Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cultures Collide-Where Manga Meets Steampunk

Recently a friend of ours from Taiwan, (Jen Wang) that loves J-pop and Manga, (but is also very active in our local Steampunk Illumination Society) published an online article in her blog mentioning her brother's "Style Confucious" inspirations blog article,  then proceeded to detail her own influences and inspirations from Japanese Manga and anime sub-culture.  As we track all fashion trends that influence Steampunk, and there is more and more interface between Anime and Steampunk in conventions and in every day life.  I was naturally very interested in both.

We are also very interested in all Asian style influences and how they may show up in more Asian inspired Steampunk ensembles.  No this is not Steampunk, nor should anyone suggest that it is.  This is a cultural style based on the Manga Japanese anime art genre, but with the number of conventions where the anime people, who have often been very supportive of the Steampunk sub-culture due to the significant presence of it in Japanese anime, thier interest in it as a interesting style aesthetic, and the many cultural values and interests they have in common, have often hosted "Steampunk" panels, acts, events, and performers within the body of anime events when our subculture was too small to put together conventions of their own.  I honor that now by trying to better understand them, their taste, their culture, and what influences this intersection of cultures is having on one another.  Since I meet more and more people at anime conventions (and Renaissance Fairs for that matter) that are interested in our look, in putting together a "Steampunk" ensemble for themselves, and in exploring our culture, it only makes sense that I make a real effort to understand theirs.

The relationship between the two cultures is somewhat unique in that Steampunk tends to attract a much older crowd than does "anime", yet that younger crowd, with their energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm for all things new, have hosted us at so many events where more people are introduced to Steampunk subculture, that this year will not only be the first where full 3 day Steampunk Conventions appear in Texas, but there will be 3 such events within one years time, in addition to dramatic increase in Steampunk programming in other types of conventions around the country.  This is met with enthusiasm by some and hostility by others.  After all, it is their convention, yet often our more flamboyant characters (yes I'm certainly guilty of this one as performers do this as naturally as breathing) attempt to attract attention in a big way even when they are not on stage, which can distract attention from anime attendee's own efforts to make outstanding and entertaining outfits.

This time it looks like little brother has been taking care of big brother in that a much younger generation has helped (among many other changes and influences) to propel an older generations fascination with Steampunk into the main stage of popular media, books, films, and entertainment art style conventions!  This is definitely food for thought and I think should be common ground to forge ever stronger alliances and mutual supports and friendships between the two communities who are very different on the surface, yet share some common goals and much more than is ever obvious on the surface.

One of the most important things I think we all share is the belief that it's not only OK to be different, but absolutely wonderful to be unique and to express that uniqueness in a world that does not always support that concept.  Another thing in common is the desire to inspire people to allow their creative side out and to try to make their own elaborate costumes/ensembles that are outlandish enough to both inspire and entertain others in a world where we desperately need creative outlets and some form of healthy escape from day to day sadness or the blankness of the world.  It seems everything is being painted gray, including people, in an effort to turn us all into good little, ultra modest, profit producing, mindless and emotionless robots without heart, mind, soul, or desires.  Both Anime and Steampunk are radical rebellions against this trend!  As such we should continue to join forces and support one another's efforts in a great variety of avenues and venues.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Response to an Article About the Possible "Greying Down" of Steampunk Fiction

This is my response to a wonderful article about internal questioning about how to keep Steampunk Fiction from falling into the same trap of "Greying Down" by following rigid genre rules that it was originally designed to break free of in literature.  The article it is in response to is at:

My response to this was the following.  After looking at what came out of me spontaneously as a celebration of a great creative opportunity given to me...well...I just wanted to share it with you.

