Meet Your Con Host: James Gallagher of Steampunk@Gettysburg Created by ProfHoppingood on 3/9/2013 6:16:28 PM
Con Hosts and their teams are the heart and faces behind the events that keep our community together. In each profile, we reach out to the hosts of upcoming cons and allow them to step out from "behind the scenes" and into the limelight for just a moment and introduce themselves. We ask them to share their personal impressions of what it means to be a con organizer, a member of the steampunk community and the joys and challenges of planning and hosting their events. And just as the creative people who populate our community are diverse, cons and events come in many variations, from the tradional con, to meetups, festivals, swapmeets, and others.
This week, we caught up with James Gallagher, the host of the the upcoming Film, Art, and Music Festival: Steampunk@Gettysburg.
What brought you to Steampunk? What attracted you most?
I'm not sure what is was that brought me to Steampunk. I suppose I was always here, but never knew there was a name for it. I grew up reading Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, H. P. Lovecraft, Poe, Burroughs and the sort. I marveled in the stories of lost worlds, time travel and adventure. I enjoyed the parallels of what had been science fiction of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century and seeing what had come to pass.
I think what brought me to steampunk was finding that there really was a fandom and a great one here in southcentral Pennsylvania and northern Maryland at that. It's like finding an opal in the middle of the desert and the folks I've met have been no end of inspiration. I'm not solely a steampunk though. I draw a good bit of inspiration and ideas from the "art deco" era of the early 20th century. I don't necessarily like to be key holed into any specific category. I think that is one of the things that drew me the most to the genre. The sky's the limit.
What are your personal interests in Steampunk?
I'm an aspiring builder and folks like Dr. Grymm and Emperor Justinian are a big inspiration. To see their art and that it's functional is amazing. I have several designs on the table now that would be usable in the office here as well as in the home. It's the "reuse / recycle" aspects of building that I think I like the most. The re-purposing of items to things that they were otherwise not originally designed for; this is the kind of thing I love to see and do.
What are your favorite cons to attend, and why?
I've always enjoyed SPWF in New Jersey. Jeff Mach runs a great show and I always look forward to what he'll do the following year. I'm making it a point to try to attend Philadelphia ComiCon and NY ComiCon this year if possible. Otherwise, due to my own schedule limitations, I really don't get to attend too many conventions during the year. Outside of doing Gettysburg I have other events, both public and private I'm currently being contracted for.
Describe your con for us. What makes it special?
Firstly, we're in Gettysburg. There are very few places that I think lend themselves so naturally to the aesthetic. Second, I'm not sure of many other, if any, that bill themselves as a film festival. We hope that we can show our guests a cross-section of the history and depth of steampunk in media. It's been around really since some of the first images were recorded on film (From Earth to The Moon in 1902!) and are becoming more and more commonplace in the last several years. Lastly, we are a convention being done by fans of the genre. We aren't in the business just to make money. This is a convention that, as a fan, we really wanted to see happen.
What’s the most challenging part of running a con?
The most challenging part for me is that I'm really just the average guy that no one has heard of. It's a daunting task to jump into this genre and to attempt something as ambitious as a convention. It's difficult to get people that are willing to accept the fact that we're new and we're worth the chance to come and visit with us.
What do our readers need to know about attending a con?
We are hoping that Steampunk@Gettysburg will offer something for everyone. We are trying to be a family friendly event with a little something for the adults after the kids are tucked into bed on Friday and Saturday night. Imagine Ringling Brothers during the day and Moulin Rouge at night. Mostly, we want our guests to know that they are just that, our guests. You are not simply attendees.
What goes on "behind the scenes"? Tell us a bit about your team.
The team behind Steampunk@Gettysburg is all volunteer. Like I've said, we aren't in this for the money. We do this because steampunk is in our blood and it's something we love. We want to share something we are passionate about with anyone and everyone who will stop, look and listen.
Anything else you’d like to share with Steampunk Chronicle readers?
If you are the host of a convention or event and would like to be profiled for this feature, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.