Over a week late, but, uh, here we are (between finals and losing the almost completed blog due to a glitch… yeah, sorry). This year’s Steampunk Symposium was pretty awesome I have to say. The venue this year was head and shoulders above last year, the panels were just as good, the costumes perhaps better and the people fantastic. Being on-site is pretty nifty, even if our room was hidden behind the Hall of Debauchery- the room’s sound proofing was plenty fine, not that we’d have heard it over Chaos’ cave bear impression. Anyway. We got there Friday night, a bit later than we’d hoped but in time to get enough sleep to be up in time for the opening of reg.
This just kind of happened on the way back from Reg.
Con started out a little slow, honestly- we split up at first, with me going to a Steampunk Art panel and them heading to Electronics Seminar & Workshop 1. They got to make doodads that lite up, my panel was… okay. It was more ‘Steampunk Art I’ve done, please buy it in the dealer’s room.’ Mind you, the art was pretty good, I was just hoping for more of a generalized view of the world, so to speak. After that, we hit the Dealer’s room- besides some really awesome handmade chocolate and hardcandy (www.WarPonyForge.com)- we each ended up getting at least one thing. I got a nice leather wristband with some (empty) bullet casings woven into it, Chaos got a really nice looking silver pocketwatch and a gear/clockwork mantis drawling, Ken got a leather backed compass on a leather thong and Yami rounded things out with a leather pouch she could hang off her toolbelt big enough to hold her smartphone. Very handy.
And then the best thing ever happened- cane-fighting workshop. With highly durable, illuminated lightsabers. The Man (also known as Maestro Barbeau) actually apologized for not having the rods he normally uses for this workshop, for making us use the lightsabers. Fairly certain no-one minded.
There’s a little boy in Ken that’s just grinning madly. Wait, never mind, the outside is doing that too.
This was by far the best part of the entire Con in my book (though the others contest the Airship Crashing, err, Race, was pretty good too). We got an hour’s worth of cane-fighting lessons that covered not only some pretty fun blocks and counters, but gave the (very) basic ground rules for stage-fighting in general. Clearly, an hour’s time isn’t going to be enough to get us ready for Hollywood, but we still had a great time and learned a few very handy safety rules. The most important one? Don’t be close enough to actually hit the other person. Simple, but highly effective. That’s why theaters have all those tape lines on the ground- it is often used to help the fight-actors measure distance from each other. This allows you to swing as hard or wildly as you want (though still not recommended) because you just plain can’t reach the other person to hurt them. He had a few other rules but even just using that one vastly decreases the chance of hurting someone in a mock duel.
Ken and I paired up for the cane-fighting lesson, taking turns being ‘the hero.’ Or in other words, taking turns being the one that got to smack the other guy.
Right after the cane-fighting workshop, Maestro Barbeau taught a stage-fighting with swords class that we stayed for- duh. Turns out this guy was one of the main choreographers for the movie Hook. He had real metal swords (blunted, of course, but still very dangerous if you’re careless) that we used for this workshop. Yami and Chaos decided to partake in this one, so there wasn’t anyone to take photos but to be honest, it was so much fun I can’t blame them in the slightest. I also decided that Owens fights with his left hand when in melee so his dominant right hand is free for gun-work. This is counter to most schools of thought on duel-wielding melee and range, given that most would have you use your dominant hand for melee as it’s more strength and control intensive but Owens loves his guns too much to stint on them. This may have come up at least in part due to Ken being left-handed, which messed up all of the routines we were learning. By me going lefty, we could just reverse the entire thing instead of doing this weird half-inverted inside-out timey-wimey thing.
After learning the way of the cane and sword, we hit a few ‘advice for costuming and props’ type panels- picked up a few tips that might come in handy. For one, avoid vinyl and polyester like the plague. They melt, they stain and they’re hot. I wouldn’t have really thought about my clothes melting myself, but evidently it’s a danger. Another good tip, this time for props, was to use steelwool with a wood-colored finish to simulate wood-grain. To be honest, this is more Yami and Chaos than me, so while it was interesting, I think they’d already learned most of what they discussed. Still, the workshops could be great for beginners or even for intermediates moving in a new direction so I highly recommend Steampunkers to hit at least one or two panels of this sort during every Con. Never know what you might pick up.
That was pretty much the end of the day for me- I forgot to keep hydrated and ended up going back to the room with a headache while the others watched the Airship Race and learned about Electronics. The next day, we swung by the dealer’s room again to blow the rest of our Con budget on more candy (don’t judge), then looked over the Curiosities Room, which was kind of a mock-up museum for things people have built as props that are too big, fragile or out-of-character to carry around all day.
Not a clue what’s it’s for, exactly, but who cares? For SCIENCE!
A little Steampunk from out of England or America.
As we were on our way out, we heard someone crying out about a ‘penny farthing race’ or some such thing. Not really being in a rush, Yami convinced us to check it out. Turns out, it was a last minute game, or rather a beta-test for a game for next year’s Con. It basically involves the tiniest member of your Airship crew getting on a children’s pedal bike who is then pushed along by a larger member. And yes, it was just as silly as it sounds after a moment’s thought.
Next year, you should be getting a photo of me pushing Ken along on one of those things. Gods help us.
So yeah. Another good Steampunk Symposium- and this time, the hotel didn’t try to give us a room with only one (twin-sized) bed! So better and better. Again, sorry about the delay in posting this, but I leave you with this final thought:
Guy really fit his choice of costume. And great taste in outwear. Just saying…