A Whimsical Moment In Time: An Overview Of The World Steam Expo Created by Catherine Elizabeth Gossett on 7/30/2012 9:19:26 PM
New correspondent Catherine Elizabeth Gossett gives us her overview of World Steam Expo.
If you had the chance to make it to Dearborn, MI near the end of this past May, you likely touched down at the World Steam Expo. This event was the third of its kind, and was well worth being at. It took place over Memorial Day weekend (May 25th-28th), and was an event not to be passed over. Should you have missed it, then you might enjoy a recapitulation so that you can look forward to the prospect of next year.
It began with a literal bang at opening ceremonies, as the League of S.T.E.A.M. shot a sock monkey to bits on stage. Other guests such as Gail Carriger, G.D. Falksen, and Hayley Jane made an appearance to introduce themselves, and talk a bit about what they do in the community. From there the festivities began, and there was much to look forward to. The first place people meandered into was the vendor hall, which offered full outfits, hats, goggles, books, watches, chocolate, and all other manner of goodies.
Whether your interests lie in learning more about Victorian styles of flirting, or where you could sign up for an airship, just about every aspect of our beloved genre had a time and place. There was the possibility of learning self defense (even for those who are in a corset), various styles of dancing, having a good laugh at some curious characters, how-to's for putting together some steamy threads, and much, much more. Various groups or individuals with some amount of expertise in their given field led these workshops, so you didn't have to worry much about walking into a room with someone who had no idea what they were doing. The only sad part was that you couldn't be at all of the panels unless you had access to a time machine (those are far too difficult to come by), as they had a penchant for overlapping each other.
The musical aspect of this years event was also top-notch as always. Steam Powered Giraffe put on a spotless show, even the brief moments between each song was worth listening to as these famous buskers aim to please a crowd. Abney Park raised the bar for both of their shows as per usual, and you could find the musical workings of Eli August, the Bawdy Boys, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, Harpnotic, and many others to please your audial senses. All of the performances I viewed displayed not only a love of music, but of the culture that it was submersed in as well, which only makes for a better show, don't you think?
When you weren't on the edge of your seat at a panel or dancing away at a concert, there were several other events worth slavering over. There was a Victorian High Tea to attend in which a fine selection of teas, finger foods, and sweets were available to all who attended. While it was an event that required additional funds to be allowed into, it was well worth the extra coin. The In Character Experience (ICE) Lounge brought the allure of an interactive mystery in which its attendees must solve the case of “The Intriguing Conundrum of the Mysterious Demise of Lord John Stone." It also featured a live radio show in which attendees could be invited to portray a cameo role.
The Miss World Steam Pageant put on by Blonde Swan brought together a group of five young ladies who were competing for the crown. They would have to impress the judges with wit, charm, and a love of all things steam. During the intermission of the show, there was entertainment by way of belly dancing to keep the audience enraptured, and the MCs provided comic relief. All of the women in the competition brought special talents to the table, but it was Miss Abernathy with a burlesque routine that could make your mouth water, and her gorgeous hand-sewn outfits that took the first official title of “Miss World Steam.”
For those that wanted to see a bit of a fashion show, there was a Once Upon A Time Machine costume contest. Steampunked characters from movies, myth, and legends made an appearance on stage to show off their ensembles before a group of judges. In the end, it was a Strigoi vampire done by David Jezusek that took the winning slot. There were many other characters to be seen, such as a rather convincing parasprite hunter, Jepetto (who had made a marionette), Artemis, Rapunzel, and Prince Charming.
Should you need a break from all the excitement, the Hyatt Regency was not too far from the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Strong historical aspects in both of these attractions make them amiable places to visit for steampunks of all ages. If that is a bit too “old-fashioned” for your tastes, there is also a mall within walking distance of the hotel.
Whether it be the events, nearby sites to see, or just meeting the wonderful people that come from all walks of life, the World Steam Expo is worth the wait every year. Pre-registration for 2013 is not yet available, but you can go to the official website (http://www.worldsteamexpo.com/) to find out more.
Miss Catherine Elizabeth Gossett is often traversing the world working for a cooperative group (which is best left unnamed for the time being). She dabbles in music, dancing, and artistry. In the modern world, she goes by the pseudonym of Caitlyn Muncy. Under that name, you will find that she works for websites such as GamerFront.net and Redferret.net.