The Society for The Ethical Treatment of Kraken's
Tea and Ladies Bazaar
This Year's Theme:
"Around The World In 80 Days"
Shhhh! But Don't Tell Anyone....
'We gather each year during the second weekend in June to celebrate the genre of Victorian based SciFi. It is how we surmise the Victorians would have viewed the future of technology that involves gears and steam, fondly called Steampunk.'
- Natasha Klassen, AKA Ms. Stella Mumford,
President of The Society of the Ethical Treatment of Kraken
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And Here's The Usual Questions.........
With The Usual Answers.
Who Are These Strange Folk......
The Society for The Ethical Treatment of Kraken?
The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken has been through many incarnations over the past seven years. Looking back to the beginning is a bit of a journey through time. It all started when Natasha Klassen was creating a Steampunk calendar called "The Ladies and Gentlemen of Steampunk, Winnipeg 2014". It was a fundraising project designed to create a filming budget for the television series she produced, along with Willow Skylor, on The Shaw Access Channel called Subgenres Winnipeg.
Steampunk happened to be a genre and community both women discovered a huge love and devotion to. And, there are a lot of possibilities for photo shoot ideas for this genre because it is so vast and inclusive. The two wanted to showcase Winnipeg's Steampunk community by including local members as models. There was a general call for all kindred spirits in Steam to join the Subgenres Winnipeg team in a series of photo shoots whose locations were in several of the city's prominent museums. Of course, they needed to use the Dalnavert Museum as one of the more pivitol settings.
The Dalnavert Museum, an old Victorian mansion formerly owned by Manitoba's eighth Premier, Hugh John MacDonald, is one of Winnipeg's most picturesque original buildings. The mandate of the calendar was to create dynamic images of plausible scenarios with models posing in the spaces as if they belonged there. Natasha did not want photos of models standing in front of museum exhibits, she felt that would make them stiff and unnatural. It was important the photos told a story and looked as if the models were real people caught in random moments of their lives. It would give a breath of life and frivolity to each picture, allowing the viewer enjoy the image throughout the 30 days that the calendar month hung on their wall.
They needed a concept to create a dynamic image for the dining room of the Dalnavert House, one that could be the front cover of the calendar. Natasha thought that posing a bunch of stuffy society ladies around the table involved in a serious conversation about a silly social cause, like they were so apt to do in Victorian High Society, would be a fantastic setting for the cornerstone image of the calendar.
The classic story of the uber rich suffering from a case of too much money and time on their hands, and not enough genuine causes to go around. Natasha wracked her brain trying to come up with the most absurd name and a just as comical cause, hence The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken was born. Steampunk is typically quite silly and cheeky in nature when it comes to its societies and soirees, why should this one be any different?
This group of concerned fuddy duddies hell bent on saving the Kraken from abuse by surly sailors and the like was led by the renowned socialite, Ms. Stella Mumford. And why not, any society lady of great import, and with nothing to do all day, would find the plight of the Kraken of great concern. The ladies sat around a heavily laden table of treats to discuss these matters with vigor.
Hence, the first official meeting of The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken was held to great success, even a photo for the Society papers was snapped. But, a photo was not enough, their message was not being heard, or so they believed. A more vigilant campaign was needed, other than teas and placards. They needed to make a splash with something bigger, grander, like the Mighty Kraken itself. And, here we interject the segue to the next incarnation...... Ms. Mumford's Marvelous Mummy Unwrapping.
Our 2013 Fringe Festival Ad
After Ms. Mumford's photo shoot at her home ( The Dalnavert Museum) she rallied her gaggle of friends and held the most marvelous soiree, a mummy unwrapping. Ms. Mumford felt that the cause of the Kraken could be furthered by raising monies for the Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken. She endeavored to bring about an awareness of plight of the Kraken and the Society the best way she knew how. By throwing parties! She entertained guest after guest with the newest fad, a mummy unwrapping. The audiences were thrilled by stories of her and her sister's exploits in the exotic lands of far away Egypt. She told of how they discovered their precious mummy, a lost Queen of the Nile, and proudly displayed their new aquisition to as many as she could. Stella was the socialite of the year until they took her stage away (The 2013 Fringe Festival run ended).
