From Extreme!

The Edwardian Ball in SF is this weekend!

Edwardian Ball SF
Get lost this weekend at The Edwardian Ball.

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of Marco Sanchez

For someone who has slight ADD when it comes to the weekend, I love having a calendar booked with concerts, special meals and day trips. But sometimes a girl’s gotta keep her weekend open and fill it up spontaneously with totally outrageous, typically San Francisco things. It was Tuesday night and I was getting slightly antsy because my weekend was barren. After checking out a couple of my favorite SF weekly calendars, I stumbled upon one of the most exciting events that I knew I had to check out: The Edwardian Ball.

After seeing some stunning photography from past events, I immediately signed up to cover the event. This Friday and Saturday, January 22 and 23, marks the 16th Edwardian Ball in SF. Expect a whimsical festival filled with steampunk enthusiasts, vintage fetish lovers, circus acts, live music and more spiked with Neo-Victorian and Edwardian-era Gothic imagery. Set within the Regency Ballroom, the two-day fest is inspired by macabre cult author, illustrator, cartoonist and comic artist, Edward Gorey. Think Lemony Snicket, Edward Scissorhands and the Addams Family and you’ve got yourself a pretty picture of what to expect when you walk in.

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San Franciscans love any excuse to get dressed up. Show ‘em what you’ve got this weekend at The Edwardian Ball.

If you need any excuse for an ornate costume party this weekend, you need to check out The Edwardian Ball.

Along with seeing fellow San Francitizens dressed to the nines, you can expect steam-powered creations, parlour games, absinthe cocktails, a photobooth, mythical creatures performing throughout the venue, and a vendor bazaar where you can find a last minute Edwardian-inspired costume or accessory.

Friday marks The Edwardian World’s Faire and Saturday will showcase The Edwardian Ball. Whether you want to spend your evening in fantastical lands, try your hand at ballroom dancing, or just sit back and enjoy the crazy beautiful performances, this festival is not to be missed. Entertainment varies on both days so do yourself a favor and buy a two-day pass.

Edwardian Ball SF
See you there!

Also, make sure to check out The Mystic Midway: Stories of Gold. This interactive game takes guests throughout the Ballroom’s three floors where they’ll hear stories from all kinds of creatures and be awarded for deeds with trinkets and surprises.

Each evening starts at 8 p.m. with the Vendor Bazaar open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For tickets and more information, visit www.edwardianball.com.

We’ll see you there!

 

Alcatraz Night Tour is for history buffs and thrillseekers

Alcatraz night tours
Alcatraz is definitely less busy, yet more eerie, late at night.

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

I take pride in myself as being the token friend my peeps go to when it comes to the following phrase: “Hey, I’m going to this place and need off-the-beaten-path recommendations on where to go and what to see and eat.”

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If you’re easily spooked like me, don’t get separated from your group.

That being said, when I got the invitation from one of my girls from back home to go to Alcatraz while she was in town, I had some mixed feelings (sorry Brandie!!). Taking a ferry to check out Alcatraz conjures up images of silly shirts that say “Alcatraz Swim Team” or weird and boring tours led by overly-enthusiastic guides. But, I had the chance to take the Alcatraz Night Tour and it was pretty freaking fun. All of my biased expectations were thrown out the window…And into the chilly waters of the Bay.

If you’re even remotely thinking of visiting Alcatraz while you’re in town, you better get your tickets early. Time slots to visit “The Rock” sell out like hotcakes and it may be nearly impossible if you’re trying to buy tickets for a day out. You can visit the island throughout the day, but I recommend you enjoy the city by day and line up for the Alcatraz Night Tour around sundown.

The ride to Alcatraz is quick so make sure you grab a seat upstairs and outside for the best view. Once you disembark, you’ll be guided on a semi-steep walk up to the entrance into the cell house through the shower house. Grab a pair of headphones and start the self-guided walking tour, available in 11 languages.

Library at Alcatraz.
Take a seat in the Library at Alcatraz.
The hospital walls inside Alcatraz.
Beauty in the details. The hospital walls inside Alcatraz.

The story of Alcatraz is pretty unbelievable and the audio tour is about 45 minutes. It’s all self-paced so if you want to spend some extra time learning about famous inmates or at “The Hole,” you can do that too. Make some time to check out the hospital, which is not part of the audio tour, and see what other programs and presentations are on the schedule.

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Check out the daily schedule for programs, like prisoner escape stories and cell door demos.

While the Gardens of Alcatraz won’t be visible at night, thrill seekers will definitely appreciate the extra time they have peering around the cell block avenues, the library and dining hall. Alcatraz, which spans over 12 acres, is definitely something to experience in person, even for a skeptical like me. While it may look extremely touristy from the outside — or the mainland — it’s definitely something worth checking out at night.

For more information, visit http://www.alcatrazcruises.com.

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Get lost on the rock…

 

 

 

 

 

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Folsom Street Fair celebrates more than just leather

Folsom Street Fair 2015
Harnesses, feathers and pecs were out in full force at Folsom Street Fair

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Kevin Kelleher

Disclaimer: This entry is NSFW nor is it safe for readers who are prudish, uber conservative, homophobic, close-minded and uncomfortable with their own sexuality.

Folsom Street, Dore Alley
Folsom Street Fair spans across 13 city blocks and a ton of alleys

Everyday I’m learning more and more about this amazing city. San Francisco is for tech nerds, people who want to make waves in their career and for those who innately add an amazing energy to the environment around them. It’s also for people seeking a place and community sans judgement. This past weekend’s Folsom Street Fair celebrates just that, along with “freaks” and fetish lovers at the world’s biggest leather festival.

