Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, March 17, 2018

New Dieselpunk Anthology - Call for Submissions

Calling all Dieselpunk writers! Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is looking for writers to contribute to a new Dieselpunk anthology titled "GRIMM, GRIT, AND GASOLINE."

Parrish certainly seems to know her Dieselpunk. On her web site wrote,
"Dieselpunk and decopunk are alternative history reimaginings of the WWI and WWII eras beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and ending before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m looking for tales with the grit of roaring bombers, rumbling tanks, of 'We Can Do It', the Great Depression and old time gangsters or the glamour (real or imagined) of flappers, Hollywood starlets, smoky jazz, elegant cars and Radio City Music Hall."

However, there's more to this anthology. Not only must the stories be Dieselpunk but they must involve FAIRY TALES.

Parrish explains,
"For example: a ‘mend and make do’ take on the Elves and the Shoemaker, a trench warfare version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, or Hansel and Gretel as Bonnie and Clyde. The possibilities are limitless."

The stories can be retelling of the classics or they can be original. Either way they've got to be Dieselpunk.

To learn more about this anthology and how you can submit your work visit the web site. Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2018.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Seattle Prohibition-Era Jazz Club Art Revealed

Crosscut online magazine recently posted an article titled "Renovation unearths Seattle Prohibition-era jazz club art".

According to the article:
"The Louisa Hotel has stood vacant on 7th Avenue South and King Street in Seattle’s Chinatown International District for more than 50 years. But a new renovation project has unearthed a series of life-sized paintings that offer a colorful glimpse of the city’s nightclub jazz scene from the Prohibition era."

You can read the full article and view additional images here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dark Deco: A New Dieselpunk Flavor

Recently I posted a series about some changes to the Dieselpunk Cookbook. Since that time a new flavor has come to my attention that I had missed: Dark Deco.

According to the DC Comics Media website:
"Dark deco is an animation style created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski used in Batman: The Animated Series. They knew that Batman was a dark character so the two of them knew the show had to be dark as well. Backgrounds would be painted on black paper and anything that was black in the show was left unpainted. Kids WB once told Bruce Timm that his show was so dark he was about to reach the legal limit of how dark his show could be."

Dark Deco Art
Batman: The Animated Series Logo Fan-made by Vleermuisman, Fair use,

Dark Deco Photographic Art
"See Shanghai transformed into a real-life Gotham City" Photogallery at CNN
See the entire series here.

Dark Deco Fashion
"The notion of elevated luxury has been one that has driven design for generations. With a slant towards the decadent and ways of elevating classic style, Dark Deco starts with the 1930s where plenty of grandiose was the norm. Mix in the romance of 1980s New Wave, with exaggerated silhouettes and a novel approach of blurring the lines between genders and even formality, and you get a fresh presence that’s as poetic as it is edgy." - Shop The Floor web site

One might describe Dark Deco as being midway between the flavors of Gothic Dieselpunk and Decopunk for it seems to have elements of both. I'm sure that I'll be writing more about this in the near future for I find this new flavor to be very tasty.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

90th Academy Awards

On May 16, 1929 the first Academy Awards ceremony took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California, USA. It consisted of a private dinner with 36 banquet tables, where 270 people attended and tickets cost five dollars (equivalent to roughly $71 today.) and was hosted by AMPAS director Fairbanks during a 15-minute event. Though the award categories were rather complex ultimately it was decided that the award for best picture would go to Wings. However, the public didn’t get to follow this live. The award show wasn’t introduced until the following year in 1930.

This year, the 90th Academy Awards ceremony has three Diesel-Era themed movies in the Best Films category.

Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten, stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and is a fictionalised account of his early days as Prime Minister, as Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II, leading to friction at the highest levels of government. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup.

Dunkirk, written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan, depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Its ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy.

Phantom Thread
Phantom Thread,written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is set in London's couture world in the 1950s. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker living with his sister, played by Lesley Manville, who falls in love with a young waitress, played by Vicky Krieps. The couple's relationship vacillates between affection and distance until they finally learn to live with one another's differences. The film was Day-Lewis's final film role before entering retirement. (Note: I included this since some set the Diesel-Era late into the 1950s.)

In addition to Diesel-Era themed movies there’s one Atomicpunk movie nominated for Best Picture.

