Tea & Automatons

Diana Vick's corner of the interweb

Around the World

Last Saturday my husband and I attended a wonderful performance of Around the World in 80 Days, based on the book by Jules Verne at the Village Theater in Everett.  It was amazing.  With only five performers portraying 39 characters, we were transported to exotic locales and entertained by fabulous stunts.  It is a must see for any steampunk enthusiast.

After the show we were invited back to meet the actors and take a few pictures.  The female lead, Aneesh Sheth (Aouda & others) is as lovely up close as she was on stage.  Jared Michael Brown (Philleas Fog) is much more approachable than his character and mugged for the camera.  Unfortunately, my camera was not up to the task, but you can see the rest of the blurry evidence here.

The show runs through March 29th and I highly encourage you all to see it if you can.  Show the world that we want more of this type of Victorian adventure!

 

 

For show times and tickets go here: http://villagetheatre.org/everett/Around-The-World.php

 

Upcoming Summer Steampunk Events

For those of you that have been interested in joining in some of the steampunkery in our area, here is a list of upcoming events.  If you are on Facebook, one of the best ways to keep apprised of upcoming events is to join the NorthWest SteamPunk Events Group.

Now – March 7th – Explorers Club at the Taproot Theater – Seattle WA

March 6th – 29th -  Around the World in 80 Days – Everett WA

April 11th – Georgetown Steam Plant Outing –  Georgetown Steam Plant - Seattle WA

May 3rd – Steamrats in the GardenSeattle Japanese Garden - Seattle WA

May 17th – Annual Train ExcursionNorthwest Railway Museum - Snoqualmie WA

May 29th – 31st – The Brass Screw Confederacy – Port Townsend WA

July 3rd – 5th – G.E.A.R.con – Portland OR

July 18th – The Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale – All Pilgrims’ Church – Seattle WA

 

 

Gasworks Park

Me without editing

On February 22nd, the Seattle Steamrats had their annual photo shoot at Gasworks Park.  It was a fun shoot.  We are so lucky to have such an amazing place to take photos right in the middle of town.  Part of the works are now fenced off for safety and much of it is spray painted vibrant colors to defeat the graffiti artists, but it is a wonderful spot for taking pictures, picnicking and such.  We had a good turn out and the weather was brisk but not wet.  You can see the rest of my husbands photos here.  Also, if you are interested in joining in for any of these events, I keep a group on Facebook to let people know in advance.  It’s called NorthWest SteamPunk Events.  Please feel free to join it here.

Our group shot in sepia tone. I did a quick bit of editing to remove graffiti in the background.

As an artist, I enjoy doing a bit of PhotoShop editing after the fact, so changing the colors is fun for me.  Below is a good example of the original photo and the result of my efforts.

 

Steamathon 2015

This past weekend, my husband and I and two friends went to a small, first time convention in Las Vegas. It was supposedly held in the very Victorianesque Main Street Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas, although the bulk of it actually occurred across the way in the California Hotel (which confusingly had a very Hawaiian theme to it).  The Main Street Hotel has tons of very lovely Victorian era antiques and brass everywhere.  If it didn’t have a casino in it, it would be the perfect place for a steampunk convention.  Unfortunately, Vegas still allows smoking, so many of my smoke intolerant friends wisely decided to stay home and avoid the issue.  Even if a restaurant does not allow smoking, the doors are always wide open and the smoke is everywhere.  Some of the larger casinos have better tech to whisk it away, but old Vegas is sadly lacking in this tech.  I am still uncertain why the Social Club at the Main Street was not used.  It looks to be a very large room and it is away from the smoke and noise of the casino entirely.

As with most first time conventions, it was disorganized and not as smooth as it could be, but it made a valiant effort.  We were surprised to read that they were not planning on selling memberships at the door, as this is where a good 50% of the sales usually happen.  It turns out that they had limited space and could only accommodate about 150 people.  While it is good to know your limitations, it might have been useful information for merchants and others to determine their involvement.  (Edited to add: It seems that not selling at the door was due to some state licensing issue.  Quite inconvenient I would suspect.)

There were only two event rooms used most of the weekend and one other that was used primarily Friday night, the Pullman Room.  The Pullman Room was very lovely and Victorian and even had a Pullman car attached to it.  It was also away from the smoke.  It is unfortunate that it was not used the rest of the weekend, except for one group photo op that most of us did not know about.  The other two rooms were in the California, a hotel across the sky bridge from the main hotel.  The first room, the Maile Room was 1,428 sq feet and housed the tiny primary merchant room.  The second room, the O’Hana Room was about twice as big, but housed not only another six or seven merchants on the periphery but also the stage and chairs for all the programming throughout the weekend.  I have seen other small conventions do this, but it is quite awkward for the merchants trying to do business.  The programming participants did have a microphone, which helps a bit.  These rooms are right off the casino and so of course the smoke is invasive.

