Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet Your Captors ::: Belle Isle Shoot

Meet Your Captors Ladies & Gentlemen
Belle Isle Conservatory Photographers

Marc Beauregard

Kat Dee
Window To Your Soul

Russ Turner
Russ Turner Photography

Looking forward to seeing everyone for a smashing good time.

Whitcomb Conservatory
Steampunk Winter Stroll & Photoshoot

Belle Isle · Detroit, MI
Saturday, February 26 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Facebook Event Page

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Etsy Seller Sunday : Avarra : Chaz Kemp

1. How long have you been an artist?

Like most artists, I've been drawing all my life. About 13 years ago I began thinking of art as a career after studying at the Art Institute. From there I worked for various companies and did freelance work on the side. When I got laid off 2 years ago, I decided to make the leap and become a freelance illustrator. It's a wonderful, fantastic and scary challenge but so far I'm loving it.

2. What mediums do you work in?
When I first started I did mostly pencil and ink. Now I work with CorelDraw primarily because I like the look of vector and vexel images. It's also extremely versatile and I've been able to develop a pretty unique style that I really groove on. I love using modern tools to create Art Nouveau pieces - it's like the ultimate marriage.

3. How did you first hear about steampunk and what was your first reaction?
I heard about Steampunk about two years ago while at DragonCon. My band was performing there for the first time and I kept seeing all of these "retro sci-fi-type" costumes. I thought the concept was just the about the coolest thing I ever saw and I was drawn to it. My band-mate, Jen and her boyfriend told me a bit about it and I started researching steampunk as soon as I got back home. I was so completely enthralled by the idea of it that I immediately began thinking of ways that I could get involved.

4. Your latest works are steampunk inspired, where does that inspiration come from?

Well, I've always loved the idea of spies and agents working for some secret organization trying to save the world from dastardly threats and unimaginable conspiracies. Movies like, "League of Extraordinary Gentleman" & "Hellboy" also served to fuel the creative process. In thinking along those lines, I began to think up various characters that would be members of that organization. So I came up with the name, "Sargas Prime" and then Steampunk Sally was born. At some point I'm going to completely flesh out the concept and do more illustrations.

5. What is the steampunk scene like where you are from?
It's getting better and better every year here in Colorado. This is fantastic because we have a lot of steampunk fans! (Colorado Steampunks Facebook page has over 800 members!) We have our first ever steampunk convention called Anomaly Con coming up March 26th & 27th. I'm also doing a ton of art for a fantastic LARP called, "Gaslight Underground" premiering in just a few months after the initial play-testing is done. So ya, we Coloradoan's are always a little late getting to the party but once we arrive, hold on to your petticoats!

6. Do you have a character or costume?

Of course! My character name is Captain Haji ShadowCat, airship pilot and dagger-wielding adventurer for Sargas Prime. He's a Fae prince from the land called, the Dreaming and he's having way too much fun in the mortal realms to leave just yet. He fights side-by-side with his nixie lover, Abigail, and together they wreak havok on evil-doers everywhere using steam-powered tech, their wits and maybe just a teensy bit of magic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Calling All Steampunk Photographers

In my travels, I have come across so many places and to many more I shall go. This next month is full of many events, new possibilities are on the horizon, and so on and so forth.

Part of the city that once lived, has died, never to return. Who here will save dying structure; rescue by renovation? Much has been lost. Time goes by and so we, as lovers of the past, must seize the day to capture the old and make way for the future. As a community of Steampunks in Detroit, photographing the remaining jewel's of Detroit & Michigan should be priority.

Of The Belle Isle Conservatory Febuary 26th 1:00PM - 3:00PM

This is a paid for event, as in we are PAYING to have permission to shoot there. We will have three or four photographers working the grounds. So if you are interested in getting some amazing shots in a place that has been around long enough to make history, please contact me.

Also note this is a great opportunity to have yourself photographed by some amazing talented people. Bethalynne Bajema is doing a STEAMPUNK ISSUE of Insects & Angels in the very near future, and is looking for submissions.

I have also heard talk of a Steampunk Calendar...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Word Origins, The Spectra Nova?

I've always had the knack of being able to put something together in a way that was either aesthetically pleasing to the eye or the ear. When it comes to words spoken or read, I am by no means a master, but the process of naming thyself to the ether is just as important as the idea that spawned it, and I shall tell you why.

The inspiration? For some of you, Bantam Spectra pops into mind, or Spectra Special Editions. The Kia Spectra and perhaps the Electromagnetic Spectrum? Or what about The Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition? It has been said that Nova is a Hopi Indian word for "she chases butterflies". As pretty and whimsical as it sounds, that is actually not true. For the word Nova, in Hopi, means food.

Unfortunatly, none of these were the inspiration for my choice. When I first became familiar with Steampunk some years ago, it became apparent to me that there was a very broad spectrum of Steampunk Fashion to be had, mostly done in metallics, dark reds, emeralds, royal blues, blacks & browns. In juxtaposition to my own work, I used a lot of the very same shades. My work, dripping in brass, steele, enhanced with vivacious amount of organic color that STOOD OUT, fit. Hence Spectra, Spectrum: a continuum of color; an array of entities, as light waves or particles, ordered in accordance with the magnitudes of a common physical property, as wavelength or mass.

As for Nova, this word holds special meaning to me. I came once upon a marble, but when I looked inside, I discovered the Spectra Nova. It's exploding iridescent form hung within the balance of it's captor, the clear crystal that keeps it's power. Yes, I speak of a marble with some dichroic glass in it, that kinda looks like an exploding star or a tiny galaxy, whichever you prefer. But, with a little imagination, this became my portal, my black hole, my super nova, if you will, to another time, another place, (inspired & reminiscent of H.G. Wells, minus the machine) and ultimately the next mental step in the progression of working wire and making wearable art.

