Friday, July 12, 2013

Cogs N Crossbones - Steampunk Pirate Concert, Dance, & Fashion Show

Cogs N Crossbones - Steampunk Pirate Concert, Dance, & Fashion Show - presented by Kali’s Hourglass.

This is a new Steampunk special event invited by Panoptikon Goth Industrial dance weekly event as a special added feature for July 26th at Exclusives Nightclub at 4207 Maple Avenue, Dallas, Texas. (Oak Lawn district of Dallas at intersection of Maple and Knight streets) 

At 8 pm there will be Steampunk music in the background, a Steampunk social hour, and steampunk vendors, at 9 pm there will be a performance by Darwin Prophet and the Chronus Mirror, and at the stroke of midnight there will be a Steampunk Fashion show.

But first, the dance must commence!

At 10 pm the Goth/Industrial dance will begin with a short intermission for the fashion show then continue until 2 am. The music format typically includes the best of Darkwave, Electronica, and other styles blended into what many consider the finest Gothic dance event in Texas.

Cover is a ridiculously low $5. Drinks specials include $1 for a small draft beer, $2.50 for vodka punch, and $3.50 for well drinks. The two best dance DJs in Texas, Lord Byron and Sam Nicholson will be spinning from 10 till 2. Steampunk and/or pirate attire is encouraged, but anything that makes you happy is fine. Naturally by steam punk we also mean Clockpunk, Dieselpunk, Post Apocalyptic, or any other type of Punk you prefer!

As this is a licensed Bar and dance club, we are not able to permit entry to those under 18, and please do not bring any actual working cutlasses or flintlocks etc. Any costume weapons that are not obviously costume only will need to be approved by the bar owner or left in the car, just like at a real Pirate establishment!!!

Steampunk Pirate Fashion show by Kali's Hourglass at Cogs and Crossbones a Panoptikon special event.

We are looking for all sizes of models to show their creations or their finest Steampunk and/or Pirate apparel from their closet. This includes Dieselpunk, Clockpunk, Post Apocalyptic Punk, or any other type of Punk that floats your ship!

No experience necessary! This is to show the variety and beauty of our community! Please do not be shy- we know we have many talented artists out there in our community.

Please send me the following:

Your preferred name or the name of your Steampunk or Pirate Persona

Brief description of your outfit including: what parts if any did you make yourself, what designer or label for purchased items, and any interesting details about the props and accessories with your ensemble and how all of it relates to your persona/outfit.

In the interest of time, we will be forced to edit this down to a length we can clearly read to the audience during the time it takes you to make your first walk around the edge of the stage showing off your finery.

If you are interested in costuming ideas on a budget try one of these sites:

If interested in being a steampunk vendor, participant in the fashion show, or just have other questions:
please contact us 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Blogger-Donna The Bard Reviews The Difference Engine Steampunk Convention

I am happy to announce that "Donna The Bard" has approved the following presentation of her review of the first Difference Engine 3 day Steampunk convention in Fort Worth, Texas.  And now for your entertainment and enlightenment, I bring you Donna the Bard:

The Difference Engine Steampunk Convention rang in the New Year with 3 days of fun. A steady stream of entertaining performances occupied the stage in 30 minute increments all day long while enlightening panels and presentations addressed issues of interest. I enjoyed the corset class hosted by the ladies of Airship Isabella, and being a quilter, I had to see the Victorian Crazy quilt presentation by Melia Newman. I enjoyed meeting author Bev Hale and the waltz class prepared folks for an enjoyable evening at the New Year’s Eve ball, the highlight of the event.
As always, “Cut, Thrust and Run” kept you alert and laughing with their innovative improvisation and exceptional swordplay while the Tribal dancing of Heidi Wunder bewitched the audience into spellbound fascination. Professor Ewell Tar sold Princess Feather Flower’s Magical Elixir in a hilarious Wild West Medicine and Magic show. Sarasvati Bodhisattva played the sitar beautifully and added some drumming to my show as well- I really enjoyed getting to know her.
Though the audiences were small, energy was high and attendees seemed to have a good time. Many turned up in exquisite costumes and Peter Pixie did a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcome as he announced and introduced performers.
I hope everyone who came to my show had a good time. I enjoyed teaching people to play the bodhran and leading the sing a longs. Wishing you a happy new year and Auld Lang Syne.
Lady Genevieve Gordon aka Donna the Bard.

