BRASS has made appearances at several different Steampunk Festivals, but our favorite has always been The Brass Screw Confederacy, Port Townsend’s annual Festival of 19th century-style social mayhem.
This year’s Festival Theme is Mad Science, pretty much “on brand” for Season Three of BRASS, which features not one but three mad scientists–or if you prefer, one evil, one questionable, and one highly eccentric. (Any guesses as to which category Nikolai Tesla might fit?)
Brass Screw is the Festival where we learned to love Steampunk. Through an accident of economic misfortune, 19th century Port Townsend built up its downtown expecting great things when the railway connection finally linked their bustling port to the rest of the state. But the railway never came, and the Victorian facades of the buildings were left near-abandoned and undeveloped.
The town already had a long-running Victorian Festival, so when Nathan Barnett, the new proprietor with his wife Cindy of the quintessentially Victorian B&B Old Consulate Inn, proposed a Steampunk Festival entitled The Brass Screw Confederacy, the whole town jumped in with enthusiasm. Now in its seventh year, the Confederacy features lectures, readings, tactical croquet, a Hootenany, and this year even a Augmented Reality Steampunk Adventure, courtesy of the tech geniuses at Magic Leap.
The Brass Screw manages to keep the fun of Steampunk while gently avoiding the more exclusionary and pretentious aspects of the genre. For those of us connected with BRASS, it’s an invaluable opportunity to meet our audiences face-to-face, and find out what’s working and what’s not. We’ve premiered films, presented sneak peeks of scripts, and this year, will host a panel discussion about some of the implications of enjoying an alternate Victorian history that doesn’t shy away from the worst aspects of colonialism and Imperialism, because the Confederacy is a great place for such serious conversations.
Plus, an Absinthe Tent. Because no matter what else might be going on with Steampunk, we all need a good Absinthe tent (complete with Absinthe Fairies.)
BRASS will be presenting at the Key City Theatre on Sunday June 9th at noon, with special guests Jeremy Adams (Cyril Brass), Nancy Frye (M. Tressano) and noted historian Gordon Frye. Hope to see you there! (For tickets and more info, go here.)