(overheard between a drunken John & a drunken xJane at last night’s Abney Park concert)
Background: Yesterday, xJane was sitting around, slightly ill, and generally feeling sorry for herself. Whilst innocently watching Emmy consideration DVDs, she received a call from John, who asked if she was busy (she was not) and if she was interested in a steam punk event (she was). What followed was a scramble to finish the DVD (it’s an interesting & funny show, and I recommend it to all and sundry), google costumes, create a costume, finish laundry & dishes, see if I could rope anyone else into this (it’s like drugs: cosplay seems more normal if you can convince other people to do it with you, right Onigiri?), google hairstyles, make & eat dinner, shower, and get all steampunked up.
She then drove to the venue, which is the perfect place for such an event, and immediately knew she was in the right place. Perhaps 2% of the people who showed up were not in cos. Twas tres cool. She stood in line in the chilly LA air for a while, then was allowed to wait inside for John (who was then allowed to skip the line!). Many thanks to Isaac for the tix, for then we entered the 1870s. Or some kind of approximation there of.
Steampunk is hard to define, but I usually go with “Victorian futurism”. It’s was the future would look like if it were trapped in the past. Think the Time Machine, Golden Compass, Diamond Age. It generally involves lots of gears, leather, and zeppelins. It has some hardcore overlap with the Goth scene (although there is less blood involved in steampunk, there are arguably more corsets) as well as DIY/Makers.
The Edison in downtown LA is a steampunk-themed bar. It is always steampunk themed but may not always be as overrun with steampunks than it was last night. It may actually be a historic landmark (and if it’s not it should be): it’s the first private powerplant in LA…turned into a bar. The generators, coal-furnaces, and just all around ambiance is still there. They even have a steampunk dress code (which stresses no “athletic wear of any kind” and that they “strive to more quickly accommodate those who” dress steampunk). It’s a place I would certainly go back to for drinks & perhaps a bite to eat.
Abney Park is a great band whose music might be described as “industrial punk with Eastern/Arabian influences” if not for the lyrics (check out their favorite, played twice last night, “Airship Pirate“). They had a great presence and awesome fan interaction (singing along, stopping songs in the middle because of a mistake, jokes, &c.). They play electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, violin, and djembe (yes, electric djembe) all of which have been steampunked out. And they play them well. This is not just a bunch of weirdos who think they’re a band. This is a band who is also a bunch of weirdos. But in their defense, so is their audience (watching the Artful Dodger and gentlemen with muttonchops mosh is friggin’ awesome). And so am I.
John nor I do this on a what you might call regular basis, so our steampunk was a little mild (although the darkened & sunken eyes that Jana pulled of on John were the perfect effect!) compared to
some most of those in attendance. Unfortunately, I do not have a corset on hand for just such events. This shall be remedied soon (hear that, John? lemmie know when they’re back in town). Nor goggles, nor top hat (though I should have spectacles somewhere, which I shall find & superglue to an appropriately dainty stick to hold to my face). John did admirably with $12 and a borrowed hat. And DH has a remarkable amount of steampunk stuff hanging around: too bad he has no inclination in that direction. But I think we did quite well on short notice and with no practice. I could totally get into this.
Since it was John, there was much emphasis that evening on absinthe, of which there was plenty to be had. We each had a shot of heavily sweetened absinthe from and we split a “Hemmingway”: a shot of absinthe mixed with champagne. We then went and sat down for a while. We ended the evening with Denny’s before slinking home, glad that, at 2AM none of my neighbors was around to ask what I was wearing.
I thoroughly enjoyed (and survived) the whole schmear: the dress up, the drinks, the people, the event. Who knew that heavy drinking was good for a cold? John & I met at the venue before the concert started and had a chance to wander into each of the little alcoves to check out the decor (John kept commenting on the attention to detail) as well as the people. And once again I have to give props to the effect of the Masque: people walked up to me as though they’d known me for years, “Those are awesome gloves!” and we’d start talking about little boutiques in Marin county. Staring is encouraged in this kind of a venue. Some of the people even had their own personas (I heard one gentleman introduce himself as Baron von [something german]). I found myself wondering who these people were in meatspace, for want of a better term. Do they wear goggles to their offices? Or are they corporate lawyers in the day light and corseted wenches only in the shadows of the Edison?
And what causes people to get into this? Cosplay at a con is one thing, but cosplay at a bar takes it to a whole nother level. I wonder if there isn’t some of the camaraderie of religion that attracts people to this: if you know they’re into [Jesus, Buddha, steampunk], you already have something in common. John mentioned that there was a notable increase in the amicability of the people at the Edison last night (as opposed to people in everyday life). And it was true: the gentlemen opened doors for each other & for the ladies (even if they were wenches). Perhaps some of the attraction of the Victorian lifestyle is the level of politeness that is acceptable in mixed company. I just like the corsets. And the gears. And I’m totally going to look for costume pieces the next time I’m at the army surplus store. This is totally my bag (and if not for John, I’d not’ve known!).
Thar be Christmas merriment to be had!
I’m in the local coffee shop working on my papers and Pirate Santa just walked in! He’s wearing a velvet red pirate suit with white fur trim (even around his eye patch)! He’s got the scruffy beard, the long stringy hair, a parrot on his shoulder and says “Harrrrrr” instead of “Ho!” He says that the pirate children need a Santa, too. He also says that Pirate Santa needs his coffee to get going. (get going in what? in his flying pirate ship to shower gold doubloons on the pirate children of the world?)
This is almost a
Or does he only visit the bad little pirates?