Friday, May 24, 2013

Virtual Steampunk Characters

The White Elephant Burlesque Society at Steampunk World's Fair 2013
Last week Sweetie and I drove from her fortress of solitude in the Ramapo Mountains to Piscataway, New Jersey for the Steampunk World's Fair.

Neither of us owns a corset, brass goggles, or a Victorian hat, so we bought little chalk pads to wear around our neck, identifying us (because of our tastes in Second Life) as virtual steampunk characters. We needen't have bothered. The hallways of the two hotels hosting the event were so crowded no one could see our signs.

Despite the chaos caused by the crowding, and despite every one of the VIP events we paid for being flawed or just screwed up, we had a good time.

Just about everyone was in costume-- some excellent, some cheesy. Goggles and top hats were de rigeur and mechanical arms highly desirable. Vendors selling all this stuff were everywhere-- blocking passage in the hallways, playing cellos outside their hotel rooms, and populating a big circus tent in the parking lot.

The talks had interesting titles, but we missed most of them because of the above mentioned overcrowding problem. There simply wasn't enough time to get from point A to point B. The halls were a fire hazard. A hotel employee rolled a cart over my foot and my arm was scratched by a sword slung on someone's back.

The headliner was the band and pantomime act Steam Powered Giraffe. They drive thousands of mostly goth teens for their concert on Saturday night. Many were wearing in robot face paint and looked incredibly uncomfortable. They mobbed the stage when the band came on, but fortunately heeded Spine's order to sit down. This gave us a great view of the act. Otherwise we would have probably left.

Here are a couple of songs:

Other musical acts were caught were Frenchy and the Punk, Painless Parker, and Voltaire.

Conference owner Jeff Mach bought in Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu. His act was a riot.

We attended an absinthe tasting and a tasting of fine teas (two events that were for one reason or another screwed up, although the absinthe and tea were tasty, and a breakfast with a missing host.

Sweetie got a henna tattoo and bought a proper steampunk ring and a DVD of Steam Powered Giraffe. I was on low funds, so I didn't buy anything-- but after we got back I bought a great pocket watch on eBay for $1.50 plus $4.99 shipping.

Who knows. It might even run!

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