Mezzo Lunatico’s Contributions to Local Variety
– Written by Madeline Rider (Contributor, Seattle)
Ordinarily a visit to Teatro ZinZanni’s spiegeltent is about as accessible to me as someone else’s wallet. As a lower-middle class professional, the $100-plus ticket price for the theater’s standard dinner show is well beyond my means and has remained an illusive fantasy. Perhaps ZinZanni is taking a hint from the dramatic blow to its neighboring arts organizations, including but not in anyway limited to Intiman’s recent near-death experience. Teatro’s semi-monthly late-night variety show Mezzo Lunatico provides a more financially practical opportunity for local fans of the Seattle performance community to experience what is generally limited to a select audience. After tickets and the twenty dollar mandatory food and beverage credit, the evening shapes up to be quite affordable.
Hosted and curated by One Reel’s programming director Chris Porter, September’s Mezzo Lunatico held an obvious 1960s soul vibe, with fantastic live music provided by band Soul Senate and singer Felicia Loud. The serving staff were attired in accordance with the theme, save for a vinyl-clad bartender equipped with liquor holsters strapped around her waist. They shuffled in and out of what appeared to be a full house. The tent was cozy, but not too cozy, leaving plenty of room to stretch your legs, recline, and relax as your focus draws to the center of the room. After a brief introduction, Porter made way for the first performer of the evening, Tanya Brno of Emerald City Trapeze. Frequently seen performing with aerial girl gang the Aerialistas, Brno’s performance emanated less overt sexuality than usually found in burlesque-orientated aerial and proved to be a sheer feat of aerial prowess.
Billed as “adult”, Porter’s Mezzo Lunatico included an inoffensive drug reference from contortionist Zarina Fire and Ruby Mimosa’s classic striptease; however, the most tawdry numbers stemmed from Ruby’s troupe Dance Belt (also composed of boylesque sensation Waxie Moon and modern dance extraordinaire Lou Henry Hoover) and their salacious choreography pulled from contemporary pop music videos. With the exception of a few thematically incongruous numbers in the second half, the show provided the audience- including the unfortunately placed heckler sitting directly behind me- with an excellent survey of the Seattle performance community.
The true success and benefit of Mezzo Lunatico lies not in the performance itself, but the opportunity it provides to the devotees of the community. By offering an affordable ticket price, producer Tim Gonzalez-Wiler quite literally opens the doors to his friends and neighbors in Seattle with the warmth and welcome faces of familiar acts. All the while, the allure of ZinZanni’s luxury attracts patrons who may not otherwise be exposed to our local variety scene.
Experience the local love yourself at Mezzo’s next production- El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, will grace the stage as host and curator on October 29th for Death: What a Way to Go!. The show will feature Cabaret Nouveau composer/singer/accordionist Seth Bedford, Operatic Tenor Steve Thoreson, 2011 reigning Queen of Burlesque Miss Indigo Blue, and performing art/butoh/dance company Momo Butoh. In the spirit of Halloween, October’s Mezzo Lunatico will include a Night of the Living Dead costume contest, open to all audience members.
For more information and tickets visit www.mezzolunatico.com