The 2013 Edwardian Ball: An Exquisite Imaginarium of Exotic Pleasure at the Henry Fonda

Edwardian Ball The Doubtful GuestOn Saturday February 23rd the Flowers of Romance will bloom once again at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood with the annual Edwardian Ball. This year’s theme for the Edwardian Ball is Edward Gorey’s “The Doubtful Guest”. As the press release states, “The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, the truly prodigious and original artist, Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), will be honored for his body of  over 100 works. His legacy includes The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Iron Tonic and The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for innumerable theater productions from Cape Cod to Broadway and  a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as The New Yorker and The New York Times.” So this night hold great promise!

This is the time for the men to dust off your frock coats, freshen up their 4 button suits or a Tuxedo with tails and perhaps don a short brim durby or top off the look with a beaver or top hat and break out the spats. The ladies can shimmy into their corsets, flirting with the Gibson Girl look, flashing about in harem trousers or tippy toeing in a Hobble skirts, wearing exotic turbins or voluminous hats; all festooned in jewels, feathers, grosgrain, rosettes, Chantilly lace setting on or attached to rich felt, warm velvets and shimmering satins. While this is my titillating fantasy for the Edwardian Ball. The Edwardian Ball allows aberrations and blurring of periods from Empire to the grand finale of the Edwardian period. Fanciful and fantasy collages of period sensibilities and period fashion remixes are as much a part of this event as the period aficionado and disciplinarian. So Goths, Steam Punk and Burners have mixed it up to fuel a very interesting evening of performances and roll playing mixed with music and dancing.

The Los Angeles event falls after the sold out San Francisco show, which was a much more involved 2 day event. This should be of interest for any one associated with the Doo Dah Occation Parade, Stream Punks or folks involved with any of the Burning Man decompression parties. It’s a time for creativity and celebration of the odd , exotic and theatrical. So girls and boys pull out your fancy gear and get it on! Van de Vire Society will be presenting a stage performance of original music, theatrical choreography and narration based on Edward Gorey’s The Doubtful Guest. There will be ballroom dancing, a live musical performance of Rosin Coven’s baroque and jazz influenced indy rock. There will be a fashion show hosted by both “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy and Dark Garden Corsetry. There will be exciting aerial and high-flying trapeze performances, a Portrait Booth, steam powered machinery and DJ dancing on the Rooftop with a series of DJs, including: MC Vegas, DJ’s Xian (LADEAD), Delachaux, Shakti Bliss, Justin Paul, Lushbunny, Mia Dangerfield and Eric Jag. Shakti Bliss is a favorite of mine. She DJ’ed Syrup Lost’s post holiday party with a bold mix of classic depression and swing era music pumped up with a dash of Dubstep. Shakti Bliss mixed a “Bangin!” soundscape that night and I’m sure she’ll add some house bouncing jams to the Edwardian Ball with a dramatic view of Hollywood from the Henry Fonda roof top. Check out Shakti Bliss’ Soundcloud Dirty Electro Swing Mix for a tasty pre-sampling of her DJ chops. There’s no doubt that the circus of the exotic and absurd will continue through to the wee hours at the Fonda.

I can imagine The Edwardian Ball will be an immersion into something akin to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Edward Gorey as ring master with host and host of characters and whimsical personalities flitting between a dandy promenade and cinq à sept. May I suggest you might prefer to linger at a table ponding Toulouse Lautrec at the Moulin Rouge watching the girls dancing the Can Can with an absinthe near your hand. Or perhaps another scenario if you’re feeling particularly naughty for the evening: a bit randy, you might say. You may want to consider dressing up in the morning in your finery only to undress after tea and before dinner for shenanigans  Then to have at it for the next 2 hours before the event in the “Dirty Little Secret Way” of La Belle Epoch. But to be dutiful, responsible and proper you should have an hier and a spare in case a little unexpected gift comes to you nine months later. Then dress up once again to have a go at the evenings pleasures and oddities at the Fonda. No one will be the wiser, wink!

Follow the link to Edwardian Ball to purchase tickets or learn more for Saturday the 23rd’s topsy turvy party with its dizzying array of possibilities and intrigues. It’s your turn to preen and pose and to trip the light fantastic! 

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Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer, photographer and wardrobe stylist with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with an keen interest in art, fashion, photography and writing. He shoots celebrity events and red carpets for PR Photos, Photoshot and The Photo Access/Corbis. His images have been published in Vanity Fair, People Magazine and The Los Angeles Times. He's very engaged in life. You can follow him on his Facebook page at:
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