Welcome to SPWF

2017: Fires of Inspiration

Event Dates: May 5-7, 2017

Tickets for SPWF 2017 are now available!
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The Steampunk World’s Fair is the world’s largest Steampunk event!  Join us to meet internationally-acclaimed Steampunk author Gail Carriger; see one of the world’s most beloved Steampunk Bands, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band; and for literally hundreds of hours of vendors, programming, shows, entertainment, and things to see, hear, do, and experience!

Want to find out about our other adventures?
Check out the Jeff Mach Events website.
Love Faeries and Fantasy?  Check out our Glimmerdark event!

The Radisson Hotel Piscataway-Somerset
21 Kingsbridge Road, Piscataway NJ 08854
732-980-0400
SOLD OUT of hotel rooms
Embassy Suites Piscataway
121 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854
732-980-0500
SOLD OUT of hotel rooms

Some rooms are likely to open up closer to SPWF, so keep checking back.
An official overerflow hotel is available. We are actively looking for more official overflow hotels.


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Glimmerdark: A peculiar fairy festival for peculiar people

February 3-5, 2017
Hyatt Regency, Princeton, New Jersey

Don’t miss out! Ticket prices increase on December 10.
Find out more at Glimmerdark.com

What I want for my birthday

In just over a week, I become 42, that most important of all ages of geeks,  at least those who, like me, were influenced by Douglas Adams.

Here’s I want for my birthday:

  1. A gritty Cyberpunk reality.  I was promised that, by now, computers would be overtly trying to take over the world, and large corporations would take over countries, not through subtle financial pressures, but through force of arms.  Let’s go, people!  I want to join the rebellion!
  2. The question to the answer of  “Life, the Universe, and Everything”. To go back to the start, Douglas Adams said that the answer was found and it was the aforementioned “42”, and suggested that we we didn’t understand the question.  I’m going to keep asking questions until I figure it out.
  3. The Post-Apocalypse.  I’ve been practicing so hard.  I’ve been working on maintaining a perfect tan while out in the desert.  I’ve been learning how to spend all day, every day, cautiously pointing a rifle through the rubble which once was major cities.  I’ve been learning how to find the other Last Humans on Earth, and I’m totally ready to hoarde Twinkies like there’s no tomorrow, which there isn’t.
  4. More worlds of imagination.  Because I’ve decided that creating spaces for Steampunks, Faeries, Goths, and Geeks isn’t enough.  I want to make the world a weirder place all day, ever day, and I’m ready to do it.
  5. I do not want a flying car.  I don’t even need a self-driving car.  I just need a very snarky car, like Kitt from Night Rider.  (Which could, yes, self-drive, but that wasn’t the important part.)  I want a witty vehicle which will crack one-liners at me as I cruise through the night, defending the innocent and trying to go on dates with this week’s love interest.
  6. I would really like some more chocolate, please.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

…and then someone spraypainted Steampunk black

Have you heard that saying, “Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown”?  I never quite knew how to take it. Is it a commentary on the two movements being similar?  Is it saying there isn’t much range in either one?  Is it just poking fun at stereotypes?

But I’ve finally come to a decision: it’s complementing how utterly transformative these cultures are.

It’s a superpower! With a flick of one wrist, you go shadowy all over, mysterious, brooding, dark, Goth.  Then, with a wink of your left eye, you become garish but powerful, whimsical yet beweaponed, strange yet catchy; you’re Steampunk.

Why not?  People say that we’re pretending or playing dress-up games; but what in life isn’t a dress-up game.  The military, a courtroom, a cocktail party, a wedding – these are all dress-up games with deep, serious meanings.  When we “play” at dressing up, we interact and co-invention entire Universes of thought and idea and possibility with other members of our species.  We co-exist, we form bonds, we learn more about others and about ourselves.

That’s every bit as serious or important as anything in “real life”.

And it brings us back to the original idea:

Maybe Steampunk IS Goths discovering black; maybe Goth is Steampunks remembering their roots.  Maybe what the entire world needs is a little more peculiarity and a little less of an attempt to act like “pretending” is for children.  When baby lions wrestle, it’s cute; when, as bigger lions, they use the same techniques to go through prey like, well, lions – it’s deadly serious.  What’s the difference?  Just two things – enough time, and enough pretending.  Given those two factors, you can become anything.

Are you ready to go out there and become anything you might want?

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

Steampunk is exactly as accepting as we want it to be

I’m going to tell you a thing that isn’t a secret:

If Steampunk were going to be just for the cool kids, it would’ve been. They tried it. We didn’t let it happen.

The Steampunk World’s Fair at New York City Pride – with Jordana Rollerhoops

We made Steampunk something for the misfits, the nerds, the geeks, the weirdos.  And we made it a place for all the people who are just trying to be themselves as human beings.  I mean, for myself, I chose to be a geek.  I didn’t choose to be queer.  But when we were putting Steampunk together–and as we’re putting it together now–we choose, every day, whether or not Steampunk is a place that accepts everyone.

