Last weekend, there were thousands of Steampunks at the Radisson and Embassy Suites hotels in Piscataway, New Jersey. Steampunk, a strange blend of futuristic technology and the anachronistic society of the Victorian era, takes its primary influences from 19th century science fiction writers, such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne; the Victorian-era Great Britain; and the American West. The Steampunk World’s Fair occurs each year in New Jersey, and is considered to be the largest and most whimsical Steampunk event in the world. The weekend festival kicked off Friday, May 17, and featured attendees dressed in costume, vendors, presenters, musical performers and other entertainers.
The entertainment at the Steampunk World’s Fair included sideshow acts such as Hubris,The World of Wyck, and The White Elephant Burlesque Society. Hubris, a geeky band of fire freaks who excel at using the magical wonders of the Fire Arts, entertained the crowd with wickedly creative antics. Hubris’ members have names such as Hobbit, Sock Monkey, and Cookie Monster. In case you missed them at the Steampunk World’s Fair, Hubris performs throughout the year at events and festivals along the East Coast.
The World of Wyck is unique mix of classic sideshow routines and humor. Wyck performed his stunts with comedic effect that makes him an absolutely amazing showman. Wyck’s acts included fire-breathing, a straight jacket escape and the human block head. Wyck is always happy to entertain the crowd anyway that he can, including sticking his arm into a real wolf trap.
The White Elephant Burlesque Society performed The White Elephant Burlesque Troop at the Steampunk World’s Fair. This highly entertaining performance harkened back to the days of the speakeasy, and yet had a mix of current day geek aesthetic. There was standing room only for the White Elephant Burlesque Show long before the performance started. One member of the White Elephant Burlesque Society, of particular note was Lilith Lore. Lore is a storyteller, burlesque dancer and much, much more. Her wickedly salacious retelling of classic fairy tales could make you rethink other believes that you have held since childhood.
The musical entertainment at the Steampunk World’s Fair featured “Frenchy And The Punk”, the world’s leading Steampunk musicians. “Frenchy”, also known as Samantha Stephenson, is a graceful, sultry powerful French-born singer. Scott Helland is “The Punk”, an electrifying punk rock guitarist from the golden days of the hardcore scene. Formed in 2005, Frenchy and The Punk created a sound that was an energetic hybrid of European Folk music, Punk attitude, World Beat eclecticism and traveling player theatricality.
Samantha Stephenson, the singer and primary lyricist of the musical group, has had a roller coaster life journey, going from artist to MBA graduate to full-time performing artist. She studied art at the National Academy of Design and Art Students League in New York and dance at the Royal School of Dance in England. She was formally trained in piano and voice since her teen years. Stephenson has lived in France, Brazil, England, Africa and the United States.
Scott Helland’s music is deeply rooted in hardcore scene of the 1980s. Helland was co-founder and bassist of the legendary hardcore punk band, Deep Wound, whose members included future Dinosaur Jr. band members Lou Barlow and J. Mascis. Helland’s follow-up band, Outpatients, shared the stage with bands such as Black Flag, CroMags, Husker Du, GBH, and Agnostic Front.
Helland’s creative guitar techniques perfectly compliment the spirit and playfulness of Stephenson’s lyrics. In their eight year collaboration, the two have blended their vast collective musical and life experiences into a unique and theatrical style and sound. They are now one of the leading acts of the cabaret and steampunk movements. The magnetic stage presence and an exhilarating music performance of Frenchy And The Punk has attracted a growing and loyal fan base from around the world