Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!



A brief post to wish everyone good tidings and a prosperity for the New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

RL Steampunk New Years Eve Events



For those fortunate enough to be near one of the following locales, one can  indulge in a new decade by re-living a different time - say about 120 years ago!  The below venues will be hosting New Years Eve celebrations, so if you happen to be one of the lucky partiers - kudos for next year, sir or madam!



What: New Year's Eve at the Way Station
Starting at: 7 pm
Where: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NYC

The East Coast's largest city will host a get-together on New Years Eve!  For more information, pricing, events and more, please visit their website, at http://waystationbk.blogspot.com/



What: The Clockwork Ball
Starting at: before midnight
Where: Mansion 462, Chapel Hill, NC

Hosted by the Davneport sisters (of the Clockwork Caberet fame), The Clockwork Ball looks to be a wonderfully entertaining evening!  For more details on this event, please visit the Clockwork Ball's Myspace Page, located at: http://www.myspace.com/theclockworkball



What: New Year's Eve Nautilist's Ball at the Edison
Starting at: 8 pm
Where: The Edison, Los Angeles, California

Per their very own description...
"The Edison celebrates the art of invention!  
Featuring Abney Park, DJ Imagika, and a host of Eccentriques!"


Do make it a point of visiting the venue websites for any entrance fees and/or changes to their schedules!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Advertisements on the Heliograph



A collection of Victorian Trade cards, circa 1890-1900


Over the past couple of weeks, I've been approached by differing individuals, regarding advertising on the Heliograph's merchant sidebar.  After a bit of foot-dragging as to what to do about it, I have decided to proceed with the following changes…

1) If you currently have an advertisement on the merchant's sidebar, please send me an email or IM, to ensure your endeavor is still active, and a bit of information about additional changes to the postings.  If a merchant does not contact me by the first week of January, I will assume they are no longer interested on a space on the sidebar.

2) If you are an SL merchant (regardless of your location - e.g. Caledon, New Babbage, Armada, ect…) and wish to promote your SL Steampunk or Neo-Victorian enterprise on the Heliograph, please contact me at rafael_fabre@yahoo.com .  I previously limited the adverts to New Babbage, but in retrospect realize I should have been more inclusive when considering said items.

3) Finally, I am considering adding one or two more real world Steampunk advertisements, so if you are a real world Steampunk merchant (including Esty crafters) and wish to put up a spot, please contact me at the above email.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Babbage Xmas



Part 1 of 6

New Babbage's own Dr. Obolensky authored his misdeeds during the Christmas holidays - and was kind enough to present them in full color!  Please do enjoy his dastardly doings and his eventual come-up-pence!
(Do click on each photo, as they are a tad challenging to read due to Blogger's formatting - ty!)



Part 2 of 6



Part 3 of 6



Part 4 of 6



Part 5 of 6




Part 6 of 6 (fin)

A thanks to the good doctor and the residents who took the time to participate in the above adventure!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Poll Question: Who best represents Sherlock Holmes?



Christmas saw the opening of Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes, and reviews of the production are racing about the internet, with film critics, doing what they do best - criticize other's work.  To my surprise, there are a good number of positive reviews, including by members of one of the oldest Sherlock Holmes fan groups, the Baker Street Irregulars, were quite positive.



A CNN review of Holmes, which consulted the Irregulars, was very enlightening.  Many of the details which comprised the "common" perception, such as Dr. Watson being a bumbling sidekick, vice the manner in which he was portrayed in the written form (e.g. an intelligent military gentleman with an athletic background and with a patience for Mr. Holmes' mannerisms), was an enlightenment.



Interestingly, the new movie is not based on one of the cannon stories of the Sherlock Holmes background, but a new story based on ritualistic murders in London.  Additionally, Mr. Holmes' opponent is a Lord Blackwood, not Professor Moriarty (though the "blogosphere" is rife with rumors of Brad Pitt possibly appearing in a follow-up movie as the infamous nemesis).

