If you were on a committee to provide decorations for a dance, your shopping list will likely include balloons, streamers and crepe… lots of crepe.
But not if you were decorating the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre for the Steampunk Ball 2.0 Tesla Boogaloo.
Instead, you will need polished brass, iron, wood and leather for the cogs and exposed pistons of fantastical machines that are futuristic, yet old-timey.
Or, as Logan Sherk explains it: “Steampunk is the future as imagined by Victorians.”
Sherk is the executive director of YuKonstruct, a Whitehorse organization that brings tools and expertise together for members to bring their imaginations to reality.
People of all ages can usually be found working on the makerspace drafting table, 3D printer, laser cutter, lathe, grinder, etc., etc.
So, with this much imagination, equipment and wherewithal all in one place, the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society asked YuKonstruct to provide the concept and the decorations.
“It will be great,” says Sherk. “This year we have some new ideas and more funding going into it so we are having a great time.”
Allison Button is organizing the effort this year for YuKonstruct and is excited.
“Last year we just laser cut hundreds of gears for (the Steampunk Ball) and that was the extent of our involvement… although one set of gears actually moved,” she says. “(The Rendezvous Society) approached us very early on, this year, and asked if we wanted to be even more involved in the concept of the decorations and what we can do.
“We have big, big ideas this year,” she says, savouring the challenge ahead.
Like real steam?
“No, no,” says Sherk sadly. “Due to fire regulations, there is no steam or fire or anything really fun like that. But we have flying machines and a big steampunk dirigible hanging from the roof; it looks like the Hindenburg with some attachments.
“And a porthole kind of ship/submarine backdrop for a photo booth.
“And something I am personally working on: it will be a six-foot compass rose with some movement and gears to it.”
Sherk explains that the theme for this year’s Steampunk Ball is “Around the World.” He guesses that the popularity of Steampunk is due to the blending of science fiction and style.
“And there is a touch of class that comes from the Victorian era and then also the actual steam and the gears and mechanical movement,” he says. “It’s a chance to dress up, and yet there is a gritty feel, too.”
In all, this is a two-month project for the members of YuKonstruct. There have been design meetings with Rendezvous organizers and the larger pieces have been started.
But the big push will be Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20 and 21, from 1 to 4 p.m., at YuKonstruct’s Makerspace at 135 Industrial Road.
Teaming up with Yukon Comic Culture Society, members and non-members will be building the props for the Steampunk Ball for the 8:30 p.m. start, Friday, Feb. 26.
The comic folks will be running the photo booth.
Button says she is looking forward to seeing it all come together.
“It was so amazing seeing all the costumes last year,” she says. “I couldn’t believe what Yukoners can turn out; I wasn’t expecting that level of enthusiasm.
“I can’t wait to see what they are wearing… I can’t wait to see their reaction to the decorations, but, mostly, I can’t wait to see what they are wearing.”
Sherk wants non-members to know that the makerspace is available to them, too, to build their costumes and props. On Tuesdays, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Weekly Open House is an opportunity to use the makerspace industrial sewing machine, laser cutters or just about anything else that is needed. And there will be lots of advice available.
More information is available at www.YuKonstruct.com and www.YukonRendezvous.com.