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Distracting the Steampunk!

From Dublin to Doolin, Chicago to Austin this Steampunk has seen some sights and not the least walking on the steps of Giants.

She has also succeeded in distracting herself from her website and writing.

Here are a few highlights:

Dublin

Fabulous people, fabulous food and new friends.  Dublin was magical.

Dublin Graffiti

Doolin

Fantastic traditional Irish music, great cider and fine ‘soft’ days along the Cliffs of Moher really set atmosphere.

Cliffs of Moher

Chicago

Busy, Bustling, Bombastic!

Chicago Traffic

Austin

West Coast meets Texas Hill Country. Funky fashion and home brewed mead.

Austin: The Time is Now

Giants Causeway

Fantastical, unbelievable and very wet.

Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland

While in Ireland we had front row seats to the St Patrick’s Day parade.  And I must admit that most of it was Steampunk! It nearly blew my mind!

That will be the next blog post so stay tuned!

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Steampunk: What lurks in the dark?

This past week photos were released of the abandoned subway in New York.  I

New York Subway

found the pictures on Huffington Post rather inspiring as a writer, so I wanted to share.

There was something reminiscent of Steampunk. The whole affair got my grey matter’s cogs turning.  Wouldn’t it be neat to see what other subterranean areas there are lurking beneath our heels?

If you are a fan of Steampunk fiction you are already aware that there is usually a tone of slight creepy abandonment that lies somewhere within most novels.  Thus abandoned subterranean exploration is making its début on The Top Hat Exchange.

New York Subway Tunnel

Apparently the world is riddled with underground abandonment, living tunnels, roads and workstations that look like they have jumped right out of the pages of epic Science Fiction.

I narrowed my results to the following:

Budapest, Hungary

Caves and tunnels run the gamut under Castle Hill.  Word is the

Budapest Tunnels

labyrinth dates back several centuries and it was created for military use.

Civilians used them for shelter during WWII.  Now tourists and visitors can visit the breath-taking tunnels.

If you are a glutton for the creepy you can take a flashlight tour  (I shudder to think how frightening that would be).

OR you can take a fully lit tour.  I would personally opt for this.  Hey, if I’m going to visit century old caverns I want to see what it is I’m paying for.

Now the next stop on the subterranean tour is for all you Gothic kids out there.

London, England

West Norwood Cemetery has tunnels full of coffins stuffed into crevices, man-made shelves, and simply laying out on the ground.  Exploring the deteriorating pine coffins and sturdy mahogany resting places of the dead might appeal to many out there, I think I will pass.

The spectre of ghosts and goblins still scare the wits out of this writer.

Moving on to the Magic Kingdom

Orlando, FL, USA

That is correct, the Magic Kingdom has a whole system of underground tunnels that their employees use.  Not only do Disney employees walk through the passages connecting kitchens, dining areas, and offices but the tunnels are large enough for motorized vehicles.

So as your little girl poses next to Cinderella for a Kodak moment, somewhere beneath your Birkenstocks lurks a truck creeping through the underground tunnels delivering  chicken the Disney cooks will prepare for your lunch or dinner.

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Real life Hobbit House anyone? Yes please.  This fantastical home has fresh

Welsh Hobbit Home

water running into it (by gravity only) from a nearby spring and all the materials are local.  The exception is the plumbing.  Recycled materials were saved from the bin for that…seriously.  I love this house and the minds that put it together from renewable and recyclable materials.

Tokyo, Japan

Japanese researcher Shun Akiba found an old map of the Tokyo tunnel system.

Japanese Spaces

The old map did not match the current maps.  As he researched further more and more inconsistencies were found.  It all points to hidden spaces underground.  Sounds like the beginning of a novel doesn’t it?  Well the Japanese government denies any hidden underground spaces.  But check out these pictures of acknowledged Japanese subterranean spaces.

Subterranean Japan

There are many, many more subterranean wonders around the world.  I could easily ramble on but I will refrain.

I mention these because I found these particular  wonders awe inspiring as an on-looker and as a writer.

Anything that sparks my imagination is (of course) interesting to me and deserves more research.

