The Vampire’s Masquerade Ball debuted in 2002 at Portland’s gothic nightclub the Back Room. From its first incarnation, club organizers Teri and Chris Hartgrove envisioned the Ball as an annual event that would be a special occasion for regular guests and newcomers alike. The first Vampire’s Masquerade Ball welcomed a crowd of nearly 100, and its success ensured that plans would be made for the following year. In 2003, the Back Room again hosted the VMB to twice the number of guests.
In the autumn of 2004, the Back Room closed its doors, but the Vampire’s Masquerade Ball was destined to continue. The Hartgroves turned the event over to Lady Raven, who imagined it on a much grander and more elegant scale. In March 2005, Lady Raven presented the third VMB at the Scarlet Ballroom, featuring DJs, live performances, vendors, and an atmosphere of romance and decadence that drew visitors from Seattle, Southern Oregon, Idaho, and beyond.
The VMB has continued to grow and flourish under Lady Raven’s direction and over the years has been hosted at a variety of venues; but since 2007, the historic Melody Ballroom has provided the perfect atmosphere for a gorgeous and dazzling night that has surpassed all expectations, becoming a premier event of the year for dark alternative culture in the Pacific Northwest and receiving coverage in the major Portland press. As its reputation has grown, so has its attendance, with the guest count over the prior three years now exceeding 900; arriving from as far as England, France, New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, Norway, Canada, and Japan. In 2008, violinist Paul Mercer initiated what has become a VMB tradition by performing a traditional waltz specially written to be played at the Ball at midnight, a tradition that has been kept alive every year since.
Lady Raven moved to Portland in 1998 to attend Portland State University where she earned a Bachelor’s in Art. After she graduated she weighed her options and discovered she had no desire to leave the City of Roses as she had fallen in love with it as well as the local gothic/industrial scene. Over the years her involvement in the gothic community and adjoining circles strengthened, so she went on to assist in the promotion of various club nights starting with the former Back Room and soon became the sole organizer of the Vampire’s Masquerade Ball. Over the years she has booked various talent for the VMB such as Paul Mercer from The Changelings, members of the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Night Flight Aerial, Jill Tracy, Serpentine, Vienne Le Rouge, PURE Cirkus, Kazum, and regionally based DJ’s both local and from Seattle. In 2010 she completed the MBA program at Marylhurst University and now works full time in the world of corporate event planning. And the VMB? Lady Raven plans on continuing the event for many more years to come and is excited remembering what it has been, what it has become, and where it will continue to go.
Andrew Hansen has served on both sides of the stage on three continents and numerous countries for the last 20 years. Andrew left Portland in the 90’s and put on performances of music, art, theater and dance while based in Tokyo as well as performed in South East Asia. Moving to London he started Sonic Alchemy where he performed in European clubs and venues. Returning to Portland he performed with projects like Lava deMure, Julian Tulip’s Licorice, Autism and Stalking Jane. These groups headlined a wide variety of shows that ranged from the Northwest’s largest fetish events to the Oregon Country Fair. These projects have also opened up for bands as diverse as Sol Invictus and IAMX. Andrew has also joined touring acts like Attrition on keyboards. Andrew’s support of the Arts continues as a Master of Ceremonies for fashion shows and other numerous events. As a Stage Manager he facilitated large events and theatrical presentations like Bogville, Vampire Masquerade Ball and many of the shows for Convergence 13. Technically Andrew has also designed lighting shows for acts like Soriah and provided sound design for organizations like Portland’s Wanderlust Circus, 2gyrlz Enteractive Language Festival, and Convergence 13.