The Steampunk World’s Fair – “Wonders Untold”
As people who run a lot of different events, we’ve acquired some valuable knowledge over the past 20 years. Today, we’d like to give you TERRIBLE advice on an important subject:
Proper Nutrition While At Shows
As many of you know, I’ve long been a proponent of healthy eating at events. I suggest vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and vitamins. Seriously, if you’re not running around hard enough that your body might collapse unless you fill it with rocket fuel, then you should give consideration to the possibility that you’re doing it wrong.
Here for an opposing view, we have: French fries.
Hi there. We’re French Fries. We’re crispy. We’re the carbohydrates your brain is craving. Seriously, we’re not sure why zombies hypothetically go after brain matter, whereas your head has millions of years of evolution directed towards the belief that carbo-loading maximizes longterm fitness and reproductive potential. Sure, your brain had no idea that we’d be delivering said theoretical fitness in the form of deep-fried salted slabs of calories emptier than a tinker’s wallet after a night in a Faerie cocktail lounge. It doesn’t matter. We’re French Fries, and whatever your ideas of appropriate nutrition might be, we’re getting up in your face and not leaving until you’ve feasted upon our deliciously crunchy, short-lived tuber bodies.
Munchausen – a storytelling competition. From The Steampunk World’s Fair 2015.
“Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.”
We originally wrote this for our Faerie Festival, Glimmerdark, but truly, it applies to just about every Steampunk event we’ve ever attended. So ask yourself this, the most important of all questions:
How ought one party at a Steampunk Festival?
• Like it’s 1999 and you’re well aware there won’t be a 2000
• Like it’s the Fall of Atlantis
• Like it’s the Apocalypse
• Like it’s the Post-Apocalypse
• Like it’s Ragnarok and you’re on the side with the good mead
• Like Fairyland is burning
• Like “Real Life” isn’t really living
• Like you’re coming home
There are the lovely faeries
We are none of those
We are the misfit faeries
In our strange and motley clothes
Some faeries fly in springtime
Their wings gauzy and deft
We’ve torn off our wings
Only the stubs are left
“Hey, now, you misfit Faeries
(On Fairyland a blight)
Why wear you not your proper clothes?
Why forsake you flight?”
“Hey, now, you lovely Faeries
(Thou irritant, thou itch)
Who speak alike, and look alike
(We can’t tell which from which.)
You, the bright, the heavenly
The gorgeous and ethereal
You to whom the soul and heart
Are largely immaterial
We’ll speak a thing that you forgot
(Since you are inquiring)
There’s more in this patch of earthly dirt
Than all your sky’s entiring.
We don’t build Steampunk worlds; we build imaginary worlds. Steampunk’s what we’re known for, but really, our mission is:
- We’re a bunch of weird people.
- We make events for other weird people.
- Our goal is simple: To create a safe place where everyone who has trouble belonging elsewhere…absolutely belongs here.
See what we do:
Inspiration is in the air all around us! Or maybe that’s smog. I can’t tell the difference.
~The Alternative Cyberpunk Future
Back in the 90s, I genuinely thought that Cyberpunk was going to rule the science fiction world and, indeed, the entire world of imaginary creation. There was certainly much more Cyberpunk being written than Steampunk, and most people didn’t even know the word “Steampunk”. I’m never going to stop mentioning that K.W. Jeter’s “Infernal Devices” series is one of the great works in the entire genre of speculative fiction, but weigh that against the popularity of Gibson’s “Neuromancer”, Stephenson’s “Snowcrash”, and pretty much any piece of the film “Blade Runner”, and you’d figure Cyberpunk would do nothing but rise.
I’ve heard people say that Cyberpunk was done in by the Internet and the speed of information growth – that the technology of 2001 far outstripped what the 1990s thought would be the technology of, say, 2065. I do believe that was a part of it, yes.
But I think that people got to choose their ‘punk. And people decided they didn’t want a future dystopia; they wanted a whimsical past.
Why is that?
I think it’s because Cyberpunk was saying, “We’re heading into a dark future; get ready!” And Steampunk says, “We have a peculiar past; I wonder what the future holds!”
I love both genres very very dearly; if I could hold a Cyberpunk World’s Fair, I truly would. But I love that we embraced the joy and optimism of Steampunk. It gives me a lot of hope for the next generation of imagination-bearers.
What makes Steampunk tick? Who creates Steampunk?
It’s not about who is the most glamorous, or has the best outfits (though the best outfits are spectacular!) It’s not about any one individual. It’s about all the people who put work into making dreams come true for the rest of us!
Not the Builder, full of craft
Just the Golem, crank and shaft
Not the Scoundrel, quietly gone
Just the Golem, on and on
Not the Sage, knowledge-rich
Just the Golem, yew and pitch
Not the hero, full of honor
Just the Golem – the nail, and the hammer.
The Steampunk World’s Fair – “Wonders Untold”
We’re not a Steampunk Convention, we’re a rambunctious and irrepressible Steampunk Festival!
What’s the difference between a festival and a convention? Well, we’d actually like to quote an interview that one of our founders did with Dieselpunks.org:
I actually had this discussion, over at BrassGoggles, about the difference between a “Festival” (as we are) and a “Convention.” Obviously, we have a lot of convention elements, and Steampunk conventions have elements which are a lot like our festival. But we feel there’s this difference – and I’m quoting right from freedictionary.com – a Festival is:
a day or period set aside for celebration or feasting, esp one of religious significance
any occasion for celebration, esp one which commemorates an anniversary or other significant event
an organized series of special events and performances, usually in one place a festival of drama
Archaic: a time of revelry; merrymaking (modifier) relating to or characteristic of a festival
If you would like to contrast it with “convention” – and we love conventions –
formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates, as of a political party, fraternal society, profession, or industry or The body of persons attending such an assembly.
We were then asked:
What will set the Steampunk World’s Fair apart from other events?
Flat-out insane devotion to providing a sensory overload of entertainment! Also, Legos.
The Steampunk World’s Fair is thoroughly dedicated to fun, inside and outside! We see the exuberant creativity of Steampunk as a method of creating color, fascination and joy. …basically, we throw one hell of a party, with some of the finest entertainers, creators, authors, artists, designers, builders, and imagineers in the world. And we want you to come along and celebrate with us!
* (They said “conventions”, but meant “events”. It was early enough that people didn’t really think of Steampunk in terms of “festivals” much, especially on this side of the pond.)
Originally published December 7, 2011