GEAR Con 2015: "Secrets & Lies"

Pre-register for July 3-5, 2015 when GEAR Con explores the sinister side of steampunk!

Register Now For 2015

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CLICK HERE to view or download our 2015 Program Booklet (PDF)

GEAR Con 2015 will take place next July 3-5 at DoubleTree by Hilton Portland with opening day events at offsite locations around Portland, OR. This year’s theme is “Secrets & Lies”, exploring Victorian esotericism, secret society skullduggery, and paranormal steampunk; our musical headliner is the delightfully dastardly Aurelio Voltaire!

Pre-registration is closed; register at the DoubleTree or with our offsite registrars at the following rates:

  • Weekend Pass … $50
  • Day Pass … $25 Fri/Sun … $35 Sat
  • Ages 7-13 are half price and under 7 are free with guardian

Use your downloaded ticket (attached to your confirmation email) or show ID to claim badges for your entire party upon arrival at GEAR Con. If members of your party are absent, you may leave them for your friends to claim at will call. Questions? Email the con director.

Team GEAR Con extends our gratitude to these partners and supporters:

Academia Duellatoria | Allegorical Mind LLC  | American Hat MakersCatalyst Gallery

 Columbia River Brewing Co. | Geahk Burchill Designs | Guardian Games

 Sock DreamsTaken by the Sky Costumes & Corsets | Wells & Verne NeoVictorian Shoppe


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Aurelio Voltaire

Aurelio Voltaire is often described as a modern day renaissance man. He is a singer/performer, creator of comic books, animation and toys.

An internationally touring musician, he is at the forefront of the Gothic, Steampunk and Dark Cabaret genres headlining some of the biggest horror, sci-fi and comic book conventions as well as Gothic and Steampunk festivals for nearly two decades. His music can best be described as a collection of murder ballads, tongue-in-cheek exercises in the macabre, with just enough bawdy songs about Star Trek and Star Wars to keep a convention audience rolling in the aisles. Many know him for his songs “Brains!” and “Land of the Dead” from the Cartoon Network show “The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy”.

Voltaire’s live shows, whether solo or with his skeletal orchestra, are full of stories and games. Many describe his shows as sitting around a fire while an old friend regales you with tales, presuming that old friend drinks a liter of rum a night, dates zombie prostitutes and wrestles Krakens.

Voltaire has been recording and touring for over 15 years.  He’s released 11 full length CDs.

The Nathaniel Johnstone Band

The Nathaniel Johnstone Band hails from Seattle, WA, lead by multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone. Their vibrant sound crosses boundaries and borders, resulting in a blend of European, Middle Eastern, and South American music with Jazz, Rock, Surf, Folk, Gothic, and Steampunk influences.

Nathaniel Johnstone loves music of all shapes and sizes. He is perpetually tinkering with tunes on a multitude of instruments: guitar, violin, viola, mandolin, and banjo. Surrounding himself with an ever-changing roster of like-minded souls, he creates music for his many friends in the dancing world. Every song in the band’s repertoire was inspired by and created with a particular dancer/troupe in mind. From 2006-2011, Johnstone recorded and toured with the steampunk band Abney Park, but has moved on to focusing on his solo work and other projects. He has also sat in with a number of other ensembles: The Ghosts Project, Jill Tracy’s Malcontent Orchestra, Ego Likeness, The Last Dance, Hellblinki, and others. To hear more of his work, check out his website at


Faeraballa is a Salem, Oregon based Dark Cabaret/Jazz ensemble founded in 2010 that takes musical influence from free form jazz and blues of the WWII era as well as modern gothic, steampunk, and dark cabaret music. Comprised of Dana McCarty and Julie McGowan on vocals and harmonies, Mac McGowan on horns, Tom Shipley on upright bass, and Andrew Teem on drums, and performing primarily original music, Faerabella’s songs are about mystery, sinister characters, crime, vices and romance… or romances gone sour.
Faerabella regularly appears in the event and festival circuit between Portland and Eugene, and is currently working on recording their latest album. Visit or check out their facebook page for regular updates!


Hailing from the hedge and loam of Seattle’s undergrowth, this chimerical songbird aims to weave historical and waxhysterical in the old-new traditions of mountain men, shantymen, and her fellow men as she tromps and twirls acro’st both ancient myth and accidental malady. This little troubadour delights in bringing life to the voices of the past, so come and share a pomegranate seed or two!

Cascadian Airship

Formed like clouds in the sky converging into one, Cascadian Airship’s formation was just a matter of time before enough key elements were present to make the group known to all.

Founded in 2014 by lead singer, songwriter, guitarist, mandolinist, & percussionist Everett Bone with a mission to bring something fun and lively, vintage and yet at the same time new to ears and eyes of the world as well as his own. Bone was soon joined by Fulton Gale on vocals, mandolin and guitar and songwriting duties and Katie Kat Lubiens providing charismatic energy and lush melodies with her skills on the violin. Joining the crew in the late winter of 2015, was the much needed bottom end of Grace Warren on bass clarinet and B-flat clarinet rounding out the group. At times one may catch the band performing with others adding texture and blending in deliciously.

The Cascadian Airship sound is influenced from their travels around the world and beyond, in both mind and the physical. Inspired by folk music from eastern Europe, the middle east, Mediterranean and Ireland, as well as jazz and modern sounds, they form and mold all of these influences into their own catchy tunes and add a unique spin to familiar songs as well.


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Guardian Games Parlour

The crew from Guardian Games hosts an open room on Saturday in IDAHO for demos, scheduled games, and all kinds of fun shenanigans! Drop in anytime to fall in love with a new game, and take it home with you afterwards!

All Weekend
The Salon of the Arts

GEAR Con’s fine art gallery is also a salon of the humanities. Enjoy (and acquire!) the exquisite works on display, and linger for the occasional author reading, musical recital, model-drawing session, or other enriching “happening”– and meet the artists, too! Ross Island & Morrison Rooms.

The Great Game

ARGIn keeping with our theme, this year there is no escaping the machinations of sinister secret societies overtaking GEAR Con! Discover which of three cutthroat factions has targeted you for membership and join your new brethren in competing to solve mysteries, riddles, and other challenges. The three factions are as follows:

The Consortium of Machinists, The Society of Naturalists, & The Order Awaiting the New Kingdom.

…and they are competing against one another to win favor with the Empire. What faction are YOU in? Find out by taking THIS quiz and then reporting your results back at Registration when you pick up your badge!

How does The Great Game work? Well, you compete with your fellow men to finish puzzles both in-person and via our Twitter – @pdxgearcon – using the hashtag #gearcongreatgame – in order to win points! Turn in your points at The Great Game station near registration at the hours posted on the chalkboard and try to make YOUR faction WIN the prize: Free and clear entry through the gilded gates at the GEAR Con Preview Day in 2016! Look for clues EVERYWHERE, all marked by the ARG (alternate reality game) pyramid symbol as below:ARG Logo



Victorian Martial Arts Symposium III

Academia Duellatoria and GEAR Con present Portland’s third annual Victorian combatives intensive. Guest instructors from near & far join the Duellatoria crew for classes in bartitsu, pugilism, sword & stick, suffragists’ self-defense, steampunk fantasy combat, and more. Attend this event-within-the-event with your GEAR Con pass! GEAR Con 2015 VMAS III Flyer

Friday 7/3
The GEAR Con 2015 Initiatory Pageant of the Mysteries

GEAR Con 2015 NJB web promoFriday night’s opening ceremony segues into our first music & variety showcase: Gather in our inner sanctum for induction into The Mysteries under the enlightened tutelage of the Nathaniel Johnstone Band, Dogwood, & Tempest!

Offsite Events Throughout Portland

The morning and afternoon of our opening day Friday, July 3rd, come pick up your badge at the DoubleTree and then make the rounds of special events all over town! Drop in at  Wells & Verne Neo-Victorian Shoppe to celebrate their third anniversary at the historic Undertaker Parlor location in Sellwood, Guardian Games for drop-in game demos all day long, Wolf + Rabbit Emporium for SEANCES like they did them in the 1800’s, the Lolita Tea & Beer Party at Mcmenamins on Broadway  for fancy dress and tea, Old Portland Hardware, & Sock Dreams!

