Steampunk: A tale of ceaseless wonder!

Steampunk Darth Vader

In addition to this awesome Steampunk World’s Fair Darth Vader by Babs Who Takes Pictures, you’ll find some great music in this article!

“Tale of Wonder!” 

If you like Steampunk music, you might enjoy this!  This is the opening song to what was, at the time, perhaps the world’s first Rock Opera (It’s either that, or Paul Shaper’s Dolls of New Albion, which is available for free listening at that link there.)  You can hear a brilliant version by Shakira S, who recently played the role in the show’s revival at this past Steampunk World’s Fair.  Here’s Shakira’s version of “Tale of Wonder” – and the lyrics are below.

This is a tale of wonder,
Worlds asunder
Games the Gods
Play with men

Darkling calling
Thoughts appalling
One who fell, falling again

Hope and cunning
Actions stunning
Heroic souls, and pure

Recriminations,
Explanations
Which thoroughly fail to reassure

Of dark ambition
Sweet perdition
And doom to avert

Villains sneering
Heroes nearing
Full exhaustion – yet alert

Moral peril
Humans feral
With the aftertaste of sin

Soul-benders
Sweet surrenders
Tingling on your tongue and skin

Intoxication
Degradation
And an opiate most dear

Ancient menace
Meets modern chemist
In a place of cog and gear!

New age borning
Rose-and-thorning
New chances and new fears

Must now guide it
Get inside it!
Do it right, or fail for years!

Science learning,
Coal a-burning
Future’s turning sweet and bright;

Science dreaming –
Smoking, steaming
And a mind oddly alight

So our offer’s
Deep-filled coffers
Full of adventure high

Draw you nearer!
See it clearer!
Whatever’s coming –
It is nigh!

~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.

 

Tips on attending your first Steampunk events

Photos © 2010 - 2016 Babette Daniels Photography Purchase your copy of this image at http://www.babetted.com/Events/Steampunk/SPWF2016

“A Full Head Of Tea” – by Babs Who Takes Pictures

Steampunk is unlike any other genre in that no single voice or authority gets to make the rules.  That gives you tremendous freedom.  There was a brief time when some Steampunks thought you had to be fancy and standoffish.  That was years ago, and those people pretty much all stopped hanging out with us.  Now, you can just come and have fun!

Here are some bits of things I’ve learned after seven years of running the world’s largest Steampunk event:

  1.  Don’t worry about dressing up too much – unless you want to!  Steampunk is, above all things, friendly, welcoming, and accepting.  While most people enjoy wearing more Steampunish gear or garb, you aren’t required to (unless it’s a formal ball or something, but personally, I’ve never attended a Steampunk event with a dress code, and I don’t think I’d want to.)  And it’s okay if you make your own, if it’s not professional, if it’s simple.  It’s also okay if you got it at Hot Topic.  We love to admire what you wear, but we care a LOT more about YOU than about what you wear.
  2. Be friendly!  That doesn’t mean you have to be super social – it’s fine to be shy.  But in Steampunk, everyone, from the biggest names down to the newest fans, is an equal.  We hang out, we drink tea together, we have good times.
  3. Do patronize Steampunk artists and creators, if you can afford it.  I can’t think of anyone who makes a ton of cash doing Steampunk; we do it because we love it.  Help encourage more Steampunk creation – if you choose to spend money on stuff, consider buying it from people who make Steampunk art, clothing, music, gadgets, or entertainment.
  4. Bigotry, hatred, and intolerance were normal in the actual Victorian era.  They have NO place in Steampunk.
  5. If you like Steampunk, invite a friend to try it.  Remember, Steampunk is NOT some tiny secret club which is only fun because nobody knows about it.  Due to the massive scope of Steampunk as a cultural force, it’s an entire world.  More people just means that we discover new things about Steampunk every single day!  Just follow Steampunk Tendencies, or check out just a few of the Steampunk bands out there, and you’ll see what I mean.
  6. Steampunk is like anything else – what you get out of it depends on what you get into it.  Come in with an open mind and heart, ready to have a good time and try new things, and you’re in for an incredible locomotive ride!

    ~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.

How A Steampunk Might Make Tea

Young woman posing as magnificent card queen from wonderland at mystic tea-party

“After a fairly shaky start to the day, Arthur’s mind was beginning to reassemble itself from the shell-shocked fragments the previous day had left him with.

He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject’s taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject’s metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centers of the subject’s brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”

Douglas Adams

How To Make Steampunk Tea:

  1.  Try to boil water.
  2.  Realize that it’s the 19th century and the water isn’t safe, even if you boil it.
  3. Time-travel to the 21st century.
  4. Realize that most tea comes in little teabags.
  5. Cry forever.

~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.

Are you “Steampunk Enough”?

Portrait of a beautiful steampunk woman over grunge background.

