THE STORMING BOHEMIAN PUNKS THE MUSE: guest stormer sean taylor punks the muse titanically at the edwardian ball
A coupla weeks ago, I told you of The Edwardian Ball, and recommended it as a muse-punking expedition. To my unspeakable delight, local writer Sean Taylor (talented author of the short story collection Everything To Do With You) took this up and responded with the following essay. So, The Storming Bohemian proudly presents a column by our first guest punk:
– Charles Kruger
The Storming Bohemian
Welcome to the future of the past. The walls on the bottom floor of the Regency are bone white and I can almost convince myself that I am aboard the RMS Titanic. This ship is sinking at 2:00 in the morning and our taxi lifeboats are far too few to keep us dry amidst the San Francisco storm outside. Here though, now, at 8:30pm at the Vendor Bazaar of The 12th Annual Edwardian Ball Worlds Faire we are safe, for a little while, from our realities. Here men walk behind women without political purpose, their canes hang from a limp wrist adorned with white gloves leaving no trace of their fingerprints on the brims of their top hats as they tip them, as these gentlemen do. I can close my eyes just to open them, to see it all again, I don’t pinch myself, I push the sharp end of my umbrella into my big toe. If this ship is sinking, I think to myself, I am staying aboard.
The Edwardian era is said to take place between 1900 and 1910 though some will presuppose it continued on to abruptly end at the beginning of the first world war on July 28th, 1914. Up and down the rows of this indoor street fair these vendors speak to stay here, in that era. I bite and hold my tongue, inexperienced in the linguistics of the very early nineteen hundreds. All wares of jewelry and clothing are brightly dark, which, as impossible as it sounds, rings beautifully true. I exclaim to my guest “I’ll marry a girl in that dress, I will.” The dress is several shades of grey but we both agree it to be the most beautiful piece in the room.
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All photos by Sue Quick
At this we head upstairs to the ballroom for a drink. Once there I ordered one “Root of all Evil,” a combination of one part absinthe one part root beer, and headed into the ball room so I could fall in love more times than should be chemically possible—even for a romantic. The women at this event sweep the dance floor with their large velvet dresses—built to throw like tornadoes spinning—leaving the morning cleaning crew confused. At this I find the most surreptitious use of my long gothic umbrella is as a third leg, as my knees have gone weak. I am in a crowd looking over top hats, and there are a pair of Safari Expeditionists purchasing wooden Nickels to compete on what seems to be the oldest skee ball board I’ve ever seen. Their prize is all around them, all night.
At 10:25 the Flynn Creek Circus performs and if you hold your breath when the trapeze falls your heart will stop and someone in this crowd will write your obituary as a limerick with both class and indignation. This is the nature of this culture, short and long mustaches, short and long dresses always lace, always black or white, these are the public works of Edwardian society. Toward the back of the ball room one will find a carousel built of only bikes. The proud laughing riders are celebrating the wheel being round twice over, their joy only circumventing the invention’s progress. If a woman is riding side saddle be sure to refer to her as madam.
Meanwhile, upstairs on the third floor in The Museum of Wonders, a woman is eating a live worm while a man dances barefoot on shards of glass. There’s a coin-operated girl and a very witty man trapped in a box named “Malvoye The Mentalist.” My guest and I wander these halls as aristocratically as possible, a guise of grinning teeth behind childish smiles, the absinthe widening our eyes until midnight and then 1:00 and then 2:00 creeps up all too quickly.
When the house lights come on we all heave an “aww,” and under the bright lights we gather ourselves just enough to look around at account executives, waiters, students, and consumers of this, the twenty first century. Our smart phones are breaking the time travel conundrum, but we need them, to call taxis, as this ship has sunk into the morning.
The 12th annual Edwardian Worlds Faire was held at The San Francisco Regency Ballroom on January 19th 2012.
– Sean Taylor