Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Treat: A letter from Priest (with small selection of photos from the Christmas photoshoot)!

Monsignor Eden,

The crew of the Constantine gathered in the mess hall a few days ago tocelebrate the coming of a certain day. Though this day has yet to come, theyinsisted that a celebration was still in order...

The day flew by with relative ease, however eventually Callista insisted upon dancing. Dancing? I’ve read of the act but I could never imagine the difficult complexity of such a sequence. When Callista finally stopped laughing at my pathetic attempt to participate,I caught a moment alone with her.

When I caught her gaze something within me changed. There was a burning desire, not one of love or lust, but one of pure ambition. It was at this time that I felt a burning upon my arm as symbols appeared. They were runes, most likely futhark though I am not sure. I attempted to translate them here:

“I am the master of the mind. Lord of the soul.”

I asked the doctor, Renaldo, about them but he insisted that there was nothing written upon my arm. I’ve come to realize that only I could see the mysterious symbols. My dear Monsignor, I do believe I may have accidentally connected minds with my very own quarry, if only for a moment. It seems he holds as much interest in Callista as I, though his intentions are much different from my own. For that moment,I felt that I was Mephistopheles.

As for that item you inquired about. I do not have it, though I sense it upon the ship. I have a feeling Callista may have something to do with it. I also believe Mephistopheles may want it…

As always your humble servant,

P.S. Merry Christmas

Sunday, October 2, 2011

S.P.A is not Dead

So, Airship Constantine with S.P.A hosted an exploratory event at the Witte Museum on October 1st during their celebration of the discovery of the SS. Republic. The event's main theme was to discover the technology and history that has influenced steampunk subculture and the various people who created it. Piracy, steamship technology, and crew structure were a few panel themes that various crews and San Antonio steampunks could discover and incorporate into their own worlds. We were joined by a brand new San Antonio crew, Airship Albatross (we will have another blog about this exciting event and new ship), as well, as various friends that we have met along our travels.

This was the first S.P.A sponsered event, which promises many more to come. We look forward to creating a San Antonio Neo-Victorian Association branch at UTSA soon, a collaborative effort to raise steampunk awareness with Airship Constantine/S.P.A to welcome many into an exciting new subgenre sweeping the alternative world and back. We are, also, working with more charity events through the creation of the first specifically San Antonio community involvement page, San Antonio Community Heroes, and had created the first 2011 Steampunk Christmas Charity Event with our Wreathes Across America: Remberence for the Fallen Soldier.

So, basically, S.P.A (Steampunk Awareness) is not dead. In fact, we're working more tirelessly than ever and will be getting up our new S.P.A FB page up soon, and the website soon after. We are continuously working for a better steampunk tomorrow, and a future for those who are willing to work for it. Thank you Steampunk community for all your support and you'll be hearing from us soon (we promise!)

-Captain Vivienne Eeva Valentina
Airship Constantine

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Technical Difficulties

So, update to the few of you who read our blog. The facebook page, where the majority of our followers reside has single-handedly disappeared overnight. We recieved no notice, no reason, and not trace. "S.P.A. (Steampunk Awareness) won't appear in search either, the only thing that shows is the old S.P.A group, which hasn't been seen since it was most recently upgraded to a page. As far as we can tell, S.P.A has become a victim to a facebook page phenomenon we shall call the "Inexplicable-Disappearing-Facebook-Page-Phenomenon."

What's worse is that FB doesn't even have a help desk, so we're struggling to get any support at all! Regardless, we're doing the best that we can to get our page back, so please stay tuned. We are not giving up two years of work without a fight! So, please, support us if you can and demand that facebook bring back our page! We'll keep you updated here and through Airship Constantine (Twitter and FB) We're fighting for our right to exist, so wish us the best and we'll keep you posted!

Thanks for your support from all of us at S.P.A working to bring you a better steampunk tomorrow, signing off for now!

