Archive for the ‘Abney Park’ Category

I had a blast at Comicpalooza’s weird and wonderful Memorial weekend. Every aspect of Comicpalooza was a carnival of the fantastic and the Steampunk ball was no exception.

A Belle of the Steampunk Ball

A Belle of the Steampunk Ball

The music was merry the hall was grand and one and all came with their dancing shoes on, in costumes both elegant and outrageous.

Buxom damsels in bustles and corsets and dapper men in Victorian attire swung their feet, kicked up their heels, and bounced at the ball.

Performances began with Frenchy and the Punk. Their flapper cabaret, Great Gatsby sound was a party in itself.

DSCN0464Professor Elemental’s performance as always was rollicking fun. I say steam, you say, punk. “I say steam, you say, ____.  I say steam, you say, _____.” Proffesor elemental’s youtube video

Marquis of Vaudeville with their rockin circus of sound, the smooth mellow vocals of Toby Lawhon,  and a sensual base guitarist with a magnetic flair and whipping hair had everyone prancing and dancing. Marquis of Vaudeville’s youtube video

Abney Park

Abney Park at Comicpalooza

The ball reached the height of amazement when Abney Park took the stage and the magic of music reached a whole other level. Abney Park’s youtube video

May I have this dance?

Now that the ball is over, the dancers have left, the booths at Comicpalooza have been taken down and all the stars have gone. So we are left waiting for the ball and Comicpalooza to come in 2014.

Maeve Alpin is the author of four Steampunk/Romances: To Love A London Ghost, Conquistadors In Outer Space, As Timeless As Stone, and As Timeless As Magic.

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There’s long been a debate among those looking at steampunk from the outside if steampunk can really be anything but Victorian England.

I, for one, would argue YES. (And really this has nothing to do with the fact that my steampunk books in The Legend Chronicles are set in some part in the Wild Weird West–honestly.) If Jules Verne can write about being 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, then that isn’t Victorian England, is it? If H.G. Wells can write about the New York of the future in his work The Time Machine, that isn’t exactly London either, is it?

I choose to espouse the view that steampunk is more of a time period than a particular setting. You can write about or design costumes from any area of the globe (and a few beyond our own stratsophere) during that golden age and still be steam. The punk comes from being your own little creative mad genius self.  So why not have dragon ladies, courtesans of the far east? What about appearing as a Maha Raja or one of his veiled lovey wives? Certainly you could even been a Plantation owner from the Caribean or a Cattle Baron from South America. Truly the combinations are endless.

But I digress.

What really has me excited is the steampunk movement into the Wild Weird American West. If you haven’t already heard about the Wild Wild West Steampunk Con going on at Old Tucson Studios in Arizona in March, you should check it out. It’s the first large steampunk gather in Arizona. Not only will Abney Park and the League of S.T.E.A.M. be there, but there’s nothing quite like venturing into Arizona to get the authentic feel of the old west. (I lived there for nearly a decade–trust me.)

Not only do you get the Miner ’49er, but the cowboy, the saloon girl, the rancher, the townie,the gunslinger, carpetbagger and cardshark; so many new and fun ways to express all the goodness that is steampunk. I don’t know about you, but I have a LOT of sewing to do to prepare for the con. And Lolita Elizabeth will be there as well!

If you were going to be one character from the Wild Weird West, what would it be?

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If you’ve never been to a steampunk con, let me say, you’re missing something. It is emersion into the culture at it’s finest. Where do I even begin?

Just look at that arm!

How about Friday? Friday early I arrived at the location of SteamCon II, which was held between the SeaTac Marriot and SeaTac Hilton. (For those of you not familiar with the Seattle area, that’s right across from the Seattle airport, which means it’s great for people flying in, but not so fun to walk between the two up the hill and down the hill depending on which activity or workshop you were interested in.) The registration lines looped around a bit like Disneyland, and people in the pre-registered line were all in costume, and so were most of those who were coming in to register that day for the event. Unlike other conferences and conventions I’ve been to, the costuming is a huge part of the experience. There’s eye-candy everywhere.

Fabulously Dressed Ladies in Workshop

They gave us a newspaper-like program heaped with so many different workshops and events it was likely to make your top-hat spin. What a glorious array! Everything from steampunk modding and how real gun fights work to magic and steampunk, and chats with the likes of James Blaylock (one

Tuesday Lolita Theresa Meyers with James Blaylock

of the founding fathers of the genre), Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger, Jay Lake, Nick Valentino and the intrepid inventor Jake Von Slatt, and a set of Steampunk ghost-busting enthusiasts from The League of S.T.E.A.M.

Member of The League of S.T.E.A.M.