As much as I find all these wonders awe inspiring there is something almost suffocating about them.  C’mon it’s all underground! I could be buried alive!

If you would like to explore under the earth further please follow the links below for more eerie underground wonder.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/10/the-hidden-abandoned-city_n_781669.html#s179141

http://weburbanist.com/2007/10/15/7-more-underground-wonders-of-the-world-lost-caverns-and-cities/

http://weburbanist.com/2007/09/30/7-underground-wonders-of-the-world-labyrinths-crypts-and-catacombs/

All photos used are from the above websites.

 

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Steampunk Event: Post-Musical Menagerie

The Curtain Club of Dallas was host, once again, to a Steampunk success in music and imagination.  The Marquis of Vaudeville was in fine form.  The opening acts were a startling surprise.

I was unaware of the nature of the opening bands music.  I knew it was rock, but I did not realize that the other three bands did not have a claim to the Steampunk genre.

Maybe it was dehydration, but perhaps it was the screaming pseudo metal bands that rocked their stuff in very tight pants, but before I left the Curtain Club I most assuredly had the mother of all migraines.

This is what I came away with:

The Midnight Carnival likes to yell.  A lot.  Their front man is a petite rocker with Billy Idol-esq

Midnight Carnival Lead Singer, Steven

hair.  Actually I really liked his style.  Their sound was a mix of Billy Idol and Vernian Process. (For more on Vernian Process please see http://bit.ly/gDOQV6)

So even though my cranium was throbbing after their set I have to say I will stalk them online a little to get a better feel for their recorded tracks.

I still want to recommend them to anyone who likes their music loud.  I think you will really, really like the Midnight Carnival.

The Orange are an interesting group with a member very much dedicated to his tambourine.  He danced, he jumped, he hopped, he gyrated, and generally made love to his tambourine for an hour.  It was actually quite impressive.  My hats off Mr. Tambourine-The-Dancing-Man.

The Orange

For this particular group I took a moment to lounge on the second story of the Curtain Club.  I quite liked listening to their music.  Still loud, a bit more yelling than I am used to, but hey!  Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Pantera, Slipknot and System of a Down did not make it big by themselves.  They had a following of scream loving, black t-shirt wearing metal heads.  Honestly I can’t think of a popular band to compare The Orange with, maybe it was the headache or maybe it is to their credit they are not easily boxed in…I’ll leave that to the readers and listeners discretion.  I will say this they are more like Incubus than any of the afore-mentioned heavy metal bands.

Before they took to the stage they hung out to the side of the pit close to backstage, where I happened to be.  I took a moment to carefully look them over.  Now close your eyes and imagine the Beatles in the sixties.  Just their clothes not their hair.  Yeah, that’s The Orange.  Mr. Tambourine-The-Dancing-Man sported a floral print tight button down.  Now that I’ve talked about their wardrobe more than their music I will move on.

Admiral Grey

Now…Admiral Grey.   Admiral Grey is straight up rock’n’roll.  I am now a fan of their songs “Nice Guy” & “Lose Control”.  I must say they have stage presence.  The lead singer is tall and easy on the eyes.   Their bassist is a stunning female, a long-haired head-banging brunette.  The lead guitarist is all that is suave.  The drummer…well he is a cross between a male model and a young Lars Ulrich or working on becoming the next Tommy Lee.  He thrashed, he sang along with the singer (albeit with no mic) and generally impressed the female audience with his physique.  Sex sells in a Steampunk audience too…especially in a Steampunk audience.  After all Steampunks are just fashionably posh nerds.

It was a hot, steamy, dirty, grimy evening and it was wonderful.  The Steampunks turned out in support of their favorite artists creating a carnivale of fancy and mysterium out of the otherwise normal Dallas Saturday night…actually I don’t know if I can call any Saturday night “normal” in Dallas.

Before the night got underway the city of Dallas literally did turn off the water of many of its citizens.  Oh what a dirty bunch of ‘punks there were.  Actually most of them looked like they had a bathe at some point before appearing in costume.  (I was much pleased by this.)