Vivienne Eeva Valentina
Airship Constantine

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Creating a Steampunk Airship/Group

So where in the world have you been? So, turns out Airship Constantine and (S.P.A) Steampunk Awareness is getting bigger and better by the moment. Steampunk Awareness is working now  more than ever on our website with web planning, building, and gathering  of article contributors. And Airship Constantine? We have now moved up to panel hosting, in several steampunk-themed panels with the Celestial Rogues and Airship Isabella including topics such as Alchemy, Character Development, and the infamous Airship Captain panel...? Yes! Not to mention, the preparation for Clockwork con has become a major work-in-project. Indeed, it has made my own to-do list build up. So, that begs the question, where do you start with an airship? Landship? Or steampunk group? And how best to form a crew?

When I first started Constantine, it was a vision of inclusion, which included working for a better steampunk tomorrow for all audiences, not just our group. Formed initially out of Alistair Elijah De La Barge, engineer, and Sir Edward Michael Ellington, tactical officer, we were set to the task to develop an airship, its history, and it's mission. One must first start with a goal, an objective, and then a plan to develop from there. The mission, the idealism is the beginning of technical development. We developed our ship, or at least, the outline of it, against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic future. The words flowed easily as I wrote the story, my own rebellious tendancies revealed themselves. It became a vision of a realistic future that reflected my own anarchistic thought.

The next step seemed to be to figure out our crew. No doubt that, Airship Isabella's Captain Whittaker had a tremendous influence on our formation when we were deciding roles. Joining SCARS, we decided each member's role would have to function in some real life crew duties similar to their crew role and would be required to actually understand and be able to enact the mechanics of their position for their LARPing characters. This meant that we could not preach about aether, alchemy, and airship structure without knowing when, where, and how it would be used.

Captain: Vivienne Eeva Valentina-->Activities coordinator, propoganda, planning, and ultimate decision maker
Engineer: Alistair Elijah de La Barge--->technology fanatic, robot engineer, second-choice major
Surgeon/Minister: Renaldo Chimalli Panalucia-->nursing student, aspires to retire to be a minister in the Methodist Church
Carpenter/Ambassador: Callista Rose Valentina-->well-established theatre tech, tremendously memorable that led us to more than one friend

The heirarchy was, then, not just fictional, but, also, as a real life role to make our ship function on a daily basis. You'll see similar rankings in the crew of the Isabella, who maintain a systematic structure everywhere they go. Respect, loyalty, and for the good of the whole group are primary codes that each crew must learn to follow.

This brings us to the next realm of airship development: the characters, their stories, personalities, and how one was to create the fictional realm of Constantine. We realized that after working our outline, it was easier to mold out our characters and how they would function through a given circumstance. Particularly having a mission in mind, has allowed us to LARP our character's knowing what our group is expected to do. This is seperate from the group's mission statement, but instead, our conceptual world's objective. A rebel ship fighting against the corrupt governments that were establishing itself against the will of the masses, who were becoming the victims of power's violent and discriminatory might. Each crew member was assigned to create their own history and their own country. The story may never be fully developed, because often, worlds have whole subaltern tales untold, so additions will continue to immerse. One such example was the addition of alchemy and a religious underground, which changed the realm of Constantine's world forever. With each new member, we can add something new to these stories, our world, and our home, it's story, and the life we'd come to know.

Now, to the technical details. One thing that Captain Whittaker will always stress is communication and the inevitable dawning of drama. We have just implemented biweekly meetings. What with work, school, and various other activities, it has become difficult to accomodate everyone's schedule, but with these meetings the hope is that at least one in 10 can attend every once in awhile. These meetings are vital to address any issues, future events, financial matters, membership, and furthering group development. There must be a time set aside for that, because information is everything with a travelling and constantly moving group. Fun events, online groups, and other such interactions are other ways to meet and is especially important in making each crew member feel essential to the group's progress, regardless of their role. Most importantly, remembering people's everyday lives is vital to their enjoyment of their extra-curricular activities. Supporting each other through every faction of life builds bonds, stronger group relations, and experiences. It emulates the airship experience, making a far more valuable project become an experience of a lifetime. Even though the world you created is fictional, through time and work, this crew can become your second home, family, and lifetime friends if you take care of them.

