Steampunk Is For Everyone

Redhead woman posing with weapons in a storage space.I’ve weathered many conventions, from the anime days at Otakon to the comic book scene at Wizard World, and out of all of them, I’ve found something unique at steampunk conventions. One of the themes throughout most conventions of a geeky nature is the love for cosplay or dressing up. After all, who doesn’t want to don a costume and immerse yourself in the fandom of what you

Unfortunately, that enjoyment often gets dampened.

For the love of Cthulu, we’ve reached the point where groups like Cosplay is Not Consent and other such groups are necessary, due to the altercations that attendees deal with simply for wanting to enjoy the convention in their favorite costume. On top of that, those who are bold enough to cosplay end up facing fierce scrutiny by the other attendees, often mocked and ridiculed, either for not having the “right” body type to cosplay the character, or a poorly done costume (even if it was the best effort from a person who couldn’t sew). And these aren’t isolated cases either—most cosplayers have horror stories of rude comments, aggressive, or downright nasty behavior.

Now, I could go on about the minefield of problems at length, but what I wanted to point out was the contrast at steampunk conventions.

I’ve attended and vended quite a few steampunk conventions at this point, and what I’ve seen has been an all around air of acceptance. Yes, part of the reason could lie with the malleability of the content. Steampunk is a very changeable aesthetic and no real clear, defined rules, which opens the way for more creativity. Unlike dressing as Powergirl, where you’re expected to have tits out to Kansas, or Wolverine, where washboard abs seem to be a pre-requisite that few have the time to maintain, steampunk allows every body type to participate.

I’ve never seen so much creativity and self-expression from all ages and differing types of people than I have at steampunk conventions. From hand-sewn ballgowns to throwing on a vest and a pair of goggles, all modes are accepted. Even with different takes on pop culture, such as Steampunk Ariel, or Steampunk Flash, the focus is on the craftsmanship and ingenuity rather than nitpicking details of accuracy to the costume.

In that regard, steampunk is invaluable. It allows people to enjoy dressing up once more, rather than fearing judging gazes, or god forbid, jerks who slap stickers on cosplayers they find inadequate. The spirit of tinkering manages to inject some much needed positivity back into the world of cosplay—where it’s okay to dress up as something you love. Don a corset, throw on a pair of pirate boots, and add whatever accents you find appropriate. Love for steampunk allows those expressions of geekery to flourish rather than be stamped out by hordes of naysayers and critics.

Although I’m sure incidents still occur, the same as in any forum, the experience I’ve had of steampunk is one of creativity and expression, both a good breeding pool for innovation. And that’s what I’ve seen time and time again from this community, whether it be innovation in creating the coolest steampunk Proton Pack, sewing a gorgeous bustled Victorian gown, or simply innovation in how we treat one another as human beings.  After all, who doesn’t want to don a costume and immerse yourself in the fandom of what you love?


Today’s post is by guest author Kat McIntyre of katherine-mcintyre.com!

A modern day Renaissance-woman, Katherine McIntyre has learned soapmaking, beer brewing, tea blending, and most recently roasting coffee. Most of which make sure she’s hydrated and bathed while she spends the rest of her time writing. With a desire to travel and more imagination than she knows what to do with, all the stories jumping around in her head led to the logical route of jotting them down on paper. She writes novels with snarky women, ragtag crews, and guys with bad attitudes. High chances for a passionate speech thrown into the mix.




3 Essential Tips For Evil Mad Scientists

Sure, we’ve all been there.  You’re crawling out of the wreckage of your latest laboratory, watching your Monster go make friends with the people who’ve just destroyed years of your work, and picking little bits of adamantium, mithril, and frozen aether out of yet another utterly ruined labcoat, and you’re thinking, “Why?  WHY did this happen?”

It’s probably because you made one of the four classic Evil Mad Scientist mistakes.  Don’t be embarrassed.  It’s happened to the best of us.  Although it’s also happened to the worst of us.  Where exactly do you fall on that scale?  I think that’s a writing subject for a different day.  Anyway, let’s get started.

Things An Evil Mad Scientist Really, Really, Really Should Not Do:

4.  Never shout, “Fools, I’ll destroy you all” out loud.  Come on.  There’s always somebody listening at the wrong moment.  Haven’t you learned this by now?  Instead, try shouting, “Tea?  I love tea!  Also, cupcakes are yummy!”  That will confuse the mazurkas out of them.

3. Try not to label your evil plan “My Evil Plan”.  Sort-of gives the game away, you know?  There you are, taking a hot selfie for your nondescript public identity, and there it is, right in the corner.  Heroes always find that stuff.  It’s very frustrating.

2. We’ve been trying to teach you this for generations, but I’ll say it now and louder: IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO GLOAT TO A DEAD ENEMY THAN A LIVE ONE.  Sure, the dead one can’t look sad and defeated, but the corpse IS sad and defeated.  Way, way better.

