2018 Presentation Line-up


Zebulon Vitruvius Pike
Muggle name: Kevin Geiselman

Gentleman adventurer, mercenary explorer, dime novel hero and veteran of the late unpleasantness. After serving in the US Aeroship Cavalry and as special agent to the President, Pike left government service to travel the world. When not saving civilization as we know it from science pirates, abominations of nature and invaders from the beyond, Professor Vitruvius occasionally lectures on topics of interest in history, science and technology. Meanwhile, in the unforeseeable future, Kevin Geiselman has been attending, running and presenting at science fiction conventions for several decades. And while he considers himself a writer of not insignificant skill, he has yet to be formally published.


Victorian Spacecraft
Saturday, 10–11am, Museum of History
The science and science fiction of space travel in the 19th Century. Jules Verne’s moon gun. H.G. Wells’ Cavorite sphere. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s space elevator. Erasmus Darwin’s rocket. Thomas Edison’s aether propeller. Tesla’s Venusian X-12. Where they got it right. Where they got it wrong. And how you can incorporate them into your steampunk narrative.

History and Technology of Airships
Saturday, 2–3pm, Museum of History

Dirigibles are a fixture of steampunk literature but what does it really take for them to fly and how did a century of technological development get them there? From the Montgolfier Brothers to Ferdinand von Zeppelin, from Ben Franklin’s airship commandos to luxury liners of the sky, from triumph to tragedy.

H. G. Wells and the War of the Worlds
Saturday, 3–4pm, Museum of History

A retrospective of the man, his masterpiece and what has became of his vision since 1897, from Garrett Services’ hackneyed “Edison’s Conquest of Mars” through Orson Welles’ Halloween broadcast.


Victorian Hair & Makeup to Present Day

Saturday, 10–11am, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: LeErin Humbracht
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Paired with an elegant Victorian hairstyle, the makeup of yesteryear comes alive in a modern way. Bright & wide eyed with dramatic lines transforms our model into a Victorian Lady. Lets take a journey back into the 1800’s to recreate a look that would make Queen Victoria jealous. During this demo we will show you how to incorporate hair pieces, accessories and theatrical makeup. The Tricoci Team will transform a modern day model into the epitome of Steampunk Glamour.

Rachel Concialdi has been a licensed cosmetologist for over 15 years. Most of her time has been spent working in Chicago, but she recently relocated to Peoria and she is currently teaching others at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Normal, IL.

Daphne Smock has been in the beauty industry since 2013. She loves to help others see their inner beauty come alive through skincare and makeup. Daphne is a licensed cosmetologist and also teaches at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.

Steampunk Weapons 101

Saturday, 10–11:30am, Half Hazard Press (lower level)
Presenter: Micca MacKay
Subject Area: Costumes and Props (make-n-take)

Fee: $10, cash at the door

This is a hands-on, how-to class on making your first Steampunk weapon. In this workshop you will learn tips and tricks to take a basic Nerf gun and turn it Steampunk. You will walk away from this class with a weapon in hand! All supplies and weapon are provided in this make-and-take workshop. Class size is limited to 10 participants, on a first-come basis.

Micca is an educator and re-enactor, history buff and crafter. He has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Masters of Education, Associate of History and Mo State Paramedic License. Over 30 years of emergency medical treatment, care and education have helped Micca create unique class and workshop experiences. Micca has taught at various events around the country. With his partner in science and mischief Dark_Eyed_Beauty they bring a light-hearted and unique look at every workshop.

Steampunk Necklace

Saturday, 11am–noon, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Blaine Kemp

Subject Area: Costumes & Props (make-n-take)

Fee: $20, cash at the door

Make a unique Steampunk necklace of your own. All materials included.

Blaine Kemp is owner and designer at Steam Pop Creations. He loves to make things from repurposed vintage jewelry as well as put a new twist on items.

The Skinny on the Scanties: A History of Women’s Underwear

Saturday, 11am–Noon, Museum of History
Presenter: Susan Hartzold
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Ever wondered about the history, purpose, and meaning of women’s undergarments? Well, here’s your chance to get a revealing peek at what’s been worn beneath our outer garments through the centuries… and the not-so-hidden meanings they sometimes communicated.

Susan is a Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the McLean County Museum of History. With a background in costume history, she is uniquely qualified to discuss this topic.

Steampunk Stories and Sonnets

Saturday, noon–1pm, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Ardis Stewart
Subject Area: Writing

Ever imagine what it would be like to write your own speculative story with a steampunk spin? What about a steampunk sonnet? Then this workshop might just be the place to oil your creative cogs and get you started! We’ll cover some basic dos and don’ts of creative writing in general and steampunk literary style in particular — who knows, you may just be the next H. G. Wells or Jules Verne!

