Interview with Salathiel Palland, Motor City Steam Con, part 3

motor-city-coverWelcome back for the conclusion of our chat with Salathiel Palland, organizer of Motor City Steam Con in Michigan.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.


Airship Ambassador: Do you talk with other convention organizers to trade ideas?

Salathiel Palland: Yes, Eric Jon Larson, the producer of Teslacon and Morgan Kollin the producer of Youmacon have been the truest and most generous mentors a girl could ever wish for. They have given freely other knowledge and have been nothing but supportive. Truly wouldn’t even have done this without their support and their belief in me.


AA: For the aspiring convention planner, what lessons did you learn along the way for Motor City Steam Con?

SP: Pick your people very carefully; plan a budget and stick to it!; plan, plan, plan!


AA: With all of that work, you’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people. What kind of networking, associations, and new friendships have come out of your work on Motor City Steam Con, before, during, and after?

SP: I have met so many wonderful con heads and traded table space and website advertising. Most of the time I have been in the vendor room and it feels like coming home when you see familiar faces. I met one of my best friends in the world, Elisabeth Martin and her amazing an talented husband Alex at a con in their booth the Blonde Swan. I have a wonderful customer, Ginger Vaughn, who I see at almost every can and I just want to give her free stuff all the time because she is so supportive. I have met some truly beautiful people


AA: What are some things you would have done differently?

SP: Nothing, really. It’s all about the journey.


AA: What suggestions and encouragement would you give to people who want to attend?

SP: Please just come prepared to have drama-free fun!


AA: How might someone prepare for this year’s events?

SP: Practice not sleeping and dancing until you drop.


AA: What should a first time attendee know about the convention, and what shouldn’t they miss?

SP: That we were all first time attendees and we know how you feel. That if you are feeling too shy to talk to people, but still want to be engaged, that we have “talking benches” you can sit on that will let others know that you are open for conversation. And that we don’t bite…hard.

 motor city tea

AA: What other steampunk things are you involved with?

SP: I am in the Detroit Steampunk Collective group, I organize various steampunk gatherings, parties, and concerts during the year.


AA: Looking beyond steampunk and Motor City Steam Con, what other interests fill your time?

SP: I am a serious bibliophile, I love books, I love singing, I love dancing, knitting, pop culture, trivia!, movies, and honestly I just love producing events.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

SP: In so many insidious ways…


AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?

SP: I don’t get to bellydance or dance as much as I used to and my reading time has taken a major hit.


AA: What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?

SP: I grow up in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fandom, I am a Supernatural freak, Firefly, comic books forever, tabletop RPGs forever – I’m just a big ‘ol nerdy nerd and proud of it.


AA: What is on your to-be read -watched-listened pile right now?

SP: I can’t even look at that right now. It is so large, I’m afraid if I sneeze, the mountain will fall off the night stand and bury me alive in an avalanche.

 motor city want you

AA: Ha! I know that feeling! Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

SP: My mom, Eric Larson, Morgan Kollin, Don Watts, Sue Watts, Elisabeth Martin, and too many more to name.


AA: What is the best advice you’ve been given?

SP: The buck stops with you so make sure the final product is your vision.


AA: When you do interviews, what is something that you wish you were asked about but haven’t


SP: Why are you so damn sexy!?!


AA: Well, that’s a pretty good question! Why are you so damn sexy? Any final thoughts to share with our readers

SP: I love that you all yearn for something magical and different and that you keep pushing us event producers to dream bigger. And we will keep thinking of you and the fun you deserve!


Thanks, Salathiel, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with the latest news about Motor City Steam Con on their website.

Published in: on July 20, 2016 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Salathiel Palland, Motor City Steam Con, part 2


Welcome back for part two of our chat with Salathiel Palland, organizer of Motor City Steam Con in Michigan.

Read part one here.


Airship Ambassador: Another big aspect of conventions is the vendor’s room and all the great items they bring. What kinds of vendors were/are you looking for?

Salathiel Palland: I was looking for a mix of tried and true vendors, up and comers, and people who have never been in the state before. I wanted true variety.


AA: Conventions run on volunteers. How many people are involved to hold this event?

