As the holiday season begins, steampunks throw the best galas. Join up with ahistorical re-enactors in the Netherlands for their first steampunk convention. The yellow brick road goes brass at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo in Kansas. Take a journey to the moon (and back) at TeslaCon III in Madison, Wisconsin. Witness the ultimate steampunk smackdown as Edison duels Tesla in a battle of wits – and giant lightning coils! Kevin Steil the Airship Ambassador and guest contributor John Leavitt, the propagator of Steampunk.com, team up with me to present the most exciting alternatives to seeing those relatives you really don’t want to see for dinner at the end of the month.
The Airship Ambassador recommends:
3rd Annual Emerald City Steampunk Expo:
November 2 - 4
Featured Guests are Abney Park and Unwoman. Also performing are Addysin Madd; Professor Mycroft, teaching Bartitsu - the Steampunk Art of Self-Defense; Carnival Epsilon; Authors Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine from “The Ministry of Peculiar Occurence”; Authors D.C. & C. Michaels - “The Monster Guys”; street performers, airship crews, contortionists, burlesque troupes, magicians, and more.
Aether Ore Affaire: The Lavender and Lace Ball:
Huachuca Mountain Steampunk and the Aether Ship H.M.S. Orion cordially invite one and all. This FREE event is being held in the historic mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. The crew of the Orion will be staging Victorian fight demos throughout Old Bisbee, as well as giving dance classes for those interested in showing off their waltz, gallop, or polka. Make reservations in the quaint, quirky, and historic hotels for the full experience. Then dance the evening away in the Copper Queen Plaza. And don’t forget to sign up for the costume contest!
Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza And Meet-Up:
November 30 - December 1
From their website: “Join us for a weekend of steam. There will be academic panels for those of a scholarly nature and classes for those that are more fun oriented. There will be vendors and the Upstate Steampunk Ball. Tea Deuling is scheduled. There will be costume contests and the crowning of Mr. and Ms. Upstate Steampunk. Break out your best goggles, your spats, your hooped skirts, and your sense of humor and prepare to party like it’s 1899.”
November 30 - December 2
From their website: “The greatest adventure in steampunk history begins this Fall as TeslaCon 3 takes you where no other event has in history… TO THE MOON! The journey begins even earlier as you listen to podcasts from the crew explaining how the ship is built and how the journey is being planned. As you travel, read about the world history of what has happened over the past two years as Europe and the East plunged into the depths of war. Learn about the war between the States and how the technology of the 1860’s influenced the creation of modern devices in the 1880’s. When you arrive you will step into the ship itself and be transported back to the year 1882 while the world (and the ship) is at war with the evil Doctor Proctocus.
“Special porters, or security agents of the Crown, take your luggage to your room aboard the HMS Silverstar. You will be given your boarding pass, a.k.a. passport, and thus begins the story. Workshops, interactive gaming, panels on culture and history all culminate in Friday’s huge opening ceremonies as we blast off to the lunar landscape above. Those opening ceremonies are an event that must be seen to be believed!”
John Leavitt recommends:
Showdown at Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison:
November 10 - 11
Why John recommends this: “The Tesla/Edison rivalry is such a favorite of steampunks that the idea of a old fashioned dust-up between them is irresistible. The interesting mix of musicians is just icing on the cake.” Facebook Event
Vampyre Villains vs. Steampunk Slayers:
Islington, London, UK
Why John recommends this: “Vampires and steampunk both have strong roots in Victorian London, so a costume ball themed around them both in London sounds like a hell of a night.” Facebook Event
Bartitsu: The Victorian Art of Self Defense:
November 17 - 18
New York, NY
Why John recommends this: “Steampunk is about reimagining the past, but when there is a chance to learn one of the cool things that was already there, from an expert on the subject, we should definitely take it. And, as they put it, you get to ‘learn to fight like Sherlock Holmes!’ What’s going to be wrong with that?”
About our guest contributor: John Leavitt is a long-time lover of speculative fiction in all its forms. He runs steampunk.com when not working or chasing his kids.
