The Difference Engine: A Steampunk Event in Dallas

The “Difference Engine” is an event that will immerse you in the creative world of the retro-futuristic imagination. This will be an interactive “Steampunk Adventure” from the 19th century blending science fiction and old world charm, elegance, and adventure.

This one-day event will feature a Steampunk Murder Mystery Play, musicians, comedy acts, a variety of “Topic Panels”, a vendors area, a gaming room, photography in Steampunk Attire, and a “Steampunk DIY Fashion Show”. Following all the events of the day there will be a formal waltz followed by a Darkwave dance to finish off the evening.

Particularly of note are a few of my very dear friends who will be contributing to the convention. The Marquis of Vaudeville will be performing at the event, and Larry Amyett, the Captain of my former Airship, La Marianne, will be presenting a panel on Dieselpunk that is absolutely not to be missed.

The “Difference Engine” will take place on June 4th, 2011, at the Radisson Fort Worth North, located at Meechum and I35 W. Doors open at 10am and the final event closes at 2 am. The cost is $20.00 and tickets are available at www.the-difference-engine.info. If you would like more information on this topic, to request press passes, or to schedule an interview, please contact the convention coordinators at Info@the-difference-engine.info

World Steam Expo 2011

Summer convention season is just around the corner, and there are a plethora of  awesome Steampunk events for you to take part in. One outstanding event is the World Steam Expo, taking place in Dearborn, Michigan from May 27th through the 30th. The convention is being held at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn at Fairlane Town Center.

This year’s convention is a four day long affair bringing you some of the best of Steampunk. From Abney Park to the officers of the Imperial Anti-Piracy Squadron, the Expo is sure to keep Steampunks of all interests and persuasions entertained.

As of an update posted yesterday, this weekend is the last opportunity to preregister for the World Steam Expo, so do be sure to take advantage of the extension to secure your passes before the start of the Expo.

To learn more about the World Steam Expo, please visit their website and peruse their FAQ.

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!

Wild Wild West Con

It’s been a while since I covered an upcoming convention, and the topic of tonight’s post is that, but much, much more. Wild Wild West Con is part convention, part festival taking place form March 4-6 at Old Tucson Studios.

For one weekend, Old Tucson Studios will be transformed into the town of Rusted Gear, providing an immersive experience for convention attendees by breaking free of the standard, modern hotel based convention.

There will be all sorts of entertainment for convention attendees, including

“music concerts, a dinner theater, a tea party with a published author, a charity fashion show, a freak show art show, a mercantile pavilion, a street parade, street performers, a high noon dual competition, a fast draw competition, a gaming parlor, live action stunt shows, cabaret saloon shows, ghost tours, a masquerade ball, a mad scientist lab, costume contests, courtroom discussion panels, how to workshops and much more.”

Tickets to the convention can be purchased on the convention website. To book a room in the convention’s hotel, Hotel Tucson City Center Conference Suite Resort, call 1 (520) 622-3000 or 1 (888) 784-8324 and mention the convention’s group code #1989 during your reservation.

This is looking like it will be an impressive event, so do consider making the trip out to Arizona.

All Con

There’s an upcoming event that’s sure to be of interest to Texas Steampunks, especially those in the DFW area. The next big event for local Steampunks is coming up in March with the Dallas All-Con on the 18th, 19th, and 20th. While All-Con itself is not an explicitly Steampunk convention, this year’s mascot is definitely Steampunk.


I know a number of local airships are planning to be in attendance, including my crew. The Marquis of Vaudeville will also be performing, so if you loved them at A Clockwork Wonderland, you definitely don’t want to miss this show either. There’s definitely going to be plenty of Steampunks that appear out of the woodworks for this, so be sure not to miss it if you live anywhere near Dallas.

All-Con will be held at the Dallas North Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison, Texas. To register for the convention, please click here.

Steampunk Events in 2011

As 2010 draws to a close tonight, it’s time to start planning your adventures for 2011. 2010 was a great year for Steampunk and from the looks of events already being planned, 2011 is going to be be an even better year.

Before I started blogging, I always seemed to find out about events too late to attend or after they had happened. This, of course, didn’t really help me to get out to Steampunk events and meet people. To help you make those all important plans, today’s post is a quick list of all of the major Steampunk conventions of which I am presently aware in the works for 2011. I’m sure more information will follow as the events approach, but this is just to help you start planning for another year of Steampunk adventure.

I’m sure I’ve missed some, but these are just some of the many Steampunk conventions in the works for 2011. It looks like it’s going to to be an adventure filled year!

Steamcon II The Aftermath

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.

Panels

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.

The People!

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.

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For many more amazing photographs from the convention, check out Steamcon II’s Flickr account.