Monday, May 03, 2010

Enjoyed a Steampunk Festival, later got an idea of my own

On Saturday I went to the New England Steampunk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. It was delightful. A lot of people in Victorian dress with complicated goggles, and elaborate gadgets hanging off their belts or strapped to their backs. I took some pictures and did some twittering while I was there.

Steampunk has its apologists, but I'm not sure it needs them. I heard a few complaints that some gadgets were simply props and did nothing, and some gadgets were built with obviously modern pieces. To the first I'd say that steampunk is a style, not a technology (the enthusiasts are very clear on this, and unashamedly use the word "prop" for their toys) and to the second, I'd say that you can't expect them all to be equally skilled and ambitious, and if they're having fun and not hurting anyone, is it really so terrible that you can see the plastic Coke bottle cap on their ray-gun?

I'm surprised that there aren't more steampunk graphic novels. That strikes me as a natural fit. I also wish they weren't quite so obsessed with "airships", the way Fifties sci-fi was obsessed with flying saucers and robots.

Attending Steampunk Festival, Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, Waltham MA

Steam engines

More steampunk stuff

The guy calls it a "spirit harvester"

Best costume imho

I later found this woman's blog, mostly a compendium of sci-fi and fantasy events happening around New England. Useful and interesting.

Won a piece of optometry equipment in the raffle at the New England Steampunk Festival in Waltham MA

The next day I was thinking about pipe organs, and about all the cool stuff I saw on Saturday, and it occurred to me that it would be feasible (even for me) to build a small USB-controlled pipe organ rank. My one area of uncertainty is the solenoid valves, it seems difficult to find them at a price that's affordable if I want to put in fifty-or-so pipes.


Anonymous said...

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Bruce Miller said...

I bet you could find a vintage moddable organ on ebayclassifieds - here is one for $250: