Friday, April 29, 2011

Chinese Rockets Used Against Mongols and Pirates!

(photo and article found on the lovely blog "Multiculturalism For Steampunk)

Actually we would probably be using these sort of rockets to help a bunch of pirates. Can't imagine who, but surely we know someone that would really like them!  Hmmmm, the Seven Pirate Lords of China perhaps???  They have been very useful against the British there after all.  We haven't fought too many pirates ourselves as that tends to spoil the joint parties we often hold with them, but we did do a lot of fighting against Mongols and Turks, using just this sort of thing to start off the sea battle, back in the 16th century I believe.  Of course we cheat, because we have many friends in the far east, a lot of money, and I carried a military history library back in time with me just for that purpose.  Se below:

"Be not Afraid of Color!" via Multiculturalism For Steampunk

I encountered another fascinating article on the blog: Multiculturalism For Steampunk titled....drum roll please...
ta da!: 

"FF:  Be not Afraid of Color!"

I love it!  It's about time people started getting punk about color in steampunk as well!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Call for Supporting Actors/Actresses for "the Difference Engine" events

The two areas I need the most help with right now are handling and recruiting supporting characters.  In order to make this otherwise unmanageable production more manageable, those roles will be character types that basically improvise acting out how their character would react to events as needed between acts of the play to make the event more immersive and interactive.  That way they have no set script to memorize or rehearsals to attend.  They will be civilian government or military reps. from various powerful nations (other than Britain who is at war with us at the moment) in the year 1857.  One change is that the US is split and Texas and California never joined.  Also Venice survived to take over Italy and take Machiavelli's writings along with them.

We mostly need a large number of people attending as delegates, that enjoy getting noticed, deferred to, and hamming it up, to dress well, and pretend to be government and military reps any time someone speaks to them during the event.  They will get to do things, but have no set lines or expectations otherwise.  They will naturally be free to attend all performances, panels, etc. but are simply asked to show up to the 5 acts of the play.  As little else is scheduled during each of those brief vignettes, that is more fun than burdensome.  Only a few of these are taken so far.  
If someone really wants to represent the British Empire, that would be great, but they will need a second outfit, as they would be arrested, rather visibly and loudly, carted off, and need to return as different character, as the British have sworn revenge for Dr Babbage running off with what they consider to be British military property.  Just an idea.

We still have no rep from France, Spain, Russia, Austro-Hungary, China, Japan, or Portugal, which would all be glaring omissions.  We have military reps for Germany, The Venetian Republic (Italy), and the Ottoman Empire, although some of those may not survive the play (it is a murder mystery) if others want to be seconds for them.  We also have an Egyptian rep (civilian) and possibly Persian civilian.

They are supposed to pre-register, so we know they are likely to show up, and then if two people want to be the same delegate, I select the one whose outfit looks most suited to that country and offer a different country to the other, but none are turned away for this.  There are many countries to choose from and at least one military and one civilian should attend from each.

I also need people to portray marine guards.  As the group supplying these is a multicultural and multinational force, they don't need to look alike, but will have red sashes, possibly with gears on them if we have the time.  (I have a machine that cuts metal foil into gears, but they have to be backed by something stiff or use gold painted leather ones to avoid problems with thin metal foil.)

They will act like guards and follow directions during stage performances, but again have few lines other than "Yes sir/maam, or yes Admiral" so no rehearsal is needed, and thus, I cannot expect to get free passes for them either.  Local drama departments will certainly be contacted, but you may have steampunk interested friends that would like to do this.   

We might have other roles like this (details are secret) that would involve a gun battle using steampunked cap guns, so anyone that is interested should buy an inexpensive modern cap gun, the type that use the red caps in a circle of 8, paint it with gold spray paint, then add contrasting colors such as metallic copper and brown for rust/tarnish look as well as any Steampunk accents desired and bring it ready to shoot.  That means you will need to avoid much paint, or things like hot glue, getting into functional areas of the pistol, but this is usually not a problem so long as it is just a little paint.

I would appreciate any help you could offer in stirring up interest in this area of the production.
As no rehearsals or script memorization are required for any of the above supporting characters, I cannot get them a free pass for admission, but it will make their time at the event much more fun.


Admiral Ramon Leon del Mar, Casting Director

New Page on how to "Steampunk an Outfit"

New page added to this blog about our suggestions on easy and inexpensive ways to "Steampunk an outfit".  Please keep in mind, there are no rules, only suggestions, on this topic as "Steampunks" intentionally rebel against any hard and fast rules or efforts to curtail artistic freedom of expression.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kali's Hourglass Posts a Video about Promoting the film "Nickel Children"

We filmed a short piece about our reasons for adopting the project of promoting the award winning steampunk western short film "Nickel Children" and why we think all steampunks should support this film in it's efforts to use good art to effect social change.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How to Write Steampunk Fiction Article on "Steamed"

