TeslaCon 3: An Interview with it’s mastermind Eric Larson
Good evening my fine friends. Tonight I am going to take you on a journey. A place where Lords and Ladies have tea, where steam makes things come alive, where fashion is breathtaking again and where you can enter a fantasy world that you’ve only dreamed about. Ladies and gentleman tonight I want to introduce you to the wonderful, fantastical and oh so whimsical world of Steampunk and the father and brainchild of an amazing event called TeslaCon. While he is known as Eric Jon Larson to the majority of us to this wonderful world of Steampunk he is Lord Hastings R. Bobbins.
I had the delicious pleasure of talking to Eric on the phone for almost an hour and if I hadn’t had to leave for a meeting I would have talked to him for hours! By the time we were done talking I had already had at least 2 outfits picked out to wear to TeslaCon and was on my way to ordering the shoes. Why am I looking for shoes and costumes???? WELL Lord Bobbins has requested the that PIRS (Paranormal Investigation and Research Society) do a presentation on the paranormal. This year they are presenting Victorian Paranormal as it relates to Steampunk. So myself, Mike Hoke and J. Nathan Couch will be there with the rest of PIRS in the audience. This will the highest of high honors for us and we thank Eric, erm Lord Bobbins immensely!!
Recently Lord Bobbins granted my request to interview him and this is what came of it…..
Kellie: How did TeslaCon come about?
Lord Bobbins: Well I started thinking about it when some friends introduced me to Steampunk. They had a LARP game. I don’t get into that part of fandom, but I do like doing the “Disney” thing. We created TeslaCon to be an immersing experience. Not a LARP or just persona’s but a truly detailed world where things come to life, and a place where you can create what you want and as much as you want. this is important to me. I want my patrons to feel as though they are in charge of their own experience and how they relate to the world I create. My friend Samantha Rei Crossland actually thought of the name. I created the world within it.
Kellie: What is the thing you are most excited about when it comes to TeslaCon?
Lord Bobbins: Seeing the faces when I do opening ceremonies. The smiles and grins on faces perks me up. It is very rare in life we can touch people with our creations, in a place where they are all at the same time. A film maker or musician knows this, but for a convention it is priceless. Just seeing how excited everyone is about the story and what happens is so great! Also the films. Watching people react to them is wonderful. I do feel like Walt Disney at time.
Kellie: For someone who is attending this for the first time, what do they need to know? I.E. dressing up, what is a MUST do…stuff like that.
Lord Bobbins: We have a costume page- and we will be updating shortly all about dress and things to do at the con. Basically casual dress is fine. Slacks, dark pants. Collard shirts and maybe a vest. We discourage t shirts, jeans and flip-flops. The issue is you would feel VERY out of place. Most people can find a decent wardrobe for about $25 at savers, Goodwill or a thrift shop near them. Stick with natural fibers and plain colors- Black, Brown, white, etc. The pictures we will be posting will have more explanations with them- they will help. It is not hard- but takes imagination.
Kellie: This is a unique steam punk event, how so?
Lord Bobbins: We are the ONLY immersive event in the United States. Other say they have it, but in reality we are totally made and created for the purpose. We spend a year and a half creating and getting ready for 1 event. The costumes, situations and story all must come together to create a seamless storyline that is not only believable but fun for everyone. It is also made to mesh with almost anyone else’s story.
Kellie: What will be something different this year people can look forward to?
Lord Bobbins: The amount of immersion is 300% greater than last year! Yes 300%. You will be given the chance to really sink into our world and learn about all that is happening. The fact that we have a brass band orchestra to play at the ball-that there are in fact two balls one formal and one steerage. Panels that are new and have never been performed at other conventions, or the fact you will meet and be able to talk to live aliens and machines just like at Disney World…at fraction of the price.
Kellie: What is the wildest thing to ever happen at TeslaCon or any Steampunk event you’ve been to?
Lord Bobbins: The Choo-Choo dance. 500 people in a giant conga line dancing to a polka that sounds like a train. Yep, that would be it!
Kellie: Any shout outs to people helping plan and putting this event on? I’ve met Tim already, who else is behind the scenes helping you’d like to mention?
Lord Bobbins: My Partner in the business is Bryan Arendt, a wonderful artist and one of my best friends. I would say also josh Lippman who is key at creating and maintaining the sites. Others would be Don and Heather Dawson from Milwaukee, Aaron Craft and Katherine Thompson, The “Tea Lady” Erica Jarden, and many assistants and people who help me so very much.
Kellie: Finally, What is your favorite part of TeslaCon?
Lord Bobbins: Watching peoples faces as we present what no other convention can make; other worlds and other places in time. The shear joy of seeing someone engage and become part of the world I create…that is the greatest part of it.
Thanks Eric, I look forward to meeting you this fall!
Tickets for the 2012 TeslaCon steampunk convention in Madison are on sale now. Come see J Nathan Couch, myself Kellie Wirtz, and Mike Hoke from PIRS talk and better yet, come and immerse yourself in Steampunk!
Tickets and more info HERE.
The third annual TeslaCon will be held Nov. 30th – Dec. 2nd, 2012 at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton, WI.