Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is It Steampunk? Week 6: Steampunk Owl Sculpture

Welcome back for the newest edition of Is It Steampunk (About 9 hours late, my bad). On the docket today, this Steampunk Owl Sculture from Etsy Creator CedarMoon. Priced at $125, this sculpture stands at over 13 inches tall and is about 7 inches wide. The seller has a lot of other sculptures of different animals all with the same sort of stylings.

From the seller:
"SteamPunk Owl is a dapper handmade Victorian bird limited edition sculpture for book shelves and home decor. He is created with a large up-cycled plastic easter egg or papier mache egg, old and new gears (and wooden gears), screws nails, wire, copper paints and old earring for a monocle, a wind-up key from a junk drawer and assorted parts and pieces and junk drawer finds. He is not completely water resistant for outdoor life in a garden because that tends to dull some details with the extra clear coating. He comes with a top hat, monocle, vest and pocket watch to complete his outfit...all hand made."

And so it has come down to this. You've seen the product. You've read the introduction. But, Is Is Steampunk?

To vote, use the buttons at the bottom of the post. If you believe the item is indeed Steampunk, click "Stone Cold Steam." If, however, you think it is an imitator, click "Sahara Desert." Happy voting!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Is It Steampunk? Week 5: BDSM Bondage Steampunk Red Sonja Collar

In light of Fifty Shades of Grey coming out recently I decided to use this "BDSM Bondage Red Sonja Collar Goth Steampunk Slave Fetish Cosplay" product for week 5 of my favorite new game, IS IT STEAMPUNK???  (Yes, I'm going there).

For those that are new to the game here's the lowdown on the rules: Every week I choose a product that is listed for sale under the heading of "Steampunk" and post it here. Then, it is up to you, my loyal readers, to decide if it is, in fact, Steampunk. I'll provide key details like price, product description and anything else provided to help you make your decision. Once you've drawn your own conclusion, head to the voting buttons at the bottom of the post and if you believe it is Steampunk, click "Stone Cold Steam." If you think it's anything but Steampunk, click "Sahara Desert." You can also choose to sound off in the comments section below!

Let's get started.

From the seller: "The Red Sonja is an elegant posture collar that is as beautiful as it is sturdy. Made to provide strict support in order to keep the head up and front facing always.
Available in a number of color choices. Made of buffalo; super strong but no break in is necessary. It's ready to go when you are. Locking hasp buckle. Solid welded hardware."

The Red Sonja collar retails for a dodgy $69.00 (Really?) and ships straight from Detroit from Etsy Seller Temptatia.

What do you think, gang? IS IT STEAMPUNK???

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oliver Twist: Steampunk Edition?

Photo Courtesy of Theater Latte Da
In a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Broadway classic 'Oliver!' is getting a Steampunk rendition in the Twin Cities. Being the book nerd that I am, I think this is fantastic. While not my first thought when I think of Steampunk, Dickens was a Victorian writer whose work may lend itself quite well to the genre.

When I think of Charles Dickens, I don't think of Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, or any of his more famous works. Instead, I remember slogging through Bleak House, the 800+ page tome that was initially released as 20 monthly installments.  I remember it because it was a snapshot of London during Dickens' time that wasn't as apparent in his other works because it had less to do with the story.  Oliver Twist is about Oliver Twist, whereas Bleak House isn't really about the long list of main characters, it's about the times and the place creating the circumstances by which the characters suffer. Did I finish it? Sadly, no. Now it seems if I was going to finish it I would have done so already.  But I digress, London in the mid-nineteenth century is the quintessential time for Steampunk renditions of classic works.  I only hope this is the first of many plays I see as the Steampunk genre continues to proliferate to the masses.

The play is being held at Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis, MN from February 4th, 2015 through March 1st, 2015 and costs between $36 and $56 per ticket.  The theater is located at 345 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.  The Phone number to contact the theater is 612-339-3003.  Any of my readers from Minneapolis should certainly check it out! If you saw the show, contact me at Trevor.Scott.Schmidt [at] and share your story. I'll be sure to feature it in my next blog.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Is It Steampunk? Week 4: Steampunk Rat Ornament

It's time for this week's edition of Is It Steampunk?  Today's contestant: a product from Etsy user GreatHeronDesigns entitled "Steampunk Rat Ornament." GreatHeronDesigns hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan and has, as of this writing, 48 other Steampunk items for sale.  The item in question costs $20 and currently has 2 customer reviews.

First, a seller's description:
"..." Well, there really is no description on this item, and does there actually need to be? It is, however, made from polymer, clay, and "Metal doo dads."

That's the buildup, but now it's time for the big question. You've seen the picture, you've seen the "description," so how about it? Is It Steampunk?

