ABC finally pulled the plug on the limping Drew Carey vehicle The Cleveland Steamers after a six-season run. Initially a mid-season replacement, it was Carey’s follow-up after the long-expected cancellation of The Drew Carey Show earlier in the year. The Cleveland Steamers reunited Carey with long-time collaborator Ryan Stiles and a multi-ethnic cast that won them an NAACP Image Award and the first cast album a Latin Grammy.
It happens every time I’m on a steampunk panel at a non-steampunk convention. “When did steampunk start?” There are so many possible answers. The day Gibson and Sterling wrote The Difference Engine? The moment the sub-subgenre got its name from K. W. Jeter’s famous letter to Locus? The day Morlock Night was released? Or Wild Wild West? Or The War of the Worlds broadcast? Or the publication of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? It’s almost impossible to answer that question, but there is one that’s much easier: When did the Future die?
That would be May 22nd, 1998: the day the new Tomorrowland opened at Disneyland.
Series: Steampunk Fortnight
Dateline, April 1, 2008: It really was a grand announcement. Not since the world premiere of the world-wide epic film of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had so many gathered in steampunk costumes to parade in front of the world-wide media. Three hundred people in costumes, another hundred in suits, and a few in full-blown tuxedos. They mingled with a crowd of a few thousand in the parking lot that had served as a FEMA staging ground in New Orleans for more than a year. Fake Cockney, western, German, and other accents mingled with the Louisiana banter. The attendees wore bright vests, fanciful pocket watches, pinstripes, corsets, bowlers, bustles, and goggles—always goggles. At exactly three o’clock, several costumed men and women with large, fanciful guns made their way up to the massive, temporary stage. The people in suits got the chairs. The costumed folk had to stand, the sweat starting to show around the collars of some of the gentlemen. Towering above them was the entry sign that once greeted drivers coming to Six Flags New Orleans. Mayor-for-Life Ray Nagin took the podium at 3:07 PM.
Series: Steampunk Fortnight
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