Pictures from GraniteCon 2015: Part 1

By Jason Harris

The 13th Annual Granite State Comic Con took place in Manchester, New Hampshire this past weekend. They had guest stars from the movies and television along with artists, authors, and cosplayers. It was a great weekend. Here is the first entry of pictures from the convention.

Author Stacey Longo.


Jason Voorhees.

Jason Voorhees.


Han Solo in carbonite.

Han Solo in carbonite.


Black Widow and Spider-man.

Black Widow and Spider-man.


Rocket and Star Lord.

Rocket and Star Lord.


The Black Panther.

The Black Panther.


Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren from Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.


The Disney Princesses.

The Disney Princesses.


Actress Cindy Morgan (Tron).

Actress Cindy Morgan (Tron).

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The General Lee.

The General Lee.

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Harley Quinn and The Riddler.

Harley Quinn and The Riddler.


Ghost Rider.

Ghost Rider.


Yellowjacket.

Yellowjacket.


Deadpool.

Deadpool.


Actor Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story).

Actor Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story).


Artist Sara Richard (Jem and the Holograms).

Artist Sara Richard (Jem and the Holograms).

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Artist Paul Ryan (The Phantom).

Artist Paul Ryan (The Phantom).

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Iron Man and Wonder Woman.

Iron Man and Wonder Woman.

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Me with Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island).

Me with Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island).

Looking for a Convention?

 

It’s Black Friday. You’re either still in a turkey coma, out in the crowds looking for deals, relaxing at home, or looking for your next convention fix. If you’re looking for a convention then I have the perfect gift for you. Here’s a website, Upcoming Cons, that I recently found. It can be a good resource to find the next convention to attend. Conventions can be found by location or genre such as literature, furry, comics, horror, or steampunk.

Pictures from the 2013 Rhode Island Comic Con

By Jason Harris

The second Rhode Island Comic Con held at the Rhode Island Convention Center was a big success. The attendance for this year was around 33,000, which was close to 11,000 more than last year’s convention. There were some issues with pre-sale tickets and a few celebrities such as Anthony Michael Hall, Jett Lucas, and Nichelle Nichols weren’t able to make it because of the gunman who shot up Terminal 3 at the Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning. Nichols felt so bad about missing the convention that she has already signed on for next year’s convention.

Comic Con had the entire convention center this year so the organizers were able to make more room in the aisles so there was plenty of room to browse the vendor tables and get pictures of the cosplay that were on display around the entire convention. There were people dressed as characters from movies, television, comic books, video games and books.2013-11-01 23.29.47

C. Thomas Howell

C. Thomas Howell

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J. Jonah Jameson

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Julie Newmar

Julie Newmar

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Author Rob Watts with some Visitiors.

Author Rob Watts with some Visitiors.

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 Abby Sciuto of NCIS.

Abby Sciuto of NCIS.

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Burt Ward and Adam West at the Batman panel.

Burt Ward and Adam West on the Batman panel.

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Author Eric Dimbleby

Author Eric Dimbleby

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WWE wrestler and author Kenny Dykstra (Billy's Bully)

WWE wrestler and author Kenny Dykstra (Billy’s Bully)

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The Connecticut Visitiors (www.facebook.com/CTVisitors)

The Connecticut Visitors (www.facebook.com/CTVisitors)

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Jonathan Silverman

Jonathan Silverman

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Authors Erin Thorne, Stacey Longo, and Rob Watts at the Books and Boos booth.

Authors Erin Thorne, Stacey Longo, and Rob Watts at the Books and Boos booth.

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Danny Glover

Danny Glover

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Sarah Douglas

Sarah Douglas

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A member of the Connecticut Visitors

A member of the Connecticut Visitors

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WWE wrestler Kevin Nash.

WWE wrestler Kevin Nash.

The Dome of Sci-fi Saturday Night talking with Nicholas Brendon.

The Dome of Sci-fi Saturday Night talking with Nicholas Brendon.