I found this article not only insightful about the topic it is intended to focus on, but on the more basic topic af what is "Steampunk" in general.  As I try to promote creativity in all it's forms, I thought this article was an absolute must to add to those I recommend my blog followers take look at!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kali's Hourglass in the news via Fearcast video of OK Steampunk Expo

Steampunk Sailing Ship Kali's Hourglass at Oklahoma Steampunk Expo

Steampunk Convention Debuts in Oklahoma City: A Report from the Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition

20 April 2011 by Ramon Fagan

Contest Winners ("Best Group", I think)

How does one describe the Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition? It was fast paced, confused, hectic, but a whole lot of fun! It was confusing as the guest list changed radically during the last two weeks due to unforeseen financial problems that caused most of the plane tickets for top name celebrities flying in to be canceled. In addition to that, while the online schedule was freely available, the actual printed program didn’t show until partway through the second day, and even then, it was difficult to find out for certain who had canceled and who was still appearing. The schedule was further moved around simply because we were all having too much fun to go to bed on time, so bleary eyed people were still just waking up around the time the first programming was scheduled. Kali’s Hourglass was ready to perform at 10 am on both Saturday and Sunday, but was asked to move it back 1 hour both days due to lack of audience awake enough on Saturday and the failure of the hotel to provide a projector on time on Sunday. In spite of this sort of thing, most people really enjoyed themselves, which in the end, is what this type of event is all about!

Two members of the Hellblinki Sextet

The Hellblinki Sextet performed Friday Evening to an enthusiastic crowd. As they often offer a fusion of jazz, rock, and experimental music, crowd reaction was varied in some areas, but overall extremely positive. Honestly, if you don’t get a few people with a “deer in the headlights look” saying something like “I’m still trying to figure out how much I liked it, because it was so unusual, but it was certainly very interesting”, then you have no business really calling it “experimental music”. They did not disappoint! As such, they made an excellent addition to this year’s lineup!

Unwoman (on right) with V. Adm. Narasimhan

Performances included an excellent set by “Unwoman” who provided hauntingly beautiful melodies and songs both at 3pm (when Psych Corporation was supposed to have performed) and again at 4 pm on Saturday. Her show was very well attended and appreciated, that is until the costume contest began at 4 pm, drawing away most of the attendees. The contest was very popular and had some excellent ensembles as you can see from some of the Flikr site photos, but the scheduling opposite a major concert was unfortunate timing.

Weapon Mods Panel by Airship Isabella

Steve Liptak Inventor and Guest Speaker (in the cafe)

Panels by Airship Isabella included an excellent demonstration and explanation of various modified or “from scratch” Steampunk weapons and gadgets with a guest speaker Steve Liptak (from Airship Nocturne) joining them at their request.  They not only demonstrated their greatest creations, but also gave away secrets about how these marvels were created on a budget!  They also gave a panel explaining their form of Steampunk performance art, their projects, and their involvement in the community.   Naturally their high quality offerings in their vending and display booth were very popular as well.

Kali's Hourglass at the Steampunk Alchemy Panel

Panels from Kali’s Hourglass included “Steampunk Fashion Alchemy”, “Multicultural Steampunk Ensembles”, and “Nickel Children”. The first panel taught a variety of ways to increase or decrease the size of garments while making them much more “Steampunk” in the process as well as how to make interesting and useful weapons and accessories on a very limited budget from almost any sort of junk or left overs. The second actually taught about the vast array of “Steampunk” ensemble options and sub-genres that are now popular, yet are quite different from the original Victorian Eurocentric designs people often think of as “Steampunk”. It also gave a brief explanation of various controversies and ways to overcome them regarding the use of styles inspired by cultures from around the world. This focused mostly on pointing out that culture is everything and that culture is primarily learned rather than born into a person. They also encouraged members of the community to really study cultures to learn how to best honor them, rather than simply borrow from them in ways that might be seen by some as disrespectful if done in a careless manner. The third panel presented the award winning Steampunk Western short film “Nickel Children” and answered questions about it’s creation, purpose, and impact on the Steampunk community and the world today.

Cherie Priest giving a reading From her new book

The event stirred a lot of controversy when so many guests had to cancel due to lack of money for their airfare less than 2 weeks before the show, and there were many other problems with questionable stage conditions, no seating in the concert area, no A/V support, general layout, poor communications before the event, missing programs, missing badges, and very limited security in general. The Program Director (who was also Co-Chair) specifically stated that they plan to use a different venue for next year and to adjust as needed to avoid similar problems next year.  In spite of everything, the volunteer staff and the performers banded together to put on a great show, and make it a really fun event for all those that attended. That may well make up for this year’s limitations enough to bring a much larger crowd back next year.

