November 10th, 2011 | Live reviews

photos by lauren everett

This year’s KCRW Ball may have come the closest one can get to the experience of William Randolf’s famed costume parties at the Hearst Castle during the decadent 1920’s. No matter which way you looked, there was no shortage of jaw dropping transformative wonder. Attendants pulled out all the stops, whether in home made or store bought costumes, while members of the neo-Vaudvillian troupe, Lucent Dossier, frolicked about in surreal mime action (my favorite of the troupe being the “Dirty Babies” and their lascivious handling of pumpkins).

Adding to the jazz age splendor was the picture perfect venue—the Park Plaza Hotel, adjacent to Mcarthur Park. This Neo-Gothic masterpiece, built in 1925 for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Ellks, houses multiple ballrooms and an opulent, open courtyard with ivy covered walls, outfitted for the occasion with enormous mounted discs projecting live video feed of the Pollock-esque paintings being created at one end of the courtyard.

Upon entering the Ball, the game of Choose Your Own Adventure began immediately. To the right was a room hosting ghost-stories, to the left, a labyrinth of rooms with different DJs and events, and straight ahead lay the grand staircase with a gynormous lit up mask hung above its apex, adding a perfect touch to these famed steps featured in the opening scene of David Lynch’s Wild At Heart.

Musical highlights of the night include Henry Rollins’ DJ set, attracting a wall to wall crowd of enthusiastic dancers, and Mariachi El Bronx whose set turned into a Felini movie as they performed their floor stomping rhythms in full Dia de los Muertos face paint while psychedelic projections flashed behind them and hundreds of costumed couples danced.

-Vanessa Gonzalez