Steamposium, like a sleek Jules Verne futuristic submarine, is gliding into harbor on October 27th – 29th. The Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the waterfront near Belltown is hosting this gathering for those who love Steampunk.

For those not familiar with it, a simplified explanation of “Steampunk” is wearing period costume, often from the Old American West or English Victorian era, accompanied with advanced, futuristic weapons and other gadgetry built from materials readily available in the 1800s. Pocket watches, gears, and goggles abound. There are also variations on this, such as post-apocalyptic themes. The word is derived from “steam-powered”, such as devices like the steam locomotive (train) from that era, and is based on early science fiction literature.  Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and HG Wells’ future-predicting work as well, are two examples. One of the earlier examples adapted for the screen was “The Wild Wild West”, a series which ran on television from 1965-1969. It was based in the American West and featured two government agents, outfitted with advanced gadgets, who travelled by an adapted steam locomotive with special features (like an escape tunnel built in a fireplace) to track down masterminds in crime.

 

Another example of British Victorian Steampunk is the movie “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, based upon a graphic novel, among many other examples.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Steamposium takes place a few days before Halloween, and is a good excuse to showcase your garb and gadgets, or just admire other people’s handcrafted cosplay while walking around the convention. You can take classes/workshops on various aspects of Steampunk, drink tea and watch a fashion show, attend a mad science fair, or shake your metallic gears at a live music concert. Actor Billie Piper, who was Doctor Who’s companion for a number of seasons, who also appeared in Penny Dreadful, will be there, as well as her Penny co-star, Reeve Carney. Billie also played the key role in a PBS adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park years ago. (Check out an upcoming celebration of Austen’s life & writing, called JaneFest at the University of Washington on November 4th, to admire clothing from the Regency era.)

So feel free to flash forward on the time-space continuum (using your 1800s ray gun to get there, of course), and enjoy yourself at Steamposium.  Your future self will thank you.

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