If that sinister, goth-looking couple dancing next to you pauses mid-waltz for some intense throat-nibbling at this Saturday's tenth annual Le Bal des Vampires, and you notice a few drops of red, just keep telling yourself: "It's only a parody. It's only a parody."The tenth annual vamp event is certainly a light-hearted occasion for Cathleen Myers, artistic director of the Period Events and Entertainments Re-Creation Society, Inc. (PEERS), the ball's presenter. It's all part of the frenetic, once-a-month schedule of PEERS' costumed extravaganzas -- alongside such time-machine fetes as the Liberty Ball (a 1776-era, American Revolution scene), the Victorian Twelfth Night Ball, the Emperor Ming's Spring Fling Swing Ball, and the Film Noir Ball (featuring swing and foxtrot dancing plus 1940s ambience). Myers, who started PEERS in 1988 fresh from her work at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, says most of her galas draw a crowd of 120-150 people in the twenty-to-forty age range, but the Bal des Vampires typically attracts more than three hundred -- a younger crowd, full of Lestats and Buffys. There's no official connection to Anne Rice fan clubs or vampire role-playing groups, but, says Myers, "We get lots of Anne Rice fans. They've all been very well-mannered. We love the role-playing, the improv and theatricality."
At this year's vampire fest, Le Théâtre des Vampires (namesake of the ghastly troupe from Interview with the Vampire) pays tribute to Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Explains Myers, "We all love Buffy -- it's one of the most well written shows -- and we thought he deserved recognition, so we're doing a respectful parody. Parody is part of our tradition. We only occasionally do serious theater."
Le Bal des Vampires takes place Saturday, November 1, 7:30 p.m. (doors 6:30), at the ballroom of the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. Music by the Divertimento Dance Orchestra. Suggested costume is evening dress or fancy-dress costume from the country and century of your "rebirth" (remember: you're undead). Tickets: $15 from PEERS.org or $20 at the door. Call 510-522-1731 for info.
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