Why would anyone do Steampunk?

So why should anyone be interested in Steampunk??   Well, Steampunk & Gothic event guru, Jeff Mach, has the answers for you…and the events to attend to check out this fascinating scene.  Here’s a blog he wrote & allowed me to share with you…

Are there reasons NOT to do Steampunk?  Oh, HECK yes.  Let me give you some.

Young Fashion Woman

First off, it’s ridiculous. An imaginary 19th century which never happened and which we explore in the 21st century? Why in the world would anyone want to do that?

Relatedly, it doesn’t seem to make sense, when you think about it. I mean, when people imagine they’re at a Renaissance Faire, at least there is some degree of hypothetical actual history involved. It’s taken something like 50 years for the modern Renaissance fair to evolve so deeply into something which doesn’t really involve the Renaissance.  It took decades for Renaissance Faires to get to a point where they embody “some sort of point in history where people carried swords; something after the Dark Ages and before the Internal Combustion Engine.  Heck, in my own lifetime, with the coming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I’ve seen Renaissance Faires be pretty excited to welcome Pirates of clearly 18th century backgrounds–ie, at LEAST a hundred years after the Renaissnance is acknowledge to have ended.  That’s an impressive (and, to be clear, incredibly fun!) historical innacuracy – but at least it took a really long time.

Steampunk doesn’t have that excuse. How long has Steampunk as we know it been a thing? Eight years? Perhaps 10? I certainly know people who feel they and practicing it longer, but the very least, the Steampunk we see today has existed for less than a decade. It didn’t start out accurate and get weird. It started weird, and got more inaccurate from there.

And at least if this was something like punk rock or Goth or the hippie movement or even, as some claim, just a genre of science fiction literature, we don’t have anything like the hierarchy of those genres!  For example, there may or may not be a top Steampunk band or two. But those are the main reason people discover Steampunk. Is there a topSteampunk author? I think there are many incredible steampunk authors, and some have sold more books than others, and some might have had more influence than others, but I don’t think ANY particular Steampunk author is the creator of the Steampunk we know–certainly K.W. Jeter, who coined the very term, has said repeatedly that he did NOT create the Steampunk we see today.

Famous steampunk makers? We certainly have some. We certainly love their creations. I think I could possibly narrow my own list of the top five Steampunk creators down to… I don’t know, perhaps 10 people, all of whom could lay reasonable claim to being in the top five.  And most of them are actually too modest to say that. And some of the finest creations in Steampunk have absolutely not been made by people who identify as Steampunks–they’re just people who love playing with this culture.

Is Steampunk created by events? Would that mean that the people who run events run Steampunk? I’ll be honest. If you’re reading this, you are probably seeing this on my own website for my own event, or through social media that is related to an event company which bears my name. Do you think that I run Steampunk? I run the world’s largest Steampunk event. Am I in charge? Have you even heard of me?  The answer to the first question is definitely no!  The answer the second question is not definitely “no”…

…but I’m pretty sure that if you took all the people world who identify as Steampunk, and asked them if they know who runs any particular Steampunk events, most of they’d probably be able to answer only for the events they go to or for which they’ve seen advertising.

So why play with, create for, former lifestyle around, experiment with, or otherwise be a part of Steampunk?

The Steampunk World's Fair - "Wonders Untold"

Photos © 2010 – 2016 Babette Daniels Photography Purchase your copy of this image at http://www.babetted.com/Events/Steampunk/SPWF2016

For exactly and precisely each and every one of the reasons above!

Because Steampunk doesn’t have to make sense!  Steampunk doesn’t have to have a leader! Steampunk doesn’t have to be any damn thing at all except a gorgeous 19th century canvas upon which we are throwing all manner of paint, and sketches, and words, and ideas. And what we get out of  something which brings joy and fascination and beauty and community to a world which could choose to be humdrum and mundane and boring.