Are you Steampunk enough?
Are you geeky enough?
Are you good enough?

Yes. You are.

And I don’t mean that in the sense of unthinking compliment. I don’t mean it as cheering. I mean it as simple truth.

In almost every space where you might question whether or not you’re “enough”, the question defines you. If you’re thinking about it, if you’re considering it, if you’re putting out the effort of thought, then you almost certainly are. Unless it’s a contest, your first and best judge is yourself. If it’s a contest – then test yourself!

There are a few times when that question might go to others – if someone’s creating a safe space, for example, for some specific piece of identity. But even then – most of the time, you are still the best first judge. It might be a good idea to ask the space organizers if your identity fits their ideas on identity. But that’s not necessarily because you might not be “enough” – that’s because creating any space involves a number of decisions, and they might not align wholly with who and what you are. That’s still not on you – and again, if you have the politeness to ask, you’re still showing qualities which would make most spaces into better ones.

It’s the ones whose confidence is automatic and not based in life experience, it’s the ones whose assumption is that they’re always a perfect fit, who give me pause. Not because they’re necessarily bad, and not because they’re necessarily wrong, but because not considering that you might be wrong is a danger and luxury. It relies, at the very best, on other people telling you when you are wrong – and not everyone is willing to do that.

Are you “enough”? You are more than enough. You are a multitude of enough.

 

~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.

Should events take sides in consent/harassment issues?

What kind of Steampunk world do we want?

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
-Dante Alighieri

Note: This is very much not directed at any particular group or organization. And I know – trust me, I know – a thousand counter-arguments to what I’m saying. I know them because we’ve debated them ourselves, for years. So I’m not telling anyone what to do, or telling them that they’re wrong. But I’m telling them what is right or wrong for me. In short:

I can, and do, speak only for myself, and for Jeff Mach Events. I wouldn’t presume to tell other event organizers what to do, but I’ll tell you what we do:

Whenever possible, we make a damn decision, and we act on it.

Do we act perfectly? Friend, I’m not even necessarily sure if we act well. I think we do. We work hard to do so. But realistically, we’re dealing things with which the criminal justice system is, at best, unequipped to handle – and at worst, downright shitty. We have tremendously varied levels of information. We have an incredible (and unfortunate) variety of situations. It’s really hard to make the “right” decision, assuming that such a thing even exists.

Can I admit something? We don’t ban a ton of people. But we’ve banned enough people that my heart’s broken over it – because I love this world, and I love this community, and even if we were hugely wrong, even if 75% of our bans were unjust (and, sadly, I don’t believe that’s the case) – the other 25% would still make me feel sick. The other day, I found out that someone I like and trust did a major fucked up thing, and my response was just to break out in tears in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

I’d like to get away from it, just take a few months and say, “Okay, other people on the team should judge these bans”. But I’m not going to. My name is on these events, and every ban is a serious and major thing. I can get help – I have wonderful help; I’m not necessarily the main decision maker in these cases – but I can’t abandon it.

And I’m lucky, of course – my major experience with consent violations is trying to assess them. I have not had my consent violated in decades. My role is the easy one.

Are our systems perfect? Far from it. Do we know the best way to do these things? No-one I’ve run into does. Are these things necessary for us? Yes, they are.

We are not a volunteer-run organization. We don’t elect our officials. Jeff Mach events is owned by a person named Jeff Mach, and he is responsible for the consequences of this company’s actions…or inactions. I do this for a living; I pay my own salary, and that of my employees, by running events. If we, as people who organize actual events, who create spaces for the community to interact and do so to earn our daily bread – if we refuse to interact with the problems in the scene, then who will?

~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, Chocolate, and Willy Wonka

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sweetsteam/roustabout-the-steam-powered-root-beer-float-choco

I’ve spoken to so, so many Steampunks, and many of us share a common theme: the original “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” was one of our first visual or emotional experiences to Steampunk.

A factory of peculiar, semi-real, semi-fantastic, unpredictable wonders, led by a top-hatted, cane-bearing person in a purple Victorian suit?  If that’s not Steampunk, then I don’t know what is.

And one of the greatest powers of Steampunk is bringing the imaginary to life.

I mean, we literally have Lebeau Chocolates, who write books involving chocolatiers, and create high-end artisinal chocolates based on those books.

And we have Sweet Steam. As I write this, they’re in the last stages of their massively successful Kickstarter for ROUSTABOUT: The STEAM-Powered, Root Beer Float Chocolate Bar.  A Root Beer Float Chocolate Bar!  If that’s not something straight out of the world of fabulous fiction, I don’t know what is.  And we can make it happen!

Yes!

We have the power.  We can bring Steampunk chocolate to life and make it bigger than anyone ever dreamed!

This is very much worth your time – go take alook!

Sweetsteam.com/kickstarter

~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.