And I tell you this: It needs to be.

There are so many places to put our time, our minds, our creativity, the works of our hands and minds.  Why would anyone, in 2017, put energy, put life, put time, put focus…into something that says, “You: You are deserving of love, of time, of affection, of respect–and that person there, that person is not”?

We don’t need to do that any more.

We don’t need to be those people.

We have the Internet to bring us together.  Sure, it could tear us apart.  But why let it?

Our political climate is difficult for everyone.  Diseases, climate, disasters of every sort – these things happen without our ability to prevent them.

So why should our fantasy lives, why should our imaginary worlds, contain the seeds of their own destruction? Why should we set ourselves up to fail?  Why should we work to be less than the best, the kindest, the most open, the most accepting we should be?

We should not.  And we will not.

This world accepts you.  Come be a part of it.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

Why Jeff Mach Events Won’t Be Doing A Star Wars Event

Yoda”, by Felix Hu. Sourced from Pixabay.

I’d love to do a Star Wars event. But I can’t.

Because I can’t get enough ballpit balls to fill a Death Star.

And if you can’t fill a Death Star with ballpit balls, what’s the point, right?

Because yes.  Every event I run has a ballpit.  It’s a symbol that we took from this rather well-known XKCD comic strip, and what it means to us is: As adults creating event spaces, we can do incredible things.  We are willing to try anything that might be fun, creative, interesting, and different.  Do you know how long it took us to put together our current ballpit?  Years.  And it was worth every. Damn. Day.

So why not do a Star Wars event?  I did the math, or, more specifically, I used this important tool to help me do the math.

See, the first Death Start (first Death Star was BEST Death Star!) is estimated to have a diameter of 160 km. The volume of a sphere is, of course, Pi Diameter cubed divided by 6, or 4,096,000 / 6 3.1415, ie = 2144660.58485. That’s 7036288008.03 cubic feet. That would be many, many ballpit balls.

Of course, we don’t need to fill the ENTIRE space. This becomes much easier if we assume that someone has decided how much flooring Darth Vader would need to mop if he were to mop the Death Star. Which, of course, someone has. Note that their estimate of Death Star size is also slightly smaller than the one I heard. I’m going to assume that they’re probably right, since Grand Moff Tarkin and I have been on iffy terms since that one regrettable night of Wookie margaritas…

Ok! So we’re talking about 359.2 million square kilometers. Translating that into feet, and running it through the program…

155,175,559,160,269 ballpit balls at a cost of $29,483,356,240,451.11.

Hmm. Time to set up a GoFundMe?

  • Disclaimer #1: I’m a liberal arts major. My math is not very good.*

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

Gothpunk: Peace, love, and darkness

I’ll never forget my oddest encounter with the Goth scene.  It was the late 1990s.  Mr. Aurelio Voltaire‘s “legal” name was a secret.  I was trying to make it as a singer-songwriter, and I’d hired Voltaire to perform at one of my events.

Not long thereafter, I was asked to perform at “Gothstock” – “Peace, Love & DARKNESS” was their motto.  They asked me if I’d MC.

I was thrilled.   They said they would “feed and water” me, and give me a good place to sleep, and they wanted me to MC and introduce acts.  I asked if I could play some songs of my own, and they said they wanted me to focus on introducing people.  I didn’t think I was that well-known, and they gave this weird response: “We know who you REALLY are”.  But I just took it to mean that they knew I had some talent, even if I didn’t have a name.

Hey.  I didn’t say I was smart.

I mean, I was in my early 20s.  I was excited as all heck.  Gothstock, eh?  How cool!

And then, one day, I looked at their website.  My name wasn’t there.

But Voltaire’s was.  In big letters.  As MC.

I contacted Voltaire.  He’d never heard from these people.

I wrote them a polite note, “Hey, I notice that Voltaire’s name is up there, but mine isn’t.  He says he hasn’t heard from you.  You…don’t think that I’m Voltaire, do you?

And that’s the last I ever heard from them.

No response, no apology, nothing.

Did it ruin Goth for me?  Hell, no!  I still went clubbing, I still danced, I still listened to Sisters of Mercy and The Cure (and Alice Cooper, but don’t tell anyone.)

But it sure taught me a lesson that would matter a lot, later in life, as a promoter:  Know what…I mean, Always..I mean…

Actually, I can’t count how many lessons it taught me.  A lot of them.  Gothstock quietly folded, and was never heard from again.  It was just one more nail in the coffin of a movement that was fighting – at the time – being blamed for Columbine; being absorbed by the mass media and Hot Topic; and terrible infighting.

But Goth lived, a strange, uncanny, magical undead life.  And there it remains today.

To all the Zombies and Vampires whose closets, in the very back, have the clothes in which you used to gyrate madly to “The Cure”:  Come home.  We have a place for you.

Dark Side of the Con – By Vampire Freaks and Jeff Mach.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.