Let the world be boring?  NEVER!  We make the choice to be precisely the opposite. We are Steampunks!  In fact, each and every one of us IS Steampunk itself. You, right now, are building steampunk just by thinking about it and contributing your presence to this culture, even if all you do is read a few articles and put a few thoughts out into the ether. In fact, people who do that “matter” just as much, in their own way, as people like me whose lifestyle and actual living depend on Steampunk.  Because this isn’t a contest where somebody wins; this is a world-building to make a giant, deeply individual, deeply shared Universe we can call our own.

No masters. No slaves. No rules except the simplest one:

if you want to be a part of Steampunk, you can.

To get info on upcoming events:  http://steampunkworldsfair.com

Steampunk portrait

A look BEHIND THE VEIL

Are you fascinated with the possibility of life after death?  Do you have an interest in ghost hunting? Tarot cards? Other spiritual topics?  If so then the annual BEHIND THE VEIL event in the haunted Elk’s Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ is for you!  The event, that began as Para-X, is scheduled this year for Saturday, Sept. 30th, 11am-6pm (& it’s ONLY $5!!!) & I’m happy to be a part of it.  For more interesting details of how it began and what it’s become are founders and organizers Karen Kimmel Timper & Katharine Clark….

BehindTheVeilFlier2017

The Beginnings…

Behind1 Elk’s Lodge, E. Brunswick, NJ

 

Para X was conceived in 2010 by Karen Timper and her Father Richard Kimmel, who co-founded New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago. We received permission from the Elks Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ which made perfect sense seeing that the lodge was indeed a haunted location and the group had investigated it on several occasions after hearing numerous accounts of experiences by the lodge members. Proceeds in part help the lodges many endeavors over the years from their Youth Scholarship Committee to Drug awareness mentoring programs.

We took a 2 year hiatus after the first 5 years of running the expo largely due to the groups other projects and obligations, which included writing books for this Father-Daughter duo. Their most recent book, “Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.” Schiffer is their Publisher and this book along with other titles can be found in local Barnes and Noble Bookstores as well as on Amazon.

We’ve been back running the expo going into a second year once again along with Katharine Clark a Wiccan Elder and fellow Author and Lauren Curtis, local artist who is know for her very long fingernails and was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not book. Having help makes it easier as it is a huge undertaking, sometimes overwhelming, but absolutely rewarding because it brings the Public and the Paranormal together. It’s also a way to get into the spirit of things for the fall season on a lighter note. It’s serious business for local ghost hunters since they don’t charge for their expertise and this gives them a chance to get awareness out to the public. A lot of historical locations fall by the wayside and groups like these can help, as well as helping those families experiencing hauntings get the help they need.

Come see the “Haunted Lodge on the Lake” at 21 Oakmont Avenue in East Brunswick, NJ. There is a secret staircase, a bookcase that turns and more haunting features, right out of a Nancy Drew Mystery Book! Pick up a flyer at the door and find out the history and mystery. You won’t be disappointed.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE EVENT…

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On the DAY of the Para-X, you will see EXPO signs, especially on Hardenburg Lane, Oakmont Ave., and especially down the driveway leading to the Lodge.

LECTURE TIMES!

12PM: Katharine Clark – Pagan Autumnal Traditions

1PM: Chuck Lehman – An Introduction to Crystal Singing Bowls

2PM: Robert Oberholtzer – Reiki 101 and its (possible?) Beginnings

3PM: Kevin Meares – Ghosts, Demons, and Weirder Spirits: Understanding The Difference

4PM: Justin Bamforth – Preceptions and Deceptions in the Experience

5PM: Chris DiCesare – The C2D1 Haunting

LECTURERS RUN FROM 30 – 45 MINUTES,

SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Behind3

MEET a few of the AUTHORS: KAREN TIMPER AND RICHARD KIMMEL & KAT CLARK

BehindKaren

Karen Founded NJGO in 2003. She has been the subject of many news articles, and has appeared on local cable TV, radio and internet radio programs, as well as the Maury Show, over the years. She has co-authored three books with her dad, covering topics from Paranormal Archeology, to Ghosts of Central NJ, to Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.

