Steampunk meets Phish in this jam band approach to the splendidness of Steampunk.
There are some great performances up on Kickstarter this month, and I am so happy to see more of these types of projects. I had such a great time at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in 2014 when I had an opportunity to see lots of awesome Steampunk and Victorian content. It is one thing to read a Steampunk book or even attend a convention, but being part of a rapt audience at a performance or film screening is a whole other level of immersion. Keep it coming creators!
What’s Going on in November and December?
Absinthe Heroes: The Darkly Humorous Steampunk Rock Opera, Ends Dec 15
Absinthe Heroes is a propulsive, darkly humorous rock opera which both satirizes and celebrates the weird, wondrous world which is Steampunk. It’s got a gorgeous score by renowned Steampunk headliner Psyche Corporation, whose work has enthralled audiences all over the world. Absinthe Heroes has been described as “a riotous blending of the ridiculous and the sublime”; “mad science in theatrical form”, and “A Steampunk rollercoaster”. It’s chock full of surprises, plot twists, Easter eggs, and, just as things are starting to get seriously silly, it arcs into exhilarating drama and storytelling.
My Favorite Reward: For a $15 pledge, backers can have their Steampunk business or event shared with 87,000 people who follow the Facebook page, as well as having an official Steampunk title bestowed upon them.
Beard and Bean: Steampunk Science live shows, ends December 20
Watch the video:
Beard & Bean have entertained audiences on stage and screen. This two person comedy team entertains at conventions, expos and festivals engaging audiences in imaginative game shows, creative discussions and adding humor to informative panels on a variety of subjects. Beard and Bean become fan favorites and are repeatedly asked back to events year after year.
In 2015, after meeting with Doc Phineas, a Steampunker from Pawn Stars, Beard & Bean have been offered stage time at Steamathon 2016 in Las Vegas. What a great way to premiere two new shows for 2016! Currently there are two stage events in development: Micheal Faraday’s Life of a Candle and Beard and Bean: Science Pirates.
My Favorite Reward: For a $15 pledge you can get a thank you and a “stunt liver” bottle opener.
The Circus Short Film, Ends Dec. 30
‘The Circus’ is influenced heavily on the steampunk style: vintage, industrial, machinery and technology, in parallel with Victorian London itself. More than this, Victorian London was a dark, mysterious time: people disappeared unannounced, Jack the Ripper’s identity was and never will be known, London was poverty stricken, overcrowded and many went hungry. It’s a fascinating place to explore, therefore we have tried to convey that within our story…
My Favorite Reward: For 20 GBP you can get a digital download of the film before anyone else gets to see it.
Nikola Tesla Trilogy: Steampunk Adventures Through Space and Time, Ends Dec. 7
Watch the video:
“WHO- Hi, I’m Sean Hoade. You may know me from my fiction and nonfiction books about zombies,Zombie School Confidential and Reviva Las Vegas!, my thriller Ain’t That America, my literary-historical fantasy Darwin’s Dreams, my unhinged collection of stories Inappropriate Behavior, my acclaimed horror-Edwardian mashup Deadtown Abbey, or my Lovecraftian trilogy, Cthulhu Attacks!
Or perhaps not. In which case, Hello! I create the novels you never even knew you were waiting for, and that is definitely the case with my upcoming series (each individual volume being released in 2016), The Tesla Trilogy.”
My Favorite Reward: For a $25 pledge you can get all three ebooks
Dukes and Dirigibles, Ends Dec. 19
Watch the video:
“Set in the skies over Victorian England, Dukes and Dirigibles enables players to perform exhilarating feats of aerial combat. Dare you enter the massive floating arenas filled with all manner of aircraft, turrets, and airships? Gun powder will flare, cannons will roar, and smoke will fill the skies… Test your skills against friend and foe alike. Giant airships will hunt you down in Singleplayer, and your own friends will hunt you down in head-to-head Local Multiplayer dogfights.”
