Saturday, Nov. 2

Life is rich with unexpectedly fruitful combinations: coffee and whiskey, skeet shooting and surfing (seriously, look it up. Thank you, Val Kilmer), dried pineapple and Gorgonzola cheese. Steampunk is one of the more novel combinations to come out of the new millennium. The Steam Age was also the Age of Empire, oppressive sexual mores and stovepipe hats; punk, by contrast, is an explosion of loud, dissonant music, tattered leathers and rage at the status quo.

By extension, Steampact is a meta-unexpectedly fruitful combination. The event combines the steampunk aesthetic--industrial age, do-it-yourself retrofitted gear--and a good cause. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Visual Arts Collective, local tech company Balihoo has organized a steampunk ball starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, and proceeds benefit Family Advocates, a local nonprofit that rescues children from abusive homes.

The party includes the usual amenities, like drink specials and a live auction; but it's the live entertainment that makes the cover a bargain for attendees and a coup for a charitable organization, with a burlesque performance by Red Light Variety Show, Stardust Lounge and Minerva Jayne hitting the stage, as well as Psychic Sheila, a Gypsy wagon, food trucks and a photo booth.

Diehard steampunkers, folks who want more than one use out of a Halloween costume and those of us who love a chance to dress up will find Steampact to be just what it sounds like: a blast from an alternative past.

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