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Steampunk City

May 8, 2011

by Juneau

Who knew that I live in the world’s epicenter of Steampunk? I sure didn’t. This Mother’s Day weekend, my fair city was transformed into International Steampunk City, hosting steampunks from all over New England to celebrate this counterculture which merges nostalgia for the early years of the industrial revolution with futurism. Steam engines, corsets and Edwardian suits meet modern technology to envision an alternative universe where people wear fabulous fashions and can fly.

I discovered that I was a steampunk before the word existed. As a child I imbibed Jules Verne re-told via Japanese comic books. In college, my friends and I went clubbing dressed in outfits cobbled together from thrift-store Victoriana layered over Capezios and lace-up boots. These were memories that had lain ossifying in the crannies of my cortex when Adam Lambert resurrected them. I was subsequently introduced to steampunk by other fans who commented on the influence of this style in Adam’s world, from Skingraft to the look he created for the Glam Nation tour. So it was a full-circle moment for me today to see my kids’ eyes popping out of their heads at the parade of steampunk on the streets of their hometown.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. inatizzy permalink
    May 9, 2011 1:42 pm

    Funny, that you should write about this Juneau. The idea of steampunk has long been on my mind. People ask, are you interested, only because Adam has introduced you to this idea? I have to honestly say, no, but, he makes me more aware of it with his choice of steampunk couture, jewelry, and accessories.

    I remember, in the mid 90’s, seeing the outrageous imagery and costumes in the film City of Lost Children and thinking – oh, this is very steampunk. How, I already knew then what steampunk was, I can’t remember.

    I would venture to guess that many of us, have a sense of it already, that steampunk aesthetic. Our fashion choices may reflect elements of it. Our homes probably have touches of it. Our jewelry, and our accessories probably reflect steampunk.

    Adam, when he said a year ago, that his tour would have elements of steampunk, he had already – from day one – given us many tastes of it by expressing himself though his clothing, and accessories.

    Remember the Whataya Want From Me performance on So You Think You can Dance finale? The suit was tailored and he was stunning, but the fabric on his shoulder and the splats screamed steampunk.

    The AMA announcements, when he made yet another fashion statement by showing up in a very western gentleman steampunk look with the vest, suit and kentucky fried bow tie, I first thought that he was quite bold and was curious about the choice he made.

    The list is endless. Look at every single performance. Look at the photographs of him, when he dresses for an event. It is always there, that steampunk asthetic.

    Now, every time I see him, it screams at me. I see it. When I look at Idol performances, Idol tour performances, Glam Nation Tour performances and everything in between, I see it. I see that his presentation is steampunk, and he is expressing himself artistically, in a very steampunk way.

    This movement has been long in the making and there are many that have already embarked on that steamship, but I myself, find that I am just now being drawn to it.

    This genre is all encompassing from, gentle refined tea parties, and discussions of Verne and Poe, to over the top cosplay and brutal battles in steampunk larping.

    Get ready. I think that we are about to find ourselves among a new generation of charming, artistic and creative geniuses, with a sense of play, a passion for the industrial age, and an energy that is powered by steam.

    • May 10, 2011 8:39 am

      Fascinating! Thanks so much for detailing many examples of how the steampunk aesthetic has been expressed in Adam’s fashion choices. Beyond the stylistic aspects of steampunk, I think there’s an underlying philosophy or outlook that, for lack of a better word, I might call “post-historic”. It’s historically informed, takes the best of human ideals and invention, and tries to forge a vision for the future that is optimistic but not naive. – Juneau

      • inatizzy permalink
        May 10, 2011 6:45 pm

        I had not looked at it that way – as an underlying philosophy and “post historic”, but that is so true and I agree! Eva

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