Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nick Ottens on the Gatehouse Gazette

I received a reply from the illustrious Diesel Punk Guru, Nick Ottens, regarding the sudden return by the Gatehouse Gazette to producing high quality articles.  Here is what he had to say to my inquiries:


Its good to hear from you. I dont expect the magazine to return any time soon. I just dont have the time to edit. So we will continue as a blog, with a combination of magazine-like content and more typical, shorter blog posts. 

Hilde and Marcus are the most active contributors. I dont have much time to write myself but certainly welcome submissions from old magazine contributors like yourself.

As such, I will resume being a contributing author shortly for the Gatehouse Gazette, and am very pleased to see it back in operation, at least as a fascinating online Steampunk and Diesel Punk Blog once again!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Halloween in NOLA Article by Ruby Ruin

Gothic Beauty Article by Ruby Ruin

Steampunks and Vampyres don't really go together...or do they?  Last year's Endless Night Vampyre Ball had Steampunk Stylin as the theme of the event, and they list it as a preferred form of modern Vampyre attire.   In fact some well known Steampunk performers, authors, etc. have found themselves up to their ...well you know... in Vampyres of late, but that's another story.

As such, I wanted to post this link to an article in Gothic Beauty Magazine about the Halloween Vampyre Events in New Orleans 2011 written by a friend of ours, the singer for Saints of Ruin.

Gothic Beauty Article about Halloween in New Orleans
 by Ruby Ruin

You should definitely check out Saints of Ruin web site and their albums as well.  They are Kick ass!

Saints of Ruin

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gatehouse Gazette Site Producing Articles Again!

Apparently sometime in March 2012 a few articles surfaced followed by several in April with an interview and an album review for the new Steampunk Band from Japan Strange Artifact.  Other articles of interest include a review of Iron Sky and info on the new all European Steampunk convention.  I wrote to Nick Otten to inquire about level of activity expected, and have no more info just yet.  No the full magazine is not yet back up and may not ever be, but I wrote to inquire about future plans.  At present the articles are being written by his regular staff writers and posted blog style on the home page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society

The Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society is made up of two guitarists that used to be with Abney Park, an very interesting, beautiful, and talented singer (who also belly dances during performances, and several other performers that seem to have joined since then.  Below are a variety of links to their websites that will allow you to listen to their music.  You tube videos exist as well, but the ones I saw of live shows were from cell phones or low quality sources, so you may have to search to find a good live show video at this poitn.  Their recorded music though is very good and certainly within the Steampunk Genre.  Check it out.  I think you will like it!

Video of Live Show

Friday, April 20, 2012

BB Blackdog on Tour in Steampunk Land

Left to Right - John, Dale and Axel of BBB

I recently had the privilege of meeting the members of a really interesting, bluesy,  and  soulful band called BB Blackdog at the new Steampmunk and Paranormal Convention “The Nightmare Machine” presented by the Steampunk Illumination Society of Texas.  The band members include:  Axel Boldt, on Drums, John Ferguson, Rhythm Bass, and Dale Rowles, Lead Bass and Vocals.  That’s right, both guitarists like bass, so they simply don’t use a guitar in this band.   Believe  me, it works well for them!   One plays a higher range bass and the other a lower range bass resulting in a very deep throated and emotionally deep sound. 

At the show, they played quite a variety of styles, even asking the audience to choose the type of the next song such as “more Bluesy or more Funky” and then pulled from their extensive repertoire one to fit.  This worked so well for the audience, that even after 3 other bands had preceded them, BB Blackdog could still make the dancers in the audience find it impossible to sit still and had everyone getting down in various ways to the warm and funky feel of the music.

On first glance, you can tell, these boys aren’t new to the game.  They remind me of veryself confident, but laid back, musicians from the 60s, but are definitely quite serious about their music.  Their skill is unmistakable, but their personalities are very easy going, friendly, and humorous.  I had arranged to interview them in advance, but honestly, they were so friendly and fun to talk to, I simply took mental notes, and waited until I had a good feel for them before trying to ask any leading questions.  I think they are so similar in some ways, yet so different in others, that I will discuss them separately.

