Goblins and faeries everywhere, dancing, laughing, playing wild music and pranks . . . witches and wizards, casting spells and illusions . . . music and magic everywhere. Against the flickering low light, masks and books for your admiration or purchase; masks, in fact, everywhere you look, along with gowns and wands and wings. And in the shadows . . . well, our minds tell us that there couldn't possibly be actual goblins here. Or could there?

When Brian Froud and Ari Berk are around, anything is possible, and so it was at the Goblin's Ball last Friday night here in Portland Oregon. I (Maria Nutick) and my husband attended the release party for Froud and Berk's new book Goblins (review forthcoming next issue), met the authors themselves, bought ourselves many exquisite gifts in the Goblin Market, and ushered in the pagan new year in high style.

What did we purchase? Well, World of Froud t-shirts, of course . . . didn't need to buy the book since we received a review copy a few days before the Ball. An exquisite black and silver mask. A signed limited edition print of a Froud painting, You Remind Me of the Babe, featuring Toby Froud as an infant surrounded by the goblins of Labyrinth.

With music provided by Trillian Green and Woodland, both bands that I recommend highly, and a well planned and very moving Samhain ceremony to send out the old and greet the new, the Ball was a lovely coming out party for a lovely book. Brian and Ari are delightful gentleman, and the crowd, like the crowd at the Froud's Faerieworlds Festival, was friendly, fun, and delightful.

A similar Ball, held in the Green Man Pub, was a bit more exciting, but then when a senile troll insists upon forcing a dance upon a cranky dragon, things can get out of hand rapidly. Best say no more about that. But most of the broken crockery has been swept up, so all's well that ends well.