Steampunk World’s Fair was the gayest ever

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With plenty of straights in attendance, the annual Steampunk World’s Fair has become almost as big an event for New Jersey’s LGBT community (and beyond) as the gay pride festivals. And why would it not be? A chance to dress as elaborately or even outrageously as you want to – to create a persona of fantasy and actually live it for a few days. How could that not be a huge hit with us queers?

Steampunk Convention atendee

Steampunk Convention atendee. Photos and story by Toby Grace.

Held this year in May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Somerset, it was three days of incredible music and costumes. Especially notable was The Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band along with numerous wandering minstrels and opera singers, comic and graphic artists, mind-readers and fire-eaters, writers and authors, dancers and performers.

Steampunk Convention outfit The very special and talented Copal, a band that sets an evocative tone with lavish voices of violin and cello flickering against a twilight landscape of electronic swells and textures, impelled by a driving rhythmic sense, and original melodies steeped in global musical traditions. NYC-based, Copal is lead by violinist/composer Hannah Thiem surrounded by an impressive cast of talented collaborators. The band’s sound is a steampunk melding of styles set on a world stage. Nordic melodies ride Middle-Eastern rhythms into the halls of a remembered past. See www.copalmusic.com for CD info.

Moving against a fantastic backdrop of constant performances, perhaps the best show was provided by the crowds of hundreds of fabulously outfitted attendees. Many came with in-depth characterizations developed and often acted out.

Check the SWF website for numerous photos of what I’m talking about. Pictures, especially in this case, are indeed worth a thousand words. Start planning your outfit now for next year’s SWF and watch the website for details at: www.oneiroievents.com/thesteampunkworldsfair­

With plenty of straights in attendance, the annual Steampunk World’s Fair has become almost as big an event for New Jersey’s LGBT community (and beyond) as the gay pride festivals. And why would it not be? A chance to dress as elaborately or even outrageously as you want to – to create a persona of fantasy and actually live it for a few days. How could that not be a huge hit with us queers?