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