Additional events around the world
6th Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball: Steampunk versus Faerie, hosted by Team Wench, Inc:
Glen Burnie, MD
From their website: “Team Wench, Inc. is proud to announce its 6th Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball! It’s ‘Steampunk versus Faerie in Goblins & Gears II – The Gears Strike Back!’ Prof Fulbright was supposed to dismantle his time machine, but he didn’t get to it right away. When he finally tries, the machine uses Fae magic to come alive and reopen the doorway to the Goblin Court. The Goblin Queen and her minions are back, and plan to thoroughly enjoy their time here while on holiday from Court life! Prof. Fulbright has some ‘splainin to do! So grab your goggles and gloves, your mask and wings, your best evening wear, or any other disguise, and make plans to attend the event of the season! Featuring entertainment by Danny Blu, Red This Ever, Psyche Corporation, Spider Lilies, The Aubergine Dancers, Magician Greg Koren, plus music and dancing, open bar, complete dinner, raffles, contests and more! Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Also visit us on Facebook.”
The ARmy of BRoken TOys head (slightly) West:
From their FB Page: “Join us at The Elevens in Northampton for some post-Halloween antics. Walter Sickert & The ARmy of BRoken TOYs* have been described as “Musically sophisticated and immensely talented, wildly unusual and diverse in material and presentation, a Dada-esque circus carnival run amuck, and just plain good ‘not-always-so-clean’ fun.’ Also featuring musical performances by XNY, Bella’s Bartok, and Planemo.”
Safari to Boscobel:
Garrison & Cold Spring, NY
From their FB page: “We invite you to join us for a trip out of the city into the wilds of upstate New York to visit the classic Federal style mansion, Boscobel, and the historic village of Cold Spring. Boscobel is a restored Federal-period house built between 1804 and 1808 with magnificent period interiors and gardens. The site is recognized nationally for its quality as a historic house museum, its exquisite collection of furniture and decorative arts, and its breathtaking views. For more information on the house please visit their website.”
From the event organizers: “Come one, come all, to the SteamPunk Spectacular! Join Cosplay ABQ as they venture into the east mountains for a day of exploration and hunting for artifacts and treasure. The theme of the day is steampunk. Be a part of creating this unique atmosphere and dress in your best steampunk gear. The day begins at 3pm with a scavenger hunt, and culminates in the gathering of the adventurers at the Tavern for feasting and merriment. For your enjoyment, acts from far and near have gathered to take you to another place in time in The SteamPunk Spectacular. This neo-vaudeville show is filled with dancers and artists and is sure to entertain and delight the senses. The show starts at 7pm in The Engine House Theater. Visit www.laborofloveent.com for details on the show. Visit www.cosplayABQ.org for details on the day’s events.”
Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands
From their website: “Emporium Vernesque is a brand new event in the Netherlands that’s all about steampunk! The event is a place where steampunkers can meet. It is, however, also a perfect place for people who are curious about this subculture can get acquainted with the scene in an incredibly entertaining way! Emporium Vernesque is one of very few completely independent steampunk events. It offers not just shops and music; Emporium Vernesque is here for ALL facets of the steampunk subculture! At the event there’s tons of fun stuff to do for the young and the old! There will be performers, bands, applied arts, shops, contest, an art exhibition and fashion shows!”
Jody Ellen, Nathaniel Johnstone Band, & Zoe Tantrum’s Illumination at the Queen Bee:
San Diego, CA
From their FB page: “Come see the first stop on the West Coast tour featuring Abney Park vocalist Jody Ellen to support her new solo CD Skyscrapers and Helicopters! Also on the bill is multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone and his band of miscreant musicians and belly dancers. There will be much dancing, jamming and silliness! Featuring bellydancer Laura “Tempest” Zakroff, Tom Coyne of 45 GRAVE and The Last Dance and Illumination featuring Zoe Tantrum, and MC’ed by Veronique Chevalier.”
Second Annual All Florida Victorian Picnic and Croquet Tournament:
Winter Park, FL
From their FB page: “Please bring your blankets, picnic lunch, croquet sets and any other Victorian items that you wish to bring. This is a Victorian experience you will not want to miss, and that everyone will love. Bring you smiles, your gadgets, your Victorian desire for fun, because we plan to have a wonderful time. We will be providing trophies for the croquet winners as well, so come prepared to cheer on your favorite person, and group. This year’s event will be a group verses group and winner vs winner competitions. Setup will start at 10am, festivities will start at 11pm and go until the Queen comes, or the sun goes down.”
Ay-leen the Peacemaker is saving her monies to go to a trip to the moon next year. She is also the founding editor behind the multicultural steampunk blog Beyond Victoriana and has been recently published in the academic anthologies Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style and Steaming into a Victorian Future. She also tweets.