Alas, Ms. Mumford retired with her mummy to the Mumford Estate and decided a sojourn from the social spotlight might be best. It was after a few months of rest and recuperation Ms. Mumford found her gumption once again and rallied her troop of ladies for a new strategy to help their dear Octo-legged friends. They met at an undisclosed location and put their heads together to dream up the next and final stage of their assault on society. Thus, The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken was formerly recognized as a non-profit "activist group" and the establishment of a proper yearly event that rallied its cause was created, The Tea and Ladies' Bazaar.
2016 2017 2018
The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken has since its very origin been a group of like-minded Steampunkers who wished to enjoy a reason to get together, enjoy each others company, and create a group to celcbrate the genre they hold dear. And, that has never changed. Now, the society has opened its arms to the general public and wishes to spread the love of kraken to one and all. We have held the Tea and Bazaar every year since the 2015 to bring Winnipeg Steampunks together to create a cohesive community and give the city an official Steampunk event. It is our hope to give our local Steampunks a focal event to look forward to every year, as well as introduce new members to the genre.
Please feel free to join us on June 9th, or become a member of The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken (Public Group) on Facebook. We also have a forum on this site for anyone who wishes to participate in discussions about Steampunk, costuming, gun-modding, prop building, or anything related to the genre. In the coming weeks we are going to create sections for membership of the Society on this site so we can have a more centralized hub of information to offer Steampunks in Winnipeg, and beyond.
What is the Tea and Ladies' Bazaar?
(Is it a Tea? A Bazaar? A Secret Society's yearly Hootenanny?)
Believe it, or not, we get asked those questions all the time. For the first two years of the The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken's Tea and Ladies' Bazaar our name was rather misleading, and we unabashedly admit to this clever deception. It was not actually a tea and bazaar in the sense that the title suggests.
Rather, it was a small event that contained a mishmash of elements including; a vendor area that contained 15 local artisans, a food area aptly named the Penny Farthing Cafe, that did serve tea and tasty treats (however, not in the sense of a formal sit down tea), outside activities like a children's area and games that included badminton, lawn bowling, and croquet. We threw in a Tea Cup Shooting Gallery, photo booth, and Mummy Unwrapping for good measure.
And, much more....it is the beginnings of a exciting new convention in Winnipeg.
Between you and I, it IS a yearly gathering of a secret society as a matter of fact, but....shhhhh, we don't tell the other guests this tidbit of information. A small group of avid Steampunkers under the guise of The Ethical Treatment of Kraken come together every year to enjoy their love of the genre, kraken, Lovecraft, and Cthulhu. If you look closely you will discover our cleverly hidden homages to Lovecraft and the Dark God of Chaos Cthulhu, we are also fairly fond of Poe. His raven is quite delightful. Alright, we will admit to having an alter for Cthulhu that greets you at the front door.
But that is all we will fess up to!
* (Please note, that the god Cthulhu is a fictional deity created by H. P. Lovecraft and our claims of worshiping this god is all in good, albeit, chaotic fun. It is a typical Steampunk ploy, and a way for us to create witty personas, giving us a reason to hold the event. We all are aware of the silliness it infers and embrace it as a inside joke).
Have no fear, there is no actual secret society......or is there.
Why On Earth Would You Do Such A Silly Thing?
The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken's Tea and Ladies' Bazaar was originally created to showcase local Steampunk activities and artisans. There was no craft market or event that focused on Steampunk exclusively in Winnipeg. The title of the event came about mainly due to the fact that it was named in more of a "tongue in cheek" manner to sound ostentatious and ridiculous, in the spirit of Steampunk. We enjoy poking fun at the stuffiness of Victorians and their flare for rather busy body activities, such as ladies organizations and their formal society functions. Thus, the silly name for the silly thing we were about to do.....
Our main focus was not on sharing a fine cup of tea per say, however, we have served tea both years. And, it was not purely a ladies event, we gladly welcomed gentlemen. The event was created to bring Winnipeg into the Steampunk fold so to speak. Up until the first Tea and Ladies Bazaar there had been no local convention focused exclusively on the genre of Steampunk and all its varied subgenres. There had been plenty of talk and plans, but no action. Many a day there was a lament for the lack of Steamy themed dos and so we felt that oversight should be corrected.
