Did we expect anything dull to come out of San Francisco after an embarrassing inauguration of our nation’s new leader? Supporters of the anti-Trump/Women’s March filled the streets on Friday and Saturday, strutting the color pink in many creative ways, representing our sanctuary city like San Franciscans so vibrantly do. But hold on. How do you top off a day of blood beating activism running through your veins, strong social views still permeating loud and proud, and have another excuse to dress up? You attend the annual Edwardian Ball.

The producers of the Edwardian Ball hosted their 17th-year anniversary festival inside the gorgeous Regency Ballroom on Van Ness Avenue. This time traveling boutique amalgamation of Cirque du Soleil- meets- Mardi Gras, which draws attendees from all over the world, was another sold out affair over the weekend of January 20 & 21, 2017. The multi-city, multi-media exposition of the eccentric and esoteric that has grown over the past 17-years from an underground club party into a full-blown operation with the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust features two more Edwardian Ball affairs. There is the 8th Annual Edwardian Ball taking place in Los Angeles, Saturday, February 11, at the Globe Theatre, and the first-ever Edwardian Ball New Orleans at Generations Hall, Saturday, March 25. Upon entering this time warp event, stood the cavalry of Edwardian Ball helpers, who gave welcome greets that mirrored the nods and bows as if Edward Gorey himself was walking in. Free flowing gowns draped the lobby floor, which also covered a mosaic double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Scottish Rite. This historical Masonic lodge/theatre, showcased live entertainment on each floor, filled with circus performers, aerialists, burlesque dancers, while large ensembles spread vastly across the stage, tooting a fusion of eclectic jazz and bohemian sounds. Backdrops located in the main ceremony rooms, where the Masons used to perform all of their right of passage ceremonies, added an eerie ambiance. Each floor had a melange of carnival art pieces, giving the illusion you were stepping into an early 1900’s carnival, with attendees dressed in costumes from multiple eras. Handsome men in top hats were seen courting their women in busty tight corsets, creating an environment that usurps any Hollywood set.

The ever so creative San Francisco Vau de Vire Society provided the gothic flare that took this event over the top with an unforgettable experience that could have continued another few days. Their entourage of sex kittens lavished in ribbons, sashes, belts, and crushed velvet drew crowds to topple over one another, during each act. Musicians surrounded the old, vintage Austin pipe organ relishing in the old ritual setting that brought souls together in harmony and celebration. This counterculture festival is a branch of the Burning Man community, welcoming your wildest fetish with open arms and leaving any judgment at the door. Hats off to the organizers, the performers and the costumed attendees for a memorable night that most certainly will continue to grow in fans and prestige.

For more information and dates on the Edwardian ball go to www.edwardianball.com

Photos by Leori Gill