Sunday, March 18, 2012

Victoria Steam Expo the Third.

Steampunk is the collision of history, technology, imagination, and attitude. Nineteenth-century sensibilities with impossible Jules-Verne-inspired technology. Teak-panelled computers, corsets and jetpacks, top hats and rayguns.

April 20th to 22nd, 2012, for the third year in a row, Victoria, British Columbia, will host an art-happening of steampunk art, tech, fashion, music, architecture, and story.

“Amongst all the beautiful places in the world, and I think I have seen the most beautiful of them, Victoria ranks the highest.” – Rudyard Kipling, 1889

Kipling was the paragon of the Victorian adventure-storyteller, so how fitting that this year's Victoria Steam Exposition returns to the magnificent 1904 granite palace of the Empress Hotel (In the Kipling Room, no less), a monument to the exuberance of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Its endless panelling, cut glass, brass sconces and chateaux rooflines lend the perfect backdrop to absinthe-inspired imaginings of time-travel and airship pirates. A National Historic Site, The Empress has hosted kings and queens, smugglers and inventors, explorers, artists, and Kipling himself.

The show's literary headliners this year are Hugo Award winner Ann Vandermeer, and The Steampunk Bible's Hugo and Nebula nominee Jeff Vandermeer; Abney Park's Kristina Erickson and Captain Robert Brown, author of The Wrath of Fate.  Our featured artist is Ian Finch Field, who's incredible leather and brass creations have been featured in 1000 Steampunk Creations and international music videos.

The $50 weekend pass gives you access both Saturday and Sunday to steampunk jewelers, tinkerers, corsetieres, milliners, leather and glassworkers, artisans and anachronists. Additionally there are continuous panel discussions on costuming, history, literary readings, and prop-making.  Your weekend pass also  admits you to the Saturday Evening Steampunk Cabaret Burlesque, a dance party to the haunted gypsy folk antics of Tarran the Tailor and the boisterous Bučan Bučan.

The Friday Night Absinthe Tasting and History Presentation is at the Union Club, a private (formerly gentlemen-only) institution founded in 1879, and still bears the wingbacked-leather-chair atmosphere as in its founding year.  Visitors can easily imagine the wager which began Around the World in 80 Days being placed in exactly this sort of environment.  Tickets are an additional $50 for Friday evening's festivities, which includes a flight of three absinthes, a history lecture on its culture and appreciation, and a tour of the club's magnificent 1884 architecture.

Not your typical "con" or convention, the Dominion of Canada's premiere steampunk event, VSE III is more intimate; a living art-show with evocative venues, and more oriented around conversation and sharing in an authentic Victorian atmosphere.

Tickets are now available for both the Absinthe Tasting ($50) and the Weekend Pass ($50).

*Please note: Children under 13 are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult and you must be 18+ to attend the Cabaret Burlesque.