Photography by Greg Autry*
PARADOX Media and Vau de Vire proudly present The Edwardian World’s Faire and the 18th Annual Edwardian Ball to be held at the labyrinthine Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California. The Edwardian Ball is the premier Costume Ball on the West Coast, now presenting its 18th rendition, never failing to be more magnificent than the last.
Born in the darkened hallows of a San Francisco nightclub, this multi-night, multi-city, multi-media extravaganza has grown over the past eighteen years into an internationally recognized festival of the arts, now presenting a uniquely wonderful Edwardian World with the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.
Those of you who follow me, know my passion for art and fashion, incorporating both into my photography, and art, is a lifelong pursuit. Thus I’m very happy to tell you about the Edwardian Ball’s, wonderful recognition of the artists; visual, physical, and performance artists, coupled with the amazing costumes which draw me back year after year.
Curating the Edwardian Ball is an exercise in world building. Following a different theme every year, the art collection works to combine historical and fantastical elements to curate an original experience for the participants. The curators pull from local and regional talent, bringing in visual artists who paint, draw and assemble diverse found objects and curios into compositions that titillate the senses and delight the eye. More than just decor, these works serve as the backdrops to our many performance based offerings, and provide context for unique experiences as patrons interface with the narratives provided. The Edwardian curators are constantly hunting for fresh content in the visual arts, pulling from a diverse community and its many skills, utilizing techniques as old as history itself, and looking to the future for what’s to come. Every year’s collection is a new endeavor, as a stable of regular talent and newfound collaboration are brought together to create an integral experience of this seminal San Francisco tradition.
Friday, January 26, 2018 the doors open at 8:00 PM, as the two-night celebration unfolds with the renowned Edwardian World’s Faire. Historic and novel characters intermingle; true-life adventures blend with fantastical lands; live the excitement of the age of exploration, reimagined through the lens of today and beyond. Get lost in the delightful Gaming Garden, where characters, tricks, and games of chance weave a backdrop to steam-powered creations and chance encounters. Revel in a modern day Belle Époque where cultures meet, blend, dance, and collide. A worldly adventure ahead of Saturday night’s Ball, the World’s Faire presents a once-in-this-lifetime adventure!
2018 marks the debut of The Edwardian Ball Artful Treasure Hunt, inviting the participants to interact with our wonderfully curated collection in a new way, in keeping with this year’s choose-your-own-adventure theme. Visual art is as much a part of the proceedings as the rest, but in a flurry of activities, it can sometimes be overlooked as mere decor. What if you took a moment to look even closer? What if you had a reason, a map, a path on which to stop and wonder?
You can enter the Regency Ballroom on a hunt for objects of beauty, wondrous and ancient. Peruse the sumptuous textures, mysterious depths, glittering gold and spooky remains. Weave your way through a maze of art and sculptures created by artists near and far. Search from the depths of the Bazaar to the heights of the Museum of Wonders, following your special handmade treasure map, solving riddles to claim a prize!
Part scavenger hunt, part riddle, part Mad Lib, the artful interactive adventure will send you wandering all through the venue on your personalized search through our varied art collection. Use our specially printed souvenir maps to look for clues, answer cryptic conundrums using the art in our show, and crack the code for a limited edition piece of art to take home as a prize. Experience the art in a new interactive way; whether deciphering the Mad Professor’s algorithm, searching out the answer to the Riddle of the Tomb or asking the Wandering Wise Ones for guidance from the stars. Every path will lead somewhere different and unique.
The Edwardian Ball draws together a different group of artists each year, and this time we are reaching further afar, outside the Bay Area, outside the familiar, to bring new delights for your eyes and experience. With each piece paired with a riddle or question, a treasure map will guide you through the venue, hunting out unique experiences and unexpected interactions alike. Collect all the treasures and take home a special limited edition gift from us. Along the way you may fall in love with a work, in which case this year, all the works will available for purchase at the click of a button via our mobile site during the event. Take a piece of the Ball home with you forever.
