2011 Steampunk World’s Fair


I had an even better time at the Steampunk World’s Fair than I expected. I got to meet some amazing people, reconnect with old friends, and generally feel like I wasn’t just wasting my time all those years ago when I was editing SteamPunk Magazine. Because steampunk actually has a fairly strong and growing contingent who views the whole thing as more than just an excuse to dress up funny. Plus, we all got to dress up funny.

While I enjoyed What Time Is It Mr. Fox and Frenchie & The Punk (both exampled below), I think the show was really stolen by Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, not the least because two of my friends are in it. I’ll have videos of them online in the next day or so, with any luck. I’ve never really been able to give a good example of what I think steampunk music should be, (Sorry, Abney Park, I like some of your music but it doesn’t scream steampunk to me.) but now I do. And I should have realized it earlier: crazy marching bands acting like a bunch of punks while playing acoustic instruments, getting enough of them together to really be raucous.

And of course there was a labor rally run by a steampunk Emma Goldman, counter-protested by some rich gentlemen.

There were discussions on intersectionality and steampunk, cultural appropriation, race, gender, class, and all sorts of things that really do need to be taken seriously.

But I was most impressed by the people. I’m too used to being around cynical, grumpy anarchists these days and it was refreshing to meet earnest, engaged, political people who weren’t embarrassed to put skeletal steampunk ravens on their shoulders and talk one day about how to make cheap stuff look cool and then, the next, why we need to fight.

10 thoughts on “2011 Steampunk World’s Fair”

  1. It was cool to meet you and learn about your writing + stuff. Good luck in the future. I’ll have a detailed photo post up soon and may contact you later for a micro interview for my other site (grasping@creativity) if that’s cool with you. Cheers. ENSMB rules.

  2. Magpie, so lovely to see the experience and hear about it being not just about dressing in fun clothes. Seems like a really good crowd. Still sad to have missed you at Maker Faire, but looking forward to sharing our experiences.

    1. Purple and brown hair, bright red lipstick, clip-on glasses. About in the middle. If you put your mouse over the photos, a tooltip pops up with the captions.

  3. My roommates and Ben and I checked out these pics this morning and they made us very happy. Particularly the vaguely sinister-looking well-dressed/moustachio’d counter-protesters. (the blond one is a super dreamboat tho, what the eff). Oh and the stationary marching band, the skeletal raven, steampunk emma goldman, the dollar-staple guy, the costumes in general, it’s all just really amazing. Thanks a bunch for taking and posting these. See ya this weekend

  4. I agree that Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band is the closest thing around to an inherently steampunk musical style. I’ve been thinking a lot about what music from within a steampunk reality might sound like, and hope to bring something to the table someday!

  5. Your account of the Steampunk Worlds Faire makes me want to blow my carbon footprint and fly out next year. We just had Southern California’s first steampunk convention and while it was fun, it was very much a “fan convention.” I knew that’s what it was shaping up to be which is part of why I dropped out of it as an organizer. It can be very lonely being an openly activist lifestyle steampunk in San Diego. On the bright side its an awesome place to grow food.

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