Posts Tagged ‘steampunk convention’

If you live in Southern California you should check out the Gaslight Gathering in San Diego May 11-13, 2012.  I’ll be there on Saturday.  Come say hi.

Anastasia Hunter is the Director of Programming for Gaslight Gathering and has actively volunteered on various Southern California conventions including San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon, and LosCon.

Gaslight Gathering 2: The Expedition – A Southern California Steampunk Convention

Most steampunk enthusiasts in Southern California have not been largely involved in the convention scene until the last few years.  The local steampunk communities focused primarily on hosting various meet ups, single day events and the occasional concert. San Diego Comic Con became a haven for all local steampunks who were able to attend and the response was overwhelming.  In 2010, Comic Con won the Guinness Book of World Records for Largest Steampunk Meet Up.

Elsewhere, a number of new dedicated steampunk conventions were already in the works. Nova Albion Steampunk Expo launched in the Bay Area and was an immediate hit.  TeslaCon, in Wisconsin, and SteamCon, in Washington State, pioneered a unique steampunk convention model as a weekend event filled with performances, panels, and many special ticketed events. This was exactly what Southern California steampunks were looking for!

Out of this void, Southern California’s first steampunk specific convention – Gaslight Gathering, was born. The brain child of a few San Diego steampunk & SF/F fans who had decades of convention experience, these pioneering souls teamed up with other local steampunks to bring forth a brand new steam powered convention open to all enthusiasts, both young and old.

The inaugural Gaslight Gathering convention kicked off on May 6, 2011, at the Town and Country Hotel. Organized and operated exclusively by volunteers, Gaslight had a total attendance of just over 1200 guests with more than 85% making an effort to dress the part. Along with a wide variety of presentations, classes, vendors, teas, and other special events, the Gaslight crew made every effort to ensure there was something for every steampunk enthusiast.

Gaslight Gathering 2: The Expedition will be returning to the Town and Country Hotel this May 11-13, 2012, with Kaja Foglio, writer and co-creator of Girl Genius, and Dan Jones, Maker of Tinkerbots as our Guests of Honor. Award-winning authors Tim Powers and James Blaylock, two of the founding fathers of steampunk fiction, will also be on hand to discuss their thoughts on where steampunk has been and what steampunk may become in the future.

New in 2012, Jon Magnificent will be performing at Gaslight’s first annual Airship Ambassador Ball and there will be an amazing Travelling Medicine Dinner Show, with special guests Steam Powered Giraffe and a Safari inspired High Tea!

Whether you stop by Basecamp, where newly unearthed Mayan relics with some very unusual carvings will be on display, or show off your steampunk or vintage bathing costumes at our Poolside Bathing Contest, Gaslight Gathering 2 will have fun and excitement for all ages!

Please join Suzanne, and all of our amazing guests, as Gaslight sets sail on another incredible voyage! All passengers are welcome, especially volunteers! (Steampunk or Victorian costumes are not required, but highly encouraged.)

Check out Gaslight Gathering’s website for a full description of our special events, maker classes, confirmed guests, and other information.



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Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium and Masquerade Ball

Within the luxury of an amazing venue, Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium and Masquerade Ball will have Steampunk aficionados feeling more than transported while strolling the decks The Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California.  Built by the Cunard Line in the early 1930’s, our lady maintains the grandeur of a transatlantic ship of the line which is easily seen above and below deck.  Its ballrooms are decorated with vast murals and polished walnut burl.  Its original decking, engine rooms, bridge, radio rooms and other historical areas are dream photo opportunities.  Its staterooms are a step back into the future as art deco meets modern amenities.  Challenge your friends in the shuffleboard tournament, a bit of a scavenger hunt or a game of shuttlecock.  Did we mention that she’s haunted?  Feel free to tour the ship at www.queenmary.com.

Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium and Masquerade Ball. Yes, that is the whole name. What a mouthful! And what a phrase to live up to.  The name was the easy part, the rest was just too damn much fun.  We’ve been having a blast putting together the most immersive west coast Steampunk experience to date.   Lectures, roving entertainment, a bit of whimsy and steamy cocktail or two make the environment inviting and when you add some very talented vendors, renowned Steampunk authors, games, roll playing and a midnight ghost tour…it’s just not something that you can miss! 

Now let’s talk about some entertainment over and above the rest.  Steam Powered Giraffe, 6 String Samurai, Jon Magnificent, Lee Presson and the Nails, Unwoman, Veronique Chevalier, Thee Bluebeard, Mr. Saturday and Sixpence, Professor DR Schreiber, Dino Staats, Alchemy Belly Dancing Troupe and more.  Musicians, Pirates and Burlesque, Oh My!  Comedy, Magic and Mayhem, Oh No!  Something for everyone, no disappointed attendees here!