Steampunk Comes to Fort Worth Texas this New Year's Eve!

On December 30th in north Central Fort Worth there will be a really new and different type of entertainment for the metroplex! The “Difference Engine“ will immerse you in the creative world of the retro-futuristic imagination. This is something called “Steampunk“, a blending of science fiction and old world charm, elegance, and adventure from the 19th century. 

There have been other Steampunk events and conventions, but this will be the first to present a fully interactive and all “Steampunk” Murder Mystery Theatre LARP event! From midnight through 3:00 am Steampunk Detectives, adventurers, vampires, and sneaky but ruthless killers will go head to head. 
During this 3 day convention you will also be entertained by performers offering music, comedy, and dancing on the main stage.  Cosplay Performers such as Airship Isabella and Kali’s Hourglass will be there interacting with the crowd fully in character. All performances, the Steampunk Fashion show and the Steampunk Costume Contest (voted on by the attendees) will all be presented by our charming and entertaining MC Peter Pixie. 
You will also be enlightened by panels on a variety of topics related to Steampunk fiction in conventions, literature, drama, and the arts. There will be a large vendors area, a gaming room, photography in Steampunk Attire, and many other items for your amusement.  
On New Year's Eve, there will also be a short formal Waltz with Victorian style introduction of any attendees that wish to receive this red carpet treatment.  Masquerade masks and slightly more elaborate attire is encouraged, but not required at both this and the midnight ball!  
Right after that will be performances from Captain Madd, then Darwin Prophet and the Chronus Mirror, and finally the headline musical act, our own world famous Marquis of Vaudville who will play until midnight! After the midnight festivities, we will have a dance to Darkwave Music! 
The entire three day convention pass is only $40.00 and the New Year’s Eve Ball including the three band Saturday night concert and Darkwave dance is only $15.00.  This is indeed a lot of entertainment for the paltry sum of $55.00 
For more details on the fictional back story that is woven throughout this event and includes the colorful characters in the photo above go to:  Art of Steampunk Blog on blogspot under:

Newly Discovered Film Suggests Ada Lovelace May Not Have Died of Natural Causes 
For more information about buying tickets, vendors, artists, schedule, or the back story for the event etc. go to the official website at: The Difference Engine Official Website

For more about the performers and bands got to: The Difference Engine on Facebook

Interviews & Concerts at Clockwork Con 2012

Gadgets from the Gadgeteer Festival at Clockwork Con 2012
Adm Ramon Leon del Mar, of SS Kali's Hourglass, said he was privileged to interview Baron von Lahey of the Wandering Legion of Thomas Tew, Emperor Justinian of the Red Fork Empire, and the robotic singers, musicians, and comedians of Steam Powered Giraffe.  Here are links to the video images of Clockwork Con 2012

Emperor Justinian, Admiral Leon del Mar, and Baron von Lahey

Steam Powered Giraffe Jam

Marquis of Vaudville

Clockwork Con Brings Steampunk to Austin

Adm. Radha Narasimhan of SS Kali's Hourglass with the Emperor Justinian of the Red Fork Empire and Baron von Lahey of the Wandering Legion of Thomas Tew

Admiral Ramon Leon del Mar also managed to meet with the above distinguished gentlemen and interview them as well as Steampowered Giraffe and posted the videos on you tube.  The other major event for Kali's Hourglass was assisting friends with three different panels at this first run event in Austin 2012.  They were the Multicultural Steampunk Intro Panel, Multicultural Advanced Panel, and the Steampunk Pirates Panel. 

Most people expect an interesting and fun, but chaotic time at brand new conventions.  The lack of communication and organization at some new events is such a problem that many won’t even attend until the second year, but Clockwork Con surprised people by being unusually well organized and well run. 
The schedule planned looked very unusual at first in that the main event had performers on it only after 8 pm on Friday and Saturday and no actual performances on Sunday.  The schedule showed comedy, magic, and burlesque starting around 8 pm the first night and Concerts by Steam Powered Giraffe and Marquis of Vaudeville the second night, but very little on the main stage throughout the day.  My confusion on this point was mostly just the result of a rather unusual floor plan in which the majority of the main room was broken up into smaller rooms used for other purposes during the day.

