Conventions: Start Planning Early

Want to share your passion, enthusiasm, and costume work with others? What better way than by presenting at your local (or not to local) convention?

While most conventions take place in the Spring and Summer, most are starting to put their calendars together now. Booking special guests, musicians, artisans, and speakers takes time- so the sooner the better in most cases. Bellow I’ve compiled a list of active cons deep in the planning stages for their 2017 event. Did I miss your favorite? Send a link to admin@steampunklibrary.net and I’ll add it!

The First-Ever Edwardian Ball New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana March 25, 2017 http://www.edwardianball.com/

While not technically a convention, The Edwardian Ball is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author and illustrator Edward Gorey.

Steampunk World’s Fair

Piscataway, NJ May 5-7 http://steampunkworldsfair.com/

February 15th, 2017 is their deadline for panel applications  http://steampunkworldsfair.com/applications/programming-application/

Geneva Steam

Delavan, WI March 10-12  http://www.genevasteam.com/

February 17th is their deadline for their final few panel spots. They are specifically looking for maker themed events.

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention

Tuscon, AZ March 3-5   https://www.wildwestcon.com/

This is one of the few animal friendly conventions. They don’t have a posted deadline for volunteer/panel applications, BUT they have listed their musical guests: The Cog is Dead!

The Polar Emporium of Supernatural Oddities

Anchorage, AK April 15-16 http://www.alaskasteamposium.com/

Visit with Gail Carriger in the frigid north! Past years panels included 19th Century Sexuality & Sensuality, Introductory Leatherwork, and Creating Worlds Through Words. They have no posted deadline for applications.

I’m also including links to conventions that don’t have 2017 dates listed yet.

TeslaCon, Wisconsin, http://www.teslacon.com/

Steamposim, Seattle, http://seattle-steamposium.com/

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When a Librarian Gets Married

Hello Internet!

As many of you have noticed and messaged, this site has been inactive for a few months. Major life changes (aka getting a new job, moving across the country, and getting married) just haven’t left me the time to provide the thoughtful reviews and commentary I wanted, so instead of posting half-heartedly, I simply haven’t been posting at all. However, now that I have more stability in life, I am very excited to be returning to this project!

To start us off here is a photo-post highlighting some amazing ideas for a Steampunk wedding.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a wedding like this?

http://ruffledblog.com/victorian-steampunk-wedding/
http://ruffledblog.com/victorian-steampunk-wedding/

When dressing wedding party members, it’s important to remember not everyone wants to dress-up, particularly if you are having wedding party members who are family, not friends you take with the convention. A great middle ground is to pick key elements that still scream steam, but are more comfortable that a full corset. For the gents: a double breasted jacket or vest like those you can find at ASOS online. For the ladies, boots or jewelry might be the best way to peope-please while maintaining your Victorian flair.

For brides there are several dress options:

You can go for full anachronistic styling with bustles, hats, and mixed colors.

Etsy Seller: OohLaLaBoudoir
Etsy Seller: OohLaLaBoudoir
http://www.steampunkcouture.com/
http://www.steampunkcouture.com/

Or you can go for a modern dress with steam-esque elements

Just because Victoria made white the new normal doesn't mean you have to stick with it
Just because Victoria made white the new normal doesn’t mean you have to follow

For a traditional Victorian gown, DIY might be your best option. I recommend starting your pattern search with Truly Victorian or Butterick.

For grooms there are the double breasted suits and vests like I linked above, but also don’t overlook the impact of accessories like:

Hats:

http://www.villagehatshop.com/product/top-hats/451139-169622/head-n-home-gent-topper.html
http://www.villagehatshop.com/product/top-hats/451139-169622/head-n-home-gent-topper.html
http://www.villagehatshop.com/product/top-hats/451139-3295/jaxon-hats-victorian-top-hat.html
http://www.villagehatshop.com/product/top-hats/451139-3295/jaxon-hats-victorian-top-hat.html

Cravats:

Etsy Seller: storiadiversa
Etsy Seller: storiadiversa

Hip Holsters

Etsy Seller: HydeAndSheik
Etsy Seller: HydeAndSheik

 

Have you had your own Victorian or Steam inspired wedding? We want to see your pictures! Share them @SteamLib on Twitter or send them to admin@steampunklibrary.net!

