Review of Teslacon VII – 2016

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Teslacon VII 2016 was another great experience presented by organizer Eric Larson and his entire team. Whisked back to Europe from last year’s outing in the United States’ Western frontier, attendees enjoyed the ambience and delights of Paris, France.

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Photo by Donna Machen

For four days and three nights, steampunks reveled in culture, fashion, food, and social functions. There was definitely something for everyone at all times, be it panels and presentations, live music or conversation in the Tea Room, or constitutionals and promenades along the walkways and vendor room.

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Photo by Lisa Sell

Ben Watkins kept the gamers busy with Superfight!, Noir!, and Cards Against Humanity. For other games, have you tried Teslacards Against the World or Twisted Skies from Mad Raven Productions?

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Paris was surrounded by alphabetical explosive devices which attendees scrambled to find. Here is the dreaded F-Bomb. Photo by Sos Boss

There was a bountiful tour of Parisian culture including The Decadent Paris by Stephen Poe (Was Paris really more decadent than the rest of Europe, or did it just have better PR?), Les Theatres du Paris by Thomas Boice (a tour of famous and infamous theaters and playhouses), and the Republic et Empire 1871-1918 by Rory Silverstein (a multicultural history of the third French Empire).

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Photo by Heather Cushing

Need language lessons beyond the “International Language” (Love)? How about The French They Didn’t Teach You in School by Marsha and Melissa Conroy (Cursing, Complaining, and the fine art of the French Insult).  Perhaps the history of American Sign Language by Bethany Davis. Or the excitement in The Daily Life of a French Translator by Marsha Conroy, who is a Supreme Court certified French interpreter.

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Steampunk Spaceship by Mike Gosda

History may be more to your liking with Boiled Leaves: An Intro to Tea and Tea Culture by Tony Ballard Smoot, Catacombs and Sewers of Paris by Douglas J. Dahlberg, or Paris’ Theatre of Terror “Le Grand Guignol” by Gregory Rihn. More? Then there was the History of the Corset by Andrea Marcinkus, Blood on a Leaf: a Dark and Bloody history of Tea by Danial Meyers, and Vive Les Revolutionaries by Thomas Boice (a look at various French revolutions).

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Photo by Ed Downes

After all of that, one may need a chance to sit and relax. The world famous Teslacon Tea Room returned, with staff-served tea and biscuits. The Kreiger family hosted a fine Germanic dinner, and the President of France hosted his own Little French Dinner. Those fine people of SWARM held their own dinner, which, ahem, may have ironically started late, running afoul of the schedule.

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Image by Teslacon

Properly recharged, Parisians and tourists alike enjoyed premiere musical entertainment by Frenchy and the Punk, and Professor Elemental. Further entertainment was provided in the atrium by Gin Rebellion and other performers. There was also a very entertaining interview with Karianne Gottschalk, from the 2015 TV show, Steampunk’d.

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Image by Teslacon

Enough to fill your time? No, no, no, there’s still more! The Care and Feeding of your Beard by Jim Best, Steampunk Hair Braids by Janine Wardale, and How to Grow a Might Mustache by Brad Fleener. Time to get dressed! Steampunk Fashion for Men by Tony Ballard Smoot, Boutonniere Gear by Carol Thomas, and Ascots to Spats by Jason Merrill.

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Photo by Steampunk Angel Couture

Looking for something more, gasp, modern? LEDs for  Props and Costumes by Hollis Lumen Lovelace, CAD Software and 3D Printing by Amy and Lance Larsen, and Basic Animatronics by Claude McDonald.

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Photo by Kathryn Poe

Oh, it’s bloodthirsty competition you crave? Tea Dueling by Gretchen Jacobsen, Teapot Racing by Travis Feirtag, and an American vision of Airship Racing , imported from New Zealand, also by Travis Feirtag.

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Photo by Bob Archer

Oh wait – Fashion Show, Maker’s Room, and Wedding Vow Renewal!

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League of Extraordinary Clergy! Photo by Gregory Mann

Whew! Can you believe there was still much more on the program schedule?

