Steampunk convention set for Aztec this weekend

Mike Easterling
measterling@daily-times.com
Cindy Iacovetto works on her steam-powered desk on Feb. 6 at the Aztec Senior-Community Center. Iacovetto is the organizer of this weekend's Steamers & Dreamers steampunk convention in Aztec.

FARMINGTON – For Cindy Iacovetto, the word costume is both a noun and a verb.

“I’ve always loved to costume,” said the organizer of Aztec’s first steampunk convention, Steamers & Dreamers, which will take place this weekend. “Several years ago, I met a gentleman who introduced me to costume conventions, and we wound up traveling to several in Albuquerque and Denver. And right from the beginning, I fell in love with steampunk costuming.”

Iacovetto is counting on others who feel the same way to turn out for Steamers & Dreamers this weekend, and she doesn’t have any doubts they will.

“Our capacity is 368,” she said of the Aztec Senior-Community Center, where the event will be held Saturday, Feb. 13. “I’m guessing we’re going to have a full house. I’m pretty sure we will.”

Steampunk, which has been around since the late 1980s, is usually described as Victorian-era science fiction. Iacovetto refers to it in even more straightforward terms.

“It’s as if the world had never evolved past steam power,” she said.

Examples of steampunk attire are displayed Feb. 6 at the Aztec Public Library.

Fans of the genre are free to envision all sorts of clothing and gadgets based on that style, and those ideas will be on display at Steamers & Dreamers. Iacovetto said steampunk enthusiasts tend to be passionate about the lifestyle, so it isn’t unusual for them to travel relatively great distances to take part in steampunk events. She said she’s already heard from a woman from Wyoming who plans on traveling to Aztec for the convention, and she noted that two local hotels — the Microtel Inn and Suites and the Step Back Inn — are offering discounted rates to convention goers.

“Some people are just into the Victorian part, some are into the gadgetry part,” Iacovetto said. “I’m into both, including the hair and the makeup. It’s really like stepping into another dimension. … It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be.”

The convention is designed to be an all-day event and will feature steampunk vendors, as well as activities. It gets underway at 10 a.m. with breakfast, then the entertainment begins with square dancing with Carla Roberts and the Wild West Squares. A how-to panel will discuss the making of steampunk hats, then another panel will discuss altered books. The band Off the Interstate performs at 2 p.m. before dinner is offered at 3 p.m.

Everything about steampunk style, including its fashion, is based in the Victorian era.

Another how-to panel will discuss gauntlets and cuffs before a performance by Aztec’s own Spunky Old Broads takes place at 4:30 p.m. Iacovetto said the seven-member group will perform a skit about taking a trip to a thrift store before it performs a dance to the Confederate Railroad song “I Like My Women a Little on the Trashy Side.”

Max and Adryan will perform at 5 p.m., then the Aztec High School dance team takes the stage at 6 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. comes one of the convention’s highlights as the winners of the costume contest are announced. Iacovetto said a panel of judges will name first-, second- and third-place winners in men’s, women’s and children’s categories, and fan favorites also will be chosen. Gift baskets will be presented to the winners.

The event concludes with a dance scheduled to last until 11:30 p.m. A cash bar featuring products from Wines of the San Juan and the 550 Brewery will be available, as will a java bar and mocktail bar.

Iacovetto said the event will serve as a fundraiser for the Good Neighbors program, which is part of the city of Aztec’s Clean and Strong effort. She described it as a campaign that encourages people to be a good neighbor and friend.

Steampunk attire is pictured Feb. 6 at the Aztec Public Library in preparation for this weekend's Steamers & Dreamers convention.

Iacovetto said this will be the first convention she’s been to where she didn’t get to compete in the costume contest, and she’s a little disappointed by that. But she will display her steampunk robot, Robusta Rita, at the front door of the community center.

Over the next few months, Iacovetto hopes to build an entire robot family and produce a video to use as part of the Good Neighbors program. The plot of the production has the family traveling in a time machine back to a troubled community, where the mechanical beings teach the residents how to be human. She plans on enlisting the help of the Aztec High School drama department for that project.

Late last week, Iacovetto was putting together another gadget for the convention, a steam-powered desk that she was making out of an antique cash register, complete with various gadgets hooked up to a pressure tank. Such elaborate props are typical of steampunk conventions, she said, noting she’s seen some amazing things at the events she’s attended.

“I’m excited and looking forward to it,” she said, adding that she hopes to see the convention become an annual event. “I think it’ll be a really wonderful event for the community.”

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

Steampunk attire is displayed Feb. 6 at the Aztec Public Library.

If you go

What: The Steamers & Dreamers steampunk convention

When: 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13

Where: Aztec Senior-Community Center, 101 S. Park Ave. in Aztec

Admission: $10

For more information: Visit steamersanddreamers.com.