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.

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.


Dark Side of the Con

March 17-19, 2017
Radisson Hotel, Piscataway, New Jersey

Find out more at darksideofthecon.com

Steampunk Is For Everyone

Redhead woman posing with weapons in a storage space.I’ve weathered many conventions, from the anime days at Otakon to the comic book scene at Wizard World, and out of all of them, I’ve found something unique at steampunk conventions. One of the themes throughout most conventions of a geeky nature is the love for cosplay or dressing up. After all, who doesn’t want to don a costume and immerse yourself in the fandom of what you

Unfortunately, that enjoyment often gets dampened.

For the love of Cthulu, we’ve reached the point where groups like Cosplay is Not Consent and other such groups are necessary, due to the altercations that attendees deal with simply for wanting to enjoy the convention in their favorite costume. On top of that, those who are bold enough to cosplay end up facing fierce scrutiny by the other attendees, often mocked and ridiculed, either for not having the “right” body type to cosplay the character, or a poorly done costume (even if it was the best effort from a person who couldn’t sew). And these aren’t isolated cases either—most cosplayers have horror stories of rude comments, aggressive, or downright nasty behavior.

Now, I could go on about the minefield of problems at length, but what I wanted to point out was the contrast at steampunk conventions.

I’ve attended and vended quite a few steampunk conventions at this point, and what I’ve seen has been an all around air of acceptance. Yes, part of the reason could lie with the malleability of the content. Steampunk is a very changeable aesthetic and no real clear, defined rules, which opens the way for more creativity. Unlike dressing as Powergirl, where you’re expected to have tits out to Kansas, or Wolverine, where washboard abs seem to be a pre-requisite that few have the time to maintain, steampunk allows every body type to participate.

I’ve never seen so much creativity and self-expression from all ages and differing types of people than I have at steampunk conventions. From hand-sewn ballgowns to throwing on a vest and a pair of goggles, all modes are accepted. Even with different takes on pop culture, such as Steampunk Ariel, or Steampunk Flash, the focus is on the craftsmanship and ingenuity rather than nitpicking details of accuracy to the costume.

In that regard, steampunk is invaluable. It allows people to enjoy dressing up once more, rather than fearing judging gazes, or god forbid, jerks who slap stickers on cosplayers they find inadequate. The spirit of tinkering manages to inject some much needed positivity back into the world of cosplay—where it’s okay to dress up as something you love. Don a corset, throw on a pair of pirate boots, and add whatever accents you find appropriate. Love for steampunk allows those expressions of geekery to flourish rather than be stamped out by hordes of naysayers and critics.

Although I’m sure incidents still occur, the same as in any forum, the experience I’ve had of steampunk is one of creativity and expression, both a good breeding pool for innovation. And that’s what I’ve seen time and time again from this community, whether it be innovation in creating the coolest steampunk Proton Pack, sewing a gorgeous bustled Victorian gown, or simply innovation in how we treat one another as human beings.  After all, who doesn’t want to don a costume and immerse yourself in the fandom of what you love?


Today’s post is by guest author Kat McIntyre of katherine-mcintyre.com!

A modern day Renaissance-woman, Katherine McIntyre has learned soapmaking, beer brewing, tea blending, and most recently roasting coffee. Most of which make sure she’s hydrated and bathed while she spends the rest of her time writing. With a desire to travel and more imagination than she knows what to do with, all the stories jumping around in her head led to the logical route of jotting them down on paper. She writes novels with snarky women, ragtag crews, and guys with bad attitudes. High chances for a passionate speech thrown into the mix.

Does your loved one have The Steampunk?

Portrait of a steampunk man with a mechanical devices. Fantasy.Does your loved one have The Steampunk?

Are they suddenly significantly taller, due to the addition of a top-hat with a clock nailed to it?

Do they possess goggles which, for no particular reason, never seem to be found on their eyes?

Do they suddenly insist on drinking tea?  Oh, sure, I’ve heard that normal people drink tea, but I don’t believe it.  Have you ever tried the stuff?  Horrible muck.  Give me coffee any ol’ day.

Do they often forget to pay the rent or mail a letter, than walk into a large blue box, and emerge a few minutes later having dramatically altered the Universe by forbidden travel through the space-time continuum?

Have they begun gluing gears to things?

Do you find them disappearing on certain weekends weekends to odd and distant places, like Piscataway, New Jersey, and reappearing on Sunday night, exhausted, happy, and babbling vaguely about being overwhelmed by dancing, music, art, games, fun, and ballpits?

Good heavens!  Who knows what peculiar things will happen next if we don’t put a stop to all this?

