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

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.

A Beautiful & Powerful Art Exhibit

“Beautiful and Powerful Statements” is an art exhibit featuring the arts of calligraphy and re-purposed materials.  It opens Saturday, January 28, 2-5pm at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen.  The exhibit includes nearly 70 pieces in many media, from photography and video to fabric, ceramic and glass as well as all manner of re-purposed materials. Work from all over the U.S. and as far away as Israel is included in this show, along with the work of New Jersey artists. The approach to calligraphy was a very broad one and was open to any work that was text-predominant. That has allowed us to include not only work with elegant traditional calligraphy in many diverse languages, but other pieces that are very powerful and direct. “Anatolia” by Woodbridge, NJ artist Gozde Ture includes a quotation from the Orkhon Inscriptions with calligraphy in the Goturk alphabet that speaks about time. Ruth Schreiber’s works, from Israel, while connected to the Hebrew Scriptures, employ a “fantasy writing” using porcelain and other images. And California calligrapher Beverly Womack creates her work using layers of materials and images. The photography-based altered prints of East Orange artist, Onnie Strother, on the other hand, use bold text to speak directly to their viewer, and Georgia-based Craig Wilson’s almost stream-of-consciousness words dance all over the page. The art from “repurposed materials” makes their statements by way of the material itself…employing everything from actual bees and beeswax as Montclair artist Art Paxton does in “Buzz”, to the steampunk-related cast-offs used by NY artist and teacher Seth Apter, and another Steampunk influenced 3D piece by Lauren Curtis, as well as a piece by  Metuchen artist Amy Brooks in her work “Post-Truth Apocalypse”. “We were sought to incorporate in the show work featuring calligraphy or text that made, individually and collectively, a powerful statement. We were also interested that the work accepted using re-purposed materials had an inherent, accessible beauty. We were constantly weighing those two interests as we reviewed the work and decided what would fit well in this show, so that each piece really was appropriately “Beautiful and Powerful, “ noted Gallery Board Member Robert Hopkins. The Opening will be carried by Facebook Live, beginning around 2:30pm. This will be especially helpful for the artists who live great distances. It will allow anyone who wishes to log on to the Nails in the Wall Gallery FB page and interact with the visitors present at the gallery. Nails in the Wall is in the midst of its fifth year presenting international, interfaith exhibits of high-quality fine art. To learn more about the gallery, visit www.nailsinthewall.org or call the Director 732.322.6512.  Link to the Facebook invite:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1765730973753205/

steampunkboxfeb2012

I’ll have this large, 3-D Steampunk style box in the show.

nailsinwallbeautifulpowerjan2017

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….

Holiday Wishes & Art News

WISHING ALL a very HAPPY, HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON!! Hoping you spend time with good friends & family enjoying life together!!

Please support local artists and crafters this year by buying hand-made, creative & very affordable gifts!  PAZ on Main St. in Highland Park, NJ is hosting it’s annual Winter Art Bazaar!  I have many small pieces available that make perfect gifts!  Stop by now thru Dec. 23.  Info. on flyer below…

PAZ WinterShowFlyer2014

PAZ WinterShowFlyer2014

It’s also time for my ANNUAL HOLIDAY ART SALE!!  I’m offering 20% off all purchases of ORIGINAL PAINTINGS & PHOTOGRAPHS!

Omen (c)2011 Lauren Curtis

Omen (c)2011 Lauren Curtis, oil painting with decoupage

Please visit http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  to see a wide variety of my work. Prices starting at just $50 (before discount!) for 8×10 matted, signed photos. Mixed media & oil paintings available. Inexpensive repro. prints too (not on sale, but starting at only $25)!  Feel free to contact me for more information! Sale on originals now thru Dec. 20, 2014.  PAYPAL accepted to me at forestwalker333@hotmail.com

Other exciting art news!
I’ll have an article about being true to your craft & personal path coming out soon in WILD SISTER MAGAZINE!  Check my websites for details after 12/15!

New Jewelry by Lauren

New Jewelry by Lauren


JEWELRY SALE!  I’m offering 10% OFF all sales of $25+ of my original Steampunk/Gothic style necklaces & bracelets!  All 1-of-a-kind designs!  Visit
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt 
to see some pics or email me for more info.  Prices range from just $15 – $30!  Custom orders welcome!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Yule, Happy New Year!!!
~Lauren

NOVEMBER ART NEWS!

Happy November!  I know, I can’t believe it either…Halloween is over and now we’re officially in the holiday season.  Even though the outdoor arts events are coming to an end, galleries and other venues are going full force with exhibits and holiday shows…here are just a few things I’m working on now…more to come soon…

Canal Mystery 2 (c)Lauren Curtis

Canal Mystery 2 (c)Lauren Curtis

“PICCOLO Small Works”,
Group Art Exhibition

View this eclectic exhibit of small works at GALLERY U!  I’ll have the above photo, among others, in this exciting show!  These pieces make perfect, affordable holiday gifts!  This show has an opening reception Fri. 11/7/14, 6pm-8pm, Gallery U, 439 South Ave. Westfield, NJ  07090.  908-232-1895
Show runs thru 12/1/14.

 

Steampunk & Gothic Jewelry by Lauren Curtis

Steampunk & Gothic Jewelry by Lauren Curtis

TIME FOR MY ANNUAL ART & JEWELRY HOLIDAY SALE!
I know it’s hard to believe that it’s “that time of year” again…the holidays!  Who wants to deal with the crowds and hassle of going to the mall when you can shop from your comfy home?  That’s why ALL OF MY ORIGINAL ART & PHOTOGRAPHY is ON SALE for 20% OFF now thru Dec. 15, 2014!! You can see my work on these sites:
http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com
http://laurencurtis.imagekind.com/

Custom commissions welcome!  And I’m also offering 10% off any 1-of-a-kind jewelry purchase of $20 or more!!  Each hand crafted piece is a unique design & I can email you photos of available jewelry or if you’re in the central NJ area, I can arrange a viewing.  Please email me
with any questions about my work!  forestwalker333@hotmail.com (or just reply to this email).
I’ll also be vending at some holiday arts & music events in Central NJ…please check my websites for updates!  Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!!!

As always, thanks so much for reading!
~Lauren