- City Guides
A “Return to Vulcania” in San Diego
Much of the programming at the Gaslight Steampunk Expo will have a Pan-Pacific focus
Thursday, September 27, 2018
“Return to Vulcania” will be the theme as the Gaslight Steampunk Expo returns to San Diego, October 5-7, 2018, at the Town & Country Resort Hotel. Film buffs will recall that Vulcania was the secret island hideout of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus in Walt Disney’s 1954 adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Programming at the event will feature a steampunk take “on Pan-Pacific cultures including Hawaii and Polynesia, hence the tongue in cheek of Tiki-punk,” says chairperson Anastasia Hunter.
Guests of honor include author James P. Blaylock, model maker Scott Brodeen, and prop builder John Harrington. Blaylock was one of the pioneers of literary steampunk in the 1970s and 80s along with Tim Powers and K.W. Jeter. Brodeen is known for his realistic models of the Nautilus from the Disney film. Harrington’s work includes a Steampunk Martian Space Suit.
Other guests include time-traveling tea aficionado Madame Askew; maker Richard Ingalls (known for his Victorian Time Machine); and authors Jaymee Goh, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, David Lee Summers, and Vernor Vinge.
The convention program includes a fashion show, book signings, film screenings, tea dueling, teapot racing, maker workshops, and discussions about various aspects of steampunk and Victorian culture.
Brodeen and Harrington will present a session on the “Resurgency of Practical Effects and Real Props in Hollywood.” In addition, Harrington will discuss his Victorian spacesuit, and Brodeen will lead several sessions related to Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. These include a film screening in which he will offer live commentary.
A “Silk & Coconuts” session will explore ways to blend Asian and Polynesian styles into steampunk costumes. Goh will lead a “Steampunk Around the World: Beyond Victoriana” presentation focusing on multicultural steampunk. She’s the co-editor of The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia. Along with Madame Askew, she’ll also take part in a discussion of social issues in steampunk.
About 30 vendors of steampunk-related products and services are slated to attend. A “Steamy Swap Meet” on Saturday morning will allow guests to “barter, trade, and sell their gently used costumes and accessories.”
On October 4, the day before the convention opens, the organizers will lead trips to the Birch Aquarium, San Diego Automotive Museum and Bali Hai tiki bar and restaurant. The automotive museum is hosting the “Steampunk with a Retro Twist” exhibition, which runs through Oct. 7 (see our previous coverage).
Tickets cost $55 for a three-day weekend pass, or $45 for educators, military, seniors (55 or older), students, and young adults (13-17). Day passes are also available.
The hotel is located at 500 Hotel Circle N, San Diego, CA 92108.
Gaslight Steampunk Expo is not to be confused with Gaslight Gathering, a separate steampunk convention scheduled for April 12-14, 2019, at San Diego’s Handlery Hotel.
Photos of Scott Brodeen and John Harrington used by permission of Gaslight Steampunk Expo.
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