Ardis has a MA in writing from Illinois State University (and Ph.D. course work there) where she has taken numerous creative writing classes. She has done creative writing workshops at the Normal Public Library (through Kathleen Kirk’s RHINO Poetry Magazine sponsorship). Her poetry has been published in Seeding the Snow, RHINO, Word-River, in the anthology Where We Live: Illinois Poets, and on WGLT’s Poetry Radio. Ardis is one of the poets involved in “Words on Quilts” for the McLean County Barn Quilt Heritage Trails. She also teaches composition at Heartland Community College and Illinois Central College and has presented on writing at numerous professional conferences.

Crime and Punishment in the Victorian Age

Saturday, noon–1pm, Museum of History
Presenter: Amy Wood
Subject Area: History and Science

Many features of the Victorian criminal justice system in the United States look archaic to us now, from the flogging of prisoners to public executions to physiological examinations of criminals. Yet, much of our present-day criminal justice system began in the Victorian era. The nineteenth century saw the rise of the penitentiary, professional police forces, modern criminology, and methods of criminal detection such as the mug shot and fingerprinting. Contemporary popular responses to crime —such as crime stories and detective fiction —also originated in the Victorian age. This talk will discuss how and why many of these developments came to be.

Amy is currently writing a cultural and intellectual history of criminality and criminal justice in the late nineteenth century. She has previously published on the history of lynching and the history of executions. Amy teaches a course on the history of crime and punishment at Illinois State University.

The Myth and Fact of Victorian Medicine

Saturday, 1–2pm, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Micca MacKay
Subject Area: History and Science

Explore the medical myths of the time and the facts that Victorian Medicine brought about. In this open discussion we will cover leeches and bloodletting to vampires and rising from the dead, mythology versus science.

Micca is an educator and re-enactor, history buff and crafter. He has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Masters of Education, Associate of History and Mo State Paramedic License. Over 30 years of emergency medical treatment, care and education have helped Micca create unique class and workshop experiences. Micca has taught at various events around the country. With his partner in science and mischief Dark_Eyed_Beauty they bring a light hearted and unique look at every workshop.

The Natural History and Brewing of Tea

Saturday, 1–2pm, Museum of History
Presenter: Octavia Quinlan

Subject Area: History and Science

Ever wondered how to brew the perfect pot of tea? Ever wonder where tea comes from and how it’s manufactured? Well, that is what we will discuss: the tea plant, how it is processed, and how to make it into a great brew!

A naturalist and nature illustrator, Professor Octavia Quinlan has been traveling the world looking for odd specimens of flora and fauna, and on the way has also accumulated a storehouse of knowledge on the tea customs of other lands. She enjoys talking about any of these topics, from anteaters to yapoks, from Assam tea to oolong, and anything else under the sun (but the weirder, the better).

Mini Top Hat Make-And-Take

Saturday, 1–2:30pm, Half Hazard Press (lower level)
Sunday, 11:30am–1pm, Half Hazard Press (lower level)
Presenter: Alex McCoy
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Fee: $15

MAKE-AND-TAKE! Steampunk Mini Top Hat Get in touch with your inner steampunk! Come and create a mini top hat to wear whilst you celebrate at the festival. All supplies will be included in the $15.00 (including tax) fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult as we will be using hot glue guns. Plan on 30 minutes or so.

Accessorize to Maximize

Saturday, 2–3pm, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Molly Parvenue
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

You’ve decided on a character. What’s next? Why, it’s time to find out how to bring them to life! After all, clothes make the man and costumes make the characters. In this course you will learn how to — with a few easy accessories — take your outfit from beginner to best in show.

As an award winning seamstress and prop designer Louise has helped hundreds design, refine and augment their costumes. She is an experienced teacher and presenter of many different genres of costuming from Medieval to Steampunk, Fantasy to Fanciful. Louise has done it all.

Developing Your Steampunk Persona

Saturday, 3–4pm, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Cathy Sutliff
Subject Area: Other

The gadgets are great. The look is cool. But is something about your steampunk costume just not gelling? It’s time to define your steampunk persona! Steampunk aficionado and theatre buff Cathy Sutliff will teach you to hone in on your flights of fancy and discover your alternate history. You’ll also develop a back story, create goals for your character to achieve and dub yourself with a new name. Attendees will receive tips and suggestions for wardrobe enhancements to complement these new personae before they head out with a whole new self!

