Friday, January 23, 2009

Restructured at the Device Gallery

The Device Gallery in La Jolla has once again put together an amazing
exhibit of steampunk art. It features 9 artists, including Nemo Gould, Mike Libby, Chris Bathgate, and the awesome Paul Loughridge. Machina Fatalis is visiting the gallery on Saturday January 24th. We are first meeting at The Living Room Cafe at 1010 Prospect Street,
La Jolla at 10:30 a. m. for coffee and snacks. After the gallery we may visit Powells Sweet shop if there is time but since many of us are attending a brass etching workshop 12:30 this may not happen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Naultilist Ball, New Year's Eve with Abney Park

A wondrous evening of music and steampunk! We of the Machina Fatalis eagerly awaited the announcement of Abney Park's performance at The Edison. Once tickets were made available, their cost was prohibitive. It seemed we would be unable to attend! Curses! Enter Captain Robert of Abney Park, sweeping in from above, knife in sail, landing on both feet! Captain Robert used his piratical ways to ensure we, among many others, would not face dissapoint! And dissapointed we were not, as our evening was most enjoyable. Our night began with the usual, less-than-pleasant commute into Los Angeles from San Diego. Once firmly within our hotel, time for a quick change and race over to The Edison. Due to traffic and slow hotel service, our arrival was delayed until 10 p. m. Once inside, we quickly realized that AP was on stage! We had not missed their first performance. A quick trip to the front of the stage to find Emmaline Pierpont and Tobias Eastman. Many quick hellos, then all attention on the band. Once again, a fine performance with many people dancing. After the performance, Lucent Dossier came out with performances all over the club. Caught an interesting act in a giant bird cage, and later, in the generator room. A quick trip to the bar for our first drinks (Alas! The Bar was out of St. George!), then socializing all around. Met many online friends, new and old, and marveled at outfits. Aha! An absinthe bar in the corner! This is where our drinking would take place for the rest of the evening. More exploring the Edison led us to the smoking lounge upstairs. Walking into the lounge, we ran into an old friend from our San Francisco days, Rachael, looking as fantastic as ever! Plenty of reminiscing took place. While Mr. Greyshade headed back down to the dancefloor, I stayed and discussed matters of import with Atrus. Soon we realised the lateness of the hour and hurried down to the stage to join AP in our New Year's countdown. After much confetti, a fabulous champagne toast, and a few kisses, our Captain Robert led us in Auld Lang Syne. Once again, AP regaled us with song and dance until, sadly, the evening was over. Many hugs then we were off to hotel and home. We certainly look forward to next year's Nautilist Ball and hope many of you join us!

Absinthe Tasting Party - December 13th, 2008

By way of celebrating a successful year of steampunk events extraordinare (and the birthday of one of our members), Machina Fatalis hosted an absinthe tasting. Our evening began with the arrival of many finely attired guests. Much mingling and merriment followed. Once everyone was present, our sommelier for the evening, Carol, began our tasting. She made some fine dishes to accompany our absinthe: Gnocchi with fennel pollen, goat cheese and onion tartlets, 4 types of artisan chocolate, and other tasty nibbles. Yummy! Our tasting began with a Czech absinthe, Fruko Schulz. It was determined by all to be nigh undrinkable, with comments like "looks like mouthwash, but not as good", and "what is this stuff you're making us drink?". Only lighting it afire seemed to make it consumable. After each tasting, Tayopa read a history of the brand, with tasting notes. Quite enlightening and amusing. Next on our tasting menu was Lucid, the most popular absinthe in bars. Lucid was determined to be acceptable, nicely flavoured, but a bit strong on the anise flavor. A short time out to dine on the divine gnocchi and tartlets. Carol is a wonderful sommelier and a fantastic cook. Everyone raved about the food. Then on to the last 2 tastings. Next on our list was Le Tourment Vert, the house absinthe at The Edison. Though quite tasty, the truly artificial color could be improved upon. Lastly, one of our own, S. Sprocket graciously offered a bottle of St. George. An absinthe with a deep green, smoky color and complex taste. Divine! Determined to be our official absinthe from now on. Once the last of the absinthe was gone it was time for photos and fun, with many staying until all hours debating and conversing.
Jerry Abuan's beautiful photos of the evening, including the one shown here, can be seen at his photography site. Carol Wafer may be contacted for events at