CONS. What do we do with our lives? We travel! Constantly, on the run: planning is crucial. Event invitations flood in daily, and while we don't have the capacity to make it to all events, you must learn to navigate the realm of migration with a group.  This is where the captain can be tested to her limits with travel arrangement, food, transportation, DRAMA, panel planning, must be resilient in making it to an event at all (I don't know how the isabella and Rogues do it)! So, be prepared. Cons present a great opportunity to network, bond, and learn more about steampunk events, but excursions are not to be taken lightly. Stay in the loop (I recommend Twitter, local steampunk groups, or because the world of steampunk exploration is extensive and full of opportunity, you just have to make it there.

Steampunk is a subculture, a world to wander through and create. We have created a world, its leaders, characters, and real life agenda. Where do we want to go next? For further work, questions, and development, shoot me a message on FB. This was more of an informative article then the awe-inspiring pieces I've written before, but one that i felt needed to be written anyway. I hope that it can function as a guide or as a good model for other airships or steampunk groups as they work to make their appearance or at least give a visual to the "work to play" philosophy that we live by.  While the work is extensive, the rewards can become extraordinary. Hope to see you hear next week, because I'm back to work on more exciting topic posts next week!

-Vivienne Eeva Valentina
 Airship Constantine

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is Steampunk? Exploring the Multiverse

Steampunk Awareness stemmed from a single idea: to create awareness of a cultural phenomenon that had penetrated the foundation of the con world and that of our own group mentality. For what is it that makes people drawn to the wonder of the clockwork world? The rich aesthetic? Or is it an even further quality? Steampunk was an endeavour to rediscover that which was lost, a past rewritten as a future that never was.

"Steampunk" was first coined by K. W. Jeter, a science fiction writer in the 80's, who coined the term to describe the growing genre of literature that was growing in emulation of a modern Victorian world. The aesthetic was undeniably powerful: a world where technology prepared a dimension that highlighted a thriving world of resonating character and civilities. Eventually, steampunk took on newer roles by incorporating the post-apocalyptic genre through a revival of its "punk" culture. Today, steampunk's reach is almost limitless. Steampunk became a culture through this his
tory of shared interest by creating a mentality, values, and set of beliefs to mirror the world that each DIY agent would create.

Why are people drawn to steampunk though? To answer that is a simple exploration of human curiousity.

What is the mysterious?

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed." -Albert Einstein

The mysterious is based in imagination, and imagination is the innovation that is required in a world where fantasy and community becomes merged. Steampunk is a social movement that describes a community that lives in a realm of historical fantasy and of rebellion against a mainstream identity. They exist in a counterpart claim with a new reality, where the multiverse dimensions that separate each steampunk world can gather and engage in a hobby, a passion, chivalry and companionship. The diversity of the steampunk world is immensely scattered, but the genre has created a passion that thrives with others and created a community.

Imagine a world, where the wheels of time remain ticking in the background of steam engines, corsets, monocles, leather, and brass. Imagine wiping the lens of your goggles as you stop for a brief moment of rest atop a pillar of the post-apocalypse. Imagine the laughter of the crew as you converse amongst one another, knowing no lonliness for a brief moment, where the expansive world still waited. Imagine the airship captain and her crew who stands at the ready as the ship moves with the wind, bracing for battle.

Dream. Belong. And imagine: because steampunk is where imagination becomes real.

Captain Vivienne Eeva Valentina
Airship Constantine

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

San Japan 4TW 2011: SCARS VS. the Order

Image provided by Crunchy Ramen Productions 2011

Where in the world are the new con pictures? Yes, indeed, Steampunk Awareness was in attendance, and highly active at that, during San Japan 4TW this year, held at the Marriot Rivercenter Hotel. This was a momentous time for steampunks as the first steampunk LARP (Live Action Role Play) was marked by the confrontation between SCARS (the South Central Armada of Renegade Steampunks) and the Order. Neutral grounds were announced prior to the con event, and the initial confrontation happened at noon on August 6th, 2011.

