9th Annual Los Angeles Edwardian Ball
Article by: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda|
This past weekend marked the 9th annual Los Angeles Edwardian Ball and the inaugural World’s Faire. Though the event has its roots firmly in San Francisco at close to 2 decades of existence, it has since expanded to annual events spanning Los Angeles as well as New Orleans.
The name is a bit misleading and does not refer to the Edwardian era – the event is actually inspired by Victorian creeptastic artist Edward Gorey, who was pretty much the Tim Burton of his time. Each year the event is themed around one of his short stories and his quirky illustrations that accompany his whimsical words.
Edwardian Ball and World’s Faire takes place over 2 evenings at the historical Globe Theatre – one of the most ornate and beautiful venues in Los Angeles, and the perfect backdrop for an event like this. Oddities, art, activities and ambiance performers are set up among the gilded architecture of the theatre, creating an extravagant and immersive atmosphere. This was my second year attending and as press I was one of the first to enter the building – watching the actors and staff work behind the scenes like busy elves to maintain the illusion of effortless magic that is prevalent when the guests enter the scene offered some slight insight into what it takes to build and operate an event of this scale.
The Globe is set up into a 3 level affair with multiple bars and stations set up throughout. The top level this year featured a “Museum of Wonders,” which was a small exhibit featuring oddities, art, and one lone vendor. As an avid collector of oddities myself it was a fun stop on the tour, but not much more impressive than my own home. One of the unfortunate aspects of Edwardian Ball is how limited they are by the space – I think their vision greatly exceeds what they can execute successfully in this intimate venue.
The main floor is where the majority of entertainment occurs. On the main stage we were treated to a variety of different performances. While it is hard to detail the subtleties, the San Franciscan-based performers bring a slightly different flair to the stage than what we are normally used to with our Los Angeles and Hollywood based performers. Both cities boast incredible talent across all genres, but San Francisco definitely has a different attitude and flair. They feel a little bit dangerous, edgier, and more authentic. I get the sense that their stage personas are very close to who they are in the real world, not just a performance that they take on and off like a mask.
A DJ played a fun variety of danceable, vintage inspired tracks between the main acts. Entertainment included an androgynous aerial performer who danced with LED hoops and sang John Lennon while suspended in the air with loud elaborate makeup and an outfit to match. Several electroswing and jazz bands with sultry singers. A burlesque dancer (one of the most statuesque and beautiful women I have ever seen) who combined her burlesque act with en pointe ballet while removing delicate, sheer, sparkly items of flowing clothing. A male contortionist performing up-close acrobatics. Edwardian Ball’s performers are expertly curated and offer unique variations on tried and true forms of entertainment; the ball offers something quite different than what you will experience at other similar masquerades in LA. Again, the only complaint here is accessibility to the space – if you don’t manage to secure a spot within the first couple rows, it is exceedingly difficult to catch the subtleties of these performers, and the ball unfortunately does not make good use of their large projector screen placed behind the performers to boost visibility. Between the setup of the stage and the abundance of headdresses in the crowd, I find I spent more of my time on the third level of the theatre.
The sublevel of The Globe Theatre is probably the most unique part of the Edwardian Ball experience. This year it was set up with a variety of games, photo setups, additional bars and performers. The games were a mix of innovative technology and artisan craftsmanship. A large scale moving hoop and puzzle game, ring toss and other carnival staples, an interactive magic mirror where attendees could use AR to interact with objects on the screen, a light up competitive puzzle board with a Twister feel, and a vibrating couch for tired patrons. The vibe in this room is more relaxed, with solitary musicians playing piano and singing. The biggest complaint about this area is although there are a lot of fun potential photobooth setups, the lighting is set for in-person ambiance – it was almost impossible to capture anything close to resembling a usable photo, even being there with a professional photographer using professional equipment.
All in all the Edwardian Ball is a uniquely innovative experience, one that has been honed over two decades by its creators. But if you are one for crowds, get there early and leave before midnight – by about 11 it is impossible to find a space free from people. The event always feels oversold to me, bordering on being a fire hazard. To think of all the people in their elaborate costumes attempting to exit through the two doors of the building gives me anxiety, and the event becomes impossible to navigate or enjoy fairly early in the evening; I always end up leaving earlier than I’d like to.
If you have the chance to go to The Edwardian Ball I would definitely encourage it, although I would probably recommend that you give the San Francisco incarnation priority if you can – as I hear it told, they have a much more inviting setup in their home city.
The Edwardian Ball
Article: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda
Photographer: JaW Images Art & Photography
Follow us on:
February 18 2018