With all this in consideration, and with the plethora of links to the movie, I simply had to ask the next poll question a tad early… which incarnation of Sherlock Holmes is your favorite?  I am focusing on the "media" version (e.g. theatre, television, film) portrayals, for the purposes of this particular inquiry.

~~~~~~~~~~

The primary choices offered are…



Basil Rathbone: Numerous Sherlock Holmes movies, during the 1940s and 1950s


The first long-running portrayal of Mr. Holmes, in film form. More information located...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathbone-Bruce_Sherlock_Holmes_films



(The episode "Mother Hubbard Case", part 1... the remainder, as well as other episodes are posted as well.)


~~~~~~~~~~



Peter Cushing: Numerous film productions during the 1960s and early 1970s


More information on the legendary actor's portrayal are located at the "Baker Street Dozen's" website, at:
http://www.bakerstreetdozen.com/Cushing1.html




(From Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle, 1968)


~~~~~~~~~~



Jeremy Brett: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984 - 1994)

An outstanding series which eventually made its way to the US, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is 
perhaps the one of the best known portrayals of Mr. Holmes to modern viewers. For more information, please visit the Wiki, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes_(1984_TV_Series)



(From "A Scandal in Bohemia" - one of my favorite parts is the introduction, which includes the intriguing portrayals of Victorian London, with Mr. Holmes looking on.)

~~~~~~~~~~





Robert Downey Jr: Sherlock Holmes (2009)
The newest incarnation, featured in its full trailer, and with plenty of reviews just below...



As usual, I've included an "other" category, in case one decides that the previous choices do not appropriately reflect one's view of Mr. Holmes.  For a more comprehensive listing of actors who have portrayed him, please turn to the appropriate Wiki page.

For further information regarding the recently released movie, please visit the following…

Movie Reviews:
CNN Entertainment
Christian Science Monitor
LA Times
BBC
Seattle PI / Film.com:
… and of course, there is Google Entertainment (which has plenty of shills and critics).

Sherlock Holmes Websites:
Sherlock Holmes Public Library
Arthur Conan Doyle Society
Gutenburg Online (A large selection of novels are located here)
Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Baker Street Journal
The Baker Street Dozen

And as a final note, in the Virtual Worlds...



Mr. Holmes in "The Roofs of Clockhaven" (by Mr. Koskinen)

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention New Babbage's own Sherlock Holmes (Mr. Elina Koskinen).  To lift a bit from his New Babbage Ning's narrative...

Mr. Sherlock Holmes lives in 221B Perdido Street, right beside the Kahruvel Steamworks and the Pearsed & Cut Gentlemen's clothing store, in New Babbage Square.  He shares a flat with his good friend and companion, Dr. John H. Watson.



Taking Tea, (Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson, Captain Red, and Professor Kaligawa), 
(by Mr. Koskinen)

The great detective fame extends into the virtual worlds as well... with a bit of luck, perhaps we shall see a virtual world episode of the great detective's work!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Heliograph!



Just a brief "Merry Christmas" for all who visit this small corner of the internet, and their family and friends, fair tidings for the holiday season!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Victorian Literature: The Diary of a Murder



Received word about an outstanding read (which I am currently indulging in), titled "The Diary of a Murder", by Mr. Lee Jackson.  An era specific mystery, it is available in a number of forms (e.g. electronic, including Kindle, print, ect...) and is, quite kindly of the author, free of charge (though donations for his hard work would always be appreciated)!  Do take the time and read Mr. Jackson's latest work, located at: http://www.victorianlondon.org/diary/index.htm

For those who may not know, Mr. Jackson is also the source behind one of the internet's best known Victorian era blogs, The Cat Meat's Shop, and the editor of the seminal source of online Victorian London perspicacity, The Victorian Dictionary.  Most fiction (especially Steampunk) contains a seed of truth, so take a moment to go to the seed store, and discover a few (or a good number) of kernels of knowledge about Steampunk's signature city!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Heliograph received the "One Lovely Blog" award




Earlier this week the Heliograph was fortunate enough to received the "One Lovely Blog" award!  Quite unexpected, but I'm quite flattered that this little corner is though well enough to be mentioned.  My thanks, Miss Velvet!

Additionally, she has a regular series on her site, and a selection of quite outstanding blogs at the vvb32 reads blog, located at: http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Steampunk Personalities: Mr. Mac MaGowan, Steampunk Designer



Found an interesting story about a gentleman who overcame challenges he was facing to open an enterprise designing and producing exceptionally eye-catching Steampunk pieces.  His full story was covered by Oregon's Statesman Journal, and can be found: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20091220/LIFE/912200307/1001/NEWS

The gentleman has a website in which one can see his work, at: http://www.steambaby.net/

... see more of his works at his Flickr site...

... or at the ever trusty Stemapunk Empire Ning, at:

Kudos on your entrepreneurial spirit, sir!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Steam Santa comes to New Babbage!



During the weekend's Piermont Landing's "Steel Welding" Ball, merry old Steam Santa came and paid a visit to New Babbage, with his Boiler Elf, to listen to the Christmas wishes of all the urchins of New Babbage, including Tiny Tim.

Not only is the production an excellent work by our dedicated Mr. Loki Eliot, but it also shows quite a bit of the City-State.  Do enjoy this fine endeavor!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steampunk Christmas Shopping: The Evolution Store





Curio Cabinet with animal skulls

During this holiday season there have been numerous accounts of Steampunk items for those "steamy" Christmas lists, with items that are - well, just nice.  Personally, I have always felt that if one has a place in their abode for their Steampunk items (or perhaps the entire domicile, if they are lucky), then there should be a piece or two that makes the average person say, "What in tarnation is that!?"





Bronze Lobster with an Abalone Tail

Often times, imo, those types of items might be along the lines of preserved scientific displays, of whatever sort catches a person's eye.  A starting point for said items could easily be the "The Evolution Store", located in beautiful (and currently snowy) New York City.





Fish skeleton on a very nice display

This store specialized in preserved items, or as their introduction states…"Evolution sells unique natural history collectibles, usually only seen in museums.  These include butterflies and beetles, fossils, seashells, skulls and skeletons, medical models, and tribal art."  And they have quite the collection to indulge in!




Replica human skull with a calvarian cut and optional removable brain

A visit to the site shows only a small portion of the items in their collection… even so, it is extremely impressive!  From anatomical niceties (e.g. replicas of skulls and brains for educational and decorative uses) to fossils from ferocious dinosaurs, from mounted butterfly displays to preserved sharks in a jar, there is something for everyone.  If you might be having difficulties choosing, they provide an easy holiday gift guide, to assist in locating the perfect item!






A friendly little Piranha

With a choice selection, the fortunate owner can not only explain what the item is, but also a little of the background about it (perhaps even in a stuffy academician voice… "Ah, yes, this little fellow is a "Geryi-Geryi" piranha from the upper Amazon waterways - it can easily sever a man's finger with a single bite!  So be careful - buah, haha!"





Men's skull ring made, with a top of Walrus Ivory

With a cacophony of unique, strange, (and sometimes disturbing items - so do be cautions in the taxidermy section, depending on your constitution, please), the Evolution Store is an excellent locale for that "unique item" for Christmas.  I would easily argue that the Evolution Store has a wide selection of not only era items (Steampunk/Victorian), but they are the type that will have your modern compatriot doing the proverbial double take.  To visit their website, please go to: http://theevolutionstore.com/





Mounted Raccoon Penis Bones (I did a double take on this one!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Events: 19-20 December, 2009



This week has a number of  major Christmas events in store this weekend, beginning with....



What: Caledon's Winter's Night Ball
When: 12-2 pm SLT and 6-8 pm SLT, Saturday 19th
(Two sessons - one Euro, one US)
Where: Caledon Oxbridge

The first and third events of the day start in the Independent State - the Caledon Oxbridge Gateway's Winter's Night Ball.  With two events, there is plenty of opportunity to attend what looks to be an outstanding gathering!  For more information, please visit: http://newbabbage.ning.com/forum/topics/winters-night-ball-in-oxbridge



What: The Antiquity Christmas Ball
When: 1pm SLT, Saturday the 19th, 2009
Where: The Grand Ballroom, Antiquity Township

Followed by the Antiquity Christmas Ball, in the amazing Antiquity Grand Ballroom.
A perennial favorite of the Steamland's Christmas events, start your day out with a visit to the day's next major event!



What: The Steam Santa and his Hard Working Elf Steel Welding and Ice Skating Ball
When: 2 - 5 pm SLT, Saturday the 19th of December
Where: The Piermont Landing, Wheatstone Waterways, New Babbage

Its time for New Babbage's premier monthly event, with the Piermont Landing December theme of "The Steam Santa and his Hard Working Elf, and Ice Skating Ball".  Contrary to rumors, the Clockwinder is not the elf, but regardless, I'm confident it will prove to be as popular as ever.  A note to remember, this is an "early" ball - it will start at 2pm SLT, vice the previous balls, which started at 6pm STL - so plan according!  For more information, please visit: http://newbabbage.ning.com/events/piermont-landing-presentsthe




What: Mieville's Steamy Christmas
When: 6pm SLT, Saturday 19th
Where: Mieville Poe, Mieville

A Yuletime party and dance at the STEAM center of activity in Mieville, it will also feature the new venue, the  Blackbird.  Do pay a visit to the first of many more soirees to come in Mieville!




Snowy Violet, by Miss Scarlet Southpaw

What: Winter Wonderland, hosted by DJ Friday
When: 6:30 to 8:30 pm SLT, Saturday, the 19th of December
Where: The Wheelhouse, Armada Breakaway

To quote the Armada Ning..."Cozy up with another DJ Friday and DJ Remi Thursday and celebrate the holiday season.  This week's theme is "Winter Wonderland", with prizes for the best winter-themed outfit and random trivia throughout the night!  For more info and a LM, please visit: http://armada.ning.com/xn/detail/2724255:Event:15901?xg_source=activity




What: Battle Storm!
When: 7:30 pm SLT, Saturday the 19th of December
Where: The Obsidian Sea, Steeltopia

Seeking to provide others with a different type of Christmas cheer?  Get your ironclad and visit the Obsidian Sea for an exchange of Christmas gifts and cheer (in the form of cannon balls)!  For more information, please visit: http://steeltopiaempire.ning.com/profiles/blogs/battle-storm-saturdays





What: The Grand Opening of the Perdido Turkish Baths
When: Starting at 10:30 am, SLT, and running until 1:30 pm SLT, Sunday the 20th of December
Where: Perdido Street, Babbage Square, New Babbage

A unique pair of events, beginning with the "Turkish Bath Lady's Tour", from 10:30 am to 11:45 am, consisting of a preview expressly for ladies, followed by the official Grand Opening of the Turkish Baths, from 12:00 (noon) SLT to 1:30 pm SLT.  Fore more information, please visit: http://newbabbage.ning.com/events/turkish-bath-general-tour-and




What: December's Aether Salon - "Shanghaied"
When: 2 pm SLT, Sunday the 20th of December
Where: Steelhead Shanghai, Steelhead

A change of pace for the Aether Salon, both being outside of New Babbage and providing a more detailed insight of Steelhead Shanghai.  For more information, please visit: http://aethersalon.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Steampunk Media: Exhibition Hall, a Steampunk fanzine



I have been gravely remiss in not listing an outstanding Steampunk source, Exhibition Hall.  Its own description goes...

"... bringing articles from everything from fashion and music to literature and technology.  It is jam-packed with art and writing from good folk from around the world!"

... a substantial claim, but the quality of work holds its veracity.  From interviews with the Davenport Sisters (The Clockwork Cabaret) and Mr. B (The Gentleman Rhymer), to in depth RL Steampunk articles, fiction reviews, and much more, the depth of the Exhibition Hall is impressive.  Excellent writing, excellent photography - outstanding over all!  Do take a moment... well, perhaps an hour or so, and read the four issues which have been published to this point.  I'm confident you'll find it worth you while!  For more Steampunk information, please turn to:  http://www.efanzines.com/ExhibHall/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Steampunk Fashion: An introspective by the League of S.T.E.A.M.



A very interesting interview from the members of the League of S.T.E.A.M., they discuss the methods and influences on their Steampunk attire. In addition to reflecting on inspirations, they also discuss methodology and techniques they used to complete their wardrobe. Most certainly an informative work!

For more details on the League of S.T.E.A.M., please turn to their website (http://www.leagueofsteam.com/)  for more on this unique of Steampunk individuals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Babbage Real Estate vacancies



Map of New Babbage, 2009, by Tinus Koskien

Recently, a few new parcels of land have come available, just north of Wheatstone Waterways, in the "New Babbage" sim, in New Babbage (somewhat like New York, New York, I suppose).  As such, I am posting a brief listing of them, along with a superlative map of New Babbage.  Regardless if one is interested in a "vast swath of land" or simply a corner of the City-State, the window of opportunity to do so certainly open for action!


New Babbage # 17, Flat land on a canal edge, (1712 sqm / 469p  - L$1000/wk - asking L$8500)
New Babbage # 23, Flat lot (2064 sqm / 566 p - L$1200/wk - asking L$ 10k)
New Babbage # 22, Hillside on North Edge (1040 sqm / 286p - L$ 600/wk - asking L$ 5200)
New Babbage # 19, Cliff (2064 sqm / 566 p - L$ 1200/wk - asking L$ 10k)
New Babbage # 20, Hillside (1712 sqm (narrow) / 469p - L$ 1000/wk - asking L$8500)
New Babbage # 21, Lower Cliff on NW corner (2064 sqm / 566p - L$ 1200 - asking L$10k)
New Babbage #   9, Iron Bay waterfront corner lot (2064 sqm / 566p - L$1200 - asking 5k), Build included in sale
Babbage Palisade - Peacock Place (2048 sqm / 936p - L$ 2000 - asking L$ 10k)  Faces main street (Academy Downs)

Numerous rentals (including the Lemony Snicket House and the Underbridge Cottage) are also available!  For more details, please visit:

Monday, December 14, 2009

The end of the line for the Orient Express




An early advertisement for the Orient Express.

Terrible news!  One of the world's classic standards of luxury in travel, the Orient Express, is making its last trip today.  Established in the 1880's, the Orient Express was considered an iconic means of travel which would take one from London or Paris to Istanbul.



The means to enter 19th Century luxury.

Sadly, its is meeting its demise due to quicker TVGs and discount airlines.  I would contend that the OE set the standard for elegant long distance travel in confined areas (providing a template for some Steampunk's airship interiors), and its loss is a small and disapointing notice of the disappearance of another era.



The interior of one of the Orient Express' luxury cars.


For more details on the Orient Express' last trip, please visit:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121365224
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/06/orient-express-scrapped-final-journey
http://www.jaunted.com/story/2009/12/7/13152/7148/travel/The+Orient+Express+Train+Loses+Steam,+Finally+Calls+It+Quits
http://www.pragmatik.org/blog/2009/12/r-i-p-orient-express/

and a bit of historical background on the Orient Express is located here:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/petroctrelawny/100005497/the-orient-express-reaches-the-buffers/

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The latest poll results, and the next question...