Bravo! I don’t really care that much what the answers are, because the whole point of steampunk is to encourage and reawaken the act of creativity and self expression! As such, the questions are much more important than the answers which no two people are likely to totally agree on, nor should they necessarily try to. What is better, more fertile, and more likely to produce strange and wonderful new creations is to agree that these questions are out there, and that they do matter, but that in the end, we should create what makes us happy, and let the readers decide which version they like on any given day without constraining them to wanting the same flavor of steampunk from one day to the next. Otherwise it goes stale. Any rigid set of rules will certainly grey everything down. It is appropriate to talk about general patterns about what makes us, as individuals, but only us, think “that’s a steampunk story or piece of music etc, and what does not. What is important is to avoid making others feel inferior because their taste in steampunk differs from our own. That takes what is interesting in hearing about another person’s taste and makes it some sort of corporate formula which is what we are all rebelling against!…Well that and the numbness and depression that creeps up when the joy in life is snuffed out by what is seen as the practical necessity of focusing exclusively on making a few more dollars to pay the creditors. If it gives hope to you, think on this: I am currently writing Steampunk fiction revolving around a specifically requested storyline by a convention organizer that is trying to take his personal life from anime conventions that he does for money and into steampunk conventions that are far more interesting to him. He is allowing me an enormous amount of artistic freedom, so my acting troupe is going to have a load of fun with this and is turning his entire steampunk convention (The Difference Engine) into one big dramatic murder mystery theater, with only bits of humor thrown in at moments when it is unexpected. We rarely get to do drama, really, in steampunk or even anime events, because they want costume contests and panels with no time to actually introduce characters and develop a story, so comedy is all there has been time for. This is different. This is interesting! this can go any direction our minds want to travel, because every few hours, the entire con will get shut down for a “summit meeting” where everyone finds themselves drifting into a meeting to discuss what the saboteurs have been up to, who is missing, and what the security cameras (a very progressive invention for the 1800s, but we are on a captain Nemo level of advance airship after all) have filmed in grainy silent black and white that gives enough of a view to throw suspicion on many of their neighbors more than it answers any questions. This is fiction, because without fiction, there is no good drama!  This is dramatic enactment (with scripts rehearsals etc) blended with deep audience participation and innovation. This may well be one of many solutions to fears of “Steampunk Fiction” growing stale, because many minds will bend reality in many different ways, but with an underlying script driving all of it!

Fair winds to you! If you get bored, do it differently!

Adm. Ramon Leon del Mar (aka Ramon Fagan)
Kali’s Hourglass

Steampunk Tribune Gives Air to Research Paper by Fashion Design Students

Yes, I wrote the article, sort of, but really almost all the material is just a re-posting, with permission of course, of a research paper by some fashion design students looking into the influences and motivating factors that creat ena make poplular Steampunk fashion as well as how it is moving into the mainstream fashion arena.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Difference Engine - The first ever Steampunk Murder Mystery Convention in Texas!

Yes it really is completely steampunk and based on a storyline derived to some degree from the history and rumors surrounding the life and works of Dr. Charle's Babbage, inventor of the Difference Engine.  He invented it, but like Leonardo Da Vinci, was supposedly unable to complete his pet project due to lack funds, lack of proper materials, and ... well lack of interest.  Then again, maybe he finally did find someone to fund him and went on to have many other adventures leaving behind only rumors of a death without full acceptance.  We are writing our own fiction about his facinating life.  No characters or plot devices are taken from the book, even though the actors will be required to read it before the performance.  To ensure the copyright laws are followed the Steampunk designer and author contracted to write our plays/scripts etc. did so before actually reading the book to ensure he could not be accused of plagiarizing someone else's work.  He knows about the man, his colleagues, his real history, and the modern difference engines completed, but has not yet read the actual book by a current day author.  Believe it or not!
 Here's the grapevine information going around about the event:
Whispers are circulating about Dr Charles Babbage's airship touching down in city of Ft Worth, TX New Year's Eve. Please do leave comments on the survey on the site- we need your feedback to make this a spectacular event!
The Difference Engine
Tl Boyte asked:  Be interesting to see if that happens - any relation to the "Babbage Patch Kids"?

S.s. Kali's Hourglass The contract has been signed for the venue for the one day event Saturday, June 4th 2011 , no relation to the Babbage Patch Kids
Ramon Leon Del Mar
I also know for certain that the surveys are intended to determine what level of full immersion into the world of Steampunk the first 1 day and the second full 3 day event at new years will involve. Possibilities discussed range from a completely Steampunk specific event where everyone is asked to interact in character as much as possible to a completely immersive experience much like the "Murder Mystery Theater" events with a professional cast and scripting. If it goes that way, a trained acting troupe has been contacted already about that option. I would much prefer the latter, but the event organizer has final say, and he is planning to listen to community response first before making any final decisions. I can only point out the obvious, that the more unique the event is, the more press it will get. I am already discussing this with the editor of the Steampunk Tribune, but no official press releases are available yet other than what is on the web site.