Dale is definitely the chatty one, and very funny as well, though I think if the listener spoke German a bit better than I do, Axel might well talk even more.  Axel understands English fairly well and has quite interesting and insightful things to say about the band and life in general, but speaks less at first as his English is not quite as smooth as that of his comrades.

Dale talked about playing for a great number of bands and studio gigs supporting other bands, but he really only made good money when he turned to selling financial investments.  He said he did that quite well for years, but finally decided he had enough of making money and being unhappy, so he went back to being a happy starving artist instead.  

The most notable quote from him was several variations of “If you just take a man by the hand, look him in the eye, and really listen to what he says, you can get a real feel for the man in front of you and relate to them better, or words to that effect.  (He has some very socially progressive views and observations about the state of the world that kept leading back to this.)  He basically wants to use music and open honest communication to improve understanding and make the world a better and more fun place to live in.

Dale also tells a lot of jokes, especially in the middle of Tea Dueling, which he was nice enough to formally introduce to Steampunks int his part of the country.  It seems that Tea Dueling, is a new non-violent way, to show up your rival and demonstrate your steady nerve, without anyone actually getting shot.  Instead when the referee directs the combatants to "choose their weapon" they must carefully select an English Biscuit (aka cookie) from the plate before them, then, on command, dunk it for the prescribed number of seconds in a cup of "proper tea" at which point they remove the biscuit and see which combatant can hold the cookie steady enough to last longer than their opponent.  

It's rather like a game of chicken with wet, crumbling cookies.  At the end, you quickly, but very carefully, eat the wet cookie, hopefully before some of it oozes off onto the table, yet try to have the steadiness of nerve to do so later than your opponent.   The jokes come in both to try to break their nerve and make them go for it too soon, or to make them laugh, thus shaking the cookie dangerously.  If you wait too long, naturally the cookie comes tumbling down, and you lose, but if your opponent can wait one second longer than you to eat, without it falling, he wins bragging rights to a steadier hand and nerve.

Axel is quite a character.  He always loved drums and had gotten so good at them, that friends kept suggesting one band or another to try out with, but until he met BB Blackdog, he didn’t feel he really wanted to become closely tied to any one group.  No he says “You only really love once…After that, it’s never quite the same.  If I had to give up playing with BB Blackdog, I’d just go back to playing at home for fun.
Axel has quite a lot to say, once you get to know him a bit, mostly about how people ought to care more about each other and the world at large instead of personal ego and national pride.  

About his drums, he said he traveled so much, under such difficult conditions, while touring with the band, that he looked for a small enough drum kit that he could fit the entire kit in a large rolling suitcase.  He finally found one, but it was bright pink!  He didn’t care.  It had a good sound and worked well for him. 

Over time, fans began bringing him pink hats, pink goggles, etc. and he eventually wound up telling people, I’m not a Steampunk, I’m Steam Pink!  Does this mean pink is really a favorite color for him?  Not really, but it looks so outrageous on this extremely tall German Drummer, and is so unexpected, that it suits his taste for non-violent rebellion.  He just likes being an Iconoclast, so Pink has become a favorite wardrobe theme for him on tour. 

As for John, well … he’s the quiet one.  He does most of his talking with his Bass, but when he does so, he speaks quite eloquently indeed.  Dale pointed out that John had played, pretty much forever, and was an amazing musician, but just not much of a talker, to which John just nodded and said something like “Yeah, that’s about it.”

If you ever get the chance to make it to one of their shows, be sure to treat yourself to some really down home Blues, from some very Steam friendly Punks from Britain and Germany.  BB Blackdog!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Travelin' Fast and Light, but I'm a Goin' to the Fair!

