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April 3, 2014 at 4:10 PM

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The performers of the Moisture Festival


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Clockwise from top left: Sylvia Friedman is one half of Duo Rose, the acrobatic trapeze act she performs with her husband Samuel Sion. The two are based in Kassel, Germany, and originally from Chicago. | Sandy Neale is a founding member of the Moisture Festival. Her daughter Fay, 3, helps her apply eyeshadow on opening night. | David Lichtenstein of Portland performs western comedy shows as his character, Leapin' Louie. Cracking whips, rope tricks, unicycle, physical comedy and new vaudeville are his specialties. His act was first inspired by his grandmother, Eunice Curtis, hung out with cowboys just east of Seattle. "She taught me how to do the very basic trick-rope act, and that's how I got started," Lichtenstein said.



The 11th annual Moisture Festival is in full-swing, bringing performers together from Seattle and abroad to the Fremont neighborhood, the Center of the Universe. Headquartered out of Hale's Palladium, a performance space that blossomed out of the back of Hale's Ales Brewery, the Moisture Festival has grown to be the largest comedy/varieté festival in the world, according to the organizers. Burlesque is also an integral part, stationed at the Broadway Performance Hall in Capitol Hill.

"This is a performance-driven festival. They bring in performers from all over the world; really, the cream of the crop," said Rob Williams of the circus comedy duo Kamikaze Fireflies. Williams, based in Los Angeles, has performed at the festival for the last eight years.

Sylvia Friedman, pictured left,, is one half of Duo Rose, the acrobatic trapeze act she performs with her husband, Samuel Sion. The two are based in Kassel, Germany, and originally from Chicago. They have performed all over the world, and come back to Seattle to perform with the festival and Teatro ZinZanni.

"The audiences are so appreciative," said Friedman, who added that she enjoys meeting the performers and volunteers backstage who make the festival happen with such a love of performing.

Their stationery trapeze is suspended from the ceiling in the center of the Palladium, with audience members seated all around. During a recent performance, she moved into one of their highly athletic and passionate poses, and looked down into the crowd. "There was this little girl, maybe 8 years old, completely slack-jawed," Friedman said with a laugh. "And I was just like, yes! Yes, yes yes!"

The Moisture Festival runs through April 13th. For more information on attending a performance, check out moisturefestival.org.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Clockwise from left: Armitage Shanks, The Carny Preacher, also known as David Crellin, of Seattle, has been performing at the Moisture Festival for almost ten years. This year, he is also curating all of the burlesque performances at the Broadway Performance Hall. | Fuchsia Foxx of Seattle has been performing at the Moisture Festival for the last several years. She brings 14 years of bellydance instruction to flavor her burlesque act. | Russell Bruner, a performer specializing in burlesque, varieté, and swing dancing, describes himself as "a mischievous, mustachioed devil of a man," on his website, swingtimepdx.com.


This player was created in July 2013 for the Sea Change project to create an auto-play player with slimmed-down display.
This player was created in July 2013 for the Sea Change project to create an auto-play player with slimmed-down display.
This player was created in July 2013 for the Sea Change project to create an auto-play player with slimmed-down display.

Videos by Genevieve Alvarez / The Seattle Times




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left: Jay Alexander is a magician and mentalist from San Francisco. | Russell Bruner, left, and Pink Lindsay, both of Swing Time PDX in Portland, share a kiss behind an umbrella between practicing their dance routine on stage at Hale's Palladium. | The Shanghai Pearl gets ready for her show in the green room at the Broadway Performance Hall.


This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the embed player with chromeless buttons. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Left: salamandir of Snake Suspenderz, a local cartoon jazz band. Right: Charly McCreary, a local aerial performer, stretches while warming up. She is a founding member of the Cabiri, a Seattle troupe performing physical theater, dance, aerial arts, fire performance, stilts, and puppetry with a dark twist.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left: Swami YoMahmi, "The Original SideShow Geek," is performed by Stephon Walker, who is based in the DC area. It's his first year performing at the Moisture Festival. "I'm loving it," Walker said. "I'm amazed and inspired by the level of talent here." | Charly McCreary, a local aerial performer, stretches while warming up. | Harry Levine of Olympia, is a part of the Mud Bay Jugglers.



This template is designed to fit the CP spot of the current HP redesign. Created May 2011
This template is designed to fit the CP spot of the current HP redesign. Created May 2011
This template is designed to fit the CP spot of the current HP redesign. Created May 2011
This template is designed to fit the CP spot of the current HP redesign. Created May 2011




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Left: Steve Smith works the door with rubber chicken beads and zebra stripes. Right: Swami YoMahmi, also known as Stephon Walker, is based in the DC area. It's his first year performing at the Moisture Festival.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Left: Vivian Tam, a local aerialist, learned her craft in Los Angeles and has been teaching in Seattle for the last eight years. Right: Darryl Yust of Seattle is an aspiring circus performer, and volunteer at the Moisture Festival.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Left: Pink Lindsay, a part of Swing Time PDX from Portland, shows off her glittery dance shoes. Right: Duo Volta, Oliver Parkinson and Adrienne Jack-Sands, warm up on the static trapeze at Broadway Performance Hall. They are based in Seattle, and teach and train at Emerald City Trapeze Arts.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Clockwise from left: Vivian Tam, a local aerialist, learned her craft in Los Angeles and has been teaching in Seattle for the last eight years. | The Kamikaze Fireflies are Casey Martin and Rob Williams of Los Angeles. They have been performing at the Moisture Festival for the last eight years. | Caelen Lockery, 4, and his sister Johanna, 17 months, sit patiently while their mom Katherine Bragdon sets up chairs in Hale's Palladium. They've been attending the Moisture Festival since "they were in utero," joked Bragdon. "They've grown up here."



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Left: David Lichtenstein of Portland performs western comedy shows as his character, Leapin' Louie. Cracking whips, rope tricks, unicycle, physical comedy and new vaudeville are his specialties. Right: Marina Luna is a vertical rope aerialist from Atlanta.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Clockwise from left: Godfrey Daniels sits disassembled on a table backstage at Hale's Palladium. | Karl Luhr, the lead food babe at the Moisture Festival, takes a break. | Waxie Moon, a local performer, describes himself as "an international gender-blending queer lady boylesque performance-art stripping sensation!" on his Facebook page.

This template is designed to fit the CP spot of the current HP redesign. Created May 2011

Thank you to John Cornicello, Ron W. Bailey, Jennifer Wensrich, and the staff and performers at the Moisture Festival for their help making this project happen.


Beyond the byline: Bettina Hansen tells how the portraits were made

More from the Moisture Festival: Photo gallery

Meet the performers: Interviews with J. Von Stratton and Brittany Walsh




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