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Steampunk Digest - Nov. 30, 2018

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

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.

Each summer, a quarter million people flock to Laguna Beach, California for the Pageant of the Masters, an eight-week festival in which real folks in costumes stage elaborate recreations of classic and contemporary artworks. Next year’s event will earn a place on our calendar, as the theme will be “The Time Machine,” inspired by “science fiction and steampunk fantasies.”

The theme is a reference to the H.G. Wells novel, which “tapped into a fascination for time travel that continues to inspire artists in every medium,” according to the festival website. The pageant “will take audiences around the globe and into the past, present and future in search of great art and amazing stories.”

The 90-minute performances are accompanied by a professional narrator, an orchestra, and period songs.

The pageant runs from July 7 through August 31 as part of the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach. Advance tickets cost $15 to $120 and go on sale Dec. 1. See the website for more info.

The Spectral City

Author Leanna Renee Hieber is out with her latest novel, The Spectral City. It’s the first in a new series she pitched as Medium (the TV series) meets The Alienist (Caleb Carr’s historical crime novel). Set in 1899 New York City, it tells the story of Eve Whitby, a 19-year-old medium “and spearhead of The Ghost Precinct. . . Working with the diligent but skeptical Lieutenant Horowitz, as well as a group of fellow psychics and wayward ghosts, Eve holds her own against detractors and threats to solve New York’s most disturbing crimes as only a medium of her ability can.”

The Spectral City is available in multiple e-book formats and in paperback. It’s published by Rebel Base Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp. See the publisher’s page and her website for more info.

Immortal Works Press of Salt Lake City has released All Made of Hinges, Book 1 of a “Mormon Steampunk Anthology.” It features stories in which “Mormon Battalion soldiers fight an airship, a bounty hunter crosses Porter Rockwell, cultists attempt to reanimate Brigham Young, and missionaries run into Cthulhu,” according to the summary.

It’s edited by James Wymore, who notes on his blog that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have been moving away from identifying as “Mormons.” As a member of the Church, “I support this change,” he writes. “However, since steampunk is generally set in the past, the name is still appropriate. The stories, not being doctrinal or exclusively having member protagonists, fit best under the older nickname which was still commonly in effect during the time in which they are set.”

John M. Olsen is the editor of Book 2, Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel, which is slated for release in two months. Press Forward, Saints, the third and final book, is set for release in four months with D. J. Butler serving as editor.

All Made of Hinges is available in a Kindle version from Amazon.

Magic Masquerade Train

If you’re a longtime steampunk fan, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen the work of Ramona Szczerba. She’s a clinical psychologist in San Diego who also creates richly detailed collages from hand-cut vintage images and other elements, including rivets and watch gears. “Tesla,” an illustration from 2010, was featured in The Steampunk Bible (page 89, if you have a copy nearby), and her pieces have appeared in exhibitions, magazines, calendars, even a book of paper dolls.

This week, she was the latest artist to be profiled in the “Sketchbook” section of Zocalo Public Square. “Her work has evolved from the steampunk aesthetic into an alternate reality of its own, where legendary women and dark fairies frolic with unlikely inventors and woodland creatures,” writes the unnamed author. “Her vignettes invite us to imagine a rich backstory.”

She writes her own tales to accompany some of her pieces. Shown above is “Magic Masquerade Train,” which has a backstory about a cranky king who bans all music, until a magic train arrives. Learn more about her work on her website, and be sure to check out the steampunk gallery.


Monster Couch has released a Nintendo Switch version of Steamburg, a steampunk puzzle game developed by Telehorse. Unarmed protagonist Vincent Cornelius Moore must rely on his wits to battle invading robots. From the description: “He can only throw small electro-bombs which lure the robots and halt their progress for a while. Vincent has to walk through the streets in such a way that the robot chasing him hits upon a Tesla coil and is destroyed.”

The game is also available in Mac and PC versions from Microids. The Nintendo version is available on Nintendo’s North America and Europe/Australia websites.

Haworth Steampunk Weekend

Haworth Steampunk Weekend took place Nov. 23-25, and the spectacle of costumed steampunks flooding the historic village of Haworth proved to be irresistible to UK media outlets. “A huge array of costumes dazzled visitors and locals around the village as organisers aimed to smash last year’s fundraiser in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice,” wrote Miran Rahman in Keighley News.

One organizer told the reporter that next year’s event will move forward to October, “so we not only hope to have better weather, but it will also allow us to make the event bigger.”

