TEA Connect Blog

02 May 2019

Seattle: TEA Western North America Division goes to the theater – Ian Klein reports and reviews

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Western North America Division organized an April 2019 outing to the Moisture Festival in Seattle, billed as the world's largest Comedy/Varieté festival. Twenty-six TEA members and friends attended the sold-out show during the festival’s final week.

TEA Western Division Board member Ian Klein of Vizir Productions reports on the evening, and reviews the entertainment:

Tell someone you’re going to “Moisture Festival” and you’re likely to get an eyebrow raise in response. But Moisture Festival was born before the word “moist” had acquired eyebrow-raising associations. The venerable festival runs for four weeks every spring in Seattle - where the weather may be damp, but the spirits are anything but.

Our gathering was sponsored by hybrid experience agency, MODE Studios and NewReach, a digital consulting firm. Guests first mingled in the heart of Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub which hosts the festival in its adjoining event space, The Palladium. Alongside Northwest favorite brews, the in-house food truck El Camion served up a mountain of tamales. . Some of the companies represented among our guests were Affiliated Engineers, BRPH, Iconic Music, Image Mill and VMG Studios.  

At showtime, we walked through the brewery floor and into the colorful carnival atmosphere. While each show embraces the vaudeville tradition with successive 3-15 minute routines accompanied by live music, Moisture Festival is more than a variety show. It is a celebration of the weird and wonderful that showcases boundless imagination through an eclectic roster of talent from acrobats and bubble acts to strong men and magicians.

Clockwise from top left: Snubby J kicks off the show with a rousing performance of 
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on the “RimbaTubes" he and his father made from PVC pipe; 
Palladium marquee; Teatro Pachuco is “one part Fellini, two parts Chaplin
with a Latin twist of acrobatic dexterity”; “Lithuanian Jewish Cowboy Comedian”
Leapin Louie Lichtenstein captures attention; award-winning Duo Rose stuns
with a powerful, passionate performance.
You haven’t seen juggling until you’ve seen
Brazil’s Jefferson Freire.

Even that feels almost too simple a description for the sweeping heights and joyous thrills Moisture Festival achieves. Many moments are in fact quite indescribable. As festival magician and emcee on the night of our visit, Jamy Ian Swiss frequently shot from the stage following a particularly peculiar performance, “Try explaining that one to your friends.” One such routine involved a pair of spinning parasols and a rapidly rolling fast-food burger whose centrifugal force flung pickles across the stage. Yes, that happened and yes, it was magnificent.

It’s sometimes tempting to believe that in today’s media-saturated society and with attractions of every ilk across the globe that one has “seen it all” but this festival is proof that when passion, dedication, raw talent, (and a little moisture) come together, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Moisture Festival reminds guests that wonder knows no age, great entertainment is timeless, and there’s always more to see.

At least there will be more to see next year. This year’s performers and staff took their final bows on Sunday, April 7th, but tickets for Moisture Festival 2020 will go on sale in November—we’ve been told they make great holiday gifts.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this event happen, to Hale’s Ales, El Camion, and Moisture Festival for making our group feel so welcome, and to all of our guests for coming—including one Portland State University graduate student who drove four hours in traffic just to attend the event. Bless you. The next drink is on us for sure.

Performance photos: Cornicello Photography. Additional photos: Guest-provided.


Posted by Judy Rubin



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