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Steampunk Digest - Sept. 7, 2018

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

Friday, September 7, 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.

The Big River Steampunk Festival took place August 31-Sept. 3 in Hannibal, Missouri, and with thousands of steampunk enthusiasts in town, the event caught the attention of the local media. Steve Eighinger of the Herald-Whig (Quincy, Ill.) spoke with sisters Jaime and Jordan Peterson, who traveled to the event from Chattanooga, Tenn. “I really love the combination of industrial and fantasy, being able to create something new from a fantasy (concept),” Jaime said. Jordan’s take: “You can steampunk anything.”

And this from 16-year-old Aidan Mittleberg: “It’s kind of like Comic-Con, except that it’s based on the Victorian period and never really happened.”

The Hannibal Courier-Post has photo galleries from the festival and the facial hair contest. Local NBC affiliate WGEM-TV also has a report. You can find lots of additional photos and videos on the Friends of Big River Steampunk Festival Facebook page.


What do you get when you mix steampunk and a thrill ride? Try “ScreamPunk,” a new themed area set to open in March 2019 at Six Flags Over Georgia. The centerpiece will be the 15-story-tall Pandemonium, billed as the “tallest swinging pendulum ride in the Southeast.” The ride, which opens in late spring, will carry 40 riders at speeds up to 70 miles per hour, according to a press release. The steampunk section will also have food locations and shopping.

The amusement park is in Austell, Georgia, about 20 miles west of downtown Atlanta. See the website for more info.

Chamber of Darkness

Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, California, will present “Curiously Grim,” an installation featuring the Victorian-inspired work of artist Eric Kelly.

From the press release: “Drawing from his extensive collection of peculiar 19th century photography as well as classic public domain images, Eric Kelly uses digital processing to combine and transform antique images into surreal dreamscapes and assemblages. He constructs the artwork in layers of metal leaf, digital prints, found objects, and resin, mounted on wooden panels or antique printers’ trays. Some of his artworks use multiple layers of clear resin to float images and objects in three-dimensional space, creating the illusion of being suspended in liquid.”

It’s slated for Sept. 14-Oct. 16 in the basement gallery, which will be transformed into “an alternate universe Victorian art salon” designed by Rodney Griffin of Le Mysterium Collective. The opening reception is Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery is located at 1337 Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael, about 20 miles north of San Francisco. See the gallery website and Kelly’s website for more info.

The High Hand Gallery in Loomis, California, is accepting applications for two juried art events with steampunk themes. The Steampunk-Victorian Holiday Faire, scheduled for December 1 and 2, 2018, will feature more than 20 local artist vendors along with live music, a “make and take” pop-up studio, and photo opportunities with a “Steampunk-Victorian Santa.” The non-refundable application fee for vendors is $20. If your application is accepted, you’ll pay an additional $80 to show and sell artwork at the event. Application deadline is September 30.

A Steampunk Themed Juried Show is scheduled for November 30-December 30 at Gallery II, an annex to the main gallery. The submission deadline for this exhibition is Saturday, October 27. It’s open to 2D and 3D works. The entry fee is $25. Two judges will choose a Best of Show Award winner with a $150 cash prize. Three other awards will be presented, each with a $75 cash prize. The Award Reception is scheduled for Sunday, December 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The gallery is located at 3750 Taylor Road in Loomis, which is about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. See the gallery website for more info.

The entry deadline is approaching for “Simply Steampunk,” a juried exhibition of kinetic art that runs next year at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. The exhibition aims to showcase “the creative energy and vitality of kineticism while re-envisioning 19th century aesthetics combined with advances in machine technology,” according to the prospectus. “We intend to draw parallels of innovative engineering, design, and imagination of present-day artisans, while drawing comparisons to the technical ingenuity and functionality of a bygone era.” It’s the second of four exhibitions related to the museum’s Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, September 20, 2018, but the organizers advise interested artists to send their submissions in advance. “Incomplete and late applications will not be considered,” they say. The exhibition runs March 15 to July 14, 2019. See the prospectus for more info.

Hartlepool in North East England will host its first-ever Steampunk Festival, Sept. 8 and 9 in the Hartlepool Borough Hall. Free daytime activities include live music, storytelling, magic performances and “retail therapy.” The Filthy Spectacula will headline the Steampunk Cabaret Concert on Saturday evening, which requires paid admission. The festival is underwritten by Hartlepool Borough Council. If it’s successful, it will become an annual event. See the Facebook page for more info.

The National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide, South Australia, will host the Adelaide Steampunk Festival, a “celebration of frivolity and festivity” featuring music, food, artists, costumes, a facial hair contest, and more. It’s slated for September 15 and 16, 2018 at the museum. Adult tickets cost AUD$15-$20 for a day pass and AUD$20-$25 for a weekend pass. Separate tickets are required for Lady Green’s High Tea, a murder mystery dinner and the Steampunk Festival Entropy Ball. See the Facebook page for more info.

Melissa Pagluica

Comic book artist Melissa Pagluica has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a trade paperback edition of Above the Clouds, a graphic novel that tells the intertwining stories of “a hero who must save a dying world, and a girl who must convince an author to finish what he has started.” She’s been showing chapters at comic book conventions and other events, and we encountered her work at the recent Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo. (It’s not steampunk, but some of her work is reminiscent of Art Nouveau.) The project launched on September 4, and she passed her $12,000 goal a day later. The campaign runs through Oct. 4. See the Kickstarter page and Above the Clouds website for more info.

Cut-out Games Studio is on Kickstarter with The Bolt Age, described as a “3D shooter game” with a “steampunk look.” The story involves William Bolt, a student of Nikola Tesla who uses unusual electrical weapons to battle various Lovecraftian creatures. The game will be available for PCs, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The campaign launched September 3 and seeks to raise $69,806 by Oct. 3. The developer is based in Valencia, Spain. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Keko Chronicles: Origins is a family-friendly card game set in the “Fantasy/Steampunk” world of Nuggles. It’s designed for two to six players who take the roles of various characters. Game developer Kevin Bowden launched a Kickstarter campaign on July 30, seeking to raise $5000 by Sept. 23. See the Kickstarter page and game website for more info.

Charming Disaster is seeking Kickstarter funding for Spells + Rituals, the musical duo’s third album. They describe their inspirations as “the gothic humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, the noir storytelling of Raymond Chandler, the murder ballads of the Americana tradition, and the dramatic flair of the cabaret.” The new album includes “songs about poison, witches, steampunk, monsters, the end of the world (again), and more.” The campaign launched on August 15 and runs through Sept. 14. They’ve already passed the $7500 goal. See the Kickstarter page and their website for more info.

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