All Artwork (c)2017-2018 Lauren Curtis
One great thing about the internet is how easily we can connect with other creative and like-minded people! I recently made a connection via LinkedIn with Bob Coar, a unique comic book creator. I liked his original perspective on current topics and political issues and also enjoyed the artistic style of the illustrations. So, I invited him to be my latest guest blogger & share some insight into his revolutionary world of comics…..
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.
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?
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
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….
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
See you there!!
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!
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:
There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.
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.
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. “