Now that we have a fresh pot of tea we are once again entering Madeline Foxtrot’s No Torque Zone is The Airship Ambassador, Kevin Steil. Kevin was nice enough to tell me a little bit about what he does and his completely incorrect view of Steampunk. You can see the first part of my interview here. I figured since we know about what you do we should also ask a little bit more personal questions. So I must ask Kevin… is there a Misses Ambassador?
KS: Oh, Madeline! Why might you be enquiring about that? Personal or professional interest?
But to be quite open and honest, there is no Miss, Misses, or Ms. Ambassador. The only women in my life are my two girls, Tegan and Arianna.
MF: I had no idea you were a werewolf!
KS: Well I lovingly adopted them.
Tegan is named after one of my favorite characters on Doctor Who, Tegan Jovanka, the brash, outspoken Australian airline attendant who stumbles into the Doctor’s life and travels. Arianna is named after the music form, aria. Coincidentally, in the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore’s sister’s name is Arianna.
However, there is an opportunity for a Mister Ambassador. I don’t suppose you might know of any suitable candidates to join the Airship?
MF: Hmmmm. That’s a bit… Um. I wish you wouldn’t push this on me. You know your “Gay Agenda.”
KS: Well, Madeline if you don’t know anyone, you can just say so. If your friends and acquaintances don’t reflect your high standards and interesting nature, well, that’s no crime against you. I wouldn’t think any less of you.
But pushing an agenda to meet more people around the world? No, no, no.
MF: It’s not- It’s just that- See, but we’re still talking about it
KS: You haven’t denied knowing someone suitable, yet. In fact, do you know …
MF: I think it might be best to move on.
KS: Oh. I understand, you minx! We’ll talk privately later.
MF: Refresh your tea?!?
KS: Yes, please. I’ll pour. This is my new favorite teapot, from the 1880s, and my Russian tea glasses.
MF: Good! Especially in these times we must support Russian commerce!
KS: Nothing but the best for you, Madeline.
MF: What do you see as the future of Steampunk?
KS: The Aetheric Ball™ seems to indicate the current trends – book sales are down although new stories are still being written and released. The number of conventions is down slightly but smaller local events are up. Attendance to the cons seems to be holding steady with some slight increases, and the smaller events are attracting more mainstream attendees and interest. Non-USA participation is way up, with each country and culture bringing their own unique perspective and creativity to the fore.
Music and artwork keeps growing, and fashions are exploding! Steampunks are definitely some of the most creative people of any interest and fan group. Accessories seems to be good business – jewelry, hats, corsets, and full outfits. People just want to look absolutely smashing!
Overall, steampunk will see its own cycle of less and then more interest. Mainstream interest will eventually move on to the Next Big Thing, but I believe that interest in steampunk will remain and endure. It will always appeal to a certain group of people, and that group may grow and shrink, but it will always be there.
Some things that would help maintain that interest, though, would be increased book sales and online feedback, blog feedback, social media sharing, and a really good steampunk movie would be fantastic! Each of those things become a rallying point and are causes for celebration.
MF: There have been LOADS of good Steampunk Movies though. Van Hellsing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Wild Wild West… They’re of a certain caliber that The Mainest of Main Stream Media just doesn’t undertstand.
KS: Well… They’re of a certain caliber I will give you that Madeline…
At the very least, we can support each other, in all our different ways, in all our different lives, and continue to share our interests.
(Oh, and dieselpunk will probably be the next thing to capture mainstream attention. 1920s and 30s fashion design, The Charleston, and art deco!)
MF: Trick question! Steampunk is the future of the past today, therefore it’s today, therefore Steampunk has no future only present.
KS: Then cheers to living in the moment!
MF: You interview a lot of people, many of them famous, some of them up and coming. Why bother with the up and comers? Why not just stick to famous people?
KS: I suppose the easy answer is that all of the ‘famous’ people were once ‘up and coming’ themselves. Everyone starts somewhere down the ladder, and even Cherie Priest remarked how some people called her an ‘overnight success’ despite nearly a decade of struggling and trying.
Some people are common steampunk-household names, and they are great fun to chat with. I always enjoy hearing their stories, their perspectives, their journeys. When I see them in person at various events, they are just like anyone else and we laugh and joke as the friends we are.
Up and coming people may be catching their first break, just coming into the scene, or falling into it accidentally. They often have the benefit of those who have walked the path before them; they have grown up on steampunk, so to speak, and are now giving it their own stamp and expression.
The thing in common with both types of people I meet and talk with, is that they all DO something. They express their creativity in their own way, they make things happen – from the writers and artists and musicians to the convention and event organizers to the seamstresses and tailors. Their energy and efforts, their visions and drive, create the spaces for us to revel and celebrate in. They create our playground.
Of course, none of it would happen at all without all of us as fans and attendees. If we didn’t have the interest, the imagination, and the curiosity, there wouldn’t even be a steampunk community.
MF: But no one knows them, they’re still up and coming. Isn’t that like saying “Here, let me shoot my web traffic in the foot,”?
KS: Well, it might seem that way to ‘some people’, Madeline, but often, those ‘up and coming’ people already have some sort of following, steampunk or not, who stop by the Airship Ambassador blog and website to check things out, along with all of the other regulars.
Also, an inbox full of press releases and requests from publishers, entertainment companies, and TV stations would seem to be at odds with the premise of low web traffic and impact to the community and to mainstream interest.
MF: Now, you interview a lot of people, yet no one interviews you… people DO actually care about you, yes?
KS: Well, when you put it that way… yes, absolutely
Since you’ve asked, I’ve been interviewed by people and groups around the world;
Written book and magazine articles and introductions;
Been consulted and quoted by newspapers and tv shows;
Appeared in the book and movie, Vintage Tomorrows;
and have been a guest and speaker at conventions and events.
And there was that nomination, twice, over at Steampunk Chronicle for Steam-Hunk.
AND, I get some of the most wonderful fan mail from people. I’d like to say a special thank you to everyone who takes the time to say hi and chat with me at conventions. Thank you for all of your ongoing support!
Oh, I suppose that might sound like bragging. So enough about me, how about you Madeline? What have you done?
MF: Unfortunately our publisher couldn’t handle the printing cost of my resume. Plus I’m incredibly modest and a simple google search will reveal everything you need to know of me. But I would like to thank you so much for your time in the No Torque Zone. Tea has been lovely.
KS: The pleasure is mine Madeline-
MF: Yes Kevin. It is. If you would like to check out The Arship Ambassador you can find him at AirshipAmbassador.com, or if you’d like to watch my latest videos checkout DogtoonMedia.com or Youtube.com/User/NerdCaliber and search for Madeline Foxtrot Digestibles.