Friday I was up at the crack of dawn, I had to pack as much as I could - and then be out of the house to do errands before we left. We took Alaska the Moose to her follow up Vet appointment (more on that tomorrow), and I stopped at Pineapple Day Spa to get my hair done Pin-up style for Day 1 of SPWF. The look I was going for on Friday, was a Sky Captain who had been through more than a few scrapes. This is the look I was using the liquid latex for.
We arrived at SPWF around 230p, and started the check in process for the Embassy Suites Hotel. Now, if you have never been to SPWF, I highly recommend this hotel as where you lay your head. The hotel is more open, the breakfast buffet in the morning is amazing, and the rooms are amazing. You have enough room to lay all of your stuff down, and still have room to stretch your legs out. I hate when I go to a hotel and my luggage takes the majority of the usable space in a room. The Embassy Suites gives you that little extra room to feel comfortable. The staff is also very accommodating.
Once we were checked in, I began the process of applying the latex and getting the beauty makeup together. I have to admit, I have never done the makeup better. The look came out amazing - I was so pleased with the result. And, to boot, hubby and I finally had a cohesive look.We were stopped by many fair goers and professional photographers. It made me so happy that my idea translated out to a look that was well received.
Our favorite part of this event is the workshops and lectures. The first thing we went to was Professor Mark Donnelly's lecture on "Contraptions: The (Rube) Goldberg Variations" which was described as "bizarre Victorian inventions which were patented, manufactured and marketed but never quite caught on. These are the ‘pocket fisherman’ and ‘shake weight’ of their day." I can't even tell you how funny this lecture was. It's like those commercials you see on TV - just buy now, and you get not one but two, and if you order in the next ten minute - we'll throw in the matching carrying case. A slide would appear on the screen - and he would discuss the invention and it's "supposed" use. The room was packed, and we were all having a good time commenting and laughing at the inventions. One of the funniest moments during this lecture is when Professor Donnelly pulled up a slide of a woman taking a shower, in a mask - that would cover her makeup. Shower and not ruin your makeup. I looked at him, and gave him the Are you kidding look... and there was definitely the moment in the room, where NO ONE wanted to know why this was ever considered! We moved on quickly. Another cool invention - which seems to have moved on into this era was the monocycle. I couldn't imagine riding in one, but the idea of it makes me slightly dizzy. Oh - and there were a couple of slides of Steampunk Tanks - enough said.
Once that panel was over - we decided that dinner needed to happen. We left the hotel - and traveled about 12 minutes away to Harold's Famous Deli. Harold's is legendary for their HUGE sandwiches. Our goal was to buy a sandwich - and then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. I got this reuben sandwich, and I swear - it was enough food for 5 people. The meat was amazing - not greasy at all. And there was a PICKLE BAR - I love pickles - And they had pickled hot cherry peppers. Heaven - I was in STUFFED FOOD COMA HEAVEN!
We drove back to the event, and that's when the shopping began. First off we stopped at Tea & Absinthe to pick up the pre-order chocolate truffles. I will only buy tea from this company. The flavors are exquisite - and there are so many to choose from. Their chocolate truffles are out of this world, and I must admit they are the best I have ever eaten.
And then we made our way through the one hotel - to say hi to our friends Scott & Cheryl, who run Mrs. Pettigrew's Fantastical Feathered Millinery. Right next to their booth was the company, Mad Girl Clothing by Pendragon Costumes, and my husband had been eyeing a brown leather trench (they call it the Flying Squad Coat) since last year - I am pleased to say that I finally got him into that coat. It looks amazing on him - and he could not be more happy with it. One thing I can say about the vendors - is that they are all masters of their craft, and still, they take the time to talk to each customer, and really show you how much they love what they do. I am very big on buying items from small companies - rather than mass produced items. The craftsmanship of hubby's coat alone - Worth it's weight in gold. You will spend more money for items made by hand with love, but they will always have more character and look better than anything you can pick up in a retail store.
Wandering around, listening to music, seeing Azkadelia on the aerial ropes - this is the way we meandered through SPWF on Friday night. One of the things we wanted to see was a side show comedy called Christopher the Witch Doctor. We showed up to the atrium - and when the show was supposed to be starting, we watched the act walking away. I suppose there weren't a lot of people watching - so they just kind of left. Major disappointment - but, we just went back to the room, and relaxed until the last show, for us, for the night. The Smoke and Mirrors Peepshow is an up-and-coming classicly inspired burlesque troupe from New Jersey that harkens back to the decadent heyday of burlesque, and is hosted by Reverand James "The Voice". Now, burlesque may not be your thing - but, I highly recommend this troupe. The girls are amazing performers, the host is hysterical - and it is very classy. Give it one shot - I promise, you will leave, at the very least, entertained.
There was an interactive showing of the Princess Bride - but, there was no way I could keep my eyes open any longer - so we headed to bed.