At times the changing rooms seemed almost like the maze from Harry Potter stories in that the layout changed drastically at different times of day, but staff were always available at the registration desk and happy to direct us to what we were looking for.  We were also pleased to find most things well attended and fairly punctual. Perhaps a little explanation of this and maps of the two floor plans on the web site, in the program, and on the wall at the registration table could easily resolve this confusion and make it more clear to those considering the ticket purchase that this con emphasizes entertaining and educational panels during the day and performances at night.
The event schedule posted about 2 weeks before the event and had panel titles, but did not mention who was presenting panels.  Content for many of the panels was posted later, which was helpful, but a few items, were not described.  One of these was the "Gathering of the Fleet" which sounded interesting, but the volunteers at the registrar desk were unable to locate anything explaining it other than one line labeled "Captain's Panel".  It turned out to be primarily a role call for the SCARS Steampunk network and a discussion of how the LARP concluded and plans for the next LARP at Aetherfest. This was a small thing, but a confusion easily amended with a fuller schedule posting on the website.

A new steam punk LARP (yea!!!) was unveiled by Airship Isabella with help from various “darker forces” serving as the opposition force to highlight the beginnings of Airship Isabella's backstory about waging a war with “The Order”.  This LARP went on for some time without being obvious or intrusive to the other con goers, but it ran throughout the convention venue.  The conclusion of the LARP was unveiled at the “Gathering of the Fleets” at the end of the convention.  This LARP war will spill over into a larger LARP and mystery at their sister Con Aetherfest this May.

The panels were many, varied, and appeared to have been well attended even as early as 11 am on Saturday.  Topics ranged from Multicultural aspects of Steampunk Attire and character portrayal to art, music, steam punk film debuts, and even such pragmatic topics as running a convention or an “airship as a business”  Overall, the variety and quality of panels appeared to be the greatest strength of this convention.

The Gadgeteer Festival was actually surprisingly impressive!  With no more incentive than an invitation on the web site and the opportunity to show their art (not even bragging rights as there was no contest) truly talented people brought surprisingly interesting items to display.  It may be best actually that there was no contest in that festival as this type of art, especially the functional or semi functional art, is all beautiful complex, and hard to compare one against another.  Some steamy inventors brought in helicopter back packs, powered glowing canes, steapunked robots, and a host of other conveyances, art, and gadgets made by creative geniuses to rival the best items I’ve seen on the internet anywhere.
The Comedy show Friday night was started off by Mr Saturday and Sixpence who led some fun improv interactions between themselves, audience members, and the events Special Guests Baron von Lahey from the Wandering Legion of Thomas Tew and Emperor Justinian of the Red Fork Empire!  While this was a difficult type of act to perform with participants from the audience and others that were not experienced at improv, it was funny just watching them try!

