Posts Tagged With: steampunk

The Belle of the (Steampunk) Ball

We had a wonderful time at the Grand Victorian Masquerade Ball last night, hosted by Circle City Aerodrome. In character as Madame Belle (proprietress of Belle’s House, the last word in hospitality at the CCA), I was the mistress of ceremonies. And what a ball it was.

We had dignitaries, dancing, card tables, photo booths, and a face painter. And we had murder and mayhem as well!

Throughout the evening, I was—of course—the belle of the ball and the ho of the hoedown.

Preparing for the Ball. Photo by Matthew Mayer (taken at the Benjamin Harrsion Home).

Preparing for the Ball. Photo by Matthew Mayer (taken at the Morris Butler House).

Celeste leads the Steampunk dance lessons. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Celeste leads the Steampunk dance lessons. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Guests to the ball in their finest Steampunk attire. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Guests to the ball came in their finest Steampunk attire. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Madame Belle and Dr. Blacktongue, High Poobah of the Fraternal Order of the Clockwork Giraffe. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Madame Belle and Dr. Blacktongue, Grand High Poobah of the Fraternal Order of the Clockwork Giraffe. Photo by Brenda Havens.

The Widow Rosemary Millport, Chair of the Ball, and Cmdr. Sophia Blackburn cut a rug. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

The Widow Rosemary Millport, Chair of the Ball, and Cmdr. Sophia Blackburn cut a rug. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Gentleman Jack and his valet max. Both of them are shady characters. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Gentleman Jack and his valet Max. Both of them are shady characters. Photo by Brenda Havens.

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Foxy Lady and Moth Woman in their best steampunk attire. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Dr. Hal Dane, Head of the CCA Boffin Corps (he goes through science interns at an alarming rate), and the lovely Mdme. Julie. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Dr. Hal Dane, Head of the CCA Boffin Corps (he goes through science interns at an alarming rate), and the lovely Mdme. Julie. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Katie Angel, Kat Alyst, and Madame Belle on the dance floor. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Katie Angel, Kat Alyst, and Madame Belle on the dance floor. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Our Mistress of the Turntables, DJ Empress Alyda. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Our Mistress of the Turntables, DJ Empress Alyda. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Murder! Gentleman Jack, Dr. Blacktongue, and Professor Ossicone attempt to revive poor Stuart. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Murder! Gentleman Jack, Dr. Blacktongue, and Professor Ossicone attempt to revive poor Stuart. Photo by Matthew Mayer.

The (Clockwork?) Slide. Photo by Brenda Havens.

The (Clockwork?) Slide. Photo by Brenda Havens.

Two of Belle's ladies, Ricki and Maggie, as well as poor, lost Eveline. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

Two of Belle’s ladies, Ricki and Maggie, as well as poor, lost Eveline. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

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The Inspector suspects valet Max based on their shared history. Prof. Ossicone and Dr. Blacktongue of the F.O.C.G. look on. Photo by Brenda Havens.

The Inspector leads away suspected murderer Layla Sedusciant. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

The Inspector leads away suspected murderer Layla Sedusciant. Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue of Stargrave Luminography.

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Going Punk (Steampunk, that is)

I’ve been invited to host a Steampunk masquerade ball on February 2. For those of you who don’t know what Steampunk is, the best explanation I’ve found is that Steampunk is where technology and romance intersect. One subset of it is Victorian sci-fi (think a modern interpretation of Jules Verne and HG Wells). Or if you remember the movie Wild, Wild West, with its steam-driven machines? That’s the steampunk aesthetic.

front of gown croppedThe ball is just part of it. In addition to dancing and music, the Circle City Aerodrome has arranged for Victorian card games, a silent auction, and—my fave—a Penny Dreadful. I’m part of this interactive mystery, which should be a blast. You can even read about my character’s backstory here.

I’ve been working on my ball gown. In true thrifting (and Punk!) fashion, I’ve created it from found objects. The basis is a 1940s wedding dress with a fabulous ruffled skirt. Unfortunately, the bodice was unbecomingly tight, plus the crew neckline (combined with the sheen of the satin) made me look incredibly busty. So I whacked the top off, turned it around, and turned it into a bolero jacket.

The bodice of the dress I replaced with a Goodwill Outlet-sourced corset top. I’ve added black lace and braid trim to cover some stains and add definition. I had to separate the over- and underskirts in order to hem the underskirt and take up the overskirt. I tell you what, this is the most complicated project I’ve done, and I’m not even building it from scratch.

back of gown hi and medSteampunk is big on PUNK; taking bits and pieces and mixing them together in a new way. It’s heavy on the DIY. Some people love to make their own costumes; others spend a huge amount of time “modding” modern technology to look as if it ran on steam.

And you know what else is big on DIY? Homesteading. The number of Steampunkers I’ve met who also keep goats, raise chickens, or practice permaculture is amazing.

Steampunk is supposed to be a big trend for retail in 2013. But anyone who goes out to buy a factory-produced clockwork necklace is missing the point. Steampunk is a chance to flex your creative muscles and let your imagination go wild.

Long live Steampunk!

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