Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steampunk Media: WindyCon 36

While working on a separate project, I stumbled upon this outstanding video from WindyCon 36, in full Steampunk glory! The selection of individuals displaying their outfits was outstanding, and I would opnion that WindyCon is certainly becoming one of the top-tier Steampunk gathering! Do enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Events: 27-29 November, 2009

With an additional holiday in the United States, there is that much more time to spend on SL… so without further ado, here are the events for this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…

Friday, the 27th of November, 2009

What: Antiquity’s Ironclad Battles
When: Friday, 11am – 12 noon SLT
Where: Antiquity Port Royal

Perhaps the longest running ironclad battles of SL, Antiquity’s ironclad battles have some of the best competition on SL.  Test your mettle against seasoned mariners and see if you can out last the old salts!

For more information, please visit:

What: Victoriana’s November Ball
When: Friday, 6pm SLT
Where: Victoriana Carnivale

The second annual November ball will take place in the beautiful Victoriana sim of Carnivale (yes, the one with the spiffy era amusement park).  Do help celebrate one of Victoriana’s largest events by stopping by and indulging in the celebrations!

Saturday, the 28th of November, 2009

What: Bringing Reninance Music from the 15th century to the 21st century
When: Saturday, 12 (noon), SLT
Where: Le Chat, Giverny

From the press release… “In an ongoing effort to bring high quality live music to Second Life, Miss Soliel Snook, owner of Giverny, will bring the Swiss duo of Tom Dowd and Francois Pronguet to the bistro Le Chat au Poil Toffu in Giverny.”

Miss Snook commented that “I am very excited that we will be streaming live video of the concert coming from Switzerland, as well as having the avatars, Tom and Francois, performing their music.  This promises to be an extraordinary event that should not be missed, especially for those early music lovers, and lovers of pure sound and classical Baroque music.”  The artists will be playing a Renaissance, Baroque, and some Celtic pieces.

Giverny is modeled after the French village, home, and garden of the impressionist painter Claude Monet, and features the Monet Garden, the village of Giverny, and of course, the Bistro, where the concert will be held.

The LM for the concert is:

What: The Ungratefuls “Un-party”
When: Saturday, 2 to 4 pm SLT
Where: Tiny Tim, The Vernian Sea, New Babbage

From the press release… “Tired of everybody being so greatful for everything?  Weary of stores already playing Christmas music around the clock?”  Then this is the event for you!

For more information, please visit:

What: Battle Storm Saturdays
When: Saturday, 7:30pm SLT
Where: Obsidian Sea/Port Tiburon, Steeltopia

A new regular event, the Battle Storm Saturdays is (and will be) a regular iron clad event for the daring Captains of the Steamlands.  Do take the opportunity to enhance one’s Steampunk nautical combat skills and have fun sending your friends to Davey Jones’ locker!

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, the 29th of November, 2009

What: Antiquity’s Pirate Week opening, 2009
When: Sunday, at 1pm SLT
Where: Antiquity Tortuga

The Pirate Week Opening party will commence on Sunday and continue all week with a variety of events in an effort to entice those of a piratical bent to join the Pirates of Antiquity.  The first event will be a get-together in Antiquity Tortuga and the music will be run by Slado.  For more information regarding Antiquity’s Pirate Week, please visit Antiquity’s Ning, at


What: Music Appreciation Night
When: Sunday, 8pm to 10pm, SLT
Where: The New Champagne Rooms, Babbage Square

Enjoy the musical endeavors of the talented crew at the New Champagne Room – New Babbage’s outstanding Burlesque location!  For more information, please visit:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

A quick note to give my thanks to all of my friends in SL, for the opportunity to reside in New Babbage, and to all who make it a point of taking a few moments out of their day to visit the Heliograph.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Babbage’s Flee Week Wrapup

Many years ago (actually only two, but that is an eternity in SL years), a gathering of representatives of the fleets of what is now known as the Steamlands at Thorn Island Summit.  The idea behind this meeting was an attempt to coordinate a larger gathering of the nautical participants of the diverse Steampunk and Neo-Victorian sims into a larger celebration.  Alas, in spite of the nascent plans, it remained only a speculative exercise until New Babbage’s Fleet Week.