1. Want to hide the countdown to the launch of your Horrible Destructo-Device?  It’s easy.  Just resist the urge to count it down in a booming voice, and, instead, hide it in some innocuous set of numbers, like, say, a list of suggestions on the internet.

Speaking of which, DESTRUCTO-BOT, LAUNCH!

~Jeff Mach
www.patreon.com/jeffmach
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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.  




I’m not cool, but I loved being Goth.

Gothic woman - portrait, photo.I admit it, I own tan pants. Also, I wore a bow tie today, just because Fred Astaire wore one in the movie I watched last night. I frequently listen to Fleetwood Mac with my wife, and I have seen every episode of Rick Steve’s Europe. I own a typewriter. I am gloriously, wonderfully delightfully uncool. I have no problem with this.

However… There was a time when I was a black poet prince, When the fingernails on my left hand were all painted black, when all my mates had bi-level haircuts, and when the cd player in my room almost never stopped playing Joy Division. I had a black telecaster. I used to play Love and Rockets covers on it. It was glorious.

For everyone who ever had a Goth phase, my friend Jeff Mach has co-created Dark Side of The Con with Vampire Freaks. It’s March 17-19 in Piscataway, New Jersey. For one weekend, we’re all going back. So, if you saw the Cure in concert, or if you’ve ever seen the Cabin of Doctor Caligari, or if you once bought a leather-bound copy of the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, just so you could pull it out and try to impress people with it while you were sitting in the cafeteria, come back with us. I’m not sure what Jeff’s black hair dye requirements are, but Felix Eddy-McLain and I will be there, selling her gothiest art and my books. Feel free to bring your black lipstick.  We hope to see you there.




The Top 5 Steampunk Songs To Get You Pumped

Rock musician in a steampunk costume performs with electric guitar.As the co-creator of one of Steampunk’s first major music festivals, I have loved Steampunk music for a decade and a half now.  The range of creativity, passion, and musical ability within Steampunk’s musical culture is, like Steampunk itself, limitless, brilliant, and inspiring.

After a long winter, we’re coming towards what looks like a beautiful spring, and I am chuffed and getting ready to go out and get things done!  And in thaat spirit, I’d like to share with you….The Top 5 Steampunk Songs To Get You Pumped.

5.  Frenchy & The Punk, “Dark Carnivale”.  Frenchy & The Punk are Steampunk’s #1 cabaret performers, and when I say “cabaret”, people tend to think of lounge singers.  Nothing of the sort, though – Scott Helland’s guitar may now reflect a rippling, fast melodic tone, something akin to Queen’s Brian May, but his punk rock roots are evident in the pace and energy of the music, and Samantha Stephenson’s beats and voice might be called hypnotic – if it were the goal of the hypnotist in question was to get you on your feet and moving.  The song is neither fast or slow – it moves with the inevitability of night, falling slowly over a mad scientist’s lair.

4.  Abney Park, “Building Steam”.  Abney Park are Steampunk’s prototypical band, and continue to be one of the most recognized.  What would you call the multi-instrumental attack of Nathaniel Johnstone, paired with that relentless drumming and Captain Robert’s rapid, calm, yet urgent vocals?  If there were ever such a thing as “attack accordion”, you can hear it in this track.

There’s a good live recording, but it’s a dark, and I really loved this AMV version, so that’s the one I chose for you.

3. This Way To The Egress, “Pound Your Bones”. My kudos to whoever caught this live performance – I don’t know if that Youtuber is a professional, or a very gifted amateur, but if this performance doesn’t wake you up, please see a medical professional, because it is possible you are dead. Just look at the joy on the faces of Sarah Egress and Tyrant Taylor Galassi.  These are people who can’t help dancing to their own music.  I can’t describe this Klezmir-mazurka-rock in any adequate way; just watch it for yourself!

2. Professor Elemental, “Fighting Trousers”.  Because Steampunk needed an old Sherlock Holmes-style bareknuckle beat-down rap dis video, in bombastic 1880s style, and The Professor was there to give it to us.  Or, as he puts it:

“Don’t look around sir, I’m speaking to you
Roll up your shirt sleeves, Queensbury rules
Never test professors with the cleverest wits
Let’s settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks.”

1. Dr. Steel, “Build The Robots”.  Who was Doctor Steel?  He appeared, he set the Steampunk music world on its ear, and he vanished, cryptically, with barely a word, and we haven’t seen him in years.  But we still have his legacy of musical dominion, including this unbelievably catchy tale of one man’s humble quest to create a nice little endless army of robot soldiers and take over the world.  Yes, I totally know that this fan-made video is quite old and not sophisticated by modern standards; but it’s a great, creative use of old-school video animation, and be forewarned: you may find yourself marching around your dwelling place for the next hour or two, randomly shouting, “BUILD THE ROBOTS! BUILD THE ROBOTS!”