So...fill out the surveys and make your voice be heard!
Below is the information so far on their website:

 At this time we are adding information as quickly as we can. We will have price & program information, a forum, surveys, and much more to come very soon. We're quite interested in getting your thoughts about what you'd like to get out of these events. Of course, if you are here, but wonder what this is all about, then allow us to answer that question with one simple but wonderful word: STEAMPUNK! Yes, this is 100% a Steampunk themed convention that will take place in the Dallas area. So now that you know that much, this is your chance to let us know what YOU want. Within a couple of days, we will be adding some surveys to the "Survey" area in under the Navigation Menu. So please take some time and fill those out, if you would be so kind.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clockpunk Finally Making the News-Thanks to the Steampunk Chronicle!

I wanted to share this with everyone to show that Clockpunk is making real progress in getting press and gaining acceptance as a distinct and vital sub-genre of Steampunk.  The difference is mostly one of the time period that most of the basic clothing style is derived from, which would be almost anything earlier than Victorian, but primarily the time from Leonardo Da Vinci (around 1500) up until the Victorian era.  Another major difference is that it focuses more on clockwork as a primary form of power and high level technology more than electricity, heat engines, or steam power although those appear as well.  They are simply not as prevalent.  You can also expect to see the real high tech gadgets, rayguns for instance, less often, or at least camouflaged, such as a design I am working on that would house a seizure inducing strobe light in the body of a flintlock pistol.  It would be a lot less likely to get my character burned as a witch (remember the time period we are talking about?) and yet it could fire repeatedly with a power capable of dropping many of my enemies helpless to the decks where they are utterly disabled then can't seem to recall much of what just happened.  This again could protect my reputation as a respectable, (... well ... sort of respectable as privateers go anyway) businessman in the business of relieving enemy ships of their cargo more than in killing all of their crew.  Just a thought.

What matters most is that "Clockpunk" (sometimes even referred to as "Renpunk if the costume is old enough in style) can help bridge the gap between the Renfair sub-culture, the Pirate fair sub-culture (believe me these have true sub-culture elements among them!) and the Steampunk sub-culture by encouraging those other groups to pull their glorious, intricate, and beautiful attire out of the closet (in their group's off season), add some gears, cogs, goggles, and gadgets, then walk in as the center of attention at any "Steampunk event" they desire to attend.  Not only that, this can forge strong alliances between strong communities that should be, and can be mutually supportive.  We already share a lot of crossover membership and crossover interest, but not so much actual crossover in other ways.  I and the "Kali's Hourglass Acting Troupe, plan to do what we can to remedy that.  This article is just the beginning!

Editor's Note:  I made a typo in the article in which I stated that while knee breeches started going out of style around 1900, they continued in formal wear and military uniforms well into the early Victorian Era .  The concept is correct, but the year this was noticably changing was intended to read "the year 1800" rather than 1900-my apologies for the error.  Hopefully you understand what was intended.

See the abbreviated version on the Steampunk Chronicle at:

The origianl full length version with a little more detail is still here on this blog site at:

Hello, Ramon Leon del Mar
Thanks for your article Clockpunk, Georgian, and Revolutionary Era Steampunk Fashion. It is approved and published.
Regards team

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steampunk Concerns About Global Economy Makes the News

You may want to take a look at the Cogs 'n Gears newsletter, especially the January edition.  While you probably want to skip over the meeting minutes, (this is produced by a new and powerfully active and cohesive Steampunk Organization in North Texas) the article about Global Economy and Steampunk culture/politics may be of great interest to you.  Their website is also very interesting as they are not only bringing a strong steampunk community together in an area that has never managed to sustain a single continuous organization for very long, but they have become a subtle, but powerful driving force and pool of manpower behind many steampunk events in that part of the Texas such as the recent, enormously successful, Marquis of Vaudville's Clockwork Wonderland whose online video was filmed and cast primarily by society members and whose event drew almost exclusively from that organization and the band's own street team for the army of manpower that put on and publicized the event in order to make it so successful!
 They are now being approached by other events, including the first ever full scale Texas based "Steampunk Convention" for help in producing and publicizing future steampunk events.