Original to Her Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium is our theatrical element.  We have multiple opportunities for those aspiring actresses and actors to join our thematic roll-playing events.  Assisting us in our thespian endeavors are; The Court of Steam (Featuring Queen Victoria herself), The League of Supremely Evil Revolutionaries (LOSERS), Mike Young (Improve Now and New England Interactive Literature), and Aaron Vanek (Interactive Live Game Designer and HP Lovecraft LA Film Festival Organizer).  But this list is not complete as more events continue to be bid and reviewed.   Opportunities can be convention-long, or of a simpler setting such as the Murder Mystery or Inventor’s Contest.  Any event will hone your skills or tickle your funny bone, and most will test your deductive reasoning.

Come One, Come All!  See and Be Seen!  We’ve commandeered the entire vessel this January 13 – 16th, 2012, and are awaiting your reservation.  Please visit our website for rooming, ticketing and further event information. www.hrmsteam.comDon’t forget to “like” us on facebook to keep up with the latest news and additions.  Any and all questions may be answered by thequeen@hrmsteam.com.

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By Diana Vick

And Then There Was Steamcon 

I’ve been in science fiction fandom for a lot more years than I am going to cop to right now.  I’ve attended well over two hundred conventions.

 They have always been a great source of wonder, creativity and surreal adventure for me that I have never found anywhere else.  My husband and I met at a convention.  It’s still a shared love of ours.  We had been talking about getting more involved in running cons or maybe even beginning one, when we found ourselves swept up in a new community… steampunk . 

We knew that we had found the perfect new subject for our convention.  Up until that point, most steampunk events that I had heard of, had been music festivals or one day events or the theme of an existing general science fiction convention.  I saw a huge potential for a bunch of like minded folks to spend a weekend completely immersed in the world of Victorian science fiction, or steampunk. 

Steamcon was born. 

We based our convention on the armature of a science fiction convention, but we fully intended to expand the model.  Having attended anime cons, goth cons, furry cons and lots of general science fiction/fantasy cons, we had seen many different ways of running things.  We felt we could select some of the best aspects and combine them to the best advantage. 

We began to gather a crew made up of old con runners and some complete newbies.  We swore that the words “because that’s the way it’s always done” would be seldom heard.  Of course we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel either, so we got advice from many old hands at this.  Having not much starting budget, I went the route of viral marketing, using social networks on the internet, and creating communities specifically for Steamcon. 

I taught myself the skills and posted everywhere I could think of.  The veteran con runners told us not to expect to big a crowd.  First year cons in this area usually attract about 500 attendees, they said.  When our pre-registration numbers were almost double, we began to worry.   We suddenly found ourselves in the awkward position of needing to cap the membership so the space wouldn’t be too crowded.    

Our final numbers were 1350, which includes the small amount we could take at the door.  Amazing and gratifying.   The result of all our hard work was a bustling, lively, successful steampunk convention.   We had gotten the word out far and wide, and folks came from so many places.  New York, Texas, California… all over, even Europe. 

My greatest fear was that as the “face of Steamcon”, people would approach me to solve their problems all weekend long.  As the first few came up to me, I internally cringed, but they just wanted to say “Thanks!”  I spent the entire weekend meeting people and hearing about how much fun they were having.  Despite the things that went wrong behind the curtain, the audience was well pleased. They were having fun.  The best outcome a con runner can hope for really.   I am so proud of my fabulous staff and my wonderful husband, the convention chair.  I was the creative director or visionary but he was the details person.   It’s an unorthodox teaming, but it works for us.

As we gear up for yet another Steamcon, we are aiming even higher.  There were so many ideas that we simply didn’t have time for last year.  This year, with two hotels and twice as much space, I imagine we can be more than twice as entertaining. 

Our theme this year is the weird, weird west, a nod to our western roots, and it’s got so much potential.  From clockwork sharp shooters to Indian shamans, we expect the eye candy to be spectacular and that’s just the attendees. Many fun schemes are in the works.   Steamcon has come a long way from the fanciful idea we had to a fully fledged steampunk convention.  And we couldn’t have done it without our attendees.  You beautiful, creative, steamy folks!  Hope to see you all again in November at Steamcon II!  www.steamcon.org

(If you want to see some of the amazing attendees from last year: http://www.flickr.com/groups/steamcon/)

Diana Vick is vice chair, creative director, and co-founder of Steamcon, the largest steampunk convention held thus far.  For the past several years, she has been speaking on the topic of steampunk at many conventions across the country, beginning with the infamous “guerilla steampunk panel” that she instigated at Dragoncon in Atlanta.  She has been interviewed by Women’s Wear Daily Fast, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and Marie Claire, and appeared on King Five News.   She has written many articles and guest blogs on the subject of steampunk and has many more in the works.  She has a few short stories and serials in the works as well.  One of her steampunk costumes took grand prize in the masquerade at Orycon in 2009.  Even her art has taken a decidedly steampunk direction lately and you can find examples of this on her Zazzle site at http://www.zazzle.com/artvixn*.   To find more of her art, costumes and articles, you may go to http://www.dianavick.com

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