Search Results for: steampunk

The Dilettantista in 2014 or A (Non)-Response to that Steampunk Post

Hello!  I am coming out of hibernation in response to a sudden uptick in readership because of this post on Steampunk I wrote in September 2011!  Someone posted it on Facebook and evidently it is making the rounds and causing a bit of a stir. It gave me my busiest day ever yesterday, with 931 views on my blog from 704 individual visitors.  Today I already have over 350 views on the blog.  This is a lot  for me, especially since this blog has been dormant since the fall!

When I wrote that post in 2011 I obviously intended it to cause a stir–I was making a statement that I knew would not be popular in some circles, but it was how I felt at the time.  A few people commented on it and that was that.  Now, two plus years later, I’m really bemused that the article is having its moment.  Obviously I am thrilled about the new readership, but I wrote the post over two years ago and I am really far removed from the emotions and experiences that inspired it.  Because of that, I’m not really in a place to engage actively in the conversation–Steampunk, in my current world, is just a thing that exists that other people do that looks cool.  I don’t feel strongly about it either way anymore.  People can do what they want, there are lame individuals in every fandom, and one for all and all for costumes!  Basically all I can say to the new readers who have stumbled on this blog because of an article I wrote a few years ago is welcome, and thank you for the comments, the clicks, the links, and the shares.   I really appreciate it!

In this spirit–sincere appreciation for the uptick in readership and a general welcome to my corner of the Internet–I wanted to let new readers know a bit more about The Dilettantista in 2014, and some of the major differences between the author of the Over Steampunk article and the author today:

This is me with a statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  I did not attend UVA nor do a I have an unusual fondness for President Jefferson, I just like this picture of me.
This is me with a statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I did not attend UVA nor do a I have an unusual fondness for President Jefferson, I just like this picture of me.

1) In the fall of 2011, when I wrote that article, I was unemployed and pretty bitter about it.  I got a great job in my field of choice later that year (and am soon leaving that job to start another great job, also in my field of choice, but I’ll post about that later!), but being unemployed left me a lot of time to poke around and snark on the Internet while seething about minor injuries.  Because unemployment is the worst.

2) When I wrote the article I was living with my boyfriend, Jon.  I still  live with Jon, but he is now my pre-husband and we’re getting married this summer (yaaaaaaaaaaay).  I’m super excited to be marrying My Person (baaarf yes I am one of those people now).   If you are sappy and like engagement stories, here is ours! Wedding planning has taken up a lot of the free time I kept for blogging and playing on the Internet, which is another reason for the radio silence on this end.


3)  About a month after writing the Steampunk article I got my second little black cat, Minion.  Before that we’d only had Dexter.  Twice the kitty is twice the fun and twice the litter boxes!

My cats on December 31st, 2013.  Dexter is in the front, Minion is in the back.
My cats on December 31st, 2013. Dexter is in the front, Minion is in the back.

4)  I haven’t been to a convention since 2012, so I haven’t had much reason to costume since then.  I still love looking at other people’s costumes and have booked my ticket and hotel room for Dragon*Con 2014, so costumes are not over for me!  I already have some great ideas for what to wear this year…and no, it will not be Steampunk.

5) I still really love Captain Eo and I FINALLY got to EPCOT to see it (for the first time since I was a little kid) a few weeks ago.  Behold:


1514561_10104548835005001_1846058781_nI should probably post about that soon too.

So that’s me, in a…in a really abbreviated nutshell.  I hope you poke around the blog some–there are lots of fun articles on nerd culture and Dragon*Con and pop cultural things.  You might not agree with this little corner of the Internet, but it is mine, and full of odd and sundry things.

Thanks, again, for visiting, and thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoy what you see.

Why I am Over Steampunk

You might have noticed a considerable lack of Steampunk pictures in my batch of photographs from this year’s Dragon*Con.  This is for several reasons:

1) Nearly all of the Alternate History (aka Steampunk) events were held in the Westin hotel and…

2) I never went to the Westin (despite the fact that the Whedon track was held there, I love Joss Whedon and all he has done but didn’t attend any of the panels this year) and…

3) I never went to the Westin because I am over Steampunk.

I have to admit, I was a little relieved about Steampunk being given its own corner, far away from me.  Yes, I had an initial honeymoon phase with Steampunk and costumed Steampunk my first Dragon*Con and briefly last year.  Jon and I even attended last year’s world record attempt for most Steampunk costumers in one photograph.  But seriously, y’all, I am so over Steampunk.

Over It

Why am I over Steampunk?  A few reasons.


6 Days to Dragon*Con: Regretsy Things That Are Not Steampunk

So while dancing around and trying to finalize my costume (6 DAYS OMFG) I stumbled upon this hilarious Regretsy feature, Things That Are Not Steampunk.

So, here are some things that are not remotely Steampunk:

One cannot Steampunk with this cat.

One cannot Steampunk with this hat (though this hat is fairly baller in its own right).

Maybe baby?  Sorry, no Steampunk.

Jesus is so not Steampunk.  Especially on a clock, with a lamb.

Anyhow, six days, time to totally get cracking, brush out my wig, and not buy anything else on Etsy (because I totally did buy some costume stuff on Etsy).

40 Days to Dragon*Con: Steampunk Disney

Earlier this spring the masterful Disney dream team created a new vision for the Disney characters:  STEAMPUNK.

The Mechanical Kingdom!  How clever is that?!  I love Disney Imagineers, they are the smarts.   You can read about the conception and the artist Mike Sullivan here.

So these little characters are sold as pins separately, or you can get the big fancy set with a big fancy book.  Supposedly they’ll be making vinyl figures (Vinylmation!) versions of these little buddies, and once they all their Steampunk vinyls are belong to me.

