Over the weekend (Sept 26-28) Seattle was host for the First Annual Steamposium, a new steampunk convention filling the gap felt in the community after SteamCon Seattle fell through after five years. I must admit I was skeptical that Steamposium would be able to fit the bill given how quickly they pulled everything together: I have rarely been so pleased to be so wrong.
I hosted a one-hour panel during the Friday 3pm block that was one part discussion about the Steampunk Library Project and one part book talk about my favorite pieces to create a core steampunk library. Despite my nerves causing my originally 35 minute presentation to only last 27 minutes, the event as a whole was quite a success! There were lots of questions, interest in the specific books I discussed, and over a dozen attendees.
Over the course of the weekend I gave out about 100 buisness cards: people taking them at the panel, giving them to people I talked to, a small stack to the Other Worlds Book vendor table, and a few strategically left at the water table. Thank you so much to everyone who turned out to support this project. I’m looking forward to my next wave of content updates including a lot of community input and new reviewers.
- I believe the Steamposium creators learned several valuable lessons from the business failings of SteamCon, and one of those lessons had to do with location. The Bell Harbor International Convention Center was a fantastic venue: on the water, walking distance to Pike Place Market, and surrounded by food and parking. The water made for a great background for photos, a ton of which can be found via the Steamposium Flickr and Steamposium Twitter. Be sure to look for Steampunk Iron Man and Boba Fett.
- Add-Ons: I loved being able to really customize my con experience by choosing which events I wanted to buy tickets for and which I didn’t.
- Variety: I loved the variety of material presented in the panel schedule.
- Artist Gallery: The quality of authors and artist present at the con was phenomenal! There was a wide range of talent and really showcased the variety in our little subculture. Some artists and authors I recommend searching for include:
And my favorite part of the experience: Steam Powered Giraffe.
I had the opportunity to do a photo-op and visit the autograph table on Saturday. During the photo I completely forgot my name and only barely redeemed myself during the autograph session. I fully intended to go to the table and express my admiration for the band and share how they were a founding piece of this project (and therefor a major piece in completing my Masters) but I’m fairly certain I only awkwardly shook their hands and babbled a bit. Ah well, still the highlight of the weekend.
- This may be more of a difference in priorities, but I wish the convention had more panels and fewer dances. Personally, I’d rather keep attending sessions and meeting with writers and cosplayers than attend a second set of parties and cabarets.
- Along the same lines, timing was an issue. The panels and merchant hall would open at 10am (noon on Friday), but would be all wrapped up at 5pm. As someone who was traveling down from the suburbs for the events, I would have liked it if things had started a little later and ran a little later into the evening, particularly on Friday as I felt a lot of panels I attended suffered from low attendance since many Seattleites were likely still at work during the bulk of 12-4pm time slots.
For me, the pros greatly outweigh any negatives I felt towards the scheduling. It was a well put together event in a great location and had a wide variety of offerings for everyone. And it gave me the opportunity to talk about this little project with a lot of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
Bottom Line: Will I be going again? Absolutely! In fact, you can already pre-purchase full weekend passes for only $40 on their site now. Look for another update once they begin accepting panel/workshop applications.
Please share your experiences from Steamposium 2014 in the comments below or send your thoughts and pictures to share via email@example.com or via Twitter @SteamLib.