You can pick up STAMPS which equal POINTS for THE GREAT GAME at Wells & Verne, Wolf + Rabbit, and the Lolita meetup!

Then, Don’t Forget to come back to the DoubleTree for more shopping, some fantastic panels & presentations, and our INITIATORY PAGEANT OF THE MYSTERIES with NATHANIEL JOHNSTONE – Doors at 6PM!

Saturday 7/4
The Power Station

donOur resident mad scientist, Dr. Professor Anderson, educates and delights with the assistance of his 500,000 volt Tesla coil, Vacuum Tube Tesla Coil, Wimshurst machine, Van de Graaf generator, Jacobs ladder, and Edison only knows what other early high-voltage devices! Drop by during any one of his demonstrations and lectures to be amazed and astounded by the technology so widely loved by Steampunks and Scientists alike!

The Crafters’ Lab

Steampunk creativity draws technique and inspiration from across the spectrum of artistry, craftsmanship, and the maker culture. Drop into the Crafters’ Lab for workshops and projects from leatherworking to mixed media, illustration to electroplating. Includes our annual Steampunk Scrapheap Challenge blind-bag artwork competition!

The Cabaret of Curiosities

GEAR Con 2015 Voltaire web promo

The climax of our event is Saturday night’s concert and ball with headliner Aurelio Voltaire, local dark cabaret favorites Faerabella, DJ Dirty Mollie, the fantastical Cascadian Airship, a tease from Vanity Thorn, and myriad musicians representing the thematic breadth of steampunk music! Concert at 7PM in MAIN STAGE, free with your GEAR Con weekend OR day pass.

Costume Contest Sponsored by American Hat Makers

GEAR Con thanks American Hat Makers and SteamBaby for supporting our first-ever steampunk costume competition, organized by JD & Anna Fultz and emceed by Lady Ashley Towers with judges CD Ske,  Lord WIlliam Towers, and Diana Vick!

Any GEAR Con 2015 passholder is eligible to enter the costume contest. Register for the contest at pre-judging (2:00-3:30 PM on Saturday 7/4 in the Hamilton Room). You will not be allowed to walk in the contest if you did not attend the pre-judging session. Rules:

  • No profanity or nudity. No costume is no costume.
  • No skits. Due to time constraints, we are not able to allow significant amounts of cosplay during the contest.
  • Large and/or elaborate costumes must be handled by the contestant and any assistants provided by the contestant. GEAR Con will not be able to furnish assistants for you.
  • Follow all directions provided to you by GEAR Con staff. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

Photography is allowed (and encouraged!). Contestants will be photographed onstage during & after the contest; we request that all contestants, and especially all winners, be willing to spend a few minutes after the contest to be available for photo ops. May the best dressed win!

Sunday 7/5
The Crafters’ Lab

Steampunk creativity draws technique and inspiration from across the spectrum of artistry, craftsmanship, and the maker culture. Drop into the Crafters’ Lab for workshops and projects from leatherworking to mixed media, illustration to electroplating. Includes our annual Steampunk Scrapheap Challenge blind-bag artwork competition!

Vanity’s Vaudeville Vixens

GEAR Con 2015 Vanity's Vaudeville Vixens Flyer FRONTBy popular demand, GEAR Con presents the return of our Sunday night burlesque revue featuring Vanity Thorn’s hand-picked bevy of talented beauties! Attend free on your GEAR Con pass, or come just for the Vixens and pay $7 at the door. 18+ Only, and please, no recording or photography! Doors at 6PM on MAIN STAGE.


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GEAR Con 2015’s venue is

1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR
(503) 281-6111

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Discounted Stay

The DoubleTree is extending a generous discount to GEAR Con attendees & guests. Please click here to reserve lodging at our special rate.