Announcing Duel at Dusk 2018

Duel at Dusk 2018 Header

“Duel at Dusk” is back! This is the fourth time we are offering this event. Drake & McTrowell, along with help from the ConDor Con 2018, is making it even better than ever.

Not familiar with Duel at Dusk? It's a steampunk parlor event with dueling. Once again, there will be four types of dueling: steampunk nerf gun dueling, tea dueling, compliment dueling, and our traditional Olympic-style foil fencing! We will also have our usual dazzling array of steampunk vendors, and much, much more.

Duel at Dusk 2018

On-line sales for Duel at Dusk 2018 have been closed. You can still buy tickets at the door!

7 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. on Saturday the 20th of January, 2018

Location: Co-located with ConCor Con
Handlery Hotel
Garden Ballroom
950 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, California 92108

You may buy tickets at the door of the event. $10 for adults (age 13 and up) and $5 for children (ages 4 through 12). If you have a FULL 3-day Membership to ConDor Con for 2018, then you may attend Duel at Dusk for free (please RSVP so we'll have enough seating).

On-line tickets may be purchased for $8 for adults and $4 for children (only available on-line until 11 PM Wednesday January 17, 2018).

So acquire your tickets, stuff your photographic apparatus into your carpet bag, take in an early dinner, and come join us on the evening of January 20th to participate and/or watch the competitors!

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Long Beach Steamy Tea and Picnic

Off we went to Long Beach on a lovely Sunday morning to join the Long Beach Company of Steampunks and Neo Victorians for their Steamy Tea and Picnic.

All was in readiness for a delightful picnic in El Dorado Park.

Picnic_prep Picnic_spread

Picnic in the Park

Several very fine gentlemen were in attendance.


Picnic Gents

And what could be a better accompaniment to a picnic in the park than croquet?

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Plus, there were corgis!


Corgis Attended by their Human Servants

Alas, we had to bid adieu to all the fine steampunk trappings, including this lovely creation.


Tower of Steampunk Finery

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Comic Con 2017

With Comic Con a lot more spread out and so many paths blocked, we didn’t make it to quite as many panels and events this year. But, there was still some great stuff!

We’re always happy to see that
Tess Fowler is up to something new, and her new project for IDW, “Black Crown,” looks to be darkly fabulous.


Black Crown

We made it to Cosplay 101 where
Bob Mogg was showing off his steampunk Batman costume and providing all manner of useful advice for cosplayers novice and expert.


Cosplay 101

Sparky even spotted a Delores Umbridge in the crowd, although we confess to being more enamored with
Kelly Varner’s version.


Delores Umbridge

We’ve been reading Arcana’s “Howard Lovecraft” series recently, so we really enjoyed the panel on the movie.

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Howard Lovecraft

Of course, there were sightings of amazing costumes including this Groot that was at least 7’ tall.


I Am Groot

Kelly and Murray crushed this 1950s Star Trek mashup.


1950 Star Trek Mashup

This kid was having the best Comic Con of all! Her dad would hoist her up in the air every couple of minutes, sending her into squeals of delight. Sparky wants to know if she can get someone to do this for her.


Wonder Baby

Check out the Samurai droid mashup!


Samurai Droids

And what Comic Con would be complete without the
Starburner Galactic Courier Service steampunk meetup and awards? Kudos to the Starburners for the ensemble cosplay with the Victorian baseball costumes.

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Play Ball!

But the highlight of the meetup was when Jeb Haught surprised his long-time girlfriend, Barbara Lekes, with a marriage proposal.

J+B1 J+B2 J+B3 J+B4

She Said, “Yes”

Sparky spent quite a bit of time lending a hand in the
Gaslight Gathering booth. The highlight was a chance to be in KPBS’s live stream of the fan tables on the mezzanine.


ooth Hand Sparky

We were quite literally heading for the door to leave on Sunday when we spotted
Nichelle Nichols! Not to be those children of the 60s, but squee!



