Halloween marked the first anniversary for For Whom The Gear Turns and it has been a great first year. Thank you so much to The Steampunk Journal, The Obsession Engine, Hive Queen and Country and Airship Flamel for your reblogs, to the World of Penny Blake for your support, and to all my readers for sharing almost 3,000 things, including the campaign for Steam Tour.
So as a little “happy birthday” to the blog, I collected some amazing examples of Steampunk cakes.
I reached and exceeded my goal of 25,000 views for the first year, and gained 711 followers. Wow! But I need your help to shape my calendar for the year to come, so please give me your feedback below. You can vote as many times as you want, so feel free to reload this post and choose as many options as you like.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all the articles that have been the most popular in case you are new to following or missed them the first time around. It is really interesting to see what interests you the most, and it helps me decide what to write about, so keep up the good work sharing. commenting and reading! The titles are all active links so feel free to explore these top picks by readers.
This is one of my favorite statistics to check, and it tells me so much about what my readers might want to see more of.
1. Steampunk Scrapbook Paper
2. Free Vintage Images
3. Music to Steampunk by: Lindsey Stirling
4. Steampunk Sourcebook: Captain Nemo
5. Treasure Planet
6. Of Coke and Culture Clash (Multicultural Steampunk)
You can’t imagine how much it warms my heart to see that the two pages that are most personal, about me and the pictures of my artwork, are in the top 6 most viewed things on the blog.
1. Van Helsing Mixes Monsters for Movie Magic
2. Brothers Grimm Punks Your Favorite Fairy Tales
3. About the Author
4. The Dolls of New Albion at Ed Fringe Review
5. My Artwork
6. Hustlers, Harlots and Heroes Book
I think I may have just snapped up the last affordable room in all of Lincoln last night as I made my arrangements for Europe’s largest Steampunk Convivial, Weekend at the Asylum. If you were thinking about going but you are still on the fence, make sure to get your tickets ASAP! They sold out of the Saturday only wristbands in the last day or so, and the Empire Ball was already sold out weeks ago. I am sorry to miss the ball, but I did get tickets for Lady Elsie’s Fashion Gala (a formal fashion show followed by dancing and socializing) as well as a burlesque event so your favorite Steampunk Roving Reporter will be able to bring you plenty of shenanigans well into the evening during the convention, which runs Sept 12-14. I will be tweeting and posting all weekend, which is also the last weekend of Steam Tour.
The website for the event run by the Victorian Steampunk Society is woefully short of details, but you can get event descriptions and buy tickets here.
Going to be at convention and want to meet, and maybe even pick up youth very own airship bumper sticker? Leave me a comment and we’ll be in touch!
Stuart Davis is not a Steampunk by a long shot, but as I was reading Doctor Moreau this song popped into my head so I had to track it down to share. It also smacks of the scientists like Sir Isaac Newton who believed that the true aim of science was to better understand god, or at least “what invented me.”
- Listen to this song for free here!
When I work on my inventions
I use rubber bands and glue
When I work on my inventions
I cut some things in two
Take a peek
but keep it secret
Almost done with my invention
but I need a volunteer
When I work on my inventions
I have to plug my ears
But who said science
Put your hand inside the jar
Goddammit I’m in charge
Keep those wires in your mouth
don’t spit ‘em out
I’m inventing what will be
the thing that tells me
what invented me
I’m not nice to my inventions
when they are not nice to me
You don’t know about invention
so shut up
I guess some of my inventions
don’t want sleep and don’t want food
I love all of my inventions
Why don’t they love me?
I love all of my inventions
but they don’t love me
Do they, kittie?
Do they, kittie?
Put your hand inside the jar
Goddammit, I’m in charge
Keep those wires in your mouth
Don’t spit ‘em out
I’m inventing what will be
the thing that tells me
what invented me
What invented me?
someone tell me
what invented me
I must discover
what invented me?
So put my hand inside the jar
Flip the switch and boost the charge
Keep those wires in my mouth
Don’t let ‘em out
This discovery will be
the one that tells me
what invented me
You can’t help but get swept up in this beautiful and tragic love story. Without words, Director Andrey Shuskov weaves the tale a woman who is torn between her love for her husband and her loathing for the clockwork world they inhabit.
Check out more more Circulus videos at their youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CirculusTV
I am really happy with my newest experiment! What do you think?
Once I figured out out how to do a hot air balloon I knew I couldn’t stop there! Here is my first (though definitely not my last) attempt at a 3D dirigible/airship. This shadowbox measures 12” x 12” and the back is finished so it can hang on the wall or stand alone on a shelf. I used a combination of glossy and matte papers, but the shiny parts aren’t nearly as shiny in person as they look on the photos. I have a light source directly above my photo area that can give a false impression with its glare.
