Steampunk Digest - May 25, 2018
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
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The Hampton History Museum in Hampton, Virginia, is hosting ”Steampunk: Visions of Futures Past,” an “Exposition of Marvels” scheduled for June 2 and 3 as part of the 19th annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival. Organized by Hatton Cross Steampunk of Gloucester, Virginia, the event will feature the work of Dave Lee, Michael Parodi and other artists. The program also includes splendid teapot racing, author appearances and the “quirkadelic” music of Uglyography. Admission on both days is free.
A Saturday evening celebration will feature performances by Tornado Bait and Mosquito Cabaret as well as “the fabulous steampunk-pirate themed dance performance by Aela Badiana and Wicked Hips (USA).” Tickets for the evening event cost $10.
Local TV station WVEC has a report about the exposition that includes an interview with Suzanne and Michael Parodi (in costume, of course). Organizers of steampunk events should take note: Visuals like these are irresistible to TV producers (especially in smaller markets), and TV appearances are a great opportunity to present steampunk to the masses.
Inside The Magic, a website devoted to theme parks and other entertainment experiences, has a lengthy report about the Nautilus, offering “a deeper dive into Jules Verne’s iconic submarine.” It takes the reader from Verne’s inspiration for the Nautilus through Disney’s 1954 adaptation of “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” and later appearances of the vessel. The story notes that “master model builder” Scott Brodeen, known for his re-creations of the Nautilus, will be a guest at the Gaslight Steampunk Expo, October 5-7 in San Diego.
Shown here is one of Brodeen’s models as seen at Clockwork Alchemy in 2017.
Micropsia Games has released The Watchmaker, a “steampunk puzzle-adventure game” for the PC. Players take on the role of Alexander, who has spent years repairing and maintaining a clock tower. One day, he’s warned that an unknown being has sabotaged the tower, and “time has gone mad. Consequently, Alexander starts aging abnormally quickly, leaving him only a handful of time to repair the damage.”
The game gets a mixed review from James Paley of Cog Connected. “I’m enchanted by this game’s central conceit, though the execution leaves me somewhat dissatisfied,” he writes. “Knowing that you’re minutes away from expiration puts you on edge, so to speak. This leads to stupid mistakes, which you truly can’t afford when playing a puzzle game with such nebulous boundaries and win conditions.”
C.O.G.S. Expo lives on. The volunteers behind C.O.G.S. Expo in Piscataway, New Jersey, have established a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to produce future events. As our readers will recall, the expo was held May 4-6 and replaced the ill-fated Steampunk World’s Fair. The organizers have posted a poll asking community members to vote for one of two weekends to hold a 2019 event: May 3-5 or May 17-19. The poll was posted on May 23 and runs for four days. Learn more on their Facebook page.
Curious Characters. Steampunks in North Jersey and surrounding areas have until June 20 to visit “A Cache of Kinetic Art: Curious Characters,” an exhibition of kinetic art at the Morris Museum in Morristown. The museum is noted for the Guinness Collection of Mechanical Music & Automata, and the juried exhibition features contemporary works related to the collection. The first in a four-year exhibition series, this one focuses on “distinctive figural forms, from traditional to abstract.” The museum website includes videos, and you can read a story about the exhibition in Antiques and the Arts Weekly.
The museum recently hosted AutomataCon, a three-day convention for “automaton makers, collectors, and enthusiasts.”
The San Diego Automotive Museum plans a June 8th opening for ”Steampunk with a Retro Twist,” an exhibition slated to run through Oct. 7. It will include steampunk vehicles, movie props, and even a time machine. The opening reception takes place June 21 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The museum is located at 2080 Pan American Plaza in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Correction: We previously reported that The Whirlygig by Tom Sepe would be among the vehicles in the exhibition. We have been informed that it will not be featured there.
Steampunk St. Louis has a report and photo gallery about a field trip to Hermann, Missouri. “As with all adventures, treasures and oddities awaited us,” writes Lord Naipo D’Mort. “As we invaded the quaint little ships, we were able to secure much needed supplies and additions for our Airship that was currently in drydock back at home awaiting repairs and retrofittings.” Much of the town is designated as a national historic district, with buildings constructed between 1838 and 1910.
Steampunk Ballet. Yes, that’s now a thing as a dance company in Las Cruces, New Mexico will present “The Persistence of Air: A Steampunk Ballet” on Sunday, May 27, at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts. Quoting from a press release, the Las Cruces Bulletin informs us that the one-act ballet is about “a post-apocalyptic culture in which mystic inventor Ada has harnessed the power of the elemental being Air to bring her automata to the brink of a human-like existence. She is opposed in her quest to perfect these beings by her nemesis, Eremus. The mortal struggle between these two ultimately leads to a new beginning for the automata, symbolically captured in a beautiful closing pas de deux.” Read about it here.
Steampunk Station. The Hartford Courant has a brief story and slide show about a steampunk event held May 3 at a shopping center in Glastonbury, Connecticut. “The retro-futuristic event (inspired by aesthetic designs and technology from the 19th century) featured artisans, musicians, and costumed characters, and attracted steampunk fans - as well as several members of photography clubs,” the paper reports. Be sure to check out Photo No. 7 with “Captain Pekoe” and his tea-brewing backpack.
Turned on to steampunk. “I’ve been a fan of science fiction virtually all my life,” writes Frank Pieper of The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois. “But I never realized it had a precisely defined subgenre — known as ‘steampunk’ — with its own fanatical following,” until he was enlightened by the paper’s theater critic. He informs his readers about a screening of the steampunk documentary “Vintage Tomorrows,” in advance of Cogs & Corsets, the “Steampunk Happening” scheduled for June 1-3 in nearby Bloomington.
Now he appears to be a convert. “Do-it-yourself gadgetry and oversized, overtechnical headgear make terrific fashion accessories and a definite ‘I’m not from around here’ personal statement in whatever alternate reality one happens to find one’s self in,” he writes. “That, and the cool of geekiness is timeless. Rock on, steampunkers!” Read it here (the steampunk part is about halfway down). If you haven’t done so already, see our own report about Cogs & Corsets.
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