The Airship Awards Nominations are Open

Since Steamcon II, the Airship Awards has been an event to recognize the best and most outstanding in the Steampunk subculture. In the inaugural awards banquet, some of the most influential Steampunks were recognized for their contributions to the community, including Jake Von Slatt, the creators of Girl Genius, Alan Moore, Captain Robert and Abney Park as a whole.

Nominations are now open for this year’s Airship Awards are now open for a variety of categories.

My dear friend Jordan Bodewell of Sepiachord has announced his desire to be nominated for the Aural Award which encompasses, “Any aural piece of work, including but not limited to: Bands, songs, musicians, music videos, etc.”

I would like to enthusiastically endorse his quest for this nomination. Jordan and Sepiachord does much for the Steampunk music genre and the many talented and independent artists within it. If you happen to value the wonderful work that Sepiachord does for Steampunk music, please consider going over to the Airship Awards nominations section and writing in Sepiachord into the Aural category.

And while you are there, make sure to make worthy picks for all the other sections. Steampunk has so many wonderful facets, so it’s hard to pick just one representative for each category, but follow your heart and pick the best by your judgement!

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.

SteamCon II : Steamphunk Synchronic

Even though it’s been months since the end of Steamcon II, there’s still reports and material from the event still trickling in. Today’s blog post features a report done by N’Specter Phillips and Special Agent Cummings of Steamphunk Synchronic, an online magazine focusing on Steampunk events in the greater Northwest.

Ah, it brings back some wonderful memories! If you look closely, you can even see a tiny glimpse of me in the video! Many thanks to Veronique Chevalier, who brought this report to my attention.

Plans are, of course, already underway for this year’s Steamcon, Steamcon III- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. 

Photos from Steamcon II

Today marks a month (already?!) after the close of Steamcon II and while I’d drifted through the past 30 days in a post-convention daze, people have been uploading photos of their own convention exploits to the Flickr photo pool. There’s some great photos here. For those interested in seeing a bit of the convention events, the fashion, or the wonderful people who attended, this is a great resource for having a peek into Steamcon II.

Personally, I’m really glad to see that so many people have contributed to the pool. I got so excited about being at the convention that I didn’t take nearly enough photos of everything that happened while I was there. By the same token, I sincerely doubt I would have taken enough photos to be thoroughly satisfied with the number of photos I did take. At a convention where positively everyone is well dressed, photo opportunities abound.

There’s over one thousand photos in this collection, so kick back with a cup of tea and some steamy music and relive some of Steamcon II.

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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.


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.

Steamcon Updates

There’s  a little it over a month left before the start of Steamcon II, Weird Weird West, but there are some deadlines that are rapidly approaching for anyone who is still entertaining the idea of attending this event.

You can still buy your registration, and ticket prices as listed will remain as such until November 7th. Make sure you buy ahead of time, however, because last year they sold out entirely, and it would be terrible to find yourself in a similar situation this year.

Event tickets are now on sale for those who have bough their registration to the convention. This includes events such as the Abney Park concert, the fashion show and tea party, and a seat at the first annual Airship Awards.

Hotel Rooms blocks are all booked at the Marriott, but there’s still space at the Hilton to reserve a room for the event. And don’t worry, even though Steamcon was originally held at the Marriott, the Hilton will still have cool people staying there, myself included! The Hilton will host panels, the art exhibition, the concert and much more. The low convention rate will only be available through October 29th, so act now.

Though a complete schedule of events has not been entirely hammered out, Diana Vick has posted a rough outline to the Steamcon forums which I found helpful in planning my various ensembles for the weekend. She said:

Unfortunately, it takes a very long time to hammer out all the details of a conventions schedule. We won’t be able to put that up until just a week or two before the con. I can tell you a few things, but even they may change. The con starts Friday at noon. There will be plenty of things going on from then until Sunday around 4:00 when we officially stop. The art show, vendors room, panels, games and many more things will be going Friday-Sunday. On Friday night there will be a Riverboat Gambler Night, a banquet and a dance along with other things. On Saturday night there will be a cotillion, a concert and lots of other things. I hope that helps you to some degree.

There’s also been talk of a Landing party on Thursday and a wake on Sunday evening for people (like me!) who intend to come early and leave late.

Advertising at SteamCon II

Attention all owners of Steampunk merchants, organizers, and artists! The programming paper for SteamCon II is accepting applications to place ads in their paper. Whether you are going to be at the convention or not, this is an excellent opportunity to inform a large Steampunk community about your business, band, website, or any other group that would excite Steampunks.

