The people trickled into the Fonda Theater wearing top hats, mustaches and corsets of all sorts. Some looked like they were lost in time, others looked merely lost. Strange sounds echoed and strange women lined up to greet those coming in. Past the British looking coppers they came in. A lady who looked like she came from the turn-of-the century and devil in disguise. Men who would seem to function better on board a flying dirigible. They were incorrigible as they passed the lizard people on the floor to dance or go for some night air up top. This was just the start of the Edwardian Ball.
The Edwardian Ball's fifth incarnation in LA was taking place on Hollywood. The Fonda Theater held the crowd of well-costumed guest last Saturday night. The ball celebrates the work of Edward Gorey, famed dark dubious illustrator. It expanded itself to be a ball of fantasy and steam punk style and with so many creative LA residents the party's crowd looks the part perfectly.
Costumes and suits came in. Each in their own attire that shocked or grabbed your eyes. You could nearly wink at the inventiveness or the dreams that people had. All the different costumes on the ladies with some pushing up their parts. Some outfits not a sexual, just ideal for the night.
Those who entered the ball soon heard the voice of Vegas Jon Jenkins, the night's host in red attire and top hat. He would be our ringmaster and he had quite the show. He welcomed us with a reversioned theme of the Addams Family theme song.
If it wasn't the live music it would be the different acts that night taking their tole on your eyes and ears, one after the other enthralling those attending. First act two spinning acrobatic maidens dance and twirled upward onstage on a chandelier. Next came five female sword dancers, the audience of top hats yelled out for them as they balanced swords in places they shouldn't. Elastico was next, a man who bent to his own will, that meant his legs over his head.
Eek-a-doo's performance had me with her melody act of climbing up a rope. The music of Shovelband, a man playing on a shovel guitar was a beat of drunkenness. For as Eek-a-doo danced, she drank and drank and got lost up on her rope. She climbed and fell repeatedly for our amusement.
Eek-a-doo was not the last act of the evening. A sensual act of dance love was performed by Natalie and Miguel. They held hard positions only well trained dancers and partners could. They were followed by Dora. Many joked in the crowd were made that she was some sort of explorer. Dora was not an explorer. She was like Elastisco and contorted to her own will.
Soon after we were joined by the sounds of Nancy Sinatra's classic song Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down; you might remember the song from Kill Bill. They weren't killing Bill that night. A trio of ladies, that is. The trio had one girl singing the song, one girl shooting a gun and one girl being shot at. The girl being shot at was covered in balloons and every shot fired in tune with song revealed more of her nude body. Cat calls and loud whistles came out for her as she slowly was revealed.
Dark Garden then performed a play showing off not only real clothes you could get on Beverly, but a kinky show based around Edward Gorey's work. As the actor playing the butler in Dark Garden's performance was almost naked by the time it was done we all raised our hands and glasses for the hula hoop girl next up. Shaking it and doing hula hoop tricks she had the crowd going around and around with her.
She wasn't the only one dancing above or below the Fonda were two dance floors. Up in the night sky men and women of the night in fine costumes good dance to DJ's up above on the roof dance floor. Up there, when people weren't dancing or drinking they were perusing the vendors of steam punk goggles and fine masks.
One of the vendors was The Grand Artique out of San Diego. Owner Shan Dolan told me, "Overall, it's a good crowd." He had many fine items up for trade and even a station for mustache maintenance. He held a large part of the crowd go through his wares of old time items not found lying around.
His wares were next to free parlor games. I managed to kill a child at one. That was the point of the game, killing children with a slingshot. Knock'em Dead was one of three games you could play that evening. Oh, pulling back and striking a child in the head, such glee. So many times would you just wing a little girl, hopefully making sure she would never walk again.
Skeee or skee ball as it's better known was beside it and a shooting gallery that was hardly ever open when I went up for some fresh air.
Up for fresh air in a fine fancy suit was Dave A., "Loving it here... this year people have gone all
out." He and his recently met friends bolstered. They were one of many groups forming chatting, dancing or kissing. Chris Sanders recalled how the 1st Edwardian Ball in LA took place downtown and was different feel. He wanted it to go back to wherever it was held. "A decrepit huge space with small places to get lost in, " he remembered out loud, later I saw him enjoying his evening with many of the crowd.
As the crowd bolstered up top to huge numbers I headed in for the night's long awaited performance a play recalling the work of The Curios Sofa by Gorey, it was his take on erotica and it was dirty. The performance had a cast, much in body paint;semi-nude telling the story of a young lady and her adventure with her new boyfriend, his extended family, the help, villagers and the family dog.
The show was narrated so the cast didn't speak; they acted out scenes for us as improper as they might be while still being able to be seen on basic cable.
The show ended the evening of acts, but not the music and those dressed up could keep dancing under the moon or on the dance floor inside surrounded by men in rocket packs and ladies in long gowns.
Costume after costume with different ideas and back-stories behind it walked past or chatted with me for a minute. So many cartoonish villain mustaches did I see on upper lips. The Edwardian Ball comes only once a year to Los Angeles and it is truly a splendor to witness.