Having arrived safely back in Texas and (sort of) stepped back into my working/blogging/writing/Captaining routine, it’s time for my review of and stories from Steamcon II.
And really, where should I start? To start at the beginning would require starting a week before the con began as I made my trip out to Seattle to do some personal adventuring, but had little to do with the con (but not Steampunk, mind you!). Because I don’t intend to bore you all with a minute by minute account of the convention, I’ve provided below some of the highlights and aspects of Steamcon II.
When I go to cons, I usually don’t spend a lot of time in panels. I don’t really know why… I think I would rather be interacting with people rather than being talked at, regardless of who the person is. I only attended four panels at Steamcon II, and half of them were focused on some aspect of Steampunk music, though all four that I attended were informative. It is simply my personal preference to take the opportunity of a convention to meet people and interact with them on a more personal level, which is why I spent so much time just lingering in common areas and in the cabaret.
The Grant Mercantile
I visited the Grand Mercantile a few times during the con and met a number of wonderful makers. I don’t think I could have come to the con with enough money in my pocket to support everyone from whom I wished to purchase something. Everyone who was there was incredibly talented and dedicated to Steampunk in their designs. Fortunately, many had business cards available on their tables which I snatched up not only for my own future purchases, but also because I’m hoping to introduce you to some of them here on the blog very soon.
Live Music- The Cabaret and the Outlaw Night Concert
The live music at Steamcon II was the highlight of my convention. Personally, I cannot imagine Steampunk without music, and it was so very refreshing to have such a personal and intimate experience with so many incredibly talented musicians. I, unfortunately, live in an area of the world that has not welcomed the independent music scene. When artists (independent or otherwise) elect to stop in Texas for a night as part of a tour, it is Austin, rather than Dallas, that usually draws them to my state. So for me, it is a very special experience to see so many musicians in one place.
The Cabaret was splendid, providing hours of incredible programming. It was here that I spent the majority of my time at the convention, and it was refreshing to have the opportunity to have some tea and drop by for a few sets and to come and go as I pleased. I also was very impressed at the informality of the cabaret, which allowed for artists and fans to interact in a personal way. Again, I met so many talented musicians in the cabaret and I’m planning to interview some of them here as well so that you can get to know them too!
The Outlaw Night Concert was also an excellent production and consisted of Bakelite 78, Ghoultown, and Abney Park. Despite the scheduling confusion, sound check complications, and a broken instrument, the concert was an enjoyable experience.
Special thanks goes out to Mr. Bodewell of Sepiachord for organizing the vast array of musical offerings at Steamcon II.
I can’t begin to count all the wonderful people I met at the con. Everyone was so very polite and, not to mention, well dressed. Meeting people is the primary reason why I go to cons, and specifically Steampunk focused conventions. Because Steampunk friendships are often first forged over the internet, it is so refreshing to have everyone step out from behind their monitors for just a little while to meet face to face. I found everyone to be so welcoming and kind that I felt at times overwhelmed by all the amazing people who wanted to have tea/lunch/dinner etc. or just chat with me. Thank you for being so amazingly Steampunk; you rock. My only regret in this respect is that I didn’t get to meet each and every one of you.
The Cons of the Con
Two hotels- For conventions that are large enough, I don’t mind having to walk between two hotels to go to the different programming. Normally, when this is the case, all of a certain type of programming is set in one hotel and another elsewhere. This worked out quite well during A-Kon as two hotels were used for programming and were connected by a sky bridge. For Steamcon II, we had two hotels that were not physically connected to each other in any manner other than general vicinity. This made for some very uncomfortable and chilly walking in between the two locations across a wet and occasionally snowy street.
Next year’s convention is set to be held in the Bellevue Hyatt, a hotel that will likely be able to accommodate everyone, but unfortunately, it’s set out in Bellevue. I like that Steamcon I and II were held at the airport for the sake of out of town travelers, but heck, if we’re going to have a convention run by Seattle Steampunks, why not just have it in Seattle proper? I would have no idea where Bellevue was if ArenaNet wasn’t based there.
No Thursday Registration- Not a real problem, but I’m willing to bet more people would have showed up for the Landing Party and extended my opportunity to chat with people had registration started on Thursday evening.
The possibility of no Cabaret next year- This revelation sincerely troubles me, as this was one of my favorite aspects of the convention. Apparently, because we are trading the number of convention rooms for expanded space in each room, the cabaret is on the chopping block. I can’t begin to articulate how upset I would be if Steamcon III was without a cabaret. If I was still based in Dallas, I would seriously have to ponder whether I would attend a Steamcon that wasn’t held in Seattle and had no cabaret. These two aspects forced me to decide against buying a membership to Steamcon III at the conclusion of Steamcon II. This isn’t to say that I won’t go to Steamcon III, but that I’m waiting for just a bit to see how things are organized for next year.
Overall, I had a splendid time at Steamcon II. It was so special to be surrounded by thousands of Steampunks from all over the nation and the world. I am very much looking forward to seeing what develops for Steamcon III.
For many more amazing photographs from the convention, check out Steamcon II’s Flickr account.