A Nostalgic Look Back
2011 Great New England Steampunk Exhibition
This was the official site for the 2011 Great New England Steampunk Exhibition.
Content is from the site's 2010 - 2011 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.
TLA Productions was formed in 2010 to bring a major Steampunk Convention to New England.
Several of us had been complaining that there was no major Steampunk convention in New England. In particular, a couple of us wanted Abney Park to come to Boston, or at least closer to us than New York City. As you might expect, someone eventually said, "Why don't you stop complaining and do it yourself." So one of us (Jim von Hegner) thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "Why not?" The rest, as they say, is history
Packed to the brim with contributions from both established and up-and-coming voices in the steampunk community, Steampunk Week on Tor.com features a diverse range of worldwide voices worldwide who offer a look at steampunk from various angles — from Eurocentric to multicultural, artsy to lowbrow, politics to fandom, and everything in between.
The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition
September 16 - 18, 2011
Courtyard Marriott / Central MA Expo Center
The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition
- A Maker Contest. First prize $1000!
- A wedding in the Victorian Style.
- A concert featuring Abney Park.
- A Ball in the Victorian style.
- A Gizmo Contest.
- A Victorian Insult Contest.
- A Victorian bathing costume (bathing suit) contest.
- Selections from a Steampunk operetta.
- And much more.
Early bird registration for a 3-day pass is now $55. After March 31, 2011 weekend registration will go from $55 to $65. That price includes the Saturday night concert featuring Abney Park. Don't miss out, register today!
NOTE ON REGISTRATION:Children 6 and under are admitted without charge and do not need a registration badge provided they are accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian who has purchased a valid registration. Children 7 through 11 years of age are eligable for a Youth Rate of $25. Please note: TGNESE does not provide child care, so parents or guardians are responsible at all times for accompanying minors.
For your edification we present below a list of our guests. There are yet more who will shortly be added to the list, so please check back often.
- Abney Park
Abney Park comes from an era that never was, but one that we wish had been. An era where airships waged war in the skies, and corsets and cummerbunds were proper adventuring attire. They’ve picked up their bad musical habits, scoundrelous musicians, and anachronistically hybridized instruments from dozens of locations and eras that they have visited in their travels and thrown them into one riotous dervish of a performance. Expect clockwork guitars, belly dancers, flintlock bassists, middleastern percussion, violent violin, and Tesla powered keyboards blazing in a post- apocalyptic, swashbuckling, Steampunk musical mayhem.
Fabulous steampunk band Abney Park performing their song "Post-Apocalypse Punk" at The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition this year in Fitchburg, Mass.
- Jake von Slatt
Jake von Slatt is a maker, tinkerer, and all around techno dilettante living and creating just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Jake is interested in the blending of 19th century aesthetics and technology with the modern world and showcases projects of that ilk on his website at http://steampunkworkshop.com. While he eschews the temptation to rigidly define the term "Steampunk," he does know that it has something to do with the intersection of technology and romance.
- Everett Soares
Our Comic Guest of Honor is Everett Soares, creator of the ongoing comic and webcomic series, Sky Pirates of Valendor. Entering the comic book industry in just 2007, Soares and his artistic partner Brian Brinlee has won numerous awards for his work and finished as the 1st runner-up in 2007 Small Press Idol. Since ...then, Everett has completed one full volume of SPoV and is in the midst of his 2nd.
- Phil and Kaja Foglio
We are proud and honored to announce Phil and Kaja Foglio as our 2011 Artist Guests of Honor. Phil and Kaja are the creators of the Hugo Award-winning steampunk webcomic "Girl Genius" featuring fan favorite character Agatha Heterodyne.
- Mademoiselle Veronique Chevalier
- Steampunk Opera - Mary Lin
Queen Victoria's Floating Garden of Secrets and Natural Wonders,
Prometheus Petrobust, a Play within a Play
Libretto and Music by Mary Lin and Ben Sargent
Set on the HMS Annelid, a discovery ship in the spirit of Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle intermarried with Jules Verne’s Nautilus, this operetta surfs 19th-century science, history, and geography in a spirited and at times salacious romp on the high seas worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan, with touches of Terry Gilliam and Euripides adding high color.
In this alternate future, the Thirteen Colonies have seen the error their ways and reunited with their fair queen. All of creation is “subject” to inquiry. The opera takes place during a Inspection by the Queen on the Annelid’s return from a Homeric and triumphant exploration of far-flung corners of the map, loaded down with newly discovered, exotic specimens. Pirate lasses mutiny, womenfolk can’t keep their petticoats down, contraptions impressively malfunction, and frank discussions of anatomy are all in a day’s work while in service to Her Majesty the Queen.
