How Far Can a Hotel Soar? My Time at the Gaslamp Gathering Steampunk Convention

Today I had the privilege of traveling on the maiden voyage of the airship Z.R.A. Gaslight. (Ok, not exactly maiden). The inaugural flight was Friday, and I joined Saturday. And it’s not really an airship, but a steampunk convention, the first in San Diego.

This was my first steampunk convention. I’ve been to ComicCon for years. Even a Dark Shadows convention. I’ll have to say, these were the best attired conventioneers I’ve seen yet. Most of these things are a sea of T-shirts, sweat stains, and flip flops.

The steampunk denizens derive from a combination of costume makers, Victorian devotees, and Ren Faire folk. The costumes were intricately detailed. The aesthetic breeds on the excessively ornate. The time period, after all, is pseudo-Victorian. The exhibitor room was filled with vendors selling tiny baubles and pins, along with plenty of clothes.

Speaking of clothes, I feel that you shouldn’t go all cosplay unless you have a decent wardrobe to pull it off. Nothing’s worse than a half-assed attempt at costuming. That being said, I like to get in the theme a little. I wore a dress shirt under a multi-pocketed vest.

Now, I want to take a moment to stand in defense of vests. They rock. Mine had four tiny pockets on the front. I was able to tuck in my business cards, a few credit cards, a map, the parking ticket, and the new pocket watch I purchased at the convention. Everyone should wear a vest. They seriously need to come back in fashion.

Finally, I succumbed to the allure of the Victoriana and purchased a hat. In my defense, I plan to throw my daughter a Mad Hatter birthday party, so I’ll get more use out it. Now, partway through the convention, my wife and I broke for lunch. Over in the adjoining mall.

Filled with normal people.

There I was in a vest, with a pocket watch, and a tall felt hat. Yup, I blended in. But I was hungry, so I foraged ahead. I went to Nordie’s cafe and, like a respectable gentleman, I removed my hat. The lady behind the counter was amazed. She’d never seen anyone take off his hat in a restaurant before. Maybe the world needs a few more manners?

Ok, enough of me jawing at you. You want the pictures.

Steampunk Borg

League of Steam

The League of Steam is sort of like a ghostbusting team if they existed circa 1880. They “freed” my wife from a pesky ghost who had infested her. Oh, and they also had a pet zombie with a feeding tube and a buzzer to signal when he needed to be fed.

Zombie with a Fez

Amazing Steampunk fairy. Those wings are all carved from foamboard!

Tim Kane