Who would have thought that a naval base parking lot could transform into an 1800’s bohemian circus oasis flanked by over 40 leather and lace burlesque performers? Well, the creative minds at The Vau de Vire Society struck gold again, bringing their impressive Tortona Big Top tent to Alameda Point. This retired government land played former home to a US Naval Air Station, and it has become the site for many A-list Hollywood film and TV shows. The co-creators of the world renowned Edwardian Ball, Phantasm Halloween, Lagunitas Beer Circus, New Bohemia NYE and a decade of San Francisco’s most creatively outrageous nightlife events, host an immersive, circus-infused, dinner-theatre experience that will transport you back in time and titillate your every sense. The Soiled Dove kicked off opening night on June 8th (and runs with shows every Friday and Saturday through July 1st) under a 12,000 square foot circus tent acquired from the countryside of Tortona, Italy.
While on my journey to the avant-garde spectacle, my eyes and soul were mesmerized by the stunning views that spanned the San Francisco skyline. Once I parked my car, the courtship unfolded. I was greeted and escorted by staff members dressed in theatrical attire as if I were entering the Barbary Coast. From this point forward, each step became surreal, where I witnessed virgins, players, gents, and madams mingling in a lawless arena, and thoughts about my Mini Cooper parked in the lot instantly transformed into fantasies of a horse and carriage drawn for my commute. Glitter dazzling servers filled with colorful attitudes presented a bar menu of dramatic concoctions – the Floozy being my choice for the night. This potion of tequila, fresh lime, prickly pear puree, ghost pepper, cardamom syrup, and agave had my taste buds in euphoria, enhanced by eclectic sounds from the astounding Jazz Mafia. The prodigious ensemble of musicians never missing a beat, added pizzazz to every nuance of the cabaret experience, bringing old school jazz beats to the new age patron while seductive MC’s flirted with the crowd.
Having traveled to many gastronomic capitals of the world, The Work of Art Catering Company presented unique dishes to die for as part of the four-course VIP package that I highly recommend to those looking to take in the entire experience. Infusing culinary cultures from the Middle East and South America, appetizers like stone fruit salad glazed with black tahini sauce, textured with sesame seeds not only kept me salivating for the next plate but the smoked early girl tomatoes, with salsa verde over corn grits and mushrooms left me in a state of gustatory nirvana. The staff was extra attentive to those who toe the herbivore line, so servers checked in with me after each round of hors d’oeuvre to make sure my palate preferences were up to snuff.
The sultry cast of performers, in conjunction with the outlaws on stage, mimicked a Friday night out during the Gold Rush years. Acrobats and contortionists in captivating cleavage corsets tantalized my attention as they spiraled across the air. Multiple stages were precisely placed, becoming a labyrinth for performers to express their talents within arm’s reach. Each act, unique in its own content, combines storytelling and performance, romance and comedy to leave your mind blown.
The Soiled Dove has optimized the circus arena and carnival of esoteric realms for adults to live out their costumed fantasies. One need not be afraid to flaunt favorite body parts, as a spicy attitude is most welcomed. My affection for this production continues to grow, teasing my imagination for hours, as I’m always touched by this community of dedicated artists. Big props to Ms.K of The Vau de Vire team who did an outstanding job of making sure each attendee received a grand farewell and of course to the producer, Mike Gaines, who has truly outdone himself – Soiled Dove is not to be missed!
Vau de Vire Presents The Soiled Dove running…
Every Friday & Saturday through July 1st, 2017
Tortona Big Top
The Taxiway at Point Alameda
2153 Ferry Point, Alameda, CA 94501
VIP Dinner Show Time: 7:30 PM
General Admissions Show Time: 9:00 PM
Tickets: $45 General Admissions & $120 VIP (includes 4-course dinner)
Ages 21+ only
Photos by Beppe Sabatini & Leori Gill