We had our own story, thanks to UK photographer Mark Speight, who allowed us to use some of his photos. As you can see, it was a festival of creative costuming.

Here are other stories from the event, all with photo galleries:

Steampunk enthusiasts storm sleepy village - in pictures (The National)

Steampunks in Haworth bring colour and fun to annual fundraising festival for Sue Ryder (The Telegraph and Argus)

Steampunks descend on quiet Yorkshire village (Express and Star)

Sixth Haworth steampunk annual weekend – in pictures (The Guardian)

Back to the future! (Daily Mail)

Photo © DigiMark Photography 2018.

Graley’s Creamery & Confections is a new Victorian-style ice cream shop in Papillion, Nebraska, and the owner is on Kickstarter to raise funds for renovations and equipment. “We have taken the oldest commercial building in Papillion, built in 1873, and started to breathe new life into it, while striving to stay true to its historical roots,” writes Bryon Compton. “Our staff will wear period clothing, and we want the experience to be such that when you walk in to Graley’s, you feel like you have stepped back into time.”

Why have a Kickstarter after they’ve already opened? “The truth is, there was such a demand for our ice cream in town that we opened without finishing all the renovations,” he writes. Papillion is a suburb of Omaha.

The project launched Nov. 27 and has an initial goal of raising $20,000 by Dec. 27. The wish list includes a pasteurizer and candy-making equipment. See the Kickstarter page and the shop’s Facebook page for more info.

FossilPunk Foundry is on Kickstarter with Sauriana, described as a miniatures skirmish game “with a heavy focus on narrative play.” It’s set “in an alternate 19th century, where dinosaurs once again roam the earth, paleontology drives the economy, and new world powers lurk in the shadows.” Miniatures are built to 32mm scale, “compatible with most game ranges and terrain.”

Developer Sam Nolton says he’s been working on the game for the past three years. The project launched on Nov. 26 and seeks to raise $7500 by Dec. 16. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

The Ensemble Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio has set a Nov. 30 premiere for a new production of Jules Verne’s Around the World In 80 Days. It’s directed by August Scarpelli of the Shahrazad Theatre Company, which adapted the novel for the stage. Hannah Storch stars as Phileas Fogg with Kyle Huff playing Passepartout. Performances are scheduled for Fridays (7 p.m.), Saturdays (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and Sundays (2 p.m.) through Dec. 16. See the Ensemble Theater website for more info.

Upcoming events

Mad Hatter Holiday Parade and Festival, Dec. 1, Vallejo, California. Billed as “California’s Most Whimsical Fantasy Holiday Happening,” the event will feature Alice in Wonderland characters, a robotic Jurassic Park, and art cars from Obtainium Works. We wrote last week about Vallejo’s own Steampunk Santa, Thomas Bilbo, who is raising funds to finish his sleigh. The festival begins at 2 p.m. in front of JFK Library. The parade happens at 4:30 p.m. See the website for info.

Steampunk Victorian Holiday Faire, Dec. 1-2, High Hand Gallery, 3750 Taylor Rd., Loomis, CA 95650. This event features live music, artist vendors, and photo ops with a Steampunk-Victorian Santa. It’s held in conjunction with a juried steampunk-themed art exhibition that runs through Dec. 30. It’s about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. Admission is free. See the website for details.

Steampunk Christmas, Dec. 8, Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks, 1023 N Florida Mango Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33409. Abney Park and the Tank and Tilly vaudeville variety show will perform at this free event, supported by Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks and the City of West Palm Beach. An Artist Faire is also scheduled. Accomplice will be open all day (1 p.m.-1 a.m.) to serve food and drink. See the Facebook page for info.

And in the UK. . .

Bradford Steampunk Market, Dec. 1-2, Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Mills, Moorside Road, Bradford, BD2 3HP. This steampunk market in West Yorkshire includes live music, authors, artists and sellers of various steampunk wares. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See the website for info.

A Steampunk Christmas, Dec 2, Malt Cross, 16 St James’s St, Nottingham, NG1 6FG. A steampunk-themed holiday celebration with music by The Cogkneys and Ted Hockin. Plus: Dr Corvus Marconi (“Marvellous Mesmerist”), Sam The Entertainer (“Jovial juggler and stunning stilt walker”), and a “not-so-traditional Christmas ghost story” acted out on stage. Free entry, 3-6 p.m. See the Facebook page.

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