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Steampunk fashion may include bustles, corsets, gowns and petticoats. (Provided via Ryan Spellman)

Annual Steampunk Spectacle to include live music, tea cozies and a lunar earthrise ball

Steampunk enthusiasts of Athens will come together and celebrate the Victorian version of space and travel with an evening of live music, dancing and a costume contest for it’s sixth annual spectacle.

Steampunk is a subgenre of fashion, artistic expression and gadgetry, which evoked from the 19th century Victorian age.

This year, the theme for the annual steampunk spectacle is “From the Earth to the Moon,” and the Athens Public Library hopes to fulfill certain categories regarding steampunk culture.

“We want to have a mixture of recreational, educational, cultural and creative things to offer the Athens community,” Todd Bastin, art coordinator for the library and the head coordinator of the Steampunk Spectacle, said. 

The festivities of the spectacle will commence Friday at 7 p.m. and will last through Saturday until 11:59 p.m.

Every year the library tries to incorporate a technological aspect within the schedule. This year, people can come and hear the rare sounds of the first electronic instrument ever created, the theremin.

“We’ve been trying to find a theremin for years, and the Ohio University School of Music just recently acquired one,” Bastin said. “Aaron Butler will be our guest performer who will also have a discussion about the instrument after the concert.”

Another big event that will take place is the tea cozies craft show and silent auction. In the Victorian period, tea cozies evolved from merely two-dimensional decoration to three dimensional decoration. Nowadays, the Athens County Knitters have taken things to imaginative heights and beauty.

“The local Athens County Knitters make these incredible, creative and sometimes humorous tea cozies,” Bastin said.

Last year, the silent auction raised $1,000 that the library used to buy craft books. This year, there are twice as many tea cozies being sold. The library hopes to raise enough money to purchase an adult tandem bike for their bicycle fleet.

Ryan Spellman, a library support specialist at Alden Library, is heavily invested in steampunk culture and the philosophical aspect of the subgenre.

“In the Victorian times, everything was very stylized and meant to last,” Spellman said. “I look at steampunk as something that is combating against the ‘throw away society’ problem we have. You’ll find a lot of steampunks tend to want to fix things, DIY, repurpose and tinker.”

Many of those aspects of steampunk are reflected in people’s costumes at the annual steampunk ball. This year, the Lunar Earthrise Ball will feature live music by Amethystone, performances by Whiplash Fusion Dancers and a costume contest.

Steampunk fashion may include bustles, corsets, gowns and petticoats. Spellman creates his own props that go along with his costume.

“I hate taking pictures any other time, but when I have on everything I worked really hard on making, I strike a pose,” Spellman said.

Megan Rogers, a graduate student studying costume technology, goes thrifting for her steampunk costumes, as well as makes certain elements from scratch.

“One of the best things about steampunk is that you can be at any level of dressing up,” Rogers said. “It’s such a great community of people that you could show up wearing anything and still be able to have a great time.”


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