This weekend in Raddison Hotel in Piscataway, New Jersey, performers, presenters, and plain old folks are converging for the Steampunk World’s Fair. It is reportedly, the largest steampunk event in the world and they pull out all the stops to make it so.
The shows start at 3 p.m. on May 15, 2015 with four performances and a Kaffeeklatch all going simultaneously. Aerialist Azkadelia : The Mad Hattress will be performing her silken spins over the Raddison’s courtyard. On the midway Birmingham’s Burlesque beauty, Jezabelle von Jane, will take the Bazaar Stage to tease and please the crowd.
On the Embassy Main Stage, Jeff Mach will be singing songs of gears, giant robots, gears, art, gears, and, of course, chocolate! In Salon E author Gail Carriger will have a meet and greet with her fans while up the hall in Salon C the band This Way to the Egress will be performing for the delight of their audience and this is just the first hour of the festival’s over stuffed schedule.
Steam Powered Giraffe at Youmacon 2012 in Detroit, Michigan
Over the weekend at the Eastgate Holliday Inn, the attendees were treated to a number of special guests. Ghost Hunter, Grant Wilson and his partner in Rather Dashing Games, Michael Richie, were on hand to sign copies of their new novel “Brotherhood of the Strange”, book one of the Kingship: Tales of the Aether series. Frenchy and the Punk performed Friday night and Sunday afternoon and Sir Reginald Pikedevant, Esquire entertained Saturday night with Atlanta’s Dr. Q DJing. Unbeknownst to most attendees, Chicago’s superhero, the Crimson Catalyst, was in attendance in her secret identity, Taversia.
Grant Wilson and Taversia
Taversia is an author and model and now lives in Indiana. So she no longer dons the crimson costume to go out and fight hunger on the streets of Chicago. While living in Chicago she would assume her Crimson Catalyst identity and take food to the homeless on the streets there. She wanted to bring attention to homelessness and hunger but not to put herself forward for the attention so she wore the costume as an anonymous attention getter.
Now she spends her time writing novels and, occasionally modeling. She has two novels out, “Viscountess” and “Countess.” Her novels involve the fall and rise of the heroine of her story in a post apocalyptic world. In the first novel, her airship is shot down and she is forced to fight her way back up to her former status and on to glory.
Mike Richie and Grant Wilson from Rather Dashing Games
Grant Wilson is best known as one of the co-founders The Atlantic Paranormal Society from which sprang the shows “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Hunters International”, and “Ghost Hunters Academy.” In recent years Grant and his childhood friend, Michael Richie joined forces to form a gaming company, Rather Dashing Games. These industrious gentlemen now have published five games, a steampunk novel and much more to come.
John N Collins (JNC):Could you give us a quick lineup of your products?
Grant and Michael: As far as books go, we have only released the first one so far. Our second book should be out late summer/early fall. As for products from our company Rather Dashing Games, we currently have five games out with two more to be released sometime this year. Our two bestsellers, Dwarven Miner and Pirates, Ninjas, Robots, and Zombies are fun, approachable titles that scratch the itch of more complex games. Our next game, Graveyards, Ghosts, and Haunted Houses is going to be a blast!
JNC: You also have a novel that you co-authored that is of the steampunk genre. Tell us a bit about it.
Mike: It’s called “Brotherhood of the Strange”. It’s the first of our hopefully many Steampunk adventures. We both love Steampunk, and wanted to make an immersive sandbox style world that included the many various aspects of the genre, rather than only focusing on one or two of them. The story focuses around an inventor named Degory Priest who is trying to secretly undo the damage done by the Brotherhood of the Strange, a secret society to which he and his estranged brother Edward belong.
JNC: How did you two become involved in steampunk?
Grant & Mike: We have always loved Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, & H.P. Lovecraft, as well as old machinery and clockwork. Once we saw this emerging genre at cons such as Dragoncon, we both fell in love and dove head first into it. Grant even cosplayed as a steampunk ghostbuster. A “Spectral Eradicator” if you will. Mike enjoys prop making and coming up with believable ways that the fictional technologies could work in the world of Steampunk.
JNC: Now Grant, this may surprise some of your fans, but I hear you also have been pursuing another career, this one in music. Tell us about that.
Grant: Well, I taught myself how to play piano and guitar when I was 14. I’ve been composing every since. I’ve been in a few alternative rock bands over the years but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was able to focus on it. I have my band, Carpetshark, that is currently on hold for a few, but my big push is with my solo piano music. I have one album out right now “1.618” and another on the way “Liquid Earth”. It’s just very relaxing piano music. I was really surprised by how people reacted to it. I get emails from people saying they are getting married to it, meditating to it, and how it helps kids focus, or rest. All good stuff!
JNC: Will you be bringing CD’s and Games to sell to the convention in addition to copies of your books for signing?
G&M: I imagine we will!
JNC: Games, Books, Movies, and Ghosts! Do you have any other surprises coming our way?
Grant: I don’t know about any more surprise categories but we will have many surprises in each of those categories. After our the Kingship series, we plan to write our baby; our series of high-fantasy novels we have been working on since we were teenagers. It’s an epic story that has grown and matured over the years. One we are very excited to tell.
JNC: Where can folks find more information on your games, books, music, and such?
JNC: Many of us were disappointed you couldn’t make it to the Wizard World Fan Festival in Chicago a few weeks ago but we are looking forward to seeing you in Cincinnati in a few weeks! Thanks so much for the update!
Grant: I was just as disappointed. Let’s collectively blame the weather!
Some fun music was streaming across the screen today from the worlds of Steampunk and Blues Rock.
Frenchy and the punk came out with another music video of one of their songs from their new album, “Bonjour Batfrog.”
If you crossed Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” with Urine Town’s “Don’t be the Bunny” well you probably wouldn’t get Frenchy and the Punk’s “Don’t Fear the Rabbit” even if you tossed in a Batfrog, but it would be fun trying. Regardless, give a look and listen to this delightful duo’s new video.
After you have checked them out pop over to Joe Bonamassa’s official site for a free album he put out to celebrate his fans. Whether or not you are a Joe Bonamassa fan, give it a listen and you may find yourself converted to the cause as you rock to the blues!
This weekend the Kalamazoo Living History Show will celebrate its fortieth year. As in recent years, the owner, Leslie Martin Conwell, is anticipating over 10,000 in attendance. Over 270 artists, craftsmen, exhibitors, and vendors of ware will set up at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center on the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. The show is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday March 21 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2015. Admission is $7 for one day or $10 for both days and free for children 12 and under when with a parent.
Whether you are a Living History participant, antique collector, steampunk, or just like fun, historical collectibles, the Kalamazoo Living History Show, the largest, indoor living history event east of the Mississippi, is an event that is well worth the trip with hundreds of booths to shop for crafts, art, clothes, jewelry, books and other pre-1890 living history supplies.
There will be hundreds of folks dressed for the period from Native Americans and frontiersmen and women to military men from the Civil War and earlier.
This year the show’s them is “Rangers Lead the Way – The American Ranger Tradition” and the featured speaker will be Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis, Ph.D. Retired. Lieutenant Colonel Davis will speak on the rich history of the American Ranger from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War and beyond. Tim and Terry Todish will be presenting on “wilderness Warriors of the French and Indian War.”
Additionally the Bush Native American Drum and Dance and the SouthEastern WaterSpider Drum groups will be performing traditional Native American music and dance. So you don’t need a modified DeLorean to drop back in time a century or two this weekend and check out the beautiful costumes, crafts, and cultural exhibits at the Kalamazoo Living History show!