2016 Edwardian Ball LA - Review Part Two

 

Photography by Greg Autry*


So the second part of this story moves from San Francisco, south 400 miles, to The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.  Feb 27, 2016 was the Los Angeles edition of the 2016 Edwardian Ball. And you ask why I’m writing about this, two months after the fact. Because it is time to start thing about The Edwardian Ball, 2017. In San Francisco and Los Angeles.

 

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The Balls, are a re-imagined turn-of-the-century world that presents an inimitable, description defying, whimsical and surrealistic living interpretation and celebration of the late macabre cult author, comic artist, illustrator and cartoonist, Edward Gorey.

 

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What is different for me, from other “Costume” or “Cos-Play” events, is that when you enter into the Edwardian Ball, you enter an entire world where the attendees are immersed into a `whole experience.’  The Fonda Theatre, is not a sterile convention center setting, it is indeed an historic venue where the architectural spaces themselves, and the details of the building and interiors, are all part of creating this immersed world, creating a total “Experience.”   

 

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I asked five questions (pertinent to this article) of several friends whom attend the Edwardian Ball, and also asked some of the people who participate in the productions the same questions.   The questions asked are as follows:  1. How long have you been going to the Edwardian Balls?    2. Do you attend any other Masquerade Balls or Events?   3. If so which ones, and why do you like the Edwardian?   4. What do you like best, and least, about the Edwardian?  5. Any other comments you would like to make?

 

 

 

Autumn Adamme is the owner and proprietress of Dark Garden Corsetry, in San Francisco. Autumn, and Dark Garden have the distinction of being one of the most sought after courtiers of fine corsets in the world.  Autumn is everywhere it seems, I don’t know how she does it. She participates in lavish production numbers at the Edwardian Balls, as well as Fashion Shows and Party Events all around San Francisco.  I’m hoping to get an interview with Autumn to do an exclusive Article for LA Splash Magazine, about Dark Garden.

 

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Autumn told me, “I've been attending and participating in the Edwardian Ball nearly from the beginning. I attend many, many other fancy dress events, from the Labyrinth Ball in LA to Dark Garden's Halloween Night Circus event, to Carnival in Venice, Italy. Fancy dress is very important to me.  I love the Edwardian Ball specifically because of the incredible imagination and humor that the organizers bring to the event, and how this has inspired tremendous creativity in the attendees.  I love the humor and curiosity that attendees bring to the event. I don't love how crowded the San Francisco event gets and really wish more people would try out Friday night - the activities that Justin and his crew have pulled together really deserve to be experienced by more people. “

    

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As a note, the Edwardian Ball in San Francisco is held for two nights, whereas the Los Angeles Ball is one night only. Both events are epic, with seductive undertones which captivate and titillate all the senses.

 

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Perri Z, is a long-time friend from Southern California, whom I’ve photographed at several events over the years. This year Perri attended the Edwardian Balls in San Francisco at my behest, as well as in LAPerri works diligently on her costume starting months in advance, and makes her bedazzling jewelry herself, by hand.  

 

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Perri told me that this year's LA costume was based on a Character from the book, "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern.  The character is a performer in a circus that appears out of nowhere; everything is literally black and white, nothing is as it seems, and time doesn't exist for the circus family.  She's clever, playful, and tricky.  Perri’s costume, an elaborate black and white ensemble which highlight’s Perri’s personality; also clever, playful, tricky. And might I add, very sexy .

 

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I met Elizabeth R because I continually got amazing photos of her, and her partner, from event to event.  I’m often shooting so fast and furious that I don’t have time to actually stop, meet, and talk with people. That’s something I must work on!  I had to stop and talk, after shooting Elizabeth a few times.

 

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Elizabeth answered my questions as follows: She told me, “This was my 7th year. I've been to all the Edwardian Balls in LA and one in SF.   I attend a lot of costume-encouraged events and sometimes perform in costume at festivals, but this is the only real ball I attend. I've been to others, but this is by far my favorite.”   Elizabeth noted, “… Masquerade Balls often don't have much happening aside from the costumes [however] the performances at the Edwardian Ball really set it apart. The Edward Gorey inspired skits are phenomenal. And the folks who run (Vau de Vire) and perform in the Ball are the nicest folks.”

