Airship Aerie: Introducing Airship Isabella Created by Strangeway on 11/14/2011 11:01:40 PM
Chronicle Correspondent and Penny Dreadful Production's John Strangeway begins the Chronicle's newest feature - The Airship Aerie. Our Maiden Airship Crew Spotlight is none other than the famed Airship Isabella!
It takes a certain character to be able to walk into the middle of a den of scoundrels and call them out for who they are. And who better than yours truly. I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Cedric Whittaker and Javert Marchand at this past years Steampunk Worlds Fair in my home state of New Jersey. It was an honor getting to know them and find them to be professional all around. As a new feature for the Steampunk Chronicle, we want to get to know more about the crews of the Airships dominating the skies in the Steampunk community, and I know none better to start with than the Airship Isabella.
What is the official name of your airship as you call yourselves?
We are officially called the Airship Isabella and the Neo-Dulcimer. (Editors note: That’s two ships for those counting.)
Who and how many people are in your airship?
Officially, 22. Full time 5. Part time 17, including two children. The 5 full timers are: Captain Cedric Whittaker, Navigator Amelia Whittaker, Captain Lazuli Delacru, Suzeaux Ryette and Mr. Fox. Our part time members come to all the events that they can, but they are restricted by work, school, family and the like. The captains are pictured to the left. The individual ship crews are:
Airship Isabella - Captain Cedric Whittaker, 1st Officer Javert Marchand, Navigator Amelia Whittaker, Commander Amarante Leroux, Dr. Clifford Nightshade, Suzeaux Ryette, Mr. Fox, Jonesy Radovan, Andrie Smirnov, Nyxie Essex, Jonas Meriwether, Elizabeth McCallum, Seamus Black, John Ocelot, Luke Chester, Kitty Livingston, and Wyatt Whittaker
Neo Dulcimer - Captain Lazuli Delacru, 1st Officer Dr. Thaddeus Vale, Audra Lilienthal, Luthiem Hargraves, and Johnny No
What inspired you to create your Airship?
Originally, we created Airship Isabella as a project for the regional Burning Man event, Burning Flipside, in Austin, Texas. The airship was an actual building, 50' X 20' two story airship that was set up to be a dance club specializing in steampunk and industrial music. It was a big hit with the burner community, and shortly after the event we setup Airship Isabella as an actual steampunk crew with backstories and job descriptions. We decided that we had worked really well as a collective in building this monumental project, and we decided to make it an official steampunk based artist collective.
What are the main focuses of your airship's theme?
Our official mission statement is:The Airship Isabella is a mercenary ship for hire. Through the use of steam powered generators, augmented by a mysterious essence known only as Aether, the crew travels from dimension to dimension, from time to time, completing jobs, causing a ruckus, and "collecting" goods from each individual world. The crew consists of many a rag-tag personality, but together with their sister ship, The Neo Dulcimer, they make a family.On the more artistic side of the story, ASI is a group of artists, performers, and visionaries who have bound together to create characters who explore the boundaries of the Steampunk community and a menagerie of worlds to put them in. On their agenda: to create art for others to enjoy as much as themselves, to share their knowledge with those who find it of interest, to encourage people who would otherwise find themselves incapable of creating something wonderful to put their worries aside and realize that - with the right knowledge and tools - they can do it too! Basically, our goal is to promote creativity and artistic innovation in people who have otherwise given up on being imaginative, i.e. most adults.
Who "leads" the creative direction of the airship? The captains technically “lead” the creative direction of the ship, but to date, they haven't had to exert much creative control. The artists are pretty much free to create as they see fit. We do have decency requirements and require art to be properly labeled...i.e. label steampunk as steampunk; dieselpunk as dieselpunk, etc., but other than that, we want to be as nonrestrictive as possible.
Are you currently looking for new members? Not at the moment. We are currently staffed at a just about perfect level. Between the availability of our full time and part time staff, we generally have between 7 and 12 members present at every event. Unless we are running an event that has more than 10,000-15,000, those numbers are perfect. We are currently looking for ground crew. Our ground crew are locals to the areas that we are visiting that we recruit to help us out while we are there.
What has been the biggest challenge with keeping the airship going?
Time. It's our biggest enemy. And that pesky sleep thing that everyone seems to need. Everything has been moving so fast in the last year that it has been hard to keep up with the work load that we have. Wehave adapted to long hours and long drives, but no matter what we do, we can't seem to make more than 24 hours appear in the day.
What is your next big event? Our next big event is Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Texas, December 3rd and 4th, 2011. It is actually our biggest event of the year where the Galveston Historical Foundation turns 10 city blocks of the island into turn of the century London. We are their headline guests. This year we will be providing a steampunk version of A Chirstmas Carol as written by our own Thaddeus Vale, and it will be followed by a steampunk circus and victorian ball. Dickens on the Strand is one of our favorite events and last year it drew about 35,000 people to the island over two days. It's a charity event that benefits the Galveston Historical Foundation and helps to maintain the historic homes and buildings in the area.
What is the best way for interested parties to follow your group?
Facebook is our best social site, though we have been working on getting our Twitter updated more often. But if you want to contact us, the best way to get in touch with us is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Strangeway is the man in the suit (most of the time) for Steampunk Boba Fett He is a writer for the Steampunk Chronicle as well as the Promotions & Media Relations for Penny Dreadful Productions.