We, The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken, decided to step up to the plate by creating the Tea and Ladies Bazaar to see if there was an interest in the city for such an event. Our aim was to slowly, over a few years, develop a cohesive and all encompassing event that would be a vehicle with which to rally the motley masses of Steampunks scattered throughout our fine city. It was integral we break the common belief that each one of us is "the only Steampunk in town" if we were to succeed in bringing everyone together. Thus the Society set about to cultivate a central event that we could all attend and enjoy as a true Steampunk community, like in other cities around the globe.
And, give Steampunk a voice and real presence here in Winnipeg.
Why Not Just Call A Gear A Gear?........ Just Call It A Convention Already!
Yes, Alright, The Tea and Ladies' Bazaar is, in fact, a small Steampunk convention, Oh My Goodness, the cat is out of the bag! We refrained from calling it a convention due to the fact that we did not want to sound "bigger than our britches" and jinx the whole circus before we could knock its tent pegs firmly into our city's event consciousness. Many people told us it would not succeed due to the fact that there were not enough "die hard" Steampunkers in the city of Winnipeg.
Pshhhhhh Shaw! I say, Oh, yea of little faith!
We simply and quietly agreed to disagree. Like all "Tried and True Steampunks", the Society chose the traditional approach, we "stuck it to the man". In response we created the Tea and Ladies' Bazaar because we have faith in our Steamy brethren Of Winnipeg, Manitoba and their existence.
Fear Nothing....Except Maybe Cthulhu!
On The Matter of A Tea, Where Was It?
In the first two years of operation we were actually unable to serve a formal High Society Afternoon Tea in which our guests could sit down and enjoy a scone or two. Manitoba has rigorous food service laws and we simply did not have the appropriate serving staff or facilities, nor the manpower, to allow us to serve such a form of Tea.
So, we provided our guests with the Penny Farthing Cafe, a small canteen in our location's kitchen in which we served cupcakes and other treats. The cafe was a lovely corner with pretty table settings and a place to put your feet up after enjoying the event's shenanigans. It was our goal to keep the cafe and its offerings close to what Victorians would in good taste provide to their patrons at an Afternoon Tea.
In our attempt at a truly anachronistic Victorian feel, old fashioned handmade candy and cakes were lovingly created for our guests to sample. Luncheon fare was not provided due to the fact that these heavier foods would only have been served at High Tea, a meal traditionally served at 6pm (7pm or later for the Upper Class) due to the long industrial labour hours of the Working Class. We, in North America, have misinterpreted the term High Tea to mean a lunch of some kind, it is actually what we call supper. The Upper Classes enjoyed a lighter fare which they called Afternoon Tea. It was served earlier in the day and included such dainties as scones, small sandwiches, and cakes at around 4pm.
We were unable to serve the small sandwiches because they could not be served freshly prepared and made per order. So we endeavored to provide an Afternoon Tea's offerings of dainties and cookies. This Tea would typically be served in a more parlor-like environment with low comfortable seating, rather than High Tea (Dinner) with high and formal seats at a dining table.
We also provided Lemonade, Iced Tea, and espresso drinks. In order to give a more authentic feel the cold beverages were not served chilled, ice was added after they were poured. Like most Victorians in England, as a whole we tend to refer to British customs, since as Canadians we were just a colony back in the day, we did not use ice in our drink dispensers. The British back in the later 1800's did not use ice in their beverages as prolifically as their American counterparts.
Due to the traditional leanings of our volunteer staff the Penny Farthing Cafe served tea freshly brewed. The kettle was put on as ordered, thus it was poured and steeped per customer. We encourage you to come and enjoy a proper cup of tea. It will be poured in a traditional manner, loose and strained. Do not hurry the process, instead slowly sip the brew.
Tea is a like a garden of flavours loosely strewn across the tongue,
or a small tidy bag of bliss,
which every way you brew it.
