Motor City Steam Con

Steampunk in Detroit has had its ups and downs over the last six years. Starting in 2010 the massive World Steam Expo brought thousands of Steampunks to the area, but then in its third year the show collapsed for a variety of reasons. The following year saw Up in the Aether – The Convention pick up the mantle in 2013, but it was ill-fated to only run one year. For 2014 it was the turn of Steamtopia, but like its predecessor this show did not see a second year, and in 2015 there were no Steampunk conventions to be found in the Detroit area.

Due to local fandom politics and economic challenges, it looked like the Detroit Steampunk scene was becoming merely a sepia memory, but from the ashes of the downed dirigible a new leader arose; a new convention director able to unify factions and build a strong crew. That leader is Salathiel Palland, and on July 22nd, 2016 we saw the opening of the first annual Motor City Steam Con.

Motor City Steam Con

From the highly energized Opening Ceremonies it was clear that there was a new air of optimism and an energy to move the Detroit Steampunk scene forward in unity. Palland was joined on stage by dancers and the Detroit Mass Choir as she sang “Let the River Run.” Led by the Gabriel Brass Band, a parade of all the visiting Airships from various cities were welcomed to the hall, and diplomats from neighboring Steampunk conventions were invited to the stage. Salathiel then introduced the long list of guests of honor who were present at the show:

  • Steampunk artists Myke Amend and Bethalynne Bajema.
  • Steampunk writers Philippa (Pip) Ballantine, Tee Morris, Leanna Renee Hieber, Sarah Hans, and R.S. Belcher.
  • Steampunk musicians and performers Eli August, Frenchy and the Punk, DJ Vorteque, and Arlow Xan.
  • Steampunk makers, academics, and speakers Diana M. Pho, Ashley Rodgers, Steampunk Eddie, Karianne Gottschalk, and James Neathery.
Salathiel Palland

Salathiel Palland, owner of Motor City Steam Con

The weekend had a variety of other speakers, panelists, and presenters on the schedule, and an array of vendors during the daytime. In the evening it was time for the parties to begin, and on Friday night the infamous crew of Kentucky’s Corsair Iniquitous organized the biggest party of the weekend. 

Despite the blistering July heat outside, the atmosphere inside the hotel was most jovial and the convention ran smoothly as a well steamed engine room. Many of the usual hiccups of a first year convention were not to be found, and those that did arise were dealt with swiftly by the experienced staff and volunteers. The show was definitely a success, and plans are already underway for year two of Motor City Steam Con which is scheduled for July 14th to 16th, 2017.


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