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Home > Magazine > Culture > Pondering Steampunk... (The Expo is coming!)

Pondering Steampunk... (The Expo is coming!)
May 08, 2012

I've been pondering Steampunk of late. I checked out the book "Steampunk Bible." It's really good. It's helping clarify my hunches, but, wonderfully, I'm still way back in the jungle. It's good to add yet another long exploration into the mix. OK, I can see it's re-enacting for DIYers. It's role-playing that can be used toward understanding. (Maybe all role-playing can work like that. Not just escapism.) Immersion brings contact and maybe some enlightenment. I guess I like all history and whatever period dress-up is cool by me.

My immediate hankering is to dress up and go to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village this Memorial Day for the Steam Expo and generate a bit more contact and feel for those topics than I usually do.

I don't really know how I'll dress up yet, though. Somehow the weapons, explorer, science stuff aren't exactly what I'm after. Voyager might be cool. Likely I'll just be an Observer from that day, carrying a few tools of the trade...

(Upcoming event info here: worldsteamexpo.com.)

I think I'll even stay late and see what the social side is about. Basically, I've heard that it's receptive to folks who make their own stuff and like to dress up. ...Cool. (But isn't that the same in all re-enacting?)

I'm also hip to the DIY Punk part. Steam rummages the cool of the past to help deal with the future. Our way of life today will soon be extinct. So we'll be doing the same with today's stuff soon. Sustainability and justice are involved -- but only ironically? Empire isn't DIY...

They say it's also a reaction to stuff that we can't understand, where we can't see how it works. It's vehicles with exposed parts rather than cars we lease and never look at the engine under the hood. As a bike nut from the 70's, I can relate. I haven't worked much on new-era bikes, except to adjust them, but I enjoy my old ones! ...Not that I mind not overhauling bearings after every rain ride.)

I don't know what to make of fashion in general yet other than that it's fun. (And "fun" means it's not understood.) Steam revels in the ornate, but there's also function. I must partly be drawn to it because I've realized that wool (tweed!) works so well. Is Steam the rare intersection (for me) of fashion with stuff I like, like rucksacks, and gadgets? There must also be resistance to tee's, jeans, hoodies and sneakers. Ponder, ponder...


Steamers at an event.

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