Aren’t they beautiful? And woot! My costumes are in the same issue with the likes of artist Brian Kesinger (one of my very favorites!) and the League of Steam! Brian Kesinger is coming to Steamcon this year. I’m so bringing my print copy of the magazine and having him sign it…
This weekend I attended another Abney Park concert. I think it’s my SIXTH, and this one was absolutely wonderful. Definitely my second favorite (my first favorite will always be my first AP concert.) The energy was just electric, and everyone was having such an awesome time. Whenever I looked around, there was the biggest smile on everyone’s face.
The venue itself was amazing – it was the first live performance ever at the Bellingham Spark museum, and what perfect surroundings for steampunk! Before the concert we toured the museum, and there were tons of cool displays, many interactive.
The opening band was Adrian H and the Wounds. I enjoyed their music, although probably not well enough to buy a CD.
But then Abney Park came on stage. And wow. This was my first time seeing the new guys in person (Josh and Titus replacing Nathaniel who left to start his own band.) They couldn’t match Nathaniel’s flamboyance (who could?) but they were excellent musicians and nicely interactive with the crowd, as are all the other band members. During several songs one or more of them would jump off the stage and come play, sing, or dance with us.
As always, I try to film more of the between-songs moments, rather than the songs themselves! For one thing, I am always pressed up against the stage, as close as I can get, and my camera doesn’t record sound well when I’m that close to the equipment. For another, I love the between-songs moments…you never know what you’re going to get!
Between AP sets, the museum put on a Tesla coil demonstration. Very cool. It was amazing to see light bulbs lighting up just from being held close to the coil! Unfortunately for AP, this demonstration fried their computer’s motherboard – but it wouldn’t be an AP concert if something didn’t break/go horribly wrong. It’s all part of the fun, as Jody led a raid on the bar while Robert was trying to save the computer. The problem was solved, and the concert continued to its glorious ending….far too soon.
After the show, I met up with Robert and got him to sign my copy of his book The Wrath of Fate to me. I’d ordered a signed/numbered copy of his book the instant it was released, and had been surprised that I’d gotten copy #2 out of 300. Robert was impressed with my purchasing prowess; so impressed that he called Kristina over to see it. She said she was always afraid she was going to screw up the numbers when she was writing them in, and he said he was always afraid that the #2 book was going to get lost in the mail, and then what would he do? Send out another and say “Here you are – another #2!!!” I had him sign the book to my nickname “Lis” and he said that was his sister’s name, and he’d never met another person called that. So that was cool, too.
And of course I got a pic with him.
I’m wearing my Steampunk NeoBedouin costume – which is actually based off the description in Robert’s book. I had meant to tell him that, but we were so busy talking about other things, that I never got around to it. As much as I would’ve enjoyed it, I couldn’t monopolize him all night!
There is more about my costume, including more pics and a making-of, here,here, and here, on my costuming blog. The costume did get recognized several times by fellow fans who would come up to me and shout “NeoBedouin!!!!”. Which was awesome.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic night, and it definitely will not be my last AP concert.
Last weekend Jon and I went to Seattle for the annual steampunk con Steamcon. We were in a fabulous new hotel, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, which I hope will be the con’s home for many years to come. It was brilliantly easy to navigate, unlike last year. I didn’t get lost once!
So, on to the pictures!
Friday, I wore my new Steampunk River Song outfit. River Song is a character from Doctor Who, and I enjoyed wearing this outfit a LOT. Not only is she my favorite female character on the series, but I just love this steampunk version. Steamcon III built some awesome sets to play around with!
You can read about the making-of this costume here. Most people didn’t know who I was, but for the few who recognized me…it was pure SQUEE. My favorite was when two teen girls ran up to me all excited: “Are you River Song?????” When I said I was and gave them the badge ribbon I had printed (it says “Hello Sweetie”) they said it was the best ribbon yet, and it totally ‘made their con’. So cool!
I saw the Tenth Doctor at Steamcon as well, and I badly wanted to get a picture with him, but I only ran into him twice and both times he was rushing in the opposite direction with his arms full of supplies, so I couldn’t stop him for a photo. 😦 I loved wearing this so much that I also wore it Saturday morning.
Saturday afternoon, I changed into my Victorian Bathing Costume for the Tea Costume Contest. I knew going in that I wouldn’t win (my outfit didn’t match any of the three catagories) but I thought it would be fun to enter regardless. It turned out they only got four entries, so they went out into the hotel and rounded up a few likely folks to pad out the competition. There were a bunch of jellyfish, a fish with flippers, a mermaid, and my personal favorite: the deep sea diver. Meet Jilynn:
She’s one of the ladies who reads my costuming blog, so it was fabulous to get to meet her at the con. She made her entire costume. The helmet is made from a globe! The finned boot spats, the specimen jars, the breathing apparatus…all made from found objects. And she told me she’d never done anything like this before! I was Very Impressed. And pleased when she won one of the awards. Congrats, Jilynn!