So why am I reposting articles about this particular event again?  Because I'm going and you should too, assuming you can of course.  I just couldn't stand waiting another 7 months to see a live performance of Psyche Corporation (scheduled to appear in Fort Worth, Texas at the  Difference Engine New Year's Ball), so I finally dug up the change, quite a bit actually, to buy a plane ticket and will sleep in the mud and feed on wild roots if I have to, but I'm going none the less.  Actually, as co-producer I will be rather focused on assisting and promoting Psyche Corporation and doing Band manager type things, but I may yet find myself sleeping in the mud and feeding on wild berries and roots just the same! (without even the aid of a properly pulled pint of Guinness to make it a more pleasant experience...more's the pity!)  Get on yer horse, yer mule, yer donkey, yer Airship, yer steam powered Gypsy wagon, or whatever sort of strange contraption you use these days for transportation and meet us all at:

The Steampunk World’s Fair:  The world’s largest, friendliest Steampunk Event!

The World's Largest Steampunk Event
  …the most festive Steampunk festival, the largest steampunk convention or steampunk weekend or, in general, the largest “steampunk event” anywhere…that would be us!   Thank you so much for coming by!
Wait a minute… this abode of madpersons, this strange and unorthodox castle of capers and cracked cobbers…this is Steampunk’s largest gathering?
Yes!  We, the event run by the slightly mad, for the slightly mad, are proudly the largest Steampunk event anywhere, as well as one of the friendliest and the most inviting to all.
Is that a coincidence?  We think not!  There are friendly Steampunk events, and there are events where you have to look “just right” or you won’t fit in.  We will ALWAYS be friendly, and we don’t care how you look, what you wear, or what you do, as long as you have fun with it!  ”We’re all mad here”.  Some of us just wear more gears…seriously, we believe that creating an eclectic, outside-of-everyday world is at the heart of Steampunk.  And doubly seriously…we don’t take ourselves too seriously!
But we do have some things which we feel are seriously wonderful.  For example…
We feature the United States debut of Steampunk performers from France andJapan!  spectacular  Absinthe Tasting, if you enjoy, or are curious about, that famed Neo-Victorian distillation!   We have a huge and growing list of performers & pleasures (largest in the steampunk event world!).   We even have a special buffet dinner & high tea, right here!
Do Steampunk shows make you grow giant mustaches?  ..possibly!
Photo courtesy of the Idle Hands blog - many thanks!
We welcome one and all, Steampunk experts or total Steampunk novices, the expert and the curious – it matters not, come in and have a wonderful time!  Feel free to look around our website, feel free to get in touch with us, and, if you’d like, find us over on Facebook, too, and meet other people who are interested in the World’s Fair.
Come in!  Come in!  Come in!
For the World’s Fair homepage, click here.  If you’re new to Steampunk and want newbie Steampunk help, visit our New To Steampunk section.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life's Decay Gloria - French Steam Goth?


Life's Decay is a very interesting French Goth Band that has some Steampunk elelments, so I wanted to introduce them to my readers here!

Also take a look at their website:  Life's Decay

Their group's bio from their official website is listed below:

Life's Decay is a French project, based in Paris. It was born at the beginning of 2003. Lyktwasst is the author.
Since its creation, six main albums were born : a CD named "Art Decay Extremism" in 2004, the album " Anleva " in 2005, "Lysselia" in 2006, "Szilentia" in 2007, "Eklaasera" in 2008 and "Dysrieuses", the new available album since november, 2009.

Until 2005, Lyktwasst was alone in the center of the project, realizing everything, from the concept to the accomplishment. Since, he is now working with Alea, feminine singer and lyric writer. In 2008 she also started to work on the music with Lyktwasst by introducing classical acoustic instruments.

Life's Decay has the will to create a personal universe, musically and visually, influenced by eclectic universes : dark classical acoustic music, steampunk industrial, experimental pop-rock...

A big musical evolution occurred between the first album "Art Decay Extremism" and "Dysrieuses". 
Lyktwasst and Alea unites their passion of the music and innovation to offer different albums from one to another, invested and anchored in their own universe.

The graphics has a huge importance in the project. Lyktwasst creates artworks made of only full black and white which establish a " retro - luxury " universe. Music and visuals are completely connected. He also realizes all the photos, music videos, web sites etc....

