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Steampunk

Get Excited for Steampunk!

So I’m a bit of a Steampunk nerd. I love the style: the Victorian dress with funky gadgets made of brass and way too many cogs and gears, adventure and intrigue, the science…the whole 20,000 leagues! Get it? Anyway…

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction with a massive following. The term “steampunk” was coined in the 80’s, but the genre started back in the Victorian era with writers like Jules Verne and HG Wells. Back then, it was used as a glimpse into the future. A possibility. Now, Steampunk is a look into an alternate history.

Still, despite its interesting culture and growing favor, the genre has a small film base. The list includes films like Hugo, Wild Wild West, and the Golden Compass, as well as a number of European films like The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. Wikepedia lists only 30 films total, and of that list I’ve personally only seen three! I’d never even heard of most of these and the some of the ones I have seen, such as Van Helsing, did not strike me as being part of the Steampunk genre. But I digress…

Hugo2
Gears! Robots! What more could you ask for?

The point is that the genre itself has a lot of potential! And StudioCanal in France as well as a few Disney animation veterans seem to see this as well.

This year come spring time, StudioCanal is releasing an animated film called April and the Extraordinary World in French. It’s a 2D animation with an art style that feels reminiscent of Hayao Myazaki (at least that’s what I gather from the images I’ve seen). The film has already previewed last year at the Annecy Film Festival at which it received an award for Best feature film. From what I’ve gathered, the film does not appear to be releasing in the US, but rather Canada. It’s not very clear. But don’t sweat it just yet, as there’s always the DVD release. Or Netflix.

Also on it’s way is another 2D animation film called Hullabaloo! Imagined by Veteran Disney animators who believe that 2D art as an animation medium is on the decline, Hullabaloo is expected to give us all the fun and adventure of a Disney movie: Strong female characters, great orchestral music, and an enchanting story. Sadly, the film has no release date yet. Even more sad, the project is being funded through Indiegogo. But that is where the sadness ends. The group working on the project started the crowdfunding campaign to fund a short film to pitch to a studio that would then (hopefully) fund a full length feature film. Currently they’ve raised enough to make that short film, and three others! I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think there might be a desire out there to see more steampunk on the big screen! One can only hope.

Personally, I find what the animators from Disney are doing to be admiral. Fingers crossed that when Hullabaloo does get released (and I’m sure it will one way or another) that people remember the beauty behind 2D animation. It’s an art form I think we would miss down the line. Plus it’s totally fitting, Steampunk is a revival of the aesthetic of the Victorian era. Hullabaloo wants to start a revival of 2D animation.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to hunt down some of these films I’ve never heard of!

If you want to know more about the films, you can check out Hullabaloo’s Indiegogo page and this article on Alice and the Extraordinary World. The world of Steampunk awaits you!


 

Rose

Rose is a casual nerd who has been writing since she was able to form words. She loves anime and anything cute and fuzzy. She’s a casual gamer who plays all her games on the easiest possible setting and still gets terribly stuck. She’s a fan of Disney movies, theatre, superheroes, Star Wars and Star Trek, and making things from other things because making things from scratch is too hard.

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How to Host a Nerdy Tea Party

A tea party, outside of politics, is a social gathering for the small meal known as “afternoon tea”. It’s less weighty than a dinner or a lunch, typically featuring tea and finger foods, and may even include some light entertainment or activity on top of the usual mealtime banter.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good low-key affair. Even more if it includes a theme I like. Forget Sexy Santa and James Bond (you’d be serving cocktails for this), here are a few ideas for kitsching up your very own nerdy tea party.

 Star Wars tea party

star-wars-tea-party

Pour tea in style from an R2D2 ceramic teapot or Stormtrooper ceramic teapot. These Stormtrooper teacups and saucers come closer to standard tea party ware, but the Star Wars musical mug adds to a more casual ambience. For a more down-to-earth, DIY feel, grab some plain coloured crockery in a variety of Star Wars-esque colours (black, white, brown, gold) and draw the features of your favourite characters with a porcelain pen. Bring out your Princess Leia cupcakes, Wookie Cookies, and Darth Vader truffles on a Millennium Falcon cutting board (wrap in aluminium foil if your friends also watch Robot Chicken). Entertain your guests with a game of Celebrity Head, featuring characters from the movies, or step it up and use the whole universe if you’re that way inclined.

 Star Trek tea party

star-trek-tea-party

Serving your guests with Captain Picard’s tea set is an impressive but expensive ask for a casual Star Trek tea party. You could get away with any teapot really, as long as your tea is Earl Grey and hot. You may even find those famed, no longer produced Bodum glass teacups up for auction. Tasty trek nibbles include Seltin Pate (Voyager), Algae Puffs (Voyager), and Plomeek Soup (Original Series) – bonus points if you serve your soup in a silver bowl (these Korean rice bowls will do nicely). Finish up with a round of Blowing The Tribble, known more commonly as The Ball of Wool, or some hilariously violent Are you there, Moriarty?

 Super Mario theme day

super-mario-tea-party

This Turtle Teapot is a classy, subtle nod to the genre, as are these Mushroom Mug Cups, but if you don’t mind larger vessels on the tea table, these Level-Up Pipe Mugs and Power-Up Mugs will give you the exact Mario aesthetic. Help your gamer mates snack healthier with Super Mario Mushroom Radishes and Spelt + Cinnamon Cookies, cut into stars. Or indulge for the day with 1-Up Mushroom Cupcakes and Easy Chocolate Truffle goombas (instead of rolling them in coconut, pop two edible silver balls on them for eyes). Coin-related games are an easy nod to the Mario franchise. Try Quarters if you’re not precious about the tea table, Penny in the hole if you are, or Up Jenkins to entertain a larger crowd.

 Steampunk party

steampunk-tea-party

This simple Oil Can tea set ticks the boxes for industrial chic, but any old looking metal teapot will do the trick. The Nut Handle tea cups will set the mood just as well as an on-the-nose Upcycled Steampunk teacups. If you’re a baker, adorn your cookies and cupcakes with Edible Chocolate Candy Gears or opt for simpler Victorian Plaque cookies featuring the colourful vernacular of the era written directly on the biscuit with an edible food pen. To really capture the vintage steampunk spirit, humour your inner history buff and look for traditional Victorian finger food recipes. Charades makes for great entertainment, as well as photo-worthy slapstick if your guests come in costume. For parties with creative types, draw and decorate your own Victorian hot air balloons (instructions in Hungarian; use Google Translate).

 Mindfuck tea party

psychology-tea-party

A ‘mindfuck’ tea party is a novel alternative to branded and trend-conscious themes. It relies on good old-fashioned head science for kicks. Start with an awkwardly formed Tilting Teapot to lay a solid foundation of psychological discomfort. Failing that, a custom designed teapot featuring your favourite optical illusion will do the trick (especially for the hungover) at half the price. Serve sour treats and Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets to mess with your guests; be sure to set aside a dish of baking soda in case anyone needs to rinse their mouth out. Play F**k. The Game to test your party’s visual recognition and verbal response skills; try Avalon to doodle with logic, cold reading and treachery; or find a good cryptic crossword puzzle for some co-op pun fun.


Sandy.pngSandy is a writer and maker from Perth, Western Australia. She keeps busy with homesteading, horticulture, football, martial arts, games, code, tinkering, DIY, fussing the cats, and drinking tea. She blogs long things at sanlive.com and tweets short things at @sandysandy.

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