SP: oh my God, so many. It takes a village to run a con for real.


AA: How did all of those people get involved?

SP: My department heads I begged until they took pity on me and then we just advertised for the rest of these beautiful selfless people.


AA: How is Michigan for holding a convention? How does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc?

SP: Michigan is a great place to hold a con! We are rich in dedicated steampunks, we have groups all over – Detroit, Ypsilanti, Jackson, Monroe, Kalamazoo, Flint, Lansing – all over. Detroit really s a hub when it comes to travel so all roads lead to us.


AA: If Motor City Steam Con had a soundtrack, what would it be like?

SP: Pretty Certain a lot of gothy tracks with some hard rock, and synthy pop thrown in. And you gotta have some soul and blues.


AA: What kind of attention has Motor City Steam Con generated?

SP: More than I thought it would! I was really surprised at what a buzz it got at Motor City Comic Con. Hundreds of people picked up flyers and hundreds of others said they were already coming!


AA: Sometimes, it’s difficult to reign in the creativity and limit everyone and the event to just what can be realistically done, and done well. But, if you had unlimited access and an unlimited budget, what is one item you’d leap at to offer?

SP: Free tummy tucks done by a automaton surgeon. I would be first in line. Lol.


AA: Anything you can share about next year?

SP: That there will be one? We are already working on the next show. Oh, there will be a slight date change, too. So we are not competing with San Diego Comic Con, Ann Arbor Art Fair, Pennsic, etc. This turns out to be a very busy weekend and we want to be able to get the guests that we want out for our fans.


AA: How did previous experiences prepare you for this role?

SP:Running a steampunk bookstore and producing concerts and show and events for the store have given me a pretty varied and deep experience set. I’ve done a little bit of everything and keep looking for bigger things to tackle.

 motor city want you

AA: What are the qualities a person needs as an event producer?

SP:The ability to drink and hold down large quantities of liquor; The ability to tone people out and put out the fire in front of you while you are making them feel heard; The patience of Mother Teresa; A private place to scream; A sugar daddy.


AA: What are some key factors in producing a successful convention?

SP: Plan, plan, plan! I have been planning this con for two years and I still don’t feel like it was long enough. You have to give yourself enough time to work out all the variables or you will fail,


AA: During the planning and execution stages, what are some challenges of producing a convention?

SP: working with so many strong, creative personalities; money; Promotion and advertising; finding interesting acts, etc.


AA: There are always a million details to keep track of during the planning, from making sure tech equipment is in each room to having a garbage can at the registration table. What were some of the more interesting details that came to you in the middle of the night, kept you awake in the first place, or came up at the last minute because no one thought of them?

SP: Wait! Oh my God, do I have a garbage can at registration? I didn’t even think about that!


AA: Along with all the planning of what the convention is going to be, marketing the event is important, too, to bring people in. How did you promote Motor City Steam Con beforehand?

SP:I took to the interwebz and never got off. I found some great sponsors in Rusted Crow Spirits and Abick’s Bar. Metrotimes is our media sponsor and their reach is vast. Flyers, contests, vendors and staff and entertainers spreading the word. We are relentless. Come the the con! See? Relentless…


AA: Looking back on all of that hard work, what are the rewards of producing this event, what do you look forward to for next year?

SP: Having a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Not having to start from scratch again; an even bigger opening ceremony!


AA: What was one memorable story while planning the convention? Any laugh out loud or cry in the corner moments?

SP:Too many, too many, it is making me sweat just thinking about it. Too soon.


AA: Planning a convention can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?

SP: Music has always been a big soother and motivator. Playing with my kids because their energy and love recharges my soul. Just letting myself daydream and say “What if?” I seriously set aside time for that everyday.


Quick break in talking with Sal about the inaugural 2016 convention. Join us in part 2 when she talks about working with other conventions.

Keep up to date with the latest news about Motor City Steam Con on their website.

Published in: on July 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Interview with Salathiel Palland, Motor City Steam Con

motor-city-coverThis week we are talking with Salathiel Palland, organizer of Motor City Steam Con in Michigan.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Salathiel, thanks for joining us for this interview.

Salathiel Palland: Thank you for having me!