Lyktwasst created the label " Abstraktsens Produktions " in 2004 to assure the production, the promotion and the distribution of Life Decay. All the CD and the other productions of the project were released on this label.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Follow Up to The Nightmare Machine:

General Store In Jefferson
(where Steampunks go for coke floats, malts, and old fashioned everything!)

Stephanie Steampunk-Illumination
An Update/Follow Up to The Nightmare Machine:

As so many of you helped in giving useful and respective feedback about this event, I have also passed along ALL of the complaints pertaining to the city itself directly in conversation after I received a follow up call. This is why I am sharing this information here for you all, interested, to read:

I received a phone call today from Jefferson Tourism Director, Jeff Campbell, about the Nightmare Machine event and how it effected the city. Apparently their annuals events were blown away by this one because of the community we brought to them, how polite our community is, and how we interact with people. I handed off the list of complaints I received from this group alone, and then made some suggestions.

The idea of us not returning has them super upset and (literally) begging us to please find a way to reconsider the decision, as they are willing (now) to become sponsors to the event, and (now) understand just how serious we are about what we do. They openly admit to the fact that they didn't take us serious and thought that we'd end up being nothing worth their time. The shops there report back that their sales from our attendees over whelmled them and made sales from their Boo Run, Candlelight event, or other events pale in comparison to our event. They offered to bring in full on food vendors (not carnival style stuff, as I told them that we appreciate real food), and places to sit in shade and be comfortable.

I was also asked for those who received racist experiences to PLEASE write about it and send it to Jeff Campbell so he can bring this important topic to the city council to be handled. They were very upset to hear about these cases. I also told them they air conditioning in the Visitor Center needs attention, and they let us know they found out on Tuesday that one of the valves had frozen and been damaged in trying to compensate for the heat that suddenly hit us. So they have fixed this (not that it helps now, but at least they are aware). I told them TRASH CANS are a must around town! They said they've been discussing this issue off and on for some time, and I said that they lucked out with our crowd because we're polite enough to hold onto our trash until we find a proper place to dispose of it instead of littering everywhere. They said they noticed this and were impressed because typically they have to hire a crew after every event to clean up the trash strewn about. So, as I am told - we left a HUGE impression on that city like they've never seen before. The words, "After glow" were expressed to me about the city's view on The Nightmare Machine coming into their town. Jeff has offered to come to the DFW community directly himself and talk to the folks here (we'd do a streaming video conference for those who are further away but interested in being a part of this meeting) about what the city is willing to do to help bring Steampunk back to their town and keep it as a part of their heritage.

Now - will we be planning this again next year? No. If we consider even going back, it will be at least a couple of years from now. SIS needs time to focus on recovery, and on the goals we have had our sights on for some time now. We are pleased that we have impacted an entire city and possibly even an entire region with the way the Steampunk community operates. However, another convention like the one we had is not entirely out of the question, it's just not in the plans right now. That would give us time to plan out properly as we need to, and give the city of Jefferson enough time to correct the things that were wrong with them directly.

What I can say with certainty is that they want the feed back directly from you all who had things to say. They want your letters, complaints, compliments, suggestions, and so forth. Be honest! They've never had a community voice their problems, which is why they never improve upon the issues.

Write to Jeff Campbell at:

Jefferson Department of Tourism
Feedback on Nightmare Machine
305 E. Austin St.
Jefferson, Texas 75657.

He will take these letters to the next city council meeting and these will become the topics of importance that the city focuses on.

A final word: It has been confirmed that the "Red River Steampunk Society" has been born from The Nightmare Machine convention and is now 30 member strong and growing in the East Texas/Louisiana region.

