NEW BOHEMIA NYE 2021
San Francisco, California, December 31, 2021 ~ In its 8th year of celebration, New Bohemia New Years Eve is the brainchild of nightlife empresarios Vau de Vire Society and Opel Productions. The eighth annual New Year’s Eve event took place in the historic San Francisco Mint building. I’ve covered many other Vau De Vire events in the past for Splash Mags, including, The Soiled Dove and eight Edwardian Balls. This was my first New Bohemia.
Hosted by the multi-talented Vau de Vire cast the revelry spanned 2 floors and offered guests more than 20 rooms of unique environments including a Live music, w/ Circus and Variety, three nightclubs, a kink room, a craft club, tarot readers, an apothecary and a multitude of guest-participating game rooms.
The origins of the Vau de Vire Society go back to the vaudeville and circus performance traditions of Western Europe, especially France. Today’s Vau De Vire is spawned from the depths of San Francisco’s thriving dance and circus sub-cultures. Modernized with contemporary tools and creativity, Mike Gaines directs and produces the events, along with his wife, former dancer Shannon Gaines, who choreographs the shows.
I arrived early, to watch the crews set up, and talk with performers as they arrived, quickly realizing, as with all the other Vau de Vire events I have covered, how immense a production the evenings event truly was. There were eight main large rooms on the Main Level, another six in the Vault Level below. Figuring about six sets (some more, some less) per room, that’s over 80 sets scheduled for the evening. Add in Bars, Music, and specialty rooms, well you get the idea.
The producers purposely limited the crowd this year, folks were masked, and my vaccination card was checked at the door, before I was allowed in. I definitely appreciated the safety precautions, and as the patrons entered, upon opening of the doors at 9:00 pm, they were greeted by a stilt walking lady of the circus, and a butler on roller skates, with champagne flutes on a silver platter.
Keeping in mind the theme of New Bohemia, the crowd was an eclectic mix as only San Francisco can pull off. There were women in long dresses and fur coats, as well as fetish leather wear and platform stilettos, and some wearing barely anything at all. Likewise, the gentlemen wore everything from Tuxes, to their finest in leather wear. There was a good mix of couples, along with single folks, all enjoying the festivities, the cocktail lounges, and the music serving as the heart-beat to the evening. Believe me, next year, I’m going to print out a copy of the set list before the event, so I can make a map for myself.
The San Francisco Mint opened in 1937, the third location, after the original Mint opened in 1874 to serve the California Gold Rush. The 92,000 square foot building is a Greek Revival masterpiece, which now host everything from corporate events, and galas, to grand parties and concerts. The grand architecture added a lilt of exquisiteness to the costumes, the partygoers, and the festivities overall.
With an apology to those I fail to mention here, some of the New Years performers (DJ’s included) were; Damian Ardenne, Discordia, Eric McFadden, Kate Vargas, The Klown, Azzecca, VdV Variety, Doug Rhodes & Aurora, Richard Mixon, Miss Reka and Satine Angelic, Ashia, and so so many more.
The Klown DJ’ed out of the Carnival room, where I found myself spending a lot of time. He opened the bomb bays about 12:30, yes technically New Year’s Day, with a target-softening run, then amped things up with Extra Action Marching Band. The closing hours were a long trip to low-Earth orbit for some freeform ‘booty bouncing’ to get the year going properly. Many of my dance pics were shot during the booty bouncing. I headed home about 3:00 am.
UPCOMING Vau de Vire events include the famed Edwardian Ball, Feb 4th and 5th, once again to be held at the Regency Ballroom, in San Francisco, in association with Paradox Media. I believe there are some tics available for Friday, though Saturday is sold out. Mask and Vaccinations are required.
PHOTOS for this article were shot in RAW, on a Nikon Z6, and processed on a MAC in Lightroom Classic. I wanted to create a more vintage look, in keeping with the Bohemian theme, and historic architecture. Thus, I shot at a high ISO, adding some grain, and desaturated in processing.
MORE INFORMATION about future Vau De Vire Society events can be found on their website at VauDeVire.com, or Facebook Page. For additional info about the upcoming Edwardian Ball in February, please visit the website at Edwardianball.com . In my next article covering said Edwardian Ball, I also interview Edwardian Producers, Mike Gaines along with Justin Katz.
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