I just got home from Clockwork Con, in Austin, TX. This is the first time this con has been held and on the whole I was very impressed.
The con was well-organized. Things happened when and where they were supposed to. There was remarkably little visible chaos, but things weren't over-planned either. It was a fairly small con, but the level of attendance felt just about right. I have no idea what the numbers actually were. There was a good variety of panels and the entertainment was really good.
I attended with the entirety of my airship crew, the Airship Octavia XIII. By the time we arrived, unpacked, and dressed on Friday there wasn't much going on. The Octavia crew got a little too excited about being all together again and a couple of celebratory drinks turned into, well, a LOT of celebratory drinks (and beers, and shots, and some other unlabeled stuff in various bottles from people I've never met....). The burlesque show that evening was excellent, and I'm not that easily impressed by burlesque. There were some truly talented ladies among the troupe that performed.
Saturday was a much busier day both in terms of panels and events and also attendance. I attended the "Light-em-up gadgets" panel presented by some of the Celestial Rogues. I don't know what kind of lighting I might use for my own costumes, but if I ever am inspired to I feel I have a better idea of where to start now. After a disappointing lunch in the hotel restaurant, we moved on to the Gadgeteer's Festival. (Speaking of the hotel, it was a VERY nice place, with friendly staff, except in the the restaurant. Service was extremely slow, rude, and one of my crew members received his order cooked very incorrectly.)
I didn't have any items to show in the Gadgeteer's festival, but my captain did and I enjoyed wandering around and chatting with various makers. I then attended a panel on "Vintage Hair for the Modern Steampunk." The presenter was the head of the burlesque troupe, and it was absolutely one of the best panels I've attended. She demonstrated how to create several different steampunk and dieselpunk styles using hairpieces blended with your own hair. This is something I've been wanting to be able to do for AGES, and I'm totally going to start playing with my hair tomorrow. (I even have a wig I bought to try to make a Victorian updo, but that failed. Now I know how to cut it up and use it with my own hair to make pretties!)
After that our crew attended a panel titled "Victorian/post-apocalyptic mods." Our captain was assisting with the presentation along with Professor Steampunk and his wife. It turned into a sort of conversation about the philosophy of steampunk modding. I enjoyed it and there is talk of us developing some new panels together.
Another thing I appreciated about the way the con was organized: there were scheduled lunch and dinner breaks during which there was no programming. It allowed everyone to feed themselves, change, and get a break without feeling like they're missing something. So after the dinner break, the Saturday evening concert started with Bones Jangle and the Voodoo Island Cannibals, Steam-powered Giraffe, and Marquis of Vaudeville. Bones and the Marquis are regular performers in the Texas steampunk scene and it was nice to see them again. I had never heard Steam-Powered Giraffe, and they were great! I appreciate how committed they are to maintaining their personae as clockwork androids. After the show we retired, worn out from our partying the night before.
Sunday was typically busy, with the packing and checking out. I went to a panel on hats, which was a good introduction to different styles of Victorian hats and the different ways to make or mod them. Otherwise my husband and I didn't get to really experience much of the programming for the rest of the day. Lunch/breakfast was a necessity that caused us to miss a couple of events, and after some final vendor room purchases, we headed home.
Overall the con was really excellent, with lots of interesting panels and events and a great vibe. I would have liked to get to chat with more of the community than I did, but with so much stuff to do, everyone was occupied for most of the time.