Archive for » July, 2012 «

Dirigibles Take to the Sky Once Again

Steampunks tend to be a fan of inventions and contraptions that actually work so we learned with interest that militaries are increasingly looking to an old technology to fight future wars. The BBC reports that blimps and other lighter-than-airships for surveillance and communications.

“Dirigibles and blimps have an almost retro charm to them that have long captured the hearts and imagination of aviation enthusiasts; in fact, lighter-than-air vehicles for surveillance is hardly new: Military balloons were used for surveillance in the American civil war, and the British and Germans both employed airships in World War I (airship nostalgia also has a dystopian association, best exemplified in the movie Bladerunner, where blimps urged people to go to the “off-world” colonies).

But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have given rise to a new renaissance of lighter-than-air-vehicles, and hundreds of aerostats have been sent to Afghanistan to help protect forward operating bases, while the US military is also funding more exotic propulsion-based airships for future use.”

Some of these new blimps are being tested right here in Ohio. Perhaps we can arrange a test flight at the 2013 Steampunk Symposium?

The Midsummer Masquerade

The 3rd Midsummer Masquerade at Loveland Castle, just outside of Cincinnati, is behind us and I have to say that I think this year was the best so far. The weather was perfect, the performers were top-notch and the costumes were out of this world. In addition to magic and sideshow feats from Pickled Brothers Circus and Robbin Marks Magic, Aerial Dancing from Holly Price, belly dancing and fire performance from Dante’s Gypsy Circus and Zahara’s Tangled Web, and music from Jeff Rooks and DJ Roundboy, we had the Crowns of Pandoracon competition.

The Royal Court of Pandoracon

The contestants were all amazing; the competition proved to be even more entertaining than I’d hoped. The competition was also the first time that we were able to start talking a little bit more about the games of Pandoracon and the mysterious Jokers who are planning them.

The Jokers judge the Crowns Competition

It was a magical night. When Aloysius, Travis and myself had the idea to put on a masquerade at Loveland Castle this was the kind of event we dreamed of. It is unbelievably thrilling to see so many of our friends as well as total strangers show up in their finest all having a good time. This year was also special because it was the anniversary of the Charlie doing events with Pandora Promotions. Last year at the Midsummer Masquerade he helped us out in the beer tent and this year he was an equal partner in the event. What a difference a year makes. If you didn’t make it this year plans are already in the works for 2013, including ideas to solve the biggest downfalls of the beautiful castle, parking and port-a-potties.

Steampunks once again made up a huge part of our audience for evening. We were honored to have three members of the Ace of Spades joining us all the way from Michigan, as well as several members of the League of Cincinnati Steampunks, Airship Passepartout, Airship Archon, and the Corn Island Steampunk Society.

Photo by David Sorcher for Metromix

Thanks to everyone who made this night unforgettable, especially Brian Kollig whose pictures of the event make it look even cooler than it already did. Here are some of my favorite shots, but you can see more pictures on the event page on Facebook and from David Sorcher from Metromix. Look for more from Kollig Art in the next few days as he releases some of the portraits he took in the castle as well.

The Captain of the Ace of Spades


A Dancer from Zahara’s Tangled Web


Fire Swords from Dante’s Gypsy Circus


Peek-a-boo at the Castle


The King of Spades Speaks


Why is that woman stabbing Travis in the face?


The new Pandoracon Poster with original art by Billy Tackett that was revealed at the masquerade.


It’s A Steampunk Octopus

Let’s share something a bit fun for our Friday update as we jump back to 2011′s Burning Man Festival for an utterly amazing steampunk octopus named El Pulpo Mecanico. Yes friends, this is a steampunk octopus with the ability to spew fire from its tentacles!

We just had to share this and we were doubly impressed when we saw it drive away at the end of the video. Marvelous!

Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Swords are cool. People fighting with swords are cool. Airships are cool. Cowboys are cool. Pirates are cool. Clockwork men are cool. Smart, savvy, witty women are very cool. Laconic gunslingers? Totally cool. Steampunk? Frosty.

That’s what the webcomic series Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether is, that’s what it’s about. The adventures of the Lady Seneca Sabre and those she meets along the way as she travels the Sphere. Who she fights, who she foils, who she befriends. It’s about adventure and romance and excitement and, to paraphrase the great Zaphod Beeblebrox, “really wild things.”

In the video that follows, artist Rick Burchett  sat down last year with filmmaker Zak Zych to discuss the comics making process and the result was the short documentary which follows.

Check out this great webcomic via Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether delivers new adventures update every Monday and Thursday, with additional content appearing irregularly through the week.

Frenchy and the Punk Take DragonCon

We here at the Steampunk Empire Symposium and Pandora Productions have been working with Frenchy and the Punk for some time and we have to say a nicer pair of performers you would be hard pressed to find. These two are amazing on and off the stage and we enjoy celebrating their success.

Just back from an extensive, month-long European tour throughout France and the United Kingdom, we’ve just learned that this pair will be taking the main stage at Dragon*Con this year. Dragon*Con is one of the largest multi-media, popular culture conventions focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. This year, the show will be held Labor Day weekend (August 31 – September 3, 2012) in Atlanta, GA. Look for them to be joined by Voltaire, Extraordinary Contraptions, This Way to the Egress and more.

Could we be making a trip to Dragon*Con to see them this year? We’ll keep you posted.

Steampunk Professor Xavier Wheelchair Project

This little steampunk jewel of a wheelchair comes to us by way of Smeeon’s Props and Costumes. In this video Smeeon offers us a great walk through of his chair. The dispenser for vodka and cranberry juice alone should make this a respected, award-winning creation.

Smeeon discusses his creation:

A side note, no I do not NEED the wheelchair for any physical disability. This is a costume/prop just like the one Patrick Stewart tooled around in. I get asked that a lot by many people and I hope that fact doesn’t offend anyone. I’m fascinated by motorized wheelchairs, always have been. I love the idea of a Dr. Evil type character with the bald head and hairless cat sipping a martini zooming around a top-secret lab in style. Whenever I’ve shown this I’ve perked the interest of many people who DO need a wheelchair and I hope it has inspired them to seek out modifications of their own to individualize themselves. No I’m not the first or only “steampunk” chair out there, this is just MY take on it based on an original concept art.

Want a better look at this wondrous creation? There is a Flickr gallery full of amazing shots (including the one we used just to the right) and you can learn more about his work at

More From Lantern City

Bruce Boxleitner delivers a special video message about his new fan-inspired and fan-created television series we first discussed last week.

The new Steampunk show Lantern City, from executive producer Bruce Boxleitner, is an exciting foray into fan-inspired and fan-created television. It combines first-rate storytelling, innovative production design, and a rich world that fans will fall in love with. Even though it will blend great science fiction with dynamic storylines, at its heart the show asks two questions: how far would you go to be with the person you love and what lengths would you go to in order to survive?

Lantern City highlights the steampunk genre to create a one-of-a-kind television experience. Other properties have had Steampunk elements, but this is the first mainstream television show to proudly wear the label of Steampunk. Current fans of the subgenre will not be disappointed and it will attract a much wider audience to the long neglected world of Steampunk. The show is unique in that it allows viewers to be involved in the process – a first for any television show. Learn more at