DIY Parasols

One thing that Steampunks tend to do a lot more than Goths is make our own stuff. That whole DIY culture is really prevalent within many of the different Steampunk persuasions and preferences. There is, however, some considerable cross-over between Steampunk and Goth, so it should come as no surprise that many Goths enjoy making their own things as well, though not as integral to their subculture as it is to ours.

Maker Hexotica recently wrote a wonderful tutorial for DIY parasols. Though geared more towards the Gothic community and aesthetic, a simple reselection of colors and designs can make this piece of interest to Steampunks as well. With a little work, this:

Into a lovely parasol like this:

To learn all how to convert your own boring umbrella into a statement piece for your latest ensemble, visit Hexotica’s website and check out her tutorial.

SteamPunk Magazine 8 Open to Submissions

Attention all my writing readers!

Steampunk Magazine is finally gearing up for is return to print and circulation after what we can surely all agree is a too long absence from the community at large. Now it’s finally back and preparing to return to print in November of this year. Hooray!

Making an awesome, informative magazine isn’t an easy endeavor, however, and to be truly awesome, Steampunk Magazine needs contributions from lots of different people with varying viewpoints and opinions. The magazine is now accepting submissions for the eighth issue of Steampunk Magazine. So if you’ve been working on a treatise or just have something you think the rest of the community should be keyed in to, definitely consider getting it on paper with the magazine in mind.

Steampunk Magazine is accepting submissions until the 15th of October. If you’re interested in submitting, read their submission guidelines and then direct any submissions to readers@steampunkmagazine.com. You’ve got well over two weeks to get something in, so do consider it!

And, keep watch here for more Steampunk Magazine updates. I’ll definitely keep you in the loop as more information becomes available.

The London Sewers

The Victorian era saw new challenges in the management and planning of the worlds first budding metropolises. As the standard of living grew and people migrated from the countryside to urban areas in search of wealth and opportunity the population in cities swelled. This posed quite a number of problems on a city whose population grew faster than it could cope.

Sanitation and sewage, though it doesn’t seem like all that big a deal nowadays with things like flush toilets and running hot water on demand, was a big problem back in the day. The disease and smell made some neighborhoods near unlivable, save for those who were completely desperate. There was, however, a lot of desperation back in the Victorian days and a lot of people lived in filthy squalor.

In London, for example, the River Thames was used as an open sewage system, and as a result a number of cholera outbreaks ooccurred in the early nineteenth century. After The Great Stink of 1858, Parliament finally decided to do something about their smelly city and resolved to create a modern sewage system. You can read more about the project and it’s fruition here.

The completed project is largely considered to be one of the seven wonders of the industrial world. To help you learn more about it, I’ve a short episode of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World series that features the sewers. Watch, learn and enjoy!

Tesla: The Celebate Scientist

Anyone with even a passing interest in Steampunk eventually stumbles upon the subculture’s favorite scientist, Nicola Tesla. Tesla was so overwhelmingly ahead of his time that many people thought him completely insane. He conceptualized ideas like the radio before the world at the time could actualize and, in many cases, even imagine. Unfortunately, when you’re so far ahead of your time as Tesla was, most of the people in your time think you’re pretty nuts. Time might vindicate you, but by that time, you and all the people that scoffed at you are probably dead. Which means your only vindication might happen in history books, rather than getting the opportunity to say, “I told you so.”

Tesla did, however, have many admirers that pursued him with some determination despite the fact that he was celibate and and seemed to have absolutely no interest in women or romance. In fact, be believed that his celibacy was helpful to his scientific research. He was, by every stretch of the imagination, a man of science and science alone.

Hark a Deviant created a cartoon of this aspect of Tesla’s life and it’s freaking hilarious. But I’m not posting it here. You’ll need to go to their website and check out all the hilarity for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Art

Concubine Waltz Teaser

I had the distinct pleasure of getting to meet Joel Clayton, the sitar player for the band Sunday Driver earlier this year when he visited Seattle. I didn’t have much more than a passing familiarity with their music at the time of our introduction, and now all I can wonder is why I didn’t stumble upon them sooner.

He and the rest of the band have been hard at work lately, and they’ve released a new single for your enjoyment entitled Concubine Waltz. Here’s the teaser:

Like the track? Head over to their bandcamp site and download the new single. All proceeds from this download will go to fund their 2012 Tour and PR, so if you’d like to see them in your area, downloading this song is a great way to express your interest in their ongoing projects.

Concubine Waltz in the first single in Sunday Driver’s upcoming album The Mutiny. Be sure the check back to their website often to catch updates on the album and where they might be touring come next year.

Hysteria

Anyone who has looked at the Victorian era with anything resembling a critical eye can pretty easily agree that it was not a pretty time. Repression and oppression was tightly woven into the fabric of daily life for all peoples and genders, but women in particular endured a culture which vilified the female sex drive. Thankfully, we’ve made progress towards a more sex-positive culture (though there’s still a long way to go).

The Victorian era saw the first vestiges of the modern feminism movement. Women fought for the right to vote and to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts in the political arena. In the bedchamber, the then largely foreign notion that women could and should derive similar pleasure from sex that a man enjoyed was morally offensive to much of Victoriana’s conservatives.

Enter then, a small but significant device first know as a “Manipulator” which would later come to know as a vibrator. The recent film Hysteria is focused around the now defunct notion of female hysteria and the creation of the vibrator. Here’s the trailer:

Anyone with even a fleeting interest in gender or human sexuality will likely find this film to be both entertaining and enlightening. And Steampunks of all levels of sexual liberation yet again have reason to be thankful that we are Steampunks, rather than Neo-Victorians.

Ladies of Steampunk 2012 Calendar Release Party

Holy crap! It’s September already? It seems like just a few weeks ago that it was February and I was Seattle’s newest and slightly bewildered resident. Before you or I know it, 2011 will be over, and the new year will be upon us. With the upcoming new year comes the necessity of changing outdated calendars with newer models.

As you start the hunt for the prefect 2012 calendar, I’d like to present a Steampunk option to grace your walls. The Ladies of Steampunk calendar is scheduled to be released next month at Mondo Bizarro Cafe in Sacramento, California on October 7th. The party will be $10 at the door and the hosts are generously buying the first 50 attendees their first round.

For more information about the calendar, please check out the Ladies of Steampunk website. Please be aware that the calendar is NSFW. To learn more and RSVP to the release party, click here.