What, pray tell, is The Edwardian Ball?
THE EDWARDIAN BALL is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author Edward Gorey. Set in our own version of “Edwardian” times, this multi-media extravaganza has grown over the past decade from a small underground club night into an internationally recognized event, now operating with the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.
Costumed and enthusiastic attendees, traveling from as far as Australia, Japan, and the UK, flock to this San Francisco tradition for a delightful blend of ballroom dancing, live music, riveting stage shows, DJs, fine art galleries, a vending marketplace, absinthe cocktails, steam machinery, parlour games, sideshows, and more. All ages are welcome and appropriate in this darkly humorous and elegant setting, where literary aficionados rub elbows with insect-like creatures parading on stilts… where historically-accurate Edwardian recreationists waltz by a steam-powered tea garden… where the only guiding rule is that you join in on the fun!
The Edwardian Ball has been called “the quintessential must-not-miss event of the year,” “a defining annual San Francisco tradition,” and “a literary circus of the highest caliber” for good reason.
Still curious? Peruse our exceedingly witty and fabulously comprehensive Newbie’s Guide to the Edwardian Ball. Or better still, come experience The Edwardian Ball for yourself!
Friday vs. Saturday in SF, or, What’s the difference?
The most commonly asked questions are “What’s the difference between Friday and Saturday?” and “Which night should I go?” Perhaps even, “Which night is better?” The simple answer is that they are both uniquely crafted, awe-inspiring nights of creativity, art, and whimsical elegance, and that there is just no way to choose. To fully immerse yourself in the world of The Edwardian Ball you should seriously consider attending both nights! But to explain a bit further, here’s a bit more on Friday’s Faire and Saturday’s Ball. Any further questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Friday Night – The Edwardian World’s Faire
The first night of back-to-back Regency Ballroom events, The Edwardian World’s Faire presents a Gorey-inspired night of music, theatrics, circus, fashion, gaming, and Edwardian-tinged rock n’ roll. A little more rambunctious than the Saturday night Ball, The Faire presents an interactive night of Barbary-themed Midway Games, bicycle-powered carnival rides by Cyclecide, an exposition of steam-powered machinery by Kinetic Steam Works, circus sideshows, burlesque, and this year, a complete circus extravaganza by the Vau de Vire Society Also featuring longtime Edwardian disc jockey Delachaux, DJ Fact.50, and our now-famous Vendor Bazaar & Piano Saloon. Our widely acclaimed “Museum of Wonders” returns to the opulent Regency Lodge, an entire additional floor of the Regency dedicated to fine art, living statues, fortune telling, sideshows, and haunted mysteries to be discovered through self-guided tours from 8-11pm.
New! Read our list of Top 10 Reasons Not To Miss The Edwardian World’s Faire.
Saturday Night – The World-Famous Edwardian Ball
This is the night of the world-renowned Edwardian Ball, a whimsical, elegant festival of art, music, dance, theatre, fashion, circus, and the art and stories of beloved author Edward Gorey. Step into a uniquely immersive world, where the turn of the century meets the world-to-be in a fantastic blend of performance and audience, of sights, sounds, and magic. Each year, in the depths of the night, Edwardian Ball founders Rosin Coven & co-hosts Vau de Vire Society bring a featured Gorey story to life onstage with original music, choreography, narration, circus acts, this year presenting one of his more mischievous, playful masterpieces, “The Curious Sofa.”
Friday’s rides and games are cleared away, making way for the Ballroom Dancing that begins promptly at 8pm, followed by performances by Dark Garden Corsetry, “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy, Delachaux, and more. Visit our famous Vendor Bazaar & Piano Saloon, capture a moment of history in our Portrait Booth, sip an absinthe cocktail, and dance the night away. And don’t forget to visit the Museum of Wonders located in the opulent Regency Lodge, our “Edwardian Odditorium” full of curiosities, natural wonders, sideshow performances, fortune telling, tarot reading, and who knows what surprises…
The 2014 San Francisco Edwardian Ball
The Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco CA 94109
Recommended parking is at The Holiday Inn Garage (24 hr access, no ins-and-outs), located at 1500 Van Ness (2 blocks north of venue, same side of street). Regency can validate your parking ticket upon exit for a reduced $14 flat rate. Limited street parking is also available. All other garages in the vicinity close early, please check times carefully!
Closest BART station is Civic Center, last train departs approx 12:30am, please check www.bart.gov for current schedule.
The 2014 Edwardian Ball, Los Angeles
The Fonda Theatre 6126 Hollywood Blvd.Hollywood, CA 90028
A Brief History of The Edwardian Ball in Anecdote & Conversation:
One hot and dusty afternoon in a remote desert at the turn of the century, two gentlemen and a lady sat sipping black martinis in a strange and little-known oasis known as The Pagan Lounge.
“I say,” ventured the first gent, “wouldn’t it be smashing to throw a ball in honor of the ghastly tales of Sir Edward Gorey?”
“Oh yes indeed!” agreed the lady emphatically. “We could all dress…Edwardian!”
“I love it!” cried the third. “Perhaps we could find an elegant yet irreverent house band to tell the stories and set them to music. Perhaps that band is…right here amongst us!”
It was true – they looked up from their dust-stained cups to find none other than Rosin Coven carousing around the bar nearby. They were perhaps the only Pagan Lounge Ensemble skilled yet foolish enough to tackle such a task.
On a handshake it was agreed, then and there, that the ball would commence that very December in San Francisco. The finest artists were assembled from throughout the land and The Edwardian Ball was born. It has now become a splendid annual tradition and the rest, as they say, is history.