southtownstar
PICTURESQUE 
Weather Updates

Lockport’s Steampunk costume gala combines Victorian era, science fiction

Wendy Streit mayor’s wife event organizer passed out prizes for best costume. | ERIN GALLAGHER/FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Wendy Streit, the mayor’s wife and event organizer, passed out prizes for best costume. | ERIN GALLAGHER/FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

storyidforme: 69717779
tmspicid: 24673703
fileheaderid: 12352688

Updated: August 29, 2014 1:16PM



Men donned their top hats and goggles. Women squeezed uncomfortably into corsets. Everyone appeared to laugh and enjoy the Steampunk costume gala in Lockport Saturday.

“It so fits with a 19th century canal town,” said Mayor Steven Streit, of the Lockport’s Visionary Summer Art Series. “We still use that canal today.”

Streit said the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which runs through Lockport, was visionary for its day.

“That’s what steampunk is all about,” he said.

About 150 people attended the event, mostly dressed in attire from the subculture of that combines Victorian era with science fiction.

“The beauty of steampunk is it brings the past and the present together,” said Samantha Stephenson of the band Frenchy and the Punk.

Stephenson, and her partner, Scott Helland, known as “the Punk,” are regulars on the steampunk circut. Like traveling gypsies, the duo brings a little piece of all their experiences into the sound. Stephenson, who was born in France, raised in England, adds a European flare and cabaret mood.

Helland, hails from the hard core punk scene with tremendous guitar-picking talent. Both accomplished percussionists, Frenchy and the Punk kicked off a night of entertainment with a boom.

The night was filled with even more entertainment, including DJ Vortique and a Vaudville-style act, called Candy Town. During a juggling performance by Moonie the Magnificent, laughter erupted in what was once the tool shed for constructing the canal. Now it is the Gaylord building with an Italianate addition.

In addition to the entertainment, the $125 a person ticket included a tremendous cheese and vegetable appetizers, followed by buffet dinner. That was mashed potatoes and fixings, macaroni and cheese with fixings, chicken nuggets and a mini thick-sliced beef on a pretzel roll, all served with appetizer plates.

Then guests were shuffled upstairs for dessert, which was cupcakes and a smores bar. There was also popcorn for the CandyTown act.

Prizes for best costumes were awarded to Stephanie Schultz of Milwaukee and Mike Poniatowski of Romeoville. Schultz wore a metal wire skirt with a large key on her back. Poniatowsi, a forklift mechanic, made a gun-type weapon out of forklift parts.

Josh Callanta of Carol Stream appeared in an elaborate leather and iron-rivited armor. He made it himeself over the course of a couple years, costing him nearly $1,500.

“I was inspired by some of the other steampunk armorists,” he said.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.