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.

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….

Something Wonderful This Way Comes!

When the Carnival Comes to NJ…

I LOVE carnivals…and they definitely fit into the Steampunk genre with their “old-timey” sideshows and eclectic fan-fare.  So below is an article I wrote for the Steampunk Landing Gazette, a 50+ page, full color magazine now on it’s 4th issue.  This is just a teaser of what awaits you in this publication which can be yours in hard copy or PDF version for a VERY reasonable price.   To see more of the wide world of Steampunk, get your issues here:  http://www.amazon.com/Steampunk-Landing-Gazette-Volume-ebook/dp/B008X47MQU/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&qid=1344953270&sr=8-27&keywords=elmo+adams

Have you ever watched those old-time movies where every summer, an entire town gets really excited knowing the carnival will be coming to town?  Then, when the big day finally arrives, people from all over come out for the festivities?  Well, that still happens, at least in Central NJ!  Now, this is no small town but every summer a huge carnival visits the North Brunswick area, taking up a giant lot off the expansive Route 1 Highway.
It seems to grow every year too, adding new acts, rides and vendors, so I’ve really enjoyed my trips to this carnival over the last couple of years.  So, being that old-fashioned carnivals and sideshows directly relate to the Steampunk experience I thought I’d share some information and photographs with you from this event.

The carnival comes to town every June for about a week.  An empty lot is transformed into a wonderland of bright lights, monstrous rides, greasy yet delicious foods, exotic animal acts and, of course, a home to a sea of people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.  First, the rides; I’ve always been fascinated by the colorful, loud, lit-up rides at a fair…I was never one for riding a lot of them, although I LOVE the huge Ferris Wheel where you get a bird’s-eye view of the whole enchilada!  But I do enjoy watching the screaming masses getting whirled, flung and twisted around on these dangerous looking metal beasts.  The North Brunswick Carnival really has an extensive selection of rides from the classics like the horse-driven Merry-Go-Round, to tall towers with extended, spinning arms that fly people through the air in head spinning circles and drops.  And the colors and lights…especially at night…really awesome!  The whole look and feel of the carnival with the big, Victorian sideshow style signs and posters, flashing lights, barkers taunting you to play their tricky games, the smell of fried food and fresh corn on the cob, striped big-tops…this all transports you to a different time and place.

Now for the shows!  This year they really stepped it up.  I always love the big red & yellow striped tents enclosing the classic sideshow with the sword swallowers, fire eaters, contortionists, jugglers (& I even got in for free due to my 18 inch fingernails…we “freaks” (& I mean that in the best way) do like to stick together!).  Also favorites are the animal shows.  Now as a huge animal rights advocate I’m always leery about animal shows as I don’t want to support any group that mistreats their four-legged co-stars but I have to say the acts here were well done and very respectful of the animals.  The performers (the human ones) also stressed facts about protection for the animals such as sea lions and horses, and the shows represented groups that specifically deal with their particular species.  There was also an extensive petting zoo with domestic and foreign wildlife that did all appear to be well cared for and to be in healthy conditions.  I do hope these animals came from  rescue zoos or shelters but it was such a busy night that I didn’t have time to inquire.  The attendants did seem to be caring and attentive to their penned “co-workers”.

Another excellent show was the magic act!  The magicians performed the classic tricks like making someone disappear, having animals and birds appear seemingly from thin air, but with a new twist.  What was most impressive was they performed on a relatively smaller stage with the audience very close and yet no one was able to decipher how the tricks were done.  Real magic perhaps??  They also called audience members up on stage, sometimes with much persuasion, to help with some of the tricks and this really engaged the viewers.  I was especially impressed by the magician’s ability to roll with the punches when a very young boy was asked to help with a trick and wasn’t quite following orders.  It turned into a comedy routine but in the end the trick went off successfully.