Just take a look at the January 2011 issue in their archives at the link below:

Kali's Hourglass Presenting 6 panels at All-con 2011

Yes we will not only be presenting panels this year, but also performing as both the Multicultural Ensembles panel and the Current and Future Trends in Steampunk Music and Dance panel both include a brief dance performance inside the panel room as part of the total panel experience!  Don't miss it!

The Gatehouse Gazette Includes Nickel Children & Dickens In Their Willd, Wild West

As you can see below two of my articles were selected by that esteemed Leader of the Dieselpunk and Steampunk Communities, Mr. Nick Ottens, for his January issue of the Gatehouse Gazette which features other excellent articles as well about the interface between Steampunk/Delpunk and the "Wild West" genre.

Below is the list of contents and a link to their site:

Gatehouse Gazette #16 (January 2011)

In this very American edition, the Gatehouse Gazette ventures deep into the Weird West and does so in full color!


Bennett, A., “The Falcon,” 20-23
Davia, L., “Review Magico Vento,” 17
Fagan, R., “Review: Nickel Children,” 10
Fagan, R., “Steampunk at Dickens on the Strand,” 6
Heyvaert, H., “Review: Dr Who Christmas Special,” 11
Heyvaert, H., “Review: Wild Wild West,” 17
Heyvaert, H., “Review: Sherlock,” 11
Heyvaert, H., “The Steampunk Wardrobe,” 14
McCleary, C., “Wilde’s West,” 18-20
Moffett, C., “Louis Brennan’s Monorail Car,” 15
Ottens, N., “Anarchocapitalism in the Old West,” 5
Ottens, N., “A History of the American Bison,” 12
Ottens, N., “Preview: BioShock Infinite,” 9
Worden, P.J., “The Great Airship Scare,” 7

Steampunk Tribune Raises the Tempo on Steampunk Music Sources

I wrote an article some time back about what appeared to be the actual sources of "Steampunk Music" and patterns visible in what is now often referred to as "Steampunk" in the musical world.  The editor of the Steampunk Tribune tells me that he likes ot avoid controversy these days, but he considered this confusing, but facinating, topic just too important not to post my article in his journal about it.  It is titled-Is Steampunk Music Really Influenced?  I'll give you a hint, the general conclusion of my research is that there really is some influence, although mostly in the instruments used, the topics covered by the lyrics, and even in the early sources of Vaudville as well as the popularity of Carnivals that often pervade the lyrics and musical styles of many steampunk songs today.  I had forgotten some of what I dug up in the article, so I enjoyed going back through it, especially in light of the fact that we (Kali's Hourglass) will be presenting a panel on the topic soon at All-Con, but I must mention that while I suggested that the "Post Apocalyptic" era of steam may be one of the strongest influences of modern "Steampunk Music", I really felt that any band that uses the label "Steampunk" should really attend some renaissance Fairs in their community and take a very hard look at the instrument usage, the singing styles, and the incredible use of imagery, adventure, and story telling in their work and learn these type of skills form the acknowledged masters that still survive carying forward the roots of our musical heritage from days gone by.

Nickel Children hits the news again!

Just a link to another article showing the broad press this film is receiving.  It was also featured in the Gatehouse Gazette, Steamed, The Steampunk Tribune, and shown about 20 times at the Marquis of Vaudville's Clockwork Wonderland in Dallas.

Penny Dreadful Productions Opens a Shop

The following article on Steampunk Chronicle details a new retail store opened by the Penny Dreadful Productions company.  They are one of the most incredibly impressive Steampunk fabrications, design, and tailoring companies in the world of Steampunk today.  You should definitely take a look at the article and at their store.  They also make routine appearances at a variety of Anime, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Steampunk conventions wearign custom created ensembles highlighting characters and groups fo characters from all of those genres, but with a clearly "steampunk twist".

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fashion Research Essay about steampunk influences.

