The Labyrinth of Jareth Eighth Annual Masquerade Ball was the event of this summer. Upon walking into the Ford Theatre, my senses were enveloped by the explosion of color around the foyer. Costumes of all shapes and sizes were twirling and sashaying all over the ball. There were elves hobnobbing with angels and goblins taking photographs of Venetian princesses.
The colors of the outfits ranged from midnight black to a woman totally painted in bright blue body paint. It was a sensory feast for my eyes as I deliciously process all the beauty around me. The Ford Theatre lent a wonderful ambience complementing the decadently arrayed masses that swirled all over. It was like Michelangelo and Dali decided to get drunk and painted a intriguing masterpiece.
The costumes were amazing but, it didn't end there. Along with the costumes the masqueraders added a flair by being in character. You did not have people in costumes, you had a true queen, a grumpish orc, and a hobbling goblin including his hammer.
One lady decked out in a full 18th century gown was into character with a British accent and a regal bow for every compliment received.
A costume that blew me away was a splendid dress that was an iridescent red and layered in black velvet. Her diamond choker wrapped around her neck like a snake entwined and caressing her creamy skin. She had spent several months bringing her creation (I believe the word 'costume' would not do her justice) to life with every detail and intricacy by hand.
The music of the evening overflowed into the ballroom and created an exotic atmosphere that pushed and swayed the crowds moving their hips to the beat. Inside the Ford ballroom different acts appeared at intervals throughout the night.
The first group on stage was a celtic duo by the name of Mandrake and there saying is ' We are not telling a story that has yet been told. We seek beauty in the sounds of language. Our sound imparts concepts and passions to a listener who may not understand the language in which it is sung. We do not presume to have new truths to speak; only attempt to direct our attention away from our everyday speech patterns.' This performance was followed by Knollwit, a cloak-and-dagger solo work expanded into a live performance, Knollwit transforms the stage with potent lyrics and imagery, joined to music full of heart and fae spirits.
Outside in the balcony is a stunning array of lights, dancers, and harmonious music playing in the background. There is a cozy cabana full of sofas and masqeraders chatting and taking pictures in a dimly light ambience which made me think this must what it's like when our dreams go to hide in the recesses of our mind, while we are awake.
All the beautiful people were laguidly laying down next to each other and people would come up and take photographs. It was a thrill because if your costume is deemed worthy enough out of the hundred's then someone would ask for your picture.
Many people would make rich dramatic poses to the pleasure of their audience. I, myself, made one or two poses that should be running around on the internet.
The Labyrinth of Jareth is an exceptional masquerade ball, with the elaborate costumes from Orcs walking around grumpily to the queens regally bowing and posing for their pictures.
At the end of the night, my eyes were still wired with the beauty and creativeness that could be held under one roof. Even at midnight, more bodies were flooding into the ball and on the dance floor, the angel was bopping to techno while the goblin next to her was timidly sidling up to introduce himself.
It was a night that can be described in so many possibilities; from the outfits, to the half outfits (tops but, no bottoms and bottoms without any tops) and to the naked sprites walking around carefree and truly embracing the character they were representing.
For hours I wandered around aimlessly looking at the immensity of how seriously the masqueraders took to their character. There must been at least one thousand attendees but, everyone interacted as if it was a nieghborhood block party.
A spirit of camaderie and openess filled the air like a flower opening up to the morning sun. It is true when people say that our enviroment effects how we behave because the atmosphere at the ball changed the attitude of the costumed. It was walking into a room and being transported to a fairy tale. More than a fairy tale because some of the costumes tended to the bizzare and ecletic, it was more like a dream after reading Lovecraft.
I woke up to my dream and it put my whole mind on tilt. The music to the theater to the elves - my brain was overwhelmed and couldn't comprehend the environment around me. I felt, euphoric, high and not like a journalist on assignment who is supposed to be an unbiased observer. It was a great envirometn with all the masqueraders friendly and mingling with guests. The atmosphere was of enjoyment, talking, laughing, and watching. You can spend hours just sitting and taking in the wealth of costumes inside the ballroom.
If there is anything that is a part of LA culture then, the Labyrinth of Jareth represents all the quirkiness, darkness, and the spirit of our city. When you hear people say that LA is full of crazy people, they're right! And we all get together once a year at the The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball.
Here is a link to The Labyrinth of Jareth