We did find a few minutes of quiet to enjoy a romantic meal at our favorite downtown dining spot,
Café Chloe. How can a girl resist a boy who orders her sparkling rosé?


Bubbly Drake

And, yes, we’ve submitted our professional registration materials for next year. Fingers crossed.

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Clockwork Alchemy 2017

With Sometime Later and Kepler’s Cowboys just out, Clockwork Alchemy was mostly about vending for us.

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All the Vending

Fear not, dear reader, life in Authors’ Alley is not all commercial drudgery. The authors have their own tea service to keep up our energy.


Very Civilized

This year, for the first time, we had a contest for table decoration. We won second prize for best use of banners!


Best Use of Banners

And most everyone wanders through Authors’ Alley at some point, sharing their splendid costumes with us.

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Authors’ Alley Promenade

But, of course, there was Drake & McTrowell’s “Hot Potato School of Writing™!”

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Now with Actual Hot Potatoes!

Although we didn’t get pictures, we did run “There Was Once a Steampunk from Limerick™” for the second time. You can find the clever and hilarious results

We did manage to conserve our energies enough to make it to the evening performances for our favorite steampunk circus,
Cirque Des Bêtes, and Strangely Doesburg.

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Look Ma, No Hands or Head

And what Clockwork Alchemy bloop would be complete without pictures of
Thena MacArthur in some magnificent costume, like this resplendent red number for the fashion show?

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Lava Red Thena

Remember that Clockwork Alchemy is earlier next year: March 23 – 25th. We’ll see you there!

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Gaslight Gathering 2017

It was so marvelous to be back at Gaslight Gathering! We pulled out all the stops producing new content. Sparky participated in the fashion show, “Victorians We Admire,” as the world’s first programmer, Countess Ada Lovelace.

Drake showed off his martial arts skills with the premiere of his tutorial on cane defense. There was much clamoring to repeat it at future events.

GG_Cane_Defense_1 GG_Cane_Defense_2
Take That! And That!

We premiered “There Was Once a Steampunk from Limerick™.” You can find the first batch of results on the new limerick page on our new website page
Library of Limericks.

And there were old favorites. Drake & McTrowell’s “Hot Potato School of Writing™” was way off the hook this time with newbie
Cindy Diamond and repeat offender Kelly Varner. Plus, it was right after the absinthe panel, so it was more colorful than usual.

Why Does the Green Fairy Make Hot Potatoes so Blue?

For “Theatre of the Historically Improbable™” we performed both “The Evil Cheesemonger” and “Green Grass, Brown Well.” We were joined by
Sage & Savant and Debra Brunner, all of whom contributed a significant amount of tomfoolery to the proceedings.

Wall-to-Wall Tomfoolery

We found just a few minutes to look in on other happenings including a sighting of
Dyno Staats.

GG_Dyno Steam_Choo_Choo
Magic and Choo Choo, What’s Not to Love?

But our greatest achievement of the weekend was to cast, shoot, edit, and screen a video with a great amount of support from
Dreadfully Punk and L.O.S.E.R., the video “Hiring Day.”

Watch it Here! Flaming Pineapples and Whirling Blades of Death!

Hiring Day Set

Audience Reaction

And in case you didn’t notice, we now have our own
YouTube Channel!

Be there at Gaslight Gathering next year to see what other tomfoolery we concoct.

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Sock Puppets!

Gaslight Gathering is only a week away, so this is our final reveal! Last, but certainly not least, we'll be doing Theatre of the Historically Improbable™. That means sock puppets and skits! So bring your inner vaudevillian and puppeteer; hilarity is bound to ensure.

D_McT_sock_puppets Drake_Puppet_Dressing Sock_Puppet_Dragons_Teeth

Now you have all our announcements for Gaslight Gathering:

See y'all there.

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Someone Say Hot Potato?


If you've seen us at a convention in the last few years, you've probably seen our improvisational, audience-participation, writing game show, Hot Potato School of Writing™. But just because you've seen it once (or twice) doesn't mean you've seen all there is. It's different every time thanks to the wacky input of the audience's "Hot Potato" plot points, the audience members who volunteer to play, and the creativity of our guest authors. We'll be joined this time by Kelly Varner (a notorious repeat offender) and Cindy Kinnard-Diamond. Come lob a few hilarious flaming spuds with us at Gaslight Gathering the weekend of May 12 - 14.

If you missed our first three announcements about other engagingly comical things we're doing at Gaslight Gathering, you can find them
here and here and here.

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There Once Was a Steampunk

The limerick form appeared in England in the early years of the 18th century and was popularized by Edward Lear in the 19th century, which totally makes it steampunk! Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly considered nonsense literature, and now you can too. We’ll be premiering There Once Was a Steampunk from Limerick™ at Gaslight Gathering. Drop in to exercise those limerick-writing skills you haven’t used since elementary school and earn yourself a spot on the Drake & McTrowell website…and possibly wild acclaim, but we don’t guarantee that last point.


If you missed our first two announcements about other engagingly comical things we're doing at Gaslight Gathering, you can find them here and here.

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Gaslight Gathering Shenani-Plans: Part Deux

It's been a week, so you're probably wondering what other goodies we have in store for Gaslight Gathering. We all know that Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake is a man of action. And now he's going to teach you some of the tricks of the trade…rather like this.

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Take That! And That!

Are you planning a stroll in the darker corners of London at night? We'd advise a hour-long lesson of defending yourself with your cane or umbrella! The Chief Inspector will show you how.

And if you want to see our first reveal for Gaslight Gathering, you can find it

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WonderCon 2017

WonderCon was all about the costumes this year! We saw this couple on both Saturday and Sunday. She makes all the costumes herself including the hand beading on the bodice of the Queen of Hearts costume. Gorgeous!

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Ursula and Neptune on Saturday
Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter on Sunday

There were several clever mashups including
Nikki Pardee and Krissy Stache as steampunk Cogsworth and Lumière, respectively. Plus, they're crossplaying both characters.


Steampunk Cogsworth and Lumière

Speaking of crossplay, there was this stunning Joker. We don't know how she survived all day in those heels, but boy does she looking amazing doing it.


Crossplaying the Joker

Okay, so Iron Man is a pretty serious warrior, so this makes a whole bunch of sense. It's another fine example of attention to detail.


Samurai Iron Man

But this is the one that made us laugh.
Lonstermash does a canonical Wolverine most of the time, but he told us he does this for Sundays and WonderCon was pretty close to Easter.


Wolverine Bunny

Although we laughed, we also ran. Those carrots are super sharp and pointy!

Our next event is Gaslight Gathering in San Diego! Come
join us for the fun!

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Gaslight Gathering Shenani-Plans

Gaslight Gathering is coming May 12 - 14, 2017! In addition to some of our usual offerings, Drake & McTrowell has some new shenanigans in the works! We'll be revealing them over the next couple of weeks. As Chief Inspector Drake would say, "Oh my, I love a good clue!"

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Lights! Camera! Action!

In conjunction with Justin Andrew Hoke and L.O.S.E.R., we're going to shoot, edit, and screen a video over the course of the weekend. We'll be looking for performers on Friday for role assignment and then filming on Saturday. We'll announce later where to find us on Friday to sign up! Keep an eye on the Gaslight Gathering program for the location of the screening of our cinematic masterpiece on Sunday.

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Wild Wild West Steampunk Con 2017

Ah, Springtime, when the wildflowers bloom and we pack the Dr. Sparky-mobile to the rafters for the trek across the desert to Old Tucson Studios for Wild Wild West Steampunk Con! There were old friends and new shenanigans. Once again we shared an authors' table with David Lee Summers. Yes, we're adults and professionals.

