By Jane Vick
The North Bay Fashion Ball is back. The brainchild of artist, writer, and significant human being Cincinnatus Hibbard, along with a group of other artists and creatives, the North Bay Fashion Ball, taking place May 28 at Petaluma’s Phoenix Theater, is an important event for the arts scene and Sonoma County Fashion, and Sonoma County’s LGBTQ community. It’s an event like Sonoma County has never seen before.
It all started in the fall of 2021, when Hibbard found himself looking around his group of friends, admiring their myriad skills and looking for a way to showcase and promote the creative energy he was in. immersed.
“I was sitting between Alejandro Salazar and Ammon Sigur,” Hibbard said. “Two artists who represent different schools of fashion and sensibilities – Alejandro is a Gen Xer coming from the world of museums and galleries who started painting clothes, and Ammon is a Gen Z artist who wanted to start a fashion house – House of Ammon -for a while As I merged these two creatives and their styles in my mind, an idea began to germinate.
Fast forward, and that initial impulse culminated in a kind of three-track circus, as Hibbard calls it. A fashion show, a ball-like event filled with vibrancy, color, joy and love: the North Bay Fashion Ball. The night is a hybrid parade and queer ball or pageant, with performance elements throughout that promise to create plenty of spontaneous and unexpected moments. Imagine German dinner theater meets RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Project track, with unmistakable Sonoma County flair and lots of loving intention. Hibbard and co centered the North Bay Fashion Ball around movement, vitality and a sense of inclusion for those participating in any capacity.
“Ammon really brought the spontaneity of the open ball form. Alejandro brought the sensibility to the track. Hibard said. “And that desire to showcase talent in my social circle turned into a chance to magnetize fashion talent in Sonoma County.”
Hibbard, who specializes in what he calls the expanded human potential movement — a self-identified term for utopian writing, or writing for the purpose of expanding human potential — got into planning of events and parties because, as he says, events are “one-night utopias.
“The events are miraculous; they are one-night utopias, one-night communities. They are ephemeral and bring people together under a new form of organization, a new set of rules. I found and selected people from disparate scenes across Sonoma County, and brought them all together to create this singular, unifying event. From there, my more esoteric or energetic role sets in, as a behind-the-scenes facilitator of a potential utopia unfolding. Everyone I’ve met is very charismatic and dynamic – and they’re all deeply connected to healing, non-toxicity, and kindness. They are fully therapeutic, loving people, brimming with compassion and luminosity.
The event is structured in four parts, like a ziggurat or a wedding cake. At zero hour or arrival time, which Hibbard calls presidential level, attendees will be greeted at the door by two drag queens, La Brea Tarpit and Courtney Amore, welcoming them to a high fashion dance party complete with music. by DJ St. Rose Disco (@saintrosedisco), dance led by dance master April “Space” Walker (@spacewalker92) and drummer Phil Cole (@clown999), live spray painting by artist Malcolm Stuart (@ malcolmstuart) – which was recently featured in North Bay Bohemian “Look” column and baked goods provided by Neighborhood Garden Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides food-based community gardens to underserved communities.
The first hour, which Hibbard calls Princess Level, has an open track and seven competition categories: Tarot Card, Pop/Rock Star, Gender Queer, Met Gala, Recycled/Upcycled, Y2K, and Festival Ware. Attendees can sign up to walk the runway during Princess Level hour, and Princess Boutique of Santa Rosa will be there with tiaras, handed out to the winners of each category. Ticket prices are reduced to $7.50 for those who dare to walk.
‘The MC for the track contest is Justin Howard, who started his career writing for Joan Rivers’ fashion font. He will animate and evaluate the looks with love and compassion,” Hibbard said. “Think about the guy vibe that’s carried it best, but in a radically inclusive way. It’s the democratization of the track, loving all ages and all body types.
“And note, with this part of the event,” Hibbard said, “it’s really about being adored. There will be winners for every category, yes, but everyone will be loved and appreciated. The competition will be judged by sound and the loudest applause received will result in a tiara, but everyone is a model. This part of the night is all about opening up the track, giving everyone a spin and a great shot. It’s also an opportunity for young designers to make their debut or try their luck. The big winner will be invited to become a designer next year, which is also a great motivation.
The third hour, Queen Level, will honor local fashion professionals and showcase their collections, while honoring local designers and organizations like Sonoma Community Center’s Trashion Fashion and Disguise the Limit in Santa Rosa. Featured designers will include fashion designer Janet (@7anet7ackson), clothing artist and painter Alejandro Salazar (@alejandro_salizar_g), upcycled fashion designers Joshua + Mathilde of BigMouthUnique (@bigmouthunique) – who also recently featured in a North Bay Bohemian “Look” column — and Buck Lucky Collective founder and director Lena Claypool (@bucklucky), daughter of musician Les Claypool. It’s star-studded programming.
The fourth and final hour, which Hibbard did not name but which I call Goddess Level, will feature music from Korean pop star headliner Yozmit, who will start the set with some dancing. pop and end with celestial ambient music to send the night on a sparkling, elegant cloud. The entire event will be a sparkling, stylish cloud built on creativity, inclusivity and the power of fashion.
“We’ll have two local photographers, Carlos Chavez and Eric Molyneaux, walking around and turning the place into a kind of all-night open photo shoot. We want people to come dressed as they fancy and be photographed ready. Hibard said.
For North Bay Fashion Ball, this is just the beginning. The event is meant to attract creatives, encourage people to step up to become designers, and generally spark and inspire connection.
“We want to meet the creatives and support them,” Hibbard said. “The fun and exciting part is that we don’t know who the ball is going to kick out. We are delighted to meet them, whoever they are. And as this progresses, we hope the scene will get bigger and more dynamic. And as it grows, these events will also increase.
As if the event’s ethos wasn’t inspiring enough, 100% of proceeds from the North Bay Fashion Ball will go to Face2Face, a Sonoma County nonprofit formed during the initial AIDS crisis, which provides care unbiased, ongoing, testing services and prevention methods to people with AIDS.