By Victoria Irwin
Steampunks and collectors of Victoriana are a very dedicated crew, as anyone of the volunteers of Gaslight Gathering #3 can tell you. From May 3-5 2013, the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego was transformed into a look back at an alternate future. Corsets and jetpacks were the name of the game with costuming highly encouraged for all attendees. If you’re not familiar with the Steampunk genre, think of Abraham Lincoln or Queen Victoria; now think of them with steam powered devices and anachronistic weapons. I think you get the idea.
The Gaslight Gathering is volunteer run, relying on Steampunk enthusiasts to manage registration, teach courses, create dioramas and recruit the various vaudevillian entertainments that decorated the outdoor stages. One such event was a diorama display entitled The Cabinet of Dimintive Curiosities: Islands in the Steam. It featured 10 separate miniatures of islands populated with miniature airships, small impeccably detailed tree houses, or tiny scientific workshops. The center of the room itself was a giant model of a shrink ray, with working switches, lights and nobs. Those brave enough were welcome to be photographed sitting in the device itself.
The Steam Arena stage featured various acts from stage Scientist turned illusionist Dino Stacks to Poplock Holmes, entertaining the audience with their Victorian-flavored hip hop known as Chap Hop. Evening performances included the normally Macabre Swing stylings of Lee Press-on and the Nails, as well as the steam punk community favorite, Steam Powered Giraffe. Rabbit, one of the performers, spent most of Saturday enjoying the scenery of the Gathering itself. Saturday hosted a large ball with the theme Under the Sea.
The Junto Academy hosted a series of classes from how to paint your weapons to how to style your hair in proper Victorian styles. There was a basic fee for some of the courses, but all were taught by volunteers who truly loved what they were teaching. For those who were costumes challenged, or just in need of a new bowler hat or corset, the vendor fair was a delight for the senses. All manner of accoutrements were available ranging from quick souvenirs for the thrifty to intricately made costuming pieces.
Tickets for the 2014 Gaslight Gathering will be on sale next month at http://gaslightgathering.org/. If you are a steampunk enthusiast with a desire to spend time with people who are kind, compassionate and truly love the genre, I highly encourage you to attend the event next year, May 2-4, 2014.