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James Tolkan from the Back to the Future movies.

James Tolkan from the Back to the Future movies.

Jim Dyer of Fenham Publishing.

Jim Dyer of Fenham Publishing.

SWF wrestler Yukon Jack

SWF wrestler Yukon Jack

Nikki Clyne with some fans

Nikki Clyne with some fans

Survivor's Richard Hatch talking with author Stacey Longo.

Survivor’s Richard Hatch talking with author Stacey Longo.

Barf with author Rob Watts

Barf with author Rob Watts

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Ernie Hudson

Ernie Hudson

WWE wrestler Danny Davis

WWE wrestler Danny Davis

Author Stacey Longo with Sloth.

Author Stacey Longo with Sloth.

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Author Erin Thorne with some Steampunk characters.

Author Erin Thorne with some Steampunk characters.

WWE announcer/referee Howard Finkle

WWE announcer/referee Howard Finkle

Artist Seth McCombs.

Artist Seth McCombs.

Authors Rob Watts and Stacey Longo

Authors Rob Watts and Stacey Longo

Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams

Me with Leslie Easterbrook.

Me with Leslie Easterbrook. Photo by Stacey Longo.

I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures.

Granite State Comic Con, a Glimpse Into Another World

By Dale T. Phillips

WelcomeOnce in awhile you get to do something really interesting, like get a glimpse into another world where people are nice, intelligent, and having fun in a different way. I had that experience this weekend at Granite State Comicon, a convention held in Manchester, NH, for people to meet who enjoy a variety of things: comics, costume play (cosplay), science fact and science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, manga, and just hanging out with like-minded people.

This particular annual gathering began ten years ago, and Chris Proulx, co-owner of Manchester’s Double Midnight Comics, organizes the event. The show has proven popular, and grown to be a two-day event, with roughly 3000 people attending. It’s such a rush for those attending there were already people trying to register for next year, while the event was going on.

There was a great deal to see: panel discussions on various subjects, Ghostbusters, the only privately-held Delorean from the “Back to the Future” movies, R2-D2 and Imperial stormtroopers, vampires, pirates, superheroes and villains of all stripes, and even a place to play working arcade games from the past.

The Ghostbusters of New Hampshire

The Ghostbusters of New Hampshire

R2-D2

R2-D2

Stormtropper

Stormtrooper

Pirate_Elvira

Jack Sparrow, the Silence from Dr. Who, and Elvira.

The Justice League

The Justice League

Arcade

The people who come to the con love the stories and characters they find in graphic novels, movies, television, podcasts, and online. Many of them enjoy dressing up as a particular character they find appealing, and there are contests for best costumes in many different categories. But these are no mere outfits grabbed off the rack at a party store, they are meticulously researched and hand-crafted designs of ingenuity and creativity.Ladies_Cos

You may have seen a television show about people who cosplay and enter these contests, but in true television fashion, it shows many participants in a less-than-attractive light, editing to make them seem as if they are nasty competitors. Those in the costume contest I saw were nothing but supportive of each other, cheering each announced prize and high-fiving each category winner. I spoke with one participant who had a costume that included beautiful, hand-crafted armor. Having made armor myself, I know how difficult and time-consuming the process is, and complimented him on a stunning display. Though he was completely passed over for any prizes (an oversight, to say the least), he had no words of disparagement for his fellow competitors, no whining or complaining like you might see on television. A true hero of cosplay, and one who embodies the completely positive spirit of the whole event.

Winners

Winners

One costumer (cosplayer) who really goes above and beyond is artist Amy Fletcher, who over the years has become well-known for a series of striking mermaid costumes: steampunk mermaid, goth mermaid, even Ariel (from a well-known animated film). She’s back at cons after a hiatus, and what she does is more performance art than just dressing up. A true mermaid costume restricts ones movements, and she sits for hours at a time on display, where fascinated folk come to take pictures and marvel at the attention to detail on the current incarnation. Amy says she enjoys meeting people and being an inspiration to others, and loves to push creativity. Her attitude is: “Have fun, be yourself, and don’t care what others think!” Check out her website for great art and all things mermaid: http://sinicallytwisted.bravehost.com/.

