Welcome to Steampunk Tourist!

“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

In a world where outside coverage of Steampunk is still surprised that Steampunk exists, and inside coverage takes our strange and wondrous Steampunk universe as a given, we seek to provide perspectives which do neither.  

We’re Steampunk tourists – unafraid to join in with joy; unafraid to criticize and question; unafraid of speaking to Steampunks, skeptics, geeks, historians, unusual people, advocates, or anyone else. We’ve got a giant metaphorical brass telescope, and we’re prepared to use it.

Welcome!

Steampunk is for Everybody

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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.

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Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Creating and Protecting Fictional Characters

Everywhere you turn, there is a new movie based on a fictional comic book or other character. This past weekend’s box office numbers included $18 million earned for Guardians of the Galaxy and $16.8 million for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, according to The Hollywood Reporter (weekend ending August 24, 2014).

What should you do, as an aspiring writer or illustrator, to make sure that what you write or draw will earn you the money you deserve? Here are the top five things to consider in order to protect your literary and illustrative rights to the fictional characters you create.

  1. Create a memorable and unique character
  2. Research on the competition
  3. Have a contract
  4. Protect yourself with intellectual property status
  5. Enforce your rights

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Exploding Steampunk Art!

Welcome and thank you for reading! This is the first of what I hope will be a series of articles related to Steampunk art. My name is Cynthia Gayton and I am the owner of Steam at Harper’s Ferry, a Steampunk art gallery which began in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in 2011. I am also an attorney and have been an advocate for the arts for over a decade.

The gallery has moved out of the space in Harper’s Ferry and I am looking at a number of locations in the Washington, DC area and expect to re-open in an exciting location in early 2015. In the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about Steampunk art which has become a great passion for me and I hope to instill that passion in all of you! On occasion, I will also write articles addressing general “law and the arts” topics.

When people came into the gallery, more often than not, they thought that they were in a Victorian-era styled home, which just happened to have be-goggled owls, time machines, rayguns, and airships dangling from the ceiling. Folks serving as informal Civil War tour guides would enter with a group declaring with an air of period expertise that, “This is how they lived in the 1860s.” Hmm. I don’t think so. But what makes Steampunk art unique is what is also familiar. On more than one occasion, a visitor would stand for several minutes trying to identify the parts of a Steampunk robot or believe they were familiar with the work of a heretofore unknown visual artist.
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A Steampunk Groom

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That my wedding to Felix Eddy was going to be steampunk was something that was never really in question. As an artist whose work delves into steampunk rather heavily, as well as an excellent seamstress and overall fan of the genre, my fiance seemed to have been put on this earth to bring about a steampunk wedding. However, we had some obstacles to overcome, not the least of which was money. The past year had not been kind to us, at least financially, and we were going to have to throw the wedding for roughly the same amount of money that most marrying couples would pay for roughly nineteen seconds worth of open bar. Still, we had one thing going for us: we were weird. Not just a regular amount of weird either. We were extra weird, with sugar on top. If we were going to have a great wedding, we were going to have to make weird work for us. Read More

Steampunk & Disability: Why I Find It’s A Better Fit Than Other Fandoms

One could justifiably argue that my attraction to the Steampunk subculture was inevitable. Even before I knew what it was called, I was familiar with the aesthetic, and I liked it. Of course I did! I’m a costumer, former LARPer, I’ve had a love affair with the Industrial Revolution and all the history surrounding it since college, and I love British high tea. Steampunk was inevitable.

Now, I don’t think I need to reiterate how efficiently Steampunk costuming can be done on a budget. There are whole blogs dedicated to that topic, I’m sure. But it is worth mentioning that for those of us on fixed incomes, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, it helps that a lot of fantastic accessories can be scored at flea markets and thrift stores. Bonus points to the intrepid costumer who is able to upcycle some tidbit or mechanism and give their costume a one-of-a-kind feel. So this alone was a huge draw for me.

But the thing that made me stay, the thing that continues to make me seek out new Steampunk-themed events, wasn’t so much the fashion or DIY opportunities. It was the way it naturally seems to lend itself to being all-inclusive, particularly in regards to those with disabilities. Due to my Fibromyalgia, my ability to attend events has dwindled over the past years and I’ve really had to pick and choose where I spend my energies. Events that may potentially be too physically demanding, like concerts or anything to do with camping, are rarely worth it to me. So when I attended one of my first Steampunk events and found many of my previous obstacles were removed, I was over the moon!

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