This is one of the things I love about steampunk….the pure creativity.
Oh, and here’s a couple pics of my Bathing Costume.
I didn’t have the time or desire to make something really fantastic, so I just went silly, colorful, and multicultural. I’m glad I don’t have to actually swim in this thing!
After the contest, I changed into my Chinese Cabaret Costume. When I walked out onto the floor, it was amazing. Steampunkers really, really like the multicultural costuming right now. It was honestly like I’d turned into a minor celebrity of some sort! People instantly started stopping me every few feet for pictures.
I ended up being asked by a professional photographer to do a photoshoot. So I walked up and down the grand staircase a half dozen times while he took shots from various angles. Later, I did a second professional shoot as well. I like celebrity in small doses like this! 🙂
One thing that really amazed me was the fervency of the ribbon collectors. After I’d handed out a few, word started spreading and soon I had people running up and saying they’d heard I had ribbons. I made two different ones: “Hello Sweetie” for my blog followers and Doctor Who fans who recognized me as River Song, and “Dragonfly Designs by Alisa” for everyone else. Giving out ribbons is going to be a regular thing for me now…I need to think of some good ones for Gallifrey and Costume Con!
Sunday I wore my Ottoman Steampunk, largely because Steamcon was holding a “Wayfarer’s Brunch” with a multicultural theme.
After the corseting of the previous days, it was nice to wear something really cozy for the final day! The vest is embroidered with beetlewings, and is definitely one of my favorite things I’ve made. I won “Best Female Costume” with this at the Wayfarer’s Brunch, and was called up to the mike to speak a little about my costume and its inspiration. That was fun too! There were some really fab multicultural outfits at the brunch, here is just a few:
Jon and I pretty much only saw each other at lunch, dinner, and bedtime; the rest of the time we wanted to see completely different panels and events. We did meet up to take pictures, though….
And I finally got him out of the white tennis shoes he always wears with his steampunk outfit, and into what he calls “old man shoes”. Much better!
One of the highlights of the con for me was having my silhouette cut by the artist from Paper Shadows. I wished I had been able to watch it being done, but of course I had to face away from her and sit still. It turned out so fabulous! I can’t even tell you how gorgeous and amazing her work is. She just picks up a sheet of paper and uses tiny scissors to snip and cut…no patterns, no preparatory sketching, nothing but freehand art. I liked mine so much I also am having her make it into a piece of jewelry. Of course, that meant she had to take it with her, so I won’t be able to show you pictures for a couple of weeks, when she mails the original silhouette, plus the pendant, back to me. I can’t wait. I went back later to watch her cut someone else’s:
Steamcon is really so much fun. I love the panels (I got to handle actual extant corsets and bustles!) and meet authors and artists. I met fans of my blog (which was a surreal and delightful experience – it’s incredible to me that people are so interested in what I do. Teya, you totally made my day with your enthusiasm!) And best of all, I got to see the most amazing costumes and meet the most talented people. Here are just a few of my favorites I saw (when I had my camera – several escaped me because I didn’t have my camera available!)
Who doesn’t want a mechanical raven?
Yes, I know, not technically steampunk. But her 18th century outfit is gorgeous, and she has a ship on her head. I love it.
Beautiful bustle, beautiful colors.
So simple, so gorgeous. I want one!
Great detail. I love monochromatic costumes with lots of detail!
Another great bustle and color combo!
If you don’t want to paint your Nerf gun, you just match your outfit to Nerf colors…
This family is a perfect example of why I love steampunk. It’s so awesome to see parents and teens enthusiastic about the same thing!
This lady’s outfit was so ornate. And you can’t really see in this pic, but she had these amazing contact lenses. This was hands-down my favorite costume, until I saw the female aviator costume:
I am such a sucker for wings that work! So cool!
This is only a teeny sampling of the costumes I saw. It was a wonderful weekend, and I’m already plotting my costumes for 2012. The theme is “Victorian Monsters” which is SO MY THING.
In addition to the time travel novel (Breathing Ghosts) I’m writing, I’m also working on a steampunk urban fantasy. It is yet unnamed, but I’m piling everything I think is cool about steampunk into it. In addition to the goggles, airships, and steam-powered machines, it will also contain magic.
I have this idea for a Lovecraftian world of ancient monsters and magic – basically the place where all our world’s legends began. Victorians have managed to create a Gate into this world, and colonized/subdued it with brick, technology, and social mores into a semi-civilized place they call “New London”. They are happy to use the inherent magic as another sort of power/science. But when the Gate unexpectedly closes, the people trapped on New London discover their transported science and technology is dying, and the ancient magic of the world beneath New London is rising up against them….