Goth Mermaid

Goth Mermaid

One place that encourages and educates this convention audience (and the world beyond) is Sci-Fi Saturday Night, a wicked cool podcast of all things science fiction. Check out their site and listen in on Thursday nights for news, interviews, and commentary by a talented cast of characters and guests from film, TV, and the writing world. Yeah, when I can tune in and hear classic writers like Spider Robinson and Harlan Ellison, you’ve got me without anything else. Then they’ll bring on someone like actor Lance Henriksen from the Aliens movie, just for good measure!

The Sci-fi Saturday Night crew

The Dome, Zombrarian, and Kriana of Sci-fi Saturday Night

And there are illustrators by the score, vending their artwork in various forms. Many have created graphic novels or other books, such as Susan Saunders, who was at her first convention, selling her children’s book Snowpocalypse, co-written with well-known horror writer Rob Watts. With a background as a schoolteacher, she’s now interested in creating literature for children. She enjoyed the people-watching element of the show, and was getting inspiration from the many other artists on display.

 Susan Saunders and Rob Watts holding their book,  Snowpocalypse.

Susan Saunders and Rob Watts holding their book, Snowpocalypse.

There were other writers as well, most notably a contingent of the New England Horror WritersRob Smales, one of those selling books with the group, said that there were “a metric butt-ton of good writers in the New England area– some seriously creative people.” Earlier in the day, he’d gone around the event with a death mask on to scare up some business.

Authors and members of the New England Horror Writers Tracy L. Carbone and Rob Smales.

Authors and members of the New England Horror Writers Tracy L. Carbone and Rob Smales.

From left to right: authors Tracy L. Carbone, Rob Smales, Scott Goudsward, and Tony Tremblay.

From left to right: authors Carbone, Smales, Scott Goudsward, and Tony Tremblay.

Author Scott Goudsward in front of the New England Horror Writers sign.

Goudsward in front of the New England Horror Writers sign.

You see a lot of good ideas here, such as raising money for charities– for example, the Ghostbusters of New Hampshire, who go to cons as their favorite movie characters, complete with heavy packs and gear for dealing with paranormal occurrences. They pay their own way, and make appearances and accept donations from attendees which all go to a specified charity. At the event, they were raising money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The Delorean Time Machine is doing something similar, and making appearances to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Delorean

The Delorean

So it was a great time, talking to filmmakers, photographers, and fans. Artisans creating accessories and vendors selling items from favorite shows and comic lines. Enthusiastic people having a ball, enjoying themselves and learning about many creative venues while meeting people from all over. If this sounds like your thing, there’s a slew of shows throughout the year, and New England hosts a number of them.ObiWan_jabba

Silence_SciFiSat

Vendetta

Warrior_lady
Raider
Danearis
Lara_Rhyddick
Lady_Cosplay
Young Justice
Editor’s note: All pictures in this article were taken by Dale T. Phillips

Voltaire comes to Anthocon

Spencer Hill Press’s and Spence City’s lovely Kendra L. Saunders interviews the Gothic icon for Jason Harris Promotions.

Hello Voltaire!

I have to say, I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of meeting you this weekend at Anthocon in Portsmouth, N.H. I attended Anthocon last year, (which was actually its debut year), and had a blast. Your guest appearance at an event like this is going to be a really cool marriage of the macabre and über-fun, especially since you’ll be debuting the cover for your novel, Call of the Jersey Devil (Spence City, 2013).

So, to get everyone ready for Anthocon, I’d like to ask you a few quick questions.

Q: Your book, Call of the Jersey Devil, continues your long-standing jokes on Jersey. For the people that don’t know, what’s up with you and Jersey?

