Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's New at HighBall in 2011

Greetings Fashionistas of Columbus!

It’s time to step into high gear and high fashion for this year’s HighBall Halloween: Masquerade on High.  Hundreds of people - from community groups to organizers and artists - have been working diligently for months on lots of fabulous new parts of the event that will make 2011 the best HighBall yet. 

So what all can we expect from this year’s HighBall?  We’re glad you asked!
We tracked down John Angelo, the man at the HighBall helm, to give us a sneak peek of what’s coming on October 28th…

Hey John.  Nice Hair. 
We all get that HighBall is this great party in the Short North, but what is the goal of HighBall?

HighBall was originally created to provide a platform to showcase the brilliant artists working in fashion and fashion related fields in and around Columbus.  Halloween seemed to be a natural fit with our event, as its the time of year when outrageous and fabulous outfits are part of the norm, and the artists who create those looks deserve our community's support.  This is an event that empowers and financially supports artists whose work can't hang in a gallery to be seen and appreciated.  HighBall is here to help artists, and it just so happens that the party is a great time too, so everyone wins.

The theme of this year’s HighBall is TRANSFORMATIONS.  Why did you choose this theme?

The idea of transformation is a key ingredient of the Masquerade – the art that HighBall celebrates.  We’ve been so excited about the transformation that’s happening at the northern part of the Short North Arts District – that we thought it was a fitting celebration that tied in with both the community and the essence of fashion and costume. 

Ah, so there are multiple transformations that played into your thinking.  Tell us what is transformed for this year’s HighBall.

Well, a LOT!  This year’s event is on Friday, October 28th, a shift from our traditional Saturday, and we’ll make our hub at the corner of Fifth and High, which is the farthest north we’ve ever been.

But that’s just the beginning.  At every turn with this years HighBall, we’ve tried to push for more.  You can expect more entertainment, more programming, and more opportunities to be involved in crazy transformations all along High Street. 

Our production partners at Pagetech Limited have outdone themselves with this year’s stage – they’ll turn a vacant lot into the epicenter of couture with amazing lights, huge LED screens sponsored by our new neighbors at Kroger, and a 76 foot catwalk.

Wow.  That’s a long way to have to stomp in stilettos!

It sure is.  But we also wanted to make it possible for more than just our professional models to work the crowd, so there will also be a second stage where everyone participating in our Costume Contest can have their moment in the spotlight.  Everyone can compete in lots of new categories, including Most Radiant, Best Transformation, Best Extreme Face Painting, Most Fabulous,  and Best B-Movie Ensemble (Group).  Best of all, our LED screens will make it so you can see the show from anywhere.

We’ve got a hunch that Most Fabulous will be a hotly contested category around here…

We think so too – especially given the breadth and talent of the artists and designers who call Columbus home.  Speaking of talented designers, we’ve also got 6 amazing designers competing in our big runway event with both everyday looks and Costume Couture, and a very special costume performance piece from Sharon Stewart that promises a transformation you won’t want to miss.

Ooh, we love a bit of mystery!  For those of us who won’t be on the stage, what kind of fun will we find at HighBall?

A ton.  We’ve adopted a new tradition this year at HighBall which will become a signature of our event, something that we call GLOW.  We’re working to create an even more stunning visual of our event by encouraging the use of LED, Laser, and UV reactive materials in costumes and in a giant mural being creating by Coreroc in real time at the event. 

And speaking of giant, we’ve also got giant puppets being created just for this event and a cast of 10 costumed stilt-walkers called “Amazing Giants”.  Finally, Bo Brunz from Unit 70 Studios is bringing in a friend of his – a giant tarantula with an eight-foot diameter – to help welcome everyone to HighBall.

Ew.  There better be plenty of booze for those of us who are arachnophobes to walk past that spider.

Oh, don’t worry about that.  In fact, the Columbus Young Professionals and CD101 are sponsoring a happy hour from 5-7pm, allowing free admission to check out all the cool stuff that’s happening.  We’ll also be featuring our signature cocktail – the Ketel One HighBall, to help everyone get in the spirit, so to speak.

Mmmm.. vodka.
Are there other community organizations who are taking part?

Absolutely.  On the main stage, Nina West will emcee performances from CATCO, Imagine Productions, Short North Stage, and Olympic Theatre. 

Ballet Met is also working with us on collaboration with cinematic make-up artist Tommy Pietch to transform 3 dancers into classic movie monsters in a studio we’re setting up in the middle of High Street for all to see. 

Ooh, it’ll be just like an episode of ANTM right in the middle of the street!

Funny you should say that. America’s Next Top Model Cycle 10 alum and Cycle 17 contestant Dominique Reighard, our hometown supermodel, will be a guest judge at our costume contest where 6 designers will compete for a $1,000 first prize.  These competitive designs will share the stage with local fashions from Rowe, Brigade, Ladybird, {milk bar}, with help from S2/Wilhemina models, Phia Salon and Mukha Custom Cosmetics.

What else should we know about this year’s HighBall?

You mean that’s not enough?  Well, of course we’ll continue in the Dogtober Howl-o-ween pet contest, and the CW and Costume Specialties have returned this year as great partners in the human costume contest, and the People’s Choice award will also be given out this year thanks to the folks at alive!. 

We also expect lots of fun stuff with local businesses like Surly Girl, Skully’s, The Garden, a fantastic food court, and awesome beats from DJ Pons… all under the iconic arches of the Short North.  It should be a great night.

Thanks for your time John.  One last question – Who will you be?

Well, I’ve got to keep some secrets to myself….

Stay tuned to this site for more on all of the things John mentioned above, including profiles on our couture designers Tina Matthews, Kelli Martin, Jennifer Carlson, Crys Lappie, Lindsay Hearts, and Aaron James.  Also be sure to follow us on twitter at @highballcbus, and head over to the Short North Arts District on Facebook and click under events, where you can tell us your coming and invite all your friends.  Hell, you can even sign-up to volunteer by visiting HighBallHalloween.com/volunteer.