Friends, we must be ever-vigilant.  Your neighbors, your friends, even your loved ones may have The Steampunk!  The dangers are incalculable, mostly because almost all of them are imaginary.  I mean, have you ever read something Steampunk?  The most frequent Steampunk deaths are falling out of dueling airships, being struck by lightning by Thomas Edison’s evil death-ray, and accidentally forgetting to eat anything that isn’t a crumpet.  It’s pretty hard to calculate how likely any of those things is to happen, but I suspect the odds are 22,079,460,347 to one against.

And I have left out a secret: It’s actually impossible to stop The Steampunk.  It keeps re-creating itself in new and wonderful ways, as more and more people bring their far-flying imaginations to it.  It’s incurable.

You might as well enjoy it.

~Jeff Mach

_____________

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.

On having food delivered to events

Funny young chef with a pot in kitchenIt almost always supports the venue, and thus the event, if you’re able to order food from an event; many events have food or drink minimums that they must meet as a part of their contracts; and it makes all kinds of cultures, from Steampunk to Geekery to Goth, look good to hotels when those hotels make a lot of money at their bars and restaurants.  

(If you did not know this, you should know this: hotels, and other venues, talk to each other.  That’s why it used to be much harder to do Steampunk events in hotels; hotels didn’t know who we were or what we were doing.  But a number of events–ours being one of them, but not the only one–showed that Steampunks are great hotel guests.  Now it’s fairly easy to book a Steampunk show.)

Still, there are times when you just need to get food brought to you from the outside.

If you choose to have food delivered to our show, please keep in mind the following suggestions and tipping etiquette:

• Do tip. Even supervillains tip. Plenty of them worked their way through Evil University via the thankless task of acquiring protein for cyclopean monsters whose idea of a tip was only eating one of your kidneys.

• Do not tip using fairy gold which vanishes at daybreak. Make sure it vanishes in about three days, after they’ve had a chance to perform the standard College Student Alchemy of turning small amounts of money into Ramen.

• Do not tip by offering up your favorite memory of a perfect summer day when you were young and the summer stretched before you in
an endless panaply of wonder. The exchange rate for memories in New Jersey is TERRIBLE.

• Do not tip in priceless golden pirate doubloons if the pirate from whom you stole them still wants them back.

• Do tip generously. The sights and sounds your delivery person has experienced can never be unheard or unseen, but a sufficient tip can, at least, put in a down payment on some liquid therapy.

~Jeff Mach

_____________

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.

On Steampunk Holiday: The origins of Cogsday

Beautiful woman in vintage style dress and hat holding dynamite on dark studio backgroundIt’s challenging to create worthwhile new programming ideas, and I can safely tell you that the amount of time we spent on trying to figure out how to develop a new VIP event was approximately 237 years.  If you see Hermione, tell her I’ll get her Time-Turner back to her right after 2020.

I knew I wanted to invent a holiday, something festive, something with traditions, something a little silly, but also something people could take seriously as a chance to essentially thank Steampunk for giving us this vast playground of the imagination.  I batted it around forever, and finally had a conversation with Professor Adam Smasher of The Eternal Frontier, who helped us out by incorporating this Thirsty Squid into our scheme.

Figuring out Cogsday, The Steampunk Holiday took a lot of time and energy.  Let me hand you over to the good professor, to give you his original thought.  It’s a little like what you see in the link above, only this is the Director’s Cut.

History meets Ficstory! By Professor Adam Smasher

What is Cogsday and why do we need to celebrate it? (Why Steampunks MUST celebrate Cogsday):

The Steampunk phenomenon itself, has long been celebrated by magnificent events hosted on Terra firma, occasionally in the aethersphere and upon the water. No matter how truly wondrous all of these celebrations continue to be…
They have all, either only touched upon or completely overlooked one very important Steampunk frontier, THE BRINY DEPTHS OF THE SEAS!!! Sure you will see the obligatory cephalopod displayed here and there at conventions! But, our fellow Steampunks, we must not overlook this important frontier any longer! It is not incidental, it is crucial and here is why!

Chrononauts we are…
But does anyone know where the earliest known example of a gear wheel (A.K.A. Cog), was discovered? If per chance you guessed, the briny depths of the sea, you are 20,000 % correct! 


What is Cogsday and why do we need to celebrate it? (Why Steampunks MUST celebrate Cogsday):

The Steampunk phenomenon itself, has long been celebrated by magnificent events hosted on Terra firma, occasionally in the aethersphere and upon the water. No matter how truly wondrous all of these celebrations continue to be…
They have all, either only touched upon or completely overlooked one very important Steampunk frontier, THE BRINY DEPTHS OF THE SEAS!!! Sure you will see the obligatory cephalopod displayed here and there at conventions! But, our fellow Steampunks, we must not overlook this important frontier any longer! It is not incidental, it is crucial and here is why!