There will be no vampires or werewolves here. I like the idea of digging out lesser-used creatures, such as the vodyanoy and the banshee. There will be magical bartitsu, sewer krakens, criminal masterminds, and more-than-slightly-cracked inventors. There might even be a pair of zombies (but only two…no zombie plagues in this book, sorry!)
I *think* I will post chapters online, but I haven’t quite decided. In the meantime, I came across this picture of the real Victorian London, by Gustav Dore. I’ve just ordered a book containing all his London drawings, because this is my image of New London:
I just love how cramped and…brick…it all is. If you were an ancient Lovecraftian beastie, wouldn’t you rise up against this?
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!
I’ve never really been a convert to the whole iPad-desire thing. If I want to read a book, I want to read a real book. The texture of reading is just as important to my world as the words. And I waste spend enough time on the internet when I’m at home – the last thing I want/need is a way to surf the ‘net when I’m away from home. Nope, I don’t have an iPhone either, and I don’t want one. Newfangled technology, bah humbug! I don’t even like using my non-internet surfing phone, although I do have one for emergencies and for tracking down lost relatives in Wal-Mart.
That said, I now do want an iPad, just so I can have one of these!
So my little gang of “Coolbrarians” had so much fun at the Abney Park concert last month, that we decided to have a ‘Steampunk Fun Day” – and wear our costumes while working!
It was fun watching the patrons trying to figure us out!
Notice the weapon on my thigh holster? During the photo-taking, it kept getting stolen by Charlene….
….because everyone loves feeling badass!
I’m not sure exactly what was going on here….
….but you can definitely tell fun was had by all! Plus, we ended up on American Libraries magazine website – and possibly we’ll be in the print edition as well. We’re also going to be printed in the Washington Library Association’s July edition of Alki. We’re officially famous now!
Steampunk is addicting, and it spreads like a virus. Witness what happens when ONE librarian girl (me) is infected with steampunk love.
Yes, it starts spreading through the library! All but one of those people looking at you is a librarian girl or guy (excepting the guy in the blue jacket – I have no idea who he is, but he seems to want to join our group!). Two of these newbies put together their steampunk outfits on their own, and are already talking about future steampunk outfits. Here we’re waiting in line to get into Studio 7 in Seattle, where Abney Park is going to put on their second Circus at the End of the World.
When we get inside, we fail to snag my preferred standing area – right up against the stage on Nathaniel’s side. I have a deep weakness for kilted, violin-playing men!
But, we are not too late to be up against the stage on bass guitarist Daniel’s side. This is also cool, though the bass plays havoc with my camera’s video recording capabilities, as you’ll hear when we get to the video portion of this blog….
Being so close to Daniel gave me an opportunity to study out his costume, though, and now I’m definitely inspired to sculpt him as a penguin. (I’ve already done Captain Robert – who can resist a penguin in leather with spiked hair?)
Also we were closer on this side to the new back-up singer, Jody Ellen, who is AWESOME.
As with any Abney Park show many, many things went wrong. The lights went out on stage during “Airship Pirates”, Robert forgot a few more lyrics, and he totally demolished his new mic. You know, the ‘sturdy’ one he built to withstand stage performance? 🙂 I hope he can fix it, because this mic was Made of Win. It wouldn’t be an Abney Park show if these small disasters didn’t strike!
We also were treated to several ‘circus’ acts, including a gorgeous fire dancer.
After the show, we met Nathaniel and Daniel outside, and they posed for pictures with me. Also completely par the course when I meet these guys, I had a camera malfunction – this time I forgot I’d turned my flash off, so the pictures turned out very….grim.
They both liked my ‘zombie hunter’ outfit, and Daniel even bragged to Nathaniel that I was ‘his fan’ because I’d stood at his side of the stage (awesome that he saw and remembered me!). Nathaniel said I’d have to be on his side for the next show! And then my friend Bonnie was rewarded with one of Nathaniel’s ‘epic hugs’ for taking the picture of us!
Below is video of “Building Steam”. At the very beginning, you’ll see that the mic manages to get in one good swing at Robert before Robert demolishes it!
Here are two videos of the fire dancers/eaters. Pretty awesome – wish I could do this! During one of these performances, Robert’s lyric cheat sheet was nearly burned. That would have made for an interesting second half to the show….
There was also a lovely lady in a hoop. I was so very envious of her boots….
And as one of the final performances (and according to Daniel performed this one time only!) Robert sang his April Fool’s Joke. (He had told the fans on April Fools that he was done with Abney Park and steampunk, and was going solo as a post-apocalyptic country-western singer named ‘Ranch Hand Robbie”. Best April Fool’s ever.)
Here is Ranch Hand Robbie (at the beginning he’s trying to repair his broken mic with a tool borrowed from a fan):