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Nov 10

Steamposium Wrap-Up

This is your Steamposium Wrap-Up 2017!

Steamposium is one of those conventions that I attended as an attendee rather than a panelist, vendor, or guest, so it was one that I was quite excited about since I’d have time to explore the dealer’s hall, attend panels, and most importantly, attend their tea and fashion show, which is something of legend to hear previous attendees talk.

More importantly, I was excited to wear my new fascinator with a science fiction slant. ūüėȬ†(You can click most of the images below to see the images larger.)

Arrival

Steamposium, for reasons I don’t understand, is held at the convention center at Pier 66 in Belltown, next to the Seattle Aquarium. There’s a sky-bridge that attaches the outrageously overpriced parking garage to the convention center, which is nice when it’s cold outside! (While I’m aware that Seattle parking is pricey, I paid twice as much to park in this garage as I do to park¬†all day at the Washington State Convention Center downtown for Emerald City Comicon and PAX.)

To get to the convention was…interesting. It required parking, then taking an elevator up to the skybridge, walking across the sky-bridge, taking the elevator down to the street level, going outside, walking down the street a bit to the convention center entrance, then taking another elevator up to the convention proper. Yeah. It’s one of *those* convention centers–the ones designed by a drunk architect who never had to think about the disabled or those hauling large musical instruments.(Just ask Unwoman about that one.)¬†

The first thing I spotted once I arrived at the convention was the Anglicon table, complete with Shaylee’s Daleks.

Anglicon I’ll give it that–for all my frustrations throughout the weekend with the convention organizers and the venue, the dealer’s room was amazing. Lots of steampunk vendors of all types, including Miss Haley’s Bombshell Boutique, which was my second stop. While there, I picked up a new corset.

Outfit

You can see the corset details a bit more below.New corsetI also wore a steampunk clock my husband got me a few year’s back. Seemed fitting.¬†Watch

After my stop for a corset, I stopped briefly by Clockwork Dragons to say hello to fellow author Jeff Cook. Clockwork Dragon

After Elise, the chainmailling half of Books & Chains, arrived, we head to a Q&A with special guests Billie Piper¬†(of Penny Dreadful and Doctor Who) and Reeve Carney¬†(of Penny Dreadful).¬†¬†(Sorry for the graininess¬†of the photos–the lighting in there was terrible.)¬†Billie Piper Billie Piper Billie Piper Billie Piper

Speaking of lighting, the venue’s lighting was so awkwardly angled and bright that it gave both Elise and I headaches. Both Billie and Reeve were a hoot to listen to and the audience asked a good number of entertaining questions. ūüôā

We also went to a Meet the Makers panel where they talked about various steampunk projects they were working on. That panel was a ton of fun.

Meet the Makers Steampunk'd

After the panels, it was almost time for the Tea & Fashion show. We sat outside on the pier while we waited as it was a gorgeous day!

Outside

Elise outside

Finally it was time for tea! Now something to keep in mind is that I go regularly to tea in Bothell where I live. There’s an amazing British tea restaurant called Village Eatery and Tea Company, which serves everything from cozy teas to full on High Teas. I know what good tea is supposed to look like.

To attend the tea & fashion show at Steamposium, I had to¬†pay $60 for a tea add-on to my ticket. For a $60 ticket, my expectations were quite high. Imagine my surprise when this is what we received at the table. $60 per person and they brought out 1 plate of snacks and fruit to split amongst three people. Also note that this was held around lunch time. People walked in hungry and expecting…well, food.¬†Not a proper teaPerhaps I’m spoiled but for $15.95, this is the cozy tea I get at the¬†Village Eatery and Tea Company, which also includes tea.

Proper TeaSo in case you can’t tell, that’s a cup of soup, sandwiches, fruit, snacks, a scone, and tea for ONE person. $35 per person will get you a full 5-course high tea. I was not the only person disappointed by Steamposium’s bait and switch, to which they responded that they had to pay the servers and food preparers. Well, so does the Village Eatery. Perhaps the difference is that Village Eatery has actually been to a proper tea?

At least the fashion show was enjoyable, albeit very short.¬†(Convention Planning 101: Never will the schedule with a tea that’s supposed to last two hours and barely lasts one.)¬†I got to enjoy the snack and show with Elise and Caitlin, who turned her program into a Mad-Hatter style headpiece.

Caitlin Fashion Show

This woman’s dog participated in the fashion show and honestly, he stole the show–though he kept losing his unicorn horn.Fashion Show

Fashion Show

Another down side to the location was the lack of food anywhere. Unless you wanted to eat at Anthony’s¬†(pricey seafood, which doesn’t work for vegetarian me), there was nothing. No small coffee vendors or food trucks or anything. The nearest food was a good 7 block walk uphill, which doesn’t work for some of the disabled people who were attending the convention. Not even the vendors had food accessible, which mightily sucks when you’re vending for 10-12 hours.¬†There were concerts Saturday night but by this point, I was hungry and tired, so I skipped them to go home and get some rest.

Sunday would begin with my photo-op with Billie Piper, who was my first Companion in Doctor Who, but before that, I met with several handicapped and disabled people who were waiting for the photo-ops to begin. The seriously maze-like layout of the venue, coupled with the lack of food venues, had made things very difficult for people, and when they commented on it to convention staff, their comments fell on deaf ears. Rather than take note and try to fix things or help, there was excuse after excuse as to why the Steamposium convention committee couldn’t do ______.

As someone who attends a LOT of conventions, I call bullshit. I’ve been to plenty of conventions smaller and larger than this who manage to do what this convention calls impossible. Perhaps it’s solely the venue, but if the venue is that much a bother for all involved (including your special guests), then perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere.

Despite beginning the morning worrying about how some of these folks were going to get around in their wheelchairs and with their crutches, the day shifted when the photo-op began. I did the whole “dress-up-as-the-TARDIS” thing, and she noticed that my dress had steampunk gears all over it. ūüôā Billie spent the entire convention dressed as someone with a love affair with 80’s fashion. It was adorable.

Billie Piper & Raven

After the photo-op, we hit the dealer’s room again and met up with Andrew. He always has some pretty awesome steampunk outfits!Group shot AndrewI bought another art print and a pretty chainmaille necklace, shown below.

Necklace

As I said, the dealer’s room was fantastic. After some shopping, we head out for the Murder Mystery, where my friend Ben was the murderer. This was the highlight of my day. I love a good mystery (though this one had a few plot holes).

Murder MysteryWe also sat in a panel on the TV show Steampunk’d. It was pretty fascinating to hear the former judges and contestants talk about the hell they went through on that show. O_OSteampunk'd

We ended the day by taking shots on the glamor couch, which made my dress so much pouffier than it was–like I was wearing a hoop skirt beneath it. It’s a pretty shot if I do say so myself!¬†¬†Fancy shot

While there were moments of fun throughout the weekend, I just cannot justify spending as much as I did on tickets and tea tickets for what I got. For the price I paid, there are dozens of better conventions to attend, which is too bad because I love steampunk. Perhaps in a decade the organizers will figure out how to better run the convention and perhaps then I’ll give it another go.

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

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