SF Opera Costume Sale Returns, Will Be Online Only

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Image: SF Opera

A unique San Francisco tradition returns this weekend, but it’s not going to resemble any previous version of the event. The SF Examiner reports that the San Francisco Opera Costume Sale is coming back this weekend (Nov. 13-15), resurrecting a cult-hit bazaar where multiple-thousand dollar extravagant costumes are available on the cheap. The SF Opera is even letting you check out the costumes that will be available before they go on sale at Noon on Friday.   

Image: SF Opera

There are separate slideshows of the women’s costumes and men’s costumes for you to plan your costume shopping attack. But you have to know your size if you want to buy pieces that fit properly, so the opera has a women’s measurement chart and a men’s measurement chart to help with that. 

Image: SF Opera

They’re not selling individual pieces this year, you have to buy the whole outfit. Costumes will be available from their productions of Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, Tannhäuser, Dolores Claiborne, Don Giovanni, and other things you can pretend you’ve heard of even though you totally have not. 

Image: SF Opera

The San Francisco Opera Costume Sale has never been an “annual” event, nor has it ever been held on the same date. It’s usually prompted by some random operational need like switching warehouses, that prompts the opera company to unload a bunch of random shit.

Image: SF Opera

The first of these sales was in 1989. “We needed to raise some money,” SF Opera costume director Daniele McCartan admits on the opera’s official blog. “And the costume director at the time thought, ‘Well, we’ll have a costume sale.’”

There have only been five of them since, but 2005 was the year that it really blew up in popularity. “It was right before Burning Man, and people just lined up around the block. People showed up in leotards and were trying to throw costumes on,” McCartan says.

Image: SF Opera

Costumes will be priced between $75-$1,000. The Chronicle reports that the most recent sale in 2014 netted the opera $350,000, and the company is hurting right now due to the lack of performances. 

“Supporting San Francisco Opera right now will help us return to the stage when we’re able,” costume supervisor Galen Till tells the Examiner.

The San Francisco Opera 2020 Costume Sale will run from Friday, November 13 at 12 p.m. to Sunday, November 15 at 11:59 p.m. at

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.