Chrononauts we are…
But does anyone know where the earliest known example of a gear wheel (A.K.A. Cog), was discovered? If per chance you guessed, the briny depths of the sea, you are 20,000 % correct!

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in the Antikythera shipwreck, near the Greek island of Antikythera. The wreck was found in April 1900 by Greek sponge divers, who retrieved numerous artifacts, inclusive of bronze and marble statues, pottery, unique glassware, jewelry, coins, and THE MECHANISM! Thought to be a mere a lump of corroded bronze and wood at the time,
The Mechanism went unnoticed for two years, while museum staff worked on piecing together more obvious artifacts. Then, on 17 May 1902,
archaeologist Valerios Stais was examining the finds and noticed that one of the pieces of rock, had a GEAR WHEEL embedded in it! The largest gear it contains is approximately 5.5 inches in diameter and originally had 223 teeth. Stais initially believed it was an astronomical clock, but most scholars considered the device to be prochronistic, too complex to have been constructed during the same period as the other pieces discovered. It has since been argued that The Mechanism, dates back to 323 B.C. and it has been called, “The Portable Cosmos!”.
Prochronistic they say? Bolderdash we Chrononauts say! While we may never know the absolute birth date, of the superlative creation known to us as, “The Cog”. We do know it’s earliest known incarnation was discovered at the bottom of the sea and identified between April 1900 and May 1902! So I ask you my fellow Chronoauts, does it not make absolute sense to celebrate, “Cogsday, as the simultaneous birth and/ or discovery of the Cog”???
YES!!!, of course it does!!! That is precisely why Cogsday, THE WORLD’S FIRST EVER STEAMPUNK HOLIDAY, will be celebrated, in force, annually in May, at the world’s largest and most prestigeous Steampunk event, “The Steampunk World’s Fair!”!!!
Accept no substitutes! The very fisrt annual Cogsday begings at 11:00P.M. on Saturday May 6
th. 2017. Attendance will be granted to special ticket holders only, so buy your tickets NOW!!!
In short, Cogsday is THE birthday celebration of the Cog!
Ahhh… But the mystery deepens…
What type of entertainment might one encounter within a Cogsday celebration?
What manner of Cogs-liday traditions will be born from it’s embrace?
To this end we quip, “Welcome to, The Thirsty Squid!”…
Where brine minded Chrononauts can get their flippers wet!
In 1976 the legendary, Jacques Cousteau dove on the wreck of
The Antikythera, and found additional pieces of The Mechanism! The staff at The Steampunk World’s Fair, was also able to substantiate rumors, that Captain Nemo himself, posessed ancient Greek documents, was well aware and in search of, “The Mechanism”! Nemo sought to repair or reverse engineer it, harness it’s power and control the world from his own subaquatic armchair! But alas, he was unable to locate it! So you might ask, how did the the staff at S.P.W.F. gather this important information, about the elusive Captain Nemo’s desires? Would you believe they retrieved it directly from an intoxicated Captain Nemo himself? Well… It’s true!!! The staff were all on hand one night at the only known, aetherial and exclusive watering hole, Captain Nemo himself has ever frequented, “The Thirsty Squid!”.
Nemo was comfortable at The Thirsty Squid and believed himself to be in the company of, like minded evil geniuses (And he was probably accurate!). On that one particular night and after numerous toasts, he outlined to the SPWF staff, in great detail, his meniacal, mechanical desires! So, if The Thirsty Squid seems like a speakeasy that you would like to imbibe at, ticket holders for the Cogsday celebration are in luck! While The Thirsty Squid has been known to emerge erraticly, from the murky depths of the brine. There is but one night it emerges each year, that you can set your chronographs to! At precisely 11:59 P.M. during the Cogsday celebration, Saturday of The Steampunk World’s Fair!
The Thirsty Squid by way of Cogsday, will feature a performance/ serenade by the Steampunk musical duo, “ The Eternal Frontier”, as well as Burlesque and a host of suprise guests!!!

