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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Ultimate Subculture Party Comes to S.F.: The Edwardian Ball and Edwardian World’s Faire

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 12:47 PM

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A very special thing happens in San Francisco every January. For most it’s time to return to a regular work schedule, or make plans get plenty of sleep and exercise. But for the town weirdos, January means one thing: Edwardian Ball and World’s Faire. Now in its fifteenth year, the event brings together the very best of the subcultures; - all joining forces to get their macabre freak on - be it through circus acts, parlour games, burlesque, or good old fashioned partying. It’s like an urban Burning Man, with fewer questionably hygienic campsites, and more fabulously over-the-top costumes.

Producers Mike Gaines and Justin Katz are well aware of their impressive cult following, and with this in mind, they work hard to keep the event unique year to year.

click to enlarge MARIO SANCHEZ
  • Mario Sanchez
“The challenge I think of an event as unique as the Edwardian Ball is manyfold,” says Katz. He goes on to state:
“On one hand it’s keeping it interesting to our cast and crew as artists and not letting the event become formulaic or stale. I think that with any kind of event that you’re personally and artistically invested in — as differentiated from a commercial endeavor [...] — is to keep it close to your heart.”
That means dissecting each aspect of the event, reworking and formulating ideas so that the event stays as exciting - and shocking - for everyone, even for those who have attended in previous years. 

Gaines adds, “That challenge of reinvention is the thing that we damn as we’re doing it — but the result is that fresh new look every year. And after fifteen years you’d think that we’d get stuck in some rut. But really, [...] that’s what we look for in production; new ways to showcase our art.”

click to enlarge CURIOUS JOSH
  • Curious Josh
Their art this year will be communicated through the 2015 theme of “The Beastly Baby." Billed as, “the ultimate in pornographic joy, combining naughtiness to the limit of the imagination and laughter to the point of breathlessness,” Beastly Baby originally comes from the short story of the same name by the wickedly marvelous Edward Gorey.

Known as the pinnacle of Edwardian-style illustrators, it’s no surprise that the Edwardian Ball often takes cues from Gorey. And let’s be honest, anything that can be described at the “ultimate in pornographic joy” sounds pretty damn promising.

“We’re taking it out into the audience,” hints Gaines. “I don’t want to give anything away but [it] will be something we haven't done in the past.”

The 15th Annual Edwardian Ball and Edwardian World’s Faire begins at 8 p.m. and continues through Jan. 17 at The Regency Ballroom, (1300 Van Ness). Tickets are $38.40-$95; visit edwardianball.com for more information. 
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Laura Jaye Cramer

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