The Edwardian Ball & the Eponymous Edward Gorey


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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