H and I booked a room at the Millineum Biltmore, which was the official LoJ hotel and went there early to change then take the shuttle to the ball. It 's a beautiful old hotel that's been restored but the service was...well, you'll see. We made good time downtown but we stymied by the hotel which made us wait - I kid you not - more than 30 minutes at the front desk trying to find us a room - and we weren't checking in early, it was 6! They claimed it was because some people "extended their stay" but we saw a long line of other LoJ people behind us waiting and heard other stories when we got there of hotel screw ups. Then they tried to make us pay to get us to upgrade to a suite. I think not. I put on my bitch face and said we'd take the suite but they'd pay for it and they did. FINALLY we got up to the room and began the mad dash to change. I wore my "Water" gown from the Victorian fancy dress elements group we did at Costume College a few years back and my husband wore a sack suit from Gentleman's Emporium, bowler and mask I got years ago from the Shakespeare Theater's costume sale as a sort of Victorian man's "Earth" costume. A shower, some ironing, primping and champagne later and we were ready to head over to the park plaza to meet up with my sister and her husband.
In the cab and in line at the Park Plaza
The beautiful Park Plaza
All of us had tickets for the pre-show which included a champagne toast and some hors d'oeuvres - the munchies were quite good and fairly substantial, unlike last year - mmmm, tasty, tasty goblin fingers! (aka bacon wrapped dates) -but we didn't get into the pre-show until at least 1/2 an hour later than advertized or more. In general things were a little more unorganized and there didn't seem to be as many huge costumes - the stilt walkers and troll for example - than last year. Or maybe it was just because it was Friday? I'd say the majority of the costumes were either fairies or steampunks. There were so many steampunks, and most of them were good but not stunning, that I ended up not taking any pictures of them at all!
Cute fox couple and Pirate Girl
We were all sort of elementals - My husband was "Earth," I was "Water," my sister was "Fire," and my brother in law was "Air" They both made their own costumes and I think they did a great job! My sis' skirt even lit up with tiny red and yellow lights.
Fire and water and fire and air
It was also a lot less crowded on Friday, which was both good and bad. There wasn't the dreaded bottleneck problems of last year, and it was quieter so you could actually talk to people, but in some of the rooms in the earlier part of the evening there weren't enough people to really make it feel as much of a party as I would have liked.
Skullman with painted lace skull make up under his mask Merlin from Excalabur
Part of that may also have been that they had opened yet another ballroom this year, "The Clockwork Ballroom," which was lovely and had live classical music all evening. There were some cool vendors there too, although I didn't end up buying anything. The Clockwork Ballroom was a nice place to hang out though, sort of tranquil with the music, and there was ample seating. They were also doing a Tea for the first time ever. I thought about making a reservation for it but they wouldn't let you reserve times until you arrived and I worried about waiting in a line for too long and missing things. The tea looked decent though.
Renaissance Death and Plague mask
Odd glowing moth person and fairy sitting on a mushroom - fake legs on top, real legs in mushroom stem!
Bast and Annubus and Centaur
My favorite rooms were the main stage and the room next to the outdoor area, both of these were mostly playing dance music and people were really going crazy dancing which H and I loved. They went through a line up of old 80s songs including the ever popular "You spin me right round" and "kiss them for me" all of which was very fun but a bit odd, don't kids these days have any good dance music of their own? I guess they did play some Lady Gaga too...
Me and Kaylie from Firefly "David Bowie"
Random devil/elven girls
Fan of watch hands and dragon
Merman and Glowing fairy wings, I think because it was less crowded on Friday there were a lot more BIG wings than Sat last year.
Downstairs was more of a DJ set up with weird atmospheric musical mash ups that were also very toe tapping. Basically, we danced and danced, and danced all night (as one should at a ball!) and left sometime after 2:30. Cabbed back to the hotel and crashed. Slept til we were forced awake by our silly bodies at the far too early hour of 8, then we went off in search of breakfast and had some very good crepes for very cheap, cooked by a very brawny, very Gallic chef. It was very good. :)
All the rest of my pics are up on flickr here.