Sunday, April 02, 2006

Moisture Festival

Hanging, Heckling, Swinging
Hale's Palladium, Seattle, WA

We're at the Moisture Festival in a converted warehouse attached to Hale's Brewery. It features a rotating cast of jugglers, magicians, aerialists, schticksters, and burlesque girls. Their early shows offer fun for the whole family, but this late night event is 21+ so we all hope for nudity. And with an 11pm start, we also thank god for the espresso cart out front.

Present is your standard Seattle Hipster crowd, a decent number of older people, and a few tourists. Well, I imagine they're tourists but maybe they just came from the East side. Same difference. The audience is super-engaged tonight, and since we are at a brewery they are also drunk.

There are three stages of alcohol-inspired heckling.
Stage 1: Jovial shout-outs ("That was AWESOME!")
Stage 2: Beligerent non-sequiters ("Freebird!")
Stage 3: Shamed silence.

The Stage 1 folks are delightful and encouraging. The people in Stage 2 have an acute lack of self-awareness, so they don't recognize the moment they graduate from 1 to 2. However, the people in Stage 3, finally over their alcohol limit and shunned into silence by shushers around them, find those still in Stage 2 to be HILARIOUS, and their laughter proclaims both "I miss being a Stage 2" and "no one can shush me for laughing." Here's the guy directly in front of me about 10 minutes after he hits Stage 3.

During intermission I spot these two guys loitering by the bar. They look like hippie holdovers from before Fremont was gentrified, so I take their picture. When I show them the photo they react like they've never seen an electronic device in their lives, and the guy on the right says something about how I should take the picture down to the post office because I could make some money. So there I am marveling at how broad a reach this festival has, when 15 minutes later I'm watching the guy on the left beat the hell out of a guitar on stage. Turns out he's Baby Gramps and quickly has the entire crowd shouting "Scrotum!" and you have to love him for that. AND I have video.

While the Aerialistas perform (they are *so strong*), a gal in a leopard print coat sitting across the aisle from me looks on with horrified attention. I'm not sure if she expects a rope or leg to come swinging into her face or if she's never seen aerialist work up close, but she keeps her drink close to her chest and questions her aisle seat choice.

The show is long and incredibly satisfying, featuring a great clown duo from Berlin, Lelavision spinning, hanging, and playing a giant metal thing (look! more video!), an acrobatic guy named Tom Murphy who should just go ahead and stop wearing clothing immediately, and much more. We leave just before 2am, and thanks to dumb daylight savings time arrive home ten minutes later at 3. But after tonight, we don't mind a bit.

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