Steampunk Couple, by ~ysa

The question of "magic" in Steampunk has perplexed me for quite a while.  Steampunk tends to focus on alternate technologies (e.g. steam, cavorite, clockwork devices, ect…) as part of the rationale behind the "amazing vehicles", vice the tradition use of magic to attain the same results (e.g. spells, incantations, and the like).  Most associate magic with fantasy genres of fiction, and not usually Steampunk fiction.  However, I'm guess that China Mieville's works (e.g. Perdido Street Station, The Scar, ect…) began carving out an acceptance of "magic in Steampunk" as a more recognized option for Steampunk writings.  To briefly recap the prevalence of magic in Steampunk, described a bit more in detail at: (http://voyagesofdrfabre.blogspot.com/2009/11/results-of-latest-poll-and-next.html)…

No Magic = No magic (38 votes / 21% of respondents)
Rare, if any at all = Essentially stage magic, slight of hand, but nothing beyond this limitation (70 votes / 38% of respondents)
Some Magic = Mythos (the Cthulhu mythos generally), mythical beings (e.g. vampires, Frankenstein beings, ect…) (45 votes / 25% of respondents)
Magic is Common = Magic and the Supernatural is known to the general populace, but is only available to a select few. (21 votes / 17% of respondents)
Very Common = Magic is an integral part of Steampunk, an essential part of the genre (6 votes / 3% of respondents).



Steampunk Pinup, by ~allicia

The first two categories would at first blush seem to be one in the same, but I would argue that at a minimum the second ("rare, if any at all" category) would have more a focus on the unexplainable (e.g. a al Harry Houdini / magician), where the average person can see something unexplainable, but know that there is a realistic, understandable secret (e.g. in Steampunk, some kind of device to assist the magician), vice the use of prototypical "magic" to achieve an end.

The "some magic" certainly fits those who enjoy the more "unexplainable" aspect of the Victorian / Neo-Victorian / Steampunk genre.  Starting with the classic Frankenstein (reanimation + electricity… ok, a bit of grave robbing and "Abby normal" brains as well), Vampires (which aren't exactly Steampunk, but are certainly of the Steampunk (late Victorian) era), and continuing to the Cthuhlu mythos.  The last category seems to have really enmeshed itself with the classic Chaosium Game's "Cthuhlu by Gaslight" (1988).

The last two categories garnered less votes that I had originally believed they would, as I theorized the description of the Steampunk/Magic backgrounds (specifically Mieville's) would hold more sway - but I was wrong, apparently.  (I figured about ¼ of the total vote - though 20% combined is somewhat close, I suppose).



Steampunk Christmas Ornament 2, by =ValerianaSolaris

Well… on to the next question, one I've started a bit late in the season, but I'll go ahead with anyways.  While awaiting for a televised sporting event to start, I began watching the Dickens' holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol", with the Christmas ghosts visiting an old miser, set in the Victorian era.  I happened to be enjoying the MGM 1938 version, with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge.  Upon visiting the Wiki for it, I had no idea how many times it had been remade on film (21 times to be exact).  So… which version of "A Christmas Carol" is your favorite?  The choices on the list (and their descriptions) are…

1938 film version, with Reginald Owen as Scrooge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol_(1938_film)
1951 film version, "Scrooge", with Alastair Sim as Scrooge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrooge_(1951_film)
1971 animated version, with Alastair Sim as the voice of Scrooge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol_(1971_film)
2009 CGI film version, with Jim Carrey as Scrooge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol_(2009_film)
Other - encompasses any other versions of the film (yes, including musical versions, the "Muppet Christmas Carol", and not to omit "Barbie in a Christmas Carol" - not Steampunk, but I assume there are fans of it.)
       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_A_Christmas_Carol_adaptations 

I'll keep the voting open up to the end of the year, so please take the opportunity to vote!



Steampunk my cat, by *Gothic-Enchantress