Good news SF nightlifers! This weekend one of my favorite fashion-macabre events returns to our fine city to add a little dark sparkle to our long, cold winter. That's right, this Friday and Saturday evening the Regency Ballroom will be positively aglow with the powdered cheeks and waxed mustaches of some of the most elaborately dressed characters this city has to offer. Come Friday to puruse the treasures of the World's Faire, a showcase of over 20 artist's and makers offering everything you need to properly attire yourself in corset or top hat. Then, Saturday night return for the main festivities: spectacles to delight the senses be your taste in sombre melodies or avant-garde pupeteering. The Edwardian Ball has established not only a reputation but a tradition in San Francisco as an annual feast of the finest in vaudevillian talents, dark curiosities and magical whimsy. And it's no wonder that in its 13th year the ball continues to thrive and offer new delights for those Edward Gorey inspired, steam punk-loving, extraordinarily over-dressed lads and lasses who return year after year to join in the festivities. The two founders of the ball, Justin Katz of Rosin Coven and Mike Gaines of the Vau de Vire, are also part of the main attraction! For those who have never attended the ball, and have some anxiety about how to measure up to those gorgeous madames and dapper sirs they expect to find among the crowds Friday and Saturday, here is a quick do and don't from an experienced Edwardian.
- Wear street clothes if you can help it. If you absolutely have nothing in your closet that will fit the theme (google any of the following: Edward Gorey, steam punk, and oh yeah Edwardian) remember the golden rule: you can't go wrong in all black.
- Wait to get your ticket! The ball especially has been known to sell out. You can buy tickets online here.
- Worry about fitting in if it's your first time. Sure, there'll be a lot of pretty people dressed to the nines. Still, it's a ball! Loosen up and mingle! And remember, your best accessory is a smile (or if that doesn't work you can always try a funny accent).
- Break out your corset, hoop skirt, top hat, goggles, gears, feathered hairpieces, and bizarre accessories from another era! If you don't have any, come to the world's faire on Friday to get suited up!
- Get there early to see all the performers! The ball ends on the earlier side of things and you don't want to miss the action.
- Travel around to make sure you see all there is to offer. Some exhibitions are generally lurking around the dance floor.
- Feel free to talk to the artists should they happen to be around for some top notch education on taxidermy, contortion, and steam-powered tea. Part of the real draw of the Edwardian Ball is all the fascinating real-life characters you'll meet!