Not being an easy field, both Ms. Timper and her group continue to move the Paranormal Field in a positive direction. Go to http://www.NJGhostOrg. com for more info on Ms. Timper and New Jersey Ghost Organization.

behindRich

Richard Kimmel is the other half of the father-daughter duo and a professional in his own right. Richard was a Photographer in the Army. He helped his daughter found New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago, and he continues to do what he does – work with his collections and his books.

Behindkat

Katharine Clark has been the hereditary Elder of the Tutha De Danann Irish Wiccan tradition for over 40 years. She is an award winning poet, a former workshop leader for the National Endowment for the Arts, an Occult Specialist for sever local police departments, and a Tarot instructor.  She is the former Circle leader at Earth Spirit New Age Center in Red Bank NJ.

Her first book, “An Irish Book of Shadows”, contains the ritual system of the TDD, along with coven structure, and an extensive compendium of Irish gods and their correlations. Her second book, “Things Your Elders Never Told You”, is a humorous look at growing up Wiccan. It also contains insights that are learned at the knee of a teacher, but missing from modern Wiccan instruction. Her works have been endorsed by Dan and Pauline Campanelli, Raymond Buckland, and Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Along with Natalie Zaman, she is the co-creator of the “Graven Images Oracle” deck. It is not only available as a book and deck set, but also as an application for iphone, Android, etc. Come to her table to try a sample reading!

And there’s more…more authors, experts & alternative artisans & craft-persons, including yours truly (Lauren Curtis Art) who will be exhibiting & selling our wares. So join us for this mystical, magickal event!! And if you’re interested in vending please contact Kat at  katrclark@yahoo.com 

See you there!!

Steampunk called him home…

Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong time or era?  Are you very creative and eclectic?  Do you have a fondness for fantasy and sci-fi?  If so then you are like many of us who have discovered the magic of the Steampunk Culture!  One person who felt the call to “go home” to Steampunk in a big way is Jeff Mach!  I met Jeff several years ago when he was planning his first Steampunk World’s Fair event in Central NJ….it took over a large room in a corporate hotel and has now expanded to a 3 day extravaganza, often taking over two complete corporate hotels, with hundreds  of cosplayers, artisans, vendors, musicians and those that want to just be a part of the spectacle!

Goth Girl

Goth Girl

As you may or may not know, Steampunk combines sci-fi with the Victorian Era, so fantastical contraptions are created as if solely fired by steam power.  Elements of Goth, fantasy and anime can be found as well.  Here’s a taste of what Jeff’s events bring…  https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies/videos/1317398068374556/?pnref=story

And in his own words, here’s a bit about what drew him to all this madness: 

3D computer graphics of a cyborg woman with a headdress in science fiction style

There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.

What does that mean?
The second martial arts school I attended was literally in the back of an alley, up a long flight of stairs. And leading to the school door, there was a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school notice, “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”—and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly”.
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things are different. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our world, a place where we belong, a place where we are not the outsiders, a place where what we do matters, is meaningful, is real, and we are NOT the only ones who know it.
Steampunk, Rocky Horror, Renaissance Faires, Geeky spaces; it doesn’t matter.
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
We bring our homes with us, inside us, we foster them with love and passion.  We’re different–not better, just not the same–and sometimes, we realize: we are not alone.
And that place?  That place is home.
The next Steampunk World’s Fair is May 5-7, 2017 in Central NJ….here’s where you can find all the info & tickets:  www.SteampunkWorldsFair.com

Goth comes back to life in NJ

Goth Girl
Some of you may remember the Gothic sub-cultural movement of the 80’s….to me it was a heyday for music, fashion, art, literature and more…with roots stretching as far back as Victorian England, to 70’s punk & a romantic way to rebel against the mainstream, Goth became a major genre & continues on today…it waned for a while but has been making a huge comeback & Steampunk Convention guru, Jeff Mach has joined forces with Gothic networking powerhouse VampireFreaks to create a brand new event….
Dark Side of the Con asks the simplest question:  Why aren’t there any weekend-long Goth/Dark Alternative events in the US anymore?

