Maurice Chevalier said, "Thank Heaven for little girls," & Veronique Chevalier says, "Thank Hell for La Moi!"
She's a twisted Edith Piaf from an alternate reality; Parodist; Creatrix of Gothic Polka,
& Inventrix of Steampunk Haiku, aka "Steamku."

Monday, November 23, 2009

* Gives Veronique & Seth Seattle Cab Fest Performances A Thumbs Up

11/15 Seattle International Cabaret Festival- Final Report

We made it! It was quite a trip... here's some thoughts on the last day of the first ever Seattle International Cabaret Festival.

The day started early at the Can Can with the Peculiar Pretzelmen playing live accompaniment for the short film "Widow's Walk" (and related other pieces).

After that Seth Bedford & Veronique Chevalier got in one last performance before the end of the Festival. The setting fit the duo like a glove.

The Castaways' performance was moved from the Can Can to the final blowout at the Moore so...

The Festival Finale Spectacular!

Not suprisingly the event was like the rest of the Festival... not so much writ small (this was the biggest stage after all) as writ compact.

Almost too many to recall...
The Bad Things, The Castaways, Circus Contraption, The Heavenly Spies, Miss Mamie Lavona, Orkestar Zirkonium, The Peculiar Pretzelmen, Robert Rial's Bakelite 78, Scarlet Room, Toybox Trio, Vinsantos, Iva Handfull, Queen Shmooquan, Stella Rose, Waxie Moon... (I'm Sure I missed somebody...)

And a special appearance by Vince Mira!

The show ended with Orkestar Zirkonium leading a parade of performers & audience down to the Can Can for the closing party.

It's still a lot for me to take in.

But I have to consider any event that destroys lucidity a a success!
With a bit of luck I'll have my brain back on line by next year's festival.

Seattle International Cabaret Festival~

The Can Can~

The Peculiar Pretzelmen~

Veronique Chevalier~

Seth Bedford~

Vince Mira~

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

* Veronique's Cab Fest Performances Mentioned in Seattle Gay News

Veronique Chevalier (Painting of Waxie Moon © Xavier Ortega)
(photo © E. Joyce Glasgow)

Seattle Cabaret festival overflowing with talent
by E. Joyce Glasgow -
SGN A&E Writer

The First Annual Seattle International Cabaret Festival

November 11-15
Can Can, Triple Door, Pensione Nichols, ACT, Moore Theatre

The ambitious Seattle International Cabaret Festival, organized by Can Can owner Chris Snell, showcased avant-garde cabaret acts from local artists and invited performers from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and New York City. I found myself going to many more of these enjoyable performances than I had planned to as I discovered new talents. The festival had an energetic atmosphere that combined elements of Victorian Gothic, vaudeville, burlesque, acrobatics, visual arts, poetry, film, music and dance parties with a community-oriented feel and enthusiasm.

Artist/dollmaker/filmmaker Miss Oblivious curated the acts at the cozy Pensione Nichols, a bed and breakfast on First Ave. She created an arts "salon" called Poe's Peculiar Parlor (after Edgar Allen Poe) in the public gathering room, which had a grand piano and a lovely, picturesque views of Elliott Bay. Low lamplights and candles created an intimate atmosphere where tarot card and palm readings took place, and tea was served with cucumber sandwiches and ginger snaps. Handmade dolls and paintings were on display and the acts here combined programs featuring filmmakers, writers and cabaret musical acts.

Of particular note was Veronique Chevalier, a wonderfully eccentric and comedic singer/songwriter from Los Angeles who looks like she just dove out of a painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. She also reminds one of a favorite, slightly crazy and extravagantly whimsical aunt, who lives in her own somewhat fantastical and a bit saucy universe. If Charles Dickens had written a Ghost of Mirth into his Christmas Carol, Veronique Chevalier would be she.

Chevalier loves to entertain and bring laughter and good cheer to her audiences, and isn't afraid of making fun of herself in the process. Accompanying her in her performances is her silent partner Napoleon, le corbeau (the raven), who, in true kooky Chevalier style, sits regularly upon her head.

Seth Bedford accompanied Chevalier on accordion. Bedford, from New York City and originally trained as a classical cellist, also played original material, as well as a few old standards from the Great American Songbook with his band, Huxley Vertical. The band was arranged for violin, viola, piano, bass and accordion in a chamber-like setting.

(Photo © by E. Joyce Glasgow)

Vinsantos, a self-described "glam-cabaret" performer from San Francisco, entertained with an expressively painted white face and facial glitter and a hat cocked mysteriously over one eye. Under the soft light of a candelabra, Vinsantos sang original, darkly emotional songs at the piano and was joined intermittently by the otherworldly blues singer Agness Twin, who was also up from San Francisco.

A short film of particular note shown at the Parlor was California artist Christy Kane's moral tale of the importance of having patience and not letting your temper get the best of you. Called Callalily, it was an animated film, starring one of her many unique handmade dolls named Callalily.

