Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Interview with the Master of Dorian's Parlor

As promised dear readers, I asked the busy Gil Cnaan, the man responsible for Dorian’s Parlor if I could do an interview and he graciously agreed. So with great fanfare, let us begin our journey.
My granddaughter, Allie, first introduced me to the wonderful world of Steampunk about a year ago and ever since that first night, I’ve been hooked.
              Could you give my readers a little background history on what is Steampunk?

Steampunk started back in the 1980s, although others will argue it's even older, as a revival of Victorian Science Fiction ideas.  It first got its name as a satire of the genre cyberpunk, a dystopian subgenre of science fiction.  In the early 2000s, it took off as a musical, clothing, and film genre, thanks mostly to the advent of instant communications of the internet.
How did you become involved with Steampunk and how hard was it to get the event started in Philadelphia?

 I worked at Jeff Mach's Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire for a number of years.  Eventually, I was told one year that we were going to have a "Steampunk room".  At the time, I had no idea what Steampunk was, but I made it happen nonetheless.  Upon seeing the room, I realized that this was an aesthetic I had already been rather fond of, but had not had the words to properly describe until that point.  From there, we launched a monthly event in Piscataway, New Jersey, called Clockwork, that I helped DJ.  We also launched the Steampunk World's Fair.  After a few months, I decided that I wanted a monthly event in Philadelphia, and after some hunting around, found the right people to start it with, the right venue to work with, and made a go of it.

What is involved with getting the acts and venders together for the night’s event?

 The first step is actually negotiating a date that works for both the hotel and for our technical crew and sponsors, Circuit Six.  Once we've found our date, then the work divides among three people.  I go through a rather lengthy document I keep of potential acts, and I begin to reach out to acts that I would like to work with.  Simultaneously, Evelyn Kriete reaches out to designers that she knows to see who will be doing the fashion show.  While we are both occupied on this end, Pretty Kitty handles our vending now, so she will e-mail everyone on our current list of vendors and potential vendors to tell them what the date of the next event is, and as people message back, she attempts to make sure that we are balancing our vendors, so that we don't have too much of any one type of vendor.  On the performer end, we usually try to have one "A list" musical act, one opening musical act, and one miscellaneous, non-musical act.  Long term, we'd like to see more fire shows happening at each event, as they are a fun draw and get people outside.
What are your future goals for this amazing event?

 Long term, we are hoping to increase our attendance, as increased attendance means that we can bring in more amazing acts from further away.  I'd love to bring over the Diablo Swing Orchestra from Sweden, as an example, or bring Sunday Driver over from England.  We are also looking into acquiring our own venue, so that we can control better the timing of all of our events.  We know which building we want, so we are attempting to quietly raise the capital to do so.
Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know about Dorian’s Parlor?

I would want folks to know that everyone is welcome.  We do not have a strict dress code, but we do enjoy being one of the few events in Philadelphia that occupies the space between regular club nights and black tie affairs. 
Thank you so much Gil, for sharing this with my readers and I did want to mention that although my fellow ghost hunters and I are “Baby Boomers” we were welcomed with open arms.
I’m wishing you the best in obtaining your own site and for all my facebook and twitter friends who live near to Philadelphia, check facebook for the next scheduled event and make plans to visit Dorian’s. You’ll be happy you did.

My next blog will be on where to find some great Steampunk clothing or how to throw an outfit together from items you find at thrift stores.
Have a great week and don’t forget to check on the next episode of Lilith’s Escape at this blog site on Friday morning.


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