No one seems to really agree what is the exact scope or focus on steampunk is. Is it confined to the Victorian era? Is the focus on making cool props or cool clothes? Is it really hip to be so retro? Is it just a fad?
Not sure those questions were answered this weekend at Steampowered 08 or will be answered anytime soon. But it appears that steampunk is big enough, inspires enough passion, gets people fired up enough to be considered … a fandom.
Will it last? Will it become popular? Will it sell out? *shrug* I think it will go through the same phase a lot of fandoms experience: underground to popular subculture to ubiquity to backlash to minor thing. Some people wonder if there’s enough coalescence around steampunk for it to survive the backlash. I think so if only because its diversity will keep on fueling people’s passions around what they already value. Or, the label may die, but the passion and geekery won’t.
And yes, I think steampunk is ready to be a fandom, whatever that entails. At a small hotel in Sunnyvale, CA over Halloween weekend, it entailed Abney Park (but in concert and at the con), Dr. Grordbort and WETA NZ, Mr. Von Slatt above (debutting an electro-static generator made from items he got at Home Depot – those with corporeal hands and the curiosity may want to wait for the Jan. 2009 issue of Make Magazine), the Vandermeers, and a host of costumers, re-enactors, hobbyists, academics, artists, writers, musicians, dancers and geeks. And a few of us from Caledon. 😀
T’was a first con – staffing issues, hotel issues (the cafe was criminally understaffed), little organizational stuff. But I think just about everyone had fun. Captain Robert managed to perform a full set despite getting over walking pnuemonia, and even he seemed to have fun. Beautiful costumes, inventive props, graceful dancing, displays of wicked humour. If only the airship had flown … *sigh*
But enough of my blatherings. See the pritty, pritty pictures. Wallow in the brass, sigh over the gears, gasp at the corsetry, marvel over the display of passion …