The following are excerpts from a research project by fashion design students from the University of North Texas, with one Ms. Bonnie McGowan in the lead (assisted by Dayly Waggoner and others), focusing on the influences of the Steampunk Sub-culture on modern changes in fashion both in specialized markets and in the broader fashion world.  It shows good insight and significant research into current and evolving trends that go much deeper than just appearance and touch on many of the deeper motivations that drive the popularity of Steampunk culture as well as fashion today.   As such, I asked for, and received permission to post the entire paper on my personal blog and to submit interesting excerpts from it to Steampunk Magazines. Please note that she mentions that "clockpunk" is a whispered about coming trend, but our professional acting troupe, Kali's Hourglass", already specializes in that look routinely, so the trend is coming fast and already here.

Ramon Fagan, LCSW

Steampunk Culture: Where Innovation and Tradition Collide

Bonnie McGowan, Dayly Waggoner,
Juan Flores, Maria Acosta

University of North Texas

Steampunk Culture: Where Innovation and Tradition Combine

Steampunk originated in the 1990s as a subculture in which fashion combined Victorian and futuristic design. It began as a way to visually bring to life science fiction or "science romance.” The term, Science Romance, originated from authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne in novels about futuristic Victorian and Edwardian societies. The term, steampunk, was coined from K.W. Jetter - a science fiction writer who wrote a letter to a science fiction magazine entitled "Locus" in 1979. He predicted that there would be a backlash against cyberpunk and that more Victorian inspired punk-culture would come to surface. He called it "Steampunk" (Hauldren, 2009). Cyberpunk was mostly a science fiction genre that focused on technology, whereas steampunk broke away from just the technology aspect and incorporated a more romantic, pseudo-Victorian, mechanical style. Steampunk started as a literary sub-genre and molded into a social movement, a lifestyle. These steampunk enthusiasts take modern technology and modern objects and they transform them to Victorian Times. “The result is a world where elegant steam-powered instruments of twisting copper and clockwork gears allow computing, air travel and advanced weaponry to emerge in the 19th century” (Poeter, 2008). 
Steampunks are inspired by sources outside of literature as well. Films such as “The City of Lost Children”, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”,  “The Prestige,” “Golden Compass,” “Steamboy” and “Wild Wild West” are a few examples of steampunk cinema.“Sucker Punch,” a film that is set to release in 2011, contains Steampunk costumes and steam-controlled atmospheres. This subculture has also become a musical genre that incorporates industrial and darkwave sounds, and musicians such as “Abney Park” or “Dr. Steel” play the part by not only singing about Steampunk realities, but dressing as if they exist within them. When we visited the North Texas Steampunks, we had the pleasure of speaking with Toby Lawhon, who is the lead singer of “Marquis of Vaudeville.” The style of his music is not industrial or darkwave, but glam rock and vaudeville; steampunk music is not bound to a particular sound. Even video games such as as “Bioshock” and “World of Warcraft” inspire Steampunk creativity.  These various forms of entertainment are not only grounds for inspiration, but examples of how this subculture is infiltrating the mainstream.
And this infiltration is influencing the fashion industry. Though steampunk fashion has been around since the 1990s, it has only recently become recognized by fashion entrepreneurs. For example, look at these Steampunk-styled, brass heals Alexander McQueen released for his Spring 2010 collection:

And just last year, Lady Gaga wore a black, Jean Paul Gaultier dress with a Victorian shape and a lace and brass trinket collar. Steampunk couture has also been replicated by designers such as John Galliano, Robert Cavalli, Ralph Lauren and Hermes. According to the Inside Source, John Galliano's menswear collection for Autumn-Winter 2010-2011 featured “heavy tweed overcoats, Holmesien capes, long-stemmed pipes, deerstalker hats and lace-up combat boots... just on their heels, he trotted out a dandified set of men in skinny three-piece suits with umbrellas and bowler caps—these a nod to the structure and formality of a Victorian age.” (Chen, 2010 p.1). Thanks to the increasing popularity of Steampunk, and its newfound existence in the media, designers are finally catching onto this subculture. They tweak the subculture's outfits and create incredible pieces of art.
            Non-couture steampunk clothing, like steampunk literature and entertainment, re-imagines the Victorian era. In the Steampunk Universe, there are incredible technological innovations powered by steam (this is where the steam in steampunk stems from,) and Victorian clothing is bred with a modern or futuristic touch. Just as the steampunk authors created an alternative history, so do the Steampunks with their attire. Customary, male steampunk clothing usually involves three piece suits, top hats, bowler hats and canes. Women often wear bustles, petticoats, ruffles, corsets and spatterdashes with granny shoes. Many women wear clothing that would have been unacceptable during the late 19th and early 20th century, with rising hem lines, decorative tights and exposed shoulders. Both genders add spice to their batch with accessories such as goggles, parasols, ray guns, pocket watches, spectacles and compasses. They may choose to enhance their dress even further by attaching antique brass jewelery, gears, charms, cogs and badges. Some outfits remain fairly simplistic, with a few gears on a hat, while others are more extravagant and create an elaborate pastiche of several brass and mechanical artifacts. Even though Steampunk attire is generally associated with the Victorian era, there are other eras that connect as well, such as post-apocalyptic. Dieselpunk, a Steampunk derivative that relies on the 1920s-1940s, is also common. Steampunk's clothing is even compared to the progressiveness of cyberpunk and the romanticism of Goth. Evelyn Kriete, who sells advertising space for magazines, explains that “the elaborate mourning dresses, waistcoats, hacking jackets and high-button shoes are goth’s stepchildren, for sure, but the overall look is 'not so much eyeliner and fishnets'” (Ferla, 2008).  Many Steampunks  stray even further from the traditional-victorian look in aviator, western, safari, vaudeville, cabaret, airship pirate and english military outfits. When we observed the North Texas Steampunks, [actually a Steampunk Illumination Society meeting, but most are members of our North Texas Steampunks Facebook Group] we saw nearly all of these trends. An example of non-victorian steampunk-wear found was within the leaders of the North Texas Steampunks. Ramon Del Mar and his wife, Radha Narasimhan's, dressed in an “airship pirate manner,” with pirate hats, goggles, gear-patterned parachute pants and brass coins. Obviously, there are many variations of steampunk dress, but every steampunk looks as if he or she has traveled through time. Steampunks are anachronisms, inspired by the alteration of different time periods. Rather than ponder on possibilities, Steampunks rely on their imaginations to bring to life an antique style of dress. And that's not all that Steampunks value; they also share the desire to create and wear pieces that separate them from the mainstream.
            In the ready-to-wear industry, middle class Americans are subject to buying mass produced clothing made in factories, in which several copies are made of the same garment. Quality takes the backseat to quantity, and thus the clothing industry acts as fast food fashion. Many Steampunks chose to rebel against retail distribution, (hence where the “punk” comes from) through buying or creating one of a kind pieces. Many steampunks purchase their own fabric and make all of their garments and accessories themselves. Many of them coin contraptions or gadgets from broken everyday items or hardware stores. Some assortments include nuts, bolts and screws that are simply glued on to items and painted with gold or brass spray paint. We witnessed many magnificent creations at Crystal's, but our favorite was an inventor's “hydraulically activated neural digitizer” [commonly referred to as simply H.A.N.D.], complete with brass fingers and bendable vials of green liquid [this is a purportedly a hydraulically activated exoskeletal hand the inventor uses to cope with an injury in the lab]. The inventor [Dr. Phineas Maxwell Edison of Kali's Hourglass] choose to invent from scratch, but many steampunks choose not to sew, but recycle instead. They often use pieces found at thrift or vintage stores and modify them to appear more distressed and antique. Ebay and Etsy are particularly popular websites. These two places sell one of a kind handmade items, thus allowing Steampunks to find more unique pieces without paying a fortune. If you search for “steampunk” on ebay or etsy, thousands of items will pop up with the tag. In the past, these two databases were the only places available for Steampunk items online, but this has changed. There are now several websites dedicated to Steampunk-wear, such as Clockwork Couture and Steampunk Emporium. According to the NY Times, “ has begun offering its cream and umber petticoats, an Air Pirate ruched tunic and Time Machine bloomers at boutiques. Abney Park is selling swallowtail tuxedos, antiqued flight helmets and airship pirate T-shirts, like those it wears on stage, at and at concerts across the country” (Ferla, 2008). Now, even Steampunk musicians are using their image as a marketing tool to sell their Steampunk clothing! Before the internet, Steampunk was widely unknown, but the internet has been the perfect breeding ground for Steampunk forums, stores and inspiration.
            Another unique aspect of Steampunk culture is its formality. In keeping to the established activities of former eras, Steampunks often participate in more aristocratic activities, such as tea parties and time-traveling balls. While visiting Crystal's Pizza, we discovered that these steampunks dress up for every event that they have, even if it is at a restaurant. Since most people only dress up for weddings and funerals, steampunk events are a good excuse to look fabulous. Deborah Castellano, an organizer of  neo-Victorian conventions claims that these events “[offer] an element of glamour that some of us would otherwise never experience.” (Rowe, 2008) Most Steampunks are unable to dress in their desired attire at their day jobs, so adorning themselves in exciting attire means more than dressing up and having fun. It is a time to masquerade in an exciting and fantastical world, where individuality and extravagance are celebrated. Their former lives are forgotten and they transform into different characters from a separate galaxy. Many Steampunks have character names for their Steampunk persona, and dance and drink as professors, inventors and magicians. These unconventional clothing choices symbolize their freedom from society's hold.
            As Steampunk fashion evolves and more people become interested in the culture, one thing will be certain: even more by-products of steampunk will emerge, and more time periods and eras will use Steampunk inspiration. Science fiction writers will create more alternative histories for later and earlier time periods than ever before. Although the retro-fusion aspect of Steampunk does not normally extend beyond the 1940s, there are a few mini-trends that will emerge as more prevalent forms of steampunk. Though there is little to no information on most of these trends, we can still forecast certain qualities based on what different time periods entail. “Atompunk” is a (barely mentioned ) trend taking place between 1945-1965 during “The Processing Period.” During this time, the atomic bomb was dropped, there was panic about communism and the Vietnam War began  (Sterling, 2008). Therefore, we will see gas masks, protective wear and 1940s-1960s militant uniforms, with soviet union uniforms thrown in the mix. The steampunks will adorn themselves with brass medallions, gears and gadgets, and wear rayguns rather than the typical guns of the mid 20th century,  so that the steampunk theme is still easily recognizable.
            Another whispered trend that will soon shine in the Steampunk World is Clockpunk. This seeding trend takes place during the Renaissance, and it relies on clockwork rather than steam power.  And Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo are be the clockpunk gods (Hannaford, 2007). So far, this mini-trend has stuck to technological advancements rather than fashion, but this will change over time. We should expect to see Renaissance clothing along with antique map designs, gears, miniature telescopes and Steampunk trademarks throughout.
Reference Sheet