After that the comedy continued with Cut, Thrust, and Run, who are veterans of Renfairs and a variety of Steampunk Conventions and Steampunk events in Texas and Oklahoma.  They presenting a wonderful blend of improv comedy with highly professional & comedic sword battles on stage.  This was followed by the entertaining magic show by Roscoe from Biloxi.  Then the crowd was treated to a fine Burlesque presented by Taloolah Love and fine artists both local and from out of state including - Cocolectric, Goldie Candella, Ruby Lamb, Ruby Joule, Lula Houp Garu .   All of this was well attended with about 150 + in the main event hall.
On Saturday Night the concert was scheduled to be led off by The Voodoo Island Cannibals, a really colorful group of Pirates that drum, strum, and charm the audience right out of their doubloons!  (Or was that bloomers?  Ah well… out of their minds in any case!)  They are always great fun, so they made a great opening act to get things started for the concert. 
Steam Powered Giraffe played at both the Captain’s Dinner (available for an extra fee) on Friday and at the main concert on Saturday Night.  They were fun, funny, and very entertaining!  Their music reminded me of a blending of smooth Jazz and old style Rock from the 40s and 50s era, but all agreed they were good musicians and performers.  They had over 150 at their show as well and the crowd appeared very excited to see a group that was famous on the West Coast, but had rarely performed this far east before.
Marquis of Vaudville was great, as always.  This Diesel Punk/Steampunk band has been adopted by the south central state’s Steampunk community so completely that they are playing at almost every steam punk event in the region for 2011 through 2012.  In spite of this super saturation of thier target audience, they still can excite the crowd, especially with their newer music which has not yet been released on an album , and as such, is largely unavailable outside of concerts.  What was most evident at the concert was the fact that these new songs are not only really good music with interesting and fun lyrics, but much more appealing to the community’s dancers than anything they have performed before.  It was generally agreed that Marquis of Vaudville produced much better dance music, for this crowd’s taste anyway, than the DJ at the dance afterwards who had the freedom to choose from any song ever recorded, yet could not inspire the dancers nearly as much.
The dances were attended fairly well for a steam punk event.  Ballroom style dance is unfortunately no longer a common style even among steampunks, and many of our community just don’t dance modern styles either.  As such, dance does not seem to be as big an attraction yet at our Steampunk Events as I hope for, but we are making real efforts to change that.  What seems to be confusing the DJs though, is that our hard core dancers come largely from Goth, Neo-Pagan, and Renfair backgrounds, so their tastes in dance music are much more into Darkwave and Belly Dance styles of music.  These tunes tend to have more heartbeat style trance inducing rhythms and interesting, but sometimes dark lyrics than anything most DJs are accustomed to playing at conventions.  

In fact, as Steampunk has largely appeared at anime festivals and conventions prior to this year in Texas, it is quite understandable that our DJs are largely confused as to why the steam punk audience is not attracted to rave music, electronica, or re-mixes that are normally what they play.  In fact, remixes, pretty much any type of remix actually, of favorite Steampunk songs, like say Black Day or Stigmata Martyr by Abney Park, can get a very bad reaction from avid fans of said band, which are quite common in the crowd at such events.

This is a learning experience, and hopefully our local DJs will figure out who to ask about tastes and what to play.  Part of the problem is that they are not accustomed to dancers with such specific tastes and that really dislike songs dramatically altered, sped up, or really tampered with, which are the things DJs are noted for in their field.  This is something happening at all of the new “all steam punk” events, so we will just have to pull together and find solutions to the changing landscape of dance.
The game room was well set up, well managed, and well run.  They even had special constructed wooden table covers that kept dice, papers, pencils etc. neatly in place for each of the players.  For those that wanted to take a break from the featured game "Tephra", one of the three gaming tables alternated between Tephra Games and other options such as Magic the Gathering or Laser Chess.   Yes, of course making Tephra the main game available is a bit of self promotion, since the convention’s organizers helped invent the game, but honestly, I was thrilled to see my 11 year old playing something without electricity and Tephra is one of the finest Steampunk Role Playing Games ever invented!  The game was also highlighted, explained, and questions answered in a two hour panel discussion on Saturday Morning in one of the main rooms.
The only thing they really needed to work on in the game room was setting aside a clearly labeled location where attendees can ring a bell for assistance if they come too late for instructions on setting up a new character which apparently happens only very early in the morning.  My son spent both Friday and Saturday watching his friend play, while playing himself on his Nintendo DS, because he had lost his character sheet from last year and he claimed we were not getting him there early enough to get a new one made or included in the ongoing games until Sunday.  This is easily fixed, but needs to be prioritized for next year. 
The other thing they will need to do is to advise game masters on simple tricks to allow new players to smoothly enter a game already in progress if there is room at the table.  Some Game Masters with decades of experience are able to do that on the fly, but for a convention atmosphere, it makes sense to work something into the story line in each adventure where there is some nefarious group kidnapping adventurers, or somehow using paralyzing devices to trap intruders in a way that puts them and all their equipment in stasis.  As such, any new player can get “found and rescued”, with their equipment fully intact, by the adventuring party in almost any location.  Naturally they will have to act in character to explain where the adventurer has found himself and integrate him into their party, but that has always been part of the fun of such a game.
Items that did not go as scheduled included the two 10 am panels on Saturday where both the sets of panelists apparently were not early risers.   The screening of Nickel Children also did not occur, although the reasons are still unclear.  Some attendees that wanted to see it advised this reporter that it was apparently replaced last minute with a panel on art.  This is compounded by the fact that the film is out of stock and out of print, and therefore not available for purchase anymore.  (On the good side though, the short film will soon be released for viewing free of charge on the internet.  You can of course still donate whatever you think the art is worth to the charity the director, cast, and crew have donated all profits to at  The film depicts fictional children rescued from the slave trade, but the charity does this for real!  For more information about that, contact this writer or anyone at S. S. Kali's Hourglass.)