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The ever wonderful Stephen and Kathryn. Look at that trim detail! Photo by David Wagner

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There was one unfortunate event which happened at the convention which I must relate. A beloved tentacle prop, which has been seen at numerous conventions for several years, made by the late Sue Watts for her husband Don, went missing for a while. Over the years, the playful tentacle did make it into stranger’s rooms for the night, but it always discreetly crawled on home in those early hours,. Apparently, a woman and man couple decided they needed it more than Don, and the steampunk community, and planned on taking it home with them. The woman claimed she was drunk when she took it, but then hid it in their car under other items. Thankfully, witnesses came forward with photos and statements, leading to recovery of the trapped tentacle. The couple were rather reluctant to produce their identification, aside from the known license plate of their car, but once told of the five-figure value of the item, and that they had thus committed a felony and the police would be called, they finally showed their ID. While the police were not called, this time, several convention organizers were in attendance at Teslacon, and this couple has been banned for life at all those conventions.

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Photo by Kollig Art.com

The lesson here? STEAMPUNKS DON’T STEAL! Bad people steal, get caught, and pay for their actions! The weed of crime bears bitter fruit!

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Check out all the excitement for yourself in 2017 when we travel to the dark lands of Bucharest, Romania! We’ve been told there are no vampires, but that still leaves plenty of other things to go bump in the night. Sign up ASAP!

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Published in: on November 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm  Comments (4)  
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Interview with Ingimar Oddsson of Steampunk Iceland, Conclusion

Welcome back for the conclusion in our visit with Ingimar Oddsson, organizer of the Steampunk Festival in Iceland.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

Read Part Three here.

Read Part Four here.

 

Airship Ambassador: How might someone prepare for the next event?

Ingimar Oddsson:  When the event will be published, it is best to get the Passport first. There are not so many left.

Icelandair allows two bags so if you have goods to sell at the marked, do so. Find accommodation close to the center and you will be alright. Getting there is easy, rent a car or take a bus. Probably there will be a ferry crossing the sounds next summer. From Reykjavik harbour to Akranes.

Wear clothes, steampunk clothes.

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Photo by Melkorka Oskarsdottir

AA: Flying direct from Seattle to Reykjavik costs about the same, or less, as flying to many domestic destinations. What should a first time attendee know about the convention, and what shouldn’t they miss?

IO:  The activities during the afternoon (Saturday) are always the most fun, everyone can participate.

 

AA: What are some similarities and differences that you see amongst steampunks in the various places you’ve been?

IO: Where there are many people they are also different amongst themselves. I like it when people are creative and make their own wardrobe, but it is also all right to buy your style from Alibaba or other places.

 

AA: What other steampunk things are you involved with?

IO: I write novels and make music. I am not so much of a craftsman but I like Steaming my things now and again. I wish I had time for more 🙂

 

AA: Looking beyond steampunk and this festival, what other interests fill your time?

IO: Communication of all kind fascinates me as a subject. I like hiking and being on sea.

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Photo by Sandra Dogg

AA: How do those interests influence your work?

IO: Id can all be combined into one. Steampunk, communicating and travel.

 

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

IO: Politics, history and classical music. I wish I had more time for that.

 

AA: What other fandoms are you part of?

IO: I think none …

 

AA: I’m sure our readers can help you discover new things to participate in 🙂  What is on your to-be read -watched-listened pile right now?

IO: Seven novels by Jules Verne.

 

AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

IO: Well I think all people are in a sense. I don’t really idolize anyone but various artists motivate me in my work with theirs. Steampunk mostly.

 

AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?

IO: I think when I moved to Bildudalur was the most positive move I ever made and probably the greatest challenge at the same time.

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Steamposium 2015 by MK Studios

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

IO: “Let go” Sometimes you just have to.

 

AA: Isn’t that the truth?! Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite food when you visit the US, Icelandic candy, and type of vacation location?

IO: Good hamburger, black licorice  … I always wanted to go to Mauritius Island

 

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

IO: I can’t really think of anything right now … It really is food for thought. Do I really have something to say?

 

AA: I’m sure you do, so I’ll check back in with you again 🙂  Any final thoughts to share with our readers?

IO: You must be quite a reader. Thank you for giving me the time. Hope to meet you at Steampunk Iceland festival next year. Thank you Ambassador.

 

Thanks, Ingimar, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts.  We look forward to hearing about the Steampunk Festival 2017!

 

Keep up to date with the latest news about the Steampunk Festival in Iceland on their website, and about Ingimar on Facebook, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Ingimar Oddsson of Steampunk Iceland, Part 4

Welcome back for part four in our visit with Ingimar Oddsson, organizer of the Steampunk Festival in Iceland.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

Read Part Three here.

