A Convention Virgin No More
Posted on January 24th, 2012

In case you missed it via Twitter or Facebook, this past weekend I attended Clockwork Con here in Austin, Texas. What's Clockwork Con you ask? Clockwork Con is a steampunk convention much like conventions you've most likely heard about on TV, the internet, or the news (ComicCon, DragonCon, etc. -- mostly held in California). Like me, this was the first year for Clockwork Con and having nothing to go on except for what I have seen and read about these sort of conventions, I was quite surprised at the depth and magnitude of the whole thing.

It wasn't until a few days before the convention that a true schedule of events was posted. What I imagined from following the Con's website and my own perceived knowledge of conventions like this was a strange gathering of costumed people wandering around looking at other people's costumes, gadgets, and related media.

What surprised me was that the weekend was chock-full of panels, events, and other activities. No matter what your interest was in steampunk; whether it be hands on crafting/costuming, writing, role-playing (online and real life), gaming and other media, knowledge gathering, or learning the business of running an airship and traveling the convention circuit (yes, it's a business for many)-- there was something for everyone.

As a writer, I was mainly drawn to the panels that involved general knowledge about the culture(s) and lifestyle of steampunk, role playing, and of course writing. My goal was to really see what steampunks out there were like and what really sparked their passion for this creative subculture. I wanted to see what people were writing, reading, and playing out. I was also able to see what interested people intellectually and culturally about this crazy and evolving thing called steampunk.

In regards to knowledge, I have to say I was blown away. For the last month and a half I've been looking through books, reading blogs and articles, and joining different forums just to get a feel for this unique subculture I've sort have seen and heard about, but really knew nothing about. In one weekend, I feel like I doubled my knowledge of this fantastical world known as steampunk and that's probably only scratching the surface considering all weekend there was at least 2-4 other panels or events going on while I was in one.

I could go on and detail the whole weekend, but that would require a really big post and I wouldn't be too surprised if some of you are already looking at this and going "TL;DR" (Too Long; Didn't Read). All in all, I sort of just played the wallflower during this convention. I wanted to be able to soak it all in, plus that's just my general nature anytime I go to something alone-- the plan is to drag Amy along next year. Plus, as a writer I think we sometimes have a habit of standing on the outside and just observing while we let our minds draw inspiration for all that we see and hear.

While I have no prior Con experience, I definitely have to say the whole experience was much more than I expected. Whether it was meeting the Emperor of the Red Fork Empire, checking out all the awesome gadgets, costumes and gear of attendees, meeting and hearing from some of the airship crews and captains (much love and respect to the Captain and crew of the Airship Isabella) or rockin' out with some really fun and talented bands on Saturday -- I definitely felt like I got my money's worth and more.

Oh, and yes I dressed up as well. It was nothing special (especially given my limited finances), but I sort of went for that English-Cowboy look with my steampunk decorated gun. It makes more sense given the fact I was basing my look off a character in a steampunk story I've been tossing around. Believe me though, I was definitely put to shame by most, but hope to raise the bar for next year, especially with a little Con experience under my belt now.
Here are a few pictures I took from the convention. Wish I would've taken more, but I wasn't sure what the protocol was and I sort of felt like some nerdy tourist taking pictures of people I was at the Con with -- kind of like the animals taking pictures of each other at the zoo.

The first few are of my stuff from the convention and my steampunk gun.

On Saturday there was a Gadgeteer Festival were a handful of people got to show off some of their steampunk creations. There was also a vendor room that sold clothes and accessories of the steampunk fashion.

Also, on Saturday there was Live Action Role Play or LARP for short between SCARS (South Central Armada of Renegade Steampunks) and The Order that took place in the afternoon. I think I might have gotten a character glare from someone.

That night there was a concert featuring Bones Jangle, Steam Powered Giraffe, and Marquis of Vaudeville. I enjoyed all of them, but I think Steam Powered Giraffe was my favorite as they put on a great show. They are definitely one of those bands best experienced in person, though I've been jammin' out to their songs ever since Saturday night.

Posted in Life, Writing, Steampunk    Tagged with Clockwork Con, Steampunk


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