Friday, October 21, 2016

SteampunkFest in Oxnard

At the SteampunkFest in Oxnard
Like everyone else who watched TV in the 1960s, my earliest exposure to steampunk was the The Wild Wild West, which aired Friday nights on CBS. Of course, the term "steampunk" wasn't invented yet, but the concept was the same: James T. West and his partner Artie (my favorite) used all manner of 20th-century spy gadgets and weapons to foil each week's villain, even though the show was set in the Old West. It was Have-Gun-Will-Travel-meets-James-Bond and we loved it. 

Even though I've taken a distant interest in steampunk ever since Robert Downey, Jr's great reboot of the Sherlock Holmes franchise in 2009, we've never been to any events. That is, until Sunday, when we joined our friends Al and Candi at the SteampunkFest in Oxnard, some 45 miles north of L.A. With a wardrobe that ventures back no further than the 1950s, the only outfit I could cobble together was a denim top and shorts, cinched at the waist by a faux leather belt. Pathetic! Luckily Candi, who is an extremely talented purveyor of all things steampunk, brought along extra hats: a small brown fascinator for me and bowler and goggles for Tim. At least it looked like we were trying, if only a little bit.

The fest was held in Oxnard's Heritage Square, a collection of vintage Victorian buildings relocated to the center of town. There was music and vendors and a costume contest, which Candi entered. She got 2nd place in the "gadgets category," though we all thought she deserved the grand prize for costume. (You be the judge . . .) Still, we had a fun day.

Al and Candi

Al and Tim

Candi and me

Tim casting a dubious eye at a 19th-century cardsharp

Master of ceremonies Dr. Phineas (left) and 
the contest judges, Star Wars steampunkers 

Phineas interviewing Candi 

Phineas with the men's winner

Candi with the men's runner-up

All winners (women's winner is 4th from the left) 

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