The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water was directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured humanoid-amphibian creature. Many critics declared The Shape of Water del Toro's best film since his Dieselpunk film Pan's Labyrinth, praising in particular Hawkins's performance.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on March 4, 2018 and will be televised in the USA on ABC.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dieselpunk: A New Cookbook Part 3: Decopunk

In my last post I wrote about a new Dieselpunk flavor that I called Gothic Dieselpunk. In this final installment I address another new flavor that has been gaining a lot of attention in the genre-punk community. It’s called “Decopunk”.

The following is from the official website for the LARP Attaway:

"Attaway considers its parent genre to be dieselpunk, with some important distinctions. It’s commonly accepted that dieselpunk can be divided into two halves, either before or after the start of World War II as a jumping-off point. The first focuses on a world continuously at war on a global scale (“Piecraftian”), while the second focuses more on the pre-war Jazz Age and the so-called “Roaring Twenties.” If it isn’t already apparent, this second half describes the nature of Attaway as a game world and as a LARP on the whole. This subgenre is called decopunk. It takes a positive outlook towards technology as a form of innovation for humanity’s overall benefit, with an upbeat (if not devil-may-care) attitude towards the future and a general air of Art Nouveau decadence. Steampunk author Sara M. Harvey describes the subgenre thusly: “DieselPunk is a gritty version of Steampunk set in the 1920s-1950s. The big war eras, specifically. DecoPunk is the sleek, shiny very Art Deco version; same time period, but everything is chrome!”

Decopunk is a drop-dead-gorgeous lounge singer in a black velvet dress, clutching the microphone she croons into with a slick chromed prosthetic arm.

Decopunk is a hard-boiled detective in a leather trenchcoat cracking his knuckles as he prepares to confront his mark atop the roof of the midnight monorail going uptown.

Decopunk is the smoke from a revolver curling up the arm of a woman in a perfectly tailored three-piece suit and fedora, standing over the body of a crime lord… and her former lover.

Attaway is Decopunk."

In my opinion it’s time for the Dieselpunk community to recognize decopunk as more than just Hopeful Dieselpunk. With its growth and increased popularity I believe that decopunk should be recognized as its own flavor. 

For a good definition I go with the given at the Ash Dancer blog:
"Decopunk is considered a subgenre of Dieselpunk set in a more 1920’s diesel powered world."

Everyone welcome the new flavor of Dieselpunk: Decopunk.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Dieselpunk: A New Cookbook Part 2: Gothic Dieselpunk

“Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

On September 16, 2017, I posted a blog post titled ‘VintageGoths’ in which I wrote about a subclass of Goths who seemed to have a Dieselpunk element. In this post, I propose that VintageGoths should be considered a new flavor of Dieselpunk. I call this new flavor ‘Gothic Dieselpunk’.

Gothic Dieselpunk aesthetics tend to what some authors refer to as a ‘dark allure’. A dark allure is a preference for gothic or the macabre. I define Gothic Dieselpunk as:

“A subclass of Dark Dieselpunk that emphasizes the gothic or the macabre.”

What Digitalis writes about VintageGoths taste in movies applies just as well to Gothic Dieselpunks, “They are fans of music both Goth and otherwise, and favor dark noir films like Nosferatu, Metropolis, The Golem, and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - and, of course, old Bela Lugosi flicks!” Some Gothic Dieselpunk movies include Young Frankenstein, Shadow of the Vampire and Blancanieves.

Gothic Dieselpunk music tends to the darker side as well. Digitalis mentions Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and The Dresden Dolls. I would add the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Wolfgang Parker, Tiger Lilies and Katzenjammer. And while their music isn’t always dark Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Squirrel Nut Zippers both made some dark music and dark videos. Note: while Cherry Poppin Daddies and Wolfgang Parker are both generally considered mainstream Dieselpunk a close examination of their lyrics will see that they tend to be very dark.

Gothic Dieselpunk is only one of the new flavors. I plan to explore another in my next post.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Holidays 2017!

Being that this is Christmas weekend I thought I would take a break from the new series to give recommendations for three movies for the holiday.

Diesel Era Movie
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
There was a time when this movie was shown repeatedly. But now you have to look it up.

A Christmas Carol (1938)
With Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart as part of the cast this filming of Charles Dickens classic is always fun.

Dieselpunk Movie
A Christmas Story (1983)
This fantastic little movie has now become a holiday classic.