A: I was born in Cuba, but within a few years of emigrating to this country, my family had settled in New Jersey. At first, we lived in Newark, and I was the only “white” kid at my all black and Puerto Rican school, so I was in a fight every day for being different. When I was in third grade, we moved to the suburbs, and I went from being “white” to being the only “hispanic” kid (or “spic” as they called me) in an all-white neighborhood, again, because I guess I didn’t fit in. Furthermore, growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey from that point on, I was constantly ridiculed for being interested in art and music and stop-motion animation. I was perpetually bullied and called a “fag.” I finally ran away from New Jersey when I was 17 and went to New York City where I seemed to fit in just fine. My experience in New Jersey was that they don’t like anything that isn’t completely familiar and grotesquely mediocre. Suffice to say, if you’ve seen the MTV show Jersey Shore, let me tell you, that’s exactly how New Jersey really is!!!! I simply had to get out to keep my sanity.

Q: When I mentioned your name online recently, I heard a lot of happy cybersqueals from your fans. Happily, they come from all walks of life including bookstore clerks, steampunk fans, writers and folk lovers. They’re definitely excited about your upcoming novel. What would you say is the one thing about your novel that will most surprise your fans?

A: I’m not entirely sure the novel will surprise these nice people. I think that over the years, people who have followed my work have noticed a certain twisted sense of humor mixed with a poignant sense of pathos. I do believe there is a unique thread running through most of what I do. It’s simply my way of looking at the world. This novel is really, I think, the culmination of all of the things that makes my point of view, uniquely mine. So if they’ve enjoyed what I’ve done in the past, I think they will really appreciate this book. I do believe it’s my best work to date. If it tells you anything, there are parts that still make even me laugh out loud when I read them and tear up like a baby as well.

Q: Now, as a musician, you must have a pretty cool soundtrack for when you’re writing, right? What are a few of the songs or albums that you really enjoyed listening to while you wrote Call of the Jersey Devil?

A: Believe it or not, I feel most comfortable writing in noisy places. There is no place more productive for me than a busy cafe. Like most of my comic books, I wrote this novel at Yaffa Cafe in NYC between the hours of midnight and eight am. The music I wrote to was mostly the clanging of silverware, random conversations between transvestites and after hour club people and whatever CD the waiter chose to play on any given night.

Q: There’s something about the smell of coffee or the sound of strangers talking that inspires, that’s so true. Anthocon is a horror and [speculative fiction] convention, so I have to ask, what are your top three favorite horror movies? And how about horror novels?

A: That’s probably impossible to answer. There are about twenty films in my top ten! They are also not all “horror” films because I’m a fan of monsters, not genres. So I don’t tend to separate sci-fi, fantasy and horror if they have monsters in them. I just call them “genre” films or “monster movies.” If I had to name three favorites off of the top of my head, I’d say King Kong (1933), Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Ridley Scott’s Alien. As for novels, at the risk of alienating a lot of people, I will admit that I’m not an avid reader, so I can’t really say. It probably explains why most of my novel’s influences are horror movies from the 80s!

Q: I love that though! So many good authors are influenced by movies and music and other forms of arts than just books. Now, you’ve done a little bit of everything; stop-motion animation, music, books. What’s next on your agenda? World domination?

A: Believe it or not … acting! I’ve always wanted to do it and recently was cast in my first real role in a feature. It’s a horror film called Model Hunger, directed by the talented horror film actress, Debbie Rochon. I play an acerbic alcoholic (yes, I was typecast!). It comes out at some point in 2013. I hope to do much more of this. It was as much fun as I’d imagined!

Q: You’re appearing at Anthocon on Sunday. Will this be your first time in New Hampshire?

A: Nope! Last year, when I went on my “Black Unicorn Cabaret Tour,” I performed in Manchester, New Hampshire. That was my first area show.

Q: I’m pretty impressed by your wardrobe, gotta say. Were you visited by a goth fairy of great fashion sense or were you always just this cool?

