Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Monday, June 7, 2010

News From the Front: A-Kon 21

As Walter Winchell used to say, “Good evening Mr and Mrs America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press.” Well, I just got back today from the A-Kon 21 at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, Texas and I have news from the ongoing effort to spread the word of dieselpunk.

My wife and I started the convention the day before it began by standing in the very, very long line for pre-registration conventioneers. I was dressed in my usual dieselpunk style. That day I was in all black fedora, shirt, slacks and lapel vest along with a rich purple tie. I was surprised by the compliments and positive looks. I even had my photo taken once by a young woman.

Though there were no events or presentations dedicated to dieselpunk at A-Kon my contacts with people told me that there was a real interest in dieselpunk. The first actual day of the convention, which was Friday June 4th, I decided to dress in what I call my dieselpunk occult. Again I was in all black no vest, though I had my black fedora, of course. This time rather than a tie I had a red celtic choker medallion, a silver dragon chain and I was carrying a black walking stick with a dragon’s claw holding a red globe. Needless to say this opened many opportunities when my style was asked about.

That same night was the Steampunk Tea Party. Rather than change I went ahead in my dark, occult dieselpunk. Many of the steampunks that I spoke to while there, especially those who were more mature in age than other conventioneers, were not only knowledgeable of dieselpunk but spoke highly of it. Occasionally I even heard, “I actually prefer dieselpunk.” Another positive statement was, “A dieselpunk event here would be great!” One lovely lady, who was dressed in a very authentic looking Victorian dress and hat at the tea party, before I even mentioned dieselpunk, said about herself, “You should have seen me earlier today when I dressed dieselpunk.” I nearly dropped my cup of my tea when she said that.

Though there were very few costumes that one could call “diesel” there was one person who I would classify as “Piecraftian” dieselpunk.

There was also a pretty good Dr. Steel representation present. I saw several Dr. Steel buttons being worn and Dr. Steel videos were being given out free at the steampunk tea party.

Finally, there was the Abney Park concert on Saturday night. Needless to say, since I love steampunk, I couldn’t help but dress steampunk that day for the concert. After waiting for hours in line my wife and I, along with our friends, were able to get right in front of the stage. Then I saw something that I had never noticed before. Daniel Cederman, who plays bass guitar for the band, wasn’t really dressed steampunk. He was dressed dieselpunk!

Daniel Cederman

You can see further evidence of Cederman’s dieselpunk style at the Abney Park web site if you look at his images in the Crew section.

After talking to numerous participants about dieselpunk at A-Kon the reception was very positive. Many expressed an interest in seeing a representation of dieselpunk at conventions. From walking around and looking at the styles popular among anime fans it’s my opinion that any attempts to get a presence at anime conventions then Piecraftian style would be a highly popular one. Also, costumes such as Sky Captain with Polly or dressed as one of the aliens from Dark City would be a big draw. Dr. Steel is also a good starting spot. In the form of music I would recommend artist such as Wolfgang Parker, who has a harder edge with his Punk-Swing style of music. Those are just a few ideas and I’m sure there are many, many more.

Now it’s up to us to make it happen. Who’s with me?


Jack Philpott said...

Sounds like a plan, Larry!

I just need a con near me. NOTHING fun ever seems to happen in DC.

Tome Wilson said...

@Jack - Otakon in Baltimore is the largest anime convention on the East Coast and within an hour of you!