San Francisco Ca the USA
San Francisco’s elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author and illustrator Edward Gorey was on full display Saturday, April 2. The Edwardian Ball was back in action after a short break, given the Covid Pandemic, and held for two nights, April 1 and 2nd, once again taking place inside the majestic, multi-levelled Regency Ballroom. The vintage look and feel of the venue were the perfect marriage for this highly anticipated event. Twenty-two years in the making, and I believe this was the best year yet as all were in costume with dandy bandit flare, powdered wigs, and elaborate accessories. Where else can you make friends with Mechateuthis the Giant Squid, giant robotic attraction patrons could control, powered by spinning mechanical wheels and many other whimsical characters. Watching the Giant Squid’s massive tentacles rotate around and glow gave you a nautical feeling as captain of the iridescent seas.
Imagination is key when it comes to the Ball. It’s the one time of the year to pull out all the Steampunk stops and invent or even have custom-made your one-of-a-kind “Edwardian Era” look re-imagined. Performers and attendees began to meld together as I visited each layer, from the Grand Ballroom Stage to the Vendor Bazaar Stage, which showcased a multitude of local designers. Where else could you shop for your best Dandy Highwayman Adam Ant look, skull rings and all! As you walked around, there was so much more to explore. The Fireplace Stage hosted puppeteer shows out of a mini stagecoach where you could even pet a chicken if you were lucky enough, yes, a chicken, LOL! The Museum of Wonders Stage had one of SF’s best Emcee, Alexa Von Kickinface, best known for the San Francisco burlesque event, the Hubba Hubba Revue.
I was pleased to see the Vau De Vire Variety Show on the bill, which hosted many delicious acts, including a robotic Cowboy Girl who used balloons as target practice. Some stand-out acts were the aerial performers, spinning endlessly in large hoops and material-coloured ropes that would give Barnum & Bailey a run for their money. Other attractions to experience included haunted pipe organs, retro musical acts, DJs, absinthe drinks, and more in a real-life Victorian setting. One notable area I really enjoyed was an Alice in Wonderland experience hosted by Scott Levkoff of the Mystic Midway. I had a chance to chat with Scott, who elaborated on his role at the Ball and overall experience.
“We hosted the Mystic Midway Wonderland Tea Party featuring three powdered-wig performers tasked with bringing guests into the ‘magic circle of play’ by way of compliments, simple schtick, inviting gestures, and whimsical wordplay. The fashion was magnificent, the art and kinetic sculptures delightful, the acrobats fascinating, and the burlesque sexy. Working beforehand made me feel part of the whole grand scheme. I had such wonderful company, and I danced for hours properly. I had an absolute ball!” – Scott Levkoff
The Edwardian Ball is an annual affair, which gives you plenty of time to prepare the ultimate fantasy experience and costume. It’s considered by many as a modern-day circus of music, performance, and bizarre fashion that will keep you stimulated from start to finale. If you plan to attend in the future, make sure to include big wigs, canes, black and white stripes, corsets, gloves, and hats on your checklist. The Ball is a fabulous and fun event to experience at least once in your lifetime, but the memories will last forever.
For More info on the Edwardian Ball, go to: www.edwardianball.com