Thursday, November 7, 2013

Steampunk Pizza!

   The journey continues often in ways you would least expect. We've done a number of fairs and festivals and always have a couple more lined up in our sites to get our wood-fired pizza out there. The one festival I have prepared for more than any other is the upcoming Dickens Fair in Old Town Elk Grove. Last Christmas my wife and I decided to drive 2 hours into the city of San Francisco and visit the real Dickens Fair. I say real because it has no equal when it comes to recreating the look, sound, feel and smell of old England in its merriment during he Victorian era. The famous Cow Palace had been transformed into a 19th century city with shop keepers, street performers, scientists, explorers, inventors, snake oil salesmen, food vendors, chimney sweeps, street urchins and yes, even the Queen, Queen Victoria to be exact. In the air was the aroma of chestnuts that were actually roasting on an open fire!
   Being that we are Civil War re-enactors we already have the 19th century civilian outfits. All we needed to do was tweak them a bit to be British and we were a perfect fit. While walking the streets of merry old England we had both noticed some characters that we were not familiar with. I stared in amazement and  tried to identify the portrayal these attendees were doing. I finally had to ask and their reply was, "Steampunk." What punk? "Steampunk," they said. Hmmm, Steampunk, I'd never heard of it but I had seen it before. Most of us old enough to have seen an old Jules Verne type movie have seen it. Think of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A more modern use of Steampunk might be the movie Wild Wild West with Will Smith and Kevin Kline. Remember the huge mechanical spider? Steampunk was an era of post Victorian modern advancing into the future without the use of electricity but steam. Inventors who built death rays, time machines, flying airships and mechanical devices of every conceivable type. Often they were over built, weighing heavily and with the use of lots of gears, sprockets, rivets, gadgets and of course steam.
   I was intrigued. Steampunk is a current genre of Cosplay and art. What-play you say? Another new word in my vocabulary is Cosplay which is short for Costume Play. Being that we are both costume people and not just
for Halloween, I needed to explore it. If you Google "Steampunk" and put it on Images you will get the meaning and now have a new word in your vocabulary as well. Besides being Victorian modern it is really cool stuff. The death rays and time machines don't have to actually work but a few moving pieces will always make it appear to look like it really works. Welders goggles are adapted to look as if they are flying machine protective eye wear or scientific viewing devices. Lots of hand guns in every conceivable style from pistols to long range shooting devices. Boots adorned with gears, time pieces and gauges of every sort, hats with mechanical devices and even prosthetic articulating
mechanical arms for god only knows what!
      So what does this have to do with pizza? Everything and nothing. As I mentioned, the Old Town Elk Grove Dickens Fair coming November 30th will see Steampunk for the first time. We will be baking pizzas there but in addition to that we will dress in our Victorian Steampunk costumes which we have devised. The pizza trailer will also be tweaked to appear Steampunk with organ pipes, steam and anything else we can think to add to it. The reason being is Elk Grove is holding a contest for the best booth decorations and the winner will be given free vendor space at the next Elk Grove event. Several hundred dollars in value. I intend to win that prize so that's my incentive. But also to be fair, Civil War ladies were not the prettiest women on earth so to glide on over to the post Victorian age of Steampunk where the women are
cute and sexy isn't so bad of a shift! The Steampunk genre, I have learned has been around for at least 20 years! People of all ages have taken it to another level integrating it into everyday devices to "steampunk" them.
I think I will need to study this genre of art and Cosplay for quite some time! Currently, in addition to our outfits and hats with goggles, I have already built a death ray, some hand pistols and am working on an airship next. Yes, an airship that hopefully will hover above our heads at the Dickens Fair. You'll have to wait until the event to see if I can really pull it off. When I have a thorough understanding I will be able to write the next chapter of Steampunk involving the making of Steampunk pizza I hope!
By the way, what would go on a steampunk pizza?