The Edwardian Ball
This event first begin in San Francisco, but has since spread the multiple cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and for the first time to New Orleans. This was my first time attending the Los Angeles event, although it has been on my bucket list for several years. This year the event took place at the historic Globe Theatre (no, not that one
), which is considered to be the oldest legitimate Broadway Theater (apparently Broadway theater began in LA and before New York!)
The event’s theme is based most heavily on the creepy, quirky, odd artistic catalogue of work by the late Edward Gorey
– not the Edwardian time period as the name may initially suggest (although the event has a healthy dose of that as well). While I was expecting the attendees to mostly be outfitted in Steampunk attire - of which many were - there were also several other recurrent themes ongoing. Attendees and performers paid tribute to everything from silent theater, vaudeville, burlesque, carnivale/sideshow, New Orleans Creole culture, noir and detective serials (the theme of this year’s event), to old Hollywood glamour, prohibition, jazz, Victorian and Edwardian eras. While the themes don’t make sense together on paper, there was a cohesion to the event and its attendees that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
It is impossible not to compare Edwardian Ball to the other large masquerade event in Los Angeles (Labyrinth Masquerade
)...but I am happy to report that Edwardian Ball offers a totally unique experience and a whimsical vibe entirely its own. The event overall was a very fun experience, although not totally free from criticism – that being said, let’s talk about:
-I would be remiss if I did not mention the music as the first bulletpoint on this list. I spend the vast majority of my waking life actively seeking out new music and genres, and my tastes are very eclectic. For me to go to an event and be blown away by every track that is played has never happened before. Absolutely every track was gorgeous and accompanied by amazingly curated and edited visual accompaniment on the big screen above the stage. In addition to the playlist, there were several performers both on the main stage and the second stage underground. Mostly jazz bands with heavy brass sections, small duets of multi-instrumentalists, and one particularly awesome performer I must call out by name (SuperTallPaul
). Downstairs there was a small corner tucked away that I observed curiously from across the room – an oddly dressed man with wild hair was singing silently into a microphone. When I came closer I saw it was marked as the “Leisure Lounge” – patrons were instructed to put on a pair of headphones and enjoy. His music could only be heard if you were wearing the headphones, even standing right next to him! He did comedy and looped samples of himself singing, beatboxing, and playing a variety of instruments. I had never seen technology used quite in this manner before, and it was one of those moments of sheer childlike wonder at encountering something so unexpected – ah! Fantastic.
-The ambiance. The theme was very seamlessly tied into everything in the event – the ambient performers, the wall decorations, and a really interesting blacklight themed downstairs room with vendors and additional performers. Not to mention, I had never seen any of these vendors anywhere! As someone who goes to A LOT of costumed events around Los Angeles, I recognize almost all the vendors every time I go to one, so it was refreshing to be greeted with entirely new wares at Edwardian Ball.
-The drink selection was pricey but offset this somewhat by being themed and quite delicious. The quintessential absinthe was available, but they also had spiced wine, which I have never seen offered at an event before! Yummy.
-Performers were talented, varied, interesting, and did some really cool interactions on the stage with the visual setup. This event knows how to make use of its space. There was one main stage for entertainment, with only one other performance area. If you weren’t into what was happening on the main stage you could easily find an alternative rather than needing to check performance schedules and match them to cryptic room names.
-The event venue was gorgeous and well suited to the theme, however...
-The venue was far too small for this event. When we first arrived, it was incredibly pleasant with several people active on the dancefloor, including two girls on roller skates doing tricks (ballsy move on a dance floor!) We were one of the first in the door at around 8pm – within an hour it became noticeably more difficult to find space to dance. An hour more, and it was impossible to move. There weren’t too many cons about the event, but the crowd was suffocating and the entire event suffered for it – becoming impossible to enjoy after about 11pm. There was no space to move and certainly no space to watch the performers. The event desperately needs to move to a larger space or possibly sell fewer tickets. You could of course buy VIP tickets which offered priority viewing areas and limited seating, if you were willing and able to spend the high price of admission.
-Don’t come hungry! There is no food offered at this event.
-There is no dress code for this event. While nearly everyone arrived in costume, it only made the people who came in jeans and a t-shirt stand out more – which unfortunately broke the illusion and immersion when they were encountered. The costumes were overall lovely and creative, but don’t expect to see as much in the way of sheer craftsmanship or elaborateness here.
Overall I had a very good time at this event and would give the first part of the night a 9/10 with it quickly dropping to a 5/10 in the later parts of the evening. I cut my night short, but am immensely happy that I got to attend the event – it was a wonderful experience! One that I hope to see continue and grow in Los Angeles, so long as it grows into a larger space ☺
Geek Girl Mistress Zelda
The World-Famous Edwardian Ball
By: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda
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February 17 2017