Sunday, August 30, 2009

Space Elevator Conference catch-up

If you missed the 2009 Space Elevator Conference in Redmond, you can read Marc Boucher's recap on The Space Elevator Reference. Boucher will post a three-part series on the conference, beginning with, A Lesson from Galileo on the Space Elevator Concept.

In the next post, he'll talk
more about innovation and provide an overview of the conference and then wrap up with a post on collaboration and the future.

Charles Radley has also posted a number of videos from the conference on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stocker Farms Field of Screams Last FREE haunt acting workshop

StockerFarms Field of Screams invited you to:

Saturday, August 29, 2009
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

Old Carnegie Library/Art Gallery
105 Cedar Ave
Snohomish, wa 98291

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New stories: Cat Rambo's solo collection out, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight

Redmond author Cat Rambo's collection of fantasy stories, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight (Paper Golem, 2009), is out. Stories range from high fantasy to urban to surrealist. The title story is based on Armageddon MUD, an online text-based fantasy game, of which Rambo is a co-creator.

Rambo is the editor of
Fantasy Magazine. Her stories have appeared in Asimov's, Weird Tales, and Strange Horizons. She's also a Clarion West Writer's Workshop alum.

Her previous story collection,
The Surgeon's Tale and Other Stories (2007), co-authored with Jeff VanderMeer, contains charming and elegant dark fantasy and humorous fairy tales. The title story, co-authored by Rambo and VanderMeer, creates a unique world in an oceanic setting as the backdrop for a Frankenstein's obsession (the mad scientist not the monster). In Rambo's "The Dead Girl's Wedding March," a zombie girl's defiance of her father in the City of the Dead leads to dire romance — with a rat. "The Strange Case of the Lovecraft Cafe," by M.F. Korn, D.F. Lewis, and Jeff VanderMeer is a full-course of must read for foodies and minions of Cthulhu from the Flaming Whole Giant Penguin to the Dripping Eidolon (dessert!).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Space Elevator 101: Sat., Aug. 15 in Redmond

Scientists, engineers, students, and space enthusiasts are gathering Aug. 13-16 at the 2009 Space Elevator Conference, presented by The Space Engineering and Science Institute, at the Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond. Attendees will parse many aspects and implications of developing an elevator into space using a carbon nanotube ribbon that stretches from the surface of the earth to a counterweight in space.

Some Northwest Science Fiction Society insiders are already participating in the development of the technology (and The 2009 Space Elevator Games) and are up for the full-on R&D discussion, however, the conference will also include a less technical family and friendly event for newbies.

Space Elevator 101,
for those who want to learn more about the concepts, challenges, and technologies involved in this "radical new way to access space less expensively," will be Sat., Aug. 15. The Pacific Science Center will also be on hand, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an exhibit on nanotechnology. The registration fee for Space Elevator 101 (which includes up to four family and friends) is $40 for either the morning, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., or afternoon, 1:30-6 p.m., session. This could be a great double-feature with EMP|SFM's family day and the opening of Spaced Out, also on Saturday.

There was also a free, public presentation, "The Space Elevator and the Future" by Dr. Bryan Laubscher, on Aug. 12. Give a shout if you made it to this and share the scoop.

KUOW's, Aug, 12, Conversation included an interview with Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group based in Monroe, talking about the "enormous" strength ("30x times stronger than steel") of the carbon nanotube ribbon that could stretch into space as early as 2031 as well as the
robots (Winnebago-sized lifters) that would climb them transporting items (as much as 100 tons per week). He mentions just some of the possibilities afforded by this new mode of space travel. A space elevator "changes the entire way of getting back and forth out there," he says. The clip with Laine starts about 8 minutes in.

Read Ted Semon's Space Elevator Blog for updates from the Space Elevator Conference and follow @spaceelevator.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Theremin demonstrations at Spaced Out

On Sat., Aug. 15, EMP|SFM opens a new exhibit, Spaced Out: The Final Frontier of Album Covers, featuring 117 space-age themed record album covers released 1940-1969. It's family day at the museum as well as the opening of this exhibit and a send off for the Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit (open through Aug. 16) so there are lots of events planned.

Of special note: there will be theremin (that eerie electronic box that produces a staple sci-fi sound) demonstrations in the Spaced Out exhibit at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. According to Wikipedia anyway, theremin music has been featured in: the movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); the television series, The Outer Limits; the score for the video game, Destroy All Humans (2005); and mentioned in Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953). If you have more insider theremin information, please dish (no matter how trivial)! Or, if you hear the theremin at Spaced Out, let us know how it was and who performed.