So, I’m not sure this artist was aware of the Disney classic characters Steampunkery, but some creative person at DeviantArt decided to Steampunk up the Disney Princesses:

Okay left to right: Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Ariel, and that princess from The Princess and the Frog whose name I do not know.  These are totally fun, although I’m not sure the Disney crew would approve of Ariel having no pants.

A Steampunk New Year!

Hi all, Happy New Year!

Spent last night ringing in 2010 with the local Steampunk crowd at the Clockwork Ball Masquerade.  Thus it is fitting that my article on Steampunk, in my friend Travis Atria’s Thriller Magazine, was published today.  Do yourself a New Years favor and check it out!

The present meets the past meets the FUTURE.  Enjoy!

And here is the FULL article as it appeared in Thriller Mag, a bit late, but I wanted it on the blog…


If you pilot a steam-powered airship, own a pair of aviator goggles and wear jewelry with gear motifs, then you don’t need to read this article.  You understand Steampunk well enough to have your botanist-explorer/runaway aristocrat/airship navigator character fully drafted, costumed, and ready to unveil at next year’s Steam Con.  Go reread “The Call of Cthulu.”

If you have no idea what I am talking about, read on: your world is about to be expanded.

steampunk watchSteampunk is a literary and aesthetic genre of alternative history that assumes a science that never existed.  G.D. Falksen, a leading writer of Steampunk theory (yes, it exists) and a history masters student in New York City, writes that the most concise definition of Steampunk is Victorian science fiction.  Here, “Victorian” references the period of industrialization in the nineteenth century, rather than the British culture, though many costumers use the fashions of Victorian England simply as a starting point.   In the Steampunk world, science and technology have not progressed beyond Newtonian physics: no internet, no lasers, no spaceships.  The atom has not been split, and Nikola Tesla holds more credence than Thomas Edison. Steampunk, however, is not without technology; it embraces steam-powered flying machines, guns whose mechanisms can be explained, and almost any object with visible gears.

I first learned about Steampunk while reading a 2008 article in the New York Times Style Section (Steampunk bands!  Steampunk meet-ups and photo shoots in Central Park!  An early photo of G.D. Falksen before I actually knew who he was!).  However, I had my true introduction this past summer at Dragon Con, an annual convention held in Atlanta.  Dragon Con 2009 was the first Dragon Con with a track devoted entirely to Steampunk, and attendees dressed in neo-Victorian garb, myself included, lined up to attend panels on costume making  and resin casting, packed the performance of the well-known Steampunk band Abney Park, and waited more than an hour to get into the overcrowded Steampunk fashion show and Time Traveler’s Ball.

Steampunk is an aesthetic that can be applied to most any source.  I saw Steampunk western costumes, a Steampunk samurai costume, several Steampunk Star Wars groups, and an amazing Steampunk X-Men group complete with a Professor X in a tricked out Steampunk wheelchair.   I also observed gothic Steampunk, in blacks and reds, and sepia-toned Steampunk in photographic browns (color palettes are an intense debate within the Steampunk costume community, one of many arguments including the importance of goggles and the prevalence of gears; the Steampunk community is a passionate bunch).  I met a woman who had created a Steampunk arm brace which was a functional morse code transmitter.  I saw people with Steampunk cell phone and iPod cases in leather and brass.  I bought a resin-cast, gear-filled necklace from a Steampunk jeweler and photographer in the vendor hall.


High-end Steampunk creations have garnered so much attention that recently the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University opened the first Steampunk exhibition.  The exhibition is mounted beside actual scientific artifacts as relics of a science that never was.  Featured are major Steampunk artists such as the team behind Brute Force, who created a mechanical jointed spider, and the artist Datamancer, who is renowned for creating a functional Steampunk laptop, complete with brass wind-up key.datamancer-steampunk-laptop-open Many makers of high end Steampunk objects have training in costume making and set design, though some have minimal artistic background.   I spoke with Thomas Willeford, one half of the Brute Force team, at Dragon Con; his interest in Steampunk objects stems from his background in physics.  He attempts to create objects that make functional sense in terms of how they are manufactured: the pistons in his mechnical jointed spider are meant to work, and you could easily imagine a massive-sized version of the small model wreaking havoc on the human population.

You’ve probably unknowingly encountered Steampunk.  You may have read some proto-Steampunk in Jules Verne’s  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.  Maybe you’ve noticed the rise of Victorian style charms and little watch parts at craft stores such as Michaels, or noticed jewelry bearing these characteristics on Etsy.  The Way Station, a Steampunk bar, recently opened in Prospect Heights.   New York Times head restaurant critic Sam Sifton referenced Steampunk in his recent review of the Brooklyn restaurant Prime Meats (you know Steampunk is mainstreaming when the Times restaurant critic name-drops it).  The day after that review was released, the Times style section published an article about the resurgence of 1890s styles in men’s fashion. To know Steampunk is to love it.

Below is a list of Steampunk Web sites, writers, and photo albums.  Have a look, I guarantee you will share my amazement.  Now, off to work on my bustle. : A fairly well written explanation of Steampunk and its various branches.  You bet BoingBoing is all over Steampunk!  The Steampunk fashion livejournal community, offering numerous tips and pictures on where to acquire the best steamy styles and how to create your own.  Brute Force, high-end Steampunk clothing, accessories, and furnishings.  The website for the Steampunk exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford.  G.D. Falksen’s excellent Steampunk 101 post on The livejournal community for Dragon Con’s Alternate History Track  Flickr album for Steampunk costumes seen at Dragon Con.  The website for The Way Station, Brooklyn’s first Steampunk bar.  2008 NYTimes article on Steampunk., the extremely new Steampunk web series!  I told you it was mainstreaming…