There was a Grand Mercantile with a huge array of things to be purchased – feathers, leathers, hats and tea, corsets, books and jewelry (oh, good grief, does that actually rhyme?) You could find numerous opportunities to practice your acting skills in live action role-playing events (LARP), or game away in the various game rooms. (I attempted to sit in on a card and dice game of The Good, The Bad and The Munchkin, and having never played any sort of Munchkin was still horribly newbie and lost despite the best efforts of my fellow players at the end of an hour. Thank you to those of you who were so gracious and patient.)

The devine Cherie Priest on her way to a workshop

Friday also presented us with the First Annual Airship Awards, where lovely little airship statuettes were presented for the best in written, auditory, visual and community support of the genre. (Winners and finalists in each can be found at the SteamCon II website if you are curious.) They had a lovely dinner, and big screen flashing various images of the finalist. A few funny speeches and a lot of fun talk around the tables with fellow steampunk enthusiasts.

Saturday saw more workshops and the hosting of a most memorable afternoon tea and fashion show. The designers had some absolutely stunning clothes (which I believe there might be pictures of at the SteamCon website shortly).

A good doggone answer to What is Steampunk?

Due to an unforeseen series of most fortunate events, I was invited to fill in for an author who had to cancel at the last moment, so I spoke on three different panels and gave a reading. May I say, if you ever get the opportunity to go to a workshop by Jay Lake, do so. He is a veritable fount of one-liners that are both groan-worthy and very humorous at the same time.

That is a HUGE hand, mister.

We talked about what is steampunk, dissecting the genre, as it were, and after an hour came to the conclusion that it’s as much time period and aesthetic as it is a particular feeling to the work which is based in the gilded age where excess reigned supreme and exploration was rather mandatory, vs. diesel-punk which has roots more firmly grounded in the dystopian elements of the great depression and world war, where scarcity rules the day and invention is out of necessity to use and reuse whatever one had on hand to survive.

A Teapot handbag! How brilliant!

I went to workshops on ghost hunting in the Victorian era, steam cowboys and one about Hoaxes perpetuated by newspapers of the time by the likes of writers such as Samuel Clemens and Edgar Allen Poe, who apparently made a decent enough showing of it to have their tales of airships being spotted over the city, and animals escaping zoos in the midst of busy down-town cities very popular – and gasp, news of the day. In fact, I found it most fascinating that fictional tales were often intermingled with actual news items in such prestigious publications at The Boston Globe, and not much was done to distinguish between the two. (Wait, how is that so different than today’s reporting?)

L to R Nick Valentino, Tues. Lolita Theresa and Wed. Lolita Elizabeth

I digress. I went shopping in the grand mercantile and purchased a new corset, some tea and some Christmas presents. I had fun lunch with fellow Lolita Elizabeth Darvill. Late in the day I gave a reading from my Weird West set steampunk The Hunter, which doesn’t even come out until late 2011. I let the audience choose, from two sections, action or spicy. They unanimously picked the spicy version. Unfortunately, we’d spent so much time chit-chatting to start that we barely even got into the spicy bit before my half hour was up.

They actually move up and down!

I also took time to visit the art gallery. Wow! Such creativity. (I didn’t know if we were actually allowed to take pictures, so I opted not to.) There were three-dimensional sculptures, prints, clothing, jewelry and more.

Saturday night was the esteemed Outlaw Concert featuring three different bands, including the well-known steampunk stylings of Abney Park. There were people crowded, spinning, dipping and doing what suspiciously looked to me like the Tango out on the dance floor in front of the stage. We were admonished at the beginning of the concert not to leap upon the stage due to the damaging of equipment in the past from such behaviors. While I had to leave early (because I was driving back and forth from home each day rather than staying at the hotel) apparently the high enthusiasm kept up until 3:30 Sunday morning.

Lovely use of top hat and corset!

Which made giving a workshop at 9:00 am Sunday morning a bit of let down. A few hardy souls trickled in to hear about Steampunk Young Adult books, but by far, I think people were likely still dealing with the affects of the concert the night before. I was part of another talk later in the day about Character vs. Setting which was better attended.

I also went to a workshop about the history of steam propulsion that was incredible. Who knew the first hybrid steam/electric car was actually introduced in 1903 and the Prius in 2003? Makes you wonder what the auto industry has actually be working on in the last 100 years, doesn’t it?

Hey, Zombies! Mad Scientist with Brain Pack over here!

My overall impression is that steampunk cons are a meeting of the mind, the creative, social and intellectual (not to mention the dancing portion of one’s anatomy). If you really want to have a good time, prepared to bring comfortable shoes and costumes. Not just one costume, but at least one for each day, and possibly a forth for dancing or going to fancier dinners and events. And don’t be shy about being a mad scientist with a backpack brain on one day and an aeronaut hottie with brown bolero-length bomber jacket and brown leather and wool trimmed hot pants on another, and a high-society vixen with an outrageous top hat and bustle on the third. Everything goes as long as it relates back to the genre. And the array of hats is very impressive. One person at a workshop put it best, “I’ve discovered something about steampunk, there is no such thing as excess. One can never have too much of anything.”