[Editor's note:  The Red River Steampunk Society is now over 180 members in just the short time since this report was presented...although the length of their society name has grown as well. They already have a Steampunk Christmas Event in the works, and are soliciting advice and support from the DFW Steampunk Illumination Society who introduced them to Steampunk at the Nightmare Machine]

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Steampunk World's Fair 2012

Third annual Steampunk World’s Fair to host world-class entertainment, draw thousands to New Jersey

This May, thousands of Steampunks from around the globe will tune up their dirigibles, set their airships a’sail, and invent new transportation gadgets to descend on (of all places) New Jersey for the 3rd annual Steampunk World’s Fair.  This year the festival will be bigger than ever, drawing more attendees and hosting more guests and performers than any other Steampunk event in the world.

The event’s main contributor is visionary and Steampunk World’s Fair creator, Jeff Mach.  Mach has many years of experience as the chief organizer for over 100 events on the East Coast.  As Steampunk World’s Fair approaches its third year, Mach is well aware of the challenges he and his crew face.  “With the profusion of Steampunk events springing up throughout the world, we had to raise the bar for this year,” says Mach.  “So we now occupy, not just two hotels, but much of the outdoor area in between.  This has given us the capability to add new, interactive events unseen anywhere else.”
One such event will be the Midway and Carnival Obscura, a raucous, outdoor festival showcasing family friendly acts by day and transforming into a dark carnivale by night.  Fire performers, circus acts, sideshow spectacles, and many more entertainers will perform for revelers to feast their eyes on.  This event is one of several components that will make 2012 Steampunk World’s Fair’s greatest year yet.

Steampunk World’s Fair will run May 18-20 in Piscataway, NJ.  Tickets and VIP passes are on sale now; get yours before they sell out!
About Steampunk
Steampunk is a subculture whose members celebrate the beauty of yesterday alongside the technology of tomorrow.  Fanciful Victorian aesthetics blend seamlessly with ray guns and time machines to create a world where anything is possible.  There are no rules, just your imagination, and all are welcome on this great adventure.
Psyche Corporation
About Steampunk World’s Fair
Steampunk World’s Fair, currently in its third year, is the largest Steampunk event in the world hosting thousands of attendees, guests, and performers annually.  This year will include new, fully immersive and interactive events to stir the imagination.  The festival will run May 18-20 in Piscataway, NJ.  Tickets and VIP passes are on sale now.  Get yours before they sell out!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frenchy and The Punk Dark Carnivale

Frenchy and the Punk appear at a great many Steampunk Conventions and events throughout the world.  Their Gypsy style music blends with many other styles of world music to make a wonderful blend that is unique and lively!  They also are good enough story tellers with their songs to be a favorite among Steampunks.  This is one of my favorites of their various songs and videos:

Also check out their Offical Website:  Gypsy Nomads

Official Bio from their website is as follows:


Euro-American duo Frenchy and the Punk (formerly The Gypsy Nomads) fuse raucous live guitar looping, cheeky ballads sung in English and French, danceable old-world inspired melodies and thunderous tribal-march-style drum instrumentals. Get transported to a world full of humor, theatricality, whirling dance and bohemian spirit. Come experience their genre-busting non-traditional take on world cabaret served with a twist of vaudeville and a dash of steampunk flavoring rooted in folk, punk and the vineyards of southern France. 

French-born Brit. lead vocalist and percussionist, Samantha Stephenson and American-born punk veteran guitarist Scott Helland make up this spirited duo. Stephenson, whose vocals have been likened Siouxsie Sioux, was listed in Yahoo Music's 25 Women to Watch in 2011. Helland has appeared on over 25 recordings and his first group Deep Wound with J Mascis and Lou Barlow is listed in the Encylopedia of Punk published by Sterling.

Touring incessantly coast to coast since 2005 and racking up over 150 shows a year and four full-length albums and a live DVD, they bring their pulse-poundin' tribute to the free spirit lifestyle to alternative music festivals and conventions across the U.S. and Europe. Frenchy and the Punk's touring highlights include performances at The Avalon Ball, Glastonbury UK, FaerieWorlds, Eugene, OR, SteamCon, Seattle, WA, and DragonCon, Atlanta, GA as well as sharing the stage with such diverse acts as Dinosaur Jr, The Young Dubliners, Voltaire and German Neo-Medieval band Faun. Their music has been played on the Travel Channel, We TV, the Cartoon Network, the Oprah Winfrey Show and MTV. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Nightmare Machine Steampunk and Paranormal Event

