It’s been one of my personal ambitions to attend a masquerade ball, so when I learned there was going to be one in Seattle, I twisted a friend’s arm, and we went! It’s called “Venice is Sinking” and supports a charity, so it’s definitely a win.
For several reasons (including the fact that it goes on until 2am) we decided to stay over in Seattle one night. I booked us a room at the lovely Warwick Hotel, and we had lots of time to get dressed and primp before the ball.
My friend Sara borrowed my 18th century pocket hoops and built herself a gown to fit over them. The pocket hoops ended up being very practical, as we smuggled in our own drinks and snacks inside them!
She decided to use this youtube tutorial for her hair. It’s a good thing I re-familiarized myself with the tutorial before we left, because it turned out to be too difficult to do the hair ratting and pinning by herself, so Sara recruited me. It turned out marvelously, and held up through the entire evening!
I wore my sixteenth century “Dangerous Beauty” inspired Courtesan outfit.
It was fun ball, although the entertainment was not as non-stop as we’d been lead to believe, and the costume contest was a total bust. I’d been assured it was a judged event, and since the prize was a $1500 couture gown, I’d decided to try for it. However, all the ‘judging’ meant was that a person walked around and handed out five golden necklaces to the ‘best costumes’. No offense to the winners, but they weren’t the best costumes. I saw many ladies in attendance whose outfits were far better. One of the necklace winners was simply wearing a simple white evening dress with a wig – not at all in the same category as a lady wearing a full (and very gorgeous) 18th century costume who did NOT get one. I didn’t get one either, sigh…but it wouldn’t have mattered since after you got a necklace, it turned into a popularity contest after all. The winner won based on how many friends she had screaming in the audience. 😦
The entertainment was excellent, with roving performers such as contortionists, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and acrobats.
Periodically, they had stage performers as well, from Burlesque (and those ladies had gorgeous outfits!):
to circus-style silks and hoops:
My favorite costume I saw was this guy. He had a moon mask with an actual hanging light.
It was so awesome, I had to get a video…and then of course, I held the camera wrong and ended up with a sideways picture. 😦
Then we had fun with the ballroom lighting:
And Sara very artistically fixed her skirt:
The next morning before we came home, we spent the day in Seattle. We discovered the Sculpture Park isn’t worth seeing, and the best pizza comes from a little hole-in-the-wall place with boardgames and quirky artwork. We also visited the Great Gum Wall at Pike’s Place Market.
I went to my first Steamcon last weekend, and I already know it won’t be my last! It was so much fun; the panels, guests, and people-watching were top-notch.
Here are a few of my adventures, along with a few photos.
First off, I was severely sleep-deprived when we arrived on Friday because I’d been up until about 3am the night before attending the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows midnight premiere. (I’ll do a separate blog about that night later on.) We get to the Hilton in Seattle and get checked *just* in time for the first panel I really wanted to see. I’m a huge League of Steam fan, and was delighted to hear a few of the members had flown up to Seattle. Their first panel was pretty much an introduction to who they are and what they do. If you haven’t watched any of their short films, you need to check them out on youtube. They are seriously the definition of everything cool about steampunk! Their gear is absolutely amazing. Everything ‘works’, from the baby eel shock-prong, to the net gun, to the plunger-canon!
They also have amazing costumes:
This is their zombie expert, Baron Von Fogel. His most awesome bit of equipment is his hand-crank chainsaw.
Ghostbuster Crackitus Potts (shown here holding his baby eel shock prod – which actually does deliver shocks, as testified by brave members of the audience):
LadyAmeliorette Potts, his wife, also came, but by the second day was strangely absent, and in her place was one of the female ghosts who haunt the League of Steam:
Her costume was absolutely to-die for, with so much incredible detail. I took many close-up pics, and will post them on my costume blog, Dragonfly Designs by Alisa. In the background, you can see the fourth member of the League, Zedediah. He is a domesticated zombie, and very well-behaved. If anyone was attacked, the evidence must have been cleared away quickly, because I saw no sign of mayhem whatsoever.
This guy was really amazing. He staying in character the entire day, complete with eyes rolled back and drool.
On one of their other panels (shared by a genuine ghost-investigator), Potts took the opportunity to demonstrate his ghostbusting skills:
Friday evening was the Singalong with Abney Park. Unfortunately, Abney Park was “unable to make it”, so they dredged up a last minute replacement band: Ranch Hand Robbie and his Wranglers! It was hilarious to watch them attempt to stay in character as they “covered” their own songs.
I wore my Zombie Hunter outfit:
The second day (Saturday) I wore my Steampunk Geisha costume, which proved to be the most popular costume I’ve ever made!
