Stepping into the ballroom made me feel like I had been transported to a reality that has only existed in cult classics such as Dracula or Nightmare Before Christmas. Corsets cinched waists and defied the gravity of many-a-breast, while the detailed petticoats of these beautiful women dusted the dance floor. Facial hair on men took interesting turns as sideburns collided with beards and mustache tips were manipulated into an old-time curl. For this writer, who's wardrobe consists of flowers in hair and dresses paired with tights and boots, I was vastly underdressed and enjoyed the opportunity to blend into the dimly-lit corners of the ballroom and watch modern-day San Francisco be transformed into a dark and gloomy 18th century London-esque party. Traditional ballroom dancing took on new life as a dreary, but whimsical waltz, which reminded you of a time when lanterns lit foggy alleyways.
Although there were extravagant performances throughout the night, it seemed the main objective was to see and be seen. Either that or to drink the Absinthe Delights which would inevitably lead party-goers to find themselves in dimly lit rooms with tailcoats, corsets, and top hats strewn across the floor. In a room full of busty corseted women and dapper-looking men, there was hardly a need for Absinthe to create any sort of debauchery, but I'm happy to report that, by the end of the evening, it seemed to have helped loosen the crowd quite a bit.
Sex and seduction reverberated off the walls of the Regency Ballroom, from the revealing costumes to the raspy sounds of Jill Tracy, who LA Weekly calls "The Cult Darling of the Underworld." That she is, as she cooed out lyrics of the flesh, expressing the harsh dichotomy of desire and hate and how, so easily, they can become one in the same. Soon after Tracy released the audience from her lyrical shackles, Rosin Coven, the World's Premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble drew us in with violent and sexual acrobats tantalizing us from behind the band. Soon after that, the works of Edward Gorey were read aloud as brilliantly-costumed actors brought to life his dark and fascinating work.
There was nothing understated about the Edwardian Ball. Every person was a sight to see, from the horns that punctuated many heads, to the petticoats that brushed against my legs throughout the night. It was truly the intersection of beauty and darkness, as jeans and t-shirts were shed in lieu of Victorian goth and the promise of bad decisions thanks to Absinthe Delights and the shadowy corners of the Regency Ballroom. If I were you, I'd start getting your corset or tailcoat fitted now, as this is the quintessential must-never-miss event of the year.
10 Annual SF Edwardian Ball
The Regency Ballroom
1300 Van Ness Avenue
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