Steamcon II--Personal Reflections

Shamelessly showing off my new leather corset
The best part about attending Steamcon II, in Seattle last weekend, was learning that at least 2,000 others share my madness. This affliction, however, is so euphoric, we don't seek a cure. 

For three days, the halls of the Seatac Airport Hilton and Marriott were thronging with airship pirates, mad scientists, time travelers, intrepid adventurers, and countless other exceedingly well-dressed individuals with affiliations unknown.

Kevin Steil, Airship Ambassador
Among the best dressed was Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador, who conducted an hour-long interview with myself (and many others throughout the weekend) for his excellent Steampunk blog. also called Airship Ambassador.
On Friday, I moderated a panel on "Becoming a Writer" with authors Caitlin Kittredge and Jay Lake. We tried to give budding writers as much encouragement and reference points as possible. Jay was nominated for a Steamcon Airship Award this year, celebrating extraordinary achievement and contribution to the Steampunk community. 

Caitlin, at the tender age of 26, is already a publishing veteran with several paranormal series to her credit, and a new Steampunk YA series called The Iron Codex debuting in February from Random House with the first title, "The Iron Thorn."

Gail Carriger, David Malki! and me
Saturday included a panel on "Researching the Victorian Era" with bestselling Parasol Protectorate author Gail Carriger and Wondermark comic artist David Malki! (and, yes, he spells his name with an exclamation point.) 

Gail Carriger's academic background as an archeologist gave her research tips an added ring of authenticity. Her witty novels, Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless, are a Steampunk series not to be missed, and her livejournal blog is among the most amusing on the 'Net.

Davis Malki!'s Wondermark comic is a true original. He shared with us the intensive research he puts into his art. Please visit Wondermark --an entertaining foray into a Victorian world you won't soon forget.

Everyday Steampunk
"Everyday Steampunk" was my final panel of the day. My fellow panelists were Clockworks webcomic artist Shawn Gaston and artist Anthony Jon Hicks of Tinplate Studios.

Me with Shawn Gaston and Tony Hicks
In addition to drawing the unique and entertaining Clockworks, Shawn also DJs a Steampunk night at an absinthe bar in his home city of St. Louis.

Tony Hicks sells wildly original art on Etsy.com. Please stop by his shop to view his fascinating "Anomalies." They are disturbing and irresistible. 

And then the Green Hour,  L'heure Verte, arrived...

At six o'clock in the evening, a group began to assemble to hear your humble author hold forth on her favorite topic: Absinthe. 

I expected an audience of around 25-30 and was overwhelmed to see in excess of 150 onlookers fill our little "salon". 

Had I imagined a crowd this size, I would have placed the absinthe-inspired art of Manet, Degas, Picasso, and Van Gogh up on the big screen. 

After describing the cultural history of Absinthe and its place in Belle Epoch cafe society, I demonstrated the time-honored method preparing Absinthe. I worry that the audience members sitting farther back could not see the lovely louching process first hand.  (Note to self: MUST add a big screen to all future presentations.)

The many fans of the notorious Green Fairy asked interesting questions and shared their own experiences. A drawing was held to give away door prizes: Three absinthe spoons, each accompanied with a copy of my own: "The Second Glass of Absinthe."

In my next post, I will detail my general experiences as a Steamcon attendee as opposed to a presenter, with many more photos to come. Stay tuned...


Joyce Yarrow said...

Thanks for sharing this - fascinating!

Michelle Black said...

Joyce--Thanks for visiting the Victorian West!

Carrie said...

Thanks for writing up this account of Steamcom. Seems it was a marvelous occasion for all. LOve all of your hats

Carol Crigger said...

love the leather corset and your hats are gorgeous. Wherever did you get them? Steamcom looks a blast!

Michelle Black said...

Hi Carol--I got both hats from a wonderful hat maker on Etsy.com. Her shop is called Miss Purdy's Hats. Here's a link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MsPurdy?ref=seller_info

Gothic Charm School said...

I was so sad scheduling conflicts kept me from your absinthe panel!

Michelle Black said...

Hopefully, Steamcon will allow me to present another Absinthe salon next year. Maybe with a tasting? That would be fun.

CurtisG said...

Looked like a nice presentation. I dont use sugar, so here at home its pretty minimalist...just enought water to louche.

Michelle Black said...

Curtis--I love to use the sugar because I love the whole theatrical aspect of the traditional ritual. Almost like a tea ceremony.
But I also have a sweet tooth, so it's a win-win situation.