Steampunk inspiration and resources

Posts tagged “steampunk blog

Last Chance to Weigh in on a Slogan

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.

 


Steampunk Short: The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello

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.


The City of Lost Children (1995) is Equal Parts Brilliant and Bizarre

The City of Lost Children Poster

The City of Lost Children Poster

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.

Miette and One

Miette and One

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.

Child stealers

Krank and clones

Krank and clones

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…

The flea is affixed with a poison barb that turns the person homicidal when released.

The flea is affixed with a poison barb that turns the person homicidal when released.

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.

Awesome.


Hot Air Balloon Shadow Box

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.

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What do you think?


Steampunk Book Review: Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices 2)

Clockwork Prince cover

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.


Music to Steampunk By: BirdEatsBaby

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.


Steampunk Songbirds by Mullanium

Cardinal, BD1

Steampunk Cardinal by Mullanium (BD1)

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.


Treasure Planet (2002) Reimagines Treasure Island with a Space-age Twist

treasure_planet_wallpaper_by_auraeon99-HD

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.

Jim Hawkins

Jim Hawkins

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.

Spaceport

Captain Amelia concept art

Captain Amelia concept art

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.

Map in action

Jim and robot

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.

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Who are your favorite spaceship and airship pirates?