Vending_shenanigans Corrected

Vending Shenanigans

We had some new things for sale including
Kepler's Cowboys, an anthology of space western stories about planet discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. The book is edited by David Lee Summers and Steve Howell, the Kepler project scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. Drake has a straight up science fiction story in the anthology!


Be-Tentacled Sales Assistants

The adorable green and black octopus was custom-made for Sparky's Cthulhu Acolyte costume by David Lee Summers' daughter. And why was Sparky dressed thus? Because the theme of the convention this year was Cthulhu for President.


Cthulhu and His Acolyte

This particular pic is by
Paul Davis who took a lot of amazing pictures at the convention. Everyone was wearing their best green and tentacles. Here's a link to more of Paul's pictures from the event.


With Curatio and Debra


Karina Representing

We had a prime location on the Bitter Creek Stage where the high winds made for extra interesting shenanigans during our Nerf™ gun dueling shootout. Yes, there was some attempts at Kentucky windage, not that it helped amidst the gusts.

Nerf_challenge Nerf_ready Nerf_is_on Runaway_nerf

We Got Your Nerf™ Right Here!

The wind also made holding scripts for our Theatre of the Historically Improbable™ more than a little interesting, but our company persevered. Even Nessie approved, despite the presence of her election rival, Cthulhu, on stage.

ToTHI_hurricane ToTHI_WWWC Nessie Corrected Cthulhu_with_cast Corrected ToTHI_cast Corrected

Theatre of the Historically Improbable™ in a Hurricane

Cirque des Bêtes was there and they were on fire! No, literally, they were on fire. They premiered their new nighttime fire show and it was great. If it was on fire, they could juggle, jump, or balance it.


Cirque des Bêtes on Fire

One of the other new events this year was the Steampunk Vehicle Exhibition where the contributions were both varied and magnificent. This is what steampunk is all about! Check out these crazy conveyances.


Oh, Those Steamy Machines

As Sparky rides off… well, okay, strolls off into the sunset, we say…


See you again next year, amigos!

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Dispatch Detailing Duel at Dusk 2017

Wow, just wow! We’re thrilled at how well our new format was received. We were back at our usual venue, Team Touché Fencing Center. Of course, we had our traditional offering of Olympic-style foil fencing.

Ben Jagger and Bryan Bishe Mix It Up

Drake even got in the game, but without eschewing sartorial suavities.

Erasmus_fences cropped
Is That Bowler FIE Regulation?

The final bout was between Ben Jagger and Bryan Bishe. Bryan won, but it was close.

Bryan Wins! And gets a giant commemorative chocolate bar!

But, wait, there’s more. We had
Madame Askew and her intern, Ian, in from Tucson for tea duelling.

So Much Tea Duelling!


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The shenanigans were so off the hook that even Madame Askew struggled to contain herself.


Ze Prussian fell to the victorious Steampunk Molly, but not without an epic battle. She was rewarded with a ceramic tea holder filled with various teas!

We were also honored to have the
Iron Tailor, Bob Mogg, working with us to run the steampunk Nerf™ gun dueling.

The Iron Tailor with a Loaded Nerf™ Gun. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Back over to Madame Askew for some compliment duelling. We’ve never see this sport in action before and we have to say we find it delightful. With her supreme graciousness, Evie prevailed against all other duelists to take home the grand prize, a copy of “Miss Manners.”

Evie Wins!

We know what you’re wondering; how did the steampunk Nerf™ gun dueling come out? The four finalists squared off in a series of duels.

Gentle Steampunks, Choose Your Weapons

In the end, Ed Pogue prevailed (despite Doc Synchronous’ signature sneakiness) and took home the big prize, a hand-painted steampunked Nerf™ gun crafted by the Iron Tailor himself.


Ed Wins!

It was a whirlwind of non-stop fun. We sure hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

Until Next Year!

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