Emerald City Steampunk Expo

Last weekend, I had the great honor of being a literary guest at Wichita’s Emerald City Steampunk Expo, and I had the most fun I’ve had at a convention since the World’s Fair. This first year convention set it’s sights high, and it did not disappoint.

They scheduled me for five readings, three of which were of the steamy variety for an 18+ audience. For each reading I read a different selection, one reading from Avalon Revisited, the highly erotic first chapter of the book. At one of the readings I read the never-before-seen steamy short story “The Handy Man,” and I was quite honored to have the fabulous Unwoman in the audience for that one. She really liked it.

Speaking of Unwoman, I had the pleasure of seeing her perform three times during the convention, and she was simply amazing every time. Instead of her customary concert cello, she played on an electric cello, which certainly had a Steampunk air to it, so it fit in nicely with the convention. Her music touched my very soul, and I had to hold back the tears to many of her songs as their haunting melodies infused my mending heart, reminding it of past pains and lost loves. After one set, I couldn’t decide which of her CDs to buy, so I indulged and purchases her Steampunk USB key, complete with the Unwoman insignia and all of her recorded music. Well worth it to get better acquainted with her evocative lyrics and stirring melodies.

A few crew members of ASI taking a well-deserved break

My dear friends and colleagues Airship Isabella was also in attendance. They are simply some of my favorite people on the planet. Not only are they talented artists and masters at panel information and storytelling, but they are the kindest pirates one will ever meet. They embrace anyone with the slightest curiosity into the Steampunk community, and they’ve single-handedly built said community from the inside out. Unlike many artists who discourage other DIYers to try and get admirers to buy their wares instead, the fine people of ASI encourage others to mod their own guns, goggles, and costumes. At many cons, they even give workshops showing others how to mod weapons, tool leather, and Steampunk-out other costuming. Their fine work can be seen and purchases on their Etsy page, but definitely catch these folks at a convention if you get a chance.

The most well-attended panel that I participated in was the “Firefly” panel I got to do with two members of ASI. It was a geekalicious hour of Whedon love and admiration during which we discussed the development of the “Firefly” characters, lamented at the brevity of the series, and all agreed that “Firefly” was indeed Steampunk.

There was so much going on at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that I didn’t get to see nearly enough. They had a Murder Mystery Theatre and a Mustache Competition, both of which I am very sorry to have missed. Carnival Epsilon performed their medicine sideshow act, complete with eating glass, and I am quite ashamed to admit that I missed that as well! As sometimes happens, my events are planned at the same time as others, so I cannot always see everything. But for congoers, Peter Pixie, grand master extraordinaire, ensured that everyone knew what was going on where at all time, offering his wit and charm to all attendees and guests alike.

The Saturday night concert was brilliant with The Aeronauts, The Kinetiks, and Unwoman performing. Unwoman even sat in with The Aeronauts for a song or two.

Olivia signing Steampunk Calendars

A few high points for me: signing the Steampunk Calendar, created by the lovely Mordecai Hale and getting to know Peter Pixie and Unwoman better. Erica (Unwoman) and I talked for hours over the weekend, but it still didn’t seem like enough time. I’m so thrilled that she and I will both be guests at HRM Steampunk Symposium in Long Beach, CA this coming January. It will be so lovely to be able to hang out with her some more. Peter Pixie and his lovely wife welcomed me into their home shortly after my arrival in Wichita, so I didn’t have to spend the first evening alone in my hotel room. Truly, everyone was so kind.

More high points: I got interviewed by Lotus Comics Press for their webcast, and I hope to be working with them more in the future. Plus, the event took place at the gorgeous Hyatt Regency, and I had a wonderful surprise from the Hotel Staff and Bitten By Books when I arrived in my room Thursday night: a fruit and cheese platter. I truly felt like a VIP. Con chair Randy Stuhlsatz definitely treated me like a special guest as well, and I hope to be back in 2012 for their second year.

~ by omgrey on November 14, 2011.

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