I always seem to get caught up watching weird reality shows like “Oddities” “American Pickers” and “Storage Wars”. Often, I hear the term “steampunk” tossed around when people refer to strange objects found in attics, storage units, abandoned buildings, and swap meets. What throws me off though, is that sometimes they are referring to a strange contraption, medical device, or mechanical object…but then will also use the term when describing clothing, accessories and art.
So what the hell is “steampunk”?
I recently looked up the term online and discovered that Sacramento has their very own “Sacramento Steampunk Society”. My curiosity peaked – I started to dig around a little bit.
From the Sacramento Steampunk Society website:
“Steampunk began as literature influenced by the scientific romances of the Victorian era (like the works of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Mary Shelley). It has since become a genre spanning books, movies, music, games, art, and other media. Simultaneously, it has also grown into a subculture. There are now steampunk conventions and social groups all over the world. Popular steampunk social networking websites have over 10,000 members. The facebook page for steampunk has nearly 200,000 “likes”.
The term “steampunk” was coined in the 1980s as a tongue-in-cheek variant on “cyberpunk”, although the two genres and subcultures formed separately. Although they share a focus on technology and rejection of modern industrialization, cyberpunk looks to the dystopian future that might result from our present, while steampunk focuses on an alternative history which sidesteps modern society’s negative aspects entirely.
Many steampunks make their own such devices or modify modern utilitarian objects to a pseudo-Victorian mechanical style. There is a strong theme of do-it-yourself in steampunk culture. We combine found objects with items bought at thrift stores, distressing, antiquing, or painting metallic finishes to make them into unique handcrafted clothing, accessories, and home decor.”
Between the description, photos, and DIY articles on their site (i.e. “How to Make Your Own Jet Pack”) it reminds me of the type of stuff I have seen in movies like the newest “Sherlock Homes”, “Back to the Future”, “Coyboys vs. Aliens” and “Wild, Wild, West”.
Of course, now I’m fascinated.
If your interest in this subculture has also been sparked, check out their website at http://sacsteam.org
or their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/SacramentoSteampunkSociety/
Or – even better – why not stop by:
Steampunk Emporium & Swap Meet
Feb 16, 2013, 11:00 am to 4:00pm
Great Escape Games
1250 Howe Avenue, Suite 3A Sacramento, CA 95825 (In the back of the building).
“The main theme of this swap meet is “Steampunk” but anything of a handmade, artsy, creative, vintage,
antique, nostalgic, retro-future or retro nature may be available, as would anything related to cosplay,
science fiction, fantasy, wild west, pirates, gaming, comics, speculative fiction or steampunk sub-genres.”
Admission is free and it is open to the public.
Have something to sell? Vendor information is listed on the flyer below.