Jeff Mach‘s Steampunk World’s Fair is the world’s largest Steampunk event!  Everyone is welcome, from the veteran Steampunker to the simply curious.  Come an join us for a weekend of merriment, we’d love to meet you!

 

Welcome to Jeff Mach’s Steampunk World’s Fair – the largest Steampunk event in the world! We proudly welcome everyone to come and join us for a weekend of merriment and whimsy. Read on to find out more about the fair and everything it has to offer.
Tickets are now on sale for the Steampunk World’s Fair, May 4-6, 2018!
The Steampunk World’s Fair, the world’s largest Steampunk festival, has helped some of the best-known performers in Steampunk get discovered. Now we’d like to share the Steampunk joy and expand its horizons. For 2018, we are seeking the greatest undiscovered Steampunk AUTHOR in the world!

Calling all artists:  We’re holding a Steampunk Art Show at this year’s SPWF!  Want to be featured in the exhibit?

What, exactly, is The Steampunk World’s Fair?  We’re glad you asked!  We’ve gone into a bit of detail for you on our About Page – take a gander!

Curious about Steampunk?  Jeff Mach, the man behind SPWF, has quite a lot to say about the subject!  Take a look at his blog, Jeff Mach Speaks: Musings on Steampunk

New and don’t know where to start?

No problem!  First, we recommend reading about Steampunk in general, and then also about what the Steampunk World’s Fair is.  Then, take a look at our Entertainment line-up and our Merchant roster to get an idea of the things you can expect to enjoy at our event.  Our VIP & Add-on event listings are a good way to see all the extra, premium content we have to offer, too!  Then, when you’re ready, take a look at our Buy Tickets page to join us at the next SPWF.

The Latest from our Curators

Why goggles, anyway?

Steampunk performer wearing goggles

This photo is the talented Psyche Corporation; it’s a self-portrait.

Of all the symbols Steampunk could have – why goggles?  Of all the things needed to complete a Steampunk outfit, why do goggles top the list?  They’re not even functional items for us.  They’re not boots that help us walk through Renfaire mud; they’re not flasks for convention enjoyment.  They’re not cosplay of Steampunk’s big heroes, because Steampunk isn’t dominated by big characters in the same way that comic book or scifi or fantasy franchises are.

So–why goggles?

Because the retrofuture’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Sorry – that’s a reference to a 1980s novelty hit song.  But honestly, I’m a little serious about this theory.  What if it’s true?

Sunglasses make you look cooler, even if you’re actually, genuinely wearing them to block the sun.  Goggle?  Goggles make you think of people who fly aircraft (planes, hot-air balloons, dirigibles) – people who make and forge things, and, of course, mad scientists.

Goggles are for people who change the world around them.  They’re for people who adventure to new places.  They’re for people who make things that haven’t existed before, or work hard to keep the strange engines of a new world up and running.

Do you need to wear or have goggles to be a Steampunk?  Absolutely not; Steampunk is a state of mind and creativity; you can dress the part if you want, but that’s not important.  What matters is accepting other Steampunks and taking part in our nigh-infinite worlds of peculiar creativity.

But that is my own personal pet theory.  We wear goggles because they’re badges of Makers, Doers, Dreamers, and Creators.  They’re marks of people whose imagination throws off so many sparks that we need imaginary eye protection…just to be on the safe side.

(And the top hats are, of course, to protect us against the possibility that brilliant ideas will enter our head with such force that they’d flatten our skulls if we didn’t have some sort of clothing to protect them.  That makes sense, doesn’t 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.

My Steampunk is without regrets

Steampunk! Dancing! Mythology!

Jeff Mach is ridden by a Dragon at Glimmerdark Misfit Faerie Festival.. Imagination is triumphant. We live and love in joy.

My Steampunk could be easier to see in a bunch of pictures, or a Facebook post.  Facebook’s algorithm really will pick up on goggles and grab, because that’s what Facebook wants – gorgeous, magnificent, strange Steampunk stuff.  Not some event promoter in a t-shirt.

My Steampunk could be simpler.

My songs could all be about pistons and oil.

I could write about gears and mad scientists all day long.

I could cater to every Steampunk stereotype, and people would love it – not because people are conformists, but because we are a tribe, a tribe that’s small and close-knit and we are excited to see tribal symbols in ourselves in each others.  Goggles, top hats, corsets?  You must be one of us.  T-shirt and a funny hat?  We’re not so sure, and it’s hard to put yourself out there for someone who might not love you as much as you are ready to love and join with them.

I don’t care.

Your Steampunk is magic.

Your Steampunk is power.

Your Steampunk is you, individually, by yourself, made by you, accountable only to you – and it is your admission, your declaration, your contribution to our wild Steampunk tribe.

Steampunk has limits, sure, but we break them, shatter them, leave them behind.

Create Steampunk.  Create the Steampunk you want.  And have no regrets.  None.

Make Steampunk your own.  You deserve it.  Make it bigger and better, and we will love you for it.  That’s the secret.

No fear. No regret.  Just creativity.  And that’s more than enough.

 

Grinding gears and mechanical stars,

~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.

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

“Steampunk isn’t about fitting in.  Steampunk is about refitting – the Universe, the past, your clothes, your idea of how to have fun, your ability to make stories, everything.”
― Jeff Mach, The Steampunk World’s Fair

“But you don’t have to fit in to be okay. Believe me! I am the not-fitting-in world expert. I have not fit in in maybe five different countries so far. I am homelandless. I even make mistakes when I speak Bulgarian. But it’s not big deal, not really. It’s not the end of the world, right? It’s okay.”
― Anne Nesbet, “The Cabinet of Earths”

I’ve never really felt I fit in.  I’ve never really felt at home in groups, even though I love groups, even though my life’s work depends on bringing people together into large groups and making them feel as safe, excited, and happy as possible.

