Tea & Automatons

Diana Vick's corner of the interweb

Steampunk Exhibition Ball

On Saturday, the hubby and I attended the Steampunk Exhibition Ball, put on as a fund raiser for the Center for Sex Positive Culture.  It’s an event we look forward to each year.  Most people dress to the nines and tens, so it’s a very fun people watching event.  It’s held at the Museum of History and Industry which is quite a fascinating place.  There is a room for dancing, a small merchant area, a photo area, several bars and the main auditorium held the music and burlesque this year, but it was always packed and the low lighting made it almost impossible to make your way to a seat safely.  My main focus is talking to folks, so I tend to mingle all night.

This year, I was asked to be one of the judges for the costume competition.  There are three categories per their website:

  • Most Impressive Beard and/or Moustache: Judging criteria includes size, styling, originality and incorporating steampunk themes,such as how facial hair complements the overall outfit. Preference will be given to naturally grown facial hair, but an amazing prosthetic moustache can still win.
  • Fabulous Hat: Our judges are looking for not only the most fetching hats, but also most original, marvels of engineering and hats that compliment the overall theme of the outfit. Preference will be given to milliners sporting their own haberdashery (hats you made yourself).
  • Enticing Ensemble: New this year is the Most Enticing Ensemble competition. We want you to show off your steamiest attire for our viewing pleasure. Judges will choose finalists based on the overall look of the ensemble, not just a sexy corset, flattering trousers or appearance of the wearer themselves. This isn’t about if you got it, it’s about how you flaunt it.

I was asked to choose a few finalists for the last two categories and I found some wonderful contestants.  Winners were chosen by audience vocalization, which I find to be an incredibly unfair and inconsistent method of judging, but there you go.  The first two competitions went well and suitable winners were chosen.  In the last category however, the announcer failed to make it clear that you had to be given a finalist chit to enter and the stage was flooded with people, mostly women in skimpy outfits.  Having been instructed to look for sexy, but well thought out ensembles and ask about whether they had a hand in the construction, I was a bit disconcerted.  I went to the contest official and voiced my concerns, but when the MC was apprised, he blew it off entirely.  So what?  As long as the audience is having fun, who cares, right?  Well, I didn’t appreciate putting work into something that was then completely ignored, so I departed.  I had better things to do than watch a competition that was now so obviously going to be the steampunk equivalent of a night at Hooters.  I am told that despite the chaos, the winner was one of the other judges picks and her costume was quite good and showed almost no flesh.  I am glad to hear it but surprised at it.  I guess one never knows the mind of a mob.

Aside from that, the evening was very pleasant.  I met a lot of wonderful people and had some great conversations.  The outfits were grand, people were convivial and the absinthe was flowing.  All the ingredients that steampunks appreciate most.

My husband only took a few photos but you can view them here.

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.