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Tag Archives: Neo-Victorian

Steampunk: Four Winds Faire Oct 8th

The Knights & Ladies of the Four Winds Renaissance Faire journey into the Aether glimpsing airships and sky pirates along the way for a Steampunk Extravaganza.

The year: 1881.

The place: The infamous Wild, Wild, West.

Gambling, wenching, and brawling meet you as you enter a brass and goggle haven.  Tighten your corsets, adjust your top hats, shine your boots, you are about to walk into a page of the future-past that never was.

Join the Victorian Time Benders, the première Steampunk vendors in the region for fabulous Neo-Victorian wares. The Darwin Prophet will make a stop in their travels to fill your ears with an aural exhibition straight from the Aether. Steampunk Multiculturalism will be in full effect as wonderful Native American arts and crafts will be for purchase.

The Wild, Wild West Steampunk Extravaganza will be teeming with activities, crafts, and fun games for children and the whole family.  Musicians, dancers, comedy and stage performances will attract the eye and tickle the funny bone.

Feast on exotic food and drinks delivered directly via dirigible on this fantastical weekend.  The Four Winds cast will take you on a Steampunk Wild Wild West Adventure like you have never experienced before!

For more info:

http://www.fourwindsfaire.com/


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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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Steampunk: Christmas Humbuggery

Christmas is here!  Although if anyone is like me you will find yourself

Victorian Christmas Tree

occasionally bored, or feeling a bit of the humbuggery of it all.  To stave off these Scrooge-like tendencies I have listed some fun (or interesting) traditional Victorian activities that can easily be incorporated with a Steampunk theme.

Traditional Crafts:

Dough Ornaments:

You need: 3 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of salt, 3/4 teaspoon powdered alum, 1-1/4 cups waterMix all ingredients together (dough will be stiff).  Knead until smooth. Dust flour on rolling pin and roll dough on large board. Use cookie cutters for desired shapes.  Make a small hole in the top of cookie for hanging ornament. Bake and set until hardened.Now you can paint designs on them. When dry, insert ribbon, or string through hole and hang on tree for your viewing pleasure.

Pine Cone Trees

Take a pine cone and glue wide part to a cardboard (or otherwise sturdy) base. Then glue tiny beads and buttons on to its petals (glitter or sequins would also work). Create a star, paint in gold or whichever color you desire and glue to the top.  In the case of Steampunk, a fashionable top hat or cog would not go amiss as a pine cone topper.

Dresdens

Dresden

Dresdens are ornaments which appear “metal-like”, but are made of cardboard painted in metallic colors of silver, gold and copper.  Create a pattern of your choice or

http://logicmgmt.com/1876/xmas/patterns.htm

for very simplistic patterns for beginners or children.  Cookie cutters are also good for this purpose.  When the pattern is traced, cut it out and punch a small hole to thread ribbon through, then paint.

Sticky Popcorn

You need: 8 cups of popcorn (popped over the fire if possible) 1 stick of butter, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup (a better health choice substitute to corn syrup is golden syrup)Mix sugar, butter and syrup in a bowl.  Heat to boiling.  Boil for two minutes and remove from heat and stir.  Pour over the popcorn and mix well, then enjoy (after letting it cool for a moment or two).

Now moving on to other fun alternatives to Christmas Eve boredom.

 
Traditional Parlour Games:

 

Lookabout

The host shows guests a knick-knack in the room.  All guests are to leave while the host hides it. When guest come back they look until they find it.  Then as each person finds it they sit back down.  The last one to sit loses (or has to be it).  The game becomes more difficult/fun when guests loiter about beore sitting back down.

You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile

One person is it.  They are the only one who is allowed to smile.  They can do anything to get the other guests to smile.  The person who never cracks a smile is declared the winner.  (Just think of all the ridiculous antics that could be involved!)

Blindman’s Bluff

Blindmans Bluff

One person is blindfolded, and all other guests scatter around the room. When the blindfoled person catches someone, they have to guess correctly who they are.  If they guess correctly, the blindfold then changes hands.  If not they continue until they are correct.

Change Seats!

This is a variation on a Victorian game, but a warning to those attempting this one, clear the room of precious little decorations, it can wild!  All but one person sits in a chair. The person in the middle asks someone in the circle “Do you love your neighbor?” The person selected then has to state either “No.” at which point the people in the chairs on each side of him/her have to change seats QUICKLY. If they aren’t quick enough, the person in the middle may slip into one of the vacated seats, making the unseated neighbor it. The chosen person may instead answer, “Yes, I love my neighbor, except those who (fill in the blank….are wearing blue, or have brown hair, or play tennis, etc) Everyone who fits the description (ie is wearing red for example) has to jump up and change seats, while the person in the middle tries to steal one. The person left standing has to ask another person if he/she loves his/her neighbor, beginning a new round.

Charades

A classic Victorian game with which most people are already quite familiar.

Pass the Slipper

Make a circle, pick a guest and put them in the middle (they are it).  Take an object, the “slipper.” They must close their eyes while the “slipper” is passed from person to person behind their backs. When the ‘it’ guests opens his/her eyes, the slipper stops and he/she must guess who holds the “slipper.” If he/she is correct, they trade places. If wrong, they close their eyes and passing begins again.ForfeitsChoose one person to leave the room, the ‘actioneer’.  The other guests must “forfeit” a special item that belongs to them.  All items are placed in the center of the room and then the auctioneer is brought back in. He/she picks up an item and tries to describe it as one would an item about to be sold.  In order not to forfeit the item, the owner must confess to owning it and do something amusing/embarrassing to win back the item (sing, dance, do an imitation, recitation, a joke, etc.)

I’m Thinking of Something

One person picks something and commits it to memory (Airships, tophat, an item in the room). They do not tell what this item is but they say, for example, “I’m thinking of something large.” The guests are then allowed to ask yes or no questions. “Is it a building?” “No” “Is it an animal” “No.” “Is it a vehicle?” “Yes.” “Is it on the ground?” “No” and so on until one person guesses the item correctly.  If the person guesses incorrectly the game still ends and the wrong person must chose a new somtething.  Players should never guess until they are completely sure they know the answer.

Now that your head if spinning from the different parlour game choices one more classic Victorian tradition that cannot be overlooked…

Caroling. (My personal favorite.)

Carolers

Traditional Victorian Carols with Lyrics and music samples can be found here:

http://www.carols.org.uk/

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from your friendly Scrooge.

 

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Steampunk Defined

Jules Verne

Image via Wikipedia

Just a moment ago I was asked “What the hell is steampunk?”

A fabulously legitimate question, what the hell indeed.

Wikipedia defines it wonderfully:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes fictional works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, often featuring futuristic technology as the people of this historical period would have envisioned it to look like, i.e. based on a Victorian perspective on fashionculturearchitectural styleart, etc. This technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer, but occurring at an earlier date.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” for such technology as dirigiblesanalog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such asCharles Babbage‘s Analytical engine).”

Thank you Damon for your question.  You can visit Damon at his own wordpress blog and view his new writings at:  beatofmyowndrum.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on 19 August 2010 in steampunk, writing

 

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