Masquerade. Now With More Photos.

02/13/2012 By Shawn Burns

In case you missed my near-endless updating of Twitter and Google+ with pictures of me in a tuxedo, here are more. Why the tux? Because Emily and I attended a Venetian masquerade ball at the de Young museum in San Francisco, celebrating the end of its Masters of Venice exhibit.

Now, to be clear for a minute: We are not fancy ball-attenders. But this year has seen a bit more of the “Sure, why not?” attitude pervading our doings than previous years, so when Emily received a Gilt City coupon for tickets to this thing and asked me if I wanted to go, I replied “YES!”

Grandma was persuaded to watch the kids for the night so we could overnight in San Francisco and make a Valentine’s weekend out of it. Emily got her hair and makeup did. And I? I rented a tuxedo.


I want to wear a tuxedo every day now.

Since it was a masquerade, we also bought some masks at Cost Plus. Mine was a little small for my face, but did the trick.


We ate Venetian-style food (cheese? chicken skewers? some kind of thick bread that was a little pizza-ish) and drank Venetian-themed drinks and danced among the art while Masque of the Red Death was projected on the wall above us.

We looked at paintings by Venetian masters, noting how easy it was to pick out Jesus, and how the standards of feminine and masculine beauty have changed over the years (then: small boobs, big hips; small wangs, no abs. Now…different.)

We aren’t great at art. Mostly we went in order to wear fancy clothes. And also so that Emily could steal this lamp.


(Emily did not actually steal the lamp.)

Note that some people took “formal attire” or “evening wear” a little more casually than others. For Emily, it meant “ball gown”. For the woman behind Emily in that picture it meant “underwear”. For one dickwad, it meant “jeans”. He’d better be rich.

We talked to some people about technology and philosophy and performance art (I asked her what the appropriate way to interact with the hired contortionists was; she replied that they didn’t care, that for something like this they were just putting in the time, so go ahead and stare or not stare, smile or not smile, whatever), then cut to the dance floor where we ended the night.

I used the Uber app to get a car to our hotel so I didn’t have to wait around for a cab like one of the common folk. (I think it’s funny to refer to anyone wearing formal attire as “common folk”, but seriously, if you don’t have your act together to use technology to your advantage you’re a techno-peasant), and we cracked wise with the driver all the way to the hotel.

All of this brought to us by a coupon and a “Sure, why not?” attitude about the world. And a grandma willing to overnight with the kids.

Now, who has an event coming up I can wear a tux to?

(Photos without a lamp taken by Toni Bird.)