Steampunk Anachronism III: Visit In Edo
Armed with the prep from my interview with Psyche Chimere (see previous post), I headed down to Webster Hall for an afternoon of Saturday steampunk goodness. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. From the moment I walked in, the pounding of steampunk-inspired music greeted me from one of the red-lit stages in the downstairs of the famous New York venue. People in all kinds of costume were rocking out to a band called The Absinthe Drinkers whose lead singer held up what looked like a little mutant baby in a jar while he sang. His keyboardist looked splendid in his top hat while he played. Not far away, vendors sold corsets and steampunk-inspired jewelry (gears, keys, and brass everything) while folks chatted in their costume best. This was definitely not your typical club night in the city!
Upstairs on the main stage in the Marlin Room, I was treated to a great performance by steampunk band Faebotica, resplendid in red light before a titilating performance from the Royal Baritarian Players (whose interview will be in a later post) took to the stage. With the studio downstairs and the main stage upstairs, there was something going on all the time. I missed the tea ceremony to attend the Cosplay Contest and Fashion Show (both which will be covered too!) and stuck around for a phenomenal showing by the goth-synth band Platform One, followed by Psyche Corporation and the Butoh Rockettes. For those who just wanted to relax, the bar down the hall was a perfect place to just sip drinks or grab a slice of pizza and browse some beautiful artwork available for purchase. Vendors lined the hallway outside selling every kind of hand-crafted, steampunk inspired jewelry. There was even someone doing body makeup, for those who wanted gears in all kinds of places!
And of course, wherever I looked, there was beautiful costuming. It was difficult to tell who were performers at the event and who were just enthusiasts there to share in the evening’s fun because of the level of costume brilliance. There was no chance I could get every costume as almost everyone who was at the event had decked themselves out in one way or another. Many were in just steampunk garb while several rose to the occasion to deck themselves out in Japanese versions of their steampunk personas. The bar itself was decked with an exhibition of kimonos that really added to the atmosphere too. At the back of the main hall, a table sold buttons for the charity relief efforts to bring in money for those who lost everything in the recent tragedy in Japan. Patrons of the night were encouraged to show their support by hitting the bar for signature drinks made especially for the occasion, including (of course) some great absinthe concoctions.
The main MC and the man often extolling the audience to the virtues of ‘DRINK!’ was A Count Named Slick-Brass and with his co-MC Gunner at his side, they kept the audience engaged between sets. Both were decked out in full steampunk gear with Slick-Brass often commenting on how he was wearing his weight in leather and metal (and HOW, his costume is impressive!) Gunner remarked at one point, “I would have entered the [cosplay] contest, but I forgot this is a costume! I mean, it’s a Sunday!” That seemed to be a large part of the demographic of folks at the event. For some of us, it was a chance to come dress up among people who would enjoy the costumes put on. For others, this is their almost typical Sunday gear, who walk the walk and talk the talk of steampunk all the time. Together, the costumed pageantry made for a unique evening of glitter, gears and glorious fun.
I managed to catch up to event organizer Jeff Mach during the evening. Mr. Mach is well known for his involvement in organizing the first Steampunk World’s Fair and Wicked Fair previously. I asked him what drew him to steampunk specifically as an aesthetic. He answered without hesitation. “Whimsy. There is no where else in the world where you can combine the truly amazing creativity of being involved with a new movement and whimsy. That’s what makes me love steampunk.” When asked about other events coming up, he said that there’s more coming up but a lot that hasn’t been announced as of yet. I’m looking forward to any chance to see more steampunk in New York and especially more of the Steampunk Anachronisms at Webster Hall.
So enjoy some of the photos from my time at Steampunk Anachronism: I know I enjoyed taking them as well as being at the event.