My husband and I have spent most of this Memorial Day Weekend at the World Steampunk Expo in Dearborn Michigan. This was our first time at this particular event, AND our first time at a strictly Steampunk Expo (I'm an old hat at sci-fi cons, albeit out of the circuit for many years).
My first thought upon arriving early Friday evening was "I feel so under dressed!" The Expo was only a fraction of the size of Dragon*Con in Atlanta, but the percentage of attendees in costume was easily the same or greater. Very few people jeans and T-shirts were to be seen anywhere. (So, I guess it's time to get the costuming going! I've haven't been sewing, I've been busy writing and painting, mostly painting.)
The first panel we attended was a great panel on thrift-store hunting. I love thrift stores, so I didn't expect to learn much, but it was a really great talk, and panelists brought up pawn shops and repair shops for finding gears and bits & bobs for your steampunk attire.
The next panel we hit was about multiculturalism in steampunk, which I really loved, because as you all know (hopefully) I'm really into multiculturalism...on in my words "Humans come in all colors and flavors!" (The only thing missing was more of an LGBT component, but some of the panelists were heard to be bandying about the idea, so maybe next year... or maybe I'll figure out how to get invited to participate, since I did so darned much research for Heart's Home... which is in it's final draft; now I'm just working on the Dreaded Synopsis.)
Oh, did I forget to "name drop" after Penguicon? I know, I'm backtracking. At Penguicon, I met the lovely and talented Lydia Nyx, an amazing gay male erotica novel. If you haven't heard of her, you should check out her website, LydiaNyx.com. I think I was a little too worn out after Penguicon to give a full report, but I had a blast. It's just that I was vending there and that tends to drain me pretty badly. Maybe next time I'll try to figure out the hotel's wi fi and blog on the spot.
Anyway, back to the Steampunk Expo! We saw Abney Park--twice. I also discovered the most amazing band, the Clockwork Dolls. (I'm not saying I wasn't impressed by Abney Park, but if I had to pick which band I liked better, well... maybe it was sitting chatting with Allison in the vendor's room for a while, or maybe it was just that I LOVE good strong female vocalists. My husband introduced Allison--not the vocalist in question--to Barenjager liquor. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but it does go nicely in tea...) The Clockwork Dolls aren't at all new, they're just new to me. As I mentioned, Helene's voice is truly, utterly and Allison is an incredible composer / arranger. Listening to both of them talk at the Sounds of Steampunk panel (along with their guitarist, Chris, and a couple of DJs from Steampunk Chicago) was really an educational experience, as well. I hear tell the Clockwork Dolls might be back at the Steampunk Expo next year--even if I hadn't had such a good time otherwise, I would go back just to see them again.
Also in that panel discussion, I (and the rest of the audiance) was introduced to, amongst other things, Techno Swing music. I must admit, I am way out of the loop on "alternative" or "left of centre" stuff, so it was an amazing panel to be at. (... at which to be? It's too early to worry about dangling participles...) Anyway... techno swing is an amazing form of music that, as the name suggests, combines techno and swing. And it works. It really, really works.
We also attended a great talk on men's fashion--and I was indulged by Ziggy from the IAPS who helped me sort out whether James, from Heart's Home, should be wearing a necktie or a cravat; that's one question I haven't been able to satisfactorily answer from my own research and since I had an historian and tailor right in front of me....
While we were waiting in line for the second Abney Park show, I commissioned a wonderful chain belt from my friend Bella Lynn of Clockwork Lace (I can't find her website easily, but I will be posting pictures of the belt AND her website in the next week or so--I have her card, but it's in my purse and I'm still drinking my first cup of coffee.)
Finally, I would lay even money that I saw Jason Carter. I didn't go up to the man and ask him to kindly confirm his identity, as he was have WAY too much enjoying the Tartanic concert out by the parking lot (perhaps the hotel was too confining for bagpipes?) And really, it's rude to walk up to an actor who is at an event somewhere as a patron (the top hat and goggles gave him as such), but I'm a good 99% sure it was him!
I'm not sure I'm going back today or not, but Ed (my husband) is. I think I might spend some time puttering in the garden; it's been raining all weekend and it looks like a need a pith helmet and a machete to get through to the strawberry bed, which still isn't completely dug out...
LOL! I'm still going to give it a try...
Okay, I'm NOT going to tell you how many spelling errors I had in this post. Thank the Gods for spellcheck!!!!!!!
Happy Memorial Day to my American friends!