 

The programming that we saw was on par with that of most small first time cons.  The concert on Saturday night was headlined by the Velveteen Band, an okay ensemble including a rabbit headed lead and some puppets.  Unwoman and Poplock Holmes were awesome as always and our favorite part of the weekend’s entertainment. 

We had a great time sitting and chatting with various folks at the bar outside the programming rooms, although we were dismayed that they closed at 11:00 PM on Saturday night.  I invited anyone we knew who was staying on Sunday night to join us at the bar in our hotel and we had a great turnout.  These sorts of impromptu gatherings are often the best times of a con, and this was no exception.

Mr. Kastler is a very gracious host, and as an intimate gathering for his birthday, this was successful, but it hardly lifted “the standard of a steampunk con” as he has boasted.  As always, the attendees were the best part of the event and we had a fabulous time chatting and making new friends.  There were so many wonderfully outfitted steampunk enthusiasts.  I personally despise the word “garb” when referring to steampunk enthusiasts.   I think “gear” might be more appropriate.  The environment, at least in places was simply magical for photos and we took full advantage.

So, despite still coughing the smoke out of my lungs, I have quite a few lovely photos and had a nice weekend at Steamathon.  I know personally how difficult it is to make everything run smoothly, especially the first time, so I applaud the effort of Kastler and his staff.

Some of our photo galleries can be seen here and here.

Kurios by Cirque du Soleil

Yesterday we attended Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil.  Our friend had suggested Superbowl Sunday as a good day to go since attendance would be light.  It was and aside from the weather it was perfect.  It rained on the way in, which made me quip is this Cirque du Soleil or Cirque du Pluie?  (Circus of the Sun or Circus of the Rain, although my French is probably wrong.)  Due to the cold, it was 48 degrees and the rain, it was hard to decide what to wear that would work for standing in line and being in a crowded auditorium. We brought an umbrella which then became a nuisance to lug about, but it was better than being cold and wet.

My outfit, although fairly subdued got a great deal of appreciative comments.  One poor woman came up to let me know she had asked the sales staff if she could buy my boots and goggles.  She was quite disappointed that she could not.  I told her the goggles were from A Masquerade and the boots were from Steamtropolis.  Hopefully that garners some sales.  I guess I need to carry around promotional materials.  I did give out my business card a few times, so my blog might be helpful.

We decided to get our photo taken at the “Photo Lab”.  It was a green screen with five different digital scenes.  The photographer was good at getting folks posed.  Since we were dressed up, our photo helped encourage more folks to try it out.  They did have a few props you could borrow as well as hats.  We decided on getting a copy of the last shot, although I was disappointed that they did not offer a digital copy of the whole set.  The details around the “Photo Lab” were very well done.

After we found our seats I went to confirm that photography was okay.  I was told yes as long as it wasn’t flash.  My little point and shoot hates low light, so I didn’t get any great shots, but it’s nice to have some reminders of what went on.  While I was making my inquiry, I saw regular people on the bridge above the stage.  I thought they might be from the VIP or Backstage package, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I asked.  The usher handed me over to a man named Luke.  I put my things down at our seats and on Luke’s advice, I brought my husband along to take a photo.  I was lead to the back of the stage and handed off twice more to people who lead me to the bridge.  They each ensured my heels were not too high, and I was told to not let go of the hand rails.  It was quite thrilling to be up so high.  As I walked a heard a few people cheer, and someone shouted out my name.  It was my friend Kevin.  I wanted to wave, but I also didn’t want to get yelled at.  My husband got a few very blurry shots of me on the bridge.  The front end of the bridge becomes very steep and the railings end leaving you on a small set of steps.  There was a woman there to help me down and the excitement was over.

We chatted with Kevin for a moment.  He had managed to snag a front row seat.  I was jealous.

The set design for the show is very steampunk, utilizing various recycled bits and bobs and lots of mechanical bracings.  Many of the larger props are quite nice including a giant mechanical hand that serves as a platform for some of the performers.  The main characters were done up in very steampunk attire.  One character had accordion pants and my favorite was a woman with a spring for a skirt.  The musicians and singer were done up wonderfully.  I especially loved the “Diva” with a gramophone horn incorporated into her hair.  There are mad scientists, and less mad scientists, and some mechanical creations.  There is a man with a huge stove for a midsection in which lives a tiny little woman.  I really want to see more of these characters throughout the show, but they are background elements.  There is one performer that is an aviator, and several in Victorian attire but quite often the performers are fish.  Fish?

Sadly, I would say that not all of the acts could be called steampunk.  I was a bit disappointed in not only the lack of imagination in some of them, but the level of entertainment.  Overall, I had a wonderful time, but with a theme like steampunk, there is just so much more that could have been done.  It’s a pity that it was not more fully realized.

That said, it is a wonderfully fun show.  I am glad we went.  I hope that it is a rousing success.

My gallery can be seen here.  (click)

 

 

August Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale!

 

This will be one of the biggest sales we’ve ever had!  Don’t miss it!

