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Steampunk Digest - May 5, 2018

Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Steampunk Digest brings you news and other info from around the web. Click here or use the Newsletter Signup form to receive it by email. You'll be taken to a form in MailChimp. The email version also includes summaries of recent stories posted on The Steampunk Explorer.

Larry Harvey

RIP, Larry Harvey. We're sad to report that the founder of Burning Man and "Chief Philosophical Officer" of Burning Man Project passed away on Saturday, April 28, after suffering a stroke. He was 70.

What began in the 1980s as an informal gathering in San Francisco grew into a cultural phenomenon that now draws 70,000 people to Nevada's Black Rock Desert each Labor Day weekend.

Burning Man has had a huge influence on steampunk culture, as it's been a showcase for iconic projects such as the Steampunk Treehouse, Neverwas Haul, and Nautilus Submarine Art Car. Shown above is "Coyote," a 25-foot-tall kinetic sculpture from 2013. Read the story on SFGate.com and the tribute to Harvey at Burning Man Project.

Photo credits: Coyote by Jennifer Morrow from San Francisco [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Larry Harvey by Akatimr [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons.

Steampunk Guru. The Springfield (Mass.) Republican recently interviewed Bruce Rosenbaum of steampunk design company ModVic. With his wife Melanie, he designed what's described as the world's "first functional Steampunk house." He's been dubbed the "Steampunk Guru" by The Wall Street Journal and "Steampunk Evangelist" by Wired.

Now he's working with local community leaders in Palmer, Massachusetts to create a steampunk makerspace, festival and maker fair. "Rosenbaum is also working with area schools to create a program where high school students can work on steampunk projects, combining STEM skills with the trades, like welding, woodwork and electronics, as well as with art," the story states. The idea is that students will find objects at the annual Brimfield Antique Shows and then turn them into steampunk creations.

The story includes photos from his home and workspace, a converted church originally built in 1876. Read about it here.

The Steampunk Tribune reports on yet another Rosenbaum project. "Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure" is a traveling exhibit that debuts May 11 at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls. The exhibit has seven galleries, three devoted to authors (Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells) and four to inventors (Isaac Singer, Thomas Blanchard, George Eastman, and Jan Matzeliger). Each includes a "humachine" sculpture created by Rosenbaum. He conceived the exhibit in collaboration with Imagine Exhibitions. It's set to run at the Idaho museum until January 6, 2019, and then will tour additional locations. Learn more at the museum's website.

Frenchy and the Punk, the musical duo popular at steampunk events, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for "Hooray Beret," a new full-length album. As of May 4, they had raised $7385 toward the $9500 goal, with 19 days to go. Rewards include T-shirts, tea towels, finger puppets and copies of the recording in various formats. Funds will cover studio costs in addition to the rewards and Kickstarter expenses. Funds raised over the goal will go toward promoting the album. See their website for more info.

Army of Brass is a new collaborative steampunk novel featuring contributions from 21 writers. The project, begun in 2016, was led by Phoebe Darqueling of Steampunk Journal. Released on April 27, it's available on Amazon in e-book form for 99 cents.

Bodacious Dice

Kickstarter Dice. Last week, we told you about Jonathan Fesmire's Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate, the sequel to Bodacious Creed, a Steampunk Zombie Western. Since then, he's shared with us photos of a six-sided dice add-on. They can be yours if you increase your pledge by $10 (plus shipping costs). A base pledge of $25 is required. He promises that the dice are not loaded, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your outlook.

A $120 pledge still gets you a chance to be a character in the novel. He had allotted three slots for guest characters, and one remains.

Michigan Radio recently interviewed Flint, Michigan, steampunk jewelry designer Heather Wright about her work. "I use a lot of antique clockworks, meaning gears, mostly brass, and parts of pocket watches and wrist watches, anything I can find that’s of a certain age," she said. Her workspace is "kind of a mess here because it helps me think about what I want to make. . . I’ll be working on five or six pieces at a time and it just helps me to think a little bit more about what I want to do." She does business as Scared Crow Steamworks.

Steampunk dance in Houston. The Houston Chronicle's "ArtFeel" column profiles dance instructor, costume designer and former magician's assistant Betz DeMonico. She leads the dance department at The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, Texas, and her students (grades 6-12) are set to present a steampunk-themed performance, May 11-13 at the Glenn Performing Arts Center.

The columnist saw a previous performance by the students, and "I had to repeatedly remind myself I wasn’t watching a professional adult dance company. . . This year, DeMonico will 'Steampunk' her dancers into retro-future Victorian attire as they perform a Cirque du Soleil-style show." Get the details here.

Steampunk at the Station: The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden (near Denver) is hosting this one-day steampunk event on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include music, educational presentations, artists, merchants, tea dueling and rides in a steam-powered train. Steampunks are invited to arrive in costume and pose for photos. Get the details here.