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Steampunk Digest - June 7, 2019

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

Steampunk Digest brings you news and other info from around the web. Sign up to get it by email before it's posted on the website. The email version also includes summaries of recent stories posted on The Steampunk Explorer.

Amazon Studios has set an August 30 release — and posted a teaser trailer — for Carnival Row, a Prime Video series set in a Victorian fantasy world. It stars Orlando Bloom as Rycroft Philostrate, a human detective investigating a series of killings in a “dark futuristic Victorian city” populated by “mythological immigrant creatures whose rich homelands were invaded by the empires of man.” He has rekindled a dangerous affair with Vignette Stonemoss, a winged refugee faery portrayed by Cara Delevingne.

The series has received lots of attention in the entertainment media, with write-ups in TV Guide, Deadline, IndieWire, and The Hollywood Reporter among others. You can view the trailer (all 24 seconds of it) on Amazon.com. The series also has a Facebook page.

Steampunk Water Maze

South Gippsland Water in Victoria, Australia has unveiled the “Steampunk Water Maze,” a public sculpture in the town of Foster that doubles as a water fountain. Made by local artist David Bell, it uses interactive elements such as valves and levers to present an unsolvable puzzle. Some of the vintage components were salvaged from decommissioned water treatment plants.

Raising the Rattler Pole: The Last of the Connies

The project’s cost was roughly the same as the price tag for a standard stainless steel fountain, says managing director Philippe du Plessis. The fountain can accommodate the hydration needs of humans as well as their canine companions.

Foster is in a rural area of Victoria about 174 km (108 miles) southeast of Melbourne.

Bell is also the artist behind “Raising the Rattler Pole: The Last of the Connies” in Melbourne. The full-size replica of a W Class “Rattler” Tram is planted on its front end, towering 10 meters (about 33 feet) into the sky.

Photos courtesy David Bell.

The Steampunk NZ festival took place last weekend in Oamaru, New Zealand, and one couple used the occasion to stage their wedding. Debbie Bradley and Anthony John McCormick of Christchurch led Saturday’s Steampunk Parade, participated in the festival’s opening ceremony, and then tied the knot at Loan & Merc, a local event venue. In attendance: “40 friends and family, curious steampunks and an assortment of cameras, including a television crew from Australia covering the wedding,” reports Hamish MacLean in the Otago Daily Times.

The reporter also spoke with festival participant Kat Douglas, who joined the parade in a mobility scooter converted into a giant brass teapot. The story includes a photo gallery.

Black Monarch - Nikola Tesla Room

It was a brothel and casino in the late 19th century, when a Gold Rush drew thousands to the mining town of Victor, Colorado. But now, the Black Monarch is undergoing a transformation into a Gothic/Victorian-style hotel, restaurant and event space — one that’s allegedly haunted. The hotel opened in May with two rooms named after serial killers — H.H. Holmes and Elizabeth Bathory — and one in honor of Nikola Tesla (shown above), who moved to Colorado in 1899. The rooms feature quirky décor, including taxidermy, historical prints, and antiques.

Owner Adam Zimmerli has ambitious renovation plans and is currently seeking to raise $40,000 on Indiegogo. His wish list includes new rooms, a bar, retail space, and a live music venue. He’d also like to “throw decadent parties, like an annual Halloween ball,” and “create a secret society and community hub.”

As for ghosts? “Guests have reported waking in the night to the sounds of women laughing and men shouting,” states the Indiegogo page, “only to find the next day they were the only people staying in building.”

Rooms are available on Airbnb at rates ranging from $64 to $96 per night. The town (pop. 403) is about 50 miles southwest of Colorado Springs. In its heyday around 1899, it had about 18,000 residents.

Photo by Ammar Saadiq.

Tucson is the site of the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention, one of the largest paid steampunk events in the U.S. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the local ballet company has drawn inspiration from the genre. Ballet Tucson announced that its 2019-20 season will include steampunk-themed performances of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson tale. The first performance will be part of an opening night “Halloween Steampunk Gala” on Oct. 31, followed by fall concert shows on Nov. 1 and 3. Tickets go on sale Sept. 1. The performances will take place at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on the University of Arizona campus.