Each 12 x 12 shadow box takes approximately 10 hours to complete. They start their lives as canvases and are covered by cardstock and paper, then embellished with mixed media accoutrements. I made the dirigible and the boat using a similar method to my Christmas ornaments. Check out the tutorial here.
So far “My Other Car is an Airship” is leading the pack for the slogan I’ll use for my steampunk sticker design. I wanted to post the poll one more in time in case anyone still wanted to vote or share their own slogan idea. For more info, check out my original post here.
This hauntingly beautiful sojourn to an island in the sky is not for the fainthearted. It tells the tale of Jasper Morello, who embarks on an airship expedition and finds himself an unwilling cog in a mad scientist’s plot. It was directed by Anthony Lucas.
So, usually when I do a movie review I start by writing a synopsis, but this film was so kooky I actually had trouble following the plot while I was watching. And I was even watching it dubbed in English rather than the original French! It reminded me in some ways of Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidoqc, but Vidoqc was made later so the sets and special effects were even better.
But, and this is a strong but, that does not mean that it is not worth seeing. There are some absolutely fabulous scenes and moments, like watching a pair Siamese twins cooking who are so in sync one tastes the food and the other seasons it. There are definitely times I said “huh?” but just as many times that I laughed or said “wow!” instead. A combination huh?/wow! was when I realized the main character, a Lenny-like circus strongman on the hunt for his little brother, was played by Ron Perlman who also played Hellboy. Small world! I have no idea what he was doing in a French movie in the 90’s, and when I looked up his career on IMDB I found out he was also in the 1996 production of The Island of Doctor Moreau that I have been trying to get on Netflix to no avail.
So here is a short synopsis, and then I encourage you to see for yourself. One, which is the only name the strongman ever goes by, has his 4-year-old adopted brother stolen in the night by strange men who are blind without their clockwork eyes. One meets a band of street urchins and befriends a little girl named Miette. Keep in mind while you are watching that the strongman is dumb but innocent and kindly. So the times that he touches Miette that might make you raise your eyebrow (he rubs her foot at one point for example) he is really like a big sad puppy dog giving her a slobber and know that nothing weird ever happens.
The child-stealers (a la the Gobblers in the Golden Compass) are taking the children to be part of an experiment. There was a scientist who was manipulating genes and growing humans in his laboratory, but he has gone and left his creations behind. The de facto leader of the creations is Krank, who suffers from a defect because the experiment that made him left him incomplete: he cannot dream. And his inability to dream has accelerated his aging process, so he is using his “father’s” machines to steal dreams from others. But alas, the children are so afraid that they give him only nightmares. Until he meets One’s little brother, that is…
Other characters include a set of at least 8 identical twins/clones, the aforementioned Siamese twins who want Miette dead, an assassin who uses fleas to deploy a deadly poison and a talking brain in a fish tank.
Here is another small format shadow box. The centerpiece was originally a dangly bit on a chandelier or the like, but I got it at the Scrap Box in Ann Arbor, MI, because I thought it would make a good hot air balloon. I have one more of these gems that I will put into a square shadow box as well.
What do you think?
After I read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I knew I had to continue the journey. I just had to find out more about Tessa and her mysterious ability to change into anyone, living or dead, just by holding something they owned. And what was the origin of the tiny titan, the clockwork angel, that seemed to come to life just in time to save Tessa’s?
The Clockwork Prince picks up only a few weeks after the events of the last book. Charlotte’s grip on the Institute is tenuous in the wake of the discovery that Tessa’s brother had been a spy in their midst. The Council gives them only two weeks to locate Mortmain, the man who claims to have “made” Tessa and shaped her ability (not to mention he intends to marry her for a still as yet unknown reason). They may have recovered the volatile volume that gives warlocks the ability to bring clockwork to life, but Mortmain has already perfected his technique and it is only a matter of time before the clockwork army makes its move against the Shadowhunters.
As Tessa tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life she finds comfort in Jem, a kind soul destined to die young from addiction to a drug that both cures and kills him. She has to find some way to to take her mind off Will, Jem’s brother from another mother and resident blue-eyes heart throb, who has done his best to push her away. If only her heart didn’t pitter patter faster every time he entered the room…
Their search for answers about Mortmain, not Warlock nor demon but a human with a vast web of downworld allies, takes them to the countryside. Will, Jem and Tessa don’t expect to find anything at his old homestead, but they are met with both an automaton with a warning and the past that Will has been desperately trying to flee. Somehow his family has become intertwined with the enemy, but a vow he made long ago makes him powerless to help them.