Read more

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IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings Light, Fire and Dance to Joshua Tree

by Andrea Verdin

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The wilderness of the desert brings life to many, especially if they’re looking to improve themselves. There’s just something about the quiet and beauty of the great outdoors. That’s why IgNight Fire Flow Conference is such an amazing experience. Each person attending will develop their abilities in aerial acrobatics classes, archery, astronomy, and yoga.

Of course, you can’t have a conference called IgNight without having elements of flow tools, like lit wicks, flow tools like hoops, poi, fans, staves, torches, wands and swords. The conference features lectures with spiritual teachers from all over the world. The event began today at noon, and will end at 5p.m. Sunday, more than 160 classes will go on during the daytime. A nightly spin jam session allows students to practice and develop their muscle memory.

night-fieldAccording to Michael Engel, lead organizer for IgNight and fire performer with almost 10 years in the flow arts community, the great event truly gets started on Saturday night. Once all of the conferences and classes have finished, the attendees join together into a dance circle and put all that they have learned from the two days into practice. Together, they play music, and dance until sunrise.

In addition to having a great time, the conference goers  take care of the nature they enjoy. IgNight’s leadership works closely alongside The San Bernardino Fire Department to make this, the safest event possible. All participants must attend a mandatory fire safety workshop, which grants them access to the fire spinning area.

In a letter to the IgNight team, San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Curtis Markloff  wrote, “You guys always amaze me on how safe you all are at your event. Thank you for organizing and putting on this event.  I hope that you keep coming back year after year.”

Since IgNight’s inception in 2012, the event has sold out and it is still the only event of its kind and size in southern California. Each time, the rapidly growing contingent of local flow artists transforms it into an epicenter of growth, play and magic.
fire-blow “It’s for everyone to come and learn,” said Engel. “Ultimately, it’s an exercise in community building and community building is always a positive thing.”

IgNight’s location is the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, the oldest and largest center of its kind in the country. The buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, meaning that they are beautiful elements to the backdrop.

The retreat center’s elegant spaces house luxurious amenities: air-conditioned classrooms, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and shaded meditation nooks to relax and reflect. However, most participants will sleep under the stars in the property’s ample camping space.

The vast, clear desert skies are ideal for stargazing and the Black Rock Observatory will be giving nightly lectures and telescope demonstrations.

With all of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences occurring in one weekend, it’s easy to have a life-changing transformation. These types of arts allow for a better understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of doing.

The IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings an educational celebration of fire, yoga and flow arts to Joshua Tree, CA on May 8-10. Admission is $150.00 and covers all three days of camping, workshops, shenanigans, and music from Friday at noon to Sunday at 5pm. For more information about IgNight, go to http://ignightconference.com, call (310) 497-4775, or check out their Facebook Page.

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Kayakers come out in droves for the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival

Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival unites Film Lovers with the Great Outdoors This Weekend!

by Andrea Verdin

The weekend is nearly here, and for those of us who are scrounging for an adventure, it may be time to head to Port Angeles for a one of a kind experience: the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival.

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This event will span two days, with a pre-party starting on Friday night, and continuing through Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 at Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles, WA. Throughout the entire weekend, there will be over 25 different events happening for anyone interested in paddle sports or film to join.

“We are so pleased to bring an event of this caliber to Port Angeles for a second year,” says Tammi Hinkle, owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, one of three local co-organizers of the Festival. “It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event; no other festival in the country highlights and promotes all classes of paddling. Participants can take an Eskimo rolling class, get educated on tides and currents, learn how to land their craft in surf, experience stand-up paddle boarding and much more.”

img22A “It’s a continuation of an event that used to happen in the area,” said Hinkle. “It’s really about community, being outside, sharing experiences, and being excited about outdoor recreation. It’s absolutely a family event.”

“The best part,” Hinkle continues, “is that almost anyone can participate. The Festival is open to all levels and all ages. It’s a community event that we hope anyone with an interest will come out and enjoy.”

There are 12 different short films that feature some sort of paddle sport. Keynote speaker will be professional kayaker and co-founder of the Ikkatsu Project, Ken Campbell.

paddle-boardersAcccording to Campbell, the Ikkatsu Project is an initiative to raise awareness of the impact that toxic pollutants are having on beaches and shorelines through print, films and data-gathering expeditions. After his presentation, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the world premiere of Message in a Plastic Bottle, a film by Ken Campbell that discusses the Ikkatsu Project’s third film, which chronicles his 150-mile journey from Olympia to Bellingham aboard the Hyas yiem, a kayak constructed of discarded single-use plastic bottles. The presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 at Peninsula College’s Maier Performance Hall.

Since Port Angeles is a quaint portside town, it has all of the smalltime charm that allows for relaxing and enjoying yourself in between films. Hinkle recommends spending a little time enjoying the Olympic National Park after the festival, so you may want to bring a pair of hiking boots and a mountain bike as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival, over 20 classes are available to guests, and they can create the itinerary that interests them. One novice might want to learn the basics of kayaking or stand up paddle boarding, while an experienced kayaker might want to focus on navigation or cold water immersion.

“Some of our instructors are very well known in the kayak world,” said Hinkle. “You can bring your own kayak, or you can rent. Gear is included with some of the classes. The festival itself is free, and the only cost is for class participation, with the cost ranging from $5 to $35.”

Don’t fret about being lost in class; each class allows for intimacy with the instructors.

“We have really small classes, with a maximum of eight people,” said Hinkle. “We always have at least two instructors, even in a class of eight for the quality of instruction. There is going to be a lot of learning from very highly acclaimed teachers.”

For more information, go to www.portangeleskayakandfilm.com or call (360) 417-3015.