Above, I wrote about the amazing breakfast buffet at our hotel - but let me explain. Not only do they have the scrambled eggs, pancakes, multiple bagel/toast, bacon/sausage yada yada - They also have a made to order omelette station, fresh fruit, oatmeal, multiple cereal thing going on too. My breakfast was heavenly.
|photo by: Ron Frary|
Our first stop was to the workshop "Kicking Ass in a Corset" a Bartitsu workshop which will focus on self-defense techniques for women in all circumstances based on the common accessories of Edwardian Ladies (as practiced by the ‘Amazons” or Suffragist Bodyguard.) I have mentioned this once or twice - the hands on workshops are my favorite part of the SPWF. Professor Mark Donnelly is compelling to watch, and will really get involved during the workshop to make sure you have are executing the drill correctly. He obviously loves what he does, and I only wished we lived closer to Harrisburg, PA. In Harrisburg, he runs Keystone Academy of Dueling and Swordsmanship (K.A.D.S). I know my husband would agree that if we lived even an hour closer, we would be regular students.
The next panel we went to was the "Camera Obscura - An Open Dark Victoriana Photo Shoot" ran by Babs Daniel, who is the head photographer for the SPWF. The purpose of this panel was to learn how to make the most of your photos during an event, or how to properly position your perfected person to parade to outsiders? At the end of it, Babs very graciously took pictures of whomever wanted them. It was an amazing learning experience, that you do not necessarily need all of the fancy equipment to get a great picture. It was truly an honor to meet her. When I had written her to let her know I would be attending the panel, and how much I looked forward to meeting her - she said we would take an "Awkward Instagram Selfie" together, unfortunately that moment never happened, as we were passing ships through the gear filled ocean - but, I know the next time we come across each other, that the most AWKWARD OF AWKWARD pics will be taken.
On Saturday, I wanted to change into a more formal aspect of my dark look - so I went out shopping for a corset. Yes, I have a bunch of them already - but, I needed something more elegant for our Dinner of Sin. Which was a wonderful buffet meal, with a burlesque show. Smoke and Mirrors put on a completely different show then the night prior - focused around the different deadly sins. Of course, I have no pictures of this, as I feel it be inappropriate to the dancers - but, I can show you the amazing purple corset I found while shopping. It's one of the great things about going shopping at an event like this - there are multiple vendors - all with slightly different items. You aren't looking at the same piece 100 different places.
This beautiful corset is steel boned burlesque style corset, which I found very appro-po given the evenings dinner "theater", and I picked it up for $75. The vendor is called, Milton's Emporium, and the corset was imported from China.
Before dinner, we stopped for the lecture on "Vampirism & the Premature Burial in Modern London" given by Nicole Salomone. She is described as a "history of medicine scholar", and she regaled us with tales of the undead and the mostly dead in Early Modern London, a time in English history where the lines between life and death were blurred due to medical misunderstandings. The presentation was great, however, it seems that as knowledgeable as Miss Salomone was on the subject, she was uncomfortable lecturing to a packed conference room. I did really enjoy the material though.
Now after dinner, this where the night got a little crazy and blurred. I need to say this and only this:
We went to a "Super Secret Speakeasy", a not so secret paid event, with an open bar - and I made some really poor choices. The primary poor choice was drinking whiskey gingers in excess with a whiskey that had two K's in the name. Poor choices - and I learned that I am a 30 year old woman, not a 21year old party girl - and that the room does in fact spin when you drink 5 whiskkey gingers. Moving on....
I crawled ---- dragged ----- moved like a sloth ---- died out of bed, and my father graciously went downstairs to grab me as many toasted bread products as possible. I am not going to lie, it's my fault that I felt like death. But, we were able to pack out the room and check out by 11am. But we did not leave - oh no no no.
I signed hubby up for a private group lesson with Prof. Donnelly for "Tactical Principles of 19th Century Bowie Knife". This was a small group of about 10 people, and the amount of detail and instruction during an hour was extreme.
And multiple times Hubs was used as the demo dummy (yes, I called my husband a dummy) for the class. I have a lot of great - GREAT pictures from this. So I am going to share them. But, let me just tell you a couple of things: 1) my husband was sweating like a beast in 85 degree temperatures and 2) he had a freaking ball getting "stabbed" by Professor Donnelly. Hopefully next time around, I can take the private lesson. *Squeeeeeee*
After the lesson, we had a quick lunch in the other hotels bar - and met up with my Cousin Mike, who lives really close to Piscataway, NJ. We walked around with him and his fiance - while they did a little shopping. The last thing we attended at the SPWF was "The Last Drop of Tea" described as: "The last drop of tea is the one with the most flavor–whether it’s sweetness, if you’ve put sugar in, or the character of the tea itself–it’s concentrated at the bottom, at the very end." It was great time to say goodbye to the new friends we had made, and enjoy delicious teas from the Dryad Tea Company. The sweet and savory snacks could have been better - but, I find each year, the teas get more refined and closer to the image (that I have) of a tea event.
We drove home - unpacked - picked up Emry and Alaska the Moose from my In-Laws. And had pizza for dinner.
This weekend was utterly amazing - and a great stress reliever. I know that it may not be your thing - but I highly suggest you try out a Steampunk event just once in your life. I promise you will walk away amazed.
We look forward to our next Steampunk event in June.
So - How was your weekend?
* disclaimer - this post is my own thoughts and views on the Steampunk World's Fair - Most pictures are taken by me, or borrowed from the Steampunk World's Fair website. The two professional pictures are credited to their photographers *