            The Nightmare Machine, organized by the Steampunk Illumination Society, was the most unusual Steampunk Event I have attended and made for a truly immersive experience.  Instead of pretend Victorian scenery, the entire city was pretty much still Victorian Era in style and design.  The general store was Wild West and/or Diesel Era for real!  The last wood burning steamboat in the world (that I know of anyway) still operating, gave rides as part of your admission price.  A perfect replica Steam Train gave an extensive tour around the town.  The horse drawn carriages toured the interior of the town.  There were Ghost tours (also included in admission price) cypress groves, old west era city streets, and even brass convention badges beautifully engraved with the Steampunk Illumination Society Image.  (at no small cost I’m sure!)  There was even (get this!) a free “Museum of Time and Measurement” that featured all sorts of clock sand time pieces, early calculating devices, and land measurement devices of all types available for view. 

 The “Museum of Time and Measurement” also provided one of the three main panel locations for the event. The second panel location was at the Russel Building, a very old style brick building (painted bright pink) attached to one of the oldest and most haunted buildings in the city.  The final location for panels as well as the main performance room for shows was at the tourism center right next to the Replica Steam Train station and across the street from the outdoor vendor’s area.  While these three main centers of activity were each about 3 or 4 blocks apart from each other, it was spring and the town was pleasing to the eye, so complaints about walking time or distance were not that frequent and free parking was pretty easy to find in any case.

            I find that my complete listing of events has vanished somewhere and the schedule is no longer on the web site. (Maybe one of the ghosts ran off with it?)  As such I will simply discuss the panels or performances I personally saw or heard about at the event.  The Dieselpunk Panel, presented by local experts Larry and Tina Amyett was great as always.  It introduced the attendees to the concept, look, and focus of Diesel Punk as a unique genre and it’s role in the larger Steampunk Community. 


            “Dark Steampunk” was presented as well, which apparently introduces a very mysterious, gothic, and somewhat sinister look to Steampunk in mostly black cloth or leather with nickel and some crimson. (as opposed to the typical brown leather and brass) The outfits are very focused on producing an imposing, intimidating, and somewhat sinister look.  This often includes masks, some of which appear to represent Raven’s beaks, in a way that plays upon the human subconscious deliciously well!  This approach has played a very big role in recent LARP events where the “Dark Steampunks” portray the “bad guys” (if such actually exist) or at least the opposition force to provide a respectable adversary for ASI and SCARS. 

            This event also hosted a number of unusual paranormal panels such as “Real Ghosts“, and the “Real Vampyres“ panels presented by Kali’s Hourglass.   Real Ghosts presented general theories about what ghosts really are and the various types of manifestations that might not actually be ghosts, but are indeed a haunting.  They also shared personal experiences living in various haunted homes and how they were able to live in harmony with and eventually help release ghosts from the trap of their existence.  The “Real Vampyres” panel touched lightly on historical facts, myths, and legends, in order to give context and vocabulary as well as symbolic contexts.  It then focused on the modern phenomenon of actual Vampyre Cultures which are not fictional, but actually exist as a fully developed human subculture today.  It also discussed the variety and general differences between psychic vampires, online vampires, Blood Fetishists, Ethical Vampyres, and other types within said subculture. 

            Musical performances were many and excellent from Darwin Prophet and the Chronus Mirror, Marquis of Vaudville, BB Blackdog, and My Wooden Leg.  Darwin Prophet not only showed up after a fall that left one arm and one leg in a cast, but still managed to perform, (with guitar no less!), at every scheduled performance.  She first played acoustic outside the Hotel where her beloved Oscar Wilde once stayed and wrote beautiful poetry in a tribute to his great contributions to the arts. 

 Marquis of Vaudville actually led off the main concert this time, and as always, provided an excellent performance that got all the dancers up on their feet unable to sit still with exuberance during their show.  Darwin Prophet and the Chronus Mirror was next.  They had an excellent set with full heavy instrumentation which had the audience up and dancing throughout.  My Wooden Leg was next with a somewhat quirky, but very entertaining set. 