Originally, the idea was intended to be the basis for the Piermont’s November event, the Uniform Ball.  However, with a bit of brain-storming, it was realized that the event had more potential beyond the Piermont’s outstanding events.  One thing led to another, and plans for a more extensive series of event developed.

(Adm Jennings of the RAN, photo courtesy of Mr. A. Cleanslate)

(Preparations for the Windjammer Race – Photo by Mr. J. Branagh)

Three major challenges faced the Fleet Week organizers.  First, deciding upon the events to take place for Fleet Week.  Next was coordinating between the various Steamlands to “pass the word” about it, ranging from the participator packs (the first ones were “ironclads in a bottle” – with posters and information cards), followed by directly contacting the diverse Steamlands.  I had the pleasure to make contact with the Grand Duchess of Antiquity, Ms. Angel Magellan, and Miss Mailbu DuPont, the head of Antiquity’s Yacht Club, to invite them to Fleet Week.

Lastly, the actual execution of the events.  Running the multitude of events was a monumental exercise in coordination, but to the best of my knowledge, there were no major glitches or issues with the competitions.  The sailing competition has been done numerous times in other sims (so there was a precedence), but this was the first I had heard of doing underwater races.  I am certain underwater races have been done before in SL, but perhaps not to this scale.

(Windjammer Races 2, photo by Mayor Tenk)

Alas, my RL precluded my attendance at some events, but the very least I can do is provide what synopsis I was able to gather from conversations/interviews and associated Nings and blogs.

The Shipbuilder’s Expo (Throughout the week)
An extensive showing of new ships and ironclads made their way to Port Babbage and Clockhaven, demonstrating the dazzing array of new ships which exist in SL’s Steamlands.  Making a choice as to which was the “best ship” proved to be a challenge to the judges, but the results in the shipbuilding contest were as follows

First Place – TSS The Brigg
Second Place – Collingwood, by Kandace Commons
Third Place – The Plank with a Nail, by Sidney Arctor

And the “People’s Choice” award went to the Untervoshboot, by Vash Crimson

Nonetheless, the amazing works displayed by the builders was amazing.  Kudos to all who participated!

The Iron Melee (Thursday) 
Congratulations Armada’s Scoundrel Fleet for their victory in the Fleet Week’s Iron Melee.  I understand the competition was quite intense, but Armada’s ironclads won the day at the end of the battles.
On a related note, those who wish to sharpen their ironclad skills in preparation for future battles, Antiquity holds a ironclad battles on Fridays, at 11am SLT, and a new regular event will be starting next week (Saturdays, at 7pm, SLT) at the Obsidian Sea (Steeltopia)        (Steaming Ironclad, photo by Miss B. Carver)
for ironclad battles.

The Fleet Review (Friday)
The Fleet Review was a showcase of the impressive ships from the established and new shipbuilders in Second Life’s Steamlands.  A wide range of nautical gems passed in review, from classic sailing ships to unique sailing vessels, and from weather-beaten steamships to glistening works on the water (many can be seen in Mr. Eliot’s production).  An outstanding affair!

(The Collingwood, photo by Miss. B. Carver)

The Windjammer Race (Saturday)
A speed race between ships, this particular nautical stakes were a measure of speed, calculations, and the ability not to crash between sims!  Seriously, this keenly attended competition was won by Antiquity’s Bridget Jennings, one of Royal Antiquity Navy’s sharpest captains.  A BZ to her!

(RAN Admiral Jennings, photo c. of Mr. A. Cleanslate)

Antiquity’s Embassies’ Ball (Saturday)
A formal ball to celebrate Antiquity’s outreach to the various sims was held earlier in the day, and citizens of Antiquity and those from beyond the shores attended the soirĂ©e.  The hospitable atmosphere and excellent music only enhanced the camaraderie of the Embassies’ Ball.