Pricing for these adds are quite reasonable, and likely to be worth your investment. I know I’ll be pouring over the advertisements there to find new people and undertakings to feature here at Trial By Steam.

For more information about the Program Book, please click here. For the application itself, please click here. The deadline to submit your advertisement for inclusion in SteamCon II’s program paper is August 31, 2010. You can submit your ad request to with the subject: “Steamcon Program Ad” and your business/organization name.

SteamCon T-Shirt Contest

Calling all visual artists! SteamCon II is looking for an artist of impeccable talent and taste to design this year’s convention t-shirt. Here’s the low down on this contest taken from their Live Journal community:

Who is eligible: Anyone who wishes to submit a t-shirt design.
Deadline: Submissions must be emailed to by September 1st.
Design specs: Full color, Size: anywhere from 8″ x 8″ up to 8.5″ x 11″. Initial submissions should be jpegs of 100 DPI. The final art will need to be Photoshop files with the layers or bitmaps or tiff or comparable; at 300 DPI. We will request those of the winner after judging takes place. The shirt should say “Steamcon II” in roman numerals and a serif font. Any other text is optional, but it can have the date and “Weird, Weird West” as well. Designs will be printed on a dark colored t-shirt either black or dark brown, so take this in to account when designing.
Reward: A membership to Steamcon 2, a pair of concert tickets for the Saturday concert at Steamcon II, two free t-shirts and your name on the chests of steampunks everywhere! (If contest winner is unable to attend Steamcon 2, all rewards can be transferred to Steamcon 3 or they may receive current equivalent monetary compensation.)

If you have any questions, email

A membership and a pair of tickets to the Saturday night concert (which, for all of you who haven’t been on this SteamCon site, happens to be Abney Park)?!

*shakes fist* Why can’t I draw!?

While I already have  my membership in tow, I certianly wouldn’t complain about having tickets to the Abney Park concert before they go on sale to anyone else.  No, I don’t anticipate I would have a problem with that at all. So, for all you artists out there, go ahead and submit a design for their consideration. Best of luck!

And just so that you all know, I was halfway through a Microsoft paint project to show you all just how bad my t-shirt design would be, before I decided to spare you all the horror and me the humiliation. It involved a stick figure cowboy with a swollen gland on the side of his face very reminiscent of John McCain, and a terrible attempt at gear, that ended up looking more like a sun. So, yeah.

SteamCon Forums

More SteamCon updates, yay! Can you tell I’m excited?

The forum for SteamCon II is now open. For everything from arranging for rides and room mates, to having all your con questions answered and meeting some of this year’s con-goers, you’ll find lots of information on the forum as it gets off and rolling. Things are a bit quiet there right now, but be patient and give it some time. It’s sure to evolve into a wonderful resource for all things SteamCon.

I have a feeling I’m going to be hanging around there quite a bit as the countdown timer on my computer ticks ever closer to SteamCon. If you’ve had a nagging question about the con, this is a great place to go to consult fellow con-goers and organizers.

Also, just as a friendly reminder, the prices for SteamCon memberships go up on July 1st. This is you last opportunity to register for your tickets as the cheapest price available before they start to climb throughout the summer and fall. So go reserve your tickets straight away! You’ll be glad you did.

SteamCon II Couture

Ah! All this talk about conventions has gotten me incredibly excited for the next convention on my circuit, SteamCon II. I’ve already booked my flight and hotel for what will certainly be a thrilling week of Steampunk misadventure. In browsing through their site once again, I discovered that the Couture section of SteamCon’s website had been updated!

This year, there are going to be two teas and fashion shows. According to the website:

One tea will be a classic high tea with the fashion show focused on elegant evening wear and formal frocks. The other tea party will be more akin to the convention’s theme of The Weird, Weird West. This tea will be a leisurely and informal style. The accompanying fashion show will feature the rough and tumble edge of steampunk with a focus on men’s wear and utilitarian looks.

I’m more inclined to go to the high tea because 1) I don’t really care for American West Steampunk 2) I am not a man and 3) I’m always interested to see how people decide to enmesh the Steam and Punk aspects into formal wear. For me, Steampunk fashion is a combination of the two aspects, not just Steam, and not just Punk. Both are equally important to create our unique look and make us stand out from the Neo-Victorians. But that’s just me.

Anyway! The applications for both designers and models to be showcased in SteamCon II’s fashion shows are now online.

Designers, click here for your application. Models, click here. Please be sure to visit the Couture section of SteamCon’s website for the full listing of the their rules and expectations regarding your application and submissions. I do hope to see some of my reader’s and/or designs on the SteamCon II catwalk, so let me be the first to wish you all good luck!