Thursday, November 1, 2012


Maureen Nagy, Pine Hill resident and member of the Main Street Committee took festival participants on guided tours of the Pine Hill Historic District (on the National and State Registers of Historic Places as a "Victorian Resort Community." ) She is seated on "Steampunk Tricycle" created by Dave Channon, a sculptor based in Phoenicia, New York, to commemorate the "First Pine Hill Steampunk Festival."
The First Pine Hill Steampunk Festival took place from the evening of October 26 to the mid-afternoon of October 28, 2012.  Everyone agreed that the festival was a great success and a memorable experience.  Attendance was reduced because of growing apprehension over the approach of Hurricane Sandy, but the group at the festival still included people from as far as Maryland, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Oneonta, Cooperstown, and Delaware/Ulster/Green Counties.  Local participants came from Woodstock, Phoenicia, Olive, Fleischmanns, Arkville, Roxbury, Kingston, Shandaken, and Andes, as well as Pine Hill.

The festival started on Friday afternoon, with the arrival of the people from the Pakatakan Art Company to set up their booth, and Dave Channon, sculptor from Phoenicia, to set up his Steampunk work created especially for the Pine Hill festival.

Chelsea "In Goth We Trust" Goodwin does a brief welcome, explanation of "Steampunk" as an art movement. and introduction of the belly dancers of the Badra Bahiya Dance Troupe."

The first scheduled event on Friday was supposed to be a bonfire and drum circle.  Unfortunately we learned on Friday morning from the Pine Hill Fire Department that the bonfire could not take place.  We substituted a movie in the firehouse for the bonfire.  Most people arriving for the festival stopped in first at the Pine Hill Bookstore to get a badge, map of the town, and schedule of events for the festival.  They then walked over to the Community Center to see the vendors and hang out until the Badra Bahiya Belly Dance Troupe (based in Oneonta) performance at 8:30pm in the "Back Room" of the Pine Hill Community Center.

Badra Bahiya say "Namaste" to the audience at the beginning of their performance.

Jan Jaffe, (with white tag) Pine Hill resident and member of the Main Street Committee at the Badra Bahiya performance on Friday evening.

The feet of "Badra Bahiya" on the dancing surface of the "Back Room" of the Pine Hill Community Center

The audience in the "Back Room" at the Pine Hill Community Center on the first night of the festival, watching the Badra Bahiya Dance performance.  This was the first major performance of the festival, and was very well received. People in the audience commented that the dancers used non-traditional belly dance music and routines which were delightful to watch.

Scott Nobody performed as "Nobody's Ghost" in the Firehouse at the end of Friday evening.  Scott, a former member of the group "Psychic TV",  came in from New Mexico to perform at the festival on Friday and Saturday. (The film "Time Bandits" played behind Nobody as a part of the performance.)

Damon Francisco, sound man for the festival talks with Joyce and John Schindler in the kitchen of the Pine Hill Firehouse.

A view of the vendors room, through which everyone going to performances in the "Back Room" of the Community Center had to pass.  The vendors participating in the festival sold steampunk jewelry, corsets, Native American jewelry, vintage clothing, crystals and wands, handmade metal bound journals and bookmarks, science-fiction books and vintage comics, original paintings, artesanal bread, items appropriate for re-purposing in steampunk art, and pottery.  Wacky Wendy, in the foreground, presented an arts and crafts performance "Making Crazy Hats Very Quickly," which was a huge success with everyone at the festival.  Wendy stayed on the see Dave Foley "The Amazing Great" perform his card and rope tricks with witty repartee act.  She Stayed on for the evening music program.

Lady Arielle from Queens, NY, a veteran of the steampunk "con" circuit, was vending steampunk jewelry.  In the picture above she is wearing the crown made for her in the art workshop on crazy paper hat making conducted Saturday morning by "Wacky Wendy," from the Catskills and Brooklyn. She is standing in front of the Crimson Gypsy Corsetry booth, based in Saugerties, NY.

Brian Foley "The Amazing Great" magician is shown above discussing a card trick with festival goer Gina Sommers.

