A Steampunk Nerd Assembly of Awesome
This past Memorial Day weekend, here in the U.S., I was with a very large assembly of amazing people. Amazing people who all love Steampunk. I personally don’t know how we legally got away with letting such a large group of nerds/geeks/enthusiasts from all over the World congregate in one place for four days, but I love it. I attended the 2011 World Steam Expo! This is the second year for the fledgeling exposition, and they did not disappoint. I also attended the first year and I like the progress they’re making. After getting the program and moving to wait in line for the Opening Ceremonies (you have to get in line early for these things, you know) my friend and I started to plan out our weekend. It should be noted that the Expo runs for four days, but I was only allowed to attend three.
The schedule was packed with many things to do and see. Panels galore with amazing presenters, an amazing Dealer’s room, bands to listen to and get autographs from, and the first traveling steampunk museum exhibit. The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation was set up in it’s very own room displaying the country’s first steampunk exhibit, Steampunk, Form & Function. Computers, projectors, even Flash Drives had a steampunk flair and function. I also can’t forget to mention Sparkticus. You rub his horn for good luck. I did. I think that’s how I was able to meet Steampunk Boba Fett and get a thumbs up, and he even called me sassy! I think that means he won’t kill me, at least right away.
My weekend was packed, but there were many things that I missed out on. But let’s not focus on that, let’s focus a little more on the presenters and panels that I saw. I encountered the International Anti-Piracy Squadron, or the IAPS, the most, there were very busy presenting panels, arresting poor unlawful souls, and drinking while telling salty tales. Salty tales of the sky, that is. Apart from the various fashion, etiquette, and grooming panels, my favorite had to be the Multiculturalism in Steampunk panel, co-presented by the wonderous G.D Falksen. Miss Kagashi of the Multiculturalism for Steampunk blog came dressed in her own Native American Steampunk outfit, and displaying her Turkish Steampunk outfit. I highly recommend looking up the entire Squadron, they are a hoot and a half, and full of really good information, if you can catch them at a good time when they’re not grappling with airship pirates.
I can’t leave out G.D. Falksen who is one of the most recognized faces of Steampunk. When he isn’t writing novels or serial stories, he’s helping to create of the first Steampunk MMO’s, AIR. I wrote up a review of the exclusive preview of the game and you can check it out over at the TCPS (To Continue Press Start) blog, here. The Vagabonds taught us about Steampunk in the media, and Gears, gadgets and doodads. The Royal Ladies’ & Gentlemens’ Experimental Madness Society talked to us about turning out wardrobe into everyday steampunk, and not just costumes, and talked to us about the sounds of steampunk, along with The Clockwork Dolls. I have so many bands and artists to check out now, and hopefully to add to my steampunk music collection. Ring of Steel showed us the art of the whip. (Note: If you had thought about wanting to meet me in real life, please dismiss that notion now, for after this panel/demonstration, I am now going to buy a whip, like Indiana Jones. Fear me.) Girl Genius, the webcomic and now novel, created by Prof.’s Phil and Kaja Foglio, know of it? Well they were there too! Here I’ll prove it with this picture. (Kaja said she liked my Obi belt.) Well, not only were they there but they did a couple of panels, and the Girl Genius Radio Plays! I remembered them from last year and endeavored to get to this this year, although I did sadly miss the auditions to become the narrator.
I seemed to have mentioned music and performers, and oh they had concerts and performers there. There was even comedy, from the likes of English comedians Andrew O’Neill and Marc Burrows, both from the band The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Hi.Lari. Ous. The wonderful bagpipe and drum band, Tartanic! I’ve seen/known them for almost three years now, I might have to have them play at my wedding now, they’re a bunch of wonderful hams. The gypsy band Frency and The Punk, formerly known as the Gypsy nomads. A very hilarious, very dirty and raunchy Irish band called The Bawdy Boys. They have several different shows, but they’re obvious specialty is the Dirty Show/Bawdy Boozer. They get drunk with you, and then sometimes they’ll sing for you, too. A couple of them went through two 6 packs of Guinness beer. They were easily vying for the top spot of favourite event of the expo, and they’re really fun to talk to, I got a picture and a button. And, of course, no steampunk event would be complete without Abney Park. I was almost at the end of the line waiting for them, but some how ended up near the very front of the mosh pit, getting some decent pictures. They put on a great show, and had a sesnse of humour, joking about an “act of God” clause in their contract in response to the tornado that happened 40 miles away. Speaking of mosh pits, steampunk mosh pits are some of the most polite pits you’ll find. We’ll knock you down, but we’ll help you right back up before knocking you down again. Quite good fun. There were more bands and performers there, I just wasn’t able to see them all.
There are two performances that I’ve left out, one of them Very important. Some of the bands performed at The Midnight Carnival, and Pop Hayden was there! A man not born in this century, but he came here with his magic and his medicinal wares, and generously shared this with everyone. And then, my personal favourite of the weekend, Miss Hayley Jane of Tick Tock Tease, an amazing, young, burlesque performer. She gave a panel about burlesque and then performed with the Bawdy Boys, and on her own, complete with wardrobe malfunction! For someone so young, she is really accomplished and talented.
That was just a little taste of what’s at the World Steam Expo, and even I had a hard time making up my mind about which panels and performances to go see. I was having nerdgasms at the amount of awesome was there this year, and the fact that I got to show off some more of my costumes, this year a slightly Japanese inspired steampunk bounty hunter named Sakura “Saki” Kade. (I got some Really nice service at the registration desk because my named had alcohol in it. 😀 ) I can’t recommend and encourage everyone to attend this expo more. i had more fun here than I had at Gen Con last year, and I think that’s saying something, this expo pulls in a couple thousand because of a smaller venue, The Hyatt. It really is amazing, and I’m already planning a costume theme for next year; Steampunk-ed Video Game Characters. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make some waistcoats and design some skirts and pants, I’m moving into a steampunk lifestyle.
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