Cathy has been fascinated with steampunk since the mid 80’s but didn’t know it had a name until well into the turn of the century. And didn’t join the movement until a few years ago. But during that time she has been working in both professional and local theatre both on and off the stage.

Building Steampunk

Sunday, 10–11am, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Dan McGee
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Demonstrating how to create Steampunk items; where to find what you need; transforming items into Steampunk accessories and props.

Dan McGee is a professional actor, and film maker. He has performed in St Louis, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City and Santa Monica. He has taught acting classes at various institutions: the YMCA of Granite City, Illinois; the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis; as well as a number of modeling agencies. He is presently the artistic director of the St. Louis Mystery Company and also of Steampunk Adventure Theatre.

costume workshop

Genesis from Junque, The Repurposed Steampunker, NeoVictorian from the Resale Shop

Sunday, 11am–noon, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Dianna Carrington
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

With good shopping habits, imagination and a little skill, you can easily craft wardrobe for your steampunk persona! Tips on where to shop, what to look for, how to modify as well as advice for yard-good harvesting from household textiles for sewists looking for affordable fabric.

Lots of examples will be available for inspection and we will be debuting our Tablecloth Bustle skirt which can be made in under one hour (not counting the shopping part, unless you are really fast and lucky.)

A Reckless Era of Performance

Sunday, 11am–noon, Museum of History
Presenter: Steve Gossard
Subject Area: History and Science

This presentation will highlight various sensational performances from the Victorian Era, particularly dangerous aerial acts!

Steve Gossard graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Art and a concentration in Art History. In 1984, he was asked to curate an exhibit from the circus collection at Milner Library for the Museums Department at ISU. Until Gossard’s research began, few people in the community knew anything about this fascinating local history, and he quickly became the unofficial historian for the community of retired circus performers still living in Bloomington-Normal. Since local legend held that an act called the “flying return” had been invented here in B-N, Gossard devoted much of his research to studying the invention and development of trapeze and other types of aerial performance arts.

Steampunk Hair and Makeup Techniques

Sunday, Noon–1pm, Inside Out Accessible Art
Presenter: Ken Sprouls
Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Hairstyling and Makeup techniques to enhance your character’s look, including curling and setting techniques, and using hair pieces to complete your steampunk look.

Ken is Makeup Artist/hairstylist at Fox and Hounds with a fine art and theatre background. Ken is blessed to have a career that gives him so many creative and rewarding opportunities, be it working on Hair and Makeup for videos or photo shoots, taking care of his regular clients or helping cancer patients improve their self esteem. Ken is excited to share some of his knowledge with everyone who attends.

The Showmen’s Final Resting Place: Aerialists and Circus Performers Buried in Bloomington-Normal’s Cemeteries

Sunday, Noon–1pm, Museum of History
Presenter: Candace Summers
Subject Area: History and Science

Bloomington and Normal has been home to a variety of industries throughout its history. One such industry was that of producing and training aerialists and circus performers. For mroe than 80 years, between the 1870s and the 1950s, Bloomington-Normal was a factory, churning out internationally renowned performers that would influence and train generations to come of performers to come, each of whom left their mark on history. And a significant number of these performers decided to make Bloomington-Normal their final resting place as well. This program will explore who those performers are, where the final resting place is, and what types of monuments or markers their final resting place has.

Candace has extensive knowledge about local cemetery history, monument architecture and symbolism, and excellent knowledge about our local history.

Steampunk Author Reading

Saturday, 10–11am, The Ensenberger
Presenters: Attending Steampunk Authors
Subject Area: Literature

Action, adventure, suspense and thrills all await you in the pages of these books! Join us as five of our visiting Steampunk authors take us on journeys through their imaginations, reading selections from their books. Featuring:

Morgan Busse — The Soul Chronicles, Tainted

Toni Johnson — Tales of the Automazombs

Andrea Jones — The Hook and Jill series

Sue Rovens — Badfish, Track 9, In a Corner, Darkly: Volumes 1 & 2

Moderated by Ardis Stewart.

Cogs & Corsets: Going Forward!

Sunday, 10–11am, Museum of History
Panelists: Amy O’Neal, Cathy Sutliff, Tricia Stiller
Subject Area: Other

This is a chance for a little feedback! The Cogs & Corsets planning committee members will be talking about future ideas for Cogs & Corsets and would like your input. Let us know what you liked about the festival and what we could do better. This is an opportunity to make Cogs & Corsets even bigger and better!