But I’ve never felt at home anywhere.

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.

Humans are social animals; you can Google any number of studies on social isolation to find out what happens when we don’t have our own kind, our own tribes, people we can speak to.

I’m surrounded by people, people I genuinely love, and still, it’s hard.

It’s weird and it’s lonely. But at the same time…

It makes me treasure what I have even more.  It makes me treasure Steampunk, Faerie, Goth, Fandom, and all the peculiar worlds we build.  Because 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

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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.

My interview with “For Whom The Gear Turns” – reprinted with grateful thanks

My Interview with Jeff Mach, Creator of the Steampunk World’s Fair – by “For Whom The Cog Turns

spwf-2017

Jeff Mach started the Steampunk Worlds Fair in 2010, and continues to oversee this amazingly successful event as well as other special interest conventions. I interviewed him as part of the Steamfest Gazette, and now that my backers have had their copy for a while I thought I’d share my conversation with you all as well. Steampunk World’s Fair 2016 was amazing and I’ve already got my room booked for SPWF 2017. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Now, on with the interview!

PD: Which came first, your love of Steampunk or your knowledge of large-scale event planning?

JM: The events definitely came first, and I’m glad I had that experience.  We’ve always created events with a focus on tremendous entertainment. They say that every word in a poem should matter; we feel that every minute in an event should matter.  This meant that we wanted to have lots of stages and lots of opportunities available to our attendees, which really helped change the way people saw Steampunk events.  It was very rare to see that much music or entertainment at Steampunk events when we got started; you’d usually see a lot of panels. Panels are wonderful, but Steampunk culture is so much more broad than what you’ll find through conversation alone!

Just one of the many talented performers at SPWF 2016

Just one of the many talented performers at SPWF 2016

PD: Tell us a little about your event and the inspiration behind it.

We had a simple idea: We wanted to try to give people an opportunity to experience EVERY aspect of Steampunk creativity we could find, and we wanted to be accepting of ANYONE who wanted to attend, regardless of how they dressed, or how involved they were in the Steampunk community.  We wanted a place where anyone who enjoyed Steampunk could feel at home.

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PD: What was your biggest mistake, er, “growth experience” when you first started holding SPWF?

JM: I took time off from managing the event in year two, when I was busy getting married.  I don’t regret getting married!  But I should have run that event, no ifs, ands, or buts.

img_9343PD: What are some strategies for people to use, or avoid, when it comes to increasing attendance at special interest events?

JM: Have a clear harassment and consent policy!  It will help increase your attendance with people who want to see a safer fandom, and decrease attendance from people who don’t. It’s a win-win.

PD: What is your favorite thing about Steampunk in general, or your Steampunk event in particular?

One of our mottoes is “”We don’t make imaginary worlds. We make real worlds that come from imagination.”  Steampunk is based on literally endless whimsy and creativity.  You’ll rarely find any two Steampunks whose Imaginary 19th Centuries are the same – and yet we ALL respect each other and we all respect each other’s views of that universe.  It makes me happier than I describe.

It’s also what inspired me to create Glimmerdark.  I wanted to make a Faerie universe, but not one which obeyed or imposed any single set of rules for how it came about.  I wanted to see if I could take Steampunks freewheeling acceptance and apply it to a fantasy event.  (Of course, Glimmerdark is multi-genre – so we do expect and hope to have quite a lot of Steampunks there, too.  It all works together!)

photo-original

 PD: You also got a chance to bring Absinthe Heroes to life at this year’s fair. What was your inspiration for writing this Steampunk opera, and who is your favorite character?

Part of it was simple: There was almost no other Steampunk musical theatre at the time, and I felt that Steampunk culture could use a theatrical tradition.  I figured I’d do my part to help prime the pump!  I was a playwright long before I started doing events, and I felt that, with the resources of a festival behind me, I could really produce a show worth seeing.

Favorite character?  Ah, c’mon, that’s like asking about a favorite child!  But I will say that I can’t imagine not falling in love with an Evil Chocolatier.

 PD: I know Absinthe Heroes was funded through a Kickstarter campaign because I contributed to it ? Do you have any advice for other people who are developing their own crowdfunding campaigns?

JM: Always, ALWAYS have a plan BEFORE you start.  Always have an idea of how you’ll get your ideas out to people, and have a clear vision of what would make it worthwhile for other people to contribute.  YOU know why your project’s going to be fantastic and why, once it’s funded, it will succeed.  But other people don’t!  You have to explain it to people who don’t live in your own head.  Too often, people run a crowdfunding campaign on the basis of, “Trust me, this will be THE BEST” – and that’s just not going to help unless the people reading it already know who you are.  And even then, having a clear vision and a structure to what you’re doing will really help people decide that backing you makes sense.

About the author of this article

 

 

Before I Kill You (An Arch-Villainelle)

Before I Kill You (An Arch-Villainelle)

by David Sklar

The villainelle is one of the most complex and mesmerizing forms of poetry; it’s one of the hardest to write, and it arguably reached its speak right before the Steampunk era.  We love this piece by David Sklar; it speaks deeply to our cold, cold hearts.

Originally published in http://stonetelling.com/issue12-apr2015/.

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue’s eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

It enters a robotic water main,
which, on command, can self-electrify.
Before I kill you, now, I will explain:

I’ve added some enhancements to my brain—
you’ll nev— What’s that? You’re out? Good grief! Good bye;
good riddance. It’s a good thing I’m not vain;
next time, before I kill you, I’ll explain.

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David Sklar is a time traveler from the twenty-first century who does not know why he can’t get cell phone reception here. His work has appeared in Ladybug, Nightmare, and many odd places in between. http://davidwriting.com