-        Chen, S. (2010, February). Trend Alert: Steampunk. Retrieved from
-        Ferla, R. (2008, May). Steampunk Moves Between 2 Worlds. Retrieved from
-        Hannaford, K. (2008, July). Pub Guru: What is Steampunk, and can it iron my trousers?    Retrieved from
-        Hauldren, P. (2009, December). SpecFic 101: What is
Retrieved from
-        Rowe, A. (2008, September). What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More. Retrieved from
-        Poeter, D. (2008, July). Steampunk’s Subculture Revealed. Retrieved from
-        Sterling, B. (2008, December). Here comes “Atompunk.” And it's Dutch. So there. Retrieved f      rom

(editor's note:  Kali's Hourglass Performance Art Troupe is already primarily "Clockpunk")


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Muslim Steampunk-a novel worth a look

This article was so interesting I just had to bring it to your attention.  It's about a 12th century story about steampunk developing in the middle east.  Take a look.

Sunday Driver Interview on Multiculturalism for Steampunk

There is a wonderful new interview on  Multiculturalism for Steampunk
that highlights the changes the group has gone through in the last year since their interview with Beyond Victoriana back in January 2010.  Sunday Driver has facinating music with a fusion of East and West in both the styles, instruments and lyrics as well as the cultural makeup of the band members themselves.  They will be appearing at the Steampunk World Expo this year and in Seattle as well not long after that.  They also have a wonderful new album out that was partially funded by a grant for the arts as a result of the great things they are doing, not only for our community, but for the music world in general.  You should definitely check out the interview.

 Also check out Sunday Driver's website: