Monday, January 31, 2011

Steampunk Music on CD Baby...


Came across news that CD Baby now has a "genre listing" for Steampunk music!  Mr. M. Rossmore mentioned on Music for Steampunk (on Facebook) that he had been contacted with regards to an excellent selection of musical performers and their endeavors (some you likely know, some new), and their associated narratives, of course.  If you have a moment, do take a peek at CD Baby, which is located at: http://www.cdbaby.com/Playlist/423


(A "Tip-of-the-Hat" to Mr. M. Rossmore for bring this news to light - kudos, sir!)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steampunk Events for February, 2011



As the 2011 continues, there appears to be a very full slate of events throughout it - with the quantity of these increasing this month.  I've included a few below, but if I have missed an event, please do let me know so I might be able to get the word out to "all hands"!



February 4th - TempleCon 2011 (Warwick, RI) – Feb 4
http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events/templecon-2011


February 4th - Nickel Children Screening @ Zeitgeist (New Orleans)
http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events/nickel-children-screening-at


February 4th-6th - Steampunk Theater and Illusion Show (Franklin, PA)
        http://www.nelsonillusions.com/



February 9th - A Night of Cello Bows and Feminine Woes (London)
        http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events/a-night-of-cello-bows-and
        http://manchester.gumtree.com/manchester/16/72260716.html
        http://www.unwoman.com/



February 11th - My Broken Valentine: The Davenport Follies (Pittsboro, NC)



February 12th - Les Voyages Extrordinaire (San Diego)
http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events/les-voyages-extraordinares


February 12th - The Clockwork Ball (Pittsboro, NC)


February 13 - The Rose City Steampunk Film Festival
        http://steampunkfilmpdx.com/
        http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/profile/pdxsteampunkff


February 25th to 27th - AnachroCon 2011: The Southern Steampunk Symposium (Atlanta)        
        http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events/anachrocon-2011-the-southern



Though this is a small tidbit of events taking place, if you would care for a more comprehensive schedule of Steampunk events, I would certainly recommend a visit to the Events page of the Steampunk Empire, located here: http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/events

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Third Found's Week Ball tonight @ 6pm SLT, in New Babbage...


Bit of a late post, but this evening will see the hosting of the 3rd Annual Founder's Week Ball, at the Piermont Landing in Wheatstone Waterways, New Babbage, celebrating the third year of the establishment of the Independent City-State.  If you happen to have the opportunity, make it a point of stopping by tonight!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Steampunk Home in the final running for the "Homies", for 2011!


The Steampunk Home, one of the longest running Steampunk blogs (predating this small corner), has made it to the final running for the "Homies"!  The Homies are backed by ApartemntTherapy.com, an interior decorating site which focuses, as one can expect, on apartments.  The Steampunk Home is in its mix for "Best Home Design Blog of 2010" (for the rare Steampunk enthusiast who may have not visit the Steampunk Home, please do so, at:http://thesteampunkhome.blogspot.com/)  Miss Brumfield (the blog's author) has serious competition in the running, so please do take a moment and place your vote for her!  There is a brief registration (free, and a simple e-mail verification is all that is required), but after that, its a simple choice!

To vote, please follow this link...
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/the-homies-best-home-design-blog-of-2011-submit-your-nominations-137078.  Voting ends on February 3rd, so please do take the time to do so!

As of Friday afternoon, the voting is as...


(Ed note - A slow start, but I'm certain that it'll pick up!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today: Steampunk Civil War, Language Challenge, and more!


The first topic today is an upcoming RTS/FPS (Real Time Strategy / First Person Shooter) combination titled "Gettysburg: Armored Warfare".  Perhaps one of the tropes of many a Steampunk scenario is Steampunk technology in the Civil War.  Gettysburg: Armored warfare provides the opportunity to fight in the era, but with Steam technology - Zeppelins, Walkers, and more!  Its release isn't until mid to late 2011 (though there are rumblings of a "free trial" version online in the future), but you can visit a few technology sites with longer write-ups at the following locations....