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Zoe Boekbinder, who has an unusual, rich voice with a country twang, performed original material at the Parlor and Triple Door, deftly using multiple electronic loops to round out her sound with layered rhythms and harmonies.

Vagabond Opera, a wonderful group from Portland which combines opera, original songs and music from different countries in their native languages, performed a lively show at the Triple Door on November 11. The late, great Circus Contraption celebrated their new CD The Show to End All Shows with two entertaining shows of music and circus arts on November 12 at the Triple Door.

The Can Can Castaways, a modern dance/burlesque dance troupe who are all graduates of the Cornish College dance department, brought a lot of energy and their distinctive, funky choreography to the Can Can and in performances with raucous band The Bad Things at ACT and at the Moore Theatre for the big finale on Sunday, November 15.

Baby Gramps was as wonderfully funny and entertaining as always in his ACT performance, and was joined by the fabulous acrobatic duo of Dr. Calamari and Acrophelia, formerly of Circus Contraption, as part of the "Cabaret Macabre" on lucky Friday the 13th. On November 11, Arnaldo! the Drag Chanteuse performed his tribute to Eartha Kitt at ACT.

The finale at the Moore on November 15 also featured aerialist Michelle Francis; The Circus Contraption Band; a steamy performance by "boylesque" burlesque artist (and documentary star) Waxie Moon; wild, wacky, non-sequitorial, creative performance artist Queen Shmooquan; Betty Boop-like singer Stella Rose; and the grand finale with Orkestar Zirkonium, playing energizing Klezmer music and leading a parade from the Moore Theatre to the Can Can for a big, festive closing dance party with visuals and music by Global Ruckus with Steve Kamke.

It was a rich festival with lots of great and unusual talent, and was impressive for a first outing as it gave a lot of local and visiting artists a forum for their artistry.

For more information, visit

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Monday, November 16, 2009

* Seattle Times Review of The International Cabaret Festival

The Seattle International Cabaret Festival spans language, gender, genres and venues

Seattle Times arts writer


Seattle International Cabaret Festival

Additional performances

Varying times today-Sunday at Seattle venues: ACT Theatre, 700 Union St.; Can Can, 94 Pike St.; Pensione Nichols, 1923 First Ave.; and the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave.; event prices vary (206-652-0832 or

Performance review |

You might not have known it if you were wandering the streets of downtown Seattle on Wednesday night, but the inaugural edition of the Seattle International Cabaret Festival was going on all around you.

In the Dorothy Bullitt Cabaret space of ACT Theatre, drag chanteuse Arnaldo! — in a slinky red dress with spaghetti straps — paid tribute to Eartha Kitt, lovingly nailing Kitt's eccentric phrasing and intonation, albeit with a voice a bit more robust than hers.

Familiar Kitt classics — "C'est si Bon," "I Wanna Be Evil" — were on the set list. But the finest moments came with tunes less familiar. "Waray Waray" — in Tagalog, Arnaldo!'s first language — was a special treat, prompting a fond reminiscence of the sense of connection he felt with the language-hopping Kitt upon his first encounter with her work.

At Can Can, the hub of the festival, the Castaways did energetic lip-sync in "The Bolly Horror Picture Show": "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" given a Bollywood twist. (Think: "Time Warp" to a tabla-driven beat.) Continually switching roles — at one point there were three Dr. Frank-N-Furters onstage — they bent gender to the max while filling the cramped stage with silly dance routines. The show culminated in a frenzied tribute to elephant god Ganesh. The troupe plays different items from their repertoire tonight, Saturday and Sunday.

Over at Pensione Nichols, where I stopped in briefly, performers big on persona and smaller on genuine talent haunted the piano room. The most winningly eccentric: Veronique Chevalier, supposedly fresh in from Paris on the Concorde. In her feathered headdress sat a stuffed bird named Napoleon who all but accompanied her as she sang a twitchy, off-color song about birthdays. Activities continue at the Pensione Nichols through Sunday, including a Kurt Weill evening at 7 tonight.

At the Triple Door, Vagabond Opera ("from faraway exotic sunny Portland") was the indisputable crowning glory of the night. This sextet has fine voices, unbelievable musical chops and a huge and humorous stage presence. They know how to dress, how to make an entrance and how to craft an instantly hummable tune. Their ravishing closing number, "Goodnight Moon," was, they said, "born in Seattle" after gigs they'd played here at Northwest Folklife Festival and the Blue Moon Tavern.

The festival continues for three more days. At 8 p.m. Sunday, it shifts over to the Moore Theatre, where a Subterranean Cabaret Collective will perform. A Grand Finale March from the Moore to Can Can, featuring Orkestar Zirkonium, follows at 10 p.m.

For a full schedule, see

Michael Upchurch:

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