No such thing as excess, I tell you!

Be prepared to shop for those things you’ll find it difficult to get elsewhere. Have business cards so you can share with fellow steampunk fans, and for the love of all that’s decent, if you are going to give a workshop, at least provide some type of handout to go with your brilliant Powerpoint so people will have something to take with them. There’s just too much information to store it all under one’s top hat and I found myself scribbling like a jibbering idiot to keep up.

All in all it was a fantastic event, so worthy in fact, that I’ve already pre-registered for next year! There’s steampunk conventions aplenty out there. If you are interested in the genre, think you want to write in it or would just like something fun and crazy to do for a weekend go to one! And of course this isn’t ALL the pictures…if you are looking for more check out the SteamCon II album over at www.facebook.com/TheresaMeyersAuthor or go www.steamcon.org and check out their gallery.

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 Ok, since I have so many pictures to include in this post – I am just putting the thumbnail size in, just click on them to get the full-sized picture! That being said–lets move onto the fabulous World Steam Expo! So as usual, I flew all night, got into Dearborn, MI at about 5am, dead tired and looking like death warmed over. I stumbled into the hotel, sure my room wouldn’t be ready….but they had a room available. I almost kissed the hotel clerk right then and there! I stumbled sleepily into my room and face planted on the bed and promptly passed out for the next few hours. Awake and bright-eyed and busy tailed, I showered off the traveling grime and slipped into something a little steamier! First stop was coffee and then registration! Things kicked off nicely as the people helping me get all signed up and such were a delight and some witty banter ensued. Properly badged and official I set out to traverse the halls and see what mischief I could find or create! I ran into some acquaintances from Steamcon and it was lovely to catch up with some of my fellow steampunkers. I perused the vendor hall and there were a million bright and shiny distracting things clamoring for me to buy them…..I resisted….barely… While I was there I met the fantastic Nick Valentino author of the steampunk novel Thomas Riley , seriously he is awesome. If you see his booth at a con, make sure and stop by and say hi! After much chatting and meeting fabulous people, I hopped in line for Abney Park’s acoustic concert. They of  course were awesome and charming and they even managed to get the lyrics right for Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang! After they were done, I stopped by to say hi and get the obligatory pictures with the band members.  Then it was time to get ready for the masquerade ball! I wish I had a good explanation as to why I didn’t manage to get a picture of my ensemble of the evening… Anyways the costumes were lovely and the masks were exquisite. Everyone was having a splendid time dancing and I believe a fabulous time was had by all! My evening quickly went down hill from there! I was convinced by “friends” to attend the midnight carnival…much to my protesting about possible scary clowns. They assured me I would be fine…*I should mention here I have a very big clown phobia* I WAS NOT FINE! Creepy clowns+scary, warped circus music=one very frightened Elizabeth! I was mildly distracted by a hilarious individual in a fez hat sitting next to me…but alas even such antics weren’t enough to squash my need to flee….and flee I did! It being like 2am I decided to retire for the evening/morning….Ok, this has become long and this only captures the joys of Day 1! I will do another post to wrap up the fun next week! 🙂 ~Elizabeth

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Welcome back to another week of Steampunkapalooza–we have an amazing week planned. Author Gail Dayton will be here on Tuesday, April 13 and author Leanna Hieber will be here on Thursday, April 15!

Before I introduce today’s fantastic visiting lolita, we have some winners to announce.

The winner of the signed print by artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith is…

…drumroll please…


Congratulations Phil, you’ve won your choice of prints from Jasmine’s steampunk gallery.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

We also have another winner to announce, the winner of a copy of SOJOURN by Jana Oliver.

…drum roll please…

~*~*~SANDRA MARS~*~*~

Congratulations to you, too, Sandra.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail

Thanks to everyone who entered, we’ll have more contests coming up for you.  Also, the ensemble contest to win a $150 GC to Clockwork Couture is now *closed.* We got some terrific entries.  They’re off to our special guest judge, Gail Carriger and I’ll let you know when we have our winner!


Today we welcome artist Aimee Stewart of Foxfire Art. Thank you so much, Aimee, for being part of Steampunkapalooza and dropping by to be today’s visiting Lolita. Don’t forget to check out her webpage and facebook group.

