Steampunk World’s Fair

Last Saturday, I spent a lovely day at the Steampunk World’s Fair with my illustrious co-editor, Bernie Mojzes, and event-blogger and photographer extraordinaire, Steve Schultz. We arrived shortly before noon, and were greeted by none other than Jesus himself (aka Gil Cnaan), who informed us the Rapture would take place promptly at 6pm.  It didn’t, but we still had a wonderful time.

As one might expect a steampunk fair to be, the event was a chaos of things – incredible and elaborate costumes, cane fighting demonstrations, belly dancers, vendors, musicians, fashion shows, author readings, and, of course, absinthe. Being too dazzled by the oohprettyshiny, I didn’t think to take many pictures. I did however follow Steve around with a light on a stick and assist in his photographic efforts for a while. Some highlights of the experience below the cut.

First up was a reading by Ekaterina Sedia and Genevieve Valentine. This was pretty much the only thing on my must-do list for the day, and I was not disappointed. Despite an odd set-up that had the reading taking place in the back of a room where a gaming tournament was going on, the authors did a fantastic job. Ekaterina Sedia read from her upcoming novel, Heart of Iron, which I cannot wait to get my hands on, and Genevieve Valentine read from her recently-released novel, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. Thanks to a prize drawing, post-reading, I am now in possession of a lovely, signed copy of the latter, which I am very much looking forward to reading. I am also in possession of what may be the world’s only box of steampunk m&ms. Delicious!

Much of the day was spent wandering and browsing the vendor stalls. I’m now that much closer to my goal of building a true and proper steampunk outfit, which I will hopefully have occasion to wear for an upcoming reading or two. Alcohol was obtained. Some of it was absinthe. The bartender had to consult the recipe multiple times during the course of making my cocktail, and he still got it wrong, but whatever he gave me was probably better than the original anyway.

In the course of drinking and wandering, we stumbled upon an incredible performance by my new musical obsession, Eliza Rickman. Go watch her gorgeous and haunting video for Cinnamon Bone. It’s okay. I’ll wait. So, yes, lovely and captivating. She grabbed our attention, made us stop, sit, and listen, not to mention, buy cds. She’s currently working on a full-length album (yes, please!), and she’s raising funds on Kickstarter to make it happen.

Immediately after that, Jason Webley took the stage. I think he might best be described as a mad man with an accordion, and occasionally a guitar. And I mean that in the best possible way. He invited us to spend the Rapture with him, and gave one of the most energetic performances I’ve ever seen. The world didn’t end, but he did get kicked off the stage early to make way for the next performer, which was a shame.

We capped the evening off by watching Frenchy and the Punk formerly known as the Gypsy Nomads. They were wonderful as always, and this time they had the added bonus of being accompanied by Katie Kat, an incredible soprano, who does background vocals for some of their songs. I’d heard her on their albums before, but I’d never seen her perform with them live. Also, there was a belly dancer.

Belly Dancer

All in all, it was good fun, and I would consider attending again next year. Maybe even in costume!

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