This is an atypical post for this series because this time we did not found the music; the music found us. Clara Engel contacted us because she though that her songs would suit ‘A Singular Sountradck’ and, after listening to her album ‘Ashes and Tangerines’ we could deny that she was absolutely right. As British poet Jeremy Reed said:
‘Clara Engel’s voice comes to me from that deepest of all places, imaginative space, from which she visually retrieves an inner landscape converted by breath into the rock equivalent of poetry. Rarely has a voice sounded so authoritative, so unapologetic in its disclosures, so sure of its direction in going home into song’.
I.- Who is Clara Engel?
Clara Engel is an independent Toronto-based artist with a great deal of talent. Her latest album, ‘Ashes and Tangerines’, was released on 6th December 2013 including 11 songs written and performed by her (see full credits below). We have chosen this ‘Tangerines’ video, that includes images by American filmmaker, actor and pioneer of underground cinema Jack Smith. The final version of this song is available here: ‘Tangerines’ on Bandcamp, lyrics below.
For further info:
1.- The interviewee
Dr. Mike Perschon (aka Steampunk Scholar) is a father and a husband, living in Canada. He teaches English full-time at Grant MacEwan University, researches steampunk, and blogs about SFF books and films. He is a Dungeon Master and on occasion, sits on the other side of the DM’s screen. Mike used to be an indie musician, and was “Most Promising Art Student” in high school; sometimes, he still finds time to engage the pen, pencil, and Photoshop. While he wishes he’d gone to film school instead of seminary, he’s making up for lost time now, engaging the world of creativity instead of theology.
2.- The interview
I am not going to be wrong if I say that Dr. Mike Perschon is one of the best known Steampunk connoisseurs all over the world. His academic approach to Steampunk has turned him into an authorized voice and we are thrilled to share views with him.
Q.- First of all we would like to congratulate you for your successful PhD defense. This is the culmination of a long process, what’s your next goal?
A.- More sleep, more time with my kids, more time with my wife.
Q.- Not only both Irene and I have got university degrees, I have postgraduate education and Irene has some years of experience as scholar. Besides, we have some friends who are making career as university teachers in Spain. I guess that we follow up the evolution of college education in some way and, in fact, we are very interested in the thesis of academics such as the Royal Society Research Professor Tim Gowers, who are questioning the traditional peer-review system. Does this ‘publish-or-perish’ system need a revision?
A.- Definitely. I work at a teaching institution where our workload can involve research, but doesn’t necessarily have to, and I can readily attest that it makes for a more congenial workspace. Research institutions tend to have an unhealthy tension about them.
Q.- And what do you think about initiatives like edX? May this be the future of universities?
A.- I’m unfamiliar with edX, so I can’t comment.
Q.- Taking your own experience as point of departure, does the academic world welcome the study of ‘atypical’ subjects such as retrofuturisms? How can these movements contribute to the research activity of universities?
1.- The interviewee
Lee Ann Farruga. Known internationally as Countessa Lenora, Canadian Queen of Steampunk, she is the founder of Steampunk Canada, a national organization bringing together steampunks from across Canada and educating the general public about this genre/community.
A bundle of organizational energy held in check only by her impressive collection of corsets, the Countessa promotes Steampunk in a plethora of venues including the Steampunk Canada website, blogs, social media, local and national events, and at conventions large and small. Driven by her love of Steampunk she has brought the genre and local Canadian groups to the attention of publishers and major media companies and is campaigning to bring Steampunk to the attention of all Canadians through art galleries, museums, libraries and schools nationwide.
2.- The Interview
2.1.- Steampunk Jewelry in general
First of all Irene and I would like to thank your time and interest in this interview. As you know, we are looking for a real international insight with this brief interview series and there is no doubt that you are one of the main ambassadors of the Canadian Steampunk scene. Probably most of our readers have heard about you, but we do not want to miss this opportunity to share with them this video with your perspective about Steampunk.
Q.- We know what’s Steampunk for you now, but… what’s Steampunk jewelry? Which influences should Steampunk jewelry have?
A.- Steampunk jewelry to me means taking old styles, Victorian and Edwardian looks and materials, and having fun with them to make something new. Steampunk jewelry influences should come from the old: steam engines, machinery, and period architectural design, and the new: icons taken from steampunk works such as airships and kraken, and the artist’s imagination of course.
Q.- Would you dare to describe Steampunk jewelry with a single word?
Q.- There are some major international Steampunk events in Canada, we can think about Victoria Steam Exposition and Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition right now. Do you consider that this kind of events can be important for Steampunk jewelers? How?