A: You’re too kind! I’m not a fairy, though Neil Gaiman did describe me once as a “Gothic Elf Lord” which, of course, I loved! If it tells you anything, I was run out of New Jersey on a rail in 1984 because I was a “New Romantic” or “Goth”. So, the desire to dress up has been with me for a long, long time. I’m middle-aged now and putting on some pounds around the middle, so I no longer wear tights and dress like Adam Ant, but I still have a little dark glamour left in me!

Thank you so much for your time and we all look forward to seeing you at Anthocon, for your reading AND for your concert!

For more information about Anthocon, please visit: http://anthocon.com/

A: My pleasure entirely! And for those who would like to learn more about my comics, animation, music and toys, of course, they can always check out my official website at www.voltaire.net

Cheers! Voltaire

Kendra L. Saunders is the author of the magic realism novel Inanimate Objects and the upcoming dark comedy Death and Mr. Right. She is marketing coordinator for Spencer Hill Press and has conducted interviews for Steampunk Magazine and ipmnation.com. In her spare time, she likes to drink too much tea, read fashion magazines, attend steampunk conventions, daydream about boys with dark hair, listen to records on vinyl and try to travel back in time to the Jazz Age. Find her online at www.kendralsaunders.com

NEHW Member in New Collection with Author Joe Hill

Author and NEHW member Rob Smales’ story, “Photo Finish,” is included in the anthology, The Ghost is the Machine. This collection is filled with steampunk inspired ghost stories and includes a story by author Joe Hill. The anthology was edited by Patrick Scalisi and will be released on Aug. 14.

Pictures from the East Coast Craft Fair

The NEHW Banner in a window at the East Coast Craft Fair. Photo by Jason Harris.

Baby Kraken by artist Nina l. Szot. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Rob Watts reading from his book, Huldufork. Photo by Jason Harris.

Martial Arts Instructor Sifu Sidney G. Martin. Photo by Jason.

Nina l. Szot’s Zombies. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo reading her story in the anthology, Epitaphs. Photo by Jason Harris.

Sign announcing authors’ appearances. Photo by Jason Harris.

Martin and his student show a martial arts move to the craft fair attendees. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Kristi Petersen Schoonover reading from her book, Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole. Photo by Jason Harris.

Nina l. Szot’s Steampunk mask. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo reading a copy of Hell Hath No Fury, an all-female zombie anthology. Photo by Jason Harris.

Art by Nina l. Szot. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo taking a reading break. Photo by Jason Harris.

Part of one of the NEHW tables at the craft show. Photo by Jason Harris.

Thank you Stacey Longo, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Rob Watts, Nathan Wrann, Kasey Shoemaker, and Kimberly Dalton for participating in this NEHW event.

Experiencing Arisia

Experiencing Arisia 2012

by David Price

When did steampunk become so popular, would someone tell me? I went to Arisia for the first time this year, which, for those who don’t know, is a yearly science fiction and fantasy convention in Boston. Now, admittedly, my convention-going experience is limited. When I was a kid, I used to go to some of the local comic book and Star Trek conventions, but that was over twenty years ago. Last year, I went to a horror convention called Rock and Shock, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a horror writers’ convention called Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Neither one of those prepared me for the spectacle I would find at Arisia.

I had expectations for Arisia. I’ve seen these kinds of things on tv, so I thought I would find a bunch of people dressed up like Starfleet officers, Klingons, Jedi, Hobbits, Elves, and Battlestar Galactica pilots. My expectations were, however, blown out of the water. Instead, it seemed like every science fiction fan woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I finally get that 1960s television show, The Wild Wild West. You know the show, right? Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were James West and Artemus Gordon. These two were a couple of James Bond types during the time of the Old West. It was half science-fiction, half western. The gadgetry they employed was far in advance of what you would expect for the period, with things like cyborgs, force fields, flamethrowers, and batman-style grappling hooks. The 1999 version starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline really sucked, but they played up the whole steampunk angle even more than the series. So that’s what steampunk is, this blending of Old West and Victorian era time period with science fiction elements.

