Monday, July 21, 2014

Review of Labyrinth of Jareth 2014 Fantasy Masquerade Ball & Photos

Labyrinth of Jareth Photos
The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball offered a wide selection of entertainment and fun.  The Elementals (air, fire, earth, water) provided amazing dance performances throughout the venue.
The Elemental Dancers

There was also wonderful creative selection of costumes worn by both the guests and the actors.  My favorite entertainers were the goblins who provided quite a bit of light hearted comedy.
The fun loving Goblins in their kitchen set.
The Goblins entertained us throughout the venue and interacted all night with the guests.  I loved it when the Goblins (and their fellow entertainers) sang at the end of the evening.  Below is a very short clip of one of the closing songs at the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball.  I was getting jostled a lot so it is a bit shaky.

The Labyrinth Masquerade took place on July 4 and 5th at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  The hotel itself is an interesting location to hold an event.  The neo-gothic architecture at this hotel is stunning and is the main reason this hotel has been used as the back drop for many movies and television shows.  It is a great backdrop for this ball.

At the same time, since it was built in 1925, it does lack proper air conditioning.  So if you plan to go next  year, take that into consideration when planning your costume.  The folks who put on the show do rent air conditioners but you still need to consider the fact that it is always warm in July and there are a lot of people in attendance.  We usually wear costumes that can worn in layers so we can check our coats/cloaks if it gets too warm.  The only complaint I heard during the ball was the heat.  It is California.  For the past few years, it has been held in July which is always a very warm weekend.  Plan accordingly and you will be able to make the most of the event without suffering from being overly warm in your costume.  A note:  the event does provide an inexpensive coat check and if you forget your mask, they have a mask vendor present with a great selection of masks at a variety of price levels and styles.

Below are just a few photos of the various costumes that I saw at this years event, hopefully they will inspire you to create an amazing costume of your own for that event next year.

As a person who enjoys making and photographing costumes, I really love this event.  I am continually amazed at the creativity by those who attend.

All Masquerade attendees must have a costume or be dressed in formal ball attire with a masque (or make-up that reflects the character).

This maintains the illusion of the masquerade and offers the other attendees a chance to participate in a fun event.
More Goblin Fun
The event offers a great assortment of entertainment throughout the different ballrooms and other areas.  These actors are amazing and stay in character throughout the event.

In back outdoor area there were aerial artists performing their amazing show for the guests.

In the garden area, they had a mermaid, who interacted with the guests.

This year we bought tickets for the pre-show, which allowed us to go in early.  I enjoyed the entertainment offered during the pre-event and the light snack menu that they served the guests.
The Elves

The pre-show is held outdoors so guests can enjoy the beautiful California weather and the well decorated garden area.

They had a two choirs who performed that were fabulous. One of which was a wizards choir.  I love the leather headpieces that each of these actors are wearing.

The Masquerade Ball Labyrinth of Jareth 2014 Fantasy Masque Event is truly a spectacular event.  The entertainment is first class, the performers interact with the guests throughout the event.  Since many of the guests are also actors and/or entertainers, they are also a lot of fun and tend to perform in the role of the costumed character they are representing.  If you love costuming, have an extensive collection of costumes you want to show off or just love a good party, then give this a try.  It is an experience like no other and a lot of fun.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Indoor Shooting Photo Tips

Since I am attending so many indoor events, getting a decent photo has been quite a challenge.  So I spoke to a few photographers that I know and I got this tip from my friend Cory (who is an amazing photographer).  He recommends shooting indoors with a   Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital DSLR Camera lens.

Here is a pic of an indoor photo using my current lens 15-100 Nikon. It is obviously not good for indoor, low light shooting.

The Sigma 17-50 mm lens is supposed to let in a lot of light.  It is a wide to standard zoom with a fast aperture and lets in a ton of light.   I ordered this lens and will let you know how well it works for me. Hopefully I will get better results than I am currently getting with my other lens.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fearless Drawing by Kerry Lemon : Book Review

Fearless Drawing: Illustrated Adventures for Overcoming Artistic Adversity by Kerry Lemon
teaches a new way to look at the world and gives tips on how to draw it through your own eyes. I love when Kerry Lemon (author) explains that she is Absorbed in the process of creating art and not a camera.  She states that her work is not a carbon copy of the world. Instead each drawing she does is a representation of her perspective of what she sees.   I have taken many drawing classes where I was expected to duplicate what the instructor had drawn.  I found the author's approach to be refreshing.

She later goes on to explain that she created this book to help people discover their own style. The book is set up so that the reader can actually draw right onto it. The supply list is simply. The first lesson is how the way you hold a pencil affects the type of line you create. She makes the process fun. 

