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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Victorian tech cowboys: Wild Wild West Con steampunk convention invades Old Tucson

    By and large, many students stay within a two-mile radius of the UA, choosing not to venture out into Tucson and explore all its wondrous, weird attractions. For instance, most UA students wouldn’t know that Tucson has hosted a steampunk convention, called the Wild Wild West Con, which takes place in western-themed Old Tucson Studios, since 2012.

    Known for its gears, goggles and dirigibles, steampunk developed as a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on Victorian-era technologies turned up a notch. Steampunk often transcends the lines between genres, featuring notes from horror, fantasy and historical fiction. It has a cult following among the audiences traditionally involved in the Comic-Con circuit around the country. Notable examples of steampunk and its variants include Phillip Pullman’s controversial novel, “The Golden Compass,” Hayao Miyzaki’s legendary film, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and just about anything written by Jules Verne, author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.”

    Wild Wild West Con will celebrate it’s fifth iteration from March 4-6 and the planners of the conference are confident in its success.

    “The convention is possible because we work with an amazing group of talented individuals who share our passion for steampunk,” said Diana Given, director of entertainment for Wild Wild West Con. “We want attendees to enjoy a creative, supportive and inclusive atmosphere filled with wonder and fun.”

    With education about steampunk at its core, Wild Wild West Con features opportunities to learn about and engage in steampunk related activities and performances. Headlining Wild Wild West Con are artists like Steam Powered Giraffe, a musical act from San Diegofeaturing everything from quirky pantomime to original steampunk inspired music.

    Wild Wild West Con 5 will also feature over 60 vendors from around the world selling their goods. Hailing from Bisbee, Arizona, Sweet Midnight will be selling its darkly humorous merchandise at WWWC5.

    “There’s not that many opportunities to buy Steampunk accessories in person,” said Renee Harper, creative executive officer of Sweet Midnight. “It’s really nice to try on that corset you’ve been eyeing on Etsy before you buy it.”

    While many UA students do not know of the existence of WWWC5, some volunteer at the event and help bring it to life. Cody Hamrick, a deaf studies junior, joined the volunteer team for WWWC during last year’s convention and plans on volunteering again this year for WWWC5.

    “My previous experiences were absolutely fantastic,” Hamrick said. “It’s overall a great experience to get out of inner city Tucson and enjoy the culture that some other people are keeping alive and thriving even though it contradicts the norm.”

    With its plentiful opportunities for fun and cultural education, Wild Wild West Con established itself as one of the amazing events offered to the Tucson community. Considering that large-scale, specifically steampunk, events are rare occurrences, anyone interested in steampunk should not miss out on this opportunity.

    Get your tickets here

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