BB Blackdog was the final act.  Their bluesy old rock style with deep throated bass was truly something different that pulled emotions and joy, at least among us old style rock and rollers, in a powerful way.  They played quite a variety of styles within their general genre asking the audience to choose if the next be more hard rock, blues, funk, or something else.  As the audience included young children, the more controversial numbers were not performed, but the ones that were presented were incredibly well received, and the dancers among the crowd found a second wind when these soulful musicians took the stage!

The towns people were uncertain what to expect from a bunch of “Steampunks”, but said over and over how surprised and pleased they were at how polite, clean, and well behaved our attendees were.  Apparently many conventions or events leave a lot of litter in the streets, drunken arrests, and other problems that they did not encounter with any of our people.  They were also surprised how much income our event generated for the town in light of the rather small turn out that new events can attract.  As such, the town is pushing hard to get us back next year, but while the location is a good place to offer more events for Steampunks in Louisiana and Arkansas, it was so far away from hotbeds of Steampunk activity like Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, that it may not be practical to have it in the same location next year.  We will just have to wait and see. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Psyche Corporation at the Macabre Faire

Psyche Corporation to perform at the Macabre Faire this coming April 13-15 at the Best Western in Rockville Centre, NY. Other performers include those you see on their poster above.  Please visit: for detailed schedules and tickets.

Steampunk Europa LARP

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nightmare Machine Review Coming Soon

Sorry it is taking me so long to get a review of the Nightmare Machine Steampunk and Paranormal Convention up, but almost everyone here at Kali's Hourglass has a terrible case of the crud (no it's not that deadly plague consumption, but it's pretty bad!) complete with coughing, sneezing, snorting etc.  Fortunately our air krakens are pretty much immune, but others here range from using both medicine and magick to try to recover including one crew member on a nebulizer for pneumonia.  We are recovering however.  I am happy to report that some types of magick, seem to have a very beneficial effect on upper respiratory illnesses.  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Watchmaker's Apprentice (short animated film)

The Watchmaker's Apprentice short animated film with song by the Clockwork Quartet.  They are unquestionably one of the finest Steampunk Musical groups to ever record, but have very few actual songs that I can find.  Hopefully they will bring out a few more like this!

The Official Website is at :  Clockwork Quartet

Description of the group members from their site reads as follows:

Hannah Ballou
The Raconteuse
Performs as cabaret artiste Lambchop Magoo, founding member of Paniclab physical theatre company, stand up comedian and educator.

Patrick Gleeson
The Conductor
Writes and records as The Darker House, has performed as actor and musician in 8 countries on 3 continents, and formerly a member of the award-winning Fitz Barbershop.

Maral Mohammadi
The Cellist
Composer, performs in Book of Play and Sound of Trevor John, and is a published poet.

Noura Sanatian
The Violinist
Member of free improvisation band Book of Play, has performed with Ayanna Witter-Johnson and the European tour of Stars Of The Lid

Nadia Walsh
The Guitarist
Singer-songwriter, studied Classical guitar with Anthony Field, former member of V.C.A. guitar quintet (winner: Athenaeum Prize 2006).

Stuart Lawson
The Bass Banjolier
Instigator of minimaximalist jazz trio Figwasp, and trained as a luthier at London Metropolitan University.

Will Segerman
The Lover + 5 String Banjo
Fine artist, prop-maker and CAD engineer.

Hugo Sheppard
The Fugitive + Accordion
Performs in Arch Stanton, House of Strange, Figwasp, and former member of To-mera.

Dr Matthew Williamson
The Doctor + Oboe
Doctor of Zoology and professional actor (trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts).

Ed Saperia
The Magician + Percussion
Creative producer of Original Content London , plays keyboard and percussion in House of Strange , and produces various other projects.

Jason Griffiths
The Scientist + Percussion
Drummer in House of Strange and The Normal Hard Building Blocks.