It was difficult to walk more than a few feet without being asked to stop for a photo, and once I was stopped by one person, it quickly turned into a mob scene – I was instantly surrounded by cameras! I truly felt like a celebrity in this dress! I was even given an award ribbon by the Rose City Steampunks for “thinking outside the box” and “wearing a color other than brown”. 😀
One guy said there had actually been a panel earlier in which they had discussed what a ‘steampunk geisha’ costume might look like. How funny if I’d managed to attend it in this outfit!
One of Saturday’s outstanding panels was the one with Abney Park. Despite it being “early morning” (1pm!) they were awesome. They told so many great tales, like Dan’s accidental arrest for convenience store armed robbery…
I was too busy laughing to take video, but someone else did:
They were having so much fun they went over their time, and I had to walk out before it was quite over in order to meet my friend Mike for the High Tea and Fashion Show at 2pm.
The High Tea setting was gorgeous, with white linen and candles. They served ham and salmon tea sandwiches, mini quiches, and for dessert, mini petit fours, cream puffs, and mini eclairs. The menu and schedule they handed out was gorgeous too:
We chose seats right up against the catwalk, and by chance the lady who took the seat next to mine was the wife of writer James Blaylock, the Steamcon guest of honor! She and her husband were wonderful tea companions; during the fashion show, she kept leaning over to whisper: “Could I commission you to make THAT for me???” 😀 Too bad I don’t actually take costuming commissions, or I’d have had work for months – she had a serious case of costume-envy, after seeing all the great steampunk outfits all day!
Unfortunately, they didn’t allow any photography inside the tea room, but the fashion show was great fun. Especially the designs from Lastwear. They had their models act out little skits as they walked the runway! I did find this photographer’s page with photos of the fashion show. If you go about 1/3 of the way down the page, you’ll find a guy wearing a black cap with goggles, a black jacket, and a red kerchief around his neck. He was particular fun for me, since he stopped right at our table, crouched down, made very intense eye contact with me, and proceeded to silently flirt. When he left, Mrs Blaylock leaned over to comment that he had ‘wonderful eyes’. Yes. Yes he did! *blush*
Saturday evening was the big concert. None of us thought very much of the opening band (Bakelite 78) but the second band, Ghoultown, was very good. I think I’ll get one of their CDs. The headliner was Abney Park, and they were excellent as always, even though they were plagued with technical difficulties with Kristina’s keyboard. (Like one of the fans shouted, it isn’t a real AP concert unless something breaks….)
Sunday I wore my Saloon Girl outfit.
I posed for more photo-ops, and had girls chase me down so they could pet my shoulder martin. Also, I was reminded of an occurrence that happens only at costume-type cons: mutual butt fondling! Yep, get two or more ladies wearing bustles together, and pretty soon it becomes a free-for-all, as everyone wants to examine the construction of everyone else’s bustle! 😀
Late afternoon it started to SNOW, and the con cleared out fast, as all the panels were pretty much over, as no one wanted to get stuck in Seattle! This is also when I discovered that semi-skimpy saloon girl outfits don’t do well in snow – gads, that was a cold walk to our car!
My favorite panels ended up being:
Steampunk Ghost Hunting (funny AND informative!)
Eureka it Works! (that fabulous League of Steam & their equipment)
Victorian Undergarments (they had actual extant corsets, bustles, and petticoats to pass around for the audience to examine)
The Abney Park panel (well, of course!)
The Art and Science of Fencing (Knives, swords, and live dueling, what’s not to love?)
Perhaps the best part of any con is the people-watching. Next, I give you some of the most awesome and fun costumes that other people were wearing:
This guy’s costume was flippin’ amazing. I wish it showed in the pic, but inside the cage was a fairy. And she moved, flying up and down in the most lifelike manner. I don’t know how he did it, but it was GREAT.
Best wings ever. They actually extended and retracted!
This guy’s hat lighted up in several amazing ways. And besides that, he was just one of those really nice people that are such a pleasure to meet at cons. We took pictures of each other, and then (since I was in my geisha outfit) a crowd gathered and we ended up posing together for several minutes worth of pictures.
I have a love for mechanical arms. This guy had one of the best.
Mechanical arms aren’t amazing enough for you? How about a mechanical ostrich???
Another pair of wings, and a guy whose costume is just generally cool. Back view:
And front view:
A mechanical dog that moves, lights up, and barks. It reminds me of the Doctor’s K9.
How can you not love a guy with an octopus on his shoulder? It’s so elegant!
Here’s another one that the picture doesn’t do it justice. At all. This is an articulated dragon, with “fire” in all its joints and under its scales. So cool!
I don’t quite know who/what this girl was, but anyone who carries a glowing green brain around on their back is seriously cool!
Great fun was had, and I’m going back next year for sure – I already have costume ideas flooding my own (hopefully non green and glowing) brain!
Also, we are SO GLAD the con ended when it did, because today (Monday) Seattle is an absolute mess because of the snow. If the snow had begun day or two earlier, it would probably have been canceled!