The last act that most of the Steampunks waited for was of course, Marquis of Vaudeville.  Their opening song was new and really, really good.  “Nightmare Machine” is one of their new songs, and I loved every second of it.

I was not alone in this.  I wish I could pen the detail of the smiling excited faces of my fellow top hat and facinator wearing crowd.  It was as though everyone turned into an excited child on Christmas morning, all giddy to open their gift.

Marquis of Vaudeville indeed did gift their fans Saturday night.

In the Steampunk community one usually finds incredibly elegant and well-mannered people.  Sure there are crusty sky pirates flying about, but there is still a level of respect they share.

The Marquis also exudes this level of elegance and well-bred manners.  Toby, the lead singer, is

Toby Lawhon of Marquis of Vaudeville & Miss. Fox

the epitome of a gentleman off the stage.

Saturday night he greeted me with a hug and a smile.  Just another reason I like the band’s music and the society of Steampunks.

I was thus saddened when my migraine reached epic proportions and I had to leave early (I was the designated driver, so it would not do to have the D.D. incapacitated further, when she was in need of operating a motor vehicle).  So I missed the Marquis second new song with a facinating and wonderful title “Bones of Knotwright Lane.”

If we are very, very lucky maybe they will post “Bones” on their Band Profile page for us to listen to.

For more information on the bands that played Saturday night please see the below links:

Admiral Grey

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Admiral-Grey/204951366205230?sk=app_2405167945

Marquis of Vaudeville

http://www.marquisofvaudeville.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marquis-of-Vaudeville/193405844056?sk=app_2405167945

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDHD-k0wrPk

The Orange

–I cannot find an online presence.  If anyone has any information please share the link on the comment section.

http://www.facebook.com/theorangeband

Midnight Carnival

–I, again, cannot find an online presence for them.  This saddens me, as I quite liked the Billy Idol/Vernian Process mix of a few of their songs.  If anyone has any information please do share.

http://www.facebook.com/midnightcarnivalmusic

UPDATE

Thanks to very helpful comments I was able to listen to more of Midnight Carnival’s music on their FB Band Page.

I am taken with “Dream”, “Familiar’s Call”, and especially “Reflections”.  These songs will have an appeal to Steampunk listeners.  For that matter, “Red Skies, Orange Horizons” will appeal too.

The timbre in Steven, the lead singer’s, voice sends chills down my spine when he reaches into his lower register.  Chills are good. Chills make me happy as a music listener.

I was also remiss in describing their stage presence.  They are one of the most energetic acts I have seen on stage.  I have not seen so much physical activity on stage since I saw Bono last fall hopping over railing on his 360 stage.

 

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Steampunk: MECHMANS MALICE

It is with great pleasure that I announce my intention to actively pursue publication of my Steampunk novel “Mechmans Malice”.

I have created a new page with a short summary and excerpt of the first chapter.

Let me know what you think.  Feedback is invaluable.

~ Elaine

 

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Steampunk: Musical Menagerie

This Saturday night music and Steampunk will come together once

Marquis

more to entertain the dirty Dallas masses.

Musical Menagerie is the lastest whimsy of our favorite local North Texas Steampunk bands.  There has been a lot of buzz comparing this latest brain child to the wildly successful Clockwork Wonderland that was presented earlier this year.

This is a little incorrect.

The Curtain Club hosted Clockwork Wonderland in January and was filled to and (during the evening) passed capacity.  Clockwork was a rollicking study of Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Circus life, vendors and art.  It was also considered a mini-con.

The Musical Menagerie has the expectation of simulating the same fancy and time out of time world.  Yet Saturday night will be without  the Circus Freaks troupe, the Steampunk & Deiselpunk models, and the elaborate staging of characters.

The Curtain Club are host to the headlining musical acts: Marquis of Vaudeville, Admiral Grey, The Orange and Midnight Carnival.

Musical Menagerie is all about the music.  They will have a few non-music acts that will appeal to the circus lovers in the crowd, but that is not its main focus.  New songs from the above mentioned bands will also be revealed Saturday night.

