Steampunk Chicago Courts Pleasant Home

No shortage of monocles, hand fans or magic at Pleasant Home for Victorian-era throwback.

Oak Park's historical played host to Steampunk Chicago's Watch Chains & Lace event Sunday, which featured dozens of costumed enthusiasts sampling a little history of their own.

The Steampunk movement harkens back to an era predating the automobile and the automatic teller machine, akin to the works of 19th century authors H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. There were no time machines present to blast back to the past, but you woudn't know it from a quick look at the throwback costumes: Monocles made the man (and woman), while vests, colorful suit jackets and Victorian-style dresses were all fair game.

There was a quick match of croquet between friends, a deejay, refreshments aplenty and several acts of magic. Event organizer and "Lord Baron" Joseph C.R. Vourteque (real name Joseph Rovner), Sunday's Watch Chains & Lace event was his vision finally becoming a reality.

"I see a vision that I developed a number of years ago," Vourteque, of Chicago, said. "I see more and more people dressing in these fantastic outfits. More and more people are coming together enjoying it, and music that has an anachronistic quality to it, bringing back a warmth and a class to events."

Sunday's event served a dual purpose, as it gave the Steampunks a family friendly place to meet and greet while all proceeds from ticket sales went to the Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave.

But Vourteque's side was K.L. Kenzie, a deejay from Chicago who grew up admiring goth culture from afar before settling into Steampunk, which she sees as a similar, but different enough, movement. Kenzie, who runs Steampunk Chicago with Vourteque and others, spent the evening ushering in costume-clad guests and spinning music for those in attendance.

It was an event she had always wanted to be a part of, she said.

"I watch a lot of film and I see all these crazy, over-the-top events that I want to throw," Kenzie said, "and little by little we're starting to get to the point where we're going to be throwing these events that we used to dream of."

Steampunk Chicago's next endeavor is Clockwork Vaudeville: The Carnivale Delirium Pre-Event, at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Chicago's Exit club, 1315 W. North Ave. Event is 21 and above.


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