKA Sgt Rigsby) and the renowned and whimsical kitchens of Cafe Nordo comes the holiday show you were least expecting. It’s Science Fiction! It’s a heart-warming holiday tale! It’s a tantalizing feast! It's Terminator meets Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Café Nordo is immersive dinner theater with a permanent venue in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. Each ticket includes a 4 course holiday feast designed by Chef Erin Brindley featuring delicacies including Reindeer Shepard's Pie and Baby Jesus Bread Loaf as well as a glass of sparkling wine. There will be a festive cocktail and wine menu with many yuletide favorites to order as well.

Homo for the holidays
Dec 9th – Dec 21st
Tickets $32

Homo For The Holidays is a seasonal spectacle, an unforgettable all-star cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical local luminaries come together in a display of glittering grandeur. With such acclaimed talent as Stranger Genius Award winner Cherdonna, Burlesque Hall of Fame winners and #1 Burlesque Performers in the World (Burlesque Top Fifty) Kitten N’ Lou, RuPaul’s Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme, and the recent addition of cult hit series “Capitol Hill” star Waxie Moon (a Moisture Festival favorite!) this show is the most star-studded feast of queer talent you can find on one Seattle stage!

Purchase your tickets online here!

MarchFourth at the O Space
Dec 18
Tickets $18 - $30

Don’t miss this “must see” musical spectacular featuring the amazing MarchFourth, hosted by Open Space for Arts & Community and Vashon Seals Swim Team. With exceptional musical quality and a visual kaleidoscope of stilt walkers, hoopers and Vaudeville-style dancers, MarchFourth whips audiences into a celebratory frenzy with an over-the-top spectacle of high-energy compositions, colorful costumes, and irresistible charisma! This is not a band that simply “puts on a show.” MarchFourth delivers a multi-faceted, indelible experience of pure joy. This special event is being held as a benefit for Vashon Seals. The Seals aim to raise money to give some much needed love and attention to Vashon’s outdoor pool prior to the May 2017 opening. Funds will help with a renovation project that will include retrofitting the existing boiler and other equipment needs.
Doors will open at 5:00pm for this all ages, family-friendly event. DJ Arturo will begin spinning at 5:00, and food and raffle tickets will be available for sale. The main event starts at 6:00pm.

Get your tickets online!

Seattle is home to hundreds of performers that devote their time, talent, and energy to creating engaging community theater projects that we can all enjoy year round. Consider supporting a local artist or cause this holiday season by purchasing tickets and enjoy the warm wishes and thanks from the Moisture Festival family as well as a world class show.