This past weekend the Radisson Hotel and Embassy Suites in Piscataway, NJ saw an invasion of people wearing goggles on their heads and rayguns on their hips as the Steampunk World’s Fair once again came to town (and yes, the convention takes up two hotels… and the parking lot between them).
SPWF is a great show, filled with some truly interesting panels on a wide range of topics. Among the ones I got to check out were lectures on female inventors of the Victorian era and their exhibits at the 1876 World’s Fair, separating fact from fiction about voodoo and one on retrofuturistic technology that was really more of a discussion-turned-clusterfuck when the speaker lost any semblance of control of the room.
If lectures aren’t your thing, you could’ve taken in any of the numerous performances by bands, sideshow acts or burlesque troupes. Hell, you could even take a class in how to fight with a cane or learn to waltz.
One of the cooler things SPWF did this year was an entire track of programming based around the concept of creating safer spaces at conventions and in fandom in general. In a time when “cosplay does not equal consent” has be reiterated constantly and women on the internet get threatened with rape for merely voicing their opinions, this is fantastic and very important. Though given the awful things said by the horrible douche-bros sitting next to me at one of the burlesque performances, I’m thinking the people that most needed to go to those panels would never have stepped foot in them.
Something I didn’t understand about the con was some of the costumes. I’m not entirely sure why there were several plague doctors, a Revolutionary War-era Captain America, about a dozen Jack Sparrows or a Tank Girl. As one of the staffers said, “It’s not so much a ‘steampunk convention’ anymore as it is a ‘goggled hat convention’.” I guess that’s ok. Things evolve, but this is a weird evolution.
Eh, anyway, here’s some cosplay pictures. They’re not as good (and there aren’t as many) as usual because our photographer couldn’t make it (and I couldn’t find any SD cards), so you’ll have to make do with my cell phone shots. Sorry.
This guy’s steampunk Luke Skywalker was awesome. He even had a robot Yoda.