There was an incredible mashup of people with interests ranging from the cutting edge of today’s best science to craftsmanship of a kind that has very nearly been lost. Some folk were dressed to the nines in every kind of cosplay garb imaginable. Characters in a range of styles from medieval to anime to just plain fantastic could be found everywhere. All were gleefully blending together into a whirl of sights that lend a new meaning to the term colorful.
Reclusive, extraordinary, eccentric or artistic, those not blessed with the curiosity to explore areas of interest that are anything but mundane are frequently viewed as unidimensional. As Jeff pointed out when interviewed a few weeks ago, “geek” is anything but that. The show proved that to a remarkable degree. A political science professor was present representing his small publishing company that specializes in sci-fi and fantasy, but also incongruously dabbles in history, politics, horror/suspense, and romance. Steampunk aficionados were perfectly at home with far more ethereal creatures such as fairy-folk. Not one, but two 3-D printers juxatposed an honest to goodness watchmaker.
3-D printers get mainstream press for their potential misuse in making undetectable plastic weapons. More intriguing were items such as a heart shaped puzzle that rotates in Rubiks-cube fashion, morphing into a series of shapes until it appears once more as a heart. Another was a topographical image of Mount Everest complete with its surrounding sister peaks in the Khumbo region. A second printer was churning out custom made Transformer-type toys made of a biodegradeable, corn-based plastic. Imagine a lot fewer discarded toys needing to be recycled or ending their days in landfills.
The watchmaker proved to be a treasure trove of information not only about the horological, but about anything with a clockwork mechanism. In addition to a series of antique and modern mechanical watches, he had brought along a charming, antique, mechanical bird in a cage. When the mechanism was wound, the tiny bird–delicately feathered and less than an inch in size–moved and sang appealingly from its perch. You don’t have to be a Victorian lady to be captivated.
Talented, creative seamstresses of every stripe sold not only their fabric creations but also their literary ones. One young woman was set up at a table showcasing not only her unimaginable skill in costume design but also her talents as an author. (Pardon me, authoress is her preferred term.)
And then there was the truly fantastic. One such creature was a non-verbal, wooly behemoth that looked like a cross between a wookie and a robot. In addition to its pelt, the trills it emitted as a means of communication strongly sounded like those of a Star Wars wookie. In one hall way, a costumed young lady was heard to ask the creature if he was “being creepy again.” This prompted a bystander–a curious, mundane sort–to exclaim, “Oh, no! Is he supposed to be creepy? I think he seems so…” she paused, “cuddly!” This prompted a volley of trilling to which the woman responded, “I’m so sorry. I hope I didn’t upset you by saying you are cuddly when you’re really trying to be creepy.” More trilling and emphatic headshaking indicating he was entirely pleased at being termed cuddly.
Not to be left out, those of a culinary bent had a presence too. One table represented a delectable line of herb-infused olive oils and mixes to be made of pre-selected herbs. Each blend was noted along with the magikal properties the herbs were meant to imbue. And of course, there was the Bacon Bar. Because of course everything’s better with bacon!
Upcoming events by the producer, Jeff Mach will include the Wicked Faire running the 21-23 February 2014 at the Somerset Doubletree, followed in the spring by the Steampunk World’s Fair on 16-18 May 2014 which will be at the Radisson of Piscataway. Please note that the Wicked Faire is open only to geeks over the age of sixteen.