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“Victorian Nightmares” in Atlanta

The Atlanta Steampunk Expo offers a packed program for makers, authors, and cosplayers

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Atlanta Steampunk Expo

“Victorian Nightmares” will be the theme as the second Atlanta Steampunk Exposition takes place Oct. 26-28, 2019, at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest hotel. The theme is inspired by the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, says “Captain Bill” Harrison, the event’s organizer.

Guests at the event include science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson, maker David Lee of Hatton Cross Steampunk, belly dance performer/instructor Aela Badiana, maker/author Stephen Chapman, cosplay artist Paige Gardner, and cake artist Karen Portaleo.

Extraordinary Contraptions

Extraordinary Contraptions, Valentine Wolfe, The Gin Rebellion and DJ Spider will provide musical entertainment.

One highlight will be a screening of the 1920 silent film classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” with Valentine Wolfe playing an original score as accompaniment. Based in Greenville, South Carolina, the duo describes their music as “Victorian Chamber metal.” They recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for “The Haunting of Mary Shelley,” a forthcoming album also inspired by the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein.

Extraordinary Contraptions and The Gin Rebellion will play on Friday night following the expo’s Welcome Party. Extraordinary Contraptions, an Atlanta-based steampunk/steam “prog” band, recently released “En Absynthia,” its fourth studio album. DJ Spider will spin her tunes at a Masquerade Ball on Saturday night.

Portaleo, known for her horror- and fantasy-inspired cake designs, will present a “Make and Take Cake Making” workshop on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. The cost is $45, to be paid when you enter. She has won three out of four competitions in Food Network cake challenges, and has also appeared on Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.” One of her works is shown below. You can sign up on this registration form.

Skull Cake

Lee, known for his steampunk vehicles and other contraptions, is scheduled for several sessions, including “Meet Dave Lee,” “Constructing Items from Foam,” “Epic Vehicles of Mass Distraction” and “Building Monstrous Props.” On Friday night, he’ll discuss the 1893 Columbian Exposition in a presentation with Aela Badiana (his wife). In addition to his work as a maker, he’s also authored several works of fiction and will participate in a couple of literary panels.

Chapman, another well-known maker, will join Lee in the “Building Monstrous Props” session along with Steve Church and Arthur Millican. He will also officiate Teapot Racing on Sunday, and will participate in panels on metalworking, electrical projects and eco-friendly steampunk design.

Gardner will also be busy, joining Chapman in the “Green Steam” session, and participating in panels on “No Limitations Cosplay” and “Costuming for the Movement Impaired” along with Lee and Angelo Ritz. She’ll also offer tips on budget-friendly steampunk projects and will explain how she constructed her Merry McQueen costume.

Attendees can also expect presentations on leather work, jewelry making, hat making, horror make-up, 3D printing/laser cutting, the art of fastening, the “Etiquette of Horror,” and “How to Throw a Proper Tea Room.” Another panel will explore the current state of steampunk.

A new literary track will include sessions on how to start a novel, how to create realistic female characters, how to build a steampunk novel, and how to plan for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.

The full schedule is on the website.

About 30 vendors will offer their wares in a room dubbed “Piccadilly Circus.” Access to this area will be free and open to the public.

Tickets cost $50 for a full weekend pass, $25 for a Friday pass, $30 for a Saturday pass, and $20 for a Sunday pass.

The Atlanta Marriott Northwest is located at 200 Interstate North Parkway SE, Atlanta, GA 30339. See the expo website and Facebook page for more info.

Photo credits: Above left, David Lee, used by permission of Atlanta Steampunk Expo; center, Valentine Wolfe, used by permission of the band (© 2014 by Kevin McGee); right, Stephen Chapman, used by his permission. Photo of “En Absynthia” used by permission of Extraordinary Contraptions. Photo of Karen Portaleo’s cake design used by permission of Atlanta Steampunk Expo.

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