I'm editing my next batch of Dragon Con cosplay, but since I'm preeeetty sure we'll be losing power in a few hours (THANKS HURRICANE MATTHEW), let's see if I can't take you on a tour of the new Labyrinth exhibit now instead.
This exhibit is at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts, located just a few minutes from downtown Atlanta. They very kindly gave free admission to Dragon Con'ees during the con, so we rushed over that Saturday morning to gawk.
I think it's obvious by now that I am a HUGE Labyrinth fan, so this exhibit - though only 1,000 square feet - completely overwhelmed me with the feelz. It is beyond stunning, and put together with such pride, love, and attention to detail. (I took nearly 400 pictures, and culling those down to a post-appropriate number was torture, so expect a Flickr link at the end for the rest.)
But enough chatter. Let's step inside.
Where a Jareth cosplayer just happened to be walking through at the same time. Aw yeah.
The brick wall that confronts you immediately upon entering is beautifully water-streaked and glittery - just like the movie. To the right is this never-ending passage:
Thanks to a clever set photograph.
I didn't realize this 'til later, but most of the exhibit is laid out in roughly chronological order of the movie. So here by the wall you of course meet:
The Blue Worm! Say 'ello!
This is a large plaster casting, made from the same mold as the latex puppet. I love his little - or not so little! - face.
There were two worm puppets used for filming. See the tiny speck in the case on the left? That's the smaller one used for far shots with Sarah. Here's a close-up:
So tiny, but still - after 30 years! - so perfect.
(John and I attended a panel with the museum curators and designers, and I can tell you a LOT of work and care went into restoring and displaying these treasures. Hats off, CPA crew. You rocked it.)
Throughout the exhibit there are multiple, ORIGINAL, Brian Froud illustrations:
So, so beautiful. I nearly got nose grease on the glass. The details!
Next a peek inside Sarah's bedroom :
THE ORIGINAL TOYS YOU GUYS. Aaaaa!
Now, the Firey doll I've seen recreated a few times, or even sold on Etsy - but how many of you have see this Ludo doll?!
He has so little screen time in the movie it's really easy to miss him - but look how cute.
Man, I need to learn how to sew.
And who can forget the laughing goblin Sarah uncovers in Toby's crib?
Right away I discovered something fascinating: almost all of the goblins have actual red reflectors in their eyes. They caught the light and glowed - hard to show in photos, but creepy magic in person.
Speaking of which, across from the toys is a large display of a few more goblin characters:
Check out the face in his armored chest plate. There were more faces in his shoulder pauldrons.
Glass displays everywhere - which made it an uphill battle against glare and reflections.
I should warn you now - if you haven't already figured it out - that many of my photos are close-ups of creepy things. If you find goblin puppets disturbing, then, This is not the waaaay! TAKE HEED, AND GO NO FURTHER.
Still with me? Cool. Then check this out:
Look at the paint job of Fish Face's face. All the colors!
Next is another large plaster cast - even larger than I expected:
Hoggle's head was huge!
Next to Hoggle is the goblin John and I were most keen to see, of course:
The Junk Lady. (!!)
If you don't recognize her, you're not alone; she looks so different from the movie I can't help but wonder if she's a different Junk Person, since there were several in the film. None of her original junk pile survived; that's just a printed back drop behind her. They've also replaced her hair and clothes with more modern pieces - the shirt in particular is way off - and one eye is sealed shut, I assume from latex damage.
But if the puppet herself was a smidge sad, then here's what made up for it:
The original Brian Froud illustration of Agnes. ::drooooool::
Round the corner - and right at the halfway mark of the exhibit - is the ballroom display:
Again, astounding details:
The textures and colors often behaved very differently on film - showing up brighter or more vivid - so I have a new appreciation for costumers now.
Jareth's Escher Room costume:
This piece looked solid black in the movie, so I'm not sure if it's lighter from age or if the movie set was just dark:
Check out the bone chest piece in the shape of a heart! And see his pendant at the bottom? Wow, has that metal tarnished.
This huge original sketch of the ballroom scene caught my eye. It's pretty, but also, if you look close, I'm preeeetty sure one of the ladies is drawn with her boobs out:
It's the first figure on the right. (Click to embiggen.)
That's probably not (just?) a doodle prank; the ballroom scene was always meant to evoke a lascivious, "adult" gathering. (Note the center pit full of giant pillows.)
Of course there were no nipples out in the costuming, but you might remember this "side boob" window with dangling pearl:
And more stunning details:
That feather fan was particularly creepy.
Remember how I said some of the colors changed on film? This mask was dingy and dull in person, then I took the pic, and BAM:
Even 30 years later, those reds and oranges really pop. And I like the little iridescent stones.
My favorite mask:
The blood red "tears" still gleamed like they were freshly wet.
The dagger-handed clock from Jareth's castle:
I'd love to make a smaller version of this someday. (It's pretty massive; took up the whole wall.)
Which brings us to the final display aisle:
All goblins and their weaponry. (Again, chronological to the movie: we start with the wall, and end with the goblin battle.)
Oh, and see the arrow in the carpet? As if drawn with Sarah's lipstick, perhaps? :D
More crazy detail: this is the head of a goblin's staff:
It even has nose hairs. (Ew.)
For reference, here's the staff next to a goblin costume maybe four feet tall:
I'm not sure how much of this is actual age and how much is from the film.
Something a little unnerving:
You had to look very closely to see these eyes, gleaming back at you. Hehehe.
Here's the rest of that armor:
Most of this is real leather and real metal, which explains why it looks so darn gorgeous.
A funky mosquito mask:
And the holy grail at the end of the aisle:
John and I (briefly) considered trying to do this costume before we settled on Agnes. I love these riders so much, and naturally this one - the orange one - is my favorite!
And a full view:
The last display before you exit is this crystal ball, set in a stand fashioned after Jareth's pendant:
The display is mirrored so you can see all sides. Here's the back:
Jim Henson commissioned a handful of these to be made for some key workers on the film, plus one more for himself. This is his personal one. The plaque reads simply, "Jim" and "Labyrinth."
Look even closer, though, and you'll see something stunning on the front left leg of the stand:
A tiny face!
I don't know the significance of this face, if any - so if you know, please share in the comments.
And there's one final surprise before you leave: if you crouch down to the height of a child in front of the crystal ball, you'll find a surprise tucked up high in the display case:
A hidden Jareth!
Ahh, but we're not quite finished, folks, because Puppetry Arts has MORE Labyrinth goodies in their main exhibit areas. These aren't new, but if you've never visited, you definitely want to keep scrolling.
Really, I'm telling the truth! This one guy here, though...
He always lies.
The glass glare is soooo much worse out in the larger, brightly-lit main areas, but I did my best:
In addition to the riddle-loving doormen, they also have one of the door knockers and...
Look how bright his colors still are. Such incredible workmanship.
I'll end with this little cannonball goblin, because I love him:
I once saw an Etsy seller offering a replica of this guy, and I'm sorely tempted to try making my own someday. The little stripey arms! Hee!
There is SO much more to see at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts, including screen-used Dark Crystal puppets, the whole gang from Sesame Street, Fraggles, Doozers, and all manner of characters to make your inner child screech with joy. If you're ever in the area, GO. 'Til then, I did take pictures of quite of few of these others, plus lots more detail shots of the Labyrinth exhibit itself, so check out my Flickr album for the rest.
Hope you all enjoyed my little - or not so little - virtual tour! And if I don't get to post again for a few days, have an awesome weekend, and I'll see ya on the other side of the storm.