The “Futures Past” steampunk party was thrown by EFF and several other organizations at the SXSW conference on March 12, 2007 at Scholz Garden in Austin, Texas. I didn’t know many people there, so I went there mostly to see the costumes. Ah, the costumes! Unfortunately, I don’t know the names of any of the people I took pictures of. On the technical side of things, Austin’s own Robot Group had an exhibit there, showing many all sorts of new flashing, singing, wiggling mechanical creatures I haven’t seen since their last exhibit.
Of all the performers at the party, the most memorable (in my opinion) was a two-woman acrobat troupe Popsy Purvy, of which there are plenty of images in this post.
A ticket seller in a steampunk costume. I’m not sure what are those wiry antennae sticking out from under her hat, or what they represent.
Another ticket seller who accessorized with an old telephone cord and a receiver.
A costumed person with long red hair and black attire
A silver-colored robot whose lines hint at an exaggerated female shape — but with enough plausible deniability. It may or may not have been a Robot Group creation.
Black vest and metal belt. And the ubiquitous goggles on her forehead, to indicate that this is, after all, a steampunk costume.
A costumed character who went by Professor Konrad. His hat is in the shape of a chili pepper. I don’t know if that’s just what you do when you are a Texan mad scientist.
One half of the acrobat duo Popsy Purvy, when not performing
A volunteer working at the Enspire booth
A partygoer in checkered legwarmers
This was the first time I saw steampunk goggles like the ones the person in the purple jacket is wearing on her head. I saw many, many people wearing them. Until then I didn’t realize this was a mandatory element of any steampunk costume.
Jasmina Tesanovic (left), who is the better half of the science fiction writer Bruce Sterling
S and a friend with a stylized cat-like whiskers
Silver faces. Let me guess — were they some kind of robot cowboys?
Two Robot Group projects: Gator Girl (left) and Mechanical Flower. The mechanical flowers petals were a metal steamer insert with folding “petals” — I had one like that at home; I would put vegetables in it, and put it in a pot of boiling water, and the vegetables would get steamed without touching the water. So it was pleasantly odd to see this humble device hooked up to electronics and pulsating to the the music, petals folding and unfolding.
A guy from Robot Group, an Austin organization, with some kind of conical metal hat with an antenna.
One of several Robot Group tables at the Futures Past steampunk party at SXSW, showing some of their projects
A guy with a kaleidoscope
That’s an interesting “brooch” this guy has pinned to his vest. Kind of like a miniature phonograph, if my eyes don’t deceive me.
A costumer with long red-streaked hair and matching red-and-black bracelets.
A mom and baby with a mohawk, both in steampunk costumes
Purple dress and black hat at the steampunk party at SXSW 2007
A child types on an OLPC/XO laptop. She was certainly an early adopter of OLPC/XO laptops — I didn’t get one until a year later. At the time of SXSW 2007, those laptops were a hot and much hyped novelty.
Black, red, white, and stripy. Stripy socks with boots were another popular accessory at the steampunk party.
The Popsy Purvy duo mingling with the audience when not performing
A robot car, perhaps created by the members of the Robot Group
A robotic snake-like sculpture at the Robot Group booth
The black suit and the white dress seem like they could be from some historical period. But I have no guess as to what the person on the right is supposed to be.
A demonstration of a Tesla coil
Gabi, half of the Popsy Purvy duo (left), and some guy
A partygoer in a white lace dress and a huge silver bow in her hair; a guy in a black suit and hat behind her.
The same two people as in the previous picture. But now we see that the one of them is wearing shorts with his evening attire!
A partygoer in steampunk goggles that, upon closer inspection, appear to be made of some kind of kitchen gadgets. The left one could have been made out of a tea strainer, though I’m not sure I’ve seen a tea strainer quite like that. But that’s what it reminds me of. If true, that would be a second kitchen gadget used creatively at this party.
Jasmina Tesanovic (left), who is the better half of the science fiction writer Bruce Sterling; on the right, one of those silver-faced robot cowboys that are also in the earlier pictures.
A guy in a quasi-military-themed costume that resembles perhaps an officer’s uniform from the end of the 19th century? But it’s the requisite goggles on his head that makes it a steampunk costume.
Whose teeth have bit into his ear? Those are some painful-looking earrings. I can only begin to imagine the chunk of ear flesh those animal teeth have taken out!
Red and black, ruffles and an umbrella.
White lacy dress and black boots
A Robot Group creation whose name I don’t know. Nor do I know what it does, other than drive around. For my own reference I call it “an upright bubble on wheels”.
The “face” of the upright bubble on wheels
Partygoers in several very different costumes at the SXSW 2007 steampunk party. Only the middle person seems to be wearing steampunkish accessories, such as goggles (albeit on her neck) or a small brace ? bracelet ? some kind of gadget ? on her arm. The guy in the olive coat looks vaguely “old timey”, and I noticed that many people at the steampunk party wore outfits inspired by the turn of the 20th century, without necessarily having anything steampunky or techy about them.
This is my favorite costume, or perhaps my favorite shot, from the steampunk party. The black-and-silver dress is perfectly matched by the silver face.
Below are some videos and photos of the Popsy Purvy performance.
A very tall, thin guy in a comically, deliberately ill-fitting suit with a bowtie seems like an old-time comedy character from the turn of the 20th century. That’s probably the look he was going for.
Me and a robot, probably one of the Robot Group creations
Two generations in matching animal prints
Red-and-black color scheme was embraced by a number of the attendees. The costume on the right combines the look of, I guess, an old-timey cabaret with a bellydancer’s sequined sash and lots of fringe everywhere.
The same two people as above from a different angle. Now we see the sequined, elaborate bellydancer’s sash in all glory. The person on the right has a steampunky arm brace and the ubiquitous googles on her head.
And another view of the same people
A person in a white tube top and blue ruffled skirt. And a hint of ubiquitous steampunk goggles on her head, which must be what makes this a steampunk costume.
A person with a stylish arm brace. I know it’s not really an arm brace, but an artistic statement that evokes an association with robot arms, bionics, or some such.
An interesting gold-and-blue dress, long white scarf and goggles.