Steampunk Music and Art, Linked at the Gears
by Aimee Stewart

My introduction and arrival into Steampunk happened in one fell swoon. Actually that was a typo. I meant to type ‘swoop’, but ‘swoon’ fits even better. While my Steamlightenment might not have involved chasing a clockwork rabbit down a brass lined tunnel, it certainly felt like being swept away into a sort of Tick Tock Wonderland. A good friend had mentioned the subculture to me on several occasions, but it wasn’t until I was given a link to the Abney Park website that everything clicked into motion. I sat back and listened to music that immediately grabbed me by the boot straps and said “Where have you been all my life?!” I knew at that moment, I was smitten. I was in deep smit.

At that particular moment in time, I had already started forging a name for myself as an artist. I had been featured in a few Advanced Photoshop Magazines, and was well on my way to finding my style. So when I found myself being completely enraptured by Abney Park’s sound and look, I knew immediately what I wanted to do; I wanted to delve into Steampunk artwork. And I just had a feeling that I could actually pull it off, and do right by it.

It seemed like such a natural union! I adored the entire philosophy. The speculative fiction, the era-based styles, the grand adventuresome spirit infusing the whole thing. It took me exactly .2 seconds to recognize that I could already lay claim to a lot of aspects of Steampunk (already being a fan of the classic literature that gives spark to the genre), even if I was missing a few bells and whistles, or gears as it were.

And so I set about creating my first ‘fan art’ for Captain Robert of Abney Park. To me, it made perfect sense to create an amazing clockwork Phonograph for him to stand near. Presumed functionality enabled me to unleash my imagination full throttle. In a flurry of a few days, I had crafted my first official Steampunk work, and promptly emailed it to the Captain himself.

Needless to say, I squealed like a fangirl when he wrote back. Not only did he love the work (‘usually the fan art is of the girls in the band, not the guys!’), but was very interested in seeing more! I was completely delighted to oblige. One by one, I lost myself in my own personal vision of what Steampunk was, with their band photographs as the catalyst. I didn’t have other art to compare it to. I just went with my own inspirations and ideas. The peculiar thing was, looking back now, I realized I had infused far more vibrant color in my pieces than what would normally be attributed to Steam art. But that was ok. While I understand the sensibility behind brown in Steampunk culture (we would all love to walk around looking like living sepia-toned tintypes, no?), the colors are what make my mind spin with possibilities.

I recently attended a panel at Norwescon that was discussing Steampunk art. At one point I made mention that I see myself fitting in to the Steam sensibility as if I were a crow collecting shiny bits and baubles as I go about my lavish adventures. While the root of it all is certainly Victorian England, I have a deep interest in the Raj, the period of British colonial rule in India. The time period in which Queen Victoria took over the rule of the British East India Company. The mere mention of silks, dyes, teas, and all other aspects of the Company immediately make my head spin with color. Couple that with the ability to mod equipment, outfits and styles to suit ‘the future happening in the past’ mentality, and you have a potent engine for creation. So while I might delve into monochromatic sepia toned works at some point, my heart is always going to lead me down a much more vibrant path.

After I presented Abney Park with their band portraits, I was blissed when they decided to use the artwork for posters, promotion, and even their website. It wasn’t long before Advanced Photoshop Magazine hired me to create a number of tutorials, creating Steampunk art for their readers. I suddenly found myself in the heart of the aesthetic I adored. And while I had moments where I didn’t feel quite qualified to be looked upon as any sort of representative, I decided that above all….creativity is king in Steam, and I could certainly provide a ransom’s worth. So I have pushed forward, continuing my love affair with the style, the music, and the possibilities of it all. I am currently working on new artwork for Abney Park, and am about to begin an extensive project with The Clockwork Quartet, who are based in London.

Is my entire life devoted to Steampunk? No. I am quite the eclectic bird. My artwork shifts with my moods, much like the music I listen to. I might very well be found wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt, while playing drums to Ballroom Blitz on Rock Band… or cruising down the interstate singing to The Tragically Hip at the top of my lungs. Or if you peek into my studio, you might find me listening to Enya, and working on something steeped in high fantasy. But it all funnels back to Steam at some point, and for me… that’s all that matters. So while I might not fit into the ideal Steampunk mode, I promise I’ll always create something intriguing to look at. And if it sparks your imagination, then my day is made.

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 If you live in Seattle or nearby the fantastic Abney Park will be performing at the Circus at the End of the World a fabulous steampunk event! I have it on good authority from Captain Robert(lead singer of Abney Park) these tickets are going fast, so GET YOURS! Last year they had to turn away a 100+ people at the door! So order your tickets, then grab your goggles and start up your flying machine and make sure you get there! I have seen Abney Park live and they are AMAZING! They put on such a great show, trust me you don’t want to miss it! Sadly I won’t be able to attend this year 😦 If you make it let me know how it went! ~Elizabeth

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