Next, the outstanding blog "Multiculturalism for Steampunk", there is a new endeavor for the month of February!  The Great Language Learning Challenge is an effort to encourage Steampunk individuals to become acquainted with a new language of their choice.  I would heartily recommend a visit to their website and sign up at the facebook location - after all, Google Translate doesn't play nice with Steam power!  For more details, please visit:


Finally, located a news article on Steampunk, which fortunately was not a hatchet job partially supported by tax dollars.  "Counter-Clockwise: The Past, Present, and Future of Portland Steampunk" provides a relatively evenhanded view into the Portland Steampunk happenings (and to an extent, the Pacific Northwest).  There are a few snarky comments, which is to be expected now-a-days, but overall not a bad piece, and worth a view.  To partake in said view, please visit: http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com/news/2011/01/counterclockwise_the_past_present_and_future_of_portland_steampunk/
and you can visit the Portland Steampunk Society at: http://portlandsteampunksociety.com/

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Professor Elemental's Fighting Trousers!




Found a recent Chap-hop entry from Professor Elemental - Fighting Trousers!  Part of his album The Indifference Engine (located at his website here), its and excellent production, and some even say a repartee to the outstanding talent of Mr. B.  Regardless of rumor and innuendo, his Fighting Trousers is an excellent work, and most certainly merits a viewing (or more)!


One can indulge in Fighting Trousers, his classic Cup of Brown Joy, and more of his works at his website, located at: http://professorelemental.bandcamp.com/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview With Airship Isabella: Their Past, Present, and Future


Today I have the pleasure of posting an intriguing article from Admiral Ramon del Mar, regarding the Airship Isabella.  This abbreviated thumbnail interview highlights the background of the good airship, and its endeavors...

Airship Isabella has become quite a sensation as a Steampunk Performance Art Airship in Texas, the surrounding states, and at many conventions throughout the country. This has happened in an amazingly short amount of time through hard work and consistent effort to perform and spend time with fans at all the conventions. They also are willing to go to conventions too remote to generally receive a visit from say, “The League of Steam”.

Airship Isabella has built a great fan base and has risen to the point where they can expect to be welcomed as one of the Guest Celebrity Groups at any convention or event they choose to attend in little over a year. They state in a “You tube” video their intention to help others that want to break out of the chains on people’s minds and lives that are imposed by large corporations set to make a profit at any cost. In spite of how well known and popular they have become there are still many questions that remain unanswered about where they came from and where they are headed, so this blogger set about to put before them a rather lengthy list of questions that focus heavily on the character acting aspects of their work.

Most groups would simply use such a list as an unusually guest friendly situation where there were enough questions to answer the ones that were most comfortable and ignore the rest, but in their usual fashion, Captain Whittaker and his other half Amelia answered every question put before them quite candidly. I learned that they gathered many or most of the Airship family about them, (including Captain Delacru and the crew of their sister ship the Neo Dulcimer) to read the list of questions and get general feedback and suggestions before writing an answer to each. The list is long enough that it will be offered to several Steampunk Magazines as smaller topographical groups of interview questions with answers, but the interview will appear in it’s entirety only on the Convention Fans Blog Magazine website.


Cpt. Cedrick Whittaker, wife Amelia, and family

1. What was your first exposure to Steampunk as an actual subculture. (as opposed to say Steampunk movies or fiction books)

Ikkicon IV, officially. But even then we didn’t necessarily see it as a subculture, but more as an aesthetic movement. Events of that weekend did, however, cement in our minds that there was a definite attitude about steampunk, specifically that it was a snobby, elitist white movement that we wanted nothing to do with. We also realized that weekend that there were many people in the steampunk movement that wanted to see that change. As we started talking to people, we made it our personal mission to change that attitude and belief. A lot of our personal philosophies of what the steampunk subculture is and should be developed out of that convention and grew as we realized there were many other groups with the same ideas.

2. When did you first encounter people in steampunk attire that was distinctive enough to really draw attention and what effect did it have on you?

In the Summer of 2008, we had a friend who called us and said “I found your people!” She told us to look up steampunk on the internet, and we were immediately enthralled. I had been wearing the Victorian “goth” style since the 80’s and hadn’t really given it up. Steampunk was a natural evolution and was beautiful. We were members of the Burning Flipside community at the time, and decided to do a steampunk-based theme camp, specifically, we decided to build a two story “airship” dance camp. It eventually wound up in my front yard as a 50’ X 20’ two story structure that appeared at Flipside 2009, and we called it Airship Isabella.


Airship Isabella's Crew Section (Flipside Dance Platform Project)

3. When did you first decide to develop a fictional Steampunk Character Personae, and what do you think motivated you to do so.

We first decided to build characters after Flipside 2009. Originally, it was just and extension of the inspiration that the steampunk aesthetic had infused within us. Then it developed into who we would be within the crew, and grew from there.

4. What prompted your choices in development of your personal character?

We based most of our characters on the people portraying them. It’s always easier to act as someone you truly understand. So most of the characters are bigger than life versions of ourselves. We have our vampires and a clockwork doll, but mostly it’s just us on steroids.

5. At what point did this Steampunk Personae become more than just a guide for wardrobe development and begin to be a character you acted out or used as a personality pattern to guide your responses or behaviors in a public setting.

From the very beginning. The personae were developed specifically for crowd interaction and performance, so it’s always been our goal to have them be dynamic characters. Before we started the circuit we had about two months of twice a week character building and acting classes. It wasn’t enough. But the characters are always growing. It was last summer that they started having a life of their own.

6. As you and your crew are best known for expertise in the creation of fabulous Steampunk Ensembles, accessories, and weapons, and for running panels/teaching classes about these skills, what would you like to share about background or previous experiences that you think helped you to develop these talents in steampunk design and fabrication?

Captain Whittaker apprenticed as a leather worker and chainmailler as a teenager and young adult in the SCA. Most of the skills he uses in building his armor come from there. He just recently began apprenticing again with an armorer. Amelia started sewing doll clothes at 4 and it has been a lifelong passion. We have quite a few incredibly talented artists. Amarante, Lulu, Captain Delacru and of course, Jonsey, have backgrounds in art. Mostly, though, all it takes is a desire to learn and create, and a willingness to practice and keep trying.


Locked and Loaded!

7. When and with what basic plan did you decide to make character acting in a public setting a significant part of your steampunk existence? Or if you do not do character acting much at this point, what other roles do you most often perform in the crew.

We have always wanted to have character play an important part in our crew. The biggest issue you are going to have, and we did have, in performing original characters is that it takes time for people to get to know your characters. We generally don’t have an hour or two with people in seats to build character and storyline. So, you have to do the leg work in advance and have distinctive appearance cues to help people enter that suspended reality.  The full article can be found at http://conventionfansblog.com


Ramon Fagan, LCSW (aka “Admiral” Ramon Leon del Mar) writes articles and reviews for Convention Fans Blog Magazine and for 6 different online Steampunk magazines as well as for his own personal blog at http://artofsteampunk.blogspot.com


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wicked Mr. Danior, a Steampunk Fairy Tale, currently in production...


Concept art for the production of "The Wicked Mr. Danior", 
by Mr. Steve Simmons

Received notice about a new Steampunk production titled "The Wicked Mr. Danior", which involves a wicked dentist and forced fae labor - the Victorian dentist part is frightful on its own merits!  As they are in the early phases of design and production, there is a  lot of work yet to be completed.  In fact, I understand  they were seeking assistance with design of a Steampunk Dentist Chair / Treatment room in the near future.  

If you would care to learn more of this intriguing endeavor, see more of the concept art, and keep up to date with the work with "The Wicked Mr. Danior", please do take a trip to the Facebook site, located at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wicked-Mr-Danior/155109691207270?v=wall

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Visit the Steampunk Family!


Were one to chart the growth of Steampunk as it enters the mainstream, more and more innovative blogs and locations are coming to the forefront of the Steampunk genre.  One such website is the Steampunk Family, an extraordinary enjoyable Stemapunk locale, which can easily occupy one's time with its many nooks and crannies!

This corner of the aethernet documents what it says - the exploits of the Steampunk Family.  Madame & Mssr. von Hedwig have built a complex and intriguing experience into their location - the header above has a unique sliding graphic which includes...

The Madam's Desk - A compendium of the Steampunk Family's stories and adventures from their abode, the airship Shoneluft, and thought from Madame Hedwig...

Steampunk Fashion - Insights into not only the appearance but the construction of Steampunk attire, including plans and designs on clothing construction (with outstanding direction on how to make a snappy fez!)...

The Airship - News and notes from the Family, including trips and excursions...

The Lab - An overview of physical projects the family are engaged in, both past and present (very nice work on the ATX power supply covers)..

and of course, the Children have their own section on the endeavor!


Additionally, they have a podcast documenting their adventures to Antafrica, and is up to its tenth episode (as of this writing).  One can download it or listen to the narration directly from their site, located at podbean!  Again, do consider a visit to their main location, which is located at: http://www.steampunkfamily.com/

(I'll be there scribbling notes about my own fantasy fez!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Art Nouveau works...



Steampunk (and Dieselpunk) are unique in one sense that they correlate to unique historical aesthetic movements.  While Dieselpunk could easily be said to be influence by Bauhaus, Art Deco, and Streamline Moderne, I would say that the major influence on Steampunk artistic scene would be Art Nouveau.  Most individuals involved with Steampunk are familiar with the classic works of Alphonse Mucha, his unique style is still practiced my many modern artists.  I did want to take a moment to highligh a few excellent examples of Art Nouveau currently on display at Deviant Art - if you wish to see more works, I'd certainly recommend starting at the Art Nouveau Club (located here)!










While I'm on the topic of Art Nouveau, Miss A.E. Flint, the author of the excellent Steampunk blog "Trial By Steam", related the unfortunate story of her relocation endeavor - and the discovery of an excellent paper design store titled Graphic 45!  I stopped by, and had to concur with her estimation of the quality of their product!  Needless to say, I would recommend a stop, and if you are not visiting Trial By Steam on a regular basis, I would recommend her blog become a new habit!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Steampunk Passion Design, by Today's Bride, Bay Area


Today's quick video is a piece by Today's Bride, Bay Area.  They did a bit on a Steampunk wedding presentation, titled "Steampunk Passion", which is a bit more along the artsy side (aka, not quite sure if an average person would have such an arrangement), but for those who may be eyeing spring nuptials, its worth a watch!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Steampunk Exhibition Ball this Saturday, 22nd of January, in Seattle, WA


The Seattle Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) will be hosting the 2011 Steampunk Exhibition Ball (which is rapidly approaching this Saturday)!  With a wide selection of live music, dancing, and beverages (there is mention of an Absinthe bar - hmm...), this year will a Beard & Mustache competition and a Fabulous Hat competition!  

For more information, please visit their website, at: http://www.steampunkexhibitionball.com/, and futher information can be found at this location!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Absinthe Ritual


Absinthe Fountain, by Boomstein

As I was reviewing some of the latest blog entries on the Steampunk Links, I came across an interesting article by Miss Michelle Black, author of the blog Welcome to the Victorian West of Michelle Black.  An accomplished writer, Miss Black touches upon the one of the standards of Steampunk - the indulgence of Absinthe.


The header for Miss Black's Blog

Many have discussed trying the beverage, and there are those who claim (or have actually) done so, but I would argue that it is one thing to simply swill said beverage, as opposed to take part of the traditional means of preparing the "green fairy".  On her blog, she provides a very insightful introduction to the method of preparing and serving Absinthe, including the "why", the "how", and a bit more of the "how" of serving.


An additional video short on Absinthe

Still, Absinthe remains a mystery to most, including myself.  I have looked about half-heartedly in the local area for a bottle, but I suppose that I may have to take a more focused look of at least trying the beverage.  I've added a number of links below to assist those who may also be interested in imbibing (safely, of course), and at the very least, there is very impressive era art regarding the drink!


Mr. Alphonse Mucha's classic absinthe poster

I fear that between Kraken Spiced Rum, my projected experiments with Absinthe, and indulging in my ever-tasty Guinness, that my RL adventures in Steampunk will burden me with a new vice.  Nonetheless, any reader insights are always welcome, and I when I progress a bit more on the absinthe project, I will be certain to post!  For more information on absinthe, please visit...

Miss Black's blog...
http://www.thevictorianwest.com/2011/01/absinthe-ritual.html

... followed by her professional website.
http://michelleblack.com/

A small piece further reviewing the absinthe ritual...
http://www.absintheoriginals.com/absinthe_ritual.html

... and a link to obtaining some for yourself!
http://www.absintheonthenet.com/servlet/StoreFront

Do consider eying the below absinthe review websites before purchasing!
http://www.absinthe-review.com/

http://www.absinthebuyersguide.com/

http://allwomenstalk.com/buy-absinthe/

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Deep, a Steampunk-esque short


Came across this unique short (via Miss Carver, from Dr. O and Miss Ying, from New Babbage's website), about the nuances of the Vernian Sea.  A very cleverly designed short, I was impressed at not just how the items were used, but also the interaction and story narrative.  I have also been able to locate an interview with Mr. Pes, along with a link to his website.  Without further ado, please do enjoy the movie!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Steampunk Fashion notes from IO9....



Going through the list of topics which I didn't have the opportunity to address earlier, I came across an IO9 article about RL Steampunk Fashion tips (aka, Steampunk Fashion on a Budget).  It provides a list of useful suggestion, though some seem a bit academic (e.g. "Be Creative" - I would assume that would be a key element of anyone desiring to build their own ensemble, vice purchasing one outright).  However, it does highlight other good tips, including advice on design (including a link to the Steampunk Fashion LJ community, moderated by the lovely Miss Evelyn Kriete, a frequent contributor to the Steampunk Tribune).



Though first printed in November of last year, the tips are certainly useful, and something I will be looking to apply as I begin my own effort at "upgrading" my genre attire.  To read the article, please visit IO9, at: http://io9.com/5661109/steampunk-on-a-budget-costumers-reveal-their-greatest-secrets

Additionally, though I have yet to explore Gaia online, their Steampunk Fashion thread is quite extensive, dating back to 2007.  Much of the 437 pages seem to be responses to previous posts, it may be a location to find a hidden gem, or at the very least garner a few ideas for personal use!  Their site starts at: http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/real-life-fashion-style/the-official-steampunk-fashion-thread-image-heavy/t.26808127_1/

Exhibition Hall to return later this year!


Making a retraction is usually a bit of an embarrassing situation, but in this case, I do gladly admit to being incorrect.  This morning I received an email from a Mr. Chris (one of the authors of Exhibition Hall), who explained that..."Exhibition Hall isn't dead... its just sleeping"!  

The team behind the Hall has been busy working on a series of projects, and therefore took a hiatus regarding the publication.  However, they anticipate having the next issue of Exhibition Hall out in a late winter / early spring time frame.  Thus, to reiterate Mr. Chris' statement (located in yesterday's comments) "...if anyone reading this is interested, send us art/articles!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A look back at Exhibition Hall, an outstanding Steampunk fanzine...


The cover of the last issue of Exhibition Hall

Sorting through a number of notes on the "to report about" list, I came across a scribble about a excellent online Steampunk magazine titled Exhibition Hall.  Running from the fall of 2009 until the fall of 2010, Exhibition Hall was notable not only for its interviews, articles, and product reviews, but it has a plethora of photography and convention reports, which in my estimation, helped highlight the ":live" Steampunk movement (as opposed to the virtual worlds), by not just showing there was a growing following that was simply having a good time, but that all age ranges were welcomed to participate.  

Sadly, its production run ended in November, and I've been unsuccessful in discovering any information regarding its possible return.  Still, the fifteen issues which comprised the Exhibition Hall series is still available, and if one desires to garner a view at an excellent look at one of the building blocks of the current Steampunk movement, at: http://efanzines.com/ExhibHall/

Friday, January 14, 2011

Steampunk in New Orleans, the Colorado Chrononauts, and an intriguing offer...


Good Day!  Wanted to take a moment to highlight two extraordinary groups in the Steamlands, starting with the Steampunk American, a New Orleans based Steampunk group from the Steampunk Capital of the South (as per the Tribune's survey).  As their introduction on the Steampunk Empire states...

"New Orleans is a truly Victorian city in America. The ships still run on steam & the Absinthe flows like water. As 1 of the last bastions of the civilized world, citizens smoke tobacco in the taverns & openly drink in the glow of the gas streetlights!"

They have a very well done website (through an organization called Wix - apparently a free web-building site), plenty of photos of their adventures in the Crescent City, and will be part of the New Orleans Comic Con, during January 29th and 30th!  To learn more about the Steampunk Americans, please turn to...


If one happens to be interested in Steampunk a bit further west, then a visit to the Colorado Chrononauts is a must!  The Colorado Chrononauts have been (XX) in the Rocky Mountains since early 2009, and their locale is a repository of intersting and unique Steampunk finds - many of which have gone unreported by most Steampunk news sources (including this yellow rag)!  From images of the impressive Visual Effect Society Award (The Melies trophy) to impressive local artisan, such as The Gold Bug, a company which designs impressive Steampunk Jewelry, a visit to the Colorado Chrononauts is most certaly time well spent!  To spend your time there, please follow the link to: http://chrononauts.org/CO/



Regarding that previously mentioned intriguing offer... Miss R. Gallowglass informed me that she owns the domain space for chrononauts.org, and is interested in hosting regional groups via the domain, for free, as a third-level domain (for example omaha.chrononauts.org or NESteamSociety.chrononauts.org, ect..).  If your regional Steampunk organization is intersted in this generous offer, please do contact Miss Gallowglass directly for more details, at she [at] chrononauts [dot] org!

Steam Racers Vehicle Demo


Came across a piece titled "Steam Racers", which is a modified UT3 (Unreal Tournament 3) , an online first-person shooter from Epic Games.  A free conversion allows the player to play in a multi-player mode (which is the only option available, unfortunately).  Looks quite ingenious, and if one happens to have a copy of UT3 they wish to take back a hundred years or so, do look into this piece of software, which is located at: http://www.steamracers.net/index.htm

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Best of 2010 Steampunk Facebook Awards


Unlike those interesting individuals who can predict the future on SyFy, one never knows what may happened day-to-day.  When I aroused from indulging on my extended hours (in the real world), I received an email informing me of The Best of 2010 Steampunk Facebook Awards... I checked the address, went to the site, and discovered that The Steampunk Tribune had been awarded the "Best of 2010 Steampunk News Award"!


In addition to receiving the award, there is an outstanding list of additional recipients, so of which I'm familiar with, such as...

Best Blog Award - Multiculturlaism for Steampunk (at: http://thesteamerstrunk.blogspot.com/)
Best Convention - World Steam Expo (at: http://www.worldsteamexpo.com/), and 

... along with a number of sites and individuals I was not familiar with, such as the award for Best Spats - Morrigan New York (at: http://www.morrigannyc.com/) - (Spats? Outstanding!  I've been looking for a pair, as my old "Great Lakes" ones are pretty much at their retirement point - seriously...)

The list is quite impressive, and I would certainly suggest a visit to the entire list of awardees!  To see said list, please turn to: http://www.facebook.com/notes/steampunk/the-best-of-2010-steampunk-facebook-awards/482748428729

Additionally, my thanks to all the visitors and regular readers for the support and patronage of this small yellow virtual fish-wrapper!

(Editor's Note: I will be updated the Facebook Listing over the long weekend - so my thanks to all who have visited and provided more Facebook groups and addresses!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steampunk Furniture from Explosive Mines!


Hello again!  A brief entry today about innovative uses of scrapped materials - potentially explosive ones!  In actuality, they are deactivated mines which have been converted to a number of domestic uses.  Estonian sculptor Mr. Mati Karmin has transformed these discarded works and formed them into a number of household items, including a baby carriage, an aquarium, and even a BBQ!  The above fireplace is a work of beauty, so if you'd like to see more, please turn to the article at the Treehugger website (yes, that's the name of the website), or go directly to Mr. Karmin's location, at: http://www.marinemine.com/ .

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is Steampunk Music Really Victorian Influenced? - A Guest Posting by Mr. Ramon del Mar



Today I have the pleasure of posting an intriguing article regarding Steampunk Music from Admiral Ramon del Mar, regarding the ever challenging consideration of Steampunk music.  This particular topic has always vexed description, but his work is certainly a guidepost to garnering a better understanding of the topic!  As such...

Is Steampunk Music Really Victorian Influenced?

While Steampunk Music is presumed to have some sort of Victorian influence, that seems doubtful at times in some bands, but we must take into consideration that modern audiences might not really show up much to a straight Victorian style concert.  On the other hand, one of the defining factors, for what most would accept as a legitimately "Steampunk Band", has less to do with clothing than with the sound, the instruments, and the lyrics.  As I discuss this topic in another Blog post on a similar topic already, I will try to be brief and say simply that what matters most to me are that the sound is older ins style than, oh...lets say... "Metallica" for instance, and that they work some older acoustic instruments, (preferably older even than guitars or modern drums sets, such as fiddle, mandolin, harpsichord, Sitar, Dumbek, Tabla, Djimbe etc) into their music in a very prominent way.  What is most important though is that they present the sort of fictional stories that are at the heart of the Steampunk movement in the lyrics of many of their songs.  What that amounts to may vary of course, but the songs tend to be about adventure, wanderlust, and a fondness, even obsession with invention, especially the sort of science fictional inventions imagined in the Victorian age such as clockwork robots (which did actually exist, courtesy of Archimedes as early as 250 bc, but had a very limited range of preset actions), Tesla coils, times machines etc.



I realize this may open up the question of whether or not there are more of what I define as steampunk musicians at the local Renaissance Fairs than there are at most Steampunk Conventions, but what of it?  In the first place, they clearly do a better job of using pre-modern instruments, and in the second place, they cover the adventure, highwayman, pirate, and wanderlust songs, extremely well.  On the other hand, they do not incorporate anachronistic or steam era items in accoutrement (most of the time anyway) and most importantly, do not call themselves "Steampunk Musicians", but many bands that do use that label would do well to look hard at what those musicians do so well and learn from them!



As circuses were a very widely talked about and enjoyed form of entertainment enjoyed since the Roman Empire, but came into prominence as a traveling show under the guidance of Gypsies around the 1400s.  As such it is actually renaissance era material, and was around in America as early as before the revolution to become a nation, but came ever more into prominence as time passed.

How much impact or connection there is between Vaudeville era and Steampunk depends on who you ask, although it is certainly at the heart of entertainment in the early Diesel Punk Era, but it is likely that Vaudeville type performances were common in less high brow establishments long before the speak easy era such as during the late Victorian Era, although they would have been kept hidden and secret, except in frontier areas, prior to the sexual revolution of the roaring 20's.  As such, while Vaudeville was kept secret during the Victorian Era, it certainly flourished in some Opium Dens and back rooms of Gentlemen's Clubs, or private chambers of some mansions, but more a private performances or sex clubs entertainments where Victorian "Gentlemen" could release their "sexually oppressed" desires out of sight of the Queen's men.  As such, I would argue that although public Vaudeville Acts are actually Diesel Punk, their predecessors and historical sources actually developed under, and were partially created by, the sexually oppressive public culture of the Victorian Age.  As such their themes are also appropriate lyrics for "Steampunk Music", even though they, like circus and carnival songs, have a very distinctive and different flavor all their own.



Post apocalyptic Era adventure fiction where the steam era re-surfaces is unquestionably a major theme in many Steampunk stories and therefore an excellent source of lyrics for "Steampunk Music".  This is especially true when you consider that a modern "Steampunk Ensemble" is considered incomplete without at least one "clunky raygun" per most internet descriptions although I would say that the majority prefer more elegant looking ones, but that requires a higher level of fabrication skill, or a lot of money, which not all of us have.  Regardless, a "raygun", by definition something using electromagnetic radiation, as in a laser, or some other form of very advanced radiation or sound weapon, would not only never have been invented in the Victorian Age, on any time line, for the same reason Lonardo De Vinci could not complete his greatest designs, namely inferior materials and fabrication techniques, but the power supply to power such a device in a hand held version may never be created, by humans at least, as we are far more likely to destroy ourselves, or at least the level of technological civilization necessary to produce it before it can ever come to pass.  As such, a post-apocalyptic scenario is much more in keeping with the "Steampunk Fashion" I am seeing most often among some of the most elaborate and sought after new "Steampunk Airship" groups that entertain with appearances, modeling, and panels on regalia and ensemble fabrication these days, and the standard weapons presented are, in my opinion, pretty fantastic (both senses of the word) without either introducing time travel or alien interaction.  Add in the fact that modern instruments are almost always used at least somewhat, along with soundtrack backgrounds for (extra parts they don't have enough members to play all at once, and the idea of post-apocalyptic adventures, or at least time traveling adventures, seem to be the most appropriate of all for "Steampunk Music".

Just the same, I titled this as I did, because I looked up the best Victorian Music tidbits I could find and will post the first paragraph with a link, as well as posting the full text as a separate page here.  I found them very interesting material.  I'm sure more is available, but this is what looked most enlightening of what I could find.

http://www.victorian-era.org/victorian-music.html

The early Victorian era (1830s) primarily saw most of the music entertainment being held in public locations such as saloons. Unfortunately, the older music halls that people would enjoy music in earlier times within England were pushed out of existence by the urban development. Although many still stood, they had severely lost their popularity. The saloons would offer drinks, singing, and it was where most of the music and drama was performed during the early Victorian era. However, by the middle of the nineteenth century there were some new music halls being built throughout London. These quickly became the place to go to hear some of the newer music and many people enjoyed visiting them regularly.

http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/elgar/weber.html
[Victorian Web Home —> Authors —> Music, Theatre, and Popular Entertainment —> Sir Edward Elgar]

The following text comes from the program for the 2007 Bard College concert series and symposium entitled Elgar and His World, which was organized by Leon Botstein, Christopher H. Gibbs, and Robert Martin, Artistic Directors, Irene Zedlacher, Executive Director, and Byron Adams, Scholar in Residence 2007. Readers may wish to consult the festival site for additional information about this and past festivals and related publications, including Elgar and His World, ed. Byron Adams, which Princeton University Press published in 2007.



By long tradition, concert programs in the Victorian era tended to balance vocal and instrumental pieces. During the period of Elgar's musical apprenticeship, it was the convention to alternate between the two kinds of music and to avoid performing several examples of the same genre in a row. These practices grew from a deep fascination with virtuosity in its contrasting forms, the voice and the instrument being thought mutually interdependent — a "love duet" of bel canto between them, as Rodolfo Celletti has argued. Nor would a concert offer only music from one country, least of all from the immediate region: cosmopolitanism was essential to the musical culture of Britain during this period. The present program resembles the new kinds of concerts that were moving away from old norms after around 1840. It became common to give much more weight to the vocal component while nonetheless including a few instrumental numbers as contrast. A preponderance of vocal numbers had first appeared at concerts focused, nationalistically, on British music, particularly at the Vocal Concerts offered from the 1790s. British composers had been all but excluded from the King's Theater since its founding, and few were admitted to the programs of the Philharmonic Society; for that reason musicians working against that pattern tended to go against other musical conventions.



http://artofsteampunk.blogspot.com/2010/10/victorian-era-european-music-influence.html

Ramon Fagan, LCSW (aka “Admiral” Ramon Leon del Mar) writes articles and reviews for 5 different online Steampunk magazines as well as for his blog at http://artofsteampunk.blogspot.com  .  He also writes fiction, songs, short comedic plays, and educational books and articles about world religion and cultures for other outlets.  “Admiral” Ramon is also the leader of “Kali’s Hourglass”, a nautical oriented Steampunk/Clockpunk performance art troupe, co-administrator for the North Texas Steampunks Facebook Website, organizer for the DFW Clockpunks and Renpunks Group, and a member of the Steampunk Illumination Society.