Not to mention, the sound had a catch...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Steampunk Travelers Guide for Winter Blues

Well you could take your lover here for a Valentine Treat, buy a box of chocolates, bumpy cake, or sip fountain soda from the same glass. Sure, sure you could, but unfortunately it is no longer there; if you don't have the correct devices, you won't be getting there anytime soon I'm afraid. Too bad too, because back in it's hey day, the glorious interior was a sight to behold!

Ah the Palace of Sweets

Fortunately for you and I, we have some options. Since Feb 14th, love it or hate it, is just around the corner you may have some obligations of the heart, eh, to fulfill. And since you have excellent taste you will be going to Off the Beaten Path Bookstore for their Sweetheart Bizarre Bazaar! I assure you that you will not be disappointed. From gear to tightly laced corsets, jewelry, books, bargains, brains, and tea you shall have it all.

Sweetheart Bizarre Bazaar
Saturday, February 12 · 10:00am - 5:00pm

Cherie Priest (bestselling author of "Boneshaker", "DreadNaught", and the soon to be released "Bloodshot". Cherie will be reading from her latest offering and we will have "Bloodshot" for purchase two weeks before anyone else. Do not miss this opportunity! Cherie is also the guest of honor at this year's ConFusion. Please check her out there as well.

Book Signing with Cherie Preist
Thursday, January 20th 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

- both events at -
Off the Beaten Path Books & Cafe
23023 Orchard ake Rd., Bldg. C
Farmington, MI

Fraudeville is the latest venture from JackKnife Productions. A dazzling collection of local and imported talent, bring you a nonstop romp of sideshow acts and classic vaudeville hilarity. Introducing the comedic adventures of the Lubberly brothers as they travel the globe discovering exotic burlesque in the jungle, stray jacket escapes from jail to contortion feats at the Chinese opera.

Jackknife productions is comprised of Jay Davis and Carine Jack Sergeant. The two write comedy for stage and screen and bring a unique mixed media production every time. Set designs conjure images of dreams that are keenly influenced by black and white films. The writing is 1930’s revisited with a hefty dose of urban decay where in all of this is brought to life by some of the most talented actors and acts that Detroit has to offer.

- Fraudeville presented on -
Saturday, Febuary 5th, 2011 8:00 pm - 2:00 am

Eagle Theater
15 S. Saginaw St.
Pontiac, MI

For those of you who know, you know what you've been missing if you haven't had the chance to get there in the past few months. Usually on the Second Friday of every month, the Phoenix Cafe in Hazel Park, MI features a Steampunk night. Here you shall be able to share your latest gadgets, contraptions, props, and costuming fantasies with a whole lot of friendly, talented, and like minded individuals. You'll also be able to make a round along the dance floor as your ears are flattered by the enchanting sounds of Dr. Toon. Coming events are as followed:

Friday, January 14th at 8: 00 pm - Don't Miss Out!
Friday, February 11th at 8:00 pm - Dr. Toons Mechanical Steam Hearts Band
Saturday, May 7th at 7:30 pm - The Very Merry Un-Birthday Party

The Phoenix Cafe
24918 John R
Hazel Park, MI


For those who like to travel back in time to really tiny worlds, I recommend the Chir-Town Union Station: A 5000 sq. ft. multilevel O Scale model railroad with a 12-track double-ending passenger station built to service four separate mainline railroads (DCC and sound). The three-track main is 565' long to run 200+ hopper car trains, and a double-track main runs up to 14 trains with full computer control. A second double-track main handles mountain operations over more than 1000' of track. A single track mainline interchanges with the other three lines.

Fri 12 noon to 8 pm, Sat & Sun 10 am to 6 pm
$4, kids $2 (age 5-18), free (age 4 & under).

Chi-Town Union Station
8275 Cooley Lake Road
Commerce Township, MI 48382


AND since Detroit is such a drag in the winter, go down to Toledo where the weather isn't much better! But the entertainment on Feb 19, 2011 will be. KayLouise & Mesmeric Fusion Present 219 TimeMachine where Steampunk meets Art meets Dance & Performance. Featuring a full day of workshops, vendors, and a fabulous evening show and after party! For more information visit:

Febuary 19, 2011
The Collingwood Arts Center
2413 Collingwood Ave. Toledo, OH 43620

As a perliminary to the picnic & large photoshoot in the summer or 2011, we will be doing a smaller shoot exclusively at The Whitcomb Conservatory at Belle Isle Park. So come dressed in all your Steampunk finery, with your notebooks, botany texts, sample kits, and portable tea sets to join us for some fun in the drudgery of winter at a real living breathing Detroit Gem.

Saturday, February 26 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Parking is at the Whitcomb Conservatory Parking Lot.
Locate on Belle Isle, Detroit, MI

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a landmark on Belle Isle, has been in operation on the island since its inception in 1904. Designed by Albert Kahn and modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the Conservatory occupies a 13-acre parcel of land fronted by formal perennial gardens and lily pond garden tucked into its north side. A major renovation took place during the early 1950s when its wood frame was replaced with a skeleton of iron and aluminum. Mrs. Anna Scripps Whitcomb bequeathed her 600-plant orchid collection to the City of Detroit and the Conservatory and, in grateful appreciation for the Scripps family generosity, the Conservatory was named for her in 1955.

A 5-section Conservatory featuring a central Palm house, Tropical Wing, Fernery/Cacti wing, and show house. Large collection of Orchids. Exterior water garden, Heritage Rose garden, Perennial garden, and annual flower beds flank the Conservatory.