Other events (free with admission) at the museum on Aug. 15 include:
A tour of the exhibit
led by curator Brooks Peck at 11 a.m.
The MoonSpinners, a 60s influenced lounge-pop band, perform at noon and 1 p.m. in the Sky Church.
Muppet Fairytales films show, at 2 p.m. in the JBL Theater. See Kermit as The Frog Prince
(1971), directed by Jim Henson, and other muppetized versions of fairytale classics.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 325 5th Avenue North, Seattle. Tickets are $15-12 (free for EMP|SFM members or children 4 and under). For more information, call 206-770-2702 or 1-877-EMP-SFM1. Spaced Out shows through Jan. 3, 2010.

Monday, August 10, 2009

August steam: Abney Park's brazen oompahs

Steampunk band Abney Park took to a gloriously red-curtained stage on a Sunday night in August at The Columbia City Theater.

Captain Robert calls this venue "'da bomb". The historic vaudeville stage ranks high in theatricality and the sound at this show resonated to the back of the room. It was an especially
beautiful setting for Kristina's composition, "Victoria," with the spotlight shining on Nathaniel's singing violin and Kristina at the grand piano.

The show opened strong with favorites including "Sleep Isabella," (Lost Horizons, 2008) "Breathe," (From Dreams or Angels, 2001) and "Stigmata Martyr," and "The Wrong Side," (The Death of Tragedy, 2005). If the crowd didn't seem as boisterous as at May's steampunk soiree, it was likely (as Finn noted) because there wasn't much room to jump around in the narrow space.

Still, the band coaxed some piratical heartiness out of its sardines with sing-a-longs, "Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum," and the chorus to "Airship Pirate," enhanced by the aerialist performance above the stage.

Abney Park does make performance look like fun. And Captain Robert turned this into an object lesson for the kids in the crowd advising them show tolerance ("It's not lame.") when their parents push them into music lessons ("or dance lessons," added Finn who performs en pointe to "Herr Drosselmyers Doll,"
(Lost Horizons, 2008)). This was an all ages show, and this particular event went far under the usual just under 21 set, exposing quite a few schoolchildren to steampunk in their formative years.

Dane Ballard (Sinner Saint Burlesque singer/emcee and SexLife LIVE host) emceed. Fire-eating performances added to the atmosphere, notably Delaney's dragon and volcano moves to a mix of "Transylvanian Concubine" by Rasputina.

A fashion show during a break for the band created an off-key interlude. Seeing as the fans streamed into the theater arrayed in a visual feast of burgundy, silver, and black corsets as well as top hats (in sizes wee to gargantuan) and tails — a fashion show seemed redundant.

With fans so well-attired, a designer is at pains to impress. And it was hard to imagine this was the right crowd to appreciate some of the more restrained creations — denim? shorts? sundresses? Bring back the band!

Lastwear recovered this portion of the show by bringing out some appropriately festooned ladies and debonair gents — and it didn't hurt that they were brandishing pistols. Designers of clothing for outlanders, steampunks, reality hackers, and temporal misfits, Lastwear opened a retail store Aug. 8 at 5459 Leary Ave N.W. in Ballard.

The show was a nice boost to what feels like a summer lull in local events. What have we been missing? Seen any good movies lately? Did anyone catch, Moon, in the theater? Reading any good books? Jack Vance stories anyone?

Up next: Check out the Caba-Rock Revue, featuring Scarlet Room and Adrian H & the Wounds, 10 p.m., Aug. 22 at the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater, 2322 2nd Ave., Seattle. $6, for the 21 and over crowd. Presented by Sepiachord.

This fall, look for Abney Park's new release Aether Shanties, and see them at SteamCon, Oct. 23-25, at the Seattle Airport Marriott. SteamCon also features Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates, winner of the 1983 Philip K. Dick Award; artist Paul Guinan, check out his history of Victorian era robots.

Get geared up for SteamCon. Vendors at the Abney Park show included:

Tormented Artifacts — masks, jewelry, and curiosities Mac McGowan's brass-rimmed leather googles and SteamPink, Kristina Hoagland's cards and paper arts
Exoskeleton Cabaret — artwear and photography by Libby Bulloff
Deviant Design — graphic design, fashion, and photography by Bergen R. McMurray
PH Factor (Hans Meier) of Tacoma — goggles and accoutrements