Nov. 1-9 is Steampunk Week in Norwich

Norwich — Halloween is Thursday, but things will continue looking strange in downtown Norwich for another week, as the city is set to declare Nov. 1 to 9 as official “Steampunk Week in Norwich.”

The celebration of Steampunk Week — a sort of retro-Victorian futuristic look as envisioned by authors and visionaries of the time — will start at 4:30 p.m. at Otis Library on Main Street with a group of participants singing Halloween carols.

At 5 p.m. Friday, Mayor Peter Nystrom will greet costumed participants from Silk City Steampunk of Manchester, led by David Carlson, on the steps of City Hall with a proclamation.

That evening, the group, along with Norwich participants Faye Ringel, Roz Etra and anyone wishing to join them will tour downtown restaurants, pubs and art galleries during First Friday arts events singing Halloween carols.

The first stop will be at Otis Library's atrium at 4:30 p.m., and from there, the group will make its way to City Hall for the proclamation reading. The event is sponsored by Foundry 66, as part of the downtown revitalization effort.

Steampunk Week will conclude on Nov. 9 at the Norwich Arts Center with a Book Fiend Readers Fest. This first-ever literary event will welcome authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror and the Gothic, and of course, steampunk, to the Donald L. Oat Theater and the NAC Galleries, 60-64 Broadway.

Guest authors will come from all over the Northeast and Canada. They will be signing and selling their books, giving presentations and readings, and mingling with attendees. The authors' works will appeal to adults and teenage readers. There will be costume contests and expert advice from costume creators. Attendees are invited to dress up as their favorite author, character or thematic element — though costumes are not required.

The Book Fiend Readers Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 9. Authors will also visit and sign at the new downtown bookstore, Books on the Thames, on Broadway in the Wauregan Apartments building. 

An after-party at Foundry 66 will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 9 and will provide more opportunities for authors and attendees to socialize.

An event news release defined steampunk as a literary genre, a style of costuming and décor and way of life. “Steampunk" literature emerged in the late 1980s with stories set in a version of the 19th century with elements of late 20th century punk. The style is sometimes called “Retro-Futurism,” where costumers and other modern makers are inspired by the visions of 19th century science fiction writers, such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the news release said.

“You'll see corsets worn on the outside of garments, with men and women sporting top hats with pilots' goggles,” the news release warns.

“Today's Steampunk culture avoids the chaotic raucousness associated with the term 'punk,' instead focusing on creativity and respect for the past, imagining a world that remains in the Victorian Age, powered by steam but transformed by a sense of wonder,” the news release said.

Tickets for the daylong festival and after-party are $25 per person and can be purchased online until Nov. 8 at www.oddball-newt.ticketleap.com/book-fiend-readers-fest/. Tickets are $30 at the door. Tickets are $15 for seniors and students with valid I.D. To purchase tickets at the discount price, send an email to oddballnewtstuff@yahoo.com.

c.bessette@theday.com

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