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.




4 Reasons We Adore Steampunk

Steampunk! There’s just so much to love! From the endless creativity, to the excuses to eat splendid things, to the the way people continue to surprise and awe us with how they take Steampunk culture and do unexpected things with it.  Here are four of my personal reasons for loving Steampunk:

4.  Some people SAY that every day is Halloween.  For us, every day is Halloween + April Fool’s Day.  I can dress in a manner quite unusual in the normal world, and know that I am not alone.  I can be silly if I’d like, recognizing that there’s an entire genre of other people out there who enjoy the silly, the whimsical, and the eccentric.  And I have an infinite canvas upon which to draw fantasies and ideas!

3.  There has never yet been a human being who didn’t look better in a top hat.  It’s just a basic fact of life.  Actually, there isn’t anything that doesn’t look better in a top hat.  Put a top hat on your bookcase – it suddenly becomes more distinguished.  Put a top hat on your lunch; you suddenly get hungrier and more excited for your meal.  Put a top hat on a pug, and that pug will immediately rival Winston Churchill for solemnity and grace.

2. I get a secret thrill when I see Steampunk in mainstream media.  Remember all those years when people kept saying, “OH NO! STEAMPUNK IS OVER, I SAW IT IN SO-AND-SO PLACE”?  Steampunk never died; it just got more and more inventive.  For heaven’s sake, Steampunk was on reality TV, and we didn’t just survive it – we came out of it with lots of people who’d never considered stepping outside of the mundane world, who now wanted to join us.  (If you’re one of those people, WELCOME!)  And speaking of welcomes:

1. I have a community which embraces me and which will NEVER make fun of how I’m dressed or how much of an “expert” I am, or anything like that.  That might sound like a little thing, but it isn’t.  It’s huge.  I can’t count on my own family giving me as much leeway to be my peculiar, ridiculous self as much as I can count on Steampunk to take me in and make me feel at home.  And that means the world to me.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.




Why You Should Read This Steampunk Blog

Airsi!cnanhcem phThere are lots of reasons to follow the many Steampunk blogs out there.  But this one, of course, is the best, because it comes with the best benefits.  Let me tell you of just a few of them:

  • I will teach you how to turn lead into gold. I’m just waiting ’til I get enough followers, and then I’ll reveal the Philosopher’s Stone. I think that also lets you live forever, though that may just be in Harry Potter.
  • You gain magical powers. Don’t be surprised if, after sharing enough of my writings, you find yourself able to fly or, in some cases, teleport. You’re welcome.
  • I have extremely adorable tentacles, which help me in my typing.  That’s how I can write so prolifically.
  • You will become utterly irresistible to amorous faeries, who will ply you with gifts of cheese and shiny things.
  • I will ply you with shiny things.
  • I am always totally and 100% serious.  None of that silly Steampunk for me.  Hardcore Serious, Serious, Serious Business – that’s me.
  • I will certify you as a True Steampunk.  You will know forever that you are the real deal – no more need you worry or wonder about whether something Is or Is Not Steampunk.  By the powers vested in me by having listened to Dr. Steel’s “Build The Robots” 12,500 times, I now have the power to make things official.
  • I am actually made out of adorable puppies.
  • You will find that people will begin to think you’re wearing goggles on your forehead even when no such goggles exist. That is the Power of Steampunk.
  • Did I mention the shiny things?

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.




Steampunk Fashion – Handcrafted Costumes

Steampunk Fashion – Handcrafted Costumes

For creating my costumes I try to use only authentic materials, such as old leather, steel, brass, copper, wood and glass. Nearly nothing is glued, most parts are reversible connected with screws.

I take my parts from flea markets. I like the smell of old leather and wood and the patina, old things wear. Every part I use for my works has its own history to tell.

The costumes are made of metal, brass, copper and leather. There are no plastic parts or glued gears. Weight of such a costume is about 30- 90lbs!

Find more of this costumes and other handcrafted Steampunk artwork at:

Philosophical Feline

Tara Noelle posted a photo:

Philosophical Feline

Where Ellie perches in my studio for the better part of each morning, and sometimes afternoons, when she’s not hogging my bed. This is the spot that gets the most sun in the A.M. and makes for a pretty grand grooming and snoozing spot, *especially* if there’s a beautiful mess of some sort on the drafting table–papers, paints, you name it, it’s perfect for her to sprawl over.

Every time I walk in and she’s up there in this spot, I can’t help but smile and stop to admire how adorable she is and how *perfect* she fits in. Sometimes she almost looks fake against that backdrop of nautical stuff; she blends right in! Definitely a pirate kitty.