GEAR Con is Portland, Oregon’s annual celebration of all things steampunk. Our 2013 theme, Steampunk Americana, explores the history, literature, and technology of an early-Industrial-Age USA that never was.
The convention takes place over July 5-7, 2013 at DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland (use the link for our discounted rate). To register and attend, click here. To participate as a panelist or workshop leader, click here. To reserve space in our dealers’ alley, click here. All other inquiries, please email the convention director.
Tesla coil demonstrations ~ our fashion show ~ author readings ~ historical & cultural presentations ~ a fine art salon ~ live-action roleplaying games ~ a War Machine miniatures tournament ~ the return of the Crafters’ Lab workshop space ~ a beard-&-moustache pageant ~ drop-in tabletop gaming ~ Whitechapel Circus live ~ vendor halls full of steampunk clothing, accessories, & media ~ more retrofuturistic goodness TBA.
Steampunk’s “it” band, Abney Park, is the musical headliner for GEAR Con 2013!
Abney Park comes from an era that never was, but one that we wish had been. An era where airships waged war in the skies, and corsets and cummerbunds were proper adventuring attire. They’ve picked up their bad musical habits, scoundrelous musicians, and anachronistically hybridized instruments from dozens of locations and eras that they have visited in their travels and thrown them into one riotous dervish of a performance. Expect clockwork guitars, belly dancers, flintlock bassists, middleastern percussion, violent violin, and Tesla powered keyboards blazing in a post- apocalyptic, swashbuckling, Steampunk musical mayhem.
Abney Park will play during GEAR Con’s steampunk ball on Saturday, July 6th.
[I hope this got some laughs. Members of The New Vaudeville Band and the Bonzos are still gigging in the UK, and I think they'd be a feather in the cap of whatever European steampunk event snapped them up. Rush's Clockwork Angels tour will be in the Portland area a few weeks after GEAR Con, July 28 at the Sleep Country Ampitheater in Ridgefield, WA. GEAR Con's actual 2013 headliner is the always-amazing Abney Park!]
GEAR Con 2013, Portland, Oregon’s third annual celebration of steampunk creativity, is proud to host The New Vaudeville Band as our featured musical performers, headlining the convention’s steampunk ball on Saturday, July 6th. The UK septet rose to international fame in 1966, beating out The Temperance Seven and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band to become the world’s preeminent Music Hall revival novelty ensemble on the strength of their breakout hit, “Winchester Cathedral”, plus some other songs they undoubtedly must have written and recorded. Their marriage of Edwardian popular songwriting styles with cutting-edge instrumentation and sound engineering technology marks The New Vaudeville Band as legendary pioneers of steampunk music.
The band’s members will reunite for their GEAR Con performance through the modern magic of the World Wide Web, performing live via Skype from their homes and private recording studios throughout the United Kingdom. They will be represented onstage by life-sized, projected pinup avatars designed by “Tea Girls” artist Brian Kesinger and animated by a local creative collective using free, open source tools on a found-hardware rendering farm powered by thermal energy reclaimed from composting.
Opening for The New Vaudeville Band is the Canadian rock trio Rush, whose latest record, 2012′s Clockwork Angels, is a richly-envisioned steampunk concept album. “We’ve been steampunk for years”, says guitarist Alex Lifeson. “Geddy wears those round little goggley specs, and there’s a top hat in the cover art for Presto. Somebody told us that counts.”
“What stadium is this gig at again?” he proceeded to ask.
Cog Collective presents a WARMACHINE/HORDES tournament at GEAR Con 2013. This is a single-day tournament on Saturday, July 6th, using the Steamroller 2013 format; point value to be announced. Space is limited so please sign up now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Convention registration (day or weekend) is required for tournament admission.
Thanks to everyone who attended the film festival last month, especially our special guests from Tess the Inventor, Cities in the Sky, and Vagabond Opera with Genevieve Liberté! Our film program goes south in a couple of months to Clockwork Alchemy, Memorial Day weekend in San Jose, California. Closer to home, Filmusik presents the classic silent adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with a new original score performed live by Bent Knee, March 21 at the Hollywood Theater.
Pre-register for GEAR Con 2013 for only $35 for the weekend, and click here to reserve your hotel room at a special rate for GEAR Con guests. If you’d like to be a panelist, please visit our programming page for instructions on how to submit your proposal to us.
Finally, if you’re an independent event organizer (like me!), it’s frequently true that your show is only as good as your sound guy. If you want to help launch an affordable pro audio company run by and for people just like us, please check out this Indiegogo pitch; it’s worthy of your attention and your support.
GEAR Con 2013: Steampunk Americana is shaping up, with major announcements to come. In the meantime, please join us at the Clinton Street Theater on February 16 & 17 for the third annual Rose City Steampunk Film Festival! This year’s event is our first to span two days, with an all-new program of features, shorts, and classics, plus panel presentations and a boutique selection of artisan vendors.
Reminder: GEAR Con earlybird pre-reg is live NOW on our registration page for only $25/person!
Year two is in the can! Thanks to our roster of presenting & performing guests, our vendors and artists, everyone at the Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown-Convention Center, and the sponsors who contributed to GEAR Con 2012 in so many ways. Thanks especially to all of you who spent the weekend learning and playing with us, I hope you’ll all share your con stories with me as we encounter each other around the community.
[Personal thanks to our far-traveling guests: Thatch Durbin and Kory Doyle from Clockwork Alchemy for contributing beyond the call, and to Jordan & Zandra Stratford and family for rearranging their August to accommodate us. -S.]
We couldn’t have made this happen without the efforts of our volunteer staff and crew, many of whom were brand-new faces only a week ago. Thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts. Please watch for an invitation to the official wrap party/decompression next Monday night (8/27).
If you’re looking to stay in touch with your new steampunk friends, the last few weeks of summer offer plenty of opportunities, including outdoor gatherings of both the Rose City Steampunks Local 23 and the Portland Steampunk Society. Next weekend (8/25 & 26) is your last chance to see Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett in the roles of Spock’s parents at Trek in the Park, so don’t miss it. From our quarter, look for a rescheduled Aetherscope art event coming soon, and start putting together a steampunk look for the holiday season–details to come. The next major event on the Northwest steampunk calendar is, of course, Steamcon IV: Victorian Monsters, October 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Washington.
The next Rose City Steampunk Film Festival is Valentine’s Day weekend 2013, send submissions to email@example.com. GEAR Con 2013 is next July 5-7 at the Portland DoubleTree by Hilton (Lloyd Center); earlybirds can pre-register for only $25 on our registration page.
All our best,
Team GEAR Con