AA: Readers may know you from your other steampunk work, Off the Beaten Path bookstore. Now, your latest project is Motor City Steam Con. What is a quick description of the event?

SP: This event is called the Nexus. it is kind of a steampunk Mos Isley Cantina from “Star Wars”. Journeys begin and end here. People can learn something, lose something, Drink, get debauched and just generally have a great time.


AA: Oohh, debauchery. That never happens. Having attended other conventions over the years and being a project manager, I have an idea of the work and details that go into producing a convention. Some people might consider it an insane, masochistic undertaking – what motivated you to produce a steampunk event?

SP: I am so in love with this genre, the whole DIY and beauty plus function. Michigan has always had a strong steampunk community and when we didn’t have a con last year, I decided to step up and make it happen.


AA: One person can make a difference, just like in all the steampunk stories. Why a steampunk convention? Why a convention, at all?

SP: Because we are a people who like to gather and party! We are a very social if polite group and why make all this wonderful clothing and accessories if we can’t show them off.


AA: How does Motor City Steam Con express your vision of steampunk, and what does it add to or differ from the existing events in the community?

SP: So a lot of the steampunk out there features Victoriana as it’s basis, but I am a multicultural steampunk and I want to show a different side. America was around during Victorian times so was Detroit. I want to tell that story of my character in the opening ceremony, coming from the South the “Paris of the Midwest” Detroit. I wanted to put an American slant on it.


AA: If someone likes “X”, then they’ll like Motor City Steam Con. What is “X”?

SP: A good time, good people, and great cosplay! Oh, and to drink. Lol.


AA: What do you think puts this convention on someone’s must attend list?

SP: My opening ceremony is going to be off the hook. I mean I put my back into it. Also, we have a huge and wonderful literary track, as well as a stellar vending room, and fantastic entertainers. We even have a Moonlight cabaret with some of the finest burlesque performers in the state.

 motor city tea

AA: Sounds like a great line up of activities. I’m bringing my camera and autograph book, who’s on the Guest list for this year?

SP: Rod Belcher is our literary guest of honor. He wrote the amazing book “Six Gun Tarot” that had me at hello. Ay-Leen the Peacemaker will be there (aka Diana Pho). Steampunk Eddie the winner of the Gameshow network show “Steampunk’d” will be there as will fellow contestants James Neathery and Karianne Gottschalk.

We also have the every delightful Frenchy and the Punk, Eli August, Autmaton, The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, The Lubberly Brothers, Tom Smith, Holly Hock, Leena Lynx Allure, The Amazing Flec, Writers such as Patty Templeton, Emmy Jackson, Cindy Spencer Pape, Christian Klaver, Lori Houlta, Tee Ballantine, Pip Morris, and so many. We even have a visiting roll from Britain, Lord Bobbins himself!


AA: And, ahem, a certain Ambassador:)  “A” should be right at the top of the list. “AA” even. Anywaaaay… The mainstay of conventions is panels, interviews, and demonstrations of various types. Where do you get ideas for the programs?

SP: From attending a ton of cons and seeing what interested people and what didn’t, from noticing what was missing, and just wanting different things.


AA: Tea? Is there anything in particular that you look for in a program topic?

SP: I want it to spark my interest immediately, I instantly want to know more about it.


AA: Where do you look for speakers/performers for those programs?

SP: Everywhere! Sometimes the same people tend to show up at cons, but because I travel to so many with the bookstore, I get to see a lot of presenters that would be brand new back home.


AA: When choosing those speakers/performers, what do you look for to get a quality person?

SP: Knowledge of the topic can be taught, I look for someone who’s passionate about what they are talking about, Someone who is engaging, and frankly someone not too annoying or cray cray. There is enthusiasm and then there is the abyss…Lol.


AA: LOL, nope, never seen people like that! What are other key attractions for Motor City Steam Con?

SP: We have an amazing fashion show planned and a beard and mustache contest. We also have gin tastings, and a home brew contest.


Quick break in talking with Sal about the inaugural 2016 convention. Join us in part 2 when she talks about putting a convention together.

Keep up to date with the latest news about Motor City Steam Con on their website.

Published in: on July 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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