TempleCon, a retrofuturist gaming convention, has been running for six years, and I’ve been lucky enough to attend for the past two years. As a gaming convention, a majority of its programming is focused on huge, expansive gaming set-ups for all types: miniature games, card tournaments, LARPing, and tabletop RPGs. Most people usually spend their entire weekends in the gaming rooms, but for those who like to wander about, this year’s TempleCon offered an array of other activities, including Tempest’s bellydance workshop, costume & prop panels run by The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew, mulled wine & cider tastings, fashion show and costume competition, musicians such as Psyche Corporation, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, The Gypsy Nomads, and Eli August, and panels on writing, comics, steampunk, dueling, feminism, and of course, my own workshops on social justice issues. So, roaming the hallways as a zombie during the zombie march was equally as valid as playing Magic: The Gathering with your friends.
This convention had been particularly special for me though: on Saturday, I proposed to my fiancee. On this blog, I don’t tend to talk about my queer experience as much as race & culture & steampunk, not because I don’t see queer identities as relevant (in fact, understanding the intersectionality of all our experiences is an important aspect to fostering social change), but because the story, is, well, long and involved and deals with cultural (double)standards, racial exotification/invisibility in queer communities, and the ambiguous treatment of trans people and their partners in both straight and queer settings. Not to mention maintaining a level of privacy that any couple should be able to have. But the occasion like this isn’t something to be taken lightly, and I really wanted to acknowledge the impact the steampunk community has had on a non-traditional couple like us. “A New Year, Another Beginning” is more of a personal reflection, concerning my ten-year journey with my partner Lucretia Dearfour and our experiences as a couple in life and as a couple within the steampunk community.
Also contributing to this con report is Monique Poirier, a previous contributor to Beyond Victoriana, who gives a run-down on her experiences on Saturday at the convention. Jeromy Foberg shares his time as a Volunteer Staff member for TempleCon, and Simon J. Berman, a staff writer for Privateer Press, also stops by to relate his attendee experiences. Along with my own pictures, photographer Jessica Coen also contributes her visual eye to our eventful weekend.
Ay-leen the Peacemaker
Lucretia had no idea what was going on, and the Baron had to turn her around to face me. I told her that Vietnamese New Year had just happened, the year of the Cat and was the time for new beginnings. We’ve already celebrated with my family, but I said, with a smile, how Lucretia had been asking for a year when she’d get her own ring. And then I went down on one knee of my own and asked if she would marry me.
I expected her to cry. I didn’t expect to be crying too.
Read more in “A New Year, Another Beginning”
Though I attended all three days of TempleCon 2011, I’m only going to cover Saturday, which was my busiest and most interesting day. This was my third attendance of Templecon, and easily the best planned of my attendances thus far…
Read more in “Saturday at TempleCon”
One of the things that draws me to this event in particular every year is the very diverse cross-section of people that attend every year. I have made friends with steampunk enthusiasts, gamers, reenactors, vendors, artists, musicians, authors, game designers and many more. Every year is a new chance to meet someone for the first time and make a connection.
Read more in “Building Steam”
Simon J. Berman
As a professional writer in the tabletop gaming industry, I visit a lot of conventions, most of which are plenty of fun in their own right, but TempleCon is different; it’s the only one for which I fly myself—over two thousand miles—on my own dime. Where other conventions appeal to narrow sets of fans (scifi, fantasy, steampunk, war games, board games, refrigerator enthusiasts, etc.), TempleCon is inclusive in the broadest sense of the word.
Read more in “TempleCon: So Many Possibilities”
Jessica M. Coen is a freelance photographer, mixed-media artist, avid con-goer and Steampunk enthusiast. She lives in Bedford, MA with her fiance, Jeff and 3 adorable ferrets. Stay updated and learn more at: http://www.facebook.com/AlterTheEarth.