On January 28, 2023, Krewe du Cork will host their annual benefactor dinner highlighted as one of the premiere events within the well-packed itinerary that is our very own - Eureka Gras! (a.k.a. Mardi Gras but Eureka-style!)
Established in 2017, Krewe du Kork, is made up of a vibrant group of local residents that work together to combine Mardi Gras traditions and celebrations with wine, spirits, food and fun. This Krewe organizes tastings, specialty dinners and other activities and events throughout the year serving the community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas and promoting a sense of charitable unity.
Each year, during the weeks of Eureka Gras, the benefactor dinner takes place and it always has a theme. This year the theme is Steampunk and the beneficiary is The Eureka Springs Historical Museum.
Get your tickets here if you would like to attend in your very own steampunk chic attire.
So what is steampunk exactly?
In 1987, author K. W. Jeter was the very first to coin the term steampunk to describe the genre.
Jeter wrote the novel Morlock Night and the genre was speculative fiction illustrating ways in which steam, not electricity, drove technological advancements. Today, the term has been widely used to describe this cultural movement which has also proven to be quite artistic in style and design.
Nowadays, there are many design elements that are used in steampunk and it's no surprise that the Victorian era has given rise to the modern conception of steampunk.
Somewhere along the journey it became wildly exciting for people to push past the traditional concepts of gears, copper, chains, clocks, aviation, steam and elements of the future. The genre also uses the 19th century as its backdrop (often with a Victorian or Wild West slant) and focuses on a fictional world where steam power rules the world and delivers a new industrial era.
As with any culture, the social behaviors of people drive a feeling. Steampunk is no different - it is a feeling. If you took a moment to dive into the works of H. G. Wells or Junes Verne, you will see the futuristic worlds through the lens of steampunk. These two are said to be incredibly influential in the creation and style of the Steampunk movement. The fictional machines and vehicles found in works such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Time Machine paved the way for contemporary authors and artists such as Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfield, China Miéville, Tim Powers, James Blaylock, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling all of whom have created worlds that bring steampunk daydreams to life in some way.
Steampunk's wildly imaginative, nostalgic feeling often results in far-fetched outcomes. The aesthetic is instantly recognizable and it often takes on a vintage approach to form and function—swirling gears, gaslights, Neo-Victorian outfits and brass goggles. All this and more will transport you back to a fantasy world. Today you can see traces of steampunk everywhere, from fashion and art to large scale events like Burning Man.
At its very core, Steampunk is quite simply a reimagining/reinvention of the past through the creation of new objects where fiction, fantasy and history intersect on a journey that imagines a world where technology evolved without the benefit of electricity and computers.
For many people steampunk is about creative problem solving.
Because it allows us to go back in history and celebrate the best that was, it inspires us to collaborate, adapt and change to build a more resilient future in the ever-changing landscape of life.
Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901 - this was known as the Victorian era of British history. This period was long but it brought peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities, and national self-confidence for Britain.
From about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840 The Industrial Revolution took place. It was during this time when new manufacturing processes were introduced and because this period began in Great Britain most of the important technological innovations were British.
As expected this transition included going from hand production methods to powerful machine-driven processes increasing the use of steam power, the development of machine tools, and the rise of factories.
Into the 20th century, The Second Industrial Revolution continued (with early factory electrification and the production line.) It ended at the start of the First World War. It was an offshoot of this period and lifestyle in Britain that gave rise to American Victorianism in heavily populated regions in the USA such as New England and the South.
Eureka Springs was founded and named on July 4, 1879 so it's no wonder that it was not long after the discovery of the healing water when health-seekers deemed these Ozark hills to be full of miracle cures and flocked to the area by the thousands during these Victorian times, thus creating this stylish mountain retreat with its perfectly preserved architecture.
The name - The Victorian Era - is derived from the reign of Queen Victoria, which reflected the heavy British cultural influence on the nation during that time. As American business people of the Second Industrial Revolution created sprawling industiral towns and cities in America, like Eureka Springs (shipping spring water by train), the growing upper class of the Gilded Age mimicked the high society of their former mother country in dress, morality, and mannerisms.
Looking back upon photos of residents and visitors to Eureka Springs during it's Victorian Era hey day, one may find it difficult to determine if the photo was taken somewhere in Britain or in Eureka Springs. It is mesmerizing to see how much similarity there was between these two places.
The Steampunk movement and its art seek to create an alternate history by imagining what the past could have looked like if the future had happened sooner. Inspired by elements like ...
top hats borrowed from England’s Victorian Era
attire from the American “Wild West”
a post-apocalyptic future
... this kind of speculative fiction aesthetic delivers a fusion of modern sensibility and industrial antique intended to blur the lines between past, present, and future.
The Steampunk philosophy offers a way to solve design problems by pushing us to think less in terms of either/or and more in terms of pluralities. Steampunk is a means of reinvention, creative problem solving, and becoming more resilient, developing the power to adapt and affect change in meaningful ways.
Steampunk fashion has evolved into an culture of imaginative dressing, inspired by the fashions of the Victorian period, the Wild West and melded with trends from different historical periods in time. Often the fashion channels a character from the 19th century (explorers, soldiers, lords, countesses, and harlots) and crosses with punk, contemporary street fashion, burlesque, goth, and post apocalyptic styles.
The Steampunk movement encourages a do-it-yourself attitude and the creation of beautiful and functional objects and designs that combine art, fashion, architecture, and mechanics. There is still time to purchase your tickets and roll up your DIY sleeves, pull out those brass goggles, flight helmets, corsets and bowler hats and start creating your perfect steampunk look for the Krewe du Kork dinner on January 28, 2023. ❤️