Sunday, 9 June 2013

VSE and Beyond

It has been one crazy-fun-busy week let me tell you! Get comfy because this is gonna be a long one.

Last weekend was the 4th Victoria Steam Exposition, and despite my low level of interest and lack of motivation to volunteer the time leading up to it, the Missus and I spent the near entirety of the weekend at the event. It was a blast, and volunteering this year was a breeze despite us being nearly half of the entire volunteer force. The venue was smaller this year, so its size probably helped. We had an awesome, truly epic time.

Here's a day-by-day of what we did:
  • Friday night we attended the Reception party at the Bard & Banker Pub, held in the Sam McGee room. There we mingled with other steampunks when we weren't attending to our fare or enraptured by the terrific history and ghost stories told to us by master raconteur Chris Adams of the local tour group Ghostly Walks. Quite a pleasant evening.
  • We got up relatively early Saturday morning, changed into our outfits (I went as my Victorian Sawbones and Plauge Empiric, Doktor Corvus) and headed down to the Victoria Event Centre to setup the Expo. The two of us handled registration for most of the day, with m'lady running errands when needed. From where we were stationed we were able to see the events that were on stage, which was a nice advantage to volunteering. I think this year I saw more new faces than old, but some of my good steampunks did show up like VSE veteran vendor Rad Juli, local featured artist Randie Feil, and the master fabricator behind Aether Anvil (below is a photo of the Doktor posing with a wicked cleaver of his creation), along with several other wonderful people.

Doktor Corvus trying out a new surgical tool

Here's a brief interview with Aether Anvil by VSE attendee Samantha:



  • Although I missed most of historian and author James H. Carrott's talk, I did have a nice chat about steampunk and maker culture with him later and he gave me a free signed copy of the book he co-wrote: Vintage Tomorrows. I can't wait to read through it!
  • Another one of the highlights of the day was the Bartitsu Demonstration given by David McCormick of Academie Duello. I remember the Bartitsu demonstration fell through at a previous VSE so I was glad to see it this year. The event definitely filled the room.
  • Near the end of the day events, the Missus and I got the chance to pop out behind the venue where local photographic artist Ken Miner had set up a portable tintype photography studio and darkroom. We each got a tintype photograph taken and developed before our very eyes. The whole process was incredible; this testimony pretty much sums up the experience. And what's more our hard work volunteering bagged us a gift certificate for 3 more tintype plates!

Doktor Corvus on Tintype

Here's another brief interview video by Samantha showing a bit of the process used for tintype:



  • We then had a brief break where we had some grub and changed into our evening wear for the Cabaret Burlesque that night. Nanaimo's Longwood Brewery unveiled their latest brew; SteamPunk beer. Everyone I talked to enjoyed it, including my gaming group last Friday. The show itself was quite good, with Miss Lydia DeCarllo titillating us with her burlesque, and Bučan Bučan rocking us with their high-energy Folk-Glam-Gypsy sound. We danced our asses off, and although we didn't win the coveted jar of pickles awarded to the best dancer(s) of the evening this year, they did acknowledge m'lady and myself as the returning champions. :) 


  • Sunday started off a little slow, as I'm sure everyone was tired after a night like that. By the time two o'clock rolled around the Missus and I had to duck out for our appointment: A few weeks ago we had decided for our 6th anniversary to get matching tattoos; and so we headed over to Urge Tattoos and got ourselves inked by Hansom Jeff. This was her third tattoo and my first; I'd been wanting to get one for years, but couldn't decide on what. It went rather well, aside from my naturally low blood pressure/sugar causing me to blackout for a time. It's been about a week and it's healed quite nicely. I might post a photo once its all healed up. For those curious its a stylized '<3' / heart. Some people have also pointed out it also resembles as moustache, which I'm fine with. ;{p
  • We returned to the Expo just as it was wrapping up. We said our fond farewells, helped with tear down, and made our back home, exhausted.
And that was our busy weekend at VSE. And yet it seems June doesn't want to slow down when it comes for things to do: 

Tuesday I joined a gaming group set to play Deadlands come the 18th, and am quite excited to finally play this setting. Back in VSE III I was considering running a session or two of steampunk-themed RPGs for the Expo. Deadlands was one of my choices, along with Airship Pirates, Space: 1889, and Unhallowed Metropolis. One vendor we had at VSE this year was a gaming restaurant from nearby Saltspring Island called The Gathering; though they had no food with them they brought a whole bunch of boardgames to sell and demo. Though I didn't get a chance to play, I like that they were appealing to the gamer side of our local steampunk scene, and I'm considering doing something similar with RPGs next VSE. Anyway, as far as my character for Deadlands, I'm leaning toward a spell-slinging Huckster (essentially a gambling-powered spellcaster), although recent steampunk-influences also make me inclined to play a Mad Scientist. We shall see what the rest of the group rolls up for their PCs.

Speaking of gaming, yesterday I swung by CAVITY Curiosity Shop to grab some tickets to see the heavy metal band Skeletonwitch this Tuesday when I happened upon a copy of West End Game's Star Wars Roleplaying Game (2nd Ed Revised). Being a fanboy I had to pick it up. I've never had the chance to play WEG's d6 Star Wars RPG, as this was probably the first physical copy I've seen up close, because I'm pretty sure I would've leapt at the opportunity to grab it when I was younger. Although I don't know if I'll ever play/run WEG Star Wars, (given how smitten I am with EotE.) I'm glad to have it apart of my collection. And on the related note of Edge of the Empire, if you haven't seen it yet FFG has released details on the first full-length adventure they're going to release for their Star Wars RPG line. Read more about Beyond The Rim here.

The month's not over yet! Don't forget next Saturday is Free RPG Day! And the day after that is a steampunk cosplay event at a local pizza restaurant. And finally the following weekend I've booked sometime off work to visit with my grandpa and hopefully get some fishing in. Gotta practice my fly casting!

June's shaping up quite well if I do say so myself. 

Cheers! ;{١