The Edwardian Ball & the Eponymous Edward Gorey

from Boom-Books.com:

If Edward Gorey could see the diverse and unpredictable directions his legacy has taken, he’d be most amazed by the Edwardian Ball.

photo by Marco Sanchez

Every January, a month before Gorey’s birthday, fans and steampunk fashionistas in San Francisco and Los Angeles gather to celebrate this New England artist’s tongue-in-cheek depiction of the dark side of Agatha Christie’s Britain. Ironic? Edward Gorey visited California just once, on leave from his U.S. Army posting in Utah, to meet up in San Francisco with his Chicago friend Consuelo Joerns, a student at Mills College. He never set foot in Britain except for a single foray to the Hebrides. He did write a fan letter to Agatha Christie, and framed her reply. But once he moved into his sprawling antique home on Cape Cod, it was a challenge to lure him even to Providence or Boston.

Yet here we are again, poising not just to embrace Gorey’s England but to don our bowlers and bustiers and dive in. This from Facebook:

EdBall2016_poster_300wAfter Friday night’s global adventure, we return to The Grand Ballroom for the most decadent night of our season! This is the night that started it all, The Edwardian Ball, presented by co-hosts Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society.

Ballroom dancing leads way to stunning performances both on and offstage in a collage of fashion, theatre, music, circus performance, and dance. Each year, The Edwardian Ball presents a featured Edward Gorey tale in an original stage performance. This year’s event takes a unique turn, with Edwardian founders Rosin Coven teaming up with longtime collaborators Dark Garden Corsetry in a presentation of Gorey’s ridiculous tale, “The Stupid Joke.” Expect anything but stupidity as these masters of their craft collaborate in an unforgettable tale of a poorly planned joke gone incredibly wrong…

And in the spirit of celebrating all things Edward Gorey, Ball co-hosts The Vau de Vire Society present a series of vignettes throughout the evening paying homage to the most controversial works of the (in)famous illustrator…guaranteed to pop corsets and ruffle coat-tails!

If you prefer (as Edward Gorey did) to enjoy your frissons from the comfort of your own sofa,

  • check out his drawings and books for sale at Pomegranate and the Edward Gorey House;
  • read about his theatrical adventures, illustrated with little-known drawings, photos, film clips, and music, in CJ Verburg’s multimedia memoir Edward Gorey On Stage (print or e-book);
  • solve a murder with anagrammatic sleuth Edgar Rowdey in CJ Verburg’s 5-star Cape Cod mystery Croaked.EGDetectiveEnters
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Forgotten Inventor of Nature: the Amazing Alexander von Humboldt

southern-hemi-mapIn a new mini-review in Public Books, author and scholar Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles alerts us to a scientific genius, overlooked in 21st-century America, who 200 years ago was exploring the world and 150 years ago was honored all around it. Alexander von Humboldt influenced Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Muir, among others. A new biography by Andrea Wulf recommends we un-forget him. Here’s a preview of Kevles’s review:

In 1869 the centennial of Alexander von Humboldt’s birth was celebrated around the world, including in New York City, where bands and speakers gathered in Central Park to honor his legacy. He was hailed as the most brilliant explorer since Alexander the Great, a scientist equal in stature to Charles Darwin, and a genius who alerted the world to how humanity was destroying the environment. In the century and a half since, Humboldt’s star has dimmed, especially in the English-speaking world. In our era of climate change, when international science and the institutions of global governance present the only hope for addressing the crisis, Humboldt’s scientific and prophetic legacy deserves revival and reevaluation.

Wulf-HumboldtAndrea Wulf’s masterful The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World represents the best of the handful of English language books that have appeared in the last decade focused on Humboldt and his science. Gerard Helferich’s Humboldt’s Cosmos and Aaron Sachs’s The Humboldt Current brought the explorer back into the light, but Wulf’s superb biography reaches beyond Humboldt’s remarkable life to encompass his adventures as the first ecological internationalist.

Read more at http://www.publicbooks.org/briefs/the-inventor-of-nature

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Coming in January: Writing from Turkey, Nigeria, South Africa, & Iraq

How does globalization look from the other side of the globe? Find out from some of the most exciting literary voices you may never have heard before.

Starting in January, I’ll be leading a monthly armchair tour at San Francisco’s venerable Mechanics’ Institute Library. Join us to explore four nonWestern countries whose writers are weaving their own distinctive cultural heritages together with worldwide artistic techniques and political viewpoints.

What better way to brighten these long winter nights than with a tasting menu like this?


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Coming in 2016: CRAZED TEACUPS, an Original Entertainment by Edward Gorey

CrazedT-progcoverIn the early 1990s, Edward Gorey joined Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill, and Tennessee Williams in the pantheon of Provincetown playwrights. For three summers, he designed and directed original full-length theater pieces he called “entertainments.”

CRAZED TEACUPS is the third and last entertainment Edward staged in Provincetown. It’s also one of his most accessible, dramatizing a number of his famous little books. Along with vignette pieces (The Utter Zoo, Neglected Murderesses, The Helpless Doorknob), CRAZED TEACUPS includes some of his most plot-rich stories: The Gilded Bat, The Insect God, The Hapless Child, The Green Beads. And then there’s the usual assortment of puppet scenes and nonsense advice which he wrote for this show . . . topped off with the loveliest set of drawings that ever dramatized crackle-glazed porcelain.

EGOS-2014-eCover-final-tiinyFor more about CRAZED TEACUPS, Edward Gorey, and the handmade puppets who performed in his 20-odd “entertainments” at Cape theaters from Bourne to Provincetown, see my nanobiography Edward Gorey on Stage: a Multimedia Memoir.

For more about the Edward Gorey House museum, my September ZAPPED reading there, and ZAPPED‘s adventures as a Kindle Scout nominee, see the diverse posts on my blog.

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