When the event was done, what really stood out, beyond all else, was that this was a fun place for people to meet each other, hang out with friends, show off new gadgets and costuming, and generally feel a part of something exciting, colorful, and interesting!  The hallmark word that keeps coming up at all steam punk events in our area is “Community”.  While there are always some kind of conflicts whenever large numbers of people get together, here they were so few and rare as to be almost invisible. 
What is even better about this community is that when conflicts do occur between individuals or groups there seems to be a genuine effort made to find solutions, bridge gaps, and move toward a stronger and more unified community instead of falling back into the cut throat competition so common in America today.  We have been told by guests from other states that this is not true of all parts of the country, and that we are doing a good job of pioneering a better way of making Steampunk into a true community.  The Steampunk Community in Texas and surrounding states also tends to emphasize "family friendly" events where children are fairly common and made welcome.  (Our children thus far have also proven to be amazingly well behaved.) 
Instead of High School popularity contests and jocks versus nerds, this seems to be a place where people genuinely try to revive the idea of courtesy, mutual respect, and acceptance of people from all walks of life.  In fact, this is one of the few places where those that are the most different are often the most admired.  Here even the quiet, shy, inventor types stand out and are recognized as powerfully positive role models and teachers to the community as a whole!
This event was quite impressive for a first convention from the Clockwork Con staff.  Well done to all of you!  I look forward to seeing more of your events and hope to do so for many years to come!
Fair Winds to you!

Kali's Hourlgass Recieves Fan Project Art

When the members of Kali's Hourglass, performance art and education troupe, and flagship of the Covenant of the Kraken Performance Art Network, first starting recieving Fan Project Art, frankly, we didn't know how to respond.  The first was, believe it or not, in true pirate fashion, a hip flask with a leather cover heavily embossed with, you know it, "The Kraken"!  Not only that, it was filled with Kraken Rum!   

We were speechless and didn't understand at first that he wasn't just showing it to us, but was actually giving it to us.  This first was a gift from John Wofford!  He was a bit confused, when, true to my Celtic Culture (and Native American Culture etc.) I offered to make him something of his choice in return.  He gave it to us at the First Difference Engine Steampunk Convention in June 2010, where we found ourselves in charge of the entire convention, while already committed to perform an elaborate Steampunk Murder Mystery Play throughout the event!

The second was a lovely colored pencil drawing by Joshua Bouton.  He gave it to us at Akon 2010, about a week later.  We just stared in awe at the drawing and he had to tell us repeatedly it was a gift for us.  That time we just gushed over how lovely his drawing was and how much we appreciated the effort.

The next came at The Difference Engine New Years Ball and Steampunk Convention for 2010-2011.  The was from John Wofford and  Alice Wofford.  John made more embossed Krakens, this time on large round leather medallions which we intend to attach to crew member's uniforms.  Alice and John together also made coffe cups painted with the tentacles of the Kraken working their way down the outside of the mug.  It seems they also do porcelain art - I'll attach a photo of their card. 

While some might find this a bit too bizarre to wake up to in the morning, we absolutely loved it!!!  Yes indeed, what better to get your eyes open from bleary sleep that the site of a baby Kraken slithering out of your mug of coffee as you drink it.  It was glorious!

In addition to that they included small baby krakens that gradually grow into much bigger karakens by simply placing them in water and watchign them grow day by day for our younger members of the crew.

Next we met an illustrative artist who drew excellent sketches of our characters from that event such as Commodore Charles Babbage and Admiral Radha Narasimhan.  These were drawn by Joseph Hernandez.