- The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew
The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew have been spreading the Brass Sickness known as Steampunk in various forms for about three years now. Being veterans of conventions and creators of the web series "The Wandering Legion," produced by Dogtoon Media, these braggarts gadabout the New England area educating, entertaining, and making sure a good time is had by all! You may have seen The Baron, Lucretia, The General, and Professor Marvel running close to ten panels at this year's Connecticon, unveil their air kraken hunting gear at Dragon Con at the Steampunk Exhibition, helping to run the Steampunk Invasion in Salem this past September, OR seen them helping to run the wonderful Steampunk Industrial Revolution in March with board members of Another Anime Con. Visit www.thewanderinglegion.com to learn more of their exploits and how you too can spread the Brass Sickness!
- Lydia's Carnival Sideshow
Lydia's Carnival Sideshow is an old fashioned side show with traditional carnival entertainers.
Sybil Wilen did a belly dance as a zombie powered by steam at the Great New England Steampunk Exhibition held on September 16t-18h, 2011 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
The Courtyard Marriott, CoCo Keys Water Resort, Central MA Expo Center, in Fitchburg, MA
Yes, that is a long name, but it's a great place for a convention. It even has a water resort!
Feedback By Joan of A: I attended as an artist and applied for free space to show my work. This was an incredible deal, given the audience and the crowd that showed up. I also met some amazing people who had amazing skills. The artist who set up next to me was a brilliant savant who built websites and dabbled in search engine optimization. He told me a story of how Google search results once created problem for him. A search for his name showed results on page one of Google of his brother's financial fraud. But since both he and his brother only used their same last name, the fraud appeared to be connected to the artist, which harmed his ability to get licensed in some states. He found that the only viable solution was to hire a reputation management service to bury the bad search results but this was way too costly. Instead, he connected to a pro who had tons of experience removing search results and learned the tricks of the trade by reading his website. And this artist was actually able to remove the problem from page 1 of Google's search results - only took him 4 months (and a lot of work). Although he could probably have a career as an seo, he much preferred to do his art. I'm keeping this guy's contact info - you never know...
ATTENTION VENDORS AND ARTISTS!!!
Artists who would like to display but not sell their works can get an artist space without electricity at no charge! Use the contact page to let us know of your interest.
Artists who would like to sell their works can get an artist space at a price that is significantly below the cost of a regular vendor space! Check the Vendor page for details.
An artist who gets a free space can pass out business cards and brochures, and negotiate for future business, but agrees not to sell anything during the event.
If you would like to display but not sell your works of art at The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition please contatct us using the contact page. Select "Artist space" in the drop down box as the "Reason for contact" and put "Free space" in the subject line. We will send you the details via email.
We have been told that some of you have not received information about how to get a space. We have responded to EVERY request for vendor or artist information. If you have not received a response, please add "email@example.com" to your address book. We will be emailing all vendors and artist with updated information this week.
Youth registration is $25 for the weekend for ages 7 through 12. Ages 6 and under are free. Because we do not provide any child care, children of ages 6 and under must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult at all times, and children ages 7 through 12 must be under the supervision of a parent or responsible adult at all times.
Please note: Registration is all inclusive. The are no extra charges for the concert, the tea dance, or anything else on our schedule.
The Courtyard Marriott hotel sent us this link for those who would like to reserve a room online. It's a bit sparse, but it does work.
For those of you who plan to fly, the nearest major airport is Boston's Logan, and we will be arranging free transportation between the airport and the venue. In order to make this work, we ask that you let us know when you plan on arriving and departing. We will shortly put a form on the Venue page along with more information.
The Courtyard Marriott in Fitchburg has been accepting reservations at the group rate for anyone mentioning the "steampunk fan convention". The number to call is 978.342.7100. However, for those who wish to make reservations online, the hotel will have a dedicated web page up shortly. The group rate is $109 per night for a room with a single king size bed or double queen size beds. Check out this venue information page with lots of pictures.
ALERT! Frenchy and the Punk and Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys will be opening for Abney Park, and Mme Veronique Chevalier will be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening.
Early bird registration for a 3-day pass is now $55. After May 31, 2011 weekend registration will go from $55 to $65. That price includes the Saturday night concert featuring Abney Park. Don't miss out, register today!
Vendors and Artists! There are still some vendors and artists spaces available. Please check our vendor and artist pages.
We are a bit different.
Our unofficial motto is "pushing the boundaries". That's why we are doing two things that make us different from the other fan conventions.
First, we are offering two different sizes of vending space at two different prices.
The vendor space is approximately 10' X 10', including electricity. We know that many vendors have their own setup that they prefer to use, but for those who don't, we do have a limited supply of tables that vendors may use at no extra charge. All we ask is please don't ask for a table if you don't actually need it. That way someone else who does need a table won't have to go without the one you're not using.