Allison O'Brian was one of the earliest members of the Festival Committee, who contributed ideas on the "Wardrobe Department"(located in the Firehouse, which lent steampunk costume elements to festival participants).  The costumes were made available to the festival from the Victorian Clothing Collection of the Town of Roxbury.  Alli is wearing some pieces from the "Wardrobe Department" and some of her own in the fine costume pictured above.

Here is the "Wardrobe Department", which was located at one end of the large room in the Firehouse (musical performances, master classes, and the "Victorian High Tea" were performed at the other end of the long room.)

The "Three Sisters Dancers, Storytellers, and Drummers" presented a delightful show in the "Back Room" at the Community Center on Saturday afternoon.  The sisters sang the "Mosquito Song" among others, and maintained a humorous trialogue of sisterly banter. They are based in Kingston, New York.

The finale of the "Three Sisters" performance was an animated telling of the "Story of the Beaver and the Turtle" as they circled around the sculpture in the middle of the Vendors Room. As usual, the turtle outwitted the beaver in the end.

Jonah Knight was the featured performer at the Pine Hill Steampunk Festival.  His original compositions in a low key folky style were very well received by the audience.  Knight wrote two original songs just for the festival, one of which was the "Saga of Steve Jobs."

Jack O'Lantern smiled eerily at all of the performers in the "Back Room" at the Pine Hill Community Center.

The local (Woodstock /Pine Hill) band "Play, Mars, and Francisco" followed the Jonah Knight set on Saturday night with its own all-original set.  While Knight's performance focuses on well structured stories of fantasy, the Play Mars and Francisco performance is more in the mode of Gypsy Cabaret, with up tempo songs such as
"UFO, UFO" and "The Story of My Life is All  in Chapter Eleven," both by Damon Francisco.
Scott Nobody performing as "Nobody's Ghost" in the Firehouse late at night on Saturday.

The late Friday evening "Nobody's Ghost" set ended at midnight n the Firehouse.  The festival resumed at 10am on Sunday morning.  The "hurricane panic" was strong on Sunday, and festival attendance was limited to very committed steampunkers.

The venders packed up at the end of the day Saturday to get back to their homes in Queens, Saugerties, Woodstock, Arkville, Andes, Roxbury and Pine Hill.

The Sunday program took place in the Pine Hill Firehouse.  A breakfast of coffee, cider, scones,
pumpkin pie, pumpkin squares, brie, cheddar, and New York apples, was available on the serving window of the firehouse kitchen.  The main element in the program was the "Master Class in Songwriting" conducted by Jonah Knight.  The class turned into an excellent multiparty discussion on songwriting, musical styles, steampunk culture, and the weather.

By noon Jonah Knight felt he had to get started back to his home in Frederick, Maryland.  Chelsea led Captain Maximillian Drake and several others on a tour of the cemetery, the railroad, the lake, and ultimately to our home for the afterparty.

Jonah Knight talks with Chelsea Goodwin and Cynthia Brian-Kate at the Sunday morning song writing master class.

John Schindler and Matty Grove from the festival crew laid out the free breakfast on the serving window of the firehouse kitchen Sunday morning.  The pumpkin pies, pumpkin squares, apple cider donuts, blueberry and cinnamon scones, local bread, cider , and coffee or tea. The pastries were made by Mama's Boy Restaurant in Phoenicia. 

Jonah Knight listens to Chelsea talking about musical styles.

Jonah Knight played and sang to make his points in the song writing Master Class in the Pine Hill Firehouse.

Captain Maximillian Drake was an active participant in the Jonah Knight class.  He suggested that there should be a LARP component in the Second Pine Hill Steampunk Festival next year.

Several participants in the festival asked to visit the historic cemetery in Pine Hill.  This picture shows the view across the mountains from the higher end of the cemetery.

Festival Co-Organizer Chelsea Goodwin taking crew member Matty Grove on a walking tour through the cemetery, up to the Ulster and Delaware tracks., down the tracks to Pine Hill Lake, and then back up Main Street to the bookstore.  Here they are looking at the gravestone of a person who lived in the 19th Century.

The path up through the cemetery to the stone wall.

A view from the abandoned Ulster and Delaware Railroad tracks showing a place in the forest which might be a good place to attempt a LARP in next years Steampunk Festival.

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