 

 

 

Steamposium Seattle: 2014 Event Review

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.

Librarian standing to the right of powerpoint display
Look at that lovely PowerPoint

My Panel:

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.

Conventions Pros:

  • 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.

Group photot: left to right, Rabbit, Librarian, Spine, Hatchworth.
That is the face of name-forgetting-levels of joy. From left to right: Rabbit, The Librarian, Spine, and Hatchworth.

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.

Convention Cons:

  • 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.

    Librairian holding Steam Duck learns to Fly open to the group
    Practicing my book-talk strategy

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 submissions@steampunklibrary.net or via Twitter @SteamLib.

Librarian’s Update

Thank you so much to everyone following and sharing on this site and re-tweeting, sharing, and commenting on Twitter (@SteamLib)! This project is a labor of love and the support and enthusiasm of my followers make it all worth while.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the ladies over at SS Librarianship, a library-life focused podcast hosted and produced by two of my UBC SLAIS classmates. I was lucky enough to get to talk about all things steampunk on their episode titled “I Can Do It My Damn Self” which you can listen to via their site.

Want more Steampunk Library content? You can become the content! In making this project a community resource I am always looking for library programs, displays, and crafts as well as reviews of books, music, movies, and websites. Any material can be sent to submissions@steampunklibrary.net and will be posted here. Please including any links and the name you’d like listed in the by-line (and your Twitter handle if you have one).

Want to get involved in person? I will be presenting at the Steamposium Seattle Steampunk Convention in September. Conventions are great opportunities for steampunk fans from all walks of life to network and find inspiration. In addition to great panels the convention will also be hosting musical guests Steam Powered Giraffe and celebrity guests from around the geeky universe. I hope to see lots of bookworms and educators gussied up in their finest top hats.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Steam Powered Giraffe

Performers: David Bennett, “Bunny” Bennett, & Sam Luke

Media Type: Musical Group / Pantomime

Audience: All/ Family Friendly

Summary:

Steam Powered Giraffe is an entertainment group, first and foremost. They mix original musical and vocal performance with turn of the century-styled robotic pantomime. Music style varies from folksy to soft rock to pop-covers. From the band’s FAQ page their influences include “The Band, ELO, The Beatles, Queen, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Mills Brothers, The Bee Gees, Amanda Palmer, Danny Elfman, Frank Sinatra, Radiohead, Muse… And the list goes on!”

The act includes full make-up and costume, plus mechanical movements whizzing, gear popping, and the occasional malfunction. Family friendly without feeling watered down, SPG offers a full artistic steam punk experience you can enjoy at home in your corset via their iTunes and their YouTube channel or get gussied up to watch them in person at any one of dozens of conventions across North America. When you inevitably decide to purchase their music, consider a physical CD over iTunes to get their original steam punk art filled lyric books.

 

Bottom Line: A great band that’s equal parts musical quality and visual performance.

Find It: http://www.steampoweredgiraffe.com and via YouTube:

Truly Victorian

Authentic Costume Patterns

http://www.trulyvictorian.net/

 

Truly Victorian is an incredible resource for any Steampunk costumer. A reliable web catalog of Victorian pattern pieces is hard to come by, let alone one that can match their selection and pricing. They have pieces ranging from pre-Civil War through to the turn of the century – and not just dresses! While dresses may be the most fun, a good catalog needs to have something to offer to all costumers. Truly Victorian has hats, shirts, undergarments, men’s wear, and a few coats. These patterns, though, do not look like conventional sewing patterns. From their “about us” section “Our patterns are full scale and hand drafted to fit the modern body, using historical principles and techniques. They are not redrawn copies of original patterns, nor are they modern ideas of what a historical garment looked like. All the seam lines and styles are historically accurate to each period. These pattern are for historical clothing (not costumes) and are perfect for reenactments and special events were authenticity is desired so give yourself time to adjust measurements/layouts and other minor oddities.