The artist space is approximately 6' X 5', including electricity. Again, you may bring your own set up, or you may request to use one of our tables.
If you are an artist who would like to exhibit your works but not sell them, please check the artists page for details.
Please be advised that we cannot quarantee everyone who requests a table will get one. They are available on a first come, first served basis and availability depends entirely on how many vendors and artists request them.
Second, all of our vendor spaces and artist spaces are offered on a first come first served basis. That's right, if you can pay for a space, you can have it. Until, that is, all the spaces are gone. Please Note that We are going to offer vendor and artist space in the order in which people inquire about them using our contact page. We realize this could lead to a number of people selling the same thing, so We have decided to list what other vendors are selling. Hopefully that way we won't end up with an unenviable situation such as everyone selling tiny hats and nothing else.
If you would like to vend your goods at The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition please contact us using the contact page. You will be directed to an online form. Again, we will respond in the order in which we were contacted by a vendor.
What Is "Steampunk Music?" Op-Ed by Veronique Chevalier
FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011
There seem to be more and more debates floating through the aethers on the subject of "SteampunkMusic," so I wrote this piece from the viewpoint that I have as an artiste. Although I have performed at numerous Steampunk events, and shall continue to do so as long as the invitations keep coming my way, I don't call myself a "Steampunk" artiste, per say.
I prefer the word "artiste" without any descriptors, because I create to please myself, and I appear at non-Steampunk events (Cabarets/Music Halls/Gay Venues/Burlesque Rooms) as well. I do feel very privileged and honoured that many fine folk in the community appreciate my special brand of ODDitory MADemoiselle-ness.
However, I know that people new to the Steampunk community, as well as long-time adherents, yearn for more musical choices, so that they might have a soundtrack, as it were, to complement the aesthetics and spirit that drew them to the community initially.
In the spirit of inclusiveness, I'd like to share a couple of invaluable resources for Steampunk-ish music. Incidentally, there is no universal agreement about what constitutes "Steampunk" music, since it commenced as a literary and aesthetic movement. However, it does seem to follow that numerous music artistes enjoyed by many Steampunks (and in whose ranks I am honoured to be included) are congregated in the following two websites:
Review of The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition 2011
September 18, 2011 by Shauna Leva
I just got back from The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition 2011 at the Courtyard Marriott in Fitchburg, MA. As with every convention that I attend, I will be writing an honest review of the con as I experienced it. This was the Convention’s first year of operation, as well as my first steampunk convention; I will be highlighting the differences between a steampunk con and an anime con in this review in addition to giving it an overall rating.
Jake von Slatt’s Vintage Steampunk Ride. Photo by Josh Pegg.
Time and Location: The Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Fitchburg is a lovely place for a small convention like TGNESE. It is a beautiful and modern hotel with a sizable lounge, several function rooms, and an exposition center two buildings away, where the main events were held. The hotel is also connected to a Coco Keys resort and water-park for those who brought a bathing suit (sadly I did not). The convention itself occupied 3 panel rooms, about the size of your average classroom, and two vendor halls: one for artists and one for more established vendors and clothing salespersons. As I stated before, the main events took place in a large exposition space set up like an auditorium a short walk away. There were also events and entertainment held in the lounge area, which was an open area of seating next to the hotel’s front desk.
View of the Bistro and Hotel Lobby. Photo by Josh Pegg.
The convention filled this very small space, as they had many more attendants than expected. They had already sold out of pre-printed badges on Friday, and were hand-writing them from there on out. Next year the con will be moving to the Connecticut Convention center, where Connecticon is currently held, which is a huge step-up from this years location.
One draw-back from having the convention in a hotel on a weekend is that there was a lot of mingling with other unsuspecting hotel guests. There was part of a wedding party staying at the hotel that weekend, and the convention was always in the way of (or at least made things more interesting for) families on vacation, business people trying to use the bistro, and wedding guest trying to exit and enter the hotel lobby.
The time of year however, was perfect for a steampunk convention. Mid September is consistently a beautiful time of the year with crisp, bright days. This weekend was in the mid 60’s and sunny, which meant that attendants could get a few pictures in the sun, but not sweat themselves to death in their over-coats and stockings.
I zone out in Peddler’s Alley. Photo by Josh Pegg.
Parking: Parking at the Hotel was “complimentary” to all guests and attendants. A HUGE plus. It was absolutely fantastic being able to park for free and come and go as we pleased. There was plenty of outdoor parking, and all within a short walk from a door which was great on those chilly nights.
Juggler of Swords
Food: Though there was food at the hotel complex, it was generally limited and expensive for a meal. There was an over-priced hotel restaurant, and over-priced bistro, a fairly priced market snack-room, and a pizza hut inside the Coco Keys resort pool room which meant your pizza would smell like chlorine. I did not eat at the hotel so I can’t vouch for the quality of the food. My friends and I drove to restaurants in the area: a mexican place, and then a Wendy’s, but other than that we ate food that we had packed for the room. The room however, did not have a mini fridge nor a microwave, so we had to make due with non-perishables only. Food in the area was also at least a fifteen minute drive away.
