Interview with Joy Halcott
by Kevin Steil
Steampunk Magazine: Hi Joy, thanks for joining us!
Joy Halcott: Hello! I’m glad to be here.
SM: You’re involved in an upcoming steampunk themed Multiple Sclerosis event. Can you share a bit more about it?
JH: Hosted by Team Wench, Inc., the Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball is an annual, themed, masquerade ball that raises money to benefit the National MS Society. This year the costumed event takes place on Saturday, October 26th, 2013, from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, Maryland, USA. It features live entertainment, music and dancing, full open bar, complete dinner, raffles, contests, and more!
SM: For our readers who may be unfamiliar with multiple sclerosis, what is it and what challenges do people face who have it?
JH: Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and affects movement. Symptoms can range from mild numbness in the limbs to severe paralysis or loss of vision. There is no current cure for MS.
SM: This year’s theme is Goblins and Gears III, presenting the conclusion to a story involving the Goblin Queen and a bit of steampunk time traveling. Sounds like it will be great fun! How did you first get involved?
JH: I became involved in 2001 with the planning of the first Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball when I joined the charity organization, Team Wench, Inc.
SM: What were the first two years like?
JH: The Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball is actually in its 7th year, but we have been doing a 3 year run with the current “Goblins & Gears” theme:
The first year of this theme was “Gobins and Gears – Science vs Magic!” Our quirky Steampunk Professor was busy building his time machine. Unfortunately, when he turned it on, it didn’t work quite the way it was intended. Instead of a rift in time, it tore a rift into the Fae Realm, specifically into the Goblin Court. The Goblin Queen stepped through, liked what she saw, gathered her court, and proceeded to go on holiday at our Steampunk Ball. Mischief galore ensued! But in the end, she left peacefully.
The 2nd year was “Goblins and Gears II – The Gears Fight Back!” Our quirky Professor was supposed to dismantle his time machine. But, this being his lifelong work and his most loved invention, he put it off. When he finally worked himself up to do it, he couldn’t resist turning the machine on one last time. Unfortunately, the machine absorbed Fae Magic when the Court came through last year, and now had a life of its own. The Time Machine activated itself, opened the rift to the Goblin Court anew, and the Goblin Queen waved her court through for another holiday. More mischief ensued.
SM: Ah, steampunks and their mischief! Are there pictures posted that people can see?
SM: What can attendees expect this year?
JH: This year is “Goblins and Gears III – Return of the Goblin!” Our quirky Professor finally did dismantle his time machine, so that’s out. But there’s been rumors popping up everywhere – rumors of odd, clockwork-like creatures and a new, sexy (and strangely blue) type of time machine have emerged. Someone calling himself the Goblin King has also been seen wandering about flirting with young maidens. The Professor is fascinated, and suspects the Goblin Queen is up to something. I look forward to finding out if he’s right! We will have Insane Ian doing (Weird Al style) song parodies, be rocked out by the bands Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings and Platform one, be tricked and entreated by the lovely Aubergine fairy belly dancers, and even witness a choreographed light saber duel by Capital City Jedi Knights. Not to mention the jail is being sponsored by the talented J&J Miracle Mead Men, and we’ll witness the return of several talented actors.
SM: Events like this certainly need a team to pull everything together. Who is helping put on this event this year?
JH: Members of Team Wench, Inc. and many other volunteers, including a lighting and sound technician, a costume shop, a tarot reader, a seated masseuse and a professional on-site portrait team, are involved. Also, we could not even dream of putting on this event without the support of all the vendors that donate wonderful items to our charity raffle.
SM: Aside from all of the fun during the evening, this is a fundraiser. How will the proceeds be used?
JH: Proceeds are donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
SM: There are readers of Steampunk Magazine from around the world and sadly, not everyone can hope on an airship to get to Maryland in a timely manner. How can people who can’t attend contribute or help out?
JH: There are a number of ways that someone could contribute or help out. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SM: It’s great that Team Wench is a charitable organization and that people can help out in multiple way. Can you share anything about next year’s event?
JH: Actually, this is my last year. I will be passing the baton on to a new Event Coordinator in 2014, so I don’t know what next year’s event holds. I can’t wait to find out!
SM: Thanks for sharing information about the Ball with us. Best of success with your event!
JH: Thank you! It should be fun, and I’m very excited. Hope to see all of you there soon!
OK, steampunks, get your masquerade gear together and head over to the Ball on October 26th where you will be entertained by Platform One, Insane Ian, Eli August & the Abandoned Buildings, The Aubergine Dancers, Capital City Jedi Knights, Brad Howard and more!