Steampunk Digest - June 17, 2022
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
Friday, June 17, 2022
The Brass Screw Consortium Steampunk Festival returns this weekend to historic Port Townsend, Washington, with a program that includes a fashion show, games, lectures, and the Bodgers’ Grand Exhibition showcasing maker projects. Abney Park will take the stage for Saturday night’s Steampunk Hootenanny, with Hot Damned Scandal as the opening act.
The weekend entertainment also includes the Den of Iniquities variety show on Friday night with modern folk music from The Shift along with circus performers Pop-Up Movement and the neo-burlesque troupe Sky Dancers.
Other guests include Lord and Lady Towers, who will preside over Nerf dueling in addition to the first-ever public presentation of Escapement Point, their new kinetic sculpture.
Battleground Productions will present the Pacific Northwest premiere of Nightmoor Manor, their gothic video series. Sunday’s activities include Tactical Croquet, a tournament that combines miniature golf and croquet with Alice in Wonderland characters.
Captain Robert and the Abney Park crew will be logging a lot of airship miles this weekend, as they’re also set to perform live on Friday, June 17 at Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon. If you can’t make either show, they’ll be presenting the latest in a series of live streaming concerts on Saturday, June 25.
The inaugural Hangtown Wild West & Steampunk Festival took place May 21 and 22 in Placerville, California, and thanks to guest contributor Clara Blackheart, we’ve posted a photo gallery from the event. She was assisted by Andrei Pischalnikoff so that she could appear in some of the shots. The program featured Old West historical exhibits and re-enactments, along with live music and steampunk vendors.
Placerville, about 40 miles east of Sacramento, was a major center of the 1849 California Gold Rush. At the time, it was known as “Hangtown” due to residents’ notorious application of frontier justice. Fortunately, this year’s event had a friendlier vibe, and it was all for a good cause as the proceeds benefited El Dorado Gold 1848, a non-profit seeking to create a local history museum.
See the gallery: Steampunks Gather in Hangtown
See below for more event news.
Tuesday, June 14, was International Steampunk Day, and steampunk fans around the world lit up social media with tributes. We were curious about the origins of the observance, and checked in with Drew Mierzejewski, who conceived the special day way back in 2008 when he was a college student in Hawaii.
“We had a very low-key steampunk party, had fun, and called it a day,” he recalls. It took off the following year after he established the International Steampunk Day Facebook group.
But why June 14? Some have speculated that it might be related to Charles Babbage’s proposal of the Difference Engine (an early mechanical computer) in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society on June 14, 1822. But, no. “The day was chosen mostly because it was the end of the semester and it was earliest that my friend group could meet,” Mierzejewski told us.
These days, he works in Orlando, Florida, as an actor, writer, and director. He continues to maintain the Facebook page but admits that his steampunk activities have waned in recent years.
“I still adore some of the aesthetics of the genre, but have less time to be involved,” he says.
Tom Brown is best known in the steampunk world as co-creator (with Nimue Brown) of the popular series Hopeless, Maine. But now that he’s finished the art for the final graphic novel in the series, he’s making his services available as a full-time freelance illustrator.
Past clients have included Penguin/Random House, Chaosium, Archaia, Hippocampus Press, Centipede Press, and Gallant Knight Games, in addition to his work with independent authors, musicians, and others. He’s open to commissions for promotional art, tattoo design, and Kickstarter art, as well as covers for books, comics, and music albums. You can contact him through his website, where you’ll also find examples of his work.
As for Hopeless, Maine, Tom may be finished with the graphic novels, but the series will continue in other forms, he writes, including music, the RPG, and a movie.
UK author Keith Dickinson released The Dragonfly Delivery Company, the sequel to his 2020 steampunk murder mystery Dexter & Sinister: Detecting Agents. The series follows the exploits of John Sinister, a disheveled private detective, and his mechanical cat sidekick Dexter. This time, they’ve joined an airship crew in hopes of foiling a band of thieving sky pirates. It’s available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
Paul Eccentric is likely best known to steampunk fans for his Periwinkle Perspective novels, but he also creates music and spoken-word performance art as half of The Antipoet along with bassist/guitarist Ian Newman.
Now they’re out with their eighth album, entitled Most People Are Nice. Titles include “We’re Only Crafting,” “Cosplay Copper,” and one that can’t be repeated in a family publication (the album carries a parental advisory). It’s available as a digital download from Bandcamp.
Netflix released a trailer and behind-the-scenes video for 1899, a forthcoming mystery-horror series about a group of European migrants on an ocean voyage to New York. “The passengers are united by their hopes and dreams for the new century and their future abroad but when they discover another migrant ship adrift on open sea, their journey takes an unexpected turn,” states a Netflix press release.
The eight-episode series was created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, the German writer/producers best known for the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Dark. It will feature an international cast with each character speaking in their native tongue. It’s reportedly slated for release this fall.
Related: First Look At Netflix Mystery Drama From Makers Of ‘Dark’ (Deadline)
Netflix’s ‘1899’ From ‘Dark’ Creators: Everything We Know So Far (What’s on Netflix)
The Weed Steampunk Festival takes place June 18 and 19 in downtown Weed, California, near Mount Shasta. Activities on both days include live music and steampunk vendors. In addition, the organizers will host a costume contest on Saturday and a gadget contest on Sunday. Admission is free.
Sunday will also feature the Rat Rod and Specialty Car Show and Contest. Per Dictionary.com, a “rat rod is a custom car with a deliberately worn-down, unfinished appearance, typically lacking paint, showing rust, and made from cheap or cast-off parts.”
In case you’re wondering, the city’s name is not derived from a certain psychoactive plant known to grow in the region. It’s named for 19th century businessman Abner Weed, who owned much of the property on which the city now stands.
The Idyllwild Western Steampunk Symposium is set for June 17-19 in Idyllwild, a Southern California mountain resort near Palm Springs. Activities include live entertainment, games, tea dueling, panels, make-and-take workshops, and artisan vendors.
Adult tickets cost $15 for a one-day pass or $40 for a weekend pass. Discounts are available for military, first responders, seniors (65+), and teens 13-17. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free.
It all happens at the outdoor Butterfield Amphitheater, 54201 Ridgeview Drive below the Idyllwild Community Center Playground. The address is also listed as 26184 Calif. Route 243.
Mobile Dance Party, an event organizer in Central Oregon, is presenting the Bend Steampunk Music Festival on June 17 and 18. Despite the theme, the extent of steampunk-related programming isn’t clear. The festival consists mostly of performances by local bands, none of them well-known in the steampunk world. The headliner on Saturday night is Dirtwire, an electronic music duo from San Francisco. Learn more on the Mobile Dance Party website.
Related: Inaugural Steampunk Festival set for this weekend in Bend (The Bend Bulletin)
The Bridlington Spa in the East Riding of Yorkshire, UK, will host Bridlington Race The Waves & Steampunk Weekend from Thursday, June 16, through Sunday, June 19. The free-admission event features a steampunk market, vintage vehicle racing on the beach, and displays of vintage cars and motorbikes. The steampunk portion of the weekend is produced by WSW Events, best known as organizer of Whitby Steampunk Weekend. Learn more on the website and Facebook page.
The steampunk calendar is packed this year, and as always, you can check out our event listings for North America and the UK to see what’s happening. Please use our contact form to let us know about any events we might have missed.
Ryan Ingram, aka Spoon R. Douglas, is on Kickstarter with Genesis: Until the Stars Burn Cold, a fantasy fiction novel that “explores mental health through allegory in a psychedelic steampunk setting.” Co-authored with Chris Fritz, the book is aimed at “young adult readers and folks dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and/or loss,” he writes. It will include full-color illustrations.
Ingram, a mental health professional in the Tampa area, is also a musician known for his solo project Actual Tree and as bass player of the rock band Pilot Jonezz.
Pledges to obtain the book begin at $14 for a digital version and $25 for a physical copy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the One Tree Planted project. The book is slated for release in January, 2023.
The campaign launched on June 3 and seeks US$5,000 by Aug. 2. See the Kickstarter page for more info.
Steampunk festival a science fiction fantasy in Johnstown, Ont. (CTV News Ottawa)
New Tin Hearts Trailer Teases Steampunk Elements (Game Rant)
A new steampunk FPS available now (OI Canadian)
New Gameplay Trailer For Victoria 3 (GameTyrant)
How This Piece of Universal History was Almost Lost to Harry Potter (Theme Park Tourist)
In Early Modern Russia, the Majority of Accused ‘Witches’ Were Men (Smithsonian Magazine)
The Black Buffalo Soldiers Who Biked Across the American West (Smithsonian Magazine)