Some cool dolls in the Artist’s Alley
Lines: There was only one line that I saw all weekend, which was for the “Girl Genius Radio Show” Panel. The line was three times the size of the small panel room! Other than that monster line, there was no line at registration, no lines for any panels, no lines for main events, no lines for the dealer’s room. No lines for me all con. Pretty nice.
Staff: I actually could not identify any staff all weekend. There were two women sitting at the registration table, but other than that I have no idea who was running the convention. Staff was not checking badges at the panels nor policing how full the panels got, nor managing crowds because there really were no crowds or lines to manage. They were not wearing anything special that I could tell and honestly, their presence was not missed. Steampunk is genuinely the nicest counter-culture I have ever encountered and there was not one incident where I thought that staff was needed.
A Steampunk trailer?
Panels/Events: Once again, this convention was small, and panels were sparce. Steampunkers are a much older crowd than you will find at Anime and Gaming conventions. Therefore Friday was a very slow day. There was very little panel over-lap and so there was a lot of time that I spent wondering, “Gee, what should I do now?” Lots of time to just sit and wander and still not feel like you were missing a panel that you really wanted to see. There was only one main event on Saturday, and all of the panels stopped at 8pm just as that main event, the Abney Park Concert was beginning. Sadly I did not get to attend the convention on Sunday, which was when a lot of the panels that I personally was interested in seeing were taking place.
The panels that I did see, however were about the same as at any other con, except they were all about steampunk. There were panels about how to many steampunk costumes, and how to make steampunk props, what types of transportation and stories you can come up with for your steampunk persona, etc. There were also some great comedy panels like the “World Domination Hour” and the Steampunk version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “To Whom Does That Line Pertain To, By Chance?” I think that was the title anyway….. I saw a puppet show and part of a music act, but the best thing about the convention, in my opinion, was the entertainment in the hallways. There were actual performers set-up in the halls, which really added to the spectacle that is steampunk. There were musicians and a balloon artist, and Lydia’s Carnival Sideshow! That was amazing! We got to see an escape artist and a contortionist perform right out in the open, making the whole convention feel more like a victorian carnival than a modern day convention. The performers really added to the atmosphere and made me feel more like a time-traveler. I really hope that when the exhibition moves to the Connecticut Convention Center next year that they keep the hall-performers.
Cosplay/Costumes: Your typical Steampunk outfit isn’t technically cosplay, because most are original characters, however you do occasionally see a pre-existing mainstream character who has been reinterpreted by the costumer to have a steampunk look. At this small convention, I only saw two of those: a Batgirl and Poison Ivy in steampunk, I didn’t get their pictures, but I really liked the thought that went into their outfits. I liked the thought in everyone’s outfits, really! These steampunkers put so much thought and effort into putting their outfits together. One attendant that I interviewed on behalf of Nerd Caliber told me that brass is the new green, in that steampunkers are excellent at repurposing old things for their costumes. They take stuff that would have been taking up space in the trash or in your mother’s basement, and turn it into something new and creative. I am really impressed with that kind of resourcefulness.
Contortionist in the lobby
Other Notes: I was really struck by the sense of community between Steampunkers. I immediately got the sense that everyone at this convention knew each other, and I have never experienced a social dynamic quite like that before. Again, everyone was super friendly and eager to share their knowledge. These people are real thinkers and enthusiasts; they don’t just stick gears on a hat and call it steampunk; almost everyone I talked to, attendants and vendors alike, really do their research about the era that they are trying to reinvent. Steampunk is about alternate history, it is about a Victorian Era that has the same spirit as the true history–the sense of adventure, the passion for discovery, the thrill of science and prosperity–but takes the science and the adventure further than reality would allow. It takes what people were thinking about in the Nineteenth century–things like time travel, reanimating corpses, and underwater worlds–and builds upon them to create new stories and new fantastic technologies. Steampunk is a creative community that is actively defining and expanding its own genre of literature, film and fashion. It really is an amazing sub-culture which I knew very little about before this weekend. Steampunk is not about the goggles and little hats, people, there is so much more beneath the surface.
Contortionist Folds Herself in Half
I Give The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition 2011 a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Great people, great ideas, and free parking! But the panels rooms were too small, and there wasn’t all that much to do at any given time. At least, there weren’t enough events to justify the $65 registration fee. Still, this convention has a lot of promise and I will be happy to attend next year.
Master Bedroom of Jake von Slatt's Steampunk bus! Photo by Josh Pegg.
Thank you all for reading!