San Francisco’s Edwardian Ball 2020 Review – Magnificent

The Twentieth Annual EDWARDIAN BALL was held in San Francisco on January 24th and 25th, of this year 2020. There will be no Los Angeles Ball this year thus the historical Regency Ballroom on Van Ness Avenue offered all there was to see in two nights of performance, and costumes, fantasy.  The first night was The Edwardian World’s Faire, and the Second night was the amazing Edwardian Ball. Both nights are magnificent.

 

The Edwardian Ball is suitable for all Ages and all are welcome.  This Twentieth year’s production was themed, `The Golden Tale, or…The Lost Lions.’ Presented by Paradox Media and Vau de Vire Society, the weekend consist of Fridays, The Edwardian World’s Faire, and Saturdays, 20th Annual Edwardian Ball. The Edwardian World’s Faire, in honor the late-great macabre cult author, comic artist, illustrator and cartoonist Edward Gorey, presents a unique blend of live music, theater, fashion, circus, fine art, riveting stage shows, literature, ballroom dancing, DJ’s, and character play in an enticing and whirlwind, alternative-universe extravaganza. On this, the opening night of the two-night 20th Annual Edwardian Ball weekend, the celebration unfolded with the renowned Edwardian World’s Faire.  A worldly adventure ahead of Saturday night’s Ball, the World’s Faire always presents a once-in-this-lifetime adventure!

On either night it’s a balancing act: Seeing friends, checking out costumes, having a drink or two, dancing, and marveling at all the wonderful entertainers and performers. It is incredible how many new friends are made at each year’s Ball and all the amazingly creative people and how they create such amazing costumes.

Down in the Basement, was The Edwardian Ball Vendor Bazaar, which for over 10 years has painstakingly and lovingly presented over 50 carefully curated artisan vendors. Enjoy unfettered access to their creative delights – including fashion, haberdashery, accessories, oddities, and more – without the delightful hubbub of our nighttime events. The stage featured performances of Swingatto, and Dangerous Puppets on Friday night.

Two nights is simply not enough to see and experience all there is to see, on all the stages throughout the four stories of the magnificent Regency. The Grand Ballroom of the Regency is on the Main Floor (street level so to speak). The Emcee for the evening’s Ballroom festivities was no less than the Kingfish, aka Jim Sweeney of Hubba Hubba Review fame.  Friday’s performers started off with the Vau de Vire Society’s Variety Show, along with Le Cancan Bijou, Vourteque and Fou Fou Ha throughout the evening.

I rode up the 109 year old Birdcage Elevator and talked with a woman who had on a costume consisting of pieces she had purchased at eight different vendors from the Bazaar. Another lady commented how she had spent the last year sewing her own highly detailed costume.  A third lady in back of the elevator laughed getting out on the top floor, for the Museum of Wonders, saying she had thrown her costume together a couple hours before coming to the Event.  It’s all good, and so much fun.  I really enjoy showcasing the creativity of the attendees and all their costumes. Such as you will see here the Photos I took during Friday and Saturday nights.

As I focused on the costumes of the people at the Ball I did not get as much coverage of the performers as in the past. I mean honestly, come on, I can’t be upstairs at the Museum of Wonder, and downstairs in the Main Ballroom at the same time. My suggestion to the powers that be is to extend the Ball another night. Throughout the Event, the performers are out and about mingling with the entire crowd. You can be talking and having a drink with someone when they say, `sorry you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go on stage to perform.’ 

Throughout both nights everywhere you go at the Regency there are Burlesque Acts and Belly Dancing, Circus Acts, and a myriad of dancers, along with variety acts and magicians, of every type imaginable. Don’t forget to look up from the main Ballroom, to the fancy VIP balcony. That is, if you prefer your performances’ to be viewed from the comfort of upholstered seats. La De Dah – I definitely recommend adding the VIP tickets, as the views of the stages are incredible and it’s good to have a place to sit down. It is worth every extra penny.

On Saturday, I must say that the focus shifted to more emphasis on the Costumes, and the WOW factor.  The range in creative genius was remarkable. The kids I saw usually complimented Moms costume and were just as detailed and period correct as any of the adults. DJ Aaron Delachaux started off the Ballroom Dance in the Grand Ballroom on Saturday night, as well as finishing out the night’s dance agenda with Boenobo Zjo `The Klown’ to a rocking playlist.  My favorite at the end of the evening was Papa Oh Mau Mau by the Rivingtons (1960’s) and Elvis’ remix version of Bosa Nova Baby. That was when one particularly beautiful dancer told me she liked my jacket, and gave me a kiss.  Ahhh!  

The first big show of Saturday evening, in the Main Ballroom, was the always remarkable fashion show and stories by Dark Garden Corsetry of San Francisco. Dark Garden also provided much eye candy on both nights, with pedestal models throughout the Regency enticing many double takes in alluring costumes and corsets.

In addition to Dark Garden, other showcase performances were prevalent Saturday Night on the Main Stage, and included: John Brothers Piano Company, Bohemian Ballet by the Vau de Vire Society, Rosin Coven – Founders of the Ball, and again Vau de Vire Society performing  Scarlet Letters.  The finale in keeping with the weekend’s theme was, The Lost Lions by Edward Gorey, and it was spectacular.

Upstairs in the Museum of Wonders Saturday night Saturday night were two of my favorites:  Emcee Emma Nation,  and the scintillating beauty, the raconteur with the operatic voice, Kat Robichaud! Kat’s production of Misfit Cabaret is a staple in San Francisco, as well as having traveled recently to Los Angeles, and has been featured before in my Articles here in Splash Magazines Worldwide.  Kat gave a tease, with her Shadow Show Circus Creature Theater.

Art was also prevalent throughout the venue, and I think my favorite this year was Ms. Suki Berry.  She did illustration for the patrons and she was just a hoot, having so much fun on both nights. Another favorite are the Advertising Posters by Illustrator Chuck Sperry. These are fabulous keepsakes of the Edwardian Balls, done in French Nouveau styles over the years.  Also zany and having fun, between bouts of DJ’ing, was Ezra Croft, whom I can only say, `He gave his all, for the Ball!’

Make sure you check out the website for the Edwardian Ball, as well as for upcoming Events by the Vau de Vire Society. Trust me when I tell you there is more packed into two nights at the Edwardian Ball, than in a week of anything else you can think to do. Checking the schedules on the website, before the Ball, is a must for maximum fun.  Then again, I guess you cannot plan on that one kiss that just makes your night.

Thanks to my friends who came and my apologies as I was so busy shooting, running here and there; I hardly had any time to visit. I do appreciate you coming, you know who you are.  Thank you to the Edwardian as this was my eighth consecutive year being invited back to cover the Ball for Splash Magazines. Watch for more Post, Photos, and Info in Splash Magazines on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow, Like, Comment, and Share – Connect with me, Greg Autry,  on  Instagram   @gregautry.cga

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About Greg Autry 28 Articles
Greg is a Photographer and Writer specializing in Fashion, Art, and Editorials. He covers Luxury Brands for Splash Magazine including: Fashion Shows, Fine Art, Charities, Stage Performance, Travel, and all manner of Events. Promoters and Producers ask for Greg specifically and repeatedly because his Articles and Photography are the highest of quality and are often picked up in National Media. Greg is also available Freelance for assignment. Writer - Magazine Articles and upcoming Bio-Novel about artist Julian Ritter. Photographer - Commercial Fashion and Editorial Photography. Artist - Oil Painter

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