STEAMPUNK WORLD’S FAIR 2015
DAYS 1 & 2
AMBER LOVE 19-MAY-2015 Over the weekend, I was fortunate to attend about a day and half of the annual STEAMPUNK WORLD’S FAIR. It’s a three-day show (sort of four, because people hang around on Monday too), but trust me when I say, there’s so much to do, that I was exhausted even after Friday’s half day kick-off. Below are some of the photos. I’m using others in each post about specific panels I attended. And keep checking the hub because I’ll be posting all kinds of content on each of those panels.
Things were different for me this year. I was completely sober having only had two sips from my personal flask of Irish whiskey. There was no absinthe being served at the bar, only at the special tasting events. Honestly, I didn’t have time to hang out at the Fusions bar like I normally would.
The reasons I love this show is because of the musicians, performers, vendors and panels. Well, I got to see about ten minutes of musicians and that was it. This was so unusual for me to be at Steampunk World’s Fair and not have enjoyed three or four concerts. I didn’t even see the aerialist, Azkadelia, this year. Not to mention, I only saw about five minutes of the fire performers HVBRIS! There are short video clips in the highlight reel I put together. Fortunately, I caught *most* of the Smoke & Mirrors Peepshow, a fantastic burlesque troupe from the area. Video of that
to come now posted (NSFW).
The vendors were fantastic as always. Every kind of fashion and accessory could be found in any of the merchant areas so if you were looking for your MAD MAX inspired outfit, you could have gotten it there. To experience the consumerism, I can describe it as a sort of Bohemian sprawl of traveling artisans – popping into town and setting up shops for a weekend like a Carnival – then they disappear. The merchants either redesigned their hotel rooms into intimate boutiques, lined the corridors and conference rooms with tables, or utilized the mostly nice weather in the tented area outside close to the main outdoor stage. Personally, I was only looking for new black tea gloves and could only find white; so other than meals, my only purchases were a coffee mug and oatmeal soap from The Filthy Farmgirl stand.
So what the heck was I doing with all my time if not drinking and watching performers? PANELS!
I didn’t get to record the audio for all of them, but thankfully, the main one I wanted to capture was the Transgender in Steampunk panel and that posted yesterday as Vodka O’Clock 1521.
Other panels that I’ll post recaps of include The Victorian Asylum, The Darker Side of Fairy Tales, Edgar Allan Poe and Victorian Mourning, Crowley in Context, Transgender Figure Drawing, Victorian Archeology, and Intro to Palmistry – plus the Transgender in Steampunk panel. Whew! The links for each post will be neatly gathered in post, my SPWF hub.
The schedule was neatly put together by rooms which were assigned themes; so the Gothic, creepy, paranormal studies were all done in Salon D under the banner of The Nightshade Society. I felt like I had set up camp because that’s where I was half the time. They had a tract all about safety addressing things like harassment issues, but I never made it to those because I kept things goth this year.
Even though I really miss the opportunities to see Steampowered Giraffe, Eli August & the Abandoned Buildings, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, Platform One, This Way to the Egress, and even wandering minstrels like Painless Parker, I did get a full experience. At least I caught Humanwine for two songs. It was a lot to forego because I love seeing every one of those bands and the audiences enjoying them through freestyle dancing, spontaneous hooping, and cheering.
As with any massive group gathering, sitting through panels is not without challenges. I was constantly in audiences where people would not shut the hell up. Not all speakers used microphones so the constant chatter was annoying and made recording less clear. Shout out to Circuit Six for their hard work in the areas that did have mics and amps. The Radisson rooms had their own built-in set ups so I have no idea why people opted not to use them when speaking. I guess they didn’t need to save their voices, but I overheard one speaker that was concerned.
The hotels are handicap accessible, but due to the crowd, the people I saw in wheelchairs were having a tough time. Since vendors were allowed to turn rooms into boutiques, they often had mannequins in the hallways making the space even harder with the cumbersome pedestrian traffic; and I saw the same troubles for people just trying to get through the hallways and lobby of the Radisson.
I arrived around 5:30 on Friday evening. After a few hours of going back and forth between the hotels and sitting through panels, my entire body was in pain. I was wearing comfortable flat boots too. But for the past nine months, I’ve been without any physical activity. I sit at my desk where I write and podcast. I’ve barely left the house, so the seemingly little bit of walking was brutal. I was hurting so much. Saturday was hard too. Between being wiped out by the walking, my skin is in a crisis of its own; I’ve tweeted about it and posted pictures before. Let’s just say, finding comfort is tough these days. Being in a corset for hours lost its charm no matter how great it looked.
If you had the chance to get any food and drinks at the Radisson, you wouldn’t have been able to simply order and pay. Patrons had to exchange US currency dollar for dollar for the Monopoly style money, Jeff Bucks. This, I’ve been told, makes it easier for the people serving the food and at the bar. And you can exchange your bucks back for real dollars if you don’t use them. It’s kind of an inconvenience, but this is how it’s done every year. And from the years when I did patronize the Fusions bar for food and drinks, I can tell you that the menu is usually wonderful and considerate of common dietary needs like vegan and gluten-free options and they’re delicious.
Since I have a car and didn’t have much money to spend anyway, I had a reasonable plan for keeping myself fed. On the way down to the show, I stopped at the Somerset Diner for superbly cooked veggie burger and fries. Then on Saturday morning, I drove out to Kettleman’s bagels on Pierce Street (both are one exit up 287) and bought two bagel sandwiches, one for breakfast and one for a late lunch. This is how I’ve eaten in past years and it works out fine for me. I bring along one or two snacks, some Red Bull, and one flask. Without having inexpensive absinthe at my disposal from the bar, I not only saved money, but also was sober. Last year’s show I was beyond drunk from the absinthe. It’s just so delicious!
Inside the Embassay Suites, the staff of the con had an Ops Center suite right near all the action. I am eternally grateful that they let me use it as a resting place. There was a refrigerator for my Red Bulls and a charger for my phone. And the best part was having a couch to elevate my aching feet. There was a Medical Ops room back in the Radisson and I saw one EMT walking around and present during the fire performances.
At this point, what I’ll do is create recaps of all the panels and audio or video where applicable. Between Saturday night and Sunday, I had already spent 10 hours on images, video, one podcast, and writing. More coverage to come! Remember if you like the show and this site, please try to support it at Patreon.com/AmberUnmasked.