If the the Arisia I attended is representative of what it is usually like, they could just call it a steampunk convention. There were plenty of people dressed up in costume, that’s true, but most of it had that steampunk theme. I saw one Starfleet uniform, one hobbit, and a couple of guys who might have been Jedi, but they didn’t have light sabers, so I couldn’t be sure. Dressing for the occasion seems to be the way to go at one of these things too, as I would say a good three quarters of the convention-goers showed up in costume. I was in the minority. It was fun to go there and people watch, though. Let me tell you something; nerd girls dress up in some of the, ah, *ahem*, most appealing costumes you could imagine. I’ll admit they surpassed what I expected. There may not have been any Slave Leias, but there was a scantily clad elven archer from the Lord of the Rings or Skyrim, a seductive assassin from the video game Assassin’s Creed, and a very revealing Poison Ivy from Batman wrapped in only, you guessed it, ivy.

All right, so I still decided I would go in there and enjoy myself. I like Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon Five as much as the next geek. Stepping into the dealer room was like entering some alternate universe, where geeks didn’t even know who the Doctor, Captain Kirk, Han Solo or Starbuck were. I wandered around and checked out everything they had to offer, but nothing really jumped out at me. I’m amazed to say that I walked out of Arisia without purchasing a single thing. When I went into the dealer room, however, it seemed the dealers got the same memo that everybody else did. It was Steampunk Central in there. I’m an introvert by nature and I have to admit that I found the place to be a bit overwhelming. I think I could have settled in better if I found some of the familiar Harry Potter and Star Wars elements that I expected to, but those things were almost non-existent, except for one notable exception. One of the highlights of the day was a life-sized stormtrooper cake that was on display. Towards the end of the day, it was sliced up and served to a very long line of hungry Star Wars fans. I passed on that, because hey, how good could it really be? If it was Darth Vader cake, maybe, but stormtrooper? It was probably just a cloned recipe, anyway.

The biggest lesson I learned from this convention, was that I should have made myself familiar with the schedule before I even walked in the door. There were hundreds of events that included movies, seminars, discussion groups, and even combat sword training. I know I would have enjoyed a bunch of those, and next time I intend to have a plan of attack. I missed the discussion I had planned to attend, which was a panel of critics wrapping up the science fiction movies from 2011. A friend of mine, Woody Bernardi, had what they call a “fan table.” Woody started a group called the Boston Science Fiction Association, which is really just a bunch of fans who get together and hangout sometimes. He got the fan table to drum up some more interest in the group. So far we’ve mainly been getting together for lunch at the Tavern at the End of the World, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. I agreed I would take a turn watching the fan table for Woody so he could go to some of the discussion groups that interested him. I think he was particularly interested in a tribute to Anne McCaffrey. I was happy to sit down and unwind a bit. I actually talked to more people sitting at that table than I had wandering around the crowded dealer room.

I look forward to the next one, though, now that I’ve had a chance to process the experience. As a writer, I dream of a day when people will be dressing up as characters from my fantasy novels. That would be something to see. Would I go in costume? I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. Of course, my ultimate goal is to be one of those guys sitting behind a table with a long line of people waiting to see me. I’ll be serving the Darth Vader cake, of course.

A Writer Experiences Arisia

This convention write-up by NEHW member, Kendra Saunders, for the Pure Textuality wesite.

A Writer Experiences Arisia

by Kendra Saunders

Arisia in Boston has a longstanding history for being the conference where geeks, nerds and steampunk enthusiasts can party and battle snowstorms. Arisia 2012 was remarkable in many ways, but most strikingly, because the skies overhead were blue and snow-free.

Your intrepid reporter (intrepid? No, that’s a lie. A bit overtired, over-excited and over-caffeinated), left snowy and icy New Hampshire on Friday morning with about three bags full of clothes, writing supplies, books and her well-travelled Loki action figure, and hit the road for southern New Hampshire. After connecting with a considerably more famous author, Elaine Isaak (The Singer’s Crown, The Bastard Queen), the journey continued southwards.