Shine your spats, dust off your top hat, make sure your gears are well oiled, because Saturday night will give plenty of opportunity to show off your Steampunk posh.

Basic Info:

When: Saturday Aug 20th

Doors @ 8:30pm

Where: THE CURTAIN CLUB

2800 Main St.

Dallas, TX
How Much:
$10 cover
$12 for under 21

17 and up show  

http://www.curtainclub.com/curtainclub.php

http://marquisofvaudeville.com/

 

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Hiatus Until August

This post is both happy and sad…and woefully overdue.  The Top Hat Exchange is on hiatus until August.

This is so full attention can be turned to the total completion and editing of AIRSHIP REVENANT: BOOK ONE (working title).

Please cross your fingers, rub a crystal ball, wave a magic wand, say a prayer, light a fire, bury a bead, braid your hair, rub a rock or whatever it is that you do for luck and remember me during the upcoming month.

Many Thanks and see you in August!

-Elaine Turner

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 5 July 2011 in publishing, query, steampunk, writing

 

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Steampunk: ÆtherFest Success

The first Steampunk convention of Texas was a wonderful success.  People from all over the United

AetherFest Group Picture

States came to participate in a uniquely intimate Steampunk Convention.

One of the events included a barrage of Steampunks on promenade to the Alamo.  It was a walk of two blocks.  Two fabulous blocks that Steampunks were able to show their personas to the world at large.  Two blocks of passers-by stopping and staring.  Two blocks of questions, and two blocks of people literally pulling their cars to the curb to take photos.

After the photographers from Penland Photography corralled the happy, and slightly giddy bunch of AetherFest Steampunks into order an official group photo was taken directly in front of the legendary Alamo.

For a moment the various tourists who where originally there to marvel over the historic site were sidetracked by the Neo-Victorian interlopers.  A sizable crowd of camera toting tourists gathered in front of the posed Steampunks and took their own pictures, both marveling and skeptical emotions playing on their faces.

After the photographs were completed the Emperor of the Red Fork Empire took a moment to

The Emperor

pontificate his mission which is, to put it simply, fighting the “dull”.  His voice rose, his arms gestured passionately as he stressed the importance of not letting the “dull” creep into our beings by using one’s innate creativity to fight it.

In a flash he whirled around and pointed with the “The Will of the People” at the “dull”. The tourists who stood before the Steampunk crowd, with their camera’s and fanny packs looked startled. Finally aware that they were indeed the Emperor’s subject matter.  “They are the dull!  Go speak to them…” He ordered, in which a few of the less bashful Steampunks did venture forth into the land of the “dull” to impress upon the confused tourists the art, mission and beauty of Steampunk.

The Emperor is a most affable and determined man.  He is determined to fight the “dull” and his humor and wit never lag while he seeks to pursue his mission. Not surprisingly his panel was a favorite with attendees, as well as The Peacemaker and Lucretia.  The Peacemaker and Lucretia flew from New York to be apart of the AetherFest experience.  Her panel on multiculturalism is a treasure trove of information for those who know only a smattering about cultural and historical affairs during the Victorian period.

Too soon the large group of Steampunks were heading back to the St. Anthony’s Hotel.  The

Peacock Alley

102 year old St. Anthony was the perfect backdrop for the event.  The convention go-ers did not look out of place at the St. Anthony’s…not many Steampunk’s can say that about their conventions.  Yet Pablo, Cameron and Jahmes, the chairmen and brains behind AetherFest have the vision and energy to know the St. Anthony would be the perfect place for Texas’s first Steampunk Convention.

The tenth floor (the top floor) was where convention HQ and most of the VIPs were kept.  It is also where the most haunted room in the hotel is reported to be.  The infamous room 1080.  The bathtub is rumored to fill with blood.  I asked the Airship who was staying in that room if that was actually the case.  The Celestial Rogues said they weren’t willing to take the chance…

It was soon obvious that Steampunk is something different and unique to past punk movements.

Cracked Monocle & the Gaming Room

The hotel staff and other guests at the hotel frequently commented on the polite and friendly mein of the Steampunks in attendance which encouraged further curiosity and made it easy to spread the knowledge of Steampunk.