The Council also declared that Tessa and any untrained servants at the Institute needed combat training. The Lightwood family is all too happy to provide the stoical Gideon and sarcastic Gabriel to assist in the training, and of course, to do a little spying. If only the Lightwoods were the only ones inside the hallowed halls working against them…
I had a great time reading this book. There are a lot of teen romances out there, and even a lot of teen romances between teens with super powers, but I think Clare crafts and especially robust and heart rending narrative and weaves it throughout an exciting story in a way that does not feel at all forced. I didn’t get my questions about Tessa or the angel answered, but of course I didn’t really expect to, that is for the final installment 🙂 She does get to eliminate some possibilities, which makes me wonder even more what the truth will turn out to be.
I will definitely be picking up the third book, The Clockwork Princess.
The Trouble by BirdEatsBaby.
I have just started listening to “dark cabaret” music and this group is a great example. If you are a Londoner you can check them out on April 2. Get more info and free downloads here.
I first saw these birds years ago in a store in San Francisco. I made a point of always visiting that store whenever I was in the area just to see the gorgeous and ever changing array of songbirds. I didn’t know who made them until today when I found Mullanium.com! Below are just some of the many examples of birds on their website, but because they are decorated and perched on found objects each one is unique.
Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Have you ever been watching a pirate movie and said to yourself, “Gee, what this really needs is some aliens!” Then this is the movie for you.
But seriously, it is a really cool re-imagining of the tale of young Jim’s adventure, which originally ran as a serial in a boys magazine in the 1880’s. There have been tons renditions of this story; plays, movies, comics, you name it. But this is the first one I have seen that really does anything to ‘punk’ it. Well, besides the Muppets of course, but even that was a pretty straight (if more kid-friendly) version of events.
Here is what is the same: Jim, the son a tavern-keeper, has big dreams for his future, but feels doomed to sweep up after sailors his whole life. A treasure map falls into his lap, and with the help of financial backer he sets off on a journey to find buried treasure. Jim (voiced by the adorable and talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt) befriends the cook, who turns out to be the leader of the mutinous band of pirates who make up the hastily conceived venture.
Here’s what’s different: They are freaking space pirates! They travel in ships that resemble the beautiful wooden pirate ships of old , but the sails glitter with electricity and ports perch precariously on a crescent moon.
There are aliens galore, including the catlike Captain Amelia (Emma Thompson) who is a woman in this version of the story. I love places like the Star Trek universe where no one seems to balk at how anyone else appears or acts pretty much ever, they are totally open-minded.
The whole movie is an interesting intersection of the old and new. John Silver (Brian Murray) is in fact both an alien AND a cyborg and it is his metal leg that gives him John’s iconic limp. The “map” that Jim encounters gets a nice spacey make over as a metal sphere that only he figures out how to open.
Once they reach the Treasure Planet, Jim meets a robot who has literally lost his mind (Martin Short). There is a vital part of his memory bank that is missing, but that doesn’t keep him from helping out however he can and adding fun along the way.
I thought this was a really fun movie and definitely worth watching on a big television. Too bad I missed this one in the theaters! The animation is absolutely gorgeous and is a combination of hand drawn 2D laid over 3D computer graphics.
Kids and adults will really enjoy this movie. There are clever jokes that kids won’t get but parents will appreciate. Moreso than in the book, this film really puts Silver into the role of surrogate father for Jim and explores that relationship more.
Who are your favorite spaceship and airship pirates?
Pier 1 is definitely not somewhere I was expecting to be blogging about, but I found some really charming metal sculptures that were shaped liked bicycles. I took the pictures a few weeks ago so you can probably still find them in stores, and definitely at the Pier 1’s website.
There were also some lovely antiqued clocks that were probably 2 feet in diameter that looked like giant pocket watches, but those pictures were on my mother’s cell phone instead 🙂
Have you ever fun across something that reminds you of Steampunk in an unexpected place?
Comment and Share below!
“CARLSBAD — A group of adult carousel riders dressed in Victorian gowns, morning coats, bowler hats and pith helmets were kicked out of the Westfield Plaza Camino Real mall last week because security guards claimed their costumes violated mall rules.
About 25 members of the loosely organized SD Steamy Carousel Cavalry met at 1 p.m. Feb. 9 to enjoy the indoor mall’s old-fashioned, 18-animal carousel. But before the group of nattily attired adults in their 30s to 60s could mount the painted horses, bears and giraffes, a trio of mall security officers ushered them outside and called Oceanside police to ensure against a ruckus in the parking lot.
Members of the costumed group are furious over their eviction.