Answer: Dark Side of the Con…an Underground Event for meeting alternative-minded people; A Three Day Gothic, Dark Alternative Festival and Convention in New Jersey!

Jeff Mach says:  I’ve had the good fortune to run into Jet from VampireFreaks a few times as I’ve run around doing The Steampunk World’s Fair and Glimmerdark and Wicked Faire and our other events.  He’s such a great guy, and his team is pretty marvelous to work with.  And VampireFreaks has helped us put together such an incredible weekend.
I mean, we’ve got Voltaire, we’ve got Xentrifgue, The Amatory Murder, Nigel from Platform One, and a whole slew of panels.  We’ve a hundred vendors, and marvelous drink specials.  And, of course, we’ve got dance parties to suit every taste, running until the wee hours.
We’re working with our favorite hotel, the Radisson of Piscataway.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Here’s a bit more info from the event site:

St Patrick’s Weekend – for 3 Days we take over the beautiful Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ and provide you with an escape to socialize, make new friends and create new experiences.

To show our support for independent businesses and alternative culture, we will have a wide variety of unique and unusual vendors, catering to all your dark needs.

For your entertainment pleasure we bring you a host of events, entertainers, panels and activities.

Sponsored by VampireFreaks and Jeff Mach Events, both companies have an impressive history of hosting events and bringing people together in the dark alternative scenes.

The very preliminary schedule is up; check out all the cool things we have going on!

Here are the links:

www.darksideofthecon.com for info, darksideofthecon.com/tickets/ for tickets, and https://www.facebook.com/events/199366893801128/ to follow on FB, and http://vampirefreaks.com/cult/DarkSideOfTheCon on VampireFreaks.

Honoring an Artist’s Wild Spirit

It’s so important that artists & creatives support each other!  Although my long-time friend, Australian artist Lina Eve, & I are literally across the globe from each other we have stayed in touch and supported each other’s work.  Aside from being an amazing painter, Lina is a talented film maker and writer and is now trying to fund a YouTube project that honors a true artist’s wild spirit, Vali Myers (1930-2003).  Lina introduced me to the inspiring and bold work of this way-too-overlooked, unique soul years ago and now she wants to share Vali’s artistic legacy with the world, so please read on about this fascinating project and visit the link for more info and to find out how you can help make Lina’s dream a reality!
Lina Eve:  for my talented and lovely friend, Lauren Curtis
1999: Whilst browsing one of my favorite 2nd hand bookshops, I chanced upon Vali’s beautiful book of paintings and writing titled , “Vali Myers”.  A day or so after this rare and fabulous find, I heard Vali being interviewed on ABC Radio National.  Her unique Aussie accent, her raw and earthy take on life, combined with the amazing artwork in her book, had me toasting her talent and fierce honesty.
Vali and I eventually met in her studio in Melbourne some months later.
We had only exchanged a few letters and chatted on the phone, 
but when we met there was instant rapport. She introduced me to the Turkish spirit Raki, and we got pretty legless on it.  At least I did.  Vali would have been able to drink most people under the table! Spending glorious afternoons with Vali, filling our glasses and talking about everything under the sun became my ritual every time I traveled to Melbourne from then on. “
lina-eve-vali-myers
(Lina, left…Vali, right)
“Vali died in 2003 and although she had a loyal following of fans, her work is largely unknown around the world. Vali’s work is highly personal, and therefore, like other amazing women artists, was not picked up by the media for the truly unique art it is.  Now I’m  trying to raise funds towards a YouTube tribute video about Vali  …..a beautiful friend, who created a whole world of powerful and magical art.”
valis-moby-dick
                                                            “Moby Dick” (c)Vali Myers
Wikipedia:    “Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) 
was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.”
I’m now collecting permission from the photographers  of my favourite portraits of her, and already have permission ( from the Vali Myers Trust) to use all her images for the video
If you can help with a donation, that would be wonderful and if you could also please pass on my Go fund me link, it would be very, very much appreciated!
  “Vali Myers : Wild Spirit”

Fairyland goes “Glimmerdark”!

