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Michigan has a lot to offer residents and visitors to step outside of their normal routine and escape into some fantasy fun. This weekend you can step back in time and enter two realms of fantasy at The Olde World Village in Augusta, Michigan (13215 M-96, Augusta, MI, just north of I-94 between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek) and the Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival in Vassar, Michigan (west of I-75 at 7464 Frankenmuth Rd.)
The Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival started last weekend and will continue on Saturdays and Sundays through June 26, 2016 with music, fun food, and fairytail fun. This weekend’s theme is “Pillage the Village” with Vikings and Pirates. In addition to their regular crew of pirates, Vikings, and scalawags, special guests include The Crew of the Pirate Ship Crysta, the Dread Pirate Roberts, The World of Swimming Mermaid School and Andromina The Mermaid.
At the Olde World Village they are having their Steam Dream Expo, Michigan’s longest running Steampunk Convention, this weekend. For those who are unaware, Steampunk is the science fiction genre of the 1800’s, the era of steam engines, dirigibles, clockwork contraptions, with dapperly dressed, dashing gents and gorgeous gals in corsets and other Victorian era finery.
The Olde World Village is decked out for the steampunk crowd which includes an invasion from Lansing’s Capitol Steam, Performances by Eli August and the Abandoned buildings, Bell, Book and Canto, and many others. DJ Vourteque will slinging the steamy tunes when he isn’t doing his duties as MC. If you enjoy things a bit more on the steamy side, make sure you get the VIP pass and hit the more adult orient and after dark events that will go through 10 p.m. and beyond. For a few free samples, check out some past performances from the Olde World Village.
After this weekend the Olde World Village takes a couple weeks off to retool and then returns on July 9th for the BlackRock Medieval Fest and other events through the December so you may want save their event schedule.
Next weekend, in addition to week three of the Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival, an old favorite is being resurrected in Grand Rapids, Michigan as JAFAX 2.0 (Japanese Animation, Film, and Art Expo) at the Amway Grand and DeVos Place Conference Center. Anime and Cosplay fans will be hitting downtown Grand Rapids and enjoying the riverfront ambiance.
For those of a more historical bent, check out Michigan’s Civil War Musters where the Living History reenactors will don more traditional Civil War era wardrobe, roll in the canons, powder up the rifles, mount their steeds and maybe even cut loose later at the Emerald Pheasant. Hastings’ Charlton Park hosts their muster over the weekend of July 16-17. If you have never been to Charlton Park, you are in for a treat as they moved historic buildings to the park instead of tearing them down and it is a beautiful piece of history. Add the canons, costumes and live action history and you will be blown away! Down in Jackson the Jackson Civil War Muster happens on the weekend of August 20-21 and you can expect more guns, canons, horses and soldiers.
It is rare when a man speaks well of his ex-wife and even more rare when he will reach out on her behalf to assist her. Today the message of a remarkable fellow, singer, song writer, artist, author, Aurelio Voltaire, popped up on Facebook with such a request:
“Can I have your attention for a moment for something ACTUALLY really important that will change lives in a VERY real way???
My ex-wife and very dear friend, Jayme is selling the wedding dress she wore at our wedding. She’s been to India several times in the last couple of years and was affected very deeply by the phenomenon of violent attacks against women there. Many of these women have no education, no vocation and presumably are waiting for the day when they will meet the… right man for whom they can be a devoted, loving wife and mother to their children. The problem is, when they are then sexually attacked by no fault of their own, no man will ever marry them. They are left futureless. Jayme, desperate to find a way to help, decided that she’d round up supplies and teach these girls to cut hair (Jayme is a licensed cosmetologist). That way, they’d have a means to support themselves and a future, much brighter than begging in the streets. Absolutely 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the dress are going to making this endeavor a reality. And incidentally… the dress is GORGEOUS!!!! Won’t you please have a look and if it’s not something you’d be interested in, will you please take a moment to pass it along to someone who might enjoy owning this amazing dress… At the same time, the future owner will truly be making a difference in the lives of some young women who simply do not deserve what has happened to them.
Thank you! There are much better photos on the Ebay page!!! Here’s the link”
Later he posted another link for those of use who are not interested in buying a dress. So if you are not interested in buying the beautiful wedding dress that was worn by Voltaire’s ex-wife but want to donate, check out her Gofundme campaign!
The League of Supernatural and Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management better known as The League of S.T.E.A.M is a steampunk paranormal pest control service or better know as the “Steampunk Ghostbusters” based in sunny, Southern California. They are a performance art troupe who regularly attend conventions throughout the U.S. promoting their successful, YouTube web series.
The League’s original concept grew from Robin Blackburn’s desire for a one of a kind, glowing, ghost costume for the 2008 Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball in Hollywood, California. Robin’s husband Nicholas, a costume and prop maker, was more interested in steampunk and he decided to play off her idea. He made a “steampunk Ghostbuster” to match her. With the help and collaboration of friends like Scott & Gail Folsom, James Lavrakas and Aimee Chaouch their outfits were a great success.
So what do you get when you take a group of prop makers, clothing designers, and people with way too much imagination and an affinity for steampunk? That would be the League of S.T.E.A.M. Their wacky misadventures on their web series chronicle their shenanigans with ghostly monkeys, dastardly curses, mighty leviathans, beautiful valkeries, and even a captivating musical for their final episode in the third season which will be airing in December 2015.
The group is fantastic and amazing to meet and watch. There videos are very well done and are amazing quality. They even won the Best Costume Design and Best Makeup/Special Effects categories In 2013 for IAWTV. But to give a glimpse of how top -notch they are all you have to do is look at a collaboration they did with the band known as Panic! at the Disco and their music video ” The Ballad of Mona Lisa”
The League had a large part in the music video from the full ensemble being there as well as a good number of the props used in the videos including the working Net Gun. They have also had a plethora of stars and guest appearances on other youtube channels. The second season includes guest stars like Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara and the great Doug Jones!
While they produce a great, professional quality show, there is one caveat. The breaks between episodes are too sporadic, leaving fans hanging and waiting for the next spurt of shows. It really is that good that my only criticism is that I just can’t get it fast enough.
Watch the The League of S.T.E.A.M. and next time you are at a convention where they are featured, make sure to stop by their booth! They usually will have a good chunk of their working props that you can hold for a photo while getting backstories on the items. To get up to date information on the League make sure to check out their Facebook page and the League of S.T.E.A.M. website.