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Steampowered Convention 10/31 - 11/02

Over Halloween Weekend, Machina Fatalis attended the first all Steampunk convention, Steampowered, in San Jose, CA. It was a very exciting and interesting time. Despite our best plans, we arrived late on Thursday night (thanks SouthWest), and promptly went to bed. No socialising that night! Friday we saw the lobby of The Domain Hotel transformed from an ultra-mod atrium into a steampunk exhibition space complete with gentlemen's sitting room. Whilst all the building continued, we went in search of thrift shops (directly across the street as it happened), and absinthe for our later enjoyment. Both quests were met with success, as we now had a video of The Golem, odd brass bits, John Lydon's book "Rotten", a bottle of St. George, sugar cubes and an absinthe spoon! Once back at the hotel, we picked up our registrations, and headed for the dealer's room. I could tell much money would be spent. There were the usual t-shirt & booksellers, band swag and pretty steampunk outfit vendors. But, best of all, was the Etsy Steamteam tables, filled with handmade goodness from our steampunk bretheren. Turns out the steamteamers themselves were pretty rockin' people. Friday night, we left our room and passed the quickly crowded hotel bar. Though it was filling up with 'punks quickly, it really had no steamy atmos at all, very Ikea-modern mostly, perpsex-backed bar stools and the like. So, wanting to meet & greet, we headed on for the main lobby and ballroom. What this? The gentlemen's club that was only being assembled a few hours before is now functioning as a makeshift bar and lounge! Oh joy! What atmosphere, charming company, and middle-of-everything locale! Quickly we headed back to our room to pour ourselves some St. George and meet back at the "club". Turns out this Victorian parlor was Norman Barringer's stained glass booth at the Dicken's Faire, now with added steampunkiness. The Adventurer's Club, as we now called it, was hosted by 3 charming gentlemen, who all crafted beautiful steamy objects d'art. We spent most of our evening therein, with frequent trips back to our room to fill up our glasses and those of our compatriots for the night. The evening ended on the grand staircase, Eric & Nathaniel creating the Steampunk Gang Sign, Choklit & Stache and Sarah, Gareth and myself all being shushed for too much talky-talky too late in the evening. We all retreated to our room to finish off the bottle of St. George and wish each other a good evening.
Saturday was filled with interesting panel discussions, a chance to meet James Blaylock and get his latest book signed, more shopping adventures, a theremin concert at the Dr. Grordbort booth, and the keynote address by Jake Von Slatt. Very inspiring and well thought out discussion on why steampunk and maker culture is increasingly popular from a personal point of view. Definitely worth reading. After showing off his Wimshurst machine (AKA Victorian taser), we were off to dinner and an outfit change before the Platform One/Abney Park concert that evening. Once back from dinner, we awaited the shuttle to the venue, since it was raining quite a bit. Turns out the "every 15 min." shuttle was more like 40 minutes, so we missed most of Platform One's performance. What we did catch was quite good and I wish we'd been there earlier. Abney Park was fun as usual, and Finn presented Jake Von Slatt his Mad Scientist award from Dragon*Con, as he was unable to attend. Much silliness ensued. Then it was back to the hotel for much needed warmth and rest. Sunday was more panels, including the panel on Steampunk your life. Turned out to be very interesting, and listening to Kymric Smythe of Neverwas was very inspiring. His discussions with Jake Von Slatt and our dear Baron Verndorf were quite illuminating. After that it was all packing, goodbying and loads of promises to keep in touch. We have made quite a few friends from this con and I hope to attend next year's Steampowered. You can view all of Machina Fatalis' pictures of our adventures here