Local steampunk convention, Up in the Aether, delivered fabulous programming over the Memorial Day weekend. Steampunk is a curious cross-section of interests. It has the the cultural and aesthetic tones of the Victorian era with a futuristic twist.
Up in the Aether is a steampunk convention hosted at the Dearborn Double Tree Hotel. All weekend long there were lots of fun and surprises. It was interesting to note that there was a large age span from very small children to those of an advanced age.
There was plenty for people to do no matter their age. The event tent hosted a variety of musicians including Eli August, Stone Clover, Voltaire and other artists. Next year they’ve announce that Steam Powered Giraffe will join the line up. There was of course plenty of panels to learn about clothing and how to get “that look.” Almost everything has a steampunk version of itself. There is steampunk food, literature, history and music. It is more of a culture than it is a singular interest. Visually it is marked with metal and Victorian style clothing, but the people and community itself were kind and enthusiastic. There was even a Miss and Mister Steampunk Competition. It was far from your average pageant. During the Q+A segment the contestants stated they were “angry feminists” and were going to “pander to the crowd.”
While this was a steampunk convention — those who had not come for the convention could still enjoy it. It was exciting to see people who had not come for the convention and somehow wandered in to join the festivities. One surprise including a wedding scheduled that was completely un-associated with the convention. The wedding stage was in the center of the atrium with steampunk programming surrounding them on all sides. It was impressive to see how con-goers could roll with the punches and showed the utmost respect during the wedding. There was also a smaller steampunk wedding that occurred outside. This one, however, was unofficial.
Up in the Aether was a fun experience and what I’ve discovered is that steampunk isn’t something easily defined or labeled. Sure it’s futuristic and Victorian, but that definition is limiting as it is so much more than that. So what is steampunk? Steampunk is whatever you want it to be.
Janus Ajax is one of CW50′s summer interns. I’m a wandering spirit and I like Alpacas very much. Follow me on twitter @JanusAjax or find me on tumblr at JanusAjax.tumblr.com and remember that the world is a better place with you in it.