Sound off in the comments below and don't forget to click those voting buttons! If you believe the Steampunk Rat Ornament is Steampunk, click "Stone Cold Steam." If you think it's anything but steam, click "Sahara Desert."

Don't forget to come back next Friday for an all-new edition of Is It Steampunk?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Steampunk 2 Prong Clutch Purse Review

Etsy user ArmouredWolf posted this Steampunk Clutch a couple of months ago and its already garnered some notice from users. As of this writing there are 64 customer reviews and it sells for $80+ depending on style and color.

The craftsmanship looks quite good and I like the industrial nature of the chain. This is the kind of item that would look good regardless of whether you are wearing traditional Steampunk attire or a jeans and a T-Shirt. It's made from Leather, Steel, and Nickel is large enough to hold a phone. Hey, these days that's not the easiest feat in the world.  On a side note, does it feel like we're going back to the Saved by the Bell days of large cell phones?  Thank you Zach Morris.

From the Seller: "The Clutch style is light in hand, small & secure. Perfect for a stylish accoutrement to any night on the town outfit.
Belt Pouch is graciously designed for cosplay, Steampunk, or renaissance garb. Able to attach its self to a belt or chains can be added to clip to the D rings on the side for a one of a kind thigh bag.
Purse Style! Our Personal Favorite..... This version is perfect for any outfit! the hand woven stainless steel chain is light, small, and strong. Personally tested everyday for over a month. This style can hold up to any wear and tear."

I'd say this one is a go.

Trevor's Rating of the Steampunk Clutch: 1989% (Also the year Saved by the Bell first aired. Coincidence?)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention 4: March 6-8, 2015

I've been looking for a good Steampunk convention and came across the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention in Old Tucson, AZ.  Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this year due to scheduling conflicts, but I thought I'd feature the convention in case any of my readers are able to make it out. As of this writing the highest level of tickets (Aristocrat) are sold out by there are still Maverick and Explorer tickets available for $64 and $41 respectively.

This year's convention features Steampunk bands Abney Park, The Cog is Dead, and more.  Here's some links to get you started.

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention
Special Events

If anyone does make it out, I'd be happy to feature your story on my blog!  Please email Trevor.Scott.Schmidt [at] if you would like to recount your experience or send me pictures from the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Is It Steampunk? Week 3: PVC Bustle Skirt

It's time to play Is It Steampunk?  It's the game where I post a picture of a real product for sale and you tell me if it's actually Steampunk or just another imitator.  Use the voting buttons at the bottom of the post to tell me if it is Stone-Cold Steam (Steampunk) or the Sahara Desert (Not Steampunk). Let's get started.

This week's product is by Etsy user GothicBurlesque and is called a "Slick Pvc Bustle Skirt STEAMPUNK Goth BURLESQUE."  It sells for $60.00 on Etsy 176 customer reviews with an almost 5-star average rating.

How about it Steampunkers?  Is It Steampunk?  Click those voting buttons or sound off in the comments below.  If not Steampunk, how would you describe it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sewor Steampunk Watch Review

I came across another unfamiliar watch brand on Etsy so I decided to do some snooping around. This particular watch was posted by user SchimmelsShop out of Gilbert, Arizona, USA. The watch has 1,036 reviews as of this posting and almost all of them are 5-Star.  I found this a little suspicious so I looked through the reviews and found that the reviews appear to be legit. A couple of the users complained that the leather band felt "Cheap" but for $35 they were okay with it and still gave it at least 4 stars.

The brand Sewor is a Chinese company (Which makes sense given that their brand name reads like Sewer).  Something must have been lost in translation.  Apart from Etsy in the United States, very few websites carry the brand. However, they are quite popular on Alibaba and Aliexpress, and you'll pay less than half the cost per unit.  Of course, you might have to buy at least 10. Etsy has become littered with resellers of Chinese products lately, which can be a good or bad thing. You're likely to pay less for a decent product (Even if you could get it cheaper elsewhere), but the point of Etsy is to be a marketplace for handmade or at least somewhat unique products that are not manufactured in bulk.

Doesn't this go against that very principle? I find it ironic when Steampunk items in particular are sold in mass quantities, eschewing the point of the genre: idolizing a simpler time with unique products that were singularly made for you. Is this unrealistic for the average consumer? Sure. But that doesn't mean we have to buy the same thing every Tom, Dick, and Jane are buying. At the very least, if someone's going to sell a product like this on Etsy, I would hope they would change the band for something they hand made. If you're going to go the commercial route, you might as well buy it for $15 on Aliexpress.

Trevor's Rating of the Sewor Watch: 80% (For a standard Chinese-made Steampunk-influenced watch that can be bought for $15 somewhere else. Please exercise those fingers and do a quick google search. An informed consumer will drive down prices on all products).