He is actually considering making graphic novels some day, so we are discussing the possibility of illustrating the extensive fictional backstories we already have for the Covenant of the Kraken.  The only thing they really need is more detail in the descriptive areas to make them a fully worked up tale, (right now they read like emotionally charged and adventurous entries in a Captain's logbook) but in a graphic novel, pictures will indeed say a thousand words, thus negating the need for such visual descriptions.   We will let you know if that actually comes to pass or no!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kali's Hourglass Starring in Steampunk Murder Mystery Play

The Difference Engine is an all “Steampunk” convention that has a one day event in the summer and a three day event on New Year’s Eve weekend.  This event will not only immerse you in the creative world of the retro-futuristic imagination, but it will be totally unique among Steampunk Conventions!  This will be the first ever interactive and all “Steampunk” Murder Mystery Theatre event!  the murder mystery play will be written adn performed by the crew of the Steampunk Sailing Ship Kali's Hourglass.

The first event will be “The Difference Engine One day Summit” on June 4th, 2011 where  “Delegates” (from sovereign nations),  “airship pirates”, and other “special interests” from around the world meet to try to purchase plans for a “Difference Engine” computer (historical device) with full military application software (fictional), so the weekend is guaranteed to be a Machiavellian playground!  All participants will be invited into the concert hall for “Meetings with the Admirals” five times during the event. (Each meeting will be one act of the murder mystery play!)  In between acts of the play, you will be enlightened by panels on a variety of topics related to Steampunk and entertained by performers offering dancing and song.  There will also be a large vendors area, console gaming, table top gaming, Steampunk Movies, photography in Steampunk Attire, and a full Steampunk Fashion show voted on by the attendees.  During all of this clues to the various murders will be left around the premises and those turning in the most useful reports or clues to security will win a prize for sleuthing.  Naturally if they actually lead to an arrest, a prize is guaranteed, otherwise, those turning in the most clues win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.  After all of this and the conclusion of the play, there will be a dance!  Steampunk Attire is strongly encouraged, but optional.  

The second event, “The Difference Engine World Conference” on Dec. 30th, 2011 through Jan. 1st, 2012, will be similar in form, but will include a lot more panels, authors, and performers, including a performance by Marquis of Vaudville, and a little more formally attired Steampunk New Year’s Eve Party and Dance with a ‘Steampunk” ball drop at midnight.  We hope you will go to our website and see how you can become an active part of these fully interactive dramatic events!

The Difference Engine Summit Schedule

                 Concert Hall (200 cap.)       Lecture Hall w/A/V (100 cap. )      Training Room (50 cap.)       War Room (25 cap.)  

10 am     Registration and opening vendor,  gaming, and film rooms                

11 am     Act One and intro of delegates (open to concert hall)                       

12 pm     Intro to Steampunk ASI      Intro to basic Waltz              Character Creation-Cel Rogues                       (open)

1 pm     Comedic Magic act         Character Creation-Adena Tamer            Leatherworking ASI                  Eva Gordon-reading

2 pm     Act Two                             short films

2:30 pm     Weapon Mods ASI                    Dieselpunk-L. Amyett          Lighting Gadgets-Cel Rogues          OM Grey-Reading

3:30 pm      Saraswati Boddhisatva             Weapon/Gadgets- Steve Liptak            Corsets ASI                    Eva Gordon-writing

4 pm     Act Three         short films

5:00 pm     Tribal Belly Dancing                 SP Inventions-James Moran           Acting ASI?         Marquis of Vaudville Q&A

6:00 pm     Voodoo Island Cannibals         open to concert hall                    Clockpunk       OM Grey-getting published

7 pm     Act Four                                           open to concert hall      

7:30 pm     Fashion Show                          open to concert hall          
8:30 pm     Fashion Show                          open to concert hall                (open)

9:30 pm     Act Five and Conclusion                       

10:30 pm     Waltz                      open to concert hall          

11:00 pm to 2 am Dance with DJ “Son of Sam",                                            OM Grey – Reading (Steamy Romance)  
playing Darkwave, Steampunk, and various other dance music