Steampunk on a Movie Set
Old Tucson offers a unique setting for the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention
Steampunk will meet the American Old West, with a dash of interstellar intrigue, as the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention returns March 8-10 to Tucson, Arizona. One of the larger steampunk conventions in the U.S., it’s notable in part for its primary venue, a movie studio and theme park that was a shooting location for films such as 3:10 to Yuma and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
The program includes multiple stages of entertainment plus rides, games, contests, vendors, a fashion show, a kids’ zone, and a wide array of panels and workshops. This year’s theme is “Galactic Steampunk Federation.”
Among the highlights:
• Appearances by a Who’s Who of steampunk makers and costumers, including Thomas Dean Willeford, David Lee, Tobias McCurry, Wheeler Stone, James Neathery, Lord and Lady Towers (seen at right), and Tayliss Forge. Lee will lead “The Great World Suitcase Challenge,” in which contestants present a suitcase or steamer trunk containing a steampunk project.
• Tea Dueling and other temporal escapades led by “Galactic Steampunk Federation Ambassadors” Madam Askew and the Grand Arbiter.
• The Apocalypse Later Roadshow, a series of short films presented by Hal C. F. Astell.
Other special guests include David Stipes, best known for his Emmy Award-winning work as a visual effects supervisor on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager.
Several practitioners of the paranormal will also be making presentations. They include “spirit photographer” Derrell Stokes and self-professed clairvoyant Su Walker, who with her husband Rev. White Otter claims to be in telepathic contact with a group of extraterrestrials operating beneath Sandia Mountain near Albuquerque.
Most activities take place at Old Tucson Studios, including the daytime events and Saturday night’s concert. The latter requires a separate ticket. The program also includes opening ceremonies on Thursday night and a series of mostly ticketed events on Friday night, all at the DoubleTree Tucson Airport Hotel.
Among the Friday evening activities: A Victorian Tea Leaf Reading Class with Su Walker ($7), and “Tipsy Tea Dueling with Professor Elemental” ($12). Raven Darknights will present a free workshop on “Art of the Straight Razor.”
The organizers encourage attendees to purchase passes online prior to the convention. The adult “Maverick Pass” for all three days costs $63. A single-day “Explorer Pass,” valid for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, costs $47. Family packs and kids’ passes are also available. Admission is free for kids age 6 and under. Tickets to Saturday night’s concert cost $34.50.
Only two “Aristocrat” (VIP) passes remained at press time. Perks include a Saturday night concert ticket, first access to seating, a VIP-only Aristocrat’s Lounge, and a gift bag. The cost is $223 each.
The convention enforces the standard Code of Conduct, including a ban on functioning sonic screwdrivers “unless carried by an actual Time Lord.”
See the website for more info.
Photos by Paul Davis of Paul Davis Photography. Used by permission of the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention.
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