(Antiquity Grand Ballroom, photo courtesy of the Antiquity Gazette)

Submarine Races (Saturday)
A multi-heat race, with pairs of submersible devices competing to see which could navigate through the New Babbage waters quickest, it was eventually won by Miss Kimika Ying.  In addition to seeing some of the unique submersibles, the underwater viewing stand provided an impressive sight of this underwater event.  A Bravo Zulu to Miss Ying, and kudos to all who participated!

(Dr. O versus Duke Pearse, photo by Miss B. Galacia)

The Uniform Ball (Saturday)
The Piermont had another incomparable event, providing a memorable ending New Babbage’s Fleet Week.  Perhaps the best attended event at the Piermont to date, there was a dazzling display of Steampunk militaria dress present.  In fact, there was a competition for Best Dress Uniform, which was won by Mr. Moses Mureaux and Duke Edward Pearse.

(photo c. Miss B. Heinrichs)

Kudos to all who attended and participated in the Fleet Week events, and personally, I’ll be looking forward to next year’s Fleet Week wherever it may be!

For more details on the events of New Babbage’s Fleet Week, please visit the following locations….

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Babbage Fleet Week Movie

Mr. Loki Eliot has once again produced an outstanding production, highlithing Fleet Week in New Babbage!  Please do enjoy his masterful machima about the first major Trans-Steamland sim gatherings in SL!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Steampunk Events 20 – 22 November, 2009

Fleet week is by far the notable event this week… a brief synopsis of the upcoming occasions…

Saturday, 21 November
11 am SLT – The Windjammer Race (New Babbage)
1 pm SLT – The Embassy Ball (an Antiquity event open to all)
2 pm SLT – The Submarine Races (New Babbage)
6 pm SLT – The Uniform Ball at the Piermont (New Babbage)

For more details, please visit the New Babbage Ning, at:
and the Antiquity Ning, at:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Abney Park’s new album, Aether Shanties, to be released December 1st

Aether Shanties, the new album from Abney Park, will be released on December 1st, or as Captain Robert stated…

I’m typing this email within minutes of approving the final masters, and sending them off to be printed – and I’m listening to the completed tracks as I type. This is by far our greatest work, and I couldn’t be prouder of it.

The day this CD goes on sale the entire band, and quite a few friends will be staying up late onboard the Ophelia stuffing CD’s into boxes, and making sure they are on their way to you within hours of your ordering…so they can make it to you in time for Christmas.

For more details, take a moment to visit Abney Park’s website, which contains the full spectrum of options for acquiring another one of their outstanding works, at…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Steampunk Media: Riese, Episodes 1 & 2

Episode 1

Episode 2

The first episode of Riese slipped past me, but both are presented here.  For a bit more insight, not only would I recommend a visit to the website, but also visit the youtube comments.  They are enlightening, but also can be a bit tough as well.  Kudos to the producers on their work, and I’m certainly looking forward to more episodes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Babbage’s Fleet Week!

New Babbage’s Fleet week has begun!  The first gathering of Second Life’s Steamland Navies, there will be a cacophony of events to enjoy.  While there are plenty of displays and posters available promoting the goings-on of the week, allow me to present a snippet of week’s celebration…

Miss BlackOpal on her new Tallship (near Clockhaven, I believe…)

Sunday, 15th of November

Ship Builders’ Expo and Shipbuilding Contest Begins!
– Shipbuilders offering ironclad-era nautical vessels will be set up along the pier and wharves of New Babbage, offering their wares to the public.  The best vessels will be awarded trophies and the public can vote on their favorites throughout the week.

Thursday, 19th of November

The Iron Melee (7pm, SLT)
-An epic naval skirmish featuring the navies of the Steamlands, slugging it out in the open ocean.  Rumor has it that pirates and other mercenaries may be in attendance as well, although reports of mer-creatures trying to sabotage the proceedings are obviously untrue…

Friday, 20th of November

Fleet Review (1pm, SLT)
– The State-based navies of the Steamlands, in their finest regalia, proceed on a course taking them past the reviewing stands on the outskirts of the Vernian Sea.  The public is invited to attend!

Saturday, 21st of November

Windjammer Race (11 am, SLT)
– Tall ships and wind-powered vessels compete in this “Round the Vernian” yachting race, before cheering crowds gathered on the viewing stands.  Trophies will be on hand for the winners!

