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Photos: The Edwardian Ball, 2023

Whimsical art, fanciful cosplay, madcap inventions, and more at the SF event

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Edwardian Ball marked the end of an era this year as it featured the event’s last performances by Rosin Coven, the “pagan lounge ensemble” that launched the first Edwardian Ball in 1999. The band’s sets on Friday and Saturday were major highlights, but the event offered many other attractions, including whimsical art, fanciful cosplay, madcap inventions, and even a touch of opera.

The Ball, held Feb. 3 and 4, occupied every venue in San Francisco’s Regency Center. In addition to the main ballroom with its Beaux-Arts styling, the basement-level Social Hall hosted the Vendor Bazaar, while The Lodge on the top level became the Museum of Wonders, an art exhibition with its own music stage.

It all served as a tribute to Edward Gorey, the writer and illustrator known for his macabre tales with old-time stylings.

The most madcap invention was a handcar track by Kinetic Steam Works that spanned one side of the ballroom. Guests in pairs took turns riding back and forth, pumping the handcar arm like a seesaw.

Guests entering the Museum of Wonders were first treated to eerie music from a pipe organ installed when the building opened in 1909. The room, with its stunning wood-paneled interior, was originally a meeting hall for Scottish Rite Freemasons.

An old-fashioned cage elevator, complete with a costumed operator, transported guests between the floors.

Though this was the final Edwardian Ball appearance by Rosin Coven, the band is planning an additional performance later this year before they call it quits. During the set, they were joined by performers from Vau de Vire Society, the Bay Area circus troupe that is now a co-producer of the event.

Other performers included Renegade Opera, Le Cancan Bijou, Zoe Jakes, Shovelman, Van Goat, Dark Garden, Lavay Smith, and John Brothers Piano Company. DJs Vorteque, Limbs Akimbo, and Speakeasy Syndicate provided musical interludes.

See the gallery below for scenes from Friday and Saturday nights, and follow the Edwardian Ball website for news about future events.

Event info: 

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