As soon as we hit the MA border, the ice and snow disappeared and the skies turned blue and the clouds fluffy, as if we had stumbled across a lovely summer afternoon. Well, maybe not summer, as the temperature was freezing and the winds quite raw.

The convention geared up late in the afternoon as participants threw their belongings in hotel rooms and rushed to get in line for registration. The lines were a bit long and crowded, and the whole matter was disorganized, but once registration was finished, the guest was free to wander at will. A Starbucks and bar/grill stood guard on either side of the hotel’s lobby, providing caffeine or beer, depending on your mood.

Costumes on Friday night were muted compared to the rest of the weekend, but even so, you might easily find yourself sipping coffee with Robin Hood, a Jedi and three young Victorian chaps. Bowler hats and goggles popped up more frequently as dinner-time loomed, and panels about role playing, writing, corset-design and gender gave way to several spectacles on the ground floor of the hotel. A disastrous but amusing showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show held my interest for ten minutes, but I soon joined the crowds of people that flooded out of the room due to DVD malfunctions (yes, really). Wandering down the hall from the movie room, I heard pounding Goth synths and investigated only to find a dark room of dancing witches, Vikings, teenagers, middle aged steampunk guys and a few curious passersby.

It must be said that if you will ever, ever, ever feel comfortable in the knowledge that you can be dressed in PJs and have curlers in your hair, and you won’t be the weirdest thing on the dancefloor… it’s probably at Arisia. I found myself dancing (badly) to songs by Lady Gaga and Blutengel. The DJ was phenomenal.

After passing out at 2:30 a.m. and waking up around 6 a.m., getting dressed in my diesel punk outfit (20s crossed with futuristic/steampunk inspired fashions) and wandering down into the hotel lobby, I discovered rather quickly just how creative the people who attend these conventions really are. Everywhere I looked, women strolled by in Victorian garb, giant hats, skimpy lace outfits and elaborate animal costumes. The men were dressed in a variety of fashions, though many of them seemed to stick close to the steampunk aesthetic. It was gorgeous. And most of the costumes were made by the people who wore them.

Early in the day, the women of Broad Universe hosted a book reading for women writers in the organization. I was among the readers, and after a bout of nerves, I managed to deliver a chapter of my book with all of the glee and grade-A ham that any of us frustrated actor/entertainers harbors inside. Everyone laughed when they were supposed to, clapped when they were supposed to. KT Pinto gave a spirited reading that had everyone nearly in tears with laughter.

Most of Saturday was dotted with various panels for attendees, but perhaps the greatest draw was the never-ending parade of fabulous costumes in the lobby. Batman posed for pictures, Sherlock Holmes wandered the halls, the 10th and 11th Doctor made multiple appearances, a Dalek drew gasps and Tony Stark smirked while he posed for pictures with hot women. The masquerade ball was allegedly one of the best in the history of Arisia and was talked about loudly for the rest of the weekend.

KT Pinto’s book-signing that evening culminated in one enthusiastic fan kneeling in front of the author’s table for a copy of her upcoming book (shhh!) A cancelled party sent hordes of too-sober nerds back into the lobby, most of them choosing to drink and mope and converse in grumbles about their party being cancelled. A few found solace in watching the football game. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like a bunch of men in Ren-fair clothes yelling at a TV screen and cheering on their favorite football team.

Another late night rolled into a somewhat later morning than the one before it. Sunday at Arisia boasted just as many costumes, but a bit less energy as the alcohol and lack of sleep caught up to the attendees.

Broad Universe and Spencer Hill Press hosted a hugely successful book launch for the Spencer Hill Press anthology, UnCONventional. A dragon cake was consumed, fans were able to get autographs from many of the anthology’s writers and much conversation floated around the crowded room.

Arisia attendees were fed a steady diet of somewhat appropriate food offerings—dry, stale bread, butter, a few bruised fruits, assorted cheeses and crackers and endless tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The food was laid out on multiple tables and left to be picked over by the sleepy maidens, grumpy young peasant children, stiff anime characters and confused men in crumpled business suits. I couldn’t help feeling that it was fitting and, for that reason and that reason alone, clever. So yes, I mostly lived off of stale loaves of bread, warm butter and cups of black tea… just like any good waylaid steampunk girl stuck in a great valley of dragons, street vendors and magicians.

And then more than once I hit up the bar/grill in the lobby for their delicious curry. If you stay at the Westin, try the curry. It’s surprisingly addictive, with or without the suggested French fries. Don’t mix it with Guinness though. I already did that for you, so I could warn you. Awfully kind of me, yes?

JA Starr was on hand to take lovely professional photos and he generously shared some of his honey mead with me. Delicious!

By Monday, most everyone was scurrying about to hug their new friends, say goodbye to old friends, get contact information or just figure out what the heck they did with their (keys, bag, purse, child, etc). I had fallen victim to a nasty bout of vertigo, thanks to the elevators and far too little sleep, so admittedly I was rather happy to see things winding down.

All in all, I suggest Arisia highly for fans of fantasy, fans of role-playing, costumers, steampunk enthusiasts, and writers in the Northeast. It’s a great chance to meet fans, make friends, meet heroes, dress up in your old ballgown (everyone has one, right?) or just gawk at the most creative people in the world (fans, of course!) While I didn’t find the panels to be quite as interesting as I was expecting them to be, the pure spectacle of the costumes and fandoms and vendors are enough to justify attending. And the conversations! Oh, you’ll have conversations with all sorts of people.

Included are pictures of the event and some of my favorite costumes from Arisia. Enjoy!

For more about Broad Universe, a world-wide organization that supports and promotes female writers, visit www.broaduniverse.org.

For more about Spencer Hill Press or UnCONventional, visit www.spencerhillpress.com.

For more about one of the incredible vendors at the show, visit www.etsy.com/shop/EmrysFynery.

For books by Tim Lieder visit http://www.amazon.com/Dybbuk-Press/lm/R1LB59CKVHK136.

For more information on me, visit my fancy-dancy, newly updated website, www.kendralsaunders.com

Pictures from the Steampunk Bizarre Exhibit

Pictures from the Steampunk Bizarre Exhibit

by Jason Harris

The 2011 Steampunk Bizarre Exhibit at the Mark Twain House and Museum ends Sunday, Jan. 15 with a showing of Stream Driven: The Movie, and a panel of artists talking about their work being shown in the exhibit from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and refreshments will be provided. Musician Eli August will be performing during this event as well.

A brochure at the event describes Steampunk as “an art movement inspired by great literature writers such as Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley to name a few.”

The exhibit is curated by local Connecticut artist Joey Marsocci, proprietor of Dr. Grymm Laboratories to bring together 21 international Steampunk artists of all styles and mediums to celebrate one of the greatest writers and ‘inventors’ of time travel, Mark Twain,” the brochure said.

According to the Mark Twain House and museum website, “Dr. Grymm and the gang will offer one last chance to socialize among brass bolts, bubbling brain tanks, fantasy paintings, fantastic weaponry and backpack-borne Tom Sawyer fence-painting gear, all inspired by quotations from America’s bad boy author — you have to see it to believe it.”

The website quotes Steampunk aficionado Miss Kitty that “Steampunk is the future as imagined through the eyes of the past. It is mechanical gears and boilers, dirtiness mixed with the shininess of brass and copper with the deep red of cherrywood. It is a time for tea and gadgets, airships and ether.”

Mark Twain made out of Legos

"Fish Boy"

"Steampunk Zombies"

"Catherinette Rings - Canada"

Steampunk Boba Fett

"The Edgar Allen Poe Nightmare Inducer"

"Game Changer"

"Rumination"

For more information, check out the Mark Twain House and Musuem website.