Corset Story

Online Superstore for Costume Pieces

http://www.corset-story.com/

 

Corset Story is a UK based corset and costume piece retailer.

Specializing in full-steel boned waist-cinching corsets, Corset Story is a high quality place to start (and finish) your costume piece shopping. They offer a wide range of pieces and are my go to for Waist Training and Full Steel Corsets – these pieces offer the tightest binding and fullest shaping. They come in solid colors to wear in a traditional style (that is, under your clothes) or highly decorated to display openly. For this corset type be sure to follow the sites sizing recommendations to make sure you can be as comfortable as possible. I also suggest only purchasing pieces that include a “modesty panel” which is a piece of the corset fabric that lays against your back under the lacing. This is important for two reasons. First, it adds a lot of comfort to the piece since the laces can’t rub againt skin. Second, if you are fully laced your skin on your back may crease, which is not only uncomfortable but unattractive, a modesty panel covers this and gives you a single, solid print/fabric pieces to show off your tight-lacing.

Corset Story also sells burlesque-style pieces, skirts, fascinators (hair accessories), and “fashion” corsets. Fashion corsets are usually made with acrylic boning, which is flexible and offers no waist reduction but still gives a corseted look.

Boston Metaphysical Society

Creator: Madeleine Holly-Rosing (Writer) and Emily Hu (Artist)

Media Type: Web comic

Find It: http://bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com/

Audience: Teens, 13+

Summary:

In turn of the century Boston things are not as they seem. Ghosts, spirits, apparitions – these are the day to day interactions for the Boston Metaphysical society. Run by an ex-detective, a Catholic teen who inherited her father’s psychic abilities, and an African-American scientist this unlikely group may be all that stands between Boston and the mysterious forces seeping into our world.

Also at play in the supernatural series is B.E.T.H. – a secret society of scientists and Victorian celebrities who know the true extent of Boston’s problems; assuming they can overcome their personal agendas to do anything about it. Alexander Graham Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Houdini may not seem like the most likely (or functional) collection of men to face the spirit world – but they are the most recognizable. In addition to the web comic the BMS and B.E.T.H. worlds continue and expand in a growing series of novellas, available in print and EBook format.

 

Bottom Line: I was hoping for a lot more from the character-list for this comic series. I was also hoping for more per page to make the sometimes slow-loading from page to page feel more worth it. While the universe has a lot to offer, I feel it is better suited to younger readers who may be less critical.

Read More:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16139294-boston-metaphysical-society

 

League of S.T.E.A.M.

Creator: Nick Bauman and Robin Blackburn

Media Type: Web Series

Find It: http://leagueofsteam.com/

Audience: Family Friendly (without being dull). Think “Wild Wild West meets Scooby-Doo”

Summary:

Welcome to the adventures of the League of S.T.E.A.M. (Supernatural and Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management). Founded in 1884, the League is a professional collection of the most experienced and dedicated supernatural management team. Trained in exorcisms, ghost hunting, Kraken removal, and more the League is well equipped with the latest in Victorian technologies and ready for whatever comes next.

This multi-platform group offers three things: a professional-quality web series, live interactive performances at conventions and events, and a podcast. The performances and videos are pure steampunk based on hand-crafted pseudo-scientific technologies with Victorian flair. Their videos mix fully developed Victorian characters with the supernatural, comedy, adventure, and some delightful storytelling. Their quality and popularity are proven with their successful Season 3 Kickstarter funding project, which raised over $30,000 with the help of 567 individual backers.

 

Bottom Line: A highly successful web series and live-performance group, the League offers a pure Steampunk experience from costumes to gadgets to guest stars to zombies.

 

Watch a Trailer: