Art news

Cirque de macabre

Story by Danielle Furfaro - Source: Photo ©  Gemini and Scorpio

The circus is back in town: Vau De Vire, a troupe that is behind the magic of San Francisco’s famous Edwardian Ball, will bring elements of the ball to ’s Lost Circus. Photo © Gemini and Scorpio

It’s as if a steampunk circus wasn’t weird enough.

A Gowanus group known for its wacky parties is holding its latest themed spectacle with special guests who also love to perform with a twist — that is, the imaginative world of artist Edward Gorey.

Musicians and performers who draw their themes and metaphors from Gorey’s work — macabre stories and surreal illustrations of sullen skulls, winged creatures, and hapless children — are joining Gemini and Scorpio’s annual steampunk party called the Lost Circus, where jugglers and silk rope dancers mingle with the costumed crowd.

“It’s a sort of a pagan lounge ensemble,” said Justin Katz, bandleader of Rosin Coven.

“We enjoyed being a theatrical band and did what we could in terms of creating characters. Now we are co-creating story lines.”

The musicians of Rosin Coven and the acrobats and dancers of Vau de Vire Society are like the Gemini and Scorpio of the west coast. They’re most famous shindig is the Edwardian Ball, a huge costume party based in the gothic world of beady-eyed creatures and characters.

The band and the performance troupe started out as two separate projects, but they realized they were magical when they joined together to celebrate everything Gorey.

And these artists who like to dress in black are headlining this year’s Gemini and Scorpio party for a good reason — it’s the Gowanus group’s tenth anniversary.

Other special guests include Debauche, a New Orleans Russian mafia band who play rocking gypsy punk, Desert Sin, a troupe that specializes in a neo-tribal, exotic fusion of dance and theater, the Armored Combat League, who hold exhibition matches of medieval armored combat, and DJ Joro Boro, whose delirious rhythms combine Slavic circus with Burning Man.

As with previous year’s renditions of the Lost Circus, the whole thing is a mix of performance and participation. Ticket holders have to dress according to code, which is elaborate as it is inclusive — “dark cabaret, traveling circus, steampunk Victorian,” are among the guidelines — and artists will expect audience members to be more than standing and staring.

“We have a beekeeper’s drinking song that fosters an animal rebellion,” said Katz. “We’ll see what the audience does with that.”

The Lost Circus at the Irondale Center, (85 S. Oxford St., between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Aug. 10, 9 pm–4 am, $30, $40 VIP seating, $15 after 1 am.

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