Now that the Moisture Festival is 10 years old, is it in danger of becoming respectable?
Actually, it may be the other way around, with the festival’s vaudevillian spirit taking over the city.
At least, that seemed the case on Thursday night, when Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata took comic turns at the microphone as, in the grandest of terms, they declared March 21 to be Moisture Festival Comedy-Varietè Day. Licata even threw in some snazzy dance moves as he exited the stage to the Dixie-jazz sound of Doc Sprinsock and the SANCApators.
Ceremonies over, the true zaniness, slapstick and aerial magic began. Physical comedian Bill Robison, trying to sing a tune on his ukulele, got seriously — you might even say psychotically — sidetracked by a mosquito. Karen Quest, a comedian with a lariat, spoofed her own routine when it took unanticipated turns.
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Musical guests Dusty Rhodes and her Handsome Cowboys explained what cowgirls do when the cowboys are out on the range, lamented the sour effects of “Another Greasy Breakfast on the Trail” and pined aloud to be taken “back to the men like the men on ‘Bonanza.’”
David Rosdeitcher, better known as “Zipcode Man,” didn’t sing, dance or twirl in the air, but he still amazed with his ability, upon hearing random audience members’ hometown ZIP codes, to tell them where they were from and what their neighborhood was like. (For some places — including Whitehorse, in the Yukon, Canada, — he even had a restaurant recommendation.)
Fyodor Karamazov, a retiree from the Flying Karamazov Brothers, showed his juggling skills are wittily intact. Godfrey Daniels — “the most famous clown in Fremont,” as emcee Ron W. Bailey dubbed him — delighted with his slow-motion red-balloon routine. (He also seems to have acquired a female companion who looks frighteningly like him, with whom he greeted and pestered arrivals at the door.)
While the occasional prop went AWOL with some of the comic and juggling talents, the aerial acts were flawless.
Sally Pepper, a longtime Seattle favorite, slipped and spun her way around a rope hammock with astonishing ease, while throwing a little contortionism into the mix. It’s not just what she does, but the radiant air of relaxation with which she does it. This gal’s serene style makes a marvel of her strength.
Duo Rose, a male-female trapeze act, were no less mesmerizing as their limbs turned to pretzels and slipknots, and their acrobatic feats yielded to tenderness in midair: a light caress, a delicate kiss.
Both Pepper and Duo Rose are appearing in the festival’s burlesque lineup starting March 29, where I’m sure they’ll tease and titillate. But their comedy/varietè acts are perfectly family friendly.
The Moisture Festival continues through April 14 at three venues, with lots more talent — both local and global — taking the stage. Check out the website for details.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org