Welp, so it’s May, huh? I haven’t posted much here, other than maybe to don a mustache for a bit of fun tribute. So, that can mean one thing, and one thing only: MASSIVE UPDATES!
Ah, but updates on what? For the most part, existence at the Bas Bleu Zombie headquarters has been like this:
Despite 2016 trying to be more of a royal fucker than 2015, or 2013, I have been writing like a fiend. A lot of it has been freelance stuff to supplement my Lush Bath Bomb habit, most of it has been for STEAMPUNK PARIS, and the rest of it is miscellany slowly trickling into the world.
One of my favorite things about Steampunk is how it has persevered and evolved since I entered its realm five years ago, when The Steampunk Bible came out May 2011. Immediately after that book came out, there were fears that the movement was about to jump the shark as it swam towards mainstream acceptance, but here we are in 2016, in the third year of Steampunk Hands Around the World celebrating everything but that mythical shark. Sure, there was that show with Kato last year, a fall season or two of cinched vests, corset belts, military coats, cogs and fobs, and tiny top hat fascinators in stores like Forever 21, and a few experiments within Hollywood (Sherlock Holmes series and The Three Musketeers), but Steampunk has survived all of that. None of it has diminished what makes Steampunk tick—relationships, reinvention, and revelation.
For me, personally, I have seen these three “r’s” constantly reinforced over the years, even in my own projects. I always have a bit of poseur syndrome when it comes to the Steampunk community, because I approached the movement as a journalist—an outsider documenting this interesting phenomenon that evolved from computer mods and three California guys flirting with romantic science fiction. My interest and love for nineteenth century art and literature was what drew me to it, and like many journalists who get too close to their subject, I fell in love. But I didn’t know how to really be involved. I didn’t cosplay, or have a steamsona, can’t craft things for shit, and while I aspired to write historical, gothic fiction, I lacked a true sci-fi bent. What I was into was travel, being a lit/art-nerd, and the people and histories that fell through the cracks of the 19th century and early 20th century, especially as it pertained to Romanticism, Symbolism, and Modernism. Enter Arthur Morgan.
So, yeah, Arthur and I became fast friends, and when I told him I would be abroad promoting The Steampunk Bible, he told me he had been working on a tour of Steampunk Paris he’d like to show me. Here was an angle to Steampunk that had never occurred to me. The year before, I indulged in some literary travel in Europe visiting a few sites found within Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but Steampunk as a mode of travel, galvanic machines aside, never occurred to me. I asked Morgan if he’d write about this with me, and he agreed. The rest is history—we wrote these essays in 2012 and had the amazingly talented fashion photographer Nicolas Meunier illustrate it for us, and now we are writing a travel book about Steampunk Paris, coming out this fall from Pelekenisis press.
Through this writing, through my love of France and its literature, art, and culture, through my love of travel, I finally feel like I am participating and contributing in a way that only I can—and this is what I love most about Steampunk. No matter your interests, your expertise, your background, your goals, there is something for you, and everyone, here, and that “something” is guaranteed to reveal things you’ve never seen, things lost through the cracks of history, and the past, present, and the future becomes far more connected and diverse than how you had previously known it, making the world a much more fun and interesting place to inhabit.
Kevin D. Steil’s brilliant Valentine initiative to Steampunk’s legacy and future rides again. I will be participating–still brainstorming on the how there–so I will blog more about this as it gets underway. Meanwhile, for details on what you can expect and how you can participate in this year’s STEAMPUNK HANDS AROUND THE WORLD, check out the deets at Kevin’s awesome blog, AIRSHIP AMBASSADOR, here.
Rather than blog, I thought I’d vlog about a few reflections on Steampunk and Travel, in honor of Airship Ambassador’s Steampunk Hands Around the World, an international initiative that is celebrating the present and future of Steampunk.
Some months are quiet, and others are very loud with announcements and such. In the later case, those are often broadcasted reactively as they happen, and get lost in the shuffle of all the other news-bytes out there. So, I thought an end of the month summation would be a nice way to compromise the fragmented with the soft and clamorous, of which, January definitely fell into the former.
First, I am writing this during the polar vortex attack on everywhere, including the South. All day yesterday, people lost their cool as public building closures were gradually announced. Hysterical hyperboles floated from mouth to mouth faster than the flu, and after Atlanta and the more northern Southern areas were dusted with the white stuff, suddenly, we were in for God knows what—a blizzard?
While it has been drizzling sleet, I am sad to say there is no snow. I’m disappointed. The last time it snowed here was in 1989, unless you count that time in college when I saw one solitary snow flake fall and melt on my hand. Both were rare and magical moments. Today, just another cloudy and wet wintry day in North Florida. Even so, the gentle tapping of the sleet against the windows have been comforting, the cat wants to cuddle rather than play all day, and if I am good, I’ll get to have a hot toddy with a friend later on.
I know I am not the only one swathed in blankets and nursing hot tea. So what’s everyone else been up too in January? Does the cold have you down? Or does it have you deep in a book or project? What are you all doing to make the best of it?