Steamcon II--A Brass-Hued Memory

The past is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. After three days of corsets and bustles, jeans and sneakers felt pretty good when I boarded the plane that would return me to the year 2010. 

Still, those three days in Seattle attending Steamcon II were a magical respite from the annoying realities of modern life. I am still basking in the brassed-hued afterglow. 

So much entertainment was available--over 200 hours, in fact--that it was hard to choose among the many offerings. An interview with Jake Von Slatt, of the Steampunk Workshop, whose modding artistry I have mentioned in an earlier post, was one of the best.

He described the emotional impetus that led him to create his first Victorian computer, which he calls an intersection of romance and technology. (I got the chance to tell him that his creation changed my life--that I was a dedicated Steampunk from the moment I saw it.) 

The musical highlight of the weekend, for this chrononaut, was catching a set by Unwoman in the Sepiachord Cabaret. Unwoman, who is also know as Erica Mulkey, is a talented cellist with a hypnotic, otherworldly voice and a flair for dramatic songwriting.  

She is based in San Francisco and, in addition to her solo work, frequently performs with Steampunk staples like Vernian Process and Abney Park. My first exposure to her ethereal music was at last year's Steamcon.

Another musical highlight for me at this year's Steamcon was the discovery of Bakelite '78.  They opened for Abney Park at the Saturday night "Outlaw Night Concert." Their mix of jazz, blues, early rock n' roll, and American folk left me wanting more. Robert J. Rial is their frontman. He started out in Chicago, but now calls Seattle home. To learn more, check out the Bakelite '78 Myspace page. (Their name derives from the early form of plastic called Bakelite, used to press the original 78 rpm records.)

The 2,000 attendees at Steamcon literally outdid themselves this year on their convention attire. The phenomenal creativity on display made simple people-watching as entertaining as anything the many talented writers, artists, and historians could offer in their panels. 

Examining Castle's mechanical arm.

I don't intend any slight to the vast array of talented presenters, but the artistry displayed by the attendees alone was well worth the modest admission fee for the weekend. 

Mechanical wings and arms were a favorite this year. I even got to see the mechanical arm worn by Nathan Fillion in the the Steampunk episode of Castle. Its creator was offering his wares for sale in the vendors room. The gentleman in question had the privilege of  appearing as an extra in that episode. He said the filming of the scenes at the steampunk club, which probably occupied less than ten minutes of airtime, took sixteen hours to film.

A young miss whose wings fluttered gracefully.
A very attractive zeppelin crew

The brightest moment of the weekend for this dog-loving steampunk enthusiast had to be meeting M.U.T. His owner said his name was an acronym  for Mechanical Universal Tracker. His little spoon ears flapped and his recorded voice barked and panted as he rolled down the halls of the convention center posing for countless eager lenses.

Check out an ever-growing number of photos on Flickr 

Steamcon III is less than a year away. I will miss the Old West theme, though, as 2011 will focus on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and be held October 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. I can't wait though. How often does a girl get an opportunity to dress in a ruffled ball gown?


Anonymous said...

I came over here from N. R. Williams' blog to meet you! I'm trying to buy for my iPod An Uncommon Enemy. Won't let me, but I'll keep trying. It sounds most interesting!!
Ann Best, Long Journey Home

Old Fashion Halloween said...

My feet took a couple of days to recover after hiking between the 2 hotels. It was worth it.

Michelle Black said...

Yes, and it was a little chilly on the way.