The unique intimacy of this event came from the fact that the chairmen did not want numbers to exceed 500 attendees.  Unlike other events Steampunks were able to not just meet OM Grey, The Emperor, The Peacemaker and Lucretia and the other panel guests they were able to sit down and build a relationship with them.

Captain Cedric Whittaker of the Airship Isabella reclined in an overstuffed chair and waxed poetic on his vision of the future of Steampunk in the main thoroughfare of Peacock Alley.  There was no

Captain Whittaker & SCARS

pressure to move out of the way of surging crowds.  In fact Captains’ and crew of other Airships sprawled on the floor and relaxed on neighboring chairs and settees and bantered ideas of the emerging SCARS organisation. The atmosphere of the whole convention was one of relaxation and friendly community.

The nighttime entertainment did not disappoint.  Friday’s nights Opening Ceremonies kicked the Convention off with an Airship dinner on the roof of the hotel, meant to thank and promote active Airships.  One representative from each Airship at the dinner was encouraged to come on stage introduce themselves and their ship. Representatives from  Airship Nocturne, Isabella, Celestial Rogues, Eden Falls, Constantine, Bonny Reed, Aurora, Calypso and several more trekked to the stage in their Steam finery Friday evening.  More Airships showed up later that night and Saturday to take part in the convention.

The roof of the Hotel boasts a stage and large area for dining and dancing with a fabulous view of

Burlesque Performance

downtown San Antonio perfect for the musical entertainment that opened up the night.  Master Bones Jangle, and Addisyn Madd serenaded the crowd about Steam and the Sea before the Devil Bunnies Burlesque Troupe took the stage.  A mix of 21st century meets 19th century style performers riled up the crowd.  Their dances are an eclectic mix of traditional and neo-burlesque, just perfect for the AetherFest crowd.  The dinner and its entertainment wound down around 12:30 am.  Background music let guests mingle and chat on the rooftop for quite sometime.

Saturday nights performances were quite a treat.  Vaudeville Under The Stars is what the event was called in the schedule, and indeed it was just that.  Stars winked down on the Marquis of Vaudeville and the acts associated with them.  A fog machine and light show gave further ambiance to Poi spinning Steampunks and Flag twirling circus freaks in the crowd.  Hipnautica finished up the night with

Hipnautica

their new string of Steampunk inspired songs.  It was my first time hearing Hipnautica and I was pleasantly surprised.  They are self declared Dark World Elektronik, and I must admit I was a little curious how this would meld with the AetherFest vision.  It melded beautifully.  Their sound was the perfect follow up for the Marquis of Vaudeville. Hipnautica’s heavy electronic sound was wonderfully ethereal. The Steampunks had already had a day out of time, and Hipnautica was the nightcap.

People began to disperse as the music wound down.  For the ones who wanted, it was after party time.  Room 1040 was the hot spot.  Rum flowed freely, and people made merry.  Then security said it was getting too rowdy.  (Not surprising when three dozen Steampunks are crushed into one suite.)  The after party moved back to the roof and the treat of the night happened.  A completely acoustic, a completely raw moment under the stars with Master Bones Jangle and his band.  Steampunks stomped their feet and threw their partners around to the rhythm of the music. It was wonderful, it was muggy, and it was a completely happy moment for all.

Then I went to bed.

For anyone who participated in AetherFest and would like to share their experiences please leave your comments here and I will post them shortly.


Links to aforementioned:

http://www.hipnauticamusic.com/

http://www.marquisofvaudeville.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Bones-Jangle/376272973554

http://aetherfest.tumblr.com/

http://www.redforkempire.com/

http://beyondvictoriana.com/

http://crackedmonocle.com/

http://www.facebook.com/DevilBunnies?sk=info

http://penlandphotography.com/

Links to Airships:

http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Airship-Nocturne/100001245433495

http://airshipisabella.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Airship-Eden-Falls/100001426112948

http://www.facebook.com/people/Airship-Constantine/100002270356993

http://www.facebook.com/celestial.rogues

 

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