Monday, March 4, 2013

South Florida Steampunk

South Florida and Steampunk are nearly a contraction in terms. The fine look of well tailored Victorian fashion and South Florida's laid back, anything goes, shorts and a T-shirt standard are worlds apart.

In this country, rigid high fashion has given way to sloppy comfort. High standards of social etiquette have crumbled to the level of the Simpson's. Our dress and manners may fallen to an all time low but what of our wondrous technology.

Not very long ago, our highest technological advances were wrapped in cathedral quality industrial art. Now we bling and bedazzel it. The materials used to create the tech miracles of that age were steel, brass, glass, wood, and leather. Today it's plastic, plastic, plastic and plastic. A few hundred years ago, technological necessities were built to last for centuries and  meant to be passed down through the generations. Now we cry if our cell phones are over two years old.

Enter Steampunk. A genre dedicated to asking the question - What if we kept all the good parts of the Victorian age and moved them forward along with our technology? The Florida Renaissance Festival took the bold step of adding a Time Travel and Steampunk event this past weekend. I took the bold step of asking a few of the participants what they thought about it.

Some of the hard core rennies seemed a little confused but when I mentioned it was Steampunk weekend they at least seemed to know the concept. Most liked the look and more than a few thought it should be a regular event. A couple mentioned they missed "bring your pet" weekend.

I asked several of the garbed participants how difficult and costly it was to create a little Steampunk fashion. The answer was the same every time. Not very expensive and not very time consuming. It was immediately obvious to me that time travelers have all the time in the world and a lot of inside trading info. I had one of them give me an item by item price check and I stopped her when I couldn't count that high any more. Bottom line, many of these folks put in a tremendous amount of effort for a two day event. I can only imagine if they had all spent serious time and money manufacturing their look. The sad fact is there are not many other Steampunk events in the area. There are parts of the country that take their Steampunking to extraordinary levels.  I know of at least one family who cut their vacation on the Titanic short and came directly to the faire. By so doing they not only saved themselves a cold swim, they also won the Steampunk Garb contest. Most of the rest of the folks I spoke with were a bit more local in time and space. I would really like to see Steampunk take off in South Florida but someone will need to invent a corset as cool and comfortable as a bikini first I would imagine.
The Time Collectors - Steampunk Garb competition winners.  

Click Here for my photos from the event.
 I would like to thank the South Florida Pirates for giving me some insight into the Steampunk genre. They will be returning as their normal pirate selves the final two weekends.  


  1. A few minutes ago, I didn't know exactly what Steampunk was. Now I can't wait to see how often I can insert 'retro-futuristic' into the conversation!

  2. @Red - How cool is it that my first comment came from all the way on the other side of the planet. Now if I could just get one from the future.

    1. Haha, it IS from the future! Didn't you know that we're WAAAAAAY ahead of y'all up there downunder?!?!?!

  3. Nice to read about the festival. But I imagine it would be too hot for Florida weather.
    Should be a fun event for photographers though :)

  4. @Ramakant - As luck would have it, we had a pretty nice Florida winter day in the 70's. Perfect for such constrictive attire. Of course the "Time Travelers" would know the perfect day to schedule their event.

  5. Any events happening in the Florida arena?

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