Antiquity’s Embassies’ Ball (1pm, SLT)
– The community of Antiquity will be holding an Embassies’ Ball in the name of inter-sim cooperation!  Do take a moment to visit the Grand Ballroom in the Antiquity Township for this enjoyable event.

Submarine Races (2pm, SLT)
– The finest submariners, and their daring mechanical marvels, will line up to compete against each other in this first-ever underwater tournament.  The public is invited to view the races from specially designed under-water viewing stands!  Appropriate dress is encouraged!

Uniform Ball at the Piermont Landing (6pm, SLT)
– The public is invited to attend an inter-Steamland, nautical themed ball hosted by Miss Breezy Carver at the Piermont Landing in New Babbage.  Naval uniforms for officers and sailors are encouraged.  Shipbuilding awards and race winners will be honored.

For more information, please turn to the New Babbage Ning, at:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steampunk Media: Largo’s Workshop

Mr. Largo Lax produced a quite well done film, highlight “Lagro’s Workshop”, located in Clockhaven.  He made an extra effort in post-production to ensure it had an era appearance and did an outstanding job!  Please do enjoy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steampunk Events 13 – 15 November, 2009

This weekend is the gateway to what looks to be a very busy week, nautically speaking, in the Steamlands.  So, without further ado, here is the maritime-flavored events…

What: Murikami Steamworks 2nd Anniversary celebration
When: Saturday, November 14th, from 7-9 pm SLT
Where: Isle of Skye, Winterfell Andoyne

Perhaps the oldest Ironclad shipyard in SL, Murikami is celebrating a long line of ships with a gathering and events in Winterfell.  Do pay a visit to see the lastest in nautical warfare and engage in SL RC races!

What:  Aether Salon – “Furnishing”, hosted by Miss Canolli Capalini
When: Sunday, November 15th, at 2pm SLT
Where: Babbage Palisaides

The next in the ongoing series of Aether Salons, Furnishing will highlight the details of era design and evolution of furniture.  A signature part of construction, or as listed at their website…

As the saying goes, clothes makes the person, and by extension, how we decorate our living space makes a statement about who we are. What items do we choose to surround ourselves with after long day at work? What determines our furniture selections? Is it a desire for fashion, strictly utilitarian, or flat out comfort?

For more details, please visit the Aether Salon’s website, at:

What: Fleet Week’s Ship Builder’s Expo and Shipbuilding contest
When: All day, ongoing throughout the week
Where: The docks and piers of New Babbage

The shipbuilder’s expo will offer iron-clad vessels that will be set up along the piers and wharfs of New Babbage, offering their wares to the public.  The best vessels will be awarded trophies, and the public will be able to vote on their favorites throughout the week.  For more details, please visit…

Friday, November 13, 2009

The New Victorians and Tintypes in the New York Times

While reading about the issues of the day yesterday, I stumbled upon a surprising article in the Style section which caught my eye, titled “Just in from the 1890s“.  Not only did it review newer trends seen in fashion studios which are very similar to traditional gentlemen’s attire from the Steampunk era (or the “antiquarian aesthetic” look, as the author describes it), but the article provides details on the types of influences (e.g. older era military uniforms, greatcoats, suspenders) and an analysis of materials (e.g. tweed, flannel, denim).

Additionally, the piece has an enlightening article on Tintypes, a traditional means of photography used in the turn of the century.  The companion photograph slide-show illustrates the methods and work involved with producing these works, which are more involved than I had originally realized.

On the down side, there is the issue with pricing.  Looking at the photographs of the gentlemen in said attire is quite illustrative, but seeing the prices the purveyors wish to charge are stunning!  From a Spurr grey casual wool coat USD $2,695 to flannel shirts going for USD $75, the prices are enough to take one’s breath away. Then again, I would like to think that no self-respecting Steampunk individual would remotely consider these charges!  Still, the fact that the “New Victorian” style is making its way into the mainstream is perhaps a signal that the braying of the nay-sayers who proclaimed that “Steampunk is dead” are simply full of hot air.