Finally, the food!!  Yup, you have your choice of burgers, dogs (as in hot), fries, funnel cakes, deep fried Oreos (disks of heart attack??), ice cream, cheese-steaks…all the typical carny  fare…but one of the best treats…and a much healthier one…were the grilled corn on the cobs with a wide assortment of toppings and seasonings.  Also,  fresh squeezed lemonade was delish and refreshing in the June heat.  This year there was also a big food pavilion with grilled chicken, pizza and other choices that was under a tent with a bunch of picnic tables so that made it more convenient to eat as opposed to walking around trying to balance your meal in your hands while navigating the huge crowd.

The turnout for the fair was amazing and I have to say, although it’s great to experience the carnival during the day, it really comes alive after sundown when the lights are in full bloom and everything is glowing, moving, making noise.  Something about the fair after dark really brings out that hint of mystery and uncertainty as to what lurks beneath the big tops.  Before I went to the carnival this year I had recently finished reading Ray Bradbury’s (RIP!) Something Wicked This Way Comes and as I strolled around the festive complex I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any supernatural, sinister beings running the show behind the scenes…not that I encountered any or found reason to think something shady was going on…but it’s that hint of danger in the rides and shows (& maybe some of the food, depending on your digestive composition) that really adds to the excitement of the event!

Oh, and by the way, at $4 per person, it’s affordable too…that includes all the shows but the rides can get a bit pricey so if you’re a dare-devil, bring more cash.  The food was reasonably priced and there was also a bunch of vendors selling colorful wares and souvenirs.  And of course the games where screaming barkers will taunt you to step up to their booths and try to shoot, knock over, blow up their crazy set ups of dolls, balloons, pins, balls, etc. for wacky prizes.  I’m sure many people ended up paying $20 for a $3 stuffed giant banana but it’s all about the fun, right?   So it’s really up to you to decide how much cashola you want to splurge with but you can get away with an inexpensive night if need be…but if you can go crazy, why not?

So, next summer, if you find yourself in the Central NJ area in June, drive down Route 1 until you see that big Ferris Wheel looming in the sky and come out and enjoy the carnival!   You can’t miss it from the road and there are huge, free parking areas all around the festivities.  In the meantime, as a teaser, I’ve included a bunch of my favorite photos I shot when I attended the carnival.  Here you can see some of my favorite rides and shows as well as get a feel for the event as a whole.  And maybe something wonderful like this carnival will come your way too!  If so, feel free to share it with your friends at Steampunk Landing!

Facebook Fan Page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steampunk-Landing/310620972287031

Facebook Group Page:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/187382474693514/

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All Aboard! Steampunk Landing is taking off!

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, Everyone!  This time of year we join with family & friends to celebrate the changing seasons and give thanks for the positive things in our lives.  Well, one thing I’m thankful for is being able to be a part of a community of like-minded, creative people and to further build this community, my friend & client, Elmo Adams (aka The Old Goat) & I have launched our new multifaceted, unique project,  STEAMPUNK LANDING!!

Now, the Steampunk scene has been around for a while but just recently has really started to take off and the reason I love it is because it combines so many things into a unique sub-culture; Victorian era, sci-fi/fantasy, meets goth meets anachronism meets art….it combines a love and longing for times gone by with a sense of curiosity with what the future holds!  So, we created Steampunk Landing which is not only a Facebook fan pg.   (become a fan here:)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steampunk-Landing/310620972287031?sk=wall

but also a FREE e-newsletter  (to sign up, click on the chimp icon on the upper left side of the fan pg. listed above) and a beautiful, old-fashioned, printed, glossy, hard-copy quarterly GAZETTE!  To subscribe, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steampunk-Landing/310620972287031?sk=app_234980643231536

We’ll be featuring all things Steampunk, including artists, designers, costume-play, jewelry, crafters, writers, musicians and much more…and we’re always looking for people to feature in our publications so if you’re interested feel free to contact us via our fan page or you can reply/comment to this blog post!  We want to build a community and network with like-minded, creative folks so come on board and sail the zeppelin with us to The Landing!  See you there!

~The Goddess of The Landing