All hail the debauchery of the polite: The Edwardian Ball & Faire Los Angeles comes to town in a whirlwind cavalcade of waxed mustaches, sensuous corsets and the venerable black comedy of Edward Gorey, the ball's namesake (lest you think this was all about the glory days of King Edward VII). Formerly scheduled for the Music Box before that venue's sudden and ignominious demise, this year the ball presents “The Iron Tonic” — which you would have needed back then to digest all those rich foods and heavy sauces — a gilded showcase of carnival (Flynn Creek Circus), music (Shovelman), acrobatics (Vau De Vire Society), ballroom dancing and fashion (Dark Garden Corsetry). It's all in fun — no fallen women, debtor's prisons, ague or leprosy here. Producers Justin Katz and Mike Gaines have been presenting their balls in honor of Gorey since 1999, with the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust — which benefits bats and cats, suitably enough — on board, so you know that this isn't just some fly-by-night steampunk twaddle. As Gorey himself once remarked, “If you're doing nonsense it has to be rather awful, because there'd be no point.” Belasco Theater, 1050 S. Hill St., dwntwn.; Sun., Feb. 19, 7 p.m.; $42-$80. 21+. (415) 435-7527,

Sun., Feb. 19, 7 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly