These are my notes on Steampunk World’s Fair 2017, which was held from March 5 – 7. This is only my second year going to SPWF. For the most part the fair was great. There were some minor issues, but nothing big enough to prevent me from going next year. I may update this article later, but for now, I just wanted to get some ideas out there.
Last year was fun, but staying at an overflow hotel definitely made things difficult. Staying at the main hotel definitely makes things a lot easier than staying at one of the overflow hotels. But of course rooms fill up very fast. There was also an issue where people reserved a large number of rooms, which hopefully will not be as much of a problem this year due to the new reservation protocol.
I stayed in the Embassy, which I think I prefer to the Radisson. Breakfast was simple but good. Skip the pre-made scrambled eggs and get the omelet instead. I think I ended up having at least two omelets each morning. The hotel staff was quite friendly and I appreciated the service from the breakfast staff and the bartenders, especially Tyrell. I am still not a huge fan of the lunch and dinner food itself, but I do understand the limited menu on the Embassy side, as dealing with so many extra orders would be a nightmare for the kitchen. The wings were good, though.
As for the Radisson, I was not too impressed with Fusion. The restaurant did however have a few Steampunk themed drinks, though for whatever reason I never got around to trying them, probably because I spent most of my time in the Embassy. I did hear that a lot of people liked the themed drinks however. Because I spent most of my (paid drinking) time at the Embassy Hotel’s bar, I was disappointed that there were no Steampunk themed drinks there, although I suggested it. Hopefully next year they add a few.
People started to fill into the hotel on Thursday evening, but things were still pretty slow until Friday, when the fair actually started. There was a slight issue with the Luminary t-shirts, when I went to sign in, which is fine—things happen—but there was no mention of the delay when I went to get my pass. Many people did not even know we were supposed to get a t-shirt. I did sign in quite early, so perhaps that was part of the issue.
The Goblin market was great, but there seemed to have fewer bands this year. Also, a lot of the bands had recorded backup music. It would have been nice to see more full bands there. One of the great things about the Goblin market is the tech crew. Because they had to communicate back and forth while the bands were setting up, they made sure their discussions were amusing, making the crew part of the entertainment.
In addition to the Goblin Market, which was included as part of the main ticket, I purchased tickets for the Steampunk Social, but I decided not to stay for it. I think there were enough other things to do and enough other ways to drink and to meet people that it wasn’t necessary. There was also a lot going on at the same time. Honestly, I could have managed my time on Saturday night a little better. I will work on making a better schedule for myself next year.
Part of the issue was too much drinking. Pacing yourself when drinking is important, but I ended up having some extra absinthe at the Absinthe party—a few people at the table didn’t quite realize what absinthe was and did not care for it too much. It was a shame for them, but more booze for me. The absinthe tasting itself was fairly decent. I took some notes and might do a write-up on “The Alcoholic Anthropologist.”
I did really enjoy the chocolate tasting. I went to the tea themed tasting. I feel a little bad, since our table was a little bit more than loud, and two people at the table were “aquatically challenged.” I lost count of how many times they spilled the water/ice. Nikki Woolfolk, an Author and Chocolatier, was very knowledgeable about chocolate and food science in general, offered many stories, and provided us with delicious chocolate. There is an Etsy shop, but I do not currently see any items listed. I forgot to as Nikki about this. If I find out more, I will update this page.
Leanna Renee Hieber
The first year I went to SPWF, I came across a lecture on Gothic literature by Leanna. It was only because of this lecture that I wrote “Modern Gothic in Psycho-Pass.” There was of course a lot of overlap in this year’s lecture. However there was enough new information that I feel like I could write another paper on this topic. If I do, it will be about Serial Experiments Lain. Honestly, in some ways, it is almost like Leanna is writing these papers for me, which is why I will try to convince her, as much as possible without being overly annoying, to write a non-fiction book about Gothic literature.
One thing I like about this convention is that you get to see people you meet year after year and from other cons. I ran into a fair number of people from the New York Renaissance Faire, including a certain drunken lady pirate. There is also a lot of crossover between genres at this con, and part of that is likely due to Jeff Mach running so many different cons and people building a community around them. Obviously you will find Steampunk, but you will also find goth, general science fiction, and more.