“These were mature people in Victorian finery with a little sci-fi edge,” said San Diego resident Mercy Baron, who is in her late 50s. “We were very civil, very polite, because we espouse Victorian manners … We were treated like criminals.”
Check out the rest of the article, including the petition this incident has sparked here.
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient, intricate machine found in a shipwreck near Greece that dates back to about 100 BC. The Antikythera mechanism contains gears and structures that were not found in devices again for 1000 years, and only then when the Muslims and Chinese were busy inventing shit while the Europeans were busy killing each other.
Why Can’t They Solve It?
First, no one can agree on where the Antikythera mechanism was made or who designed it. Popular belief was that it was made by the Greeks due to its instructions all being in Greek (about a million of our tax dollars were probably spent arriving at that genius conclusion) but serious research published in serious places suggested the design came from Sicily.
And a billion parts with indecipherable instructions suggest it comes from Ikea. Ba-zing!
The mechanism, aside from placing you at serious risk for severing a finger, was supposedly used to figure out astronomical positions. The problem with that is that at the time this thing was made, no one had yet discovered laws of gravity or how heavenly bodies moved.
In other words, the Antikythera mechanism appears to have functions that no one alive at that time would have understood, and no single mechanical purpose of that era (such as navigating ships) explains the crazy number of functions and settings this machine has.
Our Guess: It’s a scrap from a time machine that exploded the moment it arrived in the past
What’s your theory? Comment and Share below!
The Hellboy movies are in that category of films that skirt Steampunk without it being the main focus. In both Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) you can find steamy fodder for your punked out imaginings. Plus, those filed-down horns sure look like goggles!
Some fun facts and context
۞ Hellboy first came onto the comic book scene in 1993. Since then there have been dozens of comics and collections, as well as two major motion pictures, two video games and two animated short films called Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron. You can watch both animated films in their entirety under the gallery of photos below.
۞ I also found a bonus “animated comic” in the special features of Hellboy 2 called the “Zinco Epilogue” where (in my opinion) the creepiest villain of all time, Kroenen, is shown being revived by a man called Mr. Zinco and his team of scientists.
۞ The world of Hellboy was created by Mike Mignola, who wrote another awesome Steampunk book, The Amazing Screw-On Head (2002) which tells the tale of an American Civil War-era spy. In 2006, a pilot was aired on scifi.com in a contest to see if it would be made into a show, but it didn’t make the cut. The 22-minute pilot was released on DVD in 2007, but you can watch it by clicking here.
۞ But it was the dark and spooky director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) who brought these characters to life on the silver screen. With the assist by Peter Briggs of Alien vs. Predator fame, Del Toro wrote both feature length movies and was a creative producer on the animated films. You can see a kindred spirit to the style of Pan’s Labyrinth in the visage of death in Hellboy 2.
۞ “Hellboy” is the name that was given to the little red demon discovered by Alliance soldiers when he was “born” in the wake of WWII in 1944. It is revealed during Hellboy (2004) that his “true” name is Anung un Rama which loosely means “and upon his brow is set a crown of flame.” During the movie, a many-times-resurrected Rasputin (Karl Roden) forces Hellboy to accept his role in the rise of the Ogdru Jahad, a phylum of Cthulu-like monsters that would make H.P. Lovecraft proud. One of Hellboy’s special features is a giant arm made of stone, which can act as the key to open the Ogdru Jahad’s crystal prison in another realm. Luckily for humanity, Hellboy stops (most of) the creatures from entering our world and thwarts Rasputin’s nefarious plot.
۞ This supernatural detective love cats and enjoys big guns and fine cigars. He was raised like an ordinary boy by Professor “Broom” Bruttenholm, a founding member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Hellboy’s aging process is described as “reverse dog years,” so Broom knows that Hellboy will outlive him and worries about his future. Prof. Broom is played by John Hurt, who also lends his voice to the animated films. It took me awhile to realize that I was I was looking at the actor who played Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter films, as well as the villain from another wonderful comic-turned-movie, V for Vendetta.
۞ Hellboy is joined in both movies by his buddy and fellow freak, Abraham Sapiens. Abe is a fish-person a la the creature from the Black Lagoon, and was actually portrayed by multiple actors. Doug Jones is the one who had to crawl into the prolific prosthetics, but the voice of Abe in the first movie was actually done by actor David Hyde Pierce who goes uncredited.
۞ Hellboy’s lady love is Liz Sherman, a reluctant pyrokinetic agent for the BPRD. In the movies and animated shorts she is played by Selma Blair. Belief in psychic abilities and clairvoyance (ie, communicating with spirits from the “other side”) reached their pinnacle of popularity during the Victorian era. If you are looking for an absolutely amazing non-fiction book about what happens after we die, check out Mary Roach’s hilarious and poignant Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. You can read a description here.
