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Arts & Entertainment

Edwardian Ball returns in 2023 with a touch of the absurd

The Edwardian Ball in San Francisco in 2022 | Courtesy Edwardian Ball/Jane Hu

Edward Gorey fans hold onto your hats. The Edwardian Ball returns Feb. 3 to 4, 2023 at the Regency Ballroom. 

Per usual, the annual two-night extravaganza of ballroom dancing, immersive art, performance and fashion pays tribute to gothic humor writer and illustrator Edward Gorey as well as the eponymous king of the gilded Edwardian era, Edward VII. But next year’s ball is centered on Gorey’s surrealist story, “The Object-Lesson,” described as “a mysterious tale of artificial limbs, Throbblefoot Spectres, moustaches, dinghys, tea-urns and more” on the Edwardian Ball’s website.

As in years past, the featured tale will be brought to life onstage with original scoring, choreography and a multimedia performance. 

Costumed participants attend the Edwardian Ball in San Francisco in 2015. | Courtesy Edwardian Ball/Marco Sanchez

Expect to see not only attendees decked out to the nines in whimsical ware but also appearances of steam-powered art by Oakland’s Kinetic Steam Works, belly dancing by Zoe Jakes & Coven Dance Company and early silent film clips from Magic Lantern Midnight Theatre. Friday night’s lineup features sultry jazz strains of Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers as well as a live set by electronic artist Atom Smith and Thatcher Boomer on the “Haunted Pipe Organ.”

Saturday features the John Brothers Piano Company, a sibling duo of former Cal Berkeley students specializing in early jazz and barroom blues, and Oakland-based swing punk band Van Goat. 

Performer Vesper Synd blows bubbles at The Edwardian Ball San Francisco in 2019. | Courtesy Edwardian Ball

A slate of DJs holds down the lineup for both nights, and absinthe holds down the full bar for those 21-plus, with a hot food menu served nightly.

You can even get fancy and extravagant with a spot of afternoon tea ($125) at the ball’s The Museum of Wonders. But more cost-conscious attendees can still enjoy the free Vendor Bazaar open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday highlighting fine fashion and wares by merchants, artisans and craftspeople. Visit Edwardian Ball’s website for more details and the full lineup. 

Edwardian Ball 

📍 Regency Ballroom 
🗓️ Feb. 3 & 4, 2023
🎟️ $45+