Monday, June 13, 2011

Labyrinth of Jareth

The  Labyrinth of Jareth  is an annual elaborate masquerade ball held in Los Angeles where just any costume won't do. It should be fantasy-based, as the idea of the ball derived from the goblin-mocking masquerade ball in the 1986 David Bowie/Jennifer Conolly movie "Labyrinth".

"Labyrinth" with David Bowie as Jareth and Jennifer Conolly as Sarah
 Now in its 14th year, the ball is held in an architectural wonder called the Park Plaza. It was built in 1925 as an Elks temple, then it became a luxury hotel, and now it is no longer a hotel but a venue for weddings and the like.
There, participants roam the impressively-sized staircase and the grand halls to discover chambers filled with over 150 performers, live musicians, dancers, acrobats.  Guards open up one area at a time, increasing the excitement.
the guards and the grand staircase

Some of the entertainments spills out into the outdoor courtyard, where large sculptures have been set up to compliment the theme.
An elvish dancer entertains in front of a sculpture
A dancer in one of several ballrooms
Last year there were tents to wander through outside, where members of the League of Steam displayed their Steampunk inventions.
Part of the courtyard as seen from an upper window

Steampunk inventions on display
inventor Crackitus Potts (Nick Baumann)
And then, of course, there are the most stunning costumes.
These detailed costumes, masks and props are entirely home-made

Behold the vinyl unicorn!

A beautiful butterfly wing dress
 There were some minimalist costumes
I bet you're looking at their wings, right?

And several people who painted themselves
And then there were those who came on stilts
This is a place where elf ears, horns, and wings are the norm. Colored wigs are also popular

Wait, is that a strawberry on her ass?

This golden girl's costume was pretty elaborate, with a wide wingspan and lights:
A camera is a necessity at an event such as this. You never know what you'll see.

"Labyrinth"-style goblin

Beauty and a beast

Here's a video I took walking through the crowd:

This year's Labyrinth of Jareth is July 1st and 2nd. Tickets are still available.


  1.'!!!! Is this for charity or just to have a great time?

  2. Wow.....I so wish I could be there. That looks amazing. I am beginning to think I should not have moved to Oregon :)


  3. @Mr.Macabre: Not a fundraiser, it's just to have a great time. It's one enchanted evening, for sure. The originator, Shawn Strider, does everything in first-class style, so you do feel like its a really special event. For example, the tickets are presented in a sort of royal passport which is then put into a decorated envelope and addressed to "The Noble (insert your name here)". If they ever charge extra to cover a charitable donation, I don't think anyone would hesitate. It's a unique event.

  4. Wow! What a creative, awesome event! And something, sadly, that would never, ever be held around here. I'm SO envious! Thanks for sharing the photos though, I've loved looking at them!

  5. This is totally amazing!

    I am new follower of your Blog...I found you through the Frog Queen!


  6. Welcome LuLu and other new followers. Thank you for your visit!

  7. Wow! I hope this event is held for years to come so that I may one day be able to attend! I'm all the way in Alaska. I wouldn't be surprised if Labyrinth cosplayers were regulars at this event.

  8. @Anonymous: Yes indeed, there are Labyrinth cosplayers there. There were many more in the first few years of the ball- that has always been the theme, after all- but over time, as crowds have grown, people drifted into more outrageous and fantastical outfits. Not to worry- all the Jareths, Sarahs, goblins and the other Labyrinth cosplayers still get their fair share of attention!

  9. @Anonymous: It may interest you to know that cosplayers from another movie, The Dark Crystal, have also attended The Labyrinth of Jareth masquerade ball. Both movies were created by master puppeteer Jim Henson, of Muppet fame. I think Mr. Henson would be very touched that people love his movies so much.

  10. Is there an age limit for attending the ball?


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