To read this article, and see the multi-media work on “New Victorian” fashions and Tintypes, please turn to:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brazillian Steampunk on Wired Magazine

A brief letter was forwarded to Mr. Bruce Sterling by the Conselho Steampunk, a group of Brazillian Steampunk enthusiasts who run an exemplary genre-based organization in Brazil.  However, they also provide more details on projects they are working on, including an international Steampunk Facebook-esque project.  To read more of this letter to Mr. Sterling, please visit…

… and though the readers of the Heliograph are familiar with Conselho Steampunk and (an associate for another project of theirs), one can always indulge in another visit to their excellent web sites, at…

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steampunk Media: Big Top Magazine

The entertainers know as Lucent Dossier, travelling artists with a Steampunk infusement in their work (profiled at Big Top Magazine).

A brief Veterans day post – a new magazine has appeared on the horizon, one which combines Steampunk, Circus society, Belly Dancing, and a variety of other genre-related topics into one space – Big Top Magazine.  Still fairly new from what I can divine, with the diversity of topics (as New Babbage once had a circus, and it as Abney Park has a belly dancer), we’ll have to see how this site develops!  To visit it, please turn to:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gatehouse Gazette, Issue #9

The Gatehouse Gazette has been released (albeit, I hadn’t read it until yesterday), and once again, Mr. Ottens (et. al.) have produced another outstanding issue.  This issue focuses on “Industry” – factories, industrialization during the turn of the century, railways, and many more of the items that are “near and dear” to the heart of those who indulge in Steampunk

Additionally, there are book reviews (the new Boilerplate work, Leviathan, and an interview with the author of “The Alchemy of Murder”), and their excellent columns (including one of my favorites, the Liquor Cabinet, with a review of Martinis – outstanding)!  To enjoy this new issue, please visit…

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Results of the latest poll, and the next question about “Steampunk & Magic”

Steampunk Goggles by alvaramorrigan (@ Deviant Art)

(My apologies in advance – seems that Blogger has some kind of graphics issue, preventing me from properly formatting graphics in the article. Quite unhappy about this development… perhaps it might be time to migrate to a different provider!)

The most recent poll question addressed how the readers of the Heliograph integrate Steampunk into their lives, be it real, second, or what-not. To my surprise, the results of the poll were as such

Indulge in Steampunk via Second Life only 21 votes (23%)
Enjoy Steampunk in Real Life only 30 votes (34%)
Live the dream! Both RL & SL Steampunk 14 votes (15%)
Experience Steampunk through other means 16 votes (18%)
None of the above 07 votes (07%)

I must admit, I had expected a higher count from the Second Live individuals, as the blog has a Second Life infusion but as one can see, the RL contingent of Steampunk had a stronger turn out. There was a strong endorsement of Steampunk for a more “enhanced” life (e.g. both RL & SL), which takes a dedication that most may not have (or perhaps more readers just need to visit SL – lol)! Interesting, the fourth category, the “other means”, which after discussing it with a few individuals, would seem to mean to experience Steampunk through literature only, had a good showing as well. So what does it mean (imo)?.

Well, I’ll be adding more RL posts in addition to SL posts on Steampunk. For now, I have a sidebar for upcoming RL events (though there is a location that is more comprehensive below).

Additionally, an original premise that I had subscribed to, which was that Steampunk was biased more towards a simple focused literary genre, with a few well-known individuals crafting unique items, and not much more RL integration, was flawed. It appears the RL (and RL/SL) contingent is quite active – which is, of course, outstanding! In addition to the poll, other circumstances that influenced my perception were

1) The Oxford Museum of History and Science Steampunk Exhibition – Perhaps the biggest boost to Steampunk was to have such a well-known establishment as Oxford University put Steampunk on display. Especially for a long amount of time (from October to February), is quite the coup for Steampunk as a genre (standard amount of time). Aside from being recognized as an emergent genre, it also shows that it is able to generate the interest from the public necessary to raise the awareness of Steampunk (yes, there are those individuals who know nothing about it as of yet)!