The Bridlington Spa in the East Riding of Yorkshire, UK, hosted a steampunk emporium on June 1 and 2 as part of Race to the Waves, an exhibition of hot rods and motorcycles. Visitors were encouraged to attend in “vintage to retro attire,” and Paul Atkinson of the Bridlington Free Press was there to shoot photos. The steampunk portion of the festivities was produced by the organizers of Whitby Steampunk Weekend, which takes place July 26-28 at the Whitby Pavilion in North Yorkshire.

The Mission Arts Council in Mission, British Columbia used a steampunk-themed murder mystery on May 25 to raise funds for its Ignite Youth program. The event also included dinner, a silent auction, and a performance by the John Welsh Band. The Mission City Record photographer Bob Friesen was there to get shots of the costumed participants. The council also posted a photo gallery on its website.

New Kickstarters

The Refuge: Terror from the Deep

B & B Games Studio is on Kickstarter with The Refuge: Terror from the Deep, a card-driven tabletop game set in an underwater world with steampunk divers and kraken. It’s a standalone sequel to The Refuge: A Race for Survival from 2016.

The game can be played in two modes: A competitive dive with 2 to 6 players or a solo/cooperative dive with 1 to 4 players. In the competitive dive, the players race to the escape pods of a mysterious submarine while pursued by the kraken. In the solo/cooperative dive, the player or players work to solve puzzles and other challenges while avoiding the kraken. The game includes miniatures of the divers, kraken, and 16 deadly tentacles.

The campaign launched on June 3 and surpassed its $14,000 USD goal in its first 16 hours. It concludes on June 27. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Robert ‘Liam’ Murdock of Peterborough, Ontario, is seeking Kickstarter funding for Crimson Skies, described as a sword-and-sorcery novel set an alternate 19th century. “The story follows the crew of the eponymous Crimson Sky, a privateer airship caught in the ceaseless power-struggles around them,” he writes. “Pressed from all sides, they must to reconcile with their own failings and fight against unfavourable odds in the name of forces they do not and cannot fully understand.”

The campaign launched on June 1 and seeks CA $2000 ($1491 USD) by July 31. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Wesley Connally of Riverton, Wyoming is on Kickstarter with Steampunk Fairytales, a cooperative board game for 2 to 6 players set in a postapocalyptic steampunk world. “Players work together to defeat the Dark Fairy, Wicked Queen and Evil Witch, all the while not allowing their minions, the goblins, ghouls and zombies, to overtake the Deep Forest,” he writes. “Meanwhile, with every players turn, time keeps pressing forward, while the dark powers grow more and more powerful.”

The Kickstarter page includes an abridged rulebook. Connally is an English professor who designs card and board games in his spare time.

The campaign launched on May 31 and seeks $8200 by June 30. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Weekend Events

It’s another busy weekend for steampunk events in the U.S. We’ve already written about the Brass Screw Confederacy Steampunk Festival in Port Townsend, Washington (see the story) and Cogs & Corsets in Bloomington, Illinois (story here).

Also coming up: the Heavener Runestone Steampunk Festival, June 8 and 9 in Heavener, Oklahoma, and The Steam Festival, June 8 and 9 at the Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol, California, near San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Silk City Steampunk will host a meet and greet on Sunday, June 9, 2 p.m., as part of a garden meetup for the East Hartford Historical Society.

As always, check out our Calendar for a comprehensive listing of future events.

Most-Viewed Stories

Here are the most-viewed stories from May in The Steampunk Explorer:

1. The Last Maker Faire? (event report).

2. Mad Scientists to Converge on Waltham (Watch City Steampunk Festival).

3. A Showcase for DIY Creativity (Maker Faire preview).

4. C.O.G.S. Expo is Back.

5. Year Three for Cogs & Corsets.

6. Steampunk Digest - May 3, 2019.

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