So where is the Steampunk in all of this?
In the first movie, Hellboy has an enemy named Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. In the comics he is just another Nazi in a gas mask, but Del Toro creates a truly creepy new backstory about a man obsessed with surgeries. His fetish has left him without things most of us take for granted, like eye lids, lips, etc. (you know, the little things.) In return, his research has also given him preternaturally long life do to a body filled with saw dust and clockwork. I have a feeling it is this guy’s cringe-worthy visage that boosts the movie from a PG to a PG-13. [Shudders]
But it is a Victorian-era villain who directs the action. Grigori Rasputin (played by Karl Roden) was born in 1869, and was living high on the proverbial hog off the Russian nobility during the early 1900s as a royal physician. According to the movie, he has been resurrected in 1944 and is there at the beginning of Hellboy’s life. His terrible plot continues to unravel 60 years later (give or take a resurrection and some minions) he attempts to use Hellboy to bring the world to its knees.
If we move on to the enemies and allies of Hellby 2: The Golden Army, we need not look any further than the title. The Golden Army was built by a goblin blacksmith to end the war between humans and supernatural beings like trolls, fairies and elves. The King of the elfs, Balor, tries to make it so the army can never be awakened, but thousands of years later and in the hills of Ireland the clockwork army lays dormant. Don’t be fooled by their egg-like appearance, these “seventy times seventy soldiers” pack a wallop as big as Hellboy and they put themselves back together seemingly without end.
There is a gorgeous animated prologue to the movie that tells the whole story and you can watch it below.
Luckily for Hellboy, he does have some Steampunk fighting on his side, too. Johann Krauss is an agent for the BPRD, but he and Hellboy do not cross paths in the comics. According to the books, Krauss suffered an accident in 2002, but in the second installment of Del Toro’s Hellboy movies his suit definitely looks like it is from the turn of the 20th century. He no longer has a body, so the suit contains his ectoplasm, another popular trope in the Spiritualist movements of the early 1900s.
Check out more videos and photos from the movies below, as well as steamy homages to Hellboy and his buddies I found online.
This is the prologue from the second Hellboy movie. It tells the origin of the Golden Army and it has tons of machinery and gears.
In case you needed another reason to like whiskey…
The Amazing Screw-On Head was originally a comic book by artist Mike Mignola, who also brought us the Hellboy series and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. In 2006, the SyFy Channel (the then SciFi Channel) aired several pilots on their website for possible shows. Unfortunately, Mignola’s creation did not make the cut, but you can watch 22-minute pilot below.
“As I’ve always said; All intelligent people should be cremated for the sake of public safety.”
Did those voices sound familiar? That’s because you just heard the voice talents of Patton Oswalt (Mr. Groin), David Hyde Pierce (Emperor Zombie) and Paul Giamatti (Screw-On Head).
I thought this was a fun little show with some good body part puns and a strong Steampunk premise (a super secret agent who can use a variety of mechanical bodies). It’s too bad it didn’t get made into a series, I bet the writers and actors had a lot more to offer.
I was only 8 years old when reality TV got its kickstart in the form of MTV’s The Real World in 1992. Since then the genre has given us a variety of ways to put people in a cage and observe their movements, whether they be conniving their way to love or rising above the competition to claim fabulous prizes. I will admit that I followed the love lives of plastic people like Bret Michaels and Tila Tequila with the rest of the sheep (I comforted myself by imagining I was doing an exercise in Anthropology), but for me the reality shows that have always been the best and continue to surprise me are the fashion competitions.
I’ve already shown you what Steampunk treasures guilty pleasure America’s Next Top Model had to offer, and last night Project Runway: Under the Gunn stepped up to the plate with the prompt to create “avant garde looks in the Steampunk aesthetic.” The designers were given $300 to spend on fabric and 30 minutes to dig through gadgets, clocks and other hardware to give their looks some mechanical flair. While a couple designers did struggle with the concept, I was really impressed overall with the extent of their knowledge and clever interpretations.
Click on any photo to open a larger slideshow.
During the show, Lifetime.com invited viewers to “play along” by voting on different questions throughout the episode. The first poll asked if viewers liked Steampunk, and I was delighted to see 76% of people said that they did. Lifetime has the whole episode available here, as well as a great set of photos of each garment with zoom capabilities here.
More photos from Episode 7.
Did you know that Steampunk has found its way onto Project Runway before? Here is a collection from
This amazing book fountain has been outside the main public library at 800 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio since 1990.