Sad News

Steamcon III Program Book

Those of you that went to Steamcon may have marveled at our wondrous program “book”.  It was in the style of an old fashioned newspaper and was a point of great pride for us.  I am sad to report that the talented woman responsible for the design of that book year after year has passed on.  Our dear friend Katherine “Pel” Schroeder lost her battle with cancer last night.

Pel was soft spoken but had a very mischievous personality if you got to know her.  She loved anime, arm warmers and socks.  She had a passion for fonts and did amazing design work with them.  I often saw her at the Wayward Coffee shop for the weekly Seattle Steamrat meetups.  We would sit and share ideas about steampunk or costuming.  She adored steampunk and often found new things before I did, or introduced me to new music.  Her support of Steamcon was very appreciated and she was one of our hardest working volunteers.

She was very stylish but extremely camera shy.  She hated to have her picture taken and so sadly, there are very few pictures of her.  I have pulled together a few.

Pel had a great laugh and a quick wit.  She inspired me.  She will be missed.

If you would like to honor Pel, her parents have set up this website.  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/katiepelianthschroeder

Steampunk Travel Talk

On July 5th I will be at GEARcon in Portland giving a talk about my Steampunk travel adventures around the world and some that I have yet to take.  I will be giving a visual presentation about all the places I’ve been and the steampunk destinations that I want to go to.  So if you have ever wanted to get some inspiration on where in the world to go, I hope you can join us.

Steampunk Travel

The Brass Screw Confederacy

I am quite happy to have been invited to be the Guest of Honor at this year’s Brass Screw ConfederacyBSC is a very different kind of steampunk event.  It’s held in the city of Port Townsend just fifty six miles from Seattle, although the trip does include a couple of ferry rides as well.  The carefree feeling of the trip by ferry insures that by the time you arrive in the tranquil waterfront town, you will be ready for the more leisurely pace of the past that never was.  The event takes place along the historic main street of Port Townsend, in its Victorian era buildings and also out at the old army base, Fort Worden built in 1897.  Drawing on its rich heritage, BSC utilizes the backdrop of authentic architecture to give us a wonderful setting for our steampukery.  And of course the local steampunks bring that in spades.  Our host Nathan Barnett, innkeeper and dapper gentleman is always ready with a smile and a tale.

Festivities begin Friday at 1:00 and include a lecture entitled Our Octopus is Smarter Than Your Labradoodle, a photo shoot, larping with the Rise of Aester crew, the Bazaar of the Bizarre (4-7) and various drinking opportunities.

Saturday’s events entails many talks, including a State of the Steampunk Address by yours truly, games including some very unorthodox croquet, the Bazaar, and much more.  A Grand Promenade will be held at 3 PM to show of all the amazing fashions.  Myself and several other judges will be pronouncing the best thus and such and so forth, so be sure and make us proud.  And if you’ve any strength left, there are more shenanigans on Sunday as well!  You may see the full schedule here.

The BSC looks to be a grand excuse to dress up in your best finery, and have fun in a very immersive atmosphere.  I am quite looking forward to seeing all the creativity and octopi.  Did I mention that their theme is “Octopi Port Townsend” and I for one am rising to the challenge!  You will just have to join us and see.  It should be a unique experience.  I am even staying in a B & B for the very first time!

 

Return of the Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale!

With several northwest steampunk events coming up, including the Brass Screw Confederacy where yours truly has been invited to be Guest of Honor, our next TTRS is perfectly timed!  It is the ideal place to acquire new and gently used items to prepare for all the upcoming steampunkery!  Past TTRSales have been treasure troves of steampunkishness and this one will be no exception!  Clothing, jewelry, gears, parasols and so much more will be on offer for your shopping enjoyment.  Merchants include Mac McGowan whose wonderful handmade goggles have appeared on television as well as the hats of many esteemed steampunk enthusiasts and the amazing Tony Hicks aka Shamus Tinplate. Check out all our wonderful artisans and merchants:

Ann Wendell – Wonderful old jewelry and other bits and bobs

Clint Harris – GEARS!  Clock parts and more!

Clockwork Beetle – Steampunk medals and brooches

Designs by Victoria – Jewelry and parasols

Diana’s Closet/Steamporium – Clothing, jewelry and Steampunk art

Larsen Geekery – Clothing, art, and much more

Sepiachord – Music!

SewCherie – Clothing and assorted accessories

Steam Baby- Goggles and handmade leather accessories

Tinplate Studios – Brass weaponry and oddiments

Tormented Artifacts – Custom leatherwork and steampunk obscura

Twisted Root Studios – Handmade books

Velvet Mechanism – Hand-crafted, steampunk jewelry from an era that never was.

 

About The Author

Diana Vick

I am an illustrator, writer, costumer and steampunk enthusiast.
I have done illustration for comic books, animation and collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering and Legend of the Five Rings. Currently, I do art for my own line of cards and gifts in my Zazzle shop.