Saturday night, January 27, returns to the Ballroom for the most decadent night of the season! This is the night that started it all, The Edwardian Ball, presented by co-hosts Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society. Ballroom dancing leads way to stunning performances both on and offstage in a collage of fashion, theatre, music, circus performance, and dance. Each year, The Edwardian Ball presents a featured Edward Gorey tale in an original stage performance. 2018 features The Raging Tide: or, The Black Doll’s Imbroglio, performed by Rosin Coven, Vau de Vire Society, and Kinetic Steam Works. And never to be missed is the Performance on stage presented by Dark Garden, unique Corsetry of San Francisco.
In addition to the “Gorey-Gasmic” pomp and spectacle of the Edwardian Ball, Aaron Delachaux, former DJ at the Vau de Vire Society and his partner in crime, The Klown, will be laying down closing sets with some very special guest. As Artists will do, the uninhibited creative spirit does tend to come out, later in the evening. The late evening sets will include a Tag Team “Thump-a-tron” featuring San Francisco Burlesque stars Mojo DeVille, Dasha Cayenne, and Hunny Bunny, who’ll be dancing during the set by The Klown and Delachaux. Delachaux & The Klown are well known for TRAPEZE, their outrageous club Vibes.
In addition, our 2018 Edwardian World’s Faire presents the Scientist’s Workshop, both mad and brilliant. Inspired by the dawn of the industrial revolution and the wild dreams it evoked, we look inside machines, and out into space, wondering about the future. We marvel at our place in the great cycle in the sky, and at the power of our hands and minds. Upstairs, in the Museum of Wonders, the ancestors sleep, surrounded by remnants of another time.
Some of the wonderful Gadget and Installation Artist will include: Vandegraaff Gearheardt – Assemblage Sculpture – Gadget Artist, Steve LaRiccia – Interactive assemblage – Gadget Artist, Joshua Kinsey– Assemblage Sculpture / Machinery- Gadget Artist ,Kinetic Steamworks– Interactive Installation- Installation Artist, Mystic Midway– Interactive Installation- Installation Artist, La Victrola– Installation Artist, The Grand Artique – Installation Artist, Doug Rhodes– Painting & Collage, Corviid– Drawings & Assemblage, and Mark Butler– Painting.
Afternoon Tea in the famed Museum of Wonders begins at 2:00 PM on Saturday the 27th, with doors opening at 1:30 PM. Enjoy featured presentations over tea and edible delights, plus pop up performances and vignettes. A twist of magic to accompany bites and delights. Browse the museum art & installations in the tranquility of Saturday afternoon. Tea ticket includes free admission to the Vendor Bazaar Daytime Shopping, before and after the Party!
The Edwardian Ball Vendor Bazaar presents over 50 carefully curated artisan vendors , held on Saturday January 27th, from noon till 5:00 PM, precedes the night’s Ball.. Enjoy unfettered access to their creative delights – including fashion, haberdashery, accessories, oddities, and more – without the delightful hubbub of the nighttime events. If you’re looking for vintage fashion, ballroom formal, vaudeville theatric, circus, gothic, retro, elegant, Victorian, Edwardian, romantic, gilded and gentile or mystical and nonsensical, if bizarrely beautiful is what you seek, you’ll find it within the Vendor Bazaar. Fitting rooms available plus a full bar for 21+.
Now my friends ! If San Francisco is not enough for you, The Edwardian Ball will do it all over again, February 9th, and 10th, at the historic Globe Theater, in downtown Los Angeles. And for added enjoyment Sunday February 4th will find The Edwardian Vendor Ball, from noon till 7;00 PM at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, in Pasadena.
Do check out the websites for a complete line-up and schedules for both San Francisco and Los Angeles, where you can also get tickets and package prices online. Watch for my Review, after the Balls, where I will include lots of photos of the FUN, and all the Costumes. Photos used in this Preview, from LA and SF, 2014 thru 2016.
This is a wonderful Ball that I look forward to each and every year, fanciful costumes greatly admired but not required. Have fun, Have a Ball !
*Photos ©GregAutry ALLRIGHTS RESERVED