 

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

Ingimar Oddsson: I hope to look back and be proud. That is my main concern. I have had fabulous times, traveled the world and created my very own themed Steampunk event.

Today though, when I look back I think I might consult people and companies on the issue of communication, both personal and public relations. Food for thought.

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Steamposium 2016

AA: It’s quite the accomplishment! What was one memorable story while planning the convention the last few years? Any laugh out loud or crying moments?

IO: Getting the reward for my project was one of the sweetest hour. The sour moments are so many but fortunately they don’t last long. One sour moment I’d like to share. We had a “Grand Ball” at the end of last Steampunk Iceland festival 2016 The staff, the band and two other people were the only ones in the house. And we played our program for three hours and in the end we had about 30 people in the house. This was a sour moment. There I decided to move the festival closer to Reykjavik.

But don’t get me wrong, overall the whole week went very well. Only this one last “grand ball”.

 

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

IO: “The empty void of loneliness” is the place I get the most creative. My fragile mind gets easily disturbed by any outside stimuli. When I am alone I create, come up with solutions and make plans. But the motivation to carry out my plans I get from other people. I am both extrovert and introvert. I need to express my ideas and creation to others and in fact I get a kind of a rush, goosebumps all over when I relate to others.

 

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

IO: I do now. But in the beginning I had really no idea what I was getting myself into and I probably wouldn’t have done it at all if I had known all the work that awaited me. Today I soak myself in the experience of others. And share my own.

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AA: Good for you! In talking with them, what are some common questions that everyone has to resolve? What kinds of unique situations have come up among the various conventions?

IO: Some events / conventions have reached far regarding attendance. 1200 to 6000 people and loyal sponsors every year. Other conventions like mine are still reaching out for more people and sponsorship. The biggest problem to solve is the real experience of the guests, so many are disappointed and will not return. That is a problem we all have in common. How can we maximize the positive experience. Vendors, artists, hosts and panelists. We all want to reach out and give more, but how? The answer is not: “There will always be negative people” We must do better and learn how.

I guess we are all doing better every time. And if I get the answer I will probably keep it as secret.

 

AA: For the aspiring convention planner, what lessons did you learn along the way for this festival?

IO: Get things straight sooner, there will never be too much time on your hands when the events start.

 

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 the festival, before, during, and after?

IO: I started as the only, lonely steampunk in Iceland. I didn’t know of any others. But today we have a facebook page, we have met and become friends. Throughout the world I have found many new friends I hope to meet some day. But probably the most cherished friends are those furthest away. Some I have met and spend wonderful time with. Only last 12 months I have been to the US three times to participate in steampunk convention and meet friends.

One has to be careful in utilizing friendship to promote projects or events, but when you really need it they will respond.

There are so many steampunk related fan pages and the most enthusiastic steamers like almost all of them and they can if they will post advertisements or information, but preaching constantly to the choir might get negative results. One must choose the time and space carefully.

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Steamposium 2015 by MK Studios

AA: One thing I love about steampunk being global is that I do have friends around the world. Technology helps to keep us in touch, but the friendships is what makes the world seem smaller. What are some things you would have done differently with your event?

IO: I think I would have liked to have finished my story of Bildalia which is still in the making. I think I wish I had used my time better.

 

AA: Now that thousands of people are intrigued and are already packing their bags, where is the next festival and how do people get there?

IO: To Reykjavík via Keflavik airport. To Akranes by bus or rent-a-car to Akranes highway #1 north. Pass the tunnel, enter roundabout and take second exit. That’s all!!

But of course find a place to stay, hotel, hostel or camping area. It is all too easy.

 

AA: Piece of cake! What suggestions and encouragement would you give to people who want to attend?

IO: Get Bildalian Passport to all events and you will have all sorts of treat. Don’t be shy, talk to the locals and they will help you out. Remember you are one of the reason others will come.

Wear clothes !

 

Quick clarification – “Wear clothes” means “to wear steampunk clothes”. I’m sure the local would appreciate everyone not being nude, too, but this specifically means wear your steampunk finest!

 

Let’s break here in chatting with Ingimar. Join us next time when he talks about his other interests.

Keep up to date with the latest news about the Steampunk Festival in Iceland on their website, and about Ingimar on Facebook, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

Published in: on October 6, 2016 at 9:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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