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Steampunk Digest - February 26, 2021

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

Friday, February 26, 2021
Steampunk Monitor

The steampunk event calendar for the next several months looks much like it did last year, with many gatherings postponed or canceled and online events taking their place. With this is mind, we’ve updated our listing of virtual events.

Highlights for March include:

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention Online, March 5-6, with a host of steampunk makers and cosplayers.

LitCon 2021, March 5-7, with steampunk authors Phoebe Darqueling, Karen J. Carlisle, and Ged Maybury.

Brass Ring 2021 Escape Room Event, March 20, a fundraiser for the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, Connecticut.

Green Fairy Party, March 20, from the organizers of C.O.G.S. Expo.

Meanwhile, two of the larger pop culture conventions in the U.S. have called it quits for 2021, at least as in-person gatherings. Phoenix Fan Fusion (formerly Phoenix Comicon), originally scheduled for May 28-30, has been postponed to Jan. 14-16, 2022. WonderCon, slated for March 26-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center, has been canceled for this year, but in its place the organizers will host [email protected], a virtual event.

WonderCon is presented by the producers of Comic-Con International, which, at least for now, is still on for July 22-25 at the San Diego Convention Center.

MegaCon Orlando, another large convention typically held in spring, has been pushed back this year to Aug 12-15.

Though the steampunk calendar looks bare over the next several months, some folks are planning in-person events. On April 25, Oddball Newt will present the Stupid Covid Steampunk Ball, described as a “socially distanced soiree” with “dancing, vending, live music and panels.” Frenchy and the Punk are slated to perform. The venue is Pie Hops, a gastropub in Norwich, Connecticut. The event is “Covid permitting,” so check the Facebook page for updates.

Frenchy and the Punk are also on the bill at the inaugural Rock N Roll Steampunk Fair in Washington, New Jersey. They’ll be joined by two other bands, This Complete Breakfast and This Way to the Egress. Scheduled for May 8, the event will take place in the borough’s downtown. It’s presented by the Washington Business Improvement District, a local nonprofit. The organizers are still accepting vendors.

That’s the same day the Watch City Steampunk Festival was set to take place in Waltham, Massachusetts. As we reported previously, the festival was canceled, but the organizers are planning an online event.

In the UK, the Raising Steam Festival 2.1 is set for May 7-9 at the Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club in Worcestershire. It’s described as a steampunk/alternative music festival with traders and other activities. Attendance is limited to 500, and that may be reduced due to Covid restrictions.

Scott Helland, the “punk” in Frenchy and the Punk, has released “Perry Mason Exoneration,” the second music video from his forthcoming Guitarmy of One solo album The Spy Detective Collective. As we’ve reported, the album is a homage to spy and detective shows of the 60s and 70s.

“In those shows, there always seemed to be one standout person to carry the story, and I like the self-sufficiency of that,” he says. “After playing in bands for so many years, I love the idea of getting it all done by yourself. So there is some weird parallel between how I present this solo music and the spy woman or man doing the same in their field.”

Related: Guitarmy Of One Releases New Music Video For “Perry Mason Exoneration’ (Vents Magazine)

Abney Park is planning a March 6 live streaming concert to celebrate the release of the band’s latest album, Technoshanties. It’s described as “a collection of sea shanties, in Abney Park signature sound.”

For US $15, you can purchase a streaming concert ticket, autographed CD, album download, or concert download. For $100, you can purchase an all-access VIP ticket that includes the concert, CD, and access to a “seedy and disreputable” Drunken Pirate after-party.

The main concert is set for 6 p.m. Pacific time. You can pre-order the album or purchase concert tickets via Indiegogo.

Netflix has released a trailer for The Irregulars, a new eight-episode series that offers yet another twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. In this one, Holmes and Watson are sinister figures who task the Baker Street Irregulars with solving supernatural crimes.

“Sherlock Holmes had a group of street kids he’d use to help him gather clues, so our series is what if Sherlock was a drug addict and a delinquent and the kids solve the whole case whilst he takes credit,” explained creator Tom Bidwell in a BBC interview. “It’s my dream project and my oldest idea.” Bidwell’s writing credits also include the 2018 BBC/Netflix adaptation of Watership Down.

The series stars Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Holmes, Royce Pierreson as Watson, Clarke Peters (The Wire) as “Linen Man,” and Thaddea Graham as Bea, leader of the Irregulars. It’s set to premiere March 26.

Fry's Montage
Fry’s Electronics locations in Roseville (left) and City of Industry. Photos by Paul Sullivan (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr.

It’s the sad end of an era as Fry’s Electronics announced Feb. 24 that it’s closing all its stores permanently. The big-box chain, which operated primarily in California and Texas, was known for its vast retail spaces, quirky product selection, and unique theming of many locations.

