In 1986, Jim Henson directed and George Lucas produced Labyrinth, a fantasy film about Sarah’s (played by Jennifer Connelly) adventure navigating an odd maze full of creatures to rescue her baby brother, Toby, who has been hidden away by the Goblin King, Jareth (played by David Bowie).
This movie had such a creative impact on my life. I remember watching the behind-the-scenes footage of how the movie was created and all the puppeteering challenges throughout production. I was convinced that puppetry was my career path. Alas, my skills and interests evolved to computer technology and animation, but I still embrace felt and googly eyes with a nostalgic thrill.
Fast forward to 2016.
The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia announced earlier this summer that they’ll be putting on a Labyrinth Masquerade Ball to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie. In addition, there will also be a new exhibit featuring props and puppets from the Labyrinth on display. Looking at the price and travel, the hubby and I decided to make a go of it.
I sat glued to my iPhone in the A.C. Moore parking lot, ready to refresh and get these tickets at noon on May 21. While keeping a vigilant eye on the time and creating an account beforehand, Justin looks at me and says, “You really think the tickets are going to sell out that fast?”
Noon. I furiously refreshed the browser and ordered the tickets. The event sold out in two minutes.
Time to get on the ball.
In my previous post, I mentioned my terror in beginning to sew a jacket for this masquerade ball. Despite my fears, the jacket turned out great, especially for my first sewing project.
The jacket was a great learning experience in sewing from scratch. My outfit was a bit different. I found a dress at Goodwill that I thought might work for some sort of masquerade-type wear. Trying on the dress, however, was a bit challenging. It needed some alterations up top so my upper body could fit comfortably. Other than that, the dress actually fit. Luckily, there was another dress identical to the one I picked up, only a smaller size. Perfect for adding onto the dress!
I decided to go with an owl theme for my costume. After all, Jareth turns into an owl so the connection was a little more meaningful to me. I altered a mask I bought at Target a few years ago with loads of feathers. I also picked up a wreath at Goodwill that somewhat matched the dress. I’m not sure how it happened, but the outfit came together perfectly.
The Labyrinth Masquerade Ball was everything I wanted it to be.
As we went up the beautifully lit ramp, skeleton puppets pointed the way towards the entrance. The creativity that went into the details by the Center for Puppetry Arts delighted me. For example, there were “helping hands” holding food along one side of the wall. Even staff members were dressed in red and white striped outfits like Toby donned in the movie while serving poisoned peaches (warm peach slices and blue cheese on melba toast).
The attendees’ costumes ranged from elegant to accurate to ingenious. Brian Henson (son of Jim Henson and chairman of the Jim Henson Company) was on hand to judge the costume contest. I had the opportunity to meet him and went into fangirl mode, gushing over how much he and Jim Henson have inspired my art. Thankfully, he just smiled and let me grab a photo.
Justin and I danced together, explored the Labyrinth exhibit as well as the Jim Henson and international puppetry displays, and had a memorable evening. The crowd sang “Magic Dance” together and danced to “As the World Falls Down” as we were all transported to a place far away in our imaginations.
As we were leaving, I couldn’t help but think about the part in the movie when Hoggle says to Sarah, “Yes, should you need us, for any reason at all…” and Sarah responds, “I don’t know why, but every now and again in my life – for no reason at all – I need you. All of you.”
That’s exactly how I felt. I will need all of these memories and moments for the rest of my life. It may seem childish to some people to want to live in a world full of harmless absurdity or characters with unrealistic abilities, but I need it. All of it.
“You do? Well, why didn’t you say so?”
To check out more of our fantastic evening, click the image below.