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in the Antikythera shipwreck, near the Greek island of Antikythera. The wreck was found in April 1900 by Greek sponge divers, who retrieved numerous artifacts, inclusive of bronze and marble statues, pottery, unique glassware, jewelry, coins, and THE MECHANISM! Thought to be a mere a lump of corroded bronze and wood at the time,
The Mechanism went unnoticed for two years, while museum staff worked on piecing together more obvious artifacts. Then, on 17 May 1902,
archaeologist Valerios Stais was examining the finds and noticed that one of the pieces of rock, had a GEAR WHEEL embedded in it! The largest gear it contains is approximately 5.5 inches in diameter and originally had 223 teeth. Stais initially believed it was an astronomical clock, but most scholars considered the device to be prochronistic, too complex to have been constructed during the same period as the other pieces discovered. It has since been argued that The Mechanism, dates back to 323 B.C. and it has been called, “The Portable Cosmos!”.
Prochronistic they say? Bolderdash we Chrononauts say! While we may never know the absolute birth date, of the superlative creation known to us as, “The Cog”. We do know it’s earliest known incarnation was discovered at the bottom of the sea and identified between April 1900 and May 1902! So I ask you my fellow Chronoauts, does it not make absolute sense to celebrate, “Cogsday, as the simultaneous birth and/ or discovery of the Cog”???
YES!!!, of course it does!!! That is precisely why Cogsday, THE WORLD’S FIRST EVER STEAMPUNK HOLIDAY, will be celebrated, in force, annually in May, at the world’s largest and most prestigeous Steampunk event, “The Steampunk World’s Fair!”!!!
Accept no substitutes! The very fisrt annual Cogsday begings at 11:00P.M. on Saturday May 6
th. 2017. Attendance will be granted to special ticket holders only, so buy your tickets NOW!!!
In short, Cogsday is THE birthday celebration of the Cog!
Ahhh… But the mystery deepens…
What type of entertainment might one encounter within a Cogsday celebration?
What manner of Cogs-liday traditions will be born from it’s embrace?
To this end we quip, “Welcome to, The Thirsty Squid!”…
Where brine minded Chrononauts can get their flippers wet!
In 1976 the legendary, Jacques Cousteau dove on the wreck of
The Antikythera, and found additional pieces of The Mechanism! The staff at The Steampunk World’s Fair, was also able to substantiate rumors, that Captain Nemo himself, posessed ancient Greek documents, was well aware and in search of, “The Mechanism”! Nemo sought to repair or reverse engineer it, harness it’s power and control the world from his own subaquatic armchair! But alas, he was unable to locate it! So you might ask, how did the the staff at S.P.W.F. gather this important information, about the elusive Captain Nemo’s desires? Would you believe they retrieved it directly from an intoxicated Captain Nemo himself? Well… It’s true!!! The staff were all on hand one night at the only known, aetherial and exclusive watering hole, Captain Nemo himself has ever frequented, “The Thirsty Squid!”.
Nemo was comfortable at The Thirsty Squid and believed himself to be in the company of, like minded evil geniuses (And he was probably accurate!). On that one particular night and after numerous toasts, he outlined to the SPWF staff, in great detail, his meniacal, mechanical desires! So, if The Thirsty Squid seems like a speakeasy that you would like to imbibe at, ticket holders for the Cogsday celebration are in luck! While The Thirsty Squid has been known to emerge erraticly, from the murky depths of the brine. There is but one night it emerges each year, that you can set your chronographs to! At precisely 11:59 P.M. during the Cogsday celebration, Saturday of The Steampunk World’s Fair!
The Thirsty Squid by way of Cogsday, will feature a performance/ serenade by the Steampunk musical duo, “ The Eternal Frontier”, as well as Burlesque and a host of suprise guests!!!

~as told to Jeff Mach

_____________

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.

To tell the truth, I’ve never felt I fit in anywhere

3D render of a surreal science fiction scene with spaceship“No one belongs when they are new to this world. All children are Changelings.”
Catherynne M. Valente

You know, I wish I was a changeling.  Even if I didn’t wholly understand what that meant.  I wish that I’d had some idea that I came from some other place–not a better place, just a place so fundamentally different from other people that it explained why I never felt like anyone else.

But I think I was born as human as anyone.  Just–

I sometimes feel like there’s some telepathy between humans that I lack.  “This might be a good way to dress”.  “This might be the right thing to say.”  “This is how you do this job interview, have this work interaction, explain your actions to others; got it?”

I feel like I have nowhere that’s a right place for me. Which is odd, because I now have a lot of places that I can call “home”, and a lot of places where people welcome me with great kindness.

It’s true that I’m an extrovert. But the only real home I have is inside me – or inside the moments when I suddenly realize I’m part of a shared experience, creating something that’s never been before.

It’s hard.  It hurts.  I don’t like it.  …or at least, I don’t think I like it.  And yet I choose it, and I don’t think I do so out of masochism.  Part of it’s not choice, but part of it absolutely is: I choose not to feel like I am the right shape or the right frequency, that my shadow makes an inappropriate form on the walls, that my mind speaks a secret tongue which doesn’t really translate.

It’s weird and it’s lonely. But I’d rather feel at home a few times a year, and be driven to make those experiences, than feel at home all the time, and be content where I am.

~Jeff Mach

_____________

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.