April 19, 2022
Oh, what a night, the glamorous, whimsical, and effervescent Spring Revival Edwardian Ball returned to the historic Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on April 1st, and 2nd, filling every room, nook, and cubbyhole to be found, taking up all three floors.
In my Preview Article here in Splash Mags, in March, I interviewed both Mike Gaines and Justin Katz (Founders/Producers of the Edwardian Ball), and I’ve been allowed to share with you behind the scenes photos, revealing the meticulous hard work, planning, and organization it takes to bring all these creative talents together, to show what truly make the Edwardian Ball so magical.
Justin Katz was on stage rehearsing with his band. Mike Gaines answered questions from the crew, climbing a ladder to fix a stage curtain, and Mike’s wife, Choreographer Shannon Gaines, watching performers with an eagle eye,making on the spot adjustments. I watched Dwoira and Chloe practice their aerial act, raw and unfiltered without the crowd all around, it gave me chills to the bone.
From the cast and crew, to all the performers, patrons and guest alike, the common theme was a thankfulness and excitement of having a real, live, event, and that everyone could participate in. Thanks to Justin Katz and Mike Gaines for allowing me to share these behind-the-scenes photos with my readers here in Splash Mags.
The first night of the Ball costumed patrons were lined blocks down the street an hour prior to the doors being opened. Tourist walked by snapping pictures of the costumed Edwardian guests, in total amazement of the costume show they saw on the street. Unbeknownst to them, was the thrill of what was about to explode once inside the Regency Ballroom.
Stepping into an interactive circus where all layers of pretension are discarded at the door, the Edwardian Ball is a fantasy come true. The common wall between audience and performer is shattered by Vau de Vire artists emerging within the crowd, performing thematic roaming vignettes. The audience and performer become a single force, creating an art-filled energetic environment providing all in attendance a safe haven to indulge their fantasies.
Built three years after the Great Quake, in 1909, The Regency Ballroom harkens back to that time of refined elegance in San Francisco. The first night of The Ball began in the Grand Ballroom, with DJ’s Aaron Delachaux along with Ezra Croft spinning music for all. Afterward, Emcee Kingfish, aka, Jim Sweeney, guided the audience through the night’s performances with his usual joie de vivre. Following along in the Ballroom was the Speakeasy Syndicate, and the Renegade Opera up in the balcony. Zoe Jakes dancers was followed by Rosin Coven, and the Vau de Vire Variety show mesmerized the crowd, featuring Chloe and Dwoira aerials, Maggie Powers, and the Flynn Creek Circus.
Autumn Adamme’s Dark Garden Corsetry partnered with the leatherwork artisans at Subverse, presented the new couture collection, OSCURA, at midnight.
The Oscura fashion show featured Vocalists Whitney and Kisura Nyoto, with a dozen models decked out in a leather and fetish fashion extravaganza.
One of the key successes at every Edwardian Ball is simply that there is no dress code nor costume requirements! There are of course elaborate, period correct, hand-made gowns or corsets. For others it might be a playful hat or a fancy pair of knickers and boots. On the first floor the famous Vendor Bazaar, offered all an opportunity to add a touch of ‘something special,’ to the nights festivities. I noted the list of vendors in my preview article, and will only add here that the booth of Subverse Industries always seemed quite full. I personally liked the hats.
This year’s theme, “The Wuggly Ump,” was brought to life in an original stage performance by co-hosts Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society. Performed both nights on the main stage, in a tangle of illustrations and mysterious prose. Then Fou Fou Ha made a spectacle of themselves on stage, and well, throughout the entire Ball throughout the weekend. I call them krazy clowns, but Fou Fou Ha describes themselves as, ‘trixter performance artist thrown in a gender blender with a twist of neo-vaudeville, and a dash of party monster.’ I love ‘em for sure.
On Saturday night, The Klown, followed by his beloved “Crew,” brought the house down spinning tunes in the main Ballroom, into the wee hours. That’s a lot you say, and you are correct. But that is not all, that’s all on just the Main second floor.
All this time, both nights, there’s a whole ‘nother party going on upstairs, on the third floor, and performers on the the Museum of Wonder Stage. Miss Emma Nation Emceed on Friday Night, and Alexa Von Kickenface did the honors on Saturday night. Six piece San Francisco band Megaflame performed, headlined by none other than Angela LaFlamme, which alone is worth a night out just to hear them.
Limbs Akimbo spun a deckfull of disk upstairs, and the Vau de Vire Variety Show, headlined the Wonders Stage performing “Gorey’s “Neglected Murderesses,” with host “Just add Heather,” and featuring Sandia, Cowboy Girl, Elena, and more. It was a fabulous production which rang to my ears like the ‘Cel Block Tango’ from Chicago. The Museum of Wonders Stage was also graced with Jet Black Pearl, and Atom Smith blowing an amazing horn.
The evening, upstairs, was brought to a shimmy with Vau de Vire and friends, Kiki la Chanteuse, Kitty Oaks, Juliano, Ismael and Maggie, and Jain Dowe.
OK now, here’s a treat for my readers. Get your presale discount General Admission tickets now, for the 2023 Edwardian Ball, February 3rd and 4th, 2023. Don’t dawdle, here’s your chance to get in early. Click this link 2023 Edwardian Ball Tics.
Connect with Greg Autry
*Photos ©2022GregAutry ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Additional Artwork and Photos provided by The Edwardian Ball.
*APRIL FOOLS joke was that Edward Gorey did not come back from the dead to show up at the Edwardian Ball.