The Roseville, California store near Sacramento had a railroad theme, whereas the City of Industry location near Los Angeles had a design inspired by the Industrial Revolution. The Burbank store had a 1950s science fiction theme, complete with a flying saucer crashed into the entrance plus an alien octopus, giant ant, and the robot Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still. The Woodland Hills store, also near L.A., took its inspiration from Alice in Wonderland.

Founded in 1985 in Sunnyvale, California, Fry’s was billed as “The One-Stop Shop for the Silicon Valley Professional,” with a product mix that included computer parts, technical books, and snack foods. In a statement on its website, the company said the closure was due to “changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Game developer CMON is on Kickstarter with Zombicide: Undead or Alive, a new addition to its popular Zombicide board game series. This one is set in the Wild West. “There’s a million ways to die in the West, but now nobody seems to want to stay dead,” the developer writes.

A “Dead West Pledge” of $100 or more will get you the base version of the game with 88 figures and 133 cards. But you can also make a $140 “Steampunk Pledge” that adds the Zombicide: Gears & Guns expansion with 11 figures, 176 cards and six “steam dice.” The games are set to ship in March 2022.

The campaign launched Feb. 17 and met its US $150,000 fundraising goal in 15 minutes. As of Wednesday night, it had raised more than $1.4 million. It runs through March 10. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Spielworxx GmbH of Billerbeck, Germany is on Kickstarter with Tharos, a dual-language (English and German) tabletop game with a steampunk setting. Designed for two to four players, it’s a “Dice-Bag-Building” game, “where dice represent actions and their respective strengths,” the developer explains.

Here’s the story: “Decades ago, the four influential steam guilds Power & Torsion, Cogwheel Trust, Crystal & Ore and Future Horizon started to exploit the planet Tharos. Now it is necessary to open up a new region! In doing so, the bustling guilds both have an eye on the other guilds and the dreaded Circumdate Caelo Trust, which also lays claim to this region and does not shy away from using military means.”

The campaign launched Feb. 19 and met its €17,500 (US $21,308) goal the next day. It runs through March 6. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

Steampunk penguin sculpture nets $20K in New Zealand charity auction (Stuff)

A Victorian home was moved in SF today. Here’s how it looked. (SFGate)

Watch this time lapse video of a Victorian house cruising through San Francisco (Boing Boing)

The Infamous “Great Moon Hoax” Of 1835 Is As Weird As It Sounds (IFL Science)

For newsman, Big River Steampunk Festival brought back memories of this machine (The Kansas City Star)

Art Deco among top antique trends, but what about steampunk? (Antique Trader)

Mask force: London’s five centuries of face coverings (BBC)

6 Fiction Books To Read For Fashion Inspiration (College Candy)

My Travels: A conversation with steampunk/fantasy artist Shanda Fuller (Alaska Highway News)

Tesla, Edison and a surprise character make appearance in new Doctor Who comic (contains spoiler) (CBR)

The Ghibli lover’s guide to Tokyo (Time Out)

Studio Ghibli’s 10 Best Female Characters, Ranked (CBR)

Disenchantment: How Maru’s Threat Faded Away (contains spoilers) (CBR)

Jeffrey Reddick & Rainshine Talk Young Captain Nemo (Bleeding Cool)

Ships of the Northern Fleet: 5 Best Episodes from the Steampunk TikTok “TV Series” (Den of Geek)

17 brilliant paintings of an alternate 1920s with mechs, bears and wolves (Pocket-lint)

Survival RPG Sunless Sea Free Next Week On The Epic Games Store (The Gamer)

Steampunk brew among 21 special releases for Ontario brewery (The London Free Press)

Steampunk-themed bar in Tanjong Pagar serves fried chicken sandwich, Pei Pa Kao cocktail & more (Mothership)

Rails Bar and Lounge at Tanjong Pagar Serves Adventurous Cocktails and Fried Chicken (Singapore Tatler)

Tesla monument eyed for Buffalo-area park (Niagara Gazette)

Nikola Tesla fans plan public art piece in Gratwick-Riverside Park (The Buffalo News)

Nikola Tesla’s Most Important and Overlooked Inventions (Interesting Engineering)

Six literary pilgrimages in the UK to plan for (I News)

Pierre Cardin’s Retro-Futuristic Bubble Palace in Cannes Is On the Market (Dwell)

SyFy Bartow Brings In The Bots For Eighth Year (The Daily Ridge)

Gov. Wolf: “Nellie Bly Scholarship Program will help at least 44,000 PASSHE students afford college” (ABC 27 News)

From balls to Bridgerton: a brief history of debutantes and the social season (History Extra)

Hidden ‘madman’ message on ‘The Scream’ traced back to Munch himself (Live Science)

Scans Reveal Hidden Message In The Scream Was Written By The Artist Himself (IFL Science)

Vampire squid fossil ‘lost’ during the Hungarian Revolution rediscovered (Live Science)

Oldest Cave Art In Australia Has Been Found And - Of Course - It’s A Kangaroo (IFL Science)

Point Nemo: The Spacecraft Cemetery (Ripley’s)

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