Steampunks in Action: Support the Tsunami Relief Effort

On Friday, March 11, a 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami rocked Japan. The devastation from the Sendai earthquake and tsunami is so complete it seems impossible to imagine.

As news, images, and videos of the Japan tsunami spreads, many are asking how they can help the relief effort. There’s many great charities to which you can donate that are all working to bring much needed services to those affected by the destruction.

Steampunks too are stepping up to the plate to donate portions of their art to the relief cause. From now until April 1, when you order a CD or digital download of Circumnavigator by Escape The Clouds, a portion of the sales (4 dollars for the digital download, 3 for the physical CD) will be donated to Global Giving.

You can visit the Escape the Clouds store here. This is a chance to support Steampunk music while simultaneously supporting the relief effort.

If you’re interested in donating to a relief agency to help the victims directly, make sure you research the giving and operational practices of the charity your considering donating to. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to start. Check out their Guide to Giving for Disaster Relief and list of charities that are helping in Japan and meet the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Standards for Charity Accountability to find a charity in line with your philanthropic goals.

Slightly Steampunk: Tomorrow is Pi Day

Tomorrow is March 14th, or 3/14, making it Pi Day and therefore one my favorite geeky holiday right up there with Mole Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Act Like a Time-Traveler Day. Pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any Euclidean plane circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is approximately equal to 3.14159265.

To learn more about Pi Day and for tips on celebrating 3/14, visit the official Pi Day website. While you’re there, you can pick up all kinds of wonderfully geeky pi swag and send your friends some equally geeky Pi Day E-Cards. For some fun Pi Day activities, you could calculate pi by throwing frozen hot dogs or (considerably less random) watch the film, π. Here’s the trailer:

And to add some Steam to your Pi Day, consider making this amazingly tasty Victorian Meat Pie recipe. Yum! That’s a good reason to celebrate Pi Day even if you hate math.

Registration for Steamcon III is now Open

Memberships for Steamcon III recently went on sale. This is the first opportunity to purchase your pass to three days of Steampunk events since the close of Steamcon II.

This year’s convention theme is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and will take place from October 14th through the 16th at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency.You can make room reservations here for the convention’s discounted rate.

Applications to be a vendor or artist will be up some time in April, so please keep checking back to the Steamcon website as more information becomes available. There’s also little information about this year’s programing, so do try to be patient. I’ve also heard no official word regarding live music at Steamcon II after it was announced at the closing ceremonies that Steamcon III would not have any live music. Again, keep checking back either here or at the convention website for updates.

To make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun for this year’s convention, make sure to register for the con soon.

Tickets for Maker Faire Are Now On Sale

Attention all west coast Steampunks! Tickets for this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire are now available for purchase. Maker Faire is an event created by Make Magazine to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.” This year’s event will take place on May 21st and 22nd at the San Mateo County Event Center.

There’s so much to see and do at this annual festival of the DIY spirit. From shopping at the Bazaar Bizarre to
participating in Swap-O-Rama-Rama and exploring the inventiveness of featured Makers, Maker Faire is a remarkable event to discover creative and resourceful people in the areas of science and technology, engineering, food, and arts and crafts.

If you yourself happen to be a maker and feel your work would be suited for this year’s Faire, please explore their Call for Makers for Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 and consider submitting your work.

Overdone Steampunk Fashions at WWWC

As people are returning home from their adventures from the Wild Wild West Convention in Old Tuscon, the commentary about the event is starting to pour in. While most of the commentary on WWWC has been largely positive, there is something about it that has apparently offended Fashion writer Niki D’Andrea of the Phoenix New Times: our Steampunk sense of fashion.

It’s true. In her article, Seven Overdone Steampunk Fashions at Wild Wild West Con, Ms. D’Andrea expresses her passionate distaste for our top hats, stripey stockings, and goggles. We’re apparently an uncreative and lazy bunch according to her refined sense of fashion. Here’s what she had to say about our steamy top hats:

Abraham Lincoln would so not wear that.

Alas! All these years I’ve spent as a Steampunk, I’ve been striving to replicate Abraham Lincoln’s wardrobe. *dies from shock of failure*

Ms. D’Andrea seems to be under the impression that Steampunk needs historical accuracy and our inability to execute Steampunk in the way she imagined it means we are all failures. Our version of historical inaccuracy is, ironically, entirely inaccurate in her mind.

Fortunately, Steampunks aren’t ones to need approval from anyone to dress as we wish. Each of Ms. D’Andrea’s Overdone Fashion Points are all popular aspects of Steampunk fashion. Saying too many Steampunks wear top hats is like saying too many punk rockers sport mohawks. It shows an apparent ignorance of the subculture and its aesthetics.

Ms. D’Andrea’s snobbery is far more unfashionable than anything anyone could have worn at WWWC.

Women In Steampunk

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a global celebration of  the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Steampunk is fortunate to have many an awesome woman counted among our ranks engaged in a vast array of incredible things. The talent, intellect, and creativity contributed to Steampunk by the female members of our community helps make our subculture so holistically unique.

Outsiders may look at our movement and wonder how it is that we permit women to enjoy such freedom in Steampunk, given our Victorian roots. Fortunately, we only use the Victorian era as a reference point, knowing full well that for many people of minority affiliations, things  have vastly improved since the 19th century.

To illuminate my point, I’d like to call your attention to suzannelazear‘s post on Women in Steampunk from the blog STEAMED!. The article focuses on the question of women within Steampunk literature, but could easily be extended to women outside the fictional Steampunk realm and can be summarized with it’s final statement:

Women in Steampunk can be anything. They can be anything at all.

Indeed!

If you’re interested in getting involved with this year’s International Women’s Day, there’s still time. Click here to see where events are going on in your area or to donate to one of many worthy charities working to improve the lives of women around the world. Click here to visit the International Women’s Day website.

And after your done reading, clicking, and participating in rallies, make sure to take a moment to tell the women in your life how much they mean to you.

The Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition

Today marks one month until the beginning of The Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition at they Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California. This year’s theme is the Wild, Wild East and features Cherie Priest, Paul Guinan, Anina Bennet,Major Catastrophe and the Crew of the Neverwas Haul as this year’s guests of honor.

This year features a slew of excellent performers, makers, and speakers. A weekend pass is $50 and gets you in to all panels, presentations, exhibits, shows and goings-on! There are also day passes available for online purchase, so get them soon. You can also book your room at the convention hotel here. the hotel is nearly sold out for the weekend, but they have said there may still be a few rooms available, and you might still be able to get a discounted rate. Be sure to the convention’s booking code (G-STMP) or mention the Steampunk Exhibition, and they’ll give you the best rate they can. Today is the last day to book your room at the convention rate, so don’t delay!

Last year’s Exhibition went of wonderfully, and I have great hopes for this one as well!