My Favorite Reward: For just $10 you can get the game.
Other Fun Projects
Legends of Steampunk Miniatures, Ends Dec. 13
“For years they have walked among us… the dashing heroes and their extraordinary adventures, the bold engineers and their amazing inventions, the resourceful and steadfast leaders who take our hands and lead us gently and humbly through incredible worlds. They are the pioneers, the Legends of British Steampunk. and now they are to become immortalised in the showcases of collectors and on the tabletops of gamers across this wide world. Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding for the LEGENDS OF BRITISH STEAMPUNK!
Over the last ten years the UK Steampunk scene has grown insatiably and is now, dare I say it? Something of a fashion trend… but there have been and still are emergent pioneers from all over the globe who have broken and continue to break the cliches and assumptions and drive Steampunk forwards as a progressive craft movement that refuses to be defined and boxed. It is my longing to add some of these magnificent men and women to the growing number of ‘steampunk’ miniatures available as a tribute to their advancement of the name of Steampunk, thanks for the inspiration they have given me and as a reminder that we shouldn’t try to define these things too tightly.”
My Favorite Reward: For a pledge of 20 GBP you can get any set of 6 miniatures. These can be used for gaming or just to have on display, and feature some of the cool folks I met while I was on my Steam Tour last year.
“Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band combines the rich musical history of the circus and the vagabond peoples of Europe with the raw energy of avant-garde jazz, the burning heat of funk and the irreverence and fun of today’s Vaudeville for a sound that is somehow familiar yet like no other. Label them anyway you like! Call them avant world fusion, call them experimental big band, call them gypsy steamfunk, call them circus noise! They may be tough to sum up, but it’s easy to tell you they’ll show you a good time and they’ll get a crowd dancing!” Read more
You can catch their next show on March 16 at the Steampunk World’s Fair in New Jersey!
“Ostensibly folk, but folk run over with a steam-powered bus driven by Homer” –The Ocelot
“The Mechanisms were created by Dr Carmilla to form her backing band in late 2010. When the doctor decided to concentrate on her solo work, they threw her out of an airlock and struck out on their own. They work mainly from their homeport of Oxford, but since 2012 they’ve also presented several well-received shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
With anything up to nine members playing more instruments than you can count, they re-work traditional songs and weave them into dark stories from possible futures. So far they have told of Snow White’s bloody rebellion against the villainous Old King Cole (“Once Upon a Time (in Space)”, 2012), of the fate of Ulysses, who built a Vault which contains a secret every Olympian in the City is afraid of (“Ulysses Dies at Dawn”, 2013), and of the struggles of the Pendragon Gang to impose order on Fort Galfridian (“High Noon Over Camelot”, 2014).”
I missed my chance to see the Frenchy and the Punk performance during Weekend at the Asylum, but I’m not going to miss sharing this dynamic duo with you! “Frenchy” (Samantha Stephenson) was on the panel for the Steampunk on the International Scene session at the con, and she shared that though she and “The Punk” (Scott Helland) hadn’t necessarily set out to be a Steampunk band, the way to community had embraced them was amazing and she was so thankful to be doing what she loves for an appreciative audience.
This “Folk Punk Cabaret” band is currently touring in the US, so if you are lucky you might get to see them this Spring.
Upcoming Tour Dates
Jan 16-18 HRM Steampunk Symposium @ Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA
Jan 22 Pond 5, New York, NY
March 6-8 Wild Wild West Steampunk Con, Old Tucson, AZ
Apr 24-26 International Steampunk Symposium, Cincinnati, OH
May 15-17 Steampunk World’s Fair, New Jersey
It is no secret that I love Lindsey Stirling because of her layering of a classical instrument over electronic music that creates a great old-meets-new feeling. Unwoman is another such artist, and her instrument of choice is the cello. I didn’t find out about this amazing singer-songwriter-badass cellist until after I left the San Francisco Bay Area, but after my stint abroad there is a good chance I will end up back in Northern CA once again, so maybe I can get a chance to see her in concert after all. She has several albums available on her bandcamp page, but meanwhile you can enjoy the video below.
In all, the Mister and I saw 10 performances and went to one awesome whisky tasting during our time at Edinburgh Fringe Fest, but I couldn’t devote an entire article to each one. Some things were too short for their own post or fell short in terms of quality, and I didn’t want to devote entire posts to negative feedback. But, by putting everything on my posted itinerary it looks like I am endorsing it all, and I can’t say I’d recommend everything I saw during my week at the Fringe. So here is my final set of reviews for the rest of what I saw in the order that I saw them.
21st Century Poe: Moyamensing
I was excited for this hour-long performance that promised to explore Edgar Allan Poe’s imprisonment in the Moyamensing prison in 1849. Unfortunately, within the first 10 minutes I wished I had been one of the lucky ones who sneaked out while “Poe” was off stage. The entire tale was told at a decibel level that hurt my ears, and even though the one-man show was supposed to be told through several characters, the only thing that changed about the delivery were the hats he wore. I thought that I was going to get a piece of Poe-like story-telling, with suspense and just the right sprinkling of grotesque, but the delivery was off-putting and the story just plain gory.
City of the Dead: Haunted Graveyard Tour
There are a few different City of the Dead tours, and this one takes your group to Greyfriar’s cemetery. I love these kinds of tours and the guide was just as engaging as I’d hoped. There was just the right amount of humor to offset the truly horrific details of Edinburgh’s past and their dealings with their dead. If you like true stories of the darkest pieces of history, definitely check this one out.
Arthur Conan Doyle Experience
The Arthur Conan Doyle Center is housed in a beautiful Victorian townhouse on a lovely street. The lecture took place in the sanctuary for the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists, though the speaker was specifically not going to be talking about spiritualism. She focused instead on the time in Conan Doyle’s life that he lived and worked in Edinburgh and focused on trying to tell the audience things they might not already know. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know much about his life at all to start with, so the lecture felt sort of scattered and there were many times when she started a sentence with “And as you already know” and ended with “so I won’t go into that.” So if you are looking for an intro to this amazing writer’s life, I’d start somewhere else. This was clearly meant for people who already had some background knowledge.
The Center itself is worth a quick look if you are in the area. The upper levels are accessible in all of their Victorian splendor, and there is a gallery space that is lovely and bright. The Center offers yoga and other practices to enhance your mind-body connection, as well as studio space for artists. I thought there would perhaps be an exhibit or something about the man himself, but alas, there are just books in the gift shop. So don’t plan on spending more than a few minutes there if indeed you go at all for anything besides a lecture.
This was a totally different way to present the tale of Dorian Gray from the manner of Victorian Vices. In this version the actors were all in black and white, including their painted faces. They never revealed the portrait to the audience, but used a large canvas on stage that was smeared with “blood” by Dorian’s victims after their deaths or ruination. The show moved far too quickly, even the lines were delivered rapid-fire, so it ended up feeling like the Cliff’s notes version of The Picture of Dorian Gray and lasted maybe 20 minutes total. But the proceeds go to a charity so if you are in the area and have half and hour to kill it is an interesting little show.
I didn’t actually put this on my formal itinerary because it was an free, non-ticketed event and I wasn’t certain I’d make it there. The small but appreciative crowd assembled inside The Wee Pub in a wonderful little room complete with a beautiful old-timey fireplace and lights. Unfortunately, the large picture window overlooked Greenmarket Square and there was a lot of activity outside. The music of the street musicians really detracted from the tales of horror and made it difficult for the actor to build the kind of suspense that he was going for. David Crawford has a wonderful voice for telling scary stories, and I’d love to see him again in a different setting. He asked for suggestions after the show because he is planning to have some engagements in the US, so maybe you will get a chance.