Friday, May 18, 2012

Steampunk Event at the Depot Satisfies Imaginations and Stirs Hearts

This is my 1968th blog post at Ennyman's Territory. That's more than five years of blogging, which has been quite astonishing for me as I only intended to dabble in it a bit "just to see what blogging was about." Thank you for being a reader.

In 1968 my brothers turned 14, 10 and 8 respectively. Black lights and strobe lights were becoming cool. Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in movie theaters and young people were flocking to see the Beatles' latest flick, an animated film called Yellow Submarine. Man had not yet walked on the moon, but we were getting close. On earth, riots disrupted the Democratic Convention in Chicago that summer. Bobby Kennedy took a bullet while campaigning for the nomination earlier that year. Dr. Martin Luther King also took a bullet, resulting in riots that did tremendous damage to countless U.S. cities, external fires reflecting the internal pain burning in many hearts.

Gasoline was 34 cents a gallon that year, movie tickets were a buck-fifty and the average annual income just under eight thousand dollars. Rent was about $150 a month and the Viet Nam War showed no signs of abating as Hey Jude topped the nation's music charts.

I was reading sci fi at the time, listening to the Doors and Hendrix and Cream's Sunshine of Your Love. Woodstock hadn't happened yet and my hair was still short, but change was clearly afoot everywhere. But the word Steampunk did not yet exist. Though fantasy was alive and well, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was coming on strong, it would be another dozen years before the word Cyberpunk would appear to describe the futuristic fantasy of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Eventually, the 1880s futurism of Jules Verne would get a new set of hues and Steampunk would emerge... a century after Verne had begun conceiving Captain Corsican, Harry Blount, Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.

Last night at the Train Depot in Duluth the past came alive in an art event like none before it, an evening of Steampunk. We Steampunk art, Steampunk fashion, Steampunk entertainment and, best of all, steam engines surrounded by people in Steampunk garb. What a fun way to see old friends and meet new ones. Special thanks to the Richard Rosvall, our resident Mayor of Steampunk, and all the imaginative people who contributed to this memorable evening of living entertainment.

As we went back in time I became Dr. Jules Langdon Lafon, a chemist and inventor. I told a few stories, but am saving the best for a future collection which I hope can be shared with you some day.

The event was sponsored in part by Dubrue, who provided beer, and Tycoons, who gave us access for an afterparty in the Rathskaller Lounge, a Prohibition-era speakeasy which has been restored and is serving the public once again. Ambience and history made for a good intersection with Steampunk partiers, those live mannequins in a museum-like setting. Loved it.

Meantime, life goes on. And next time, when you hear of a Steampunk assembly near you, don't miss it for the world.


Naomi said...

Hi Ed,
I knew of this event, but I've never been a fan of science fiction so I didn't go.
Thursdays are a long day for me, and after work I noticed some people in interesting costumes walking toward the Depot on Michigan Street.

Reading this post has piqued my interest. It looks like I missed a good time.

ENNYMAN said...

It was great fun indeed. Maybe next year we'll see you there. Thanks for the note.
Must have been strange seeing all these charactes in costume on the streets of Duluth last night.