Emma Butterworth
The General's Wife + Viola
Writes and records as Emma Eastwood, a multi-instrumentalist singer, composer and card designer.

Ash Gardner
The Engineer
Founder of House of Strange, professional producer and sound engineer, and trained as a luthier at London Metropolitan University

Friday, April 6, 2012

“The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Tilney”

April 4th 2012

A new comic series by Dusk creator, David Doub debuting April 30!

Plucky cub reporter Henrietta Tilney sits face to face with accused mass murderer Lord Beowulf Harwood. An interview she hoped would launch her writing career soon explodes into a whirlwind of deadly adventure, taking Tilney and the mysterious Harwood across Victorian London.

David Doub is the author of acclaimed comics such as “Dusk” and “Mystery Masque” and has been a guest author at conventions across the country including Phoenix Comic Con, Animefest, and Saboten-Con. His translation of the classic penny dreadful into a suspenseful comic series is the latest offering from the author who has built a reputation for crafting fast paced and nuanced stories featuring strong and complex female lead characters.

The artist on The Trials and Tribulations is Sarah Elkins, who just recently was in Womanthology. With Joamette Gil and Danielle Alexis rounding out the amazing art team working on the comic.
More information can be found at If you would like to schedule an interview with Mr. Doub or receive a review copy, please contact Anthony at

Recent Dusk Comic releases –

Witchhunter by Vincent Ferrante
Fullmoon Stories by Johan Hoff

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Steampunked Power Chair at the Nightmare Machine!

I recently met some very interesting Steampunk Inventors while on the "Ghost Tour" (a tour of haunted buildings-real ones) in Jefferson Texas at the Nightmare Machine Steampunk and Paranormal Convention sponsored by the Steampunk Illumination Society.  I was fascinated by the powered steampunk wheelchair they had constructed and were using on the tour.  I asked if they could give me a bit of background on that project and some description of how they put it together.  Here is their description of how this Functional Steampunk Art Project came together:

Well, the chair project started last Fall, as our B&B was to be featured yet again on the Christmas Home Tours. I hadn't been on tour since before the stroke, and wanted some way to blend in with our home better. My husband Michael utilized a 100 year old Golden Oak platform rocker and managed to mount it securely to the power chassis. Now, I had admired Steampunk art for years, and in January began collecting more antique cool stuff to add to the chair. 

The first pieces we found were the old spring loaded brass candle lanterns. Michael found them on Ebay for not a lot, but the glass shades were missing. This was actually ok, as the glass would not have been road worthy with the bumps and vibration one encounters outdoors. We discovered that clear plastic baby bottles were the exact diameter needed, and sawed them off and installed. Voila! 

Next, we went through many ideas on how to mount old large gauges, and what on earth to do about the controller. I greatly admired Daniel Valdez's Dr. X chair, but wow, was that ever out of our league! So I opted to do a Tesla chair instead of steam. 

Michael assembled the black pressure tanks out of PVC, onto long pieces of allthread post, and covered the parts that showed in copper pipe. He embellished the caps with brass upholstery tacks to look like rivets. Atop the tanks, there is an antique brass altimeter mounted between a pair of star shaped lightning rod tips in bronze. The heat shield is an embossed copper plate from one of our homes old gas fireplaces, (even the house had a gift for us!) At the bottom, is an old nickel name plate that says Silver Oak, from a wood burning stove. The umbrella is a necessity in TX weather, and Michael simply made a brass coil to hold it and fastened it to the side. The controller was painted to math the old oak, and then carefully carved out to fit on one of the arms. As the finishing touch, a small plasma flatscreen was added to the top black tube, and remote switched. 

I am very pleased with how it all turned out, and we are grateful for the friendly and enthusiastic reception we got at the festival. I would love to find a way to go to the Difference Engine somehow, but travelling distances can be challenging, as we have no way to carry the chair other than manhandling its 300+ pounds into the back of our aging pickup truck. The cool VW just has ne way to carry it yet. But we might find a way.