Cut, Thrust, And, Run

For the rest of the full article click the following link:

Psyche Corporation - Cyberpunk Siren

Psyche Corporation, being from the East Coast, was an unknown entity to me until I noticed they were scheduled to appear at Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition.  When I checked out their unbelievable music videos I was absolutely floored!!!  I became an instant fan of their work.  You can imagine my disappointment when the OK Steampunk Expo failed to come through with their plane tickets.  Unwoman was pretty unhappy as well in that she was really looking forward to doing a promised duet with their lead singer, Psyche Chimere.  I have subsequently corresponded with the songstress and we hope to one day bring her to perform at one of the "Difference Engine" events in the future.  (we are negotiating that now) Due to her location, we would naturally need to grow our organization enough to be able to afford travel expenses  for the performer, but we hope that will happen soon.  I'll keep you posted.  In the mean time, feel free to enjoy the music on myspace and the music videos (some of the finest I have ever seen or heard) on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Unwoman Makes the News Again!

Our Vice Admiral, Radha Narasimhan, recently wrote a review of a recent private concert by Unwoman, aka Erica Mulkey, but then added additional information about her concert (only 2 days later) at the first Oklahoma Steamunk Exposition.  This made the news on The Steampunk Tribune.  Take a look!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Teslacon 2010

I recently learned about Teslacon's wonderful approach to conventions in terms of making them much more immersive and story driven.  Apparently many people are thinking along the same lines as all four of the Texas Steampunk Conventions slated to begin over the next 12 months are planning something similar.  I know that one of those was discussing this about a year ago, but never got funding for the idea.  It appears the Teslacon Organizer was the first to make such a wonderful idea come to flower.  I will be very interested to see how similar events turn out.  I do not research heavily into events so far from my home as I cannot afford to fly and am not young enough to just hop on my motorcycle and take road trips of over 1000 miles like I used to manage back in my youth.  This one: however, is very different from most.  Last week I did a google search for reviews to see how the event turned out and to explore if they ever really tried any sort of murder mystery theater (the website was intentionally cryptic about how the story would play out).  It appears they had some degree of this in the convention, but attendees had to be in the right place at the right moment to see it and none of the descriptions say much really about it unfortunately.  I will present links below to the reviews I ran across for your reading pleasure.

For those interested in next year's convention which is aboard the Nautitlus, click below:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More on The Difference Engine Steampunk Murder Mystery Theater Event

The Difference Engine is an all “Steampunk” convention that has a one day event in the summer and a three day event on New Year’s Eve weekend.  This event will not only immerse you in the creative world of the retro-futuristic imagination, but it will be totally unique among Steampunk Conventions!  This will be the first ever interactive and all “Steampunk” Murder Mystery Theatre event!  

The first event will be “The Difference Engine One day Summit” on June 4th, 2011 where  “Delegates” (from sovereign nations),  “airship pirates”, and other “special interests” from around the world meet to try to purchase plans for a “Difference Engine” computer (historical device) with full military application software (fictional), so the weekend is guaranteed to be a Machiavellian playground!  All participants will be invited into the concert hall for “Meetings with the Admirals” five times during the event. (Each meeting will be one act of the murder mystery play!)  In between acts of the play, you will be enlightened by panels on a variety of topics related to Steampunk and entertained by performers offering dancing and song.  There will also be a large vendors area, console gaming, table top gaming, Steampunk Movies, photography in Steampunk Attire, and a full Steampunk Fashion show voted on by the attendees.  During all of this clues to the various murders will be left around the premises and those turning in the most useful reports or clues to security will win a prize for sleuthing.  Naturally if they actually lead to an arrest, a prize is guaranteed, otherwise, those turning in the most clues win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.  After all of this and the conclusion of the play, there will be a dance!  Steampunk Attire is strongly encouraged, but optional.  

The second event, “The Difference Engine World Conference” on Dec. 30th, 2011 through Jan. 1st, 2012, will be similar in form, but will include a lot more panels, authors, and performers, including a performance by Marquis of Vaudville, and a little more formally attired Steampunk New Year’s Eve Party and Dance with a ‘Steampunk” ball drop at midnight.  We hope you will go to our website and see how you can become an active part of these fully interactive dramatic events!

The schedule at present is as follows:

The console game room, table top game room, vendor area, Official Photographer, and costume item rental room, and the film screening room will probably be open throughout the event, but may be closed at mealtimes or for other purposes.

10 am Registration and opening vendor room (and possibly gaming rooms and film room)

11 am Act One and introduction of delegates

12 pm  Introductory Steampunk Panels, Class on a basic Waltz,
Performances by guest dancers or actors

1 pm Steampunk Panels & Music Performances

2 pm Act Two

2:30 pm Dieselpunk
& other "Steampunk related" panels, Performances by guest dancers or actors

3:30 pm Panels & Sarasvati Boddhisatva (music & song) Performance

4:30 pm Act Three 

5:00 pm Panels & Performances by guest dancers/actors

6:00 pm Panels & Performances  by guest musicians

7 pm Act Four

7:30 pm Fashion Show

9:30 pm Act Five and Conclusion

10:30 pm Waltz

11:00 pm to 2 am Dance with DJ (probably "Son of Sam" playing Darkwave, Steampunk, and various other dance music)