For links to the exhibition, please turn to:

2) TOR Books’ October “Steampunk Month” – When Tor books had “Steampunk month”, I was concerned that it might be a simple “hat tip” to the genre, and a shuffle away towards other fictional genres. I was quite wrong, fortunately! They did quite a “bang-up” job with their recognition of Steampunk literature, and the running daily topics from their guest contributors was outstanding. One of the weakness of the genre was the slow emergence of a strong body of modern Steampunk literature (imo). There are the “Classics” by the “Masters” (e.g. Verne, Wells, et al), but for a while, the amount of Steampunk literature seemed to be a tad limited. With Steampunk month, more works have been highlighted, and hopefully more will be inclined to pay the genre a visit in their writings.

3) RL Conventions – Last month’s SteamCon has set the bar for RL Steampunk in many ways. Though there were some glitches in the organization aspect of the convention, I would attribute that was to the popular growth of Steampunk. Having seem the photos and the narrative that New Babbage’s Dr. O provided, it seems it was the proverbial “smashing good time”. If you were unable to make it to the Northwest for SteamCon, fear not, as there are plenty more events on the horizon, such as WindyCon (next weekend!), the Steampunk World’s Fair, the World Steampunk Expo, and the Steamposium, to name only a few! For a more detailed listing, please see…

4) Media recognition – Though there are movies have done well (name some), and not so well (e.g. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, ect), the fact that Steampunk is slowly stepping into the general populace. As some remember, even the Heliograph was mentioned for a couple of small pieces on Steamupnk – so if this virtual fish-wrapper can garner that attention, then things must be looking up!

5) Steampunk Empire – Finally, there is a newer outlet for Steampunk, via a Ning titled the “Steampunk Empire”. Focused on RL Steampunk, it has extensive depth on the genre, from contributed and found videos and excellent discussions to the mundane (e.g. the historically accurate method of brewing Earl Grey Tea). If you haven’t visited the site as of yet, hurry to the Empire, at:

That’s my take on the most recent results, and onto the next poll Magic in Steampunk. In New Babbage there is quite a heated discussion regarding “magic” in the genre, with both sides (the pro and anti magic sides making impassioned arguments). The body of literature has this dichotomy as well, with most “classic” writers and some modern authors eschewing the idea of magic (again, Verne, Wells, ect), while others, such as China Mieville, integrate it intimately in their stories. Trying to define “magic” is always a tricky topic, so I have attempted to keep the categories for it as basic as possible, providing simplistic choices.

So without laboring much more about the topics, my question is – “What level of “magic” are you comfortable with in Steampunk genre?”

I have divvied up the categories as such, on a scale from one to five.

One – No magic at all! Steampunk is all about science, steam, and technology only!

Two – Very little if any at all, mostly things termed as “magic” are explainable slight of hand and blinking of the eyes, but some additional unexplained aspects do exist.

Three – Unusual mythos, very minor “spell casting”, and some mysterious beings exist (e.g. Cthulhu mythos, Vampires, Werewolves, ect), but are still uncommon.

Four – Magic and the Supernatural is known and usable to a portion of the populace, but is not available to everyone – only a select few.

Five – Magic and the Supernatural should be integral part of Steampunk, and can easily be a common part genre.

If you wish to read up on the thread about magic and Steampunk in New Babbage, please turn to:

(I believe there are a few more, and I will add them as I locate them).

If you can’t find a choice you can endorse, please feel free to leave a comment on any details you would like to clarify.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Babbage Events – 3rd Annual Burning Barrel Race

Once again, our own Mr. Loki was able to capture the 3rd Annual New Babbage Burning Barrel Race! His work is always outstanding, and his latest production is no exception – please do enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steampunk Games: Guns of Icarus

Guns of Icarus | from Muse Games on Vimeo.

The Guns of Icarus is now available for play in your browser! To do so, please visit:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Steampunk Reviews – Episode #11

Rounding out the Hellboy Steampunk Reviews, edition #11, the “mixed media” edition (also known as the “Halloween Special Edition”) is a tad late, but here nonetheless! Do enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Steampunk Review – Episode #10

Miss Yankee999 continues her series on Steampunk/Hellboy via the cinematographic productions. As always, her perceptions and insights are always incisive and entertaining! Please do enjoy!