...The Order paraded in, flag in hand, as Faust stepped in lead smirking at the crowd of steampunk rebels, pirates, and patrons. A scream came and passed from a frightened steampunker, Amelia Ruth Thompson, who was then comforted
by the crowd after an initial run from the mass of darkness that was approaching. Captain Lazuli Delacru of the Neo Dulcimer stood his ground as Faust and Ilsa VonAuftrag, mistress of propoganda, approached. The Force of Icarus following closely behind as SCARS held its guns at the ready should even one member of the Order break the arranged neutrality agreement. "Traitor!" was shouted at the many who had joined the Order as a discouraged SCARS turned towards friends turned enemies, watching and waiting....

These two opposing factions were created from a simple idea, to gather the airships that had formed across the U.S. into one simple and all-inclusive community-based group. To LARP out the stories and work that these ships had created was a dream shared between two long-time steampunk veterans, David Lee Autunes (Lazuli Delacru of the Neo Dulcimer) and Michael Greyhawk Ford (Cedric Whittaker of the Airship Isabella.) These two captains set out on a new mission: to unite the growing steampunk community and create a new avenue to carve out their histories.

What is SCARS? The South Central Armada of Renegade Steampunks is formed out of the outlaws, the scoundrels,
pirates, and rebels who dot the steampunk spectrum. With different ideals, methods, airships, hobbies, and dimensions, they were brought together with ASI and the Neo Dulcimer across the multiverse plane to fight the destructive and all-powerful force of the Order. They fight for peace, creativity, democracy, and overall, the ability for the individual to decide their fate, their way.

The Order, as ASI described it, was bound to normalcy, structure, and heirarchy. To uphold the exclusionary right to priveledge, their fight for peace commits to a simple order of
non-negotiable terms, "we give you stability, but you give us your freedom." They will do everything in their power to feed their ambitious agenda, including converting those who oppose them with a mysterious device that SCARS has yet to decipher. They are necromancers by nature and have gained a cult-following of many unknown individuals, hidden behind black cloaks and masks, where they may enter amongst us with no detection. Their leader, Faust Horcrust with his minions, hold a power unlike many have seen in their dimension...a power many are willing to fight.

What is peace and what is courage? What is good...and evil? What is taking a stand for something you believe in? And what is an idea?

An idea is a powerful thing, but only if there is a belief that an idea is more than just a thought, but it is an inspiration, a paradigm: a new direction. An idea can inspire an action, and that is exactly what the steampunk community needed: a mission. SCARS and the Order signify the changing realm of steampunk, where we challenge our long-held beliefs and become something we never thought we would.

Whether you choose SCARS or you choose the Order, know one thing: this is the future of steampunk...and an idea is bringing about the beginning of a much larger movement. An idea is changing the world.

Captain Vivienne Eeva Valentina
Airship Constantine

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Airship Constantine Mass Takeover!!!

Welcome one and all to the updated (finally) Steampunk Awareness blog! This is the Captain of the Airship Constantine, Vivienne Eeva Valentina, guest blogger (or full-time, who knows anymore?) and currently helping to manage the S.P.A. page. This page was born out of the interest of a group of friends, but friends have come and gone. However, the nuclei of the group remains: those that had first started this page are having their ambitions continued and!

We are one of those groups formed out of the enclave of friendship. Airship Constantine travels in the post-apocalyptic future, where civil unrest and the growing power of the Sons of the Devil lay in the background of a decaying new world. Enlisting the help of the Inquisition, Constantine ventures out on a perilous mission, leading a resistance and the New World into an unwritten future with the background of a decaying past. This is the rebel ship of Constantine.

We are currently administrating over S.P.A and will be bringing you its full-on website in the future. Work is being done with various groups now within SCARS (the South Central Armada of Renegade Steampunk, led by Cedric Whittaker, captain of the Airship Isabella), SANVA (San Antonio Neo-Victorian Association), and the wonderful owner of Circles of Stone (a steampunk jewelry maker based in San Antonio with direct ties to both S.P.A and Airship Constantine.) We all look forward to bringing you the best experiences of the steampunk world and the community right to your computer and home. Keep watching, friends, we've got a whirlwind adventure and a steam-fueled movement to reveal!

-Captain Vivienne Eeva Valentina of Airship Constantine