If you’re like me, you love fantasy, sci-fi, and to just somehow believe that other worlds do exist containing magical beings and mystical places.  Well, fantasy & Steampunk entrepreneur  Jeff Mach believes it and has helped create these universes here on Earth…and his newest creation is the Faire called GLIMMERDARK!  Here he tells us about it in his own words…
What do you do when you’re ending the world’s largest indoor Renaissance Faire?  When the event and project which have defined your life for literally a decade have lived their course?
You go to Fairyland.
I created Wicked Faire to try to make a place where it was safe for you to be anything.  If you could imagine it, if it worked in your head canon, you were invited here.  If the outside world didn’t understand you, didn’t want you to dress the way you want to dress, didn’t want you to be who and where you were – Wicked Faire was a home.
Glimmerdark is that.  Only on fairy dust.   And fairy dust is pretty much the most potent and transformative element in the world.
Every other Fairy Festival I’ve seen is: “Step into the world of the Fae”.  Glimmerdark is the only one that says, “The Fae want more out of life.  They’re stepping out of Fairyland and we’ve all got this massive hotel for a three day party.
If you check out our entertainment, our entertainment list is absolutely massive.  This is a tremendous festival, and since it’s first-year prices, it’s cheap as fairy dirt (which is just slightly more expensive than regular dirt.)
I’m always looking for new ways to build and use creativity.  Fairyland called.  And I answered.  For more info. and to get tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1683805541908177/
The event will be:
Feb 3, 2017 at 2 PM to Feb 5, 2017 at 5 PM at the

Hyatt Regency Princeton

102 Carnegie Ctr, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
And here’s a glimpse into Jeff’s Glimmerdark world….

Art takes Root in April

What better time than Spring to honor nature through art?  And the Tulpehaking Nature Center in New Jersey is doing just that this month!  One of my x-ray, digital photo collages has been accepted to this show so join us…details below!

Micro/Macrocom Tree (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

Digital photo collage using actual x-ray images.

ROOTED juried art exhibit at Tulpehaking Nature Center
Join us for this nature-centric art exhibit,  focusing on the importance of trees.
Opening Reception:  Fri., April 22, 2016, 6-8pm.  Exhibition on View: April 22, 2016 – September 4, 2016
157 Westscott Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610

http://www.mercercountyparks.org
http://abbottmarshlands.org/

NOYESflyer2016
Another exhibition I’m very excited and proud to be a part of is:
The NOYES MUSEUM FINE ARTS ANNUAL
4/6/16 – 7/8/16  Opening reception Friday 4/8, 5-8pm
I have 2 of my x-ray digital collages in this important exhibit.
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401
artsgarageac.com
The New Jersey Arts Annual is a unique series of exhibitions highlighting the works of visual artists and craftspeople in the state. Chosen for their excellence, these artists present works of drawing, photography, sculpture, painting and mixed media. Their works are compelling evidence of the outstanding talent residing in New Jersey. The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University is pleased to host this prestigious exhibition!
New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

And even if you missed the opening reception there’s still time to view this show:
Woodbridge Artisan Guild
presents”PHOTOGRAPHY”!

Join us for our newest exhibition, which runs thru April! (I have 3 pieces in this show!)
All works in this show have been created by local artists;
themes include landmarks, nature, portraits, travel, & more!
101 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ (732)634-1474