This year we are going to serve a High Society Afternoon Tea at the convention. We will seat our guests in the Lower Hall at lovely set tables and serve all the trappings of such an ridiculously stuffy affair. It will be deliciously fun! Please refer to the section we will have provided: https://www.subgenres.net/our-high-society-afternoon-tea-page
This page details how you can book your seating at the Afternoon Tea. It will be served from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
There will be live entertainment provided along with a short seminar by Ms. Stella Mumford on how to prepare and pour a proper cup of tea. Details are being steamed out as we speak so please check back to our site often for updates.
We are currently working as busy as bees to provide a honey of an event just for you.
So What Can One Expect At This Tea and Ladies Bazaar?
A rousing good time, filled with Steamy shenanigans and plenty of Huzzahs!
I believe the best way to describe a day at the Tea and Ladies' Bazaar is to pass along some of what our guests from the past two years have relayed to us about their experience. We have had regular attendees the past two years, as well as new ones, and they have all commented on how inclusive the atmosphere of our event is. Even strangers are met as old friends and no one is treated as if they don't belong.
It is our goal to make everyone welcome. The Tea and Ladies' Bazaar mostly leans toward the Victorian Dress Costume, but Steampunk has a plethora of other costume options that ranges from pirates, burlesque, belly dance/tribal, zombie, faerie, to diesel punk, and beyond to the future of Cyber Punk. Really, there is very little that cannot in its own unique way be incorporated into the Steampunk genre. That is the true beauty of Steampunk, it is a limitless universe of the imagination.
We encourage the whole spectrum of Costuming and characters/personas to join us at the Tea and Ladies' Bazaar.
If anyone should approach one of our guests and thus comment on their costume,
"that is not Steampunk",
we encourage our guests, and give them full license to respond,
"Good Sir/Madam, you are not Steampunk".
The regular attendees and our staff call it "The Tea" for short. It is only for one day so far, but we are hoping that in the coming years we will be able to expand to a full weekend of Steamy adventures. No one will be turned away if they do not sport a costume, however, we do hope that most do. Like all Steampunk communities, we support DIY projects like gun-modding, inventions, steam machines, and costume fabricating. We give out a Best Costume, Best Gun-Modding, Most Ingenious Inventors Award, and The Best Built Props Award every year to those who show great enthusiasm in their work. With each year that passes we look forward to seeing the results of our guests imagination and talents.
Nerf Gun-Modding Costume Contest
Champion Lawn Bowler Champion Badminton Player
Our convention is in its third year and we are gradually expanding to include new features every time we hold The Tea. During the months before the event we scheme up new ideas for entertainment to provide and activities for our guests to participate in. This year we are hoping to add three new attractions to the outside Carnival Area such as; a High Striker/ Strength Tester, a Dunk Bucket, and Extreme Croquet.
The outside area, or Carnival Games Area. already boasts a Tea Cup Shooting Gallery, Extreme Croquet, Children's games, and much more. At Noon, as The Tea opens its doors, we invite our Steampunk friends to enjoy the lovely picnic area on the church grounds.
The church has a fully functional pipe organ, it is a magnificent instrument to behold, and we are fortunate that their very own organist, Michael Cutler, is a Steampunk Extraordinaire. He played for our event in its second year, as well as at our Steampunked 12th Night. We are very lucky to have Michael as one of our honored members. The church is a lovely turn-of-the century building that was erected in 1901. It has the most charming woodwork throughout the building, the Upper Hall is the most appropriate setting for a Steampunk Victorian themed Tea.
We offer a Main Stage where local performers can showcase their talents, many fun activities for young and old, and a cool Steampunk market for our guests to find oddities, as well as treasures. This year we are putting a fresh spin on our vendor area. It will be called the Grinder's Underground Market. The Grinder's Market will be situated in the basement of the church and the environment will be one of an underground Steampunk "black market", where you never know what strange and unique items you will be able to find. We will be decorating the basement as an abandoned Steampunk bunker, more Diesel Punk than Victorian, Our vendors will be encouraged to have fun with the idea and we hope our guests will enjoy the different twist on a vendor area. Look out for those pesky inspectors, they are always searching to shut down a cool thing. You can learn more about our vendor area in The Grinder's Underground Steampunk Market section of this website.