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Tales From The Edwardian Ball ~ Of Flipbooks And Fisticuffs

by Katy Simola

Tales From The Edwardian Ball

The Edwardian Ball is an event I look forward to all year. I’m costume designer whose favorite time period is the Edwardian era, so I happily plan my outfits months in advance.

This will be my fifth year attending the Ball. Over those years, I’ve watched as this fantastical party has grown, adding additional nights, and moving to a larger venue. I attended Sunday, Gorey, Sunday. I remember when the Edwardian World’s Faire debuted, and I was thrilled when the wonderful carnival rides were added to the Faire.

Cyclecide Bicycle Carousel

Last year, the Museum of Oddities was added to a secret upstairs room. I recall marveling at it’s ambiance, wandering around the elaborate sets, and generally acting out my fantasies of life in another era. It was as if I had stepped into an early 20th Century European salon, rubbing elbows with internationally-acclaimed thinkers, creators and artists.

Edwardian Ball still life - ©2012 Marco Sanchez

I love watching Gorey’s stories acted out in marvelous detail; the costumes, props, background and actors make me feel like as if I’m a character in a giant storybook. How appropriate then, that one of last year’s attractions was a photo booth in which you could act out a brief scenario, the result of which was a small, animated flipbook—A lovely souvenir of the Ball!

Flipbook
I had already made one flipbook on Friday night, and now that I was wearing my fancier outfit I was excited to make another. As I waited in line, holding a place for my wandering date, I made friends with a woman behind me. Soon afterwards, two very well dressed, handsome gentlemen joined the line. We all began to converse as the line progressed toward the flipbook booth.

As we drew near, one of the booth’s assistants recognized me from the night before, when she had suggested a marvelous scenario for my date and I to act out. She tried to come up with a new scenario, but was finding it difficult to top her previous idea. Suddenly struck with a notion, I suggested that perhaps the two handsome gentlemen might act out a fight over a lovely lady. The men loved the idea, and invited my new friend and I to join them.

Fisticuffs - ©2011 Alexander Nels Elofson

I must say, the gents did an admirable job, giving it their all on the very first try. Hats went flying and canes were menacingly wielded, while we ladies were shocked—shocked!—by the impropriety of it all. I ended up with several flipbooks from last year’s events, but my favorite by far was the one that I created on a whim with my three new friends.

Although I have attended the Edwardian events many times, there are always new wonders to behold, and exciting surprises waiting around every corner. I’ve found my community at these events, and every year, I look forward to “going home”.

Katy Simola

Katy Simola and Friend

Photos by Alexander Nels Elofson and Marco Sanchez

 
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