 

 

Elizabeth continued; “The people are my favorite thing. The only downside this year was that it got crowded. I am so happy that LA is really falling in love with the Edwardian Ball, but I do hope that they find a larger venue for next year. It's hard to see all the fabulous costumes when everyone is so tightly packed.  If you love the Edwardian Ball in LA, it is worth making the trip to attend the one in SF. It's special.”

 

 

 

A few years back I met Kassie S at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Southern California. She was vivacious, damned sexy, and enjoyed posing for pics with my wife Sandy (my kind of women! )   I soon met Kassie’s husband Scott, and we’ve become friends ever since.  One day Scott asked me about a Splash Magazine Article that I had posted on Facebook, and now Scott and Kassie are regulars at events that I’ve written about, including `Trapeze’, and the `Edwardian Ball.

 

 

 

Scott replied to my questions with thought, questions himself, and comments:  “This is our 2nd year attending the L.A. Edwardian Ball.  We have attended Trapeze several times in costume and we regularly attend the Renaissance Faire.  We have not been to any other Masquerade balls but would like to (where can we find a list?).  We like the unique costumes and gorgeous participants at the [Edwardian]  ball.  The costumes at the [Edwardian] Ball are spectacular.  The performances are unique and interesting.  …We like to make new friends!  We are looking forward to returning to the ball next year! “

 

 

 

Scott Levkoff  is the Director/Creator of the Mystic Midway, at the Edwardian Ball.  He has been producing events in San Francisco for 26 years, and attending the Edwardian Ball since “..it’s early days starting out at the old CAT CLUB in the SOMA District of SF over 15 years ago," and is directly involved with participating as a creative contributor to the Ball for 4 years now.

 

 

 

Scott L emphasized, “There are many wonderful events that have come and gone over the years. I have participated with- The Dickens Xmas Fair, Costumer Guild Balls, PEERS events, Gaskills Balls, Black Point Forest Renaissance Fair, Burning Man Festival and others- I have co-produced events such as Masquerotica, Lagunitas Beer Circus, produced Spookeasy, Master Mondos Bizarre-O-Tronic CabaretScott L told me, “I love the Edwardian Ball for its diversity and the devotion to quality & artistry its various communities bring to the equation. The fabulous sense of theatricality the guests bring to the event is also wonderful. The[Edwardian] Ball presents a 'level playing field' that transcends the barrier of 'guest vs performer' which speaks to the Mission of Mystic Midway as well as an Immersive Social Theater project."

 

 

 

There are many amazing events to get out and explore your creativity, have fun, enjoy friends, and maybe, try something new.  These are but a few of the people and friends I talked with about The Edwardian Ball, and found all their responses to be indicative of the awesome inspiration in the creative energy, in costume, makeup, preparation, of each and every participant. Some people work months in advance, some people throw something together at the last minute. Whatever works for you, just do it.

 

 

I also want to give a big shout out to Donald Rodriguez, at Length of a Dream Photography, DR photo, as my Second Camera at the Ball in LA. Donald did an amazing job backing me up.    

 

 

 

At the beginning of this year, and after a brief stint in Las Vegas, I relocated from my lifelong home, of Southern California, four-hundred miles north to San Jose, California. I am now an hour south of San Francisco.  It was a bigger move than I had anticipated, thus the delays in articles.  Everything is good;

 

 

I’m back at it and looking forward to some amazing new opportunities. Of course my commercial photography work continues to revolve around Fashion and Editorial, and I hope to expand my repertoire for LA Splash Magazine. I will be covering new events including everything from Ballet and the Theatre to Automobiles and Music.  One more benefit to attending The Edwardian Ball, and to being added to the Edwardian and Vau de Vire email lists, was that I got great discount tickets to go see Dita Von Teese, in Strip Strip Hooray. Stay Tuned !

 

You can see previous Splash Magazine Articles by clicking the link. Your comments and emails are greatly appreciated, along with any suggestions for Articles.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

*©2016Greg Autry ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

`Length of a Dream Photography’  images used with permission.

 

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