I would recommend this book for anyone who has a fear of drawing or needs to learn some drawing techniques in a non-threatening manner. The upbeat tone of the author really enhances the experience of completing each adventure (chapter). This was a fun read for both my daughter and myself and we highly recommend it. As the video will show, there is no fancy artwork. Instead there are a lot of great lessons and tips to define your own drawing style and interpretation.  The book is designed so that the reader can work on the section of his or her own choice and pace.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Route 66 Treasures by Jim Hinckely: Book Review

Route 66 Treasures: Featuring Rare Facsimile Memorabilia from America's Mother Road by Jim Hinckley is a treasure trove of memorabilia, as well as offering a colorfully styled book that features some great photos of Route 66 Icons, Menu Reproductions and more.

If you are fan of Route 66 Memorabilia, then you will enjoy this book. I have made a short video of what is in the book to give you a better idea of some of the great photos, signage and more that is included in this hard cover book.

I initially got it so my daughter could use it to do a report on Route 66 for school. The books we looked at were kind of boring and more historical in nature, which is good but try getting a kid to read one. As you can see from the video, this book is colorful and full of cool reproductions of ads, restaurant menu's, photos and more from iconic sites on Route 66. There is also a small map included as well as some fun post cards. My daughter really enjoyed flipping through this book and using it as a great historical reference for the visual part of her report.

What sold me on this book is that the editors presented the material with such flare in their choice of page designs, as wells the representation of the signage, architecture and interior design of the many landmarks in Route 66. There is also an envelope in the back with reproduction ephemera that my daughter was able to use for her report. After she gets the pieces back, I can use them to incorporate into my mixed media art projects. This book is a great coffee table book and/or a gift for the Route 66 fan in your life.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Time Traveler Weekend at Renaissance Faire

This last weekend was "Time Traveler Weekend" at the local Renaissance Faire.

There was an interesting selection of classic Ren Faire costumes like the Italian Royal Court.

Members from Queens Elizabeths court, along with a peasant or two.

There were plenty of other types of costumes on hand as well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Exploring the Shur Tech Brands New Duck Tape and Frog Tape Patterns

The Duck Tape Booth at the CHA Mega Show had this amazing Duck Tape Dress on display.  The dress was made by Michelle Lesniak Franklin for the Project Runway, Episode 7 (Season 11) Duck Tape Prom Dress Challenge.  This particular sixties looking dress was the brightly black, red, and silver hounds tooth patterned design that won the Sticky Situation Challenge.
Project Runway Challenge Winning Design by Michelle Lesniak Franklin
Shur Tech Brands are the folks who manufacture the Duck Tape and
FrogTape  lines.

They also have an a large product line that includes various office supplies.

The Shur Tech booth displayed some fun office supplies ideas of various materials that were covered with patterned Duct Tape, like the folder below.

Did you know that Frog Tape is treated with special polymers that react with latex paint by creating a gel that helps keep paint from bleeding under the frog tape.  This means that you will get a better edge when working with the tape and no paint bleeding through and ruining your work.

This year they released Frog Tape Shape Tapes that make it easier to do special effects while painting. I particularly liked this chevron pattern.  It can be used for many different types of projects.
A sample piece of the Frog Tape Shape Tape
Frog Tape is currently available in three patterns (as well as the traditional straight line) for a nice variety of design options to consider when you are planning your project.  The current shapes available are: Chevron, Wave, and Scallop.  These can be used horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on walls, furniture, and other solid objects.

Below you can see how the tape can be used with stain to create this fun pattern on a piece of wood.

We also got to enjoy Shur Tech's extensive selection of Duck Tape patterns.  They had all these rolls

out and invited us to craft with them. I saw a few people covering their coffee cup sleeve's with Duct 

Tape. The rest of us enjoyed making various types of bracelets. 

Here are a few more patterns, I just love the Despicable Me Minion Duck Tape Pattern and the cherry patterned Duck Tape.

Shur Tech also has these fun Duck Tape Sheets available in a variety of patterns.  These are hand for covering books, home decor projects, and other large square surfaces.

It is hard to see in the photo but the Prism Duck Tape collection is very reflective and has a lovely glitter look that is really pretty in person.

Below is a bracelet that is made entirely of folded pieces of Duck tape in a fun multi colored hounds tooth pattern.

Here is a back view of the bracelet, which closes with a piece of Velcro tape.

They even had a display of how Duct Tape is actually made that was really cool.

Below are some of the more traditional duck tape products that most of us use on a daily basis to do minor repairs at home or for DIY products.

Shur Tech also had a fun display of their new Duck Washi Crafting Tapes in a variety of patterns.

The Washi tape is .75"x240" and is really easy to tear which makes it great for card making and other
Duck Washi Tape

craft projects.  The surface is specifically created to allow the user to write on it, so it can be used for labeling purposes as well. I like the designs and variety that the Duck Washi Tapes come in.  The patterns and colors are vibrant and work well with jewelry design projects.

The Shur Tech Brands has even released a new Duck Tape fabric tape.  It looked pretty neat.  I haven't personally worked with it yet, but I will write a review once I get a hold of some to play with.

What do you make with duck tape?  Leave a comment below and let me know.