Arts & Events

Around & About: The Edwardian Ball

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 18, 2012 - 10:20:00 AM

Long a San Francisco and Bay Area tradition, costume balls and masquerades have often been an integral part of theatrical events, like the SF Opera's Black & White Ball. 

The Edwardian Ball rolls out the carpet this weekend at San Francisco's Regency Ballroom, which opened in 1909. The Regency's a Beaux Arts Scottish Rite hall, often cited as the greatest example of that style in America. The Avalon Ballroom's part of the complex, a Swing Era landmark--and home to the Family Dog for rock dances during the Haight-Ashbury. 

Rosin Coven and Vau De Vire Society bring an Edward Gorey tale to the stage, with the blessings of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. This year's show is 'The Iron Tonic--or, A Lonely Afternoon in Lonely Valley.' 

(Gorey, the Tony-winning designer for the 1977 Broadway revival of 'Dracula,' was also a great book designer and illustrator, wrote scores of droll, macabre parodies of Victoriana from the early 1950s, and ran his own theater company, Le Theatricule Stoique, on Cape Cod. Locally, his friend and director, C. J. Verburg, has directed stage plays for the Fellowship Theater Guild at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Dr. Howard Thurman's integrated church the first of its type.) 

Special events spin off around the two days of the Ball and its Edwardian World's Faire, with "parlour games, steam machinery, aerial performers, sideshow acts, contortionists, sideshow acts, fire performers, thespians and beautiful circus freaks," plus "obscure artifacts, a bicycle-powered Ferris Wheel, period technology and thematic couture venues." The three levels of the Regency will house a Museum of Wonders, an Edwardian Odditorium, a portrait studio and a tea parlour. "Humor and darkness" are promised in plenty. 

Friday & Saturday, January 20 & 21, Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness at Sutter, San Francisco (& in Los Angeles, February 4). Tickets: $29-$85, limited special discounts, VIP and two-day passes available. or